Detect Hidden Spy Cameras

Researchers at the National University of Singapore and Yonsei University in South Korea have developed a way to detect hidden spy cameras using modern smartphones equipped with Time of Flight sensors.

ToF (Time of Flight) is a method of determining the distance from one object to another by measuring the time it takes for a beam of light to reach a target and return back to the source. ToF sensors are devices that put this method into practice. Such sensors are widely used in LIDAR (Light detection and ranging), which in turn are used in machine vision systems, including unmanned vehicles.

As we know, there are dedicated signal detectors for finding hidden cameras and other electronics. However, such devices are difficult to use correctly. Today everyone own a smartphone — Apple’s iPhone 12 and 13, Samsung Galaxy S20+ are equipped with Sony ToF laser sensors — so a new development called Laser Assisted Photography Detection (LAPD) is clearly more convenient than carrying around an additional dedicated device.

LAPD allows you to detect tiny camera lenses using your smartphone’s ToF sensor, as they reflect laser light very well. Experiments have shown that LAPD achieves an 88.9% hidden camera detection rate, compared to the naked eye, which only achieves 46% hidden camera detection.

Researchers are now proposing to use such devices to find hidden cameras, and a related talk has already been presented at the ACM SenSys (Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems) event. The experts promise that in the near future, they will definitely publish the source code of the LAPD in the public domain.

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