What makes your body different from everyone else's? Maybe you're thinking fingerprints or the DNA that you leave on everything you touch. Now, add your breath to that list. Researchers have found that individuals have unique "breathprints" that change throughout the day and that reflect chemical reactions going on in the body. In the new study, reported today in PLOS ONE, volunteers blew air into a mass spectrometer (pictured), which split the exhalation into its chemical components. Unlike older methods, which required samples to be prepared and then injected into the machine, the device used in this study can directly accept breath and show the results in seconds. The researchers found that individuals' breathprints changed slightly from sample to sample, but always kept a core signature that was unique enough to identify that person. That means that a breathprint reflects what's going on in a person's body and isn't just a random sampling of room air, they conclude.
Can you imagine this technology intergrated with the current form of breathalyzers that the police use to detect the amount of alcohol in a persons system? What would be the consequences? Would this be another way that the government can determine where you go on your daily lives? How do you feel that the society that you live in will soon know more about you than you know about yourself? Where do we draw the line?
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Breathprints? Another form of control?
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