Feeds

Fingerprint scanner can detect drugs in sweat

It knows if you’ve been bad or good

Boost IT visibility and business value

A prototype fingerprint scanner has been developed that can detect the presence of opiates, cannabis, or cocaine in the sweat on a user's fingertip.

The device uses special cartridges to take a fingerprint, which are then processed using both chemical testing and a unique photo scanning system. This takes a high resolution image of the fingerprint and its residue, so that the output from individual sweat pores can be measured.

Drug detecting fingerprint scanner

Coming soon to a checkpoint near you

“We were concerned if you touched a spliff, or shook hands with someone who had, it would leave a residue on the hands,” Dr Paul Yates, business development manager at University of East Anglia (UEA) spinoff firm Intelligent Fingerprinting, told The Register. “By using this system you can correlate the metabolites directly to the sweat pores on the fingerprint and avoid false positives.

The testing mechanism is sensitive enough to pick up substances with a molecular weight of between 100 and 600, and initially the team is focusing on illegal drug detection. Looking forward, however, it would be possible to use the scanner for detecting hormonal markers, opening up a variety of medical uses from detecting pregnancy to early-onset cancer.

The device was originally developed at UEA and was first tested on students – but not for illegal drugs. Professor David Russell from UEA’s chemistry department, and Intelligent Fingerprinting’s CTO, used the machine to detect cotinine, the metabolite of nicotine, on fingerprints, and then matched them to smokers.

Sadly for students, the laws of the land don’t allow researchers to feed them opiates or cocaine, so the testing for illegal drugs was carried out in association with Kings College’s drug rehabilitation unit. Sweat samples from drug users were taken for testing and cross-matched against urine samples.

So far the device is still in the prototype stage, but with a million or so in funding, Dr. Yates said that the scanner could move into production very quickly. If the device takes off, it will make travelling in certain locales quite risky, since some countries – notably Dubai – have such strict anti-drug laws that even having drugs in your bloodstream counts as importation. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?