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Sweat Ducts May Act As Antenna For Lie Detection

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the smells-fishy-to-me dept.

Privacy 120

Reservoir Hill writes "Researchers have discovered that human skin may contain millions of tiny "antennas" in the form of microscopic sweat ducts that may reveal a person's physical and emotional state. This discovery might eventually result in lie detectors that operate at a distance. In experiments, the team beamed electromagnetic waves with a frequency range of about 100 gigahertz at the hands of test subjects and measured the frequency of the electromagnetic waves reflecting off the subjects' skin. Initially, the experiments were carried out in contact with the subjects' hands, but even at a distance of 22 cm, researchers found a strong correlation between subjects' blood pressure and pulse rate, and the frequency response of their skin."

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Women (5, Funny)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986222)

Only men will need this sort of technology...

Here's to wifes and girlfriends....may they never meet.

and cats (2, Funny)

migloo (671559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986496)

Great!
Science may soon match the mood detection ability of cats.

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986226)

This is for our own good.

Something to do with the War on Terror, probably.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (3, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986786)

This is for our own good.

Something to do with the War on Freedom, probably.
Fixed that for you.

tinfoil hat (4, Funny)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986228)

Ok, that does it.

I hereby ask that nobody ever refers to "tinfoil hat" in a deragatory manner anymore, because we are going to seriously need them.

(cue all known jokes about tinfoil hats, of course; but this is actually a serious post; when some guy will first need to use tinfoil to do any political activism, mainstrem medias should not be able to diss him just because "tinfoil hat" is linked to crazy people).

Re:tinfoil hat (4, Interesting)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986270)

Just a quick reminder of the facts:

Brain scanner can tell if you are going to buy a product or not:
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/01/11/brain-scans-predict-.html [boingboing.net]

Brain scaner can tell what you are looking at:
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/06/0435226 [slashdot.org]

Brain scanners are so easy to do that now they are in game controllers:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/20/1314254 [slashdot.org]

And better than a tinfoil hat, we will need something able to filter what you let or do not let through, as was done with the rfid firewall:
http://www.rfidguardian.org/index.php/Main_Page [rfidguardian.org]

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986450)

Combine these technologies and you'll have marketers using your movements in public to create a "real world" MMORPG in which NPC's movements and actions are based on what happens to non-Players (literally people who don't pay the MMO company) in the game.
And yes, the marketers will jump out with swords and chain mail and scare the NPCs in order to garner appropriate reactions, when needed. Or just use the "system over-ride" that prevents players from being tracked in the game to stop tracking people's movements once a peculiar event (such as talking to an NPC or a battle nearby) occurs.

Re:tinfoil hat (3, Funny)

mikiN (75494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987076)

That's just a high tech upgrade to "Society", the MMORPG we've all been playing since birth. Just replace "chain mail" with "bullet-proof vests" and "swords" with "batons" and "Tasers" and you get it. To stir up the game the DM (called PM in the UK, President in the US) sometimes orders police vans armed with tear gas grenades and water cannons out onto the streets. There are relatively few NPC's in this game (among them hobos, Travellers, illegal immigrants and wild animals) since most of us are forced to subscribe by paying taxes.

Re:tinfoil hat (1, Funny)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986520)

can brain scanner tell I just shit my pants?

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986776)

can brain scanner tell I just shit my pants?
Depends on where your brain is in relation to where you shit from.

My guess is 'yes'.

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986352)

I'm afraid, against this technology, a tinfoil hat will not be enough. You'll need a tinfoil bunny suit.

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986662)

And the fools laughed at me! Who's laughing now?

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986592)

Bear in mind that we can now use these to tell if politicians are lying.

  Sadaam has WMDs!
*BZZZT!*
  He is a threat to our safety!
*BZZZT!*
  He hates our freedom!
*BZZZT!*
  He is armed with foul language and has a nasty temper...
*crickets*

Re:tinfoil hat (1)

Alpha Whisky (1264174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986874)

You don't need a scanner to tell if a politician is lying.

