(RFIDWorld.ca) A group of Canadian MBA students from the University of Victoria have come up with an RFID-related idea for safely finding and discarding used drug needles found at parks and other public areas. The project called the NeedleSight, won the “people’s choice award” at the University of Victoria during their annual trade show.
Five cent RFID tags would be embedded in needle syringes that are given away by needle exchanges and other health organizations. The needles themselves cost around 20 cents apiece. Then, park cleaners and other cleaning crew members specifically qualified to find discarded needles can use RFID readers to detect needles from about a meter away. This would in turn decrease the chances of getting jabbed by the needle while searching for it, and the rates at which the needles are found would increase, thus making the process more efficient.
The next step for the leaders of NeedleSight is to formulate a business plan that is feasible and follows health safety standards in the province. The early challenges in bringing this project to reality are feasibility, cost and convenience. Also, the readers of the detectors would not only need to be affordable but also small enough to fit clean-up workers current safety standards as well as fit with their current gear that is already in place.
A representative from a community group who hands out needles raised privacy concerns. They said that drug users may be more reluctant to get tagged needles because it might make it easier for them to be tracked as illegal drug users or dealers.