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Google Patents Image-Capturing Walking Sticks

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.

Google 117

theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Google has patented an image-capturing walking stick, which can boldly go where no Google Street View Car can. The walking stick has embedded cameras and location sensors, and a switch at the bottom that causes the device to snap pictures whenever the stick hits the ground. The patent also covers using canes and crutches in a similar fashion."

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117 comments

anyone find that creepy? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049009)

Why? Is there really a need for something like this? Is google crossing the creepy line with this?

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049047)

What would you possibly find creepy about this?

Re:anyone find that creepy? (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44049063)

They missed the patent on A-Frames. Imagine an army of old folks google mapping the world.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (2)

Wescotte (732385) | about a year ago | (#44051401)

Google pays people to go hiking in remote areas of the globe? sign me up!

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44049245)

Depends on where you leave it.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44049071)

I don't think the mountain goats will care that much.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049261)

Would you want google coming onto your property filming you while you're nude?

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049475)

I don't know about you, but I might get some date offers from my gigantic cock. Welcome, Google!

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049855)

Is this you? [wannalol.com]

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

crashcy (2839507) | about a year ago | (#44049097)

How is this any different than Google Glass? Does it matter if someone is recording you with glasses or with a walking stick?

Re:anyone find that creepy? (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#44049159)

Well, the good thing about camera sticks is they have a natural predator [wikipedia.org] to keep their numbers in check.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#44049907)

Unfortunately, here in MA, it was ruled that they are an invasive and unwelcome species. These cameras however, I can't imagine them having an issue with, as long as nobody tries to raise them in self defence.

Re: anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049201)

How is this any different than Google Glass? Does it matter if someone is recording you with glasses or with a walking stick?

Can't both be creepy?

Re: anyone find that creepy? (1)

crashcy (2839507) | about a year ago | (#44049507)

Didn't say it wasn't creepy, I was replying to the part about Google "crossing the creepy line with this". Meaning they already crossed it in my mind.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (3, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44049423)

I don't see dirty old men using Google Glass to take upskirt pictures. These however...

Re:anyone find that creepy? (2)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44049105)

Coming up next - Google patents an upward facing camera on the toe of men's shoes.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049235)

Put it on woman's shoes with an unsecured wifi connection.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44049383)

That's already covered by numerous Japanese patents.

Obligatory Origina Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049255)

I've never trusted old men with walking sticks, and I never will and I've never forgiven the fo..

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049327)

You find that creepy? Just wait until they patent image capture via Google glass. Then, you'll have the convenience of street view which extends into malls, office buildings, homes, etc. Of course, faces, personal items, etc will all be blanked out to “preserve your privacy”, seeing as Google’s mandate is “don’t do evil”(TM).

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049497)

Street view can already go inside of buildings. Here's just one example from a liquor store in Boulder. I found this when I was looking into the area from a job offer >.>
 
https://www.google.com/maps?layer=c&z=17&sll=40.016237,-105.275058&cid=7684555343581822157&panoid=YFDLlFbdz54QN_hedOATXA&cbp=13,74.50000000000023,,0,0&q=liquor+mart+boulder+co&sa=X&ei=QcDBUffrJOqdyAG95IGgCQ&ved=0CJUBEKAfMA0

Re:anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051005)

They do have to ask permission though. I know someone that owns a business that has interior pics on street view, but I haven't asked him about how that deal went down

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44049403)

Why? Is there really a need for something like this? Is google crossing the creepy line with this?

Yes. I find it creepy that Google can patent WWII era spy tech.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44049519)

I find it creepy that people don't understand patents. This isn't just a camera on a stick like a spy would use. It's a particular design for fitting cameras, sensors, processing gear, and other equipment into a particular form factor, solving particular engineering problems. Comparing it to WWII spy gear because it looks like a walking stick and takes pictures is like comparing a Formula 1 race car to a horse-drawn carriage, because they both drive on roads and have round wheels.

Re:anyone find that creepy? (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44049593)

Bzz, bzzz, bzzit. Buzzwords. Dance around the issue some more, won't ya?

It's an 'engineering design' involving 'fitting stuff' in a particular fashion.

Who let marketing in here??

