Introduction: Finally, I'm Being ReCognized

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This Instructable is for an "invisibility suit" (or what we in the art-making biz might call a metaphorical object) worn in hopes of locating a balance between our privacy and our protection. It imitates technological solutions to preserving privacy and crosses the border between the digital and the physical. f wearing the suit comments on image representation and the possibility of reclaiming objectivity in interpretations of our actions.

The following steps show you how to re-create a suit which makes your body appear to be pixelated on public surveillance cameras. The concept is based upon developments around surveillance and society, as we are now entering a new privacy paradigm in which this balance between surveillance authority and civil privacy protection is oscillating. In the US, our law enforcement surveillance lacks the technology expertise and manpower to keep pace with global terrorists and criminals, so surveillance has widened by collaborating with private and commercial corporations.
The door swings both ways, and those working under a commerce-based agenda might not have to work too hard at data mining. To date, there is no single comprehensive system which protects all of our personal data.
Yet, with this weight attached to data acquisition, appended to surveillance, we feel a great level of comfort when cameras monitor us in closed public spaces, such as subway tunnels, or during vulnerable hours of the night. We want our bodies and our possessions protected, to take the safest flight back home, no matter how long the delay. In fact some may argue that we've even taken on the behavior of surveillance technology and begun to monitor one another. Bloggers In China Start Testing Limits Of 'Mental Firewall'

The technological advances...
Technologists are creating new software which makes separations in video content between analysis and human interpretation. - in real time individuals/objects pass through a series of event and behavior detection tests, which have been encoded into the viewers' server.

Once your behavior is seen as "passable" , meaning that there is no foul play seen by these systems, then your image becomes pixelated or scrambled, thus preserving your privacy.
For smaller environments, such as school or office security, one's specific bodily behavior , such as gait, can b registered by a main system, then the employee or appropriate person's digital data are encoded with a watermark, their images become scrambled and they are free to move around the space, without any compromise on their identity. demonstrations
Step 4 shows further explains this, see some videos on research and products.

The invisibility suit is a physical manifestation of this technology and ways in which our bodies can be measured as data. Increasingly, biometrical developments encroaching upon the public sphere are at the focus of vast ethical debates.
It also allows us to regain control of scopic impositions, in a sense this suit allows the wearer to assert his or her power of keeping his/her bodily representation objective. It rejects the viewers power to judge, interpret, and apply any values to the person being filmed. the proverbial playing field is leveled and the wearer has sent a semaphoric message to the video viewers- "How can I trust you if you don't trust me?"

By creating and doning such a suit, you are making a symbolic gesture to the people monitoring public surveillance footage to the effect of " hey I know you're watching me, but please be responsible with my data, otherwise I may have to remain 'invisible'. Why don't we negotiate?"
As a bonus, you're also commenting on ways in which our bodies are increasingly turning into digital data!

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

Here you will have to locate the following:
Fiberglass window screening
Nylon thread, needles
Hot glue gun/ glue, scissors
500-1000 blank 1mil white ID cards (ebay, $25 per 500)
Heavy weight white velcro
Black felt
Digital video camera (if you're feeling proud)

Step 2: Sewing the Screening Together

Picture of Sewing the Screening Together

This design is modeled after the popular Hazmat suit

I recommend starting with the sleeves, then moving on the rest of the body.
The head piece I made separately, so that it could be easily pulled on and off like a "hoddie"

Step 3: Begin Adding ID Cards

Picture of Begin Adding ID Cards

After deciding on a design for the hood (I modeled it after armour), begin attaching ID cards.
To give the hood a pixilated look of "flowing" pixels, I started with the bottom of the hood and layered them up. This is optional and involves drilling holes in the cards then attaching them with tiny wire.
For the rest of the suit:
cut ID cards in half, so that they were more movable and squared off.
Hot glue them on to the rest of the body.
I also used packing paper on the inside, so as not to glue the front and back together

Step 4: Does This Suit Really Make Me "invisible"?

Picture of Does This Suit Really Make Me "invisible"?
Lately, technology has been providing privacy protection in public video surveillance. These systems perform automatic event detection and automatic scrambling of regions corresponding to people, and goods, thus preserving bodily privacy.

Private companies like Eptascape have designed some serious video analysis technology......check it out:

Professors at Berkeley and the University of Kentucky are working hard to create "respectful cameras" Here is a video in which hats transmit scrambling information to surveillance cameras
see the video!

Now that's all well and fine, but we still aren't able to have a say in who can remain anonymous and who remains visible. If such smart technology enters the public realm, who gets to decide if you are authorized to be invisible?

NOT you!

