Saturday, June 28, 2008

Just What We Need: Ads Inserted Into Your Vacation Photos

Inventor Julius von Bismark just created what he calls an "Image Fulgarator" capable of causing images to show up in photos taken by digital cameras that are invisible to the naked eye.

He has taken an old camera and reversed the optical path turning it into a small projector instead of a small camera. A light sensor on the fulgarator senses when someone takes a picture using a flash. The fulgarator springs to life and fires an its own flash, capable of projecting an image onto any flat surface nearby for a fraction of a second, undetectable to the human eye but an image that will pop up on your digital camera.

I don't think I need to spell out the potential abuses of this technology...it will be obvious the first time you are on vacation and Coke ads start mysteriously appearing in your snapshots.

Fortunately, von Bismark seems to see the potential abuses of this device, has applied for a patent and seems like the type of guy I want holding this patent. The downside is that patents expire and eventually we will have to be dealing with the potential abuses of this system.

8 comments:

SER said...

That is some crazy shit.

What will the "mush heads" think of next?

kkdither said...

subliminal messages, hmmmmm...

OrbsCorbs said...

Subliminal, yes, in the sense that they're flashed for only an instant, too fast for the human eye, but that instant is the same one in which your shutter clicks. This is a still from his video: http://pictureposter.allbrand.nu/pictures/tito/fulgurator.JPG (The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAX_3Bgel7M) The image is of a digital picture taken at Checkpoint Charlie, of a sign that reads, "You Are Entering The American Sector - Carrying Weapons Off Duty Forbidden - Obey Traffic Rules" in four languages. Von Bismarck's "Fulgurator" (I love that name) superimposes the message, "Hundreds Of People Died Last Year By Trying This At The US Mexico Border" over the sign at the instant that a camera's flash goes off, thus appearing in the photo. What most impresses me is the technology involved in getting that message beamed out there that quickly in response to a flash. Amazing. And, yes, of course, advertisers would love to get their hands on this. I'm sure that some day they will figure out a way to broadcast commercials into our dreams and we will have to pay a fee to keep them out.

OrbsCorbs said...

Wait, I got that wrong. The Fulgurator doesn't superimpose its message/image over whatever you're aiming at - it beams its message back at your lens when your flash goes off.

I think.

hale-bopp said...

Orbs, the fulgarator is acting as a projector and projects the image onto a (hopefully) flat surface, similar in principle to a slide projector.

The timing isn't so difficult. Even at a fast 1/500th of a second exposure, light can travel 600km in that time. This device probably is only effective at a few tens of meters at most, so all the rest of the time is plenty for a decent detector to pick up the flash and fire its own flash to create the image (or maybe I am just used to REALLY fast circuits!)

You might also recall that last December on the JT site, I blogged about a technology that allows people to beam sounds directly into your head. You can imagine the potential for abuse on that one as well.

OrbsCorbs said...

hale-bopp, I missed that earlier blog. Must've been, uh, on "hiatus" from the Journal Times then.

"My head is my space...get out!" Indeed.

kkdither said...

They better not unknowingly add stuff to my head. There aren't a whole lot of gigs available. My hard drive is getting full. I often get error messages when accessing files. Haven't had any complete crashes yet. Does anyone know how to run a defrag of the brain? ;>

OrbsCorbs said...

Try LSD. No, wait, that's more like a refrag.