Re:anyone find that creepy? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44049627)

They had cameras that could be hidden in a walking stick in the 30s and 40s?
and
How well did the GPS technology work from balloons?

Re: anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050751)

I can't figure out what the heck they are taking about.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/elyunque/learning/nature-science/?cid=fsbdev3_042877

Finally (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44049029)

Gonna get a Street View of Hobbiton.

Re:Finally (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44049985)

But one does not simply Street View into Mordor!

Re:Finally (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44051611)

... one does not simply Street View into Mordor!

But the FBI flies drones [wired.com] over it.

Wider audience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049037)

Is it also available in a 'pimp cane' model?

Re:Wider audience (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44049605)

''Fitted with an accelerometer, it snaps a pix at each blow."

what day is it? (1)

freezin fat guy (713417) | about a year ago | (#44049049)

I had to double check this wasn't an April 1 story.

Re:what day is it? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44049621)

Would you settle for a dupe? Barely 14 days old at that, /. 4 june 2013 [slashdot.org]

Grumpy Old Men (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#44049051)

Now grumpy old men can enjoy technology while they chase kids off their lawns!

Re:Grumpy Old Men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049195)

Pervy Old Men are going to use it upside down, and enjoy (depending on the mood) afterwards in home.

Re:Grumpy Old Men (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44049449)

Pervy Old Men are going to use it upside down, and enjoy (depending on the mood) afterwards in home.

What's with the ageism? A walking stick is not the same as a cane. Walking sticks were once used by foppish men of all ages - just look at a bottle of Johnnie Walker. If Google is successful at reintroducing this fashion, you needn't be left out.

Re:Grumpy Old Men (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44051615)

A walking stick is not the same as a cane.

Grammar nazis.

Get off my lawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049075)

Someone had to Google map my lawn... AND ITS NOT GONNA BE DARN KIDS DOING IT! filterfilter

a stick with a switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049121)

Adjustable Single Leg Monopod Camera Stand + a switch.

It's shaped like a stick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049167)

...so it can map your inner cavities.

Re:It's shaped like a stick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049239)

Why oppose if you have nothing to hide? -- NSA

I doubt their coverage will improve (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about a year ago | (#44049189)

... which can boldly go where no Google Street View Car can

Rightly so, cars are not allowed on the lawn.

Re:I doubt their coverage will improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049647)

Unless you are a Mexican.

Re:I doubt their coverage will improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049807)

Hey hey, lets not leave out the white trash.

Re:I doubt their coverage will improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051217)

Hey hey, lets not leave out the white trash.

But enough about the Ivy League. (ba-BOOM-tish)

Google should get the Residents as their mascot. (1)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about a year ago | (#44049207)

Maybe next Google will market a version of the giant paper mache eyeballs that the Residents used to wear over their heads, that also takes and uploads pictures to its servers with location information.

Re:Google should get the Residents as their mascot (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44049623)

The prior art on the camera in a giant hat that Homer Simpson wore precludes that particular 'engineering design.'

Re:Google should get the Residents as their mascot (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year ago | (#44049651)

I'm ok with that as long as it plays the backing music to My Second Wife by The Residents over and over again while it's recording.

Calm down everyone (5, Interesting)

guppygweeb (2881553) | about a year ago | (#44049209)

Its so they can street view hiking paths and place they cant get their bike to go which is an area that I am hoping they expand to.

Re:Calm down everyone (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about a year ago | (#44049285)

Someone mod this up. TFA even shows one of Google's not so good ideas for Street View on hiking trails (having someone hike with a huge Street View camera mounted to a backpack) that this is intended to replace.

Re:Calm down everyone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050285)

And they needed a patent to do this?

Re:Calm down everyone (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#44051393)

Yes. How else will they prevent the competition from doing the same?

Muttations (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44049229)

They're already working on the first generation of muttations. Don't say anything incriminating in the presence of talkative birds.

Re:Muttations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049287)

muttations

I'd worry about the dogs of unspecified breed more than the birds...

