DIY anti-CCTV glasses

These easy-to-make glasses use infra-red LEDs to obscure your face from cameras… and, perhaps most usefully, from ubiquitous CCTV observation. This is going to the top of our list of things to make Cory for his birthday.

Anti-Paparazzi Sunglasses [Metacafe via Red Ferret]

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28 Responses to DIY anti-CCTV glasses

  1. Takuan says:

    is there greasepaint, makeup, transparent IR reflective slop that makes you look sweaty in person and a glaring white blob on IR CCTV?

  2. JoeKickass says:

    In the (short lived)Marvel comics series “Punisher 2099″ The Punisher of the future had a similar device that would hide his identity from CCTV cameras, except it went one step further and projected a Skull where his face should be.

  3. mmbb says:

    Don’t most LEDs have a fairly directional beam?

    So unless you’re looking directly at the camera, or find some way to diffuse the light…

  4. Inverse Square says:

    Oh come on. There’s taking the piss out of intimidating and oppressive government foolery, and then there’s anarchism. These things will allow people to take away what small help CCTV ever was, are they really a good thing to popularize?

  5. magic whiskey says:

    @ 3: I totally remember Punisher 2099. I was a bigger Spider-Man 2099 fan back then, but awesome callback!

  6. dwdyer says:

    Fun, but…

    1. You’ll never get away with these in an airport.
    2. If someone’s actually WATCHING the camera, you’ll become a target PDQ.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CCTVs don’t offer a significant (or even measurable) benefit to society- their impact on crime is one of relocation, not prevention. even a first-year law enforcement student could tell you that the best way to cut down on violent crime is the modification of socioeconomic conditions, not spying on people and treating everyone like a criminal because anyone might be one. i see these as a great way to drive home the point that the government has no business treating me like a common crook because doing their job properly is too difficult for lazy, corrupt politicians.

    in fact, these are pretty harmless. a criminal could get a ski-mask, and obscure himself from CCTVs *and* other people. i don’t see how these would promote anarchy any more than a pair of stockings pulled over the head, or a halloween mask. they say “i don’t mind being seen by other people, but i’m not cool with being spied on”, which nicely sums up my opinion on the matter. how ’bout you?

  8. Aaron T. says:

    #23: It’s not clear to me who you’re calling stupid or an idiot, nor whether you’re agreeing or disagreeing that the starburst-like glare effect presented in the video (which has since been removed from Metacafe) was faked. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote, except for assuming that a single (well, in this case it was two) 5mm IR LEDs driven at a few milliamps by an unspecified button battery would be nearly as bright as the ones built into the camera as an illuminator, presumably driven to near their max current.

  9. Aaron T. says:

    The effect in the video is faked. An IR led driven by a single button battery wouldn’t cause anything close to that kind of glare.

  10. Takuan says:

    what law says you can’t wear these? I see many variants, am getting to work on some. Mixing IR with coloured visible LEDs opens the “jewelery excuse too.

  11. dragonfrog says:

    @7 I’m not sure about that – those little button batteries are available as nominally 3V batteries – the charge wouldn’t last long, but while it does, would it not be the same as a couple of A cells?

    @5 “Anarchism”? Hello Inverse Square, the late 19th Century called, it would like its bogeyman back. The term you are after is “terrorism”.

  12. Ministry says:

    @ Inverse Square:
    There’s taking the piss out of intimidating and oppressive government foolery, and then there’s anarchism. These things will allow people to take away what small help CCTV ever was

    Er, yes; exactly. I certainly don’t regard these glasses as some sort of prank, but as a serious tool to render CCTV even more redundant than it already is.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There is some guy who even won a golden nica (prix ars electronica) in interactive art.
    He constructed a device which projects an image on a surface when the surface is photographed with a flash, see http://www.juliusvonbismarck.com/fulgurator/index.html (german).

  14. Aaron T. says:

    #9: No, the internal resistance of button batteries is generally so high that you can’t get more than a few milliamps out continuously. There are plenty of tiny keychain flashlights for sale that consist of little more than an LED and a button battery. But they aren’t bright like spotlights, and all they’d look like on a video camera is a glowing dot, regardless of whether they were emitting visible light or IR.

  15. Anonymous says:

    They don’t have any ballast resistors! The current could get very high. And they are using lithium batteries! Perhaps the exploding batteries will scare off the paparazzi.

  16. RJ says:

    Interesting, but impractical, except for maybe a handful of celebrities or convenience store robbers. Other than that, it’s just another battery-burner. What’s more, these things will draw attention faster than a slaughterhouse draws flies, so if you’re not famous or robbing people, what’s the point?

