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Anti-paparazzi clutch bag gives pushy shutterbugs a taste of their own medicine


July 8, 2009

Take that paparazzo!! (Photo: Adam Harvey/AHProjects.com)

Take that paparazzo!! (Photo: Adam Harvey/AHProjects.com)

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Celebrities looking for a way to combat those pesky paparazzi that doesn’t involve fisticuffs and a less than flattering mug shot will want to hope this new "anti-paparazzi device" makes the jump from concept to commercial availability. The concept is basically an LED flash built into a clutch purse that emits a photo ruining flash of its own when it detects the flash from a camera.

The device uses a photo cell that reads light to detect jumps in ambient light caused by camera flashes. Currently the photo cell can detect a flash being fired from up to a 45 degree angle each way. This is connected to a computer-programmable micro-controller, which controls three small LED lights that flash for 1/15th of a second and wash out the photograph.

New York University graduate student Adam Harvey originally developed the device as a way to combine his interest in photography with a physical computing class project. He wasn’t able to perfect the device for class, but has continued to refine the design so that currently the wiring and batteries fit in a ladies clutch. It is activated by powering it on and then tilting the clutch, meaning you can control whether you want the flash to go off or not with a tilt of the wrist.

Since that’s great for the ladies, but not so great for your average male action movie star, Harvey aims to reduce the size of the device further so that it could be worn on something as small as a pendant or tiepin.

The device works up to ISO 800 at f/4 and its use is therefore limited to low light situations such as night or inside. It will work at shutter speeds up to 1/125, but is much more effective on low light shots with long shutter speeds.

Harvey is continuing to refine the design of the anti-paparazzi device and is currently working on a patent for it. He has announced a limited release of the clutch bag will become available in early Spring 2010.

Source: AHProjects via pdn Gear Guide.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Awesome project Adam.. Paparazzi are the crack dealers of the superficial, enablers of the pop-culture scourge that afflicts our culture.


Douglas Campbell

I don't like paparazzi as well, but what if they use a 0 lux camera, so they don't need flash light? Would be better if would stay lit as long as the "subject" is vulnerable. And what about day time? It is a start though. Well done Adam!


Better idea for the layman. I was considering this idea for license plates to win the battle of traffic and speed cameras. It would work!

Bill Curtis

I'm going to be a customer! (This device should be much cheaper than merely wearing 3M reflective clothing, which is what I had planned.) The near simultaneous flash should thwart traffic photography, too, no? Just program sites in and let a GPS trigger flash away as you roar through at four hundred miles per hour, eh? And don't forget those privacy advocates on the streets of London? Then there's DARPA, they'll need to diminish accuracy of laser radiation while making a hasty retreat, perhaps?


Quite interesting ... i have an other use for this device just as a thought, it can be used to be fitted next to the license plate of a car Front and rear, where it can affect the picture of speeding camera!$$ , well we should not be speeding at the first place, but its a good thought.

Moreover, IR LED's can be used as well part of the same to blind IR video recording, I wonder if that can will affect the 0 lux still cameras! I know for a fact IR lED's beams can be captured on Still camera pictures.


Abdulrahman Qayed
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