One of the most exciting areas of 'Nano-bio' research is the engineered integration of 'wet' and 'dry' nanoscale systems that might revolutionize research in genetics and proteomics (Study of Proteins). But how do you explain this breaking down the barriers of biological and human-made systems? Through 3D animation videos on YouTube, of course!
If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard about this case involving stolen credit and debit card information. Identity theft usually doesn’t call for much attention, but the sheer scope of the theft has left the world reeling. Only eleven men have been indicted in the theft of over 40 million credit card numbers from US stores.
“The indictments, which alleged that at least nine major U.S. retailers were hacked, were unsealed Tuesday in Boston, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California, prosecutors said.”
The information was stolen with “sniffer” programs in the retail software, designed to record credit card numbers, passwords and account information.
The size of this theft is amazing, but it makes one think about technology and where it’s headed. Just how much damage could a hacker accomplish in the near future? With the internet consistently taking the place of personal hard drives (Google Documents, Flickr, Facebook), we’re relying more and more on the Internet for our personal data. In the future we’ll see fingerprints, facial recognition software and retinal scans added into the mix for added security – but how safe will this all be?
The thing about data is that it can always be hacked. Even the most encrypted software on Earth can be disassembled, rewritten and pirated. In order to recognize your voice, your eyes or your fingerprints a computer has to store this information somewhere. So what happens if a hacker gets a hold of this information?
Check out this stunning video of inventor JoAnn Kuchera-Morinis demonstrating the Allosphere at the last TED conference. The Allosphere is a 3 story high chamber that allows researchers to stand in the middle of incredible visual and sonic representations of their data. Complex algorithms are powered by a super-computer to bring data to life in breakthrough fashion.
If there’s one thing movies have shown us, it’s that identifying people through biometrics can be flawed. Blood can be faked (GATTACA), eyes can be removed for retinal scans (Demolition Man), voices can be recorded (Sneakers) and fingerprints can be used from the guard you just used the Vulcan neck-pinch on (Spaceballs).
But have you ever thought of using your veins as an identification device?
The Hitachi Vein ID bounces Infrared Light from multiple angles which is “partially absorbed by hemoglobin in the veins and the pattern is captured by a camera as a unique 3D finger vein profile.” Veins are believed to be even more unique than fingerprints — even twins have different vein patterns.
Are veins the answer to biometric data theft concerns?
The great thing about veins is that, since they are located within the body and are invisible to the naked eye, they are incredibly hard to forge. One would have to have a scan of your vein structure and build a replica, something even crazy evil scientists might have a problem with. On top of this, if someone were to chop off your finger to access your data, the blood would drain out of your finger making vein identification useless (no blood, skinny veins).