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Title:
ALERT DEVICE AND SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/248001
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An alert system for a vessel, the alert system having one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices, a location module to determine a location of the vessel, and an interface to display an alert, wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface, and a location of the vessel at the time of the signal is associated with the alert.

Inventors:
FOX SONJA (AU)
Application Number:
AU2019/050608
Publication Date:
December 17, 2020
Filing Date:
June 13, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SYRENS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
G08B21/08; B63C9/00; G08B25/10
Foreign References:
CN208096236U2018-11-16
US20060012483A12006-01-19
GB2537019A2016-10-05
US8659432B22014-02-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WYNNES PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS PTY LTD (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An alert device having

an antenna for communicating with one or more antennas on a vessel;

a sensor to detect falls;

a processor to process signals from the fall sensor, and to control the antenna; and

a battery.

2. An alert device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the sensor to detect falls is an accelerometer.

3. An alert device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the accelerometer is adapted to detect a predetermined level of deceleration, or a predetermined level of acceleration.

4. An alert device as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the alert device includes a wrist band.

5. An alert device as claimed in claim 4, wherein wrist band includes two portions adjustable relative to each other and attachable to each other to suit a user’s wrist size.

6. An alert device as claimed in claim 5, wherein the two portions include a closure to attach the two portions together, and wherein the closure requires a tool to connect and/or disconnect the two portions of the wrist band.

7. An alert device as claimed in any one of claims 4 to 6, wherein the wrist band includes one or more tamper members adapted to detect tampering of the wrist band, and wherein the processor is adapted to detect the state of the one or more tamper members.

8. An alert device as claimed in claim 7, wherein the one or more tamper members include conductive material, which open a circuit when severed. 9. An alert system for a vessel, the alert system having

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface, and a location of the vessel at the time of the signal is associated with the alert.

10. An alert system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the location of the vessel at the time of the signal is displayed on the interface.

11. An alert system for a vessel, the alert system having

one or more alert device, each alert device having

an antenna for transmitting a signal;

a sensor to detect falls;

a processor to process signals from the fall sensor, and to control the antenna; and

a battery;

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface along with a location of the vessel at the time of the signal.

12. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 11 , wherein the location module is a global navigation satellite system receiver.

13. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 12, wherein the interface is adapted to display a low battery alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a low battery signal from one of the one or more alert devices. 14. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 13, wherein the interface is adapted to display a tamper alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a tamper signal from one of the one or more alert devices.

15. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein the interface is adapted to display a remote alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a remote signal from one of the one or more alert devices to signify that the corresponding alert device is no longer in the proximity of a user.

16. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 15, wherein the one or more antenna are a plurality of antennas, each adapted to determine a signal strength of a signal transmitted by each of the one or more alert devices, and wherein the interface is adapted to display a location of each of the one or more alert devices based on the signal strength of a signal transmitted by a corresponding alert devices, as determined by the plurality of antennas.

17. An alert system as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 16, wherein the system includes one or more antennas or one or more RFID or NFC readers in proximity to an exit/entry of the vessel to account for users wearing alert devices entering or exiting the vessel.

18. A vessel having an alert system, the alert system having

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface along with a location of the vessel at the time of the signal.

19. A vessel as claimed in claim 18, wherein the vessel is a boat.

20. A vessel as claimed in claim 18, wherein the vessel is a cruise ship.

Description:
ALERT DEVICE AND SYSTEM

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to an alert device and system. The present invention has particular but not exclusive application for a man overboard alert device and system for use on large ships. The patent specification describes this use but it is by way of example only and the invention is not limited to this use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Crew members and passengers can fall off ships for a number of reasons, both accidental and deliberate. Falling overboard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen at sea, with only a quarter of victims being rescued. Larger ships are slow to manoeuvre and stop and by the time the ship has stopped, the victim may be out of sight, provided that the fall was noticed in the first place. In colder climates time can be of the essence and a delay in retrieving a fall victim can be fatal.

