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German inventor Julius von Bismarck refers to his potentially very disruptive brainchild as an “image fulgarator.” The verb, “fulgurate,” means, “to flash or dart like lightening.” According to Herr von Bismarck, himself, it works like this:

Technically, the Image Fulgurator works like a classical camera, though in reverse. In a normal camera, the light reflected from an object is projected via the lens onto the film. In the Image Fulgurator, this process is exactly the opposite: instead of an unexposed film, an exposed and developed roll of slide film is loaded into the camera and behind it, a flash. When the flash goes off, the image is projected from the film via the lens onto the object.

Due to the similarity of the two processes, the Fulgurator looks like a conventional reflex camera. As soon as the built-in sensor registers a flash somewhere nearby, the flash projection is triggered. Hence the projection can be synchronized to the exact moment of exposure of all other cameras in its immediate vicinity. Via a screen (ground glass), it is possible to focus the projection and to position it on the targeted object.

The upshot? Graffiti visible only in photographs. Uppermost, for example, a dove superimposed on an unsuspecting tourist’s photograph of Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen square. If the guard could see it, no doubt he’d be upset, but the image appears for only the instant required to expose nearby photographs. [Thanks, Alan Dove!]

Update: If you’ve been reading long enough to recognize that we’ve posted about the image fulgurator before, first of all: Thank you! Second, apologies for the duplicate post. Third, if you’d like to read that previous coverage, it’s all linked, below. Cheers! -SMR

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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