Right, it's not quite as cool as the Laughing Man's live camera hacking, but it's as close as we'll get for a while. Dr. Isao Echizen at Japan's National Institute of Informatics has spent the better part of two years cooking up a pair of specs that render people's faces undetectable to autofocusing cameras and (with any luck) the facial recognition tech that power the web's social services. The secret behind Echizen's
madness creation is a series of carefully crafted lenses that reflect, refract and absorb light in different ways to make your mug nearly unrecognizable to the face-finding software in smartphone and tablet cameras.
And before you ask, no, these glasses aren't part of elaborate spider-person cosplay get-up. To their credit, Echizen says the glasses successfully screwed with smartphone cameras' facial recognition systems 90 percent of the time. Earlier prototypes sought to obscure our visages with infrared LEDs (like this hacky pair we played with at Mobile World Congress), which were arguably a little more technically impressive -- the LEDs looked inert in normal light but lit up in front of cameras, casting a weird halo around a person's face. This sort of obscurantist tech is just a little less awkward to wear in public, and Echizen says this new pair shouldn't screw with your vision too much (though driving or riding a bike could be tricky). Of course, no pair of funky glasses will keep your friends from tagging you in photos on Facebook but they should help keep those pesky algorithms at bay. Alas, you can't hide your face in plain(it) sight until June 2016, when Echizen hopes to get them onto the market for about $240.