Anyone who owns an iPhone, android device or similar so-called "smartphone" will be familiar with the disturbing fact that these devices can do more than make telephone calls to neighbours informing them - SOS as it were - that you are away from home and have left the upstairs toilet window closed and the loo un-flushed. Indeed the range of tasks that these small micro-chip based devices can now achieve is astonishing - especially to those of us who remember the series of jumbo-jet-sized hangers required to house the computing equipment used to land Professor Thrupiece's successors on the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. Apparently, any run-of-the-mill smartphone is now more than capable of achieving the same whilst simultaneously returning an unwanted gift to the orinocostore, informing similarly-equipped children that "their tea is ready", and 3-D modelling the lounge prior to a make-over whilst scheduling a sex-therapy session with a like-minded group in Langton Herring.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that as the computing power of these hand-held devices has increased, opportunist developers have been busy feeding the public appetite for "Apps" capable of taking advantage of their latent facility.
New from ThreadSoft this month is Chronicity - an app capable of taking any face and ageing it by 10, 20, 30, 40 or 60 years, thus projecting one's likely future appearance in a manner timely enough to allow the self-conscious and/or chrono-phobic to do something about it.
[Such people could do worsethan to investigate the surprisingly expensive packages available at The Threadbone Clinic, Geneva [See HERE] Though in essence a vanity project or - as the developers put it "a bit of fun" - technical experts at the RDC believe that the app may have a more serious and practical application up to and possibly including solving actual crimes.
Take for example the hypothetical case of - say - a man who disappeared some time ago and is still "missing presumed absent" - perhaps from a hotel bedroom in a foreign country where the authorities are less than diligent [ie Switzerland]. Might it be possible after the elapse of several years, to recreate that missing person's face as it might be now and thus aid in the search for him/her/they, even if that search is conducted by the most incompetent agents? Friends and relatives of the man - along with all right thinking people - would surely hope so.
The RDC's Head of Scientific and Technical Operations Flo Toffit, together with her deputy Polly Graff believes that progress in this area is long overdue and now tantalisingly within reach. "This is just the sort of fortuitous breakthrough we are always hoping for as we try to carry crime-fighting forward into the 21st century. Knowing what a person might look like now - perhaps 150 years after they last went off the radar following, for example, a major Victorian railway heist or a pick-pocketing incident in Akerswell - is an essential tool in the armoury of any modern police force. No matter how cold the case we could potentially re-open it with technology like this. Image what Henry VIII might look like now and the crimes with which we could charge him now that our civil rights laws are up to speed and there is a reduced danger of having our heads chopped off. It's exhilarating really."
In the meantime, back in the real world, friends and relatives of Professor Brian Thrupiece are urging the RDC to make use of the new technology to harry Les Autorités Suisses into advancing the pursuit of the still missing Culinary Bio-ethicist. They are hoping that this photograph - taken some 15 years ago and "updated" by the Chronicity App may help.
They are also urging the general public to download the photograph and to keep it on their phones as an aide memoire for when out and about looking for missing presumed absent or missing presumed disappeared people. They are keen to stress that the photograph is merely indicative and that the Professor may not be wearing a pink shirt and navy blue trousers and may even be "sans stick".