These glasses thwart facial recognition software

Two researchers in Japan have designed what just may be the world’s ugliest pair of glasses to prevent facial recognition software from accurately identifying the wearer.

The glasses were created by an associate professor at Tokyo’s national Institute of Informatics named Isao Echizen, in conjunction with Seiichi Gohshi, a professor at Kogakuin University.

The glasses feature an integrated series of circular lights inside that emit near infrared light, which is invisible to our eyes. Essentially, the infrared light distorts the features of the wearer when viewed by cameras. The glasses draw power to operate from a battery that the user keeps in the pocket.

Echizen said, “We are developing an improved version of the privacy visor without power supply consisting of transparent materials that reflect or absorb specific wavelengths.” The researchers believe the finished products will likely cost around $1 per unit.

The researchers say that their goal was to block what they believe is an “invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret.” According to Echizen, there have been offers received from companies which have plans to commercialize the glasses in the future.

The researcher noted that his experimentation began after he discovered facial recognition technology and software used by Google’s Picasa photo software was capable of recognizing individuals wearing five different types of sunglasses – even if  they tilted their head at various angles. This discovery led him to begin experimenting with infrared light sources to create noise across key areas of the face to prevent identification.