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Title:
A SYSTEM FOR SUPPLYING AND RECEIVING TOWELS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/176436
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for supplying and receiving a towel and for monitoring when the user takes and returns a towel that includes a locker and a processing device. The locker includes a chamber for the towel, a sensor for identifying when the user takes and returns a towel, an electronic lock that can be opened by a personal key of the user and an indicator that indicates when the locker contains a clean towel, a used towel or that it is empty. The personal key includes the user identity information that is transmitted to the processing device together with the information of taking and returning the towel and this information is indicated in a computerized report.

Inventors:
SHMUNIK ALEX (IL)
GOLAN GIDEON (IL)
Application Number:
PCT/IL2021/050142
Publication Date:
September 10, 2021
Filing Date:
February 07, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SHMUNIK ALEX (IL)
GOLAN GIDEON (IL)
International Classes:
G06Q10/08; A47B81/00; A47B81/02; A47G29/00; A47G29/14; A47K10/46; G07C9/00; G07F7/12
Foreign References:
US20150186840A12015-07-02
GB2491340A2012-12-05
US8362878B22013-01-29
US20190082829A12019-03-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAHAN, Meir (IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What we claim is:

1. A system for supplying and receiving a towel and for monitoring a taking and return of the towel from a user that comprises at least one locker, a control panel and a processing device; wherein the at least one locker comprises a chamber in which the towel can be placed, a sensor that is designed to identify towel taking information and towel returning information and to send this information to the control panel or to the processing device, a door that is designed to close the chamber, and an electric lock that is designed to lock and unlock the door upon an opening command from the control panel; wherein the control panel is designed to read a personal key of the user that includes user identity information and to transmit to the electric lock the opening command for enabling the user to take or to return the towel; wherein the control panel is designed to transmit to the processing device the towel taking information and the towel returning information with the user identity information; wherein upon receiving the towel taking information with the user identity information the processing device is designed to indicate in a computerized report that the towel has been taken from the at least one locker by the user and upon receiving the towel returning information with the user identity information the processing device is designed to indicate in the computerized report that the towel has been returned by the user to the locker or to another locker.

2. A system for supplying and receiving a towel and for monitoring a taking and return of the towel from a user that comprises at least one supplying locker, a processing device, a receiving locker that is designed to receive the towel after use, and a control panel; wherein the at least one supplying locker comprises a supplying chamber in which the towel can be placed, a supplying sensor that is designed to identify towel taking information and to send this information to the control panel or to the processing device, a supplying door that is designed to close the supplying chamber, a supplying electric lock that is designed to unlock the supplying door upon receiving an opening command from the control panel; wherein the control panel is designed to read a personal key of the user that includes user identity information and to transmit to the electric lock of the at least one supplying locker the opening command for enabling the user to take the towel; wherein the control panel is designed to transmit to the processing device the towel taking information with the user identity information; wherein the receiving locker comprises a receiving chamber that is designed to receive the towel, a receiving sensor that is designed to identify towel returning information and to send this information to the control panel or to the processing device; wherein the control panel is designed to transmit to the processing device the towel returning information with the user identity information; wherein upon receiving the towel taking information with the user identity information the processing device is designed to indicate in a computerized report that the towel has been taken by the user from the at least one supplying locker and upon receiving the towel returning information with the user identity information the processing device is designed to indicate in the computerized report that the towel has been returned by the user to the receiving locker.

3. A system for supplying a clean towel upon receiving a used towel that comprises at least one supplying locker, a receiving locker, and a control panel; wherein the at least one supplying locker comprises a supplying chamber in which the clean towel can be placed, a supplying door that is designed to close the supplying chamber, a supplying electric lock that is designed to unlock the supplying door upon receiving an opening command from the control panel; wherein the receiving locker comprises a receiving chamber that is designed to receive the used towel, a receiving sensor that is designed to identify towel returning information and to send this information to the control panel; wherein the control panel is designed to send the opening command to the electric lock of the supplying locker upon receiving the towel returning information from the receiving sensor, and by that enabling the user to get the clean towel in exchange for the used towel.

Description:
A System for Supplying and Receiving Towels Description

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention refers to a system for supplying and receiving towels with automatic monitoring management.

