Today Apple won 46 patents covering a home security camera system with added Privacy that locks out hackers from accessing video feeds
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 46 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we briefly cover a home security camera that adds a touch of Apple's Privacy focus. While home owners will have access to video of the premises, hackers won't be able to hack into the video feed so as to know when to rob a home and to know what's in the home that's valuable. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple this week.
Apple notes that smart home technology has greatly improved in power and functionality in recent years and can provide an enhanced user experience that can be tailored to meet an individual user's particular needs.
Home security cameras, in particular, are more prevalent and provide sophisticated capabilities to help users better secure their home. In some systems, users can have the convenience of remotely viewing and controlling aspects of their security cameras via a laptop, smart phone, or other mobile device. That way, a user can safely investigate unexpected activity at the home, monitor visitors or guests, check for mail deliveries, and the like. However, security cameras, sensors, etc., can be vulnerable to hacking or other cybercrimes, which may give unauthorized individuals access to sensitive images or details about a user's home.
Apple's granted patent relates relate to a data-secure sensor system that can perform video surveillance and provide video analysis information to an authorized user, while safeguarding the video content (e.g., video or images) from being accessed externally by an outside entity.
By way of example, a system can take video imagery of an area, perform image analysis to determine the presence or pose (e.g., position and/or orientation) of a person or object in the area, and answer user text-based queries related to the image analysis (e.g., is someone in the room?) without releasing the images to any external entity.
Some embodiments can ensure this inaccessibility by configuring a hardware choke between the sensor system and any input/output (I/O) pins that provides a low-speed data bus (e.g., 15 kbps), such that any attempt to download raw video data would be severely slowed to the point where a single image of video could take days to download.
Alternatively or additionally, some embodiments may further monitor data traffic for structured image data, such that even if a user attempts to download the raw video, the image data can then be quickly identified and remedial action may be taken.
Some remedial actions can include (1) reporting an attack on the system, (2) breaking the data connection between the data-secure sensor system and any external entities, (3) shutting down the entire system, (4) or the like, (5) or any combination thereof.
Put simply, some embodiments may be described as a sensor system (e.g., video camera system) that only provides information about raw sensor data (e.g., video data), without providing access to the raw data itself.
In addition to the use of artificial intelligence, some implementations may employ machine learning to improve the system's ability to identify particular individuals or other objects or activity. Information about stored video can be provided in response to user inquiries or automatically (e.g., periodically reporting a room status or auto-alert in response to certain detected activity). In this way, a user can monitor highly sensitive areas such as bedroom or a location of a safe and obtain information about the area through queries (e.g., is anyone present?, is someone interacting with the safe?, etc.) or auto-reporting without ever disclosing any actual video content.
In some cases, other inputs such as microphones, sensors (e.g., touch or force sensors) may be incorporated into the query based reporting scheme
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below shows how a conventional camera system may be used in a private location in contrast to how a data-secure sensor system can be used in a private location in FIG. 2.
It should be noted that Apple acquired an advanced home security camera company called Lighthouse AI back in 2018 giving them access to a series of patents (01& 02). In the last two years, more home security related patents have come to light with Apple engineers (01, 02 and 03). Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple is working on bringing their advanced 'Vision Pro' Eye Tracking technology to a future version of HomePod." Technically, that's getting closer to the Lighthouse AI home security camera system, so this home camera trend is beginning to take shape.
Whenever we cover five or more patents in a new category emerging, we recognize it as a trend and create a new category for our archives. This makes it easier for everyone to explore a category of interest. In this case, we've now updated our "Camera Related" archive to now include "Home Camera Systems." It's definitely a new trend to keep an eye on going forward.
For finer details on today's granted patent #11682278, click here.
- Travis McQueen: Platform Architecture Engineer
- Clark Della Silva: Interaction Designer / Experience Prototyper
- Scott Johnston: Intersection of software, solder, and logic analyzer
- Wade Barnett: Mechanical Design Engineer
- Joseph Hakim: Wireless Architect
- Bernd Adler: S. Dr Wireless Architecture
Today’s Remaining Granted Patents