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Google Knows When A Stranger Is Looking At Your Phone

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Google Knows When A Stranger Is Looking At Your Phone

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A lot of experts are touting machine learning and AI as the 2018 flagship smartphone feature, similar to what thin bezels and tall displays was for 2017. Google has kickstarted the trend of AI with its tight integration of Google Assistant and machine learning in the Pixel 2 smartphones.

Implementing machine learning in day-to-day seemingly trivial situations will be important. That’s where this new software from Google comes into play. If you travel in public transport a lot, you’d be aware of that annoying feeling when you know someone is staring at your phone while you are watching a video or having a private conversation.

This new software can recognise when a stranger is staring at your phone and will quickly prompt you about it. The software was first spotted by Quartz and is called “e-screen protector”, and is currently in the research stage. It uses your front-facing camera in combination with some face- and gaze-detection algorithms to identify if anyone else is looking at your display.

As you can see in the demo video, it reacts almost instantaneously to a stranger’s glance on your screen. It then uses a Snapchat-like rainbow filter to tag the stranger and prompt him/her that they’ve been caught. The creators of the software, Google researchers Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff, say the system works in all sorts of different lighting conditions, and has a reaction time of just two milliseconds.

Considering Google’s ambitions of making machine learning an integral part of its smartphone ecosystem, this feature might make its way to future Pixel phones when Google is confident about its performance.

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Vipul Vij
Vipul Vij