Camoflash

LED Anti-Paparazzi Device

Posted 2010-10-01 in prototypes tagged #counter-surveillance
This project is archived. Prototype no longer under development.
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #3. Model: Tiam Taheri
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #3. Model: Tiam Taheri

Prototype and case study for wearable technology development

This project began as a conceptual prototype at NYU ITP in 2008 then developed into functional prototype in 2010. The current prototype is capable of thwarting dSLR-based paparazzi attacks within 10 ft. It works by detecting a camera flash (xenon bulb only) and responding in less than .1 milliseconds with a 12,000 lumen LED pulse that overexposes the targeted camera’s sensor.

Unlike xenon bulbs, there is no recharge time for LEDs. Camoflash can return over 2,000 continuous flashes with no delay. The power is supplied by 2 high-power lithium ion batteries delivering 180 watts of instant power to an array of 36 Cree XP-G LEDS, for a total of about 12,000 lumens.

To preemptively thwart a paparazzi attack there is also a pulsing torch mode that activates the full light power with the press of a button. The light pulses are randomly timed to degrade auto-exposure algorithms.

The flashback response mode can be activated by rotating the device 90 degrees. Once in active mode (detetected by a tilt switch), an unwanted bright flash from a camera will trigger a light pulse to overexpose the paparazzi photo. When the device is rotated back to holding position, flashes will not activate the light response.

The device has been user-tested in party settings with the repeated feedback that it is very bright and no fun when it’s pointed at you. At close range (6ft or less) the device may cause temporary loss of vision (bright spots in your eyes). At distances less than 10 ft it's effective at blocking paparazzi photos taken with camera settings up to ISO400, F/5.6, 1/125.

Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey
Feature Function Tech Specs
Light Power 12K lumen total light output using 36 LEDs 3 x 12 arrays of Cree XP-G LEDs with 25° lenses
Camera Flashback Light bursts with sub-millisecond latency response time Triggered by xenon bulb flashes
Video Deterrent 12K lumen light pulses using randomized pulse intervals disrupts auto-exposure Activated by user
Gesture Control Tilt switch to activate flashback mode Prevents unwanted flashing in normal holding position
Battery Power 2,000 x 12K lumen pulses or 90 sec. continuous output 2 x high power Li-Ion 3.7V/30A

Demo

Prototype #3. Going Into Battle With The Paparazzi (BBC)
Prototype #3. Going Into Battle With The Paparazzi (BBC)

The device was briefly shown on BBC’s Going Into Battle With The Paparazzi. Modeled by Tiam Taheri.

Press

Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey
Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #2. Photo © Adam Harvey

Project Status

This product reached the level of functional, though fairly bulky, prototype and is not currently in production.