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Company develops device that fools red-light cameras

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:27pm
Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor

Red-light cameras are a hot-button issue. One side calls them a necessary safety precaution, while the other questions their constitutionality. Not to mention, since the red-light camera are run by big business that occasionally gets paid by the ticket, it seems a little shady. On the other hand, a few early studies have noted they reduce intersection crashes.

[Editor’s note: Regardless of the legality of the cameras, we do not condone the running of red lights. It is a dangerous and senseless act that kills nearly 1,000 people per year and injures tens of thousands. You will only save a few seconds. Do not run red lights.]

If your issue isn’t running red light—obviously that’s a stupid idea—but rather the idea that a camera is tracking every movement of your car, we might have a solution. noLimits Enterprises has designed a license plate frame that prevents the camera from reading your plate. It works by using a basic principle of photography: overexposure. When the frame senses a flash from the camera, it emits two more flashes. Because the camera is adjusted to take a photo using the lighting provided by its own flash, it can’t handle the additional burst of light. The image is too overexposed to read, and your license plate is not recorded.

The designer believes the red light cameras are unconstitutional, and that domestic police operations should be conducted by police, not large, faceless corporations. The team is trying to fund the project on IndieGoGo. The website claims the device violates no frame or cover laws, but if you’re interested, make sure you check your respective state laws.

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