With the help of a grant from his almamater, Mike Abramson, a 2005 graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, is designing a new product intended to help prevent date-rape drugging at bars: a glass.

Abramson has launched a new company called DrinkSavvy, which aims to create drink containers that will change color when certain chemicals are added to a drink, and has received $12,500 from WPI to do so. DrinkSavvy hopes to begin creating drinking glasses, plastic cups, straws and stirrers that would alert its drinker that a date-rape drug has been added.

Currently, the main form of detecting date-rape drugs like rohypnol comes in the form of GHB tabs, but Abramson currently hopes that the technology used in this form of testing could be implemented in new ways, such as in the form of cups and glasses. Although Abramson does not have a chemistry background, and in fact received a BA in electrical and computer engineering before earning a law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, NH, Abramson is currently working with WPI chemistry professor Dr. John MacDonald to develop material that will check for GHB within a liquid and immediately change color when detected.

According to Abramson, his decision to stop his law practice and start a company aimed at preventing date-rape came is deeply personal, stemming from first-hand experiences with the drug.

“[W]ithin the past three years, three of my close friends, and myself, have been the unwitting victims of consuming an odorless, colorless, and tasteless drug slipped into our drink.” Abramson wrote he was drugged at a bar in Boston.

Given the regularity of college students becoming the victims of date-rape drugging at bars and parties, with the National Institute of Justice estimating that one-fifth to one-fourth of all women in college are the victims of sexual assault, Abramson hopes that DrinkSavvy products will become a standard for bars around colleges and universities, and that college health centers will begin stocking their products for use at parties. According to Abramson, the ease of use and practicality of immediately knowing whether a drink has been tampered with will compel colleges to begin implementing DrinkSavvy products.

“DrinkSavvy products do not require the end user to test and re-test their drink throughout the night, because the same plastic cup, glass, or stirrer that the user is drinking with is also the indicator itself,” Abramson told Bust Magazine. “This provides continuous monitoring of the beverage because the indicators on our products are constantly in contact with the beverage.”

As of now, DrinkSavvy has raised $27,000 to begin production, but Abramson and McDonald hope to raise $50,000 by the end of the year and begin distribution by June of 2013.