New gadget could prevent paparazzi from photographing celebrities


posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM EST


While the plague of unwanted photography is mostly associated with celebrities and paparazzi, the fact that we live in a world of Google Glass, photography drones, and widespread CCTVs has caused a lot more people to be worried about who is taking their photos and where. A new, patented device could stop people from taking your image without permission — assuming they're using a flash. The patent for the gadget was published in April of 2012, and while it hasn't made it to stores yet, it's an intriguing idea.

The patent, filed by Keelo Lamance Jackson Jr., and Wilbert Leon Smith, is for a handheld device that uses a combination of techniques to intentionally obscure unwanted photographs, rendering them all but useless. Jackson and Smith's gadget would have a built-in beam of light, flash, strobe, and be covered with reflective surfaces. Essentially functioning as a slave flash, whenever a flash fires in your direction, it'll blast light back, horribly over-exposing the image and keeping your privacy.

The patent also covers dozens of other potential uses for the device, for everything from stopping people from taking pictures at an accident scene, to dissuading photography at government buildings.

This technique does rely on some substantial suppositions: like that the people taking photos are using flashes, and that it would have a big enough battery to counteract many of them.

It's also not the first time we've seen elaborate techniques to block unwanted photograph attention. In 2009, a Russian billionaire created a yacht that was said to be able to fire a laser at any CCD nearby, stopping people from taking photos of it; in 2012, a man created a special license-plate holder to stop traffic photographs; there's South American beer company that made a beer cooler to stop embarrassing photos of you from the club from leaking out; an anti-paparazzi handbag; and if you're worried about CCTVs, then you can put on special makeup to thwart facial identification or make some IR blasting glasses to stop from being seen.

(via PetaPixel, the Guardian