Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Oh, patents! Canopy chair

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Sunny days ahead! Sun protection ahoy!
Swimways® Kelsyus markets a very patented foldable canopy chair. The canopy doubles as a carrying case for the folded chair, and it can be locked into various positions for maximum sun protection.

US2014167458 titled Canopy chair recites the latest patentable improvements to this canopy chair whose chair and canopy frames, various means of attaching the canopy to the chair and its pivotability, collapsibility of the chair, sun fabric design and means of attaching it to the frame, are all previously patented and incorporated.

The patented improvements disclosed in US2014167458  titled Canopy Chair include the possibility of extending the canopy and the telescoping frame of the chair allowing for removal of the canopy, as well as the use of the canopy doubling as a carrying case for the foldable chair.

Below the abstract for US2014167458 titled Canopy chair, a figure drawing extracted from the patent and to the left an image of the marketed product.

[Abstract US2014167458]
"An exemplary embodiment providing one or more improvements includes a frame which attaches to outdoor furniture, in particular to a chair, and a canopy. Embodiments can be moved from an overhead position to a behind the chair position. The frames can be moved from a collapsed to a fully extended position. In embodiments the canopy can be positioned to contain the collapsed frame and chair in the carrying position." 

Happy shaded and safe sunny days!

Swimways® Kelysus

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

UN – World Water Day – March 22, 2016

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

World Water Day was first decreed by the UN in 1992, and the first World Water Day was celebrated in 1993.

Since then, each March 22, the world celebrates World Water Day with a related theme. This year, the theme is Water & Jobs. Indeed, if everyone knows that water is life, and that sustainable development is linked to the availability of water, today it is the connection between water and jobs that is highlighted.

Nearly half of the world’s workers (1.5 billion) work in water-related sectors, and all jobs on earth are connected to water and its safe delivery. The celebration today also highlights the unpaid and un-recognized work of women who spend hours each day fetching water for their families in places where there is no available water distribution system. An activity, which, alternatively prevents those women from going to school, acquiring training, or engaging in paid activity on behalf of their families and for economic growth. Women and children thus remain a “disproportionately large fraction’ of the bottom billion living on less than $1.25/day. [UN-Water-Stats]

Consequently, the call for more safe water and better management of its distribution is also a call for better jobs, better health, sustainable development, and better lives.

A few more UN-Water stats
  • How the world uses freshwater: • about 70 percent for irrigation • about 20 percent for industry • about 10 percent for domestic use.
  • Most population growth will occur in regions already experiencing water stress.
  • Water scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the people on the planet.
  • The volume of freshwater resources on Earth is around 35 million km3.
  • In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply.
  • Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water courses.
  • Over 80% of wastewater is not collected or treated worldwide.
  • Every second, the urban population grows by 2 people.
  • 827.6 million people live in slums, often lacking adequate drinking water and sanitation services
  • Access to improved sources for drinking water in the urban areas of the developing world increased only by 2% between 1990 and 2011.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation.
  • 768 million people do not use an improved source of drinking-water and 2.5 billion people do not use improved sanitation as of 2011.
  • A person needs 20-50 litres of water a day for basic needs. 

UN- World Water Day
UN-Water Statistics
UN-Water – Water indicators portal
UN-Water – Thematic fact sheets

Thursday, March 17, 2016

SXSW™ 2016 Innovation Award - Lily Robotics camera

Copyright © Francoise Herrmann

Can you imagine a camera following you in mid-air and shooting a perfect video of you bungee jumping off a bridge, moguling down a black diamond hill, river rafting in turbulent water, or hang gliding like a bird?

Ok, but that's not all!.... When you have touched the ground, or you are at the bottom of the mogul hill, can you then imagine the camera gently landing on the palm of your hand like a falcon?

Imagine no mo’…. This is exactly what the throw and shoot, Lily Robotics, drone camera does!

Just throw it in the air like a ball and it will start to hover, and follow you around, taking videos. Then, when you are done, the camera gracefully lands on your hand, and not on the ground. 

WO2015179797 titled Unmanned aerial copter for photography and/or videography discloses this invention, which essentially consists of two components: an operator device and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) copter. 

