Scent Ideas for a Secure Future
The fingerprint identification on my laptop doesn't function after I have been working in the perfume studio. Either I have burnt off my identifiers handling hot jars, oils, and pots, or the residual oils on my hands are illegible to the computer's haptics. Possibly a combination of the two. This got me thinking about the fragile indexicality of epidermal ridges and valleys, as opposed to a more robust sign system of scent. Here are my proposals for smell based security technology:
1) A modified fingerprint, where the pad of the index finger must be anointed with a perfumed oil or resin prior to reading by the security system. This reading is actually smelling, whereby the system recognizes the individual by his or her irreproducible skin chemistry-- the unique gestalt of one organism's skin meeting a perfumed substance-- the fingerprint serving only as a McGuffin for the entire process of identification.
2) The use of a perfumed relic that can be waved confidently in front of the sensors wafting something historically singular that cannot be forged. For example, the unwashed burp cloth from your baby brother when you lived in the 1983 brown Cape projects greater authenticity than the Shroud(s) of Turin.
3) Security questions. The user submits several aromas when setting up an account. Then, when this user later attempts to gain entry, the system emits one or more of these prerecorded scents which must be correctly identified by the user. For example, "the smell of being on the coastline bluffs where I went to grad school at dusk," "the odor inside my grandparents' porch freezer," or "the fragrance of my sister's old pointe shoes, a combination of sweat-infused satin, glue, paper, fabric, paste, and rock rosin."
© 2023, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.