Sunday, August 20, 2006

No Pictures Please

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From my ACM TechNews email dated- Monday, June 26, 2006 - i got this interesting story-with the proliferation of cameras in all types of devices and video as well- aside from the items they mention like filming videos in movie theators, and security concerns at airports and such- it would probably be ideal for famous events etc where the paparazzi could be kept afar with system like this.

Researchers Develop System to Thwart Unwanted Video and Still Photography at the Georgia Institute of Technology
A team of Georgia Tech researchers has developed a technology that can block the operation of video and still digital cameras using off-the-shelf sensors, lighting equipment, a projector, and a computer. The system detects digital cameras by scanning for the reflectivity and shape of their image-producing sensors. Principal commercial applications include the prevention of illegal video copying in theaters or other venues and protecting against surreptitious photography in small, restricted areas, such as government buildings or industrial environments. The image sensors in cameras are retroreflective, meaning that they direct light back to its origin instead of scattering it, which could make them easy to detect in a darkened theater. The researchers' prototype locates a camera's image sensors, known as CCDs, using visible light and two cameras, though a commercial application could employ invisible infrared lasers and photo-detecting transistors, transmitting information about a suspicious reflection's properties to a computer to determine if it is, in fact, a camera. "The biggest problem is making sure we don't get false positives from, say, a large shiny earring," said Jay Summet, a Georgia Tech research assistant. "We need to make our system work well enough so that it can find a dot, then test to see if it's reflective, then see if it's retroreflective, and then test to see if it's the right shape." Upon detecting a video camera, the system would overwhelm its CCD with a thin beam of white light that would render any video recorded unusable. Neutralizing still images in settings with higher levels of ambient light also shows commercial promise, because the image sensors in most digital cameras and cell phones are placed closer to the lens than in video cameras, making them easier to detect. Most of the remaining obstacles to commercialization involve developing better algorithms to eliminate false positives.
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