Minipost (New Idea): Improve discussions in noisy bars (Hearwear, tabletop concept project from IDEO)

March 29, 2009

IDEO is proposing a new concept of making you heard in a noisy (as usual) bar atmosphere. The table is equiped with a smart audio device which broadcasts theĀ  conversation around the table by using small headphones.

Hearwear – Tabletop concept project from IDEO on Vimeo.


The lie detector (polygraphy)

February 28, 2009
Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909)

Cesare Lombroso, a Jewish criminologist born in Italy (November 6, 1835), is the first person (of which records exist) which believed that he could determine if a person was lying by monitoring changes in that person’s blood pressure.

Perhaps Lombroso was the first to look for physical signs of a person lying because he knew so much about the human body. He graduated the Faculty of Medicine, University of Pavia at 23 and soon after worked in the Military Medical Corps, when he had his first touch with the criminal minds. Lombroso studied intensively the criminal mindset afterwards, and believed that criminals were born that way. He even believed that a set of physical criteria such as large jaws, forward projection of jaw, low sloping foreheads and a few others indicated traits of a criminal. Of course, such hypothesis are discarded today, but at that time, forensic medicine was at its beginnings and such theories were not uncommon.

In the end, it seems that Lombroso did have some success with his method of lie detection, and he helped the Italian police in some cases.

One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I never lie because I don’t fear anyone. You only lie when you’re afraid.
– John Gotti

The method was further improved by William Marston, a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Harvard University, who was also famous for having created the comic book Wonder Woman under the alias “Charles Moulton”. Marston measured variations in both the systolic blood pressure and respiration cycles. His method was simple: he measured the subject’s vitals after each question asked, and of course to be able to see variations the interrogator would have to ask both the questions where the interrogator wanted to find out the truth and control questions that both the interrogator and the responder knew were true. He was also the first to use the instrument in the US court thus establishing a legal precedent (legal case article).

Some suggest that it was Marston’s wife, Elisabeth, the one that suggested the link between her emotional state and her blood pressure.

We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.
– Tad Williams

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