• ETC
  • Oct 10, 2012
Inventor Jonathan Dandrow's idea began when he first noticed that some cameras can pickup the infrared light from a television remote. It's a piece of useless information at first.

Three years later, Dandrow has completed the noPhoto license plate carrier prototype, an ingenious device that thwarts most traffic cameras with a Xenon flash in The Man's ever-seeing eye.

In an exclusive interview with Autoblog, Dandrow said he created the noPhoto after hearing about his family member always getting tickets in Washington DC from traffic cameras. So he devised a way to create something that would detect the camera taking a picture and flash a bright light over the license plate, making it impossible for the camera to capture the image of the plate.

"All we're trying to do is give drivers privacy," said Dandrow, who says that the device is perfectly legal because it doesn't physically obstruct the license plate. "People should look into how these companies use all of the information they collect. This just stops them from collecting even more."

The recent Xavier University graduate said that he didn't develop the noPhoto for people to break the law, but to stand a chance against money hungry municipalities using high tech cameras to collect $100 bills from drivers – lawfully or otherwise.

Now Dandrow is in the final stages of the product's development and is trying to raise $80,000 to get the device certified by Underwriter's Laboratories. He has posted his fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo, which is where we first caught wind of it.

"I want to build it right," he said. "It's very important to us to get the UL certification. They test it in every situation and make sure you're completely safe."

