Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PRESSURIZED-FLUID FLIGHT SYSTEMS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/083355
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A propulsion device, including a platform (126) arranged to seat a passenger; a thrust assembly coupled to the platform, the thrust assembly including at least two nozzles (128) configured to discharge a pressurized fluid therefrom that are movable with respect to the platform; a plurality of actuators, wherein each actuator is coupled to one of the at least two nozzles, wherein each actuator is configured to adjust an angular orientation of its respective nozzle with respect to the platform; a first sensor coupled to the platform to measure at least one of a pitch and roll of the platform; and a controller in communication with the first sensor and the plurality of actuators, wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the first sensor to modify an angular orientation of the at least two nozzles.

Inventors:
ZAPATA, Frankie (39 avenue Saint Roch, LE ROVE, LE ROVE, FR)
Application Number:
EP2017/078515
Publication Date:
May 11, 2018
Filing Date:
November 07, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ZIPH20 (39 avenue Saint Roch, LE ROVE, 13740, FR)
International Classes:
B63H11/00; A63B35/12; B63B35/73; B63H11/113; B64C39/02
Foreign References:
US20140103165A12014-04-17
US20100030411A12010-02-04
US20140290552A12014-10-02
US20110172858A12011-07-14
FR3018261A12015-09-11
US8336805B12012-12-25
US7258301B22007-08-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUN, Philippe (297 avenue du Mistral, Espace Mistral- Bâtiment AZI ATHELIA IV, LA CIOTAT CEDEX, 13705, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

Propulsion device, comprising:

- a platform arranged to seat a passenger;

- a thrust assembly coupled to the platform, the thrust assembly including at least two nozzles configured to discharge a pressurized fluid therefrom, wherein the at least two nozzles are movable with respect to the platform;

said propulsion device being characterized in that :

- a plurality of actuators, wherein each actuator is coupled to one of the at least two nozzles, wherein each actuator is configured to adjust an angular orientation of its respective nozzle with respect to the platform;

- a first sensor coupled to the platform to measure at least one of a pitch and roll of the platform; and

- a controller in communication with the first sensor and the plurality of actuators, wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the first sensor to modify an angular orientation of the at least two nozzles .

2. Propulsion device according to Claim 1, further comprising a remote pressurization station supplying pressurized fluid to the thrust assembly .

Propulsion device according to Claim 2, wherein the remote pressurization station is coupled to the assembly by a flexible supply conduit.

4. Propulsion device according to Claim 3, wherein the remote pressurization station is a personal watercraft.

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, wherein the at least two nozzles are respectively positioned at port and starboard positions of the platform.

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, further comprising a second sensor configured to measure a pressure of a pressurized fluid flowing through the thrust assembly, wherein the second sensor is in communication with the controller.

Propulsion device according to Claim 6, wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the second sensor.

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, further comprising a plurality of second sensors, wherein each of the plurality of second sensors is configured to measure an angular position of one of the at least two nozzles, and wherein the plurality of second sensors is in communication with the controller.

Propulsion device according to Claim 8, wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the plurality of second sensors .

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, further comprising a user interface coupled to the platform that is configured to receive input from a user comprising at least one of a change of direction input and a change of altitude input, and wherein the controller is in communication with the user interface.

Propulsion device according to Claim 10, wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the user interface. 12. Propulsion device according to Claim 1, further comprising a second sensor coupled to the platform configured to measure an altitude of the platform, wherein the second sensor is in communication with the controller, and wherein the controller is configured to adjust an operation of the actuators based at least in part on information from the second sensor.

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, wherein the controller implements a PID calculation to adjust an operation of the actuators.

Propulsion device according to Claim 1, wherein the at least two nozzles are movable in a plane that is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the platform extending from a stern to a bow of the platform.

Description:
Pressurized-fluid flight systems and methods of use thereof

The present disclosure relates to pressurized-fluid flight systems and methods of use thereof.

A number of water-propelled, personal flight devices have recently become available, such as those devices disclosed in U.S. Patent Nos. 8,336,805 and 7,258,301, among others. Operation of such devices may require balancing the weight and resulting forces of a passenger's body about a platform or seat, and/or balancing and operating controls of the output nozzles to provide stable flights. Such balancing may require high levels of dexterity and fine-motor control. In addition, should the passenger tilt or misdirect the nozzles and start to lose balance, it may be difficult for some passengers to counteract the tilting moment as the tilt angle increases, resulting in unwanted falling. These combined requirements and circumstances can be physically taxing during use and intimidating to a beginner learning to use the devices. The present disclosure provides examples of personal propulsion systems, devices, ands methods of use thereof having improved operability and use .

The present disclosure advantageously provides a personal propulsion device, comprising a platform configured to support at least one passenger; a first fluid outlet coupled to the platform; a first fluid conduit in fluid communication with the first fluid outlet; and a personal watercraft having first and second fluid discharge ports, wherein the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the first fluid conduit, and the second fluid discharge port is configured to discharge pressurized fluid to move the personal watercraft. The first fluid outlet may be configured to expel the pressurized fluid to elevate the platform. The delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may be selectively adjustable. The device may include a fluid control valve coupled to the first fluid outlet and/or a fluid control valve coupled to the first fluid discharge port. The first fluid conduit may be an elongated, flexible hose. The device may include a second fluid outlet coupled to the platform, and a second fluid conduit in fluid communication with the second fluid outlet, where the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the second fluid conduit. The second fluid conduit may be an elongated, flexible hose. The first fluid conduit may be movable about the platform, and the device may include a position assessment element configured to measure at least one of an angle and a distance between the platform and the first fluid conduit. The position assessment element may include at least one of an angular position sensor, a rotary encoder, an optical sensor, and an impedance sensor. The device may be configured to adjust delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet based upon information provided and/or obtained by the position assessment element. The device may include an altitude sensor coupled to the platform, and the device may be configured to adjust delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet based upon information provided by the altitude sensor. The platform may be configured to support the at least one passenger in a seated position, and/or the personal watercraft may be configured to transport one or more passengers thereon.

