Microsoft Patent Would Automatically Silence Phones In Movie Theaters

Microsoft Patent Would Automatically Silence Phones In Movie Theaters

The company's idea would dim the phone's screen and make alerts less distracting when GPS signals and certain lighting or sound factors were met.

Emma Hutchings
  • 18 january 2013

Microsoft has filed a patent that would cause a phone to automatically silence itself, dim the screen, and make alerts and notifications less distracting. This would trigger when GPS signals and certain lighting or sound factors were met, in areas like movie theaters or concerts. This technology is different from other approaches, like special seats for people addicted to their phone.

The patent for an ‘Inconspicuous mode for mobile devices’, spotted by InfoWorld, states that the device’s features are modified to better suit an environment where individuals don’t want to be disturbed.

While in the inconspicuous mode, specific features may be disabled such as sound, and the appearance of the display may be changed. For instance, the brightness may be decreased, the contrast may be increased, and all information and notifications may be removed from the homescreen except for a limited number of items (like the time) that could be user-selectable.

Microsoft Patent Would Automatically Silence Phones In Movie Theaters

A device could enter the inconspicuous mode upon user request or by detecting at least one environmental condition (like ambient light or sound) using the device’s sensors. This may reflect that the user is in a darkened theater or is about to go to bed. It could then return to the normal mode of operation again by user request or when the environmental condition is no longer present.

Other conditions could also be used to determine when the phone enters (and possibly exits) the inconspicuous mode, such as GPS signals that reveal it is in a theater or a calendar app that shows the user will be attending the theater at a certain date and time.


Photo by Mark McQuade


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