by December 31, 2000 0 comments

You might have been intrigued by the concept of lie
detectors, as shown in Hollywood thrillers, courtroom dramas, or the various
detective series on TV, and may have wanted to take the test. A device called
Handy Truster now makes this easy for you.

While traditional polygraphs detect lies by measuring
physical responses, like your breathing rate, pulse, blood pressure, or
perspiration, Truster’s polygraph works by analyzing your voice.

Truster analyzes the emotional (indicates the level of
excitement and emotion with which the words are being said), cognitive
(indicates the amount of conflict or agreement with the words that are being
spoken), and physiological (indicates stress, physiological alertness, and
general physiological condition) patterns in the human voice to derive results.
The interesting part about these three elements is that it’s difficult to
control them while you’re speaking. This means that the analysis is based on
elements that are difficult to fake.

To use this device, you have to first input a truthful
statement by the person you’re testing it on. This is called ‘calibration’,
and acts as the benchmark on which Truster would base its subsequent analysis.
Truster creates a multi-dimensional voice profile of this statement using a
mathematical model, and then uses it to benchmark its subsequent results.

You can use this device with a microphone, over a cellphone,
or in face-to-face conversations. Results are displayed on Truster’s LCD
screen using two icons–an apple and a pot with a lid. The apple tells you the
degree of truth in a person’s statement–the more bitten the apple, the more
the likelihood that the person is lying. This goes up to nine levels, from a
full apple which indicates truth to just the apple core which indicates that the
person is lying. The lid on the pot tells you the stress level. This also goes
up to nine levels–the highest level indicates a stress condition of 90 percent
or more while the lowest indicates 10 percent
or less.

So, now you can arm yourself with the knowledge of how
truthful or otherwise somebody is, whether your spouse, friend, colleague, child
and even how stressed you are in a particular situation. In fact, Truster was
used by Time magazine reporters in a debate between the two US Presidential
candidates. The device registered 57 lies by George Bush and 23 by Al Gore. To
read a full report on this, go to:,7243,58092,00.html.

The manufacturers of Truster, however, have positioned the
device as something to entertain yourself with rather than one to use for
serious decision making. So, you need to exercise caution while interpreting its
results and applying them to your situation. For more details on Truster, go to:

Pragya Madan

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