A DIY hoodie that thwarts surveillance cameras by blinding them with infrared light has been made available.
Mac Pierce created the Camera Shy Hoodie that has high-powered infrared LEDs sewn into the garment. The light is not visible to humans but the beams overexpose night vision cameras rendering them useless.
“Night vision security cameras are tuned to see infrared light at night,” Pierce explains to Vice. “So that way they can see in the dark. By shooting enough light back at them, it blows out the sensor and causes the cameras’ auto exposure to try to compensate. Losing definition of the view of the scene. And yeah, making everything inside it unrecognizable.”
Anyone looking at the hoodie with their own eyes would not notice it flashing and the garment was made at a cost of $200 using mostly off-the-shelf parts.
“The one really tricky component is the IR LED that I chose, which is a very high efficiency, high output LED that’s actually used in security cameras, as the infrared floodlight for these cameras so they can illuminate an area with light to see what’s going on inside that flooded area,” explains Pierce.
Pierce released a full package on how to make a Camera Shy hoodie on his website complete with a bill of materials, design files, reference photos, and an assembly guide.
Pierce, who previously created the Opt-Out Cap, a hat that prevents facial recognition technology, is concerned by a society that is increasingly watching others.
“The technology was sold to us as a convenience, as a way of making our lives easier and better,” he tells Vice.
“‘Oh, we’ll know when the Amazon package arrives and we can go right to the door and get it.’ But now we’re sharing every time we get home, every time we have a new person visit us at our house.”
Pierce accepts that while the hoodie is not completely foolproof he would ideally like it to be used by people on marches or rallies.
“I want them to be able to protest without repercussions. I think that’s the ideal use case for it,” he adds.
Pierce’s creation is just the latest in a line of privacy wearables. In January, PetaPixel featured an Italian clothing line that confuses artificial intelligence (AI) cameras and stops them from recognizing the wearer.