Today in Great IdeasAmazing New Invention: A Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape DrugsMargaret Eby

An undergraduate team at North Carolina State University might have just revolutionized your make-up drawer. The four students are working to develop a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date rape drugs Rohypnol and GHB. That means that women who wear the new polish—dubbed Undercover Colors—could determine whether their drink has had an unwelcome ingredient added just by dipping in a finger.

“In the U.S.,18% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” the team wrote on their Facebook page. “They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends. Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.”

The team behind Undercover Colors.

The team behind Undercover Colors.

 

“In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators,” they continued, “[to become] the first fashion company empowering women to prevent sexual assault.”

Three cheers to that. The team behind Undercover Colors—Ankesh Madan, Stephan Gray, Tasso Von Windheim, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney—just raised $100,000 from one investor after appearing at the K50 Startup Showcase, the Triangle Business Journal reports. They’re looking for more funding to refine the current prototype. We hope they get it: Their invention is an amazingly simple concept that could do so much to empower and protect women.

 

(Image via Facebook)

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  1. If it takes place outside the nightclub, or during daytime, it should be reported directly to the police and/or other authorities.

  2. OH, got u wrong. I agree, report to 1. friends 2. bouncer 3. police/authorities If it gets overly creepy and suspicious.!

  3. Everyone who doesn’t look normal should get thrown out of the club and/or reported to authorities? Please. I think it’s a brilliant idea!

  4. I’m a little unsure about this.

    Scenario: Girl dipped her finger into drink, the nail polish kicks in & gives her a shade which she will acknowledged as it being spiked. Girl refuses the guy and guy becomes frustrated, possibly endangering the girl even further. Will continue to stalk on her till she’s alone & BAM!

    If you really want to make a difference, report those who are endangering any patrons by going to the bouncer or even a bar attendant who SHOULD escort that person OUT of the club. Call the police if you must. Anyone who appears suspicious should be checked by a security. Or perhaps the club should employ some dogs to sniff them out.

    • Most people who slip the date rate drug into drinks want a non-combative victim. They won’t stick around once they know you are on to them, and most people who realize something is up go find a buddy or a bouncer and report it. I have been drugged before and the drink NEVER left my hand and it was a beer bottle to boot. Somebody got really really close to my face so I leaned back and they slipped it in while my I did not have visual line of sight with my beer. I realized I was getting way too drunk for having less then half a beer. I found a bouncer with drink in hand and it tested positive (found this out later). I called a friend to come get me while still with the bouncer and they escorted me to said friends car. Went home and had the best nights sleep of my life. The guy looked normal, hot even and had a group of friends (both male and female) with him or appeared to be part of a group. It was not somebody I would have pegged to slip me something but I did have the ability to point out to the bouncer who it was that I had suspected drugged me. He and his friends were removed and banned.

  5. Such a great idea and a step forward into doing what we can to help protect each other from sexual assault.

  6. ~sigh~

    A friend, who does work on sexual harassment, safety, and other issues for a major college in the PNW, sent me this note:

    It seems like I debunk this kind of stuff all the time, and have for the last 5 years. Coasters, straws, swizzle sticks… none will or can work to prevent sexual violence.

    1. In more than 90% of drug-facilitated sexual assaults, the only drug used was alcohol. In less than 1% was a drug administered without the victim’s knowledge (ie, if a drug was present, the victim voluntarily ingested it–which they had every right to do without thinking they’d get raped).
    2. There is almost never any independent lab testing that demonstrates reliability, validity, or efficacy, or discusses false positives or negatives. The only independent lab report I’ve seen determined that although the chemical did react, it was to a specific concentration of one drug, and the concentration was much higher than would be administered in the real world.
    3. What drug are you going to look for? Rohypnol, visine, GHB, ecstasy? You need a different assay for each.
    4. Chemical composition of mixers and everything else that can be added to a drink could affect the readings.
    5. These stories always mention that the companies are looking for investors.

    So while we may feel good about the idea of this technology, chances are that this won’t play out to anything effective in the real world. :(

  7. Alyssa, you’re assuming that a woman has already been sexually assaulted or that rape is inevitable. A perfect example of how feminism has been coopted by patriarchy. Blame is a completely meaningless concept and even moreso if the rape doesn’t occur in the first place.

    Feminism is starting to teach women that they should seek out dangerous situations. That they should NOT do anything to keep themselves safe (including things I do as a man). It is less about protecting women than about preserving a narrative of male agency and female helplessnes – and YES feminists will allow women to be raped just to make a point, because feminism is just the women’s auxiliary of patriarchy. There IS no movement to stop rape.

  8. I have mixed feelings about this. I think on its face it’s a great idea, but then again something doesn’t sit right about yet another product that a girl will be told that she should have been using during the investigation of her sexual assault.

  9. That’s my alma mater doing great things! Go Pack!

  10. I totally agree with Emilie!

  11. They need a kickstarter page. I’d fund that!