Scientists plan nose scanners

Scientists at the University of Bath are working on new technology that uses your nose to verify your identity. Working on the principle that everyone's sniffer is unique, the system scans the shape of noses in three dimensions to determine if you are who you claim to be.

The system is called Photoface, and can build a three-dimensional model of your face by taking several images of it lit from different angles, then looking at the shadows. Three areas are examined in detail - the ridge profile, the nose tip, and the space between your eyes at the top of your nose.

The software has determined that there are six main nose shapes, which the researchers have named Roman, Greek, Nubian, Hawk, Snub and Turn-up. However, identification rates are currently rather low and the researchers have so far recommended that it be used to augment existing biometrics systems, rather than replace them.

Still, in the future, you may well be using your nose, rather than fingerprints or a password, to log on to your computer.