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Wednesday May 21, 2014 12:37 pm

URME Mask lets you wear someone else’s face to avoid surveillance

Posted by Ariel Levin-Waldman Categories: Design, Misc. Tech


Surveillance technology has gotten pretty impressive. Camera resolution combined with facial recognition means you can be identified just about all the time, and in many jurisdiction in the United States it is actually illegal to wear a mask in public if it is likely to cause concern. What is the average guy supposed to do to hide from the high tech eyes of a watchful government?

You can always try wearing someone else's face.

I promise it's less creepy than it sounds. Still pretty creepy though. The URME Mask, a realistically detailed 3D printed replica of the creator's face, comes to us by way of Indiegogo. Yes, you read that right, the entire premise of the URME is to make everyone look just like Leo Selvaggio, the Chicago-based artist that that brainstormed the idea.

And he is apparently not alone in thinking this. It's a little disturbing but he has more than doubled his originally asked for goal of $1,000. There are people out there willing to pay good money to wear Leo's skin.

But how effective is it? Facial recognition software maps out the 3D contours of a human face and tracks the most distinctive regions- the bridge of the nose, the edges of the cheekbones and the depth of the eye sockets. Modern ones can do this even in bad lighting, so a hood cannot help you that much, but a mask can.

The problem is that you might get stopped and searched by police if you walk down the street wearing your Scary Movie or Scream mask, and they just are not practical for everyday life. But the URME mask is a very realistic likeness of a human face, and very difficult to distinguish from the real deal at a distance. Get too close and people might call the police because you look like you are pulling a Silence of the Lambs trick.

Still, it's a pretty curious idea to say the least, and just the latest in a series of crowd sourced measures our generation is taking to thumb our collective noses at the establishment.

It won't stop thermal imaging based cameras though, you want to know how to pull that off then stay tuned. More crowd sourced wearable securities are coming up on Gear Live.

Read More | Indiegogo

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