News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Aerially Moved Payload Having a Digital Microphone and Digital Microphone Control System", for Approval

August 21, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Wharton, Stephen (Weatherford, TX); Freed, Jonathan (Sagamore Beach, MA), filed on August 31, 2012, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Cablecam, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Aerial movement systems are useful in moving a payload, like for example a camera and microphone, over large expanses such as football fields, basketball courts, or even military testing sites. Examples of such systems which may be used to aerially move a payload may be found, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,809,495; 6,873,355; 6,975,089; 7,088,071; 7,127,998; and, 7,239,106 and U.S. Publication No. 2011/0204197. While the remaining description will at times discuss these aerial movement systems with respect to having an image generating device or multiple image generating devices and/or microphones for capturing sound, it should be appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the art that the present application, and all of the previously referenced patents may be utilized to aerially move any payload and is not limited to just a image capturing devices or multiple image capturing devices.

"As described in various embodiments of the aforementioned patents, aerial movement systems having a payload, like for example a platform carrying a camera and/or microphone, typically include anywhere from one to five lines (e.g., a cables, ropes, strings, cords, wires, or any other flexible materials) attached to the payload. The one to five lines typically extend to the payload from support beams surrounding the surface and are controlled by one to five motor reels which extend and retract the one to five lines attached to the payload. The motor reels may be controlled using timers, software algorithms, remote controls, or any means known in the art. As the lines are extended and retracted, the payload may be moved in three-dimensions, i.e. in the X-direction, the Y-direction, and the Z-direction.

"In order to capture sound in aerially moved payload systems capturing audio and/or video signals, typically analog microphones or condenser coils are used. The captured audio signals are transmitted to a remotely located production or control center.

"In current systems, in order to utilize a phased array and filters for sound captured by aerially moved payload systems, multiple analog microphones are used with the audio captured by each microphone transmitted back to the production or control center and filtered at a remote sound board or the like. Remote filtering at the sound board may result in a loss of fidelity and sound quality, while at the same time require additional equipment and engineers to produce the broadcast.

"Additionally, analog microphones are typically also incapable of receiving instructions from an individual controlling the microphones to alter signal processing and filter noise or unwanted sound at the microphones. Since the microphones are incapable of receiving instructions, each microphone may have to be continuously used, captured, and transmitted throughout a recording or broadcast, regardless of whether the sound captured by that microphone is ever used. Such results in higher power consumption and additional signals that must be filtered at the remotely located sound board.

"Digital microphones are currently used to capture audio in ground applications, i.e. in non-aerially moved payload systems. When used on the ground, current practice is to use copper wires to transmit the digital audio signals to a production or control center. However, as is known in the art, the distance the signals may be transmitted via copper wire is limited due to, for example, noise and interference on the copper wire, and loss of signal strength over distance. Utilizing copper wire to transmit digital audio signals is unsuitable in most aerially moved payload system applications as the distance the signal is required to travel over the copper wire is typically far greater than the distance where interference, noise, and strength of the audio signal are greatly affected by being transmitted over copper.

"Additionally, these digital audio signals may not be embedded with video, merely being provided as audio signals, reducing the amount of signals which may be transmitted through any given line.

"While some advantages of digital microphones are known in the art, for these reasons, no system to date has attempted to use digital microphones to capture and transmit digital audio from an aerially moved payload system. Currently, there is no system by which digital audio or multiple digital audio signals from a phased array may be effectively transmitted from an aerially moved payload system to a production or control center for use in, for example, a recording or broadcast.

"The present invention is provided to solve these and other issues."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an aerially moved payload system having a digital microphone or multiple digital microphones which may comprise a phased array.

"According to one aspect of the invention, an aerial payload system capable of capturing audio signals using a digital microphone or multiple digital microphones is provided. Each digital microphone may be powered using a phantom power source providing approximately 10V or any required operating voltage to each microphone. A COTS component or power supply may be utilized as a phantom power source so long as it is capable of providing the required voltage. Utilizing a COTS component will provide sufficient power to the microphones while effectively reducing the amount of noise created in the line used to transmit the audio from the payload to the control center. Custom designed power supplies may be used along with the digital microphones, so long as the power supply provides the necessary voltage to drive the microphone(s) included in the payload.

"According to another aspect of the invention the payload includes an array of digital microphones. The array of microphones may be capable of sampling and filtering any noise or unwanted sound and providing an enhanced audio signal to a production or control center located remotely from the payload.

"According to another aspect of the invention, in order to transmit the captured digital audio signal(s) to the production or control center, the audio signals may be embedded or multiplexed into any captured image signal using a multiplexer. Rather than, or in addition to, using an actual captured video signal, a phantom video signal may be generated at the payload and transmitted to the control center with any captured digital audio signals embedded therein.

"According to yet another aspect of the invention, at least one of the payload and control center, or any point there between, may include a digital-to-analog media converter for converting the digital audio signals to analog signals for use with some control center equipment.

"Other advantages and aspects of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following description of the drawings and detailed description of the invention.


"FIG. 1 shows an aerially moved payload system as contemplated by the invention;

"FIG. 2 shows a configuration of an array of digital microphones for use in an aerial payload system; and,

"FIG. 3 shows a flow chart for controlling an aerially moved payload as contemplated by the present invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Wharton, Stephen; Freed, Jonathan. Aerially Moved Payload Having a Digital Microphone and Digital Microphone Control System. Filed August 31, 2012 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Legal Issues, Cablecam Inc..

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Source: Politics & Government Week

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