The science behind this new “feature” is relatively simple and has to do with your phone’s camera detecting an infrared signal loaded with data. Here are the words straight from the patent filing:
“In some embodiments, a device may apply a watermark to detected images as an alternative to completely disabling a recording function. For example, a device may receive infrared signals with encoded data that includes a command to apply a watermark to detected images. In such an example, the device may then apply the watermark to all detected images that are displayed or stored (e.g., single pictures or frames of a video).”
And these infrared emitters can do much more than just shut down your phone’s camera function; they can interact with your phone to display information and other details about an object or space to enhance an experience.
“An infrared emitter can be located near an object and generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes information about that object. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and display the information about the object to the user.”