Our iPhones can do a lot. In addition to standard skills like launching applications, accessing the Internet, and taking photos and videos, they have a number of implicit functions. For example, their flash can be used to measure the pulse, and Face ID can replace the technology for capturing facial movements for game developers and thus give the character the facial expressions of a real person. In general, very technologically advanced and very cool. But given the potential of iPhones, there should definitely be a chance to teach them something more cool. In principle, it happened.
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Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study and found that iPhones can detect a critical level of alcohol intoxication, which is unacceptable for driving a car. They did not even have to use additional equipment for this – the smartphone's sensors themselves were able to record signs of intoxication and, after analyzing the information received, warn the user that it is illegal – and simply dangerous – to drive a car in his state.
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The experiment, which the researchers conducted, was to determine intoxication by the appearance and behavior of the user, and not make him "blow into the tube" or scan the alcohol content in the blood. Moreover, without an external body kit, this still cannot be done. Therefore, it was decided to focus on sensors such as gyroscope, accelerometer and motion sensor. Surprisingly, the researchers noticed, the accuracy of determining the degree of intoxication was quite high.
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The subjects were given vodka and a lime juice drink every hour until their blood alcohol content reached 80 mg per 100 ml of blood. This is the threshold beyond which drivers are prohibited from driving in the US and UK. Then the subjects were attached to their backs iPhone and asked to walk 10 steps in a straight line, and then turn around and walk back. That is, it turns out that the smartphone simply measured changes in gait and, based on the information received, recorded the degree of intoxication.
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Despite a very small sample – only 22 volunteers took part in the study – in 90% of cases the "diagnosis" was correct. According to scientists, this is due to the fairly high accuracy of accelerometers and other sensors that are equipped with flagship iPhones. But to conduct a similar experiment using Android smartphones, most likely, will not work, scientists concluded. This is due to the fact that most of them are equipped with less accurate sensors, which will not be able to determine the degree of intoxication by gait.
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It is clear that few people will tie a smartphone to their back and test their gait every hour. However, this is just the beginning. After all, it is highly likely that in the future – if the experiment is recognized as successful – special AI-based software will be created that will be able to scan the state even while lying in a pants pocket. After all, Apple managed to teach the Apple Watch to detect hand washing, which means that nothing is impossible to record changes in the user's gait right from the pocket and warn him that he cannot be driving and it is best to use a taxi.