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Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DISPENSING CONSUMABLE PRODUCTS WITH VOICE INTERFACE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/209566
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of dispensing a beverage from a beverage dispenser includes: detecting a user in proximity to the beverage dispenser; prompting the user to provide a first input, wherein the first input is audible; retrieving a user profile for the user based on the first input; receiving a second input from the user, wherein the second input comprises information about a beverage selection of the user, and wherein the second input is provided in a different manner than the first input; and dispensing the beverage.

Inventors:
CRAWFORD, Robert (INC.700 Anderson Hill Roa, Purchase New York, 10577, US)
Application Number:
US2019/027489
Publication Date:
October 31, 2019
Filing Date:
April 15, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PEPSICO, INC. (700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York, 10577, US)
International Classes:
G07F13/00; G07F13/02; G07F13/04; G07F13/06; G07F13/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017058794A12017-04-06
Foreign References:
US20160090288A12016-03-31
US20100125362A12010-05-20
US6711465B22004-03-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RYGIEL, Mark W. et al. (STERNE, KESSLER GOLDSTEIN & FOX P.L.L.C.,1100 New York Avenue, N, Washington District of Columbia, 20005, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A method of dispensing a beverage from a beverage dispenser, the method comprising:

detecting a user in proximity to the beverage dispenser;

prompting the user to provide a first input, wherein the first input is audible; retrieving a user profile for the user based on the first input;

receiving a second input from the user, wherein the second input comprises information about a beverage selection of the user, and wherein the second input is provided in a different manner than the first input; and

dispensing the beverage.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first input comprises a voice command.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the user profile is retrieved from a server comprising a database of stored user information, where in the stored user information comprises a plurality of voice profiles.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the user profile comprises a voice profile created by the user.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein retrieving the user profile comprises:

communicating the first input to the server;

comparing the first input to the plurality of voice profiles stored within the database;

matching the first input to the voice profile created by the user; and identifying the user profile for the user.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the information about a beverage selection of the user comprises at least one selected from the group consisting of: a beverage, a flavoring, and a cup size.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising providing a suggested beverage selection based on the first input.

8. A method of dispensing a beverage from a beverage dispenser, the method comprising:

prompting a user to provide a voice input;

utilizing the voice input to retrieve a user profile from a server comprising a database of stored user information including a plurality of voice profiles; and

displaying a selection menu on a display based on the user profile.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the user profile comprises a beverage selections preferred by the user.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein a selection menu includes a plurality of icons, the icons representing the beverage selections preferred by the user.

11. The method of claim 9, wherein the user profile further comprises information personal identifying information relating to the user selected from the group consisting of: name, age, language preference, and payment information.

12. The method of claim 8, wherein prompting a user to provide a voice input comprises audibly prompting the user.

13. The method of claim 8, wherein utilizing the voice input to retrieve a user profile from a server comprises:

comparing the voice input to the plurality of voice profiles;

matching the voice input to a voice profile identified with the user; and retrieving a corresponding user profile.

14. A beverage dispenser, comprising:

a display coupled to the beverage dispenser; a first control interface coupled to the beverage dispenser, wherein the first control interface is configured to receive a first input comprising a voice input from a user; and a second control interface coupled to the beverage dispenser, wherein the second control interface is configured to receive a second input from the user, wherein the second input is an input different from a voice input.

15. The beverage dispenser of claim 14, further comprising a nozzle for dispensing a

carbonated beverage.

16. The beverage dispenser of claim 14, wherein the first control interface comprises a

microphone and a processor.

17. The beverage dispenser of claim 14, wherein the display comprises a touch screen.

18. The beverage dispenser of claim 17, wherein the second control interface comprises the touch screen display.

19. The beverage dispenser of claim 17, wherein the second input comprises a tactile input to the touch screen display.

20. The beverage dispenser of claim 14, further comprising a motion detector.

Description:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DISPENSING CONSUMABLE PRODUCTS

WITH VOICE INTERFACE

BACKGROUND

Field

[0001] Embodiments of the present disclosure relate generally to systems and methods of dispensing consumable products. More specifically, embodiments of the present disclosure relate to systems and methods using a voice interface for controlling a vending apparatus such as a beverage dispenser.

