Photo/Illutration The fabric developed by Mizuno Corp., lower right, renders a black pattern beneath it virtually invisible even through an infrared camera. (Provided by Mizuno Corp.)

Mizuno Corp. is developing a special fabric to deter voyeurs from secretly photographing athletes’ underwear and bodies beneath their uniforms with infrared cameras.

The sporting goods maker plans to make the textile, into which a material that absorbs infrared rays is woven, commercially available in 2024, at the earliest.

The company expects to utilize the fabric not only for uniforms for track and field athletes but also for sports bras and swimsuits.

Mizuno has worked with nonferrous metal company Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and printing company Kyodo Printing Co. to develop a textile stretchable enough for sportswear.

“The fabric has clear effects in preventing camera voyeurism,” said Atsushi Shiraishi, a Mizuno official in charge of development. “We want to improve its texture to a level that will satisfy athletes.”

Photographing of athletes for voyeuristic purposes emerged as a serious concern around 2019.

Mizuno started research on whether a mineral with a high ability to absorb infrared rays, which it was studying for a different purpose, can be utilized as a sportswear material.

In a statement released in 2020, the Japanese Olympic Committee denounced as “despicable acts” the secret photographing of athletes, misuse of their images and videos and posting of vicious content on social media.

In April 2021, German female gymnasts donned full-length unitards to cover their bodies from their necks to their ankles during the European Gymnastics Championships in fear of voyeuristic pictures.