Their lips move when they are lying.

Re:tinfoil hat (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987088)

Not too sure about that, Monica Lewinsky's lips moved quite a bit from what I hear, but it certainly wasn't in the course of saying anything. Then again, she's not a real politician, so...

Re:tinfoil hat (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22991880)

We also know the fluid capacity of Monica's mouth is 1 US Leader(liter)

All jokes aside, what if it's just a plain hot day. No lie detecting then? I know people who sweat watching TV when it's 70 degrees(F).

Is someone telling the truth? (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986244)

I knew a guy who claimed he was abducted and sodomized with various probes then dumped in a field in the middle of nowhere. Is he lying? He believes it.

Whether you know if someone is lying or not does not necessarily bring you closer to the truth.

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986392)

Unless you're talking about being abducted by aliens, sounds pretty plausible to me :P

It's even crappier (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986470)

It's even crappier. We already know know about the normal polygraphs that they don't really work. They just mention someone's reaction to stress, and from there it's a leap of faith that "lying emotional stress". The latter just isn't so.

1. As you mention, what do you do about people who genuinely believe something bogus?

As a milder example, human memory isn't photographic, ever. It seems to store more like the description of a scene, and just ad-lib the details that it forgot. Over time you'd forget that, say, the guy was wearing a blue shirt, or maybe that detail never even made it into permanent memory in the first place. But if you try too hard to remember it, it will just give you some best guess. Like that he was wearing a black shirt.

2. We know that people can train to not feel much emotion about lying, and to psychopaths it even comes naturally. So even measuring their pulse and blood pressure and everything directly, you just can't tell that they're lying.

Basically we're relying there on the false idea that everyone was educated that it's not nice to lie, and everyone therefore has a hard time telling one and is feeling severely guilty about it. Which is false from start to finish. E.g., speaking of education, we know that some people's upbringing just taught them that it's perfectly _normal_ and indeed _logical_ to tell a lie, if the alternative is a savage beating by your father. They won't feel any guilt extrapolating from there to lying to save their arse from jail.

3. That emotional stress someone is feeling, can be for a bazillion other causes.

E.g., because the topic is painful to them for other reasons. A rape victim being the witness in someone else's rape trial might experience severe stress just thinking about it, whether they tell the truth or not. A PTSD [wikipedia.org] sufferer will be in a disproportionate amount of stress when recounting the event that caused it, or anything that reminds them of it. So, you know, some grandpa who fought in Vietnam and still wakes up in cold sweat after dreaming of it, would register as shamelessly lying when they tell you about the atrocities of war. Etc.

E.g., particularly bad cases of repressed memories and/or the results of some particularly hard to justify cognitive dissonance, can cause a disproportionate emotional responses when you're forced to think or talk about something which challenges them. You see that not only in polygraph tests. A lot of people who are rabidly against something are really just against you challenging their already decided model of the world. The less of an actual justification they have to support that position, other than "but my daddy said so", actually the harder it can be to get them to think logically about it.

Etc.

Basically let's just say there are good reasons why that test can't be demanded in court.

So now we have something that promises to test one parameter from a distance, instead of several measured directly, and which must correlate in certain ways to be considered a "yep, he's lying" proof. It's basically adding one more indirection step to that already weak inference chain. But even if the correlation between skin pores and all those parameters were that infallible, you're back to "stress he's lying", which is already known to be false even measured up close with electrodes.

Re:It's even crappier (2, Insightful)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986522)

1. As you mention, what do you do about people who genuinely believe something bogus?

As a milder example, human memory isn't photographic, ever.
My favorite proof of this is the work of Adriaan de Groot see http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3290 [chessbase.com]

But really now. I *did* have to dodge sniper fire from angry Chiba farmers who didn't want their land "annexed" into a new runway the first time I flew into Narita.

