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Title:
RAPID FOOD AND BEVERAGE CHILL SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/133877
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A rapid-chilling system, includes a cooling tank comprising a cooling component, the cooling component to chill a liquid stored in the cooling tank. The system further includes an agitation tank comprising an agitation component, the agitation tank to receive one or more containers, and the agitation component configured to agitate the contents of the one or more containers. The system further includes a storage tank, coupled between the cooling tank and the agitation tank, the storage tank to store the liquid chilled via the convention cooling component.

Inventors:
GARNER, Oliver (6807 Buckeye Way, Columbus, Georgia, 31904, US)
Application Number:
US2018/067960
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 28, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GARNER, Oliver (6807 Buckeye Way, Columbus, Georgia, 31904, US)
International Classes:
F25D31/00; F25D19/00; F25D29/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLIE, Michael J. et al. (WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON LLP, P.O. Box 7037Atlanta, Georgia, 30357-0037, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A rapid-chilling system, comprising:

a cooling tank comprising a cooling component, the cooling component to chill a liquid stored in the cooling tank;

an agitation tank comprising an agitation component, the agitation tank to receive one or more containers, and the agitation component configured to agitate the contents of the one or more containers by rotating the container about an axis; and

a storage tank, coupled between the cooling tank and the agitation tank, the storage tank to store the liquid chilled via the cooling component.

2. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, further comprising a power component, the power component to provide energy to the rapid-chilling system, the power component comprising at least one of a solar power generator or a battery.

3. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, the agitation tank comprising one or more liquid jets to create a vortex of liquid around the container.

4. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, the agitation tank comprising one or more removable baskets coupled to the agitation component, the or more removable baskets to receive the container.

5. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, further comprising a control component to control at least one of a temperature or chill duration of the contents of the one or more containers, the control component comprising a display.

6. The rapid-chilling system of claim 5, wherein to control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration, the control component is to:

receive a selection of a desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers; determine the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents; and

modify the at least one of the determined temperature or chill duration to chill the contents to the desired temperature.

7. The rapid-chilling system of claim 5, wherein to control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration the control component is to:

receive a selection of a selection of a content type of the contents of the one or more containers; and

determine a desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers based on the content type; and

control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration to chill the contents to the desired temperature.

8. The rapid-chilling system of claim 7, the control system to receive the selection wirelessly from a mobile computing device.

9. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, further comprising a secondary storage tank to maintain a temperature of a liquid stored in the secondary storage tank.

10. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, wherein the liquid consists of water.

11. The rapid-chilling system of claim 1, wherein the liquid comprises a brine solution.

12. A method of rapid chilling, comprising:

cycling a liquid between a cooling tank and a storage tank to chill the liquid to a threshold temperature;

pumping the chilled liquid into an agitation tank, the agitation tank storing one or more containers comprising contents to be chilled; and

agitating the contents of the one or more containers while simultaneously agitating the chilled liquid in the agitation tank.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising powering one or more of the cooling tank, storage tank, or the agitation tank with solar power.

14. The method of claim 12, further comprising powering one or more of the cooling tank, storage tank, or the agitation tank with a battery.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising controlling at least one of a temperature or a chill duration corresponding to the contents of the one or more containers to chill the contents to a desired temperature.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein controlling the at least one of the temperature of the chill duration comprises:

receiving a selection of the desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers; and

determining the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein controlling the at least one of the temperature of the chill duration comprises:

receiving a selection of a content type of the contents of the one or more containers; determining the desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers based on the content type; and

determining the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising receiving the selection wirelessly from a mobile computing device.

19. A computer-readable medium comprising instructions which, when executed by a processing device, cause the processing device to:

cycle air between a cooling tank and a storage tank to chill the air to a threshold temperature;

pump the chilled air into an agitation tank, the agitation tank storing one or more containers comprising contents to be chilled; and

agitate the contents of the one or more containers while simultaneously agitating the chilled air in the agitation tank.

