Apple files for 'transparent texting' patent
In this Thursday, June 24, 2012 file photo, Jeremiah Ulibarri checks out his new iPhone 4 outside of an Apple store in Chicago. (AP / Kiichiro Sato, File)
Fan-Yee Suen, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, March 29, 2014 8:32PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:31PM EDT
Apple may have a solution for pedestrians who keep their eyes glued to their smartphone screens while texting and walking – even if a fountain is directly in their path.
The technology giant has filed a patent for “transparent texting,” an iPhone feature aimed at text-messaging pedestrians who sometime “find themselves in a rather unique predicament.”
"A user who is walking while participating in a text messaging session may inadvertently collide with or stumble over objects in his path because his attention was focused on his device's display instead of the path that he was traversing," according to the patent originally filed in September 2012.
The technology uses a smartphone's rear-facing camera to replace the text message's background with a live video feed of whatever’s in front of the user, thereby reducing the chances of stumbling over or bumping into an object while texting.
While such technology may not necessarily make it to the market, the patent is perhaps a reflection of the changing behaviour of mobile phone users. In the U.S., the problem of pedestrians distracted by their phones has become so widespread that a number of states have attempted to introduce distracted walking bills.
Like many technology companies, Apple secures patents on a wide variety of technologies. Here are three other Apple patents that have yet to make it onto store shelves:
- Protecting smartphone users in distress: Using built-in sensors, this "failsafe detection" iPhone feature could potentially sense when a user is in an emergency situation, according to a patent filed earlier this month.
- iWatch?: As wearable technology becomes increasingly popular, Apple last year reportedly filed a patent that could potentially be the tech giant's widely rumoured smartwatch
- Two-faced iPhones?: The next-generation iPhone may include the option to have a "wrap around" flexible display that will allow users to view content from multiple perspectives, according to the patent secured earlier this month