Researchers Develop Biometric Security with Your Personal Stink as a Digital Fingerprint

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 7 2014 12:04 PM
You're a unique individual. Not just in the way you look, dress, and act, but also in the way you smell. Don't be offended, we're not saying you smell bad, we're just having a little talk about science. If you didn't have a unique scent, it would be difficult for dogs to track you using their noses, but part of the reason they can do that without getting confused is because of your unique scent. This has prompted researchers at the Polytechnic University of Madrid to focus their attention on a biometric authentication system that can analyze your "personal odor."

According to the researchers, there are recognizable patterns to body odor. As part of their study, they found that they could accurately identify a person by their unique odor greater than 85 percent of the time, a value that remained true as body odors changed due to disease, diet, mood swings, and whatever else.

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The group is working with Ilia Systems Ltd., which is a Spanish engineering consulting firm. Ilia Systems ran with the research and built a sensor that's capable of detecting volatile elements in body odor. Unfortunately, an 85 percent accuracy rate is about the same as current biometric identifiers, which is considered too low by security professionals.

That said, there's a bit of an upside here. Capturing body odor is easier than other biometric systems -- just walking past a sensor is enough to get a reading. If the researchers can fine tune the technology, there would be a world of possibility and potential applications, such as using it at security checkpoints at airports and the such.
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