Four Dudes Invented a Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Undercover Colors, eco-friendly nail polish, sustainable nail polish, design for safety, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology, North Carolina State University

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Could a manicure thwart the specter of sexual assault? A team of undergraduates from North Carolina State University have developed a nail polish that changes color when exposed to “drug-assisted assault” or “date rape” drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyrate and rohypnol, both of which are odorous, colorless, and can be slipped into a drink and ingested without the recipient’s knowledge. “In the U.S., 18 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” write Ankesh Madan, Stephan Gray, Tasso Von Windheim, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney on their Facebook page. “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.”

Undercover Colors, eco-friendly nail polish, sustainable nail polish, design for safety, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology, North Carolina State University

Photo by Shutterstock

NAILED IT

To determine if her safety is about to be compromised, a woman wearing Undercover Colors only has to stir her drink with her finger. “If her nail polish changes color, she’ll know that something is wrong,” the group adds.

Sex offenses are becoming increasingly prevalent on college campuses, according to federal data. Penn State, the university with the highest number of reported forcible sex offenses in the nation, logged 56 such incidents on its flagship University Park campus in 2012 alone—up from four in 2010 and 24 in 2011.

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“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,” Undercover Colors says. “In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

Madan, Gray, Von Windheim, and Confrey-Maloney aren’t the only ones who think this is a good idea. In addition to winning the N.C. State Entrepreneurship Initiative–sponsored Lulu eGames this spring, Undercover Colors has secured $100,000 from investors to test and refine the prototype.

“Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime,” the founders add.

Of course, the only real way to prevent rape is for people to stop raping. Empowering as they are, products like Undercover Colors don’t address the fundamental issues behind today’s so-called “rape culture.”

Until other, more viable solutions present themselves, however, some defense—in our opinion, at least—is better than nothing.

+ Undercover Colors

[Via Slashdot]

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