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Source: ESR

‘The team was the key ingredient that made Lumi™ happen’ – Dion Sheppard, Lumi™ Drug Scan Team Awardee

Trust and confidence at the frontline stems from reliable and consistent decision making. Lumi™ Drug Scan, developed by a team of ESR forensic experts working with police, is a revolutionary approach to drug investigations, making forensic science accessible to frontline responders. Lumi™ enables police to safely detect illicit drugs within seconds, while providing rich data and insights about drug use in Aotearoa.

“Lumi™ can currently detect methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA, which are the three highest priority targets for New Zealand Police. They’re the drugs that represent the highest harm. It started in conversations with Police about what they were wanting to do.

“The team was really the key ingredient that made Lumi™ happen – we were lucky enough to have a really good diversity of expertise to draw on,” says Dion Sheppard, Lumi™ Drug Scan Manager.

This Kiwi technology delivers science at the point of need, empowering rapid detection of illicit substances by analysing packaged samples on a palm-sized scanning device that harnesses infrared to determine if cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine are present. The device is paired via Bluetooth with the Lumi™ App on the officer’s smartphone, powered by sophisticated machine learning algorithms in the cloud developed from over 600,000 scans from drug samples curated by ESR scientists. Lumi™ is a game-changing innovation supporting better policing and drug harm reduction in communities.

“A key enabler of the Lumi™ project was that relationship with New Zealand Police,” Dion says.

“Congratulations for winning the Team Award. It’s a fantastic recognition of all the hard work and collaboration between New Zealand Police and ESR,” says Inspector Simon Welsh, Manager Implementation & Evaluation, Evidence Based Policing Centre. 

“Lumi has certainly got an amazing response from our frontline staff. It makes it easier to identify drugs on the side of the road, and it’s more efficient.”