Re:It's even crappier (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986632)

This is not about getting to the truth, in the sense most people mean it, this is about finding the TRUTH: what they already know is TRUE - they just need somebody to admit it. Hence the use of torture, sorry coercion, polygraphs and other dubious methods. It is scary to see how these things are used in the US - the nation that is supposed to be the epitome of scientific knowledge.

Re:It's even crappier (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986764)

As a milder example, human memory isn't photographic, ever. It seems to store more like the description of a scene, and just ad-lib the details that it forgot.
That's only true for conscious memories. The subconscious remembers everything. Hypnosis can be used to remember e.g. a phone number you saw when you were 6 months old and couldn't read yet...

I fully agree with the rest of your post, however.

Re:It's even crappier (0)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987116)

For a right amount of cash I can remember anything you like.

Re:It's even crappier (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987172)

Hypnosis is bullshit and only work on people who believe it will work....

Re:It's even crappier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987190)

I though you were just be a flamer but according to wiki...

Hypnotic susceptibility is the measurable responsiveness that a person has to hypnosis. Not all people can be hypnotized, but about 10% of people respond exceptionally well

Only 10% of people are simple minded enough to be mesmerized by these witch doctors.

Re:It's even crappier (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988576)

but about 10% of people respond exceptionally well

Only 10% of people are simple minded enough to be mesmerized by these witch doctors.
Do you see the gap between "exceptionally well" and "not at all"? That's where most people are. Also, "not everybody" does not mean "only 10%".

Did you use Wikipedia to find out new things, or just to justify your beliefs?

Re:It's even crappier (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988468)

Sleep and dreams is bullshit and only work on people who believe it will work....
Fixed that for you.

Hypnosis is a state of mind, like any other form of meditation, not the ritual used to achieve it. Everyone can be "hypnotized", it's just that there are a lot of crappy hypnotists out there.

Re:It's even crappier (2, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988608)

Hypnosis can be used to remember e.g. a phone number you saw when you were 6 months old and couldn't read yet...
According to some sources [wikipedia.org] roughly as reliable as most hypnosis publications, people can pull up memories dating all the way back to conception. The fact that somebody recovers a repressed memory and strongly believes its accuracy doesn't make it true...

Re:It's even crappier (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988684)

Basically let's just say there are good reasons why that test can't be demanded in court.
But that doesn't mean that they're not regularly used for matters of national security. Some levels of clearance demand that the person holding the position must submit to random polygraph screenings just like many of us are subject to random drug screenings. Of course, this is a hazard to people who may get nervous when randomly selected to be hooked up to a bunch of wires and asked a bunch of questions - Knowing full well that perspiring or getting excited/nervous could cost them their jobs. It's not so much a threat to somebody who's accustomed to lying daily while entrenched in an adversary's secure areas for whom polygraphs are well-practiced and no more stressful than your daily routine.

Re:It's even crappier (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992566)

Not that I believe in the accuracy of polygraphs as lie detectors, but...

Of course, this is a hazard to people who may get nervous when randomly selected to be hooked up to a bunch of wires and asked a bunch of questions - Knowing full well that perspiring or getting excited/nervous could cost them their jobs.

This is why they ask baseline questions before starting the interrogation proper.

Depends on the question, too (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22990302)

If the question requires a yes/no answer, then it can be dicey too. There's that new reality TV show that basically puts people through a lie-detector, and they try to beat it (or let out their most embarrassing secrets) to win cash. Well enough, but a lot of questions don't have a yes/no answer, or you're not definite either way on the answer.

How about this one that popped up "could you see yourself having children with your girlfriend." If I say no, does it mean I don't want children with my current GF (and thus see less future in the current relationship), or I don't want children at all (but I'm happy with my GF), or maybe it's just a big decision, and I'm still uncertain enough that it shows a stressful/untruthful response no matter what I say. Heck, even if I tell the truth but I'm afraid that the external response to my answer won't be good, the stress might be enough to make me seem a liar.

Re:It's even crappier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22992368)

Not only do polygraphs not detect lies, they don't even detect stress very well.

