Sunday, March 18, 2018

Oh, patents! 3Doodler® pen

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Here is one fun and mighty pen! 

3Doodler® pens enable you to draw in 3D. The 3Doodler® pens extrude plastic filaments which harden fast enough for users to draw in 3D. The original 3Doodler® Create pens (see the first video) were designed for adult hobbyists, artists, and designers, whereas the 3Doodler® Start pens, equipped with special eco-friendly plastic that does not need too much heat to extrude, were designed for kids (8 years or older), and for use in educational settings for the development of spatial skills. However, the latest 3Doodler® Pro pens enable users to doodle with different materials such as wood composite, copper, bronze and polycarbonates. Thus, the latest series of 3Doodler® Pro pens actually target architects and professional designers, who also love to doodle, and who might be interested in doodling in mid-air. For example, see David Blau, filmmaker and animator, in the second video. 

The 3Doodle® pen invention is recited as a device in the domain of 3D printing, in the US patent application US20180009161A1, titled Hand-held three-dimensional drawing device. In contrast to 3D printers which require the use of a computer both to design the object that will be printed, and to control the extrusion of materials, 3D pens extrude materials for making a 3D object that is drawn by hand. The invention explicitly aims to support imagination and the exploration of 3D space, without technical engineering, design background, or training in the use of advanced software.  

The 3Doodler® pen also plugs into a socket for immediate use and offers tracing templates for various shapes to be used for building bigger objects. The 3Doodler® invention, in particular, provides users with control for adjusting the rate of extrusion, the heat of the extrusion, the direction of the filament extrusion and for starting and stopping the extrusion, all of which happens in a small enough space for the pen to be comfortably handheld.  

The Abstract for the 3Doodler® pen invention is included below, together with a patent drawing combining Figures 4 and 5, respectively showing a cross-sectional view of the 3Doodler® pen (Fig. 4), and a highlighted detail of the extrusion space, at the extruding tip of the pen (Fig. 5). 
A hand-held three-dimensional drawing device can include an anti-rotation mechanism that can restrict rotation of a filament moving through the device. The anti-rotation mechanism can have a filament-engaging component in a passage of the anti-rotation mechanism and positioned to engage and restrict rotation a filament extending through the passage. The drawing device can also include a moveable member to control an operation of the drawing device. The moveable member can include a rotatable control mechanism including a portion of an outer profile of a housing of the device. Finally, the drawing device can also include a cover member comprising a portion of an outer profile of housing of the device and positioned adjacent to an actuator to control an operation of the device. [Abstract US2018000916]

3Doodler® Pro
3Doodler® Create
3Doodler® Start 
Dylan Blau

Friday, March 16, 2018

Oh, patents! Stefanka interactive fitting room

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Elizabeth Stefanka’s 3D fitting booths are hot in Montreal, Canada. These hi-tech fitting rooms, which look a bit like photo booths, target the retail apparel industry. The equipped booths scan your torso in 360 degrees as you swivel around on the stool inside the booth, analyze the captured volumetric 3D data, and return suggestions for purchase, including size, location and information about the items.

For women, the first hi-tech Stefanka fitting partnership was for bras, with Montreal lingerie stores, called La vie en rose. For men, the fitting was for shirts. Presto, pronto! No more searching blindly online without trying on, and no more trekking from one store to another to try everything on. Stefanka technology is currently installed in bricks-and-mortar booths. However, this technology is also envisioned to potentially operate online, using the computer’s camera.

