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Students invented drug-detecting nail polish

Staff writer |
Four college students have used their scientific training to come up with an unusual solution to an all-too-common problem on college campuses and beyond.

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They are developing a nail polish that changes color when it is exposed to date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB, to help women detect if the colorless, odorless compounds have been slipped into their drinks.

A woman wearing the experimental nail polish would be able to tell if her drink had been drugged by simply dipping her finger into the drink and giving it a stir. The product is still being tested and is not available for purchase at the moment.

The students, four young men majoring in Materials Science & Engineering at North Carolina State University, have named the nail polish line "Undercover Colors" and are promoting the project as "The First Fashion Company Empowering Women to Prevent Sexual Assault."

"While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection," the students wrote on the Facebook page devoted to the product. "Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime."

Ankesh Madan, one of the students behind the project, told Higher Education Works that his team is planning to take the nail polish line to market. But right now they are still focused on developing and testing the product, he said.


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