Sensor Sips Drinks to Detect Date Rape Drugs

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Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University's school of chemistry have developed a sensor that can detect date rape drugs in real time. The sensor is placed in a straw or stirrer so it can be discreetly dipped into your drink. It takes a small sample of your drink and mixes it with a chemical solution If the testing detects a date-rape drug, it turns dark and the sensor shines a red light.

The sensor is designed to detect two of the most commonly used date rape drugs: GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine, and the scientist plan on expanding the device’s detection capacity to include Rohypnol (roofies) in the near future. The scientists tested their sensor on a range of popular drinks and soft drinks, and it was able to correctly detect a spiked drink 100-percent of the time.

The chemical formula the device uses is cheap to produce and it isn't toxic, which means companies should be able to produce the sensor without a long-winded approval from the government. The pair of scientists expects that their sensor could come to the commercial market within a year and a half, assuming they can get funding.

The scientists told AFP that they are still deciding how the sensor will inform the user; among the possible methods it could be with a light, it rotating, or the sensor could send a text.

[AFP via CNET and Gizmodo / Photo: StuartWebster on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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