Santa Barbara tech start-up Milo won second place and $100,000 last month in a National Institutes of Health competition to design and produce a “low-profile, wearable blood-alcohol tester.”

Milo was started by Evan Strenk and Bob Lansdorp in Santa Barbara. They work with a small team of eight out of the California NanoSystems Institute laboratory at UCSB. “We were still in concept phase when the competition was announced,” said Strenk. “So we put it down in our books.”

Their winning design looks like a cross between a wristwatch and a Fitbit. It has an all-black band with a dial-shaped sensor on top. These sensors read the level of ethanol enzymes in the wearer’s body, sending the data directly to his or her smartphone. Milo says this data is encrypted, so users shouldn’t worry about their health information being stolen.

The tech company isn’t new to winning awards. Just last year Milo won UCSB’s New Venture Competition. It wants to use the award money to get a working prototype going, with plans for a Kickstarter campaign in the fall.


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