AVG develops not very effective privacy smartglasses

3 Mar 2015

AVG's LED privacy glasses. Image via AVG

As cameras and smartphones become more powerful, security software company AVG are raising issues of privacy with the development of a pair of glasses that evades facial recognition software.

In their outlining of why exactly AVG wanted to develop the glasses, they referenced not just smartphones, but endeavours including Google’s Street View image gathering where on a number of occasions people have complained that they have been snapped by Google’s 360 degree camera with their face un-blurred.

The expansion of Facebook’s DeepFace program, which is now capable of determining what’s a face and, more importantly, whose face it is, is also a growing concern amongst privacy experts.

The concept glasses developed by the company’s Innovation Labs division may look more like some glitzy, flashing eyewear designed to catch attention, but the array of infrared LED lights in the bridge of the glasses and outer edges effectively mask a person’s face by blinding the sensors with light.

Of course, as it is infrared, the human eye can’t see this light would make seeing and wearing the glasses that bit more palatable to regular human interactions.


LEDs in action. Image via AVG

Good idea, but not very viable

However, this might be made totally irrelevant, according to AVG, given that most modern smartphones’ sensors are designed specifically to negate their way through harsh lighting that is outside of a human being’s visible spectrum.

Likewise, AVG’s glasses are also made from reflective material that is designed to beam flash photography back at the camera’s sensor that would lead to the person’s face appearing as a bright flash.

Again however, technology, or even just turning off the flash, will allow for the person to be photographed.

The team admit that the design is merely a proof of concept. “Rather than designing a product for market release, tech experts are investigating how technology can adapt to combat the daily erosion of our privacy in the digital age,” said their release. “Don’t expect to see them for sale any time soon!”


Flash test does little to deter cameras, but looks pretty cool in photos, ironically. Image via AVG

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic