Plucked From Obscurity: A Device to Foil Unwanted Paparazzi

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

(Image credit: Blackbow17)

Inventive, yet under-publicized devices
by Marina Tsipis, Improbable Research staff

A new invention aims to foil paparazzi who try to photograph celebrities or secret agents or anyone else who desires to not be photographed at certain times and places.

“Inhibiting Unwanted Photography and Video Recording,” US Patent 8157396, was granted to Wilbert Leon Smith, Jr. and Keelo Lamance Jackson of California on April 17, 2012. The inventors explain:

This invention relates generally to photography and video recording, and more specifically, to an apparatus and method which inhibits one’s image from being captured by an individual using video recorders and flash photography.... The apparatus includes a shaft operable to be held by an entity and a housing extending from one end of the shaft and operable to allow multiple deterrents to be emitted there from.... The housing includes a light source coupled to the transparent material and operable to emit a light.... Each deterrent is operable to obscure an image of the entity captured by filming equipment.

 (Thanks to Martin Gardiner for bringing this to our attention.)

The patent describes this as “an illustration of a paparazzo taking a picture of a celebrity and companion at a public venue.”

The patent describes this as “an illustration of a celebrity activating an image distortion apparatus in accordance with the present invention while being photographed by a paparazzo."

The patent describes this as “an illustration of an image distortion apparatus attached to a roof of a vehicle.”

The patent describes this as “an illustration of an image distortion apparatus in accordance with the present invention attached to an external structure of a government building.” It goes on to specify the what and why of this arrangement:

“As shown, a surveillance camera 1002 detects a covert government operative 1003 with access to photographic equipment 1004 outside of the government building 1006, as illustrated in representation 1005. Once the covert government operative 1003 is detected, 20 the image distortion apparatus 1000 subsequently emits a plurality of deterrents 1001 in the direction of the photographic equipment 1004 to distort images captured therein. In particular, the plurality of deterrents 1001 emitted from the image distortion apparatus 1000 creates a hotspot or a cold 25 spot on a recording medium stored within the photographic equipment 1004 thereby making an image practically unrecognizable to third-party viewers. Accordingly, the privacy of the government building 1006 is maintained by utilizing the image distortion apparatus 1000 to discourage the operative 30 1003 from taking unwanted video recording and photographs of the government building 1006 and the individuals 1011 within a corridor 1007 of the government building 1006.”

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This article is republished with permission from the March-April 2013 of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can purchase back issues of the magazine or subscribe to receive future issues, in printed or in ebook form. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.


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