BACKGROUND ART

It is customary to supply beach or pool towels to the guests in hotels, beaches, swimming pools, sport clubs and the like (For the sake of fluency we will refer hereinafter and in the claims to all these institutions as “hotels”), and the well- known problem is that many guests do not return the towels after use. Many known systems for managing the returning of towels, for example, by providing towel cards and the like, are not very effective. The present invention discloses a method and system that provides an efficient solution for those problems and others.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The intention of the drawings attached to the application is not to limit the scope of the invention and its application. The drawings are intended only to illustrate the invention and they constitute only one of its many possible implementations.

FIG. 1 depicts schematically several lockers (20).

FIG. 2 depicts one separated locker (20).

FIG. 3 depicts a locker (20) with two chambers (21) (21a).

FIG. 4 depicts the supplying locker (520) and the receiving locker (540). FIG. 5 depicts schematically the system (10).

FIG. 6 depicts schematically the computer (400) with the processing device (30) and the computerized report (300).

FIG. 7 depicts schematically the system (510).

FIG. 8 depicts schematically the system (900)

THE INVENTION

The main object of the present invention is to provide a system (10) for supplying and receiving a towel (100) and for monitoring a taking and return of the towel from a user. The system comprises at least one locker (20), a control panel (90) and a processing device (30). The user can be any person, for example, a guest in a hotel, a member of a sport club, a visitor in a swimming pool and the like. The locker (20) includes at least one chamber (21) in which it is possible to put the towel (100) and a door (23) for closing the chamber. The chamber can be of relatively small size, as it is designed to contain only a towel.

The locker (20) also includes a sensor (22) that is designed to identify that the towel was removed and taken from the chamber (hereinafter and in the claims “towel taking information”). There is a wide range of sensors that can detect the towel's removal from the chamber, for example: volume sensors, motion sensors, image processing or lighting sensors, and the like, and these sensors are known to professionals in the field. The sensor (22) is also designed to identify that the towel was returned to the chamber (hereinafter and in the claims “towel returning information”).

The locker (20) also includes an electric lock (24) that is designed to lock and unlock the door upon receiving an opening command from the control panel.

The control panel is designed to read a personal key (200) of the user that includes the user identity information, for example by a personal key reader (91) and possible to have also a touch screen (92). The personal key may be for example the room key of the user (gusts of a Hotel), the member card of the user in a sport club, the credit card of the user, the mobile device of the user, the finger print of the user a secret code and the like.

The control panel is designed to transmit to the electric lock the opening command for enabling the user to take or to return the towel. The control panel is also designed to transmit to the processing device the towel taking information and the towel returning information together with the user identity information of the personal key of the user.

The processing device can be a processor in the computer of the hotel, or in a remote server. When the processing device receives the towel taking information with the user identity information then the processing device is programed to indicate in a computerized report (300) that is stored in a computer (400) that the towel has been taken from the locker by that user and upon receiving the towel returning information with the user identity information of that user the processing device is designed to indicate in the computerized report (300) that the towel has been returned to the locker by the user. The updated computerized report enables the employees of the hotel to automatically or manually charge the user in case that he or she took more towels that they returned. The term “computerized report” means to any way of documentation of that information including for example in the billing system of the Hotel.

The locker may include a transparent part (window covered by glass for example) or small holes that enable the user to know whether a towel is inside the chamber and it looks clean or used. The locker (20) may also include an indicator (25) for informing the users as to the content of the locker. The indicator may be for example a Diode light that can be green, yellow or red. When the light is green, the users know that the locker contains a clean towel, when the light is yellow, the users know that the locker is empty and they can return back the used towels to this locker, and when the light is red, it means that the locker contains a used towel and the employee of the hotel should take the used towel from that locker and place there a clean one. It is possible to reset the system so that when the employee puts inside a clean towel the light will be green (means, when the system identifies that the personal key that is used to open the locker has employee identity information rather than user identity information). When the user take the towel from the locker, the yellow light lights on, and when a user puts a towel inside the locker then the red light is turned on.

The system may not have a specific indicator and simply the system will open a door with a clean towel when the user chooses to get the towel or open an empty locker when the user chooses to return the towel and the user will see with his own eyes which door has been opened.

