Home Page > Polygraph News

23 February 2004 "It's temperature of nose rather than length that tells if person is lying: Ultra-sensitive infrared cameras could be alternative to polygraph"
Frank Munger reports for the Knoxville News Sentinel:

OAK RIDGE - The detection of deception.

A little-known research group in Oak Ridge is developing an alternative to polygraphs, using subtle temperature changes on a person's face to tell if he or she is lying. Early results are promising.

"We believe this technology that we have evaluated clearly has some excellent utility,'' said Jerry Eisele, director of the Center for Human Reliability Studies.

Eisele said the U.S. intelligence community funded the feasibility project, but he declined to be more specific.

The Oak Ridge team tested the technique - infrared thermography - on 40 volunteer participants. In a carefully controlled test setting, participants were asked to take one of several objects from a crime scene and then try to conceal that information from questioners. An armed police officer was stationed in the room to make the interrogation more realistic.

Researchers used an infrared camera capable of detecting temperature changes of 15/1,000ths of a degree. Taking 10 or more picture frames per second, they were able to evaluate slight changes taking place on a person's face - particularly around the nose, the most responsive area.

The team was able to correctly identify the item in a subject's possession in about four out of five cases. In about 40 percent of the cases, the evidence was very strong.

The success rate compares favorably with polygraph tests, officials said.

"The polygraph has been around for like 67 years and is the culmination of developments (and) research over that time,'' said Don Watkins, coordinator of the Oak Ridge project. "We've achieved similar results to the polygraph in two or three years. That is a significant achievement, and I think we can just get better."

The Center for Human Reliability Studies is part of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, a U.S. Department of Energy facility.

For the thermography project, the center worked with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, drawing upon ORNL's expertise in digital imaging, software development and statistical analysis. The research team also included two polygraph specialists, a plastic surgeon and a psychologist.

The polygraph relies on equipment to monitor blood pressure, pulse, respiration and galvanic skin response while a subject answers questions.

Like the polygraph, infrared thermography monitors physiological changes that may be tied to a subject's stress from deception. However, unlike the polygraph, the technology does not require wires and cuffs and other monitors that may add to the stress level.

"These artificial stressors can compromise results," the Oak Ridge team said in its research report. "The passive nature of thermal imaging renders this concern moot because it does not require any physical contact with the subject. The level of anxiety created by artificial stressors is thereby reduced or eliminated."

Polygraph exams are widely used and widely controversial, and the U.S. government is interested in developing alternatives. That was one of the recommendations of a report last year by the National Research Council, which reviewed the scientific validity of polygraphs.

The premise for using infrared thermography is that the human body's response to deception will leave telltale signs that are detectable in thermal images of the face. It's anticipated skin temperature will drop as blood capillaries restrict as part of the nervous system's response.

"The heat from the core of your body cannot get to the skin as fast as it normally will, so your skin should cool when you start to tell a lie," said Ralph Dinwiddie, a senior research scientist at ORNL's High Temperature Materials Laboratory.

Watkins said researchers looked at several areas of the face, primarily the forehead, cheeks, nose, around the mouth and the sides of the neck.

The team did two studies. The first effort focused on the technology itself and how it picked up changes in face temperature. The second was to evaluate responses among humans in deceptive situations. Researchers solicited volunteers by posting notices at local institutions, such as Methodist Medical Center and Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

In the thermal images of the face, the areas of most significant temperature change are shown in red. The more stable areas are white or lighter in color.

Some changes are associated with normal activities. For instance, the temperature may change around the mouth just from normal talking. The same is true of the area around the nostrils where respiration repeatedly changes the temperature.

During the early stages of the research, Dinwiddie was testing the infrared camera and various emotional responses. The ORNL scientist focused the camera on Watkins' face and asked him to think about the day he heard that President John Kennedy had been shot.

"We just a waited a minute or so and looked at the data," Dinwiddie said. "You could see this big decrease in the temperature of his skin. We said, 'OK, there's something here that can really pick up an emotional response.' "

The Oak Ridge team has submitted proposals to a number of federal agencies to conduct follow-up research and develop the necessary software and data-analysis systems. The technology also would be tested on a larger scale under more diverse conditions.

With sufficient funding, a prototype system could be available within about two years, Watkins said. It could take up to five years to have a system broadly available, he said.

The biggest cost factor is the infrared camera. Current systems cost from $10,000 to $150,000.

