Hey, that smells like Frank – body odor ID is on its way
By Ben Coxworth
February 4, 2014
Move over, fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, because a new form of biometric identification may soon be joining you – body odor. According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, peoples' unique scent signatures remain steady enough over time to allow for an ID accuracy rate of approximately 85 percent.
First of all, why is another form of biometric ID even needed? Well, as the researchers point out, people can sometimes be reluctant to place their finger or eye up to a scanner, particularly if they've got a criminal record. Odor-reading sensors, however, could conceivably just give those people an unobtrusive sniff as they passed by.
The university is now developing a system in collaboration with tech firm Ilía Sistemas. Although it's still not as accurate as police bloodhounds when it comes to identifying people by their smell, and despite potentially odor-altering factors such as changes in test subjects' diets, its margin of error is currently down to about 15 percent.
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