SOBERLINK® SL2 Q&A with Founder and CEO, Brad Keays

 In Industry News, Monitoring Technology


Date: Aug. 4, 2014
Location: Orange County, California

The SOBERLINK SL2 is a pocket-sized, mobile, handheld breath alcohol monitoring device that incorporates GPS and Adaptive Facial Recognition™ technology. The device is extremely easy to use for any offender population, and allows clients to discreetly submit BrAC tests from any location. The SL2 device learns an individual’s face as more tests are taken and more photos are collected, increasing the accuracy and confidence that the right person is taking the test. In fact, the system can automatically confirm up to 98 percent of all tests. Other devices are larger, more difficult to use, and simply compare test photos against a single master file photo instead of a full photo library like the SL2. The GPS point is collected during each random or scheduled test, so you know where the individual is during the recommended three to four tests throughout the day.

Brad Keays is the Founder and CEO of SOBERLINK, Inc. With the introduction of the SL1 in mid-2011, SOBERLINK created a new category in alcohol monitoring focused around mobile handheld technology. Below, Brad answers questions about the SL2:

Q. How does the SL2 device work?

A. During each breath test, the SL2 Breathalyzer takes a picture of the end-user to confirm his or her identity. The real-time photo and breath alcohol result are wirelessly transmitted on Verizon’s Private Network to SOBERLINK’s host computer and reported through the online monitoring portal. Direct alerts can be set up for contacts when signs of a relapse, such as a missed or positive test, occur.

Q. How accurate are the alcohol test results?

A. The SL2 device contains a professional-grade fuel cell sensor with a detection range of 0.000% – 0.400% BrAC and an accuracy level of +/- .005 BrAC. The fuel cell that SOBERLINK uses is a globally trusted sensor used for high-end workplace and law enforcement breath alcohol instruments. Learn more about this fuel cell technology at the manufacturer’s website –

Q. How does fuel cell technology work?

A. When a breath sample containing alcohol comes in contact with the surface of the fuel cell, the alcohol is quickly absorbed. A chemical reaction occurs in the fuel cell, in which the alcohol oxidizes. This oxidation process converts alcohol to acetic acid, which releases an electric current. The higher the alcohol concentration in the breath sample, the greater the chemical reaction and the higher the BrAC. If alcohol is not present in the sample, there is no chemical reaction, no electrons are released, and the result would be .000 BrAC.

Q. How do you know the right person is taking the test?

A. In early 2014, SOBERLINK released Adaptive Facial Recognition, which has virtually eliminated the need for officers to review compliant participant photos. The SL2 device has an embedded high-resolution camera that takes a picture of the participant during the breath alcohol test. The software spatially analyzes each point-in-time photograph against a collective library of participant file photos. The software also recognizes and adapts to subtle appearance changes, such as facial hair.

Q. What happens if there is a positive test?

A. In the event of a positive test, the system disseminates direct alerts to predetermined contacts and the client will be prompted to retest in order to confirm consumption of alcohol versus accidental exposure (i.e. mouthwash).

Q. Do clients need a cell phone to use the SL2?

A. No, the SL2 contains a cellular module and sends test results via Verizon’s wireless network. As an optional feature on the monitoring site, enrolled clients may opt to receive reminder text messages on his or her personal cell phone when a test is due. However, text message delivery times may be affected due to carrier-related factors, so each client should also receive a hard copy of the testing schedule and the expected procedure for positive test results.

Q. How often does the SL2 device need to be calibrated?

A. The SL2 device has an internal test counter, and case managers receive an email alert when a calibration accuracy check is due. Fuel cell sensor accuracy may last for many years; however, SOBERLINK recommends calibration checks when prompted.

Q. How does the testing schedule work?

A. The monitoring site allows for customized client testing schedules. Schedules must be entered and saved 30 minutes prior to scheduled test times. A “Scheduled” test means that a client has a 45-minute window in which to send their test, starting 15 minutes before the test time and ending 30 minutes after the test time. Clients may submit a test at any time. If the test was not scheduled through the monitoring site, it will be labeled as an “Unscheduled” test.

Q. How do client text reminders work?

A. Clients must authorize use of their personal cell numbers and accept an initial opt-in text message from the SOBERLINK monitoring portal. Officers enroll and set up client test schedules in the system. Once enrolled, clients receive the automated text reminder 15 minutes prior to each scheduled test. A separate alert feature enables predetermined contacts to receive automatic email and/or text notification for positive test results or tests taken outside of a scheduled testing window.

Q. Who has access to test results?

A. One of the major benefits of the SOBERLINK monitoring software platform is the ability to customize access for multiple individuals within an agency. For example, officers may be authorized receive full access or read-only access to view results at any time. (Need more on this one)

Q. Has the SL2 been challenged in court?

A. Yes, SOBERLINK and authorized SOBERLINK Service Providers have testified and successfully defended and validated the reliability and accuracy of the SL2 device in court hearings. In addition, SOBERLINK offers court testimony support services for all authorized Service Providers. Please also refer to the SL2 Court Admissibility and Reliability document in the fact sheet section.

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