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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/150285
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Aspects of embodiments relate to an air conditioning system for generating a controlled environment in a room, the AC system comprising one or more processors and one or more memories to cause the system to perform the following: sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room; providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more sensed characteristics of the room; analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result; and selectively controlling by a controller, based on the analysis result, for example, an output airstream velocity of the plurality of room blowers of the AC system which are arranged such that a lower plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of room blowers.

Inventors:
ZUR, Yosef (12 Hari Efraim St, 96 Or- Akiva, 3062796, IL)
ZILBERSHMIDT, Shalom (Via Dante Alighieri 8, Gemona Del Friuli, 33013, IT)
UNGER, Sagi (14 Hakatzir St, 00 Hadar Am, 4293500, IL)
Application Number:
IB2019/050760
Publication Date:
August 08, 2019
Filing Date:
January 30, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZUR, Yosef (12 Hari Efraim St, 96 Or- Akiva, 3062796, IL)
ZILBERSHMIDT, Shalom (Via Dante Alighieri 8, Gemona Del Friuli, 33013, IT)
UNGER, Sagi (14 Hakatzir St, 00 Hadar Am, 4293500, IL)
International Classes:
A61G10/02; A61G13/10; F24F11/74
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHTER, Allen (P.O. Box 2453, 01 Rehovot, 7612401, IL)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An air conditioning (AC) system for treating air and removing contaminants from a room having an upper and a lower plenum airspace, the AC system comprising: a controller; a plurality of room blowers that are selectively controllable by the controller; at least one filter which is arranged downstream and in fluid communication of a blowing direction of the plurality of room blowers; at least one sensor that is operable to provide a sensor output descriptive of a room condition; wherein the controller receives the sensor output and selectively controls, based on the received sensor output, the plurality of room blowers such to obtain desired room blower output airstream characteristics.

2. The AC system of claim 1, wherein the at least one sensor is operable to detect presence of a person in the room and further operable to track movement of the person in the room.

3. The AC system of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the at least one sensor is operable to provide a sensor output descriptive of a region of increased risk of contamination (IRC) in the lower airspace plenum.

4. The AC system of claim 3, wherein the controller controls an airstream velocity generated by the plurality of room blowers such to remove contaminants from the IRC region.

5. The AC system of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the controller controls the airstream velocity generated by the plurality of room blowers to create an isolation space around a person located in the lower plenum airspace, wherein the isolation space includes significantly less contaminants than then a remainder cavity of the lower plenum airspace of the room.

6. The AC system of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the room comprises an upper and lower airspace plenum; and wherein the plurality of room blowers are arranged in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to a main blower unit which blows air into the upper airspace plenum.

7. The AC system of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a return airduct which fluidly couples the lower plenum airspace with the upper airspace plenum.

8. The AC system of any one of the preceding claims, wherein a flow rate that can be provided by the main blower unit is lower than a combined flow rate that can be provided by the plurality of room blowers.

9. The AC system of claim 7 or claim 8, wherein during operation of the main blower unit and the plurality of room blowers, a pressure difference is created between the upper and the lower airspace plenum, wherein the pressure difference causes circulation of air in room at a significantly higher rate than at a rate that would be obtained if the AC system included only the only the main blower unit.

10. A method for controlling, by an air conditioning system, an environment in a room having an upper and a lower plenum airspace, the method comprising: sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room; providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more sensed characteristics of the room; analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result; and selectively controlling, based on the analysis result, a plurality of room blowers by a controller to obtain a desired output airstream velocity, wherein the plurality of room blowers is arranged such that a lower plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of room blowers.

11. An AC system for generating a controlled environment in a room, the system comprising one or more processors and one or more memories to cause the system to perform the following: sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room; providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more sensed characteristics of the room; analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result; and selectively controlling by a controller, based on the analysis result, an output airstream velocity of a plurality of room blowers which are arranged such that the lower plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of room blowers.

12. A computer-program product with a program code for the execution of the method steps according to claim 10, wherein the program product is executed on a computer. IB. Use of an AC system of any one of claims 1 to 9 or claim 11 for creating a controlled environment in a room.

14. A computer program product that is directly loadable into an internal memory of a digital computer, the computer program product comprising software code portions to perform the steps of claim 10 when the computer program product is run on a computer.

Description:
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM AND METHOD

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates in general to air conditioning systems and methods including, for example, to the air conditioning of hospital rooms.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Air conditioning systems which are designed to exclude or withdraw contaminants from rooms are well known in the art. Usually, an air conditioning system produces a relative positive pressure in a room to exclude or withdraw contaminants therefrom into the environment.

[0003] A ceiling filter such as a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) or Ultra Low Penetration Air (ULPA) filter is arranged in an air conditioning chamber to remove contaminants from the air. The filters may be located in a ceiling space of the room.

[0004] The room may be equipped with a double door arrangement comprising a first and a second door creating a sealable passage into and out of the room. The first door is accessible from outside the room and the second door is accessible from inside the room. To maintain positive air pressure in the room, the double door comprises a mechanism allowing only the first or the second door to be open at a time.

[0005] The description above is presented as a general overview of related art in this field and should not be construed as an admission that any of the information it contains constitutes prior art against the present patent application.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0006] The figures illustrate generally, by way of example, but not by way of limitation, various embodiments discussed in the present document.

[0007] For simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity of presentation. Furthermore, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements. References to previously presented elements are implied without necessarily further citing the drawing or description in which they appear. The figures are listed below.

[0008] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustration of an air conditioning system, according to some embodiments;

[0009] FIG. 2 is another block diagram illustration of the air conditioning system, according to some embodiments;

[0010] FIG. 3A is a schematic illustration of a filtration unit, according to some embodiments;

[0011] FIG. 3B shows schematic top and side view illustrations of a room treated by the air conditioning system;

[0012] FIG. 4A is a schematic top view illustration of a room at timestamp t=tl, according to some embodiments;

[0013] FIG. 4B is a schematic side view illustration of the room at timestamp t=tl, according to some embodiments;

[0014] FIG. 5A is a schematic top view illustration of a room at timestamp t=t2, according to some embodiments;

[0015] FIG. 5B is a schematic side view illustration of the room at timestamp t=t2, according to some embodiments; [0016] FIG. 6A is a schematic top view illustration of a room at timestamp t=t3, according to some embodiments;

[0017] FIG. 6B is a schematic side view illustration of the room at timestamp t=t3, according to some embodiments; and

[0018] FIG. 7 is a schematic flow chart of a method for controlling the environment in a room, according to some embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0019] The following description of air conditioning systems and methods is given with reference to particular examples, with the understanding that such systems and methods are not limited to these examples. The term "air conditioning system" may herein also be referred to as "AC system".

