Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Global Warming pages @

Copyright ©  Françoise Herrmann

The new (Environmental Protection Agency) web pages on global warming (minus three pages on Climate change homeClimate Science, and Climate change impacts) are up and running!

The great news is that no major political re-interpretation of scientific data has occurred. Even if activists would probably like to see more details and the mention of agriculture, included in the EPA’s statement of the sources of GHG emissions, the Overview of the sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions clearly states, without the slightest ambiguity:
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.
Data on the share of GHG emissions is provided per economic sector (including industry, farming, transportation, commercial/residential, land use and electricity), as well as an analysis of the GHG warming potential. Indeed, the EPA climate change data has been updated with more recent reports and scientific data from the most authoritative sources of information, the IPCC and the EPA's own US Inventory of GHG emissions and sinks, rather than re-interpreted, as feared, according to stated positions denying the existence of global warming.

The US data on GHG emissions and sinks presented is also clearly stated as reported to the United Nations, per the binding agreement to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Thus, the EPA clearly mentions its compliance with provisions applicable to the rest of the world.

The Carbon Footprint Calculator tool is still there, with an even nicer interface! 

As for the former chart on Global Carbon emissions from 1900 to 2008, showing the dramatic increase in carbon emissions with the rise of industrial activity in the 1950s, new updated information is provided for US Total GHG emissions from 1990 to 2015. Consequently, the Total US GHG emissions, 1990-2015 chart, now shows an equally impressive halt to the rise in US GHG emissions, beginning in 2007-08 when the world was alerted to the dangers of climate warming, arising from GHG emissions, and a new awareness, coupled with intensive mitigation efforts were deployed.

Indeed, the new chart is fantastic news on the power of a country to change the course of catastrophic trends, even if this is just a small beginning in the reversal of GHG emissions trends, considering how the global picture displays no such planet-saving dip in carbon emissions, estimated to represent 82% of GHG emissions. 

GHG emissions data may now also be explored with a new EPA tool termed the GHG Data Explorer that enables to search for emissions of a specific gas, per sector, and for a given period of time.

Another new tool for calculating GHG emissions equivalencies, termed the GHG Equivalencies Calculator, is also provided to enable users to calculate how much GHG emissions a particular item generates in daily life. For example, 40 gallons of gas generates of 784 pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide).  Conversely, if users have GHG emissions data, they might also calculate equivalencies to offset emissions using the controversial flexible mechanisms (flex-mex) for International Emissions Trading and the Global Carbon Trading Markets, built into the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol within the context of the UNFCCC. 

When President Trump shocked the world with his forthright denial of climate change on the campaign trail (League of Conservation Voters, 2016), Chomsky (2016) suggested that the most pressing question was whether “he really meant what he said”, a suggestion which shocked even more people.  Nonetheless, this overhaul of the EPA web pages (minus a few links) tends to suggest that no such denial exists and that the EPA will not be dismantled anytime soon. 

Woo hoo!

Chomsky, n. (2016) If Trump becomes president (YouTube recording)
League of conservation voters (Oct. 2016) – In their own words – 2016 Presidential candidates on climate change
Environmental protection agency (EPA)
EPA - Carbon footprint Calculator
EPA - Greenhouse Gas Data Explorer
EPA - Overview of the sources of GHG emissions
EPA - Sources of greenhouse gas emissions
EPA - Total US Greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2015
EPA - Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator
EPA - Inventory of Greenhouse Gas emissions and sinks
EPA - Understanding Global Warming Potentials
EPA - Greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator
IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
UNFCC - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change 
International Emissions Trading
Carbon Trade Exchange
EDF - The World's Carbon Markets
Herrmann, F, (2014) Emissions trading. Posted at Patents on the soles of your shoes. 
Herrmann, F. (2016) Green gone grey post nov. 2016 elections? Posted at Patents on the soles of your shoes. 
Herrmann, F. (2017) An inconvenient sequel. Posted at Patents on the soles of your shoes

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Oh, patents! Ambient backscatter

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Inventive steps are supposed to wow you! So, how about electronic communication without power? Off the grid and batteryless!  Ambient backscatter might be another instance of the SXSW ‘SciFi no more” innovation category, only this time it is the brainchild of a MIT-selected group of “Innovators under the age of 35”. 

