What if stand-up comedians — or any performers — no longer had to worry about audience members surreptitiously recording their sets and then putting them on blast online?
That’s the aim of a new patent Apple has secured from the U.S. Patent Office.
Filed in September 2014 and approved June 28, 2016, U.S. Patent #9,380,225 covers infrared technology that can either block camera recording, or even send additional data to a cameraphone. The abstract for the patent reads:
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.
You can see the images above illustrating how it would work.
In essence, a sensor onstage could emit an infrared signal with encoded data that blocks and disables the camera function on any smartphone or tablet within range.
It’s a much more sweeping technology than the cellphone pockets Yondr has provided for Dave Chappelle at his stand-up tours in recent years (after first experimenting with it for Hannibal Buress last year.
On the other hand, the infrared technology also would provide the ability for venues to send additional information to your smartphone — such as museums or tourist attractions looking to zap images straight to a visitor’s phone.
Some critics worry that the technology also could be used by corporations or politicians to prevent activists from exposing their wrongdoings.