Chemical Profiling Good or Bad?

BY: CLAIRE KIM

Did you know that the screen of a smartphone contains more germs than a toilet seat?

Every moment we touch our phones, the chemicals from our fingers spread across the screen accumulating more and more germs. Our phones basically carry a wide variety of different chemicals that we just can’t see. In other words, everything on our hands will transfer right onto the phone. Of course, we wash our hands every now and then, but it’s not the same for a technological device. Based off of all the leftover marks and smears left on the screens of our phones, it has been stated that scientists can now predict our lifestyle.

Through a study at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they brought in a few people to test whether their prediction was accurate or not. First, they swabbed the hands of the participants to gather data from them. By breaking down molecule compounds and examining them carefully, they were able to analyze and recognize a couple of clues about the patients.

Surprisingly, this process was parallel to the similar investigations they do when trying to find evidence for a culprit situation, aka crime.

Although chemical profiling seems like a great tool for crime investigations it actually comes off as inaccurate a lot of the times.

“I don’t smoke and am rarely around cigarette smoke, but I just happened to be around someone yesterday who was smoking up a storm,” he said. “So what would detection of nicotine on my iPhone really say about my lifestyle, other than something really misleading?”

This project is actually really thrilling to me because I feel like we’re really moving into the tech and science world, that we all hoped for. This also gives me sci-fi vibes that we see in movies and now it’s just coming in a form of reality.

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