Science: Footprints on the Rug

It has long been known that certain materials become electrified when they are rubbed together. That is, they lose or gain enough electrons to acquire a charge of static electricity. In this state, the materials will attract dust, hair and other lightweight fluff that happen to have an opposite charge. Now a British researcher has proposed that this phenomenon be used for a practical purpose: to help track down criminals.

Distinctive Field. The idea comes from Physicist Kurt Greenwood of the British textile industry's Shirley Institute in Manchester; he has been studying ways...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!