WTF?! China, always at the forefront of Orwellian surveillance technology, has created a device that detects when someone is watching pornography, a pastime that has been illegal in the country since 1949.

As reported by the SCMP (via Hackaday), China uses a combination of AI bots and human appraisers, called Jian Huang shi, most of whom are women, to search the web for images and decide if they contain explicit content deemed illegal. But tiredness and overexposure mean even these safeguards don't stop every bit of x-rated material from slipping through the cracks.

Researchers at Beijing Jiaotong University developed a way to potentially make life easier for the appraisers. The anti-porn helmet, or wire-covered shower cap, to be more accurate, can detect spikes in human brainwaves that occur when we see explicit images. It can even ignore brain waves caused by other activities, such as emotions, weariness, or even random thoughts.

Researchers have tested the device on 15 male volunteers aged 20-25, where it worked every time they saw something that could be classed as porn. However, there were some false positives, which were blamed on a lack of sufficient training material—what with pornography being illegal in China and all. There's also a question over whether it will work just as well on the mostly female Jian Huang shi.

The idea behind the helmet is that appraisers could be shown a large number of images in quick succession, and the device will automatically log any that are too naughty for the state, rather than the appraisers slowly clicking through each one and deciding if it's too hot to handle.

But there are concerns about the device's uses outside of this scenario. Some Chinese factories use brain surveillance devices via monitors in helmets to improve productivity and decrease worksite accidents. There are no laws restricting what information they can gather, so who knows where this sort of thing could lead.