15 November 2018

REVIEW: USB Polygraph Machine

Have you ever wanted to see whether someone is lying to you? Perhaps you had a hunch that they were but had no way to prove it. Or perhaps you want to believe someone, but there was always a little nagging voice in the back of your mind, making you question your judgment. Well, now it’s possible to get a “definitive” answer with the USB Polygraph Machine.

Some people are better than others at understanding whether a person is honest or whether they are telling porky pies. Having the ability to understand whether someone is sincere, and a good judge of character are critical skills in some professions and life. Jobs like a police officer, a poker player, working in recruitment or a lawyer generally require some degree of an ability to detect lies. Even if a career in lie detecting is not for you, unusual situations in everyday life can require you to “bluff” and practice your poker face — like when a friend presents a ridiculous plan, or your food is unexpectedly hot. In these scenarios, knowing how to detect a liar might help you get through such situations unnoticed.

What’s in the box?
Included in the USB Polygraph Machine box are:
  • The Polygraph Machine
  • A USB cable
  • A CD containing the software to use the machine on your computer
  • A pulse-detecting finger clip
  • A “breathing apparatus”
  • Finger wraps that detect your perspiration

Does it work?

That’s a good question. The manufacturer claims that it is “super easy to use” and that it is possible to use the machine without any experience. Instead, the device’s artificial intelligence takes the place of a professional polygraph examiner. The word “polygraph” means “many traces,” as the machine monitors a person’s breathing, pulse and sweat. Some other machines check other vital signs such as blood pressure, too. There are many people who argue that polygraph machines are unreliable, and they are not permissible as evidence in many jurisdictions for this reason. But who are we to argue with TV shows like “The Jeremy Kyle Show” and “The Moment of Truth” that treat their results as fact?

Photo by Bru-nO / Public Domain
Other polygraph machines also test blood pressure.

The USB Polygraph seems to be a big hit and miss, which probably shouldn’t be too surprising given its price tag of around $100. The manufacturers claim that it is around 80 to 99 percent accurate, which is quite the claim since some researchers say that polygraph machines, in general, aren’t much more than 50 percent accurate.

What can it be used to do?

This machine previously featured on the ITV2 television show “Love Island,” in addition to being used by the British newspaper The Sun and Heart Radio 106.2, who tested the machine on TV personalities Ant and Dec. The manufacturer suggests the machine is ideal for stag and hen parties as well as for playing games of Truth or Dare. And given this latter point, it is probably safe to assume law enforcement agencies won’t use the machine anytime soon. Another suggestion by the manufacturer is that you can use the machine to learn how to beat a polygraph test, which may be true if you’re able to use it to learn how to appear calm and not anxious.

When The Sun newspaper tested the machine, they hooked up several different couples to the machine while their partner asked them some questions about their relationship. In the case of the Sun’s test subjects, the results were mostly not too troubling for the couples. Even when a result came back negative, i.e., the machine said a guy agreed that he likes the way his wife dresses was a lie, the asker of the question shrugged off the answer, either saying they don’t believe it or that it doesn’t matter.

The Verdict

Overall, this is likely to be a gadget that makes a fun addition to your next party. Whether you believe polygraph machines can yield accurate results is up to you, but for $100, it is probably prudent to not rely too heavily on the results of this USB Polygraph Machine for anything serious.

© The Test Pit

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