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Thermal Imaging Technology Used To Detect Drunks

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We can learn a great deal about ourselves as a culture and as a civilization by the different inventions we have designed and innovated upon. For example, in the realm of mental health or addiction treatment, the development and production of new drugs are sometimes contrived to help with the problems older drugs have created. It is encouraging on the one hand, seeing the medical industry working to mitigate the adverse effects of drug abuse, but discouraging on the other hand to be aware that the problem continues at all. It is along this line of thinking that yet another unique innovation is making headlines in the world of intoxication.

Thermal Imaging Technology: Policing Intoxication

At the Greek University of Patras, two scientists are researching the use of thermal imaging to be able to scan people’s faces for excessive alcohol intake and overt intoxication. The idea is to be able to incorporate this technology into public security cameras, enabling a more objective assessment of potential problems caused by inebriated patrons. The basic premise is that computer software with thermal imaging programming as been augmented with algorithms to measure pixilation patterns on people’s faces. Basically, your face’s temperature betrays the amount you drank. Alcohol drank to excess leaves a thermal pattern of specific blood vessel “hot spots” on a person’s face, thus displaying temperature disparities indicating intoxication.

“Writing in the Internation Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics (yes, there is such a journal), the team explains how such a system sidesteps the subjective judgements one might make based on behavior and so allow authorities to have definitive evidence of [intoxication].” So, in a nutshell: public places may soon have security cameras that utilize thermal imaging to see how drunk you are, thus prompting authorities to intervene if necessary. Sounds like the plot to some dystopian novel.

Constraining Addictions

As invasive to personal privacy this may seem to be, but it is simply reflective of how problematic alcohol abuse is, subsequent alcoholism and substance abuse in general have exploded into a potential problem of public safety and the probable solution of the drunk scan. It should not be shocking that such technology need be developed; it should be shocking that it is needed. The ripple effects of an individuals drug abuse or alcoholism encircle not only the different spheres of their life, but can and almost always have deleterious affects on those people around them, family, friends and society. The drunk scans can explicitly address the external and obvious problems of public intoxication, while also implicitly addressing the affect substance abuse has on other societal issues.

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