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An experimental real world adblock (jonathandub.in)
290 points by tstactplsignore on Jan 21, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 141 comments

That's pretty cool but I feel like they're mixing up ads and brands. Like I expected a real life adblock to say, blur actual advertisements in a magazine or billboard. Instead in this video they show it blurring brands like on the soda bottle (which isn't that useful). I'm sure the tech could probably do it but the demo could be better.

I'm one of the members of the team that built this.

Some context about the project: We built this a few days ago at the PennApps hackathon during a period of 48 hours. We originally wanted to try to block out magazine advertisements and billboards, but didn't think we could quite get that working with the time constraints, so we chose to block out logos instead. We called the project Brand Killer.

> We called the project Brand Killer.

Ah neat, that certainly is a lot more fitting of a description.

Do you also block out images of Nicki Minaj? ...because apparently she is also a "brand."

Surely a logo - like on a coffee cup - is an advert for a brand?

I'm not sure I agree. A visible logo/brand being itself an advertisement maybe a side-effect of the logo/brand being prominitantly displayed, but I would argue that it is more identification than advertising.

The difference becomes apparent when considering soda pop bottle versus a high-end dress shirt. The soda-pop bottle is a trivial purchase, and is generally available among many other brands offering the same thing. However, the shirt may be purchased with more effort and care, and is generally available among other clothing from the same brand.

The brand on the bottle offers identification of the individual item during purchase and later during selection for drinking. No matter if it is found in a bin among bottles from other brands, or within a section containing only bottles from one brand. Bottles are also discarded after use, so they are not identified individually, but merely as one of many copies. I have several bottles of soda pop, some Coke some Pepsi. The brand is still very relevant.

A shirt on the other hand is probably accompanied by an entire section of clothing for the same brand, and does not need individual identification. Even more so during selection for use, shirts are generally owned by a single person and cared for individually. I only have one pink broadcloth shirt, and it happens to be from Banana Republic. The brand is not as relevant.


You're right. That was actually a bad example, I admit. A better example would be the bottle of soda that you might see on a store shelf.

I've updated the reply.

The bottle of soda is still an ad. Before brands advertised via their products you'd just get "a bottle of lemonade", it would perhaps have a label on that says "lemonade" [well you'd probably make your own ...] - but the bottle shape and colour, logos, label styling, images are all part of an advert that reinforces a specific brand identity.

Yes, if you want to buy a specific brand you'd need to modify the filter. I'd like it to say pick out the "cheapest lemonade that has lemon in it and no aspartame and scores at least 50% in taste tests" or "the lemonade I drank last time" and just show me that one at my behest!

I'd still like a label that allows me to determine the difference between bottles of mineral water, soda water, tonic water, and lemonade.

The software would just need to add a generic label text like "soda" on top of the blur effect - when it detects the brand, it knows the type already, and it can just do an n-to-1 mapping so that you can buy, say, an orange-flavored soda without seeing which brand you took.

Still, even within type there's great variance. Coke and Pepsi are both colas, but whereas in the US they taste fairly similar, they're very different here in Australia (our coke is like mexican coke, made with sugar instead of HFCS). The inconvenience of being exposed to branding is overshadowed by the inconvenience of accidentally selecting a product you know you don't like.

Simple advertising like branding on the product itself isn't the problem, anyway. It's usually not intrusive nor irrelevant to what you're doing. If you're looking at the bottle, chances are that you want to do something with it. It's not like you're driving down the road and the bottle forces itself into view like a billboard. It would be better if this form of adblocking could somehow detect if the branding was actually attached to the product and let that through, since it does double duty as branding and identification.

More useful would be an infographic that showed ingredient quality info, sugar/caffeine levels, generic flavor symbol, environmental impact etc.

I'm more amused of the idea of going shopping with this thing.

If you didn't know the shape of the bottle or other characteristics you wouldn't know what the hell you're buying.

Sounds like a fun shopping trip.

It would be pretty cool if you could replace advertisements altogether. Imagine driving down the road instead of billboards you see art work.