As one former polygrapher put it, "If you had an orgasm while the thing was connected, it might be able to measure it. Everything else is just noise."

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986628)

You bring up an important point here. A lie is only a lie if you believe it is a lie. If you believe the lie is the truth then all of the lie detectors in the world ain't gonna get you one step closer.

What bothers me in all of this is that you are going to catch the idiots who can't lie. The ones who are sophisticated enough to get through are the ones that we need to worry about, and they will not be caught.

The more I see technology being applied the more worried I get that people will not understand what is the truth or reality. Look at the past few slashdot articles where people seem to have figured out how to predict the future...

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986686)

> was abducted and sodomized with various probes

Aliens believe a successful mating requires energetic anal probing to make the tissue of the face receptive to semen.

I blame German porn broadcasted into space.

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987198)

Did he say a Silverlight came from the tip of the probes?

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988758)

"I knew a guy who claimed he was abducted and sodomized with various probes then dumped in a field in the middle of nowhere. Is he lying? He believes it."

All I know is those probe kits are a bitch to clean...

Re:Is someone telling the truth? (1)

sohare (1032056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989584)

Whether you know if someone is lying or not does not necessarily bring you closer to the truth.
Fortunately, reality is not so simplistic. Here is an article from 2007 about distinguishing the brainwaves associated with false memories from those of true memories. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071023163853.htm [sciencedaily.com]

This is not to say that the sweat-gland technology gets you closer to the truth, just that a person can be convinced they are telling the truth but still "lying" in the sense that they are reporting as true something that never occurred. That is, lying need not be a conscious act.

I may have to consult a scientologist here, but... (2, Funny)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986246)

Surely they'll only get readings if the subject's engrams are out of whack? :)

Re:I may have to consult a scientologist here, but (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986420)

Speaking of which...wikileaks.org just recieved the Scientology Thetan operating manual. Pretty scary stuff.

i for one (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986252)

...welcome our... oh, fine. it's redundant. given

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/06/2056240

and

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/06/1917259

on the day that Charlton Heston died, we can just

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/06/1641201

and welcome our true new overlords -- our old overlords.

Nerves (4, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986254)

It's not a lie detector, it's a nervous person detector, just like the polygraph. It's clever, but it's more likely to find someone who doesn't like being interviewed by the [insert agency here] than a cold blooded killer.

Re:Nerves (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986276)

It could be either a lie detector or a nervous person detector. 100GHz? It will just grill the bastard into an honest being...

Now serious:

At a distance? Will the privacy invasion comments please start?

Re:Nerves (1)

sdavid (556770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986290)

It's not even a nervous person detector, it's a sweat detector.

Re:Nerves (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986400)

I am immune [wikipedia.org] to such things. As long as these researchers don't discover the truth about personal hygiene, we'll be fine.

Re:Nerves (2, Funny)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986986)

Can you get the word out on this miraculous device. The smell of the computer lab begs to differ.

Re:Nerves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986384)

It's not a lie detector, it's a nervous person detector, just like the polygraph. It's clever, but it's more likely to find someone who doesn't like being interviewed by the [insert agency here] than a cold blooded killer.
No doubt the science behind this will be proven just as porous(pun intended) as it is with polygraphs. Unfortunately you can also expect it to be used in similar fashion as well as an interrogation device, a test for trustworthiness for bonding purposes and job retention, as well as behavioural modification steps which actually serve as excuses to proclaim parole/probation violations on demand. This needs to be studied widely if for no other reason then to shoot it down later in court.

Re:Nerves (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986462)

it's a nervous person detector, just like the polygraph
Exactly. And only idiots and talk show hosts believe in polygraphs. If you're highly strung or ill or prone to hot flushes or know how to deliberately raise your heart-rate then they won't work. If they don't work even for a small percentage of people then they are useless as lie detectors.

This isn't new (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986268)

The most significant result from polygraph tests is and has been the Galvanic Skin Response Test. It works by measuring the voltage change in your skin when your sweat glands dilate due to a response in your sympathetic nervous system. The simplified (and not completely accurate) version is that telling a lie triggers your fight-or-flight reflex which is tied into your sympathetic nervous system.

