The UK technology agency Rehabstudio has teamed up with French advertising agency Herezie to develop the prototype app Pill-ID. The app can scan ecstasy pills (MDMA) using the cameras on people’s smartphones and provide instant information on the substance, its content, the dosage level, level of risk and likely side effects.
The major obstacle with illegal recreational drugs is that there is no regulation to the market for quality or safety control. This is where the takers are at most risk as they have no clue what they are taking when buying off strangers at parties or in the streets.
Pill-ID uses machine learning technology to compare the pill picture when uploaded to the Nuit-Blanche drug database. Therefore over time, the database will improve as they receive more data from the photo uploads. Of equal importance, the service is totally anonymous and untraceable to encourage users to submit their photos.
The app does not promote drug use but rather focused on harm prevention and education on the risks of drug use. The founding principle of the app is to save one life.
At present, the Pill-ID app only exists as a prototype to launch by Winter 2021. The idea was born out of the French ad agency Herezie, assisted by Rehab’s ‘Hack Week’ programme. The week’s goal was to find creative solutions to important societal issues; then, split into teams, each would focus on an issue they felt passionately about and use their expertise and skills to develop a solution.
Rob Bennett, CEO of Rehab, commented:
“The issue of recreational drugs and the need for harm reduction are a critical health problem across Europe, and we’re proud to have developed this app with Herezie. The topic is undoubtedly taboo for some, but our Hack Weeks all aim to address real, societal issues – which this very much is. Recreational drug use should not be encouraged, but using technology to help people absolutely should be. If we can save just one person’s life with this app, then we’ve done our job.”
To find out more about the app and see the app in action visit the Pill-ID website.