90 Minute DNA Analysis And…Mind Reading?
We’ve all heard the stories of DNA tests in criminal cases that take months before results are known to law enforcement officials. Needless to say, waiting for those results is akin to watching paint dry. However, at risk is a criminal who may strike again before his identity is discovered. Well, that wait time may soon be a thing of the past. Enter Rapid DNA Testing (R-DNA).
Law enforcement is one step closer to a mere two-hour wait time for answers to their DNA whodunit questions. In fact, using a device such as the RapidHIT 200 Human Identification System, a positive DNA match could be received in as little as 90 minutes. And, that process just may move out of forensic laboratories into the hands of law enforcement officers and detectives. Think about it, soon there may one of these devices at every booking station in every police station and sheriff’s office across the country. Even samples from crime scenes will produce answers in minutes.
Suspect doesn’t want to provide his name? Fingerprints burned off to hide an identity? No problem. A simple swab of the inside of a cheek and presto…instant ID. Well, ID results would be immediate if the thug’s information is in the system. But chances are in the officer’s favor that the suspect is a repeat customer.
These portable, desktop devices would also serve well during mass disaster scenarios. The ability to identify victims quickly would certainly provide a small amount of comfort to the families who now must wait weeks and months to learn the fate of their loved ones.
The RapidHit 200 device comes complete with nucleic acid purification and short tandem repeat (STR) amplification reagents that produce the speedy DNA profiles from human samples. The reagents come in disposable cartridges that eliminate the need for human contact during the process, which, in turn, eliminates possible contamination and false testing results.
Basically, the RapidHit is as almost as simple as plugging in a cartridge containing the reagent, loading the human sample, and then hitting the power switch. Not much more complicated than operating a toaster, wouldn’t you say?
Finally, mystery writers, you have a way of making your pages turn faster. DNA results in minutes and you don’t have to rely on fiction to make it happen.
Nope, no more monkeying around with the plot to make the DNA fit the story.
Gee, what’s next, a mind-reading device that notifies the police when a crook is thinking about committing a crime? Who knows, that sort of thing just might be on the drawing board this morning.
Oh, wait, I forgot that a Utah university researcher has developed a thought-to-text device that’s 90% accurate when it translates a person’s thoughts into words. Don’t want to answer the officer’s questions? No problem, they’ll soon be skipping the interview and interrogation by attaching a few electrodes to a suspect’s head and let his thoughts tell the story.
And you thought it was scary to have a mere few thousand cameras hanging around the country watching your every move. It’s time for your skin to really start crawling now, because they know what you’re thinking…
* By the way, R-DNA was the method of DNA testing used to confirm that the U.S. had indeed killed Osama Bin Laden.
IntegenX Inc. and Promega Corporation image of RapidHit200
Oh, I’ve wanted a mindreading machine to type up my manuscripts for years. Can’t wait until they are inexpensive enough for the average writer.
Heck, I have to train it? Not thrilled about that.
I remember our discussion on the DNA stuff–only a year ago you said the fastest was 4 hours. Pretty amazing technology they’re coming up with.
I think the thought reading technology is pretty neat. A sci fi book I read recently (Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge), “predicted” wearable electronic clothing and contacts, so you could be casually standing there while minor muscle movements would “type” messages into your clothes, and other people would see them in their mini-screens in their contacts. With thought reading, that would be moot. Of course, EEG mind reading requires a not-too-slim device to cover your head at this point. Maybe the clothes would be less intrusive, after all.
I’m waiting for them to improve the EEG keyboards. Talk about typing fast, and reducing RSI/carpal tunnel. And Rusty, I wouldn’t worry too much about them interpreting your thoughts without your consent. Those things require a lot of training, far worse than voice recognition. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ3l1hFomLc
Keep this up and those CSI shows may start to look real. solve a crime in no time !
The mind reading thing is both scary and interesting. I would love to try it. However also think it is going to be a while if ever that this will go to court. Probably like polygraph tests.
Rusty. I doubt the thought-reading process will be used in law enforcement any time soon, if even in our lifetime. Sure, it’s out there but that was my wacky sense of humor talking in the above article.
As far as the alcohol-sensing and rapid DNA testing devices…well, you have to trust somebody, sometime. I was a certified breathalyzer operator back in the day (not all officers are trained and certified on the equipment) and I have to say it would be pretty darn difficult to fudge the results of a test. Besides, what would be the point? Most cops despise DUI arrests because the entire process is extremely time-consuming, taking the officer off the streets for a couple of hours or more. And dealing with a drunk is absolutely no fun at all.
What problems could arise from using rapid DNA to determine someone’s identity? You are who are.
Great information! Printing this off to take to my writer’s critique group tonight–I’m sure they’ll all find this fascinating. 🙂
What is really scary will be if the courts don’t govern when just a “thought reading” device can/can’t be used. Shouldn’t the subject be required to agree to this? Waive his rights or obtain an attorney? Talk about invasion of rights.
It would be good if citizens could trust all law enforcement agencies/personnel to comply with the requirements of proper use of such equipment, but cases are already on the record of law enforcement misusing breathalizer equipment placed in squad cars, etc.
As to the R-DNA, law enforcement needs to be very careful. I can see legal challenges abound. Just remember the LA-Rampart cases. Too much power unchecked turns even the “good guys” bad. (Now there is the possibility for a story.)
I think the “thought-reading” device is too much like Big Brother, too invasive of human rights. What’s next – water boarding?