In São Paulo they have the "clean city law"[1] which banned outdoor advertising in 2006. Pretty crazy, here's a flickr gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonydemarco/sets/7215760007550...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cidade_Limpa

Is a company's name on their building really considered advertising? I mean, if I owned a nice building for my company, I'd take pride in having our name on the front.

What's the purpose of putting the company name on there. If it's to solely to allow people to find it then that's not advertising - if it's to say "look how awesome this building is and it's our companies" then that's advertising IMO.

> What's the purpose of putting the company name on there.

Well, for the owner's it's a sense of pride over all the hard work they've gone through to get to the point of being able to put their business name on the wall. Why do people buy flashy sports cars? To show off success.

I don't think having a name on a building like "SomeGuy's Sawmill" is really an advert, if anything, it's a brand.

Not to mention, say you're trying to find a location like the closest clothing store, or restaurant. How will you locate it (or the right one) if every building is just plain and looks exactly the same?

There's a difference between having a sign at street level for passers-by and having a neon sign that fills half your building though.

No-one is saying you can't have a nice sports car, nor that you can't be proud of it - here they're saying that you can't put spotlights on it and erect a hoarding saying "I'm awesome, look this is my car", just park it on the street like everyone else.

How will you locate a building. Numbers, street names - map or GPS : those are the usual way.

> How will you locate a building. Numbers, street names - map or GPS : those are the usual way.

That would only work if you knew ahead of time you were specifically looking for that particular location. There's been plenty of times I've driven by some place and decided to go take a peek inside just based on their name alone.

I'm a bit confused about your claim, then, because that sounds exactly like advertising.

"Al's Furniture Store" isn't advertising to me, it's the store name. I decided to go look inside based on what it was.

If 'Al' wasn't able to put his business name on the building (or advertise in any form), then he'd probably not make very many sales.

It surprises me where the conversation has gone -- this being HN and all, we're mostly startup/biz/tech people round these parts.

I intuitively understand what you're getting at, but I think it's difficult to draw a legal line between a name sign and advertising.

I guess plain signs reading "bakery", "clothes", "cars", "hipster coffee", etc. could be allowed if you try this.

You can put it up there I believe, but it has to be small and can't be flashing.

> Is a company's name on their building really considered advertising?


> I mean, if I owned a nice building for my company, I'd take pride in having our name on the front.

I'm not sure why the fact that the advertiser would make it any less advertising.

This is crazy, these pictures look like they're from a dystopian future. Can you imagine if this happened in the U.S.?

Some might say it looks like a utopian future :)

Exactly. I live in a place with a bit less ad clutter than usual, so it's the US cities that look dystopian to me :).

Point well taken! It would be nice to live in that city I must admit :)

It would be amazing, especially if they also tore down all the billboards instead of leaving them up and blank.

I don't think it’s so bad leaving the blank advertising stands. They act as a reminder for how things used to be. Humans are remarkably adaptable and it’s very easy for us to forget changes in our environment. As an example, my local city council banned HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) from the city centre about 10 years ago and it made a huge difference to quality of life for other road users (particularly pedestrians and cyclists) with regard to noise levels and air quality. However, within a few weeks, most of us just took the change for granted and forgot how bad things used to be. Every so often, I make a conscious effort to remind myself of positive changes that have happened as it’s far too easy to focus only on the negative aspects of one’s current situation. The empty advertising stands serve as visual cues for such appreciation. I’d also add that the bare structures have a certain symbolic value.

HGV meaning semi-trucks and other CDL class vehicles? Just want to be clear. I wish my city did that, or at least banned the multitrailer trucks where they have 1-2 more trailers attached.

I had to look up those terms. We use different terminology in Ireland but it looks like we're talking about the same class of vehicles (also generally referred to as articulated lorries [1])

The ban[2] specifically refers to trucks with 5 axles or more and proscribes them from entering the city centre between 7am and 7pm. Previously, there was a large amount of trucks driving through main thoroughfares to access Dublin Port but before introducing the ban, the local authorities finished constructing a tunnel and motorway to bypass the city so the truck drivers have viable alternative routes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_goods_vehicle

[2] http://www.dublincity.ie/hgv

One can dream...

