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Apple patent filing shows gaze control, long-range Face ID biometrics for smart homes


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Apple has invented an upgraded HomePod with built-in camera for gaze control and long-range Face ID biometrics, according to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, writes Patently Apple.

A camera accessory system with gaze control would be linked to Siri to perform specific tasks. For example, the user could give the command “turn … on that light” and by turning the head to the desired light, the system would know which to turn on.

In one of the patent figures, the user does not look at the HomePod when making the command, so the device will simply connect to the networked camera accessories positioned around the room.

In another figure, the user makes direct eye contact with HomePod. In this case, Siri recognizes the person making the command, thanks to the TrueDepth camera equipped with long-range Face ID. This would be possible thanks to depth camera sensors that use environment data to build a 3D model of the face.

Another patent figure describes sets of lights around the HomePod, in different colors, which communicate various commands such as a request not being understood or speaker identity not confirmed. An Apple Watch could also be used to control lamp brightness.

To collect data on the user voicing commands, HomePod could use the device’s cameras, external cameras or an iPhone. The HomePod can use the information it collects for facial and voice recognition.

The patent was filed in Q3 2019 and includes some information from a 2018 provisional patent.

Apple iOS 14 updates password manager

Apple iOS 14 will reportedly include a number of updates and features, including for iCloud Keychain, making it the default password manager to prevent reliance on third-party tools, reports Hiptoro.

New features include two-factor authentic cation through SMS and email and warning the user about password similarity or reuse. The release date may be delayed due to coronavirus, but Apple is trying to not let development be affected. A possible release would be June 2020.

This year, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be live-streamed online.

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