CA3096955A1 - Vape devices, including cartridges, tablets, sensors, and controls for vape devices, and methods for making and using the same - Google Patents

Vape devices, including cartridges, tablets, sensors, and controls for vape devices, and methods for making and using the same Download PDF

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Publication number
CA3096955A1
CA3096955A1 CA3096955A CA3096955A CA3096955A1 CA 3096955 A1 CA3096955 A1 CA 3096955A1 CA 3096955 A CA3096955 A CA 3096955A CA 3096955 A CA3096955 A CA 3096955A CA 3096955 A1 CA3096955 A1 CA 3096955A1
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CA
Canada
Prior art keywords
payload
cartridge
vape
vape device
reservoir
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Pending
Application number
CA3096955A
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Peter Popplewell
Andrew Stewart
Steven Penney
Mark Jones
Paul Weaver
Stephen Davis
Yan Vermette
Michael Wong
Ben GEILING
John Piccoli
Tom SHIPLEY
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Canopy Growth Corp
Original Assignee
Canopy Growth Corp
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority claimed from US15/921,144 external-priority patent/US10327479B2/en
Application filed by Canopy Growth Corp filed Critical Canopy Growth Corp
Publication of CA3096955A1 publication Critical patent/CA3096955A1/en
Pending legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/65Devices with integrated communication means, e.g. Wi-Fi
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/40Constructional details, e.g. connection of cartridges and battery parts
    • A24F40/42Cartridges or containers for inhalable precursors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/50Control or monitoring
    • A24F40/51Arrangement of sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/50Control or monitoring
    • A24F40/53Monitoring, e.g. fault detection
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/50Control or monitoring
    • A24F40/57Temperature control
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M11/00Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes
    • A61M11/04Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised
    • A61M11/041Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters
    • A61M11/042Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by the vapour pressure of the liquid to be sprayed or atomised using heaters electrical
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/06Inhaling appliances shaped like cigars, cigarettes or pipes
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHT SOURCES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; CIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS FOR ELECTRIC LIGHT SOURCES, IN GENERAL
    • H05B1/00Details of electric heating devices
    • H05B1/02Automatic switching arrangements specially adapted to apparatus ; Control of heating devices
    • H05B1/0227Applications
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/10Devices using liquid inhalable precursors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES; SIMULATED SMOKING DEVICES
    • A24F40/00Electrically operated smoking devices; Component parts thereof; Manufacture thereof; Maintenance or testing thereof; Charging means specially adapted therefor
    • A24F40/20Devices using solid inhalable precursors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
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    • A61M15/0065Inhalators with dosage or measuring devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/02General characteristics of the apparatus characterised by a particular materials
    • A61M2205/0211Ceramics
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    • A61M2205/18General characteristics of the apparatus with alarm
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    • A61M2205/3331Pressure; Flow
    • A61M2205/3334Measuring or controlling the flow rate
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/33Controlling, regulating or measuring
    • A61M2205/3368Temperature
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/35Communication
    • A61M2205/3546Range
    • A61M2205/3553Range remote, e.g. between patient's home and doctor's office
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
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    • A61M2205/3546Range
    • A61M2205/3561Range local, e.g. within room or hospital
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    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/35Communication
    • A61M2205/3576Communication with non implanted data transmission devices, e.g. using external transmitter or receiver
    • A61M2205/3584Communication with non implanted data transmission devices, e.g. using external transmitter or receiver using modem, internet or bluetooth
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
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    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/36General characteristics of the apparatus related to heating or cooling
    • A61M2205/3653General characteristics of the apparatus related to heating or cooling by Joule effect, i.e. electric resistance
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/50General characteristics of the apparatus with microprocessors or computers
    • A61M2205/502User interfaces, e.g. screens or keyboards
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61M2205/58Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision
    • A61M2205/581Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision by audible feedback
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    • A61M2205/58Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision
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    • A61M2205/58Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision
    • A61M2205/583Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision by visual feedback
    • A61M2205/584Means for facilitating use, e.g. by people with impaired vision by visual feedback having a color code
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    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
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    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/60General characteristics of the apparatus with identification means
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Abstract

Vape devices and methods of operating the same to prevent unauthorized use, allow for remote, centralized storage of operational settings associated with unique payload identifiers, and to optimize operation based on historical usage data, real-time operating conditions, and/or user information. Vape devices for vaporizing dry material and methods of operating the same. Tablets comprising dry material for vaporization and methods of making and using the same. Vape devices and cartridges to improve flow of a fluid payload to an atomizer and to prevent leaking and spurting of the fluid payload, including vape devices and cartridges that pressurize the fluid payload. Vapor measurement systems to determine dosage based on a measured capacitance of vaporized payload.
A two-lead communication system that enables the communication of a plurality of electrical signals between a control assembly and cartridge. A cartridge temperature control system that provides localized temperature control for the cartridge.

