Students in China have developed an “invisibility cloak” that conceals the wearer from security cameras. The InvisDefense, created by a team at Wuhan University, is a low-cost coat that can be worn day or night to avoid detection by security camera systems that use artificial intelligence to monitor them. Their invention, called the “InvisDefense coat,” can be seen with human eyes, but is covered in a pattern that can blind cameras in the daytime and has heat-generating elements to fool infrared cameras at night, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
Professor Wang Zheng of the school of computer science at Wuhan University oversaw the project. “Nowadays, many surveillance devices can detect human bodies. Cameras on the road have pedestrian detection functions, and smart cars can identify pedestrians, roads, and obstacles. Our InvisDefense allows the camera to capture you, but it cannot tell if you are human,” Professor Wang said, as per the report.
“Nowadays, many surveillance devices can detect human bodies. Cameras on the road have pedestrian detection functions, and smart cars can identify pedestrians, roads, and obstacles,” said professor Wang Zheng, who oversaw the project.
The InvisDefense coat creates an unusual temperature pattern at night, which confuses the camera, which normally tracks human bodies using infrared thermal imaging. “The most difficult part is the balance of the camouflage pattern. Traditionally, researchers used bright images to interfere with machine vision, and it did work. But it stands out to human eyes, making the user even more conspicuous,” the SCMP report quoted Wei Hui, a Ph.D. student on the team who was responsible for the core algorithm.
In China, mass surveillance is a rapidly expanding network of monitoring systems extensively used by the Chinese central government to keep a constant and vigilant eye on its citizens and maintain power. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of artificial intelligence-based identification systems to impose restrictions at the expense of people’s privacy.