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Mobile Sharing: "Bezos Beep" Vs. Smartphone Bump

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the talk-talk-talk dept.

Books 180

theodp writes "GeekWire wonders if the 'Bezos Beep' could replace the smartphone bump for mobile content sharing. A newly-published patent application listing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as sole inventor describes the use of audio signals to share content and communicate between devices, eliminating the need for NFC chips and facilitating the simultaneous sharing of content with multiple people via a remote server. From the patent application: 'For example, a first device can emit an encoded audio signal that can be received by any capable device within audio range of the device. Any device receiving the signal can decode the information included in the signal and obtain a location to access the content from that information.'"

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New and interesting technology (5, Insightful)

pryoplasm (809342) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138001)

Doesn't sound like a software based dialup modem at all...

Re:New and interesting technology (3, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138029)

Actually it's talking about a broadcast medium, where any device within range can listen to the encoded signal.

Modem? They are trying to patent talking!

Re:New and interesting technology (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138191)

Yeah, I read the claim (there's only one):

1. A method of sharing information for accessing content on a computing device, comprising: generating, on a first device, an encoded information signal, the information signal including information associated with accessing the content; outputting the encoded information signal as an audible signal; audibly receiving, at a second device, the encoded information signal; decoding the information signal to identify the information associated with accessing the content; and accessing the content with the second device utilizing at least part of the information associated with accessing the content, wherein the second device accesses the content from a source other than the first device.

So... if I take an acoustic coupler, amplify its volume, and put it near two handsets, then use the connection to access a URL, I'd be violating this patent. If this is granted, it will be (another) sad day for the USPTO.

Re:New and interesting technology (3, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138301)

Wouldn't a 300BPS acoustic Modem qualify as Prior art, other than the "content from another source". I'm asking, because the "other source" shouldn't really matter ... should it?

And, while I'm thinking about it, should the "acoustic" be key part, shouldn't this be abstracted more? If the abstracted version of the process is common, why would the specifics be granted, especially since this is all abstract in the first place?

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138575)

The 'other source' part is a distinct aspect of the claim(since the whole point is that, like QR codes, the only direct communication is the URI, with the cell data connection handling the rest); but it's not as though emailing somebody a link, or using an HTTP 3XX redirect, over a modem is terribly new...

From a patentability perspective it would matter, except that it is no more novel, interesting, or non-obvious than the rest of the patent...

Re:New and interesting technology (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138975)

Wouldn't a 300BPS acoustic Modem qualify as Prior art?

Wouldn't an ear also count as prior art?

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

t0mek (2799307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139081)

So this basically describes speech (emiting and understanding audible signals). Does it mean one has to obtain a license to speak or listen to someone speaking in a language others can understand? If I speak more than one language do I need to obtain multiple licenses? Wouldn't that patent be violating The Freedom of Speech?

Re:New and interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139105)

prior art: Zenith Remote Commander
                          Magnavox Ultrasonic Remote

Re:New and interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138633)

It's talking - with a computer, so clearly patentable in the broken U.S patent system.

Zenith Space Command (4, Insightful)

SIGBUS (8236) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138735)

The old Zenith TV remotes used ultrasonic signals to activate TV functions. There's nothing new here other than "on a computer."

Re:Zenith Space Command (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138969)

I would accept this as prior art. An acoustic coupled modem isn't so much of a broadcast as it was a point-to-point, but the remote would work multiple TVs if they were in the area. Broadcast for sure.

The missing piece is that the information communicated would be a location.

Of course, if we could sound as energy, then it's not much different than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Re:New and interesting technology (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139287)

More worrisom - I don't want every one in the room to get my contact information when I give it to a friend. I hope they implement this with a 'public key' request/reply mechanism.

Request sends person's name, public key.
You can then pick one of the last few requests to respond to.

I declare this modification on the original idea, public domain.

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139293)

* unless of course, someone has developed and registered it already.

