It happens every now and then that we want to avoid certain people. It may be a persistent but pesky ex, a creditor we may have borrowed money from or even our bosses in some cases. How we wish that there was an alert to tell us of those people’s whereabouts so that we may not cross paths with them.
Well, fret not, for if a recently published patent is to be believed, Microsoft has seemingly invented exactly the thing.
Microsoft gives a good example in the patent. Alice can, using her smartphone (location, social media posts, calendar events), find out if any of her friends Bart, Chris, Doug, and Emily are near her, or are visiting a cafe called Coffee Palace, or even have plans to go to the Coffee Palace in next few hours or so. Now, this is helpful for Alice. But, if Alice has had a bad breakup with Bart, Alice may be interested in avoiding any and all encounters with him. Now Alice may turn into a stalker and constantly monitor any available information about Bart. But, Alice may not have access to such information, especially when Alice and Bart may not be connected by any network subsequent to the breakup.
To address these problems, Microsoft has invented an undesirable encounter avoidance (UEA) system that allows Alice to avoid running into selected people, without compromising the privacy of Alice or such other people.
The UEA system includes a UEA server that communicates with various information sources, users, and other components via a network (like the internet). For example, the UEA server interacts with social media servers, mapping servers, and other services to know the location of Alice, and the selected people. Specifically, if Alice is traveling to the Coffee Palace, and the UEA system determines that Bart is at the Coffee Palace or is going to be at the Coffee Palace in the near future, based on data collected from Bart’s mobile phone, the UEA system alerts, finds alternate cafes, like Donut Palace, and recommend Alice to go to the Donut Palace instead of the Coffee Palace. The UEA system also suggests alternate routes to Alice to go to the Donut Palace. However, if the UEA system determines that Doug (another person that Alice wants to avoid) is near the recommended route the UEA system suggests yet another alternate route to Alice.
This invention is sure to help a lot of people. Let us see when Microsoft actually rolls this technology out.
Publication Number: US20190028841A1
Patent Title: Undesirable encounter avoidance
Publication date: 2019-01-24
Filing date: 2018-09-26
Inventors: Benny Schlesinger, Yuval Borsutsky, Keren Damari
Assignee: Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC