Swiping from left to right to unlock your phone is so passé.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application last week from mobile device maker Samsung for a new way to summon a “mobile terminal” out of lock mode: by dragging your finger in a curved line and having it intersect at some point.
The patent application, which Samsung filed last August, doesn’t dictate exactly how someone needs to draw that line — whether squiggly and then a little loop at the end or a big figure eight. The line simply needs to have some point of intersection. (Hat tip to ZDNet for writing about the patent application.)
In the past, Samsung has reportedly looked at eye-sensing and scanning a fingerprint, and it even looked into the inclusion of 20-megapixel cameras in its phones. This drawing business isn’t quite as ambitious as those endeavors, but it could make a tangible difference to Samsung device owners nonetheless.
The company wants to let you set “hot keys” by touching and dragging with your finger or stylus. That means you could call up different functions based on how many intersections there are in your doodle. So perhaps you’d be able to bring up the camera by drawing, say, an ampersand, which could have two intersections. And you could even pick up or reject calls by drawing a line with a loop or two.
The new method adds creativity to a gesture that so many of us do so many times every day to check one thing or another — email, text, social networks, whatever. Bypassing the lock screen is a necessary evil; this little feature could make the process a bit more tolerable.