Forget retina scans and fingerprints. Turns out, body odour is a shockingly accurate biometric identifier. And according to new research from a team of Spanish scientists, it could change the way security checkpoints work.
A team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid just announced initial findings of a new study that tested the accuracy of a new technique for identifying people using just their body odour. Turns out you can use body odour to identify people with over 85 per cent accuracy. That means all you need to do is get a sniffing machine close to someone to confirm their identity—no ink, no fingerprints, no mess. It's also not as invasive as retina scanners and much more accurate than facial recognition scanners.
So, this in mind, it's possible that you wouldn't need a drivers licence to make it through airport security, much less a retina scan. You'd only have to pass by a machine that could both verify your identity and sniff out any dangerous materials you might be carrying. You do have to surrender your smell initially, though, which is a curious privacy issue when you step back and think about it. Nevertheless, it sounds a lot easier than getting frisked by a TSA agent!
Of course, scent is hardly a new method for identifying people. As the Spanish researchers make clear in their results, we've been using bloodhounds to sniff people out for centuries. Now, it just takes a robot. [UPM via Discovery]
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