Ritsumeikan University Prevents Sneaky Recordings with LED Lighting System

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A research team from Ritsumeikan University in Japan has developed a LED lighting system that can prevent unauthorized video recordings via mobile devices in public spaces.

Easy access to smart devices has generated a new type of criminal activity involving the use of illegal video recordings in public spaces, such as voyeristic recordings on subways, illegal recordings of movies, performances, concerts, and  thieves  recording the layout of targeted property. According to the university press release up to 64 percent of illegal recordings involve smartphones. The LED lighting system was developed to prevent crimes involving unauthorized recordings.

Lecturer Takemashi Kumaki and shows how the LED lighting system signal jamming creates the blue screen image on a handheld device. (All photos courtesy belong to Ritsumeikan University)

The system was developed by a research team led by Lecturer Takemashi Kumaki at the university's Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering. The system uses visible LED light to send jamming light signals at a frequency that is detectable by cameras, but not by the human eye. Recording capabilities on smartphones and tablets are disrupted once the camera pick up the light signals in a specific area.

Up close the system disables a mobile device's ability to record, as seen here on a tablet. 

According to the research team, the LED light signals alternate between high and low blinking frequencies to disrupt pixel resolution. So far the system appears to have been tested on Android and iOS systems. Components of the LED system include LED ceiling light coupled with a microcomputer.

Kumaki’s team believes the anti-recording system can be economically implemented as LED lighting becomes more widespread in Japan. Future developments of the system might include emitting particular wavelengths to help retailers identify counterfeited money.


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