"From time to time Apple buys smaller companies and usually doesn't discuss their goals or plans." This is a very traditional claim that company spokesmen always do when an acquisition is made that happens quite often. Not so much (though there is a case here and there), however, seeing Apple buying patents.
The English Publication AMI stated that Ma recently acquired eight patents from a defunct home security camera company called Lighthouse AI in a possible future effort to expand its own artificial intelligence user identification technology.
Some of the patents involve standard security protocols; others, however, cover depth detection technologies, as shown below:
- 9,396,400: ?Computer vision-based security system using a depth camera?;
- 9,965,612: ?Method and system for visual authentication?;
- 10,009,554: "Method and system for using light emission from a depth sensor camera to capture video images under low light conditions."
There are still patents being revised and yet to be granted, which cover exactly the same descriptions as commented above, as well as ?Speech Interface for Vision-Based Monitoring System?, ?Bidirectional Communication Interface for Monitoring-Based Monitoring System?. Vision ?and? Method and system for sharing incidents in a monitoring system ?.
According to the AppleInsider, Lighthouse closed its doors in late 2018 after its $ 300 home security camera did not perform as expected in a fiercely competitive market (made up of brands such as Ring, Nest, Arlo, Wyze, Logi, etc.). Lighthouse's product worked with a subscription which enabled some artificial intelligence features (3D detection and depth capabilities to aid in facial recognition of visitors, family members, etc., sending alerts to users' smartphones only when something really important thing happened by decreasing the number of false positives).
Does Apple enter the security camera market? It's hard to nail something. While the AppleInsider bet Apple should use patents to protect itself and enforce technologies for iPhones, iPads and Macs cameras (there are rumors of iPhones adopting 3D cameras), Brian Roemmele believes that low-light depth detection and visual authentication are only technologies that would go well with a second generation HomePod (camera and screen equipped).
Apple acquires the landmark patents of Lighthouse AI!
With depth sensing in low light plus distant visual login / authentication. Likely to form a user confirmation of HomePod II with camera and screen. A new Apple #VoiceFirst device.https: //t.co/fTYnHxVCia pic.twitter.com/4idkpeFMQf
– Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) March 4, 2019
Place your bets.