20. The computer-readable medium of claim 19, the processing device further to:

receive a selection of a content type of the contents of the one or more containers;

determine a desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers based on the content type; determine the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents; and

control the at least one of the temperature of the chill duration based on the determined temperature or chill duration.

Description:
RAPID FOOD AND BEVERAGE CHILL SYSTEM

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of ET.S. Provisional Application No. 62/611,445, filed December 28, 2017, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to the field of rapid chilling and, more specifically, to rapidly chilling food and beverage items.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Restaurants and stores waste energy by keeping drinks and other items cold unnecessarily (e.g., overnight). In some cases, all drinks (and/or other food related items) that are predicted to sell within a current day are stored in refrigerators, even if the drinks can safely be stored at room temperature. Traditional refrigerators require large amounts of energy and large amounts of floor space. It would be desirable to chill food and beverage items on demand, while making efficient use of floor space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] Various implementations of the present disclosure will be understood more fully from the detailed description given below and from the accompanying drawings of various

implementations of the invention.

[0005] FIG. 1 A shows a system for rapid chilling of food and beverage items, according to an implementation.

[0006] FIG. 1B shows a planetary basket system for rapid chilling of food and beverage items, according to an implementation.

[0007] FIG. 2A shows a first exploded component view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation.

[0008] FIG. 2B shows a second exploded component view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation.

[0009] FIG. 3 A shows a first perspective view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation.

[0010] FIG. 3B shows a first perspective view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation. [0011] FIG. 4A is a flow diagram of a first method of rapidly chilling of food and beverage items, in accordance with some embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0012] FIG. 4B is a flow diagram of a second method of rapidly chilling of food and beverage items, in accordance with some embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an example apparatus that may perform one or more of the operations described herein, in accordance with some embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] The present disclosure provides systems and methods for the rapid chilling of food and beverage items. It should be noted that while many of the embodiments described herein are described with respect to cans (e.g., cans of beverages) for convenience and brevity, the embodiments are equally applicable to other food and beverage items, medical items, scientific items, etc. It is contemplated that the systems and methods described herein are capable of use in any suitable context (e.g., food and beverage, medical, military, scientific, etc.) for example, the systems and methods described herein can be used to rapidly chill canned or bottled beverages, canned or otherwise contained food, living organs (e.g., for transplant), chemical or biological components (e.g., for laboratory experimentation), etc.

[0015] In the food service and food preparation (and other) sectors, there is a need for rapid chilling devices to keep bacteria from forming, for reducing cooling periods for foods and beverages requiring long-term refrigeration, and for the storage of cold items in rapid production environments. The rapid chilling system described herein not only provides an eco-friendly solution that reduces the cooling time required before transferring food and beverages to standard refrigeration, but also provides a new technology that reduces food waste and degradation of taste and color. Some embodiments for rapid refrigeration involve either applying liquid nitrogen directly to food, or using blast air technology. With the use of blast air technology, the wait time of the rapid chilling process is approximately 90 minutes for quantities up to 242 pounds. Commercial kitchens and food production facilities must account for this time period during their production process, thereby limiting daily output. The use of liquid nitrogen applied directly to food products may be undesirable, because some consumers dislike additives applied to their food.

[0016] In one embodiment, the systems and methods described herein are capable of chilling a can of soda from 90°F to 34°F in just a few seconds. In another embodiment, the rapid chilling system disclosed herein can chill a six-pack of beverages, in either metal or plastic containers, from 90°F to 34°F in approximately 42 seconds. One embodiment of the rapid chilling system disclosed herein, which is designed for commercial food production environments, chills 100 gallons of liquids and/or solids in less than 60 minutes. As a result, the systems and methods described herein may reduce the chilling process by 30 minutes, increasing production and helping to prevent the growth of bacteria. Because of its revolutionary technology, the rapid chilling system disclosed herein prevents both fluid loss and the degradation of food color and aesthetics. In addition, because it uses water as part of its cooling process, there is no loss of food along the edges of the container; a typical occurrence when relying on blast air chilling. The system and methods described herein may also be more economical to operate than traditional devices.

