The undercover colors of science innovation.

Recently, I came across a very interesting article titled Amazing New Invention: A Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Now I tweeted this information and as always, the one tweet we do not expect to go viral, does. Haha, thanks twitter.

From scientists to sociologists, the questions mounted regarding probable and suitable research and development methods to the risk on relying on such products for women's safety.

This is what I have learned so far from my recent digging:

Undercover Colors is a company team accepted through Groundworks Lab's Underground Summer Program. What is Groundworks Lab?

What is the Underground Summer Program?

From their blog:
Two Mondays ago, we welcomed five new companies into our “Underground Summer” program. These companies were born within the North Carolina universities, including UNC, NCSU and UNCC. They will be working alongside our current groups and taking advantage of all of the Groundwork Labs mentoring and perks from now until August 16. The teams selected for Underground Summer are:
Contour Medical: Contour Medical is looking to change a medical device that has evolved little since its inception in the 1930s—the rib spreader. By creating a device that changes the way thoracic tissue is engaged, Contour Medical hopes to reduce the incidence of chronic post-operative pain in patients who require thoracic surgery. 
Undercover Colors: Undercover Colors is working to create the first technology ever that empowers women to discreetly protect themselves from drug-facilitated sexual assault. To do this, we are developing a clear coat nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs in a spiked drink. Through this product, we hope to reduce the overall rate of drug-facilitated sexual assault by making potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators. We are Undercover Colors.
Video Collaboratory: The Video Collaboratory is a private, web‑based application that allows small groups of users to upload their own videos or embed YouTube videos for purposes of collaboration. Users discuss by adding text, sketch, or multimedia comments directly at the point of interest within a video. Comments are linked to a specific time point or segment of the video, and timeline markers serve as navigational aids to examine the material. This approach removes the need for a separate text document or email chain to discuss the contents of a video and enhances the specificity and accuracy of the communication.
OmniThrive: OmniThrive builds casual digital games to improve patient education, empowerment, activation, and medication adherence.
501Carbon: 501Carbon is a not-for-profit carbon offset and renewable energy development firm that works with project development partners all over the US and internationally. Their carbon offsets currently come from international Gold Standard projects developed with their partner Umwelt-Projekt-Management headquartered in Munich and are planning for more domestic and international projects.

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Carrie Brozowski

What kind of criteria did Undercover Colors need to be accepted?


So, Groundworks will be like a start-up accelerator for Undercover Colors?

Why is all this important?

For more money to be invested in science and innovation, we are going to run into problems where the "business hand doesn't talk to the science hand." First, I suspect Undercover Color's press release was issued in accordance with Innovative Public Relations  publicity and branding strategies. They believe Q3 Media Relation Efforts Drive Q1 Results which lines up nicely with the timing of the article. Second, this article was meant to brand themselves and introduce their mission statement to strengthen their grip in the marketplace.
This is all business people, not science. For both to be successful, we need funding and collaboration efforts such as these. Some will fail, and some will succeed, but I believe this goes to the greater good of investing more money into science. 

Is there a long term plan?

President Obama released the Strategy for American Innovation in September 2009 and updated it in February 2011 (

The 2011 Strategy for American Innovation articulates the importance of innovation as a driver of U.S. economic growth and prosperity, the central importance of the private sector as the engine of innovation, and the critical role of government in supporting our innovation system.

It organizes the Administration's policy initiatives into three parts:

(1) Invest in the Building Blocks of American Innovation 
Spurring the innovations that will drive America's future economic growth and competitiveness requires critical investments in the basic foundations of the innovation process, including education, fundamental research, and both the digital and physical infrastructure on which our dynamic economy relies.
(2) Promote Market-Based Innovation
American businesses are the engine of innovation, and the Administration seeks to promote an environment that allows U.S. companies to drive future economic growth and continue to lead on the global stage. This requires that government establish and maintain the right framework conditions to support market-based innovation through the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, effective intellectual property policy, and policies to promote innovation-based entrepreneurship as well as innovative, open, and competitive markets.
(3) Catalyze Breakthroughs for National Priorities
The 2011 strategy identifies several areas of national importance where public investments can catalyze advances, bring about key breakthroughs, and establish U.S. leadership faster than might be possible otherwise. The portfolio of national priority areas outlined in the 2011 strategy includes clean energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, educational and health information technologies, and space technologies.

White House Seeks Input on Innovation Strategies

A request for input was published on July 29,2014 and is available here.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council request public comments to provide input into an upcoming update of the Strategy for American Innovation, which helps to guide the Administration’s efforts to promote lasting economic growth and competitiveness through policies that support transformative American innovation in products, processes, and services and spur new fundamental discoveries that in the long run lead to growing economic prosperity and rising living standards. These efforts include policies to promote critical components of the American innovation ecosystem, including scientific research and development (R&D), technical workforce, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, advanced manufacturing, and others. The strategy also provides an important framework to channel these Federal investments in innovation capacity towards innovative activity for specific national priorities. The public input provided through this notice will inform the deliberations of the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which are together responsible for publishing an updated Strategy for American Innovation.
To gather valuable insight into promising opportunities to boost our innovation capacity in order to drive economic growth and competitiveness, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Economic Council (NEC) seek public comment on a wide range of innovation policy topics.Instructions. In formulating responses to any of the below questions, respondents should consider the following:The questions below are grouped into the following categories:
  • Overarching Questions
  • Innovation Trends
  • Science, Technology, and R&D Priorities
  • Skilled Workforce Development
  • Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship
  • Regional Innovation Ecosystems Show citation box
  • Intellectual Property/Antitrust
  • Novel Government Tools for Promoting Innovation
  • National Priorities


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