Step 5: Drop Your Suit on the Public!

Picture of Drop Your Suit on the Public!
Here are three different spaces you can start to be recognized, without compromising your identity.

Taking your invisibility suit to the streets opens up dialogue with the public about how important it is that we stay aware of our privacy rights, as well as feel protected and safe.

In the second video, for night time interactions I added reflective tape to the suit. Any thing is fine, as long as you are able to achieve a pixilation effect.

The video depicting the subway monitor shows how you might show acknowledgement of being surveilled, you'll probably have to gesture or act out to the camera that you would like to come to an agreement on how much of your data should stay protected.

Once again, here is the video of a pixelated figure/ image which this project is imitating


Kiteman (author)2008-05-03

That is kind of the point of the suit - it's not a genuine attempt at data-invisibility, it's a statement, a protest against the uber-surveilled society we live in.

We are worst in the UK - a typical trip to the shops can get you picked up on over 300 different cameras.

The attitude you're only bothered by surveillance if you're up to no good is a fallacious argument. People have a right to privacy, yet there exists a detailed record of our movements and purchases to which we have no access, and often no direct awareness.

Constant monitoring allows government and corporate access to areas of our lives to which they have no right. In this modern atmosphere of fear of them, almost anything can become a crime, sometimes retrospectively, so such a record is more and more a concern.

For instance, a pending change in UK law makes it illegal to possess photos of certain private activities; even though the acts themselves are perfectly legal, and apparently quite commonly performed, a single click of a camera shutter can earn you a prison sentence. How do they know you've taken the photo? If they suspect you have the photo, they can raid your house and take your computers for months or years, expose you to public ridicule and then not apologise.

mycroftxxx (author)Kiteman2008-05-10

Occasionally, something gets done about that attitude. Witness The Hurtt Prize, I am sorry to say that noone has ever managed to claim it - but I'm not sure how many people attempted. My friends and I compiled a list of the crimes regularly committed by our Chief of Police, but knowing about something and being able to assemble unassailable video documentation of an offense are two different things. (It also doesn't help that the person in question lives an hour away by freeway and is actually difficult to keep up with once he starts driving)

_soapy_ (author)mycroftxxx2010-07-04

That last line right there would indicate a simple way to catch him breaking the speed limit, then!

thinker (author)Kiteman2008-08-10

what pending change is that? i havent heard of it, which worries me, and are you as infuriated as i am by A: the judges who have created precedent for not allowing anonymous giving of evidence and B : the parliamentary members trying to usurp the monarchy

lucinity (author)Kiteman2008-06-18

Seems like we are mice in a cage in an observatory with next to knowledge that we are any where but just doing what it is we are doing while being viewed from every angle and everything we do can be written down and recorded. Slaves to those who deem themselves more worthy.

Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2008-06-17

Yea verily!

Bongmaster (author)Kiteman2008-05-03

You have the right to see and have copies of All data about you, this includes camera surveillance footage, it may cost you about £10 for it but any information about you that they have you have a right to see.. and they cannot refuse. UK information act thingy.

Kiteman (author)Bongmaster2008-05-03

But, they do not have to tell you that they possess any information about you - you cannot ask for what you do not know exists.

Plus, just because I have the right to a copy of it, I do not have the right to have the information deleted or expunged, even if it is not evidence of a crime, because it might be evidence at a later date. It is not illegal for me to buy methylated spirits, but methylated spirits could be used as a solvent or reactant in the manufacture of several illicit substances, both drugs and explosives, so (as for several such substances in the US, I am led to believe) the purchase or possession of methylated spirits could be made illegal in the future.

A quick perusal of CCTV footage, and I have Plod kicking in my door.

Kiteman (author)Kiteman2008-05-03

(And I don't think other countries have the equivalent of the DPA)

truespin1208 (author)2009-05-19

But that just makes people in public think your a little insult intended here. Personaly, I think it might be more interesting to make a suit that appears to be normal everyday attire, but shows up on security cameras as a pixelatted or blacked out. For example. Take a hat, shirt, pants, and cover them with IR leds. That way, the majority of security cameras would see you as a big white spot walking by. You may even be able to hide the leds under the clothing since IR light passes right through most fabrics. This would send a clear message to "big brother" without having to explain yourself to everyone in the streets. It would be interesting to wear such a thing around, and see how long it takes before you're questioned.......probably not too long. I do like your concept though.

truespin1208 (author)Kataze2010-05-28

that guy didn't know what he was doing. He used IR LEDs with a low angle output. some have a low angle output of about 5 to 10 degrees, but they do make high angle output more like 80 degrees or more. That way the IR covers a broad area instead of being focused. there are also other wyas to disperse the light by using lenses. you just have to put some thought into it.