[0020] An air conditioning system and method according to embodiments is operable (i.e., configured and/or adapted) to treat, ventilate, purify or otherwise condition and/or control (manually and/or automatically) an environment in a room to prevent the development of contaminants, slow down the development of contaminants and/or reduce and/or minimize the amount of contaminants, such as infectious microorganisms (e.g., particles, bacterial and/or fungal spores) and/or of (e.g., airborne) particle count, in the room, for example, by increasing the number of times air is replaced in the room per hour. The term contaminants can also include biofilms covering surface areas and/or microorganisms attached to particles. This may be achieved by selectively allocating, optionally during different time periods, different (e.g., vertical) air flow rates to different region in the same room. It is noted that different room regions or zones may be overlapping or non-overlapping. Hence, the air conditioning system allows controlling air flow velocity vertically for each one of the different zones in the room, by adjusting, per zone, exhaust room blower speed and, optionally, suction force.

[0021] Optionally, at least some or all components of the air conditioning system may have anti-bacterial cladding. Optionally, the air conditioning system is operable to prevent or slow down the development of bacterial and/or fungal spores. Accordingly, the air conditioning system is operable to generate a controlled environment in a room or at least in a part thereof, such as a lower airspace plenum . In other words, the air conditioning system is operable to allow (manual and/or automatic) controlling one or more environmental conditions in a room such as, for example, humidity, temperature, noise, and/or airborne particle count in the room (e.g., measured in units of "ppm"). Optionally, the air conditioning system may be controlled (automatically and/or manually) to reduce or minimize noise in the room. For example, when a person enters a room, the room blower operation may be adjusted to reduce the noise level of the one or more room blowers. In a further example, room blower operation may be adjusted to operate at a lower noise level during night than during the day. Sensors may be employed to detect the presence and, optionally, the location and/or posture of a person in a room, e.g., as described herein. Optionally, humidity may be controlled (e.g., reduced below a desired value) to slow down or prevent the development of bacterial and/or fungal spores and/or other contaminants. Optionally, energy saving considerations may be a secondary factor or not considered at all when operating the air conditioning system.

[0022] Such room may pertain to any (e.g., closed) space in which it is desired to prevent, slow down or minimize the development of, e.g., bacterial and/or fungal spores (e.g., on surfaces) in the room while maintaining controlled environmental conditions. Such room can include a room used for medical purposes, e.g., a hospital room, intensive care room, an ambulance, a chemotherapy room, a physician's room, an outpatient treatment environment; outpatient clinics and/or dental clinics; an airport terminal agriculture processing environment (e.g., greenhouses); microelectronics manufacturing environment; pharmaceutical manufacturing environments; etc. Therefore, although embodiments disclosed herein may pertain to a hospital environment, this should by no means be construed in a limiting manner.

[002S] In an embodiment, the air conditioning system is operable to detect, in the room airspace plenum, a region of increased risk of contamination (IRC) or simply "IRC region", and generate, based on a location of the IRC region, desired airstream characteristics (e.g., desired airstream velocity, flow pattern, average flow direction and/or flow rate).

[0024] In some embodiments, the air conditioning system may be operable to controllably increase a flow rate in and/or around a space identified as an IRC region of the room's lower airspace plenum, to remove contaminants more quickly from the IRC region, for their withdrawal from the room (also: lower airspace plenum).

[0025] In an embodiment, the air conditioning system is operable to generate an airstream having characteristics suitable to prevent contaminants to enter the IRC region and/or to remove contaminants from the IRC region, e.g., to create one or more isolation spaces in the room. An isolation space may be defined, for example, as a region of a room which comprises significantly less contaminants compared to one or more other regions of the same room. Such region may herein also be referred to as "virtual cavity".

[0026] Optionally, a room's isolation space may exhibit a desired flow pattern, for example, around a patient bed, e.g., to reduce or minimize a patient's exposure to contaminants. The term contaminants can encompass, for example, particles, microorganisms and/or viruses.

[0027] In some embodiments, based on a detected change of a room condition, the air conditioning system and method may be configured to generate an isolation space at different locations relative to the room's boundaries.

[0028] A room condition may pertain, for example, to the number and/or location of persons in the room at successive time stamps. The air conditioning system may for example be operable to track the movement of objects (e.g., persons) in the room and/or their actions while located in the room and determine how this may affect, for example, a state of contaminants in the room. For instance, the location of an isolation space may be spatially altered, e.g., depending on the position of persons and/or of other objects relative to the room's boundaries.

[0029] A room condition may also pertain, for example, to a physiological characteristic of the person(s) located in the room; an action performed by the person(s) located in the room (e.g., a type of medical procedure to which an animal (e.g., a human being) will be or is currently subjected to); an environmental condition of the room's interior and/or exterior; a design feature of the room; a present or desired flow regime in a certain room area; and/or the like.

[0030] The system and method may be operable to adaptively implement an in-room location-based purification sequence. In some embodiments, the system and method may allow to selectively create a desired flow regime in any one of the room's isolation spaces. For example, the system may be operable to controllably create a laminar flow regime in a first isolation space and, at the same time, a turbulent flow regime in a second isolation space of the room.

[0031] In some embodiments, the system may include a plurality of independently controllable room blowers, which may be part of a filtration units. The one or more independently controllable room blowers may be arranged to be in fluid communication with one or more filters installed downstream of a room blower's air blow direction. Optionally, the filters may be configured as fast-exchange and modular filters. In some embodiments, the room blower controllers may communicate with each other, for example, to provide room blower parameter values for controlling the room blowers.

[0032] The room may comprise a ceiling space which is located above a working/treatment space. The term "ceiling space" may herein also be referred to as "upper airspace plenum", and the term "working space" may herein be referred to as "lower airspace plenum". A drop ceiling may divide the room into the upper and lower airspace plenum. Optionally, installation of the plurality of filtration units may divide a room into an upper and lower airspace plenum. Optionally, a filtration unit may comprise one or more room blowers and/or one or more filters.

[0033] Merely to simplify the discussion that follows, without be construed in a limiting manner, a filtration unit is herein referred to as being arranged in an airspace plenum.

[0034] The plurality of filtration units may be installed in the upper airspace plenum of the room and arranged to cover substantially the entire area above the room. For example, the plurality of filtration units may be installed in a matrix-like arrangement, with respect to a top planar view of the room. For example, the room may comprise a plurality of filtration units arranged in a plurality of rows and columns. In an embodiment, the outputs of the plurality of room blowers are in parallel upstream fluid communication relative to the room's lower airspace plenum.

[0035] A chiller may be employed for cooling the air supplied into the room via the filtration units.

