RIM granted patent to enable CAPTCHAs to access device while in motion

By Michelle Haag on 11 Jul 2012 02:38 pm EDT
RIM granted patent

There are quite a few third-party apps that help put a damper on texting while driving by disabling all or parts of your phone and sending messages on your behalf when activated. These seem like a great idea to minimize distractions and keep your focus where it belongs.

It appears that Research In Motion wanted to implement something like this into BlackBerry smartphones, and applied for a patent several years ago that would require users to answer a CAPTCHA before being able to send an outgoing message while the device was moving between 6-10 km/h and 200-240 km/h (approximately 3-6 mph to 124-149 mph). Yes that's right, a CAPTCHA. There were various types of these puzzles included in the patent, including the distorted letter type, math questions, identify the object in the picture, and others. These were designed so that a passenger would be able to solve them easily, but a driver would have more difficulty, and therefore not try to solve which in turn would make everyone safe. Puzzles would be determined by the speed the device is traveling.

While I can see the good intentions behind the patent, I also have to say I'm thankful that it took so long to get approved and that it's not currently implemented in any devices. Hopefully RIM doesn't plan to include this feature in upcoming devices, as it seems (to me at least) that if someone has the intention to send a text or email or other message while they're driving, a CAPTCHA won't stop them and in fact will likely just distract them even further from the road.

Source: USPTO via Engadget

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

RIM granted patent to enable CAPTCHAs to access device while in motion


If you're the type of person to text whilst driving then this is a welcome challenge.


For real. Now you have to stare at a picture and think of the name, then type the name, then go to your text messages.

That is the dumbest software idea I've heard of. I really can't think of one that's dumber than that.

I think a better patent idea would be to disable distracting features all together based on speed the person is travelling. Actually the more you think about that, its all together a hard to implement feature since that would prevent a passenger in that vehicle from doing anything on their phone. This one would have to go back to the drawing board.

"...if someone has the intention to send a text or email or other message while they're driving, a CAPTCHA won't stop them and in fact will likely just distract them even further from the road."

My thinking exactly.

Round file this one...

As an enable feature, I could see this being used to deter corporate users from txting while driving. Keep it in BES if you ask me :)

I've never been a fan of having to go through hoops to use my devices. I've find it an annoyance if I were a passenger or using public transportation. I'm assuming I could get used to it after awhile though. That said, I'm having a hard time figuring out the mentality of the ones that thought getting a patent would be necessary. I doubt we'd hear, "Darn it! RIM beat us to it!" in board rooms across the world.

Awful unless thiis is a requirement by the government this is unnecessary and should be stored on the shelfs of other useless patents. Long Live Rim

Awful unless thiis is a requirement by the government this is unnecessary and should be stored on the shelfs of other useless patents. Long Live Rim

I think this would work for discouraging some people who think it's alright. I tried to type and text a few.years ago and it was crazy. Anything that makes it harder I'm in favor of.

Useless feature. It will make it harder for people on busses/trains to use their phones as well as passengers. It will simply be a distraction for anyone who wishes to text and drive.

I was watching someone text while merging into dense 50mph traffic the other day. Nothing will stop the addicted texter.

Great, all you have to do is go faster then 150mph and you won't be bothered with captcha... Notice I said "mph" because people will try it here.

This won't stop people from texting while driving. They will find a way. Besides, what if you're a passenger in the vehicle? Would you have to type the image name as well? I don't know if the software can tell who is driving and who isn't. As a passenger that would annoy the heck out of me.

This is a must needed feature in the US. Phone use while driving is prohibited in Michigan and offenders will be ticketed. Unfortunately, many (especially teenagers) have been seriously injured or killed due to texting while driving. Its a huge distraction.

Maybe allowing voice only while in motion over 10 mph would be better. Something that would still allow you to use the device but at a safe level.

Ok, but what if

I'm NOT the driver?!?!?!... I'm the passenger in a car, on a train, in a boat, in the rain?...

I certainly agree that users shouldn't text and drive.. but if I'm a passenger and my phone locks me out I'd be pretty ticked off.

basically - this needs to be very well implemented to do anything but tick of users.

This is absolutely crazy...it annoys me when I am on websites and they pop up...I love my berry but this would drive me crazy...

I Love my BlackBerry

I hope this is never implemented on a device as it will only prove to be a further distraction to those who text and drive; hardly the intended deterrent.
As this sounds, it is better to focus on less distracting methods of communication, possibly a hands-free eyes-free solution relying solely on voice commands.

Sad to say but this has got to be a good waste of money to get a patent for. It is not a good idea at all.

A better idea, and one I don't think any of the other platforms have right now (but I can be wrong), is voice recognition unlocking of your phone. Only your voice - only your words. The only setback is don't choose a word/words too common or you'll unlock each time you talk.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

I wonder if they thought about passengers trying to txt/email..
Useless patent unless its integrated with car/phone/onx recognition system.

lol, what if you're on a train or something? I think this could actually backfire. It might not prevent the driver from texting and driving, they might do it anyways and try to answer the CAPTCHA while driving, which would be a disaster.

This is a lawsuit in waiting for someone whose been kidnapped and they are trying to summon assistance. And what about passengers on planes, trains, automobiles, and even horse-drawn carriages? This patent explains the BlackBerry 10 delay. ;)

You want to help texting while driving; implement a text to speech app which learns (by asking which word you meant!), let's you spell out words and symbols, and overall works; Like Vlingo but 15x better.

Where is my Vlingo?????????????? And what was that news app??????? I love ya rim, but sometimes I just wanna kick you. Hugs

Jeez. When are we going to learn that people who text while driving will still be texting while driving regardless of what kind of anti-texting measures are thrown at them.

People are going to do what they want to do.

People will speed regardless of how much we raise fines or points.
People will still drink and drive regardless of how dangerous it is.
People will still try to beat the red light regardless of how many cameras are pointed at the intersection.
People will still buy cigarettes regardless of how many disgusting pictures and warnings you put on the box. And they will still continue to the throw the butts out window regardless of how conscious they are of the environment.

The only result I can see from this captcha patent is an increase in traffic accidents - and poor battery life as it's using power unnecessarily to figure out speed.

I think it would have to be a very VERY intelligent application. Gps is what it'll be relying on, but other factors, it'll probably need to use the camera if it's going to be very effective to "see" and recognize the dashboard, steering wheel or other compartments of the driver's side view.

That's one way it'll work out, so it wouldn't affect passenger's use at all. If for example, on a train, bus, boat or anything else, it looks for a steering wheel, dashboard, break/gas peddles or stick shift, depending on which direction you're holding the phone. If none of that is seen for a duration of a few seconds, the captcha turns off.

Now THAT is intelligent. It doesn't even have to use the HD resolution of the camera, all it needs is 480x360 to see clearly.

Heck, our trackpads are 128x128 or 64x64 pixels and they sense anything with a texture to see movement.