Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters
And maybe non-terrorists too
Scientists are developing an identity verification system that would spot terrorists and pedophiles by scanning their skeletal features and comparing them against a database of stored images.
The system could be deployed in airports, sporting events, and other settings vulnerable to criminals and ideally will be able to positively identify an individual's unique skeletal structure from 50 meters, the researchers, from Wright State Research Institute, said here. It would analyze a variety of skeletal attributes – including shape, density joint structure and previously broken bones – to identify the individual.
Officials from the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity invited the researchers to speak about the project at a conference in Washington, DC.
Using fingerprints to identify someone can be problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the ease at which a person's unique image can be appropriated by others. Facial recognition has begun to catch on in some places, but that technology can be easily thwarted using masks, beards and other disguises.
“But they can't disguise their bones,” said Phani Kidambi, one of half a dozen scientists and engineers working on the project. “Think about a scenario where the face doesn't match, but the bones match. That definitely is a person of extreme interest because it appears he's tried to change his face.”
Of course, the ability to identify individuals from great distances has some spooky implications for privacy. The specter that scanners will be deployed at political demonstrations, outside medical clinics, or similar places will no doubt arouse concern among civil libertarians. It might also give way to a whole new industry of tin-foil lined clothes. ®
A Brilliant Mind (not)
Where have we heard this before? It's just Security Theater - it's not so long ago that we were going to ID the bad lads by the way they walked ... except that didn't work and anyone in the gait community could have told them that the idea was a loser from the start.
Now it's "bones" - like that's going to work? Have any of these idiots even bothered to figure out the resolution needed to ID a skeletal abnormality at 50m? Maybe you could get the resolution needed to distinguish one person from another reliably at a couple of metres but that's not going to be anything close to good enough to tell one ankle break from another.
What's next? We can ID people by listening to the sounds they make in the crapper? Slurping noises in noodle shops? I've got it - I'm off to patent a foolproof way to ID terrorists by they way they pick their noses while waiting in the security line at the airport...
No, on second thoughts I'm heading for the crapper - we're all obviously surrounded by idiots.
WTF is happening to our country!
Year 2000 - It wasn't perfect land of hope and glory and all that, but we had some freedom, privacy & liberty.
Year 2010 - Police State, they try to spy on us at every move, even being stripped naked by scanners is ok for them, and now they don't even care about our health!
The terrorists don't need to destroy our way of life, our own government is doing that for them!
Wouldn't the terrorist have to have been captured in order for the authorities to have a scan of his bones to compare?
In the case of suicide bombers this is hardly likely to happen, is it?