Apple seeks face unlocking, battery charging patents

Three newly published patent applications have shed light on additional innovations Apple has been developing in its labs. A new patent application details a new facial recognition locking and unlocking system, which could conceivably allow a user to unlock his or her phone simply by looking at the device, and lock it by looking away. It’s already drawing comparisons to a similar Android feature and Google patent, but according to Patently Apple, “Apple’s invention adds so much more depth.”

Another patent application suggests an on-the-go charging mechanism, enabling a device to recharge using the motion of magnets across printed coils. Shaking or moving the device would create a current that could be stored as battery power. [via AppleInsider]

Apple has notably received a patent for a universal battery system, originally contemplated in 2007 and 2010 filings, which would allow users to swap rechargeable batteries between devices. The patent suggests that Apple was exploring the possibility of creating a flat, cell phone-style battery pack that could be charged inside a docking bay of a desktop computer, then placed inside anything from a wireless keyboard or mouse to a cell phone. While the concept is exciting, the company has been shifting away from user-replaceable batteries over time, leaving only certain computer peripherals with that option. [via Engadget]

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