Description

VAPE DEVICES, INCLUDING CARTRIDGES, TABLETS, SENSORS, AND
CONTROLS FOR VAPE DEVICES, AND METHODS FOR MAKING AND USING
THE SAME
Cross-Reference to Related Applications This application is based on and claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/921,144, filed on March 14, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No.
62/642,805, filed on March 14, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No.
62/642,825, filed on March 14, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/661,306, filed on April 23, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/668,380, filed on May 8, 2018, U.S.
Provisional Application Serial No. 62/680,057, filed on June 4, 2018, U.S.
Provisional Application Serial No. 62/696,930, filed on July 12, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/696,937, filed on July 12, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/696,943, filed on July 12, 2018, U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/733,286 filed on September 19, 2018, and U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/797,694 filed on January 28, 2019 each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
Background of the Invention 1. Field of the Invention The present disclosure is related to the field of personal vaporizer devices or "vape devices," and in particular, methods and systems for controlling the operation of vape devices and cartridges, tablets, sensors, and controls for vape devices.
2. Description of Related Art The use of personal vaporizers or vape devices for consuming tobacco products, as well as cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, has grown significantly. Many of the vape devices merely contain an atomizer for heating and vaporizing liquids or oils to be inhaled. In a basic form, vape devices can be simple devices consisting of a heating element, a battery, a switch for connecting the battery to the heating element, and an amount of liquid or oil to be vaporized by the heating element. Controlling the vape device merely entails closing the switch to heat the liquid or oil to produce vapor to be inhaled.
Conventional vape devices such as these provide: no control as to the ramping up and/or down of power applied to the heating element; no control as to the metering of how much vapor is produced when the switch is closed; no control as to how particular fluids or oils are to be heated to produce vapor; and no control to prevent unauthorized use of the vape device by anyone other than the user of the vape device.
3 Conventional vape devices and cartridges for use with vape devices (e.g., a cartridge with a 510 threaded connector) are typically designed for use with nicotine "e-juice"
that has a relatively low viscosity. When conventional vape devices and cartridges are used with an oil having a higher viscosity (e.g., oils extracted from a cannabis plant), the oil must be diluted with fluids such as vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) in order to attain a viscosity that is compatible with the wicking material that allows the fluid payload to transfer from the payload reservoir to the heating element. Many conventional vape devices or cartridges also need to be stored in a particular orientation (e.g., a vertical orientation) when used with a viscous fluid, and/or substances such as VG, PG, or PEG must be added, so that the viscous fluid reliably makes contact with the heating element or atomizer. Some users, however, prefer not to vape fluids containing additives, such as VG, PG, or PEG, that may adulterate the substance desired to be vaped. Further, storing the vape device or cartridge in a particular orientation can be cumbersome.
Many conventional vape devices and cartridges further include a bottom air flow design with an air intake positioned on one side of an atomizer and the outlet positioned on the other side of the atomizer. The fluid payload may seep through the atomizer and accumulate on an inner surface of the atomizer. When the atomizer heats the fluid, the fluid may leak through the air intake path out of the cartridge or vape device.
Further, if the user inhales before the fluid is vaporized, the user may inhale spurts of oil droplets. Some conventional vape devices and cartridges include a cotton barrier wrapped around the atomizer to prevent leaking and spurting. However, this introduces a fibrous material to the vape device or cartridge that can burn and be contaminated in the production environment.
The process of wrapping the atomizer with a layer of cotton is fine detailed work that requires such a high degree of manual dexterity that the factory workers use their bare fingers to perform the procedure, which is unhygienic.
With conventional vape devices and cartridges, the fluid entry points from the payload reservoir into the atomizer are often only one or two small circular openings (e.g., openings with a diameter of 1-2 mm). These small circular openings trap air bubbles that prevent flow of the fluid to the atomizer, which is commonly known as "air-lock." The positioning of the circular openings also frequently leads to oil waste within the cartridge or vape device.
While most conventional vape devices are configured to vaporize fluids, some individuals prefer to smoke or vape dry material. Smoking or vaping dry material may affect an individual in a different manner than vaping a fluid. In particular, there may be differences in thermally induced chemical reactions or metabolic transformations between the vaping of dry material and the vaping of fluid that may affect the user in a different manner.
The conventional method of vaping or smoking dry material includes weighing and grinding the material, removing any undesirable components, such as stems, and packing the ground material into a vaping chamber or bowl of the vaping or smoking device. This process is relatively cumbersome and inconvenient for the user and often leads to loss of material through spillage and/or sticking to the grinder. Further, if the dry material is cannabis, it is difficult to control the dose of active compounds consumed due to variations of the cannabinoid profile from strain to strain, batch to batch, and based on the location where the plant is grown.
While there are a few conventional vape devices that attempt to determine the dosage of a vaporized payload, they use inaccurate methods that offer poor dose metering performance, e.g., using the known volume and strain of the payload being vaporized to assume the dosage. As such, medicinal patients are unsure of the dosage that they have taken at any given time, which limits the repeatability and efficacy of the drug's effects. Also, recreational users may experience different effects (desirable and undesirable) depending on dosage.
