Lifestyle chemistries from phones for individual profiling


This paper introduces the concept of skin-associated lifestyle chemistries found on personal belongings as a form of trace evidence. We propose a mass spectrometry-based approach to illuminate chemical traces recovered from personal objects. Using a chemical composite recovered from a swab of a phone, as a representative personal belonging, we can provide insights into personal lifestyle profile by predicting the kind of beauty product the individual uses, the food he/she eats, the medications he/she takes, or the places he/she has been. Therefore, the chemical interpretation of traces recovered from objects found on a crime scene can help a criminal investigator to learn about the lifestyle of the individual who used or touched these objects.


Imagine a scenario where personal belongings such as pens, keys, phones, or handbags are found at an investigative site. It is often valuable to the investigative team that is trying to trace back the belongings to an individual to understand their personal habits, even when DNA evidence is also available. Here, we develop an approach to translate chemistries recovered from personal objects such as phones into a lifestyle sketch of the owner, using mass spectrometry and informatics approaches. Our results show that phones’ chemistries reflect a personalized lifestyle profile. The collective repertoire of molecules found on these objects provides a sketch of the lifestyle of an individual by highlighting the type of hygiene/beauty products the person uses, diet, medical status, and even the location where this person may have been. These findings introduce an additional form of trace evidence from skin-associated lifestyle chemicals found on personal belongings. Such information could help a criminal investigator narrowing down the owner of an object found at a crime scene, such as a suspect or missing person...


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