New Infrared-Camera Technology Can Tell If You’re Drunk

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Could a new infrared-camera technology render traditional drunk tests obsolete? Maybe, Wired UK reports. This could be good news for cops, as well as the uncoordinated among us, who were never very good at walking in a straight line even when stone cold sober, anyway.

Wired points to a paper published in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics by computer scientists Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos of the University of Patras in Greece that outlines two new algorithms that may change the way we identify the drunks around us.

(READ: Study: Thermal Imaging Could Be Used to Hack ATM Codes)

The first algorithm utilizes thermal-image scans, since alcohol causes blood-vessel dilation. Koukiou and Anastassopoulos compared scans from subjects who were inebriated against sober subjects. In order to compensate for human, environmental and equipment variables, a second algorithm is used. This analyzes parts of the subject’s face: alcohol consumption will cause a person’s nose to become warmer, while their forehead stays cooler.

The paper suggests that this system of thermal-imaging could be especially useful to police officers, who often have to rely on purely behavioral clues when stopping someone. The cameras would also come in handy for nightclubs and bars, Complex points out. Since it’s unlikely that most people carry around breathalyzers, a quick scan could be a valuable tool for bar-goers to figure out when it’s time to call a cab.

MORE: You’re Probably Drunk if You Pee on the Cops’ Box of Breathalyzers

36 comments
NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

But perhaps other things could create the same effect as drinking alcohol and this will result in many false positives? What's so difficult about the breathalyzer? They're pretty cheap at $100 or less.

ttoe
ttoe

I don't understand is if they already won't carry around breathalyzers, what makes you think they're going to carry around these specialized cameras? What, because it's called a camera, instead of a breathalyzer, that's going to make all the difference?

ttoe
ttoe

Notice how the picture only shows the man's upper half.

ttoe
ttoe

Why?

We have breathalyzers, blood tests, and a simple coordination test.

There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to go all TSA invasion of privacy just to see if some random driver has alcohol in their blood. Police don't have a breathalyzer with them? Well get one. It's not that hard.

This is just another example of fixing something that isn't broken. I'm sure liberal cities will get these things rather quickly because they're all about unnecessary costs and invasions of privacy while Conservative cities just won't see the reason for the cost, nor the invasion of privacy.

Juno Atkings
Juno Atkings

Using thermal imaging to determine whether a person is drunk or not is silly. Too many other things exist that can cause a person to exhibit the SAME symptoms.

ArtInChicago
ArtInChicago

Doesn't blood pressure medications, nitric oxide production also cause blood vessel dialation?

Dawgs4ever
Dawgs4ever

Anything that helps me recognize when I've gone from .04 to .09 would be greatly appreciated.  Then I know when to call a cab!

genk71
genk71

A very good friend of mine got killed last year along with her 15 year old son by a drunk driver. She had 2 other kids in her car who luckily didn't get killed one of them her 2 yro son, his leggs were broken. I never cried in my life like I did for her because she finally was happy and her life and kids were turning great. She married really young and had 2 boys who she was raising by herself since the father left them. She had gotten married couple years ago to a wonderful man and had another boy. The guy was such a good father to all the kids and he adored her. We all hate the cops until a tragedy touches a loved one than we start thinking differently. When I found out on facebook I couldn't stop sobbing and I couldn't talk and explain to my husband and kids why I was crying. She was one of these people that always had a smile and something good to say to everyone. She was a beautiful person inside and out and is loved and missed so much :(((((

genk71
genk71

A very good friend of mine got killed last year along with her 15 year old son by a drunk driver. She had 2 other kids in her car who luckily didn't get killed one of them her 2 yro son, his leggs were broken. I never cried in my life like I did for her because she finally was happy and her life and kids were turning great. She married really young and had 2 boys who she was raising by herself since the father left them. She had gotten married couple years ago to a wonderful man and had another boy. The guy was such a good father to all the kids and he adored her. We all hate the cops until a tragedy touches a loved one than we start thinking differently. When I found out on facebook I couldn't stop sobbing and I couldn't talk and explain to my husband and kids why I was crying. She was one of these people that always had a smile and something good to say to everyone. She was a beautiful person inside and out and is loved and missed so much :(((((

Coaster26
Coaster26

And that drunk driver wasn't stopped when he left his home by a brethalyzer, a cop, a good friend who took away the keys or anything else, and he wouldn't have been stopped by a cop with this device either.

I am sorry for your loss, but this device is just a nifty gadget, it wouldn't have saved your friend and it won't save the lives of anyone else. Drunk drivers aren't generally people who leave bars drunk, they are people who get drunk at home and go out driving.

genk71
genk71

A very good friend of mine got killed last year along with her 15 year old son by a drunk driver. She had 2 other kids in her car who luckily didn't get killed one of them her 2 yro son, his leggs were broken. I never cried in my life like I did for her because she finally was happy and her life and kids were turning great. She married really young and had 2 boys who she was raising by herself since the father left them. She had gotten married couple years ago to a wonderful man and had another boy. The guy was such a good father to all the kids and he adored her. We all hate the cops until a tragedy touches a loved one than we start thinking differently. When I found out on facebook I couldn't stop sobbing and I couldn't talk and explain to my husband and kids why I was crying. She was one of these people that always had a smile and something good to say to everyone. She was a beautiful person inside and out and is loved and missed so much :(((((

geminimoon
geminimoon

If this technology is accurate then I think every employer should make you walk through one before you go to work...  

ttoe
ttoe

 Why, they don't even need this. If they really need too, they can just breathalyze people.

