July 19, 2017 -
Initially filed back in 2013 and published on July 18, the patent application for “Biometric Initiated Communication” details technology that would sense the “manner” in which a finger touched the iPhone screen to trigger a 911 call.
The filing explains that the iPhone would analyze a number of criteria such as a certain sequence of fingers, the level of force, a gesture (pinching or swiping), or a particular cadence of taps to the screen.
Once the user activates the “panic command”, the device sends his or her location to responders. The technology also enables users to livestream audio or video from the phone, as well as activate other types of mobile command.
The patent application points out that while many other phones allow emergency calls from the locked screen, existing options activate a call screen that could be “readily apparent to someone watching”.
With Apple’s newly patented technology, if an attacker requires the user to unlock or use the phone, the user would appear to be following their attacker’s orders while discreetly calling 911.
The patent said that users could use a specific set of finger combinations, such as “pinky-ring-pinky,” to seem like they are trying to unlock their phone while also calling the cops.
The technology is not yet available, and there is no word on whether it ever will be integrated into future iPhones.
Meanwhile, Apple recently added a new SOS feature to the Apple Watch in order to support better emergency calling.
Last week, a separate Apple patent application was published covering a new method of unlocking a mobile device using facial image and depth data collected from specialized sensors and cameras, which gave more credence to rumors that the tech giant is developing facial recognition systems to either update or replace its Touch ID fingerprint recognition component.