Imagine walking into an exhibit. You find a nice painting and whip out your fancy iPhone to capture it. To your surprise, your screen is instantly populated with information about the painting…possibly even an option to watch a video of the artist in (maybe even of them painting that very painting!). Or imagine being at a car race. You point your camera at a Ferrari as it passes by, and your screen suddenly fills itself with information about Ferrari’s history. Now imagine, in our final example, pulling your phone out during an MGMT show and trying to click a picture or video of the band. Strangely, your camera just refuses to work.
This futuristic red-technology is something Apple is working to patent. In a detailed filing, Apple outlines how the technology would work and potential uses. It involves an infrared transmitter and a receiver within the device’s range. The IR transmission can be used for beaming data or for blocking the camera function. This more or less converts the camera into yet another app that can be used by third parties for various purposes. A retail store can choose to beam advertisements when the camera is pointed at various brands or a band can choose to not allow fans to record their performances.
Strangely, one of the sketches submitted by Apple shows an option to disable the reception of IR data. While users might choose not to receive additional information for products, it is unclear what would happen when this option is disabled in a zone which tries to block the camera function. However, it is worth noting that the “disable” functionality is unlikely to be used, since if Apple iPhones with IR receivers are the only devices that are unable to use their cameras people could just as easily use another camera. That defeats the “block” function entirely and also doesn’t do much for Apple’s image amongst its customers.
This will undoubtedly require a lot of marketing by Apple however, to get organizations to pick up on the idea (and implement it, at that).
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