BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Niagara and Canadian tech firm Ladybug
Teknologies has launched a pilot program for the SipSmart Network,
a breathalyzer kiosk that enables bar patrons to stay safe by
checking their level of intoxication before they drive.
The network's main component is a thin, sleek kiosk that
encapsulates a police-grade breathalyzer. The machine employs
state-of-the-art platinum fuel cell technology to obtain accurate
blood alcohol measurements, according to the company.
Through the SipSmart pilot, bar-goers in both the United States
and Canada will have the opportunity to test the technology.
Ladybug, founded in Canada, expanded its operations into the
U.S. market in 2010, opening an American headquarters at the
University at Buffalo Technology Incubator. The incubator, run by
UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach
(UB STOR), provides emerging businesses with the technical,
business and financial assistance they need to become a force in
Western New York's knowledge economy.
On Oct. 14, Ladybug hosted a Canadian launch party for the
SipSmart Network at Koi in Hess Village in Hamilton, Ontario. An
American kick-off took place Oct. 21 at Caputi's Sheridan Pub in
Tonawanda, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo.
Kiosks will stay at Caputi's and Chainsaw Saloon in Waterloo,
Ontario, through the holiday season. Balloons Restaurant and
Nightclub in Ellicottville will host a third kiosk for at least a
For $5, social drinkers can use the kiosk three times over the
course of the night. To get a reading, patrons simply blow into the
breathalyzer through a reusable mouthpiece that they can purchase
for 50 cents from a nearby dispenser that looks like a gumball
The goal is to prevent drunk driving by giving revelers a
simple, inexpensive way to access information that can help them
stay safe, said Sherry Colbourne, Ladybug co-founder and CEO.
"Public opinion on the lack of individual accountability is at
an all-time high and is echoed in a reduced tolerance for drunk
driving," Colbourne said. "For too long, the technology that can
separate social drinkers from their keys has been closely held by
enforcement and our legal communities. Ladybug is making this
technology available to the people who need it the most -- our
"The kiosk system opens state-of-the-art technology up to
anyone, giving people of all income levels access to the most
accurate breathalyzer technology," said Christine Montag, Ladybug
co-founder and chief operating officer.
She notes that by taking multiple readings during a night out,
kiosk users can not only find out their blood alcohol
concentration, but gauge whether their bodies are in the process of
absorbing or eliminating alcohol.
The SipSmart network will complement Ladybug's existing product
lines, all of which use technology to promote social
The company's other offerings include BAQ Tracker, a personal,
handheld breathalyzer, and BAQ Tracker Mobile, a smart phone app
that helps social drinkers keep track of their level of
intoxication by logging, in real-time, each drink they consume.
As the SipSmart pilot progresses, Ladybug is enhancing each
kiosk with useful features for social drinkers, such as coupons for
deals at local bars and a listing of local taxi companies. Users
will eventually be able to access their SipSmart profile from their
home computer or smart phone and link their SipSmart breathalyzer
readings to the BAQ Tracker Mobile app.
Founded in 2004, Ladybug Teknologies is defining a unique
business model as a socially focused technology company that
develops and sells products and solutions to social drinkers. The
company recently signed a retail deal with Costco Canada, which has
begun selling the BAQ Tracker online. Ladybug was also
hand-selected to participate in a Times Square Thanksgiving
advertising campaign with CBS Broadcasting. Through the campaign, a
15-second commercial about the BAQ Tracker is airing 18 times each
day on the David Letterman Jumbotron until Nov. 30.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.
New Incubator Firms Contribute to the Growth of Western New
York's Economy: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/12115
About Ladybug Teknologies: http://ladybugteknologies.com/
About the SipSmart Network: http://sipsmart.us/
About the UB Technology Incubator: http://www.research.buffalo.edu/stor/incubator/prog.cfm