The patent's inventor is Johnson, Rodney G. (Karara, AU).
This patent was filed on
From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "In the gaming industry, many packs of cards are utilized and it is necessary to shuffle one or more decks of cards for game use and/or after each game to sort the cards into one or more packs for re-use either in a specific order or at least into a pack of cards, which is complete. At present, this is achieved manually."
Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The present invention aims to provide a collation and/or sorting apparatus, which will operate efficiently and accurately.
"With the foregoing in view, the invention in one aspect resides broadly in collation and/or sorting apparatus including sensor means to identify articles for collation and/or sorting; feed means for feeding the articles sequentially past the sensor means; storing means in which articles may be collated in groups in a desired order; selectively programmable computer means coupled to the sensor means and to the storing means to assemble in said storing means groups of articles in a desired order; delivery means for selectively delivering the individual articles into the storing means, and collector means for collecting collated groups of articles. The sensor means may include means to identify the presence of an article. Suitably, the sensor means includes means to identify one or more physical attributes of an article. Preferably, the sensor means includes means to identify indicia on a surface of an article.
"The desired order may be a specific order of a set of articles, such as a deck of cards to be sorted into its original pack order, or it may be a random order into which a complete set of articles is delivered from a plurality of sets of randomly arranged articles. For example, the desired order may be a complete pack of playing cards sorted from holding means, which holds a plurality of randomly oriented cards forming a plurality of packs of cards. This may be achieved by identifying the individual cards by optical readers, scanners or any other means and then under control of a computer means such as a microprocessor, or placing an identified card into a specific collector means to ensure delivery of complete decks of cards in the desired order. A random number generator is used to place individual cards into random positions to ensure random delivery of one to eight or more decks of cards. In one aspect, the apparatus is adapted to provide one or more shuffled packs of cards, such as eight packs for the game of baccarat.
"The storing means may have individual storing spaces for each respective article to be provided as the collated and/or sorted stack of articles. In such an arrangement, the delivery means delivers identified articles to the respective storing spaces. This may be achieved by arranging the delivery means with travel means movable along a plurality of axes, such as laterally to a column of individual storing spaces and vertically along the column of individual storing spaces.
"Preferably, however, the storing means is arranged as one or more rotatable storage magazines, and the delivery means includes a delivery carriage movable to a respective magazine, and drive means for rotating each magazine to operatively align a respective storing space with the delivery carriage.
"The collector means may be arranged to receive articles from the storing means as a collated group of articles. For example, the storing means may simultaneously release all the articles therein into the collector means, which may be a confining chute in which the articles settle as a group. Preferably, however, the collector means operates after a complete set of articles has been collated in the storing means and then sequentially feeds the sorted articles into one or more discrete groups.
"The sensor means may be any suitable means for identifying a physical characteristic of the articles to be sorted or it may comprise sensor means for detecting and/or interpreting electromagnetic signals reflected and/or transmitted by an article.
"One form of the invention is provided as a sorting apparatus for providing a pack of playing cards arranged in original deck order and includes sensor means able to identify the suit and value of individual cards; feed means for feeding the cards sequentially past the sensor means; storing means having individual storing spaces for each respective card of a deck of cards; selectively programmable computer means coupled to the sensor means and the storing means to assemble in the storing means individual cards comprising a complete deck or respective decks of cards; delivery means for delivering the identified cards, or collated decks thereof, to preselected individual storing spaces; and collector means for collecting one or more decks of cards. Another form of the invention comprises a card-shuffling device to randomly shuffle one or more decks of cards.
"Preferably, the storing means is arranged as one or more rotatable magazines and the delivery means includes a delivery carriage which receives identified cards from the feed means and is movable along a horizontal drive path in front of a plurality of magazines arranged co-axially and with a common axis parallel to the horizontal drive path and which are rotatable together or independently by the computer means to operatively align a respective storing space with the delivery carriage.
"The respective storing spaces may include retention means adapted to captively hold a delivered card therein.
"The retention means may comprise a vacuum clamping means, but preferably, the magazine is formed as a quadrant having a lower shroud, which prevents dislodgement of the cards from the storing spaces when in an inverted position.
"After collation of one or more decks, the magazine or each magazine may be rotated to sequentially engage retained cards with conveying means which conveys collated decks of cards, which sequentially come into engagement therewith into a collector means."
For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Johnson, Rodney G.. Card Handling Devices and Methods of Using Such Devices. U.S. Patent Number 8807348, filed
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