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Title:
THERMAL POLICY DETERMINATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/206701
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In an example implementation according to aspects of the present disclosure, a non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprises instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to, in response to determining that the computing device is stationary, receive signal strength data from a wireless communication interface of the computing device. Further in this example, the instructions cause the processor to determine, based on the signal strength data, a thermal policy for the computing device, and control a cooling system in the computing device based on the thermal policy.

Inventors:
HUANG LUNG-CHI (TW)
LAI CHIEN-PAI (TW)
CHEN YI-PENG (TW)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/027145
Publication Date:
October 14, 2021
Filing Date:
April 08, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HEWLETT PACKARD DEVELOPMENT CO (US)
International Classes:
G06F1/203
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016054769A12016-04-14
WO2019199322A12019-10-17
Foreign References:
US8244296B22012-08-14
US20170188310A12017-06-29
US20190021057A12019-01-17
US8254858B22012-08-28
US10085213B12018-09-25
US7876275B22011-01-25
US20130024708A12013-01-24
US7643284B22010-01-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON, Erica A. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to: in response to determining that the computing device is stationary, receive signal strength data from a wireless communication interface of the computing device; determine, based on the signal strength data, a thermal policy for the computing device; and control a cooling system in the computing device based on the thermal policy.

2. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 1 wherein the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to determine that the computing device is stationary based on motion data received from an accelerometer of the computing device.

3. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 1 wherein: the wireless communication interface of the computing device comprises a

Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) antenna; and the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to select a first thermal policy when a Signal-to-Noise-plus-lnterference (SINR) of a signal received by the WWAN antenna is below a threshold.

4. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 3 wherein the WWAN antenna is located under a palm rest of the computing device.

5. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 4 wherein the thermal policy includes increasing a speed of a fan in the computing device.

6. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 4 wherein the thermal policy includes decreasing a power level of the processor.

7. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to: receive movement data indicating that the computing device is stationary; in response to receiving the movement data, receive signal strength data from a wireiess communication interface of the computing device; determine, based on the signal strength data, that a palm rest of the computing device is in contact with an object; and control a cooling system in the computing device to cool the palm rest of the computing device.

8. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 7 wherein the cooling system in the computing device comprises a fan in the computing device, and wherein the instructions, when executed, further cause the fan in the computing device to increase in speed to cool the palm rest of the computing device.

9. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 7 wherein the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to decrease power to cool the palm rest of the computing device.

10. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 7 wherein: the wireless communication interface of the computing device comprises a

Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) antenna; and the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to select a first thermal policy when a Signal-to-Noise-plus-lnterference (SINR) of a signal received by the WWAN antenna is below a threshold.

11. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 10 wherein the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to select a second thermal policy when a Signal-to-Noise-plus-lnterference (SINR) of a signal received by the WWAN antenna is above a threshold.

12. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 10 wherein the WWAN antenna is located under the palm rest of the computing device.

13. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to: monitor signal strength data associated with an antenna in the computing device; determine that a Signal-to-Noise-plus-lnterference (SINR) of a signal received by the antenna is below a threshold; select a thermal policy for the computing device; and control a cooling system in the computing device to cool a component of the computing device.

14. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 13 wherein: the component of the computing device is a palm rest of the computing device; and the instructions, when executed, further cause the processor to control a fan to cool the palm rest of the computing device.

15. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 14 wherein the antenna in the computing device is located under the paim rest of the computing device.

Description:
THERMAL POLICY DETERMINATION

BACKGROUND

[0001] Electronic devices, such as laptop computers, tablet computers, and smartphones, may generate heat upon extended use. The increase in heat to the computing device may affect areas which encounter a user, such as a palm rest.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] Many aspects of the disclosure can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. While several examples are described in connection with these drawings, the disclosure is not limited to the examples disclosed herein.