In addition to the already mentioned Hawaii, there are already other limitations on billboards in the US:


Correct. I grew up in Vermont. No billboards allowed and the State will come after you if you try to get funny about it and test the limits.

I can remember this technology being used on rap videos from the early to mid 1990s.

Yeah, US drivers wouldn't get distracted by flashing billboards.

Most forms of outdoor advertising are banned in Hawai‘i.

Seeing a city like that was so refreshing, it must be nice to live somewhere your attention isn't constantly pulled here and there, and where a sense of want is re-enforced every time you lift your head.

New Zealand has a similar law - you can't advertise on a building unless you own it and use it.. i.e. Coke can put a coke sign on their own building, but nowhere else.

It's beautiful.

I'm confused about this. NZ has billboards. I'm not sure exactly what you're comparing with. Do companies elsewhere just "tag" their names indiscriminately? I haven't noticed any differences between the UK and NZ in this regard.

This also made the city incredibly hard for me to navigate about a decade ago (no smart phone).

Or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18qD9hmU9xg

This is an excerpt from Slavoj zizek's Pervert's Guide to Ideology, which in turn excerpts the cult sci-fi film They Live. Both are very much worth your time.

And replace brand logos with accurate descriptions.

Instead of blurring the label, translate Coca Cola -> Cola Soda Pop (355ml/300 cals)

Or "OBEY", "MARRY AND REPRODUCE", and so on.


There's a Firefox extension that does that for websites.


Or Pepsi replacing Coca-Cola ads with their own.

>Imagine driving down the road instead of billboards you see art work.

How you made it 28 minutes before someone suggested pr0n is a mystery to me.

It's been done already. Someone hacked a street billboard in Russia once to play pornography.

That is such a great idea.

something like The Artvertiser perhaps? http://theartvertiser.com/

Billboards are expensive. Who would pay to put art up there? Artists?

Then you're back at artists advertising their work.

He meant it would be nice to have this AR technology replace the ads with artwork in your field of vision.

This reminds me of the Black Mirror episode White Christmas (only blocking ads instead of people).

Hey, I'm from the team that worked on this at PennApps. This episode was actually our inspiration for the device!

Another Black Mirror fan here. I was about to post the same thing as the parent. It's awesome that the show inspired this, but it's also quite scary at the same time!

Hey! I was a mentor at PennApps and I came by on your table early friday night and loved the idea. I was the one who suggested shipping your own .deb packages for opencv with all of the good stuff built in. You should publish that if you decided to do that... would love to hear from you guys... great work!!!! pennapps@boun.cr

Are you aware that "this reminds me of Black Mirror" is a really, really bad thing? Like, did you miss the whole point of the show?

I especially enjoy the fact that I dismissed it at the time as being "too unrealistic", one month later a prototype turns up on HN!

I learned to err on the side of "doable" in case of science fiction technology. With our current tech level, we can already do pretty much almost anything; usually economics is the only blocker.

I think there's an interesting opportunity here to replace logos rather than simply blur them. For example, you could replace the logo with:

- the name of the brand in plain text

- the parent company of the brand

- the parent company's stock symbol, market cap, and percentage change in the last week

- political campaigns the parent company has contributed to recently

- consumer reports / better business bureau ratings for the brand / company

Along the same lines of porting things to the real world: this DRM chair.


See also SeatSale: License to Sit: http://wearcam.org/seatsale/

VR, Augmented Reality, Holograms, etc. are currently abuzz in the news. It's probable that these headsets will become popular consumer devices within the near future. And they present a conflicting opportunity for advertisers and consumers:

1. Advertisers will probably want to use AR devices to superimpose their product logos on the real world, thereby advertising more at a lower cost. No need to rent billboard space when you can beam your corporate logo right into the eye of the consumer.

2. Consumers will probably want to use AR devices to remove product logos from the real world, much in the spirit of AdBlock and this video (using machine vision to detect advertisements, and then to replace them with something less objectionable).

What effects will these opportunities have? Who will come out on top? Will it be like advertising on the internet, all over again?