But does it also capture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049243)

...the names and locations of WiFi hotspots?

glasses and walking sticks (1)

ssam (2723487) | about a year ago | (#44049275)

I have figured out the pattern. /me Goes to register googlefalseteeth.com

Re:glasses and walking sticks (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44049479)

Sergey Brin is getting old just as fast as anyone else. Already having sufficient retirement funds, he plans ahead in other ways.

Re:glasses and walking sticks (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about a year ago | (#44051423)

I look forward to innovations in elder care and access as the Google bigwigs age. How about family care? Do these guys wish to marry, procreate?

Great (3, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about a year ago | (#44049289)

Time to update the list of things that will let you automatically get a patent for something:

  • - on a computer
  • - on the internet
  • - on a stick

Re:Great (1)

poena.dare (306891) | about a year ago | (#44049301)

Thank god Corpsicles never took off!

Re:Great (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44050527)

Don't forget 'In the Cloud'

Re:Great (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | about a year ago | (#44050821)

Time to update the list of things that will let you automatically get a patent for something:

        - on a computer
        - on the internet
        - on a stick

Don't forget 'In the Cloud'

Well, obviously "In the cloud."

So, besides, "On a computer", "on the internet", "on a stick", and "in the cloud", ...what has Google *ever* done for us!?

In Bellevue, WA ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44049343)

... stroke canes and aluminum walkers.

Insect (1)

Deflagro (187160) | about a year ago | (#44049345)

Did anyone else think of a walking stick bug? I had a vision of a creepy spynet made up of little bug-bots. Sounds more like a DARPA thing than a Google thing but who can tell anymore :P

Coming soon! (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year ago | (#44049351)

GoogleScope. Street View of the world through the eyes of a sniper.
GoogleShotglass. Street View through the eyes of a drunk.
GoogleCokemirror. Street View through the eyes of a drug addict.

Streetview INSIDE buildings (1)

Max DollarCash (2874161) | about a year ago | (#44049369)

The goal of this project seems to be to map the places the google-street-cars cannot go: ea public buildings, parks, private properties and others.

Obvious (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#44049387)

I am sorry, but how is this not obvious? The only thing that is not obvious is why one would want to do this (although once you consider what Google is doing with Streetview, etc, even that goes away). However, as soon as one has a reason to do what this does, the solution (which is what they are patenting) is obvious.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049723)

A shutter switch triggered by trekking pole spring? It was so obvious nobody would have bothered to patent except with evil intent. Distribute the electronics in the pole? Tried to do that already, a collapsible pole needs that space for the collapse. Now I'm off to destroy my creation so I don't get lawyers calling me about patent infringement.

Re:Obvious (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#44050141)

I am sorry, but how is this not obvious?

How many "elongated members" (walking stick was just used as an example) do you know have computers inside them with imaging devices, anti-shock and vibration module(s), and imaging devices that also include location sensors?

If they invented just a walking stick, then yeah, obvious. All things tided together, maybe not a revolutionary invention, but not obvious IMHO either.

Plus, even if it is semi-obvious it helps prevent someone else from patenting it then going after Google when they use it for TrailView or whatever.

Re:Obvious (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#44050319)

How many uses do you imagine for such a device? Once one has a use for such a device, the device itself is obvious.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050361)

How long does your cell phone need to be before it's elongated?

Re:Obvious (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44050547)

How many "elongated members" (walking stick was just used as an example) do you know have computers inside them with imaging devices, anti-shock and vibration module(s), and imaging devices that also include location sensors?

Any smart camera or tripod-mountable smartphone on a monopod.

Re:Obvious (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44050621)

Well there are lots of one legged tripods for cameras, DSLRS have stabilizers, computers, anti vibration, gps etc. build in or as modules.

So no, not exactly a new idea.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050989)

Monopod.

Prior-Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049503)

My Walking stick has a camera mount on it. 90% of the time it has a small Point & Shoot mounted so I claim Prior-art (along with many others)
Walking sticks like this have been around for sometime

The USPTO have really excelled themselves once again.

better idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44049529)

I'd rather have one that shoots lightning. Just sayin.

Another innovation driven by porn (1)

Destoo (530123) | about a year ago | (#44049545)

They lost me at the first line of the patent..

"An elongated member is provided with one or more imaging sensors, location sensors, and a switch in its bottom end."

