Thursday, March 18, 2010

Real-World CSI: The Near Future

Someday soon, law enforcement may be able to ID criminals by the microbial signature they leave behind, says Noah Fierer of UC Boulder. 

Fierer says more than a hundred different types of bacteria (most of which are harmless, some, even beneficial) live on the surface of our skin, and that each person's microbial colony is unique. That bacterial trail we leave behind--on a computer keyboard or mouse, say--may be identifiable for up to two weeks, according to Fierer's experiments...which could one day give law-enforcement agencies one more tool for gathering physical evidence. 

In other odd forensic news: one day soon you may be asked to put your nose into a 3D scanner, instead of your thumb onto an inkpad.

Scientists at the University of Bath in England are developing software that recognizes individual noses, which are unique, just like fingerprints.

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