Invisibility Cloak

The technology behind sophisticated mass surveillance systems have made enormous strides in recent years. You can’t even jaywalk in some parts of the world without an AI-powered camera snitching on you.

Image: ARXIV

New research, though, could throw AI-powered surveillance cameras for a loop. A group of engineers from the university of KU Leuven in Belgium invented a colorful patch you can print out yourself and hang around your neck that renders you invisible to automatic surveillance cameras that use AI-based object recognition software.

A preprint of the research was published last week in arXiv.

The so-called “adversarial patch” was able to hide test subjects from automated surveillance cameras and security systems because of the way the image itself “effectively lowers the accuracy of person detection” — in other words, you become part of the scene and not overwhelmingly one thing, like a “person” or “chair” by introducing a bunch of noise through the patch.

Ugly T-Shirt

It’s not the only adversarial patch of its kind. Dutch artist and designer Simone C. Niquille created a series of t-shirts that are covered in a bunch of bizarre faces that are able to confuse Facebook’s automatic face recognition software.

The Dutch researchers are also hoping their patch could be turned into a t-shirt, making wearers “virtually invisible for automatic surveillance cameras” — at least until the security system’s manufacturers issue software updates.