[0017] Because its revolutionary technology improves processes and reduces production duration, the rapid chilling system disclosed herein has at least two major advantages over traditional techniques. Since the unit can produce rapid refrigeration (e.g., chilling) very quickly, there may be significant energy savings as compared to currently used blast air chilling or standard refrigeration. Embodiments of the rapid chilling system disclosed herein include superior cooling methods, speed, additional cooling capacity and may use 59% less electricity than standard refrigeration techniques.

[0018] In one embodiment, the main cooling component of the rapid chilling system is water, instead of a chemical or blasted air approach. This may eliminates the risk of harsh chemicals coming into contact with food and other products and may reduce "cold spots" where the items are exposed to blasts of freezing air. Due to its ability to rapidly chill items to a temperature range of approximately 34-38 degrees, the applicable industries will experience significant energy cost reduction as opposed to standard refrigeration. After the items are rapidly chilled, they can be transferred to typical units for preservation of temperature.

[0019] FIG. 1 A shows a system lOOa for rapid chilling of food and beverage items, according to an implementation. In one embodiment, system lOOa includes a cooling tank 102 including a cooling component(s) 103. In one embodiment, the cooling component(s) 103 is to chill a liquid or air stored in the cooling tank (e.g., using convection cooling). System lOOa may further include an agitation tank (e.g., drink tank) 104 including an agitation component 105. In one embodiment the agitation tank is to receive one or more containers (e.g., containing items to be chilled). In another embodiment, the agitation component may be configured to agitate the contents of the one or more containers to encourage even and rapid cooling. System lOOa may further include one or more storage tanks 106, coupled (e.g., via pipe 107 and/or pump 108) between the cooling tank 102 and the agitation tank 104. In one embodiment, the storage tank(s) is to store the liquid (or air) chilled via the convention cooling component 103.

[0020] In one embodiment, system lOOa includes a secondary storage tank (e.g., in addition to tank 106) to maintain a temperature of a liquid (or air) stored in the secondary storage tank. In various embodiments, the liquid consists of water or a brine solution (e.g., to allow for subzero temperatures). In other embodiments, air may be used in place of liquid. The air may include any combination of elements, including oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc. and may be compressed or uncompressed.

[0021] In various additional embodiments, system lOOa includes a power component 110 to provide energy to the rapid-chilling system lOOa. In one embodiment, the power component 110 includes a solar power generator and/or a battery (e.g., lithium-ion). Advantageously, such embodiments may allow system lOOa to be portable, which may be beneficial in various embodiments (e.g., medical live-organ transplant systems). In one embodiment, system lOOa includes permanent (installed) solar panels. In another embodiment, system lOOa includes an interface to accept removable solar panels. In yet another embodiment, system lOOa includes an adapter that allows the system lOOa to be powered by external solar panels, as well as other external power sources.

[0022] In one embodiment, system lOOa further includes a control component 112 to control at least one of a temperature or a chill duration corresponding to the contents of the one or more containers. In one embodiment, the control component includes a display (e.g.,, a touch-screen display). In another embodiment, the control component 110 wireless connects to a mobile computing device to which information may be transmitted and displayed, and from which information may be received. In one embodiment, a mobile computing device is able to remotely control the system lOOa via the control component 110.

[0023] In one embodiment, to control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration the control component 110 is to receive a selection of a desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers and determine the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents. In one embodiment, information correlating desired temperatures and temperature values and/or chill durations may be calculated in real time. In other embodiments, such information may be looked up in a data table stored in system lOOa or remotely. Control component 1120 may then control the at least one of the determined temperature or chill duration to chill the contents to the desired temperature.