A problem with overboard falls is that a lot of resources are used to try to find and save the victim, ships can be severely delayed and such incidents can lead to bad press coverage for cruise ships.

There are a number of systems that can keep crew members and passengers safe. Some cruise ships use surveillance, however, operators looking at a bank of monitors can become fatigued and incidents can easily be missed. Additionally, victims that deliberately jump overboard can find ways around existing systems and can make it very difficult to notice that they are missing.

Personal emergency beacons can also be used. Emergency beacons operate via satellite frequency and can be detected anywhere in the world. A problem with emergency beacons is that they are bulky, have limited battery life and typically have to be manually activated. Additionally, accidental activation of emergency beacons can be very costly.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to overcome or at least alleviate one or more of the above mentioned problems with man overboard incidents and/or provide the consumer with a useful or commercial choice. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention broadly resides in an alert device having an antenna for communicating with one or more antennas on a vessel;

a sensor to detect falls;

a processor to process signals from the fall sensor, and to control the antenna; and

a battery.

Preferably the alert device includes a wrist band. Preferably the wrist band enables a user to wear the device on a wrist. The wrist band preferably includes two portions. Preferably the two portions can be adjusted relative to each other and attached to each other to suit a user’s wrist size. Preferably the two portions include a closure to attach the two portions together. Preferably the closure requires a tool to connect and/or disconnect the two portions of the wrist band.

Preferably the wrist band is made of flexible material. Alternatively, the wrist band is made of multiple portions movably connected to each other. Preferably the wrist band includes one or more tamper members adapted to detect tampering of the wrist band. In one embodiment, the tamper members include conductive material, which open a circuit when severed. Preferably the processor is adapted to detect the state of the one or more tamper members. Preferably each portion of the wrist band includes a loop of wire that opens a circuit when severed.

The sensor to detect falls is preferably an accelerometer. Preferably the accelerometer is adapted to detect a predetermined level of deceleration. Preferably the predetermined level of deceleration indicates a fall. Preferably the accelerometer is adapted to detect a predetermined level of acceleration. Preferably the predetermined level of acceleration indicates a fall. Preferably the accelerometer is adapted to detect a predetermined length of time of a predetermined level of acceleration. Preferably the predetermined length of time of a predetermined level of acceleration indicates a fall.

Preferably the antenna is a LoRa (Long Range) antenna. More preferably the antenna is a low power LoRa antenna. Preferably the antenna uses sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands in the range of 160 MHz to 930MHZ. More preferably the antenna uses the sub-gigahertz radio frequency 169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz and/or 915 MHz. Preferably the antenna is adapted to transmit a signal which can be triangulated from at least 1 km. In another embodiment, the antenna is a Bluetooth antenna. Alternatively, the alert device additionally includes a Bluetooth antenna. Preferably the Bluetooth antenna is a Bluetooth Low Energy antenna.

In one embodiment, were the alert device has a LoRa antenna and a Bluetooth antenna, the LoRa antenna is used to transmit a signal if the alert device has detected a fall, and the Bluetooth antenna is used to transmit a signal while the alert device has not detected a fall.

Preferably the battery is a button cell battery. Preferably the battery is a single cell battery. Preferably the battery is replaceable and/or rechargeable. In one embodiment, the battery is a lithium ion battery. In another embodiment, the alert device includes a lithium ion battery in addition to the battery. Preferably the processor is adapted to determine a level of charge of the battery.

Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit signals. Preferably the processor is adapted to receive signals from the antenna. Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit a predetermined signal if a fall is detected by the fall sensor. Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit a predetermined signal if the processor detects that the one or more tamper members have been tampered with. Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit a predetermined signal if the processor detects that the charge level of the battery is at or below a predetermined level. Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit a predetermined signal if the processor detects a predetermined signal received by the antenna.