Re:Another innovation driven by porn (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44049663)

They can probably get away with that, because the prior art consists of elongated members with a knob at the bottom end to provide a varying rate/degree of vibration, not a simple on/off switch.

Sure, but without a _sword_ hidden in it... (1)

John Guilt (464909) | about a year ago | (#44049719)

...it just won't be complete.

Why? (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44049735)

Maybe the first thing the patent office should ask is "why"?

Really, does putting a camera on a stick warrant protection from a patent?

Is there any real competitive advantage Google has owning this patent.

Is there absolutely no example of anybody ever doing this in the past. Absolutely nobody in history has ever put a camera on a stick?

The patent office is swamped with patent requests but there should be some fundamental litmus test that should be applied to even accept a patent.

Otherwise, charge $1 million dollars to file a patent, period. Its quite obvious that billion dollar corporations are exploiting the patent system because its cheap to do so. Maybe if there was a real monetary threat to filing bullshit patents then corporations might stop patenting rounded corners or cameras on sticks or glasses.

And, of course if something is not truly novel and beneficial to society tell the patent applicant to fuck off.

Re:Why? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#44050331)

charge a percent of your gross income. not a fixed number.

that way, you and I can still afford to patent, but large companies will think twice about it.

THAT would be a good goal to shoot for.

america has become the land of the big company. and if you're small or medium, your only goal is to become larger. I think that's broken by design. its almost always a freedom-reducing process to merge and consolidate companies into bigger and bigger ones.

no one speaks for the little guy anymore. reason: he can't afford to bribe PACs and congress as well. its just that simple in the US, these days.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050491)

Google can easily spend a $1 million dollars to file a patent, myself, on the other hand ...

Stylin' (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44049793)

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you...

The Google Pimp Cane.

I seem to remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049823)

seeing that done when glass plate negatives were still used. Didn't they have a patent office then?

anyone find that creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049837)

Don't wear a skirt or dress around someone with one of these ladies

How patents work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049909)

Can I patent something that is still in design phase that isn't even working yet? Do I just need to submit simple sketches and wiggly lines with number boxes pointing to stuff?

Re:How patents work (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44049967)

you can patent something that you don't even have a clue how to build it. In fact most patents are just that, obscure ideas.

Google IS the NSA, you fools. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049933)

How much more do you cretins have to be told before you
wake up and realize that the fucking NSA is assembling data
on all of you while hiding in plain sight in the form of
Google and various other companies ?

You deserve everything you get, you TV-watching moronic
pieces of shit.

Bullshit patent (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44049959)

Again proof the Patent office is a joke. this is simply attaching something to another thing.

I would like to patent the method of attaching things to other things in order to file a patent.

MONOPOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050085)

Isn't this the same as a monopod which has been around for years.

Prior Art? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44050307)

Isn't a cell phone on a monopad the same? And weights less?

Patent Prevention (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year ago | (#44050329)

I hereby committ to the pubic domain the invention of a device consisting of a ball capable of elastic collision upon impact with a surface (a process defined here as "bounce"), embedded with a camera that will take a picture with each occurence of such bounce. This device will possess the ability to perform the described action while interfacing with a computer.

Of course, it's only public domain if someone else hasn't patented this idea beforehand.

Prior Art circa 1920-1940 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44050383)

It seems google couldn't be bothered typing "camera cane" into their own search engine and checking for results.

http://www.pimall.com/nais/pivintage/canecamera.html

YOU SHALL NOT PASS (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year ago | (#44050469)

without getting your picture taken!

I have no StreetViews of this place...

.

"Cane" Brooks (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year ago | (#44050577)

Would have had a great time with one.

Tripods and walking sticks (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44050937)

What if you take a tripod with a camera screwed into the top and fold all of the legs together, add a little bit of duct tape to construct a walking stick. Would you have to pay royalities to google for using their "invention"?

If I put the same components in a pogo stick or bowling ball do I deserve a patent for that too?

Maybe before we rush to adopt Image-Capturing Walk (1)

Lanterns (1190859) | about a year ago | (#44051421)

...we should stop to consider the consequences of blithely giving this technology such a central position in our lives.
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