Conventional cartridges for use with vape devices are typically pre-filled with a substance for vaporization. When a cartridge is purchased from a dispensary, the purchaser may receive documentation with certain cartridge information printed on the packaging.
However, this documentation is easily separated from the cartridge and is likely to be discarded, lost, or potentially even tampered with. If the user possesses multiple cartridges, it is possible that he or she will misidentify the cartridges and may not get the expected experience from a particular cartridge. Further, a medical user may not receive the desired relief of his or her symptoms with a particular cartridge.
Due to the commonality of the connectors used on vape devices, a conventional cartridge (containing a heating element and payload) can be installed on or connected to many different types of control assemblies (that supply power to the heating element) with different capabilities. If a conventional cartridge is installed on a control assembly capable of supplying too much power, there is the possibility of the cartridge being damaged, the payload being burnt, or the user being injured.
Conventional vape devices that use a two-pin connector to join a cartridge and control assembly are not able to control the atomizer temperature across all operating modes (e.g., low to high airflow, low to high ambient temperature, battery voltage, etc.). Some vape
- 4 -devices include a control assembly that allows a user to select one or more operating parameters, such as the coil resistance, coil material, power, current, voltage, and desired temperature. Using these parameters, a rudimentary form of temperature control can be achieved, but it is very limited in accuracy. In particular, there is generally no accounting for air flow, ambient temperature, and/or current atomizer temperature, which can dramatically impact the atomizer temperature when in use.
The issue of localized atomizer temperature is particularly problematic with dried cannabis products because the atomizer surface area in contact with the payload is large in comparison to liquid payloads. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that not all of the cannabis payload is directly in contact with the atomizer due to the volume of cannabis used (typically on the order of 1 cubic centimeter). In this case, it is likely that the payload in direct contact with the atomizer may begin to burn while the payload farther from the atomizer will remain in an area of low heat and potentially not vaporize. This leads to smoke and wasted product, neither of which is desired. An alternative method of heating used with dried cannabis products is convection heating, i.e., using a heating element to heat air that comes into contact with the payload. If the air is not hot enough, no vaporization will occur. If the air is too hot, the payload will burn. If the temperature of the air is just right, the payload will vaporize without combustion.
Many conventional vape devices comprise a control assembly (e.g., a battery unit) that may be used with multiple disposable cartridges. Each cartridge comprises a payload reservoir that contains a payload and an atomizer for heating and vaporizing the payload.
Some vape devices utilize rudimentary methods for preventing unauthorized use of the device.
For example, a user may be able to lock and unlock a vape device by depressing a button on the control assembly using a fixed number of clicks in rapid succession (e.g., three clicks to turn on the device and three clicks to turn off the device). In addition, a user may be able to unlock a vape device by placing a finger on a fingerprint scanner provided on the control assembly. However, these methods are limited with respect to the level of authentication and access control that may be desired for a vape device.
Brief Summary of the Invention The invention described herein includes: vape devices; cartridges, tablets, sensors, communication systems and control systems for use with vape devices;
and methods
- 5 -for making and using the vape devices, cartridge, tablets, sensors, communication systems and control systems.
A vape device in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a payload reservoir configured to hold a payload for vaporization; a heating element configured to heat the payload; a power source coupled to the heating element;
a sensor that is configured to sense an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; a processor; a memory device; and a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to: receive the operational condition from the sensor; and adjust power provided to the heating element by the power source based on the .. sensed operational condition. The vape device preferably continuously adjusts power provided to the heating element as vapor is generated by the vape device to maintain a temperature of the heating element within a desired range for a particular payload.
A system for determining a heating profile for a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a processor; a memory device; and a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to: receive a sensed plurality of draw strengths and a sensed plurality of draw lengths, wherein each draw strength and each draw length are associated with an instance of a user drawing vapor from the vape device; determine a historical draw strength from the sensed plurality of draw strengths; determine a historical draw length from the sensed plurality of draw lengths; and generate a heating profile for a heating element of the vape device based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, wherein the heating profile corresponds with power provided to the heating element over time. The system may be used with any of the vape devices described herein. The system preferably learns how a particular user uses a vape device to optimize a heating profile for the vape device in accordance with the user's preferred usage.
A method for operating a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: sensing an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; and adjusting a power provided to a heating element of the vape device based on the sensed operational condition.
The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A method for operating a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: sensing a plurality of draw strengths and a plurality of draw lengths, wherein each draw strength and each draw length are associated with an instance of a user drawing vapor from the vape device;
determining a
- 6 -historical draw strength from the sensed plurality of draw strengths;
determining a historical draw length from the sensed plurality of draw lengths; determining a heating profile for a heating element of the vape device based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length; and adjusting a power provided to the heating element in accordance with the heating profile. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein. The method preferably allows the vape device to learn how a particular user uses the vape device so that the vape device is optimized to operate in accordance with the user's preferred usage.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a payload reservoir configured to hold a payload for vaporization; a heating element configured to heat the payload; a power source coupled to the heating element; a sensor that is configured to sense an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; and a processor that is configured to receive the operational condition from the sensor and adjust a power provided to the heating element by the power source based on the sensed operational condition.