[0003] Figures 1A-B illustrates a computing device a computing device to control temperature, according to an example;

[0004] Figures 2A-B illustrates accelerometer measurements over a period of time via an accelerometer disposed within a computing device, according to an example;

[0005] Figures 3 illustrates signal strength measurements over a period of time via an antenna disposed within a computing device, according to an example;

[0006] Figure 4 illustrate a block diagram of a computing device to control temperature of a component of the computing device, according to an example;

[0007] Figure 5 illustrates a table of conditions to determine a thermal policy for a component of a computing device, according to another example; and

[0008] Figure 6 illustrates a method for operating a computing device to control temperature of a component of the computing device, according to another example.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0009] A computing device, such as a laptop computer, tablet computer, smartphone, etc., may include cooling systems. These cooling systems may be used to cool surfaces of the computing device which come into contact with a user, such as palm rest, a touchpad, a touchscreen, and/or a keyboard. Since these cooling systems use additional power to cool the surface areas, it may be desirable for the computing device to determine whether the user is using the device or whether the user is away from the device.

[0010] In some instances, a proximity sensor or camera may be used in the computing device to detect the presence of a user. However, implementing proximity sensors or additional cameras into electronic devices requires additional space in the computing device. Furthermore, the proximity sensors and cameras may not be able to accurately determine whether the user is currently interacting with the computing device, or merely located in a close proximity to the computing device but not currently interacting with a component of the computing device.

[0011] Examples described herein provide a non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to, in response to determining that the computing device is stationary, receive signal strength data from a wireless communication interface of the computing device. A thermal policy for the computing device is determined based on the signal strength data. A cooling system in the computing device is controlled based on the thermal policy.

[0012] In another example, a non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to receive movement data indicating that the computing device is stationary. Signal strength data from a wireless communication interface of the computing device is received in response to receiving the movement data. Based on the signal strength data, it is determined that a palm rest of the computing device is in contact with an object. A cooling device in the computing system is then controlled to cool the palm rest of the computing device.

[0013] In another example, a non-transitory computer readable storage medium comprises instructions that when executed cause a processor of a computing device to monitor signal strength data associated with an antenna in the computing device.

A Signal-to-Noise-plus-lnterference (SINR) of a signal received by the antenna is determined to be below a threshold. A thermal policy for the computing device is then selected. A cooling system in the computing device is controlled to cool a component of the computing device.

[0014] Figures 1A-B illustrates a computing device 100 to control temperature, according to an example. Computing device 100 may be, for example, a notebook computer, a tablet computer, etc. Computing device 100 may include a motion detection device 102, wireless antenna 104, and a cooling system 106. Motion detection device 102 may be a component which tracks a speed and/or velocity of computing device 100. In some examples, motion detection device 102 may include an accelerometer, a gyro sensor, a velocity sensor, or some other device which may measure data indicating that computing device 100 is in motion.

[0015] Wireless antenna 104 may be any wireless antenna which can interface between radio wanes propagating through space and monitor a signal strength received or transmitted by wireless antenna 104. In some examples, wireless antenna 104 may include a Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) antenna. The WWAB antenna may be used to wirelessly transmit user and signaling data using cellular network technology. In other examples, wireless antenna 104 may include a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) antenna or a Wireless Fidelity (WIFI) antenna. It should be noted that the wireless antenna may be located in a location which may receive signal interference when an object comes into contact with surface of computing device 100. For example, wireless antenna 104 may be located under or in near proximity to contact surface 108. Contact surface 108 may include a surface area of computing device 100 which may come in contact with an object. For example, contact surface 108 may include a surface area of computing device 100 that a user interacts with, such as a palm rest located to either side of a touchpad of computing device 100.

[0016] The signal strength may be monitored by tracking a Signal-to-Noise-plus- Interference (SINR) of the signal and determining when the SINR of the signal increases or decreases. The increase of the SINR of the signal may indicate that an object has come into contact with computing device 100, such as a user's palm. In other examples, the signal strength may be monitored by tracking a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), a Bit Error Rate (BER) of the signal, or some other signal characteristic which can indicate a change in the signal strength.

[0017] Cooling system 106 may be a device or system of devices that may be controlled to alter a temperature of contact surface 108 of computing device 100. Cooling system 106 may include various thermal policies which indicate when the contact surface 108 of computing device 100 should be cooled. In some example, cooling system 106 may include a fan located in close proximity to a palm rest of computing device 100. In other examples, cooling system 106 may include a control to instruct a processor of computing device 100 to decrease in power.

