New alcohol sensors facilitate alcohol tests

Nov 23, 2017 | Research/Cooperation Global

Jonas Ljungblad, doctoral student at MDH, has been involved in producing an alcohol sensor which registers whether a person has alcohol in their body by means of exhaled air, without using a mouthpiece. The purpose of the sensor is to facilitate the process in breathalyser tests.


- The reason why we wanted to make it easier to take breathalyser tests is partly to be able to test a lot of people on a daily basis, for example at workplaces, and partly to be able to measure alcohol in a driver’s body, in the vehicle, without the driver needing to do anything active, says Jonas Ljungblad.

On 15 November he defended his thesis, entitled "High Performance Breath

Alcohol Analysis”. In his thesis he explains how a new type of alcohol sensor can be adapted to vehicles to make it as easy as possible for the driver. For example, the driver would not need to change mouthpieces every time the car starts. Another example is to minimise the time it takes for the sensor to measure alcohol in the body so that the driver does not have to wait before driving off.

- The aim of course is to dispense with the active part altogether. The driver should just be able to get into the car and drive off normally, just as with a car without alcohol sensors, says Jonas Ljungblad.

At the same time as Jonas Ljungblad was doing his PhD at MDH he has also been employed at the Senseair company, which has produced the new alcohol sensor. With the aid of IR technology the sensor can register whether a person has alcohol in their body through the air they exhale, without the need of a mouthpiece. To be able to test employees at a workplace, Jonas Ljungblad and his colleagues have developed the sensor so that it can be connected to a login system, a thing which train drivers working at SJ have already begun using.

- To be able to log in to their shift they have to swipe their card and breathe into the sensor that is placed on the login system. After that they can begin their shift, provided that they don’t have alcohol in their body, says Jonas Ljungblad.

After defending his thesis Jonas Ljungblad will continue his work with developing the alcohol sensor, which is to be placed in vehicles - a project sponsored by NHTSA, the USA equivalent to the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), and several car manufacturers.

- In the USA 10 000 people die every year in traffic on account of alcohol-influenced drivers, and alcohol-related traffic accidents are of course a problem in Sweden too. So the aim of the project is to save lives and reduce the number of deaths, says Jonas Ljungblad.