In an effort to ramp up its security in and around the country, China’s police force has been given a new tool to help its personnel: facial recognition glasses.
These new eyepieces boast some pretty cutting edge optics technology, coupled with an equally impressive facial recognition algorithm that is capable of identifying a subject hiding within the crowd and giving the police officer information about the individuals in just a couple of seconds, and with near flawless accuracy.
China’s timing for deploying these glasses lines up with the upcoming Lunar New Year festival and holiday. It is a time when many people from China’s cities begin their mass migration back to their home towns in many rural parts of the country.
The glasses were actually field tested last year, and during the tests, the glasses helped facilitate the arrest of seven individuals who were wanted for major cases, and around 26 other people who were accused of traveling under a false identity, or an identity other than their own.
These glasses were developed by the Chinese-based company LLVision Technology Co, and they reflect China’s growing and seemingly unending desire to advance its AI endeavours. With AI technology, using these glasses generally cuts the time needed by a police officer to identify a suspect to a mere 100 miliseconds, while surveying and processing individuals could effectively take just a few minutes, down from the several hours it would usually take the officers.
However, the existence of these glasses have also raised concerns with certain human rights groups, and many fear that China could also use this technology to keep tabs on its dissidents and activists.
“The potential to give individual police officers facial-recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China’s surveillance state all the more ubiquitous,” commented William Nee from Amnesty International.
Love it or leave it, though, there’s no denying that these glasses are the closest thing that we can describe as a fully functioning pair of smartglasses at this very moment.