This technical information has been contributed byMAPLE PLAIN, Minn.—The latest recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award is the FLOOME, a universal smartphone accessory that reportedly provides users with accurate and reliable blood-alcohol readings. Proto Labs provided the FLOOME's co-founders, Marco Barbetta and Fabio Penzo of Italian company 2045Tech, with tooling and a subsequent first production run of injection molded parts.
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Italian-designed Smartphone Breathalyzer Receives Cool Idea! Award
Proto Labs' Cool Idea! Award, launched in 2011, gives a total of $250,000 each year to entrepreneurs developing new products in the United States and Europe. Unlike other product awards that recognize products after they're in mass production and on store shelves, the Cool Idea! Award is meant to help cool ideas come to life.
"FLOOME is the first, reliable smartphone breathalyzer," said Barbetta in a statement. The product measures the user's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the user blows into the device while it is connected to a smartphone audio jack. FLOOME employs a patent-pending technology that matches a vortex whistle with the fuel cell ethanol sensor that is widely used by law enforcement breathalyzers. The collected data is sent over audio frequencies to the corresponding app, which allows the user to view their BAC and get an estimate of when they will reach the legal limit to drive based on their test results and body characteristics. He or she can also set an alarm to take a new test, view a graph of previous results, or call a nearby taxi.
For 2045Tech, the casing design for FLOOME was as important to its overall functionality as the technology inside it. "After many sketches and prototypes, we came up with a really unique, eye-catching shape; its smooth edges and lightness also make it easy to carry around," said Barbetta.
"Receiving the Cool Idea! Award has enabled us to move from the testing stage into production, which is a big hurdle for any new product," said Penzo.
Larry Lukis, founder of Proto Labs, added that "FLOOME eliminates the predicament that many find themselves in when going out for a drink. "It provides an accurate and at-the-ready means to determine when they are safely able to drive," he said. "Combined with its elegant design aesthetic and smartphone integration, this cool product should be a great success."
Proto Labs (PRLB) is an online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of low-volume CNC machined and injection molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. For more information about the Cool Idea! Award and how to apply, visit www.protolabs.com/coolidea.
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