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DARPA to develop biometric sensor capable of seeing through walls, pulling your heartstrings

Amar Toor, @amartoo
November 21, 2011
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The feds may soon know the way to your heart. Literally. Earlier this month, the forward-thinkers over at DARPA announced plans to develop new technologies capable of identifying human life through walls. The program, known as "Biometrics-at-a-distance," would essentially combine two pre-existing Pentagon projects: the Radar Scope, a device that can see through walls, and 2009's LifeReader, a system that uses Doppler radar to detect heartbeats. Though the military already employs a handful of devices to help soldiers see humans from behind walls, DARPA apparently thinks there's room for improvement. Most contemporary technologies, for example, only work from a maximum distance of eight meters, and aren't as accurate within more densely populated areas. DARPA wants its next project to extend this range beyond ten meters, while sharpening its ability to penetrate thicker obstructions. The agency also wants its sensor to identify individual humans using electrocardiography, which traces the heart's electrical activity. According to DARPA, this could allow users to pinpoint up to ten people at the same time, which could pay dividends during disaster rescue efforts, military operations, or your next Eyes Wide Shut party.

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