Flashing license plate frame counteracts red light cameras

A smart license plate frame outwits red light cameras by making itself too bright for the photo to turn out.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
noPhoto demonstration
The noPhoto prototype reacts to a flash source. noPhoto

Some people will go to great lengths to foil red light cameras. They may use darkened license plate covers, questionable spray-on photo blockers, or strategically placed layers of mud. All those methods are low tech, but there's a higher-tech option on the way.

The noPhoto is a microprocessor-controlled smart license plate. A sensor detects the flash from a red light camera or a consumer camera. It triggers a pair of flashes on the sides of the plate. Those flashes make the plate too bright for the camera to capture.

Besides combating red light cameras, the noPhoto may also find a niche in Hollywood by protecting the license plate numbers of celebrities with paparazzi on their tails. It would also save people who post pictures of their rides online from endless sessions of Photoshop license plate scrubbing.

Many places with red light cameras also outlaw the use of license plate covers that attempt to hide the plate's number. Depending on how those laws are written, the noPhoto may slip right into a loophole since it doesn't physically cover over the plate.

The noPhoto is in working prototype form and is currently raising funds on IndieGoGo. A $199 pledge will get you a noPhoto frame. The eventual retail price is expected to be $350.

Red light camera-foiling devices are almost as controversial as red light cameras themselves. Is the noPhoto the car accessory you've been waiting for or is it tantamount to cheating?