The UAV copter is equipped with a portable power source, one or more image capturing devices, such as video camera(s), able to take videos. The UAV copter is further equipped with sensors, able to determine the elevation of both devices for the purposes of maintaining a preset difference in elevation, using the thrust power of the UAV copter propellers. 

The UAV copter is also able to recognize the location of the operator (or subject) wearing the operator device, and of tracking the subject in a photo frame using its one or more cameras pointed at the operator / subject. Thus, for the purpose of recognizing and tracking the operator, the operator device is equipped with ‘a barometer, a magnetometer, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a GPS module, or any combination thereof.” [0010]

Compared to the prior art of UAV video cameras, Lily resolves a number of issues. First, the operator is no longer a third person, alienated from the video scene, who manually operates the UAV via remote control. Since the Lily camera can automatically detect elevation and difference in elevation, and then automatically direct its camera at the operator, independently from a photographer/operator using a remote control for operating the UAV, the operator can also be subject of the video. That is, the operator can also be the skier moguling, the bungee jumper or the bride/groom at the wedding. This is an aspect of the invention called “third person camera perspective”. The shooting is from the perspective of the camera rather than from a “first person” photographer perspective.

Another aspect of the invention compared to the prior art concerns the means for calculating and setting elevation relative to the operator device, which contains a GPS or barometer or other positioning systems. Thus, rather than calculating elevation based on the ground, the Lily UAV copter can calculate elevation in mid air, and this is what enables video shooting of a hang glider, for example.  This is also what enables the UAV copter to adjust its position after it has been thrown up in the air.

Still another aspect of the Lily camera concerns the battery swapping pack. The UAV copter includes a backup battery, within the UAV battery compartment, to prevent all the parameters from resetting during battery pack swaps.

The Abstract for WO2015179797 titled Unmanned aerial copter for photography and/or videography, corresponding to the Lily UAV copter camera invention is included below with a figure drawing of the UAV copter, extracted from the patent. A short video is also included so you can see Lily in action.
Some embodiments include an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) copter for consumer photography or videography. The UAV copter can determine a first elevation of the UAV copter and a second elevation of an operator device. The UAV copter can adjust the first elevation by controlling thrust power of one or more propeller drivers to maintain a preset elevation difference between the first elevation and the second elevation. The UAV copter can locate a target subject relative to the UAV copter. The UAV copter can adjust at least one of the propeller drivers to point a first camera of the UAV copter at the operator device. In some embodiments, in response to detecting that the UAV copter has been thrown, the UAV copter can provide power adjustments for propeller drivers of the UAV copter to have the UAV copter reach a predetermined elevation above an operator device. [Abstract WO2015179797]
Naturally, this invention won an SXSW 2016 Innovation award in the Sci-fi no longer category! 

Introducing Lily

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Oh, patents! Quell®

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

QUELL®, winner of an Innovation Award in the Wearable Tech category at SXSW® 2016, is wearable patented pain-relief technology that is 100% drug-free and non addictive. [Quell® (1)]
Developed by NeuroMetrix, Inc, Quell® is neurotechnology worn as an upper calf band, just below the knee. Quell® is Bluetooth™-enabled so that it can upload information and be controlled via a portable iOS or Android phone app.
The principle of the Quell® neurotechnology is to provide an electrode that stimulates sensory nerves according to a patented Optitherapy™ algorithmn of pulse waveform (intensity, duration and shape) and pulse pattern specification (frequency and duration of session), considering user feedback and within clinically specified parameters. 
Neurostimulation of sensory nerve fibers is thus delivered knowing that sensory nerves carry pulses to the brain, which in turn have the capacity to trigger the release of endogenous opioid-like peptides called enkephalins. The release of endogenous opioid-like enkephalins is a natural response with an analgesic effect that has the capacity to centrally block pain signals in the body. Additionally, the release of enkephalins targets δ-opioid receptors which are different from the μ-opioid receptors, targeted by opioid pain medication, thus creating a synergistic effect. [Quell® (2); Ghelardini et. al, 2015]
The Quell® technology called WINS (Wearable Intensive Nerve Stimulation) is FDA-approved for day and night treatment of chronic pain. It is recommended as an adjunct to medication for all sorts of chronic pain (e.g.; lower back and leg pain, diabetic pain and fibromyalgia). 67 % of users reported a reduction in the use of pain medication, 81 % in the reduction of chronic pain [Quell® (3)].
As the device works during the night, tracking sleep patterns too, it is also designed to break the cycle of pain-disrupted sleep, which amplifies pain and reduces activity during waking hours.
The various functions and aspects of the NeuroMetrix Inc. neurotechnology inventions are disclosed in at least 70 patents, embodied in three additional devices:

