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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Friday, June 7, 2013

Adultery Detection Gadgets of the Near Future

Adultery Detection Gadgets of the Near Future
In the future it may get harder and harder for a husband to cheat on his wife without the wife discovering the fact. Before long there will be new technology that makes it easier than ever to detect whether your spouse is cheating on you.

Below are some devices that will probably be available within the next two decades to help spouses catch their cheating mates. Some may be already available. Others will not be available for a decade or two.

Pen-sized Voice-activated Voice Recorders

Cameras and voice recorders have been getting smaller and smaller as technology progresses.  We can imagine a discreet recording device that should be feasible in a few years; it would look just like an ordinary writing pen.  The gadget would turn on whenever someone starts speaking in a room, record the entire conversation, and turn off a minute after the talking stops. Wives could leave these pen gadgets in a few places around the house, and record their husbands making dates with their secret girlfriends (or also record husbands sneaking a dalliance into the family home).

It might even be possible to make coin-sized versions of such devices, which could be dropped into a husband's jacket, allowing a wife to record all conversations the husband had that day (although deploying such a device would be risky). The device could be programmed to only record during those “honey, I'm working late at the office” hours.

GPS Car Trackers with History Storage

Let us imagine a small device equipped with a magnet, a GPS tracker, and a tiny zip drive for recording data. The device could be planted secretly on any metal surface on a car (such as underneath the car). As the car moved, the device would record the current position of the car, and log it. The device could then be removed, and plugged into a USB port of a computer. On that computer would be a software program that linked to Google Maps, displaying on a street map all locations that the car had visited. This little gadget would be a boon for wives wanting to check on whether their husbands were cheating on them. Repeated visits to the same residential address (outside the couple's home) would be a giveaway, as would visits to a motel.

Tiny Hidden Cameras Attached to Cars

There is another type of infidelity detection device that could be attached discreetly to a car. This device would be a tiny camera, designed to look like some small widget that was part of the car. The device would have some type of motion detection sensor that would cause the camera to start taking pictures only when the car stopped moving. At that moment the camera could take a few pictures (for example, one picture every 30 seconds, for 5 minutes).  A suspicious wife could retrieve the little gadget at a later time, and see whether there were any photos showing signs of infidelity. This type of device would be productive at those times when a cheating husband arrived at a motel with his girlfriend.

Voice and Facial Lie Detection Analysis

Most of us have heard of the big bulky machines used to detect lies, by measuring heart rate and skin resistance. But technologists are working on alternate devices that work off of voice inflections, language analysis, and facial expression analysis. To use, a wife could simply turn on a pen-sized video recorder, and discreetly record her husband while the wife was asking about his activities at some suspicious time (such as cases when the husband claimed to be working late at the office). The resulting video footage would then be transmitted to a sophisticated software program that would look for evidence of voice stress, facial expressions or body language that indicate deception, or language patterns typically used by liars. The software would then give a single number such as 75% indicating the likelihood that the husband was telling the truth.

HPV Swipe Kits with Advanced Strain Analysis

 There is currently no good test for HPV in males, an extremely common sexually transmitted disease which can cause a variety of symptoms including genital warts, and in some cases (after a long incubation period) different types of cancer. There are dozens of different strains of HPV, some of which may produce noticeable symptoms, and some of which may not.  But within two decades we may have advanced home detection devices which not only detect HPV in a male, but also identify which strains of the disease the person has. To use such a kit, a wife might rub a cotton swab over her husband's genital area, and then mail the swab to a lab (the system might even work if the wife swabbed her own hands after touching her husband's genitals during foreplay).  The wife would then be sent back a report of exactly what strains of HPV her husband had. We can imagine wives using such kits as an adultery detection device. A wife could make one gentle swipe of her husband's genital area (while her husband was sleeping) near the time of marriage, and receive a report on her husband's HPV strains. She could do the same thing once a year. If a new strain appeared in the lab report, it would be a telltale sign her husband was cheating.  The wife could then confront the husband: “You had strains 12 and 16 before, but now you have strains 12, 16, and 18! You must be cheating on me!”

DNA Saliva Analyzers

Saliva is an excellent source of DNA. A DNA saliva analyzer would allow a wife to quickly identify how many people contributed to the DNA in a saliva sample. The wife could kiss her husband when he comes home late at night, after a supposed night at the office. The wife would then spit out her saliva into the DNA saliva analyzer. The analyzer might be able to detect that the saliva contained the DNA of three people (such as the husband, the wife, and the husband's girlfriend who he had been kissing a short time ago).

Skin Particle Analyzers

It is estimated that the average human sheds 30,000 skin cells every hour. We can imagine a device that uses this fact to drive an infidelity detector.  A wife would use this device by running a small hand-held device back and forth over her husband's clothes after he had taken them off. The device would suck up small particles from the clothes, and look for skin cells that were deposited from the normal skin shedding of another person.  The device could then analyze the DNA in these skin cells, and classify them (for example, the device might say that were 200 skin cells were from male person X, 100 from  female person Y, and 75 from female person Z).  A suspect pattern would indicate the matter should be investigated further.

Electronic Device Snoopers

There is already quite a bit of technology for snooping on the electronic activity of other members of your household – items such as keystroke loggers. As technology progresses, there will be more and more software of this type. One can imagine advanced devices such as programs that record all electronic transmissions (phone or internet) from a particular house, and devices that help the wife look for any suspicious activity (such as access to a dating web site).

Defense for the Cheater: A Pen-sized “Trust Me” Spray

So far we have only looked at technological goodies that are good for the spouse trying to detect the infidelities of the cheating partner. But will there be no futuristic gadgets for the cheating Don Juan who breaks his marital vows? I can think of one such gadget: a pen-sized oxytocin spray. Oxytocin has been called “the trust molecule” by an article in the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304811304577365782995320366.html).  Now imagine a cheating husband was confronted by his wife, who supplied some reason for suspecting the husband was unfaithful. The husband could then discreetly take out a pen-sized spray that would spray out oxytocin molecules. The husband could then solemnly swear that he had done nothing wrong. Under the influence of the trust-building oxytocin molecules, the wife would be inclined to give her husband the benefit of the doubt.  But it may be quite a few years before such a gadget is available.