Recognition and analysis of acquired volumetric body data is an invention, patented in the Canadian patent CA2946006, titled Method for dimensioning a region of interest of a person's body.  The invention specifically addresses the issue of standardization in apparel sizing, and the generally confusing size-to-fit inconsistencies. The abstract of the invention is included below, together with a 3D scanned image of a torso above.  
 A method for dimensioning a region of interest on a person's body is provided. The method includes the steps of receiving a model representing at least a portion of a person's body comprising the region of interest, segmenting the model to isolate the region of interest, by detecting a curvature in a surface of the model that satisfies a curvature condition, the surface corresponding to a curved surface of the model, and determining a volume of the region of interest, by calculating a summation of volumes between a focal point of the region of interest and the curved surface. The method can notably be useful for determining the dimensions of a bust area. [Abstract CA2946006]
La vie en rose

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Oh, patents! Microsoft No Hands Music Program

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The Microsoft Hands-Free Music Program is a participatory design project intended to extend access to music performance and composition, to musicians stricken with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s or Charcot’s disease), spinal chord injuries or other sorts of paralysis conditions. Thus, the project has developed a suite of three eye-controlled applications called The Microsoft Hands Free (Red-Eye) Sound Studio. These applications require no mouse, no keyboard, or other touchscreen interaction, to operate.

The Microsoft Hands Free (Red Eye) Sound Studio Suite includes: Hands-free Sound Jam, Hands-free Sound Machine, and Hands-free Expressive Pixels.
  • Hands-Free Sound Jam is an electronic eye-controlled music environment for loop-based music performance and composition. The program offers a “clip launcher”, small musical fragments that can be edited or written, and then strung or looped together into a composition.  
  • Hands-Free Sound Machine is a 16-step sound sequencer that supports the output of musical compositions to musical instruments, and stage effects.
  • Hands-Free Expressive pixels enables authoring and rendering of static and animated LED matrix displays. Used together with Sound Machine, Expressive Pixels augments the musical composition output with visual effects. 

Hands-free selection of virtual objects, or the use of eye control to interact with the computer, is an AR (Augmented Reality) invention disclosed in US9201578, titled Gaze swipe selection.  The system comprises a connected head-mounted display device (HMD), such as a pair of glasses, equipped to track eye or gaze movements, for example using two or more infrared position sensitive detectors (IR PSD) to track glint position. The eye tracking information is then processed and translated into visual pointer information that has an impact on the virtual objects of the software. 

The abstract of this invention is included below, together with the patent drawing 3A, showing an embodiment of a portion of the HMD (Head Mounted Device) that detects user eye movements.
Methods for enabling hands-free selection of virtual objects are described. In some embodiments, a gaze swipe gesture may be used to select a virtual object. The gaze swipe gesture may involve an end user of a head-mounted display device (HMD) performing head movements that are tracked by the HMD to detect whether a virtual pointer controlled by the end user has swiped across two or more edges of the virtual object. In some cases, the gaze swipe gesture may comprise the end user using their head movements to move the virtual pointer through two edges of the virtual object while the end user gazes at the virtual object. In response to detecting the gaze swipe gesture, the HMD may determine a second virtual object to be displayed on the HMD based on a speed of the gaze swipe gesture and a size of the virtual object.[Abstract US9201578]

Microsoft Hands-Free Music
Microsoft Hands-Free Sound Machine
Microsoft Hands-Free Sound Jam
Microsoft Hands-Free Expressive Pixels

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen W. Hawking - Jan 2, 1942 - March 14, 2018

Hawking, S. W. (1988) A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black HolesNY, NY: Bantam Books.
Hawking, S.W. (1994) Black Holes, Baby Universes and Other EssaysNY: NY: Bantam Books.
Hawking, S. W. (1996) The Illustrated A Brief History of TimeNY, NY: Bantam Books.
Hawking, S. W. (2001) The Universe in a NutshellNY, NY: Bantam Books.
Hawking, S.W. (2007) GOD created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed HistoryNY, NY: Bantam Books.
Hawking, S.W. & L. Hawking (2009) George's Secret Key to the Universe. NY, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Hawking, S.W. & L. Hawking (2011) George's Cosmic Treasure HuntNY, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 
Hawking, S.W. & L. Hawking (2013) George's Big BangNY, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Hawking, S. W. & L. Hawking (2017) George and the Unbreakable CodeNY, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Hawking, WS. W. & L. Hawking (2017) George and the Blue MoonNY, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Hawking, S. W. & L. Mlodinow (2012) The Grand Design. NY, NY: Bantam Books.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Woman's Day 2018

Copyright Françoise Herrmann

In 2018, Mattel®’s Barbie®, America’s best-selling doll, since 1959, is really trying hard to befriend parents and to win feminist endorsement. Sixty years after Ruth Handler invented Barbie® dolls, realizing that little girls fantasized about being big girls not only mommies, and therefore might also play with fashionably dressed grown-up dolls, in addition to baby dolls, Mattel®’s 150 grown-up Barbie® dolls have also become more inclusive and diversified. On International Woman’s Day, Mattel®'s Barbie® has also become a global inspiration for little girls.

