‘Privacy Visor’: Japan designs eyewear to prevent facial recognition

© National Institute of Informatics
Japanese scientists have developed a new pair of shades which protect users from undesired and secretive facial recognition technologies, felt by many to infringe on privacy. Next year one can ‘hide’ from Big Brother’s watchful eye for just $240.

The new “Privacy Visor” developed by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) won't make you invisible but it, will certainly keep you anonymous and protected from automatic facial recognition techniques for the time being, according to its creators.

© National Institute of Informatics

The trick lies in a series of crafted lenses that reflect, refract and absorb light in different directions and from different angles. The technology renders one’s face nearly unrecognizable to the face-detection software available on the market today.

“The Privacy Visor is the world’s first product with this technology,” said Professor Isao Echizen, who led the research. “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.”

© National Institute of Informatics

According to researchers the Privacy Visor was able to block facial recognition 90 percent of the time in tests using cameras on smartphones.

READ MORE: Guess who? Japanese scientists launch face recognition-blocking glasses

However scientists warn that it could be dangerous to use them while driving.

The Privacy Visors, made of titanium, are scheduled to hit the market in June 2016 for a price of ¥30,000 (US$240). The technology behind the new model is nothing like the previous version by the same developer, which relied on a set of flashing LEDs to blind facial recognition cameras.

プライバシーバイザーの実演をする越前教授(中央)

Posted by 国立情報学研究所 National Institute of Informatics on Wednesday, August 5, 2015