Optics innovation from Sagentia Innovation helps take portable Fingerprint Drug Testing into new medical diagnostic testing areas

22 April, 2021

Advanced optical engineering has enabled the UK manufacturer of a fingerprint drug testing solution to streamline manufacturing and significantly reduce the size and weight of its sample reader. This engineering programme has enabled Intelligent Fingerprinting to look beyond drugs of abuse, opening up new market opportunities in other areas of medical diagnostic testing.

Intelligent Fingerprinting appointed Sagentia Innovation to optimise its sample reader device to improve the user experience and extensively broaden the applications for use, which currently include a rapid, non-invasive drug screening system and a Covid-19 antigen test development project. Sagentia Innovation’s optical engineering specialists identified a new way to read the samples which involves a camera, mirrors and filters rather than a scanning system.

By eradicating moving parts from the device, the team was able to enhance robustness while delivering further benefits related to size, weight and performance. Weighing just 980g, Intelligent Fingerprinting’s new DSR-Plus reader is portable and its battery supports up to eight hours’ mobile operation with the capacity to store up to 300 tests. It also has an intuitive user interface and adheres to medical-grade quality procedures surrounding factors such as documentation and controls.

“We used our optics knowledge to help rethink the way sample cartridges are read,” explained Sagentia Innovation’s CTO Nick Collier. “The previous generation model was a heavier device and therefore less portable which limited its suitability to some situations where testing was required. We also focused on improving the robustness of the device by designing the new reader with no moving parts to ensure additional resiliency. The new approach is simple, effective and compact, enabling us to make the device more efficient and user-friendly – and suitable for a wider range of applications.”

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug testing system analyses sweat collected from fingerprints to screen for specific drugs and drug metabolites. Unlike traditional drug screening tests, it doesn’t require the collection of saliva or urine samples which can be unhygienic, time-consuming and undignified. The DRS-Plus reader is used in safety-critical work environments such as construction and transport as well as drug rehabilitation services and specialist areas such as detecting drug mules at airports.

Philip Hand, Executive Chairman at Intelligent Fingerprinting, says: “With Sagentia Innovation’s help, we’ve made fingerprint drug testing an even more versatile and compelling alternative to conventional test methods. Our DSR-Plus reader is already helping us to make inroads into new sectors and additional international markets. For example, we’re able to conduct testing in a safer, socially-distanced environment – benefiting both the operator and the person being tested. As we develop into other key areas of medical diagnostics, the DSR-Plus will also be an important tool in bringing multiple tests to market. As well as bringing advanced optical engineering skills to the table, Sagentia Innovation worked quickly and effectively, driving focused and high-value improvements to the device within a challenging timeline.”

Fingerprint-based drug testing – how it works

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug testing system features a small, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge onto which ten fingerprint sweat samples are collected, in a process which takes less than a minute. The Intelligent Fingerprinting DSR-Plus portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen for all drugs in the test in ten minutes. An introductory video demonstrating fingerprint-based drug testing in action is available here.

Benefits of Intelligent Fingerprinting’s new DSR-Plus reader include:

  • Easier portable operation – the DSR-Plus is more compact and weighs just 980g, 3x less than the previous generation reader
  • Improved support for mobile use – a reliable 8 hour battery life makes remote mobile screening much more convenient
  • Faster drug screening cartridge analysis – with the process taking just 10 seconds to analyse the cartridge following incubation, it’s 5x faster than the previous reader
  • Easy-to-use – with simple touchscreen operation and clear on-screen results, convenient front-loading cartridge insertion, easier results retrieval and reader calibration check via an included calibration-check cartridge
  • Support for international operation – the DSR-Plus features power packs compatible with multiple international mains connections.

For more information on Sagentia Innovation, visit /

For more information on Intelligent Fingerprinting, visit https://www.intelligentfingerprinting.com/ 

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