Feeds

'Unfoolable' portable cocaine detector invented

Hollywood cowers in fear

Top three mobile application threats

A team at notorious 'party school' UC Santa Barbara in California has developed a portable cocaine sensor. Researchers worked on the technology with local high school students as part of a summer intern programme.

The researchers say their DNA-based system bests current methods for detecting the drug, which involve lab work that can take hours, if not days, and can easily be fooled. The new engineered DNA on the sensor adopts a folded structure in the presence of Columbian nose candy.

Associate Professor Kevin Plaxco warned drug lords: "Our sensor can detect cocaine no matter what they have cut it with: powdered sugar, flour, or the coffee that is sometimes used to mask the smell from dogs."

In its current incarnation, the sensor can detect the devil's dandruff in bodily fluids down to a few micromolars - equivalent to dropping a kilo of cocaine into an olympic-size swimming pool, the team reckon. One has to wonder whether that's grant money well spent, however, as apparently it's still not sensitive enough for practical use.

The aim now is to improve the sensitivity of the test, and expand the same technology to detect other molecules. "Cocaine is just the tip of the iceberg," Plaxco explained.

One of the students, Elaine Doctor, who wants to be, er, a doctor, said: "I felt honoured to help America's war on drugs." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.