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Title:
SENSING MEANS AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/077392
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to a sensing means and method and more particularly, but not exclusively, to a sensing means and method using conductive paint (5). There is provided a first object to have conductive material thereon or therein for sensing the proximity of a second object.

Inventors:
ROBBERTSE, Werner (702 Matumi Street, Bougainvillea Estate,Mews No, Montana Park 0182 Pretoria, 0182, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2017/056493
Publication Date:
April 25, 2019
Filing Date:
October 19, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ROBBERTSE, Werner (702 Matumi Street, Bougainvillea Estate,Mews No, Montana Park 0182 Pretoria, 0182, ZA)
TOMS, Shaun Ivanhoe (2 Prunus Street, Heldervue, 7130 Somerset West, 7130, ZA)
International Classes:
G06K9/00; F16P3/14; G06F3/044; H03K17/955; H04B5/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006031324A12006-03-23
WO2006138008A22006-12-28
WO2007035115A12007-03-29
Foreign References:
AU4426389A1990-05-14
GB2344257A2000-05-31
US20150091859A12015-04-02
US5703785A1997-12-30
US6254127B12001-07-03
US6537359B12003-03-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BREDENKAMP ATTORNEYS (Pma House, Block B,Ground Floor, Tijger Vallei Office Park,,Silver Lakes Roa, Silver Lakes 0081 Pretoria, 0081, ZA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A sensing means comprising a first object having conductive material thereon or therein for sensing the proximity of a second object.

2. A sensing means as claimed in claim 1 in which the conductive material is a conductive layer.

3. A sensing means as claimed in claim 2 in which the conductive layer is flexible.

4. A sensing means as claimed in any of the preceding claims in which the conductive material is a conductive paint or a conductive ink.

5. A sensing means as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which a control means is attached to the conductive material.

6. A sensing means as claimed in claim 5 in which the control means senses a presence of the second object in close proximity to, or touching, the first object.

7. A sensing means as claimed in claim 6 in which the control means calculates a position of the second object in relation to the first object. A sensing means as claimed in any one of claims 6 or 7 in which the control means is a computer and includes a computing means and display means for indicating a position of the second object relative to the first object.

A sensing means as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the first object is furniture, a floor and/or a security barrier.

A sensing means as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the second object is a human or animal or inanimate object.

A sensing means as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 10 in which the first object is any one of the group consisting of: a desk, a table, a chair, a floor, a fence, a wire, a shelf.

A method of sensing comprising the steps of:

providing a first object;

associating a conductive material to the first object; and

sensing a presence of a second object in close proximity to or touching the first object.

A method as claimed in claim 9 in which the method includes the step of calculating or determining a position of the second object relative to the first object.

4. A method as claimed in any one of claims 12 or 13 in which the conductive material is a conductive layer.

A method as claimed in claim 14 in which the conductive layer is a conductive paint or ink.

A sensing means substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in the drawings.

A method substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in the drawings.

Description:
SENSING MEANS AND METHOD

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a sensing means and method and more particularly, but not exclusively, to a sensing means and method using conductive paint.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Conductive paint is well-known and widely used.

United States patent number 6, 537, 359 B1 entitled "Conductive ink or paint" in the name of National Starch and Chemical Investment Holding Corporation discloses conductive ink or paint. When the ink or paint is applied to a substrate in the form of a particular pattern, this pattern will also be electrically conductive after deformation. The invention also relates to the use of a deformable, electrically conductive ink or paint for providing an electromagnetic shielding layer or a functionally conductive path.

Occupancy or proximity sensors are also well-known and widely used.

United States patent number 6, 254, 127 B1 , entitled " Vehicle occupant sensing system including a distance measuring sensor on an airbag module or steering wheel assembly in the name of Automotive Technologies International Inc., discloses an occupant position sensor system for a driver of a vehicle in which a sensor is arranged on or incorporated into a steering wheel assembly and provides an output signal which varies as a function of the distance between the sensor and the driver of the vehicle such that the position of the driver can be determined relative to a fixed point in the vehicle. The sensor can be arranged on a cover of the airbag module arranged in connection with the steering wheel assembly. The sensor may be an ultrasonic transducer or a capacitance sensor. The sensor can be used in combination with an airbag deployment system including, in addition to the airbag in the airbag module, a crash sensor for determining that a crash requiring deployment of the airbag is required, and a control unit coupled to the sensor and crash sensor for controlling deployment of the airbag based on the determination that the crash requiring deployment of the airbag is required and the distance between the driver and the sensor. The steering wheel assembly, airbag module and occupant restraint system and deployment method including a sensor as described above also disclosed.