[0018] In operation, computing device 100 may receive motion data from motion detection device 102. In response to determining that computing device 100 is stationary, computing device 100 receives signal strength data from wireless antenna 104 of computing device 100. Therefore, if it is determined that computing device 100 is in motion based on the motion data, it can be assumed that the user is not in contact with computing device 100 in such a way that would cause the user’s contact with contact surface 108 of computing device to get overheated, such as when resting the user’s palm on a palm rest .

[0019] It may also be determined, based on the signal strength data, a thermal policy for cooling system 106 of computing device 100. For example, when the SINR for wireless antenna 104 goes below a threshold amount, indicating a high level of interference, a cooling thermal policy may be applied to cool contact surface 108 of computing device 100. In response to determining to apply the cooling policy, cooling system 106 in computing device 100 may be controlled. On the other hand, when the SINR for wireless antenna 104 goes above a threshold amount, this may indicate that the interference has lowered and that the cooling thermal policy for computing device 100 may be removed.

[0020] The thermal policy for cooling system 106 may include increasing a speed of a fan in computing device 100 to cool contact surface 108 or decreasing a speed of a fan in computing device 100 to not cool contact surface 108. In other examples, the thermal policy may include controlling a processor to decrease a power level of the processor to cool the contact surface 108. [0021] Figures 2A-B illustrates accelerometer measurements over a period of time via an accelerometer disposed within a computing device, according to an example. The computing device described in Figures 2A-B may be an example of computing device 100 from Figure 1. In this example, the computing device may be a laptop. The accelerometer measurement data is graphed on graph 200 for both a laptop is motion and a laptop in a stationary mode. The accelerometer measurement data may be received from a motion detection device, such as motion detection device 102 of Figure 1. Furthermore, the accelerometer measurements of the accelerometer may include accelerometer measurements of a three-dimensional coordinate system, such as an acceleration of a computing device on an x-axis 202, an acceleration of a computing device on a y-axis 204, and an acceleration of a computing device on a z-axis 206.

[0022] Referring to Figure 2A, a graph 200 of accelerometer data is generated based on received measurement data from an accelerometer of a computing device. As shown in Figure 2A, the acceleration measurements 202-206 are highly variable. This may indicate that the computing device is in motion, such as being transported to another location in a vehicle or being carried by a user. In this example, the signal strength of the computing device is likely varying to a high degree as well. Furthermore, a high level of motion for the computing device indicates that a user is not likely currently using the computing device.

[0023] Turning now to Figure 2B, the accelerometer data is again received from an accelerometer of a computing device. As shown in Figure 2B, the three- dimensional acceleration data lines 202-206 on graph 200 indicate that the acceleration measurements are stable and do not vary to a high degree. This may indicate that the computing device is stationary, such as being placed on a stationary surface. In this example, the signal strength of the computing device is likely varying to a low degree as well, unless the signal strength is encountering an object that would cause signal interference. Furthermore, a low level of motion for the computing device indicates that a user is likely currently using the computing device.

[0024] Figures 3 illustrates signal strength measurements over a period of time via an antenna disposed within a computing device, according to an example. The computing device described in Figure 3 may be an example of computing device 100 from Figure 1. The signal strength data is graphed on graph 300 for a first period of time 302 when no object is in contact with the computing device and for a second period of time 304 when an object is in contact with the computing device. The signal strength data may be received from a wireless antenna of the computing device, such as wireless antenna 104 of Figure 1. Furthermore, the signal strength data of the wireless antenna may include SI NR measurements.

[0025] As indicated on graph 300, the signal strength begins and is stable for a period of time 302. During the stable period of time 302, there may be no objects in contact with a surface of the computing device, which may cause the wireless antenna to experience signal interference. However, once an object comes into contact with a surface of the computing device, the signal strength may decrease, such as during second period of time 304. This may indicate that a user has come into contact with a contact surface of the computing device.