Another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein includes a cartridge for vaporizing a payload comprising dry material. The cartridge comprises a housing that defines an interior chamber. The housing comprises an inlet and an outlet. The interior chamber is accessible through an opening in the housing. At least a portion of the housing is configured to movably cover and uncover the opening. The cartridge comprises a heating element positioned within the interior chamber.
Another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein includes a tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material. The tablet comprises dry material pressed into a shape comprising at least a first surface and a second surface positioned opposite the first surface. At least one recess is formed in at least one of the first surface and the second surface. The tablet may be used with any of the cartridges for vaporizing a payload comprising dry material described herein. The recesses preferably allow a greater surface area of the tablet to be in contact with heated air passing over and through the tablet to improve the vaporization of the tablet.
Another exemplary embodiment of tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material comprises dry material pressed into a shape comprising at least a first surface and a second surface positioned opposite the first surface. A heating element is coupled to the dry material. The tablet may be used with any of the cartridges for vaporizing a payload comprising dry material described herein.
- 7 -A method of using a vape device to vaporize a tablet of pressed, dry material in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises:
inserting the tablet through an opening in the vape device into an interior chamber of the vape device; activating a heating element of the vape device to vaporize a portion of the tablet into tablet vapor; and inhaling at least a portion of the tablet vapor. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein that are configurable for vaporizing dry material.
A method of making a tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: providing a dry material; measuring a percentage of a component of the dry material; determining a desired amount of the component; determining a desired thickness that corresponds with the desired amount of the component; and pressing the dry material into a tablet of the desired thickness to include the desired amount of the component. The invention also encompasses a tablet made in accordance with the method. The method may be used to make any of the tablets described herein. The tablet preferably assists in dosage control because a user of the tablet knows how much of the component is present in the tablet.
A method of making a tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: providing a first dry material; measuring a first percentage of a first component of the first dry material; providing a second dry material; measuring a second percentage of a second component of the second dry material; determining a desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage; and forming a tablet that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage. The invention also encompasses a tablet made in accordance with the method. The method may be used to make any of the tablets described herein.
Another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein is a cartridge for a vape device. The cartridge comprises a housing defining a payload reservoir, an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet;
an atomizer positioned within the housing, wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the .. payload reservoir; and a deflector positioned in the air flow chamber between the atomizer and the outlet, wherein the deflector comprises a plurality of holes. The invention also encompasses a vape device including the cartridge. The deflector preferably prevents or reduces the likelihood that unvaporized spurts of payload will exit the outlet.
- 8 -Another exemplary embodiment of cartridge for a vape device comprises: a housing comprising a first end and a second end, wherein the housing defines a payload reservoir, an inlet positioned adjacent the first end, an outlet positioned adjacent the first end, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet; and an atomizer positioned within the housing, wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir and the air flow chamber. The invention also encompasses a vape device including the cartridge. Positioning both the inlet and the outlet adjacent the first end preferably reduces the likelihood that unvaporized payload will leak out of the vape device or cartridge.
A cartridge for a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a housing comprising an outer side wall and an inner side wall spaced apart from the outer side wall; and an atomizer positioned within a chamber defined by the inner side wall. The housing defines a payload reservoir positioned between the inner side wall and the outer side wall. A plurality of elongated slots are formed in the inner side wall. The housing defines an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet. The plurality of elongated slots place the atomizer in fluid communication with the payload reservoir, and the atomizer is in fluid communication with the air flow chamber. The invention also encompasses a vape device including the cartridge. The elongated slots preferably prevent or reduce the likelihood that air bubbles will form within the slots and prevent the payload from reaching the atomizer.
A cartridge for a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a housing defining a payload reservoir; an atomizer positioned within the housing; and a pressurizer positioned within the housing, wherein the pressurizer is configured to apply pressure to a fluid payload within the payload reservoir to force the fluid payload into contact with the atomizer.
The invention also encompasses a vape device including the cartridge. Applying pressure to the fluid payload preferably provides a consistent flow of payload to the atomizer when desired.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a housing, an atomizer positioned in the housing, and a payload reservoir positioned in the housing. The housing comprises a first end and a second end, wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end. The payload reservoir is defined at least in part by a reservoir side wall comprising a first end positioned adjacent the atomizer and a second end. The reservoir side wall slopes toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side
- 9 -wall when the housing is positioned so that the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal. The reservoir side wall preferably improves the flow of payload to the atomizer to keep the atomizer bathed in the payload and reduce the amount of payload that is wasted in the reservoir.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a housing comprising a first end and a second end. A
longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end. The vape device is configured so that the housing orients itself in a predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface and the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal. The housing preferably is able to orient itself in a predetermined position so that a payload within the housing is able to flow into contact with an atomizer to keep the atomizer bathed in the payload and reduce the amount of payload that is wasted in the reservoir.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a housing, a tray that is positioned in the housing, an atomizer positioned in the housing, and a flexible circuit board. The housing comprises a first end and a second end. A longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end. The housing defines an inlet, an outlet positioned adjacent the second end of the housing, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet.
