A team of developers are getting close to launching a similarly quick and easy roadside test for drugs as already exists for alcohol, with a new fingerprint based system able to detect chemicals in the blood system within minutes.
UK tech company Intelligent Fingerprinting is behind the prototype unit, which can detect certain chemical compounds the body outputs in sweat on the fingertips. The initial prototype has been designed to test for bad, against-the-law types of drugs, while further developments could see it widened to search for health markers that could identify all sorts of substances and compounds.
The current prototype uses a disposable cartridge to take each sample, with the scanner also recording a high-res image of the fingerprint of the finger being tested for ID purposes further down the line. For when you're in court.
The device is scheduled to go into full production from 2012, with the maker looking for £2m in funding to put it into full production. [Intelligent Fingerprinting and eg technology via WSJ -- Thanks, Matthew!]