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Title:
RFID READER WITH TURNABLE USB CONNECTOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/106021
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a RFID reader with a housing, a RFID reader circuit and an USB connector. The housing comprises a sensor section and a connector section wherein the connector section is distant from the sensor section. The RFID reader circuit comprises an antenna and a RFID transmitter/receiver circuit connected to the antenna which is mounted in the sensor section of the housing. The USB connector is mechanically connected to the housing by a turnable attachment means and electrically connected to the RFID transmitter/receiver circuit by a flexible cable.

Inventors:
HAERTEL, Stefan (Münchner Str. 28 c, Puchheim, 82178, DE)
ZELENY, Matthias (Abt-Führer-Str. 13 a, Fürstenfeldbruck, 82256, DE)
Application Number:
EP2018/082861
Publication Date:
June 06, 2019
Filing Date:
November 28, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ELATEC GMBH (Zeppelinstr. 1, Puchheim, 82178, DE)
International Classes:
G06K7/00; G06F13/00; H01R35/00
Foreign References:
JP2011039694A2011-02-24
US20140017918A12014-01-16
US20090273445A12009-11-05
US20130149893A12013-06-13
US20110227535A12011-09-22
US20080133815A12008-06-05
US20110159704A12011-06-30
DE20105908U12001-06-21
US20060138232A12006-06-29
JPS5227917B21977-07-22
US20140017918A12014-01-16
US20090273445A12009-11-05
US20130149893A12013-06-13
US20110227535A12011-09-22
US20080133815A12008-06-05
US20110159704A12011-06-30
DE20105908U12001-06-21
US20060138232A12006-06-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOHR, JÖSTINGMEIER & PARTNER (Junkersstraße 3, Puchheim Bayern, 82178, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. RFID reader (100) comprising a housing (110), an RFID reader circuit, and a USB connector (160), the housing comprises a sensor section (130) and a connector section (120),

the RFID reader circuit comprises at least one antenna (131) defining a main plane and an RFID transmitter/receiver circuit connected to the at least one antenna (131),

the USB connector (160) is electrically connected to the RFID transmit ter/receiver circuit by a cable and/or a plurality of wires,

characterized in that

the sensor section (130) of the housing (110) holds the RFID reader circuit within the housing, and

the connector section (120) of the housing (110) holds the USB connector (160) by a turnable attachment means (200), wherein the turnable attach ment means allows only a rotation of the connector about an axis orthogo nal to the main plane wherein the rotation is limited to an angle range of less than 200 degrees.

2. RFID reader (100) according to claim 1,

characterized in that

the sensor section (130) of the housing (110) has an essentially planar out er surface, essentially parallel to the main plane, and

the connector section (120) of the housing (110) has an essentially planar outer surface opposing to the outer surface of the sensor section (130).

3. RFID reader (100) according to claim 1 or 2,

characterized in that the connector section (120) of the housing (110) has an opening (121) from an inner surface (111) to an outer surface (112) for the attachment means (200),

the attachment means (200) has a support (210) covering the outer sur face (112) of the opening (121) and

the attachment means (200) further has at least two holding protru sions (211) connected to the support (210).

4. RFID reader (100) according to claim 3,

characterized in that

the opening (121) has at least two notches (122) at a sidewall of the open ing (121), the notches (122) matching the holding protrusions (211) for in serting the attachment means (200) with the holding protrusions (211) into the opening (121).

5. RFID reader (100) according to claim 3 or 4,

characterized in that

in an assembled state, when the attachment means (200) is inserted into the opening (121), the attachment means (200) may be rotated such that the inner surface (111) bears the holding protrusions (211).

6. RFID reader (100) according to claim 3, 4 or 5,

characterized in that

at least one stop (123) is provided on the inner surface (111) and which in teracts with at least one holding protrusion (211), such that the attach ment means (200) may be rotated from a position where the holding pro trusions (211) are close to the notches (122) to at least one position where the holding protrusions (211) are distant from the notches (122) and blocked to rotate back afterwards.

7. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in, that

the attachment means (200) forms a planar surface with the outer surface of the housing (110).

8. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in that

the housing (110) has a USB socket (150) which is connected to the RFID transmitter/receiver circuit.

9. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in that

the USB connector (160) is a plug connector (160).

10. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in that

the USB connector (160) is a double-sided connector.

11. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in that

the RFID reader (100) comprises a secure access module SAM (133).

12. RFID reader (100) according to claim 11,

characterized in that

the RFID reader (100) comprises a smartcard reader for a secure access module SAM (133).

13. RFID reader (100) according to claim 11 and 12,

characterized in, that a lockable cover (132) in the sensor section (130) is provided above the SAM module (133) or the smartcard reader.

14. RFID reader (100) according to claim 13,

characterized in that

the lockable cover (132) in the sensor section (130) is covered by a security label (135) for preventing the opening of the lockable cover

wherein

the security label (135) will be irreparably damaged by an attempt to re move it.

15. RFID reader (100) according to any of the previous claims,

characterized in that

the RFID reader (100) has an adhesive tape (170) at the same plane as the USB connector (160) protruding from the housing (110) for attaching the RFID reader (100) to another surface.

Description:
RFID Reader with Turnable USB Connector

Field of the invention

The invention relates to a secure retrofit RFID reader for printer solutions. Description of the related art

Data security becomes more and more important in commercial environments.

In companies with central printer solutions limited access to sensible data con tent is not guaranteed. Unintended publication of sensible information as well as spying on corporate secrets by visitors or other employees capturing printed documents from the printer station may occur. Secure printing solutions with RFID readers for identifying a user at the printer station are known. Older print ing systems do not have such an identifying system. Therefore, a retrofit solution for older printing systems without a RFID reader is needed.

JP5227917B2 discloses a handy type RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) read- er. The reader has a reader body with a USB cable connected thereto. The USB cable is for connecting the reader to a printing system without a RFID reader unit. The reader needs a storage area and the USB plug may be disconnected easily by an unauthorized person.

US 2014/0017918 A1 discloses a network terminal with a tiltable USB connector coupled by a slipring to the housing.

US 2009/2734445 A1 discloses a RFID reader with a fixed USB connector.

US 2013/149893 A1 discloses a power adapter cord including a rotatable con nector having a slipring. US 2011/0227535 A1 discloses a charge clip for cellular telephones including a power conversion plug which can be inserted in 90° displaced positions into the clip.

US 2008/133815 A1 discloses a USB hub with a stationary base station and a re movable second hub. The removable second hub has a rotatable USB connector which forms together with a power connector a friction fit to hold the hub in a rim of the stationary base station.

US 2011/159704 A1 discloses an electrical power receptacle with rotatable USB jacks.

DE 201 05 908 U1 discloses a USB card reader with rotatable USB connector.

US 2006/0138232 A1 discloses a combined barcode scanner and radio frequency identification reader with field interpretation array.

Summary of the invention

The problem to be solved by the invention is to provide a simple and inexpensive solution for a retrofit RFID reader which may be attached to a printer or any oth er electronic device. The solution has to be flexible as well as easily connectable to different printer systems. Furthermore, the RFID reader shall be small and visually appealing in its design.

Solutions of the problem are described in the independent claims. The depend ent claims relate to further improvements of the invention.

In a first embodiment, an RFID reader comprises a housing, an RFID reader cir cuit, and a USB connector. The RFID reader preferably is optimized to be installed to an electronic device like a printer and to remain there for a longer period, possibly the whole lifetime of the electronic device or the RFID reader.

The RFID reader circuit comprises at least one antenna and an RFID transmit- ter/receiver circuit connected to the at least one antenna. The transmit ter/receiver circuit may be attached next to the antenna. The antenna may be integrated into the RFID transmitter/receiver circuit, e.g. on the same printed circuit board.

The USB connector is connected to the RFID transmitter/receiver circuit by a ca ble and/or a plurality of wires. The cable and/or wires may be flexible. A cable and/or wire connection is preferred over a sliding contact or slipring connection as it has a higher reliability and lower costs. Specifically, in a long-time installa tion with no movement, a slip ring suffers from contact corrosion. Cable break is no issue, as there normally is only a low number of movements during installa tion.

The USB connector may be mechanically connected to the housing at a connect or section of the housing by a turnable attachment means.

The housing comprises a sensor section and a connector section, which prefera bly are coupled together. Coupling may be done by at least one clip and/or by glue between the sections.

The housing preferably comprises a top part and a bottom part, both parts pref erably comprising a plastic material. The top part preferably comprises the sen sor section which may support the RFID reader circuit. The top part may have an additional LED for displaying the status of the RFID reader.

