Apple Researching Camera-Based Digital Handshakes for Sharing Data Between Devices


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Patently Apple points to a patent application from Apple published today that discloses the company's investigation of new methods for establishing communication between nearby devices for the purposes of exchanging data. In its application, Apple proposes the use of camera systems and identifying marks such as barcodes or even invisible ink to allow devices to recognize each other.
For example, each device can display a seed to be identified from an image taken by the other device. Using the extracted keys or seeds, each device can generate, using a same process, an identical digital handshake key. The digital handshake key can then be used to define a secure communications path between the two devices and share information securely.
Apple describes a number of settings in which users might wish to quickly establish secure connections between devices, from social networking to gaming to retail transactions. Apple also describes how a user could quickly log into a device such as a computer by using a digital handshake initiated from another device such as an iPhone.

The patent application was filed in May 2010 and is credited to Apple user interface designers Marcel Van Os and Caroline Cranfill.

Article Link: Apple Researching Camera-Based Digital Handshakes for Sharing Data Between Devices


macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2009
I for one would find this exceptionally useful as I email myself documents all the time between my iDevices.


macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
Volume buttons in the opposite that an iPhone 5?
The camera is on the wrong side as well. And the Apple logo is reversed. Meaning, its just a mirrored image of a publicly available iPhone.


macrumors member
Nov 28, 2006
Blackpool, UK
I remember having a feature very similar to this on a watch I had about 15 years ago.

I'd point it at my computer screen, the computer screen would flash and transfer telephone numbers to the watch.


Sep 4, 2009
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

Notice that no modern mobile device has IR beaming anymore? That was the first peer-to-peer data transfer. The problem was the speed and need to keep the devices at proper orientation during data transfer. If the data transfer was more than a second or do, it was tedious. This idea OS using IR or visible light to cute the connection and then transfer via wireless is a really good idea. However, there is a old Palm app that did this on the Treo. Didn't get much distribution due to predatory disti margins and lack of promotion.


macrumors newbie
Jan 13, 2011
It's a neat idea, and there may be some applications for it, but it doesn't seem like the best solution to any problem. Pretty much any problem that this solves is better solved with either Dropbox or NFC. The exception to that would be enabling NFC-like abilities for hardware that lacks it, but there is not much incentive to do that.


macrumors member
Aug 23, 2010
I like the invisible ink idea. Cameras can detect wavelengths our human eyes cannot. This could be used for security purposes like a retina scan, without using your retina.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
I think it's a pretty cool idea, as long as it is quick enough to make logging in more convenient than just typing.


macrumors newbie
Jul 29, 2007
What about the laptop in the photo?

I have to ask...
Does anyone else think the laptop in the photo looks a "slim" version of a macbook pro? Could that resemble the next revision? I realize I'm going out on a limb but it sort of makes sense given the bottom is rounded like an iPad.
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