ID-ing people by their body odour

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

Why use an iris scanner or check fingerprints for authentication when body odour is more accurate and harder to trick than a facial recognition system?

That's the thinking behind a project by researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in partnership with the Ilía Sistemas company.

Not only does each person's odour offer patterns that are easily recognizable -- so much so that an individual could be identified within a group with an accuracy rate higher than 85% -- sniffing someone out rather than scanning their faces, fingers, eyes or voice print is a lot less aggressive.

This could make checking people's identities a lot less stressful and time-consuming at places like airports and could remove human error.

Facial recognition systems are by no means foolproof and neither are border guards forced to manually check every passport or ID card against the person standing in front of them.

The researchers have found that although body odour can be affected by a number of factors including stress, illness and exertion, the underlying recognizable patterns remain. In tests of a group of 13 people over 28 sessions the error rate was never greater than 15%.

And although the project was undertaken with security in mind, the university researchers are already working with the medical profession to see how body odour sensors can be used to identify the early signs of colon cancer and leukemia.


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