Bizarre Makeup Patterns Can Fool Face Recognition Software

By Smriti Rao | April 5, 2010 10:27 am


Once upon a time, celebrities could just pop on a pair of large sunglasses and melt away, unnoticed, into the crowds. But things are harder these days with sophisticated cameras and software that can literally identify strangers on the street. Even everyday smartphones may soon be able to ID people.

But Adam Harvey, a designer and technologist with NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program has figured out a way to fly under the radar by reverse engineering the algorithms in software that is used for face recognition.

For any face to be detected, PopSci reports, the algorithm must match a cascade or series of features in the expected locations. By strategically camouflaging a particular feature, like the eyes, Harvey found a way to fool the software.

In order not to be picked up the cameras, stealth-obsessed operatives would need to apply camo-style makeup right underneath or over the eyes. They could choose between vintage Batman or Catgirl looks, or could go a step further with Blade Runner-style makeup. While the cameras then wouldn’t recognize them, Harvey can’t guarantee that the striking camouflage won’t turn heads on the streets.

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Image: Adam Harvey Projects

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
  • Felix Douga

    With the whole thing that seems to be developing within this specific subject material, your viewpoints are generally relatively exciting. Even so, I appologize, but I can not give credence to your entire plan, all be it radical none the less. It appears to everybody that your comments are generally not totally rationalized and in simple fact you are generally yourself not even thoroughly certain of your argument. In any case I did take pleasure in looking at it.

  • Hulton

    thanks fgor the share

  • Jen Mondrian

    This article is incorrect.  If you look at the source it says that the faces with red boxes were identified, meaning that the football player look and the “vintage batman/catgirl” looks were recognized.


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