A research team in Japan have developed a system that used LED lighting to disable camera functions on smartphones.

In 2012, smartphones were used to commit 30% of offences such as taking inappropriate photos. Secret photo taking has become a rising problem in Japan due to increased smartphone usage.

A team led by Ritsumeikan University researcher, Takeshi Kumaki, have developed a system that converts LED light in to optical signals. When a smartphone detects these signals the phone’s camera functions are automatically shut off.

The research team use an attachment that changes brightness settings for the LED light so that light can be used as optical signals to control smartphone cameras. It is hoped manufacturers will pre-install the software to prevent filming in places such as public facilities, bookstores and company offices.

The system currently does not work if interfered with by bright light but is being worked on.

Research leader and Electronic and Computer Engineering Lecturer, Takeshi Kumaki, said:

We can enhance performance with software upgrades. To popularize the technology. I want to first win the support of smartphone makers and users.

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