Spectral Engines, a growth company that originated at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has developed a portable drug screening device police patrols can use for rapid and cost-efficient on-site screening of suspected drugs. The pocket-size scanner weighs only a few hundred grams and reports the results in the user’s mobile phone in a matter of seconds. First products are expected to enter the market next spring.
The scanner allows an accurate and reliable identification of such drugs as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine from very low drug concentrations. As needed, the device’s identification algorithms can be updated to identify various designer drugs as well. Devices are cloud-connected which enables easy machine learning-based application algorithm development for different drugs. The technology is based on infrared spectroscopy and the Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, a technology of microscopic devices studied at VTT.
The device is the first pocket-sized drug screening device available for field work and is more than 20 times cheaper than any other devices in current use. As there is international demand for it, a total of EUR 2.4 million in EU funding was granted for the device’s productization.
- Spectral Engines Oy, Helsinki, Finland