Technology : How to talk your way past US border guards

时间:2019-02-27 05:10:02166网络整理admin

By Vincent Kiernan Washington DC WHEN Oscar Wilde arrived in America in 1882 he was asked by border officials if he had anything to declare. “Nothing but my genius,” he replied. You may not have quite that gift of repartee but now most of us may soon be able to talk our way into the US. Tests of a device that recognises the voices of people who frequently cross the Mexican border at Otay Mesa, California, begin next month. The In-Vehicle Voice Verification System is being developed by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service in an attempt to cut the queues of people waiting at border crossings. In the trials up to 50 volunteers will use the device. They will register their cars with the border police and record a phrase of their speech to be stored in a computer at the border crossing. Each volunteer will also be given a personal identification code and a portable IVVVS unit, which was developed by the US Air Force laboratory at Rome, New York. When they drive up to the border checkpoint, the volunteers have to speak their phrase into the IVVVS, which will convert the sound into a digital signal and broadcast it to a computer on the other side of the border. They will also have to tap in their personal code. The computer will then check whether the speaker is the same as the person who originally recorded the phrase for that particular ID code. The system can make the decision in less than a second, says Maria Amodio, a computer engineer at the Rome laboratory. The algorithms look for distinctive features of speech, such as the distribution of frequencies and the rate of speaking. The device cannot be easily tricked, she says. “If you were to try to use a tape recording of someone’s voice, you would not be able to get in,” Amodio says, because of the distortion produced by even the best microphones. But the system’s sensitivity has drawbacks. It will not recognise someone if they have a bad cold or asthma,