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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Dielectric Elastomer Membrane Feedback Apparatus, System and Method", for Approval

September 11, 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 Biggs, Silmon James (Los Gatos, CA); Hitchcock, Roger N. (San Leandro, CA); Polyakov, Ilya (San Francisco, CA); Zarrabi, Alireza (Sunnyvale, CA), filed on October 19, 2012, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In various embodiments, the present disclosure relates generally to dielectric elastomer membrane (thin film) apparatuses, systems, and methods for providing haptic feedback to a user. More specifically, in one aspect the present disclosure relates to user frequency preferences for mobile gaming. In another aspect, the present disclosure relates to wearable vestibular displays. In yet another aspect, the present disclosure relates to techniques for driving tablet computers. Still in other aspects, the present disclosure relates to haptic feedback devices for gesticular interfaces.

"Some hand held devices and gaming controllers employ conventional haptic feedback devices using small vibrators to enhance the user's gaming experience by providing force feedback vibration to the user while playing video games. A game that supports a particular vibrator can cause the device or gaming controller to vibrate in select situations, such as when firing a weapon or receiving damage to enhance the user's gaming experience. While such vibrators are adequate for delivering the sensation of large engines and explosions, they are quite monotonic and require a relatively high minimum output threshold. Accordingly, conventional vibrators cannot adequately reproduce finer vibrations. Besides low vibration response bandwidth, additional limitations of conventional haptic feedback devices include bulkiness and heaviness when attached to a device such as a smartphone or gaming controller.

"Just as a visual display sends photons to the eye, a vestibular display sends accelerations to the balance organs of the inner ear. The purpose of a vestibular display is to make a user perceive linear and angular head accelerations, and changes in the apparent direction of gravity. At present, when a simulation requires a vestibular display, for example a flight simulator, the user must ride on a motion platform. This has the advantage of applying whole-body forces to the sensory organs of the skin and muscles as well as the inner ear. This is good for multimodal realism, since these sensors all contribute to the vestibular sense. Unfortunately, however, the cost and size of a motion platform limits the range of applications. Motion platforms aren't part of the typical home gaming system. The complexity, bulk, and expense of motion platforms are all significant drawbacks of the prior art such as the four degrees of freedom (4DOF) MOTIONSIM motion simulator by ELSACO Kolin, a company focused on the development and manufacture of electronic components for industrial automation.

"Additionally, there is a need for an actuator configuration for a tablet computer that eliminates the need for flexible electrical connections, works in all use conditions with most direct-to-finger haptics, and is integrated as stand alone module. Additional needs include simple or easy moving-screen integration and final assembly.

"Moreover, there is a need for a haptic or tactile feedback level of interactivity for the user of gesticular-based interfaces. With the advent of camera and three dimensional scanning based input devices such as the Kinect sensor, a user uses actual body parts to interact with user interface (UI) elements or game-play on the screen. While this adds a great level of interactivity for the user, it does take away the feedback of interacting with physical objects. So far the only feedback employed in similar systems is a rumble motor in Nintendo WII and PS3 control pendants that the user holds for both input and haptic feedback."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "To overcome these and other challenges experienced with conventional haptic feedback devices, the present disclosure provides electroactive polymer based feedback modules comprising dielectric elastomers having bandwidth and energy density that provide a suitable response in a compact form factor. Such electroactive polymer .sub.based haptic feedback modules comprise a thin film, which comprises a dielectric elastomer film sandwiched between two electrode layers. When a high voltage is applied to the electrodes, the two attracting electrodes compress the entire film. The electroactive polymer based haptic feedback device provides a slim, low-powered haptic module that can be placed underneath an inertial mass (such as a battery) on a motion tray to amplify the haptic feedback produced by the host device audio signal between about 50 Hz and about 300 Hz (with a 5 ms response time).

