Smartphones could soon detect kids

Parental control apps could soon be the thing of the past.

This is something that could make parents happy. Definitely!

Soon there could be a possibility where your phone could lock itself out after it detects that a child is using it. How? Well, some researchers at the University of South Calorina and China’s Zhejiang University are on a new algorithm that can detect if a kid is use the phone, reports Technology Review.

Xiaopeng Li, a grad student from the University of South Carolina has coauthored a paper that will be presented at the mobile tech week this month. He states that the researchers have observed two major differences in the swipe actions between children and adults. Kids have smaller hands and shorter fingertips as compared to adults and this makes for smaller touch areas on the display screen. Children also tend to swipe fingers in a more sluggish manner and also make shorter swipes as compared to the adult user. Lastly, they have also found that kids are usually slower to switch between swiping and tapping.

This data is being collected by the researchers by using a simple app. They asked a group of kids between ages 3 and 11, and a group of adults between 22 and 60, to use the app and collect the data. The app made its participants unlock the Android phone and play a number-based game, and the researchers could record the variety of taps and swipes, apart from tracking the amount of pressure applied and the area it encompassed by each of the participants’ finger.

The resulting data was fed into a software to train the age-detecting algorithm, which they say is around 84 per cent accurate with a single swipe and can go all the way up to 97 per cent after eight swipes.

The researchers are also planning on implementing more algorithms to make this approach even more effective. They plan on grabbing data from accelerometers on the phone to further guess the user. Kids, as compared to adults, have more shaky hands, which could add into more detection accuracy.

If this app/feature makes it to the light of day, you could soon see your kids automatically being locked out of the entire phone or restricted to certain apps and sections of the smartphone, without the fear of your little inquisitive tapping on the wrong app or accidentally eating away into your credit card, shopping online. Parental control apps could soon be the thing of the past and parents would be able to safely, confidently and fearlessly be able to hand over their smartphones to their little ones.

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