[0024] In another embodiment, to control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration the control component is to: receive a selection of a selection of a content type of the contents of the one or more containers and determine a desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers based on the content type. Again, such information may be determined in real time or looked up. Control component 110 may then control the at least one of the temperature or the chill duration to chill the contents to the desired temperature. In one embodiment, control system may receive the selection(s) wirelessly from a mobile computing device. In another embodiment, the selections may be made on the control component 110 itself (e.g., via a touch screen or non-touch-screen and buttons). LED lights may serve as indicators of the system's status, using different colors to indicate if the system is. ready for use, warming up, or turned oil The display screen (or mobile device application) may allow the user to view the time left for the cycle and monitor the status of the system. The temperature of the fluid may also be monitored and adjusted by the system to maintain the desired temperature.

[0025] In various embodiments, system lOOa may rapidly chill any item placed within its confines. The water or air chilling system lOOa utilizes a refrigeration cycle (e.g., implemented with a Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP)). The WSHP chills water to a target temperature or temperate range (e.g., 35-39 degrees) using the refrigeration cycle and a refrigerant-to-water heat-exchanger. Refrigerant in liquid form coils around the water tube, absorbing the heat energy from the water to expand into a gas and lowering the temperature of the water. The refrigerant is run through the condenser to lose heat, and pressurized in the compressor to become a liquid again. In this way, the liquid cycling through the system may be continuously cooled, after coming in contact with the containers to be chilled. Convection cooling (e.g., opposite convection heating of a microwave, for example) may be used within the agitation tank 104 to achieve faster chilling.

[0026] In various embodiments, forced convection of air and/or water may be used while limiting chemicals from the cooling process. Convection without chemicals could be achieved with both air and water. Both air compressors and forced water convection are contemplated. In some embodiments, compressed air (e.g., via cartridges and/or compressors may be used to generate the air flow for convection cooling. Fans may be located in the walls, bottom, and/or top portions of the agitation tank to promote even cooling via convection. In some embodiments (e.g., in a“handheld” chilling device), misted liquid may be continuously or intermittently sprayed into the agitation tank, and circulated via fans, to promote rapid chilling. In other embodiments, other cooling methods (e.g., conduction, radiation, etc.) may be used instead of, or in combination with, convection cooling. In one convection cooling embodiment, a series of water or air jets or fans circulates the water or air around the items to the cooled in the agitation tank. In other embodiments, a spinning blade may circulate water with or without pump jets. In some further embodiments, Peliter plates (e.g., conductive plates) may be used to keep liquid cool.

[0027] In various embodiments, incoming cold water is directed through a manifold which provides some number of jets (e.g., 30) of water directed around each container to ensure a slight movement (vibration) of the cans and surrounding water (or air) to increase the energy transfer between the cold water and the outer surfaces of the containers containing the warm items (e.g., beverages). In one embodiment, to provide circulation through the chilling system's chiller and the manifold injecting cold water onto the beverage cans, a circulation pump capable of a 5-50 (e.g., 25) gallons per minute flow rate is used. This pump takes the return water from the chill tank and recirculates it through the barrel chiller and back through the beer chiller and finally into the manifold which directly chills the beverage cans.

[0028] The items to be cooled may be further agitated via motion. For example, containers of food, beverage, or other items may be rotated, moved axially, vibrated, etc. to agitate the contents of the containers. In doing so, rapid and even chilling may be achieved. To achieve suitable agitation of the container, without over-agitating the contents, various systems and methods may be used. In one embodiment, horizontal rollers at the base of the agitation tank may be used. Such rollers may allow containers to sit in a horizontal position while the fluid flows over them. The rollers may also rotate the containers, generating convection cooling on the inside as well as the outside. In another embodiment, vertical milers may be used, which may achieves the same thing as the horizontal rollers, in the vertical orientation. In other

embodiments, containers may be systematically dunked in and out of the cooling liquid. A tilt method involved tilting the containers at a 180 degree angle back and forth. In another embodiment, containers may be spun around a central axis in a vortex motion, with or without an angle offset.