Re:This isn't new (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986346)

Being interrogated by jack booted thugs, be they cops, soldiers, school administrators or Agent Smith (or his many alphabet soup lookalikes), is generally enough to raise any innocent individual's fight or flight response. Which of those two responses it is depends on how much they have left to lose at the time of the interrogation.

What has to be asked is this. How much more will people put up with... and how often will this be used, as the "polygraph" is used now, to merely incriminate nervous individuals in courts where the juries are ignorant of the true fallibility of a polygraph?

Seriously, don't these schmucks have anything better to do? Every week its another half assed invention... its either fear mongering or more fear mongering. Seriously, I've got a running bet with a friend that eventually people will actually get fed up... and that is when I hope to still have a working cam corder, because the video footage will be PRICELESS! A lot of enforcers are gonna have a tough time staying healthy once the food gets expensive, especially once the homeless mobs in the big cities realize that they've nothing left to lose.

By the same token, i've heard some strange news about shanty towns starting to spring up around the borders with Canada... is there any truth to these rumors? I used to think shanty towns were the domain of Lin City in Linux and of course, Africa. Guess things are "evolving" even in America, eh?

Re:This isn't new (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986380)

did you come down from your bunker in the mountains to post this?

Re:This isn't new (1)

archont (1215492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986772)

Seriously, don't these schmucks have anything better to do? Every week its another half assed invention... its either fear mongering or more fear mongering. Seriously, I've got a running bet with a friend that eventually people will actually get fed up... and that is when I hope to still have a working cam corder, because the video footage will be PRICELESS! A lot of enforcers are gonna have a tough time staying healthy once the food gets expensive, especially once the homeless mobs in the big cities realize that they've nothing left to lose.
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

At a distance? (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986284)

I hope they improve existing lie detectors, the "at a distance" option is much less important.

Re:At a distance? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986332)

Not if you want to monitor large groups of people... like in a shopping mall or ($next_wild_idea_to_improve_security && $think_of_the_children); Combine this with CCTV, face recognition and you can detect who goes where and if they're 'suspiciously nervous' without having to tell the person(s) in question. Being someone who has panic attacks and periods of agoraphobia, I do not like this at all..

Re:At a distance? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22991370)

Being someone who has panic attacks and periods of agoraphobia, I do not like this at all.
Well, that and a fear of non-anonymous posting :-) I know what you mean, though. Even if you are not the type to have panic attacks, people go through really bad spells sometimes and would appear 'suspicious' to the stupid fucktards who run these things.

Re:At a distance? (2, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986434)

We have one lie detection method that works 100% . It's called torture. Keep doing it and eventually you'll detect a lie.

Re:At a distance? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986726)

Are you saying that 100% of people interrogated under torture tell lies? Come on, I'd say 95% at best.

Re:At a distance? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986768)

"the "at a distance" option is much less important."

I'd even say it is a severe drawback. The only practical interest of a lie detector is not to measure stress, it is to induce it in order to increase the chances that the interrogated person will make a mistake.

Voight-Kampff (2, Insightful)

NemesisBubu (745363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986302)

Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.

Re:Voight-Kampff (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989666)

Let me tell you about my mother...

"Lie Detection" is a stretch (1)

B4D BE4T (879239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986318)

Cool discovery, but I think the bit about using this for lie detection is a bit of a stretch. This sounds like a polygraph that does not require physical contact. But, polygraphs are not believed to be all that accurate [nap.edu] .

Countermeasures (1)

davecl (233127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986354)

Even if this worked, which it won't since it has all the same problems as polygraphs and probably a few more (want someone to read guilty? put them in a warm cell for a few hours), the countermeasures are easily available - antiperspirant.

Nothing happening here, move along.

Good ! (3, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986356)

I want these detectors to be made a mandatory addition to any camera that is used when interviewing politicians. Data from the detector should be processed into a simple BS-o-meter gauge that is displayed along with the interview.