The tray comprises a first section that defines a recess and a second section that defines a payload reservoir positioned adjacent the second end of the housing. The tray comprises a first side positioned adjacent the housing and a second side. The atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir. A flexible circuit board is positioned adjacent the second side of the tray in the recess defined by the tray. The flexible circuit board and tray preferably make manufacturing of the vape device more efficient and consistent.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a housing defining an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet; an atomizer positioned in the air flow chamber; a capacitive sensor positioned in the air flow chamber between the atomizer and the outlet; and a sensor measurement circuit connected to the capacitive sensor.
The atomizer is configured to heat and vaporize a payload to generate a vaporized payload. The capacitive sensor defines a measurement cavity within the air flow chamber. The sensor measurement circuit is configured to directly or indirectly measure a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when the vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity. The vape device is preferably configured to accurately determine the dosage based on a measured capacitance of
- 10 -vaporized payload in a measurement cavity of the vape device. This vapor measurement system is beneficial to both medicinal patients and recreational users because they will be able to accurately measure their dosage to obtain desired effects in a repeatable fashion.
A method of determining a capacitance of a capacitive sensor in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises:
heating and vaporizing a payload to generate a vaporized payload; passing the vaporized payload through a measurement cavity defined by the capacitive sensor; and measuring a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when the vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A vapor measurement system for a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises a capacitive sensor that defines a measurement cavity, and a sensor measurement circuit connected to the capacitive sensor. The sensor measurement circuit is configured to directly or indirectly measure a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when a vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity. The vapor measurement system may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a control assembly comprising a power source and a reader; a cartridge comprising a heating element and an electronic memory configured to store data; and a two-conductor electrical interface configured to (a) transmit a power signal from the power source to the heating element and (b) transmit a data signal from the electronic memory to the reader. The vape device preferably enables cartridge data to be provided in a secure electronic memory within the cartridge and transmitted to the control assembly. The cartridge data cannot be tampered with, discarded or lost and, thus, a user can be assured that the data is legitimate and not a forgery.
A method of transmitting a plurality of signals over a two-conductor electrical interface between a control assembly and a cartridge of a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises:
transmitting a power signal from a power source of the control assembly over the two-conductor electrical interface to a heating element of the cartridge; and transmitting a data signal from an electronic memory of the cartridge over the two-conductor electrical interface to a reader of the control assembly. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
- 11 -A two-lead communication system for a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a control assembly; a cartridge; and an electromechanical connection comprising a first connector coupled to a second connector. The first connector is provided as part of the control assembly. The second connector is provided as part of the cartridge. The electromechanical connection provides a two-conductor electrical interface that enables the communication of a plurality of electrical signals between the control assembly and the cartridge. The two-lead communication system may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a control assembly comprising a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader; a cartridge comprising an RFID tag; and a two-conductor electrical interface configured to transmit cartridge data from the RFID
reader to the RFID tag to thereby program the cartridge data into the RFID tag.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a control assembly comprising a power source; and a cartridge releasably connected to the control assembly. The cartridge comprises: a payload reservoir configured to hold a payload for vaporization; a heating element configured to heat the payload in the payload reservoir; and a temperature control circuit configured to regulate a power provided to the heating element by the power source based on a temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point. The cartridge preferably has localized temperature control to prevent under or over heating of the payload within the cartridge.
A method of controlling power provided to a heating element housed within a cartridge of a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: sensing a temperature within the cartridge; and regulating a power provided to the heating element based on the temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A temperature control system for a cartridge of a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises:
a heating element configured to heat a payload; a temperature sensor configured to sense the temperature within the cartridge; and a temperature control circuit incorporating the temperature sensor.
The temperature control circuit is configured to regulate a power provided to the heating element based on the temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set
- 12 -point. The temperature control system may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises: a control assembly comprising a microcontroller and a power source; a cartridge comprising an atomizer, a payload reservoir, and an authentication device; and an electromechanical connector comprising a first connector releasably coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly and the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge. The microcontroller is configured to control the power source so as to generate a power signal. The authentication device is configured to (a) implement an authentication protocol to determine whether the cartridge is authentic and (b) control transmission of the power signal from the power source to the atomizer based on an outcome of the authentication protocol.
Another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein includes a cartridge for a vape device that comprises: a payload reservoir; an atomizer configured to heat a payload contained in the payload reservoir; and an authentication device configured to (a) implement an authentication protocol to determine whether the cartridge is authentic and (b) control transmission of a power signal to the atomizer based on an outcome of the authentication protocol.
A method of authenticating a cartridge of a vape device in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention described herein comprises:
storing authentication data in an authentication device within the cartridge;
implementing an authentication protocol that uses the authentication data to determine whether the cartridge is authentic; and controlling transmission of a power signal an atomizer of the cartridge based on an outcome of the authentication protocol. The method may be used in connection with any of the vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein.