Background

[0002] Beverage dispensers are used to dispense beverages to customers at various

locations, such as restaurants, cafeterias, theatres and other entertainment and/or food service venues. In some locations, self-service beverage dispensers are employed to dispense beverages.

[0003] Authorization of the persons dispensing beverage(s) and the manner in which such persons are authorized to dispense may help a venue owner and/or operator reduce losses due to theft or wasteful consumption by customers. Also, positive customer experience with a self-service beverage dispenser may be desirable to a venue owner and/or operator. Positive customer experience and customer satisfaction associated with the use of a beverage dispenser may be a desirable tool for a venue owner/operator to entice beverage sales and return customers. Moreover, positive customer experience and satisfaction may facilitate brand recognition and may be a valuable marketing tool.

[0004] Therefore, a continuing need exists for methods and systems for allowing self- service beverage dispensing, for actuating self-service beverage dispensers, and for controlling access to self-service beverage dispensers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] A method of dispensing a beverage from a beverage dispenser includes: detecting a user in proximity to the beverage dispenser; prompting the user to provide a first input, wherein the first input is audible; retrieving a user profile for the user based on the first input; receiving a second input from the user, wherein the second input comprises information about a beverage selection of the user, and wherein the second input is provided in a different manner than the first input; and dispensing the beverage.

[0006] A method of dispensing a beverage from a beverage dispenser includes:

prompting a user to provide a voice input; utilizing the voice input to retrieve a user profile from a server comprising a database of stored user information including a plurality of voice profiles; and displaying a selection menu on a display based on the user profile.

[0007] A beverage dispenser includes: a display coupled to the beverage dispenser; a first control interface coupled to the beverage dispenser, wherein the first control interface is configured to receive a first input comprising a voice input from a user; and a second control interface coupled to the beverage dispenser, wherein the second control interface is configured to receive a second input from the user, wherein the second input is an input different from a voice input. In one embodiment, the beverage dispenser comprises a nozzle for dispensing a carbonated beverage. In one embodiment, the beverage dispenser comprises a vending machine for vending a beverage.

[0008] Further features and advantages of embodiments of the invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. It is noted that the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described herein. Such embodiments are presented herein for illustrative purposes only. Additional embodiments will be apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art(s) based on the teachings contained herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form part of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the relevant art(s) to make and use the invention.

[0010] FIG. l is a schematic depiction of a user communicating with an a vending

apparatus, and of the vending apparatus communicating with a remote server, according to embodiments. [0011] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a beverage dispenser vending apparatus, according to embodiments.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a vending apparatus, according to

embodiments.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a vending apparatus, according to

embodiments.

[0014] FIG. 5 shows a graphical user interface for a vending apparatus such as a beverage dispenser, according to some embodiments.

[0015] FIG. 6A shows a first display of a graphical user interface for a vending apparatus such as a beverage dispenser, according to some embodiments.

[0016] FIG. 6B shows a second display of a graphical user interface for a vending

apparatus such as a beverage dispenser, according to some embodiments of a vending apparatus.

[0017] FIG. 6C shows a third display of a graphical user interface for a vending apparatus such as a beverage dispenser, according to some embodiments of a vending apparatus.

[0018] FIG. 6D shows a fourth display of a graphical user interface for a vending

apparatus such as a beverage dispenser, according to some embodiments of a vending apparatus.

[0019] FIG. 7 shows a functional diagram of a vending apparatus according to some embodiments.

[0020] FIG. 8 shows a functional diagram of a vending apparatus according to some embodiments.

[0021] FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram of an exemplary computer system in which embodiments may be implemented.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0022] The present invention(s) will now be described in detail with reference to

embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. References to“one embodiment”,“an embodiment”,“an exemplary embodiment”, etc., indicate that the embodiment described may include a particular feature, structure, or characteristic, but every embodiment may not necessarily include the particular feature, structure, or characteristic. Moreover, such phrases are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the knowledge of one skilled in the art to affect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with other embodiments whether or not explicitly described.

