Craft & Design
Temporarily blind surveillance cameras


“Infrared Light Against Surveillance Cameras” is an easy to build device that protects you from cameras in public spaces. The focus is to amplify the interaction between “machines” (or light sources) that have been built as surveillance devices. This type of project always seems to re-emerge every few years.

[via] – Link, See also How To Zap A Camera by artist, Michael Naimark.

63 thoughts on “Temporarily blind surveillance cameras

  1. that’s a pretty naive comment. so, by saying the word “chocolate” it means lots of people are going to get fat now, whoops.

  2. I have been thinking about this same idea for about a year now, but was concerned with the amount of power necessary to get this to work well in daylight against standard surveillance cameras (which are also sensitive to IR light).

  3. Reminds me of a Car & Driver experiment, many years ago, in which they attempted to foil speed-measuring Lasers. They mounted a large driving light on the front of the car, and used a band-pass filter to limit its emissions to the wavelengths used by speed laser guns.

    Since light isn’t regulated by the government the way microwaves are, it’s perfectly legal (as opposed to the blatant illegality of mounting a microwave emitter tuned to police radar bands on your bumper).

    I don’t remember anyone whining as to how it’d encourage people to speed, though…

  4. This could be useful for those “Anonymous” guys during their next Scientology protest. Apparently, the Scientologists like to take pictures of them.

  5. I thought I heard somewhere that IRs like TV-b-gones can be hazardous to human eyes during night, because your iris is open wider, as opposed to daylight. could a device like this hurt a passerby? I just want to blind a camera, not my neighbor

  6. MakeFan: if they use an IR filter though then they lose all chances of getting viewable video in low/no light situations, and depending on the wavelength, the filters could be circumvented with IR just on the edge of visible light.

  7. TL: your neighbor’s eyes aren’t sensitive to infrared light (IR) – that’s why it’s invisible. The military has been using all kinds of IR-reflective (and absorptive) stuff with IR-emitters for night operations for years with no ill effects.

  8. Greg –

    Just wire up a bunch of IR LEDs to a few resistors and batteries, then poke the LEDs through the front of a knit hat… that basically looks like what they did.

  9. @James

    The problem with IR and UV light sources damaging your eyes is that they aren’t sensitive to it. So if someone shines a bright white light in your eye, your iris shrinks and limits the amount of light in. However, if your iris cannot “see” the light coming in (as is the case in UV and IR light) it won’t shrink and you get the full dose of light. Not usually a huge problem with LED’s (except for the high flux ones) but think about shining an IR laser into your eye…

  10. Great idea, only problem is… How will you know when the batteries are dead? Add a little visible-light LED hidden in the back there somewhere?

  11. I’d love to wear something like that next time I’m in London on the Tube, but it would probably get me shot – or at least arrested and my DNA recorded in a police database with no chance of ever having it removed.

    Remember that in these paranoid times, a stunt like this can have consequences even if you pose no real threat to anyone.

  12. Michael: Agreed, you wouldn’t want to shine an IR laser (or any other laser!) or UV-emitting LEDs into someone’s eyes. That’s not what’s being described in this Make:, however. And IR LEDs that are bright enough to dazzle a camera in daylight situations would probably be too hot to wear on your head…

    Shadyman: looks like 9v batteries – just lick ’em, that’ll tell you if they’re live or dead!

  13. Wouldn’t a passive reflector work as well? Those cameras use IR light to illuminate the target. The light can be reflected back with no battery power required.

    Also, I don’t think the device shown will provide protection for your profile. A wide reflective strip all around your head would protect you from all angles.

    Finally, a stocking cap pulled over the face will protect you from cameras day and night.

  14. Wow. This is a lot easier than trying to figure out how to get the laser on my head to automatically point at nearby cameras.

  15. george, you’re a fool. I work in a criminal court so I see a lot of footage from these camera. There would be a lot of violent crimes, rapes, etc unsolved (or at least unprosecuted without these cameras).

  16. Of course, how could I forget? The all-seeing, all-powerful state is the best way to keep us safe. Nothing could ever go wrong with that arrangement…

  17. This is rather old, the same method has been shown in a couple of movies as well but not really brought into public attention.
    It can be a bad thing but security cameras will become much smarter, I’m sure they can engage a IR filter if its detected.

    But untill I have big brother taking a peek through my room I won’t bother with this, I would think it will stir up some trouble on the tube.

  18. Just thinking, wonder how many would get this to defy the very reason the cameras have been set: Crime regulation. And it may save your life someday (if you value it, which I don’t :P) But hell, I’d want it none the less!

  19. Just thinking, wonder how many would get this to defy the very reason the cameras have been set: Crime regulation. And it may save your life someday (if you value it, which I don’t :P) But hell, I’d want it none the less!

  20. Sadly, there’s no real proof that cameras prevent/stop crimes. Statistics say it’s better to put more cops on the streets than have everyone know they’re being watched. Basically, if someone wants to rob/rap/kill you, they’ll do it regardless of the camera.

  21. We bought a house with cameras. Our new neighbor has always had issue with them-even though they only point to the edge of our property. They got cameras this week-very small infered cameras and have them pointed at our house. By the way they have a 2 story, we have a one level. How do we block them from watching us 24/7? We have had to call the police about them stalking us-but these fools in Arizona don’t understand its against the law to ‘stalk’ in any manner.

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