In another truly science fiction moment, PhD student Heather Dewey-Hagborg has developed a technique for transforming found DNA into a 3D model of the DNA owner’s face. This, of course, can be 3D printed.
Studying Information art at Troy, NY’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dewey-Hagborg has been involved in a wide variety of similarly unusual projects. This project was inspired by her observation of detritus left behind by people as they traverse the city. These leftover bits, literally trash, often contain significant amounts of DNA.
Dewey-Hagborg extracted DNA using conventional bio-analysis techniques. Human DNA is partially understood; coding for properties such as eye color, ethnicity, nose width, etc. are known. Using software she was able to detect these known codings within the DNA sample.
Custom software then takes the traits and produces a 3D model of the DNA owner’s face. 3D printing is an obvious next step.
Creepy? Perhaps, but we suspect this is a situation legally analogous to taking a picture of someone in a public space.
We’re just going to wear gloves from now on.