Avatar Testing Begins at AZ-Mexico Border
Congratulations to Dr. Jay Nunamaker and his BORDERS team on installing the first AVATAR testing unit at the US/Mexico border
After months of preparation and planning the first mass testing of BORDERS avatar kiosk has begun.
Developed by the University of Arizona in collaboration with the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS), the avatar kiosk is designed to speed up border procedures and checks. Using speech recognition and voice anomaly-detection software it can also spot subtle changes in an interviewees' speech patterns and flag these people up as candidates for further interrogation -- the plan is to let the avatar interview at least 1,000 subjects during the test period.
|Dr. Jay F. Nunamaker - BORDERS Lead|
People crossing the Mexican border into Nogales, Ariz., this week will have a chance to "officially meet" U.S. Customs and Border Protection's newest officer. The avatar is a polite yet no-nonsense bilingual gatekeeper with a thick shock of black hair and a striped gray tie. He may not have a name or join his fellow officers for coffee or lunch breaks, but his presence will likely be welcomed both by them and the commuters who regularly pass through this southern Arizona outpost on their way to and from Mexico.
BORDERS is a consortium of 16 premier institutions that is dedicated to the development of innovative technologies, proficient processes, and effective policies that will help protect our Nation’s borders, foster international trade, and enhance long-term understanding of immigration determinants and dynamics. BORDER's is led by the University of Arizona and Dr. Jay Nunamaker.
More from the following stories and videos:
"Meet Elvis: The virtual border official who knows if you're lying"
By Tim Hume, August 15, 2012, CNN
- The AVATAR kiosk scans interview subjects for signs of lying
- It is being trialled in Arizona and monitors voice, eyes and face movements
- Interview subjects speak to the machine, in English or Spanish, as if it were human
- If successful, the technology could be used elsewhere in U.S.
Read the full story at
"Avatar interviewing Nogales border crossers"
By Joseph Treviño, August 12, 2012, Arizona Daily Star
NOGALES, Sonora - With his black tie, dark hair and light blue eyes, a dapper new agent is one of U.S. Customs' latest tools in screening border crossers
But this handsome, if ethnically ambiguous fellow, who started work Tuesday at the Dennis DeConcini Port in Nogales, is less - and more - than human. He is a virtual agent, an android and a kiosk all rolled into one.
Created by scientists and researchers from the University of Arizona, the artificial agent is called an AVATAR (short for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time). His job is to screen border crossers without prejudice or bias while freeing human agents to address more pressing matters, said Aaron Elkins, one of the scientists who developed the AVATAR.
"New Avatar keeps an eye on US-Mexico border" (click on picture below to view video)
By Fox News, August 7, 2012
“Virtual border control officer identifies suspicious speech patterns”
By Liat Clark, August 6, 2012, Wired.co.uk
A virtual border control officer that picks up anomalies in interviewees' speech patterns is being tested at an Arizona-Mexico checkpoint.
“Avatar Officer Installed at Arizona-Mexico Border Station”
By Larry Greenemeier, August 6, 2012, Scientific American
A new kiosk is expected to streamline applications for frequent traveler benefits, freeing up human officers to catch drug smugglers.
“Avatar Border Agent Screens Commuters At Arizona Post”
By Andrew O'Reilly, August 06, 2012, Fox News Latino
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a new officer working in Arizona.
He’s hardworking, bilingual, a bit mechanical and not very social with other employees, but he doesn’t complain about long hours or troublesome commuters.
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