Using Infrared-Blocking Sunglasses to Stop Facial Recognition

As facial recognition becomes more commonplace, our privacy is often compromised without us even realizing it. Many simply don’t want their identity to be tracked without permission. Scott Urban, a Chicago based designer, has come up with a simple yet effective solution for those who wish to protect their privacy.

Infrared Radiation (IR) in the forms of 3D dot matrix mapping and laser scanning is the most common and accurate form of facial recognition tech. Urban’s sunglasses, the IRpair and the Phantom, attempt to counteract this by using lenses that absorb infrared light. This will disorient any facial recognition that utilizes a camera’s infrared sensor.

IR Blocking Sunglasses Facial Recognition - YellRobot
credit: Reflectacles

Infrared-Blocking Sunglasses Act as Shield Against Facial Recognition

The lenses’ optical filters allow the visible light to pass through but block infrared radiation from penetrating. This acts as a shield from any facial recognition tech that uses infrared for mapping or illumination. Since humans cannot perceive infrared a wearer’s vision will remain unchanged.

“Since IRpair blocks infrared radiation at the lens, 3D infrared facial mapping will not be able to read the critical eye measurements for a match during both day and night.  Unlike regular sunglasses that become clear in the presence of infrared, IRpair’s lenses turn dark black on traditional surveillance cameras using infrared in low light situations,” said the company’s website.

IR Blocking Sunglasses Facial Recognition - YellRobot
credit: Reflectacles

Phantom Sunglass Frames Reflect Infrared Light; Thwarting Surveillance Cams

While made with the same lenses as the IRpair, the Phantom has an added feature. Its frames are able to reflect the infrared light which will help thwart any 3D infrared facial mapping.

Against traditional infrared surveillance cameras, Phantom will illuminate around the eye space, denying algorithms the critical biometrics for a match. With 3D infrared dot matrix facial mapping, the reflected infrared beams from the Phantom will distort the facial data to maintain privacy.

IR Blocking Sunglasses Facial Recognition - YellRobot
Phantom Sunglasses
credit: Reflectacles

IRpair and Phantom Look Like Normal Sunglasses

The IRpair and Phantom are discreet, looking just like normal sunglasses you would buy at the store. They can work indoors or out. Along with infrared light, they’ll also block ultraviolet and blue light making them perfect for a day in the sun or long hours staring at a computer screen.

The glasses include an IR-clip which allows you to switch between the IR-light and  IR-dark lenses. For those of you who normally wear glasses, both the IRpair & Phantom are designed to accommodate prescription lenses if need be.

Of course, you’ll have to take the glasses off to open up your iPhone with your face but it’s a small price to pay for the ability to opt-out of any legal or illegal facial recognition systems that track your identity.

If you are interested in purchasing the infrared-blocking sunglasses, there is currently a Kickstarter is going on. The glasses cost about $148 pair with a planned ship date of April 2020.

Additional Sources: Yanko Design

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