Re:New and interesting technology (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138033)

Seems like we have indeed come full-circle, except now the audio just encodes a link (presumably with no lengthy initial communication phase) and the rest of the content is actually on the Internet.

Also seems less secure - now anyone can play one of those sounds and try to get you to go to it, or intercept the communication to work out what you're doing.

Re:New and interesting technology (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138405)

Audio data rates aren't too bad, provided there aren't any background noises to figure out. You could exchange keys, broadcast to a room full of your friends, and share.

Modulation, demodulation, as stated upthread.

Some patent officer needs their logic examined, just prior to being sacked.

Re:New and interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138651)

You could exchange keys, broadcast to a room full of your friends, and share.

A room full of people making facial expressions and unrecognisable sounds, sounds like real life "The Sims (tm)".

I see this as being most useful to advertisers. Now your app can spam everyone in earshot too.

Isnt your phone is going to spend a lot of time and power constantly processing possible signals.

While we're at it lets make the phones able to detect keywords like bomb, attack, terrorism & cheesecake.

Another phone feature designed for cinemas and libraries, classes and meetings..

Those were just my initial thoughts.

Re:New and interesting technology (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138609)

You can already try to do that with the cellular signals.

Just because we can now audibly hear the signals, doesnt make it any more "broadcast" than cell / wifi, or any less secure. Security will entirely depend on whether and how they encrypt the signal, and as always has remarkably little to do with the medium used.

Cloud man... (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138733)

Seems like we have indeed come full-circle, except now the audio just encodes a link (presumably with no lengthy initial communication phase) and the rest of the content is actually on the Internet.

'cause you know, everything has to go through the cloud. Even when we're standing right next to each other. Gotta use that data plan and allow for big brother monitoring in every case.

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138753)

It sounds like it could also be used to exchange bluetooth credentials, like what Beam does with NFC for larger file transfers.

Re:New and interesting technology (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138817)

On top of that, if the encoded audio is just a link, then why bother with the audio at all? Just push it to the other phone through the service and be done with it. If the point is being cross-platform, the audio is not a compatibility bridge if it still requires accessing the data from a central server.

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139215)

The advantage of the audio is that it allows you to say who you're pushing it to. If the service is running on some server somewhere, even if the two devices say, "I would like to push my identifier out", you still have the problem of how to specify to whom. You only need a few bits of information to go direct from device to device, but you do need them.

Audio's kind of obvious for that, since you know that the devices have speakers and mics. If you assume they have cameras, you could display a QR code on one screen and read it with the other device. (A sticker on the back of the phone would also do it, but that involves a hardware mod, albeit a trivial one.)

NFCs do the job nicely, but they're also specialized hardware that not every device has. Audio, on the other hand, is pretty near universal. It's not secure, so I wouldn't use it if I were a celebrity afraid of having my phone number get out, but NFC isn't completely secure either, and for that matter, publicly-dialable phone numbers are problematic no matter what for that scenario.

Re:New and interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138045)

Or Chirp ( http://chirp.io/tech/ ) but maybe they were acquired or something...

Re:New and interesting technology (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138201)

New form of urban terrorism: Ringtone trolling. Set your ringtone to loud, have it as the encoded URL to $ShockSite.

Re:New and interesting technology (4, Funny)

Xemu (50595) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138611)

New form of urban terrorism: Ringtone trolling. Set your ringtone to loud, have it as the encoded URL to $ShockSite.

In the next generation of this technology, there will be a secure way of transmitting messages by moving the audio in a small tube connected to the other device.

Future developments may include sending audio messages to multiple devices across a network of interconnected tubes.

Re:New and interesting technology (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139309)

Do people do this with QR codes? I don't have a smart phone so I have no clue where all those little grids are pointing.

Prior Art from 1964 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138393)

http://www.wimp.com/connectsinternet/

Re:New and interesting technology (3, Informative)

rgbscan (321794) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138495)

Or, say, broadcasting Commodore 64 software over the radio...