[0029] Various mechanical systems are contemplated to achieve the agitation described herein. For example, in one embodiment, containers may be held within the agitation tank in a octagon tilt design, that may hold eight containers around a center shaft and may tilt the beverages by some number of degrees (e.g., 30 degrees) for optimal vortex creation. In some embodiments, this design may include one or more motors to drive the shaft from above or below. In another embodiment method, containers may be spun individually and could be scaled to accommodate any number of containers. In this embodiment, each container may be individually motorized or tied using belts and/or chains to one or more motors. In another basket hook system, the system may hold eight containers in individual removable baskets. The baskets may be removable to ease the loading and unloading process.

[0030] In another embodiment, a planetary basket system may be used, as shown in FIG. 1B. In this system lOOb, some number of baskets (e.g., three) each hold some number of containers (e.g., four, for a total of twelve containers). Each basket may be attached to a small gear 120 (in lOOc), which may be driven by a central shaft 124. The gears are kept in place by an outer planetary gear 122. The design combines the vortex motion with individualized container spinning, which creates turbulence within the container and throughout the liquid. A benefit of this design is it only requires one motor to drive the rotation of the central shaft, it does not include belts or chains, and that it does not allow the liquid bath to develop a whirlpool effect.

[0031] In one embodiment, to maintain the water level over the chilled beverage cans an internal divider panel may be been inserted into the chill chamber to provide the desired leveling feature that is independent of the amount of beverage cans put into the chilling chamber, therefore eliminating any need for sophisticated level control. The divider may be inserted into various preset slots, so that the size of the chill chamber may be dynamically adjusted to correspond to a size of the containers to be held. For example, in one embodiment, when a single can is to be chilled, the divider may be inserted into a set of slots that modifies the chill chamber to its smallest size. If larger containers are to be chilled, the divider may be inserted into a set of slots that allows for a larger chamber size, or may be removed completely. Advantageously, the volume of liquid and/or air in the chill chamber may be dynamically adjusted to be suitable for the desired container size. Throughout the system 100, various filters may be used to prevent debris from contaminating the system.

[0032] In one embodiment, startup performance may be conditional on the amount of pre-cool time the system lOOa has been able to operate at prior to utilizing test system for chilling beverage. Once operational, the system may continue to maintain the lowest temperature when not in use and may shut off when the desired set temperature is achieved thereby always being ready to commence operation on demand.

[0033] In one various embodiments, the components of system lOOa may be in any form factor, including a larger device that is capable of fitting under a bar counter and plugging into a power source, a portable device that is capable of being carried and is powered via solar power or a battery, and anything in between.

[0034] For example, in one embodiment, rapid chilling system lOOa is approximately 34-inch height x 21 -inch depth x 44-inch width. In one embodiment, the base of the unit may have a 4- inch clearance from floor with four heavy-duty casters to provide mobility for unit. Major system components may include the chill tank 110 that is supported by a metal frame and cabinet enclosing a complete closed loop water chilling system 100. In one embodiment, the chilling system comprises a 7500 BTU refrigeration unit coupled to a barrel chiller which has a matching capacity of 7500 BTUs to achieve a proper integration with refrigeration unit. In one

embodiment, the chilling component 103 comprises of a titanium coil 114 encased in a PVC housing to provide a consistent and continuous cooling for drafting keg beer, for example. In this embodiment, the system may not include the storage tank 106 and agitation tank 104. In one embodiment, the agitation tank 104 provides a chill chamber with the capacity for 30-12 ounce cans of beverage and an adjoining drain chamber (and/or storage tank 106) to provide draining of the chilled beverage cans. In one embodiment, a removable rack designed to contain 30-12 ounce cans and position them above the water injection manifold is provided. Additional description of the system lOOa and various form factors are described with respect to FIGS. 2A- 5.

[0035] FIGs. 2A and 2B show a first 200a and second 200b exploded component view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation. In one embodiment, the components of FIGs. 2A and 2B include some or all of the components listed in Table 1, below. In other embodiments, less or more components may be used.

TABLE 1 [0036] FIGs. 3A and 3B show a first 300a and second 300b perspective view of a rapid-chilling food and beverage system, according to an implementation. In various embodiments, the components and systems of FIGs. 2A-3B are capable of performing the operations described herein.

