Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No Pictures Please: Researchers Develop System to Thwart Unwanted Video and Still Photography

Sorce Article
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have completed a prototype device that can block digital-camera function in a given area. Commercial versions of the technology could be used to stymie unwanted use of video or still cameras.
Posted Jun 26, 2006 03:39 PM PST

So, next time the LAPD beats Rodney King to a pulp, they won;t have to worry about those nasty camcorders!
There are actually major problems with their approach.

The first is the comment about using infra-red to spot the CCDs, which won't work as digital cameras have an IR filter to keep IR (which the CCDs are sensitive to) from altering the color balance of the image.

Second, while camcorders and lower-end digital cameras make great retroreflectors, high-end digital cameras have something this system cannot get around, namely a shutter, which keeps the CCD covered until that tiny fraction of a second the exposure is being made.

But where this will really run into trouble is sheer annoyance and potential liability issues, because there is something else in those venues with a lens and retroreflective image-sensor, and that is the human eye! Start flashing bright beams of light into the audiences' eyes and you will start losing ticket sales, or worse, get sued. A light bright enough to overwhelm the CCD of a camcorder is bright enough to damage a retina.

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