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Technology turns to terror

A device in China aims to catch out perpetrators of violence by detecting heightened levels of stress during airport check-ins.

A device in China aims to catch out perpetrators of violence by detecting heightened levels of stress during airport check-ins.

A device, currently under development in China, aims to spot ‘radicalised’ human beings by measuring their anxiety levels at airport check-ins – including potential suicide bombers.

The device, under development at China’s Southwest University in Chongqing, uses a stress sensor to measure the amount of oxygen in a passenger’s blood in various parts of the body, particularly the face.

The handheld ‘stress bar’ is placed over those that appear to be experiencing more than average levels of stress.

No more Kunmings

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Kunming, Yunnan. The sight of the fatal March attack.

The development comes in wake of, and was prompted by, an attack in Kunming, Yunnan in March, where eight knife-wielding attackers left 29 dead and over 140 injured.

The reckoning behind the stress bar is that perpetrators of crime experience heightened levels of stress before an attack – the same heightened levels that were assumed to be experienced by the knife attackers in Kunming.

Technical issues

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Can you spot who’s radicalised?

However, one shouldn’t book themselves into a stress clinic just yet.

The device is currently experiencing a number of technical and legal issues.

Firstly, there are no claims suggesting that the stress bar differentiates between the stress levels experienced by perpetrators of violence to those suffering from chronic flight anxiety.

Secondly, the device is yet to resolve its computing issues and the adjust the computing power needed for the hand-held device.

Lastly, the device will need to wait until Chinese law is altered to permit the use of these handheld devices as a security measure.

To achieve legal clearance, developers would need to prove that the device is effective in trapping potential criminals. They would also need to validate why the airport, the scene of a planned attack, is the best sight to implement such measures.

Do you believe these new security measures will assist maintaining airport security?