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Apple patent applications describe face biometrics-enabled presence detection, more gestures for Apple Pencil


For more than ten years, Apple has been working on presence detection technology that would be used to turn on devices without any passwords or human interaction. Last week, the U.S. Patent Office revealed Apple submitted a patent application in September 2019, describing different techniques to cut down time delays a device goes through to wake up from sleep mode, writes Patently Apple.

Some sensors that could be integrated for Presence Detection are proximity sensors, light sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, image sensors, and so on. While a 2009 patent discusses sensors and infrared beams that detect movement and awake the device, the most recent invention includes other technologies such as biometric facial recognition that would work from up to 5 feet away. This would detect the user is approaching and would start waking up the device.

Last year, Bloomberg wrote the company was upgrading its TrueDepth camera to deliver facial recognition up to 15 feet away, compared to the 25 – 50 centimeters currently supported by iPhone cameras.

Another detail mentioned in the patent filing is keeping Siri alert at all times for voice commands. According to the patent, proximity sensors can refer to any source that releases electromagnetic beams used to recognize changes. These can be capacitive sensors, photoelectric sensors and inductive sensors, among others, while light sensors refer to devices that detect light or electromagnetic energy such as ambient light sensors, photoelectric sensors, photoemission sensors, thermal sensors, polarization sensors and photochemical sensors. According to Apple, an image sensor could even be a night vision camera.

Last year, Apple patented an advanced biometric facial recognition system for iMac to start and wake up the device.

Another patent application recently detected introduces new gestures for Apple Pencil such as triple tap, sliding and rolling gestures, reports 9 to 5 Mac.

“Detected tap gestures can be correlated with preprogrammed functions to be performed by the stylus and/or an external device upon detection of the tap gestures […] one or more taps can be interpreted as a user input to perform functions on the external device, such as a copy function, a paste function, an undo function, and/or a redo function,” it reads.

Other enhancements mentioned in the patent application include adding a capacitive sensor similar to Touch ID that detects finger movement, data connectors, communication interfaces, a power supply, a mute button, a biometric sensor, and input/output devices.

No details have been revealed on what will make it to market release.

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