[0036] Reference is made to FIGs. 1 and 2. In some embodiments, room 500 may be considered to be part of an air conditioning system 1000. In some other embodiments, room 500 is not considered part of air conditioning system 1000. Room 500 may comprise a double door arrangement 510 comprising an outer door 511 and an inner door 512 creating a sealable passage into and out of the room. Outer door 511 is accessible from outside the room and inner door 512 is accessible from inside room 500. To ensure continuous relative positive air pressure in room 500, double door arrangement 510 may comprise a mechanism allowing only outer door 511 or inner door 512 to be open at a time.

[0037] In some embodiments, an air flow pattern may be affected by and adaptively controlled, for example, according to the location of objects 600 (see for instance FIG. 2) located in room 500. Such object 600 can include, for example, patients; healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses); a robot, equipment (e.g., hospital beds, patient monitoring systems); and/or the like.

[0038] Air conditioning system 1000 comprises one or more filtration units 1100 and one or more sensors 1200. A filtration unit may weigh, for example, between 5 kg to 8 kg. Optionally, a filtration may be configured to allow quick and simple plug & play installation over existing infrastructures.

[0039] Air conditioning system 1000 may further comprise an air conditioning management module 1300 for monitoring and controlling components of air conditioning system 1000 such as, for example, one or more room blowers 1104 of filtration units 1100, based on a sensor output 1202 provided by sensors 1200. Sensor output 1202 can be descriptive of a physical characteristic of room 500. [0040] Air conditioning management module 1300 may comprise a communication module 1310, an operator or user interface 1320, and a room analysis engine 1330.

[0041] In an embodiment, air conditioning management module 1300 is operable to log sensor data for analysis and, optionally, for downloading to an external storage.

[0042] In an embodiment, air conditioning management module 1300 is operable to communicate with one or more computing platforms 1400 via a communication network

2500.

[0043] Computing platform 1400 may include, for example, a multifunction mobile communication device also known as "smartphone", a personal computer, a laptop computer, a tablet computer, a server (which may relate to one or more servers or storage systems and/or services associated with a business or corporate entity, including for example, a file hosting service, cloud storage service, online file storage provider, peer-to-peer file storage or hosting service and/or a cyberlocker), a personal digital assistant, a workstation, a wearable device, a handheld computer, a notebook computer, a vehicular device, and/or a stationary device.

[0044] Computing platform 1400 may execute an air conditioning application 1410 allowing an operator of air conditioning system 1000 to remotely monitor and/or control operating and/or room condition characteristics of air conditioning system 1000 via a corresponding AC application interface 1410, e.g., of a smartphone or any other mobile communication device. Room condition characteristics can include a cleanliness level. AC application interface 1410 may allow the user to adjust operating parameter values of air conditioning system 1000, e.g., by defining a desired room cleanliness level and/or by defining operating system parameter values. Optionally, parameter values for operating air conditioning system be updated automatically adaptively or dynamically, e.g., based on patient-specific characteristics or other room conditions. For example, a certain patient may be prescribed a certain room condition (e.g., airstream characteristic). Optionally, some parameter values may be updated adaptively, and some dynamically. Some inputs relating to parameter values may provided manually, e.g., by the operator of AC system. [0045] Dynamically updating parameter values means forcefully changing the parameter values, for example, at a certain time of day, or a certain day of the year. Adaptively updating parameter values means updating them in response to changes, e.g., of a room condition.

[0046] Communication module 1310 may include, for example, I/O device drivers (not shown) and network interface drivers (not shown) for enabling the transmission and/or reception of data over network 2500 to computing platform 1400. A device driver may for example, interface with a keypad or to a USB port. A network interface driver may for example execute protocols for the Internet, or an Intranet, Wide Area Network (WAN), Local Area Network (LAN) employing, e.g., Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), Personal Area Network (PAN), extranet, 2G, 3G, 3.5G, 4G including for example Mobile WIMAX or Long Term Evolution (LTE) advanced, Bluetooth ® (e.g., Bluetooth smart), ZigBee™, near-field communication (NFC) and/or any other current or future communication network, standard, and/or system.

[0047] Operator Interface 1320 may include, for example, a keyboard, a touchscreen, and/or the like.

[0048] Room analysis engine 1330 may comprise a processor 1331, a memory 1332 for storing program instructions which can be executed by processor.

[0049] The term "processor", as used herein, may additionally or alternatively refer to a controller. Processor 1331 may be implemented by various types of processor devices and/or processor architectures including, for example, embedded processors, communication processors, graphics processing unit (GPU)-accelerated computing, soft core processors and/or general purpose processors.

[0050] It will be appreciated that separate processors can be allocated for each element or processing function in air conditioning system 1000. The following description will refer to processor 1331 as a generic processor which can conduct all the necessary processing functions of air conditioning system 1000.

[0051] In some embodiments, processor 1331 and controller 1305 may be implemented by the same hardware element. [0052] Memory 1332 may include transactional memory and/or long-term storage memory facilities and may function as file storage, document storage, program storage, or as a working memory. The latter may for example be in the form of a static random access memory (SRAM), dynamic random access memory (DRAM), read-only memory (ROM), cache and/or flash memory. As working memory, memory 1332 may include, for example, temporally-based and/or non-temporally based instructions. As long-term memory, memory 1332 may for example include a volatile or non-volatile computer storage medium, a hard disk drive, a solid state drive, a magnetic storage medium, a flash memory and/or other storage facility. A hardware memory facility may for example store a fixed information set (e.g., software code) including, but not limited to, a file, program, application, source code, object code, data, and/or the like.

[0053] Processing program instructions by processor 1331 may result in the execution of a method for air conditioning and treating air of room 500. Execution of the method may be represented by analysis application 1333 that is operable to receive sensor outputs 1202 and analyze them.

[0054] Optionally, memory 1332 may be operable to store communication data received from communication module 1310 and/or GUI inputs received from operator interface 1320 which may for example be taken into account by analysis application 1333 when analyzing of sensor output 1202. Air conditioning management module 1300 may further comprise a controller 1305 that is operable to provide, based on the performed analysis, an air conditioning operating output 1422.

[0055] Air conditioning management module may further comprise a power module 1340 for powering at least one component of air conditioning system 1000. Power module 1340 may comprise an internal power supply (e.g., a rechargeable battery) and/ or an interface for allowing connection to an external power supply.

[0056] In an embodiment, controlling room blowers 1104 includes controlling an output airstream characteristic thereof (e.g., by controlling a rotational speed of room blowers 1104, orientation of flaps (not shown) which may be arranged downstream of room blowers 1104, and/or a blower nozzle width) by providing the corresponding air conditioning operating output 1422 to, e.g., a room blower motor (not shown) or other room blower components, for example, to generate an isolation space around object 600. An isolation space is schematically by the dashed area which is designated by alphanumeric reference 504.