Indeed the backscatter chip has the capacity to pick up and reflect power from ambient broadcasted radio and TV signals, or wifi devices, so that the backscatter-enabled device charges itself without batteries.

Recipients of a National Science Foundation award, applications are being developed by Jeeva Wireless. Applications, for example, include the development of a backscatter chip enabling emergency calls on a dead cell phone. 

Here is how the inventors  demonstrate the phenomenon of ambient backscatter:

This invention is disclosed in the following series of patents:
  • WO2017132400 (A1) ― 2017-08-03 - Backscatter devices including examples of single sideband operation
  • US2017208597 (A1) ― 2017-07-20 - Power transmission using wireless communication signals
  • EP3189580 (A1) ― 2017-07-12 - Power transmission using wireless communication signals
  • WO2016037100 (A1) ― 2016-03-10 - Power transmission using wireless communication signals
  • US2017180075 (A1) ― 2017-06-22 - Wireless networking communication methods, systems, and devices operable using harvested power 
  • WO2015123341 (A1) ― 2015-08-20 - Wireless networking communication methods, systems, and devices operable using harvested power 
  • WO2017027847 (A1) ― 2017-02-16 - Backscatter devices and network systems incorporating backscatter devices
  • US2016259421 (A1) ― 2016-09-08 - Devices, systems, and methods for controlling devices using gesture
  • WO2015054419 (A1) ― 2015-04-16  - Devices, systems, and methods for controlling devices using gestures 
Bryce Kellogg
Jeeva Wireless
National Science Foundation
Simonite, T. (2016) This contact lens will kickstart the internet of disposable things. MIT Technology Review - Oct. 19, 2016

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Oh, patents! AR output security

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Franziska Roesner spends her time thinking about “What could a buggy or malicious application do?” She is a computer security and privacy expert, and inventor, co-running the Security and Privacy Research Laboratory at the University of Washington, specializing in Augmented Reality (AR). In particular, she has focused on AR output security, that is, the sorts of buggy and malicious actions that could be performed by an AR application receiving multiple sources of information from the real world. 

For example, Roesner cites the case of an AR windshield application receiving real-world information on road signs, lane configurations, and the presence or absence of pedestrians. The potential AR output security risks she is addressing are those of a buggy or malicious AR program which might obscure potential warnings, provide misleading road sign information, or hide incoming information from the real world. 

In the patent Figure 2 drawing enclosed, the AR-enabled windshield shows the sort of buggy information that could appear to obstruct real-world information.

The system invented to mitigate AR output security risks is disclosed in the US patent Application US2017162177 titled Methods and systems for providing presentation security for augmented reality applications. The Abstract of this invention is included below with the patent Figure 2, mentioned above, illustrating potential AR Output Security risks.
In some embodiments, an augmented reality system is provided that provides output security. In some embodiments, an operating system of the augmented reality system provides trusted management support for presenting virtual objects from untrusted applications executing in multiple isolated processes. With the output security mechanisms enabled, untrusted applications are still provided significant flexibility to create immersive AR experiences, but their presented content is constrained by the augmented reality system based on one or more output policies that are intended to reduce intrusiveness of virtual object presentations. Output policies may be composable, such that more than one output policy may be enforced on a given virtual object in a way that reduces intrusiveness of the presentation of the virtual object.
Several additional Microsoft and University of Texas patents, awarded to Roesner in collaboration, are connected to this invention.The list of these patents is appended below:
  • US2016359862 (A1) ― 2016-12-08 - System and method for using per-application profiles in a computing device 
  • MX2016002841 (A) ― 2016-06-17 - World-driven access control.
  • CN105637522 (A) ― 2016-06-01 - World-driven access control using trusted certificates 
  • CN105579946 (A) ― 2016-05-11 - Managing shared state information produced by applications 
  • US2015071555 (A1) ― 2015-03-12 - Managing Access by Applications to Perceptual Information
  • US2013205385 (A1) ― 2013-08-08 - Providing intent-based access to user-owned resources
  • US2013117840 (A1) ― 2013-05-09 - User-driven access control
  • WO2010147857 (A2) ― 2010-12-23 - Dependence prediction in a memory system
  • WO2009006595 (A1) ― 2009-01-08 - Unordered load/store queue 
Franziska Roesner
Security and Privacy Research Laboratory
UW Professor Franziska Roesner named one of the world's top innovators under 35

