Gizmodo: Here’s one from left field: you know how your car’s navigation console locks itself when in motion, whether or not there’s a passenger to safely operate it? Apple, of all people, wants to fix that.
In a patent filing recently published and dug up by Apple Insider, Apple lays out various methods, including weight, proximity and biometric sensors, for detecting a passenger in the front seat, and then allowing he or she to operate the nav while the car is in motion.
It goes even further, though, by specifying means for the system to identify exactly who is touching it via biometric sensors, and then grant them access or not depending on pre-set safety settings.
So if you don’t want your 16 year old kid using the nav at all while in motion, just thumbprint him and program your Apple GPS.
Wait, what, Apple GPS? While apple has patented numerous techniques for pairing gadgets to cars, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one that was so specifically geared toward an in-car device. Innnnteresting.
Although this could obviously describe a way for a turn-by-turn iPhone 3.0 app to behave in-car. So like all patent filings, which are written in a language so obscure as to make reading and parsing by anyone who is not a patent lawyer, take this with some skepticism. But as a concept, sounds kind of interesting—is the real iDrive coming?
The Inquirer: Having won a critical patent appeal in its native Japan, Canon is well on the way to being the first electronics manufacturer to make displays based on surface-conduction electron emitters.
Canon had previously sub-licensed the patent technology to make SEDs and had started designing TVs using the technology, displaying prototypes as long ago as 2006. But patent-holder Applied Nanotech took Canon to court, claiming that this sub-licensing was illegal.
The US circuit court ruled in July that it was wrong, and Applied has today announced that it won’t be pursuing the matter further. Canon now plans to start working SEDs into a line of TVs to complete with rival OLED technology, pushed hard by Samsung and Sony. But the technology may be put on the back burner for now due to the current economic climate.
Electronista: With Finnish handset maker Nokia releasing its first touchscreen handset, the 5800 XpressMusic, early last month, now comes evidence the company will focus on a gesture-controlled interface, as per the company’s Chief Designer, Alastair Curtis.
He hinted at the potential of the gesture technology being incorporated into upcoming handsets earlier this week and Nokia already has a patent for the technology. The invention would use ultrasonic transducers (USTs) to detect a user’s hand motion and gesture and track their relative location on the device’s screen. Simple gestures such as opening or closing of a hand will open or close a program, respectively, and as an example.
As per the patent papers, users would customize the functions of the gestures, assigning various ones to a specific operation.
Gizmodo: Apple has patented a new display technology that will allow their iPhones to have always-on displays with almost no battery cost whatsoever.
This doesn’t mean the whole display would be lit at all times.
In reality, only part of it would be activated using a secondary backlight system located under the main one.
According to Apple, the objective is to give feedback to the user at all times, even when the main display is turned off.
Mobile Magazine: This gesture recognition stuff is starting to go too far. We’ve already seen the implementation of motion sensing in the Nintendo Wii, but now Samsung is getting you to wave your hands around with a new cell phone as well. The difference is that you aren’t waving the phone around.
Instead, the patent makes use of the camera integrated into the handset and then it reads the motions of your hands, translating those gestures into commands. The commands appear to be similar to what you’d do with a computer mouse, including the ability to left and right click. The camera tracks the movement of your hand and then the phone responds accordingly.
Bear in mind that this is “just” a patent, so there’s no saying whether Samsung will follow through with actually creating a phone that does this. I personally can’t see how useful it could be.
Electronista: A patent infringement claim may lead to blocks against importing both Blu-ray technology as well as cellphones and other storage, the US International Trade Commission said today. The potential impasse has its roots in a complaint by patent holder and Columbia University emeritus professor Gertrude Rothschild, who claims that bringing numerous foreign-made devices with short-wave lasers and LEDs violates her own claims to the technology in the US. Most companies affected by the dispute are those producing Blu-ray optical storage drives and involve chief backer Sony as well as LG, Pioneer, Samsung, and Sharp.Toshiba is also implicated for the blue laser in its HD DVD players, though the end of the format reduces the impact of the complaint on its business.
However, the suit also implicates multiple cellphone makers and may complicate the sale of cellphones in the country. Motorola, Nokia, and Sony-Ericsson are directly implicated in the complaint, which may also affect LG and other firms that produce both handsets as well as HD video readers. Calls to restrict part suppliers, such as optical drive maker Lite-On, may also impact third-party computer and general electronics firms.
Over 180 officers raided 51 stands as the exhibition was preparing to close, claiming that they were checking out allegations of copyright infringement.
Associated Press reported that 24 of the stands were operated by companies from mainland China, three from Hong Kong, 12 from Taiwan, nine from Germany, and one each from Poland, The Netherlands and Korea.
Hanover police claimed that the “number of criminal complaints by the holders of patent rights in the run-up to CeBIT has been rising for years”.
Police took away 68 boxes with gadgets and documents, according to a police statement, ranging from phones and monitors to GPS mapping systems and digital picture frames.
The patent infringements are alleged to include devices with MP3, MP4 or digital video broadcast functions, as well as DVD players and blank CDs and DVDs, police said.
The Register: When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at Mac World back in January 2007, he told the Apple faithful that his portable status symbol was backed by 200 patents. And the Apple faithful cheered. But that hasn’t prevented an onslaught of iPhone-happy lawsuits.
After all, this is America.
Other patent holders have already sued Steve Jobs and company over the iPhone’s touch screen, its virtual keyboard, and its so-called visual voicemail. And now an inventor named Romek Figa has gone after the handheld’s caller ID feature, insisting it infringes a patent he bagged back in 1990.
Figa’s patent, describes an “an automatic incoming telephone call number display system for detecting an incoming call and identifying the party associated with the incoming call number”.
Like the iPhone, the system “includes a directory of telephone numbers and parties associated with those numbers,” and it’s equipped with “circuitry that detects the origin telephone number of an incoming telephone call and compares that number with numbers in the directory for identifying the calling party.”
Electronista: Research in Motion yesterday filed a lawsuit against rival cellphone designer Motorola, claiming both infringement on patents relating to its handset technology as well abusive licensing practices for its own licenses. Responsible for creating the BlackBerry smartphone line, RIM filed the complaint this weekend in a Northern District of Texas court and argues that Motorola is attempting to exclude competition both by refusing to license certains patents in its phones and by charging “extortionate” licensing fees for those patents it owns, penalizing RIM for using similar technology.
The patents address some of the most important technology at the heart of both firms’ devices, including the ability to connect through Wi-Fi as well as keyboards optimized for thumb typing.
Motorola has so far dismissed the complaint, calling its own patents “critical” to business and saying that it will protect its intellectual property against challenges from competitors.
Camera Core: Sony Ericsson’s new patent, ‘Detachable Housings for a Wireless Communication Device’, is an innovative design for a modular mobile phone.The screen forms one module, while the keypad, camera, GPS receiver, etc are on another module.
The modules can be separated from each other, but can still communicate via Bluetooth.
The idea could allow a mobile to offer a full set of features via the swappable modules, while still keeping a slimline design.
Sounds a great idea until you want to capture a moment with your camera phone and realise you’ve got the wrong module attached.
Camera Core: Nokia has been awarded a patent, by US Patent and Trademark Office, for a clamshell handset with an innovative ‘crank’ mechanism.The device has a Qwerty keyboard, hidden underneath a touchscreen. A crank mechanism with a 180° pivotal axis allows the screen to hinge upwards to reveal the keyboard, providing access to normal phone functions.
The crank clicks into two positions. The first position reveals the keyboard and allows the phone’s video camera to be activated, while another click activates the phone’s camera.
The phone also features wireless communication, games and computer functions.