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-08/20/finland-radio-code-broadcasts?page=all

blipverts? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138551)

Didn't Digital Convergence Corporation (of ::Cue::Cat [wikipedia.org] infamy) have an audio que that could be transmitted over television?

Yeah, and... (4, Insightful)

6Yankee (597075) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138011)

...marketers won't use this to hijack my phone anywhere they can get hold of a speaker.

Re:Yeah, and... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138161)

...marketers won't use this to hijack my phone anywhere they can get hold of a speaker.

Destroying one's ability to hear high-pitched sounds is going to become a popular elective surgery once every public space has a background of marketing bullshit URIs encoded in ghastly modem warble...

Re:Yeah, and... (3, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138269)

Who needs surgery? Just listen to lots of loud music (or let yourself age for a couple of decades) and it'll happen on its own.

Re:Yeah, and... (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138449)

they'll play it so loud, it Hertz!

Re:Yeah, and... (1)

chargersfan420 (1487195) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138489)

I would hope that you'd have to put your phone in "listen" mode before it would detect such a signal.

Re:Yeah, and... (1)

Frontier Owner (2616587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138595)

I recall the same concerns when bluetooth was first put on phones. Most will just keep the feature turned off until they need/want it. I do the same for NFC, bluetooth, and wifi on my phone.

Dang (5, Funny)

nortcele (186941) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138019)

Jeff just patented the 300 baud modem.

Re:Dang (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138137)

Jeff just patented the 300 baud modem.

No, no, no! He said 'encode' and 'decode' rather than 'modulate' and 'demodulate', which makes this totally different. Plus, we all know that the patentability of an otherwise ridiculous claim can be magically restored by the addition of 'over the internet' or 'on a cellphone'. This patent includes both!

Re:Dang (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138639)

He said 'encode' and 'decode' rather than 'modulate' and 'demodulate', which makes this totally different.

Ah, so he's patented the endec then!

over the internet' or 'on a cellphone'

That's an improvement. Back in the olden days it was "on a steam engine".

Re:Dang (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138847)

Ah, so he's patented the endec then!

I think the word you're looking for is "codec"

Re:Dang (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138931)

False.

Codecs already exist, so they clearly can not be the subject of a new patent. We obviously have a brand new concept, the likes of which has never been seen before : All hail endec!

Re:Dang (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138741)

I was going to make my usual patent-related post about how it's actually a neat solution (useful) to use a cell phone's speakerphone as a modem, how many other engineers have ended up using NFC chips to solve the same problem (non-obvious), and how it's not something currently done (novel), making the patent valid.

Then I took the advice I usually spout, and read the claims rather than making a knee-jerk reaction post. All of the claims are reproduced here for your convenience:

1. A method of sharing information for accessing content on a computing device, comprising: generating, on a first device, an encoded information signal, the information signal including information associated with accessing the content; outputting the encoded information signal as an audible signal; audibly receiving, at a second device, the encoded information signal; decoding the information signal to identify the information associated with accessing the content; and accessing the content with the second device utilizing at least part of the information associated with accessing the content, wherein the second device accesses the content from a source other than the first device.

Damn. That's the shortest claims section I've ever read.

The last bit is actually the most useful piece of information, and holds the real purpose of the patent: The second device accesses the content from a source other than the first device. It's not really the 300-baud modem that's being patented, but the rather using the 300-baud modem to transmit only a link to content found somewhere else (namely, Amazon's servers).

Jeff just patented an audio QR code.

Re:Dang (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138885)

using the 300-baud modem to transmit only a link to content found somewhere else

So sending a URL using dial-up to someone who retrieves the URL using something other than dial-up would infringe.

Re:Dang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139243)

You mean like the audio CueCat? Where an audio burst (typically on your TV or radio) would be sent out, and your PC (using it's microphone or line-in) would decode the audio burst as a code to go to Digital Convergences servers, retrieve the Ad (i.e. content URL), and route your browser to the specific vendors web site?

Re:Dang (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139057)

Jeff just patented the 300 baud modem.