[0023] User interaction with a vending apparatus, such as, for example, a beverage

dispenser is typically limited. Such machines often have limited user interfaces that function only to receive payment, acknowledge a user’s product selection, and dispense that product. These vending machines do not actually interact with the user, though, and only accomplish the primary goal of purchase and sale, but do not allow the user to customize the product he wishes to buy and do not have access to any user information that might facilitate selection of a certain product. Furthermore, conventional vending machines require payment by cash, card, or through some other digital means of payment, for example. Consequently, if a user happens to be without his wallet or phone, he cannot make a purchase from the machine. Accordingly, embodiments of a vending apparatus having a voice control interface are described herein. Certain embodiments of the described vending apparatus enable one-way or two-way voice communication between the vending apparatus and a user to allow for facilitated selection of a product and ease of payment.

[0024] Embodiments described herein provide a vending apparatus 100 that is operable based on a user input that comprises a voice input, such as a voice command. In one embodiment, the vending apparatus 100 comprises a beverage dispenser 100. The beverage dispenser may be configured to dispense a beverage, such as, for example, a carbonated beverage. In other embodiments, the vending apparatus 100 may comprise a vending machine, a cooler, or other similar apparatus.

[0025] With reference to Figs. 1 and 2, vending apparatus 100 includes a display 108 for displaying information to a user 10. In some embodiments, as discussed below, the display 108 may comprise a graphical user interface and may comprise a control interface for receiving input from the user. The vending apparatus 100 includes a control interface 106 configured to receive user input from the user. In some embodiments, control interface 106 comprises a microphone 106 configured to receive user input from the user comprising a audible input. In one embodiment, the user input may comprise a voice input including a voice command. In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may further include a speaker 104 for providing audible information to user 10. The audible information may comprise instructions, feedback, or other information to user 10. In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 includes a sensor 102 for determining the proximity of a user relative to the vending apparatus 100.

[0026] During operation, when user 10 wants to dispense a product, he may approach vending apparatus 100. When user 10 is within a certain range of vending apparatus 100, his presence may be sensed by the sensor 102 coupled to the vending apparatus 100. The detectable range of the user may vary on the type of detection sensor used. In certain embodiments, sensor 102 may be any sensor including, but not limited to, an infrared sensor, a temperature sensor, a proximity sensor, a microwave sensor, an ultrasonic wave sensor, a video camera, an ultrasonic sensor, an RFID sensor, or any combination thereof.

[0027] Once sensor 102 detects the presence of user 10, vending apparatus 100 may

output an audible greeting via speaker 104 to engage user 10. The greeting may be a short “hello” phrase such as, for example,“Would you like a Pepsi?,” or any other phrase that may cause the user to approach vending apparatus 100. The user 10 may then either respond vocally to vending apparatus 100 or engage vending apparatus 100 by tactilely interacting with display 108, which may, in certain embodiments, include a touch screen. Vending apparatus 100 may receive the vocal response of user 10 through microphone 106. Upon user engagement, vending apparatus 100 may prompt user 10 to provide a voice input. In some embodiments, the prompt given by vending apparatus 100 may be audible via speaker 104, for example. In other embodiments, the prompt given by vending apparatus 100 may be visual via display 108, for example. The voice input may be a recitation of the user’s name, for example, or a recitation of another short phrase.

Vending apparatus 100 may receive the user’s voice input via microphone 106.

[0028] In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may prompt a user to enter a non voice input, such as, for example, a tactile input via a touch screen or a text input. A text input may contain, for example, information relating to the users for identity, such as, for example, the user’s name.

[0029] In some embodiments, a processor (not shown) may transmit the user’s voice or non-voice input to a remote server 200, which may include a database of stored user information. User information stored on remote server may include, but is not limited to, user profiles created by users, which may include data such as, for example, user voice profiles, names, profile photos, product preferences, language settings, accessibility settings, and payment methods and information. Remote server 200 may utilize the user’s voice or non-voice input to retrieve his corresponding user profile, which it may then communicate to vending apparatus 100.

[0030] A user may create and/or modify a user profile through various means such as, but not limited to, a mobile application, a computer application, or through a vending apparatus such as vending apparatus 100. Accordingly, in some embodiments, vending apparatus may include a microphone 106 to record a voice profile for user 10, and, in some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may include a camera 112 which may be used, for example, to capture a user profile photo during creation of a user profile.