Scroll down to check out Dandrow's video about the device.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 105 Comments
      Mat Ford Rayman
      • 2 Years Ago
      If this isn't illegal now, it will be soon.
        Basil Exposition
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mat Ford Rayman
        Yea, announcing this on Autoblog before it is available for purchase is not a good plan. Now the countdown to illegal has started and his selling days are diminishing before he can even start selling. Public announcement should not have occurred until an "order here" link could be provided. This would maximize the sales he could make before this becomes illegal.
          AcidTonic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          Amen...... The law is just a bunch of rules with no intent....... when someone wronged us or found a loophole to harm us. "I'm sorry someone stole your life savings, what they did was technically not illegal sir". Yet if someone finds a loophole against their unwritten "intent" behind those rules, the rules quickly change in their favor. Clearly the law is serving us all equally right?
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mat Ford Rayman
        they used to have these in Europe because of all the speed cameras and red light cameras, became illegal very quickly. as i recall they did the same thing, detected the flash of the camera, then sent a flash back to washout the picture. simple concept, packaging is difficult! looks like they have a nice package and i wish you well in your pursuit. will be interesting to see how long this lasts if you can make the product. if it was my company I'd sell them without a UL certification and get them out there as quickly as possible before the laws change to make them illegal.
        Autoblogist
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mat Ford Rayman
        True dat, Johnny Law always gets his.
      jebibudala
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is fantastic. In Arizona they play tricks, for example they aren't just red light cameras. They also check: +For you to wait a full 2 seconds when turning right on red. +Speeding. They also deploy camera vans at random locations. +Red light. I'm okay with that, but what sucks is the yellow's at a camera intersection are .5-1.5 seconds shorter than all the rest of the non-camera intersections. +Left turn on green arrows - again, shortened yellows. I know in Arizona the plate can't be obstructed at all, not even a clear cover. Maybe the reflected flash on the plate will overpower the cameras.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 2 Years Ago
      For all of your do-gooders that think not running red lights keeps your plate from being recorded you need to wake up. If you clear a light on amber and the guy behind you runs it, your plate will be in the frame as well. Don't think they aren't running your plate too even though you don't get a bogus ticket in the mail. These are your civil liberties people, fight for every single one of them and never stop fighting!
      jcwconsult
      • 2 Years Ago
      Speed cameras are profitable ONLY when the speed limits are posted way below the safest levels. Red light cameras are ONLY profitable when the yellow intervals are set way shorter than the safest levels. Ticket cameras are a for-profit business partnership between a camera company and a city willing to use improper and predatory traffic engineering to deliberately cause enough violations to make the cameras profitable. DC is one of the worst offenders in their predatory use of bad and less safe traffic engineering factors to make their cameras profitable. DC currently makes about $55 to $60 million per year with the cameras and are likely expanding their programs to try for $100 million per year. ONE red light camera ticket in California costs close to $500, so this product will almost certainly find buyers if it makes it to the marketplace and is tested to be effective by unbiased people. See our website for the research from unbiased academic researchers and investigative reporters (people who don't make money from ticket cameras) on how 85th percentile speed limits and correctly long yellow intervals produce the safest roads and intersections. Until cities value safety above ticket revenue, effective countermeasures of all kinds to defeat the predatory ticket scams will be welcome. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI (frequent DC visitor to see family)
        Peter_G
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jcwconsult
        "DC is one of the worst offenders in their predatory use of bad and less safe traffic engineering factors to make their cameras profitable" +1. Cathy Lanier even came out against smartphone technology that warned you of redlight/speed traps. Radar detectors are illegal to use in D.C. and she basically said if you are using circumvention technology, we will find you and ticket you. So Cathy, if my smartphone app says "Warning, speed camera ahead" and I slow down ahead of time, did not the camera still fulfill its ADVERTISED purpose by making me slow down in that area? Her comment only highlights the difference between speed camera's ADVERTISED purpose and their intended purpose, revenue generation for a city with enough corrupt officials they might as well call D.C. new Chicago.
        Leather Bear
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jcwconsult
        @jcwconsult: If it wasn't for the perseverance of the National Motorists Association, the double-nickel would still be the law of the land! I've been an NMA member for years (way back when it was know as the Citizens Coalition for Rational Traffic Laws). Every reader of this blog should go to www.motorists.org and become a member.
        Nathan Stokes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jcwconsult
        Thanks for the post James! I am a DC area resident myself and I strongly agree with what you say. For instance, the section of the 395 freeway that runs through the District has a ridiculous posted speed of 45 and of course is camera monitored. When traffic isn't jammed in this area, you will probably cause an accident if you drive that slow. Also, DC has just announced they are adding cameras to monitor stop signs and pedestrian crossings and can cost you up to $250. I am all for keeping pedestrians safe but that is a very steep fine for an instance when the walker may have just waved you on.
      Alex Ellsworth
      • 2 Years Ago
      To the detractors: I agree that it's not good to run red lights with impunity, but we need this technology for speed cameras too. I live in South Korea, land of ridiculously low speed limits: 49 mph on the 10-lane urban expressway, 37 mph on 6+lane major roads, and 18 mph on small streets. I'm fine with cruising at 60 mph on the expressway, but slower than that is just torture. And here's what's coming: South Korea's expressways now have sections where they snap your picture entering and leaving and then calculate your average speed. Anything over 49 mph pays a ticket. Still think this technology is needless for decent, ordinary citizens? Sign me up for a noPhoto, please.
        PiCASSO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Ellsworth
        "snap your picture entering and leaving and then calculate your average speed. Anything over 49 mph pays a ticket." Now that is bullshit (at least the implementation of it). I can see how it works for the enforcement people, but at the end of the day it's a revenue cow. They should spend efforts on bad drivers who drive slow in the fast lanes, tailgating, and other dangerous behavours. Speed does not kill, bad drivers do.
      IOMTT
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to hear feedback on how this works once it hopefully gets to market. People in my area are already resorting to shooting, spray painting, or simply taking out the camera with their vehicle. The one closest to me looked like it was hit by a cement truck at 50 mph. It was 50 yards from it's mount and resembled a crushed can. It looks like people are trying to make the cost curve unattractive to the company placing the units.
      Ian D.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I got a camera ticket in the mail for $75 bucks. It's now doubled at $150 because I am too angry to pay it at the moment. The ticket was issued in a 25mph zone. I was clocked at 28mph. 0_o I'd glady buy this device if it works as promised.
      Julius
      • 2 Years Ago
      Red light cameras = revenue you can't tell me otherwise.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Julius
        No one is trying to tell you otherwise. Of course its just a revenue stream and a poor one at that since typically the control of these cameras is privatized to some company that turns a profit on these tickets, while the city or town is left with a nominal sum of cash after the extra court costs and cops are added to the equation. Such is the case with most of these privatization schemes... corporate America profits, cities get some quick money, but that ultimately costs us all in the end.
      Nowuries
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like it, but not investing in it as I can only imagine the fine if this does actually work.
      Edward
      • 2 Years Ago
      Remote flash technology is decades old in the photographic field. This is a brilliant adaptation, and doesn't (now) violate a state statute for obstructing the plate, like several other methods on the market. One problem: Some places have two cameras, one front, one rear. That means two of these gadgets, and the front plate on many vehicles is often a bent up mess. You could be buying several of these frames if this is the case. Still cheaper than tickets!
      KAG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice, but I had a special plate cover on my car and a cop stopped me in the middle of the night for it on the highway and gave me a ticket. They don't like there profit margins getting screwed.
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @KAG
        this basically isn't visable to the naked eye - only to flashes so cops won't know it's even there. Pennsylvania has already banned anything to obstructs license plates from photography equipment. Really retarded if you ask me.
      Autobiologist
      • 2 Years Ago
      $350 price tag is too much for my budget.
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