Friday, June 17, 2011

The "stop filming this" patent

Apple has applied for a new patent related to recording events from a mobile phone. The idea is simple:

If an event organizer doesn't want people to take photos or record video of an event, simply set up a special IR transmitter (same technology that's in your TV remote) that broadcasts a "stop filming this" signal. If mobile phones "see" this signal, they automatically shut down the camera function of the phone.

That's just one way this patent might be implemented. You might also set up an IR transmitter that broadcasts information about an object to be photographed - in a museum, you could broadcast information such as the artist, title, year, etc that a camera would encode as "extra information" in the photograph.

The abstract for the patent application is suitably generic that it could apply to anything that broadcasts an IR signal, where a camera can "see" it:
Systems and methods for receiving infrared data with a camera designed to detect images based on visible light are provided. A system can include a camera and image processing circuitry electrically coupled to the camera. The image processing circuitry can determine whether each image detected by the camera includes an infrared signal with encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image includes an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route at least a portion of the image (e.g., the infrared signal) to circuitry operative to decode the encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image does not include an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route the image to a display or storage. Images routed to the display or storage can then be used as individual pictures or frames in a video because those images do not include any effects of infrared light communications.
More information at Patently Apple.

1 comment:

  1. Thispatent by Apple dovetails nicely with the anti-counterfeiting and piracy legislation recently passed by Congress. It goes to show you just how powerful the entertainment industry is as a lobbying organization.

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