> Advertisers will probably want to use AR devices to superimpose their product logos on the real world, thereby advertising more at a lower cost. No need to rent billboard space when you can beam your corporate logo right into the eye of the consumer.

if advertisers did this, they have to somehow pay out to the consumer something of worth - free stuff. otherwise, i m not gonna let an advertiser beam anything into my field of view!

> if advertisers did this, they have to somehow pay out to the consumer something of worth - free stuff. otherwise, i m not gonna let an advertiser beam anything into my field of view!

Exactly. If the price is right, people will view advertisements. It's really as simple as that. So the question of whether advertisement will win or disappear depends on whether advertisers will be willing to pay what consumers demand in return for viewing the ad in question.

How the economics of this will change is very hard to predict, IMO.

AR app that helps you change a tire and at the same time shows ads on the tires.

The solution to this problem isn't technical, it's legislative. Legislate limitations on ads - several places do this, and they have a 'quieter' public experience. This solution requires electronics and power, and still doesn't change the amount of visual space taken by ads.

It's a nifty project, but ultimately it's attacking the symptom, not the cause.

But you are committing "theft" if you are wearing this technology and look at your web-browser while it is trying to show you an ad?

Really makes it obvious that the browser-ad-blocking-is-theft argument is bunk.

I knew I'd seen something like this before - the "NO AD" app that replaces advertisements with art: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/this-augmented-reali...

While I'd totally love to have a real-world adblock, I fear a wide-scale deployment will only make things worse.

See, such ad-block device to be effective needs to be able to distinguish ads from legitimately important communication like traffic signs or warning labels. This in turn will make advertisers design their ads to be as indistinguishable from content as possible. In the end, we'll win nothing in terms of ad reduction, but we'll lose traffic signs and other important information.

I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't have stopped fighting ads a while ago just to keep them from improving. Fighting advertsers is like fighting a fast-mutating bacteria. Whatever partial solution we apply makes it only evolve to a more nasty and disgusting form to be fought next season. I worry that the end result will not be lack of ads - it will be lack of information you can trust.

Eh we should just kill it with regulation. Emotive advertising is simply a market distortion similar to monopolies or cartels.

It's a double cost to society too since not only are peoples buying decisions warped but the people creating adverts are doing negative work instead of producing more useful goods / services.

By your logic we should stop fighting diseases, i.e. killing bacteria, to prevent bacteria from evolving.

That does not follow by proper application of logic.

But to clarify:

- advertising isn't as harmful (yet) as infectious diseases

- if we want to get rid of it, the same rules apply as to fighting bacteria - you want to hit as hard as possible in as many places as possible, to not give any room for bacteria to mutate; proliferation of adblocks is like taking antibiotics and stopping treatment half-way - not effective enough to kill off everything, and forces bacteria to mutate into drug-resistant variety

Then there's also problem that ads mutate much faster than bacteria - because they're driven not by evolution, but by sentient adversaries.

Ads generate money through sales. Advertisers can lobby lawmakers to not make much restrictions on ads. Who you think can out lobby them? You and me? I think we have better things to spend our money than that. Adblock gives (almost) free and painless solution. I don't see how you think there's a better, easier and cheaper way of dealing with it.

I don't see any "better, easier and cheaper way" right now (which is why I use AdBlock myself). I'm just expressing my fear that current solutions may hurt us badly in the long run.

I'm waiting for someone to hack it and replace the blur with "OBEY" ;)


Replace "ads" with "things I don't agree with" and you have quite the filter bubble.

People already do this online. Facebook is very good at making sure you only see what you agree with.

> Facebook is very good at making sure you only see what you agree with.

For organic content, their algorithms (before considering paid reach) are organized around making sure you only see, approximately, what you've actively indicated you want to see (which isn't the same thing as "agree with" -- if you positively engage with things you disagree with, you'll see more of them.)

Of course, Facebook's revenue model is entirely based on people paying -- either via ads-in-the-overt-sense or paid reach for posts -- for more favorable treatment for their content than the relying on the normal algorithms and (in the case of ads-in-the-overt-sense) even the basic opt-in following mechanism would provide, so its not at all the case that it is good at making sure you only see what you agree (or have positively asserted an interest in seeing, even.)

