Apple Files Anti-Theft Device Patent Based on Movement and Accelerometer Data

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News Posted: Fri, Nov 2 2012 9:05 AM
Wielding a smartphone makes you a walking target. That's especially true of iPhone owners, and unfortunately, smartphone mugging has become the new trend in criminal circles. In fact, it was previously reported that half of all robberies in San Francisco so far in 2012 have been cell phone related, many of which took place in public places, like busy transit lines.

Smartphone security is something that needs to improve, and it's the driving force behind a new patent application Apple filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent is for an acceleration-based theft detection system for portable electronic devices. In short, it relies on the accelerometer to determine if a theft has likely occurred. Here's how it's described.

Apple Patent

"An acceleration sensor detects the acceleration of a portable electronic device, and a controller analyzes this acceleration to determine whether a theft condition is present," Apple explains in its patent application. "If so, an alarm can be initiated. The theft prevention system can include a filter for attenuating irrelevant acceleration frequencies and isolating those representative of theft, and comparison hardware/software for determining whether the detected acceleration matches a known acceleration profile characteristic of theft. Various parameters of the theft prevention system can also be set by a user through mechanisms such as a graphical user interface."

iPhone 5

In order to prevent or reduce false alarms, the security mechanism would filter out acceleration signals corresponding to shock or impact, which would occur if you drop your device. There's a special signal filter and theft detection circuitry to address false alarms.

If a possible theft is detected, the user has a set amount of time to enter an alphanumeric passcode before the alarm sounds and/or the user is locked out of the device.
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realneil replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 12:10 PM

Anything that they can do to screw over thieves is fine with me.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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sevags replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 8:05 PM

Interesting idea but sounds like a lot more false alarms would go off than actual left. Also theft doesn't always mean picking something up and running it could be as casual as the user itself.'i hope it works or leads to something that does.

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