Apple has a metric boatload of patents, and even more applications. A recent patent filing has me salivating over the possibilities. Remember what life was like before iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner?
It took some time to get it right, but Touch ID works very well and more applications are using it so passwords do not have to be entered time and again. watchOS 3.0, coming soon to an iPhone and Watch near you has a nifty new Emergency SOS feature. Let’s put Apple’s new patent between the two. You’ll love this.
What if your iPhone had a way– not just to block thieves with the Touch ID fingerprint reader– but to capture a thief’s fingerprint when they try to access your iPhone? For years, Mac users have had access to apps which could capture a thief’s face using the built-in iSight camera. But iPhone users have nothing similar to help capture information about the thief.
Soon, we might.
Patently Apple describes Apple’s latest patent, entitled “Biometric Capture for Unauthorized user Identification.”
A computing device may determine to capture biometric information in response to the occurrence of one or more trigger conditions. The trigger condition may be receipt of one or more instructions from one or more other computing devices, detection of potential unauthorized use by the computing device, normal operation of the computing device, and so on. The computing device may obtain biometric information and may store such biometric information. Such biometric information may be one or more fingerprints, one or more images of a current user of the computing device, video of the current user, audio of the environment of the computing device, forensic interface use information, and so on. The computing device may then provide the stored biometric information for identification of one or more unauthorized users.
Here’s how such technology could play out in future iPhone and Watch models.
When you lose your iPhone or it is stolen, thieves will try to use it, first by pressing the Home button. Since the iPhone is locked, a fingerprint– if it’s yours– would unlock it. If it’s the thief’s fingerprint– it would scan and capture it, and use the built-in camera to capture a photo.
Future iPhones could also capture audio once the iPhone realizes that whoever is trying to access the phone is not the rightful owner. Fingerprint, voice capture, face capture. There is little to prevent the iPhone from sending that information, as well as its current location, to a specified third party or email address.
Within minutes you could be notified that a thief has attempted to access the iPhone and you will have both a voice print and photo, plus the perpetrator’s fingerprint. Now, couple that fingerprint capture with the F.B.I’s fingerprint database, and match the photo with a database photo that matches the fingerprint, and a future iPhone could show up on a future episode of N.C.I.S.
How cool is that?