A parenting style that we’re seeing more commonly these days involves giving kids a smartphone or tablet to play with and to keep them quiet. Whether or not that’s a good idea is a debate best left for another day, but it is something we’re seeing more often than not, but it also means it can lead to situations where kids can mess up the settings on a phone or accidentally make purchases.
However thanks to researchers at the University of South Carolina and China’s Zhejiang University, they have actually developed an algorithm that can detect when a child is swiping around on your phone and can lock it down, or prevent the phone from doing certain things like launching work emails, surfing age-inappropriate websites, and so on.
So what kind of algorithm is this? Basically this is an algorithm that detects the swiping patterns of the users. This is because kids have smaller hands and shorter fingertips than adults, which means that they tend to touch smaller areas of a screen, and also make shorter and more sluggish swipes.
By detecting these differences in tapping and swiping, the algorithm will be able to tell if a child or an adult is using the phone, and could react accordingly. At the moment the algorithm has yet to actually be integrated into a phone, but it does sound pretty promising and could see other potential applications, such as being able to detect if the person using the phone is indeed the authorized user or a stranger fumbling around.