Date rape nail varnish that changes colour when drinks are spiked being developed by US students

The nail polish reacts to drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB

A group of university students in the US have come up with a unique way of helping to protect women from sexual assault on nights out - a nail polish that changes colour when it comes into contact with date-rape drugs.

Four undergraduates in the Materials Science & Engineering department at North Carolina State University are developing a nail varnish named Undercover Colors, which reacts to drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB.

Stephen Gray, Ankesh Madan, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey-Maloney conceived the idea after forming a team on the university’s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP). A woman wearing the polish can discreetly stir her drink with a finger and if the colour of her nail changes she will know that her drink has been spiked.

Ankesh told Higher Education Works: "As we were thinking about big problems in our society, the topic of drug-facilitated sexual assault came up. All of us have been close to someone who has been through the terrible experience, and we began to focus on finding a way to help prevent the crime.

"We wanted to focus on preventive solutions, especially those that could be integrated into products that women already use. And so the idea of creating a nail polish that detects date rape drugs was born."

Undercover Colors won the Lulu eGames in April and recently reached the semi-final of the K50 start-up showcase.

The students are still in the process of researching and developing their product with the help of donations.

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