A smartphone application for rapid drug detection and analysis has been developed by Spanish researchers.
Named the VinciPort, the tool, freely available from AppStore, enables accurate evaluation of rapid drug tests eliminating the risk of human-caused errors.
So far, drug tests have been evaluated using visual clues, similarly to conventional pregnancy tests, based on the presence or absence of lines on a paper strip. However, the researchers believe such an approach poses a high risk of errors as the difference in the intensity of the lines is sometimes difficult to tell and could be misinterpreted, for example, in poor lighting conditions.
The project, a joint venture of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Spain, and VinciLab Healthcare, offers better reliability and could become a useful tool for police officers controlling drivers or social and healthcare workers involved in monitoring programmes.
Relying on the connectivity and convenience of mobile phone devices, the application enables storing and analysing multiple data sets in the same device or in the cloud. The connection with the cloud enables institutions and governments to promptly access the data and monitor the efficiency of drug prevention policies in real time. The system is capable of adapting the workflow to the needs of each institution. Results of the analysis can be be either sent promptly to printers via wireless networks, delivered to recipients via email or automatically uploaded to the VincePort cloud.
The system relies on complex algorithms for next generation image processing and pattern recognition developed by the Computer Vision Group of the UPM to provide accurate results .
Previously, some health companies have developed systems for automatic reading of drug detection tests. However, those devices have mostly been expensive and have had limited portability. The team behind the VinciPort believes their invention would not only provide significant cost reduction but also offer unprecedented portability.