It seems that Apple is now on its way for challenging Samsung over the eye-tracking feature that both Apple and Samsung Galaxy seem to have been working on lately. US Patent and Trademark Office published an application with Apple patent, titled “Electronic Devices with Gaze Detection Capabilities,” on last Thursday. The application described a mobile device feature that refers to a phone efficiently reacting to the movement of one’s eyes or head.
The screen of the mobile gets dimmed as soon as the owner moves their head or eyes away from phone’s screen. The screen gets back on when the screen is brought closer to the head or eyes. This also means that the mobile’s standby mode is switched on as soon as the mobile is turned away from eyes. This not only enhances the mobile’s security functionality but also improves the battery life of the phone. Another example to further explain the technology is that a video being played will be paused immediately after the phone owner turns away from the screen; video will be resumed as soon as the phone detects eyes upon its screen again. In Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung added a similar function. With the ‘Smart Pause’ option in Galaxy S4, a video is paused when one turns away from screen and is resumed once the person’s gaze is back on screen. With an option named, SmartVideo, LG Electronics too has introduced controls that work on the playback of a video tracking one’s gaze.
The recent patent application submitted by Apple can be referred as a divisional application. It means that Apple picked the invention of eye-tracking from a previous patent filing and parted it into Apple’s individual patent filing. It was September 20th, 2008 when the prior parent application was filed, while the recent application was filed on January 25th, 2013. A trademark patent application for a feature named “Eye Pause” was filed by Samsung on January 24th, 2013, as per AppleInsider, and another application for a feature called “Eye Scroll” during February, 2013. Another trademark patent application was filed for something known as Samsung Smart on March 8th, 2013. However, Samsung too has an older patent application, which was filed during 2000 and was granted in 2003.
Since there is a bad blood between Samsung and Apple, it’s highly expected to see a battle for patent over eye-tracking technology between both. If Apple looks forward to put function in an upcoming iOS device, it may then be trying to prove that it was first to have the technology as explained in its first application filed in 2008.