With so much information available at our finger tips, at all times, it’s no wonder that most of us spend more time staring at our smartphones or computer screens than we do interacting with other real-life people. Some of us are so addicted to modern technology that we come up with all kinds of crazy ways to keep ourselves from using our phones or laptops all the time. One such solution is this pair of glasses that become opaque whenever you look at a screen.
The experimental glasses, called “Screeners”, were thought up by 28-year-old Chino Kim, as a way to rid his life of screens. “I’m tired of this mainstream tech culture that’s obsessed with things like virality and monetization and locking down our eyeballs for as long as possible,” he told VICE Motherboard at the recent NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program Spring Show. “I feel like the guy in A Clockwork Orange with my eyes clamped open. The Screeners address this head-on and they fit into my general interest in poking fun at the things I find alienating about everyday life by turning them on their heads.”
So here’s how Kim unique glasses works: the lenses are made of smart film – an opaque plastic that becomes clear when an electrical charge is applied to it. A webcam on the wearer’s head transmits images to a convolutional neural network that processes them and identifies what you’re looking at. “This output then gets passed to Wekinator, which is trained on various screens in order to optimize the program’s response,” the young artist and neuroscientist says. “If the webcam sees a screen, it will trigger the Arduino to cut power to the smart film on the glasses, making them opaque.”
Interestingly, Chino Kim says he came up with the idea for Screeners while taking a course called Machine Learning for Artists, which made him realize he could create these glasses using basic machine learning and computer programming. “I got really into thinking about the machine being able to recognize itself and using its newfound intelligence to save us from itself, like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins,” he says. “[I’m] battling Computer Vision Syndrome with computer vision.”
Screeners is one of the more tame ways to beat addiction to modern technology, at least when compared to the Pavlov Poke – a keyboard palm rest that sends electric shocks whenever the user spends too much time online – or cutting off your hand so you can’t use the computer.
Photos: Chino Kim
via VICE Motherboard