Ericsson comes up with super high-tech anti-smartphone-theft solution

Ericsson comes up with super high-tech anti-smartphone-theft solution
Over the past few years, manufacturers have made great strides to discourage smartphone theft. These are usually locking mechanisms, which block the phone from ever being used by someone else than its user — either through biometric scanners or the good old passcode. And if a thief tries to reset your device, it will usually become a brick, which will not activate unless your personal password is entered on boot.

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.

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5 Comments

1. Phonehex

Posts: 758; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Maybe 3 pr 4 years away... should be interesting to see how this kinda tech evolves.

2. JcHnd

Posts: 275; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

This sounds over dramatic... but really cool, lets see how it goes!

3. slashas

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

Apple already blocks access to App Store if device is stolen. Why google is not doing such thing till now is unknown... Such things saves lots of phones as they are useless and only can be sold as parts, but apple eventually will come to solution when even phone parts will be banned for reuse from stollen phone that will discourage thieves as such phones will be useless bars of glass and metal :)

4. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Remember ”error 53”? I hope Apple brings it back.

5. AlienKiss

Posts: 134; Member since: May 21, 2019

I still believe that if a device has a USB slot it can be hacked (there are always bugs, glitches, vulnerabilities in the kernel to exploit etc). But I like the idea. What happens if the phone doesn't believe that you're it's owner?

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