WeCU Technologies is building a mind-reading scanner that can tell if a given traveler is a potential danger - without the subject's knowledge. WeCU Technologies (pronounced "we see you") is creating a system that would essentially turn the public spaces in airports into vast screening grounds:.
"The system ... projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said.
"The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn't help but respond.
"The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said. The WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing but would rely mostly on hidden cameras or covert biometric sensors that can detect a slight rise in body temperature and heart rate," as reported in Raw Story.
Science fiction writers have been playing with the idea of mind-reading machines for a long time. For example, you may recall the Veridicator from H. Beam Piper's 1962 novel Little Fuzzy:
"There was a bright conical helmet on his head, and electrodes had been clamped to various portions of his anatomy. On the wall behind him was a circular screen which ought to have been a calm turquoise blue, but which was flickering from dark blue through violet to mauve. That was simple nervous tension and guilt and anger at the humiliation of being subjected to veridicated interrogation. "
More recently, the Farscape science fiction series introduced the Aurora Chair, which was designed to extract information more efficiently than conventional interrogation methods. "The chair" is employed throughout the Peacekeeper military is believed one of the most effective means of gaining information from unwilling subjects. The chair can painfully sort through its subject's memories, pushing farther and harder depending on the setting. It is designed to sort through and uncover the mind's "layers".
Hopefully, the TSA won't start sponsoring research into Aurora Chair technology...
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(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)