Four North Carolina State University students, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Stephen Gray, Ankesh Madan, and Tasso Von Windheim, have developed a nail polish intended to protect women from drug-related sexual assault.

The nail polish, Undercover Colors, was engineered with a chemical that will change the color of the polish when exposed to date-rape drugs. According to the students, who are part of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at NCSU, Undercover Colors allows a woman to “discreetly ensure her safety.”

The wearer uses their finger to stir a drink, and if the polish changes color then the wearer will know that their drink has been tampered with.

“While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection,” said Undercover Colors Facebook page. “Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.”

The four students were prompted to created Undercover Colors because each of them have had someone close become a victim to sexual assault, and they said they wanted to create something that will help protect women.

“As we were thinking about big problems in our society, the topic of drug-facilitated sexual assault came up,” said Madan. “All of us have been close to someone who has been through the terrible experience, and we began to focus on finding a way to help prevent the crime.”

Undercover Colors has gotten the attention of investors and the university, winning a runner-up place at the K50 Startup Showcase and earning $100,000 from an investor. The university’s entrepreneurship initiative also gave them a $11,250 grant to get started. The students said they will continue to work on getting the product suitable for commercial sales.

“In the U.S., 18 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” said the group. “That’s almost one out of every five women in our country. They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends.”

Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.