The sensor section preferably is part of the housing and preferably of a detection zone for an RFID transponder. The sensor section may be part of a lid, respective ly of the top part of the housing and may contain an antenna within the lid. The antenna may also be aligned below the lid within the housing. The antenna may be attached to a circuit board for mechanically supporting the antenna.

The sensor section of the housing preferably has an essentially planar outer sur face and holds the RFID reader circuit within the housing. The bottom part of the housing preferably holds the USB connector at the con nector section. The USB connector may be a USB plug connector attached to the housing. Plug connector means a male USB plug.

The connector section of the housing preferably has an essentially planar outer surface preferably opposing to the outer surface of the sensor section.

The connector section may be distant from the sensor section. The USB connect or preferably is orthogonal to the main plane of the antenna. The alignment of the USB connector improves the receiving characteristics of the antenna. In gen eral, metal parts in the proximity of the antenna influence the characteristics of the antenna and the transmitting/receiving properties. A large series of tests have shown, that a USB connector, which usually has an outer metal shield, has at least a reproduceable and therefore compensable influence if positioned at a defined position relative to the antenna. Rotating such a connector about an axis orthogonal (which is the same as perpendicular) to the main plane of the anten na results in negligible changes of the influence of the connector.

The connector section of the housing preferably has an opening from an inner surface to an outer surface for the attachment means. The attachment means has a support, which may cover the opening at its outer surface. The opening may be stepped. Stepped means that the opening has a first diameter which cor responds to the thickness and the diameter of the support, but it is only a coun ter-bore. The opening may have a second diameter which is smaller than the first diameter and extends from the inner surface to the outer surface. The support may be a circular disc. The support may have an opening for holding a USB plug connector. The attachment means further may have at least two holding protru sions connected to the attachment means. The protrusions may protrude or thogonally from a surface of the attachment means. The attachment means may further have a catch for holding the USB plug in the opening of the attachment means. The opening of the connector section may have at least two notches at the sidewall of the opening. The term "Sidewall" relates to the surface orthogo nal with respect to the outer surface, respectively the inner surface. The notches preferably match to the holding protrusions for inserting the attachment means with the holding protrusions into the opening. In an assembled state, the attachment means preferably is inserted into the opening of the connector section. The attachment means may be rotated such that the inner surface of the housing bears the holding protrusions.

Preferably, at least one stop is provided on the inner surface of the housing, re spectively the bottom part, which preferably has a wedged shape for limiting the rotation of the attachment means. The stop may also have a concave or convex shape. The stop may interact with at least one holding protrusion, such that the attachment means may be rotated from a position where the holding protru sions are close to the notches, to at least one position where the holding protru sions are distant from the notches and blocked to rotate back afterwards. The USB connector may also be turnable within an angle of less than 200 degrees, preferably 160 degrees, most preferably within an angle of 90 degrees. To limit the degree of rotation, another stop may be provided to the inner surface of the housing at the opening.

The attachment means may form a planar surface with the housing surface, re- spectively the outer surface of the bottom part. The USB connector may pro trude orthogonally from the housing such that it may protrude orthogonally to a main plane of the at least one antenna from the housing.

Preferably, the USB connector is a double-sided connector, which may be plugged into a USB socket in two positions rotated for 180°. In conjunction with a double-sided USB connector, the RFID reader may nearly be rotatable around 360° while the connector only rotates maximal about 90°, which prevents twist ing of the cable. There may also be a button for locking/unlocking rotation.

A first pair of detents may be opposing each other around the opening. A second pair of detents may be opposing each other around the opening. The connecting line between the first pair of detents and the second pair of detents crosses in a right angle. Thus, the detents are shifted by 90 degrees. The holding protrusions may have indents corresponding to the detents for giving a haptic feedback when rotating the holding protrusion over the detents.

The housing may have an angle indicator which may be an arrow with two posi tion indicators. The position indicators may correspond to one position indicator at the support. The arrow and the position indicators at the bottom part of the housing show the possible angle of rotation of the support. The housing may have an adhesive surface for mounting the RFID reader to a surface of a printer system. The adhesive surface may comprise an adhesive tape. Alternatively, an assembly bracket may be used. It may be mounted at different locations of the housing.

There may be means for locking the USB connector in specific rotated states like in angular positions of 0° and 180° preferably with respect to a longitudinal axis of the housing. There may be other angular steps like 90°, 45°, 30° or 10°.