A system for authenticating users of vape devices in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a vape device and an application configured to be installed on a personal computing device. The vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir and transmit the unique payload identifier to the personal computing device. The application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive user authentication information input by a user, (b) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (c) retrieve authentication information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, (d) compare the user authentication information with the authentication information stored in the database,
- 13 -(e) generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the user who input the user authentication information is authorized to use a payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier, and (f) transmit the security setting to the vape device.
A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices are depleted in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a vape device and an application configured to be installed on a personal computing device. The vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir and transmit the unique payload identifier to the personal computing device.
The application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, wherein the payload information comprises an original volume of the payload contained within the payload reservoir, (c) retrieve historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, (d) analyze the payload information stored in the database and the historical payload reservoir usage information stored in the database, (e) generate, based on the analysis, a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir is depleted, and (0 transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is depleted.
A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been returned to a return center in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a vape device and an application configured to be installed on a personal computing device. The vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir and transmit the unique payload identifier to the personal computing device.
The application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been returned, (c) generate a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir has been returned, and (d) transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been returned.
A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been recalled in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a vape device and an application configured to be installed on a personal computing device. The vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir and transmit the unique payload identifier to the personal computing device.
The application is
- 14 -configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been recalled, (c) generate a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir has been recalled, and (d) transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
A system for determining whether control assemblies are authorized for use with cartridges of vape devices in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a vape device and an application configured to be installed on a personal computing device. The vape device comprises a control assembly and a cartridge. The control assembly is configured to store a control assembly identifier, and the cartridge is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir of the cartridge. The vape device is configured to transmit the control assembly identifier and the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device. The application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the control assembly identifier and the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) identify a list of one or more control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique identifier, (c)compare the control assembly identifier with the list of control assembly identifiers, (d) generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier, and (e) transmit the security setting to the vape device.
Additional aspects of the invention, together with the advantages and novel features appurtenant thereto, will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in .. part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned from the practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.
Brief Description of the Drawings FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of one embodiment of vape device in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of another embodiment of vape device in accordance with the invention described herein.
- 15 -FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a vape device system that includes the vape device of FIG. 1 in wireless communication with a computing device.
FIG. 4 is a flow diagram showing the steps of one exemplary method for using the vape device system of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a graph showing a representative vape session of a user, which includes predicted draw (or puff) lengths, draw strengths, and time intervals between draws.
Evan Gregg, Thierry Bachmann, Ryuji Bito, Xavier Cahours, Michael McEwan, Paul Nelson, Krishna Prasad, Gerhard Scherer, & Mitchell Stiles, Assessing Smoking Behaviour and Tobacco Smoke Exposure: Definitions and Methods, 25 Beitrage zur Tabakforschung International / Contributions to Tobacco Research, 685-99 (Dec. 2013), available at https://doi.org/10.2478/cttr-2013-0945,.
FIG. 6A is an interval plot showing the mean and 95% confidence intervals calculated based on measurements of the draw length (or puff duration) of multiple draws from a vape device for each of twenty-two different vape device users (or subjects). Risa Robinson, Edward Hensel, & P. N. Morabito, & K. A. Roundtree, Electronic Cigarette Topography in the Natural Environment, PLOS ONE 10(6): e0129296 (2015), available at https://doi.org/10.1371/j ournal. pone. 0129296.
FIG. 6B is an interval plot showing the mean and 95% confidence intervals calculated based on measurements of the draw strength (or puff flow) of multiple draws from a vape device for each of twenty-two different vape device users (or subjects).
FIG. 6C is an interval plot showing the mean and 95% confidence intervals calculated based on measurements of the draw volume (or puff volume) of multiple draws from a vape device for each of twenty-two different vape device users (or subjects).
FIG. 6D is an interval plot showing the mean and 95% confidence intervals calculated based on measurements of the time span between draws (or puff interval) of multiple draws from a vape device for each of twenty-two different vape device users (or subjects).
FIGS. 7A-B are flow diagrams of exemplary methods of optimizing vaporization in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 8A is a graph showing the approximate time for decarboxylation of THCA
to THC at different temperatures. Kerstin Iffland, Michael Carus, & Dr. med.
Franjo Grotenhermen, nova-Institut GmbH, Wirth (Germany), Decarboxylation of Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) to Active THC, European Industrial Hemp Association
- 16 -(EIHA) (Oct. 2016), available at http://eiha.org/media/2014/08/16-10-25-Decarboxylation-of-THCA-to-active-THC.pdf.
FIG. 8B is a graph showing the THC content in cannabis over time at different temperatures. T. Veress, J. I. Szanto, & L. Leisztner, Determination of cannabinoid acids by high-performance liquid chromatography of their neutral derivatives formed by thermal decarboxylation: I. Study of the decarboxylation process in open reactors, 520 Journal of Chromatography A 339-47 (Nov. 9, 1990), available at https://doi.org/10.1016/0021-9673(90)85118-F.
FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a conduction-based cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 9A.
FIG. 9C is an exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 9A.
FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a convection-based cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 10B is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 10A.
FIG. 10C is an exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 10A.
FIG. 11A is a perspective view of another conduction-based cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 11B is an exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 11A.
FIG. 11C is a partial cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 11A.
FIG. 11D is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 11A.
FIG. 12 is a schematic view of a heating element for use with a cartridge or vape device for vaporizing dry material.
FIGS. 13A-C are perspective views of tablets for use with a cartridge or vape device for vaporizing dry material.
FIG. 14A is a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a tablet in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 14B is a right side elevational view of the tablet of FIG. 14A.
FIG. 14C is a front elevational view of the tablet of FIG. 14A.
FIG. 14D is a cross-sectional view taken through the line 14D-14D in FIG.
14A.
FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view showing two of the tablets of FIG. 14A
joined together or placed back-to-back.
- 17 -FIG. 16A is a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a tablet that includes a heating element in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 16B is a right side elevational view of the tablet of FIG. 16A.
FIG. 16C is a front elevational view of the tablet of FIG. 16A.
FIG. 17 is a front elevational view of another exemplary embodiment of tablet that includes a heating element in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 18 is a schematic view of a tablet storage and dispensing device.
FIG. 19A is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 19B is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 19A.
FIG. 19C is an exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 19A.
FIG. 19D is a partially exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 19A.
FIG. 20 is a schematic view of the air flow within the cartridge of FIG. 19A.
FIG. 21 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 21.
FIG. 23A is a perspective cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 21.
FIG. 23B is across-sectional view of an atomizer of the cartridge of FIG. 21.
FIG. 23C is atop plan view of the atomizer of FIG. 23B.
FIG. 23D is a bottom plan view of the atomizer of FIG. 23B.
FIG. 24 is a schematic view of an alternative air flow path for a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 25A is a perspective view of another alternative embodiment of a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 25B is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 25A.
FIG. 26A is a perspective view of another alternative embodiment of a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 26B is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of FIG. 26A.
FIG. 26C is an exploded view of the cartridge of FIG. 26A.
FIG. 26D is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of a cartridge for vaporizing a fluid payload that is similar to the cartridge shown in FIG.
26A.
FIG. 27 is a schematic view of the air flow within the cartridge of FIG. 25.
- 18 -FIG. 28A is a perspective view of a vape device in accordance with the invention described herein.
FIG. 28B is a cross-sectional view of the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 28C is a cross-sectional view taken through the line 28C-28C in FIG. 28B.
FIG. 28D is an exploded view of the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 28E is a perspective view of one end of the vape device of FIG. 28A
showing a view port.
FIG. 28F is a perspective view of the end of the vape device shown in FIG. 28E
showing an outlet.
FIG. 28G is a perspective view of the other end of the vape device of FIG.
28A.
FIG. 29A is a cross-sectional view of an alternative configuration of a payload reservoir that may be used with the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 29B is a cross-sectional view of an alternative placement of an atomizer that may be used with the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 29C is a cross-sectional view of another alternative configuration of a payload reservoir that may be used with the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 29D is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of vape device with an alternative inlet configuration.
FIG. 29E is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of vape device with another alternative inlet configuration.
FIG. 29F is a partial sectional view of an alternative configuration of a payload reservoir that may be used with the vape device of FIG. 28A.
FIG. 29G is a cross-sectional view of the payload reservoir shown in FIG. 29F.

FIG. 30 is a flow diagram showing the steps of one exemplary method for using the vape devices of FIGS. 28A-29G.
FIG. 31 is a schematic diagram of a cartridge in which a parallel plate capacitor is used as a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 32 is a circuit diagram of a charge pump circuit configured to charge the electrical conductors of a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system to enable measurement of the capacitance of the sensor.
FIG. 33 is a circuit diagram of a resistive voltage divider circuit in which a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system is included within a switched-capacitor resistor to enable measurement of the capacitance of the sensor.
- 19 -FIG. 34 is a circuit diagram of a phase locked loop circuit in which a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system is included within a voltage-controlled oscillator to enable measurement of the capacitance of the sensor.
FIG. 35 is a circuit diagram of an active low-pass filter circuit connected to a rectifier circuit in which a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system is included within the low-pass filter circuit to enable measurement of the capacitance of the sensor.
FIG. 36 is a bode plot of the active low-pass filter circuit shown in FIG. 35.

FIG. 37 is a circuit diagram of a crystal oscillator circuit used to provide a reference signal to a phase locked loop circuit, wherein the crystal oscillator circuit is loaded with a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system to enable measurement of the capacitance of the sensor.
FIG. 38A is a front elevational view of a rolled capacitor that may be used as a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system.
FIG. 38B is a front elevational view of the rolled capacitor shown in FIG. 38A
with arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane parallel to the front face of the rolled capacitor.
