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Your next iPhone may provide assistance when you need it the most

Published Mar 6th, 2014 4:32PM EST
iPhone iOS Emergency Features

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A future iPhone feature may offer handset owners added security features for real life-threatening events including emergency situations and accidents, AppleInsider reports, as detailed in a new patent application published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The patent – called “Mobile Emergency Attack and Failsafe Detection” – proposes an “attack detection mode” that is composed of various means through which the smartphone would be able to detect various emergency situations and automatically perform certain tasks including sending a distress message or place a telephone call to emergency numbers or to preset contact numbers.

The system would also be able to “emit a loud audible alarm through the device’s speakers at maximum volume regardless of the device’s current silence or volume settings, in an effort to attract help from other people who may be nearby,” and could send GPS coordinates to preset contacts or emergency numbers.

The phone would use existing sensors including accelerometer or microphone to determine a threat. The software could also analyze the user’s interaction with the display or buttons of the device to determine whether assistance is required. In case of car accidents, the software would be able to tell the difference between driving mode and a sudden stop that could be caused by a collision. The system could also be used to monitor certain patients with specific medical conditions.

Before initiating such actions, the software would offer the user time to provide feedback to the system, in order to avoid false positive trigger actions, by entering a code or pressing a button.

These new iOS features seem to further build on other security and safety features that are already built-in iOS such as offering users the ability to track lost or stolen devices, to see friends and family members on a map, and to interact with an iPhone via voice without looking at the screen while driving. However, it’s not clear whether any features described in this patent applications will be included in Apple’s upcoming iOS version.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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