"But they're getting smaller and cheaper all the time," Dinwiddie said.

At first blush, this thermal imaging lie detector appears to be fraught with all the same methodological shortcomings as CQT polygraphy.

22 February 2004 Polygraph Manufacturer Stoelting CEO Pleads Guilty to Export Violation
The Chicago Tribune reports in an article titled, "CEO pleads guilty to export charge":

The chief executive officer of a suburban manufacturer and the company itself pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Chicago to trying to export polygraph machines to China without a license.

Lavern Miller, 79, the CEO and chairman of Stoelting Co. of Wood Dale, faces up to 16 months in prison, Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Havey said. The company could be fined up to $500,000.

After the U.S. Department of Commerce denied the company a license to export five polygraphs in 1999, Miller admitted he tried to route the machines through a business associate in Italy. But United Parcel Service notified the Commerce Department.

The machines eventually were to be sold to law enforcement authorities in China, but U.S. officials denied the license because of China's history of human-rights abuses, Havey said.

For discussion of this article, see the message board thread, Polygraph Maker Guilty of Export Violation.

20 February 2004 "Why prosecutors pass up polygraphs: Attorneys say tests are unreliable, used as a tool touted to media"
Mary Flood reports for the Houston Chronicle, providing details of indicted ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's polygraph "test":

Jeff Skilling's lawyers proudly told a mass of media Thursday morning that the ex-CEO had passed a lie detector test but prosecutors indicted him anyway.

Lawyers Bruce Hiler and Daniel Petrocelli later said they even told prosecutors the Enron Task Force could hook Skilling up to a government polygraph and ask him anything they want. But prosecutors declined.

"This shows the Enron Task Force is just out to get Jeff Skilling," said attorney Bruce Hiler. "It's clear there is nothing he could have done to prove his innocence."

What gives? Well, prosecutors generally don't find polygraphs very useful.

"We just don't do that. It's too unreliable," said a seasoned local prosecutor. One prosecutor said they had seen a defendant pass a polygraph but then plead guilty anyway.

Enron task force prosecutors would not comment. But other longtime prosecutors and defense attorneys said polygraph tests like these are usually used or proposed for two reasons -- because a defendant is wildly innocent or seriously in need of a public relations boost.

Several attorneys who practice a lot of criminal law said that lie detector tests generally can't be used as evidence, are not infallible, and people can be naturally good at beating them or taught to do so. But they can be touted to the media.

So they are a dubious tool -- but a tool nonetheless. Hiler and Petrocelli protest that the federal government itself uses lie detector tests to check out agents before hiring them. And that is true, too.

But everybody agrees there are several keys to these lie detector tests. One is the polygraph examiner. Skilling's lawyers employed former FBI polygraph program director and U.S. Army tester Paul K. Minor to try to avoid questions about the examiner's qualification.

Another key is the questions asked. "Lawyers sometimes use this tactic to try to get a dismissal. It doesn't always work. The questions have to be very, very specific with dates and actions to be valid," said Stanley Schneider, a Houston defense lawyer.

Skilling answered four questions back on December 4, 2001, right about the time his former employer filed bankruptcy. The "final call" from the examiner was "no deception indicated."

Here they are:

Q: While president of Enron, were you aware of any improper financial arrangement that was concealed from the Board of Directors?

A: No.

Q: Have all payments made to you by Enron, its affiliates and SPEs, been approved by Enron?

A: Yes.

Q: While president of Enron, did you believe that ChewCo, Jedi and LJM were properly accounted for on Enron's financial statements?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you sell your Enron stock on Sept. 17 because you had inside information that Enron has inaccurately portrayed its financial condition?

A: No.

19 February 2004 Indicted Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling Passed Polygraph reports in an article titled, "Skilling: two tales of one man" that the indicted former CEO of the company whose name has become synonymous with corporate fraud passed a lie detector "test." Excerpt:

Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling's lawyer, accused the government of making his client a "scapegoat," adding Skilling had done "nothing wrong."

Speaking to reporters outside the federal courthouse after his client pleaded not guilty to 36 charges, Petrocelli said Skilling had chosen to take a lie detector test when the Enron scandal broke two years ago "and passed it with flying colors." He said the test was administered by a polygraph expert respected by the FBI.

Of course, what Mr. Petrocelli didn't mention is that anyone can pass a polygraph "test" with flying colors -- regardless of whether one is telling the truth -- through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot reliably detect. Detailed information on countermeasures is available in's free e-book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. Perhaps Mr. Skilling read it, too?

