Your ears give off alcohol and a test can reveal how much you’ve drunk

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Ear defenders

Ordinary ear defenders can be modified to detect blood alcohol levels

Creativ Studio Heinemann/Getty

Forget blowing into a breathalyser – a new drink-driving test could involve putting on a pair of ear defenders.

Koji Toma at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan and his colleagues have created a device that captures alcohol given off by the skin of a person’s ears. It can measure the amount of alcohol in their blood and whether they are over a legal limit.

Breathalyser tests for alcohol used by many police forces require blowing steadily into a device for several seconds, and some people can’t manage this, or claim they can’t. A skin-based test solved both issues. “They can’t cheat through their skin,” says Toma.

Toma and his team had previously investigated…

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