Leery of Facial Recognition? These Glasses Might Help

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If you’re like Rockwell, you always feel like somebody’s watching you. And there’s no better way to fly under the radar of facial recognition systems than by wearing an oversized pair of glasses with nearly half a dozen near-infrared LEDs that show up on security cameras like little solar flares, am I right?

To be fair, the technology—currently in development by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics—looks like it works. And as you can see in the above video, these are just goofy-looking prototypes at the moment. The final version would hopefully be a bit more inconspicuous, preferably without the need to carry around a power source connected to the glasses by a cable.


DigInfo via YouTube

The lights aren’t visible to the human eye—only to certain camera systems. “However,” as DigInfo notes, “because this system utilizes the difference in spectral sensitivity between human vision and imaging devices, another method is needed for cameras that aren’t affected by infrared light.”

For that, the same researchers are toying with the idea of “a visor that doesn’t use electricity, but uses reflective material,” according to the rep in the above video, who continues, “This makes light from outside look white, or absorbs it. That pattern breaks up the features used in face detection. So you can prevent face detection even without using electricity, by wearing this visor. It is also very cheap to make.”

It would be interesting to see how effective something like this would be in the real world. It seems that if an establishment went to the lengths of using face detection cameras in the first place, you’d get asked to leave for wearing these anyway. However, for more public use—celebrities trying to avoid having their photos taken, or citizens trying to avoid being tracked by shadowy government types, for instance—this idea might just have legs.

Privacy visor glasses jam facial recognition systems to protect your privacy [DigInfo TV]