The housing may have an additional USB socket which is connected to the RFID transmitter/receiver circuit. The USB socket may be attached flush-fitting with the surface of the top part of the housing. The USB socket may also be connected to the printer via the USB connector. The USB socket of the RFID reader may be used for connecting a USB dongle to the RFID reader for identifying a user or for connecting a standard USB device to the RFID reader or to the printer via the RFID reader to send documents to the printer. Basically, the USB socket may be a replacement for the USB socket of the printer used by the RFID reader, such that other USB devices may still be connected to the printer. The USB socket may be disconnected by a mechanical or an electronic switch.

The USB connector as well as the USB socket may be of type A, B, or C. The RFID reader may have further USB sockets. The RFID reader may have an adhesive tape at the same plane as the USB con nector which protrudes from the housing for connecting the RFID reader to an other surface. That means that the adhesive tape may be aligned to the housing at the outer surface of the bottom side of the housing. The adhesive tape is for connecting the RFID reader to a surface, for example of a printer station. Adhe sive tape means a double-sided tape. A double-sided tape may be used which prevents the removal the RFID tag from the surface it is attached to. Thus, re moval might only be done with a high degree of necessary force or by destroying the RFID reader.

The RFID reader may further comprise a secure access module (or secure appli cation module), also called SAM module or a smartcard reader for a SAM which is based on SmartCard Integrated Circuits. The SAM is used to enhance the secu rity and cryptography performance in devices, commonly in devices needing to perform secure transactions, such as printer stations. It may be used for crypto graphic computation and secure authentication against smartcards or contact less EMV cards. Physically, a SAM card may either be a SIM card and plugged into a SAM slot in a reader attached to the RFID reader, or a fixed integrated circuit in a housing directly soldered on a printed circuit board of the RFID reader.

Basically, this RFID reader may be used for any device or application which has an USB connector. Instead of the USB connector any other bus connector may be used.

Generally, a RFID reader circuit may comprise a microcontroller and a reader 1C to communicate over the RF interface with a contactless smartcard. The micro controller takes the part of controlling the reader 1C functions, such as protocol handling, command flow and data interpretation. By integrating a SAM into the reader system, the SAM handles all the key management and cryptography in a secure way. The entire system enables authentication and encryption of the con tactless communication between the SAM and host system. The housing of the RFID reader may have a lockable cover within the sensor sec tion. The lockable cover covers the SAM module. The SAM module may be at tached to the housing within the area of the antenna, respectively within the sensing area. The antenna is attached on the upper surface of the top part of the housing. The antenna may also be attached below the upper part within the housing. The lockable cover may be covered by a security label. The security la bel prevents an unauthorized opening of the lockable cover. The security label may be irreparably damaged by an attempt to remove it.

Brief description of the drawings

Fig. 1 shows a 3D view of an RFID reader.

Fig. 2 shows a front view of an RFID reader.

Fig. 3 shows a bottom view of an RFID reader.

Fig. 4 shows a 3D view of an RFID reader.

Fig. 5 shows a 3D view of an RFID reader. Fig. 6 shows the bottom part of the RFID reader.

Fig. 7 shows the attachment means in a top view.

Fig. 8 shows the attachment means in a bottom view.

Fig. 9 shows the bottom part of the RFID reader with the attachment means.

Detailed description of the invention

In the following, preferred embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the drawings. The same or similar elements or elements having the same effect may be indicated by the same reference number in multiple draw ings. Repeating the description of such elements may be omitted in order to pre vent redundant descriptions.

Fig. 1 shows a 3D view of a RFID reader 100. The RFID reader 100 comprises a housing 110 with a top part 113 and a bottom part 114 with an outer surface 112 forming the housing 100. The top part 113 has a sensor section 130 to communi cate with an RFID transponder attached or held by a user next to the sensor sec tion 130. It further has an LED 140 for displaying the status of the RFID reader 100. The top part 113 of the housing 110 also has an USB socket 150. The USB socket 150 is attached flush-fitting with the surface of the top part 113 of the housing 110. An antenna 131 may be attached to the sensor section 130.

