Nail polish to detect drugged drinks

27th August, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

Four undergraduates from North Carolina State University have come up with a novel way to detect the presence of date-rape drugs in drinks.

nail-polishUnder the name Undercover Colors, the students are developing a nail varnish that changes colour as soon as it comes into contact with drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB, known as date-rape or sexual assault drugs because they can cause blackouts and amnesia in high does.

The presence of date-rape drugs can be detected if any woman wearing the special nail varnish uses her finger to stir her drink, and finds that the polish changes colour.

The undergraduates come from the Materials Science & Engineering department at the US university and have already won the Lulu eGames student competition from the North Carolina State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative for the concept product.

Inspiration for the varnish stemmed from a discussion among the undergraduates about common societal problems in the US during which the topic of drug-facilitated sexual assault was raised.

Ankesh Madan, one of the four students involved in the development of the concept polish, told Higher Education Works, “We’d love to take Undercover Colors to the next level and take our product to market. Near-term, we’re focusing on technical development and market testing. We plan to focus on business development and refining our prototype before going to production.”

Undercover-Colors

Undercover Colors team members from left to right: Ankesh Madan, Stephen Grey, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey-Maloney. Picture source: NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative

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