The Engineer: Fingerprint device could detect illegal drug use


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Police officers could soon be able to detect illegal drug use with a device that analyses a suspect’s fingerprints, reports The Engineer.

The technology, developed by University of East Anglia (UEA) spin-out company Intelligent Fingerprinting, uses a substance that reacts with molecules excreted in the sweat that makes up fingerprints to confirm the presence of a drug.

An officer at a crime scene will be able to insert a collected fingerprint into the device, which will confirm whether drugs are present within 15 minutes, without the need to return the sample to a lab.

It could also act as the equivalent of an alcohol breathalyser, detecting drug use in suspects held by the police or in prisons.

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