This age-detecting algorithm can make your smartphone child-proof


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Finding it hard to keep your phone out of your toddlers' reach? Take heart, a newly developed age-detecting algorithm can automatically figure out if your kid is swiping the screen and also block apps that you want to keep off-limits to them, a study has showed.


Researchers from the University of South Carolina and Zhejiang University in China developed an age-detecting algorithm that is 84 per cent accurate with just one swipe on the screen-a figure that goes up to 97 per cent after eight swipes, MIT technology review reported.


The researchers identified differences between how children and adults swipe phone screens


They found that since kids have smaller hands and shorter fingertips than adults, they often touch a smaller area on the screen and make shorter swipes.


Children also tend to swipe their fingers more sluggishly across the screen, and they are slower to switch from swiping to tapping.


Thus, they tasked a group of kids between the ages of three and a group of adults between 22 and 60-to play numbers-based game on a newly built Android app.


The researchers recorded a variety of taps and swipes as well as also tracked things like the amount of pressure applied by a user's finger and the area it encompassed.


Using the resulting data, they trained the age-detecting algorithm.


While the algorithm has not yet been built into a phone, it looks like a really promising way to ensure that little fingers don't tap in the wrong places, they said.


The finding was presented at the 19th Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (ACM HotMobile 2018) in Arizona.


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