Apple bought patents from Lighthouse after the company closed down at the beginning of 2019. The patents mostly concerned artificial intelligence and facial recognition, according to IAM. Apple purchased three patents including number 9,396,400 for “computer-vision based security system using a depth camera,” number 9,965,612 for “method and system for visual authentication” and number 10,009,554 for “method and system for using light emission by a depth-sensing camera to capture video images under low-light conditions”. Experts are saying that Apple will probably use this technology for Face ID, available on the iPhone XS and XR. Apple could also use the patents to recognize multiple users on one device, or to recognize faces from a farther distance.
Earlier this year, Lighthouse announced that they were closing down after less than a year of sales. Lack of commercial success caused the shutdown, according to Alex Teichman, the then-CEO of Lighthouse. At $300, the Lighthouse AI Indoor Camera was towards the upper-range for home security cameras, but included some advanced A.I features. The camera included person detection and facial recognition and could also tell users about future events. For example, a user could ask the camera to tell her when her kids get home. In addition, the camera included pet detection and smart sound sensing for smoke and C.O alarms. Despite this, the company wasn’t able to keep up with its competitors like Nest, owned by Google, Ring, owned by Amazon, and others.
Apple is not the only tech giant interested in facial recognition. In May 2018, Amazon patented facial recognition technology that would create a neighborhood network for suspicious persons. Users could compare subjects to a criminal database and access their identifying information. If the subject is not in the database, users could flag him or her, upload images to the neighborhood network, and turn on alerts if needed. It remains to be seen if Apple will expand into the home security market or use the facial recognition for its existing Face ID.