1. The wearable SENSUS® pain management system, developed more specifically for neuropathic pain, resulting for example from diabetes;
2.  The hand-held device called NC-Stat®- DPN-Check® for measuring and quantifying peripheral neuropathy, and
3. The Advance® NCS (Nerve Conduction Study) System, designed for studying and measuring nerve conduction in any setting.
US2015148865 titled Apparatus and method for relieving pain using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation recites those apsects of the Quell® invention pertaining to the automated adjustment of the intensity of the neurostimulation and its intensification during a therapy session to avoid habituation. 
The Quell® invention disclosed thus resolves many of the prior art problems in the field of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), in particular as related to portability of the devices, wiring, user training and user support to regulate the right amount of stimulation, duration of the sessions and the issues of habituation.
The Abstact of the invention is included below, as well as a patent drawing of the electrode band. An image of the marketed Quell® device is also included above.

Apparatus for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in humans, the apparatus comprising: a housing; stimulation means mounted within the housing for electrically stimulating nerves; an electrode array releasably mounted to the housing and connectable to the stimulation means, the electrode array comprising a plurality of electrodes for electrical stimulation of nerves; control means mounted to the housing and electrically connected to the stimulation means for controlling at least one characteristic of the stimulation means; monitoring means mounted to the housing and electrically connected to the stimulation means for monitoring at least one characteristic of the stimulation means; user interface means mounted to the housing and electrically connected to the control means for controlling the stimulation means; display means mounted to the housing and electrically connected to the control means and the monitoring means for displaying the status of the stimulations means; and a strap attached to the housing; wherein the strap is configured to hold the housing, stimulation means and electrode array at a specific anatomical location to treat pain. [US2015148865] 

NeuroMetrix® Inc. http://www.neurometrix.com/
Quell® – Clinicians  https://www.quellrelief.com/clinicians
NC-Stat® - DPN-Check®  http://www.dpncheck.com/
Sensuc ® pain management system  http://www.sensusrx.com/
Advance™ system  http://www.advancencs.com/
Ghelardini,C.,  Di Cesare Mannelli, L. , & E. Bianchi (2015) The pharmacological basis of opioids
Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2015 Sep-Dec; 12(3): 219–221 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

SXSW® (South by SouthWest®) 2016

Copyright© Françoise Herrmann

Time for SXSW® - South by SouthWest® 2016 in Austin, TX, the biggest of the 4-letter events, in the US, bringing together music (SXSW® Music March 11-20), film (SXSW® Film March 11-19) and interaction (SXSW® Interactive March 11-15), at the intersection of art and technology, for an extraordinary conference and festival, showcasing the best!

SXSW® is all about emergence!

Cutting-edge technology and digital creativity at SXSW® Interactive with awards that include Releaseit® at SXSW® in the StartUpVillage®, Accelerator®, Dewey-Winburne and Innovation awards, including categories such as “Sci-Fi no longer”, ‘Smart cities”, “VR (Virtual Reality) & AR (Augmented Reality), “Wearable Tech”, ‘Responsive Design”, “New Economy”, “Innovation in 3DIY” and “Innovation in connecting people”.

Visionary filmmakers and talented artists coming together to share stories, and to shape the future of film, at the SXSW® Film conference, festival, and film line-up. Nine days of film screenings in the Narrative, Documentary, Visions, Headliners, 24 beats per second, SXGlobal and Midnighter categories -- for 70,000 attendees!

And “the universal language of all people” in a borderless industry, for 6 days, in 2000+ acts commemorating 30 years of SXSW® music!

That’s SXSW® 4 u! 

And this year, if you would like to tune in live, President Obama will be Keynote Speaker at SXSW® Interactive, on March 11 at 2:30 pm!

SXSW 2016
SXSW Music
SXSW Interactive
ReleaseIt at SXSW
Accelerator Awards
Dewey-Winburne Community Awards
Innovation Awards