Patent number 8508329 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Such mobile robotic device is disclosed in KR-B-100835968, which pre-published document corresponds to the later published publication WO-A-2008/105634. This publication describes a robotic vacuum cleaner having a displaceable sensor member comprising two bumpers at its front side in the main direction of travel. The first bumper is disposed on a higher portion of the front side of the device and the second bumper is disposed on the lower portion. Thereby, the first bumper senses objects to be avoided and the second bumper senses objects to be passed over. The second bumper can rotate downward around a horizontal axis, so that the device is lifted in order to pass over the surmountable object. The first bumper can be disposed to be protruded compared with the second bumper, so that an obstacle to be avoided first contacts with the first bumper and then with the second bumper. Therefore, before the second bumper is operated, the obstacle to be avoided is determined.
"Another kind of tactile bumper of an autonomous mobile robot or platform is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,412. The tactile bumper comprises a plurality of displaceable sensor members being free-floating strips encased in a housing. The means for detecting the displacement of the sensor members are a plurality of micro switches affixed to the housing and arranged behind the sensor members.
"For example, the mobile robotic device is a vacuum cleaner for autonomously cleaning a room while the mobile device is travelling around on the floor of the room. Thereby, the path of the vacuum cleaner can be controlled based on observation of its environment by cameras or other observation means, such as sonar sensors or infrared sensors. Additionally, sensor members are present at one or more sides of the mobile device in order to detect physical contact between the mobile device and stationary objects (obstacles) on the floor of the room. The vacuum cleaner may comprise two modules, a main module comprising the vacuum fan and a debris collection compartment, and a cleaning head module connected with the main module by a hose, through which hose the debris is transported from the cleaning head module to the main module. Furthermore, the hose comprises conductive wires for supplying electric power from the main module to the cleaning head module and for exchanging electronic information between the two modules. Such vacuum cleaner is disclosed in US-A-2002/0174506. Thereby, the cleaning head module can be the mobile device comprising the one or more sensor members for sensing physical contact between the module and stationary objects on the floor of the room to be cleaned."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In general, the mobile robotic device has to find its path of traveling between stationary objects in its environment. When the mobile device contacts an stationary object, the direction of travelling has to be changed, so that the stationary object can be avoided. Therefore, contact with such stationary object is detected in order to continue the movement of the mobile device in a different direction, for example in the opposite direction, away from the stationary object. However, the mobile device can be trapped between stationary objects when travelling. In order to escape from such trapped position, the mobile device will make movements, such as displacements forwards and backwards and/or rotation around a vertical axis, but the space for maneuvering may be small.
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