Bad Breathometer

Photo from CNET

I remember watching the episode of Shark Tank in 2013 when Charles Michael Lim scored big time, $1 million for his invention Breathometer. Breathometer is a device that measures someone’s blood alcohol content using their iOS and Android smartphones.

The Sharks loved it. Instead of awarding Lim the $250,000 he originally wanted for 10 percent of his company, all five sharks ended up giving him the $1 million for a collective 30 percent. 

Eliot and I were cheering. It was such exciting moments for start-ups. I was so envious. I wanted the company as a client. I never pursued Breathometer, though I thought about it many times.

Forward to 2017. I just found out from CNET, a tech site, that Breathometer has now been ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to return $5.1 million to its customers. The unit simply did not give accurate results. That’s very dangerous, since the users depend on complete accuracy to find out if they are sober enough to drive.

CNET said the $49.00 Breathometer promised to tell people their blood-alcohol content level within an accuracy matching police breathalyzers. That never happened. 

The Burlingame, CA,  company has taken on a new journey.  Breathometer plans to release the Mint, an oral health tracker that tells the user if they have bad breath.

Another good idea ?

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