18 February 2004 Calgary, Alberta: "Fire recruits claim test questions too kinky"
Linda Slobodian reports for the Calgary Herald:

An investigation is underway to determine if candidates for Calgary Fire Department jobs are being asked -- in mandatory polygraph tests -- if they have ever had sex with cows or dogs, the city's fire chief has confirmed.

However, with the investigation barely underway, Wayne Morris has dismissed claims of such questioning as "inaccurate" information.

"This is something that has been built into a war story around the coffee table," said the chief.

"We haven't gone the full length of our investigation," said Morris, who added he expects it to be wrapped up within a month.

Herald sources claim candidates are subjected to detailed questioning about sex with animals, as well as "invasive" questions such as: "Have you ever masturbated in public places?" Or: "Have you ever become aroused while changing a baby's diaper?"

At least one candidate allegedly left the lie detector sessions, which can last anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours, in tears.

The Calgary Firefighters Association raised concerns about this line of questioning with the department last fall, said president Scott Wilcox.

"This is a consistent, methodical theme all the way through all of the interviews that we've done. We have questioned almost everybody that has been through this thing," said Wilcox.

"It appears that the threshold question in sexual issues relates to: 'Have you ever had sex illegally?' It means with animals. It means with underage children. It means in inappropriate or public places. It means with prostitutes. They say it -- out loud," he said.

"I cannot think of any circumstances where a firefighter would be in a position where they would be alone with a child, alone with a member of the public, alone anywhere. We work in teams."

Aside from this line of questioning, the firefighters association has opposed parts of the polygraph test that delve into areas including credit history, gang affiliations, spousal abuse and drug and alcohol problems. These are the subjects of questions listed on "personal history statements" that job candidates must answer.

"Lie detectors and personal disclosure are unreasonable, intrusive, unproductive and destructive to morale. We have a problem with this practice, and we'll take that up with management in the same spirit of co-operation that we've always used," said Wilcox, adding the union and department have a good working relationship.

Department employees can be disciplined, and possibly fired, if they speak to the media on policy issues.

Applicants to the Calgary Police Service must take a polygraph. EMS applicants do not. Fire department job applicants are given polygraph tests and videotaped by Cochrane-based Rocky Mountain Polygraph and Investigation Services Ltd., operated by former city police officer Rick Patzer. The tapes remain in Rocky Mountain's possession. Citing privacy issues, the department has chosen to rely on the investigation of hired consultant Gail Skeet, a former city police officer, who refrains from asking newly hired recruits, who are still on probation, pointed questions about cows, dogs and masturbation.

"She's not to put words in their mouth," said Morris, who added viewing the videotapes "may be an option" in the future. They can be viewed only if the recruit requests it and signs a consent form.

"There's a certain privacy component. It's not something we want to do. We all have skeletons in our closets," said Skeet.

She said she is convinced such lines of questioning do not occur.

Acting on one complaint, police polygraph expert Det. Wally Musker reviewed one tape "and found nothing that was inappropriate as far as questions go," said Skeet.

In an effort to get their opinions on the controversial polygraph testing, Skeet has begun to interview 71 probationary recruits from 2003. She has interviewed five so far and plans to interview another four today.

"If an applicant has a grievance, we'd like to know what it is," she said. "We're doing what we can with the limited information we have. The investigation is based on what they tell us."

Skeet said she's heard "through the rumour mill" the claim that a distasteful question involving a dog, peanut butter and genitals is asked.

She defended such a question, if examined in context, saying it "may come up."

"One question leads to another," she said.

"The tester might say, 'This is what other people have told us. . . .' " said Skeet, who added she is a "very strong proponent" of polygraph testing.

Why sexual questions? "They speak to character. They speak to very serious unlawful acts," she said.

Polygraph testing was implemented after former Calgary firefighter Douglas Henry Eastaugh was charged with several pimping-related offences following police raids on his home, the fire hall where he worked and an escort agency. His trial is expected to begin next month.

Morris said recruiting problems arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted a flood of poor job candidates.

"Are they a fit? Are they honest? Are these people you would trust with your own children? We're in and out of private property and homes with access to everything on a daily and nightly basis," said Morris.