[0031] Upon receipt of the user profile, vending apparatus 100 may present a graphical user interface (GUI), as shown, for example, in FIG. 5, on display 108. The GUI may be customized with product selection options based on the user’s profile retrieved by remote server 200. Accordingly, display 108 may include a user profile screen 400, which may include, but is not limited to, a profile photo 402 of the user, the user’s name 404, “favorite” product selection options 406, and payment methods 408. Favorite product selection options 406 may be designated by user 10 or may be generated by vending apparatus 100 based on products frequently selected by user 10 or on other data, such as, for example, additional user input.

[0032] In some embodiments, user 10 may select a product for purchase by

communicating his selection vocally to vending apparatus 100. In other embodiments, user 10 may select a product for purchase by communicating his selection to vending apparatus 100 through tactile interaction with display 108.

[0033] In some embodiments, user 10 may select a product for purchase by audibly

expressing his selection in a single statement. For example, user 10 may state,“I would like a large Pepsi Max with lemon flavor and light ice.” As another example, user 10 may state,“I would like favorite option 1,” or simply,“Favorite 1.”

[0034] In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 is an interactive beverage dispenser, such as, for example, a Pepsi Spire® beverage dispenser, as shown in FIG. 2. In such embodiments, the GUI may guide user 10 to make stepwise selections, as shown in FIGs. 6A-6D. For example, as shown in FIG. 6A, the GUI may display a first set of icons 114, which may represent, for example, different types of beverages. The types of beverages may include, but are not limited to cola, diet cola, lemon-lime soda, root beer, iced tea, etc. User 10 may then either vocally state his selection or make his selection through tactilely interacting with display 108. Once user 10 selects a type of beverage, the GUI may display a second set of icons 116, as shown, for example, in FIG. 6B. The second set of icons may represent, for example, different flavor or sweetener add-in options. Flavor options may include, but are not limited to unsweetened liquid flavoring, sweetened flavor syrups, and powdered flavoring. Sweetener options may include, but are not limited to sugar, simple syrup, liquid artificial sweetener, and granulated artificial sweetener. User 10 may also choose not to add any flavoring. As with selection of the type of beverage, the user may select flavoring or sweetener either vocally or through tactile interaction with display 108.

[0035] After flavor selection is complete, the GUI may display a third set of icons 118, as shown, for example, in FIG. 6C. Third set of icons 118 may represent, for example, different beverage sizes available for selection. The GUI may also display another screen with a fourth set of icons 120, as shown, for example, in FIG. 6D, which may, for example, represent different amounts of ice that may be added to the beverage. As with the previous selection screens, the user may select his desired beverage size and ice amount either vocally or through tactile interaction with display 108. Once all selections have been made, vending apparatus 100 may dispense the user’s customized beverage.

[0036] In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may output an audible“goodbye” statement once the product has been dispensed. In other embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may ask the user if he would like to make an additional product selection after the first product has been dispensed.

[0037] If a user has not yet created a user profile, vending apparatus 100 may prompt the user to input information, either vocally or non-vocally, that may assist vending apparatus 100 in generating a product suggestion. Such information may include, but is not limited to, the user’s mood, age, or dietary restrictions, the weather, the geographic location, and what other food or beverages the user will be concurrently consuming. Vending apparatus 100 may communicate the user’s input with remote server 200, which may compare the user’s input to information stored in user profiles for similar users in order to generate a product suggestion. Similarly, if vending apparatus 100 happens to be sold out of a particular product, it may connect to remote server to retrieve information from the database of user profiles, which may, for example, include the alternate product preferences of those users who had selected the sold out product as one of their “favorites” in their user profiles. This information may be used to generate a product suggestion to replace the sold out product.

