Facial recognition, fingerprints and iris scans could soon take a back seat to the newest biometric identification method on the block: body odor. Researchers at Spain’s Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, in collaboration with tech firm IIia Sistemas SL, are developing a system that can verify people by their scent signatures.
Recognizable body odor patterns remain constant enough over time to allow people to be identified with an accuracy rate of 85 percent. Researchers believe this result is enough to create less aggressive ways to ID people than intrusive measures currently being used today.
While iris and fingerprint scan may have a higher accuracy rate, the researchers contend these techniques are commonly associated with criminal records, perhaps making people reluctant to participate with the process. On the other hand, facial recognition has a high error rate. Therefore, the development of scent sensors that could identify a person as they walk through a system stall could provide less invasive solutions with a relatively high accuracy rate.
Researchers believe such technology could be used in airports, border checkpoints or anyplace where photo identification is required. TSA agents may have reputations for being gruff grouches who love nothing more than to nose through your bags, but their rotten tempers might be because of all the rank B.O. they’re forced to smell, day in, day out. At least with a scent-detecting security system, someone else could sniff out the bad guys.