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Title:
A DIGITAL LOCK ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/135716
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A digital lock assembly, comprising: a casing that comprises at least one surface, a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug, wherein the plug comprises: a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and a plurality of shear lines, wherein each of the plurality of shear line comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes; wherein the at least one surface of the casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, and the entrance is either flushed to the opening or is completely or partially positioned within the casing. The digital mechanism of the present disclosure not only utilizes the mechanical lock as a backup, but also maintains the slim and compact structure of the digital lock assembly.

Inventors:
CHEN, Zhi Wen (513 Building 9, Rongcun CommunityShiyun Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen Guangdong, CN)
YANG, Chun Ming (Group 1 of Xincang Village, Miaoshi TownCili County, Hunan, CN)
Application Number:
SG2019/050011
Publication Date:
July 11, 2019
Filing Date:
January 08, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
IGLOOHOME PTE. LTD. (67 Ayer Rajah Crescent, #03-25, Singapore 0, 139950, SG)
International Classes:
E05B49/00; E05B15/08; E05B17/14; E05B9/04; E05B27/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YUSARN AUDREY (24 Raffles Place, #27-01 Clifford Centre, Singapore 1, 048621, SG)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A digital lock assembly, comprising:

a casing that comprises at least one surface,

a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug, wherein the plug comprises: a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and

a plurality of shear lines, wherein each of the plurality of shear line comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes;

wherein the front surface of the casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, and the entrance is either flushed to the opening or located within the casing.

2. The digital lock assembly of claim 1 , further comprises a cover removably attachable to the casing, the cover operable to conceal the opening.

3. The digital lock assembly of claim 2, wherein the cover comprises a ferromagnetic material.

4. The digital lock assembly of claim 3, further comprising at least one magnetic component that is configured to be attached to the casing, and is operable to interact with the cover, preferably causing a magnetic effect to close the opening.

5. The digital lock assembly of claim 3, wherein the ferromagnetic material is configured to be in a shape of a circular strip.

6. The digital lock assembly of claim 1 , wherein the plug comprises four shear lines, and each of the four shear lines comprises three tumbler holes.

7. The digital lock assembly of claim 4, wherein the digital lock assembly comprises three magnetic components that are configured to be attached to the at least one surface.

8. The digital lock assembly of claim 3, wherein the ferromagnetic material is selected from the group consisting of iron, nickel, cobalt and any combination thereof.

9. The digital lock assembly of claim 3, wherein the cover is operable to close the opening in a snug manner.

10. The digital lock assembly of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of digital access methods, wherein the plurality of digital access methods is selected from the group consisting of password-based access method, RFID (radio frequency identification) card-based access method, matrix barcode-based access method, finger print-based access method and any combination thereof.

11. A digital lock assembly, comprising:

a casing that comprises at least one surface,

a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug, wherein the plug comprises: a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and

a plurality of shear lines, wherein each of the plurality of shear lines comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes;

wherein the front surface of the casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, the entrance is at the same height as the opening or the location of the entrance is such that a depression is formed between at least one surface and the keyway entrance.

12. A plug for use with a pin tumbler lock, the plug comprises a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and

a plurality of shear lines,

wherein each of the plurality of shear lines comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes.

13. The plug of claim 12, wherein the pin tumbler lock is fitted into a lock casing, wherein the lock casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, wherein the entrance is substantially flushed with a surface of the casing.

14. The plug of claim 12 or 13, wherein the lock casing is suitable for use in a digital lock assembly.

Description:
A DIGITAL LOCK ASSEMBLY

TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosure relates to a lock device or assembly, and in particular, a digital lock assembly.

BACKGROUND ART

The following discussion of the background to the disclosure is intended to facilitate understanding of the present disclosure. However, it should be appreciated that the discussion is not an acknowledgment or admission that any of the material referred to was published, known or a part of the common general knowledge in any jurisdiction as at the priority date of the application.

