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Students Build Real-World Ad Blocker for Everyday Life

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No, this is not an elaborate pitch for a comedy sketch! (That I know of.) This is a real helmet that scans the world around you and blurs out ads. Now if they could just do something about annoying auto-playing conversations…

“Brand Killer” was created by students Reed Rosenbluth, Jonathan Dubin, Tom Catullo, and Alex Crits-Christoph at the PennApps college hackathon and uses a repository of brand logos to identify and remove them from your field of view—kind of. It mostly takes care of brand labels, and considering how poorly a lot of advertising does at getting consumers to remember what brand the ad was actually for, that might not be the biggest part of the problem.

The helmet may look a little silly due to its basically homemade nature, but with Microsoft releasing the HoloLens in the near future and other headsets likely coming down the line, the code could be adapted to much more practical platforms. It’s a pretty impressive proof of concept, though, and the students wrote of their invention,

Corporate branding and advertisements are ubiquitous in society today and almost impossible to avoid. What if we lived in a world where consumers were blind to this surplus of corporate branding? Brand Killer is a technology demonstration that envisions a future in which consumers can use augmented reality to opt out corporate influence. We built a head mounted display which uses computer vision to recognize and block brands and logos from the user’s view in real time. It’s AdBlock for Real Life.

Now we just have to hope that no one decides we need popups in real life to go with it.

(via Wired, image via Peter Kaminski)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.