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Russian billionaire puts anti-paparazzi shield on yacht

Roman Abramovich is having a yacht built. It has a few technical niceties, including a shield that prevents paparazzi from taking photos.

Not so long ago, paparazzi pictures emerged showing Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi at his villa with several dignitaries. Among them was former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who was really quite naked and, well, excited to be so.

Now it seems that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is keen not to be the victim of such covert camerawork. According to the Times of London, Abramovich is having a yacht built in Hamburg. And it has some fine technological accoutrements.

Perhaps the most interesting is a shield that manages to disrupt the technical capabilities of anyone trying to take a photograph of anything that might be happening on Abramamovich's new vessel, named Eclipse.

Abramovich is the chap on the left. CC Ukmarkwilson/Flickr

The shield apparently consists of infrared lasers that are primed to sense the presence of charge-coupled devices, those fine electronic light sensors in cameras. The minute the shield senses a paparazzo's equipment, it fires a light beam its way, making an utter mess of any attempt to take photographs.

It may well be based on technology first perfected by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005.

Perhaps it seems a little "Star Wars." But then again, this yacht is supposed to measure some 557 feet, so one supposes there is plenty of room not only for the whole of the Italian government and their Czech friends, but an infinite number of European governing bodies, as well as the whole cast of any movie you'd care to mention.

One should point out that Abramovich, 42, is a little more famous for his ownership of the often mundane Chelsea soccer team rather than his movie star mien. He does, however, have a somewhat young consort, Dasha Zhukova, who is reportedly pregnant.

Even though the windows and the hull of Eclipse are designed to withstand missile attacks and, presumably, bottles thrown by dissatisfied Chelsea fans, one wonders whether the anti-paparazzi shield is a little much.

I am really not sure that TMZ would ever bump some exclusive Michael Jackson tittle-tattle for a couple of shots from the Eclipse. There again, if Elvis was one of the guests, then maybe.