July 24, 2014 1:09 pm

USB-sized device can tell you if your drink has been spiked

WATCH ABOVE: The inventor and spokesperson of the Personal Drink Identification device talks to Global News about how this new technology can tell you if your drink has been spiked.

TORONTO – If you have ever left your drink alone in a crowded bar for even a minute, you may have worried about someone slipping something into it.

But Toronto-based developer David Wilson has come up with a device called “pd.id: Your personal Drink ID,” that can instantly tell you if your drink contains any illicit substances.

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The device uses technology that police forces and drug enforcement agencies use, but has revamped it for the average user. Simply dunk the USB-sized device into your drink and wait for a red or green light to flash – if it’s red, your drink has been spiked.

Jacelyn Holmes believes if a device like this had been around, she wouldn’t have been sexually assaulted.

“My drink was spiked by someone I trusted. I’m pretty sure I know who it was but I have no proof,” Holmes told Global News.

Incidents of date rape drugs have been on the rise in Canada.

Last year, Edmonton Police reported “astronomical” amounts of date rape drugs in the city. A spike in date rape drug cases in Saskatchewan in May had bar owners taking measures like putting lids on drinks to prevent attacks.

According to Statistics Canada, one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 25 per cent of those assaults are facilitated by alcohol or drugs.

Wilson – who has a background in IT and healthcare solutions – decided it was time to come up with a way for women to protect themselves.

“I’ve got a daughter, a son, and I’ve got a larger number of friends than I should that have been assaulted,” he said.

Pd.id measures the drink’s density, resistance and temperature using three separate tests to determine if anything foreign was added to it. The device can even determine what kind of drug was added – like GHB, ketamine, or rohypnol.

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“We’re building a better mousetrap,” said Wilson. “It’s like Shazam or SoundHound, you would be listening to a sound, turn it on and sample that sound – that’s what we are doing with drinks.”

The device will be the first drug test that can be reused.

Users can also connect the pd.id to their smartphone to receive a text message or phone call if the device registers a foreign substance during the test. Wilson said the app will benefit women who wish to be more discreet about their use of the device.

“The idea is, if it’s a positive you could program your smartphone to ring and its going to identify there is something suspicious in your drink,” he said.

But both Wilson and Holmes agree that the device could serve another purpose – to deter predators from trying to target women altogether.

“We don’t necessarily want it to be discreet because if you are out there testing their drinks and that becomes normal, it’s going to deter people from criminal acts,” said Holmes.

“If you’re in a bar and you’re testing your drink, I think the odds are that some person isn’t going to try to drug you,” Wilson added.

The company has produced prototypes to test the technology, but is currently crowd-sourcing funds to build more advanced market-ready prototypes.

The pd.id Indiegogo campaign has raised over $11,000 towards its goal of $100,000.

Those who donate $75 will receive the first prototype of the device.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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