United States patent number 5, 703, 785, entitled "Inventory control apparatus and method of using same" in the name of Mark R. Bluemel, discloses the use of a sensor device connected to a detection device to generate an indicating signal in response to the charge of status of an object by its removal or deposit relative to the sensor device. An indicating device is connected to the detection device and signals the change of status of the object relative to the sensor device. The signalling of the change of status is terminated either manually or after a predetermined time delay interval.

Many other technologies are available to sense the presence and/or position of a human being, animal or inanimate object including the use of infrared and/or other temperature sensors, laser sensors or cameras used with pattern or shape recognition software. Touchpads and/or resistive pads or switches may also be used to sense the presence of a human, animal or inanimate object in a certain location.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a sensing means and method.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with this invention there is provided a first object having conductive material thereon or therein for sensing the proximity of a second object.

The conductive material may be a conductive layer in the form of a flexible layer, a paint or an ink.

A control means is attached to the conductive paint.

The control means senses a presence of the second object in close proximity to, or touching, the first object.

The control means also calculates a position of the second object in relation to the first object. The control means may be a computer or may include a computing means, display means and input means for indicating a position of the second object relative to the first object. There is provided for the first object to be furniture, a floor, a security barrier or the like.

The second object may be a human or animal or inanimate object. There is further provided for the object to be any one of the group consisting of: a desk, a table, a chair, a floor, a fence, a wire, a shelf.

This invention extends to a method of sensing comprising the steps of:

- providing a first object;

- applying a conductive material to the first object or mixing a conductive paint into the first object; and

- sensing a presence of a second object in close proximity to or touching the first object. The method includes the step of calculating or determining a position of the second object relative to the first object.

These and other features of the invention is described in more detail below. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention is described below, by way of example only and with reference to the drawings in which: Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a desk and a human being seated at the desk;

Figure 2 shows a side view of the disc of figure 1 ; Figure 3 shows a side view of a chair and an occupant of the chair;

Figure 4 shows a cross-sectional side view of a dustbin;

Figure 5 shows a perspective view of a security fence;

Figure 6 shows a side view of the security fence of figure 5;

Figure 7 shows a perspective view of shelving; Figure 8 shows a side view of a shelf of the shelving of figure 7; and

Figure 9 shows a perspective view of a concrete floor with 2 occupants on the floor. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In figures 1 to 9, like features are indicated by like numerals.

The drawings show a first object in the form of, and as examples only, a desk 1 , a chair 7, a dustbin 9, a security fence 10, shelving 14 and a floor 17.

In the case of the desk 1 , chair 7, dustbin 9 and shelves 16, a conductive paint 5 is painted directly onto the desk 1 , chair 7, dustbin 9 and shelves 16. The conductive paint is painted directly onto the desktop 6, seat 8 and inner surface of the desk, chair and dustbin, respectively. A cover or protective layer 4 is located over the conductive paint 5 to protect it and/or to hide it from view, if required. The protective cover or layer could be omitted but some might prefer it to be hidden for aesthetic purposes.

The conductive paint is connected to a processing or control means (not shown) which includes electronic circuitry to power and gather information from the conductive paint.

In case of the security fence 10, wires 1 1 of the fence and/or posts 12 of the fence and/or an underground wire 13 which may or may not be associated with the fence, has conductive paint painted thereon and connected to the control means.

A floor may include conductive paint mixed therein to sense occupancy and occupant position on the floor, when the floor is connected to the control means.

In use, when the control means is connected to the paint as described above, the presence of a second object such as a human being or an animal or some inanimate object can be sensed. The actual position of the second object relative to the first object can also be sensed. In this manner the exact location of objects around the table, on the chair, on the shelves and on the floor and in close proximity to the security fence wires, post or underground wire can be determined.

Objects in the dustbin can be detected and the position of an uppermost object will indicate how full the dustbin is.

In is envisaged that the means and method described herein will be convenient to use in determine occupancy and relative position of a second object relative to the first object. The position of a person 3 can be pinpointed around the table, on the chair, relative to the fence along the length thereof, on the floor. The presence and location of objects on a shelf can be sensed. In one application, occupancy at an event or in a restaurant or other places of business may be monitored. The invention will also find application in the security industry and in stock-taking.

The invention is not limited to the precise details as described herein and it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various other embodiments are possible without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the conductive paint may be any conductive material and may further be in the form of a paint, an ink or some other flexible layer.