News Column

"Antenna Sensor" in Patent Application Approval Process

May 29, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventor Wilbur, Mark S. (Painesville, OH), filed on November 2, 2012, was made available online on May 15, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to General Electric Company.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Many different types of electronic devices utilize an antenna operably connected to a receiver and/or transmitter to receive and/or transmit radio frequency (RF) signals. In addition, many of these devices include one or more sensors that monitor environmental or circuit conditions associated with the electronic device. In some cases, it would be desirable to add one or more sensors to an existing electronic device to increase functionality, but retrofitting sensors can be expensive and complicated.

"An example of an electronic device that increasingly is being designed to receive and transmit RF signals is street lamps which are employed by municipal and highway lighting systems to illuminate roadways. Such street lamps include a light source at the top of a support pole or post, and are turned ON or illuminated at a certain time every night. Some modern street lamps include light-sensitive photocells that function with internal control circuitry to turn ON the street lamps at dusk, turn OFF the street lamps at dawn, and/or activate the street lamps to turn ON in dark weather. However, older street lamp models may not include light sensors, and may instead be operable to turn ON based on an internal clock and a schedule programmed into control circuitry. Some of these older model street lamps do include control circuitry that includes an RF receiver with an antenna that is operable to receive control signals from a command center. The received signals are typically utilized by the control circuitry to perform functions such as changing the programmed schedule and/or to turn ON the street lamps and/or to turn OFF the street lamps.

"Intelligent street lights are currently being manufactured that adjust light output based on usage and current conditions, and that include RF receivers and transmitters which operate via a network configuration. For example, such intelligent street lights may include one or more sensors and control circuitry that can automatically discriminate between (or classify) a pedestrian versus a cyclist versus an automobile so that the street light can adjust the light output accordingly, that can monitor conditions such as wind velocity, temperature and ambient light intensity, and that can transmit data concerning the monitored activities to a central command center, for example. Such street lights may also be configured to adjust light output levels depending on road conditions, such as the presence of snow or rain (which may provide increased light reflectance and thus a reduced light need). However, such intelligent street lights and network systems are expensive to install and operate, and the costs involved for removing conventional street lights and replacing them with intelligent street lights and associated network hardware and software can be prohibitive for many municipalities."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Disclosed are apparatus and methods for providing an antenna sensor. In an embodiment, the antenna sensor includes an antenna operable to receive and/or to transmit radio frequency (RF) signals, and one or more sensors operably connected to the antenna. The sensors are configured to monitor at least one condition and to output sensor signals. The antenna sensor includes a single connector for connection to an electronic device, to transfer RF signals from the antenna and sensor signals from the one or more sensors to the electronic device.

"A lamp is also disclosed that includes a housing, a light source supported within the housing, driver circuitry within the housing that includes a radio frequency (RF) input connector, and an antenna sensor operably connected to the driver circuitry. The driver circuitry is operably connected to the light source, and is configured for controlling the light source. The antenna sensor includes an antenna operable to at least one of receive and transmit RF signals, and at least one sensor operably connected to the antenna and configured to monitor at least one condition and to output sensor signals. A single connection to the RF input connector transfers the RF signals from the antenna and the sensor signals from the at least one sensor to the driver circuitry.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a sensor antenna arrangement according to an embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 2 is a circuit diagram of a sensor antenna arrangement which includes an antenna and a photodetector according to an embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a lamp assembly that includes the sensor antenna arrangement of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 4 is a partial cutaway side view of a street light head assembly according to an embodiment of the invention; and

"FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of a modular antenna sensor arrangement, not drawn to scale, according to an embodiment of the invention."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Wilbur, Mark S. Antenna Sensor. Filed November 2, 2012 and posted May 15, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4973&p=100&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140508.PD.&OS=PD/20140508&RS=PD/20140508

Keywords for this news article include: General Electric Company.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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