Speed Reads

Really?

This nail polish could prevent date rape

Endeavoring students at North Carolina State University have an interesting idea for stopping date rape: a color-changing nail polish.

The nail polish, Undercover Colors, will change colors when exposed to date-rape drugs. It's still in the prototype phase and awaits additional funding, but the company is confident the project will take off. The four-member Undercover Colors team presented their ideas at the K50 Startup Showcase and received nearly $100,000 for the project from a single investor.

"With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger," the Undercover Colors Facebook page promises. "If her nail polish changes color, she'll know that something is wrong."

The polish's creators, who are undergraduate students in materials science and engineering at N.C. State, were inspired to create the nail polish when their friends became victims of sexual assault. "All of us have been close to someone who has been through the terrible experience, and we began to focus on preventive solutions, especially those that could be integrated into products that women already use," Ankesh Madan, one of the Undercover Colors creators, told Higher Education Works.

Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research, innovation, and economic development at N.C. State, told the Triangle Business Journal that the project is "emblematic" of the university's penchant for addressing social issues — a welcome change from the notably lax attitude many colleges have taken on sexual assault.

On the one hand, it's unfortunate that these kinds of products are in the works, but on the other hand, anything that can prevent sexual assault is a worthy innovation. And with campus sex offenses on the rise, any attempt to lower these statistics is welcome.