Re:Good ! (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986432)

Trouble with that is most politicians are stupid, ill-informed, rabble-rousers who actually believe the BS they come out with.

Rich.

Re:Good ! (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986452)

Unfortunately the detector is also bullshit along the lines of the long running scam from the writer of the Wonder Woman comic - the polygraph. Human thought is a little more complex than skin resistance.

Re:Good ! (2, Insightful)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986826)

Sorry but lie detectors can't detect sociopaths.

Re:Good ! (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989036)

>I want these detectors to be made a mandatory addition to any camera that is used when interviewing politicians.

Sorry, it won't work on sociopaths. You have to have a conscience about your lies in order to get nervous about telling them.

Perhaps no so useful (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22990334)

Oftimes politicians, or chronic liars in general, are so enamoured with their mistruths or owned skewed point-of-view, that to them it becomes more truth than the reality.

Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (4, Informative)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986360)

If they can get this to remotely measure blood pressure and pulse to an accuracy that is acceptable (90%? Pure guessing on my part, the article only mentions a "strong correlation"), using it for lie detection would still be based off of the shaky assumption that increases in blood pressure and pulse indicate lies or deception.

Even a polygraph, which measures blood pressure and pulse directly and accurately, as well as additional things such as respiration, skin conductivity and even muscle movements (fidgeting, ticks etc), is not all that reliable. To borrow from Wikipedia:

The [National Academy of Sciences] found that the majority of polygraph research was of low quality. After culling through the numerous studies of the accuracy of polygraph detection the NAS identified 57 that had "sufficient scientific rigor". These studies concluded that a polygraph test regarding a specific incident can discern the truth at "a level greater than chance, yet short of perfection".
And "A 1997 survey of 421 psychologists estimated the test's average accuracy at about 61%, a little better than chance."

In reality, even if polygraphs could be PROVEN 95% accurate, it wouldn't ever hold up in court: 1 in 20 is reasonable doubt.
This thing would be using the same theory, but with less input. FAIL

The real benefit from this will be in medical monitoring. If blood pressure and can be measured remotely, accurately and in a short amount of time, that would be a big improvement over the current sphygmomanometer (a regular BP cuff that gets pumped up), especially in situations where it is hard to measure BP because of background noise or vibration. Ambulances sometimes have to stop to take a blood pressure (not on critical patients, but still).

Re:Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986466)

Considering that the inventor was the comic book artist famous for Wonder Woman's lariat of truth and the device got only credibility by being accepted by the famously bribable J. Edgar Hoover we should not really be suprised that the polygraph gets thrown in the same basket as Uri Geller by law enforcement in the majority of the world. It's one of the most sucessful technology snake oil scams.

Re:Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (1)

hyc (241590) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986516)

Ah, so they've finally developed the technology for the Star Trek handheld medical scanner. Cool.

Re:Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (2, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986784)

"especially in situations where it is hard to measure BP"

You mean, like hidden in the front door of insurance compagnies?

Re:Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22988248)

Anyone with a skin frequency of >1 skin/lifetime is a FREAKING LIAR>

Re:Sci-Fi Lie-detection at a distance? I think not (1)

More Trouble (211162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988328)

The real benefit from this will be in medical monitoring.
You forgot to mention terrorists. Think airport screening. Or maybe subway screening.

Who's the retard who tagged this science? (0, Flamebait)

sudog (101964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986396)

Lie detectors aren't science. They never have been, and at this rate they never will.

Come on people.. sheesh.

HA! to all who claimed I was going to die alone (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986426)

"reveal a person's physical and emotional state."

Forget the lie detector. Bring on the gadget that shows me what my chances are of getting lucky.

Re:HA! to all who claimed I was going to die alone (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986920)

Bring on the gadget that shows me what my chances are of getting lucky.
It already exists, it's called the Mk I eyeball. Use it to search for a white stick and/or a dog in a harness.

Who makes this device? (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986494)

I didn't read TFA because that's against the rules, you know.

