This is the final interview in our series featuring the eight Opioid Detection Challenge finalists. We’re introducing each finalist and learning more about how their novel detection plans could quickly and accurately detect illicit opioids in parcels, without disrupting the flow of mail. The finalists are currently participating in a 14-week accelerator to develop their plans into testable prototypes. 

We spoke with Pablo Prado from the One Resonance team. The company’s quadrupole resonance technology uses radio-frequency signals to search for specific materials. An alarm is triggered when a signal associated with an illicit substance is detected. 

What inspired you to enter the Opioid Detection Challenge?
One Resonance believes that a sensitive and chemical-specific detection methodology — capable of revealing small amounts of illicit substances — is the solution to mitigate the current smuggling of drugs. Under the Opioid Detection Challenge, our company will support the U.S. Government’s efforts to reduce the supply of illegal opioids.

What sets your opioid detection technology apart from existing solutions?
One Resonance’s approach is unique because it enables the detection of small amounts of drugs in a large volume, regardless of the packaging. We use chemical-specific detection technology, resulting in very low or zero false positive alarms, without relying on images. The drug detection is performed automatically, using an easy-to-operate, low-maintenance scanner (no moving parts, no consumables). The instrument may be integrated into package inspection processes.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about the role of your solution in the postal inspection process?
We would like the public to know about the availability of a solution to reveal small amounts of concealed drugs, regardless of their physical configuration. The technology has broadly been used for effective detection of explosives and has been validated with illicit drugs such as methamphetamine.

What’s your primary focus during the 14-week prototyping accelerator as you advance your solution?
One Resonance’s primary focus is to showcase the scanner’s Concept of Operation and to demonstrate the technology capability to effectively detect concealed opioids — therefore quantifying the detection performance for preset small amounts of drugs. The demonstration will also show the ability to adapt to the evolving list of illicit drugs.

Read about the other finalists’ detection solutions and subscribe to the newsletter to receive future Challenge updates.