future of identification: the genome card?
What is the future of personal identification? We all know that picture ID’s won’t be around forever. I mean (sarcastically) haven’t we advanced enough that simple visual confirmation is too mundane- too last century. We’ve seen the advent of the “smart” national ID, fingerprint-face- eye scanners, and, of course, the possibility of embedded RFID chips – all in the name of personal security. But why stop there? Why not move to the molecular level and use the very hereditary information encoded in your DNA? Commissioned by SEED magazine, Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha of Catalogtree have laid the blueprint for that with the Genome Card.
Here’s an explanation from the designers:
The front of the card bears a unique visual pattern derived from the 13 chromosomal loci, or chromosomal positions, used in genetic profiling. The profiling process exploits short tandem repeats — variations in the number of times a short sequence of base pairs is repeated in a person’s DNA. Two unrelated humans usually have a different number of repeats at a given locus. This structure is translated to a series of circles; different diameters are used for different bases. The circles are dropped into a container, and a line is drawn through their centers, creating an individualized drawing on every card.
To use Catalogtree’s card, the bearer would speak into a small microphone and ask a yes-or-no question. The card would analyze the remotely stored genome to come up with an answer. It would then change color: Red signifies a pure “yes,” yellow means “no,” and colors in between show varying levels of uncertainty. As we get better at interpreting the human genome, Catalogtree notes, more questions will be answered with a higher degree of confidence.