Now the level of methanol can be determined using a smartphone.

A team of researchers and engineers from the laboratory of particle technology, ETH Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, has developed and produced a device the size of a palm, which can measure the amount of methanol in alcoholic beverage. In his article, published in the journal Nature Food, the researchers describe their device, how it works and how well it works when testing, writes the “high-Tech”.

In the Western world methanol poisoning is rare — up to 90% of such situations happening in Asia. Methanol poisoning can cause illness and even death — last year, 789 people worldwide died after unknowingly ingested the poison. Methanol is a colourless, toxic, volatile flammable liquid alcohol, although low concentrations are generally considered harmless. Poisoning usually result from the fact that manufacturers of alcoholic beverages are trying to save money, trying to increase the strength of the drinks. This kind of spirits you can distribute and sell through local outlets and clients have little or no opportunity to test them. The current standard provides only laboratory tests.

Methanol can get into the alcoholic drinks and in other ways it appears, for example, if improper storage or distillation. It is also known that it accumulates toxic substances in the home fruit alcoholic beverages. Recently it was also reported that about 1,000 people became ill after drinking methanol as a means of coronavirus in Iran — 300 of them died.

In his new work, the researchers have developed a device of small size, which measures levels of both methanol, and ethanol in one drink. The device is placed on the glass after the drink is poured. The device removes a small amount of air from the glass, which contains vaporized methanol and ethanol. Then it sends data to your smartphone with an associated app that displays the levels of methanol and ethanol in the beverage. In addition, a warning is displayed if the level exceeds a certain threshold.

The researchers suggest that their device can be useful for drinking cheap alcoholic beverages. Also it will be useful for police agencies or even for employees of emergency medical care. The researchers note that the device can be used to determine the amount of methanol that people consume through the air intake.