Vivint Smart Home Patent App: Door Locks, Keypads Project Video Display onto Surface

Instead of unsightly keypads on door locks and security panels, Vivint proposes a method for projecting a laser image of controls and feedback onto a wall, door or other surface.

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Vivint Inc., a leading provider of security and home automation systems, has filed a patent application for “Keypad projection,” describing how a security panel or smart-home controller would project an image onto a surface, allowing the user to control the system from the projected display itself.

The external display, furthermore, would change size and other parameters based, in part, on the proximity of the user. As the user nears the space, for example, the display might shrink.

 Vivint also describes a similar implementation in a door lock, which would project a keypad onto the surface of the door.

In a nutshell, a small device (projector with processor) would be situated at convenient locations, for example the front door or bedside, communicating with a control system buried in a closet or elsewhere. Instead of embedding a keypad onto the device, the Vivint control point would project a display onto a wall or other surface, and receive user input via gesture control or some other mechanism such as facial recognition.

Here’s the gist:

One aspect of the disclosure relates to systems, methods, and related devices for providing the interactive capabilities of home automation devices or panels and keyless locks without the need for keypads. By providing a projected keypad for home automation devices or panels and door locks, the aesthetic appeal of the panel, and the discreetness of a basic keyed lock, may be maintained while providing additional functionalities to the user. For example, in addition to projecting a keypad, the home automation device may project home automation system data, updates, messages, and reminders to the user on a wall, floor, door or ceiling, such that the user may quickly receive relevant home information without the need to scroll through messages piecemeal on the home automation system panel screen. 

Laser-projected keypad technology typically requires that users activate the projection by turning the device on and off locally. This requirement may limit the accessibility of the projection for users passing by the device but not interacting directly with the device. Thus, one aspect of the disclosure relates to a proximity detector integrated into, or in communication with, the home automation device or door lock to allow for activation of the projection based on detected user approach or proximity, for example by using motion sensing technology, without the need for direct user interaction with the device or lock system. In this way, a user walking past the home automation device or hurriedly leaving his home may receive home security, climate, and other relevant home automation system information quickly and efficiently without the need to stop at the device. 

Accordingly, in one embodiment, a method for security and/or automation systems is provided. In one embodiment, the method may comprise detecting a proximity of a user at a home automation device, and projecting an external display of home automation system information from the home automation device onto a surface. The external display may be projected based, at least in part, on the detected proximity of the user to the home automation device. 

In one aspect of the disclosure, a secondary home automation device having the projection mechanism may be positioned next to an entryway, while the primary home automation device may be more conveniently located at a central position in the home, for example in the kitchen or living room. In this way, users may easily access pertinent home automation system information from rooms that receive the most use, while still maintaining the ease of arming and disarming a security system or controlling home automation devices, for example, or receiving important system messages, near the primary point of entry and exit of the home. The secondary home automation device may be streamlined in design because no physical keypad or panel display may be required, such that the device may be minimally intrusive and such that home aesthetics may be achieved. 

A further aspect of the disclosure relates to a keyless door locking mechanism having a projected keypad. The locking mechanism may resemble an ordinary lock, so as to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to the system. When a user approaches the lock, a keypad may be projected onto the door above, next to, or below the lock, such that the user may input his entry code at the keypad projection and lock or unlock the door. For safety purposes, in some embodiments the keypad may only be projected when an approaching user is in possession of an approved device that may be paired via Bluetooth, RFID, Wi-Fi, or any other acceptable means to the locking device. If an appropriately paired device is not detected, the lock system may not project the keypad, and unapproved users may be unable to unlock the door. In some embodiments, the keypad may only be projected when an authorized fingerprint or other biometric identification means is received at the locking device. In this way, security may be increased over standard keyed and keyless lock systems, which make available their locking mechanisms to all approaching users indiscriminately.