A personal propulsion device is provided, including a platform configured to support at least one passenger in a seated position; a first fluid outlet coupled to the platform; a second fluid outlet coupled to the platform; and an elongated, flexible fluid conduit in fluid communication with the first and second fluid outlets to deliver pressurized fluid thereto, wherein delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet is adjustable independently of delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet, and wherein the first and second fluid outlets are configured to expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform to achieve flight. The device may include fluid control valves coupled to each of the first and second fluid outlets. The device may include a personal watercraft having first and second fluid discharge ports, where the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the fluid conduit, and the second fluid discharge port is configured to discharge pressurized fluid to move the personal watercraft .

A personal propulsion system is provided, including a platform configured to support at least one passenger in a seated position; a first fluid outlet coupled to an underside of the platform; a second fluid outlet coupled to the underside of the platform; a first flexible fluid conduit in fluid communication with the first fluid outlet; a second flexible fluid conduit in fluid communication with the second fluid outlet; and a personal watercraft having first and second fluid discharge ports, where the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the first and second fluid conduits to deliver pressurized fluid to the first and second fluid outlets, where delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet is adjustable independently of delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet, where the first and second fluid outlets are configured to expel pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform to achieve flight, and where the second fluid discharge port is configured to discharge pressurized fluid to move the personal watercraft. At least one of the first and second fluid conduits may be movable about the platform, and the system may include a position assessment element configured to measure at least one of an angle and a distance between the platform and the at least one of the first and second fluid conduit

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling a personal watercraft to a personal propulsion device having a platform configured to support a passenger, wherein the platform is coupled to one or more fluid outlets, and wherein the personal watercraft has first and second fluid discharge ports; delivering a pressurized fluid from the first fluid discharge port to the one or more fluid outlets such that the fluid outlets discharge the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform; and discharging pressurized fluid from the second fluid discharge port to move the personal watercraft. The method may include moving the personal watercraft independently of the personal propulsion device. The method may include adjusting the delivery of the pressurized fluid from the first fluid discharge port to the one or more fluid outlets to control an elevation of the personal propulsion device. Adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid may include adjusting an operation of the personal watercraft from the personal propulsion device. The method may include adjusting the discharge of the pressurized fluid from the second fluid discharge port to adjust a speed of the personal watercraft. The pressurized fluid may be delivered from the first fluid discharge port to the one or more fluid outlets through at least one flexible hose. The method may include pulling the personal propulsion device by the flexible hose with the personal watercraft. The platform may be configured to support the at least one passenger in a seated position and/or the personal watercraft is configured to transport one or more passengers thereon.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is disclosed, including coupling a personal watercraft to a personal propulsion device, the personal propulsion device including a platform configured to support a passenger, and first and second fluid outlets coupled to the platform; delivering a pressurized fluid from a first fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to the first and second fluid outlets such that the first and second fluid outlets expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform for flight; and adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet independently of the delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet to affect a position of the platform. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may include operating a valve coupled to the first fluid outlet. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may include operating a valve coupled to the first fluid discharge port. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may include modifying the delivery of pressurized fluid through a first flexible fluid conduit coupled to the first fluid outlet, while substantially maintaining the delivery of pressurized fluid through a second flexible fluid conduit coupled to the second fluid outlet. The method may include discharging pressurized fluid from a second fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water. The method may include pulling the personal propulsion device with the personal watercraft and/or moving the personal watercraft independently of the personal propulsion device.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is disclosed, including coupling a personal watercraft to a personal propulsion device through first and second flexible fluid conduits, wherein the personal propulsion device includes a platform configured to support a passenger, and first and second fluid outlets coupled to the platform; delivering a pressurized fluid from the personal watercraft through the first flexible fluid conduit to the first fluid outlet; delivering a pressurized fluid from the personal watercraft through the second flexible fluid conduit to the second fluid outlet, wherein the first and second fluid outlets expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform for flight; adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet independently of the delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet to affect a position of the platform, and discharging pressurized fluid from a first fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water such that the personal watercraft pulls the personal propulsion device by the first and second flexible fluid conduits. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may be performed by one or more controls coupled to the platform and/or operating a valve proximate to a second fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may include operating a valve proximate to the first fluid outlet.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling a fluid delivery conduit to a personal propulsion device, wherein the fluid delivery conduit is movable with respect to the personal propulsion device, and wherein the personal propulsion device includes a platform configured to support a passenger, and one or more fluid outlets; delivering a pressurized fluid from the fluid delivery conduit to the one or more fluid outlets of the personal propulsion device such that the one or more fluid outlets discharge the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform; measuring at least one of an angle and a distance between a portion of the platform and a portion of the fluid delivery conduit; and adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid based at least in part on the measurement. The fluid delivery conduit may be an elongated, flexible hose. Measuring at least one of an angle and distance may be performed at least in part by at least one of an angular position sensor, a rotary encoder, an optical sensor, and an impedance sensor. Delivering pressurized fluid may include delivering pressurized fluid from a personal watercraft to the fluid delivery conduit. Adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid may include adjusting an operation of the personal watercraft from the personal propulsion device. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid may include operating a valve located proximate to a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft. The method may include discharging pressurized fluid from a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water. The method may include moving the personal watercraft independently of the personal propulsion device and/or pulling the personal propulsion device by the fluid delivery conduit with the personal watercraft. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may include operating a valve coupled to the one or more fluid outlets. The platform may be configured to support the at least one passenger in a seated position and/or the personal watercraft may be configured to transport one or more passengers thereon .

