Masks are becoming increasingly convincing. Image Credit: YouTube / University of York
A recent study has shown that masks are becoming so realistic that some people can't even tell the difference.
In the 'Mission:Impossible' movies, super spy Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) can often be seen fooling his enemies by wearing a mask so real that nobody can tell that it is even a mask at all.
This level of hyper-realism in masks may seem far-fetched, but recent technological advances have made it possible to create real-life masks that could give even Tom Cruise a run for his money.
In a recent study by the Universities of York and Kyoto, researchers presented a number of volunteers with several pairs of photographs - each pair showing one person with a mask and one without.
Remarkably, the participants failed to tell which was which up to 20 percent of the time.
"In our study participants had several advantages over ordinary people in everyday life," said Dr Rob Jenkins. "We made it clear to participants that their task was to identify the mask in each pair of images and we showed them example masks before the test began."
"The real-world error rate is likely to be much higher because many people may not even be aware hyper-realistic masks exist and are unlikely to be looking out for them."
"The current generation of masks is very realistic indeed with most people struggling to tell an artificial face from the real thing."
There have in fact been several prominent criminal cases involving hyper-realistic masks and it is likely that they will become increasingly popular with criminals the more realistic they become.
Eventually, it may become nearly impossible to tell at a glance who is wearing one and who isn't.