  17. GuabaMan says:

    Video removed from metacafe? Is metacafe evil???

  18. Xubor says:

    Why should infrared light have effect on normal cameras that only respond to visible light?
    Every hot item is an infrared light source. But did you ever see an hot item “glow” on an photograph that wouldn’t glow in reality?

  19. Inverse Square says:

    @7: Relocation means effort and thus a small amount of discouragement. Changing socioeconomic conditions would be nice too but would be kinda difficult and this’d still help

    @9: Meh, I meant the kind of obnoxious and shallow anarchism you see today, not quite the collapse of society.

  20. Karnuvap says:

    “The other wire makes contact when you put the glasses on.” I know it’s only a couple of volts but I’d prefer not to have that juice running across my scalp. It messes with my happy thoughts. So make sure you connect the cells the same way round to minimise the possibility of making a plus to minus circuit.

  21. Itsumishi says:

    I don’t know whether the video is faked or not as the video has been removed, however it is definitely possible to blind a camera with an infra-red LED and also definitely possible to power an infra-red LED with one of these batteries and no resistor. I’m no electronics expert but I’ve tried it.
    I was trying to get Johnny Wu’s Wiimote electronic whiteboard thing to work a while ago and it required an Infra-red LED. I didn’t put in any resistor into the circuit and my method of testing if the LED was working was pointing it at my digital camera.
    However the directional thing was an issue. Unless the LED was pointing at the camera all you got was a tiny dot. Once the pointing at the camera all you got was light.

  22. themindfantastic says:

    Regarding drawing attention to oneself quickly. Do you think every CCTV has someone watching it 24/7, its not feasably possible. The more surveillance that happens the larger the pool to sit and analyze them. At best suspicious stuff like you get looked at after the fact. Yes you come up highly suspicious, and if someone happens to be looking at the monitor as you move around an area they would probably dispatch someone, but say if its not just YOU who is wearing them, say if every third person is wearing these Corey Heart Sunglasses (yes I date and geolocate myself with that statement). Then bringing the whole lot of sunglass wearing people in becomes more and more trouble. Soon you have people who are trying to enact laws barring the use of this technology… or the sale of IR LEDs. Which starts to show how stupid all this survelliance is, to not us either.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Fake. You need a load resister or you burn out the LEDs.
    The video has also been post processed, as the glow does not track with the head movements. I expected better of BoingBoing.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      “I expected better of BoingBoing” is never really going to be a criticism that works with me. Your opinion is your opinion, but it doesn’t become magically more valid because you think that we should share it.

      And I know jack and squat about electronics but even I know you can run an LED without a resistor just fine, especially in a hacked up jobber like this.

  24. hep cat says:

    When did boing boing get to be so popular with the stupids and the hostile idiots?

    Of course these work, People were making these things 20 years ago in art school out of TV remote controls, although a flashlight bulb through a red gel and a congo blue gel sandwiched together works pretty well too.

    ALL video camera and electronic still camera sensors are at least as sensitive to IR light as they are to visible light. Higher priced cameras may have a “hot mirror” filter to keep out the IR since it washes out colors and makes things like black synthetic fabric look pink and makes some fabric transparent etc.

    In cameras used for surveillance , front door intercoms, and Paris Hilton videos , “see in the dark” IR sensitivity is seen as a feature not a flaw. If you look at a surveillance CCTV camera , you will notice they often have eight or so IR LEDs around the lens. If the LEDs are bright enough light sources to illuminate a parking garage , they are way more than bright enough to wash out the picture if they are in the picture.

    They aren’t going to do much in daylight , but at a tollbooth or parkinglot at night or your local ATM they should work just fine.

    Boy, that link Takuan made is a hoot, check this


    HIGH DEFINITION LIGHTING
    High Definition Lighting allows cameras to provide crystal clear, high signal images during the hours of darkness.
    The breakthrough in HD lighting is made possible with VirtuaVia’s high power LED technology delivering increased power on scene.
    High definition cameras require high definition lighting.

  25. hep cat says:

    This will work for most video and CCTV cameras , but anything fancier than a point and shoot still camera has an infra red filter that will keep this from working.( or a Leica M8 )

    On the other hand , it will annoy the hell out of night vision wielding security people in movie theaters.

  26. lectroid says:

    When you put these on, do all the billboards suddenly say “OBEY!” ?

    I think the freaking glowing alien effect is at least as cool as the privacy aspects. In fact, I see immediate applications for low-budget film effects.

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