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling first and second fluid conduits to a personal propulsion device, the personal propulsion device including a platform configured to support a passenger, and first and second fluid outlets coupled to the platform; delivering a pressurized fluid from the first and second fluid conduits to the first and second fluid outlets such that the first and second fluid outlets expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform for flight; and measuring at least one of an angle and a distance between a portion of the platform and a portion of the first fluid conduit; and adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet based at least in part on the measurement. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may be performed independently of the delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may be performed to affect at least one of a position and height of the platform. Delivering pressurized fluid may include delivering pressurized fluid from a personal watercraft to the fluid delivery conduit, and the method may include discharging pressurized fluid from a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling a personal watercraft to a personal propulsion device through first and second flexible fluid conduits, wherein the personal propulsion device includes a platform configured to support a passenger, and first and second fluid outlets coupled to the platform; delivering a pressurized fluid from the personal watercraft through the first flexible fluid conduit to the first fluid outlet; delivering a pressurized fluid from the personal watercraft through the second flexible fluid conduit to the second fluid outlet, wherein the first and second fluid outlets expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform for flight; measuring at least one of an angle and a distance between a portion of the platform and a portion of at least one of the first and second fluid conduits; and adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid to at least one of the first and second fluid outlets based at least in part on the measurement to affect a position of the platform; and discharging pressurized fluid from a first fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water such that the personal watercraft pulls the personal propulsion device by the first and second flexible fluid conduits. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet may be performed by one or more controls coupled to the platform, may include operating a valve proximate to a second fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft, and/or may include operating a valve proximate to at least one of the first and second fluid outlets .

A personal propulsion device is disclosed, including a platform configured to support at least one passenger; a first fluid outlet coupled to the platform, wherein the first fluid outlet is movably positionable along a length of the platform, and wherein the first fluid outlet is configured to expel pressurized fluid to elevate the platform; and a first fluid conduit in fluid communication with the first fluid outlet. The first fluid outlet may be slidably engaged to a track attached to the platform. The device may include at least one of a pneumatic actuator, hydraulic actuator, and electric actuator coupled to the first fluid outlet and operable to move the first fluid outlet. The device may include at least one of an accelerometer, altimeter, and tilt sensor coupled to the platform, and/or an actuator configured to move the first fluid outlet based at least in part on a signal generated by the at least one of an accelerometer, altimeter, and tilt sensor. The device may include a pressurized fluid source coupled to the first fluid conduit, and the pressurized fluid source may include a personal watercraft. The personal watercraft may include first and second fluid discharge ports, where the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the first fluid conduit, and the second fluid discharge port is configured to discharge pressurized fluid to move the personal watercraft. The device may include a fluid control valve coupled to the first fluid discharge port. The platform may be configured to support the at least one passenger in a seated position, and the personal watercraft may be configured to transport one or more passengers thereon. An amount of pressurized fluid expelled from the first fluid outlet may be selectively adjustable. The device may include a fluid control valve coupled to the first fluid outlet. The first fluid conduit may include an elongated, flexible hose. The device may include a second fluid outlet coupled to the platform, where the second fluid outlet is movably positionable along a length of the platform, and where the second fluid outlet is configured to expel pressurized fluid to elevate the platform. The device may include a second fluid conduit in fluid communication with the second fluid outlet.

A personal propulsion device is provided, including a platform configured to support at least one passenger in a seated position; a first fluid outlet coupled to the platform; a second fluid outlet coupled to the platform, wherein first and second fluid outlets are movably positionable along a length of the platform; at least one of an accelerometer, altimeter, and tilt sensor coupled to the platform; an actuator configured to move the first fluid outlet based at least in part on a signal generated by the at least one of an accelerometer, altimeter, and tilt sensor; an elongated, flexible fluid conduit in fluid communication with the first and second fluid outlets to deliver pressurized fluid thereto, wherein the first and second fluid outlets are configured to expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform to achieve flight, and a pressurized fluid source coupled to the flexible fluid conduit. The device may include fluid control valves coupled to each of the first and second fluid outlets. The pressurized fluid source may include a personal watercraft. The personal watercraft may include first and second fluid discharge ports, where the first fluid discharge port is in fluid communication with the first fluid conduit, and the second fluid discharge port is configured to discharge pressurized fluid to move the personal watercraft. The platform may be configured to support the at least one passenger in a seated position, and/or the personal watercraft may be configured to transport one or more passengers thereon.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling a fluid delivery conduit to a personal propulsion device having a platform configured to support a passenger, and one or more fluid outlets; delivering a pressurized fluid from the fluid delivery conduit to the one or more fluid outlets of the personal propulsion device such that the one or more fluid outlets discharge the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform; measuring at least one of a pitch, yaw, or roll movement of the platform; and moving a position of the one or more fluid outlets along a length of the platform based at least in part on the measurement. The method may include adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid based at least in part on the measurement. Delivering pressurized fluid may include delivering pressurized fluid from a personal watercraft to the fluid delivery conduit. The method may include discharging pressurized fluid from a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water. The method may include moving the personal watercraft independently of the personal propulsion device and/or pulling the personal propulsion device by the fluid delivery conduit with the personal watercraft. The personal watercraft may be configured to transport one or more passengers thereon. The fluid delivery conduit may include an elongated, flexible hose. The platform may be configured to support a passenger in a seated position.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is provided, including coupling a fluid delivery conduit to a personal propulsion device having a platform configured to support a passenger, and one or more fluid outlets; delivering a pressurized fluid from the fluid delivery conduit to the one or more fluid outlets of the personal propulsion device such that the one or more fluid outlets discharge the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform; measuring at least one of an angle and a distance between a portion of the platform and a portion of the fluid delivery conduit; and moving a position of the one or more fluid outlets along a length of the platform based at least in part on the measurement. Measuring at least one of an angle and distance may be performed at least in part by at least one of an angular position sensor, a rotary encoder, an optical sensor, and an impedance sensor. The method may include adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid based at least in part on the measurement. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid may include operating a valve located proximate to the one or more fluid outlets. Delivering pressurized fluid may include delivering pressurized fluid from a personal watercraft to the fluid delivery conduit, the method further including discharging pressurized fluid from a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water and/or pulling the personal propulsion device by the fluid delivery conduit with the personal watercraft.

