US Army Looking for Biometric Sensors to Gauge Motives from Facial Expressions

by Gopalan on  May 30, 2009 at 10:51 AM Research News
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 US Army Looking for Biometric Sensors to Gauge Motives from Facial Expressions
It is going to be Big Brother watching with a vengeance. Your gait, if you sweat, anything weird in you could get you in trouble in such places like the airport. The US army is now looking for biometric sensors that could pick up signals of 'bad intent.'

The Department of Defense (DoD)'s deceptively called Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer(STTR) programs fund a billion dollars each year "in early-stage R&D projects at small technology companies, projects that serve a DoD need and have commercial applications."

Under the new Image Analysis for Personnel Intent project, the SBIR is calling for applications for research to develop "an imaging system to optimally provide intent related information from both spatial and spectral biometric data. The ability to collect imaging data over a wide range of wavelengths, in addition to identifying physiological temporal changes such as expressions, gait, and pose, will create an advance in the collection of biometric information. The imaging system must collect and analyze the biometric data to extract relevant information regarding possibly suspicious and harmful intent through physical indicators."

The solicitation further says: "The use of spectral data to determine intent based on psycho-physiological indicators such as skin coloration due to sub-dermal changes within the vasculature of the body, abnormal perspiration, and changes in body temperature is an area which has not been adequately researched. These physiological indicators have shown direct correlation to transient physiological stress and the ability to monitor these responses non-intrusively will present applications especially for interrogatory scenarios. The system solicited should be able to collect biometric data both spatially and spectrally at a stand-off distance. The proposed device should be a relatively light, portable, tactically robust sensor system."

While traditional biometrics measures — iris scans, fingerprint reads — have to be done up close, and on willing subjects, the Army wants to be able to zoom in on "individuals including those who are uncooperative in unconstrained indoor and outdoor situations at a distance of at least 45 meters from the target."

The idea has been around for a while. Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  spent millions of dollars looking for unique "odortypes, " write Noah Shachtman and Katie Drummond on the Wired.

In 2002, a team of Minnesota scientists used thermal changes around the eyes to spot deceit on a test of 20 new military recruits. The researchers claimed that their system nabbed the liars about 80 percent of the time - the same as a standard polygraph test.

The following year, Boeing patented a device that used hyperspectral scans to identify surges in body temperature prior to "a stress-induced blush." Hyperspectral systems monitor wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, which are emitted by living, breathing bodies, and can detect faint changes in heat that precede blushing or perspiration.

The futuristic Intent recognition "is a prominent area of research with countless applications for both military and commercial use. Surveillance in conjunction with intent recognition will allow for an appropriate response when faced with a person recognized as suspicious. Phase III effort involves integrating the results into existing military and commercial applications as well as exploring additional applications. Military applications include border patrol, stand-off interrogation, access control, surveillance and target acquisition and airport security. Surveillance and access control are also applicable for commercial uses," says the army website.

Source: Medindia

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