Samsung wants patent to unlock phone by drawing

Samsung wants patent to unlock phone by drawing

Summary: Galaxy smartphone maker files for U.S. patent to unlock mobile devices when users touch-and-drag drawings that have at least one intersection point. These diagrams also can be customized to launch specific apps.

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Samsung unlock patent
(Source: US Patent & Trademark Office)

Samsung has filed a patent for a new feature that will allow a device to be unlocked by drawing on the screen a figure with at least one intersection point. 

According to patent application US20140066017 filed over the weekend with the US Patent & Trademark Office, the Korean smartphone maker wants first dips at a "touch-and-drag operation" to unlock a mobile terminal while the device is in lock mode. The method includes tracking the touch-and-drag trajectory, where one or more intersections occur, to release a lock mode. 

That effectively means the feature can be used while the device's display is off, so users don't have to hit the power or home button to turn on the display just to use the feature. 

It also doesn't matter what form or shape the figure should take, as long as there's at least one intersection point. What's more, users can customize the drawings to turn on specific apps. For instance, a figure with three intersection points can be configured to turn on the Twitter app when drawn on the screen. A drawing can also be assigned to make or reject a specific call. 

The patent application stated: "The hot key function includes various applications or functions that are provided by the mobile terminal, and a specific application or function corresponding to the number of intersections is executed. The specific application or function includes a camera, a phone number list, a message, a call, and various applications or functions that are provided by the mobile terminal.

"The user may freely touch a touchscreen since there is no limitation in terms of size, location, and pattern of a touch input, and since a standby screen is displayed or a specific application is quickly executed according to the number of intersections of a closed surface." 

Sounds like a pretty neat way to wake your smartphone without having to hit the power button and unlocking it. But I wonder what that means for battery life, since the display screen would have to be ready all the time to receive and execute functions each time the user touches and draws a figure.

Perhaps it operates on the same principles of a battery-assisted passive RFID, which is activated only when triggered by an RFID reader, so the smartphone only needs to power the screen when a finger touches it. 

Whatever the case, it sounds like a patent Apple might also be interested in, or not?  

Samsung unlock patent

Topics: Smartphones, Patents, Samsung

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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3 comments
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  • Wow! Mouse/finger gestures to perform an action

    Never seen anything like it before...
    AleMartin
  • Say what?

    I don't understand, does it just count the number of intersections? That doesn't seem secure at all.

    Are all 4 example shown at the end of the article the same "password"?
    vermonter
  • Cool! MS should do something like this with Surface/Win 8 tablets

    you know, where you "draw" shapes or something in the lock screen pictures to unlock the tablet!
    William.Farrel