Apple has acquired the patent rights of Lighthouse AI, a defunct company that developed smart home security technology.
The firm built security cameras that featured facial recognition tools and advanced augmented reality to distinguish adults from kids and pets and allowed users to create custom alerts to monitor their homes and increase their security and safety.
The technology also offered voice features, such as “What did the kids do when I went to the store yesterday?” or “Send me an alert if the dog goes upstairs!”.
Although the company has closed, it owned several interesting patents that Apple has since snapped up.
The patents include some standard security camera functionality, but others are a little more interesting and will likely allow Apple to score some unique features if it was to enter into the market.
Patents in the portfolio include the Speech Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System patent and the Method and System for Incident Sharing in a Monitoring System.
A full list of acquired patents now owned by Apple include:
- Computer-vision-based security system using a depth camera
- Method and system for visual authentication
- Method and system for using light emission by a depth-sensing camera to capture video images under low-light conditions
- Computer-Vision Based Security System Using a Depth Camera
- Two-Way Communication Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System
- Speech Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System
- Method and System for Incident Sharing in a Monitoring System
Lighthouse AI went out of business in the crowded home security camera market, with increasing competition from Google’s Nest, Amazon’s Ring, as well as Arlo and Logitech.
Apple said it has no plans to launch a home security camera in the foreseeable future, although the company has been diversifying into new niches in recent years and could offer a home camera as a sister product to its HomePod to increase sales in the sector.
Apple could also apply the patents to other hardware, such as through 3D camera technology, which Apple already plans to include in iPhones and iPads in 2020.
In addition, the company is likely holding on to these patents for commercial and competitive reasons – adding to the thousands of patents the company is currently sitting on. If Apple wanted to generate an income or prevent a competitor from copying its ideas, it could enforce patents and file for significant damages.
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