An Oakville, Ont., man has made it his mission to combat the issue of date rape by creating a device that can detect the presence in drinks of common and highly dangerous drugs.

David Wilson came up with the idea for a pocket sized date rape drug detector while talking to female friends who had been attacked.

“The question became, how can you protect people?” he told CBC News. “There's only one way to ensure your drink is safe: to test it,” he said.

Tiny device can tell when drug present

The device Wilson has created is called pd.id – short for Personal Drink ID. It’s about the size of a USB drive and holds hardware designed to recognize a database of chemical combinations for date rape drugs.

Wilson’s invention looks at ultraviolet light, temperature and electric current responses and informs the user, through an app, when a drug is present. 

“It samples the fluid, it identifies it might be red wine, then it runs additional tests that says this doesn't quite look like red wine, it looks like something more has been added then the device would actually warn you,” he said.

Wilson’s efforts are already getting a positive response.

“I was date raped. It was something that turned my life around and upside down, it puts you in a place where you can't function in a way you normally would,” Toronto resident Jacelyn Holmes told CBC.

Holmes, a singer, is now the spokesperson for the new product and she hopes it will save others.

It's still in the planning stages but with an indiegogo campaign underway, the goal is have the product on shelves and retailing for $75 by April of next year.

Hoping for more prosecutions

As well, Wilson hopes it will eventually lead to more prosecutions.

Toronto police, meanwhile, say date rape has an extremely low reporting rate. According to statistics on their website, only one per cent of date rape cases are ever handed over to police.

Holmes said she hopes that’s something that can change with Wilson’s invention.

“Maybe you don’t’ want to be that statistic,” she said, adding that the main goal is to “keep yourself safe.”