Nanoplus to develop laser diodes for touch-based alcohol sensor on automobile dashboard

July 6, 2016
Near-IR spectroscopy detects alcohol in driver's blood.

Nanoplus Nanosystems and Technologies (Gerbrunn, Geremany) is expanding its collaboration with the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS; Arlington, VA). In May 2016, ACTS officially authorized Nanoplus to start the second phase of developing innovative lasers for a touch-based alcohol sensor in cooperation with TK Holdings, or Takata (Auburn Hills, MI), and TruTouch Technologies (Albuquerque, NM). The project is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's program for a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).

Dual-wavelength source
TruTouch is developing the alcohol sensor, which in addition to being integrated into an automobile could also be used to verify the sobriety of workers at safety-sensitive worksites. When used in a vehicle, the sensor can be located on the dashboard, where, upon a touch, it detects whether or not there is alcohol in the driver's blood (and potentially senses whether a sober impostor is using the touchpad rather than the drunken driver).

Takata is an automotive supplier.

The sensor uses near-IR spectroscopy to sense the blood alcohol in the capillaries of the driver's finger. The low-power laser-diode light source is what is being developed and supplied by Nanoplus. The light source produces two wavelengths; the system will be able to take multiple readings in less than a second.

Testing the prototype
The DADSS research program has created a touch-based standard calibration device that combines a series of 8 compounds to accurately simulate the composition and density of tissue in a finger. The prototypes will also continue to be put through a series of human-subject tests, comparing prototype readings to blood sample readings, as well as durability tests in different environmental situations.

When ready, the alcohol-detection system will be made available as a safety option in new vehicles similar to automatic braking, lane-departure warning, and other advanced-driver-assist vehicle technologies.

In addition to the touch-based sensor, the DADSS program is working on a breath-based system, placed in the driver's side door or in the steering column, which will measure the concentration of alcohol molecules in the driver’s exhaled breath.

More information on both sensors can be found at

Source: Nanoplus Nanosystems and Technologies

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