[0026] Figure 4 illustrate a block diagram of a computing device 400 to control temperature of a component, according to an example. Computing device 400 includes processor 402, motion data input 404, signal strength input 406, and storage medium 408. As an example of computing device 400 performing its operations, storage medium 408 may include instructions 410, 412, 414, and 416 that are executable by processor 402. Thus, storage medium 408 can be said to store program instructions that, when executed by processor 402, implement the components of computing device 400.

[0027] In particular, the executable instructions stored in storage medium 408 include, as an example, instructions 410 to monitor motion data from motion data input 404 and signal strength data from signal strength input 406. The executable instructions also include instructions 412 to determine that the signal strength is below a threshold signal strength. The executable instructions stored in storage medium 408 further include, as an example, instructions 414 to select a thermal policy for computing device 400 based on the signal strength and instructions 416 to control the cooling system to cool a component of computing device 400. [0028] Storage medium 408 represents any number of memory components capable of storing instructions that can be executed by processor 402. As a result, a memory system may be implemented in a single device or distributed across devices. In some examples, storage medium 408 may be a non-transitory storage medium, where the term “non-transitory” does not encompass transitory propagating signals. Processor 402 may be a central processing unit (CPU), a semiconductor- based microprocessor, and/or other hardware devices suitable for retrieval and execution of instructions stored in computer-readable storage medium 408. Processor 402 represents any number of processors capable of executing instructions stored by storage medium 408. Processor 402 may be fully or partially integrated in the same device as processor 402, or processor may be separate but accessible to that device and processor 402.

[0029] Figure 5 illustrates a table 500 of conditions which may be processed by a computing device, such as computing device 400, to determine a thermal policy for a component of a computing device, according to another example. As illustrated in Figure 5, when the accelerometer indicates that the computing device is in a motion mode, there is no change made to the thermal policy, regardless of whether there has been a change made to the SINR signal of the WWAN antenna. However, when the accelerometer indicates that the computing device is in a stationary mode, a decrease in the SINR signal of the WWAN antenna causes a cooler thermal policy to be applied.

[0030] On the other hand, when the accelerometer indicates that the computing device is in a stationary mode and an increase in the SINR signal of the WWAN antenna occurs, then the cooler thermal policy is removed. When the accelerometer indicates that the computing device is in a stationary mode and there is no change to the SINR signal of the WWAN antenna, then no change to the thermal policy is made.

[0031] Figure 6 illustrates method 600 to control temperature of a component of the computing device, according to another example. Method 600 may be used by a computing device, such as computing device 100 or computing device 400. Some or all of the steps of method 600 may be implemented in program instructions in the context of a component or components of an application used to carry out the thermal policy feature.

[0032] Method 600 includes monitoring motion data for a computing device, at 601. The motion may be monitored by an accelerometer. Method 600 also includes processing the motion data to determine whether the computing device is in motion, at 602. if it is determined that the computing device is in motion, method 600 includes maintaining the current thermal policy for a component of the computing device, at 603.

[0033] In response to determining that the computing device is not in motion, method 600 includes monitoring signal data for an antenna in the computing device, at 604. The signal data may be for a WWAN antenna in the computing device. Furthermore, method 600 includes processing the signal data for the antenna to determine whether an interference ratio for the signal has increased, at 605. In response to determining that the interference ratio for the signal has increased, method 600 includes applying a cooling thermal policy to cool the component of the computing device, at 606.

[0034] In response to determining that the signal strength has not increased, method 600 includes determining whether the interference ratio for the signal has decreased, at 607. If the interference ratio for the signal has decreased, method 600 includes removing a cooling thermal policy for the component in the computing device, at 608. In response to determining that the interference ratio for the signal has neither increased nor decreased, method 600 further includes maintaining the current thermal policy for the component of the computing device, at step 609.

[0035] It is appreciated that examples described may include various components and features. It is also appreciated that numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the examples. However, it is appreciated that the examples may be practiced without limitations to these specific details. In other instances, well known methods and structures may not be described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of the examples. Also, the examples may be used in combination with each other. [0036] Reference in the specification to “an example” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the example is included in at least one example, but not necessarily in other examples. The various instances of the phrase “in one example” or similar phrases in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same example.