Shopping? Check out our latest product comparisons

Prototype device detects drug use via fingerprints

By

November 10, 2011

The prototype device, which is reportedly able to detect illicit drugs in a person's syste...

The prototype device, which is reportedly able to detect illicit drugs in a person's system via their fingerprints

Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use - drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints.

The device uses disposable cartridges, which reportedly do not require specialist handling or biohazard precautions. Also, because one person's drug results are tied to a visual record of their fingerprints, the technology is said to be almost impossible to cheat, or to dispute. The entire process only takes a few minutes.

Possible applications include workplace drug screening, criminal forensic work, and homeland security. David Russell, CTO of Intelligent Fingerprinting and Professor of Chemistry at UEA's School of Chemistry, Intelligent Fingerprinting has stated that down the road, the device could also be used to detect non-illicit drugs or other health markers. It is scheduled to go into production next year.

Scientists from Imperial College London have also been researching the analysis of fingerprint residue to determine factors such as the diet, race and sex of a suspected criminals.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
9 Comments

Anyone seen the movie of Gattaca?

Kai Green
10th November, 2011 @ 07:24 pm PST

what happens if you wash and disinfect your hands regularly? as all people should, how would that affect this device?

Solestus
10th November, 2011 @ 10:56 pm PST

Uh whatever. I'll start carrying around a little can of wax to dip my fingertips in lol no sweat! hahaha...

Besides, i doubt it works. Just handling a couple dollar bills will get you a positive. This is a daydream waiting to happen. Go to a strip club and tell me you'll come out positive hahaha...

They can't even figure out that the guys who make the voting machines are idiots and that anybody learning a programming language for less than a week could write a working replacement in a day, I seriously doubt that this will ever work just as the TSA scanners have never found crap. It's just going to waste our tax dollars again. It just makes me mad that we can't just fire all these morons from government positions that make decisions to do stuff with our money out of their asses.

Kanaida Malvado
11th November, 2011 @ 02:56 am PST

It will be interesting to learn how long it will detect an illicit substance, and if that length of detection actually bears any relationship to the user's actual state. If a drug is quickly metabolized, then it's gone. The effect of some drugs can last for many hours after the drug has been metabolized. Likewise, marijuana remains present in the user for up to 30 days. However, staying high from one session may only last several hours.

So, in both cases, how accurate are the results?

On final thing to consider. This device tests for the presence of chemicals on the user's finger tips. Doesn't that leave open great possibility for false positives?

flink
11th November, 2011 @ 03:56 am PST

@Solestus

seeing as this works on sweat, there will always be more being produced so it shouldn't mask it. I guess bleach could destroy the molecules but not many people wash their hands with that.

t2af
11th November, 2011 @ 04:59 am PST

Misleading title: the device allegedly analyzes SWEAT, not fingerprints. The sweat from one's fingers would not be so different from the sweat from any other part of the body, I assume.

William H Lanteigne
11th November, 2011 @ 09:22 am PST

More Big Brother B.S. Leave my body alone! I would never give permission to let ANYONE use this device on me. More invasion of privacy and erosion of basic rights, like the pursuit of happiness...

unusualsuspect
11th November, 2011 @ 12:17 pm PST

Better idea! legalize the drugs and spend the money used in the "WAR ON DRUGS" for education and rehabilitation. Should save billions of tax dollars.

greytoma
11th November, 2011 @ 10:03 pm PST

Not only could you save billions in tax dollars you could then get billions in tax revenue and several new industries from hemp alone (fuel, food, medicine, industrial, fun etc) = job creation which means even more tax revenue and regaining personal freedoms (that used to be highly regarded in this country at one time) to make whatever decisions one wants in the pursuit of happiness as long as they didn't hurt anybody or anybodies property.

yourmomthinksimcool
13th November, 2011 @ 09:06 pm PST
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 28,283 articles