Devices designed to crush red-light cameras

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red-light camera

Red light cameras can ruin your day. Who needs a ticket on top of monthly auto loan payments? Image: Sweet One/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Not many motorists are fond of red-light cameras — the law-enforcement devices that snap a picture of you and your license plate if you are caught in an intersection when the light turns red. Many feel the devices are more about raising municipal revenues than they are about making the streets safer. With those disgruntled motorists as potential customers, two items have been independently designed to bust the photo-busters at their own game. One is currently available. The other seeks additional seed money.

Out-flashing red-light cameras

Inventor Jonathan Dandrow, founder of noLimits Enterprises, has invented the noPhoto red-camera-busting device. He is currently raising money, via an Indiegogo campaign, to facilitate getting the product on the market.

Dandrow, in an interview with Autoblog, said the initial impetus for the invention came when he discovered that some cameras are capable of photographing the infrared light given off by television remote control devices. It wasn’t until three years later, however, when a family member gathered a collection of citations from red-light cameras, that he got the idea of using the discovery as a way of busting the ever-vigilant cameras.

The device is encased in a license plate carrier. It detects when a red-light camera goes off, and flashes a bright light across the license plate numbers to obscure them from photographic detection.

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About protecting privacy

Dandrow insists his intention is not to support those who break the law, but rather to protect privacy:

“All we’re trying to do is give drivers privacy. People should look into how these companies use all of the information they collect. This just stops them from collecting even more.”

Dandrow went on to say that the device is perfectly legal — at least for now — because it does not physically block the license plate number.

Seeking UL certification

The inventor says the development of the noPhoto device is nearly complete. But he needs $80,000 to get certification from Underwriter’s Laboratories. Hence the Indigogo campaign.

Dandrow told Autoblog:

“I want to build it right. It’s very important to us to get the UL certification. They test it in every situation and make sure you’re completely safe.”

Beaten to the punch

However, based on a post on the Popular Mechanics website, Dandrow may have been beaten to the punch.

The description of the SCD2 Surveillance Camera Defense device sounds very much like noPhoto. According to Popular mechanics:

“To get a clear image of your license plate number so a ticket can be mailed to you, the cameras use white or infrared flashes. The SCD2 from detects the change in intensity from ambient light and briefly over-lights your license plate, making it unreadable in the photo.”

However, a motorist would be a pretty chronic violator to justify the SCD2 device’s $799 price tag. If Dandrow can keep the cost down on his device, he may well have something.

Until The Man outlaws it, that is.

Video: ‘Meet the noPhoto’


Popular Mechanics

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