UAE: Brain scanners to help police detect if a suspect is lying

Another innovation on display at the World Police Summit is the smart police cap


Nasreen Abdulla

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KT photos: Nasreen Abdulla
KT photos: Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Wed 6 Mar 2024, 5:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 6 Mar 2024, 6:37 PM

A brain scanner that can detect whether a suspect was at a crime scene will soon be used by police in the UAE. The machine was unveiled at the World Police Summit (WPS) that began in Dubai on Tuesday.

With a headset that has electrodes to monitor brain activity and two connected wires with clips that attach to a person’s ears, the headset has several markers which will be measured.

“It is actually better than a polygraph machine,” said a spokesperson at the Ministry of Interior stand, where the device is exhibited. “The polygraph machine measures a person’s blood pressure, pulse and other physiological factors, many of which can be controlled by someone who can lie easily. However, brain activity is not something that can be as easily controlled.”

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According to the representatives, the machine will be attached to a suspect’s brain. They will then be shown several photos from a crime scene. If the suspect was at the scene or has seen it before, the brain activity will be different to what it will be if it is new information to them.

Once the activity is complete, the headset will send a full report, which will detail how the brain reacted to each of the photograph and what this indicates in terms of whether the person is guilty or not.

Smart police cap

Another technology displayed at the event was a smart police cap. Equipped with a sensor to monitor a police officer’s focus, the cap will be connected to an app. From the app, an officer will be able to decide for how long he wants to test his focus for. Once the test time is done, the officer will get a report from the app about his focus levels and how to improve them.

“Most of the mishaps that happen during a police officer’s shift happens because of their lack of focus,” said a spokesperson at the Abu Dhabi Police stand, where the cap was displayed. “This innovation is an attempt to improve their focus.”

The cap, which was developed and designed in Abu Dhabi, is pending its patent and could soon be trialled in forces across the UAE.

Ahead of times

ADX-listed public company Presight provides AI solutions to law enforcement forces around the UAE among other activities and according to Senior Government Technical Advisor Martin Yates, the company has to constantly do research to pre-empt threats.

“New threat, new vulnerabilities and new weaknesses will always be exploited by forces,” he said. “We need to counteract that and to do that we need to think ahead and build ahead of what is expected to come out. That research involves bringing in cybersecurity and government agencies to look at world threats. Cybercrime is one of the biggest growth areas by far. So it is essential we build ahead of the curve and build agile systems so that we can change them quickly and make adjustments when new threats emerge.”

One of the solutions Presight offers — Lifesaver — improves the emergency response time of first responders while another, Vitruvian, allows users to use simple language to derive insights from a complex set of data without the need for a data analyst, drastically increasing efficiency.


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