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HyperFace Aims To Foil Facial Recognition

HyperFace is being developed for Hyphen Labs NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism project at Sundance Film Festival and is a collaboration with Hyphen Labs members Ashley Baccus-Clark, Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov, and JB Rubinovitz


(Textile pattern prototype, rendered by Ece Tankal)

HyperFace is a new kind of camouflage that aims to reduce the confidence score of facial detection and recognition by providing false faces that distract computer vision algorithms. HyperFace development began in 2013 and was first presented at 33c3 in Hamburg, Germany on December 30th, 2016. HyperFace will launch as a textile print at Sundance Film Festival on January 16, 2017.

HyperFace works by providing maximally activated false faces based on ideal algorithmic representations of a human face. These maximal activations are targeted for specific algorithms. The prototype above is specific to OpenCVís default frontalface profile. Other patterns target convolutional nueral networks and HoG/SVM detectors. The technical concept is an extension of earlier work on CV Dazzle. The difference between the two projects is that HyperFace aims to alter the surrounding area (ground) while CV Dazzle targets the facial area (figure). In camouflage, the objective is often to minimize the difference between figure and ground. HyperFace reduces the confidence score of the true face (figure) by redirecting more attention to the nearby false face regions (ground).

Conceptually, HyperFace recognizes that completely concealing a face to facial detection algorithms remains a technical and aesthetic challenge. Instead of seeking computer vision anonymity through minimizing the confidence score of a true face (i.e. CV Dazzle), HyperFace offers a higher confidence score for a nearby false face by exploiting a common algorithmic preference for the highest confidence facial region. In other words, if a computer vision algorithm is expecting a face, give it what it wants.

I'm really excited about this development; as a fan of Philip K. Dick I know that he foresaw these developments and prepared remedies. His scramble suit is a device enables the wearer to defy description, both in person and especially in surveillance videos:


(Explanatory Scramble suit video from the movie version)

The scramble suit was an invention of the Bell laboratories, conjured up by accident by an employee named S. A. Powers... Basically, his design consisted of a multifaceted quartz lens hooked up to a million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people: men and women, children, with every variant encoded and then projected outward in all directions equally onto a superthin shroudlike membrane large enough to fit around an average human.
(Read more about Philip K. Dick's scramble suit)

Via HyperFace Camouflage.

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