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Electronic Watchdog Nabs Parking Lot Door-Dingers

• Alexander George via

We’ve all had that feeling of coming out the parking lot to discover someone’s bashed your bumper or dinged your door. Worse, the perp didn’t have the courtesy to leave a note confessing his crime. If only you’d had a video camera to catch the guy in the act.

Victor Lortz understands that feeling — and he’s done something about it.

Lortz, an engineer at Intel, has developed an electronic watchdog to catch those scofflaws in the act and even send live footage to your phone. He’s onto something, because when he announced the the project during the Research@Intel conference, the crowd broke into applause before the demonstration even started.

“This service resonates with people,” Lortz says. “It empowers them.”

He and his team integrated Intel circuitry into an Infiniti EX35, using the car’s onboard cameras and alarm to transmit information to a smartphone. If an oblivious driver or stray shopping cart triggers the car’s sensors, the tech — which features Intel’s Atom compression and uploading horsepower — alerts them, then records the driver making his getaway. The system can, with sufficient wireless reception, stream the footage or archive it in the cloud.

Lortz’s software uses near-field communication to establish a secure connection between phone and car. He has been experimenting with dashboard Quick Response codes that operate through the phone’s camera. Lortz says he wants the technology “to handle a broad variety of phones.”


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