If a sexual inquisition with a polygraph is appropriate for firefighters, then why not then for all municipal employees? For discussion of the issues raised in this article, see the message thread, Calgary Fire Fighters Poly Saga Continues.

6 February 2004 Iraqi Fabricator Passed Polygraph
False intelligence information provided by an Iraqi informant that Iraq possessed mobile biological warfare laboratories was believed in part because the source had passed a polygraph "test." The bogus information was used by the Bush Administration in making the case for war, and was cited by Secretary of State Colin Powell in a pre-war speech before the United Nations.

In an article titled, "Intelligence officials warned that Iraq WMD information was iffy," Jonathan S. Landay of the Knight Ritter Washington Bureau reports that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had doubts about the defector and had speculated that he may have been taught to beat the polygraph. These doubts were, however, ignored:

WASHINGTON - Dubious intelligence about Iraq's biological weapons programs found its way into the Bush administration's case for a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq despite the fact that officials warned in May 2002 that some of the information might be unreliable or fabricated.

The charge that Iraq had mobile biological warfare research laboratories came solely from a defector provided to U.S. intelligence officials by Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi, said senior U.S. officials, revealing the oversight for the first time on Thursday. The officials, some of whom are critics of Chalabi, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the intelligence remains classified.

Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, is a favorite of pro-war civilian officials in the Pentagon but is deeply distrusted by many rank-and-file professionals in the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, who worried that some of the defectors they produced might be Iraqi double agents.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, which debriefed the defector, flagged the information he provided as questionable in 2002. Top DIA officials helped draft an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, on Iraq's weapons programs and reviewed Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council but never raised their own agency's doubts about the source, said two senior officials.

"It was never made clear to us that" the information was dubious, said a senior State Department official.

A DIA spokesman didn't return a telephone call for comment.

The snafu, said another senior official, also a critic of Chalabi, raises the possibility that Chalabi and others, possibly including Saddam Hussein's own intelligence service, may have tried to deceive the United States about the state of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.

The Iraqis, the official said, may have tried to deter a U.S.-led attack by making it appear that they were ready to use chemical and biological weapons. Meanwhile, Chalabi and others may have tried to encourage a U.S.-led attack by making it appear that Iraq was an imminent threat to American interests.

Francis Brooke, a spokesman for Chalabi in Washington, said he was unable to comment because he was unaware of the specific defectors.

Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet referred directly to the issue in his Georgetown University speech on Thursday.

"We recently discovered that relevant analysts in the (intelligence) community missed a notice that identified a source we had cited as providing information that, in some cases was unreliable, and in other cases, was fabricated," he said without elaborating.

A CIA spokesman declined further comment.

The senior U.S. officials said questions arose in mid-2002 about the veracity of the defector who provided the information about alleged mobile biological research laboratories.

They didn't identify the individual, but Powell told the U.N. Security Council that he was an Iraqi major.

The DIA had the man undergo a polygraph examination, which he passed, according to the senior officials.

Even so, the DIA sent the "fabrication notice" to other intelligence agencies, warning that the defector might have been trained to dupe a polygraph and that his information should be considered unreliable.

"There were still questions about whether he was being honest or truthful," said one official. "A notice went out that maybe he was fabricating."

The matter was among a number of problems uncovered by an internal CIA review of Iraq intelligence led by Richard Kerr, a former deputy agency director, that was ordered by Tenet.

Reporting on issues raised in CIA Director George Tenet's 5 Feb. 2004 speech at Georgetown University in an article titled, "Tenet: Bush Not Warned Saddam Posed 'Imminent Threat,'" Los Angeles Times correspondents Bob Drogin and Greg Miller report:

The most damaging disclosure was Tenet's admission for the first time that the CIA had allowed "fabricated" information from an "unreliable" Iraqi defector about suspected mobile germ weapons labs to appear in two of the key prewar assessments: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's dramatic presentation to the U.N. Security Council one year ago Friday, and the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate provided to members of Congress shortly before they voted to approve America's use of force in Iraq. The administration insisted at the time that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was seeking more weapons of mass destruction.

An intelligence official said later that the Iraqi National Congress, then an opposition group headed by exile Ahmed Chalabi, had delivered the defector to the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency for debriefing. Although the DIA initially circulated the informant's claims about mobile labs, the Pentagon agency later backtracked and warned the intelligence community that "this individual was possibly fabricating or embellishing his information."

