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Thales unveiled a new prototype for biometric-based border control at the Paris Air Show last week.

Spencer Peterson

Could robot immigration officers take some of the hassle out of moving through border control? We might soon find out, if a service unveiled at this year’s Paris Air Show takes off.

The new prototype from French electrical systems company Thales starts getting to know you at check-in, according to the AFP, with a machine that does the standard scanning of passports and printing of boarding passes, but also records an image of your face and iris. That information is then passed to an immigration “robot”—basically a pole with a large monitor and a HAL 9000-esque camera eye—which recognizes you when you reach border control and signifies its approval with a jaunty "ACCESS GRANTED" message. According to a Thales representative, one human immigration officer could oversee four or five of these machines at once.

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Your face is also “printed in encrypted form” on your boarding pass, which is checked at the gate as a final fail-safe. The service is designed as a complement to Thales’ “e-passport” system, which is already in place in 25 countries. 

Thales also hopes to take watching passengers with robot eyes beyond border control. In 2014, the company showed off an eye-tracking remote control for selecting seatback entertainment.

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