[0057] Further referring to FIG. 3A, a filtration unit 1100 may comprise a filter 1102 for filtrating air 10 received from an air supply duct 1050, and a room blower 1104 for blowing the filtrated air 20 into room 500, via an outlet of air supply duct 1050. Filter 1102 may for example include an HEPA and/or ULPA filter. In some other embodiments, filters 1102 are located downstream room blowers 1104, i.e., room blowers 1104 push unfiltered air towards the filters 1102.

[0058] Further referring to FIG. 3B, air conditioning system 1000 is operable (i.e., configured or adapted) to spatially vary and/or adaptively control air flow patterns in virtual cavities 506 of a lower airspace plenum 502. Virtual cavities may for example be defined as virtual columns cavities extending from a drop ceiling 503 to the room's floor surface. The boundaries of the cavities in x-y direction may be defined by the corresponding geometric coverage of the filtration units. Such virtual columns cavities are exemplified as V1-V8. Room blower output is schematically illustrated by arrows A. Such drop ceiling may herein also be referred to as "floating ceiling". Drop ceiling 503 can be installed under an existing ceiling of a room.

[0059] An AC system may in some embodiments comprise a floating floor installed above the room's existing floor and/or floating walls installed on top of the room's existing walls, for creating a floor and/or wall airspace plenum that are analogously configured as upper airspace plenum 501. Optionally, such floor and wall airspace plenum may comprise a plurality of filtration units. In some embodiments, an AC system may configured to create floor and/or wall airspace, e.g., instead of an upper airspace plenum.

[0060] As shown schematically in FIGs. 1 and 2, air may be withdrawn from room 500 via return airduct 1060. Some of the air flowing in return airduct 1060 may be recirculated into room 500 via air supply duct 1050 and some may be vented to the environment via a vent (not shown). Air may be withdrawn from room 500 merely due to the relative pressure difference (also: relative overpressure) in room 500. Optionally, active suction or ventilation may be employed, in addition to room blowers 1104, for withdrawing air from room 500, e.g., in a controlled manner. In some embodiments, a plurality of return airducts 1060 (e.g., return air ducts 1060A-C as shown in FIG. 1) may be employed for allowing air outflow. For example, the number of return air ducts may correspond to the number of room blowers employed by air conditioning system 1000. For example, the number of return air ducts may correspond to the number of rows and/or columns of room blowers employed by air conditioning system 1000.

[0061] In some embodiments, a filtration unit may comprise a plurality of filters and/or a plurality of room blowers receiving air whose temperature may be controlled by a chiller and/or by heating units. In one example, the same filter may be in fluid communication with a plurality of room blowers. In another example, a plurality of filters may be in fluid communication with the same room blower.

[0062] Sensors 1200 of air conditioning system 1000 which are operable detect a physical quantity relating to a condition of room 500 and to generate, based on the detected physical quantity, a sensor output 1202 such as, for example, an electronic signal.

[006S] Sensors 1200 may comprise, for example, an environmental sensor (e.g., a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, a gas sensor, a particle sensor for detecting and counting particles in air, a pressure sensor, a bacterial sensor (including, e.g., a fungi detector, a virus sensor); a flow sensor, e.g., for measuring dynamic pressure, a flow rate, and/or for sensing a physical quantity relating to an air flow pattern (e.g., laminar flow, turbulent flow); a physiological sensor for measuring a characteristic of a patient and/or of a medical professional (e.g., sensors for measuring systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, breathing pattern, oxygen saturation level, glucose level, electrical property of the patient's skin (e.g., conductivity, resistance), weight, body-mass index (BMI) pH level, concentration of one or more selected analytes in bodily fluid (e.g., magnesium, calcium, natrium, salts, glucose, and/or hormones), motor function, body temperature, sweat rate, electrocardiogram, myocardiogram, electroencephalography (EEG), capnography values, and/or cognitive ability of the patient. Bodily fluid can include blood, sweat, tears and/or saliva. Sensors 1200 may further comprise, for example, a camera (e.g., CCD, CMOS or hybrid CCD-CMOS cameras and/or any other current or future imaging and/or image capturing technology); optical sensors (e.g., emitting infrared beacons for motion detection); a receiver antenna (e.g., of an Access Point of a Wireless Local Area Network) operative to estimate signal strength received from a mobile device, a magnetic field sensor; and/or a thermal or passive thermal imaging sensor.

[0064] Sensors 1200 may further include, for example, wearable inertial sensors (e.g., accelerometer, gyroscope) for sensing the movement of objects 600, e.g., for assessing physical characteristic relating to gait, central nervous system disorders (e.g., Parkinson), physical activity, breathing pattern, sleep condition, and/or the like.

[0065] Sensor outputs 1202 provided by sensors 1200 such as wearable inertial sensors and/or cameras may for example be employed to determine a location of an object in room 500.

[0066] FIG. 2 schematically shows an embodiment in which room blowers 1104 are controlled to generate an isolation space 504 around a first object600A which is located in lower airspace plenum 502. The first object may herein also be referred to as "patient", for example, for being exposed or subjected to immune system-weakening medical procedure such as, e.g., chemotherapy.

[0067] In some embodiments, air conditioning system 1000 may be operable to detect and/or monitor an IRC region 505 and control the operation of components of air conditioning system 1000 to remove contaminants from such IRC region 505 at an increased rate compared to other areas of lower airspace plenum 502. Removing contaminants from an IRC region 505 may result in the creation of isolation space 504.

[0068] For example, while patient 600A is located in room 500, sensors 1200 may be operable to detect entrance of a second object 600B into room 500, which may be considered to be a potential source of contamination. Sensors 1200 may also be

IB employed by air conditioning system 1000 for monitoring movement of second object 600B in room 500 and, optionally, for determining its position relative to first object 600A. The "second object" may herein also be referred to "non-patient subject", since it may refer to a person which, unlike patient 600A, is not hospitalized in room 500 for medical treatment and may include, for example, a hospital staff member (e.g., nurse, physician, maintenance worker); a visitor, and/or the like.

[0069] Additional references is made to FIGs. 4A and 4B. FIGs. 4A and 4B schematically show the positions of patient 600A and staff member 600B in a treatment area 520 of lower airspace plenum 502 at time stamp t=tl. Object600A is illustrated and exemplified as lying on a bed, and staff member 600B is shown as just having entered treatment area 520. Since staff member 600B may access treatment area 520 from a non-controlled environment, he may be considered to carry with him an increased amount of contaminants. Sensors 1200 detect entrance of staff member 600B, e.g., via double door arrangement 510. Optionally, sensors 1200 are employed to monitor movement of patient 600A and staff member 600B in room 500.

