Airport Security of the Future: Mind Reading?

It's among the ideas that could shape the future of airline security
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 9, 2010 8:14 AM CST
A man walks through an airport scanner at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. Security experts have floated several new ideas to enhance airport security...   (Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – A would-be terrorist tries to board a plane. As he walks through a security checkpoint, a network of high-tech machines analyzes his body language and reads his mind. Screeners pull him aside. Tragedy is averted. As far-fetched as that sounds, it's among the ideas that could shape the future of airline security:

  • Mind readers: One system being tested projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group. The logic is that people can't help reacting to familiar images; sensors would detect any rise in body temperature and heart rate.

  • Lie detectors: One system being studied works like a souped-up polygraph: The new battery of tests would include scans of facial movements and pupil dilation for signs of deception; small platforms similar to the balancing boards used in the Nintendo Wii would help detect fidgeting.
  • The Israeli model: At Israeli airports, widely considered the most secure in the world, travelers are subjected to probing personal questions as screeners look them straight in the eye for signs of deception. Searches are meticulous, with screeners often scrutinizing every item in a bag, unfolding socks, squeezing toothpaste, and flipping through books.
(Read more airport security stories.)

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