[0037] FIGs. 4A and 4B are a flow diagrams of a first 400a and second 400b methods of rapidly chilling of food and beverage items, in accordance with some embodiments of the present disclosure. Methods 400a and 400b may be performed by processing logic that may comprise hardware (e.g., circuitry, dedicated logic, programmable logic, a processor, a processing device, a central processing unit (CPU), a system-on-chip (SoC), etc.), software (e.g., instructions running/executing on a processing device), firmware (e.g., microcode), or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the methods 400a and 400b may be performed by system lOOa of FIG.

1 A.

[0038] The method 400a begins at block 402, in which processing logic cycles a liquid between a cooling tank and a storage tank to chill the liquid to a threshold temperature. In one

embodiment, the threshold temperature is a temperature that allows the system to chill contents of the system to a desired temperature. At block 404, processing logic pumps the chilled liquid into an agitation tank. In one embodiment, the agitation tank stores one or more containers comprising contents to be chilled. In another embodiment, the items to be chilled are not in containers. Processing logic, at block 406, may agitate the contents of the one or more containers while simultaneously agitating the chilled liquid in the agitation tank, as described with respect to FIG. 1 A. In other embodiments, one or the other type of agitation (e.g., container agitation, liquid/air-convection agitation, etc.) may be performed. In yet another embodiment, no agitation is performed at all. In some embodiments, chilled liquid (or air) is continuously cycled through the agitation tank to maintain proper temperature.

[0039] In one embodiment, processing logic may power one or more of the cooling tank, storage tank, or the agitation tank with solar power. In another embodiment, processing logic may power one or more of the cooling tank, storage tank, or the agitation tank with a battery. Such embodiments may be useful, for example, when the chilling system is portable.

[0040] In one embodiment, processing logic may modify at least one of a temperature or a chill duration corresponding to the contents of the one or more containers to chill the contents to a desired temperature. For example, temperature, chill duration (the amount of time items are chilled), or both may be modified to achieve the desired item temperature. In one embodiment, to control the at least one of the temperature of the chill duration processing logic may receive a selection of the desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers and determine the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents. In one embodiment, processing logic may monitor the temperature of the containers and/or contents of the containers (e.g., via infrared, embedded sensors, etc.). Once the contents (or container) has achieved the desired temperature processing logic may enable the system to maintain the proper temperature of some duration. Furthermore, processing logic may send a notification to be displayed on a display of the system and/or on a mobile computing device located remotely from the system.

[0041] In another embodiment of method 4b of FIG. 4B, processing logic may receive a selection of a content type of the contents of the one or more containers (block 403) and determine the desired temperature of the contents of the one or more containers based on the content type (block 405). At block 407, processing logic may determine the temperature or the chill duration based on the desired temperature of the contents. Processing logic may receive the selections (and any other information) wirelessly from a mobile computing device.

[0042] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an example computing device 500 that may perform one or more of the operations described herein, in accordance with some embodiments. Computing device 500 may be connected to other computing devices in a LAN, an intranet, an extranet, and/or the Internet. The computing device may operate in the capacity of a server machine in client-server network environment or in the capacity of a client in a peer-to-peer network environment. The computing device may be provided by a personal computer (PC), a set-top box (STB), a server, a network router, switch or bridge, or any machine capable of executing a set of instructions (sequential or otherwise) that specify actions to be taken by that machine. Further, while only a single computing device is illustrated, the term“computing device” shall also be taken to include any collection of computing devices that individually or jointly execute a set (or multiple sets) of instructions to perform the methods discussed herein.

[0043] The example computing device 500 may include a processing device (e.g., a general purpose processor, a PLD, etc.) 502, a main memory 504 (e.g, synchronous dynamic random access memory (DRAM), read-only memory (ROM)), a static memory 506 (e.g, flash memory and a data storage device 518), which may communicate with each other via a bus 530.

