Thanks to the US Patent and Trademark office, we can get a glimpse of the future of massive adoption of digital cameras. We’ve already seen what happens when you put a video or still camera in everybody’s pocket or purse: a shit-ton of photos and video. Which, predictably, is not a favorite development of the more bashful in the law enforcement community. (“Bashful” meaning “shy or retiring” as well as “likely to bash you on the head for no reason”.)
But what happens when iPhone maker Apple applies for a patent that prevents its cameras from working if the camera detects a coded infrared (invisible to the eye) signal? Such as, say the kind of signal that could be emitted at concerts or theaters to prevent “piracy”? Or might come one day as standard equipment on police uniforms?
Well, here’s the patent application, anyway. Good night.
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR RECEIVING INFRARED DATA WITH A CAMERA DESIGNED TO DETECT IMAGES BASED ON VISIBLE LIGHT
Abstract: Systems and methods for receiving infrared data with a camera designed to detect images based on visible light are provided. A system can include a camera and image processing circuitry electrically coupled to the camera. The image processing circuitry can determine whether each image detected by the camera includes an infrared signal with encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image includes an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route at least a portion of the image (e.g., the infrared signal) to circuitry operative to decode the encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image does not include an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route the image to a display or storage. Images routed to the display or storage can then be used as individual pictures or frames in a video because those images do not include any effects of infrared light communications.