True to the adage “reflection of personality,” a new research has uncovered that day-to-day objects handled by users can reflect their lifestyle and personality.
A full profile developed can even show traits of individuals such as shopping habits and health status.
Lifestyle Sketches Out Of Molecules
By scanning the molecular imprints left behind by the users on smartphones, University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences developed lifestyle sketches of the respective owners in terms of diet, preferred hygiene products, health status and locations visited.
Highlighting the concept’s huge potential in crime detection, senior author Pieter Dorrestein cited a typical crime scene in which personal objects like a phone, pen or key may come with or without fingerprints or DNA and prints. In such a puzzling situation, nothing helps the cops than relying on the new modeling to take the investigation forward.
The study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences had scientists examining the swabs from the mobile phones belonging to 39 volunteers. Later they analyzed it with mass spectrometry to trace individual molecules on the mobile phone’s case and screen.
Further, they compared the results with the Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking database records to know the chemical makeup of products and drugs for revealing the unique profile of each owner.
Easy Personal Profiling
According to first author Amina Bouslimani, the molecules left behind on phones could tell whether a person is female or male, uses cosmetics, drinks coffee, prefers beer, likes spicy food, is under depression, wears sunscreen and is in the habit of spending a lot of time outdoors.
Dorrestein’s team constructed 3D models to illustrate molecules traced at different locations on the bodies of volunteers. It was noticed that bulks of the molecular features in the skin swabs were that of hygiene and beauty products such as sunscreen.
The information gleaned helped the researchers make a personalized lifestyle “read-out” from each phone.
According to the authors, umpteen applications are possible from such profiling including criminal profiling, airport screening, medical use, clinical trial stratification and environmental studies.
They are sure that as soon as the information reaches a critical mass, pinning down the owner of an object will not be all difficult.
However, there are limitations too, according to Dorrestein. Molecular read-outs may provide a general profile of a person’s lifestyle but that may not be as effective as the one-to-one match delivered by a fingerprint.
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