Though they do let you opt out of ads from a particular advertiser or particular ads, so they are arguably fairly good at making sure you do not see what you have actively requested not to see, which is different than only seeing what you agree with (or even want to see.)

I would rather see systems that try to guess/let me input directly what I dont want to see.

I soo wish for "NEVER EVER SHOW ME THINGS LIKE THIS AGAIN" YouTube button. Currently I open one wrong YT link and for the next week google keeps recommending me videos of shitting babies or some 'hot new singer you just need to listen'.

Facebook is good at making sure you see whatever you've previously chosen to engage with, whether or not that engagement was "agreement". If you like to argue, FB will give you lots of disagreeable stuff from the sort of disagreeable people you like to argue with.

I think that was GP's point, but true nonetheless.

Cute. But blurring the labels of everything you pick up is not helpful. They need something like Word Lens, set to recognize ads and replace them with "Ad", or something more attractive.

I had the pleasure of taking a course taught by Steve Mann, credited as the inventor of visual computing. I recall he mentioned creating a similar device. Not sure if it ever actually happened, but here's a link that I was able to dig up:

http://wearcam.org/diminished_reality.htm via http://cyborganthropology.com/Diminished_Reality

The reason why this is totally different from adblock is that this draws attention to what is fuzzed out, rather than just ignoring it completely as with adblock/hosts files... so when you see something fuzzed out, you are like "woah is that lucky charms or what?" (based on the fuzzed colors). With adblock/hosts you see nothing so you have nothing to focus your attention upon.

Don't get me wrong this sounds like a fun project though.

If we have a society don't like ads (perhaps a subcategory: intrusive ads, offensive ads, loud/bright/aggressive ads, extremely large ads that clutter our cityscape), we could simply ban those categories with law. Honestly I would prefer that. I find the intensity of advertisement to be offensive to my ability to live, my freedom of thought without people spamming images at my face all the time.

The free speech laws in the u.s. are pretty crazy. There was a case of a few pharma salesman who recommended psychiatric meds to doctors for off-label use(not proven by strong experimentation). This is illegal today,as defined by the FDA.They probably hurt many people. In the court they claimed "freedom of speech" and won(it's now going to the supreme court).

In that context, it's hard to see ads blocked by law,even though there's a high likelihood they are harmful to people, and especially to teens and kids.

> I find the intensity of advertisement to be offensive to my ability to live

Other people find Muslims, Jews, Mormons, non-caucasians, breast-feeding mothers, alcohol-imbibers, blondes, Ugg boots, motorcycles, gold watches, crying children, airplanes passing overhead, and dogs to be offensive to their ability to live. Can't ban everything you don't like.

Also, there are already restrictions on advertisements (when was the last time you saw an cigarette ad on television?), and some places are much more restrictive than others.

I wasn't suggesting to ban any of those things, so I don't see how that's relevant aside from careless strawmanning. If a large majority of a society wants to ban something, it can, and often that's a reasonable thing to do -- cigarette ads are a good example.

I simply suggested that, when we're considering hacking our eyes as depicted in the OP to avoid ads, we might consider limiting the ads instead. And that has nothing to do with racism.

Exactly. There is a qualitative difference between what pavel_lishin mentioned and ads, which while originally meant to inform people, now grew into a social cancer.

I think a far more powerful (and proactive) approach is to allow the underlying brands/advertising through, and then augment them with negative associations.

It's a bit of an obsolete example these days, but think back and consider cigarette advertising, and someone trying to quit. If you just blocked them out, marketers would evolve new ways to reach you, right? But if their logos and ads were always surrounded by a picture-border of pulsing blackened lung-samples... Well, you're actually reprogramming your own mind to dislike their brand, which is very different.

A tamer example would be to enhance your recognition of "good" brands at the expense of the bad/less-good ones. Imagine walking through a supermarket and having your eye drawn to the "good" products at the expense of the "bad" ones. (Where Good/Bad is determined by some criteria that are resistant to subconscious advertising.)

