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Border patrol avatar to process frequent travelers

NOGALES, Ariz. — A computer-generated avatar will soon be responsible for processing frequent border crossers who are in the Trusted Travelers program.

The avatar, which is inside of an ATM-size kiosk, constantly observes the person it is interviewing.

“While the person is being interviewed by the avatar, the sensors are measuring different physiological and behavioral movements and gestures and changes,” said Elyse Golob with the University of Arizona, which designed the avatar.

However, the avatar is simply the first line of defense, not a stop-all.

“If there’s an indication that there’s some risky or questionable element in the person’s responses, an officer will take that person in for questioning,” said Golob, executive director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration.

Developers hope to expand both the use and the number of locations.

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