Going to Canada? First, convince a computer that you aren’t lying

Press Trust of India Los Angeles | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 29, 2016


The real-time lie-detecting system looks for changes in eyes, voice, gestures and posture

You may need to convince a computer that you are telling the truth during future airport security checks, thanks to a new lie-detecting kiosk that can spot changes in physiology and behaviour during interviews with travellers.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR) is currently being tested to help border security agents determine whether travellers coming into Canada may have undisclosed motives for entering the country.

“AVATAR is a kiosk, much like an airport check-in or grocery store self-checkout kiosk,” said Professor Aaron Elkins from San Diego State University in the US.

“However, this kiosk has a face on the screen that asks questions of travellers and can detect changes in physiology and behaviour during the interview.

“The system can detect changes in the eyes, voice, gestures and posture to determine potential risk. It can even tell when you are curling your toes,” said Elkins.

Passengers would step up to the kiosk and be asked a series of questions such as, “Do you have fruits or vegetables in your luggage?” or “Are you carrying any weapons with you?”

Eye-detection software along with motion and pressure sensors will monitor the passengers as they answer the questions, looking for tell-tale physiological signs of lying or discomfort. Once the kiosk detected deception, they would flag those passengers for further scrutiny from human agents.

“We’ve come to realise that this can be used not just for border security, but also for law enforcement, job interviews and other human resources applications as well,” Elkins said.

“We continue to make improvements, such as analysing the collected data using Big Data analysis techniques,” he added.

Elkins is looking for a government agency willing to utilise the technology in a real-world application.

Published on December 29, 2016
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