Public Eyesores Disappear With Camouflage Tech

Public Eyesores Disappear With Camouflage Tech

MIT researchers create an algorithm to cloak public eyesores like electrical boxes.

Marnie Kunz
  • 29 may 2014

Eyesores, beware! A team of researchers recently unveiled a computer algorithm that can use photos from a scene to create a covering for eyesores in otherwise beautiful places like historic landmarks or picturesque trails. The algorithm can also be used to cover objects in ordinary areas, like electrical boxes outside of homes. MIT researchers teamed up with other institutions to create the eyesore algorithm solution, revealed at a conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June.

The computerized algorithm analyzes photos of an area and creates color variations for eyesores based on the colors and patterns in the surrounding area. The algorithms vary in complexity, with the simplest using the average color values to produce a uniform hue to cover all surfaces. The more nuanced camouflage covers blend more into the surroundings than a uniform cover that may stand out from certain angles.


Researchers have created new computer-assisted tools to camouflage outdoor eyesores.

Researchers tested their methods using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing application. Each algorithm was scored based on the amount of time people took to locate camouflaged objects in synthetic images. The best performing algorithm, the “greedy” algorithm, had people looking for over three seconds to find the camouflaged item.

The greedy algorithm works by creating the illusion of circular objects that blend into the surroundings. It identifies the camera angles that require the least distortion of the patterns applied to each face of an object.


Using computer algorithms, researchers have developed a way to camouflage unsightly objects.

Researchers are still working to fine-tune the algorithms for real-life circumstances such as changing light conditions, but the general methodology of the camouflage creator has set the stage for a new breakthrough in cityscaping.

Andrew Owens from MIT, William Freeman from MIT, Connelly Barnes from the University of Virginia, Alex Flint from Flyby Media and Hanumant Singh from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution worked on the computer-assisted camouflage research project.

[h/t] Custom Camouflage


Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Asia Yesterday

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Yesterday

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Yesterday

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Design & Architecture Yesterday

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Yesterday

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

Fashion Yesterday

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 26, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Yesterday

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Automotive Yesterday

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Op-Ed Yesterday

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Fashion Yesterday

100 Backpacks Made For The World’s Top Influencers

Heineken and TUMI have collaborated on a unique custom NYC-inspired bag

Financial Services Yesterday

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

No search results found.