College Students Invent Cannibuster
Two students that currently attend the University of Akron are in the spotlight for inventing a device that will assist police officers with identifying whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Mariam Crow and Kathleen Stitzlein won a $10,000 inventors' award for developing a sensor that will be useful in states that have legalized cannabis.
The graduate students in biomedical engineering noticed that states have set the legal limit to 5 nanograms of THC but there is no device to adequately measure the levels of the chemical. "Today if a driver is suspected of impaired driving due to marijuana, law enforcement officers must call an Emergency Medical Squad to the scene or take the driver to a local hospital for blood work. Lab results can take up to six weeks to come back, which is clearly not ideal," Stitzlein stated. The Cannibuster uses saliva testing lab-on-chip technology and has already received Ohio Third Frontier funding for further prototyping. The device will determine the concentration of the chemical in the suspect's blood.
In addition to winning the LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Award, the girls were promised $20,000 worth of mentoring and advisory services from local entrepreneurs. Crow and Stitzlein intend on using the money to partner with law enforcement in states where marijuana has been legalized to test final design requirements.