LED Anti-Paparazzi Device

Prototype and case study for wearable technology development

Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #3. Model: Tiam Taheri

This project began as a prototype at NYU ITP in 2008 and has developed into functional prototype capable of thwarting paparazzi attacks within 10 ft. The device works by detecting a camera flash (xenon bulb) 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. The power supply is delivered by high-power lithium ion batteries that, in total, deliver approximately 12,000 lumens of LEDs power (for comparison, a 100W household lightbulb is about 1600 lumens).

To preemptive thwart a paparazzi attack there is also a torch mode that activates the full light power with the press of a button. The flashback response mode is activated by rotating the device 90 degrees. When a flash is detected, the anti-paparazzi clutch will emit a subtle vibration to the user.

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 of ISO400, F/5.6, 1/125. Faster exposures are possible to thwart but more light or narrower LED lenses would be needed to direct more light at the camera’s sensor.

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 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 Supplies 2,000 12K lumen pulses or 90 seconds of continuous 12K lumen output 2 x high power Li-Ion 3.7V/30A


Prototype #3. Going Into Battle With The Paparazzi | Link

I briefly show device testing footage on BBC’s Going Into Battle With The Paparazzi. Modeled by Tiam Taheri.

Anti-Paparazzi Clutch Prototype #1. ©Adam Harvey


Project Status

This product reached the level of functional, though fairly bulky, prototype and is not currently in production. Longer demo video will be published soon.