Apple acquires trove of AI security camera patents

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Lighthouse
Is Apple planning to make cameras of its own?
Photo: Lighthouse

Lighthouse, a smart security camera maker that specialized in AI recognition, officially died at the end of 2018 but its tech is about to get a second chance thanks to Apple.

Apple recently acquired a big batch of patents from the failed startup. Lighthouse launched its security camera a year ago making it easier for users to sort through footage thanks to 3D depth sensing and AI features connected to an iOS app. Now it looks like Apple might incorporate some of those patents into Face ID.

According to IAM, Apple acquired a series of both granted patents and others a few others that are still patent pending. Most of the patents Apple bought deal with using AI for facial recognition in various settings.

The list of acquired patents includes the following:

  • US Patent No. 9,965,612: Method and system for visual authentication.
  • US Patent No. 10,009,554: Method and system for using light emission by a depth-sensing camera to capture video images under low-light conditions.
  • US Patent Application No. 20180246964: Speech Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System
  • US Patent Application No. 20180367962: Two-Way Communication Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System
  • US Patent Application No. 20180374325: Method and System for Incident Sharing in a Monitoring System

It’s not clear exactly what Apple plans to do with the patents. It seems unlikely that Apple is interested in entering the crowded smart-security camera market.

The tech could be used in a Mac version of Face ID to recognize faces from farther away. It also could help bring multiple user support to Face ID. Apple also might have just scooped up the patents to make it harder for competitors to make a solid Face ID rival. Even though Apple’s facial detection feature came out nearly 18 months ago with the iPhone X, Android phone makers are still lagging behind Apple.