Technology company Intelligent Fingerprinting and engineering consultancy EG Technology claim to have designed the first prototype of a hand-held fingerprinting drug testing device.
Founded in 2009 by University of East Anglia Professor David Russell, Intelligent Fingerprinting has emerged from academic research in detection of drugs and other substances found in perspiration contained in fingerprints. The samples are collected from disposable cartridges, and do not require specialist handling or biohazard precautions. Because of the imaging of the fingerprint, they have an in-built chain of evidence continuity, the companies say.
Intelligent fingerprinting can be deployed within a wide range of sectors, including criminal justice, forensic science, and institutional testing (such as prisons). The device is positioned for testing individuals in the workplace, especially in safety critical industries where there is a need to judge whether someone is ‘fit for duty’, through to screening drivers at the roadside for drug-driving impairment.
“Designing a device to automate the well-defined laboratory process has required input from all of our skill groups – microfluidics, optics, electronics, software, industrial and mechanical design,” says Professor Russell. “Because of this, we have been able to design a device that carries out the full analysis and imaging of a fingerprint in minutes.”
The prototype device is scheduled to go into full production in 2012.