Preferably the alert device includes a proximity sensor. Preferably the processor is adapted to determine a state of the proximity sensor. Preferably the processor is adapted to control the antenna to transmit a predetermined signal if the processor detects that the alert device is no longer in the proximity of a user. In one embodiment the proximity sensor is an optical sensor.

Preferably the alert device includes an indication device. Preferably the indication device indicates a status of the alert device. Preferably, the indication device is a light. More preferably the indication device is an LED. In another embodiment, the indication device is a screen.

Preferably the alert device includes a Radio-frequency identification (RFID) antenna and/or a Near-field communication (NFC) antenna. Preferably the RFID antenna and/or NFC antenna are adapted to work with contactless payment systems, access control systems and the like. Preferably the RFID antenna and/or NFC antenna can also be used to account for users in proximity to an RFID or NFC reader.

Preferably, the one or more antennas on the vessel are multiple antennas. Preferably the vessel is a ship. More preferably the vessel is a cruise ship In another aspect, the present invention broadly resides in an alert system for a vessel, the alert system having

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface along with a location of the vessel at the time of the signal.

Preferably each of the one or more alert devices is an alert device as described in this specification.

Preferably the location module is a global navigation satellite system receiver such as a GPS receiver or a GLONASS receiver

In a further aspect, the present invention broadly resides in an alert system for a vessel, the alert system having

one or more alert device, each alert device having

an antenna for transmitting a signal;

a sensor to detect falls;

a processor to process signals from the fall sensor, and to control the antenna; and

a battery;

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface along with a location of the vessel at the time of the signal. Preferably each of the one or more alert devices is an alert device as described in this specification. Preferably the one or more alert devices are wearable by passengers and/or crew of the vessel.

Preferably the location module is a global navigation satellite system receiver such as a GPS receiver or a GLONASS receiver.

Preferably, the signal is a signal indicating that a user of the one or more alert devices has fallen off the vessel.

Preferably the one or more alert devices are adapted to additionally transmit a low battery signal. Preferably the interface is adapted to display a low battery alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a low battery signal from one of the one or more alert devices.

Preferably each alert device is adapted to additionally transmit a unique identifying signal so that the interface can display from which one of the one or more alert devices a signal has been received.

Preferably the one or more alert devices are adapted to additionally transmit a tamper signal. Preferably the interface is adapted to display a tamper alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a tamper signal from one of the one or more alert devices.

Preferably the one or more alert devices are adapted to additionally transmit a remote signal if the alert device is no longer in the proximity of a user. Preferably the interface is adapted to display a remote alert in response to the one or more antenna receiving a remote signal from one of the one or more alert devices.

Preferably the one or more antenna are a plurality of antennas. Preferably each of the plurality of antennas is adapted to determine a signal strength of a signal transmitted by each of the one or more alert devices. Preferably the interface is adapted to display a location of each of the one or more alert devices based on the signal strength of a signal transmitted by a corresponding alert devices, as determined by the plurality of antennas.

Preferably the one or more antennas are adapted to transmit a signal. Preferably the antenna of each alert device is adapted to receive a signal. Preferably each of the one or more alert devices is adapted to issue an alert in response to receiving a predetermined signal. The alert may be a visual alert, an audible alert and/or a tactile alert. Alternatively, the system may include one or more additional antennas to transmit a signal to the one or more alert devices. In one embodiment, each alert device includes a receiving antenna to receive signals from the one or more antennas or from the one or more additional antennas.

In one embodiment, the system includes one or more exclusion antennas. Preferably, if an alert device is determined to be within a predetermined distance of the one or more exclusion antennas, a signal indicating that a user has fallen is ignored by the system.

Preferably, the system includes one or more antennas or one or more RFID or NFC readers in proximity to an exit/entry of the vessel to account for users wearing alert devices entering or exiting the vessel. In one embodiment, if an alert device is determined to be exiting the vessel, a signal is transmitted to the alert device to initiate a timer of a predetermined time. Preferably when the timer has reached zero, the alert device notifies the wearer. Preferably the alert device notifies the wearer by flashing a light, playing a sound and/or by vibrating. In this manner, the alert device can be used to remind a wearer to return to the vessel. Preferably if an alert device is determined to be entering the vessel, a signal is transmitted to the alert device to cancel the timer.

