Avatar may soon be keeping your safe in the skies

Mar 01, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- Lie detection is coming to a whole new level. Soon we will not have to rely on the work of individual agents to figure out who is just trying to get on a plane and who is a criminal mastermind in the making.

Researchers at the University of Arizona are working on a deception detection machine that will eventually be put into airports. The machine, which hast been dubbed the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-time, or Avatar for short, is about the size of an standard ATM.

Avatar's job to is to see the things that the border agents can't. The Avatar machine features a high definition camera equipped with infrared sensors and a microphone. This set is designed to capture and measure the and voice of the subject. The machine looks at facial features, with a specific emphasis on the eyes. The infrared sensors are designed to detect eye dilation and movement, two signs of untruthfulness, while the microphone assesses not only what is said, but how it is said.

The accuracy of the scans could, of course, be effected by a number of medical conditions, prescription drugs that effect the users sensitivity to light and a number of other factors, so it will have to be paired with a human agent to ensure accuracy.

The Avatar machine is currently in its testing phase. The project will require some fine tuning, and possibly a new version of the prototype before you see it in an air port near you. is part of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in and Immigration project.

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User comments : 11

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Mar 01, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2011
I thought there was something strange about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker eyes, but did not know how to explain it until now.
5 / 5 (10) Mar 01, 2011
if they are going to put this in the airports, how about we put one in Congress for politicians?
5 / 5 (6) Mar 01, 2011
if they are going to put this in the airports, how about we put one in Congress for politicians?
News media reporters should also be added to the list and that would be easy to do.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2011
I'm picturing an Airplane! type of moment where Leslie Neilson is standing up proudly giving a political speech. Every lie is followed by the loud BUZZ! sound, while every truth is giving the loud CLANG! bell sound.
4 / 5 (5) Mar 01, 2011
Lie detectors do NOT work, period. This is going to be a waste of money. Security theatre strikes again.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2011
I urge anyone seeing this machine to take a bat and pound the shit out of it.
3.2 / 5 (5) Mar 01, 2011
Lie detectors do NOT work, period. This is going to be a waste of money. Security theatre strikes again.

They do work. They don't work 100%. How are you so sure they can't be modified and improved to a point where they are highly accurate? It's very foolish to end your statement with "period", implying that no further discussion on the matter will take place.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2011
The key advantage (not mentioned) is that the Avatar could reflect a person's gender, race, age and other "self" characteristics making its questioning much more effective in getting people to produce lie revealing facial movement clues.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 02, 2011
"Citizen! Do you harbor revolutionary sentiment against your government?"

"N..no? Please, I don't want any trouble..."

"I detect your deception, terrorist. Civil protection teams have been dispatched to this location. Fleeing will result in termination. Have a nice day."
not rated yet Mar 02, 2011
Wonder what it'll make of my alcohol/caffine/drug induced massive pupils and slurred speach?
not rated yet Mar 02, 2011
if they are going to put this in the airports, how about we put one in Congress for politicians?

Congress, the president, Supreme court justices, FDA inspectors - the mind boggles at the opportunities!