Apple preps iPhone face recognition

Channels Oprah


The US Patent and Trademark Office published 33 new Apple patent applications on Thursday, bringing the total filed in July to 55 - and we're not even a third of the way through the month.

Today's cluster of creativity ranged from flexible cabling to scrolling lyrics, but the bulk of the filings described new powers for the ubiquitous iPhone and its little brother, the iPod touch - especially when the 'Pod is equipped with a camera, which it seems destined to be.

Two of the filings are directly camera-related. One focuses on object identification and the other on face recognition. The former is targeted specifically for handhelds, while the latter's reach extends both into your pocket and out to the entire universe of consumer electronics.

The object-identification filing describes a system in which a handheld's camera captures an image of an object either in visual light or infrared, then compares that image with information stored over a network. The network then asks the you what information about that object you'd like to download, then provides it.

The filing also describes the system using an RFID reader rather than a camera, but the detect-compare-download sequence remains the same.

Apple uses a museum visit to illustrate the utility of this technology: You could simply point your iPhone at a work of art and quickly be presented with info about its artist, genre, provenance, and the availability of T-shirts featuring that work in the museum store - which another of Thursday's filings, on online shopping, could help you buy.

Tapping into a handheld's GPS and digital compass could also enable the system to provide location-based resources - the filing suggests a "RESTAURANT mode" to help you find east in Vegas - and to support the captioned landscapes provided by augmented reality that are getting so much press lately.

Apple object-recognition patent illustration

Claude Monet at his most minimalist, captured and ID-ed by your iPhone

Finally, the filing includes a way for you to capture a log of all the identified objects, complete with downloaded multimedia content for creating a record of your peregrinations. Look for such a media-rich slideshow to appear in some student's "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" school assignment.

The face-recognition filing describes two different system: one that merely checks for a face - any face - and a second that matches what it sees with a database of whom it knows.

The system that doesn't care who you are is merely looking to see if anyone's using it - and if someone is, it won't time out, as would an iPhone, or fire up a screensaver, as would a PC. The system that knows you by your dashing good looks would also be aware of your privileges level, and allow access to its services based on that level.

Apple, as usual in its patent applications, isn't shy about the scope of this technology. It list 37 different devices that could incorporate it, from personal communications devices to vehicle operating systems to automatic teller machines. Then just in case it forgot anything, adds "any like computing device capable of interfacing with a person."

That should just about cover it.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for GPL infringement

    Companies using GPL software should meet their obligations, lawsuit says

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit which supports and defends free software, has taken legal action against Californian TV manufacturer Vizio Inc, claiming "repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements of the General Public License (GPL)."

    Member projects of the SFC include the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project, BusyBox, Git, GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, Homebrew, Mercurial, OpenWrt, phpMyAdmin, QEMU, Samba, Selenium, Wine, and many more.

    The GPL Compliance Project is described as "comprised of copyright holders in the kernel, Linux, who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel."

    Continue reading
  • DRAM, it stacks up: SK hynix rolls out 819GB/s HBM3 tech

    Kit using the chips to appear next year at the earliest

    Korean DRAM fabber SK hynix has developed an HBM3 DRAM chip operating at 819GB/sec.

    HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory 3) is a third generation of the HBM architecture which stacks DRAM chips one above another, connects them by vertical current-carrying holes called Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) to a base interposer board, via connecting micro-bumps, upon which is fastened a processor that accesses the data in the DRAM chip faster than it would through the traditional CPU socket interface.

    Seon-yong Cha, SK hynix's senior vice president for DRAM development, said: "Since its launch of the world's first HBM DRAM, SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry's first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market. We will continue our efforts to solidify our leadership in the premium memory market."

    Continue reading
  • UK's ARIA innovation body 'hasn't even begun to happen' says former research lead

    DARPA imitator not doing much after two years of Johnson government

    Updated The UK's efforts to copy US government and military innovation outfit DARPA are stalling, according to a leading figure in research and development.

    Appearing before the Science and Technology Committee, Sir John Kingman, former chair of UK Research and Innovation, told MPs this morning that ARIA – the Advanced Research and Invention Agency – was a good example of departmental research spending that could be cut, sidelined or delayed.

    "A very high-profile example would be ARIA, which has been this big plan for the Boris Johnson government, and yet here we are a few years into the Johnson government and it still hasn't even begun to happen," he told MPs.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021