The service provider (hotel, club, swimming pool and the like) can place a large number of such lockers, fill them with clean towels, and occasionally send an employee to take the used towels from the relevant lockers and put there clean towels for the users.

Figure 1 depicts schematically several lockers (20) and a control panel (90). Figure 2 depicts a locker (20) that comprises a chamber (21), a sensor (22), a door (23), an electric lock (24) and an indicator (25).

The locker (20) may have additional chamber (21a). Each chamber is designed to receive a towel and that each one includes a sensor (22), or that the locker includes one sensor that can sense the towel taking information and the towel returning information from each chamber. Figure 3 depicts a locker (20) with two chambers (21) (21a). The second embodiment of the present invention refers to a system (510) for supplying and receiving the towel (100) and for monitoring a taken and return of the towel from a user that comprises at least one supplying locker (520), a processing device (530), a receiving locker (540) that is designed to receive the towel after use, and a control panel (590).

The at least one supplying locker comprises a supplying chamber (521) that is designed to receive the towel (100), a supplying sensor (522) that is designed to identify towel taking information and to send this information to the control panel or to the processing device, a supplying door (523) that is designed to close the supplying chamber, a supplying electric lock (524) that is designed to lock and unlock the supplying door upon receiving an opening command from the control panel. The supplying locker may also have a supplying indicator that is designed to indicate whether the supplying locker contains a clean towel or that it is empty. Here as well the locker may include a transparent part or small holes that enable the user to see inside the chamber.

The control panel is designed to read a personal key (200) of the user that includes user identity information and to transmit to the electric lock of the supplying locker the opening command for enabling the user to take the towel. The control panel is also designed to transmit to the processing device the towel taking information with the user identity information; The receiving locker (540) comprises a receiving chamber (541) that is designed to receive the towel (100), a receiving sensor (542) that is designed to identify towel returning information and to send this information to the control panel or to the processing device.

The receiving locker may also include a receiving door that is designed to close the receiving chamber, and a receiving electric lock that is designed to lock and unlock the door. The receiving electric lock is designed to open and to close the receiving door by the personal key (200).

The control panel is designed to transmit to the processing device the towel returning information (that received from the receiving sensor) with the user identity information (that received from the personal key of the user) upon receiving the request of the user to return the towel.

Upon receiving the towel taking information with the user identify information the processing device is designed to indicate in a computerized report (300) that the towel has been taken from the supplying locker by the user and upon receiving the towel returning inform tion with the user identity inform tion the processing device is designed to indicate in the computerized report (300) that the towel has been returned to the receiving locker by the user. Figure 4 depicts the supplying locker (520), the receiving locker (540) and the control panel (590). Figure 5 depicts schematically the system (10). Figure 6 depicts schematically the computer (400) with the processing device (30) and the computerized report (300). Figure 7 depicts schematically the system (510)

The third embodiment of the present invention refers to system (900) for supplying a clean towel (100A) upon receiving a used towel (100B) that comprises at least one supplying locker (920), a receiving locker (940), and a control panel (990). The supplying locker comprises a supplying chamber (921) in which the clean towel (100 A) can be placed, a supplying door (923) that is designed to close the supplying chamber, a supplying electric lock (924) that is designed to unlock the supplying door upon receiving an opening command from the control panel.

The receiving locker (940) comprises a receiving chamber (941) that is designed to receive the used towel, a receiving sensor (942) that is designed to identify towel returning information and to send this information to the control panel. The control panel is designed to send the opening command to the electric lock of the supplying locker upon receiving the towel returning information from the receiving sensor and by that to enables the user to get the clean towel in exchange for the used towel. Figure 8 depicts schematically the system (900). The sensors (22) (522) (942) can be a type of weight sensor, which weighs the contents of the locker, and may be positioned for example below a shelf on which the towels are placed. In the case of using a weight sensor, the locker may have several towels, and the system will detect the change in weight each time the door is opened and closed and thus know how many towels have been taken or returned. In this way, one locker can have several towels, and several users on different occasions can take a towel from it, and the locker can receive several used towels on several occasions from different users. It is also possible that when the system identifies a zero weight or a certain weight then the system will send an alert that the locker is empty or full with used towels.