World’s Largest Private Yacht Features a Laser-based Anti-Photo Shield

Earlier this month, we featured an upcoming license plate frame that uses bright flashes of light to prevent traffic enforcement photographs. In the article, we mentioned that the concept could potentially be used by the rich and famous to avoid the constant gaze of paparazzi cameras. Turns out the rich and famous are already one step ahead of us.

Eclipse, the world’s largest private yacht owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, already features a high-tech anti-photography system that uses lasers to seek out and deny cameras.

The system was reportedly installed in the $1B+ ship back in 2009, and uses lasers to scan the surrounding area for digital camera CCD sensors.

When it discovers a camera being pointed at the Eclipse, the system beams a bright light directly into the camera to completely wash out any photograph as it’s being exposed.

According to The Times, which broke the story at the time, the “shield” can be easily switched off to allow special guests the opportunity to snap personal photographs. Only when paparazzi are spotted is the system flipped on.

After news of the photo-defense system started spreading, Amateur Photographer asked a couple of lawyers about the legality of such a device. While they didn’t arrive at a conclusive answer, the main questions are whether there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy” while floating around in a yacht and whether the shield inflicts any damage upon cameras and/or photographers.

One thing’s for sure, though: Eclipse isn’t going to get ticketed by a traffic enforcement camera anytime soon.

(via Amateur Photographer via Wired)

Image credits: Photo illustrations based on Eclipse by Niels Linneberg and The Eclipse, St Barts by alljengi

  • ben

    what about the camera that took these pictures

  • Fully Attila

    i wanted to ask the same question:))

  • pacman

    Show me a failed picture or the “laser beam” system does not exist.

  • Kevin Allen

    Any laser will kill the sensor stone dead it does irreversible damage.As for the laser unit finding digi camera sensors its probably BS finding the inferred focus assist is possible…….probably! never know what those military geeks are up to,check out ultra electronics they can do stuff like this!

  • jdm8

    A laser can damage a camera sensor, I felt a bigger problem with a story was detecting a camera in use. If your problem is paparazzo, then your problem is SLRs, which rarely have focus assist lamps. SLRs only expose the sensor for a very tiny fraction of a second, so you’d need to detect a sensor and wash out a photo in a tiny fraction of a second.

  • GoingPostal13

    You know light travels at approximately 186,282 miles per second, right? And 1/4000th – how often do you shoot at that shutter speed?

    If it is true, however, buy a film camera ;)

  • Rob

    Fantastic shot!

  • werty

    people it detect the lenses in cameras. Just like anty spy devices. they can detect hidden cameras cos lens reflecting he laser/

  • nythawk

    So if it works so well how did they get the photos for this story?

  • legato

    So who took these photos?

  • Fred

    futuristic thing in the movie

  • Angelgreg

    Simple solution, film cameras.