Thursday, January 17, 2019

At CES 2019 – Helite airbag vests

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Considering that motorcycle riders are 20 times more likely to die than automobile drivers, in case of a crash, an airbag garment offers much-needed protection from serious harm on impact.

Helite, a French company that manufactures airbag garments for motorcycle riders, and other recreational sports and professional situations where there is a danger of falling(1), showcased the latest Helite Turtle Airbag vest for cyclists, at CES 2019

The vest may be worn on top on any other sort of sports or professional outerwear. It is velcro-adjustable for fit. The new Turtle aspect of the vest comes from an extra rigid back piece, covering the main protection air channels, designed to diffuse the forces of impact, like a turtle shell in the back of the vest. This extra shell makes it possible to deploy the vest 6 times before having to send it back to Helite for inspection, unless it is punctured, upon impact in an accident.

 Helite Airbag garments are equipped with the fastest mechanical CO2 deployment device on the market. A Helite Airbag garment deploys in one-tenth of a second.  A deployed garment stiffens the torso channels with air, which protect vital organs (lungs, liver, stomach and pancreas) within the abdomen and chest cavity. The air channels also provide firm and rigid support for head and neck. The shape of the garments dips down in the back to protect 100% of the spine. Channels also inflate on the sides, protecting hips and kidneys.

Replaceable CO2 cartridges fit inside a zippered pocket on the outside front of the garment. Sixty gram and one hundred gram CO2 cartridges are available, depending on garment sizes, which range from small to extra large. The garments are tethered to bike handlebars with a clip-on mechanism. It takes a very strong jerk to release the air into the air channels if you just want to test the mechanism.

Various aspects and iterations of the Helite airbag garment invention are patented such as: 
  • the inflating device in WO2011148351A1, titled Device for inflating airbag, also recited in the same family Italian patent  IT1400490B1 and European patent EP2576295A
  • whole body protection in US20050279559A1, titled Airbag type safety device
  • protection from whiplash in WO2011148350A1, titled Protective garment with an airbag, and WO2013107951A1, titled Protecting device for the head and the neck of an individual
  • improved manufacturing process for airbag garments in WO2014125368A2, titled Personal protective equipment for protecting a user, also recited in the same family patents GB2510859A and EP2956026 with the same title
  • garment versatility without sacrificing safety  in WO2011148353A1, titled Protective garment with an airbag, also granted in the same family Italian patent IT1400486B1 and the European patent EP2575517A with the same title 
  • garment comfort for daily use in WO2011148354A1, titled  Protection garment with an airbag, also granted in the same family Italian patent IT1400264B1 and the European patent  EP2572218A1 with the same title. 
  • a more versatile deployment device in FR3051631(A1), titled Système déployable et equipment comprenant un tel système déployable,  also granted as European patent EP3248491(A1), titled in English Deployable system and device including such a deployable system. 
Below an image of the Helite Turtle vest, together with a technical drawing of the Turtle vest deployed, showing the blue inflated air channels and the Turtle shell back piece in yellow. 

Incidentally, the Helite airbag vest invention, showcased at CES 2019, is unrelated to France's grassroots protest movement called the "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vests, in English) which has grabbed headlines, in France and elsewhere, since the end 2018 (The Guardian, Dec. 2018, Nov. 2018). 

(1) The garments offer protection from falls in a variety of situations beyond bike and motorbike riding, for example, for laborers working on a scaffold, or for people on horseback.

CES 2019
The Guardian (Dec 3, 2018) Who are the Gilets Jaunes and what do they want? 
The Guardian (Nov. 16, 2018)  Gilets Jaune protesters are threatening to bring France to a standstill. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Now, at CES 2019 - Pigzbe™ kidtech

Copyright @ Françoise Herrmann

Forget piggy banks, this is the age of electronic piggy-wallets™,  and of Wollo, the family-friendly, digital cryptocurrency. Pink piggy-wallets™ that are part of the Pigzbe™ financial assistant system for kids, unveiled today at CES 2019(1).

The Pigzbe™ app enables parents to transfer funds to their kids' Pigzbe™ accounts with notification alerts. Using the app, parents can send gifts, set allowance amounts with scheduled deposit days, set up reward deposits for certain chores and specific tasks, invite family and friends into the circle of funding, and send funds from anywhere in the world.

Kids, 6 years and up, learn about money through play. They are alerted via a beeping LED indicator ("W" for Wollo™) when funds are deposited to their accounts. The Pigzbe™ app then coaches them via animations about fund management: their earnings, savings and the amounts they spend. The app also supports personal messages from those who fund the account. Kids can easily convert WOLO™  currency into any world currency, watch their savings accumulate and then use their funds for purchasing items (with mom and dad approval).  

The piggy-wallet™ device, with its beeping LED notifications indicator, is designed to please parents, because it does not offer additional screen time. The app is the only screen component, accessible on a separate mobile device when consulted.