Is Diebold behind this?

that's not a lie detector (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986538)

it's a sweat detector. It has the same problems as other lie detectors: sweating and similar reactions don't mean you're lying. Maybe you find the interrogator hot, or maybe he or she reminds you of your mother in law, or maybe you just generally fall apart under pressure.

Re:that's not a lie detector (2, Insightful)

threeturn (622824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986562)

Precisely. More hocus-pocus rubbish from the "we'll sell you security" brigade. Still doubtless the TSA will buy loads so they have a new toy to intimidate travellers with.

Telemendaciometer Scale (2, Funny)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986626)

I can see the scale on this remote lie detector now ..... it would have to have a nice big round dial labelled in words (in big serif type) and a black arrow-tipped pointer pivoted on jewelled bearings which, thanks to a well-crafted damping vane, would sweep smoothly and hardly oscillate at all .....

"TRUE" ..... "MILDLY DISINGENUOUS" ..... "FIB" ..... "STRETCHING CREDULITY" ..... "MARKETING" ..... "WHOPPER" ..... "SOFTWARE MARKETING" ..... and in big, red letters over at the far end ..... "YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM"

beam 100 gigahertz at the test subject (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986656)

Old and venerable practice. In old times they didn't used fancy staff like microwaves though, just plain red-hot iron. Show it to test subject and he admit his lies at once.

Re:beam 100 gigahertz at the test subject (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986802)

Or would he tell you more instead?

I know I'd confess the murder of Lincoln and JFK (or whoever, for that matters) for a 5s pause of the treatment, and yet I've never been within 4000km of the USA.

Of course, if you don't need truth but a scrapegoat, torture is a wonderfull investigation tool.

In Other News..... (2, Funny)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986672)

The underwire in a push-up bra also acts as an antenna for lie detection.....

(GASP!) You LIED to me!

Garak knows best... (1)

eingram (633624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986712)

"Because lying is a skill like any other and if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practice constantly." -Elim Garak

Am I the Only One... [Funny] (1)

nz17 (601809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986740)

Am I the only one who at first glance read the title as "Sweet Ducks May Act As Antenna For Lie Detection"?

Second hand Subjection (1)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986912)


Great. Now they're taking a subjective indicator of a subjective indicator of a lie. Subjective correlation twice removed and that's an improvement? Where's the science in this country? Dare I say it's not evolving?

-[d]-

Enough with the Privacy tag already (2, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986958)

Gee, a study that says 40% of us are paranoid, then this article gets posted as newsworthy ( and with the tag "privacy" ).

I used to think slashdot was a site about technology but now days it's just a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorists worried about stuff that isn't happening, at the same time complaining about the Bush administration's culture of Fear.

22cm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987216)

Now that's some distance! (Yawn)

Stress != Lying (1)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987534)

Lie detectors are the biggest scam against society. They only work in as much as people think they do. Study after study has shown that the galvanic skin response (used in the polygraph) DOES NOT detect lying or dishonesty, rather stress. People sweat when they are stressed. If you put a person in an interrogation room with authority figures and strap on a "Lie Detector" its going to stress them out when they lie. This is all the lie detector detects. If I understand the article correctly this is essentially what they are measuring. The galvanic skin response essentially measure how conductive the skin is, the more open the sweat glands are the lower the resistance across the skin. I personally would predict that this device would be less effective then a standard polygraph. If this technology worked it "could" potentially be better as the person would be unaware that the truthfulness of their answers was being "measured". Polygraphs work because the person KNOWS the truthfulness of their responses are in question which in turn raises their stress level. As a neuroscientist, I personally don't believe that a true lie detector will ever be invented. The signal to noise ration is low and variable from subject to subject, also what signal should actually be examined is unclear.

Medical Monitoring (1)

Cpt. Fwiffo (42356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987694)

Don't think of it as a tool for lie detection. What about putting one in every hospitalbed, to know if people are sweating profusely.
It's clean as there's no contact.

