Isao Echizen, an associate professor in The National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, Japan and Seiichi Gohshi, a professor at Kogakuin University, have developed a visor that can protect the wearer from invasion of privacy caused by unauthorized facial recognition systems. The glasses work by adding noise to the images using a near-infrared light source that affects cameras but not ordinary human vision. When the near-infrared LED in the privacy visor is not lit, facial detection is not affected (Figure a) but when the LED is lit, noise is added to the image and face recognition is prevented (Figure b).
According to Slate, Echizen has received offers from companies that want to commercialize the visors and that they are working on a better version — one that does not need an external power supply — which may be as cheap as $1 per unit.
With the privacy visor and the CV Dazzle project, privacy buffs can probably escape the widening presence of facial recognition systems and software, such as in the EyeSee mannequins. Let’s just hope that these privacy options will evolve into less conspicuous ones that will allow the users to blend in.
In the meantime, the New York artist Adam Harvey has come up with clothing items that can thwart heat signature-sensing cameras. His line of stealth wear fashion includes:
- anti-drone burqa, hoodie, and scarf: for blocking thermal imaging
- XX-shirt: a X-ray shielding print that protects the wearer’s heart from X-ray radiation
- Off Pocket: a phone accessory that blocks a phone’s signal
These counter surveillance items are available for sale at Primitive London.