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Locating a lost device using intelligent device sensors and communication with owner Disclosure Number: IPCOM000230914D
Publication Date: 2013-Sep-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 23K

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The Prior Art Database


This article describes techniques for helping owners find their lost smartphone or other intelligent device. It describes how sensor information gathered from the phone can help the owner locate his device, such as pictures, audio recording, orientation (from gyroscope), or wifi signal strength.

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Locating a lost device using intelligent device sensors and communication with owner

A common problem is finding a lost smartphone or other intelligent device, especially after the battery dies. The device may have been carried into a room and then forgotten, or left in a car, or may have fallen behind a piece
of furniture, for instance. Calling the smartphone will help locate it only if the device is within hearing distance, and if the device's battery still
has power left. Using GPS signals is a known mechanism for locating a device. But this is often inadequate if (1) the device is no longer powered on, or (2) the GPS signal is weak, or (3) the GPS signal resolution is inadequate to find the device. This is often the case, for instance, if the device is left is some room within a building.

We propose to use the device sensors to help locate the device. Software is installed on the device, which can be part of the device OS or an application running on the device OS. This software gets activated either by preset
rules or by a specific message being sent to the device. Once activated, the device will send sensor information to a predefined email account, or via an SMS message to a predefined phone number. The sensor data (including camera picture, audio recording, carrier and wifi signal strengths, etc.) is included in this message. The user can use this information to help locate his lost device.

We propose a Device Finder application that functions as follows: [Note we describe the invention via an application, but this software may be configured as part of the core device operating system, or elsewhere in the device software stack.]

(1) The user installs Device Finder on his device,

(2) The user configures properties when to activate Device Finder (such as "when battery level falls below 3%" or "when the battery falls below 5% and has not been used for 5 hours" or "when an SMS message is sent to the device with text "Active Device Finder


(3) The user configures properties with whom and by which communication channel the Device Finder should communicate with when activated (such as "Email to account" or "SMS to 021-666-8888")

(4) When Device Finder is activated (by rules given in (2)), it activates sensors and gathers information into a Device Finder Message. The Device Finder Message may include different data from sensors, including: GPS location, carrier signal strength, WiFi networks visible, WiFi network access points visible, strength of each of these wifi signals, a picture taken by the device camera showing what is visible from the device, an audio recording of what is "heard" by the device, gyroscope reading to determine device orientation, and other sensor information that is available that may help a user identify where the device is (e.g., pressure information).

(5) The message is sent to the appropriate person and via the appropriate communication channel as defined by the rules given in (3).