Tech Blotter: Artsy Laptops and Airport Lie Detectors


Nov. 21, 2005 — -- "Pimped" out laptop computers, airport lie detectors and new technology to keep employees from looking at dirty pictures in this week's edition of the "Tech Blotter."

Sony invited some young celebrities to add their own artistic flair to a few of the electronic giant's VAIO FJ notebooks, wiht the proceeds going to a worthy cause.

Jessica Alba, Elijah Wood, Wilmer Valderrama, Mark Ruffalo and celebrity couple Nicole Richie and DJ AM -- AKA Adam Goldstein -- have added glue, paint, sparkles and imagination to the laptops, which will all be auctioned to benefit America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network.

Second Harvest consists of more than 200 food banks that distribute food and grocery products to more than 50,000 charitable organizations across the country.

"During the holidays when people are enjoying the warmth of friends and family, the fact that there a more than 38 million Americans at risk of hunger becomes even more distressing," said Robert H. Forney, president and CEO of America's Second Harvest, in a press release on Sony's Web site. "This is creative way to raise awareness of this critical issue and help make a difference."

The computers will be on display in the Beverly Hills Sony Style store until Nov. 25, then it's on to the Houston store, New York and finally Las Vegas. After the laptops have made their way around the country, they'll be put up for auction from Jan. 9 to Jan. 23, 2006.

Could lie detectors be the next weapon used to stop terrorists and other criminals from infiltrating airport security? Israeli company Nemesysco thinks so and they've developed a "walk-through" version designed for airport security stations.

The makers of the "GK-1" voice analyzer aim to definitively shore up security at airports, border crossings, prisons and other locations where security is paramount.

GK-1 relies on an individual to answer three to five questions "yes" or "no." The response is recorded and analyzed automatically, and then the machine indicates whether or not the person presents a threat with either a "green" or "red" light. It takes only about 60 seconds to complete a full five-question test.

The device uses something called "Layered Voice Analysis" technology to detect stress levels, cognitive processes and emotional reactions to determine who's lying and who's telling the truth, the company claims.

The device was tested in Russia at Domodedovo Airport, near Moscow, for four months and according to a statement on the airport's Web site, "successfully detected all cases of operational interest" during the time it was being tested.

In addition, the GK-1 is able to operate at busy international airports where things can be hectic and not everyone speaks the same language.

"The diversity and flexibility ranges from a single language manually operated system to multilingual automated posts," Nemesysco claims on its Web site. "The system can operate from a noisy and public high traffic area to a closed intimate checkpoint.

With the Internet riddled with pornography, it's not hard to imagine how an employee might accidentally end up with a pornographic image on their computer screen.

To help employees avoid termination or an emotionally scarring experience, PixAlert -- maker of products and services to keep inappropriate images off company computer screens -- has developed a new technology that prevents these kinds of images from being viewed at all.

Instead of blocking the images from entering the company's computer network, PixAlert Monitor blurs them as they're being rendered on the screen, so they can't be viewed.

Whether it comes from the Internet, a CD-Rom, DVD, flash drive or some other external source, PixAlert is able to detect an inappropriate image, blur it and create a thumbnail record of it for later review.

The company claims PixAlert is 95-98 percent accurate and is capable of detecting racy images regardless of the file type used.

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