Travel tip: Nail polish detects date rape drugs

Nail polishA new nail polish detects date rape drugs such as GBH, Xanax and Rohypnol. This extraordinary invention has been revealed on one of my favourite websites Not Impossible Now. Four students at North Carolina State University invented  the nail polish. The brand is called Undercover Colors.  Women can simply dip their fingers into their drinks, which will spur a chemical reaction if one of the date rape drugs is detected.

For women travelling alone or with other gal pals, rape and robbery are the greatest fears. This invention is a must. It seems to be pitched at the US domestic market, but I hope the bright young inventors are able to market their product more widely. 

“With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes colour, she’ll know that something is wrong,” says a statement on the Undercover Colors Facebook page. “Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.

“In the US, 18% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s almost one out of every five women in our country. We may not know who they are, but these women are not faceless. They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends.

“While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection. Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.”

CocktailsThe fledgling company has secured over $US100,000 in funding for the venture, but is also looking for potential investors. If you’re interested, visit UndercoverColors.com

Not Impossible Now is  a global web-based community of people who pool knowledge and resources to create technology for the sake of humanity. By utilizing crowd-sourcing to crowd-solve healthcare issues, Not Impossible aims to provide low-cost and DIY solutions on an open-source platform, and to enable high-tech devices to reach people in need all over the world. 

Not Impossible founder Nick Eberling. Picture: Not Impossible Labs
Not Impossible founder Nick Eberling uses crowdsourcing to solve health issues

Not Impossible founder and CEO Mick Ebeling is an American film, television and commercial executive producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

I first came across Not Impossible on Facebook, reading how they flew a team into Sudan armed with 3D printers and printed out limbs for amputees. Project Daniel  was named after a double amputee boy who had both his arms blown off by a bomb dropped on his village in the Nuba Mountains. He considered his life not worth living. The Not Impossible team printed out a prosthetic arm for Daniel, who was then able to feed himself for the first time in two years. 

After Daniel had his own “hand,” with the help of Dr Tom Catena, an American doctor working under extreme conditions, the team set about teaching others to print and assemble 3D prostheses. By the time the team returned to their homes in the US, the local trainees had successfully printed and fitted another two arms, proving the project will have lasting benefit beyond the team’s presence.

ProjectDaniel-Mohammad&Daniel-NotImpossible-WebRes
Daniel (right) and a fellow amputee have had hope restored to their lives

Project Daniel successfully unfolded in a region where a cease-fire had expired (and where fighting has now escalated). It’s a milestone achievement that bears the potential for global impact.  Unfortunately the increase in violence has disrupted efforts to expand this amazing work.

Other projects Not Impossible supports:

  • Researchers are developing a “skin” that will help detect damage on the surface of concrete structures
  • A “smart skin” for planes can detect damage ahead of ground checks
  • In 2010, Mick Ebeling spearheaded the creation of the Eyewriter, eye-tracking glasses with free, open-source software that enabled a renowned graffiti artist paralyzed by ALS to draw and communicate using only his eyes.
Mick&Daniel-HighFive-NotImpossible-WebRes
Nick Eberling and an amputee at the Not Impossible Lab in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

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