[0070] Sensors 1200 provide sensor output 1202 descriptive of room condition such as the entrance of a person (e.g., staff member 600B) into room 500, or any other room condition which may be considered to increase risk of cross-contamination of a patient located in room 500. Sensor output 1202 may be analyzed by room analysis engine 1330 and provide controllers 1305 with a corresponding analysis output 1334. Based on analysis output 1334, controllers 1305 may provide air conditioning operating outputs 1422 for selectively controlling airstream velocity and/or any other airstream characteristic to be generated by the plurality of room blowers 1104. Optionally, operation of the plurality of room blowers may be controlled for selectively generating, by each one of the plurality of blowers, a desired airstream velocity.

[0071] Optionally, the plurality of room blowers 1104 may comprise at least two blower sets, each set comprising at least two blowers. A set of room blowers may be configured such that to be controllable by the same air conditioning operating output

1422. [0072] Referring to the scenario shown in FIGs. 4A and 4B, sensors 1200 can detect the entrance of staff member 600B into room 500, sense a physical characteristic indicative of the staff member's location in room 500, and provide room analysis engine 1330 with a corresponding sensor output 1202. The time stamp as well as other information may be associated with the object's location information.

[0073] Room analysis engine 1330 may analyze the received sensor output 1202 and determine a room condition, e.g., that staff member 600B is located underneath room blowers 1104A-1104F. Based on the analysis performed, room analysis engine 1330 may cause controllers 1305 to control room blowers 1104A - 1104F such to provide increased airstream velocity (e.g., to operate at an increased rotational speed of for example 2750 revolutions per minute (RPM) and/or to reduce output nozzle width), compared to other room blowers (e.g., room blowers 1104G to 11040) which are located further away from staff member 600B and/or another object that may be source of increased contamination. For example, room blowers 1104A-1104F which are at time=tl shown as being located further away from object 600B than room blowers 1104G-11040 may be controlled to operate to expel air at comparatively lower airstream velocity (e.g., at comparatively lower rotational speed). For example, room blowers 1104G to 1104J may be controlled to rotate at a speed of 700 RPM, and room blowers 1104L-11040 may be controlled to rotate at 910 RPM. This way, the virtual cavity which is occupied by object 600B is subjected to increased airstream velocity (and, optionally, higher contaminant removal rate) than other areas of room 500, such as the area below room blowers 1104G-11040. In the situation shown in FIGs. 4A and 4B, the space below room blowers 1104A-1104F may be identified or defined, by room analysis engine 1330, as IRC region 505, since it is the region or area identified as being the location of object 600B. By increasing air speed in IRC region 505 compared to the air speed at and around the location of object 600A, the area in which patient 600A is located to be adversely affected by contaminants carried by object 600B is less probable.

[0074] Moreover, by increasing air speed in IRC region 505 contaminant removal therefrom is achieved at a higher rate than what would be the case if no adaptive approach were taken. [0075] Accordingly, the probability of, for example, hospital staff - patient cross contamination may be reduced compared to a setup in which, for example, only one room blower is employed to create overpressure in a treatment area and/or in a setup in which a plurality of room blowers are employed which are not individually controllable.

[0076] In an embodiment, ambient sensors 507 may be employed to monitor the conditions outside room 500. For example, ambient sensors 507 may be employed to monitor the movement of persons outside room 500 and/or to monitor an environmental characteristic outside room 500 such as, for example, temperature, level of contaminants and/or the like. Sensor output provided by ambient sensors 507 may also be input to room analysis engine 1330 in order to be taken into account thereby for determining an air conditioning operating output 1422.

[0077] Reference is now made to FIGs. 5A and 5B. FIGs. 5A and 5B schematically show the positions of patient 600A and staff member 600B in a treatment area 520 of lower airspace plenum 502 at time stamp t=t2, wherein t2>tl. In the scenario shown in FIGs. 5A and 5B, staff member 600B is located in closer proximity to patient 600A than in the situation shown in FIGs. 4A and 4B. In the situation shown in FIGs. 5A and 5B, staff member 600B, show may be a medical professional, may administer a drug and/or otherwise subject patient 600A to a medical procedure for treatment and/or examination thereof.

[0078] IRC region 505 may be considered to change in accordance with the change in location of staff member 600B in room 500 and, optionally, overlap fully or partially with isolation space 504 that is desired to be created or maintained around patient 600A.

[0079] Sensors 1200 can sense a physical characteristic indicative of the staff member's location in room 500 at t=t2, and provide room analysis engine 1330 with a corresponding sensor output 1202.

[0080] Room analysis engine 1330 may analyze the received sensor output 1202 and determine a room condition, e.g., that staff member 600B is located underneath room blowers 1104H, 11041, 1104K and 1104L. Based on the analysis performed, room analysis engine 1330 may cause controllers 1305 to control room blowers 1104H, 11041, 1104K and 1104L to generate an increased airstream velocity (e.g., by increasing their rotational speed, for example, to 2750 RPM) compared to, for example, all other room blowers which are located further away from staff member 600B. For example, room blowers 1104A-1104G, room blower 1104J and blowers 1104M-11040 which are at time=t2 shown as being located further away from object 600B than room blowers 1104H, 11041, 1104K and 1104L may be controlled to operate such to generate comparative lower velocity airstream. This way, the area in which object 600B is located at t=t2 is subjected to an increased rate of contaminant removal compared to other areas of room 500. In the situation shown in FIGs. 5A and 5B, the space underneath room blowers 1104H, 11041, 1104K and 1104L may be identified or defined, by room analysis engine 1330, as IRC region 505, since it is the region or area identified as being the location of object 600B. In the FIGs. 5A and 5B, IRC region 505 is shown as overlapping at least partially with the location of patient 600A. By increasing air speed in IRC region 505 contaminant removal therefrom is achieved at a higher rate.

[0081] Air conditioning system 1000 is thus operable (i.e., configured or adapted) to spatially vary and/or adaptively control air flow patterns in virtual cavities of lower airspace plenum 502. The virtual cavities may for example be defined as extending from the drop ceiling to the room's floor surface. The boundaries of the cavities in x-y direction may be defined by the corresponding geometric coverage of the filtration units 1100.

[0082] As exemplified in FIGs. 4A-5B, air conditioning system 1000 is operable to track a position of object 600 in room 500 and operate room blowers and, optionally, other air conditioning equipment accordingly in a way that reduces the probability of, for example, hospital staff - patient cross-contamination.

