ESR’s Lumi™ Drug Scan wins major international award
Lumi™ Drug Scan, the pioneering New Zealand science that lets police immediately identify methamphetamine-like substances using their mobile phone, has won the prestigious Excellence in Forensic Science Award at the World Police Summit.
Lumi™ combines the power of a handheld device that uses infrared lights to detect if a sample has traces of cocaine, MDMA or methamphetamine. The results are sent via Bluetooth to the app on the law enforcement officer’s mobile phone within seconds, having compared the sample against thousands previously scanned by ESR and stored securely in the cloud. The results are also compiled in a dashboard which shows regional drug-use trends.
ESR’s Chief Executive Peter Lennox says competition was very strong.
“To win the Excellence in Forensic Science Award speaks to how highly the judges view Lumi™’s potential to make a positive impact. The win is the result of years’ of dedication, collaboration and effort from ESR’s Lumi™ team – a massive thanks to everyone involved. ESR’s mission is detect, connect, and protect, which Lumi™ clearly realises.
Peter says the award underscores that while Lumi™ has been developed in New Zealand, its mobility and rapid results have universal appeal.
“Lumi™ is a new approach exemplifying the innovation and ‘out of the box thinking’ for which New Zealand is renowned. It presents a better, safer way of scanning suspected illicit drug samples. For frontline staff needing to know if a sample is methamphetamine for instance, Lumi™ replaces a cumbersome process that saw the officer opening the substance and mixing it with a chemical-based testing kit. This process forces the officer to expose themselves to an unknown substance, unlike Lumi™, which can scan through packaging.”
“The win also speaks to the value of co-development, and in particular involving at every stage of ideation those who will utilise a product. This concept is woven into Lumi™’s DNA, as the service was co-developed by frontline police in New Zealand.
“I’d like to acknowledge New Zealand Police, which joined ESR as a co-development partner from the outset, before rolling the service out around New Zealand’s Police Districts last year. Lumi™ wouldn’t be what it is without the generous support and insights we have received from New Zealand Police.
It’s not just law enforcement that benefit from rapid information about what’s in a sample, but also potentially drug checking services. Lumi™ could give information to users about whether a substance is actually what they think it is, so they can make a more informed choice.
“I also want to acknowledge the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment’s Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF). This enables the prioritisation and purchase of science in areas that ensure the long-term stability and impact of the science system. SSIF has provided invaluable funding to this project.
“Receiving this award demonstrates that Lumi™ is not just world class, it is world leading, and it is poised to make a positive difference wherever it’s rolled-out,” says Peter.
Visit www.lumidrugscan.com(external link) to find out more about Lumi™.