In future, when we are surrounded by domestic and workplace robots, it may be necessary to identify which was the one that made a dent in the car door or dropped that wine glass.
You could attempt to film them continuously or read back location logs for every one of the joints of a humanoid ‘bot, but both these approaches would require enormous amounts of datalogging and storage.
Today’s invention is therefore synthetic ‘fingerprints’ for robots.
These machines would have minute inkjet nozzles embedded within their ‘hands’ and elsewhere on their limbs.
These would react to any contact pressure by squirting a tiny spot of a personalised spray onto the surface in question.
The prints could be applied to surfaces that don’t work for human prints (eg fur) and they might be fluorescent under UV light, so that any errors or accidents could be easily detected and the droid responsible suitably adjusted.