Fig. 2 shows a front view of the RFID reader 100. The housing 110 has a USB con nector 160 formed as USB plug protruding orthogonally thereof respectively from the bottom part 114 of the housing 110. The USB connector 160 is for con necting the RFID reader 100 to a USB socket. The USB connector 160 is attached to an attachment means 200. The attachment means 200 is attached to the housing 110. The attachment means 200 allows to rotate the USB connector 160 by 90 degrees within the housing 110. The top part 113 and a bottom part of the housing 110 as well as the USB connector 160 are apparent from the drawing. The bottom part 114 of the housing 110 has a USB connector 160 protruding orthogonally thereof. The USB connector 160 is for connecting the RFID reader 100 to a USB socket. The USB connector 160 is attached to an attachment means 200. The attachment means 200 allows to rotate the USB connector 160 by 90 degrees. Fig. 3 shows a bottom view, respectively the bottom part 114 of an RFID reader 100. The bottom part 114 has an outer surface 112. The USB connector 160 pro trudes orthogonally from the bottom part 114 of the housing 110 of the RFID reader 100. The attachment means 200 is aligned to the bottom part 114 of the housing 110. The attachment means 200 has a support 210 flushing with the outer surface 112 of the bottom part 114 of the housing 110. An arrow 128 with two position indicators 124 is attached to the housing 110. The position indica tors 124 correspond with one position indicator 214 at the support 210. The ar row 128 and the position indicators 124 at the bottom part 114 of the housing 110 show the possible angle of rotation of the support 200. The housing 110 has an adhesive surface 170 for mounting the RFID reader 100 to a surface of a printer system or any other electronic device.

Fig. 4 shows another 3D view of the RFID reader 100.

Fig. 5 shows a 3D view of the RFID reader 100 according to Fig. 1. The RFID read er has a lockable cover 132 within the sensor section 130. The lockable cover 132 covers a SAM module 133 (not shown). The SAM module 133 is attached to housing within an antenna 131. The antenna 131 is attached on the upper sur face of the top part 113 of the housing 110, or attached below the upper part within the housing 110. The lockable cover 132 may be covered by a security label 135. The security label 135 prevents an unauthorized opening of the locka ble cover 132.

Fig. 6 shows the bottom part 114 of the RFID reader 100 in an open state from a top view. The opening 121 is graded in its height. The view shows the inner sur face 111 of the bottom part 114. The bottom part 114 has a connector section 120. The connector section 120 comprises an opening 121 from the outer sur face 112 to the inner surface 111 of the bottom part 114 for an attachment means 200. The opening has two additional notches 122. The opening has two stops 123 at the inner surface around the opening 121 next to the two notches 122. The stops 123 are wedge-shaped. Around the opening 121 there are two additional stops 125. A first pair of detents 126 is attached opposing each other around the opening 121. A second pair of detents 127 is attached opposing each other around the opening 112. The detents 126, 127 preferably are shifted by 90 degrees.

Fig. 7 shows an attachment means 200. The attachment means 200 has a sup port 210. The support 210 forms a ring corresponding to the graded opening 121. The attachment means 200 has two holding protrusions 211 protruding or thogonally from the attachment means 200. The holding protrusions 211 corre spond to the notches 122. The attachment means has an opening 212 for holding the USB connector 160.

Fig. 8 shows an attachment means 200 according to Fig. 7 with a catch 213 for holding the USB connector 160.

Fig. 9 shows an open housing 110 of the RFID reader 100 with an attachment means 200 inserted in the opening 121. The attachment means 200 has been turned after inserting into the opening 121. Thus, the holding protrusion 211 glides over the wedge-shaped stop 123. The stop 125 limits the rotation of the attachment means 200.

Although the invention has been illustrated and described in detail by the em bodiments explained above, it is not limited to these embodiments. Other varia tions may be derived by the skilled person without leaving the scope of the at tached claims.

Generally, "a" or "an" may be understood as singular or plural, in particular with the meaning "at least one", "one or more", etc., unless this is explicitly excluded, for example by the term "exactly one", etc.

In addition, numerical values may include the exact value as well as a usual toler ance interval, unless this is explicitly excluded. Features shown in the embodiments, in particular in different embodiments, may be combined or substituted without leaving the scope of the invention.

List of reference numerals

100 RFID reader

110 housing

111 inner surface

112 outer surface

113 top part

114 bottom part

120 connector section

121 opening

122 notch

123 stop

124 position indicator

125 stop

126 first pair of detents

127 second pair of detents

128 arrow

130 sensor section

131 antenna

132 lockable cover

133 SAM

135 security label

140 LED

150 USB socket

160 USB connector

170 adhesive surface/tape

200 attachment means 210 support

211 holding protrusion

212 opening

213 catch

214 position indicator