© Image from press release of The National Institute of Informatics, Japan
The glasses stymie facial recognition software with infrared LED light.
Those concerned with online privacy may soon get another weapon to defend it. Two Japanese scientists have designed glasses that confuse face recognition technology without affecting one's vision.

An associate professor at Tokyo's national Institute of Informatics, Isao Echizen, together with Professor Seiichi Gohshi from Kogakuin University, have created a pair of glasses preventing internet search engines, social networks and other services using face recognition technology from identifying photos of a wearer.

The device is equipped with near-infrared light sources which distort the features of one who wears the glasses for cameras and at the same time do not affect his or her vision.

The glasses are powered by a battery placed in the wearer's pocket. But the researchers say they are working on an improved version of their 'privacy visor' which would not need a separate battery.


Some companies have already demonstrated interest in the device, the inventors said. When mass-produced the glasses are expected to be priced very reasonably, at about $1 a pair.

According to Professor Echizen, the essential goal of the technology is to protect "photographed subjects from the invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret and unintentional capture in camera images."

The idea of the device came about as Echizen discovered that Google face recognition technology was able to recognize individuals wearing five different types of sunglasses from various angles.

Face recognition technology is extensively used by law enforcement services, internet search engines and social networks. The technology also has been adopted by shops to collect statistical data about their customers for better marketing.