Have you ever been using your smartphone in a public place and felt like another pair of eyes were watching your screen? It seems that snooping on other people’s handsets is becoming popular, and while some do it out of sheer nosiness, there are those that shoulder surf to try and steal sensitive information. But a new AI tool developed by Google researchers could offer a solution.
At December's Neural Information Processing Systems Conference in California, researchers See Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff are set to demonstrate a project called the electronic screen protector.
The system combines a phone’s front-facing camera and some facial/gaze-detection algorithms to determine if someone other than the user has their eyes on a screen. In the demo video, those caught spying are shamed with some rainbow vomit.
The electronic screen protector works in all types of lighting conditions, and because the processing takes place on the phone instead of Google’s cloud servers, the system can detect someone in just two milliseconds.
Whether Google intends to bring the system to Android at some point in the future is unclear. It may eventually become an optional feature in handsets, though we don’t know what kind of impact it might have on a phone’s battery life when enabled.
Earlier this month, a survey of over 37,000 people found that 45 percent of them had sneaked a look at someone else’s smartphone while in public places or commuting.