Obviously the man is onto something... I mean, the NFC shows good promises, but there is a clear (and admitted as such) limitation: the near part of it.
Also obvious, Jeff's not a engineer: instead of addressing the limitation, he threw the baby with the water and switched the communication carrier from EM to sound... needless to say that the bandwidth will be awful and interference a big problem

Now, to address the limitation, a clever engineer will want to keep the EM but increase both the range and the frequency. Let's see what solutions we can imagine and possibly get a patent for them:

1. one can imagine a situation of using some predefined bands (I don't know, say 2.4GHz or 5 Ghz?) but with a low power omni-directional transmission, so that the devices can find each other within a limited range but not interfere with others farther away. To avoid troubles caused by interference, come frequency-division multiplexing and frequency hopping may be used for the case more than 2 devices are in the same range. We may use it in an homogeneous setup (let's call it meshing), or with a central router/hotspot acting as a hub. I don't know, would one think of patenting this stuff, a catchy name may be advisable - maybe WiFi?

2. to increase the usefulness of the above, one can imagine a situation in which a device searches for a special access point/transceiver and exchange signals with it - sort of dividing the area to be covered in cells. We can imagine encoding voice or data or whatever else. Of course, a protocol for establishing a connection, device identification, etc will be required, but since it's going to be used for a short percentage of the time, one can think of also using it as a service to off-band dispatch short messages as well.

3. finally, none of the above are free of interference, so if a higher bandwidth and more reliable connection is required, one can even think of using dedicated links over copper wires or... why not... even optical fiber between the communication end points... mind you, we'll be still using EM.

If the above would feel to any of you as a dehumanizing use of technology... nothing stops you joining your friends to dinner and use the old and verified way of face to face communication. Later and with a restricted participation, one may even use a pheromone encoded communication and finish the evening with an exchange of DNA based bits of info (about 23 chromosomes-worth of it, but on a massive number of redundant copies... you know? just for the scientific curiosity and the joy of verifying the theory of evolution... an experiment never growing old or meaningless). The only catch in here: sorry guys, not patentable any more.. lucky so, otherwise - for reasons of pertaining to intellectual property - the human race would come extinct in less than 1 generation.

Old school television remotes (1)

Phucilage (83738) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138037)

I wonder how susceptible these would be to excess "similar" sounds around them. Old school television remotes didn't use infrared, they used higher pitched audio generated from something similar to tiny tuning forks. The problem was, a ring of keys jingling could mess with them completely.

Would these be using ultra or sonic frequencies? The latter would be cost prohibitive (speakers, etc..), the former probably the same for both the speakers and the microphones (read transmitters receivers).

Re:Old school television remotes (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138111)

I suspect that(unlike TV remotes old enough to use near-ultrasonic signalling) this method could keep throwing checksums and similar at the problem until false-positives were reduced to only slightly more likely than having cosmic ray corruption 'send' the same URL by corrupting the right area of memory.

That would do considerably less to deal with interference cutting the effective data rate to zero, or nearly zero, from time to time(which would then require adding some sort of ACK to the process, or a lot of just-in-case re-transmission(though, I suppose the phone could listen for interfering background noise and adapt its re-transmission levels and volume to the expected noise, that might help)) And it would do absolutely nothing against deliberately-crafted-but-unwanted signals, of course.

Re:Old school television remotes (1)

Quila (201335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139107)

I know a few people who still call remotes "clickers."

Re:Old school television remotes (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139279)

That may have more of a Catholic heritage.

Re:Old school television remotes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139253)

Interference should not be a problem because cellphones have the ability to hear what they send. They know what they are sending *and* they get to hear that signal mixed with background noise. They have a chance to modulate or change their sending audio to negate interference. I'd patent that thought but somebody probably already has.

Audio version of QR Codes.... (3, Insightful)

DontScotty (978874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138051)

Audio version of QR Codes....

Yet another failure brought to you by people targeting people unwilling to type in a URL.

