September 29, 2023
Eyewear has been an important component of fashion for decades, but for the armed professional, eyewear has become increasingly significant as the War on Terror and modern warfare has progressed. Over time, eyewear has progressed from fashion to protection, providing increased performance for military operators, private contractors, and tactically-minded civilians. On that note, a company called Reflectacles has taken eyewear from simple fashion and protection into the next generation of warfare, passive protection from active surveillance, thus providing next-generation protection for future warfare.
Consider the intrusion from cell phones and digital devices, and the vast amount of data collected on each and every user these days. If you’re reading this article, it’s safe to assume you have begun a process of trying to achieve some level of anonymity in daily life, or at a minimum, the ability to decisively take steps to go off grid when necessary.
Scott at Reflectacles has seen the importance of privacy and anonymity in both work and daily life in an increasingly “Minority Report”-like surveillance era. The Reflectacle line of products was born from the genius of Scott of Urban Spectacles, a company creating functional eyewear as artistic wood creations; it should be recognized these functional glasses are actually commissioned pieces of art. The nature of the Urban Spectacles solidified Reflectacles in privacy and simplicity. Over time, Scott observed the need to provide greater privacy. Thus, Reflectacles was born. Reflectacles provides eyewear that is functional first and foremost, but also designed to placate our egos with fashionable appearances while simultaneously concealing our identities from prying digital eyes.
The logical starting point is design. A pair of Reflectacle glasses must provide privacy and obscurity. That is to say that they must defeat facial recognition and grant its wearer privacy from most if not all forms of facial recognition. This refuge from digital intrusion is at the core of Reflectacles. This is the primary selling point. While I cannot attest to more advanced software seen at the hands of government agencies, I have tested these overseas. The facial recognition used by Apple IOS is a combination of 7MP camera combined with an infrared camera, infrared flood illuminator and a dot projector utilizing more than 30k in-dot projection on the surface of the user’s face, with a focus on pupillary distance for extremely accurate facial recognition.
The system is even designed to work with facial altering accessories such as scarves, glasses, hats, and even new facial hair. This software is considered by many authorities to be highly advanced. Despite the complexity and sophistication of Apple’s facial recognition, the Reflectacles I’ve personally worn, including both the IR-Pair Originals and the IR-Cloak, has defeated this facial recognition, rendering it useless, necessitating removal of the glasses to use Apple’s facial recognition feature to unlock my phone.
Another interesting feature is the lens itself. Reflectacles utilize a green tinted lens that provides protection from IR intrusion. The use of IR (infared) to scan both the retina and the iris is a technology used with a high degree of effectiveness given the uniqueness of each individual’s eyes. The secret to this technology is rooted in understanding how facial recognition works. The key to facial recognition is focusing on the eyes, particularly the use of pupillary distance (PD). That’s the distance from the center of one eye to the other, which is virtually unchanging over the adult life of the individual. The scanning of PD and the uniqueness of each eye from iris to vein configuration inside the eye is specific to each individual. Facial recognition is contingent on the eyes, literally the window to the soul.
Shaded sunglasses actually become clear when IR lasers and lights are applied, so the problem is then how to block the IR spectrum. Reflectacles’ solution to this is elegant, multifaceted and passive, rather than active,. So, the anti-IR system doesn’t need to be powered to defeat or significantly deter facial recognition on a complex front. Inside the construction of the lens is a combination of materials that defeats the IR spectrum. While normal tinted or reflective lenses are dark in the visible spectrum, the lenses become transparent, i.e., perfectly clear in the IR spectrum. Reflectacles, on the other hand, doesn’t allow IR penetration, thus denying pupillary distance from being measured, or your retina or iris being scanned. The material used is specific to the IR spectrum and has been carefully formulated. The color is not so much a factor as the lens itself is the technology denying intrusion.
The other half of this processes is the frame. While a large frame could theoretically disrupt the layout of the face, many facial recognition systems will look for specific markers, including PD to support verification and a successful cataloging of an individual’s face. Reflectacles also uses an IR reflective treatment that causes the frames to glow under the use of IR cameras, causing the face to be obscured from view, again, through passive means.
Indeed, the brilliance of Reflectacles is this passive approach to countering privacy and anonymity destroying facial recognition technology. It essentially turns the wearer into an unidentifiable Grey Man, which is a serious force multiplier in the war against intrusion and for privacy’s salvation. Reflectacles sunglasses are non-obtrusive and affordable, and they don’t require any training. If you value your identity and privacy, Reflectacles has your back…or, in this case, your front.
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