A team of recent graduates from North Carolina State are developing a new kind of nail polish that changes color when it's exposed to date rape drugs. Just stirring a sketchy drink with a finger could let a woman know she's being targeted for assault. Although a little odd, it does sound like a pretty good idea.
They're calling it Undercover Colors. The four young men working on the project all come from NC State's Materials Science & Engineering program and are piloting the school's first-ever Entrepreneurship Initiatives Fellows Program as they develop it. Their prototype and business plan was enough to win the Lulu eGames contest this year, and they've even raised $100,000 to get the business off the ground. Of course, a prototype and an award do not mean that Undercover Colors can successfully grow into a business. But the concept itself is most certainly worthwhile.
As awareness of the growing problem of rape—especially rape on campus—grows, several companies have attempted to use technology to combat the problem. There are already bulky devices that can be used to test drinks for date rape drugs. But it's not necessarily easy to carry these things around on a night out and whip them out at bars to carry out little lab experiments. Smart nail polish just seems like an easier solution.
That said, it's obviously ridiculous that the date problem has gotten so bad that women need to resort to such measures just so they can have a safe night out. It'll take more than nail polish to keep women safe; sexual assault on campus has been skyrocketing in recent years, and three-fourths of all incidents come from a non-stranger. Still, any little bit of progress—or at least of more creative solutions—is certainly welcome. [Jezebel]
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