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Oh patents! Mimica Touch

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann 

Brought to you by a brilliant young woman inventor, recipient of a James Dyson scholarship to Brunel University in UK, Mimica Touch (former Bump Mark) is a bio-reactive food label and one that many would hope to see and “feel’ on all packaging for perishables at the supermarket.

Mimica Touch, is disclosed in a family of three patents: 
  • US2017082589 (A1) ― 2017-03-23 - Bio-Reactive Food Expiry Label 
  • EP3151681 (A1) ― 2017-04-12 - Bio-reactive food expiry label
  • WO2015185889 (A1) ― 2015-12-10- Bio-reactive food expiry label 

Mimica Touch is an organic label that includes a layer of hydrocolloid protein-based mammalian gelatine (e.g; agar-agar, carrageen, pectin, konjac, of equivalent) designed to emulate the decay process of protein-based foodstuffs such as meat or fish. Thus, when the label is fresh, the gelatine is produced and set as a solid layer that conceals a sheet layer of plastic bumps. However, when the gelatin starts to break down and to decompose, it changes phases and becomes liquid, As a result, you can feel the bumps on the layer beneath, which is assumed to indicate spoilage of the foodstuff

The clever idea driving this invention assumes that what is happening to the hydrocolloid protein-based gelatine mirrors what is happening to the protein-based perishables that are packaged, This way of assessing spoilage is also considered far more reliable, since the conditions of packaging may cause spoilage of foodstuff before the printed estimated expiration date, while the security margins of the expiration date estimates might cause food to be trashed earlier than required.  Likewise, ambient conditions of storage may affect freshness.

While there is a prior art for the assessment of foodstuff freshness, Mimica Touch also has the distinctive and intended advantage of providing universally accessible tactile food spoilage information, which both non-sighted and sighted people can easily decode and understand. Indeed, Mimica Touch invokes feeling for the freshness of perishables, rather than reading printed information.

Mimica Touch is otherwise inexpensive and easily produced. It is in the shape of a small triangle appearing on one of the corners of the packaging. The young inventor, Solveiga Pakstaite, and her team at Design by Sol, is currently exploring ways of marketing her tactile invention.

Below, the abstract is included for US2017082589 titled Bio-reactive food expiry label, as well as two of the semiotic patent figure drawings respectively showing the water-swollen fresh label (Fig. 2) and the wavy watery decomposed label which no longer conceals the bumpy plastic sheet, and consequently, indicates spoilage.  

