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New Thermal Imaging System Could Help Detect Drunk People

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File photo of an  thermographic device (Photo credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP / Getty Images)

File photo of an thermographic device (Photo credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP / Getty Images)

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PATRAS, Greece (CBS Seattle) – A new use for old technology could give police a hand in spotting drunks in public.

In a paper that was published in the “International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics,” Greek scientists Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos are developing new algorithms that will gather data about blood-vessels on a subject’s face.

The rosy red glow that alcohol gives drinkers is really blood vessels dilating on the skin’s surface, which changes the temperature of a person’s face. Thermal imaging devices can detect those changes.

What Koukiou and Anastassopoulos propose is taking that information and then running it through a comparison of thermal imaging scans of drunk and sober individuals.

Another algorithm they came up with is used to map the person’s face. When drinking a person’s nose becomes warmer as their forehead becomes cooler.

The paper recommends that this type of technology be used by police departments.

This isn’t the first time similar technology was utilized. During the 2003 SARS epidemic, thermal imaging was used to detect infection.

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