Disconnected (author)2009-07-28

Sort of neat I guess.... Maybe if you replaced the white cards with mirror tiles you would have better results? Interesting concept. Cheers.

jotux (author)2008-06-17

"Who cares if Big Brother is watching, if you're doing something illegal, then stop it and you wouldn't have to worry" Yeah people. If you're a good person and don't do anything wrong, what do you have to worry about? Only criminals fear cameras. I, for one, think there should be security cameras in every single home in the world. That way, the police can watch what we do in private to make sure we're not committing crimes. I mean...only criminals and terrorists wouldn't want that right? Also, all of our phone calls, emails, letters, and even our speech should be recorded 24/7 for the same reason. Since current law enforcement doesn't have the means to do this...we should create a new arm of the government. We could call it Miniluv.

wax54 (author)jotux2009-07-23

but without privacy why bother.

abbabibble2 (author)jotux2008-06-18

i sure as hell hope that you truly don't mean this. Really and truly.

abbabibble2 (author)abbabibble22008-06-18

... and if you do kiss your freedom and your ability to think and act as freely as you do daily goodbye.

thinker (author)abbabibble22008-08-10

methinks you missed the George Orwell reference, and the sheer impossibilty of what he was stating seemed dripping with sarcasm to me =p

jotux (author)jotux2008-06-18

I thought the 'Ministry of Love' reference would be enough to drive home the extreme sarcasm of my post....

bobthebilder (author)jotux2008-06-19

I don't think they got the reference, Mr.Orwell. But we did, and we'll be sending someone over to check up on your "mental state". Have a nice day. Sincerely The Guys down at the Ministry

Lurch (author)2008-09-19

Have I completely missed the point? What is the difference between this and just wearing a balaclava? Surely if you want to get locked up under some variation of the mental health act then going out whilst wearing a suit made plastic badges is probably a good way to go about it? Anyone committing some form of wrongdoing will generally do it conspicuously and get away with it. Doing nothing wrong whilst conspicuosly doing it is likely to get you some attention for no reason, which surely is the complete opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve? I've missed the point haven't I? What is the point again?

gow87 (author)2008-06-18

Now this is a comment to the british folk as i dont know how the law works in america. But you can request your image if somebody is filming you (store cctv etc) but this is what i dont understand You want privacy in a public place... now to me, so what if your on film. If your doing things which you wouldnt want to be on film, why would you be doing them in a public place? As for shop cctv, its their property, you dont want to get filmed you dont go in there? Am i missing something?

thinker (author)gow872008-08-10

yes you are the "little brother" "george orwell" and so on quotes above, should help enlighten you to the problem, but in summary, in my opinion, its too much power in the hands of too few, they can claim to have avideo of you, without showing you said video, (and without this being proof of said video's existence) and using this video, raid your house, seize/freeze your assets (only if it is suspected drug dealing related i think), and detain you for at least several months, without clear evidence being shown. and when the evidence is shown it could be as little as you buying some methylated spirits, buying lighter fluid, or other seemingly innocuous transactions because with all the video footage watching for the Possibility of a crime, then its an action which could possibly lead to a crime or be the basis of a crime which can become suspicious, and the evidence against you Doesnt have to show an illegal act in and of itself /rant

JediMasterJET (author)thinker2008-09-08

And walking around in that suit doesn't make people suspicious of your actions and want to search your house?

thinker (author)JediMasterJET2008-09-10

by making a public mockery of the CCTV system and by becoming a known person, i would imagine they would be less likely to be the focus of a random raid actually the police tend to pick on those without friends from my experiences (i mean friends as in, tonnes of people likely to make a fuss/attract media attention) besides the suit is completely legal, and i expect seeing it would amuse many cctv operators anyway

richelton (author)2008-05-03

One of those nagging little half-baked ideas floating around in my head (and in a couple of half-wired pieces somewhere on my workbench) involves a way to electronically defeat video camera surveillance while remaining perfectly visible to real people looking at you with real biological eyeballs. As a necessary condition of going about our everyday lives we tend to forget that the map is not the territory (similar to the willing suspension of disbelief necessary to "get into" a fictional movie or play pretend) but in many cases there are crucial differences between seemingly one-to-one mappings.

