These Privacy Glasses Use Infrared Light to Hide Your Face from Cameras

Glasses LED 1

In this day and age, you’re likely to have a hard time walking down the street and not seeing a camera somewhere. If it isn’t held by the shutter-happy tourist in short shorts, it’s the CCTV camera mounted at the entrance of the local subway station.

How does one maintain anonymity? Staying in? No! You put on fabulous privacy-protecting glasses under development by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics.

The shades are designed to block facial recognition algorithms in use by many of today’s cameras. Eleven near-infrared LEDs block facial features like eyes and nose (though, of course, traditional sunglasses block your eyes as well). The LEDs can’t be seen by human eyes, so you wouldn’t be blinding every person you look at.When seen on camera, the subject emits bright white light from their faces.

Glasses LED 2

“By placing light sources mostly near dark parts of the face, we’ve succeeded in canceling face detection characteristics, making face detection fail,” says the invention’s presenter.

Not all cameras are sensitive to infrared light, so the inventors are also testing out reflective materials.

It may be a silly idea, but what’s interesting is that we’ve come this far to develop solutions like this to protect our privacy. We’ve come to expect to see cameras of all forms in our daily lives. They truly are ubiquitous.

(via DigInfo via Engadget)

Update: We first reported on these glasses back in January.

  • 3ric15

    Wasn’t this already posted a long time ago?

  • lazlokovacs

    pretty inconspicuous

  • Michael Zhang

    We added in a link to that post, thanks. We didn’t share a video demonstration last time :)


    looks great…. hides his ugly face…

  • will

    can we get it built in to google glass? protect our privacy while violating others’?

  • Alan Dove

    But you’ll set off alarms when the software thinks you’re a Cylon.

  • Todd Gardiner

    Isn’t walking around in public with your face concealed more accurately described as “anonymity” and not privacy?

    Most street photographers I know don’t believe that people in public have their privacy “violated” by being photographed, since they are already visible by all of the other people in public. But it might be a different thing if their anonymity were destroyed by magically labeling their names to these photos.

  • David Liang

    I’d say simply wearing those ugly things are a pretty good deterrent for anyone wanting to take a photo of you. The IR is just overkill lol

  • Burnin Biomass


  • ramanauskas

    Isn’t walking around in public with your face concealed more accurately described as “anonymity” and not privacy?

    I think not. It says that the LEDs can’t be seen my the human eye, so the user’s face isn’t actually concealed. If you see a user on the street, he’s just a guy with funny-looking glasses, and you could pick him out of a police lineup if needed. Not anonymous at all.

  • Simon wardenier

    How about an IR-filter?

  • D.G. Brown

    Most cameras have a hot-mirror filter that blocks IR, so it wouldn’t stop most people from walking up and shooting a picture of your goofy-looking glasses. However, video cameras and security cameras tend to be IR-sensitive (for “night vision”), so it would be effective in that case.

    As a note, sunglasses are not necessarily effective in hiding your eyes from security cameras, much for the same reason that these glasses are. Tinted sunglasses tend to not be tinted in infrafred (a fun thing you notice when doing IR photography), which means they just look like normal glasses (but with funny shapes). This is not the case, of course, for polarized sunglasses.

  • syunghans

    I can see this leading to a method of defeating cameras used in law enforcement to photograph license plates and track down drivers who flew through speed traps or toll barriers…

  • Marco De Biagi

    Simply stay at home?

  • John (Twitter Auth Broke?)

    And they’re not that noticeable on his face.

  • Mako

    Unless one uses an IR converted camera

  • Nicole.

    Fabulous news for the criminals out there!

  • 9inchnail

    Awesome idea. That’s the spirit that made America great.

  • 9inchnail

    It’s a difference if a photographer takes one photo, converts it to black and white and thinks of himself as an artist OR the government creating profiles of you by tracking all your movements every time you pass a surveillance camera. Analysing my habits is a breach of my privacy, taking a single photo of me in a public place is just annoying IF I even notice it in the first place.

  • 9inchnail

    Because surveillance cameras only capture attractive people

  • 9inchnail

    Simply kill yourself?

  • 9inchnail

    Because everyone who cares about his privacy must be hiding something, right? So how are you today, Mrs. Rumsfeld?

  • uksnapper

    MOST digital cameras are not sensitive to infra red and film certainly is not unless special infra red film is used.

  • Daniel Lowe

    You know, the old fashioned middle eastern burka is starting to make a lot more sense to me now.

  • Arici Pogonici

    Must do a lot of good things for your retina having those IR beams shining into your eye all day long.

  • Isidort

    Looks like a dickhead

  • Hunter Richardson

    And they look so fashionable!

  • Lambert Schlumpf

    Hey, that’s a brilliant idea! Not that I go around speeding, but it would be handy! In the end speed cameras are just revenue generators, and nothing else.