From Japan, privacy glasses thwart facial recognition technologies

It’s no secret that facial recognition technologies are becoming increasingly common, with applications ranging from security to targeted marketing. For those uncomfortable with the idea of a world without anonymity, however, two Japanese professors have invented privacy-protecting glasses designed specifically to thwart such facial recognition attempts.

Developed by Isao Echizen of Japan’s National Institute of Informatics and Seiichi Gohshi of Kogakuin University, the new glasses incorporate a near-infrared light source that affects only the camera and not people’s vision. So, the glasses look like a simple pair of goggles to people nearby; for cameras, however, the near-infrared LEDs built in emit rays appear as visual “noise” in the camera’s imaging device. “Because this noise appended to the facial image causes a considerable change in the amount of features that is referenced at facial detection, facial detection is misjudged and recognition of people’s faces is prevented,” explain the inventors, who also anticipate applications for their technology in preventing similar invasions of privacy via augmented reality apps.

Style improvements are currently in the works for these privacy-protecting goggles, which are currently in prototype form. Ultimately, pricing is expected to be about USD 1 per pair, according to a Slate report. Tech-minded entrepreneurs: one to help commercialize?

Website: www.nii.ac.jp/userimg/press_details_20121212.pdf
Contact: iechizen@nii.ac.jp

Spotted by: Lily Dixon

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