[0083] Additional reference is made to FIGs. 6A and 6B. Room 500 may be partitioned into two or more separate areas, e.g., a treatment area 520 and a restroom area 530. In some embodiments, one or more valves 1070 may be employed to regulate optional airflow between treatment area 520 and restroom area 530. In some embodiments, an area that can be considered to be more prone to contamination such as a restroom area may be treated differently than an area considered to be comparatively less prone to contamination. For instance, air of restroom area 530 may be recirculated less than air of treatment area 520. Optionally, air of restroom area 530 may not be recirculated and all or substantially all of the air leaving restroom area 530 may be expelled without recirculation back to restroom area 530. Clearly, the above example is not limited to restroom/non-restroom examples, and alternative configurations may be possible.

[0084] Optionally, air conditioning management module 1300 may control operation of room blowers 1104 to cause air to move at lower velocity in a separate area in which an object is located as opposed to a situation in which no object was located in the same separate area. Optionally, air conditioning management module 1300 may control operation of room blowers 1104 to cause air to move at higher velocity in the separate area in which an object is located as a opposed to a situation in which no object was located in the same separate area.

[0085] In the example shown, restroom area 530 may only be accessible by a user (e.g., patient 600A) from treatment area 520 via a partitioning in-room door arrangement (not shown). The in-room door arrangement may be implemented as a single door or as a double door, e.g., similarly to double door arrangement 510. As already indicated herein, sensors 1200 may track movement of persons in room. Room analysis engine 1330 may be operable to determine whether a person is located in room 500 and in which area. In the scenario shown in FIGs. 6A and 6B at timestamp t=t3>t2, patient 600A is located in restroom area 530. Sensors 1200 may sense a physical characteristic of restroom area 530 and provide a corresponding sensor output 1202 for analysis by air conditioning management module 1300. Analysis application 1333 may analyze sensor output 1202 and locate patient 600A in restroom area 530. As a result thereof, room blowers 1104 may be controlled to reduce speed of airflow in restroom area 530, for example, to reduce noise in restroom area 530 while patient 600A is located therein. After patient 600A returned to treatment area 520, speed of airflow in restroom area 530 may be increased, e.g., to increase the number of times air of restroom area 530 is circulated through the corresponding filtration units and/or to expel restroom air as quickly as possible to the environment. [0086] Reverting to FIGs. 1 and 2, the plurality of room blowers 1104 are arranged in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to a main blower unit 560 which blows air into upper airspace plenum 501. In some embodiments, main blower unit 560 can comprise a plurality of blowers and, optionally filters. In an embodiment, a dynamic air pressure that can be provided by main blower unit 560 is lower (e.g., by at least 50%) than a combined dynamic air pressure that can be provided by plurality of room blowers 1104. As result thereof, the plurality of blowers may generate a negative pressure in upper airspace plenum 501, which is located between the output of main blower unit 560 and the plurality of additional room blowers 1104. In some embodiments, main blower unit 560 may comprise a pre-filter 562 whose output can be referred to as prefiltered air undergoing additional filtration by filters 1102.

[0087] Return airduct 1060 may fluidly couple the lower plenum airspace with the upper plenum airspace. During operation of main blower unit 560 and the plurality of room blowers 1104 , a pressure difference is created between the upper and the lower airspace plenum. The pressure in lower airspace plenum 502 may be significantly higher than the pressure in upper airspace plenum 501.

[0088] The pressure difference achieved between upper and lower airspace plenum

501 and 502 causes a pressure imbalance or state of non-equilibrium which, in turn, causes the replacement of air in room at a comparatively high rate. The created state of non-equilibrium may generate inertial forces causing air replacement at the comparatively higher rate.

[0089] For example, the rate of air replacement may be higher than the rate that may be obtainable in cases where an air conditioning system is used that does not include upper airspace plenum 501, given for example the same main blower unit 560 operating parameter values, room conditions, room size, and pressure drop imposed by filters.

[0090] The pressure difference between upper and lower airspace plenum 501 and

502 may range, for example, from 1 to 4 Pascal, and air in room 500 may be replaced, for example, at least 100, at least 110, at least 120, at least 130, at least 140, or at least 150 times per hour. By employing the room blowers 1104 and creating upper airspace plenum 501 and lower airspace plenum 502, rate of air circulation can be increased without requiring adjustment of the operational parameter values of main blower unit

560.

[0091] In some embodiments, air conditioning system 1000 may be configured such that it does not require double door arrangement 510, e.g., as described herein. Optionally, a single door arrangement may be employed. For example, suction may be applied when a sensor 1200 senses the opening of a door, window or any action that creates fluid communication between room 500 and an area outside room 500. The area outside room may be a public space such as, for example, a hospital corridor. Suction may be applied to prevent cross-contamination such that opening of the door of room 500 does not adversely affect the level of contamination outside and/or inside room 500. Suction may be achieved by reversing blowing direction of room blowers 1104 which are located, for example, near the door. For example, blowing direction of room blowers 1104A-C may be reversed to create a suction force forcing air from within the room and near the door, back into upper airspace plenum 501. Clearly, blowing direction of additional or other room blowers 1104 may be reversed for creating the required suction force and these blowers do not necessarily have to be located in vicinity (above) the door. In some embodiments, responsive to detecting the opening of the room's door (or any other opening for that matter), suction via return airduct 1060 may be engaged or, if already engaged, increased, to prevent cross-contamination of the space outside room 500. In some embodiments, the blowing direction of one or more room blowers 1104 may be retained or merely stopped, and suction via return airduct(s) 1060 may be engaged or increased such to prevent cross-contamination.

[0092] In some examples, air may be replaced at a rate which is at least 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 20 times the replacement rate than can be achieved by conventional AC systems.

[0093] In some examples, by employing the AC system, the amount of contaminants that can be obtained in a room treated thereby may be lower by at least 20%, at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80%, or at least 90% compared to the amount of contaminants that can be achieved when employing a conventional AC system.

[0094] In an embodiment, air conditioning system 1000 is installable as an add-on to an existing room air conditioning system comprising main blower unit 560, without requiring making modifications to the existing system. In other words, an existing air conditioning system may be retrofitted with air conditioning system 1000 as an "add-on system". Accordingly, air conditioning system 1000 can be viewed as a modular add-on to an existing air conditioning system. For instance, components of air conditioning system 1000 can be modularly exchangeable to replace the upper airspace plenum. In some embodiments, different rooms of the same premises may be individually retrofitted with air conditioning system 1000. For example, a first room may be equipped with a first air conditioning system 1000A (not shown), and a second room, which may be located next to the first room, may be equipped with a second air conditioning system 1000B (not shown), independent of the first air conditioning system 1000A.

[0095] Optionally, air conditioning system 1000 or at least parts can be modularly exchangeable. Optionally, the ducts of air conditioning system 1000 are not in fluid communication with the existing air conditioning system. For example, the air ducts of air conditioning system 1000 are disconnected from the existing air conditioning system, e.g., a hospital.

