Intelligent Fingerprinting, a spin out company of the University of East Anglia, has created the first prototype of a portable fingerprint drug testing device. This device is able to detect drugs or other substances from the sweat contained in fingerprints. It will enable mobile testing with instant results.
The device itself tests the sweat from fingerprints using disposable cartridges. One can easily collect the samples and it does not require a specialist handling the device or biohazard precautions. The device is able to carry out the full analyses and imaging of a fingerprint in a few minutes. It can be used in various settings and some institutions have already shown interest in the technology. It could be applied in forensic science, homeland security, prisons and workplaces. The mobility of the device will open new opportunities.
This first prototype will be able to test for drugs of abuse and is scheduled to go into full production in 2012. Intelligent Fingerprinting will be working on widening the range of substance to include more drugs and possible health markers that can be found in fingerprints. This would make the device be fit for purposes like road side drug driver screening and on-job drug tests.
Press release: Intelligent Fingerprinting Reveals Prototype Hand-Held Drug Testing Device (Word document)