Substance:id police gadget

Innovative drug testing device for efficient testing

January 2023, by Niklas Muhs and Joel Sjödin at Umeå Institute of Design


The project <marked>Substance:id<marked> was characterized by a very tight cooperation with the traffic police of umeå and the police education unit.

Substance:id provides <marked>haptic feedback<marked> on success and accidental or attempted fraud

To assist police officers and avoid having to constantly check the suspect, substance:id provides haptic feedback on success and accidental or attempted fraud. Thus, an equally good sample can be secured each time to further improve the precision of the test.

both the police officer and the suspect are <marked>guided through the testing procedure<marked> by substance:id.

For the high fidelity prototype incorporates a display, buttons, leds and haptic feedback. A button on the back of the unit can be used to initiate the chemical procedure and thus the analysis. After the analysis is complete, a pre-indication of the test result is displayed only to the police officer on the back of the device. This allows the officer to maintain control of the situation and keep unforeseen reactions under control.

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Guide <marked>drug testing<marked> through

Simplify/ de-clutter

Haptic feedback can be used to substitute or relief other modalities, simplifying the interaction, making it perceived with less effort or increase the comfort.


Object interactions can be based on human interaction patterns to reach a more seamless, intuitive or emotional experience

Safety feature

Due to the seamless integration, haptic feedback can be used in critical situations without disrupting the users' perception.

Provide guidance

Haptic feedback can be used to create intuitive guiding systems by utilising multiple actuators or directional feedback.


Haptic feedback can be used to communicate brand values or brand specific characteristics.

Tailored feedback

Digital haptic feedback allows to tailor the feedback to each interaction.

Object design

Haptic feedback can lead to different product designs by replacing mechanical interfaces with surface haptics.


Haptic feedback can be utilised to make interactions more rich, prominent or to add  a certain characteristic.


Haptic feedback is great for inclusive interactions and support application for both visually or hearing impaired users.

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