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truthVeritas Scientific, based in Virginia, markets a truth detection system called HandShake for soldiers to diagnose the trust-worthiness of people they may have to work with. The technology was developed by Derrell Small, who served as a U.S. Army counterintelligence agent in 2003 and 2004.

Here’s how the HandShake system works: A U.S. soldier would take, say, an Iraqi officer and outfit the subject with a special helmet that can pick up both electromagnetic signals (EEG) and perform functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRs) which images blood flow changes in the brain. The soldier would put the subject through a battery of tests including image recognition. Most of the pictures in the tests would be benign, but a few would contain scenes that a potential insider threat would remember, possibly including faces, locations or even bomb parts. The key is to select these images very, very carefully to cut down on the potential false positives.

When you recognize a picture that’s of emotional significance to you, your brain experiences a 200 to 500 microsecond hiccup, during which the electromagnetic activity drops, measurable via EEG. The reaction, referred to as the P300 response, happens too fast for the test subject to control, so the subject can’t game the system.