In an effort to deter photography of sensitive subjects and copyrighted material, researchers at Georgia tech have begun the development of a device that will cripple the use of digital video and still cameras. The system works by scanning the area using infrared beams for the reflection produced by digital camera sensors then beaming light into the camera to blind it. The light is out of the visible spectrum and also said to be harmless to human beings.
Notably, however, this system is incapable of disabling DSLR cameras. The mirror on DSLRs blocks the scan from seeing the sensor, so the more professional cameras are safe from this device.
In addition to its limitations with DLSRs, the system seems as though it would be easy to circumvent. A one-way mirror, an infrared filter or perhaps even a polarizing filter would conceivably block the sensor from being detected.
One of the main purposes of the camera blocker is to help prevent movie piracy by disabling video cameras in movie theatres. It has a host of other potential applications such as defending high-security areas and keeping trades secrets safe at trade shows.
My hope is that this does not become an over-used or abused technology. Would the world have ever known about Abu Ghraib had such devices been installed there? And if it had been mounted to the police car of the officers who beat Rodney King?
If this technology comes to fruition, I can only hope its use is strictly regulated.