The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "While substantial effort and attention continues toward the development of newer and more sustainable energy supplies, the conservation of energy by increased energy efficiency remains crucial to the world's energy future. According to an
"Some thermostats offer programming abilities that provide the potential for balancing user comfort and energy savings. However, users are frequently intimidated by a dizzying array of switches and controls. Thus, the thermostat may frequently resort to default programs, thereby reducing user satisfaction and/or energy-saving opportunities. One such configuration difficulty is setting the time-of-day. This is complicated by different time zones and daylight savings time and changes thereto. Controlling HVAC equipment is often time-of-day based. When the time-of-day is not set, elegant control of the HVAC equipment is hampered."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "In one embodiment, a thermostat is capable of discerning the time-of-day without external input. Should the user fail to set the time, the thermostat uses one or more sensors to determine the time-of-day through a variety of techniques. In one example, a light sensor can monitor natural light to understand the cycle of sun with respect to the installation location.
"From the cycle of natural light a latitude, time-of-year, time-of-day, etc. can be estimated through processing sensor information over time. Should the thermostat have its time manually set or gathered from the network, it would override the estimated time-of-day. Techniques can be used to filter input from the one or more sensors to avoid confusion from other inputs, for example, man-made lighting.
"In another embodiment, a thermostat is comprised of a power source, a housing, a clock function for tracking time-of-day, a sensor configured to read environmental conditions that vary with time-of-day, a processor, and a number of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) wire connectors, and an electronic display configured to display information to a user. The processor is configured to: receive input from the sensor; estimate time-of-day using the sensor, and program the clock function using the estimated time-of-day. The HVAC wire connectors are coupled to the processing system and configured control an HVAC system as a function of the estimated time-of-day.
"In yet another embodiment, a method for operating a thermostat is disclosed. Sensor readings of environmental conditions are loaded. The sensor readings of environmental conditions are processed using the thermostat. The environmental conditions correlate with time-of-day. Time-of-day is estimated from the environmental conditions. The estimated time-of-day is tracked within the thermostat. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) wire connectors coupled to the thermostat are controlled. The HVAC wired connectors are configured to control an HVAC system as a function of the estimated time-of-day.
"In still another embodiment, a device for governing and/or facilitating the governance of a resource consuming system is disclosed. The device includes a power input, a housing, a clock function for tracking time-of-day; a sensor input configured to receive environmental conditions that vary with time-of-day, a learning function, and at least one output. The learning function is configured to: estimate time-of-day using the sensor input readings of the environmental conditions, and program the clock function using the estimated time-of-day. The at least one output provides at least one output signal that is used in governance of the resource-consuming system. The at least one output signal is at least in part a function of the estimated time-of-day.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1A illustrates a perspective view of a versatile sensing and control unit (VSCU) according to an embodiment;
"FIGS. 1B-1C illustrate the VSCU as it is being controlled by the hand of a user according to an embodiment;
"FIG. 2 illustrates the VSCU as installed in a house having an HVAC system and a set of control wires extending therefrom;
"FIG. 3 illustrates user adjustment of time-of-day based on rotations and inward clicks of the outer ring at a time-of-day settings menu of a user interface of a VSCU according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 4 illustrates an overview of the functional software, firmware, and/or programming architecture of the head unit microprocessor, according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 5 illustrates an overview of the functional software, firmware, and/or programming architecture of the back plate microcontroller, according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 6 is flow chart diagram that outlines a process for estimating a time-of-day, according to one embodiment;
"FIG. 7 is flow chart diagram that outlines a process for estimating a time-of-day, according to another embodiment;
"FIG. 8 is flow chart diagram that outlines a process for setting climate control configurations, according to one embodiment; and
"FIG. 9 illustrates an overview of the functional software, firmware, and/or programming architecture of the schedule, learning and management (SLM) function, according to one embodiment."
For additional information on this patent application, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Software,
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