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Surprising Science

These Glasses Will Really Let You Travel Incognito

A professor in Japan has designed a “privacy visor” that uses near-infrared light to confuse cameras using facial recognition software.

What’s the Latest Development?

Isao Echizen, a professor at Tokyo’s National Institute of Informatics, has developed a prototype of a pair of glasses that contain a near-infrared light source, which confuses facial-recognition software used by cameras in public and private spaces. The light “appends noise to photographed images without affecting human visibility,” he says. The “privacy visor,” which connects to a power supply that can be put into a pocket, is not yet available for purchase. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The glasses are the latest effort by several entrepreneurs and companies to, as Echizen says, “[prevent] the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret and unintentional capture in camera images” used by social media sites, law enforcement, and retail shops. The group Anonymous offers an online guide that contains simpler alternatives to Echizen’s hardware for those who are concerned about their privacy: “Heavy make-up or a mask will also work, as will tilting your head at a 15-degree angle, which fools the software into thinking you do not have a face.”

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Read it at BBC News


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