Hacking eyeballs - the Fulgurator

June 26, 2008 | 09:18

Tags: #photography

Companies: #julius-von-bismarck

Have you ever wanted to perform a Ghost in the Shell-style backhack on someone? Well, a artist in Berlin may have got closer to that dream than you ever thought possible.

The MAKE: Blog broke the news on Berlin-based artist Julius von Bismarck's 'Image Fulgurator' yesterday. Built from an old SLR camera, a sensor, a flash, and a telephoto lens, the Fulgurator has but a single aim: to mess with peoples' heads.

Looking enough like a gun to get Bismarck in trouble should he ever try to wave it around London, the Fulgurator – named from the Latin for Jupiter, hurler of lightning – is designed to detect a flash from a camera and trigger its own built-in flash. Unlike the original purpose of the flash gun, the Fulgurator uses this split-second burst of light to project an image onto a surface that the artist knows will be in the frame of the photo.

The result, as demonstrated in a video of the device in action at the famous Checkpoint Charlie, is a collection of confused and weirded-out tourists.

Bismarck has announced an application for a patent covering the device, although the practical uses outside subliminal advertising and/or psy-ops by shady quasi-military organisations are perhaps limited. As a toy, however, I can certainly say 'gimme'.

Bismarck explains his invention came out of a desire to play with “the high confidence of the people in their photographic images of reality.” Describing his device as for the “manipulation of visual reality”, the artist has published full technical specifications and a copy of the main diagram from the patent application on his website for your edification.

Can you think of commercial applications for such a device, or is it nothing more than a wacky toy created by an wacky artist? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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