Ericsson comes up with super high-tech anti-smartphone-theft solution4
But that hasn't stopped thieves entirely. For one, they like to try their chances — some users still don't lock their phones. And two, some phones can still be hacked into after a factory reset. So, additional solutions are always welcome.
Swedish company Ericsson (remember the partnership Sony-Ericsson?) has come up with and patented a very high-tech anti-theft system. It's called "Adaptive Friction" and currently only exists on paper, filed as a patented idea.
Basically, the phone will use multiple sensors to maintain constant awareness of its contextual environment — whether it's in a pocket, on a table, in a purse, et cetera. It will do this by analyzing data from its microphones, light sensor(s), camera(s), and gyroscope. Whenever a hand is laid on the device, it will quickly try to determine whether or not it's being grabbed by its owner — it will do so by analyzing the grip (whether it's a secure and confident grab, or a cheeky corner pinch) and even by utilizing biometric sensors to analyze the person's heartbeat and compare it to known heartbeat patterns of the rightful owner.
If the phone determines that it's being nabbed by an unknown person, it will begin vibrating at ultrasonic frequencies, which should — in theory — make it super slippery and hard to pinch out of a pocket. Hence the name "Adaptive Friction".
The patent does state that the technology can also be used to make the phone extra grippy and stick to the user's hand when being used, thus making it harder to drop, which also sounds pretty interesting.
Of course, this sounds like a whole ton of tech that needs to be tuned in order to make this work quickly and reliably. As with any patent — there's no guarantee we'd see it in a phone any time soon (if ever), but this one definitely has some interesting "out of the box" thinking.