back to article Apple patents situational awareness for oblivious fanbois

Maintaining an awareness of sensory cues in the vicinity has just been patented by Apple – for portable electronic devices, anyway. The technology outlined in Apple's new Patent 8,385,039, which the US Patent and Trademark Office granted on Tuesday, would make iPhones, iPads, and a potential iWatch capable of sensing certain …

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I would have hoped that such a patent would require specific situations to be aware of as to not be too wide ranging. As it stands does this mean Apple now have a patent on a device doing something based on something happening around it?

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Sorry. Knowing Apple, it will be as broad as rounded corners.

This is something that should be knocked on the head. Phones already come with GPS, microphones, camera, compass, NFC, gyroscope and on and on. If this patent goes through any software interfacing to one of these will breach the patent.

There is already a million different devices which has situational awareness

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Anonymous Coward

A phone that let's your partner know you are having an affair and are in the middle of a 30 person orgy...

Now that would be situational awareness.

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WTF?

Well my car knows how fast I am driving and adjusts the audio accordingly...

My Phone automatically adjusts mic volume & filteres out background noise isn't that situational awareness???

If I bring the phone to my ear when i am looking at a contact, it automatically calls them, isn't THAT the kind of thing they are talking about?

My alarm knows when someone has walked into the house and turns on a big noisy alarm...

SO yeah situational awareness is common day stuff... Putting it into a phone, has been done...

So I expect some more battles here if they try and push it....

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It certainly does sound very woolly and overly generalised.

It doesn't sound specific enough to qualify for patent status.

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HTC phones know when they're in a pocket; Galaxy S3 knows when you close your eyes. Htc's invention might be included in the deal they made with Apple recently, but Samsung will be in trouble for this copying.

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Vic
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> It doesn't sound specific enough to qualify for patent status.

Indeed. Expect the USPTO to issue it forthwith... :-(

Vic.

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FAIL

Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

My 2 year old phone already has this "situational awareness". In dim lighting the screen is dimmed, in bright light the screen brightens. And it wasn't a new or unusual feature even 2 years ago.

If that's not "Prior Art" then I don't know what is! (and I don't discount the latter)

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Devil

Re: Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

BMW M series radios had the "audio" portion of this for more than a decade. The volume autoadjusts and is jacked up when you rev the engine so you can still hear the beat. Plenty of other pror art too.

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Re: Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

So lets get this straight

Volume control activating in much the same way as noise cancellation.

Additionally volume of other media changing based on situation, a bit like how you can dim volume when you're talking on skype?

Setup adjusting based on location. Like the profiles I have set up and tied to GPS? So when I'm at work my phone goes to silent?

With the broad definition there is so much prior art already. I can see some situations where a more defined specification could be noel and innovative. But the broad version is just... no.

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g e
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Re: Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

My old Sharp Aquos LCD TV had this about 7 years ago... 'dynamic brightness mode' to lower the screen's brightness in darker ambient lighting to save power, etc.

Surely Google have this nailed, too, in the self-driving car gadgetry?

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Re: Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

Some phones ring louder if they detect that it's dark, the reasoning being that if there is no light then the phone is likely in a briefcase, backback etc.

Such a broad patent is unenforceable when there is so much prior art, it would fall at the first challenge.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Um, were the US PTO asleep when this went across their desk ?

They've been constantly sound asleep for the past couple of decades, so probably, yeah.

(Actually, their negligence is intentional, since they're paid by the number of patents they pass, with no penalty for accepting ones that should never be allowed.)

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situational awareness?

Hello? I'M ON THE TRAIN!

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like Locale with extras

So it's the Android Locale app with richer triggers. I feel patent abuse coming on.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.twofortyfouram.locale&hl=en

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Anonymous Coward

"The idea is that the devices could predict or anticipate users' desires..."

Such as a mob inside the pant! ;)

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A minor problem, perhaps

"In one such scenario, a phone might switch from from a ring mode to a vibrate mode – because it's dark, say, and the phone senses it's in a cinema."

Or maybe, the phone's in your pocket ...

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Trollface

Re: A minor problem, perhaps

"Or maybe, the phone's in your pocket ..."

My thoughts exactly on reading that part of the article.

But then again, we're talking about an Apple patent, for Apple devices - and we know how Apple and their Applytes like to differentiate their phone from others, which is why many iPhone owners use the brand name iPhone where the generic phone will suffice*, in order to broadcast to the world that "I am an Apple fanboi." Perhaps Apple expects them to keep their phones in their hands when there is no need, to show them off even more - including in places like the cinema.

* More than half the Applytes I know do this, for example saying "I've left my iPhone at home" rather than "I've left my phone at home."

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Trollface

Here we go...

"Blah, blah, blah, I had this on my Commodore C-64/Nokia N-95/Spectrum/Android/Braun shaver/Linux-based watch* years ago".

(* please choose appropriate)

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"Or, sensing perhaps that you've fallen asleep, your iWatch could"

wake you up, apply the car brakes and sound the horn to warn other drivers that you've nodded off at 75 mph.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Or, sensing perhaps that you've fallen asleep, your iWatch could"

My car does do some of that already, it won't wake me up, but my car has saved me a serious accident by applying the brakes and alerting me as the idiot infront braked heavily while I was about to change lanes and as such was checking my blind spot.....

