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Kinect Facial Recognition Tracks Tongue, Maybe Lies in Future

By Edward Tan, JD on May 31, 2012 6:03 AM

It seems like the Microsoft Kinect is being used for everything but video gaming these days. The latest innovation brings the Kinect's facial recognition capabilities to a whole new level, one that could also change the way lawyers think about lie detection.

The breakthrough comes courtesy of Japanese researchers from the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo. The team there was able to modify the body-wagging accessory to detect tongue movements, PCWorld reports.

The goal of the project is to help rehabilitate people with speech and swallowing disorders, but the application also spells potential in the field of legal discovery.

The system works by using the relative positions of the user's eyes and nose to pinpoint and track the movements of the tongue. The team developed an Asteroids-type shooting game to showcase the software's level of precision. You can check out a video of the demo at the end of this post.

That's all fine and dandy, but what does this all have to do with lie detection and discovery?

Well, it's not far to imagine that a developer could one day use similar principles to create software that can read and interpret facial microexpression.

Those familiar with lie detection methodology will know that reading microexpressions is an effective way to determine if a person is telling the truth. This combined with the relatively cheap Kinect, which retails for about $150, and lawyers the world over could have an effective and affordable method to tell who's lying during a deposition.

Now of course there are obvious admissibility issues in using lie detection evidence in court. Polygraph results have generally not been allowed as evidence.

But simply from a strategic standpoint, a non-invasive means of detecting whether a witness is telling the truth would probably make building cases a lot easier.

It'd be like being able to look into everyone's mind. And if they're leading you down the wrong path, you'll be able to know much faster.

We're still far from such a breakthrough in lie detection. But this new development in the Kinect's facial recognition abilities could be the first sign of greater things to come for attorneys.

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