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