"In one embodiment of the present invention, a feedback enabled system is provided. The feedback enabled system comprises a first feedback module. The first feedback module comprises a thin film; a frame; a motion coupling, wherein when a voltage is applied to the thin film, the motion coupling exerts a force on the frame to provide feedback; and a user interface, wherein the first feedback module is configured to provide feedback through the user interface. The thin film can be a dielectric elastomer or piezoelectric film.

"These and other advantages and benefits of the present invention will be apparent from the Detailed Description of the Invention herein below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

"The novel features of the embodiments described herein are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The various aspects, however, both as to organization and methods of operation may be better understood by reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings as follows.

"FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a vestibular display based on asymmetric rotational accelerations of a user's head;

"FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of a vestibular perception hypothesis;

"FIG. 3 illustrates a hand-held unit that generates asymmetric acceleration waveform shown in FIG. 4 that evoke a pulling feeling in the haptic system;

"FIG. 4 illustrates an asymmetric acceleration waveform corresponding to the hand-held unit shown in FIG. 3 that evokes a pulling feeling in the haptic system;

"FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of a headphones-integrated vestibular display comprising a vestibular display integrated with headphones

"FIG. 6A is a graphical representation of accelerations experienced by a user such as changing walking direction,

"FIG. 6B is a graphical representation of head yaw that results from accelerations experienced by a user such as changing walking direction,

"FIG. 7 is a graphical representation of asymmetric accelerations of headphones containing inertial masses driven by dielectric elastomer actuators,

"FIG. 8 is a graphical representation of head accelerations created by one embodiment of a vestibular display;

"FIG. 9A illustrates one embodiment of a haptic module used in a haptics actuator;

"FIG. 9B is a schematic diagram of one embodiment of a haptic system to illustrate the principle of operation;

"FIG. 10 illustrates one embodiment of a game-enhancing case comprising a haptics module as described in connection with FIGS. 9A, 9B;

"FIG. 11 is a simplified cross section of a game-enhancing case;

"FIG. 12 is a system model to estimate forces F(t) that can be displayed to a user holding a case-shaped mass as shown in FIG. 13;

"FIG. 13 is a system model of a user holding a case-shaped mass;

"FIG. 14 is the mobility analog for the system in FIG. 13 as simulated in Personal computer Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (PSPICE);

"FIG. 15 is a graphical representation of frequency responses of various haptic systems;

"FIG. 16 is a graphical depiction of acceleration of the simulator and the prototype built with an actuator;

"FIG. 17 is a graphical depiction of acceleration of the simulator and the prototype built with an actuator;

"FIG. 18 illustrates waveforms used in a user study of a suitable actuator;

"FIG. 19 is a screen shot of a graphical user interface (GUI) used to collect the data from each user;

"FIG. 20 is graphical representation of rank ordering of design options;

"FIG. 21 is a graphical representation of strength of preferences, which provides system rating compared to user's average rating;

"FIG. 22 is perspective view of the haptic actuator;

"FIG. 23 is top view of the haptic actuator shown in FIG. 22;

"FIG. 24 is a side view of the haptic actuator shown in FIG. 22;

"FIG. 25 is an exploded view of the haptic actuator shown in FIG. 22;

"FIG. 26 provides a comparison of various drive systems for a tablet computer;

"FIG. 27 is a diagram illustrating a suspended inertia drive system configuration for a tablet drive system;

"FIG. 28 illustrates s perspective view of one embodiment of a haptic feedback device for gesticular interfaces;

"FIG. 29 is top view of the haptic feedback device shown in FIG. 28;

"FIG. 30 is a side view of the haptic feedback device shown in FIG. 28; and

"FIG. 31 is another embodiment of a haptic feedback device that comprises of a full glove with smaller haptic actuator modules placed at the fingertips and haptic actuator modules placed on the palm."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Biggs, Silmon James; Hitchcock, Roger N.; Polyakov, Ilya; Zarrabi, Alireza. Dielectric Elastomer Membrane Feedback Apparatus, System and Method. Filed October 19, 2012 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5049&p=101&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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