A method of operating a personal propulsion device is disclosed, including coupling first and second fluid conduits to a personal propulsion device, the personal propulsion device including a platform configured to support a passenger, and first and second fluid outlets coupled to the platform; delivering a pressurized fluid from the first and second fluid conduits to the first and second fluid outlets such that the first and second fluid outlets expel the pressurized fluid to directly elevate the platform for flight; measuring at least one of an angle and a distance between a portion of the platform and a portion of the first fluid conduit; and moving a position of the first and second fluid outlets along the platform based at least in part on the measurement. The method may include adjusting the delivery of pressurized fluid based at least in part on the measurement. Adjusting delivery of the pressurized fluid may include adjusting delivery of pressurized fluid to the first fluid outlet independently of the delivery of pressurized fluid to the second fluid outlet. Delivering pressurized fluid may include delivering pressurized fluid from a personal watercraft to the first and second fluid conduits. The method may include discharging pressurized fluid from a fluid discharge port of the personal watercraft to move the personal watercraft within a body of water.

A more complete understanding of the present disclosure, and the attendant advantages and features thereof, will be more readily understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an example of a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure ;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of another example of a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure ;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an example of a pressurized fluid source constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

- FIG. 4 is an illustration of an example of a fluid outlet configuration for a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is another illustration of a fluid outlet configuration for a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure; FIG. 6 is an illustration of an example of a fluid outlet actuator mechanism for a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

- FIG. 7 is an illustration of another example of a fluid outlet actuator mechanism for a pressurized- fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8 is an illustration of another example of a fluid outlet actuator mechanism for a pressurized- fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 9 is an illustration of an example of a position assessment feature of a pressurized-fluid flight system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure.

The present disclosure provides examples of personal propulsion systems, devices, and methods of use thereof having improved operability and use. Now referring to FIGS. 1-2, examples of a personal propulsion system are shown, generally designated as λ 10', that may generally include a pressurized fluid source 12 and a personal propulsion device 14 having, or coupled to, one or more fluid delivery conduits 16.

The pressurized fluid source or unit 12 may include an unmanned marine unit having a substantially water ¬ tight and/or wave-piercing hull (operable on a water surface and/or submersible - examples of which are set forth in U.S. Patent No. 7,258,301, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference) , a boat, a personal watercraft such as a wave runner or jet ski configured to transport passengers thereon, or a pump or compression station that may be located on land or in/on water.

The pressurized fluid source 12 may include a plurality of fluid discharge ports to provide pressurized fluid to one or a plurality of personal propulsion devices 14. Simultaneous use or operation of multiple personal propulsion devices 14 maybe desirable, for example, in a theme park setting, during an exhibition or competition event, or the like where multiple personal propulsion devices 14 will be operated simultaneously. In an example where the pressurized fluid source 12 is a boat or personal watercraft, such multiple fluid discharge ports may not only provide for simultaneous use of a plurality of personal propulsion devices 14, but to also provide one or more fluid discharge ports to controllably maneuver the boat or personal watercraft during use of the personal propulsion device 14.

For example, the pressurized fluid source 12 shown in FIGS. 1-2 (illustrated as a personal watercraft) may include a first fluid discharge port 18 that is coupled to the fluid delivery conduit 16 to provide pressurized fluid thereto. The pressurized fluid source 12 may also include or define a second fluid discharge port 20 that directs fluid out of a rear of the pressurized fluid source 12 to move the pressurized fluid source, for example, within a body of water. The second fluid discharge port 20 may be substantially similar to an exit nozzle and/or venturi configuration adjacent to an impeller 22 that is common to personal watercraft as the primary propulsion mechanism to move the watercraft in the water. The second fluid discharge port 20 may include steerable mechanisms to change a direction of fluid exiting the watercraft, as well as reverse thrust and braking mechanisms coupled on or about the second fluid discharge port 20. In one aspect, the pressurized fluid source 12 may include input controls 40. In one aspect, the personal propulsion device 14 may include input controls 40. The input controls 40 may be hand operated controls, foot operated controls, and the like. In one aspect, the input controls 40 may be configured as a remote control communicating to the system 10 over a wired or wireless communication channel as defined herein. In this regard, if the user is a beginner, a remote-controlled implementation may allow a teacher to control the system 10 for the beginner. The input controls 40 may be operated to provide mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and the like inputs to control the personal propulsion device 14 and/or the pressurized fluid source 12. In one aspect, the input controls 40 may control at least in part the steerable mechanisms of the pressurized fluid source 12. In one aspect, the steerable mechanisms of the pressurized fluid source 12 may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein.

Fluid flow through the first and second fluid discharge ports 18, 20 may be selectively, and independently controllable, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In one aspect, fluid flow through the first and second fluid discharge ports 18, 20 may be selectively, and independently controllable with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. For example, the pressurized fluid source 12 may have a single impeller 22 driven by a power source, such as a combustion engine or other means. The first and second fluid discharge ports 18, 20 may be positioned adjacent to the impeller 22, and one or more fluid control valves 24 may also be coupled to or placed in the fluid flow path of the first and second fluid discharge ports to allow a user to modify the fluid flow through the first discharge port 18 without affecting fluid flow through the second fluid discharge port 20, and vice versa.

In an alternative example, as shown in FIG. 3, the pressurized fluid source 12 may include a plurality of independently driven or controlled impellers 22a, 22b that separately provide pressurized fluid to the discrete fluid discharge ports 18, 20. Such an example may also include one or more fluid control valves 24 to maintain a desired pressure on either of the impellers 22a, 22b or to otherwise create optimal fluid intake and expulsion characteristics during operation of the system 10. In one aspect, the independently driven or controlled impellers 22a, 22b may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. In one aspect, the independently driven or controlled impellers 22a, 22b may be controlled, for example, by operation of the input controls 40.