Or pilots, to monitor stress levels?
Or astronauts, who are (at least, remembering the apollo 13 movie) constantly monitored. No longer having to wear crap but having an external system is much nicer.

Cancer (1)

lastninja (237588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987732)

the team beamed electromagnetic waves with a frequency range of about 100 gigahertz
Not only can the system detect lies, it can detect with 100% certainty that the subject has cancer!

It's not the sweat ducts, it's the hair follicles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987782)

Because you can never have too many "Withnail & I" quotes: [wikiquote.org]

"All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight."

Truth Detectors (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987802)

While its an interesting discovery, the term "lie detector" is a blatant badge of ignorance. The term is more than fraudulent for what amounts to a pure pseudo science. Why not just call them "truth detectors"? Wouldn't that make as much sense?

defeating brain-reading technology (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988030)

This reminds me of a story I read long ago (cant remember the name - Ill leave this as an exercise for the reader) where a man wanted to commit murder, but the police had scanners all over the place that could read your mind.

He paid a commercial jingle musician to write the most annoying intrusive "sticky" jingle he could come up with, and listened to the jingle for 48 hours straight. Then went to the victim, shot him, and walked away. Through it all his head was filled with the annoying jingle playing over and over in his mind.

I would be totally f'd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22988090)

I suffer from palmar and plantar (feet), and to a lesser extent axillary (armpits), hyperhidrosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperhidrosis [wikipedia.org] ). I don't always sweat, but under stress I certainly do. If they ever tested me, I would fail every time, whether I were lying or not. There is a small percentage of the population for which this is also true, although most people suffer from the axillary form. So I hope for our sake, government agencies do not start using this.

This isn't new (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988894)

There's been something around since the dawn of history that can detect a lie from a significant distance. We call her, "Mom".

Personnal experience (2, Interesting)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988944)

I personnaly had a pre-employment polygraph test, and I can assure you that, remotely or directly, a polygraph is no more than a more or less sophisticated vital signs recorder.

The test was 10 questions long, repeated 3 times in a different order each time, and out of those 10 questions, I intentionnaly lied to 4 of them. Strangely, the guy told me "this particular question about computer crimes, I think you lied to this one". In fact, when I was asked this question, I could feel my eart beating a little faster, and my skin got a little sweating. But I know I was telling the truth about this one. It's just that since it's my domain of expertise, I was a little more stressed about the question, but I am so straight when it comes to licenses and copyrights that I even personnaly bought a retail version of Microsoft Office, and all the games I have are boxed originals...

Strangely, when I was asked questions about other stuff for which I lied deliberately, I had no reaction at all, and the guy thought I was truthful about them.

Ok, I prepared myself for the polygraph, and I read an EBook on antipolygraph.org [antipolygraph.org] . I guess the results are a little more biased than with someone who really believes the polygraph is a precision instrument to discover the truth, but maybe this is the reason NO FURTHER RESEARCH should be made about lie detection, except maybe with celebral flux, where I guess a different part of the brain creates lies than the part which effectively remembers the facts you actually lived.

Re:Personnal experience (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992508)

Although I think it's illegal in my state to polygraph a prospective employee, but what company was that, so I can remind myself to A - never try and get a job there, and B - never buy their products?

Lie detectors don't detect lies (1)

camg188 (932324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22990576)

Polygraph tests only detect an emotional response. Whether it's considered a lie is an interpretation of the person giving the test.

Hello 1980: Biofeedback Monitor from RadioShack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22990926)

Does anyone else remember the RadioShack Biofeedback Monitor you used to be able to buy for $15.00? It had two velcro finger electrodes you wore and it would emit a tone which would change in response to your stress level. No doubt related to the conductivity of your skin (which changed) with your stress level. Read: Stress goes up results in pores excreting sweat ~ sweat = salt water which = more conductivity. This is not a new discovery, but a rediscovery that RadioShack had capitlized on in the 80's. So, what if you can use microwaves to detect the sweat. :)
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