[0096] Operation of air conditioning system 1000 can be controlled independently from the existing air conditioning system. Installation of air conditioning system 1000 may be performed without requiring interruption of the existing air conditioning system. In an embodiment, air conditioning system 1000 may be self-contained. In an embodiment, air conditioning system 1000 allows transforming a given room into a controlled and monitored clean environment.

[0097] In an embodiment, air conditioning system 1000 may employ, for example, antibacterial floor coating, antibacterial walls coatings, return-air ducts, integration with the client existing air conditioning systems (including control), and partitioning of the systems interior (using detached partitions attached to the designated ceiling) to create clean indoor spaces in a manner that allows one to set room occupancy physical separation between hospital beds without damaging its cleanliness.

[0098] In some embodiments, crowdsourcing may be employed which may be input to room analysis engine 1330 for analysis thereby. For example, controller 1305 may control equipment of air conditioning system 1000 based on crowdsourced sensor data.

[0099] Additional reference is now made to FIG. 7. The method may include, as indicated by step 7100, sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room.

[0100] The method may further include, as indicated by step 7200, providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more of the sensed characteristics of the room. The method may include, as indicated by step 7300, analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result.

[0101] The method may further include, as indicated by step 7400, selectively controlling, based on the analysis result, the output airstream velocity of the plurality of blowers which are arranged such that the lower airspace plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of blowers.

[0102] Air conditioning system 1000 may be configurable to operate at various modes. For example, in a manual mode, at least some or all of the air conditioning system 1000 operating parameter values can be manually set by a user. In a semi-automatic mode, a user can select from a plurality of preset configurations. For example, a first preset configuration may pertain to "night operation", a second preset configuration may pertain to "day operation", a third preset may pertain to the treatment of a certain clinical condition during the entire day; and/or the like. In an automatic mode, air conditioning system 1000 is operable to adaptively adjust the operating parameter values based on data received at AC management module 1300 according to at least one AC operating criterion. The data may for example be descriptive of AC equipment performance, a patient's clinical condition and/or room condition. For example, data descriptive of contamination, room condition, etc. may be used to adaptively adjust the operating parameter values of air conditioning system 1000 according to a predefined task. [0103] The at least one AC operating criterion can be based on artificial intelligence functionalities. Optionally, adjustment of the operating parameter values can be accomplished by providing AC management module 1300 with such artificial intelligence functionalities. It is noted that hybrid operating modes may be employable as well. For instance, certain components of air conditioning system 1000 may be operated in the manual mode, and certain other components may be operated in the automatic mode. Switching from one operating mode to another may be performed manually or automatically.

[0104] Additional Examples:

[0105] Example 1 is an air conditioning system for the treatment of air and removal of contaminants from a room, the AC system comprising: a controller; a plurality of room blowers that are selectively controllable by the controller; at least one filter which is arranged downstream and in fluid communication of a blowing direction of the plurality of room blowers; at least one sensor that is operable to provide a sensor output descriptive of a room condition; wherein the controller receives the sensor output and selectively controls, based on the received sensor output the plurality of room blowers to obtain desired room blower output airstream characteristics (e.g., a desired airstream velocity at the room blower's output).

[0106] In Example 2, the subject matter of example 1 optionally includes wherein the at least one sensor is operable to detect the presence of a person in the room and further operable to the track movement of the person in the room.

[0107] In Example 3, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 2 optionally includes, wherein the at least one sensor is operable to provide a sensor output descriptive of a region of increased risk of contamination (IRC) in the room.

[0108] In Example 4, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 3 optionally includes, wherein the controller controls the airstream velocity generated by the plurality of room blowers such to remove contaminants from the IRC region of the room. [0109] In Example 5, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 4 optionally includes, wherein the controller controls the airstream velocity generated by the plurality of room blowers to create an isolation space around a person located in the room, wherein the isolation space includes significantly less contaminants than a remainder cavity of the room.

[0110] In Example 6, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 5 optionally includes, wherein the room comprises an upper and lower airspace plenum, and wherein the plurality of room blowers are arranged in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to a main blower unit which blows air into the upper airspace plenum.

[0111] In Example 7, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 6 optionally includes, a return airduct which fluidly couples the lower plenum airspace with the upper plenum airspace.

[0112] In Example 8, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 1 to 7 optionally includes, wherein a flow rate that can be provided by the main blower unit is lower than a combined flow rate that can be provided by the plurality of room blowers.

[0113] In Example 9, the subject matter of example of any one or more of examples 7 to 8 optionally includes, wherein during operation of the main blower unit and the plurality of room blowers, a pressure difference is created between the upper and the lower airspace plenum, wherein the pressure difference causes circulation of air in room at a significantly higher rate than at a rate can be obtained if the AC system included only the only the main blower unit.

[0114] Examples 10 includes a method for controlling, by an air conditioning system, an environment in a room having an upper and a lower plenum airspace, the method comprising: sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room; providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more sensed characteristics of the room; analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result; and selectively controlling by a controller, based on the analysis result, the plurality of room blowers to generate a desired output airstream velocity, which plurality of room blowers are arranged such that the lower plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of room blowers.

[0115] Example 11 is an AC system forgenerating a controlled environment in a room, the system comprising one or more processors and one or more memories to cause the system to perform the following: sensing one or more characteristics of a condition of a room; providing a sensor output which is descriptive of the one or more sensed characteristics of the room; analyzing the sensor output to yield an analysis result; and selectively controlling by a controller, based on the analysis result, the plurality of room blowers to generate a desired output airstream velocity, which plurality of room blowers are arranged such that the lower plenum of the room is in parallel downstream fluid communication relative to the plurality of room blowers.

[0116] Example 12 is a computer-program product with a program code for the execution of the method steps according to example 10, wherein the computer program product is executed on a computer.

[0117] Example 13 is a computer program product that is directly loadable into an internal memory of a digital computer, the computer program product comprising software code portions to perform the steps of example 10 when the computer program product is run on a computer.

[0118] Example 13 concerns the use of a system of any one or all of the examples 1 to 9 or example 11 for creating a controlled environment in a room.

[0119] Any digital computer system, module and/or engine exemplified herein can be configured or otherwise programmed to implement a method disclosed herein, and to the extent that the system, module and/or engine is configured to implement such a method, it is within the scope and spirit of the disclosure. Once the system, module and/or engine are programmed to perform particular functions pursuant to computer readable and executable instructions from program software that implements a method disclosed herein, it in effect becomes a special purpose computer particular to embodiments of the method disclosed herein. The methods and/or processes disclosed herein may be implemented as a computer program product that may be tangibly embodied in an information carrier including, for example, in a non-transitory tangible computer-readable and/or non-transitory tangible machine-readable storage device. The computer program product may directly loadable into an internal memory of a digital computer, comprising software code portions for performing the methods and/or processes as disclosed herein.

