Mobile Computer and Cell Phone Security Alarm via Bluetooth Technology
Original Publication Date: 2001-Aug-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
This invention uses the unique serial numbers of a cell phone and a mobile computer owned/used by an individual to create a unique "security key" (much the same as an encryption key). Then when extra security is desired such as when traveling, a "security mode" could be enabled using either device (e.g. selecting "security mode" on the cell phone menu). Then using Bluetooth technology to frequently communicate (probably every few seconds) between these two devices (i.e. poll using the unique security key), both of the devices check for an acknowledgement or reply from each other. If no "reply" is received then the devices are about 20 30 feet (or more) apart, implying that a theft may have occurred. An alarm could then be sounded by both devices to alert the owner and others in the area. Thus, the owner/user is alerted by the cell phone if the mobile computer is stolen or left behind, and conversely by the mobile computer if the cell phone is stolen or left behind. This function must be implemented in the mobile computer's BIOS code (using a small amount of battery power), so that the "handshake" and "alarm" will also function when the computer is turned off (which is often the case when traveling). Whereas the cell phone may need to be turned on for "security mode" to be active due to it's much smaller memory and probable lack of "wake up" functionality. If that is the case, then the cell phone during its "shutdown phase" (when being turned off by the owner) must communicate to the mobile computer and "deactivate" security mode, so that the computer will not sound the alarm after the cell phone actually powers off. And then when the cell phone is turned back on, security mode can be "reactivated" in both devices during the "startup phase." Of course, security mode will be "deactivated" in both devices when, for example, security is "de-selected" via either the cell phone or mobile computer security mode menu. Also note that when traveling on an airplane, even though the cell phone must be turned off from departure gate to arrival gate due to FAA regulations, the mobile computer is in a controlled environment. Thus once the cell phone is turned back on at the arrival gate (security mode is made active again in both devices), the alarms will sound if the mobile computer is for example taken from an overhead bin and off the plane before the owner can get to it (even if by accident). Using an on-board GPS device, the invention is able to automatically disable this security feature in areas where it is not needed, and where the owner feels secure enough to walk away from their laptop and does not want the alarm to sound. For the case when Bluetooth technology is able to communicate over longer distances than 30 feet, and you want to activate the alarm when the devices are more than 30 feet apart (but they are still communicating with each other), GPS technology can be used to determine distance between the two devices, and the alarm can be activated. For example, the communicating devices can handshake their GPS coordinates, and when the distance between them is beyond a configured distance, then the alarm can be activated (could be set to 30 ft, 50 ft, 100 ft, etc., up to the Bluetooth range).