Proto Labs® helps breathalyser market get smart

Written by: Proto Labs Ltd | Published:

Proto Labs® recently supplied the innovative Italian technology company 2045Tech s.r.l. with prototype and production parts for their new stylish smartphone breathalyser. The new device is pitched at drivers who want to ensure they can drive their vehicles without exceeding the legal alcohol limit of whichever country they are in.

The FLOOME™ is a pocket-sized device that measures your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) when connected to your smartphone, regardless of brand. It was designed by Marco Barbetta, who along with Fabio Penzo, founded 2045Tech to specialise in the design and manufacture of innovative electronic products.

"Our mission is to combine innovative technology and industry experience with attractive design," says Mr. Barbetta. "We take a unique approach to the various challenges we face, which allows us to be critical and analytical in our devotion to both beauty and practicality."

FLOOME™ is said to be the world's first truly reliable breathalyser. Blowing into the device allows drivers to measure BAC before they get behind the wheel of a car. The results are displayed via a smartphone app, which also shows the legal alcohol limit permitted by law depending on which country you are in. The device also offers additional features, such as the estimated time required for the amount of alcohol in the blood to return to safe levels. Within the app, users can set an alarm that sounds when BAC has returned to a safe level so the user can perform another test to see if it is safe to resume driving. The technology used in FLOOME™ is patent-pending and similar to that deployed in the breathalysers used currently by police forces.

Based at Caorle, some 50km north of Venice on Italy's Adriatic coastline, 2045Tech historically preferred stereolithography processes to fulfil its prototyping requirements. However, with FLOOME™, stereolithography could not meet the rigorous demands of both timescale and surface finish. Furthermore, the limited choice of materials proved to be restrictive.

So 2045Tech turned to Firstcut®, the rapid CNC machining service offered by Proto Labs when it became obvious the combination of material and finish were impossible to achieve with stereolithography. The machined plastic parts made from the material intended for production allowed the company to undertake accurate, functional tests before moving to moulded production components.

"We researched potential suppliers on the internet in order to find the right company for our prototypes," says Mr. Barbetta. "Our collaboration with Proto Labs proved immediately successful. We analysed the performance of the machined prototypes at the University of Padua. After successfully completing the testing phase we were ready to transfer eight FLOOME™ components to the next stage, injection moulding. For this we chose to use Protomold® the rapid injection moulding service offered by Proto Labs."

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