Does the idea of “Big Brother” watching you make you nervous? Well the ultimate disguise for today’s times is set to go on sale in Japan. Developed at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII), these new pair of shades will protect those who wear them from undesired and secretive facial recognition technologies. Many feel that these new facial recognition technologies that are now often found in digital cameras and smartphones infringe on one’s privacy.
Called the “Privacy Visor”, these new shades won’t make you invisible according to its creators, but it will keep you protected and anonymous from automatic facial recognition techniques for the time being. The Privacy Visor was developed by Dr. Isao Echizen at the National Institute of Informatics, along with a Fukui Prefecture-based eyeglass manufacturer. Dr. Echizen felt that there should be a way of protecting a person’s identification, especially in today’s times in which we live with technology that can automatically focus on a person’s face without them knowing. These images have the potential to be shared across social media, so Dr. Echizen made it his goal to protect the privacy of individuals. The trick with these glasses lies in the series of crafted lenses that features unique patterns and angles on its lens that reflect, refract and absorb light that comes in from all different directions and angles. These carefully crafted lenses make your face nearly unrecognizable to the face-finding software. According to researchers, when using a smartphone camera these glasses was able to block and trick the facial recognition system 90 percent of the time.
The Privacy Visor is an update from the previous developed version that was created by the same researchers. The last version of these glasses consisted of 11 near-infrared flashing LEDS that would blind the surveillance technology. Earlier attempts would often have to cover up a person’s face, or use some strategy to distort it; these elaborate methods acted more as a disruption for people who just want to go about their daily lives. Due to the unique lenses, these up and coming glasses are not meant for driving or riding a bicycle due to visibility concerns. However, these glasses will offer enough visibility for people to walk outside without any issues, as they are meant to be used in crowded areas where there could be others taking pictures. The Privacy Visor is set to go on sale in Japan in 2016, and is expected to cost around $240 (¥30,000). Keep your eyes peeled for new developments on this amazing new piece of technology!