Image credit - Aaron Elkins

Image credit – Aaron Elkins

When you visit a foreign country, typically what happens at immigration is that they’ll ask you for your purpose of visit, whether it be for business or pleasure, whether or not you’ve been arrested before, whether or not your bags contain illegal items, and so on. Obviously your answers won’t be taken at face value, but rather the idea is to try and see if you might be lying about something.

However sometimes humans are always the greatest lie-detectors, which is why in the future you probably shouldn’t be surprised if you were to encounter a device called the AVATAR in airports, in which a robot will be asking you the questions to try and see if you’re hiding something.

Short for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time, this device was created by San Diego State University management information systems professor Aaron Elkins. According to Elkins, “This kiosk has a face on the screen that asks questions of travelers and can detect changes in physiology and behavior 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’re curling your toes.”

So far Elkins claims that AVATAR has been tested in a number of areas such as labs, airports, and border crossing stations. However as it stands he is still looking for a government agency that is willing to utilize the technology in a real-world setting.

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