This invention is recited in the US patent application US20170055655, titled System and method for managing funds with a toy. The patent discloses a fund management system with a notification system, embodied in a toy. The invention aims to remedy a perceived problematic situation in which children use toy piggy banks, and prefer the toy piggy bank, compared to a real bank, where their accounts are largely hidden and abstract entities, beyond their immediate control. 

 The disclosed components of the fund management system include the physical (piggy-wallet™) toy device equipped with a beeping LED notification system that alerts the user when deposits are made to the account.  The piggy-wallet ™ toy is further equipped with Bluetooth™wireless communication means so that the piggy toy can communicate with a mobile device, where a server-stored application is downloaded, enabling to fund the piggy-wallet™ account.  The piggy-wallet™ account might, in fact, include any sort of linked account (e.g.; bank, Paypal®, Itunes®, Bitcoin, Google Play® or other).

The app enables the performance of various separate fund management functions. On the one hand, the app enables parents to send money, schedule deposits, or to reward various tasks. On the other hand, the app enables children to visualize the activity of their account, with or without their parents, beyond being just alerted of the transactions taking place, using the piggy toy device. The app might also be shared with a circle of friends and family, enabling them to participate in funding a child’s piggy-wallet™ account. 

At the end of the day, the Pigzbe™ system aims to develop financial literacy for children, with the assumption that financially literate children will make financially capable adults.

The abstract of this invention is included below, together with one of the patent drawings showing an embodiment of the Pigzbe™ system, including the financial assistant device appearing in the shape of a piggy (100), the mobile device (200), the server (300) and another potential device, such as a computer (400), for accessing, funding and/or viewing the piggy-wallet account. An image of the marketed, less figurative, piggy-wallet is included above, together with an image of the Pigzbe app running on an Ipad. 
A system for managing a fund account includes providing a device such as a device resembling a traditional piggy bank which receives data signals when transactions are made within the fund account. The device preferably includes a visual indicator such as light-emitting diodes to indicate that such a transaction has been made. The device may also include an audible indicator to indicate that transactions have been made. The device preferably also displays savings goals and the status of the fund account in reaching that goal. A communication device such as a cellular phone may communicate with the device and send it such data signals, as well as communicate with a server to receive data signals when there is activity within the fund account. [Abstract US20170055655]

(1) As a reminder, CES is one of the largest Consumer Electronics Shows in the world, where for the past 50 years such breakthrough technologies as VCRs, HDTVs, BlueRays, Smart connected appliances and VR (virtual reality) applications have been unveiled for the first time, and introduced to the market. This year, in Las Vegas, Nevada, CES 2019 is showcasing 4500 companies, hailing from 150 countries. Approximately 180,000 people are expected to attend the two-day conference (Jan 8-10), which brings together business leaders and forward thinkers worldwide, for participation in more than 250 sessions. The show features 24 product categories, on more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space. 

CES 2019
Pigzbe™ Whitepaper - April 12,2018

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Terminology - The ADS 2018 WOTTIES (4)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The “linguists, lexicographers, grammarians, etymologists, researchers, writers, editors, students and independent scholars” of the American Dialect Society (ADS) have voted! As a reminder, the ADS was founded in 1889, for the purposes of studying the English language of North America, its variation and intersections with other languages and dialects.

This year, the ADS-selected Word of the Year (WOTY) 2018 resonates with the organization's longstanding activity, at the frontiers of language contact. The term selected is tender-age camp/shelter/facility, referring to “a government detention center for asylum seekers’ children”, a euphemistic term, arising within the context of the 2018 US border situation with Mexico.

Tender-age camp/shelter/facility is winner-of-them-all, in the category of WOTY 2018, after competing with the following, no less politically-sourced shortlist of terms:
  • yeet: indication of surprise or excitement
  • (the) wall: proposed barrier along the US/Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings (Lu, 2018 - NYTimes)
  • X strong: expression of solidarity after a tragedy in a particular place, as in “Pittsburgh Strong”
  • Individual 1: pseudonym for Trump in documents from the Mueller investigation
  • white-caller crime: the phenomenon of white people calling police on black people for doing mundane things (Harriot, 2018 - The Root)

The ADS nominates and selects additional WOTTIES in the following selected categories, including EMOJI of the year. The asterisks indicate the winning WOTY, within the category shortlist of competing terms. The WOTTIES vote is organized by the ADS Committee on New Words(1), chaired by Ben Zimmer, columnist at The Wall Street Journal. The vote has taken place each year, since 1990, on the occasion of the Society's Annual Meeting, currently underway this year, in New York City, on Jan 3-6, 2019.  