But for reasons still unclear, analysts "didn't notice" the warnings, the official said, and failed to prevent the bogus claims from becoming part of Powell's presentation and the official weapons estimate for Congress.

The CIA long had suspicions of Chalabi's group for feeding exaggerated claims from unreliable informants to bolster their case for ousting Saddam. In the mid-1990s, the CIA and the State Department had severed their connections with Chalabi, but he retained close ties to influential Pentagon officials. In this case, the official said, the CIA accepted the defector because he had passed a polygraph test and his information appeared consistent with other intelligence.

28 January 2004 "Telling the Truth: Local Detective is Trained Polygraphist"
L. Roberson reports for the central Ohio Chillicothe Gazette:

It's his job to distinguish fact from fiction.

Forget the darting eyes or nervous twitch -- Tony Wheaton has another way to determine when a suspect is lying. He straps them to a machine and charts each time their heart skips a beat.

After more than 300 hours of classroom instruction and on-the-job training with the New York-based National Training Center of Polygraph Science, the Ross County Sheriff's detective is now the only member in the department certified as an expert polygraphist. Before Wheaton completed his training, the department either consulted a retired examiner in Waverly or was put on a waiting list for a Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification test in London.

The added responsibility of issuing the test and potentially gaining a confession does not bother Wheaton.

"It will make my job a lot busier, but I look at it as a good thing," he said. "Not only will I be able to help convict the right person, but I can also clear a wrongly accused person, too. When the police identify you as a suspect but you know you're innocent, nothing feels better than to take a polygraph test and pass it."

The polygraph machine is widely used in law enforcement to eliminate suspects, but Sheriff Ron Nichols said it is rare a small-town department can boast an in-house authority.

"The training is just so intensive, few men actually make it to 'expert,' and to know we have one right here in the department will be a tremendous help," he said.

Nichols said he is confident the test will not only discern truth from lies in interrogations but prompt suspects to confess when they realize they can't lie their way out of the investigation. More confessions, he said, will lead to stronger cases for the prosecution.

"There's no question a solid confession is like a slam dunk in court," he said.

The test uses the body's involuntary reactions to detect levels of deceptions. Wheaton said after he places a blood pressure cuff and heart monitor on the subject's arm and chest, he explains the exam and begins asking scripted questions to gain a reference point for truthful and deceptive answers.

"By then, most suspects realize they are screwed," he said. "They start sweating, fidgeting and slumping their shoulders because, at that point, they know I know when they are lying."

Once the test begins, Wheaton said, he asks a series of 10 "yes" and "no" questions designed to ascertain a person's involvement in a crime. Asking the right questions can have just as much impact on the accuracy of the test, he said.

"With a poorly worded question or one that is not emotionally charged enough, you will not get the psychological reactions you want," he said.

While the admissibility of these tests is questioned in some court cases, Mike Corwin, former police chief of the Waverly Police Department and the next closest expert polygraphist, said it is highly unlikely a person can beat a polygraph test.

"We look at physical characteristics you can't change or alter," he said. "Unless you are a complete sociopath, the tests are pretty accurate."

Corwin said only one in about 1,000 people can actually lie their way through a polygraph test.

However, the average person is no match for Wheaton. He was trained at a school founded by Dick Arthur, the same polygraphist the federal government used during the Iran-Contra affair and the John F. Kennedy assassination.

The notion that polygraph results can be used to "clear" a suspect is a dangerous delusion: polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis whatsoever. And despite Mike Corwin's claim that only one in about 1,000 people can beat the polygraph, peer-reviewed research has shown that half of deceptive subjects provided with a maximum of 30 minutes of instruction passed. The foregoing article is a good example of the kind of credulous, uncritical journalism that helped establish the myth of the lie detector in American culture.

17 January 2004 "Rule on marijuana sparks rift for police"
This article by Albuquerque Tribune correspondent Aubrey Hovey includes a discussion of the Albuquerque Police Department's policy of polygraphing applicants in an attempt to ascertain their truthfulness with regard to past drug use. Excerpt:

A marijuana-induced "buzz" is floating around the Albuquerque Police Department.

Past drug use by potential police recruits has caused a rift between Professional Standards Division Captain Ron Paiz and Jeff Remington, the police union president.

Paiz proposed changing a policy which disqualifies police recruits if they have smoked marijuana in the last three years. He wants to reduce the number of years from three to two.