[0038] In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may be a vending machine, as shown in FIG. 3, which may dispense pre-packaged products, such as, for example, beverages packaged in plastic bottles or cans. In such embodiments, when vending apparatus 100 retrieves the user’s profile, user 10 may go through the same selection steps as described above. Where the vending apparatus 100 is a standalone vending machine that may be installed in a public place outside of a restaurant setting, such as, for example, in a mall, airport, sports venue, etc., it may incorporate several payment intake options. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, the user profile may include stored payment methods 408. Accordingly, user 10 may choose to pay using a credit card or bank account he has stored in his user profile. Payment methods 408 may be selected vocally by stating, for example“Card 1,” or through tactile interaction with display 108. Vending apparatus 100 may alternatively, or additionally, include a credit card reader 122, a cash acceptor 124, and/or a RFID sensor or QR code reader, for example, which may be configured to facilitate payment via a cellular device.

[0039] In other embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may be a cooler, as shown in FIG.

4. In such embodiments, when vending apparatus 100 retrieves the user’s profile, user 10 may go through the same selection steps as described above. In some embodiments, when user 10 selects a desired refrigerated product 300, that product may be illuminated to allow for quick retrieval.

[0040] In some embodiments, vending apparatus 100 may be configured to communicate with a user in any language preferred by the user. The user may set his language preference in his user profile, for example, by vocally stating his preferred language, or by tactilely selecting his preferred language on display 108.

[0041] In some embodiments, a mobile application may facilitate user creation of a voice profile to be stored in database on server 200. The mobile application may record the voice profile and upload the voice profile to the user profile on server 200.

[0042] In some embodiments, user voice input may include a voice prompt to facilitate interaction with vending apparatus 100. For example, user voice input may include a voice prompt, such as, for example,“Dispenser!” before any further input is provided. In some embodiments, the voice prompt may turn on or wakeup vending apparatus 100 or a portion of vending apparatus 100 (e.g., display 108) in order to engage the user.

[0043] FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary computer system 700 in which embodiments, or portions thereof, may be implemented as computer-readable code. For example, detecting a user in proximity to the beverage dispenser, operation of the control interfaces, retrieval of a user profile, authentication of customer accounts, and/or other operations of vending apparatus 100 discussed herein may be implemented in computer system 700 using hardware, software, firmware, tangible computer readable media having instructions stored thereon, or a combination thereof and may be implemented in one or more computer systems or other processing systems. Controllers discussed herein may be computer systems having all or some of the components of computer system 700 for implementing processes discussed herein.

[0044] If programmable logic is used, such logic may execute on a commercially

available processing platform or a special purpose device. One of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate that embodiments of the disclosed subject matter can be practiced with various computer system configurations, including multi-core multiprocessor systems, minicomputers, and mainframe computers, computer linked or clustered with distributed functions, as well as pervasive or miniature computers that may be embedded into virtually any device.

[0045] For instance, at least one processor device and a memory may be used to

implement the above described embodiments. A processor device may be a single processor, a plurality of processors, or combinations thereof. Processor devices may have one or more processor“cores.” For example, at least one processor device and a memory may be disposed in vending apparatus 100 or remote from vending apparatus 100.

[0046] Various embodiments of the invention(s) may be implemented in terms of this example computer system 700. After reading this description, it will become apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art how to implement one or more of the invention(s) using other computer systems and/or computer architectures. Although operations may be described as a sequential process, some of the operations may in fact be performed in parallel, concurrently, and/or in a distributed environment, and with program code stored locally or remotely for access by single or multi-processor machines. In addition, in some embodiments the order of operations may be rearranged without departing from the spirit of the disclosed subject matter.

[0047] Processor device 704 may be a special purpose or a general purpose processor device. As will be appreciated by persons skilled in the relevant art, processor device 704 may also be a single processor in a multi-core/multiprocessor system, such system operating alone, or in a cluster of computing devices operating in a cluster or server farm. Processor device 704 is connected to a communication infrastructure 706, for example, a bus, message queue, network, or multi-core message-passing scheme.

[0048] Computer system 700 also includes a main memory 708, for example, random access memory (RAM), and may also include a secondary memory 710. Secondary memory 710 may include, for example, a hard disk drive 712, or removable storage drive 714. Removable storage drive 714 may include a floppy disk drive, a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, a flash memory, or the like. The removable storage drive 714 reads from and/or writes to a removable storage unit 718 in a well-known manner. Removable storage unit 718 may include a floppy disk, magnetic tape, optical disk, a universal serial bus (USB) drive, etc. which is read by and written to by removable storage drive 714. As will be appreciated by persons skilled in the relevant art, removable storage unit 718 includes a computer usable storage medium having stored therein computer software and/or data.

