Researchers from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana have found that iris scanners may be able to do more than just determine the identity of the person whose eye is being scanned. Their system was able to determine with 90% accuracy whether a person was Chinese or Caucasian. They had less success determining gender, but expect accuracy to increase as they identify common data points. Iris scanners analyse 1024 sample regions of the iris and generate a code of binary numbers. A 70% match is sufficient to determine an identity accurately. The chance of a greater than 70% match between 2 irises is less than 1 in 10 billion. Two eyes, two irises, 7 billion people on earth — that make your iris pretty much unique.

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HYDROPHOBIA: We all know someone who's spilt coffee or wine on their computer keyboard. We've all heard the cries of anguish. Korean scientists hope to prevent that anguish with their superhydrophobic surface of nanorods made from zinc oxide. The nanorods work a bit like bristles, separated by air. They keep water droplets off by 'bouncing' them away. Next the researchers hope to protect devices that are completely submerged. Just being able to use my phone in the rain without anxiety would be a good start. Discovery News.


PUBLIC SHOPPING: Some people prefer to avoid the salesperson while shopping, but it won't be easy in the 109 Men's department store in Shibuya, Japan. The store's installed digital interactive clothes hangers equipped with RFID chips. When a shopper picks up a hanger it triggers certain images and videos to be played on a nearby display. The hanger's chip could also trigger changes in the store's lighting or music. The chips can even help store owners track metrics such as how often an item is picked up or how effective its placement is. One more reason to shop online! has more, and there's video here.

SHOPPER TRACK: A shopping centre in Queensland will log mobile phone locations to track how often their customers visit, which stores they like and how long they stay. It's using unique mobile phone radio frequency codes to pinpoint location within 2 metres. Phones off while shopping, I think. has more.

BLACKBERRY SAFETY: Abu Dhabi and Dubai both experienced steep drops in the number of traffic accidents last week — down by 40% and 20% respectively. The reason, according to local Police? The BlackBerry servers were in melt-down. Enough said. Put the phone down. The National has details.

- Miraz Jordan