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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8cd30001A blog featuring the work and work life of NHPR's interns and fellows.

Dazzling The Enemy: The WWI Technology Being Used For Modern Anti-Surveillance Camouflage

We spoke with The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer about CV Dazzle, a way to camouflage your face from surveillance technology. He wore one of the designs featured on CVDazzle.com, where there are many more ideas for ways to make your face indistinguishable to technology using facial recognition. A quick reminder though: as Meyer discovered when he tried out CV Dazzle in Washington DC, while the camouflage may hide you from surveillance cameras, it also brings you to the center of attention for other humans.

Credit Cea. via Flickr CC

Most of the camouflaging techniques depend on breaking up features, like the bridge of your nose or creating some asymmetry in your look, as cameras depend on specific features and expected shapes to recognize and identify people. But this style of hiding in plain site was first developed back in WWI…for battle ships.

In 1917, artist Norman Wilkinson proposed a style of camouflage for Allied ships that sought to confuse, instead of hide. Patterns and bold shapes helped to confuse enemy ships, by making it appear as though ships were going in different directions or that they were of different designs. Basically, he created optical illusions on a grand scale. Although the different colors are lost to black and white film, you can still see style and contrast that made the ships famous in the slideshow above.

To hear the full interview about CV Dazzle with Robinson Meyer, click here.

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