Patent number 8616701 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A wide variety of different portable printers are known in the art. Often, such printers are incorporated into hand-held labelers that can directly print one or more labels from a wound roll of blank labels carried on or in the device.
"Numerous features and functions have also been incorporated in such devices. For example, optical scanners such as used for reading barcodes and the like, radio-based communication provisions, microprocessor-based computing capabilities, and sophisticated operator interfaces are now typically available in hand-held labeling devices.
"However, as the functional features and capabilities of such devices have significantly increased, so too has their complexity. This can be undesirable as greater complexity generally demands sophisticated manufacturing operations which tend to increase costs. Moreover, as such devices are designed for hand-held operation; it is desirable that the devices maintain a readily manageable weight and/or size. These design goals can present formidable challenges in view of demands for increased device functionality and capabilities.
"In view of these and other concerns, a desire exists for a hand-held portable labeler and/or printer that includes an array of features and functions, yet which is relatively elegant in its simplicity and operation, and further provides additional improvements over currently known hand-held labelers/printers."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "This summary is provided to introduce concepts related to the present inventive subject matter. This summary is not intended to identify essential features of the claimed subject matter nor is it intended for use in determining or limiting the scope of the claimed subject matter. In any event, certain of the difficulties and drawbacks associated with previously known hand-held devices are addressed by selected embodiments of the present apparatus for a hand-held portable labeler/printer with a variety of unique features.
"In accordance with one embodiment, a printer is provided that comprises a housing including a main body, a battery enclosure, and a handle extending therebetween. The main body defines a front end and an opposite rear end, a front face extending from the front end, and a rear face extending from the rear end, the front and rear faces meeting along a raised center region. The housing also defines an interior region. The printer also comprises a drive module assembly generally disposed with the interior region defined in the housing. The drive module includes provisions for advancing material for printing from a wound roll also disposed in the interior region. The printer additionally comprises a selectively movable printing module assembly secured to the housing and positionable between a closed position and an open position. The printing module generally constitutes the front face of the housing when in the closed position. The printing module includes provisions for printing on the material. The printer additionally comprises an operator interface and an electronic module assembly generally accessible along the rear face of the housing.
"In another embodiment, a hand-held portable printer is provided. The printer includes: a housing having a main body and a handle extending therefrom; a rotatably driven platen roller supported in the main body of the housing; a supply roll holder that holds a supply roll of media or feedstock in the main body of the housing; and a print module including a printhead that selectively prints on the media routed between the printhead and the platen roller from the supply roll held by the supply roll holder. Suitably, the print module is attached to the upper main body of the housing such that the print module is movable between a closed operational position in which the printhead is proximate the platen roller and an open loading position in which the printhead is spaced apart from the platen roller.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned printers, the housing may further include a battery enclosure located at an end of the handle opposite the main body, the battery enclosure selectively receiving therein a battery for powering said printer.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned printers, the battery enclosure may be elongated and hold the battery transverse to the handle.
"In another embodiment, any of the aforementioned printers may further have a center of gravity such that it can stand unaided in an upright orientation with a lower face of the battery enclosure resting on a supporting surface, the handle extending upward from the battery enclosure and the main body suspended atop the handle.
"In another embodiment, any of the aforementioned printers may further include at least one electrical contact through which electrical current is selectively provided for charging the battery while said battery remains housed within the battery enclosure.
"In another embodiment, a charging cradle is provided for a printer according to any one of the aforementioned printer. Suitably, the charging cradle may include: a receiving region that selectively receives and holds therein the battery enclosure of the printer's housing; and at least one electrical contact through which electrical current is selectively provided from the charging cradle to the battery housed within the battery enclosure of the printer's housing, the contact of the charging cradle being in electrical communication with the contact of the printer when the printer is placed in the charging cradle.
"In another embodiment, in the aforementioned charging cradle, the receiving region of the charging cradle may include at least one guide that is mated to a corresponding guide formed on the battery enclosure of the printer's housing so that the battery enclosure may be slidably engaged with the receiving region while ensuring that the contact of the charging cradle and the contact of the printer align with one another.
"In another embodiment, any of the aforementioned charging cradles may further include at least one port allowing a plurality of charging cradles to be daisy-chained together, the port providing for electrical communication between daisy-chained charging cradles.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned charging cradles, the at least one port may include at least one male port and at least one female port, the male port of one charging cradle being arranged to be received in the female port of another charging cradle.
"In another embodiment, any of the aforementioned charging cradles may further include a controller that selectively controls the operation of the charging cradle.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned charging cradles, the controller may also selectively control operation of the printer when it is placed in the charging cradle.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned charging cradles, the controller may be selectively detachable from the charging cradle.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned printers, there may be provided an underside on a rear portion of the main body of the housing which slopes downward in a direction away from the handle and the housing may further include a rear face on a front portion of the main body and a cross member extending from the rear face on the front portion of the main body to the downward sloping underside of the rear portion of the main body, thereby defining an opening between the cross member, the downward sloping underside of the rear portion of the main body, and the rear face of the front portion of the main body.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned printers, the opening may extend between opposing left and right sides of the printer.
"In another embodiment, any of the aforementioned printers may further include a bracket arranged to be receiving in the opening, the bracket selectively securing an accessory to the printer.
"In another embodiment, in any of the aforementioned printers, the accessory may be a wrist strap.
"As will be realized, the inventive subject matter may take form in other and different embodiments and its several details are capable of modifications in various respects, all without departing from the scope of the inventive subject matter. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative and not restrictive."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Mistyurik, John D.; Makley, James A.; Tharp,
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Electrical Communication,
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