Facial recognition technology has exploded in the last decade. While some of this technology has distinct advantages, privacy experts warn that there is the potential for abuse as commercial use grows. For those of you who want to stay hidden, these new glasses developed by Japanese researchers could be the answer to your anonymity needs. The glasses, called Privacy Visor, stop you from being tracked by facial recognition technology as they trick cameras and prevent them from detecting your face.
Researchers from Japan’s National Institute of Informatics have adapted and improved on an earlier prototype of the glasses that used near-infrared flashing LEDs to block facial recognition from detecting a human face. Researchers hope that the new version of the glasses will prevent facial recognition software from focusing on people’s faces without their permission.
“We are often told not to unveil our personal information to others, but our faces are also a type of an ID. There should be a way to protect that,” he added.
Privacy Visor is able to reflect or absorb light by using unique angles and patterns on its lens. While researchers don’t specify what material the new prototype uses, they suggest that the updated glasses allow people to go about their daily lives with some degree of anonymity. The Wall Street Journal reports that the glasses have been able to hide from facial recognition systems 90% of the time. The new design is also a lot slicker than the old one and looks like something someone might actually wear in public. Popular Science has noted that the design looks quite similar to the glasses worn by extreme sport enthusiasts and security contractors.
Users will be able to wear the glasses and have enough visibility to walk around and talk to people. According to researchers, the glasses are intended to be used in crowded spaces that may have facial recognition software. They do however warn that it may be difficult to drive or cycle while wearing the glasses. The Privacy Visor is set to go on sale in Japan in June 2016 for $240 (£154).