Date rape drugs are often the substance of choice for perpetrators of sexual assaults, the effects of which leave the victim unable to defend themselves, not able to remember any of the events that ensued and – worse – not able to recall details of their attacker. In an effort to help people avoid such despicable acts, a group of designers has produced a miniature reusable electronic device that they claim will determine if a drink has been spiked.
The Personal Drink Identifier – or pd.id for short – is claimed by its creators to incorporate the same technology used by drug enforcement agencies, such as the US DEA, but re-engineered in a way that makes such technology more affordable and easier to use.
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Designed to be reusable and discrete, the creators of the pd.id also claim that it easily identifies if someone has drugged a drink by simply dipping it into the suspect beverage for a few seconds. A LED will light up to confirm the presence of drugs known to be date rape substances.
In addition, when paired with a smartphone via the pd.id app, the inventors also claim that the device is able to alert the user remotely and – in some cases – actually identify the drug used to spike the drink in question by accessing a database of drink profiles.
Currently at the product design stage, the pd.id is being designed to use a rechargeable lithium-on battery, with a charge predicted to last between 30 to 40 uses. When the battery does run low, the LEDs on the pd.id will flash to alert the user, whilst the pd.id app on a connected smartphone will also notify of battery status as well. The creators claim that the device will be compatible with iPhone versions 4 and 5, newer Android phones, and the Blackberry 10.
Unlike other date rape drug detectors that use disposable straws or glasses with indicators built in, the pd.id is designed to be reusable time and again by using light, temperature and an electric current to analyze the liquid in question.
And, though it is not an excuse for a lack of vigilance in leaving drinks unattended in public places, such devices will hopefully form part of a growing arsenal of social protection measures being developed that may help people protect themselves against those who would perpetrate such heinous acts.
The pd.id is in development and the device is set for retail launch in April 2015 for around US$100 if everything goes to plan.
The design team details the pd.id in the Indiegogo pitch video below.