Google Glass theft-protector is granted patent

Jul 19, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- Google has been granted a patent for a crime-busting technique that would lock down and sound the alarm if anyone stole a Google Glass customer’s $1500 headset. The patent application suggested that its proposed mechanism could “beneficially provide security measures” for the wearable computer. As for the headset this patent idea seeks to protect, the wearable device is anticipated to ship in 2013, opening a new chapter in wearable computing. Relatively ordinary looking glasses with display will become a smartphone for the eyes. Google as of Tuesday is now the recipient of a patent for a mechanism that can help make customers of the $1500 device feel safer. The patent describes what Google would like to do to ensure wearer’s protection against theft.

One scenario that imagines is a thief attacking the victim and pulling the glasses device off the victim’s head. The proposed mechanism would go into action, shutting itself down. The theft-deterrent system would render the disabled. The system would sense the headset was under attack through sudden, unnatural movements. The criminal would be walking around wearing a headset that does not work. The ’s description of an “unnatural movement” relates to the glasses being yanked off the Google Glass customer.

The patent application for “A locking mechanism based on unnatural movement of head-mounted display” was filed September 21, 2011. Its focus is on a way to respond if the application's motion-based system detected any unnatural movement or if it discovered that an unauthorized user was wearing the HMD. After detecting the theft, the mechanism would respond by locking it up and sounding an alarm.

Besides sudden unnatural movements, the system could detect it was a stranger’s head and not the owner’s. The patent talks about “certain positioning indicators that are associated with how the HMD fits on an authorized user. Such positioning indicators may include the angle at which the HMD sit on the user's head, the pressure exerted against nose pads of the HMD by the user's face, various locations where the user's features contact the HMD, and so on. Accordingly, the HMD may include positioning sensors that provide positioning indicators. The HMD may therefore analyze the positioning indicators in order to determine when the HMD is in an unnatural position and responsively lock the HMD.”

Once the anti-theft system determines the headset is not with its owner, it can sound an alarm and contact authorities. An alternative to an alarm sound, according to the , may be flashed lights to alert people in the area that the HMD is not with its owner.

Explore further: Government wants to make cars talk to each other (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google patent sends ring signals to Project Glass

May 19, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Google's September 2011 patent that was filed for a wearable display device was granted this week, which suggests that its envisioned heads-up display device can be controlled by infrared markers ...

Epson packs features into new Android HMD

Nov 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new head-mounted display from Epson will let you watch your favorite media content while inside the mall and view your car being towed outside the mall window at the same time. Its new Moverio ...

Canon's Mixed Reality System may speed design cycles

Jun 23, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Canon this week announced a new augmented reality system—headset and software. The new system is to allow virtual prototypes to replace physical ones. Three-dimensional computer generated ...

Sony patent seeks to correct autostereoscopic blur

May 13, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Sony has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a glasses-free 3-D display that will adjust the picture so that the user gets an optimal view no matter how far or close to the screen. In its application, “Stereoscopic Image Proces ...

Apple seeks patents for display and noise-out systems

Dec 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apple made patent news this week in two directions, toward a Kinect like system and toward a quest for excellence in sound quality on phones. It’s been reported that Apple has filed patent ...

Recommended for you

New type of solar concentrator desn't block the view

10 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through ...

Cities, states face off on municipal broadband

11 hours ago

Wilson, N.C., determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community's social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous ...

User comments : 13

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (3) Jul 19, 2012
I wonder how the headset can distinguish between the user removing the glasses quickly, or the user falling down with the glasses being "under attack"?

infiniteMadness
5 / 5 (4) Jul 19, 2012
if the authurized user yells "ouch" the alarm doesnt sound.

if he yells "HELP!" the alarm goes crazy!

jk
Squirrel
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
All our movements have a "signature"--not just how we write and walk (ever identified a person from a distance?) but also how we hold and balance our head. It makes sense for the glasses to sense this signature and any departures from it--I expect a user would be asked to do a few trail quick and sudden glass removals to train it to identify the normal jerks of taking off from those of criminals. A really smart pair could make strong ID of the user's characteristic eye movements and pupil dilutions and lock their use down to specific users.
gwrede
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
Back where I live, when cellphones were a new thing, and they were expensive, the operators sold a plan where you could disable the phone entirely if you announced it stolen. You also got a sticker to put on the phone. This was so effective that people would leave their phone on the table at the pub while on the toilet!

In other words, Google are on the right track here. Similar measures should come standard on smartphones, better cameras, laptops and other "good stuff".
R2Bacca
5 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2012
It's nice to see a tech giant filing a patent for something that is actually somewhat innovative (other than "a square device with rounded corners")
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2012
I wonder how the headset can distinguish between the user removing the glasses quickly, or the user falling down with the glasses being "under attack"?

I wonder in what part of the world one must live for this system to make sense. People ripping off glasses off other people's heads? Seriously?
Are there even people who are grabbing phones off other people while they are using them in any kinds of significant numbers (which is a much more easy scenario to visualize)?
gwrede
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
I wonder in what part of the world one must live for this system to make sense.
If people don't feel safe wearing a $1500 gadget in their face walking home from the commuter station at night, fewer of them will buy it.
Aloken
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2012
I wonder in what part of the world one must live for this system to make sense. People ripping off glasses off other people's heads? Seriously?


That's commonplace in several parts of the world.

Are there even people who are grabbing phones off other people while they are using them in any kinds of significant numbers (which is a much more easy scenario to visualize)?


Yes, not just phones or glasses but purses, wallets, wristwatches, jewelry and other smaller items people may wear/carry. When thieves realize sprinting by and grabbing stuff without stopping is much easier/safer(for them) than using a gun, those things start happening often, in broad daylight and in places with lots of people.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2012
Yes, not just phones or glasses but purses, wallets, wristwatches, jewelry and other smaller items people may wear/carry.

As I said: in significant numbers? If this happens in significant numbers why isn't everyone in the world hooking up their wallets to wearable burgler alarms?

Yeah, bad people do bad things - but this is just paranoia at its best (or better: worst).
kochevnik
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
Yeah, bad people do bad things - but this is just paranoia at its best (or better: worst).
It would be a weekly occurrence for every user at such places as Earl's Court in London, where heroin addicts will happily rob tourists to score their next hit while the police look the other way.
alq131
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
We need it to also extend a hard protective case around itself for the Luddites who will unnaturally remove it from someone's head and just stomp on it.
dbob
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2012
Unfortunately, it will almost certainly be used to restrict the device to one person. Many corporations regard sharing as theft; here, anti-theft mechanisms will effectively prevent you from sharing something interesting you've found on your Glass with your friends, significant other, etc. It effectively locks the device to a single user. You wouldn't be able to buy a pair or two for the entire household so they could share a movie, interactive game, etc-- you'll have to buy separate pairs of glasses for everyone. It's being presented with language posing as the protector of the user, when it really schemes to shake him/her down as much as possible. Boo, Google.
Feldagast
not rated yet Jul 22, 2012
Surprised no one has suggested an implanted RFID chip in the scalp.