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Sony Modifies See-Through Camera

August 13, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Sony Corp. has modified models of its popular Handycam video camera because they can be used to see through some kinds of clothing, the company said today.

The modifications were ordered after a popular men’s magazine carried an article showing the Handycam’s infrared technology can be used with a special filter to see through light-colored clothing or some bathing suits, said Sony spokesman Hiroaki Komatsu.

``We never imagined such a use would be possible,″ he said.

He said the video camera’s infrared technology was intended for taking pictures of nocturnal animals or birds.

The Takarajima magazine reported in its Aug. 5 issue that a filter costing less than $7 can enable Handycam users to see the underwear of lightly dressed people or beneath swimsuits when the camera’s ``night shot″ mode is activated during daytime.

``Our tests later showed that it is possible to see through clothing with the use of a filter,″ Komatsu said.

Bob Moisan, general manager of Newtonville Camera & Video in Newton, Mass., told The Boston Globe in today’s edition that he couldn’t get any of the cameras in his store to ``see through″ clothing.

``It was sort of surrealistic and eerie looking,″ Moisan said. ``Everything had a washed-out look, but you had the illusion of seeing flesh.″

The company this week started selling modified Handycams to prevent abuse of the infrared mode, Komatsu said. He refused to explain how the cameras are being modified.

Sony has sold 1 million Handycams with the infrared mode worldwide, including 180,000 in Japan, 400,000 in North America and 290,000 in Europe.

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