January 21, 2013 AT 11:28 am

Isao Echizen and Seiichi Gohshi’s “privacy visor” shields you from facial recognition technology

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Isao Echizen and Seiichi Gohshi’s “privacy visor” shields you from facial recognition technology..

The rapid rise of facial recognition technology has prompted widespread privacy concerns. But now Japanese researchers have developed a tool aimed at countering the surveillance tactic—the world’s first “privacy visor.”

In recent years facial recognition has been integrated into security cameras and databases andFacebook, even used to covertly monitor consumers and track shopping habits.

Isao Echizen, an associate professor at Tokyo’s National Institute of Informatics, and Seiichi Gohshi, a professor at Kogakuin University, were wary of these developments—and decided to take action. After months of research, the duo invented a pair of high-tech glasses that emit a near infrared light to block face recognition cameras. It was their goal to counter what they call the “invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret.”

The glasses, currently in prototype form, are hardly what you would term stylish. They are essentially a pair of clunky-looking lab goggles. Attached to them are small circular lights that, when turned on, are visible only to cameras. They are connected to a wire and a battery that you have to carry in your pocket.

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3 Comments

  1. One would think a particular IR filter would render their idea obsolete.

  2. “Obsolete”? You can see from the picture that the LEDs produce visible light too. Looks like the goggles take out the dark image of the eyes and eyebrows, and remove the shadow beside the nose. This could keep a facial recognition system from even noticing that it’s looking at a face. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-illumination.

  3. Would not some oversize mirror aviators do the job?
    does facial recognition only work for features below the brow to the bottom of the nose? so many questions the mind boggles..

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