"The needs of the stupid outweigh the needs of the smart, or the sane"
-Doctor Speck, Start Wreck

Re:Audio version of QR Codes.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138113)

Here's the thing, QR codes are still the best technology for this. Anyone with a web browser in their portable device probably has a camera in there too, and that's more likely than NFC. And of course, relying on audible noises is a failure on multiple levels. I understand not wanting to type a URL. I just used a google QR download link because my device doesn't have a physical keyboard. It made me happy.

No rear-facing camera on Nexus 7 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138907)

Anyone with a web browser in their portable device probably has a camera in there too

A lot of 7" tablets, such as the Nexus 7, have no rear-facing camera.

Re:Audio version of QR Codes.... (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138927)

At least QR codes don't make an obnoxious noise and annoy everyone around you.

Re:Audio version of QR Codes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138771)

Audio version of QR Codes....

Yet another failure brought to you by people targeting people unwilling to type in a URL.

"The needs of the stupid outweigh the needs of the smart, or the sane"
-Doctor Speck, Start Wreck

Yeah, let me know how many millions Facebook raked in over that whole "let's charge them $1 to send a message because they're too fucking lazy to fire up webmail" gimmick they started up.

If that is what you want to call a failure on behalf of the businessman, then sign me up and call me a flunkie.

Smart business people know the pathetically lazy also have deep pockets. Farmville was built on that concept. Literally.

R2-D2 (3, Insightful)

Misagon (1135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138149)

R2-D2 communicates with other devices (C-3PO) using beeps, ... and he can store and play back content in form of holographic messages.

Besides, R2-D2 was made a long long time ago... Definitely prior art.

Re:R2-D2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138645)

But he was also in a galaxy far far away, unlikely that they are signatories to the Berne Convention.

Inventor (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138947)

For one thing, the Berne Convention covers copyrights, not patents.

For another, if an invention was disclosed to the public in a 1977 film, then the inventor was whoever wrote that film's script.

Circle of life? (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138155)

I just finally got the sound of a connecting modem out of my head...

Re:Circle of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138377)

Booooooo weeeee boooooooooo Ksssssssh

Re:Circle of life? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139007)

Sweet! 2400 baud!

Re:Circle of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139067)

What, this one?

http://windytan.blogspot.fi/2012/11/the-sound-of-dialup-pictured.html

(Also available as a poster!)

Replace X with Y and you have a new patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138169)

Well, how jolly good and innovative this is : Instead of electromagnetical waves (bluetooth and the like anyone ?) or light (anyone remembers IRDA ?) they propose to use sound as a carrier, and thereby claim a new patent. Not obvious at all, nosirree !

Someone already mentioned 54 Kbps modems. I want to add ultrasonic remote (TV) controls to it.

Over the Radio (2)

Mikkeles (698461) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138205)

I remember recording various bzzts, pings, bwrrps and the like from the radio onto tape which were Commodore 64 programs.

This is a brilliant invention (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138211)

I don't see why people are complaining, this is brilliant. Just imagine, since we already have phones that can carry audio these modulated tones could be broadcast over that network. This would be a simple and cheap method of sending data to and from any residence.

Hopefully someone will one day implement this vision.

Re:This is a brilliant invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138829)

I don't see why people are complaining, this is brilliant. Just imagine, since we already have phones that can carry audio these modulated tones could be broadcast over that network. This would be a simple and cheap method of sending data to and from any residence.

Hopefully someone will one day implement this vision.

Hopefully someone will one day realize that stupid shit like this is so pathetically hackable that asking for it is...well, asking for it.

There's a damn good reason cheap little whistles in cereal boxes don't work anymore.

How is this different from a MODEM? (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138245)

I hope he isn't just relying on the fact that most people have forgotten about those horrible buzz boxes.

Re:How is this different from a MODEM? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138341)

Yes, and the last thing I want is find myself in a room with a bunch of cellphones chirping away, broadcasting audio data to one another. Cellphones are annoying enough when people use stupid ringtones (scratch that, they're annoying when they ring almost all the time in fact). I think I'd go peculiar if they starting screaming modem noises all the time.

