Two students at Brown University have developed the technology for color-changing cotton swabs that officials say will be "transformative" for the investigation of sexual assaults.
The Providence Journal reports senior Richard Park and graduating master's student Bella Okiddy, both 23, invented cotton swabs that activate when they come in contact with semen as part of their "Technologies Against Assault" venture.
The swabs are similar to home pregnancy tests in that they detect the existence of sperm. Additional tests would still be required for DNA matching.
While sex assault victims in Rhode Island generally receive results of "rape kit" examinations within one month, Park and Okiddy's innovation could reduce the wait period to mere minutes.
Park and Okiddy hope to have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval by December 2017.