Apple acquires patent portfolio of failed smart home security startup Lighthouse AI

Apple has recently acquired a handful of patents from Lighthouse AI, a defunct home security camera company. As reported by IAM, Apple acquired the patent portfolio sometime late in 2018, but the details were only published recently in the U.S. Patent and Trademark database.

The patents in question (via Patently Apple) relate to technology used for computer-vision based security, visual authentication, and more. In total, Apple acquired eight patents and patent applications from Lighthouse.

  • U.S. Patent No. 9,396,400: “Computer-vision based security system using a depth camera” (as well as two accompanying pending applications for similar technology)
  • U.S. Patent No. 9,965,612: “Method and system for visual authentication”
  • U.S. Patent No. 10,009,554: “Method and system for using light emission by a depth-sensing camera to capture video images under low-light conditions.”
  • U.S. Patent Application: “Speech interference for vision-based monitoring system”
  • U.S. Patent Application: “Two-way communication interface for vision-based monitoring system”
  • U.S. Patent Application: “Method and system for incident sharing in a monitoring system”

Lighthouse AI officially shut down in December of last year after it failed to achieve commercial success. Lighthouse focused on using augmented reality and 3D sensing to make it easier for users to understand and sort through security footage. The company’s idea was that using AI would allow it to provide more intelligent insights to users via its iOS app.

Lighthouse CEO Alex Teichman published the following message to announce the company’s shutdown in December:

I am incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work the Lighthouse team accomplished – delivering useful and accessible intelligence for our homes via advanced AI and 3D sensing. Unfortunately, we did not achieve the commercial success we were looking for and will be shutting down operations in the near future.

We remain strong believers in a future with AI at your service, and look forward to inventing that future with you.

As for what Apple has in plans for this technology remains to be seen. The company could clearly use the authentication-related technology for future iterations of Face ID. Further, some of the software-related patents and patent applications could be used to further expand HomeKit’s support for security systems.

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