University researchers have developed a system to detect still and video cameras and put an end to their filming.

The team at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe that the device, which shoots a blinding white light at the camera's sensor, could reduce or eliminate film piracy by rendering any illicit filming in a cinema unwatcheable.

The device cannot, however, detect the sensors on DSLRs, the cameras favoured by paparazzi photographers, because they're hidden by the cameras' the mirror mechanism.

The sensor that detects the CCDs works because CCDs reflect light back to the source, rather than scattering it.

The device consists of camera-mounted sensors, lighting equipment, a project, and a computer.

It's isn't ready for implementation yet because it hasn't been fine-tuned. "The biggest problem is making sure we don't get false positives from, say, a large shiny earring", said one of the research assistants in the Georgia Tech team.

The device could be used at a variety of venues, including outside secure government facilities, and inside convention halls and movie theatres.

The film industry is likely to greet news of the invention with joy, as film piracy in China alone is believed to cost in the way of $2.7 billion.