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Japan Creates a Prototype Foot Scanner to Aid with Identification in case of Natural Disasters

  • 27
  • 04
  • 2016

Japan is looking into the possibility of replacing traditional methods of identification, such as fingerprints and DNA. Instead, they want to use the soles of our feet.

The idea, constructed by two former members of Tokyo’s police department, has come because of the increasing number of natural disasters like the earthquakes that have struck Japan.

Akira Mitsuzane and Hideo Kaneko, policemen who were both involved in the homicide and crime scene departments, believe that through using footprints as an identification method, correct identification will likely increase.

In the aftermath of an earthquake, feet are much more likely to be found intact as a result of the harder skin and protection from shoes. Previously, police and family members have relied on clothing or body traits for identification, often resulting in incorrect identification.

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Five years after the earthquake in March 2011, a surprising 75 bodies are still unidentified, and the policement, along with many Japanese, believe that the use of feet for identification purposes could hold the key to quicker identification.

The only potential problem which could arise is the current lack of stored footprint data. For this idea to become widely successful, each member of the Japanese community will need to register their information and ridge pattern data onto one common database.

The pair believes that more people would be comfortable with footprint registration than with fingerprinting, as currently it is not seen to be a violation of privacy and the process is easy. All that is required is simply stepping onto a scanner.

The idea is already in the developing stages and a prototype scanner, which will be able to produce sole scans instantly and store the data, has been created with the help of a big name Japanese appliance maker.

This process of identification could also help elderly people who suffer from dementia. In the past year, 11,000 were reported missing. In some cases, it took up to two years to identify them.

shutterstock_358996676Photo Credits: Korkusung/Takashi Images

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