> Where Good/Bad is determined by some criteria that are resistant to subconscious advertising.

so what are those criteria, and more importantly, how much bribery would advertisers/companies pay to make themselves on the good list?

Negative advertising is just as bad as positive advertising in the scenario you proposed.

<shrug> Sure, there are always reputation problems (whose opinion do you listen to?) but the additional level of abstraction is still beneficial, since it helps defend from people trying to condition your monkey-hindbrain using stuff you can't normally control.

The most important difference is it helps increase your ability to control your own unthinking behavior through other conscious choices. (This is generally agreed to be a worthwhile thing, and factors prominently in a lot of religious and psychological traditions.)

I've been interested for a while in taking adblock in the opposite direction in terms of technology: a service that unsubscribes you from those annoying catalogs that always come in the mail. I feel like I'm just the middleman between the postal service and the dump.

Why do I have to subscribe to a service to not receive spam?

The fact that the service exists is evidence of the problem.

Canada's anti spam law just went into effect for email, companies can't (see arent supposed to) just email you out of the blue anymore, why can't this apply to snail mail as well?

I think the answer is because the postal service survives on the revenue they get from stuffing your mail box with garbage, but I assert that's not a good enough reason. If they can't keep themselves afloat without the spam. I question whether they need to exist at all in the age of free webmail accounts and the ability to run your own server.

Presumably you could do a sunglasses version with a couple of greyscale lcds and tiny cameras, that just blacks stuff out. Would also then be nice to get it to shade the sun as well. Oh and they should go completely black in response to danger, but that goes without saying.

Back in the 90s there was an artist who did a project I've always liked where she blocked all ads in streetscape pictures with orange. It was to show just how much of our landscape was covered with ads. I'd love to see this project adapted to do the same.

I wrote something in college that attempted to remove the station logos TV networks embedded in the corner of broadcast video. This was back before they started making them animated and jump around. At the time they were usually semi-transparent, and fixed in a corner. My software would determine the location on the screen, then interpolate the correct color to replace each pixel with based on a guess on how transparent the logo was, what color it thought was behind that pixel, blended with a nearest-neighbor average color weighted based on how close to the logo edge that pixel was. Worked pretty well for most cases, though my implementation was all doing this as post-processing - not in real-time.

I've been thinking about this for a very short period of time, but then it got to me that I would not want to use it because ad-recognizing algorithm is not perfect, and I could miss a road sign or other important information because of such augmented vision.

I still find the amount of advertising annoyingly high, literally every plane that could be possibly filled with ads is filled with ads. This has to change on another level, not by simply ignoring the advertisement in one way or another.

I hope that this tech can be scaled up. Every time I see the ad for the Off-world Colonies I get more tempted to pack it in and go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZNzz4SaTYk . The device would have to see through smoke/mist in this case, and I could imagine that being a challenge. And then there's the audio...

Now, that would be something useful for the Hololens.

This could well for people who record a lot of video and don't want to remove the brands manually.

Incredibly awesome considering the time constraint. I almost went to PennApps as my company was a sponsor, but had to sit out. Had I went, I would have suggested replacing the ads with "Consume, "Obey," or "Marry and reproduce."

It would be great if it were the size of contact lenses, and had far higher refresh rate.

Yet I don't think I would use it, since in daily life, I don't see many ads.

The only ads I have to block are online, because they impact negatively my UX with the content.

> In daily life, I don't see many ads.

Clearly advertising works, so some people must be exposed and influenced by it. This product is useful for those people.

Do you have a reason to believe that you are less exposed or influenced than the average person?

(I can't find a way to phrase it in a non-jerkish way, but it's actually a genuine question)

Awesome! This needs a Google-Maps like database for billboards which everyone can contribute to, look at a billboard to detect its borders, coordinates are uploaded and downloaded by others in the same area.

We could probably start laying the ground work by adding billboards to openstreetmaps

Does anybody remember the name of the cult movie where all advertisement is blocked from the real world? It's pretty much the same idea. I remember seeing that movie many years ago.

Found it: "They Live" by John Carpenter.

