Research Associate develops a new lie detector

Sophie Van Der Zee

Sophie Van Der Zee

College Research Associate Dr Sophie Van Der Zee and her colleagues have developed a new lie detector based on body movements.

The assumption behind the lie detector is that liars fidget more with all body parts than people telling the truth. The new lie detector is a suit that contains 17 sensors that register movement up to 120 times per second in three dimensions.

The traditional lie detector, the polygraph, has been a subject of controversy. Its reliance on anxiety-based physiological responses is especially problematic, because being strapped to a machine whilst being interviewed by a police officer can cause anxiety regardless of guilt.

The new detector, on the other hand, has a reliability rating of over 80% and the identified changes in body movements are related to feelings of guilt rather than anxiety. Currently, body movements are measured using full-body motion capture suits, but authors are exploring remote alternatives.

Dr Van Der Zee is working as part of a team that includes Prof Ross Anderson (University of Cambridge), Professor Ronald Poppe (Utrecht university) and Professor Paul Taylor (Lancaster university). They presented their paper earlier this month at a conference in Hawaii, and it has attracted widespread attention in the media, including:

26 January 2015