Gone the era of Caucasian Barbie®, Ken®, and Skipper®, in blonde or brunette, with a single physical appearance that made feminists raise their voices. Barbie® is inhuman, saintly, unachievable and disproportioned Barbie® now has different body types (tall, short, thin or full-bodied), with 7 skin types, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. She is Asian, Black American, African, Latina, Indian, and Caucasian. Most importantly, aligned with Ruth Handler's original insights while factoring in the advancement of women, Barbie® now has a career, in addition to Ken®, a kid sister, and a fabulous wardrobe. Now, Barbie® (and Ken®), offer more depth of character, and a wider set of options, making it perhaps unambiguously easier for little girls to identify, to dream and to play.  

Mattel®’s latest campaign “You can be anything!” aims to please feminists, while inspiring little girls to also fulfill their potential in a career of their choice, to become filmmakers, vets, scientists, astronauts, professors, coaches, musicians, army officers, construction workers, athletic champions, plus more.

On International Woman’s Day, Mattel® has also released more global women sheroes in the new line of Barbie® sheroes, comprising modern-day role models and historical sheroes. A list of Barbie®sheroes is hyperlinked below.
Just a few of the Barbie® sheroes

Happy International Woman's Day to all!

Barbie® – Mattel®
Mattel® (March 6, 2018) Barbie® honors global role models on International Woman's Day 

Mattel - Barbie® role models

Atler, C. (Feb. 5, 2014) In defense of Barbie®: She might be the most feminist doll around – Time Magazine
Bouton, D. (Oct. 26, 2015) Barbie® is now doing feminism- but not every one of convinced. Barbie®’s battles with feminism aren’t over yet. The Independent

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Oh, patents! Radius Displays Coca-Cola® 3D billboard

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Has anyone seen the fascinating new Coca-Cola® 3D billboard in New York city's Times Square? Designed, fabricated and installed by Radius Displays, the Coca-Cola® 3D robotic display is the biggest 3D robotic display in the world A Radius Displays video of the formidable Coca Cola® billboard is included below.

The undulating wall effect of the display is a patented invention, recited in US2016133203 (A1), titled Display devices. The billboard comprises actuator assemblies with individually controllable LED screens. The assemblies, coupled with programmable modules for light and movement can move from a retracted state to a plurality of extended states (see the below patent drawing).

The abstract of the patent is included below, together with a patent drawing showing the retracting and extending assemblies of the display.
A display device includes an  base structure, a plurality of modules coupled to the base structure, where each of the modules include a plurality of actuator assemblies. Each of the actuator assemblies is individually controllable to move the actuator assemblies between a retracted state and a plurality of extended states. A controller is coupled to each of the modules and is programmed to control the actuator assemblies to move the actuator assemblies between the retracted state and the plurality of extended states.
Stay tuned! The Coca-Cola® 3D robotic billboard is a finalist for an Interactive Innovation Award at SXSW® ,2018 (South by South West ) Festival and Conferences, March 9 to 18, 2018.

Radius Display
SXSW® 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Oh, patents! Dior Split-1 aviator sunglasses

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Oh, là là! 

How about a dazzling pair of Dior Split 1 summer aviator spectacles!  These sunglasses have metal insets on each side of the mirrored lenses which gives them a striped appearance.

This Christian Dior design is the recipient of US design patent USD798372. 
As a reminder: 
“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]] 
A patent drawing is included below, together with an image of the marketed Dior Split 1 aviator sunglasses, in turquoise and silver.