The system 10 may include one or more fluid control valves 24 disposed within a fluid flow path of the system 10 to adjust, control, or otherwise affect fluid flow at one or more points in the system 10, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In one aspect, the fluid control valves 24 may be operated by with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. Such fluid control components 24 may include, for example, solenoid valves, flapper valves, ball valves, butterfly valves, or other mechanisms that can selectively and controllably adjust fluid flow. In one aspect, the valves may be controlled by actuators such as an electric motor, solenoid, pneumatic actuators which are controlled by air pressure, hydraulic actuators which are controlled by the pressure of a liquid such as oil or water, or the like. In another aspect, the valves may be manually operated. In either aspect, the valves may be controlled, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In either aspect, the valves may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein.

The fluid delivery conduits 16 may include elongated, flexible hose bodies constructed of materials having sufficient strength to withstand high fluid pressures within, and may include such materials used or employed in the construction of fire hoses or other industrial fluid hose constructs, such as plastics, polymers, fabrics, ceramic components, and/or combinations thereof. The fluid delivery conduit (s) 16 may define an internal diameter sufficient to convey volumes of fluid requisite to operate the system as disclosed herein, which may be between approximately six inches and eighteen inches for example. The fluid conduit 16 may further define an elongated length allowing the personal propulsion device 14 to be operated a safe or desired distance from the pressurized fluid source 12 and/or providing a desired elevation or flight capability of the personal propulsion device 14. For example, the fluid conduit (s) 16 may have a length between approximately thirty feet and approximately eighty feet. The fluid delivery conduit (s) 16 may be engageable either directly to one or more fluid discharge ports 18, 20 of the pressurized fluid source 12, or be coupled to the pressurized fluid source 12 through one or more intermediary components, such as a "Y"-pipe, manifold, or the like, that can divide fluid flow from a single fluid discharge port to multiple fluid delivery conduits.

The example in FIG. 1 illustrates two flexible fluid conduits 16a, 16b extending to the personal propulsion device 14. The multi-conduit configuration can provide added stability to the personal propulsion device 14 during operation, during which the flexible fluid conduits 16a, 16b would have increased rigidity due to the pressurized fluid therein, thus providing two points of stabilization exerted on the personal propulsion device 14 that can resist or decrease excess yaw, pitch, and roll movements. In the example shown in FIG. 2, a single fluid conduit may extend to the personal propulsion device 14, providing increased maneuverability about one or more axes with respect to the single fluid conduit. The fluid conduits 16 may be coupled to the personal propulsion device 14 to form a joint or pivot point allowing movement between the fluid conduit (s) and the personal propulsion device. For example, the fluid conduit 16 may be attached to the personal propulsion device 14 through a hinged or pivoting assembly, or alternatively may include a multi-axis coupling, such as a ball-and-socket type of joint. The personal propulsion device 14 may generally include one or more surfaces to support one or more passengers as well as fluid-propelled thrust features enabling the personal propulsion device to elevate and achieve flight through the expulsion of pressurized fluid. For example, the personal propulsion device 14 may include or define a platform 26 that is sized, shaped, or otherwise configured to support a passenger. The platform 26 may include a unitary construction or alternatively include the assembly of multiple components fixedly, releasably, and/or movably coupled together to provide the features disclosed herein. The platform 26 maybe configured to support one or more passengers in a seated and/or prostrate position, and may include one or more seats, raised ledges or surfaces for seating, or the like. The platform 26 may include one or more cushioned portions and/or buoyant portions to provide comfort and safety to the passenger ( s ) . In one aspect, the platform 26 may include the input controls 40.

The personal propulsion device 14 may include one or more components that employ or discharge pressurized fluid to provide or generate a force to aid in elevating, moving, stabilizing, and/or otherwise controllably using the platform 26. For example, the passenger assembly 14 may include one or more fluid outlets 28 coupled to the platform 26. In the examples shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the personal propulsion device 14 includes a plurality of substantially downward-facing fluid outlets 28 having a nozzle-shape or configuration that discharge pressurized fluid received from the pressurized fluid source 12 to move, stabilize, elevate or otherwise direct or orient the platform 26 as desired, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In one aspect, the pressurized fluid source 12 may move, stabilize, elevate or otherwise direct or orient the platform 26 with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. The fluid outlets 28 may be positioned about the platform 26 to provide a desired degree of stability and/or maneuverability. For example, the fluid outlets 28 may be attached to an underside of the platform 26, or extend from or be attached to one or more sides of the platform 26. As stated above, the fluid outlets 28 may include a nozzle shape to accelerate fluid ejection and increase a resulting thrust, and may have varying dimensions to achieve a desired thrust output. In one aspect, the thrust output may be controlled by the user, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In one aspect, the thrust output may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. In one aspect, during certain activities the thrust provided by the fluid outlets 28 may exceed the mass of the personal propulsion device 14 and at least a portion of the fluid conduit 16 to generate lift.

The fluid outlets 28 may be arranged in numerous, varying configurations. For example, the personal prolusion devices 14 shown in FIGS. 1-2 include two fluid outlets 28 positioned around a midsection of the platform 26. Alternative configurations may include four fluid outlets 28 placed substantially equidistant around a perimeter or point of the platform 26, as shown in FIG. 4; or six fluid outlets 28 of varying size, having two larger fluid outlets near a midsection of the platform and four smaller fluid outlets disposed around a larger area of the platform, as shown in FIG. 5. In other aspects, any number of fluid outlets 28 may be utilized. In other aspects, the fluid outlets 28 may be symmetrically arranged to provide stability. In some aspects, the fluid outlets 28 may discharge fluid generally vertically downwardly. In some aspects, the fluid outlets 28 may discharge fluid generally vertically downwardly each at an angle away from the platform 26 to increase stability.