What's wrong with Bluetooth or IRDA? It's a lot faster and it's quiet ferchrissake...

Cassete tapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138323)

Came to my mind the noises of my old TRS-80's cassete tapes.

Sole Inventor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138331)

...listing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as sole inventor...

With a Billionaire CEO's hectic 24/7 schedule and he still found time to invent this all by himself.

Amazing!

Re:Sole Inventor? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138461)

I don't know. If I ever become a billionaire CEO, I'm getting lackies to do the 24/7 thing. I need time to "stratergize" how to "unificate" our "meta-telleigence" over games of macro-mini-golf. If my life is hectic,then I've failed as a billionaire CEO.

it's also called speech (2)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138387)

'For example, a first device can emit an encoded audio signal that can be received by any capable device within audio range of the device. Any device receiving the signal can decode the information'

It's also called speech.

Re:it's also called speech (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138457)

'For example, a first device can emit an encoded audio signal that can be received by any capable device within audio range of the device. Any device receiving the signal can decode the information'

It's also called speech.

More specifically, language.

Ungeachtet, dessen ist es nicht neu oder einzigartige irgendeiner Form.

Apologies to any devices which can decode the above signal, my, er, "programming" skill are atrocious.

LF Wifi (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138389)

So it's basically like all other radio-based protocols, but at lower frequencies?
Yup; definitely worthy of a patent.

It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138403)

Yeah, most people are beating the shit out of this, prior art, IR, bluetooth, QR codes, whatever...Thay have a point. Transmitting data via audio is new? Nope.
But glanced at the patent app, it's actually a *little* more clever than that; the sound would just send a link to download content from a remote server, (presumably owned by Amazon), so you would not go mad while your kid's phone whistled and crackled it's way through transferring a lolcats jpeg.
Superficially quite smart, since as they point out, not all phones have bluetooth or whatever ability.

But to implement it, you'd presumably need a smartish phone, and they all have ways of doing this kind of data-transfer already. So I'll give this a fail.

Could be fun, though, imagine "could you just humm that URL for me again, please?"

Re:It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138431)

How is that any different than sending a URL via a modem?

A URL is just data too. It is data that contains a way to get more data over another source, but it is still just text data.

Re:It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138541)

How is that any different than sending a URL via a modem?

Urm, the cable?

Re:It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138607)

How is that a big change?

You never lifted the handset off the acoustic coupler to see how far you could lift it and have it still work?

Removing the cable is obvious and not something that should be patentable.

Re:It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138703)

These guys are too young to remember acoustic couplers.

Re:It's not as stupid as it sounds at first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139201)

Removing the cable is obvious and not something that should be patentable.
 
Protocol comes to mind. Or don't you think that a protocol should have a patent? Thankfully, what you think means little.
 
What you're doing is just like saying that every book is just an obvious variations of some other book with words put in a different order, thus there should be no copyright protection granted.... Oh, sorry, this is Slashdot. Home to those who've never produced anything of value but act like the art of producing is worthless and thus all content should be free.

bluetooth replacement (2)

MagicM (85041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138421)

A follow-up patent application describes the use of audio signals to communicate between devices and their peripherals, eliminating the need for Bluetooth chips. From the patent application: 'Look at what we can do with a speaker and a microphone. Isn't it neat?"

Re:bluetooth replacement (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138637)

new patent lode? with a computer^W^W^W on the internet^W^W^W wirelessly^W audio encoded?

Prior art? chrp.io (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138513)

This app has been around for a year or so:

http://chirp.io

Might be considered prior art?

Re:Prior art? chrp.io (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138661)

How is this more efficient than Bump? It's an iPhone app that you tap your phones as the cue to send the file (from the queue on your phone) .. No special chips like NFC.

Re:Prior art? chrp.io (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139061)

Nope, not prior art.
chirp encodes the content being sent. This explicitly encodes only a reference (i.e. a URL) and you retrieve the relevant data from a 3rd party.

