LAPKA BAM is a luxury breathalyzer that syncs wirelessly with your iPhone or Android. Made of diamond-ground black ceramic, the device is a perfectly smooth black cylinder, small enough to disappear in a closed fist when you hold it to take a reading. Blow through the device, and you activate a police-grade electrochemical fuel sensor that reads your blood alcohol content. Soundwaves from your breath carry the information to your phone, where the Lapka app displays your reading. The app’s appearance adjusts in response to how high your blood alcohol content is, becoming bigger and simpler the drunker you get.
This is the second device from Lapka, a wearable computing studio led by designer Vadik Marmaledov and developer Sergey Phillipov. The first Lapka is an environmental monitor for iPhone that can read radioactivity and the nitrate levels in organic produce, among other unseen atmospheric factors. Both the breathalyzer and the environmental monitor are elegant fashion accessories that radically expand the measurable terrain of your life.
Besides an uncanny similarity to the new Apple Mac Pro, the form gives away nothing. It’s impossible to know what it is. And there seems to be a connection between the undecidability of Lapka BAM’s form and its stance on getting drunk. The clinical look of existing breathalyzers implies that you have a problem, that you’ve deviated from health and need to get back there. (This is the same principle that makes calorie-counting unglamorous.) Lapka BAM, on the other hand, suggests something much subtler: that like a fine watch, there might be pleasure in having private access to precision.