IntoxBox tests patrons BAC
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 10, 2012 08:02
Parker Stewart, junior business management major, with assistance from the Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center, is unveiling a new product, the IntoxBox.
The IntoxBox is a machine that uses fuel cell sensors to determine the blood-alcohol content of its user. Stewart said he first thought about the idea as a business last January with emphasis on raising aware- ness about drunk driving as one of the IntoxBox's main purposes.
"I feel like the people that have seen it and have used it have had a good experience with it, and it's helped educate them about drinking and driving," he said.
Stewart said he came to the Entrepreneurship Center in November and started developing his business plan. In the three months since, Stewart has installed two IntoxBoxes in local Starkville businesses Rick's Cafe and Dave's Dark Horse Tavern.
Bar patrons can purchase one test for $2 or three tests for $5. Patrons can guess their BAC. If they guess correctly, they win a promo code for one free test. The box is manufactured by Walden Innovative Resources LLC, a business connection that helped set up by MSU's Entrepreneurship Center. The deal gave Stewart exclusive rights to the product in Mississippi, making it the only machine of its kind in the state.
Jesus Valdez, a research associate of the Entrepreneurship Center, said Stewart had a well thought-out plan from the beginning.
"It was a great idea, and it was well-developed. He just needed to know the next steps to actually implement the idea," Valdez said. "The idea itself was
noteworthy because it's going toward not only a good cause as far as alcohol awareness, but also from his standpoint, it was something he wanted to get into and start developing his own business."
Stewart pitched his business plan to the Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board composed of faculty and business-oriented alumni. The board granted him $1,500 from the Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship to help aid his business.
Gerald Nelson, director of the Ofﬁce of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, said he saw potential in Stewart's product to make an impact in the community.
"There is a deﬁnite need. Kids, and adults as well, are getting in trouble with DUI-type issues, and it's a danger to other people on the road," he said. "There is a safety factor in there and a social-conscious factor and a deﬁnite market need, so we all saw it as (something that) could work."
After being installed for three days at Dave's, the IntoxBox had over 80 usages.
Since Stewart's company Night & Day Vending put its ﬁrst machine in Rick's Cafe on Jan. 4, it has been used over 300 times. Rick Welch, owner of Rick's, said he has seen a spike of curiosity among patrons.
"It's more of an inquisitive type of thing. They are sort of seeing if they register as high as they think they are or as low as they think they are ... If it keeps one person from driving that otherwise would've, then it's done its job. It's well worth it," he said.
Stewart said he hopes to add a cab-call feature, which he said will give the user an option to put in their number and have a text sent to a cab company, alerting a cab. In the long-run, Stewart said he hopes to see the IntoxBox educating people around the state about the dangers of drinking.
"Success is to look at the numbers of DUIs and alcohol-related incidents," he said. "If we can see those numbers dropping, that will be real success."