Re:Prior art? chrp.io (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139209)

Nope, it does send a reference. I got that straight from the CEO's mouth. This does sound exactly the same thing.

Sounds horrible... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138553)

My understanding of the way that NFC works is that two devices are bumped together which then kicks off local encrypted radio communication between the two devices where data is exchanged. The Data exchange is local, secure, and between two trusted devices.

My understanding of the article is that the patented invention is to us a tone to send data between two local devices. Data is then uploaded (or pre-uploaded) to a third party server and download using the URL from the data stream embedded in the sound. The data that you stored on the third party device is now subject to being accessible by the third party, being accessible by law enforcement who only have to serve the third party, and subject to hacking.

Yeah.... this is better and is going to replace NFC.... I don't think so, Tim...

This would work for sharing books. For example, I like a book, I share the book URL with your device, your device downloads it for reading later. But I certainly wouldn't choose this over NFC.

Re:Sounds horrible... (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138887)

... I don't think so, Tim...

Congratulations on probably being the first poster on Slashdot to use a Home Improvement reference. I had thought the rules stated only Star Wars, Star Trek, Matrix, and obscure Sci-Fi show references were permitted.

Re:Sounds horrible... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138915)

Yes, and I'm sure an always-on microphone is going to aid battery life greatly. It's a glorified QR code.

Sounds like Chirp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138603)

This sounds almost identical to Chirp: http://chirp.io/

In the inevitable extension... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138811)

...of the patent interpretation...
It will eventually be an infringement to tell someone a website location over a microphone, into a speaker. You know, like a phone call. You'll have to go there, set it up, and then "beep" it to them. Beep that.

beeps (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138825)

So, data transfer using modulated signals. From a prior art point of view, it shouldn't matter what the frequency of the signal is (i.e. is it audible or not), everything working along the ideas of a modem or radio signal should count as prior art. There are a lot of miserable patents which only differ from prior stuff because they are implemented in/on a mobile device, and this sounds (pun intended) no different.

I'm no security whiz (2)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138841)

As described this sounds like the worst idea ever.

WHY:
First off, how is an encrypted audio transmission any different from a higher frequency wireless transmission?

HOW:
How is this better than a wireless transmission?

WHEN:
On earth would I want my smart phone listening to everything around it, including stuff I can't here and acting on those signals without further interaction on my part.

WHAT:
the F*

The only advantage here is some sort of multicasting, but again, why would I want this?

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138873)

Its called an acoustic coupling. Its not April1 yet.

idiotic (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138881)

So it's like traditional wireless such as bluetooth except more susceptible to interference, it has a shorter range, it's easier to intercept, it relies on top quality speakers for a broadcast source (and top quality mics) to receive data correctly, and it's able to be perceived by humans. Wow, what a step in the wrong direction.

Acoustic Coupler (1)

ChuckDriver (1276092) | about a year and a half ago | (#43138973)

I want the Bezos phone accessories to include an acoustic coupler dock and case.

audio deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139139)

I will walk around with Skrillex blaring on my smartphone. Some phone will eventually respond with a handshake.

Don't say "look out the window!" (1)

t0mek (2799307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139141)

...or you're violating patent

Sounds like the Audio CueCat signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139191)

...that was used by Digital Convergence. They would have TV commercials use an audio burst that would be interpreted as a code to launch your PC to a specific URL (generally an Ad, so who wanted that...). So using an audio burst to send send you to a content location would seem to be prior art here. I don't know if Jovan Philyaw and/or Tandy/RadioShack hold a patent on that, there's probably patents somewhere for the CueCat stuff.

Already been done. Chirp got there first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139255)

Chirp is a smartphone app that sends references to resources via audio. This sounds like exactly the same thing.
http://chirp.io

Possible security exposure.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43139263)

Can you imagine having a room full of people with smartphones like that, and blasting out a magic tone over the PA system. Sending all the phones to pull content from a malicious site with some interesting 0-day exploits?

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