Bill Gates And Co. Soup Up Snoop Safety For Google Glass Revolution

Bill Gates, again the richest man on Earth, could just rest easy and spend foundation money these days, but the Microsoft co-founder still manages to show up on technology’s forefront, this time with the first commercial release of the Google Glass.

On Tuesday, Google put its $1,500 Glass spectacles up for sale to the general public for the first time, but only for a little while. At the same time, a new invention to accompany the new Glass movement has emerged in two separate filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent video intrusion by those wearing or leery of those wearing the high-tech Glass(es).

Bill Gates is listed as one of several inventors responsible for the advance, in not only a March 20 filing but also an earlier patent application from December.

According to the most recent application, the “unauthorized viewer detection system” would allow a means for “detecting and responding to an intruding camera. The system includes an electronic media display device having a screen configured to display content, a sensor and a processing circuit. The processing circuit is configured to obtain information from the sensor, analyze the information to determine a presence of a camera, and edit any displayed content in response to the presence of the camera.”

That’s right: the detection system would actually blur what offending cameras on the prowl would be able to see, effectively obscuring any private video or even PIN numbers that are meant for only private eyes to see. But how? Here’s how the application explains it:

(The) intruder analysis module scans the input for viewers, and classifies them as either intruders or safe viewers…. The processing circuit (via the intruder analysis module) analyzes the information to determine the presence of intruding camera. The processing circuit (via the edit generation module) edits or changes content on electronic media display device in response to detecting intruding camera. For example, the processing circuit may blur the contents of the display or cause an alert to appear, thereby notifying user of the intrusion. In this manner, sensitive content can be protected from being captured by unauthorized cameras. It should be understood that the application is not limited to detecting cameras attached to buildings, and that other scenarios are envisioned. For example, electronic media display ‘device 1300’ may detect another cellular phone equipped with a camera. Similar embodiments are also useful in public locations or while a user is taking public transportation, where intruding cameras are likely to be present.

Though Gates is one of several inventors whose name is attached to this potentially lucrative add-on invention (when it’s commercially available), it’s clear he’s back in the captain’s chair again. Not only has it been reported that he’s running the day-to-day operations at Microsoft again, but GeekWire reports that this new invention is likely a spawn of brainstorming sessions held by Intellectual Ventures boss Nathan Myhrvold, little get-togethers often frequented by Gates.

[Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]