[0120] Additionally or alternatively, the methods and/or processes disclosed herein may be implemented as a computer program that may be intangibly embodied by a computer readable signal medium. A computer readable signal medium may include a propagated data signal with computer readable program code embodied therein, for example, in baseband or as part of a carrier wave. Such a propagated signal may take any of a variety of forms, including, but not limited to, electro-magnetic, optical, or any suitable combination thereof. A computer readable signal medium may be any computer readable medium that is not a non-transitory computer or machine-readable storage device and that can communicate, propagate, or transport a program for use by or in connection with apparatuses, systems, platforms, methods, operations and/or processes discussed herein.

[0121] The terms "non-transitory computer-readable storage device" and "non- transitory machine-readable storage device" encompasses distribution media, intermediate storage media, execution memory of a computer, and any other medium or device capable of storing for later reading by a computer program implementing embodiments of a method disclosed herein. A computer program product can be deployed to be executed on one computer or on multiple computers at one site or distributed across multiple sites and interconnected by one or more communication networks.

[0122] These computer readable and executable instructions may be provided to a processor of a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute via the processor of the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus, create means for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. These computer readable and executable program instructions may also be stored in a computer readable storage medium that can direct a computer, a programmable data processing apparatus, and/or other devices to function in a particular manner, such that the computer readable storage medium having instructions stored therein comprises an article of manufacture including instructions which implement aspects of the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.

[0123] The computer readable and executable instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other device to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other device to produce a computer implemented process, such that the instructions which execute on the computer, other programmable apparatus, or other device implement the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.

[0124] In the discussion, unless otherwise stated, adjectives such as "substantially" and "about" that modify a condition or relationship characteristic of a feature or features of an embodiment of the invention, are to be understood to mean that the condition or characteristic is defined to within tolerances that are acceptable for operation of the embodiment for an application for which it is intended.

[0125] Unless otherwise specified, the terms 'about' and/or 'close' with respect to a magnitude or a numerical value may imply to be within an inclusive range of -10% to +10% of the respective magnitude or value.

[0126] "Coupled with" can mean indirectly or directly "coupled with".

[0127] It is important to note that the method may include is not limited to those diagrams or to the corresponding descriptions. For example, the method may include additional or even fewer processes or operations in comparison to what is described in the figures. In addition, embodiments of the method are not necessarily limited to the chronological order as illustrated and described herein. [0128] Discussions herein utilizing terms such as, for example, "processing", "computing", "calculating", "determining", "establishing", "analyzing", "checking", "estimating", "deriving", "selecting", "inferring" or the like, may refer to operation(s) and/or process(es) of a computer, a computing platform, a computing system, or other electronic computing device, that manipulate and/or transform data represented as physical (e.g., electronic) quantities within the computer's registers and/or memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer's registers and/or memories or other information storage medium that may store instructions to perform operations and/or processes. The term determining may, where applicable, also refer to "heuristically determining".

[0129] It should be noted that where an embodiment refers to a condition of "above a threshold", this should not be construed as excluding an embodiment referring to a condition of "equal or above a threshold". Analogously, where an embodiment refers to a condition "below a threshold", this should not to be construed as excluding an embodiment referring to a condition "equal or below a threshold". It is clear that should a condition be interpreted as being fulfilled if the value of a given parameter is above a threshold, then the same condition is considered as not being fulfilled if the value of the given parameter is equal or below the given threshold. Conversely, should a condition be interpreted as being fulfilled if the value of a given parameter is equal or above a threshold, then the same condition is considered as not being fulfilled if the value of the given parameter is below (and only below) the given threshold.

[0130] It should be understood that where the claims or specification refer to "a" or "an" element and/or feature, such reference is not to be construed as there being only one of that element. Hence, reference to "an element" or "at least one element" for instance may also encompass "one or more elements".

[0131] Terms used in the singular shall also include the plural, except where expressly otherwise stated or where the context otherwise requires.

[0132] In the description and claims of the present application, each of the verbs, "comprise" "include" and "have", and conjugates thereof, are used to indicate that the object or objects of the verb are not necessarily a complete listing of components, elements or parts of the subject or subjects of the verb.

[0133] Unless otherwise stated, the use of the expression "and/or" between the last two members of a list of options for selection indicates that a selection of one or more of the listed options is appropriate and may be made. Further, the use of the expression "and/or" may be used interchangeably with the expressions "at least one of the following", "any one of the following" or "one or more of the following", followed by a listing of the various options.

[0134] It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments or example, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, example and/or option, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub-combination or as suitable in any other described embodiment, example or option of the invention. Certain features described in the context of various embodiments, examples and/or optional implementation are not to be considered essential features of those embodiments, unless the embodiment, example and/or optional implementation is inoperative without those elements.

[0135] It is noted that the term "exemplary" is used herein to refer to examples of embodiments and/or implementations, and is not meant to necessarily convey a more- desirable use-case.

[0136] It is noted that the terms "in some embodiments", "according to some embodiments", "for example", "e.g.", "for instance" and "optionally" may herein be used interchangeably.

[0137] The number of elements shown in the Figures should by no means be construed as limiting and is for illustrative purposes only.

[0138] Throughout this application, various embodiments may be presented in and/or relate to a range format. It should be understood that the description in range format is merely for convenience and brevity and should not be construed as an inflexible limitation on the scope of the embodiments. Accordingly, the description of a range should be considered to have specifically disclosed all the possible subranges as well as individual numerical values within that range. For example, description of a range such as from 1 to 6 should be considered to have specifically disclosed subranges such as from 1 to 3, from 1 to 4, from 1 to 5, from 2 to 4, from 2 to 6, from 3 to 6 etc., as well as individual numbers within that range, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. This applies regardless of the breadth of the range.

[0139] Where applicable, whenever a numerical range is indicated herein, it is meant to include any cited numeral (fractional or integral) within the indicated range.

[0140] The phrases "ranging/ranges between" a first indicate number and a second indicate number and "ranging/ranges from" a first indicate number "to" a second indicate number are used herein interchangeably and are meant to include the first and second indicated numbers and all the fractional and integral numerals there between.

[0141] It is noted that the terms "operable to" can encompass the meaning of the term "adapted or configured to". In other words, a machine "operable to" perform a task can in some embodiments, embrace a mere capability (e.g., "adapted") to perform the function and, in some other embodiments, a machine that is actually made (e.g., "configured") to perform the function.

[0142] While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of some of the embodiments.

BO