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A Phone that Says 'No' to Little Kid Fingers


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A child using a smartphone.

A new algorithm tracks swipes to figure out when a child is the one using a phone.

Credit: Anthony Kelly/Flickr

Researchers at the University of South Carolina and Zhejiang University in China have developed an algorithm to identify who is swiping a smartphone screen, which could lead to child-proof devices.

In developing the new algorithm, the researchers observed two key differences in how children and adults swipe phone screens: children tend to make shorter and more sluggish swipes, and they are slower to switch from swiping to tapping.

The team collected hard data on those differences by developing a simple application and asking a group of children between the ages of three and 11, and a group of adults between the ages of 22 and 60, to use it. The app asked participants to unlock an Android phone and then play a numbers-based game requiring various taps and swipes.

The researchers used this data to train the age-detecting algorithm that is 84% accurate after one swipe and 97% accurate after eight swipes.

From Technology Review
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