[0049] Computer system 700 (optionally) includes a display interface 702 (which can include input and output devices such as keyboards, mice, etc.) that forwards graphics, text, and other data from communication infrastructure 706 (or from a frame buffer not shown) for display on display unit 730.

[0050] In alternative implementations, secondary memory 710 may include other similar means for allowing computer programs or other instructions to be loaded into computer system 700. Such means may include, for example, a removable storage unit 722 and an interface 720. Examples of such means may include a program cartridge and cartridge interface (such as that found in video game devices), a removable memory chip (such as an EPROM, or PROM) and associated socket, and other removable storage units 722 and interfaces 720 which allow software and data to be transferred from the removable storage unit 722 to computer system 700. [0051] Computer system 700 may also include a communication interface 724.

Communication interface 724 allows software and data to be transferred between computer system 700 and external devices. Communication interface 724 may include a modem, a network interface (such as an Ethernet card), a communication port, a

PCMCIA slot and card, or the like. Software and data transferred via communication interface 724 may be in the form of signals, which may be electronic, electromagnetic, optical, or other signals capable of being received by communication interface 724. These signals may be provided to communication interface 724 via a communication path 726. Communication path 726 carries signals and may be implemented using wire or cable, fiber optics, a phone line, a cellular phone link, an RF link or other communication channels.

[0052] In this document, the terms“computer program medium” and“computer usable medium” are used to generally refer to media such as removable storage unit 718, removable storage unit 722, and a hard disk installed in hard disk drive 712. Computer program medium and computer usable medium may also refer to memories, such as main memory 708 and secondary memory 710, which may be memory semiconductors (e.g. DRAMs, etc ).

[0053] Computer programs (also called computer control logic) are stored in main

memory 708 and/or secondary memory 710. Computer programs may also be received via communication interface 724. Such computer programs, when executed, enable computer system 700 to implement the embodiments as discussed herein. In particular, the computer programs, when executed, enable processor device 704 to implement the processes of the embodiments discussed here. Accordingly, such computer programs represent controllers of the computer system 700. Where the embodiments are implemented using software, the software may be stored in a computer program product and loaded into computer system 700 using removable storage drive 714, interface 720, and hard disk drive 712, or communication interface 724.

[0054] Embodiments of the invention(s) also may be directed to computer program

products comprising software stored on any computer useable medium. Such software, when executed in one or more data processing device, causes a data processing device(s) to operate as described herein. Embodiments of the invention(s) may employ any computer useable or readable medium. Examples of computer useable mediums include, but are not limited to, primary storage devices (e.g., any type of random access memory), secondary storage devices (e.g., hard drives, floppy disks, CD ROMS, ZIP disks, tapes, magnetic storage devices, and optical storage devices, MEMS, nanotechnological storage device, etc.).

[0055] It is to be appreciated that the Detailed Description section, and not the Summary and Abstract sections, is intended to be used to interpret the claims. The Summary and Abstract sections may set forth one or more but not all exemplary embodiments of the present invention(s) as contemplated by the inventor(s), and thus, are not intended to limit the present invention(s) and the appended claims in any way.

[0056] The present invention(s) have been described above with the aid of functional building blocks illustrating the implementation of specified functions and relationships thereof. The boundaries of these functional building blocks have been arbitrarily defined herein for the convenience of the description. Alternate boundaries can be defined so long as the specified functions and relationships thereof are appropriately performed.

[0057] The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention(s) that others can, by applying knowledge within the skill of the art, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such specific

embodiments, without undue experimentation, without departing from the general concept of the present invention(s). Therefore, such adaptations and modifications are intended to be within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments, based on the teaching and guidance presented herein. It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation, such that the terminology or phraseology of the present specification is to be interpreted by the skilled artisan in light of the teachings and guidance.

[0058] The breadth and scope of the present invention(s) should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.