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Making Your Phone Screen Blurry Could Stop Snooping

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Smartphone screens blurred by the Eye-Shield system.

The “Eye-Shield” software changes what is shown on the screen by creating checkered grids of pixels that can be recognized as characters or shapes when up close, but blur into an incoherent blob from a greater distance.

Credit: Brian Tang, Kang G. Shin

Brian Jay Tang and Kang Shin at the University of Michigan have invented a system that can blur phone screens to prevent snooping.

The "Eye-Shield" system's software leverages the human eye's ability to distinguish two nearby sources of light as separate only when one is sufficiently close proximity.

The system alters the phone's display by generating checkered pixel grids that are recognizable up close as characters or shapes, but distorted into an unrecognizable blob when viewed from further away.

Tests showed Eye-Shield reduced the ability for people to recognize text and images by about 60% when reading over the user's shoulder.

From New Scientist
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