Hey look, it's the rare extraneous-seeming iPhone app/accessory that actually looks like a really good idea! DrinkMate is a tiny breathalyzer that, just by plugging into your phone, can tell you legitimately important information like -- how long will it take until I'm sober? how drunk are my other friends? how can I tell everyone else how drunk I am? -- in addition to BAC, a number that often means nothing to drunk people.
The Kickstarter campaign has already more than hit its goal, but it's still useful to check out the video for more information on how the app works, as well as confirmation that the DrinkMate people understand one of the lesser-accepted truths that underlies the foundations of human social interaction: Peer pressure is awesome. "We recognized that in order to help people make better choices, we needed to utilize their friends and social groups to influence their decisions," founder Shaun Masavage says in the video.
No one who grew up going to D.A.R.E. assemblies will admit this, but peer pressure, when turned to good ends, is the best. In this case: Does your buddy keep saying he can drive back from the club? He (because it is probably a "he" with an idea this stupid) cannot. If all of your friends tell him he is being an idiot because they can see his BAC, heis far more likely to believe itand agree that it is a bad idea for him to drive home. Frankly, this basic model is applicable to all sorts of terrible things your friends may accidentally engage in -- showing off gross signs of wealth, mistreating partners, pretending to be an expert on urban education policy after watching season four of The Wire -- and if there is a higher power, hopefully soon there will be apps to help force them out of these vile habits as well. Get your Kickstarter fingers ready.