Someone please turn this advert blocking headset into a smartglasses app

This headset hack was inspired by the dystopian show Black Mirror
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Augmented reality smartglasses can add to what you see - emails, directions, holograms - but soon they will be able to subtract from what you see too.

Inspired by an episode of Charlie Brooker's dystopian TV show Black Mirror, a group of University of Pennsylvania students have built the Brand Killer, a headset that blurs out corporate logos in the real world. Like AdBlock for the streets.

Essential reading: Samsung Gear VR review

It's essentially a pair of goggles with a webcam and a cheap 7-inch tablet - DIY headset making at its best and no surprise considering it was put together in a 48 hour hackathon with a $100 budget.


The smart move from the team of undergrad students was to stream the video captured by the webcam into a program that compares the images against a database of corporate logos.

This meant that the headset could then detect and blur the adverts in real time. The software behind it is openCV's image processing which itself is open source.

It's a brilliant idea, a two fingers to adverts that bombard us from billboards and buses. Of course, the database that the team used only had logos to reference so in the case of huge, image based ads you'd have to be staring right at the logo for it to work.

But if they can build a neat smartglasses app that works as promised, we'd use it to make London a less ad-infested but slightly blurrier place.

Or we could just go full Banksy, from 2004: "Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head."


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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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