Apple Patent Describes Camera-Based Digital Link For Sharing

News | Wednesday November 30 2011 7:59 AM | Comments (0) Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apple filed a patent that describes how cameras can be used to complete digital “handshakes” in a number of ways, simplifying the way data can be shared between devices.
describes a newly published patent for authentication between devices in close proximity. It proposes the use of “keys” that allow each devices to perform a “handshake” with one another, thereby creating a connection. More specifically, the patent outlines a few different ways these keys can be recognized by the devices, including the use of built-in cameras:
The devices could share the keys using any suitable approach, including for example providing the keys in a manner that an image captured by each device could include the other device’s key. For example, devices could be placed opposite each other (e.g., face-to-face, face-to-back, or back-to-back) such that a camera of the device includes the other device in its field of view.
In one implementation, one or more cameras of the first device could capture images of the device environment. The first device could process the captured images to detect a second device in the field of view, and to identify one or more cameras of the second device.
Not only can the cameras of both devices be used to view one another and authenticate via environment recognition, Apple also outlines other ways this can be used. One example is through the use of a barcode or alphanumeric key displayed on the device’s screen. Another details the embedding of keys physically onto the device.
An interesting twist is found in the patent whereby the handshaking security code could be hidden the iPad’s Bezel (or any future iOS devices with a dark glass bezel). The patent states that “the bezel, housing, or a mask on the display (e.g., a dark region of a glass window not used to provide information) could include a key or a seed from which a key could be generated (e.g., by applying a time dependent algorithm to the seed). The key or seed could be encoded using any suitable approach, including for example as a number, image, code, or combinations of these.
The patent shows that the key could also be hidden within the Apple logo of a device (like an iPhone ), or using an invisible coating. It then goes on to mention the multitude of ways this could be used, such as for gaming, social networking, establishing VPN connections, and retail applications. It could also be used as a quick way to log in. Instead of typing a password, you would wave your iPhone in front of your computer.
The patent has some wide applications and is vaguely reminiscent of Web OS’s touch-to-share feature developed by Palm/HP, except relying on cameras. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes in the future.

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