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