The fluid outlets 28 may be configured in a static configuration with one or more preset dimensions (e.g., with a set opening circumference, length, or the like) and/or location on or with respect to the platform 26. Alternatively, the fluid outlets 28 may have characteristics or configurations that can be dynamically, selectively, and controllably adjusted during use of the system 10, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. For example, the fluid outlets 28 may be coupled to one or more actuators, motors, servos, or the like (collectively, 'actuators 30') that can modify or adjust at least one of a location, angular orientation and/or thrust direction, length, and/or fluid flow diameter of the fluid outlet 28. In one aspect, the actuator 30 may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein. The actuators 30 may, for example, include one or more electrical, mechanical, and/or pneumatic mechanisms, or combinations thereof, and may include linear, rotary, or other motion and movement patterns. The actuators 30 may be in communication with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein.

In one example, an actuator 30 may be coupled to a fluid outlet 28 to selectively adjust and control a diameter of the fluid outlet to affect the rate of fluid flow therethrough, and thus affect a thrust force generated by dispelling fluid. For example, the actuator 30 may include a diameter constricting or reduction/expansion mechanism, such as an adjustable iris (an example of which is shown in FIG. 6), or may alternatively include a noose-like mechanism that constricts and relaxes a flexible segment of the fluid outlet to modify the diameter (not shown) . Other constructions to adjust and control fluid flow are contemplated as well. In one aspect, the actuator 30 may be controlled by the user, for example, by operation of the input controls 40. In one aspect, the actuator 30 may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein.

In another example, an actuator 30 may be coupled to a fluid outlet 28 to selectively adjust and control a length of a tubing or nozzle body leading to the fluid outlet 28. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, the actuator 30 may be coupled to a telescoping construct of the fluid outlet 28 that can be selectively extended or retracted. Such a telescoping mechanism may also have stepped-down reductions in diameter along a length of its components, thereby allowing control of both length and diameter of the fluid outlet 28.

In another example, an actuator 30 may be coupled to a fluid outlet 28 to adjust its angular orientation and thus affect the direction that fluid is expelled. The fluid outlet 28 may include or be coupled to the platform 26 through a multi-axis joint (such as a ball-and-socket fluid coupling) to provide a wide range of available fluid outlet directions.

In another example, an actuator 30 may be coupled to a fluid outlet 28 to modify a physical position of the fluid outlet 28 with respect to the platform 26 and/or other components of the personal propulsion device 14. For example, during use of the system 10, the fluid outlets 28 may be movable along a length or width of the platform 26. As shown in FIG. 8, the fluid outlets 28 may be movably coupled to and/or slidably disposed within a track or guide 32 that provides a range of locations that the fluid outlets 28 may be moved to. The track 32 may provide a plurality of discrete locations that a fluid outlet 28 can be set or locked into, or alternatively provide an uninterrupted length or dimension that one or more fluid outlets 28 can travel along. An actuator 30 can facilitate the movement of the fluid outlet (s) 28 to a desired position along the track 32 and may also be operated to secure the fluid outlet 28 into a desired position once the position has been attained. Individual fluid outlets may be movable independently of other fluid outlets, or may be moved in conjunction or coordination with other fluid outlets. In aspects, the actuator 30 may be implemented with an electric motor or solenoid, pneumatic actuators which are controlled by air pressure, or hydraulic actuators which are controlled by the pressure of a liquid such as oil or water. In another aspect, the actuator 30 may be manually operated. In one aspect, the actuator 30 may be controlled by the input controls 40. In one aspect, the actuator 30 may be controlled with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein.

Fluid flow through any of the fluid outlets may be controllable independent of fluid flow through other fluid outlets. To achieve such independently controllable and adjustable fluid flow, fluid control valves 24 may be coupled to or otherwise placed in proximity to the fluid outlets 28, may be coupled to or otherwise placed in proximity to the fluid discharge ports 18, 20 of the pressurized fluid source 12, and/or may be disposed along a length of the fluid delivery conduit (s) 16. The fluid control valves 24 may be in communication with one or more controllers, sensors, or other components of the system to provide the features and operations disclosed herein .

The system 10 may include one or more sensors and/or diagnostic instruments 34 that measure, read, assess, or otherwise gather information about one or more features, conditions, and characteristics of the system 10 before, during, and/or after use of the system. For example, one or more sensors 34 may be coupled to the pressurized fluid source 12 to assess, measure and/or monitor an engine RPM, fluid flow rate, fluid pressure, speed, location, movement direction, and/or temperature of one or more components of the pressurized fluid source or fluid provided by the pressurized fluid source 12.

One or more sensors 34 may be coupled to the personal propulsion device 14 to assess, measure and/or monitor one or more features, conditions, and characteristics of the personal propulsion device 14 before, during, and/or after use. For example, the personal propulsion device 14 may include one or more sensors 34 coupled thereto to measure or monitor position, angular orientation, tilt, speed, acceleration, elevation/altitude, fluid outlet conditions (e.g., position, angular orientation, fluid output performance) , roll, yaw, pitch, roll rate, yaw rate, pitch rate, and/or the like. In one aspect, the one or more sensors 34 may include an altimeter. In aspects implementing altimeter, the altimeter may include a sonic altimeter, radar altimeter, or the like. In one aspect, the one or more sensors 34 may include an accelerometer . In aspects implementing an accelerometer, the accelerometer may include a bulk micromachined capacitive accelerometer, a bulk micromachined piezoelectric resistive accelerometer, a capacitive spring mass system base accelerometer, a DC response accelerometer, an electromechanical servo (Servo Force Balance) accelerometer, a high gravity accelerometer, a laser accelerometer to motor accelerometer, a low frequency accelerometer, a magnetic induction accelerometer, a modally tuned impact hammer accelerometer, null-balance accelerometer, optical accelerometer, pendulous integrating gyroscopic accelerometer (PIGA) , a piezoelectric accelerometer, a resonance accelerometer, a seat pad accelerometer, a shear mode accelerometer, a strain gauge accelerometer, a surface acoustic wave (SAW) accelerometer, a surface micromachined capacitive (MEMS) accelerometer, a thermal ( submicrometre CMOS process) accelerometer, a triaxial accelerometer, a vacuum diode with flexible anode accelerometer, a potentiometric type accelerometer, a LVDT type accelerometer and the like. In one aspect, the one or more sensors 34 may include a tilt sensor. The tilt sensor may include a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor that enables tilt angle measuring tasks to be performed in both single and dual axis mode such as an ultra-high precision two-axis MEMS driven digital inclinometer/ tiltmeter.

