Georgia Tech Developing Way to Stop Digital Cameras

In a move that might help out those celebrities who get caught with their pants down (or doing something else embarrassing), researchers are working on a way to stop a digital camera getting a picture.
G.I.T. researchers are developing a technology that can block a digital camera from taking a useable picture.

The technology works in three stages:

  • First an infrared emitting array beams out IR light;
  • Second a sensor looks for the reflection of the IR light off of the digital camera’s sensor;
  • Lastly when a digital camera is detected a light projector is
    used to blast the camera with an animated and constantly changing
    pattern of light and color, which confuses the autoexposure system and
    renders a mostly black picture.

But digital camera toting paparazzi have little to fear at present.
Firstly it is only in development and, secondly, it has some major
limitations. These limitations are such that it is unlikely to work
with digital SLRs because up until the instant of shooting the CCD is
covered by the mirror and shutter. Also some digital compact cameras
use a physical shutter, which would limit the window of time for
the system to detect the camera to the instant the shot is being taken.

Others are working along similar lines, such as a HP development that
requires a circuit in the camera that will blur the picture if a ‘no
shoot’ signal is detected.

All these systems seem to be very early developments, and so there
is no need to panic yet. But time could change that. Since one can only
imagine governments loving such technology as it
would allow them to put a no photo field around anything that they did
not want documented, we can only hope that these developments go no
further. After all, openness and accountability are cornerstones of
democracy.

For a video of the device in action, click here.

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