Researchers develop glasses that prevent facial recognition systems from detecting a face

August 7, 2015 - 

Japan’s National Institute of Informatics has developed a pair of eyeglasses that enables users to protect their privacy by disabling facial-recognition systems integrated in cameras, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The government-affiliated institute partnered with a Fukui Prefecture-based eyeglass manufacturer to create the Privacy Visor, a pair of glasses that prevents the facial recognition systems from detecting a human face.

The technology features unique angles and patterns on its lens that are able to reflect or absorb light.

“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.”

Echizen said he and his team set out to develop glasses that would protect the privacy of users from cameras and smartphones that are able to automatically focus on people’s faces without their knowledge and share these images on social networks.

In tests using cameras on smartphones, the Privacy Visor was able to thwart facial recognition solutions 90% of the time.

Though the glasses provide sufficient visibility for people to walk around, it may hinder one’s ability to safely operate a car or bicycle.

However, Professor Echizen said that the glasses are intended to be used in crowded spaces that may be monitored by facial recognition systems, and not meant for people to wear while driving.

The Privacy Visor will be available in June 2016 for an expected retail price of ¥30,000 (US$240).

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.