Israel is at the forefront of technology, and while I may boast about our advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, there’s another sector that may have more of an impact on society than that: breathalyzers.
Breathalyzers have been around since 1927, and back then, they were used by housewives as a way to determine if their husbands had been drinking. The technology is over 90 years old, yet recent advancements in the last two years has the potential to change the world as we know it.
And I am happy to say that Israel is leading the way.
If you go back to 2016, you’ll find that Israelis developed a virtual breathalyzer. Yes, the times are different, but these devices are not quite different from the 1927 fad of checking a husband’s breath to find out if he had been drinking. The breathalyzer developed in 2016 is a self-use model that is perfect for the responsible adult.
The device, created at Ben-Gurion U, is 100% accurate, and all you need is a smart-device or gadget to be able to use it. The device is a little different than a breathalyzer because it goes a step further and measures changes in the person’s gait before and after they drink.
Small changes, some that you wouldn’t notice unless you were a criminal lawyer or trained to spot them, occur after a person has been drinking.
The device, when cross-checked with a standard police monitor, was proven to be accurate 100% of the time. Imagine someone leaving a bar, walking to their vehicle and receiving an alert that states they’re intoxicated. These alerts have the potential to reduce the amount of drunk driving across the world, and the device further provides accountability for designated drivers.
But this isn’t the most impressive advancement we’ve seen come out of Israel.
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology developed another breathalyzer that’s able to detect 17 different diseases. The idea, which sounds more like science-fiction than it does reality, is able to detect a wide array of diseases, including prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, kidney disease and multiple sclerosis, among several other cancers.
The device is able to detect these diseases early into their progression, so it can mean the difference between a cancer that is manageable or a cancer that is terminal.
But, the test isn’t always accurate either. The early study was conducted on 1,404 sick and health individuals, and the results for accuracy were at 86%. Researchers claim the degree of accuracy is too low for a clinical diagnostic tool, but noted that the device offers a lot of potential.
The device utilizes more than 100 chemical compounds that are exhaled when a person breathes. Compounds vary, but there are 13 different compounds present when a person has a disease. Chemicals are then assessed to determine what level of the compound is present. Depending on the disease, the compound’s levels will be higher or lower.
Breath has been used since 400 B.C. to detect sickness, and with the advancements coming from Israel, we may soon be able to test for common disease much faster with earlier detection and faster results.