You show more than you intend unknowingly. Molecules found on mobile phones can reveal an astounding degree of information about owner’s health and lifestyle.
With 40 phones examined, scientists in Californian traced all activities of user, which could reveal their preference of products such as caffeine, spices to various skin creams or anti-depressants.
Unknowingly, we leave traces of chemicals, bacteria and molecules on everything we touch. According to researchers, frequent cleaning and washing hands thoroughly, would not avert transfer of bacteria, chemicals or molecules to everyday objects.
Using the technique of mass spectrometry, research team of University of California San Diego examined 500 samples from hands and mobile phones of 40 adults. Post examination, results were compared to molecules identified in a database and produced a “lifestyle profile” of each phone owner.
An assistant project scientist on the study, Dr Amina Bouslimani, said outcome revealed an astonishing amount of information. “By analysing the molecules they left behind on their phones, we could tell if a person is likely to be female, uses high-end cosmetics, dyes her hair, drinks coffee, prefers beer over wine, likes spicy food, is being treated for depression, wears sunscreen and bug spray – and therefore likely to spend a lot of time outdoors – all kinds of things,” she said.
Molecules on phones are likely to be transferred from people’s hands, sweat, and skin. Sunscreens and Mosquito repellents were found to stay longer on skin of people, even if users had not used those products for months.
Outcome of research conducted previously reveals traces of mainly beauty and hygiene products on people’s skin, who had not washed their hands for at least three days.
Study conducted by research team could further track if patients were taking their medications, reveal imperative data related to owner of phone and in absence of fingerprints, identify an object’s owner.
Progressing with investigation, team now wants to research more regarding multitude of bacteria that shields our skin and degree of information they can reveal about us.
According to the senior author, Prof Pieter Dorrestein, there were at least 1,000 different microbes living in hundreds of places on body of the average person’s skin.