[0044] Processing device 502 may be provided by one or more general-purpose processing devices such as a microprocessor, central processing unit, or the like. In an illustrative example, processing device 502 may comprise a complex instruction set computing (CISC)

microprocessor, reduced instruction set computing (RISC) microprocessor, very long instruction word (VLIW) microprocessor, or a processor implementing other instruction sets or processors implementing a combination of instruction sets. Processing device 502 may also comprise one or more special-purpose processing devices such as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a digital signal processor (DSP), network processor, or the like. The processing device 502 may be configured to execute the operations described herein, in accordance with one or more aspects of the present disclosure, for performing the operations and steps discussed herein.

[0045] Computing device 500 may further include a network interface device 508 which may communicate with a network 520. The computing device 500 also may include a video display unit 510 ( e.g ., a liquid crystal display (LCD) or a cathode ray tube (CRT)), an alphanumeric input device 512 (e.g., a keyboard), a cursor control device 514 (e.g, a mouse) and an acoustic signal generation device 516 (e.g, a speaker). In one embodiment, video display unit 510, alphanumeric input device 512, and cursor control device 514 may be combined into a single component or device (e.g, an LCD touch screen).

[0046] Data storage device 518 may include a computer-readable storage medium 528 on which may be stored one or more sets of instructions, e.g., instructions for carrying out the operations described herein, in accordance with one or more aspects of the present disclosure. Instructions implementing module 526 may also reside, completely or at least partially, within main memory 504 and/or within processing device 502 during execution thereof by computing device 500, main memory 504 and processing device 502 also constituting computer-readable media. The instructions may further be transmitted or received over a network 520 via network interface device 508.

[0047] While computer-readable storage medium 528 is shown in an illustrative example to be a single medium, the term“computer-readable storage medium” should be taken to include a single medium or multiple media (e.g, a centralized or distributed database and/or associated caches and servers) that store the one or more sets of instructions. The term“computer-readable storage medium” shall also be taken to include any medium that is capable of storing, encoding or carrying a set of instructions for execution by the machine and that cause the machine to perform the methods described herein. The term“computer-readable storage medium” shall accordingly be taken to include, but not be limited to, solid-state memories, optical media and magnetic media.

[0048] The methods and illustrative examples described herein are not inherently related to any particular computer or other apparatus. Various general purpose systems may be used in accordance with the teachings described herein, or it may prove convenient to construct more specialized apparatus to perform the required method steps. The required structure for a variety of these systems will appear as set forth in the description above.

[0049] The above description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. Although the present disclosure has been described with references to specific illustrative examples, it will be recognized that the present disclosure is not limited to the examples described. The scope of the disclosure should be determined with reference to the following claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which the claims are entitled.

[0050] As used herein, the singular forms“a”,“an” and“the” are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms“comprises”,“comprising”,“includes”, and/or“including”, when used herein, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. Therefore, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0051] It should also be noted that in some alternative implementations, the functions/acts noted may occur out of the order noted in the figures. For example, two figures shown in succession may in fact be executed substantially concurrently or may sometimes be executed in the reverse order, depending upon the functionality/acts involved.

[0052] Although the method operations were described in a specific order, it should be understood that other operations may be performed in between described operations, described operations may be adjusted so that they occur at slightly different times or the described operations may be distributed in a system which allows the occurrence of the processing operations at various intervals associated with the processing.

Various units, circuits, or other components may be described or claimed as“configured to” or “configurable to” perform a task or tasks. In such contexts, the phrase“configured to” or “configurable to” is used to connote structure by indicating that the units/circuits/components include structure (e.g., circuitry) that performs the task or tasks during operation. As such, the unit/circuit/component can be said to be configured to perform the task, or configurable to perform the task, even when the specified unit/circuit/component is not currently operational (e.g., is not on). The units/circuits/components used with the“configured to” or“configurable to” language include hardware— for example, circuits, memory storing program instructions executable to implement the operation, etc. Reciting that a unit/circuit/component is“configured to” perform one or more tasks, or is“configurable to” perform one or more tasks, is expressly intended not to invoke 35 U.S.C. 112, sixth paragraph, for that unit/circuit/component.