The system 10 may include a position assessment element 36 operable and configured to assess, measure, and/or monitor a distance or angle between at least a portion of the fluid delivery conduit 16 and a portion of the personal propulsion device 14, which may be indicative of a height or position of the personal propulsion device 14. The position assessment element 36 may include, for example, an angular position sensor, a rotary encoder, an optical sensor, an impedance sensor, capacitive transducer, capacitive displacement sensor, eddy-current sensor, ultrasonic sensor, grating sensor, hall effect sensor, inductive non-contact position sensor, laser doppler vibrometer (optical) , linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) , multi-axis displacement transducer, photodiode array, piezo-electric transducer, potentiometer, string potentiometer, and/or the like. In the example shown in FIG. 9, the position assessment element 36 is coupled to the platform 26 and assesses an angle a formed between the fluid delivery conduit 16 and an underside of the platform 26. The angle a varies depending on the height or elevation of the platform 26. For example, when the platform 26 is on or near the surface of a body of water, the angle a is smaller since the fluid delivery conduit 16 is also on or near the surface of the water. As the platform 26 is elevated, the angle a increases, thus giving an indication of the height or elevation of the platform. Assessing height through the angular position of the fluid delivery conduit 16 can provide an accurate height measurement at lower heights or altitudes where traditional altimeters may be inaccurate or inoperable.

In operation similar to assessing the angle a, the position assessment element 36 may monitor and/or measure a distance ' between a discrete point or location on the platform 26 and a discrete point or location on the fluid delivery conduit 16, and extrapolate, deduce or calculate a height of the platform 26 based upon the distance ' , with a larger measured value indicating a greater height.

The system 10 may include one or more controllers 38 operable to modify, adjust, or otherwise control the various components of the system, including for example, the pressurized fluid source 12, the fluid discharge ports 18, 20, fluid control valves 24, fluid outlets 28, and/or actuators 30. A controller 38 may be implemented as a single control implementing one or more aspects of the system 10, or alternatively, multiple controllers may be implemented with each controller implementing one or more aspects of the system. For example, individual controllers may be implemented for each of the pressurized fluid source 12, the fluid discharge ports 18, 20, fluid control valves 24, fluid outlets 28, and actuators 30. The controller ( s ) 38 may receive information from one or more of the sensors or components described herein, and may be positioned or located on a surface or portion of the system 10 accessible to a user during operation. For example, one or more controllers 38 may be coupled to the personal propulsion device 14 to allow a passenger to monitor or provide input into the controller, for example, by operation of the input controls 40, to affect operation of the system 10. In addition, and/or alternatively, one or more controllers 38 may be coupled to the pressurized fluid source 12 to allow an operator or passenger thereon to monitor or provide input into the controller to affect operation of the system 10.

The controller 38 may generally include a processor, a power supply, a memory, a clock, an analog to digital converter (A/D) , digital to analog converter (DAC) , one or more input/output (I/O) ports, and the like. The I/O ports may be configured to receive signals from any suitably attached electronic device and forward these signals from the A/D and/or to processor. These signals include signals from the sensors. If the signals are in analog format, the signals may proceed via the A/D. In this regard, the A/D may be configured to receive analog format signals and convert these signals into corresponding digital format signals. The controller 38 may include a transceiver configured to transmit signals, such as control signals and the like, over a wired and/or wireless communication channel as defined herein to communicate with the other sensors and components of the system 10.

In an exemplary of use of the system 10, the pressurized fluid source 12 may be operated to deliver pressurized fluid, such as water, through the fluid delivery conduit (s) 16 to the personal propulsion device 14 to elevate the personal propulsion device to achieve flight. In particular, the pressurized fluid source 12 may be operated and/or controlled from one or more controllers 38 coupled to the personal propulsion device 14 to deliver pressurized fluid to the fluid outlet (s) 28 coupled to the platform 26. The flow or delivery of fluid through the system 10 may be modified or adjusted during use through operation of one or more of the fluid control valves 24 disclosed herein to achieve a desired position, orientation, or movement of the personal propulsion device 14 and/or the pressurized fluid source 12. Such modification may be performed through actions taken or inputs entered by a passenger of the system 10, for example, by operation of the input controls 40, or performed automatically in association with feedback and information provided by the various sensors disclosed herein .

In one example of operating the system 10, it may be desired to maintain the platform 26 in a substantially balanced, horizontal orientation at a particular height, while the pressurized fluid source 12 tows or pulls the personal propulsion device along in a body of water. During such use, the pressurized fluid source 12 may be operated to deliver sufficient fluid to the fluid outlets 28 to sustain the platform 26 (and any passengers, equipment, and/or cargo thereon) at a preset height in a substantially level state. The height of the platform 26 may be monitored by the sensors 34 (such as an altimeter or otherwise) and/or the position assessment element 36 monitoring an angle or distance between the platform 26 and the fluid delivery conduit 16, and such monitored information may be communicated to the controller 38. The controller 38, in turn, may analyze or assess the received information, and modify the fluid flow through one or more segments of the system 10 to maintain an achieved or preset height by, for example, increasing/decreasing output of the pressurized fluid source 12, adjusting one or more fluid control valves 24 in the fluid flow path of the system, and/or changing a positon or orientation of the fluid outlets 28 through operation of the actuators 30.

