These North Carolina College Students Created a Nail Polish That Can Detect Date-Rape Drugs

Undercover Colors: Students Create Nail Polish That Detects Date-Rape Drugs
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08/25/2014 AT 04:20 PM EDT

The fight against campus sexual assaults has a new weapon, and it comes in a jar.

A group of four students from the University of North Carolina have created a new brand of nail polish that changes colors when exposed to date-rape drugs.

The nail polish is called Undercover Colors, and its inventors say they were inspired to create the line after realizing they all knew someone who had been sexually assaulted.

"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," team member Ankesh Madan told Higher Education Works. "We wanted to focus on preventative solutions, especially those that could be integrated into products that women already use."



The Undercover Colors team, all of whom met as seniors in NC State's material sciences and engineering program, developed the project as a group project in the school's Engineering Entrepreneurs Program. They've since entered it in the K50 Startup Showcase, where they won $100,000 in venture capital funding. They're currently accepting donations to get the product on the market soon.



"Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught," the group writes on its Facebook page. "In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators."

While refraining from critiquing Undercover Colors, some anti-rape activists question the framing of the project.

"I think that anything that can help reduce sexual violence from happening is, in some ways, a really good thing," Students Active for Ending Rape communications coordinator Tracey Vitchers told ThinkProgress. "But I think we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women."


These North Carolina College Students Created a Nail Polish That Can Detect Date-Rape Drugs| Sexual Assault/Rape, Around the Web, AnnaLynne McCord

AnnaLynne McCord

Todd Oren / WireImage

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