You can run, you can hide, but the masterminds in the military’s high-tech research arm have their eyes on a gadget that will allow them to hear your racing heart even as you try to get lost in a crowd.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency already has the technology to hear your heart as you crouch and cower in a dark corner across the room. Now the agency aims to increase its ability to do this at even greater distances, through walls — and even hear and distinguish between multiple hearts at once.

The technology could help chase down terrorists who set off a bomb and then scatter into the fleeing crowd, for example. It could also help rescue victims trapped in the rubble from the explosion.

The goal of the agency’s “Biometrics-at-a-distance” program is a technology that “can record human vital signs at a distance greater than 10 meters using non-line-of-sight and non-invasive or non-contact methods” and do this for up to 10 people at once.

The technology to do this, the agency suspects, is likely to build from electrocardiograms, which measure the heart’s electrical activity. This is what doctors use, for example, to diagnose heart disease in people.

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