The system 10 may be similarly operated to maintain or limit an amount of pitch, roll, yaw, pitch rate, roll rate, yaw rate, and the like experienced by the platform 26 to prevent tipping over or ejection of a passenger. For example, the controller 38 may have preset, predefined threshold limits for pitch, roll, yaw, pitch rate, roll rate, yaw rate, and the like. In one such example, it may be desirable to limit or prevent the platform 26 from rolling or pitching past an angle of approximately thirty degrees with respect to a horizon or level reference point. The system 10 may monitor the orientation of the platform through the sensors 34 (including, for example, one or more accelerometers or tilt sensors) , and communicate the measurements to the controller 38 for subsequent corrective action to be taken with respect to the pressurized fluid source 12, one or more of the fluid control valves 24, fluid outlets 28, and/or actuators (e.g., fluid flow, position, and/or orientation of the fluid outlet) . In one aspect, the controller 38 may implement predefined roll, yaw, pitch, roll rate, yaw rate, pitch rate, and/or the like limits. In a further aspect, the controller 38 may have a plurality of predefined limits such as beginner, novice, and expert, and the controller 38 may control the personal propulsion device 14 based on this plurality of predefined limits. In other words, the controller 38 may be set for beginner and may implement predefined roll, pitch, yaw, and the like limits for beginner use. In one aspect, the one or more controllers 38 may implement electronic stability control that improves the personal propulsion device 14 stability by detecting and reducing loss of control. During normal operation the electronic stability control may work in the background and continuously monitor the personal propulsion device 14 operation. It compares the user's intended operation (determined through the input controls 40) to the personal propulsion device 14 actual direction (determined through measured lateral acceleration, roll, yaw, pitch, roll rate, yaw rate, pitch rate, and/or the like by the sensors 34) . The electronic stability control may intervene only when it detects a probable loss of control to stabilize the personal propulsion device 14 by actively controlling operation of the one or more fluid outlets 28.

In addition and/or alternatively to the methods described above, operation of the pressurized fluid source 12 may be modified, controlled, or adjusted to achieve a desired movement, orientation, and/or position of the pressurized fluid source 12. For example, the system 10 may be operated such that fluid expelled from the second fluid discharge port 20 of the pressurized fluid source is modified by the controller 38 to move, steer, or otherwise control the pressurized fluid source independently of the control and positioning of the personal propulsion device 14.

Features of the present disclosure can be realized in hardware, or a combination of hardware and software. Any kind of computing system, or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the methods described herein, is suited to perform the functions described herein. A typical combination of hardware and software could be a specialized computer system, having one or more processing elements and a computer program stored on a storage medium that, when loaded and executed, controls the computer system such that it carries out the methods described herein. Features of the present disclosure can also be embedded in a computer program product, which comprises all the features enabling the implementation of the methods described herein, and which, when loaded in a computing system is able to carry out these methods. Storage medium refers to any volatile or non-volatile storage device.

Computer program or application in the present context means any expression, in any language, code or notation, of a set of instructions intended to cause a system having an information processing capability to perform a particular function either directly or after either or both of the following a) conversion to another language, code or notation; b) reproduction in a different material form. Storage medium refers to any volatile or non-volatile computer readable storage device such as magnetic storage, semiconductor memory, DVD, Compact Disk or memory stick, but does not encompass a signal propagation media such as a copper cable, optical fiber or wireless transmission media. Program code may be transmitted to a computer constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure using any appropriate medium, including but not limited to wireless, wireline, optical fiber cable, RF, etc., or any suitable combination of the foregoing. Computer program code for carrying out operations for aspects disclosed herein may be written in any combination of one or more programming languages, including an object oriented programming language such as Java, Smalltalk, C++ or the like and conventional procedural programming languages, such as the "C" programming language or similar programming languages. The program code may execute entirely on the user's computer, partly on the user's computer, as a stand-alone software package, partly on the user's computer and partly on a remote computer or entirely on the remote computer or server. In the latter scenario, the remote computer may be connected to the user's computer through any type of network, including a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN) , or the connection may be made to an external computer (for example, through the Internet using an Internet Service Provider) .

These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer readable medium that can direct a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer readable medium produce an article of manufacture including instructions which implement the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.

The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other devices to produce a computer implemented process such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable apparatus provide processes for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. It is noted that the computer programs of the present invention can be downloaded via the Internet to a computer.

Aspects of the disclosure may include communication channels that may be any type of wired or wireless electronic communications network, such as, e.g., a wired/wireless local area network (LAN) , a wired/wireless personal area network (PAN) , a wired/wireless home area network (HAN) , a wired/wireless wide area network (WAN) , a campus network, a metropolitan network, an enterprise private network, a virtual private network (VPN) , an internetwork, a backbone network (BBN) , a global area network (GAN) , the Internet, an intranet, an extranet, an overlay network, Near field communication (NFC) , a cellular telephone network, a Personal Communications Service (PCS) , using known protocols such as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), CDMA (Code- Division Multiple Access), GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, Long Term Evolution (LTE) , 5G (5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems), WiMAX, HSPA+, W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access), CDMA2000 (also known as C2K or IMT Multi-Carrier (IMT-MC)), Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth, and/or the like, and/or a combination of two or more thereof. The NFC standards cover communications protocols and data exchange formats, and are based on existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards including ISO/IEC 14443 and FeliCa. The standards include ISO/IEC 18092 [3] and those defined by the NFC Forum. It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present disclosure is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described herein above. In addition, unless mention was made above to the contrary, it should be noted that all of the accompanying drawings are not to scale. Of note, the system components have been represented where appropriate by conventional symbols in the drawings, showing only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments of the present disclosure so as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the description herein. Moreover, while certain embodiments or figures described herein may illustrate features not expressly indicated on other figures or embodiments, it is understood that the features and components of the examples disclosed herein are not necessarily exclusive of each other and may be included in a variety of different combinations or configurations without departing from the scope and spirit of the disclosure. A variety of modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings without departing from the scope and spirit of the disclosure, which is limited only by the following claims.