Preferably, the system includes one or more antennas or one or more RFID or NFC reader in proximity of staging areas and/or lifeboats to account for users wearing alert devices.

In another aspect, the present invention broadly resides in a vessel having an alert system, the alert system having

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface along with a location of the vessel at the time of the signal.

Preferably each of the one or more alert devices is an alert device as described in this specification. Preferably the one or more alert devices are wearable by passengers and/or crew of the vessel.

Preferably the location module is a global navigation satellite system receiver such as a GPS receiver or a GLONASS receiver

Preferably the vessel is a ship. More preferably the vessel is a cruise ship. In a further aspect, the present invention broadly resides in an alert system for a vessel, the alert system having

one or more antenna to receive a signal from one or more alert devices;

a location module to determine a location of the vessel; and

an interface to display an alert,

wherein in use, when a signal is received from one of the one or more alert devices, an alert is displayed on the interface, and a location of the vessel at the time of the signal is associated with the alert.

Preferably the location of the vessel at the time of the signal is displayed on the interface. Alternatively or additionally, the location of the vessel at the time of the signal may be transmitted to one or more mobile devices. Preferably the one or more mobile devices are used by rescue personnel. Preferably the one or more mobile devices are adapted to determine the direction of the signal that is received from the corresponding alert device.

The features described with respect to one aspect also apply where applicable to all other aspects of the invention. Furthermore, different combinations of described features are herein described and claimed even when not expressly stated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the present invention can be more readily understood reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention and wherein:

Figures 1 is an exploded view of an alert device according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a rear view of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a top perspective view of the alert device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a bottom perspective view of the alert device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is a schematic representation of an alert system according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 6 is a schematic representation of an alert system according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 7 is a schematic representation of a vessel with an alert system according to an embodiment of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to Figures 1 and 2 there is shown an exploded view of an alert device 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The alert device 10 has an antenna 12 for communicating with one or more antennas on a vessel (not shown). The alert device 10 has a sensor in the form of an accelerometer 14 to detect falls.

The alert device 10 has a processor 16 to process signals from the accelerometer 14. The processor 16 also controls the antenna 12 to transmit a signal to the one or more antennas on a vessel (not shown).

The alert device 10 has a battery 18. The battery 18 is held in place by a battery holder 20. The battery 18 can be replaced by opening a battery cover 22.

The alert device 10 has a proximity sensor in the form of a light sensor 24. The light sensor 24 is adapted to detect whether a user’s wrist (not shown) is in proximity to the alert device 10. The processor 16 processes signals from the light sensor 24 to determine whether a user’s wrist is in proximity to the alert device 10.

The alert device 10 has a wrist band 26 having a first portion 28 and a second portion 30. A closure 32 is adapted to attach the first portion 28 and the second portion 30 together. The closure 32 requires a tool to turn the closure 32 between an open position and a closed position.

The alert device 10 has a tamper members in the form of a loop of wire (not shown) in each portion 28,30 of the wrist band 26. The processor 16 can determine if a loop of wire has been severed.

The alert device 10 has an RFID antenna 34 and an NFC antenna 36, which are adapted to work with contactless payment systems, access control systems and the like (not shown).

The alert device 10 has an indicator in the form of an LED light 38. The LED light is adapted to indicate the status of the alert device 10. For example, an intermittent flash of the LED light 38 indicates that the alert device 10 is functional.

The processor 16 and the accelerometer 14 detect falls based on a predetermined amount of acceleration for a predetermined amount of time and a predetermined amount of deceleration. With reference to Figures 3 and 4, there is shown the alert device 10 of figures 1 and 2. The closure 32 is shown in the closed condition, attaching the first portion 28 of the wrist band 26 to the second portion 30 of the wrist band 26.

