Daily Israel Report

New 'Stress Detector' Can Find who is Sweating

Hebrew U students presented at the Presidential Conference a technology which can detect a stressful person from far away.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 6/23/2011, 9:55 PM / Last Update: 6/24/2011, 2:13 AM

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem presented at the Israeli Presidential Conference a unique exhibition about groundbreaking, interdisciplinary research taking place at the university. Visitors were able to form an unmediated impression of the research currently underway in university laboratories.

One of the technologies presented was a remote sensor that can pick up on a person’s mental and emotional states by sensing their sweat.

The invention is based on research which has found that the sweat ducts in the human skin constitute an array of small antennas operating in the hundreds of gigahertz frequency range.

“We’re using this idea in order to see if we can communicate with sweat ducts as if they were antennas,” explained Itay Chayut of the Hebrew University.

“This could be used for medical diagnostics on one hand and in the field of homeland security on the other,” he added. “For example, the sensor could detect that a person in an airport is more stressed than another person and then maybe the security guards can be told to put an eye on them.”

Chayut said that there is a great interest in the project, especially by the homeland security field. He noted that there is some controversy over issues of privacy.

“There is a debate over whether it is ethical or not to examine a person from afar without his knowing about it,” he said, adding that the bottom line is “we’re doing science.”