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Stop

Re: "Or, sensing perhaps that you've fallen asleep, your iWatch could"

"my car has saved me a serious accident by applying the brakes and alerting me as the idiot in front braked heavily"

In which case you were too close to the "idiot" in front of you and not paying attention to the state of traffic in front of them. Sorry, who was the idiot again?

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Happy

Alpine and Mobile Electronics

More than a decade ago Alpine made car stereo head units that adjusted the volume based on ambient noise and the brightness of the display based on ambient light. It was great for convertible cars.

It's kind of funny, back when I ran a chain of car stereo shops the industry term for us was 'mobile electronics retailers' and phones were either in your house, hard wired into the car or in big leather bags. Kind of funny how the term has evolved.

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So I suppose the goocars ...

... are in breach of apple's patent?

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Re: So I suppose the goocars ...

Everybody and everything is violating someones patent in some way or form....

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Trollface

That's the Mobile Healthcare Market for the Babyboomers all stitched up, then.

Nice trick, Apple.

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Lets see

My dated galaxy note 2 ..... responds to ambient light having a hand waved nesr it can measure length by moving it between two points knows where the f... it is and responds to being shouted at and can do all sorts of clever sheeet if you turn it over or wave it all about ..... I guess this means apple are going to run that patent through a tardis and sue samsung again.

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Better idea

How about including it into the iPod (and don't patent it, so it can be included in similar devices too) for those idiots who have their music so loud and are so focussed on it, that they ignore things like the fact they've just stepped out into the road in front of traffic, or are casually wandering all over the footpath and getting in everyone elses way.

But then again I guess it would stop the occasional laugh at an idiot story.

And similar applies to phones (i and otherwise) where the text or status update must be sent and done as they walk, again at the expense of actually looking where the hell they're going.

The first one of course could be self-solving in a Darwinian fashion, but the latter is just annoying when you have to take evasive action so they don't just walk into you...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better idea

I never understood how someone can't see where they are going while they txt?

Do they hold it up in front of their eyes or something??

Texting and walking is easy unless you have zero situational awareness

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Re: Better idea

Normally phone held out in front, with them gazing down fixedly whilst plodding along completely oblivious as to what's in front of them or where they're walking.

At least that's been the case of the last few who have either stepped/stumbled down the curb and into the road when I've been driving, or aimlessly onto the cycle path route when I've been cycling and nearly hit them.

Either way, most of them would more than class as having zero situational awareness. Reality just can't compete with the importance of a text message or status update...

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Stop

Wait a Cotton Pickin' Minute!

Isn't this a process that's completely implementable in human form? So surely it's not patentable material!

Oh wait, USPTO, I get it now.

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Does it survive the acid test?

Can Apple actually produce a prototype that encapsulates most of the claims, that existed at the time of filing? if not this is yet another patent issued for an idea...

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This isn't actually a bad idea

A phone that actually says to you "Hey dumbass, stop looking at me and watch the damn road."

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There is an android weather app that uses the pressure sensor - the pressure data is uploaded to the cloud "pun intended) so that weather boffins can use the data to better detect trends etc.

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Anonymous Coward

What a load of old shit!

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Something that puzzles me ....

Given that a current generation phone has sensors for almost everything why is it that the one missing is temperature? I find it annoying that my phone can tell me what brand of columbian marching powder I snorted three months ago by grabbing the hairs i shed and analysing them but it can't tell me whether the heroin citric acid mix is too hot to put into a needle.

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Anonymous Coward

You iPhone has detected...

..that you are alone, and nobody can see you using your iDevice. Please go somewhere where lots of people can see you using your iPhone and speak very loudly using the words 'Apple' and 'Iphone' as many times as possible (as that was one of the reasons you bought it in the first place).

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Gimp

Apple says we know where you are...

And that's right where we want you.

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Anonymous Coward

headphones go in...speaker goes off

Would have been useful for the article to be just a bit more specific on the application so we could flame it more accurately.

I am sure phones have been turning down car stereo volume when calling etc for some time. One of my cars detected light levels and adjusted rear view mirror automatically as well as external lights in the dark.

Unless somehow the fanboi products can warn against walking into lampposts or crossing in front of speeding bus I am not sure of the novelty of this at all given the limited information available.

I wonder if an aircraft autopilot system would fall foul of this for the fruity firm to open a new legal angle of making money of ohter peoples inventions.

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IR

Sounds like a slightly more advanced version of the Android app called Tasker.

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Trollface

iWatchiCash

So now it will just start spewing cash as soon as you get near an apple store or one of apple's partners stores ehh seems like a plan!!

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Alert

Peril Sensitive Sunglasses

The ultimate situationally aware mobile device!

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Anonymous Coward

Yet another ambiguous, catch all bit of patenting from apple, with nothing to actually show for it.

"Do X when Y is sensed..." - slap a patent on it, the patent office will happily take the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Hrm

I knew a Finn who did work very like this in the 1990s for Nokia R+D (hello, Terje :D). I do hope that there is enough extant and published prior art out there to get up Apple's nose.

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Anonymous Coward

What if .......

I am having a quickie bonk on the sly, I come, she screams (pleasure) of course, the earth shakes beneath both of us, and this Iphone calls the rape police?

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Gimp

Re: What if .......

That was Siri when she heard the word "no".

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