Fingerprint Test Can Now ID What Person Has Touched

Technique detects drugs, explosives
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2008 2:35 AM CDT
Researchers say that beyond crimefighting, the new fingerprint technology has the potential to be a diagnostic tool or to replace doping tests for athletes.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
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(Newser) – Cutting-edge technology now means fingerprints can reveal much more than just a person's identity, the New York Times reports. A spray developed by US researchers can analyze tiny molecular compounds left behind by the print and tell what materials a person has recently handled—including drugs or explosives. It can also separate one print from many overlapping ones.

The new test can detect as little as a billionth of a gram of material, according to researchers in the journal Science. The technique has great potential for crimefighting, although it was initially developed as a medical tool to quickly detect molecular danger signs.