Case in point: a video surveillance camera is sensitive to a different part of the light spectrum than is the human eye. My idea is to use diffused, super "bright" infrared LEDs (and/or other tricks like this) to overwhelm or confuse the cheap, IR-sensitive chips used in those cameras thus preserving the required personal interaction while thwarting unwanted (and currently not required, at least explicitly) recording of such. I got the idea from reading an old Popular Science magazine article on non-lethal weapons such as laser "dazzlers" used by the military to confuse, stun or control crowds and mobs.

gschoppe (author)richelton2008-05-04

this exact idea was featured on boingboing recently... a cap fitted with ir leds to dazzle security cameras

richelton (author)gschoppe2008-05-05

Oh, cool, thanks. I'll have to check it out.

thinker (author)richelton2008-08-10

theres an instructable also

thinker (author)gschoppe2008-08-10

also theres an instructable on it

Lithium Rain (author)richelton2008-06-17

Well, you could just go around pointing a super powerful LED flashlight at every camera you see...jk.

Tirann (author)2008-06-19

The IR LED in the headband is so much more convenient and inconspicuous, tho.

The Dark Ninja (author)Tirann2008-07-20

Not to mention full of crap. The theory works that a High Intensity IR LED can block or shield against video cameras. My cell phone, all 3 of my webcams, the 16 security cameras at work, and my digital camcorder all ignore the IR and only show what it was supposed to. I would suspect that only cheap/garbage cameras have issues with IR. Sorry to blast you, I just think that people should actually test instructables before recommending them.

Trinity (author)The Dark Ninja2008-08-06

in fact it is you who is full of crap. the cameras you tested didnt have night vision! the ir led's effect night vision cameras at night

illdoyourdrugs (author)2008-08-01

Invisible aha ha ha. Everyone will turn heads. you will be watched like a hawk. I know the point is to block on the cameras but still its funny. (author)2008-07-07

or you could put the little pannels on a wall then make it look like its a hole going to the next room.

yokozuna (author)2008-06-17

You obviously don't care about your own civil liberties, but please don't volunteer them away for everyone else too.

dudeguy1234 (author)yokozuna2008-06-28

Wow, is your sarcasm detector broken?

yokozuna (author)dudeguy12342008-06-28

umm... not quite, they just don't bother issuing them to my model number. (I think the confusion here is that a previous comment which I replied to was maybe deleted by the author, which made mine appear as a response to the larger thread or something, don't really remember).

dudeguy1234 (author)yokozuna2008-06-29

ohhhhkay I was worried there for a moment ;)

SuperCoPilot (author)2008-06-28

now i properly know how to piss off my principals

greeze (author)2008-06-17

Turn that logic around. If I'm not doing anything illegal, then why is Big Brother watching? Why am I being watched like a criminal if I always obey the law?

dudeguy1234 (author)greeze2008-06-28

Again... you need to check your sarcasm detector.

digitalenigma (author)2008-06-19

i agree the suit is very conspicuous there has to be a better way to do this with a more easily forged & embedded material there is probally a good way to do completley scramble with low current electromagnetic fields

CapnChkn (author)2008-06-19

Yay!!! Melodrama!!!

Goobers (author)2008-06-19

Only tirrorists will try to avoid the loving eye of big brother. Are you a tirrorist? Resistance is futile.

Dungeonbrownies (author)2008-06-18

honestly, this is just for kicks and i know it, but a real way for superior privacy, due to high amounts of digital cmaera today, is to hav a hood with tons and tons of ir leds sewn in. activate them and your face is only a glowing blur on digital cameras while looking normal in person. cover your body with them and you look like the opening for the old x-files theme song clip

freshmanfred0000 (author)2008-06-18

I fail to see the reason for wearing this suit, the way it's constructed I feel you might just wear a ski mask and a hoody, you covered your face anyway in almost the same manner.

robots199 (author)2008-06-18

It is a good idea. Props to that..... BUT I am not one of the people who would walk around in public to ID cards hot glued to me.Trust me on that one

rea5245 (author)2008-05-03

First, laws can be changed at any time. Even if you think they're all reasonable now, you might not later. Second, people with access to the tapes might abuse their powers. Employees of the IRS have been known to look at people's data out of curiosity or for political gain. This sort of thing happens at the federal, state, and local level fairly frequently. Third, security's not perfect. Even if you trust everyone who works in the gov't not to abuse their power, someone else might gain access to the tapes. Even the Pentagon isn't able to keep out all hackers, and there have been several incidents recently of companies and government agencies losing data or being hacked. Stalkers? Ex-spouses? Criminals? Do you want them to be able to map out your activities? Fourth, it's only a matter of time before someone in a civil or criminal case tries to subpoena those recordings. A messy divorce? A lawsuit in which one lawyer wants to go on a fishing expedition for more evidence against you? Even law-abiding people have much to fear from constant surveillance.

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