Monday, November 9, 2015

The World On Our Fingertips

Joseph Carini is a carpet design who has just launched a ‘Thumbprint’ collection, which consists of organic rugs digitally designed using clients’ fingerprints. Besides the personalization aspect, it is the connection of purity of the materials used with digital technology that make these creations so fascinating.

The patterns on our fingertips are so unique that the odds of finding two fingerprints that are exactly the same are 1 in 64 billion. Many say that winning the lottery is more likely than that. Even identical twins have different fingerprints.

With this in mind it makes sense that we use our unique thumbprint for identification in other areas than forensics as well. We unlock our phones with fingerprint scanners; undergo biometric procedures at some airports and in many countries our fingerprint is stores on our passport. And we are not the first to do so. People in ancient Babylon already used fingerprints as signatures on clay tablets for business transactions.

In the 1930s the notorious American gangster John Dillinger famously tried to erase his fingerprints with acid to so he wouldn’t reveal his identity in his crimes. It still happens, but today’s forensic technology makes identification possible – even with mutilated fingertips.

The reason why we all have different thumbprints is not entirely known. Scientists have speculated that the patterns on our fingertips would improve our sense of touch and studies at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris have confirmed that hypothesis.

Image source: A rug from Carini Lang's "Thumbprint" line

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