For crying out loud! What is wrong with you people? Just because we can doesn't mean we should. There's no point for this that isn't already covered by another more effective method.

Juno Atkings
Juno Atkings

A ridiculous idea as some folks are required to take medicines or have conditions that give the very same symptoms...this is not a well thought out idea. Anyone care to be sent home or for that matter, unjustly labeled a drunk by some machine taking body temperatures, for taking your medicine? Some conditions even present these symptoms yet a person isn't necessarily drunk nor is it proof they have had anything alcoholic to drink. This is pretty stupid, really.

Dawgs4ever
Dawgs4ever

Sure.   Let's live in a MORE big brotherish world.  Sheeeesh.

geminimoon
geminimoon

You can't smoke pot on your own time because of required drug tests.

But nothing is done to stop folks that are so hung over or drunk at work that they can't even stand on their own two feet...

Tim Edwards
Tim Edwards

This is dumb science. Alcohol speeds up your heart, too. - therefore, a person with a fast heart is drunk.

Nicholas R Collins
Nicholas R Collins

I just think that this article is to short to really tell what is going to happen.  Makes me wonder if police officers are going to be given this without us knowing....  That probably won't happen and the biggest question is if they start using this then how well will it hold up in court...!  For everything that is out there we have to higher the highest paid lawyer to cover us and the poorer you are the less form of representation you have... which will clear you of any wrong doing if you have the $$.... or know someone in the system...  yeah, we all know how it works...  it's "the system"....

Larry Larkin
Larry Larkin

Now the cops will have a toy to play with before they tazer you.

Jon Sh
Jon Sh

the best way is still the traditional way - asking if you are drunk and immediately sticking their nose in your mouth to smell your breath

ttoe
ttoe

 Or have a machine do it for you, i.e. a breathalyzer.

Crashoran
Crashoran

Um..What about people that take niacin supplements? Niacin dilates blood vessels and brings blood towards the skin.

Fast track
Fast track

Why dont we just put breathalyzers in peoples cars only to use when its first started, if something happens there would have had to been a sober person around to help them so they both share the equal blame. Also it wont make us feel like we are being punched in the gut again by authorities.

ttoe
ttoe

 Or better yet, a policeman could simply carry a breathalyzer on their person, like they do a 9mm or a belt.

Mark Scott
Mark Scott

Great, another way for police to fill their pockets with citizen's money.

Mike Garza
Mike Garza

Darn police and their gold cars, hassling people. They should just let drunks drive, I for one love sharing the road with them.

ttoe
ttoe

 You must be a liberal, you don't things through very well.

There is absolutely no reason for these, nor for the TSA level violation of privacy when we have the far more effective breathalyzers and coordination tests that won't false-flag someone with a medical condition or certain medications, or who just finished working out.

Furthermore, you think if police won't carry around tiny little breathalyzer, they're going t o carry around these special cameras?

ttoe2
ttoe2

I think you missed the point of Mike's comment. He was merely commenting on the ridiculousness of the idea that drunk driving arrests are a purely "for profit" enterprise and, what would seem to be, an endorsement of drunk driving by Mark. He never claimed to be for the technology. Also, I love your condescension and indignation. You must be the smartest human on earth ttoe. 

Justice4Sarah
Justice4Sarah

I always thought the 'city' received the money when police issues a citation, but don't take my word for it, I ain't right

Jroid
Jroid

 Typically the county gets the bulk of the money. For example, of our $109 speeding tickets, $9 goes back to the city, and THAT goes into the General Fund from which we get our budget.  But, so do a lot of other city departments.  So best case scenario, of a $109 ticket, the police department might get a whopping $3.  We're not in the business of making money.  It's really just a common defense mechanism for someone to justify why they got a ticket, charge, etc.

Coaster26
Coaster26

Hm. What about people with diseases that cause vasoconstriction or dialation? Rosacea or Reynauds syndrome, for example? What about putting a cold pack over your face before you get out of the car to get 'read'? Interesting, but, I suspect, not fool proof.

ttoe
ttoe

 Not to mention that these are an invasion of privacy.  Notice how we only see the upper half of that man in the picture.

Coaster26
Coaster26

LOL. So now we can have a device to tell if a person is 'heated' in other ways, too. It will add an interesting new twist to assault trials. "But she was asking for it, see, look at the thermal imaging from the time" Yes, it definitely shows she was heated in the right areas....Defense: "My client had the flu, and had the heat on high in the car with all the vents aimed at her body in various points, perhaps that is what you are seeing"

Okay, waiting for the 'shut it down' comments ;)