[Dave Birch] In a couple of workshops for clients recently I’ve been using a technology roadmap based on one we originally drew up in connection with a U.K. government project on the future for financial services. As part of that roadmap, I included a couple of examples (it doesn’t matter why) of security-related technologies that seem crazy now, but might come into common use in the future to get people to think how changes in the security landscape might feed through to business investment decisions. One of the examples I use — because it helps to break the ice! — is that of body odour, making the point (which other people have also made) that if I could integrate an odour detector and analyser with the power of a dog’s nose into a chip in my laptop, then my laptop would know who else was in a room with me, because dogs can easily discriminate between different people.

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Now, in the “truth is always, always stranger than fiction” department, I discover that one of the more bizarre activities of the East German secret police, the Stasi, was the collection of Geruchsproben — smell samples — for the benefit of the East German smell hounds. The odors were collected during interrogations using a perforated metal “smell sample chair” or by breaking into people’s homes and stealing their dirty underwear, were stored in small glass jars. I have to say that if the Stasi had put me in an interrogation chair, they would have need more than a small glass jar to store the smell samples.

These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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