Suggested Innovation: Apaparazzi mask
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Many are familiar with the living hell which famous people
experience in trying to avoid recognition in public, especially by
paparazzi. For those exposed to the press as witnesses, or
accused in a trial in which they may be proven innocent, the same
challenge exists. And not to be forgotten are the shy, or those with
facial disfigurements which attract unwelcome comment. In some
contexts, this may simply be people of different ethnic groups. And
with the increase in electronic surveillance in public places, many
may want ways to move around in public with a sense of privacy.
This suggestion is for those who genuinely wish not to be
recognized. Disguising the face in public has been the subject of
attention in times past, from veils to ceremonial masks, and
including the helmets worn for protection in hand-to-hand combat
by warriors -- or the balaclava masks worn by special forces (and
terrorists). In modern society it tends to be only those driving
potentially dangerous vehicles that use such devices, as is the
case with motor cycle riders. But high tech cops also make use of
the silvered variety, partially to intimidate. In many cultures, veils
are still worn -- usually by women (as in Islamic cultures) but in
some cases by men (Touaregs).
But aside from these examples, those who claim real need do not
have access to any suitable device, other than chic dark glasses.
Prisoners may have a blanket thrown over their head by the police,
which is rather primitive and undignified for the 1990s. What is
needed is a convenient piece of headgear, which would be a hybrid
between veil, mask and helmet that could be easily folded up -- like
a veil. It needs to look reasonably fashionable but fairly anonymous
-- like dark glasses. Some variants need to be resistant to being
brushed aside -- like a silvered helmet, which has the considerable
advantage of reflecting flashlight back to the photographer and
protecting the eyes of the wearer.
Clearly such headgear could be developed both by the fashion
industry -- possibly as an add-on to hats -- and/or by the safety
industry as a very light weight helmet. But possibly those
developing masks for carnivals could also offer variants -- maybe as
coloured clip-ons, as with some fashion spectacles. Islamic
countries might have special advantages given the particular needs
of their women. Maybe the Australian bobbing-cork anti-fly hats
could offer some inspiration. High tech freaks could explore battery
powered variants with flashing lights and shifting moire patterns!
Such devices could initially have an image problem that the fashion
industry could quickly deal with -- since there are tremendous
market opportunities. What is needed is a good name to launch
the innovation. It is a pity that Princess Diana, possibly a prime
beneficiary, could not have lent her persona to the device -- which
might have been named after her (except she never went in for
silvered window cars).
But for starters "apaparazzi mask" might do. But maybe "veil of
discretion". Or perhaps "Medusa mask"?
It will be interesting to observe the motives for opposing such an
innovation, especially by those in the security world -- and by those
who only like to complain that they are pestered by the paparazzi,
but actually live for that attention!