The Italian-designed FLOOME - a universal, smartphone add-on that provides users with accurate and reliable blood-alcohol readings - has just scooped a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award.
The company - which is the world's fastest manufacturer of CNC machined and injection-moulded parts - launched the Cool Idea! Award to help product designers bring their innovations to life by awarding prototyping and short-run production services to recipients.
TCT Show + Personalize exhibitor Proto Labs provided the designer of FLOOME, Marco Barbetta and the Italian company 2045Tech co-founded with Fabio Penzo, with a total of eight moulds, from each of which 1,000 production parts were created.
“FLOOME is the first, reliable smartphone Breathalyser. You blow into it and it measures your Blood Alcohol Concentration. The data is then available to view using the smartphone app, so you can see your BAC and whether you are within the legal limit to drive a vehicle," said Mr Barbetta.
The device connects using a smartphone's headphone mini-plug socket. Its detection technology is based on an innovative patent pending system, similar to that currently used in professional and law-enforcement breathalysers. Helpfully, the FLOOME app also shows the estimated time required for the users BAC to recover to safe levels.
"You can set an alarm in the app that reminds you when it is safe to drive again,” says Mr Penzo added.
Unlike other product awards that recognise products after they are in mass production and on store shelves, Proto Labs' Cool Idea! Award is meant to help cool ideas come to life. Eligibility for the award is determined during the design and development stage, when innovators are too often stymied by lack of resources or funds to turn their ideas into real products.
As well as being an extremely precise Breathalyser, FLOOME boasts a chic, Italian design.
Mr Barbetta commented: "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. We conducted comprehensive usability and user experience studies and eventually created a product that we think will offer customers a premium experience. We assessed its performance at the University of Padova then, when we'd finished the prototype and the testing, we submitted the eight component parts to Protomold."
"Receiving the Cool Ideas! Award has enabled us to move from the testing stage into production, which is a big hurdle for any new product," the designer concluded.
Larry Lukis, founder of Proto Labs, said: “FLOOME eliminates the predicament many find themselves in while out for a drink. It provides an accurate and at-the-ready means to determine when they are safely able to drive. Combined with its elegant design aesthetic and smartphone integration, this cool product should be a great success."