Additionally,“configured to” or“configurable to” can include generic structure (e.g., generic circuitry) that is manipulated by software and/or firmware (e.g., an FPGA or a general-purpose processor executing software) to operate in manner that is capable of performing the task(s) at issue.“Configured to” may also include adapting a manufacturing process (e.g., a

semiconductor fabrication facility) to fabricate devices (e.g., integrated circuits) that are adapted to implement or perform one or more tasks. “Configurable to” is expressly intended not to apply to blank media, an unprogrammed processor or unprogrammed generic computer, or an unprogrammed programmable logic device, programmable gate array, or other unprogrammed device, unless accompanied by programmed media that confers the ability to the unprogrammed device to be configured to perform the disclosed function(s).

[0053] The foregoing description, for the purpose of explanation, has been described with reference to specific embodiments. However, the illustrative discussions above are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in view of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the embodiments and its practical

applications, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the embodiments and various modifications as may be suited to the particular use contemplated. Accordingly, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.

[0054] The various components of embodiments describer herein may comprise various construction materials. For example, each of the components may be constructed from injection mold plastic, 3-D printed plastic, wood, fiberglass, metal, cardboard, foam, rubber, carbon fiber, etc. Various coatings and/or coverings such as felt, velvet, rubberized paint, plastic, PVC, glass, foam, etc., may be applied to a base construction material to form the final components.

Furthermore, any fastener type may be used in place of the fasteners described herein for convenience.

[0055] In the description herein, numerous specific details are set forth, such as examples of specific hardware structures, specific architectural and micro architectural details, specific components, specific measurements/heights, etc. in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present disclosure. It will be apparent, however, that these specific details need not be employed to practice the present disclosure. In other instances, well known components or methods, such as specific and alternative construction materials, dimensions, shapes, sizes, functions and other specific details of the various versions of the apparatus described herein have not been described in detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present disclosure.

[0056] Use of the phrases‘to,’‘capable of/to,’ and or‘operable to,’ in one implementation, refers to some apparatus, system, component, member, and/or element designed in such a way to enable use of the apparatus, system, component, member, and/or element in a specified manner. Note as above that use of‘to,’‘capable to,’ or‘operable to,’ in one implementation, refers to the latent state of an apparatus where the apparatus is not operating but is designed in such a manner to enable use of an apparatus in a specified manner.

[0057] Reference throughout this specification to“one embodiment” or“an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present disclosure. Thus, the appearances of the phrases“in one embodiment” or“in an embodiment” on“in some embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiment.

[0058] In the foregoing specification, a detailed description has been given with reference to specific exemplary implementations. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense. Furthermore, the foregoing use of implementation and other exemplarily language does not necessarily refer to the same implementation or the same example, but may refer to different and distinct implementations, as well as potentially the same implementation.

[0059] The words“example” or“exemplary” are used herein to mean serving as an example, instance or illustration. Any aspect or design described herein as“example’ or“exemplary” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other aspects or designs.

Rather, use of the words“example” or“exemplary” is intended to present concepts in a concrete fashion. As used in this application, the term“or” is intended to mean an inclusive“or” rather than an exclusive“or.” That is, unless specified otherwise, or clear from context,“X includes A or B” is intended to mean any of the natural inclusive permutations. That is, if X includes A; X includes B; or X includes both A and B, then“X includes A or B” is satisfied under any of the foregoing instances. In addition, the articles“a” and“an” as used in this application and the appended claims should generally be construed to mean“one or more” unless specified otherwise or clear from context to be directed to a singular form. Moreover, use of the term“an embodiment” or“one embodiment” or“an embodiment” or“one embodiment” throughout is not intended to mean the same embodiment or embodiment unless described as such. Also, the terms "first," "second," "third," "fourth," etc. as used herein are meant as labels to distinguish among different elements and may not necessarily have an ordinal meaning according to their numerical designation.