Wonderful Engineering

The Pentagon Now Has A Laser That Can Identify People Based On Their Cardiac Signature

Did you know that every person has a unique cardiac signature that can be used for identifying us, and this can be done from a distance as well? Well, the US Special Forces do, and the Pentagon has developed a device for US Special Forces after they requested it. The device is called Jetson and is capable of identifying people using their unique cardiac signature by making use of an infrared laser.

The Jetson can work from a distance of 200 meters, but by improving the laser, longer distances can be made possible. Steward Remaly, Pentagon’s Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office, said, ‘I don’t want to say you could do it from space, but longer ranges should be possible.’ Jetson makes use of a technique known as laser vibrometry for detecting the surface movement that is caused by the heartbeat. This allows Jetson to identify people even if they are wearing regular clothing such as a shirt or a jacket. However, it won’t work with clothing that is thicker such as a winter coat.

Cardiac signatures are already used for security purposes. A Canadian company by the name of Nymi has come up with a wrist-worn device that can be used instead of fingerprint identification. The technology has already been trialed by the Halifax building society in the UK. Jetson builds on this approach by Nymi and checks for vibration from a distance in structures such as wind turbines.

Jetson features a special gimbal that allows for an invisible and quarter-size laser spot to be kept on the target. It takes about thirty seconds to obtain a good return, so for now, the device is only effective if the target is sitting or standing. Remaly’s team has developed algorithms that allow them to pull cardiac signature from the laser signals. Remaly claims that the gadget can provide more than 95% accuracy under good conditions while stating that this can be improved even further.

What do you think of this identification via cardiac signature?