Digital lock refers to lock device or assembly that can perform locking and unlocking operations without a traditional physical key. For example, some digital locks feature a numerical keypad that allows users to open the digital locks with a predetermined user code which provide secure access to authorized users using unique codes that can be sent to the authorized users’ electronic devices over messaging protocols such as e-mail or SMS. Some digital locks are configured to be able to grant or deny access remotely via software installed on the electronic devices, such as a mobile device. Some digital locks include a built-in communication module capable of signal communication via protocols such as WIFI™ or BLUETOOTH™ connection that allows for monitoring features such as access notifications or cameras to show the person requesting access; some advanced digital locks provide a variety of access methods (e.g., password/code, RFID (radio frequency identification) card, finger print and smart tag) to accommodate each user’s individual preference and lifestyle. Digital locks capable of communication with mobile device or able to recognized authorized users are also referred to as “smart locks” or“intelligent locks”. Despite the“digital”,“smart” and“intelligent” features, some users may prefer such digital lock assemblies to incorporate a mechanical lock. The mechanical lock can be used to override the other digital functions to perform the locking and unlocking operations. For example, when (i) users forgot the password/code, or (ii) the digital lock (or the smart phone that is required to open digital lock) runs of battery, or (iii) the digital/smart/intelligent mechanisms malfunction, the mechanical lock can be utilized as a backup option to operate the digital lock assembly.

However, as mechanical locks (e.g., pin tumbler lock, cylinder lock, deadbolt lock) are relatively bulky in size, integrating such mechanical locks into the digital lock assembly inadvertently results in the dimensions of such digital lock assembly to increase. Moreover, as the digital lock is usually slim and compact in shape, integrating such mechanical locks affects the form factor of digital lock assemblies, requires more space and effort for installation, and might even block user’s physical movement in front of the lock assemblies.

Thus, there exists a need to develop an improved digital lock or assembly that incorporates a mechanical lock unit, while alleviating at least some of the technical problems identified above.

SUMMARY

According to an aspect of the present disclosure, a digital lock assembly, comprising: a casing that comprises at least one surface, a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug, wherein the plug comprises: a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and a plurality of shear lines, wherein each of the plurality of shear line comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes; wherein the at least one surface of the casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, and the entrance is either flushed to the opening or is positioned within the casing. In some embodiments, the surface further comprises a cover removably attachable to the casing, the cover operable to conceal the opening.

In some embodiments, the cover comprises a ferromagnetic material.

In some embodiments, the digital lock assembly further comprises at least one magnetic component that is configured to be attached to the casing, and is operable to interact, preferably to produce a magnetic attraction effect with the cover to close the opening.

In some embodiments, the ferromagnetic material is configured to be in a shape of a circular strip.

In some embodiments, the plug comprises four shear lines, and each of the four shear lines comprises three tumbler holes.

In some embodiments, the digital lock assembly comprises three magnetic components that are configured to be attached to the at least one surface.

In some embodiments, the ferromagnetic material is selected from the group consisting of iron, nickel, cobalt and any combination thereof.

In some embodiments, the cover is operable to close the opening in a snug manner.

In some embodiments, the digital lock assembly further comprises a plurality of digital access mechanisms, wherein the plurality of digital access mechanisms is selected from the group consisting of password-based access mechanism, RFID (radio frequency identification) card-based access mechanism, matrix barcode-based access mechanism, biometric access mechanism and any combination thereof. In some embodiments, the biometric access mechanism may include a finger print-based access mechanism.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a digital lock assembly, comprising: a casing that comprises at least one surface, a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug, wherein the plug comprises: a keyway that comprises an entrance for a key to enter into the plug; and a plurality of shear lines, wherein each of the plurality of shear line comprises a plurality of tumbler holes, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes is operable to receive a pin unit that is configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes; wherein the at least one surface of the casing comprises an opening that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway, the entrance is at the same height as the opening or the location of the entrance is such that a depression is formed between at least one surface and the keyway entrance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various embodiments are described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows illustrative views of a prior art digital lock assembly that integrates a mechanical lock (Figure 1 a - perspective view; and Figure 1 b - front view).

Figure 2 shows illustrative views of an embodiment of the digital lock assembly (Figure 2a - side view; Figure 2b - perspective view; and Figure 2c - front view).

Figure 3 shows perspective views of some embodiments of the plug.

Figure 4 shows rear views of an embodiment of the casing (Figure 4a - rear view; Figure 4b - perspective view from the rear of the casing). Figure 5 shows illustrative views of an embodiment of the cover (Figure 5a - a standalone cover; Figure 5b - the cover closes the opening of the casing). Figure 6 shows a side sectional drawing of an embodiment of the digital lock assembly.

