EEG developed for 'mind-reading' interrogation

EEG brain wave detection devices could be used by military and law enforcers to determine the intentions of an individual – and decipher whether they are guilty of crimes.

That is the view of one neuroscience company specialising in EEG technology, or to give it its full tongue-twisting name, electroencephalography.

The technology has been around for some time and has been used in labs around the world for experiments in measuring brain wave patterns. It is less intrusive than other techniques, and involves placing measuring electrodes on a subject’s head, then using a conductive gel to help receive signals.

The technology is even being touted for brain computer interfaces.

Veritas Scientific, on the other hand, believes that security and law enforcement applications is the best use for the technology.

Veritas CEO Eric Elbot may be somewhat hyperbolic in claiming that the “last realm of privacy is your mind”, and that the firm’s technology “will invade that”, as the EEG signals that are picked up are fairly weak. While full on mind reading might not be possible, EEG systems are able to detect spikes in brain behaviour.  

For example, a criminal could be shown a picture of a crime scene, and by detecting a specified area of the brain, it would be possible to gather evidence that they recognised the area.

Speaking with IEEE, Elbot said that the firm is now testing a ‘helmet’ that could be used alongside other investigative methods to uncover the truth.

It may be some time until there is a working device and a viable system for asking questions is in place.  But there are expectations that with EEG technology becoming increasingly portable there is potential for the average smartphone user to have access to a ‘mind-reading’ device at some point in the future.