We live in a time when cameras are in the hands of nearly every individual, as well as mounted in store corners, on top of utility poles, and more. Anyone can snap a picture of you when you're in public, often without your knowledge, and concerns about privacy in this area are increasing as devices like Glass ramp up for public availability. To solve this issue, two researchers developed a device that senses and automatically obscures unwanted images.
In 2005, a patent was filed that used a simple idea to obscure photographs that the subject knew was being taken - a flash "gun" that could be aimed at cameras and fired, producing a light that ruined images taken. It was this idea that Keelo Lamance Jackson and Leon Smith Jr. used as inspiration for their own device.
The device created by Jackson and Smith is more advanced, with the patent detailing over two dozens uses for the device ranging from foiling paparazzi to ensuring spies on photography missions have a very bad day. Both video recording and photography are inhibited by the device, which utilizes swivels, rotation, and oscillation to throw "deterrents" that ruin images.
This particular device utilizes several deterrents that are emitted, none of which are specified except as being a form of light. The device itself is detailed as a handheld unit with a rotating apparatus on the top that can rotate when needed. The user can hold it in front of them when in a situation where they don't want to be photographed. There is also an illustration of variations of the device that attach to a collar and lanyard to be worn on the body.
While this isn't the first device of its kind created with the express purpose of disturbing a camera to prevent unwanted photography, it is a unique method and helps draw attention to both the issue of privacy in an age of digital photography, and the inventions that will no doubt be a part of future that helps keep private moments as private as possible.
SOURCE: The Guardian