An invisibility cloak is every Potterhead’s dream, and that dream may have just become a reality, as a bunch of Chinese students have invented a cheap concept cloak that can apparently hide human bodies from AI-monitored security cameras, the students claim. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the coat, called “InvisDefense”, although visible to human eyes, can blind cameras during the day and “emit unusual thermal signals at night” to evade detection from infrared cameras. .
SCMP announced that the work of these graduate students was also awarded first prize in the Huawei Technologies Co. Professor Competition. Wuhan University’s Wang Zheng, who oversaw the project, told SCMP: “The camera will detect the presence of a person, but it will not be able to detect whether it is a person”.
“These days, many tracking devices can detect human bodies. Roadside cameras have pedestrian detection capabilities and smart cars can identify pedestrians, roads and obstacles. Our InvisDefense allows the camera to pick you up, but it cannot determine if you are human,” SCMP said, referring to Wang. The coat has a specially designed camouflage pattern on its surface to help confuse the device’s recognition algorithm.
At night, when the cameras detect thermal energy or heat radiation and convert it into an electrical signal, the cloak creates an unusual temperature pattern to fool him. “The hardest part is balancing the camouflage pattern. Scientists have traditionally used bright images to disrupt machine vision, and it has worked. But it stands out to the human eye, making the user even more noticeable,” Wei Hui, a PhD student on the team that worked on the underlying algorithm, told SCMP.
The complete InvisDefense kit costs around $70 and includes four temperature control modules in addition to the cost of printing the pattern, which the team said was inexpensive. The team hopes the cloak will prove useful as “combat against drones or during human-machine confrontation on the battlefield.”