Figure 7 shows an illustrative view of an embodiment of the key.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Particular embodiments will now be described with reference to the accompany drawings. The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure. Additionally, unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meanings as commonly understood by one or ordinary skill in the art to which the present disclosure belongs. Where possible, the same reference numerals are used throughout the figures for clarity and consistency.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “include” or variations such as“includes” or“including”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “digital lock assembly” shall be understood to include all types of locks that do not require the traditional mechanical keys. Examples of digital lock assemblies include, but not limited to, locks that rely on passwords/codes, wireless communication protocols (e.g., WIFI™, BLUETOOTH™), Radio frequency identification (RFID) and/or matrix barcode (e.g., QR code) and/or finger print-based access method for executing the authorization process (i.e., locking/unlocking operations).

Throughout the specification, unless the context indicates otherwise, the term “casing” refers to a cover or shell that protects and/or at least partially enclose the components of the digital lock assembly of the present disclosure.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “pin tumbler lock” shall be understood to include any type of mechanical locks that uses pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without a correct mechanical key. Examples of the pin tumbler locks include, but are not limited to, cylinder pin tumbler locks and tubular pin tumbler locks (also known as radial locks or ace locks).

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “plug” refers to a rotatable component typically housed within a pin tumbler lock. The“plug” comprises a keyway that allows the corresponding key to enter the plug. In some examples, the keyway, at one end, allows the corresponding key to enter the plug; and at the other end may have a cam or lever, which activates a mechanism to retract a locking bolt.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “pin unit” shall be understood to comprise at least a top pin (also known as “driver pin”) and a bottom pin (also known as“key pin”). In a pin unit, the top pin and the bottom pin can be separated from each other at their interface.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “shear line” refers to a physical point on the surface of the plug at which the plug meets the outer portion of the pin tumbler lock. At the shear line, there are tumbler holes. The pin units extend from the outer portion of the pin tumbler lock into the tumbler holes located at the shear line, and the pin units can move along an axis (e.g. up and down) inside the tumbler holes. When the correct key is inserted into the keyway of the plug, the interfaces of all top and bottom pins are aligned at the shear line, so that all top and bottom pins can be separated at the same time, enabling the plug to rotate.

For security and reliability reasons, mechanical locks need to have certain essential components and configuration, making such mechanical locks often bulky in size (in comparison with the digital lock). Thus, incorporating a mechanical lock into a slim and compact digital lock assembly may enlarge the overall dimension of the digital lock assembly. However, most users do not favour such bulky digital lock assemblies - in comparison to digital lock assemblies that have slim and compact configuration, digital lock assemblies with mechanical locks require more space and efforts for installation, and may even block the user’s movement in front of the door.

For example, as show in Figure 1 , a prior art digital lock assembly 100 comprises a casing 102 that adopts a cuboid shape, having a length X1 , a width Y1 and a depth Z1. The example of the digital lock assembly 100 comprises a keypad 104 that allows users to operate the digital lock assembly 100 via passwords/codes. In addition to the keypad and other possible digital locking/unlocking mechanisms (e.g., WIFI™, Bluetooth™, RFIDRFID radio frequency identification card, QR code and finger print and smart tag) (not shown), the digital lock assembly 100 also comprises a mechanical pin tumbler lock 106, which has a keyway 108 configured to receive a corresponding mechanical key.

The width Y2 of the conventional pin tumbler lock 106 is in general longer than the width Y1 of the casing 102 due to security considerations - a pin tumbler lock has a plurality of pins which can form a series of pins, each of the plurality of pins may be of a dimension (e.g. length or height) positioned relative to other pins to allow the pin tumbler lock to be unlocked. Thus, the security of such pin tumbler lock is determined by the number of pins in the lock, as well as the number of different possible lengths for the pins. For example, for a pin tumbler lock that has five pins, and each pin has 10 possible lengths, the number of possible permutations associated with the keys is about 100,000 for such a lock. In contrast, if the number of pins is reduced to 3 (so that the width Y2 of the lock can be reduced), the number of possible permutations for such key combinations for such lock reduces to around 1 ,000, which can significantly compromise the security of the pin tumbler lock 106. In other words, it is technologically challenging to resize the pin tumbler lock 106 to a smaller form factor without compromising its security and reliability.

