Whether you like it or not, we live in a surveillance state. Cameras are absolutely everywhere nowadays, and to make matters worse, advancements in facial-recognition tech could soon give governments and private corporations to power to not only recognize us, but also cross-reference our faces to other personal data found online.
But not to worry. At MWC in Barcelona this week, security software maker AVG is demoing a pair of concept glasses that can bamboozle even the most sophisticated facial recognition tech. Here’s how they work.
As you can see in the above picture, the frames of AVG’s glasses are spotted with a number of infrared LEDs. Positioned around the eyes and nose, these little diodes emit light at wavelengths invisible to the human eye, but which are bright and disruptive to the sensors of most cameras. When a photo of the wearer’s face is snapped, those areas (which are crucial to successful facial recognition) are obscured with a bright bloom.
But that ‘s not all — in addition to the infrared tech, the glasses are also rimmed with a type of retro-reflective material that bounces light back to exactly where it came from. Most surfaces reflect light by diffusing or scattering it in all directions, but this material is specially designed to reflect light back at the exact same angle as it arrived. If caught in flash photography, retro-reflective material will send most of the light back to the camera’s sensor. This will result in an image that will put the dynamic range of the camera sensor to the test.
Both of these techniques aren’t without their flaws, but even so, these glasses are still a pretty awesome proof of concept. We look forward to seeing future iterations.