Paiz, who proposed the change to APD Chief Gil Gallegos in October, called the old policy "outdated." He said the department should mirror other law enforcement agencies around the state that accept recruits under the two-year policy.

Gallegos is reviewing the proposal, Paiz said.

Remington disagrees with the change, saying the new policy would lower the department's standards. He said the only reason for the change would be to attract more recruits - the wrong kind.

"Why lower the standards unless you're trying to attract a group of people that you can't recruit unless you lower the standards?" Remington said Friday.

Paiz insists the department's ongoing recruitment efforts have nothing to do with the proposal.

"That's not the intent of the policy change," Paiz said. "The change is to come in line with the times."

However, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, the New Mexico State Police Department and the Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety disqualify any applicant who has smoked marijuana within the last three years, department officials said.

Paiz said the department's policy 30 years ago said recruits who had ever smoked marijuana would be disqualified.

When Paiz entered the department about 20 years ago, he said, the policy changed from ever smoking the drug to having smoked it within the past 18 months.

That remained in effect for 12 years, he said, before a lieutenant's efforts led to the policy now in place.

Recruits are required to take a polygraph test while answering the question of how long it has been since they last smoked marijuana, Paiz said.

A former Sandia National Laboratories scientist said using the polygraph to screen employees is a bad idea.

Alan Zelicoff, a former senior scientist in the center for national security and arms control, said he has researched the polygraph and its purpose since 1995.

"In the setting of screening a candidate for employment, the polygraph has no place," said Zelicoff, now a private consultant.

Zelicoff's research, in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences, shows polygraphs reject the testimony of those telling the truth instead of identifying liars.

He said APD is making a mistake by using the test as a drug-screening tool.

"They're deceiving themselves," he said. "If we had medical tests that had the same failure rate as a polygraph, then physicians that use those tests would be convicted of malpractice."

In discussions with Gallegos about the proposal, Remington said, union representatives will stress safety and upholding high standards.

"We're going to sit down and we're going to talk about this, and . . . hopefully we'll get the numbers up in the department," Remington said. "Both sides want to see not only Albuquerque safer with more police patrolling, but you want to have officers taking dangerous calls with the proper back up that they need."

16 January 2004 "Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security"
R. Colin Johnson reports for the EE Times. Excerpt:

Portland, Ore. -- It may not be long before you hear airport security screeners ask, "Do you plan on hijacking this plane?" A U.S. company using technology developed in Israel is pitching a lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers, and its inventors say it can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to that simple question in real-time.

The technology, developed by mathematician Amir Lieberman at Nemesysco in Zuran, Israel, for military, insurance claim and law enforcement use, is being repackaged and retargeted for personal and corporate applications by V Entertainment (New York).

"Our products were originally for law enforcement use -- we get all our technology from Nemesys-co -- but we need more development time [for that application]," said Dave Watson, chief operating officer of parent V LLC ( "So we decided to come out sooner with consumer versions at CES."

The company showed plain sunglasses outfitted with the technology at the 2004 International CES in Las Vegas earlier this month. The system used green, yellow and red color codes to indicate a "true," "maybe" or "false" response. At its CES booth, V Entertainment analyzed the voices of celebrities like Michael Jackson to determine whether they were lying.

Besides lie detection, Watson said, the technology "can also measure for other emotions like anxiety, fear or even love." Indeed V Entertainment offers Pocket PC "love detector" software that can attach to a phone line or work from recorded tapes. It's available for download at Instead of color-coded LEDs, a bar graph on the display indicates how much the caller to whom you are speaking "loves" you. V Entertainment claims the love detector has demonstrated 96 percent accuracy. A PC version is due next month.

The heart of Nemesysco's security-oriented technology is a signal-processing engine that is said to use more than 8,000 algorithms each time it analyzes an incoming voice waveform. In this way it detects levels of various emotional states simultaneously from the pitch and speed of the voice.

The law enforcement version achieved about 70 percent accuracy in laboratory trials, according to V Entertainment, and better than 90 percent accuracy against real criminal subjects at a beta test site at the U.S. Air Force's Rome Laboratories.

"It is very different from the common polygraph, which measures changes in the body, such as heart rate," said Richard Parton, V's chief executive officer. "We work off the frequency range of voice patterns instead of changes in the body." The company said that a state police agency in the Midwest found the lie detector 89 percent accurate, compared with 83 percent for a traditional polygraph.

See the message board discussion thread, Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) for related discussion. Home Page > Polygraph News