As the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 106 is larger than the width Y1 of the casing 102 and when the pin tumbler lock 106 is installed with or within the digital lock assembly 100the pin tumbler lock 106 protrudes from the front surface of the casing 102. The protrusion 106a of the pin tumbler lock 106 increases the form factor of the digital lock assembly 100, causing irregularity to the size of the digital lock assembly 100 and may cause obstruction to or block a user’s movement in front of the digital lock assembly 100.

In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure there is a digital lock assembly 200, comprising: a casing 202 that comprises at least one front surface 202a and a back surface 202b, a pin tumbler lock that comprises a plug 300, wherein the plug 300 comprises: a keyway 302 comprising an entrance to receive a mechanical key into the plug 300; and a plurality of shear lines 304, wherein each of the plurality of shear lines 304 comprises a plurality of tumbler holes 306, wherein each of the plurality of tumbler holes 306 is operable to receive a pin unit, the pin unit configured to be moveable inside the each of the plurality of tumbler holes 306; wherein at least one surface of the casing 202 comprises an opening 402 that is configured to expose the entrance of the keyway 302, and the entrance is either flushed or beneath the opening 402. In some embodiments, the entrance may be at the same height as the opening or the entrance is positioned within the casing.

In some embodiments of the disclosure, the casing comprises the front surface 202a and the back surface 202b (The front surface 202a of the casing refers to the surface facing a user of the digital lock assembly 200; and the back surface 202b of the casing refers to the surface back facing the user of the digital lock assembly 200).

As show in Figure 2, in some embodiments 200 of the present disclosure, the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is reduced to be the same as (or smaller than) the width Y1 of the casing 202. Therefore, when the pin tumbler lock 206 is assembled with the casing 202, the pin tumbler lock 206 does not protrude out of the front surface 202a of casing 202 (see Figure 2a). In other words, when the digital lock assembly 200 is installed onto a door, the pin tumbler lock 206 is fully embedded inside the casing 202 and the door (i.e., other unspecified components 210 of the digital lock assembly 200 are embedded within the door).

In some embodiments of the disclosure, the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is reduced because the plug 300 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is configured to have multiple shear lines 304 (e.g., four (4) shear lines as shown in Figure 3), but fewer tumbler holes 306 in each shear line 304 (e.g., three (3) tumbler holes as shown in Figure 3). As this configuration reduces the number of tumbler holes 306 that is formed on each shear line 304, the width Y3 of the plug 300 (as well as the width Y2 of the entire pin tumbler lock 206) can be reduced accordingly. Furthermore, as the plug 300 of the pin tumbler lock 206 of the present disclosure has multiple shear lines 304, the number of the possible permutations associated with the keys can still be maintained at around 100,000 so that the security and reliability of the pin tumbler lock 206 is guaranteed. This is in contrast to the conventional pin tumbler lock 106, the conventional pin tumbler lock 106 of which adopts a single shear line - meaning that the number of the tumbler holes in the single shear line cannot be reduced (e.g., in general at least five (5) tumbler holes are required for security reasons), accordingly making it technologically difficult or technically challenging to reduce the width of the conventional pin tumbler block.

Different from a conventional key for pin tumbler lock that has only one blade (that carries a series of grooves), as shown in Figure 7, the mechanical key 700 used for the digital lock assembly 200 of the present disclosure comprises (i) a bow 702; and (ii) a plurality of blades 706 (each blade with a series of grooves) that correspond to the plurality of the shear lines 304 (the embodiment of the key 700 has four blades in total, but for illustration three blades 706a, 706b and 706c are shown in Figure 7). The plurality of blades 706 are located on a shaft 704 of the mechanical key 700. To unlock the pin tumbler lock 206, the shaft 704 of the mechanical key 700 is inserted into the keyway 302, and the grooves on each blade 706 are aligned with the respective tumbler holes 306, allowing pin units to move up and down in each tumbler hole 306 until the pin units align with the shear lines 304 of the plug 300. Once all shear lines 304 are properly aligned, the plug 300 can be rotated freely inside the pin tumbler lock 206 to perform the unlocking operation.

