Apple explores a new ‘attention detection’ system for conservation of power across devices

A new patent granted to Apple by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office describes a new gaze “attention detection” feature that would save battery life when the user’s gaze is not on the device. The company wants to introduce the new system across mobile devices which includes iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

Apple - iPhone battery throttling

It is not the first time that Apple is testing the ability to operate devices or carry out functions with users’ gaze or eye contact. A previous patent filing for alleged Apple AR glasses titled ‘Gaze-based user interactions’ described a system to operate the device through gazes and eye gestures like staring for a few seconds could zoom in on a picture or moving eyes would swipe photos. The company is also granted a patent that describes “systems and methods for gaze-driven recording of video” for its AR glasses.

Apple is working on a new ‘attention detection’ system to save the battery life of iPhone, iPad, and MacBook

As per the document, smart mobile devices like phones and tablets are an integral part of an individual’s daily routine but are susceptible to faster battery drain in comparison to devices that are powered by fixed power sources. In addition, to the battery consumption due to usage, smartphones require power to run cellular and WiFi networks, receiving texts, emails, and other operations in the background.

Typically, mobile devices are designed to operate from a mobile power source such as a battery, instead of or in addition to operating from a fixed power source such as a wall power outlet. The fixed power source generally has essentially infinite energy available, while the mobile power source can have a finite amount of stored energy before replenishment is needed. Accordingly the energy is a scarce resource that is desirable to conserve.

While other types of devices (e.g. devices that are plugged into the wall outlet) may not have as critical a need to conserve energy, such devices may wish to reduce energy usage for other reasons. For example, energy consumption is often correlated with an increase in thermal energy that needs to be removed from the device. Inefficient energy consumption can thus cause higher thermal energy in the system, requiring more cooling to extract the thermal energy.

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Therefore, the company is working on a new attention detection system that would detect when the user is not staring at the screen and will take certain actions to reduce the power consumption of a smart mobile device.

In an embodiment, a device may include an attention detection service. The attention detection service may monitor various peripheral devices in the device for indications that a user is paying attention to the device. Various clients may register for notification of attention detection and attention lost (attention no longer detected) events, or may poll the service for the events. If a user is not paying attention to the device, it may be possible to take various actions to permit reduced energy consumption.

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Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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