Attack Detection Mode: Your iPhone to the Rescue?

March 27, 2014 - 2 minutes read

Apple emergency detection patentThe United States Patent and Trademark Office recently revealed details of a patent filed by Apple for a mobile device feature capable of automatically summoning emergency assistance. Apple calls the feature a “mobile emergency attack and fail-safe detection” system, and it is comprised of software and hardware additions to smartphones.

According to the patent filing, Apple’s new emergency detection system would leverage a range of features, enabling the smartphone to determine whether a user was attacked or faced with another type of serious emergency. The mobile device would then automatically place a call to local emergency services, or use another means of communication if calling for help is not possible.

The mobile emergency attack and fail-safe detection would be capable of helping users in situations including physical attacks, muggings, medical emergencies and automobile accidents, among others. It is designed to use emergency numbers stored in the user’s contacts list, and is also capable of retrieving contact information for local emergency services via crowdsourcing platforms. Users can also manually enter emergency contact telephone numbers for the system to use.

Users also have the option of activating the system in various modes to allow it to determine whether or not help is needed. Most of the proposed modes default to an input/interaction model, which assumes a user is in distress if normal contact with the smartphone suddenly stops. In addition to physical hardware that can be configured to work as a kind of “dead man switch,” the emergency detection features are also supplemented by iPhone app development technologies designed to increase the system’s reliability.

The new technology creates new opportunities for iPhone application developers in NYC and beyond. Mobile technologies are on the cusp of a new era, in which they are expected to offer an greatly expanded range of capabilities. Keeping users safe is just one of the many new ways in which smartphones and other mobile devices will be used to improve quality of life in the near future.

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