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  1. Alien Sex Fiend
    Pocket-sized date-rape drug detector the goal of Toronto startup

    Pd.id maker also wants to launch Yelp-style app that would map date-rape hot spots in Toronto.

    pdid.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo.jpg
    A device dubbed the pd.id is said to analyze the contents of a drink by three separate methods, to determine whether it's been spiked with a drug.


    By: Todd Coyne Staff Reporter, Published on Tue Aug 05 2014



    Dip before you sip. That may be one answer to fighting sex crime while out at the bar, according to the makers of a new pocket-sized date-rape drug detector.

    Called pd.id, or “Personal Drink ID,” the prototype device is roughly the size and shape of a USB drive. But instead of storing your documents, it houses drug-detection hardware and a database of chemical signatures for common date-rape drugs.

    The device can be dipped into a beverage and, within seconds, return a verdict on the presence or absence of date-rape drugs, warning the user via its LED display.

    The prototype is the brainchild of David Wilson, a Toronto-area native who came up with the idea while developing cancer-scanning technology for use in hospitals.

    “Because of the work I had been doing in breast imaging and things like that, a lot of women would be more candid with me with what was going on in their lives,” Wilson told the Star from his Oakville home. “I started getting a lot of a stories saying, ‘Hey, this happened to me.’”

    This, of course, refers to a case of “dosing,” or a drug-induced sexual assault.

    It’s a category of sex crime prominent in police media campaigns, but little data is publicly available on the number of cases that get reported.

    Neither the Ontario Provincial Police nor Statistics Canada collects data on incidents of suspected drug-induced sexual assault separate from other sexual assaults, according to spokespersons for both organizations.

    Const. Victor Kwong said Toronto police do collect data on drug-induced sex assaults, but the information would only be made available through a freedom of information request.

    The battery-powered pd.id device purports to work by running three kinds of simultaneous tests on the beverage, studying ultraviolet light, temperature and electrical current responses.

    A spokesperson for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s test laboratory told the Star the agency also uses a combination of UV detection and “similar” tests in determining the presence of substances. But the DEA could not say how closely the two technologies match and could not vouch for pd.id’s accuracy.

    Wilson said pd.id, in combination with a smartphone, will be able to tell users exactly what their drink has been spiked with and can even call the user’s phone with a recorded message, giving a potential victim an opportunity to get out of the situation.

    While the prototype remains in the testing stage until a planned rollout next spring, the company is also building the architecture for a user-generated global database that will effectively stay up to date on the latest date-rape compounds and positive tests in a user’s area.

    Think of it as the Yelp or Urbanspoon app for sex-assault hotspots.

    “If there’s been a lot of positives at that bar, effectively the app will warn you that this is a high-incidence location,” Wilson said.

    The app is expected to roll out some 30 days after the hardware launch, Wilson said.

    But critics already have mixed feelings about the idea and its legal implications, he said.

    “If we’re really serious about what we’re doing, we’ve got to step outside our own comfort zone,” he contended. “And what is so different from what I’m doing and the Toronto Star doing a restaurant review? If the French fries suck and the food is cold and you publish that and they lose business? That’s their problem.”

    Jacelyn Holmes became an unofficial ambassador for pd.id — for the worst possible reason.

    It was three years ago that the 28-year-old Toronto woman was at a university party with friends when she suddenly blacked out, “completely plastered and hanging off a gentleman,” she said.

    She believes her drink was spiked with GHB, a colourless and odourless depressant that can have heavy sedative effects when mixed with alcohol.

    She also claims to know who was responsible. But without access to a professional drug lab or analysis from the kind of consumer device pd.id purports to be, both claims are difficult to prove.

    By Monday afternoon, an indiegogo funding drive to get pd.id out into the market, which ends Aug. 29, had raised nearly $18,000 of a planned $100,000 target.



    Source: Toronto Star

Comments

  1. stryder09
    Will it detect ethanol, the most widely used drug in drug facilitated sexual assaults?

    I seriously doubt this will work as planned. What exact "date rape drugs" can be detected? Is proof of concept published somewhere?
  2. Potter
    Yeah, this still won't keep people from getting trashed on alcohol.

    Needless fear-mongering. How about "Don't leave your drink unattended"?
  3. oliverslife
    Agree with Potter on this one.

    I have been teaching both my kids,girl and boy, to NEVER leave their drinks and if they accidentally. Forget and do leave it then trash it and get another since i was dropping them at skate city . Never take an already opened soda , or drink and never take a food/candy item from anyone i dont care how much you want that piece of gum--never know what could have been done to it. Will this keep them comepletely safe? I dont know. But the point is ive hammered it into their heads and i still say it every single time they go out.

    I guess if the thing works as they say then it's definitely a good thing, but people that do that sort of thing will just figure out something else to put in peoples drinks that the device isnt going to pick up on. It will become obsolete in a month.

    <3
  4. Alien Sex Fiend
    now this makes me worried, isn't it so counter-productive?!
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