  •  * techlash: the backlash against tech innovators (Foroohar, 2018 - Financial times)
  • demonetize: remove ads from a YouTube channel to deprive the creator of revenue
  • blackfishing: pretending to be black on social media by using makeup and hair products (Virk & McGregor, 2018, BBC)
  • deepfake: realistic digitally composed video used to misrepresent someone
  • finsta: fake Instagram account 

  •  * Voldemorting: avoiding mention of unpleasant person or topic by using a replacement term. The term is eponymic, borrowed from Lord Voldermort, the main antagonist character in the Harry Potter books. Lord Voldemort is You-know-Who, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. (McCulloch, G. 2018, Wired)
  • himpathy: the flow of sympathy away from female victims toward their male victimizers (Germano, 2018 - Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • orbiting: ending communication with someone while still monitoring them on social media
  • preferred pronoun: a pronoun that a person opts to use for himself/ herself/ themself.etc.
  • situationship: undefined or unlabeled personal relationship
  • self-care: care for oneself

  • * single-use: made to be used only once and destroyed, also the Collins Dictionary WOTY 2018.
  • climate grief: negative feelings caused by climate-change-related weather events
  • cli-fi: science fiction relating to climate change
  • hothouse Earth: a scenario of runaway global warming   

  •  * white-caller crime: the phenomenon of white people calling police on black people for doing mundane things (Harriot, 2018 - The Root)
  • girther: person skeptical of the president’s reported weight and height
  • procrasti-: related to procrastination
  • today years old: an indication that someone has just recently learned something
  • treasonweasel: an epithet for a traitorous person   

  •  * racially charged: circumlocution for “racist”
  • executive time: presidential downtime
  • Individual 1: pseudonym for Trump in documents from the Mueller investigation
  • tender-age shelter/ camp/ facility: government detention center for asylum-seekers’ children

  •  * #nottheonion: reporting something true that seems like satire from The Onion
  •  #neveragain: call for gun-control measures after the Parkland shooting
  •  #thankunext: expressing gratitude and readiness to move on (from Ariana Grande)
  • #timesup: movement protesting sexual assault 


 *thinking face (indicating bemused pondering)

 lobster (adopted by trans community)

 nail polish (indicating air of nonchalance)

 facepalm (indicating exasperation, disbelief)

Note  (1): Zimmer points out that although some of the winning and contending WOTTIES are not new to the English language of North America, it is the new and notable uses or combinations of terms that make them WOTY candidates and winners. The selection captures prominence of these terms in the 2018 "public discourse and preoccupations" (ADS 2018 WOTY Press Release). 

ADS – WOTY 2018 Press Release (Jan 4, 2019)
ADS – All the Words of the Year, 1990 to the present
Ben Zimmer: Columnist, The Wall Street Journal 
Collins Dictionary 2018 WOTY

Foroohar, R. (Dec. 16, 2018)  Year in a word: Techlash
Germano, W. (Sept. 30. 2018) Himpathy is a societal illness, but at least we have a word for it. 
Harriot, M. (May 5, 2018) White-caller crimme: The worse wypipo policce calls of all times.
Lu, D. (Jan. 5, 2019) The Border Wall: What has Trump built so far? 
McCulloch, G, (10-09-2018).  Welcome to Voldermorting, the ultimate SEO DIS, in Wired Magazine
Merriam-Websters Words of the year 2018
Virk, K and N. McGregor (Dec. 2018) Blackfishing: The women accused of pretending to be black.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Oh, patents! Oh, Givenchy! (3) Pi perfume flask

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Gentlemen! Givenchy’s Pi  Neo Eau de Toilette Spray is for you. 

The Givenchy Pi perfume bottle was granted the US design patent USD592072S1, titled Perfume flask.

As a reminder the difference between a US utility patent and a US design patent is the following: 
“a utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a “design patent” protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171) [MPEP Chapt. 1502.01; [R-07.2015]].

Below, the patent Figures 2 and 7 are included, respectively showing a top view, and a front, right side perspective view, of the Givenchy Pi Neo perfume flask. An image of the marketed product is also included.

MPEP – Chapt. 1502-01 – Distinction between design and utility patent

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Oh, patents! Oh, Givenchy (2) Organza perfume bottle

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The striking Givenchy Organza Indecence perfume bottle is patented. The design of this perfume bottle was granted the US design patent USD441280 (S), titled Perfume bottle and cap.

As a reminder, the difference between a US utility patent and a US design patent is the following:
“a utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a “design patent” protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171) [MPEP Chapt. 1502.01; [R-07.2015]].

The front and rear patent figure drawings of the bottle are included, together with an image of the marketed product.

MPEP – Chapt. 1502-01 – Distinction between design and utility patent

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Oh, patents! Oh, Givenchy!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Givenchy’s star fabric design is unusual as it is also patented. The geometric pattern was awarded the US design patent USD793096 (S) titled Fashion Article Fabric.

As a reminder the difference between a US utility patent and a US design patent is the following: 
“a utility patent” protects the way an article is used and works (35 U.S.C. 101), while a “design patent” protects the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171) [MPEP Chapt. 1502.01; [R-07.2015]].

Below, a patent drawing showing the fabric pattern, together with a close up on a blue silk men’s shirt, embodying the patented design.

MPEP – Chapt. 1502-01 – Distinction between design and utility patent