With reference to Figure 5 there is shown a schematic view of an alert system 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

The alert system 100 includes an alert device 110, which communicates via a LoRa (Long Range) antenna with a gateway 120 of the alert system 100. Signals received by the gateway 120 from the alert device are displayed as alerts on the bridge interface 130.

With reference to Figure 6, there is shown an alert system 200 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The alert system 200 has an alert device 210, which communicates via a LoRa (Long Range) antenna with an antenna 220 of the gateway 222. The gateway 222 includes a radio module 224 and a micro controller 226 to enable the antenna 220 to be controlled by a processor 228.

The gateway 222 also includes a global navigation satellite system receiver in the form of a GPS receiver 230. The GPS receiver 230 is adapted to determine a location of a vessel (not shown) which has the alert system 200.

The gateway 222 also includes a power supply 232 to supply power to the gateway 222.

The alert system 200 includes a bridge interface 240, which is adapted to display alerts based on signals received from the alert device 210.

In use, if a fall signal is received from the alert device 210, the processor 228 obtains a location of the vessel at the time of the fall signal from the GPS receiver 230. The processor 228 transmits the information to the bridge interface 240, as an alert which includes details about fall alert and the position of the vessel at the time of the alert.

If a low battery signal is received from the alert device 210, the processor 228 transmits the information to the bridge interface 240, as an alert which indicates that the alert device 210 has a low battery.

If a tamper signal is received from the alert device 210, the processor 228 transmits the information to the bridge interface 240, as an alert which indicates that the alert device 210 has been tampered with. The processor 228 also obtains a location of the vessel at the time of the tamper signal from the GPS receiver 230, this location can be retrieved from the processor 228 if required. With reference to Figure 7, there is shown a vessel in the form of a cruise ship 300. The cruise ship 300 includes an alert system 320. The alert system 320 includes multiple antennas 322, 324, 326 to receive signals from alert devices (not shown). The alert system can determine a location of an alert device by triangulating a signal from the alert device using the antennas 322,324,326.

The alert system 320 includes a global navigation satellite system receiver in the form of a GPS receiver 330.

The alert system also includes an additional antenna 340, which can account for users wearing alert devices located in a lifeboat 342.

The alert system also has an antenna 350 located at an entry point 352 to the ship, to account for users wearing alert devices entering and leaving the cruise ship 300. The antenna 350 is also adapted to send a signal to users wearing alert devices leaving the cruise ship 300, on receipt of the signal, the alert devices start a timer and on completion of the timer the alert devices provide the users a reminder to return to the cruise ship 300.

In the event that a user wearing an alert device falls of the ship, the alert device measures a predetermined amount of acceleration over a predetermined amount of time and transmits a fall signal. The processor 360 receives the signal, obtains a position of the cruise ship 300 from the GPS receiver 330 and displays an alert on an interface in the form of a bridge interface 370. Rescue operations can then be initiated. When a fall signal has been transmitted, the alert device continues to transmit a signal which can be triangulated to help find the user that has fallen off the cruise ship 300.

ADVANTAGES

An advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes being able to triangulate signals from a LoRa antenna over large distances (up to 10km). Another advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes sending a signal if the alert device is taken off or tampered with. A further advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes sending a signal when the battery is low. An advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes having an RFID or NFC antenna for use as payment means or access control. Another advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes accounting for users, and avoiding manual counting errors. A further advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes ignoring signals if they occur in a predetermined location (e.g. jumping into a ships swimming pool). A further advantage of the preferred embodiment of the alert device includes reminding passengers to return to the vessel.

VARIATIONS

While the foregoing has been given by way of illustrative example of this invention, all such and other modifications and variations thereto as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of this invention as is herein set forth.

Throughout the description and claims of this specification the word “comprise” and variations of that word such as“comprises” and“comprising”, are not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps.