The U.S. Patent Office has published more Apple patents covering the iPhone, according to MacRumors.com. The patent application, filed on March 8th, 2008, looks at using facial detection to enable a device to determine whether a user is passively interacting with the device.
“As an example, Apple describes how a user watching a video may have to periodically interact with a device in order to prevent a screen saver from activating. Apple’s invention utilizes automatic facial detection via a camera on the device to determine that a user is present. The method may also be used to grant or deny users access to restricted applications or other data.”
Another patent also looks at object recognition. “One patent application, filed on June 17th, 2008, describes methods by which a mobile device user could detect an object via camera, RFID sensor or other means and have their device automatically identify and provide additional information on the object. In Apple’s background information on the patent, an example of an art museum is used, describing how a user might take a photo of a piece of art and wish to have it automatically identified and additional information on it provided, or engage in an audio tour or podcast and wish to access additional content beyond that provided in the audio files.”
Read more here.