A food expiry label includes a layer of material (such as a water-swollen mammalian gelatine) that undergoes a phase transition (such as from solid to liquid) upon exposure to bacteria or fungi that result in food spoilage. The label may incorporate a tactile surface that the user can feel underneath the layer of gelatine once the gelatine has changed from solid to liquid. Thus a user detects when a foodstuff is likely to have spoiled or been on the shelf for a predetermined period simply by feeling the label. [Abstract US2017082589] 

Mimica Touch (former Bump Mark)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oh, patents! Patent family for the Dyson bladeless fan

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Just FYI, meet the hyperlinked 15-member patent family for the Dyson 75% quieter Air Multiplier™ Fan! As you will see, patents were filed, and granted, in Australia, Canada, China, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia, as well as at the EPO (European Patent Office) and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), for extra protection in the designated contracting states.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Oh patents! I Dyson’s Air Multiplier™ fan - 75% quieter

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Dyson’s famous bladeless Air Mutiplier technology is now 75% quieter! As a reminder, this is the fan with no visible caged blades, safest for kids and pets. The smooth circular opening of the fan is also easy to clean.

Air Multiplier technology consists of powerful impeller blades that are actually hidden inside the pedestal of the device. These function to draw in as much as 5.28 gallons of air per second through the base. The air is then diverted and forced through a small 1.3 mm opening and channeled at 55 mph through the airfoil of the hollow circular frame. As the air enters the airfoil of the circular airframe and exits through the 16 mm sloped openings around the rim of the annular aperture, it creates negative pressure, that draws more air in from the outside, at the back and sides of the annular ring. Thus, the air sucked in at the base is multiplied 15 times, as more ambient air is drawn in, and through, the annular ring.

The new Air Multiplier™ fans are now, also, almost silent. This new patented feature consists of a Helmholtz resonator cavity, the size of which is designed to neutralize the rotational tone of the impeller and to more generally reduce the noise level of the fan. The circular air circulation chamber is also designed to further reduce the ambient noise of the fan with noise suppression material. Thus, the powerful and multiplied airflow of the new fans is delivered with 75% noise reduction.

The Air Multiplier™ fans otherwise offer an oscillating or steady flow of the coooooolest unchopped air, on occasions where it feels impossible to get any fresh air via an open window, or to create a draft through the usual pathway between two openings, creating an open heat-exchange system. And for purposes, other than keeping cool (e.g.; during heat waves in locations without air-conditioning), quiet Air Multiplier™ technology is also combined and marketed with air-purifier, heater and humidifier functions, and most recently, in Dyson hair dryers too!.

The new patented noise reduction features of the Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan invention are disclosed and incorporated in a family of 15 patents, including the US patent application US20170108011, titled Fan. The abstract for this invention is included below with a patent figure drawing, showing a front sectional view of the fan, including the Helmholtz resonator cavity (156). A technical drawing of the Air Multiplier™ technology is also included above.

A fan for generating an air current includes a body having an air inlet, and a nozzle connected to the body. The nozzle includes an interior passage for receiving an air flow from the body and an air outlet from which the air flow is emitted from the fan. The interior passage extends about an opening or bore through which air from outside the nozzle is drawn by air emitted from the air outlet. The body includes a duct having an air inlet and an air outlet, an impeller located within the duct for drawing the air flow through the duct, and a motor for driving the impeller. A noise suppression cavity is located beneath the air inlet of the duct. The cavity has an inlet which is located beneath, and is preferably concentric with, the air inlet of the duct. [Abstract US20170108011]
Dyson Air Multiplier™
Helmholtz resonance
Herrmann, F. (2014) Oh, patents! The Dyson bladeless fan, posted at Patents on the Soles of Your Shoes, Jan 23, 2014)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Global warming denial

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In a move reflecting the new administration’s denial of global warming all the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referencing climate change and global warming have been archived. A message is now posted on those EPA pages that reads:

This page is being updated.
Thank you for your interest in this topic. We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA's priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt. If you're looking for an archived version of this page, you can find it on the January 19 snapshot. 

My guess is that it would be unwise to post any updates since nothing so clearly signifies denial. Additionally, this move at least has the advantage of circumventing a political interpretation of scientific data, which might otherwise endeavor to separate issues of pollution and clean air from the broader consequences of global warming and climate change. 

But, I might be wrong, and eagerly await the new pages....

CNN: Marsh, R. (April 29, 2017) EPA removes climate change information from website