The idea is a bit different though. "Nada discovers the sunglasses are special. After putting on a pair, he sees the world in black and white and discovers it is not what it seems. Media and advertising hide constant subliminal totalitarian commands to obey and conform." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Live)

Here you can see how the "sunglasses" work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI8AMRbqY6w

[Added additional information]

Advertisers will adapt to this if it becomes ubiquitous. Logos will be replaced with color schemes, etc.

Also this tool could be terrifyingly hackable. Imagine someone hacking into your vision.

Is that can your kid is drinking from a soda, or paint thinner? I love this idea as a concept, but there are some "brands" you really want to be able to see.

If you can't tell by the shape of the can, you should probably go to hospital, you might be having a mini-stroke.

I have a bottle of floor cleaner that comes in the exaxt sake bottles that orange juice does.

I feel like that's probably a flaw in your packaging legislation rather then with this product. Pretty sure in Australia you're not allowed to package hazardous liquids in the same bottles as food, and if you are shame on us as well.

Sure, it might be a problem in the future for people wearing brand obfuscatory equipment, but it's an inexcusable flaw in your packing laws right now that's endangering anyone with Macular degeneration.

Under "More Info" it says it's built with: Hardware.

Maybe it's a secret, but is it custom hardware? Could a Raspberry Pi handle this kind of image processing?

I would love it if they could optimize it for specific use cases, such as removing the advertising on the ice & boards from a televised hockey game.

Finally, a convenient way to make your daily life resemble any MTV* rap video from the last two decades.

*Back when MTV actually played music videos.

Can we build this into a browser? Instead of trying to modify the html to remove ads, just blur them out after it's rendered?

I like this idea, and it's entirely possible with the CSS `filter: blur(10px)`.

Now put up competing adds. Change pepsi to coke. No too far bro.

Could somebody explain to me this community's fervent objection to advertising? It seems so out of sync with (y)our usual socially liberal / libertarian capitalist standpoint.

With few exceptions, an advertiser's job is to convince people to spend money on things they don't need. Often these things are actively harmful, like soda or cigarettes. Advertisers use manipulation to achieve these goals. They're not honest about the pros and cons of a product, they're not informative about what the product is. Instead they rely on manipulative techniques like catchy jingles, flashing banner ads, false "experts," or any other number of slimy techniques to convince people to do things they wouldn't or shouldn't do.

Some spaces aren't meant for advertising. Like dreams, hospitals, streets, parks, schools, and so on. I have nothing against advertising, but I wish advertisers would have more respect to the I part of my I/O.

When everyone's wearing this I'm gonna dress up as Ronald McDonald and walk invisibly through the crowds.

On a related note: I've been thinking about making a t-shirt with the EURion constellation[0] on it, just to see if I can break some CCTV camera software (which could be using software image parsing libraries which check for it) or mess with people's digital photos ("This software does not allow the unauthorised copying of bank notes")...

Could be fun, but might do nothing at all.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EURion_constellation

That's a really cool idea, but I don't think it would work.

From wikipedia: "Research shows that the EURion constellation is used for color photocopiers and is likely not used for computer software."

You can see this with photoshop, where the presence of the constellation does not appear to affect currency detection.


I don't have a screenshot handy, but I definitely got this error last year when I tried to open a picture of some bank notes in Photoshop. GIMP had no such qualms :-)

Seconded. I played around with it for a while as well - creating images in a different image editing app and then opening them in photoshop to see when the warning is triggered.

I knew there was some sort of preventative measures built into modern colour photocopiers but hadn't heard of the Eurion constellation until now. It turns out that it was actually discovered by the author of the excellent UTF-8 and Unicode FAQ for Unix/Linux [1] resource.

[1] http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html

Sounds lovely. How many angles would be needed for total vision blockage?

There is a part of the most recent episode of Black Mirror which deals with this (sort of, at least), totally worth checking out if this is an idea that interests you.

EDIT: In a comment below, the team mentioned this was their inspiration. Life imitate art imitates life. Cool!

John Wright's "The Golden Age" uses exactly that plot point early on: someone vanishing by wrapping themselves in a passing advertisement.

Also used in a William Gibson novel where a certain t-shirt is worn to hide the wearer from CCTV.

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