In some embodiments of the disclosure, the casing 202 comprises an opening 402 for exposing the keyway 302 of the pin tumbler lock 206 (as shown in Figure 4b). In some embodiments of the disclosure, the front surface 202a of the casing 200 further comprises a cover 500 removably attached to the casing 200, and is operable to reveal or conceal the opening 402. In some embodiments, the cover comprises a ferromagnetic material (e.g., iron, nickel and cobalt), and at least one magnetic component (e.g., magnet) is attached to the back surface 202b of the casing 202 in the vicinity around the opening 402. The at least one magnetic component is then operable to exert a magnetic pulling force onto the cover 500 to close the opening 402. In some embodiments, there are at least three (3) magnetic components located around the opening 402 to generate adequate magnetic pulling force to hold the cover in a stable manner. In some embodiments, the dimensions of the cover 500 and the opening 402 are configured to be matched so that the cover 500 is operable to close the opening 402 in a snug manner, leaving no visible space between the cover 500 and the edge of the opening 402.

In some embodiments of the disclosure, the cover 500 is configured to be in a round shape, which has a circular strip 502 of ferromagnetic material disposed/positioned or attached onto the back 504 of the cover (i.e., the“back of the cover” refers to the surface of the cover that faces the keyway 302; the “front of the cover” refers to the surface of the cover that faces away from the keyway 302). The circular strip 502 is preferably located around the edge of the cover 500 so that the circular strip 502 and the magnets 404 are located in close proximity to achieve the optimal magnetic effect.

In operation, when a user needs to unlock the pin tumbler lock, he/she can manually remove the cover 500 from the casing 202 (In some embodiments of the disclosure, the user when manually removing the cover 500 needs to provide a counter-pulling force stronger than the magnetic pulling force between the cover 500 and the magnets 404). Once the cover 500 is removed, the keyway 302 of the pin tumbler lock is exposed to the user, allowing the user to insert the key 700 into the keyway 302 to rotate the plug 300 and causing the pin tumbler lock to be unlocked (i.e. unlocking the digital lock assembly). After the digital lock assembly 200 is unlocked, the user can pull the key 700 out of the keyway 302, and close the opening 402 (and the keyway 302) with the cover 500. The magnets 404 on the back surface 202b of the casing 202 then exerts magnetic pulling force to hold the cover 500 in place. As the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is the same as (or even shorter than) the width Y1 of the casing 202 of the digital lock assembly 200, the entrance of the keyway 302 does not protrude out of the front surface 202a of the casing 200 (The protruding portion 106a of the pin tumbler lock 106 in Fig 1 does not appear). In other words, in the digital lock assembly 200 of the present disclosure, the entrance of the keyway 302 is either flushed to the opening or is positioned within the casing 202. In some embodiments of the disclosure, when the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is the same as the width Y1 of the casing 202, placing the entrance of the keyway 302 into the opening 402 leads the entrance flushed to the edge of the opening 402. In other words, the entrance is at the same level as the opening 402 (or basically located in the same position).

In some embodiments, the entrance of the keyway 302 is completely positioned within the casing 202.

In some embodiments of the disclosure, when the width Y2 of the pin tumbler lock 206 is shorter than the width Y1 of the casing 202, the entrance of the keyway 302 is then located beneath the casing 202 when the pin tumbler lock 206 and the opening 402 are assembled together. In other words, when the digital lock assembly 200 adopts such a structure, the entrance of the keyway 302 is no longer in the same position as the opening 402, but a depression is formed between the entrance of the keyway and the front surface 202a of the casing 202. In some embodiments, the shape and size of the cover 500 matches the shape and size of the depression, and the cover 500 can be placed in the depression, closing the opening 402 of the cover and the entrance of the keyway in a snug manner.

As shown in Figure 6, in some embodiments of the disclosure, the entrance of the keyway 302 is located slightly beneath the opening 402, and the cover 500 is configured to close the opening 402 in a snug manner and accordingly conceal the entrance of the keyway 302. In this arrangement, the front surface of the cover 500 (the side of the cover 500 back facing away from the entrance of the keyway 302) and the other portions of the front surface 202a of the casing 202 together form a flat surface.

The above is a description of embodiment(s) of an improved digital lock assembly that incorporates a mechanical override lock and still achieves the slim and compact configuration. It is to be further appreciated that technical features from one or more embodiments as described may be permutated and/or combined to form further embodiments without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.