Your mom wants to take your picture because you're all dressed up in a horrible dress or suit. You even have to tuck your shirt in and smile. She gets out her digital camera and snaps away. When she previews the pictures, though, your starched shirt suddenly has a smiley face with its tongue sticking out on the front. Where did that come from?
That's just one way that you could use the new so-called "kameraflage " technology. Because digital cameras have silicon chips that can see a broader spectrum of light than the human eye can--mostly into the longer wavelength infrared region--digital pictures can catch some views that are invisible to the naked eye.
The inventors of kameraflage, Connor Dickie and Sarah Logie, have designed kameraflage to be specially used in camera phones. According to InfoTrends, more than 220 billion photos will be taken with camera phones by 2010-more than film and digital cameras combined.
The inventors have thought of several applications for kameraflage. For example, the technology can be incorporated into movies. Movie producers may consider adding another layer to their big screen pictures for viewers who watch through their phone cameras. Movies may even include subtitles in the infrared range, so that viewers who wish to read along, such as deaf people, can watch movies in a regular theater. Or to prevent video pirating, a jumble of scribbles could hide the true content when someone tries to film the show.
Advertising is another possibility Dickie and Logie have in mind. Advertisers can put up invisible billboards in locations that wouldn't otherwise have advertising, but may be a target for consumers/photographers. Museums, libraries, and other tourist attractions could be prime real estate, and yet maintain their aesthetic purity. If the trend catches on, people may even be taking out their cell phones and snapping pictures just to see if anything's hiding on the suspiciously blank wall. The creative potential of some of these ads is probably beyond our imagination right now.
Another application--and money-maker--for kameraflage is the world of fashion. Before you buy that shirt, you may want to get out your phone and see what kind of garment you're really about to purchase. Dickie and Logie hope that people forced to wear uniforms for school or work will have the opportunity to express themselves with the help of kameraflage. In the image below, a camera picks up a lightning bolt that isn't shown on the normal looking shirt.
I'm sure there could be lots of other applications, too. Maybe they'll be selling "infrared pens" to go along with kameraflage... Lisa Zyga