FIG. 38C is a perspective view of the rolled capacitor shown in FIG. 38A with arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane perpendicular to the front face of the rolled capacitor.
FIG. 39A is a front elevational view of an interdigitated capacitor that may be used as a capacitive sensor of a vapor measurement system.
FIG. 39B is a front elevational view of the interdigitated capacitor shown in FIG. 39A with arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane parallel to the front face of the interdigitated capacitor.
FIG. 39C is a front elevational view of the interdigitated capacitor shown in FIG. 39A with arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane perpendicular to the front face of the interdigitated capacitor.
FIG. 40 is a schematic diagram of a vape device that includes a two-lead communication system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 41A is a perspective view of a female two-pin connector that may be used as part of the two-lead communication system shown in FIG. 40.
FIG. 41B is a perspective view of a male two-pin connector that may be used as part of the two-lead communication system shown in FIG. 40.
- 20 -FIG. 42 is a schematic diagram of a vape device that includes a cartridge with an integrated temperature control system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 43 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to modify the direct current (DC) voltage applied to a heating element in response to a change in the resistance of a thermistor, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 44 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to modify the direct current transmitted to a heating element in response to a change in the resistance of a thermistor, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 45 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to modify the pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to a heating element in response to a change in a temperature detected by an analog temperature sensor, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 46 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to modify the pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to a heating element in response to a change in the voltage of a thermocouple, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 47 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to modify the pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to a heating element in response to a change in the resistance of a thermistor or a change in the voltage of a bandgap temperature sensor, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG.
42.
FIG. 48 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit configured to interrupt a direct current applied to a heating element in response to detection of light by a light sensor, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 49 is a circuit diagram of a temperature control circuit with a potentiometer that enables modification of the temperature set point, which may be incorporated into the cartridge shown in FIG. 42.
FIG. 50 is a cross-sectional view of a cartridge housing with a dial connected to the potentiometer shown in FIG. 49 that may be used to modify the variable resistance of the potentiometer.
FIG. 51 is a cross-sectional view of a cartridge housing with a slider switch connected to the potentiometer shown in FIG. 49 that may be used to modify the variable resistance of the potentiometer.
- 21 -FIG. 52 is a cross-sectional view of a rotatable cartridge housing with a rotary arm connected to the potentiometer shown in FIG. 49 that may be used to modify the variable resistance of the potentiometer.
FIG. 53 is a cross-sectional view of a cartridge with an integrated temperature control system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 54 is a schematic diagram of a vape device that includes a smart cartridge with authenticated access control in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 55 is a circuit diagram of one implementation of the vape device shown in FIG. 54 in which the power and data signals are transmitted between the control assembly and cartridge over a two-conductor electrical interface using a time division multiplexing scheme.
FIG. 56 is a circuit diagram of another implementation of the vape device shown in FIG. 54 in which the power and data signals are transmitted between the control assembly and cartridge over a two-conductor electrical interface using a voltage level multiplexing scheme.
FIG. 57 is a graph of an exemplary data transfer protocol that may be used by the vape device shown in FIG. 56.
Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiment In this description, references to "one embodiment," "an embodiment," or "embodiments" mean that the feature or features being referred to are included in at least one embodiment of the technology. Separate references to "one embodiment," "an embodiment," or "embodiments" in this description do not necessarily refer to the same embodiment and are also not mutually exclusive unless so stated and/or except as will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the description. For example, a feature, structure, acts, etc. described in one embodiment may also be included in other embodiments, but is not necessarily included.
Thus, the present technology can include a variety of combinations and/or integrations of the embodiments described herein.
Vape Device In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 described herein are high-quality, best-in-class rechargeable vape devices that are simple, intuitive, and appeal instantly to the "cannabis-naive" customer, whether medical or recreational. In some embodiments, vape
- 22 -devices 10 and 100 can communicate with personal computing device 72 and work interactively with an application 74 or "app" operating on the personal computing device 72 to provide additional functions and features that can meet the demands and needs of the most sophisticated connoisseur or medical patient. For the purposes of this description and the claims that follow, the term "personal computing device" is defined as including personal computers, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, personal computing tablets (such as those made by Apple and Samsung , and by others as well known to those skilled in the art), smart phones (such as those running on i0S0 and Android operating systems, and others as well known to those skilled in the art), smart watches, fitness tracking wristbands, wearable .. devices, smart glasses, and any other electronic computing device that comprises means for communications (wireless or wired) with other electronic devices, and with a global telecommunications or computing network.
Referring to Figure 1, one embodiment of vape device 10 is shown. Vape device 10 includes a mouthpiece assembly 12, an atomizer assembly 19, a payload assembly 24, and a control assembly 14. Any of mouthpiece assembly 12, atomizer assembly 19, payload assembly 24, and control assembly 14 may be formed integrally together and included within a common housing suitable for grasping by a user. Further, any of mouthpiece assembly 12, atomizer assembly 19, payload assembly 24, and control assembly 14 may be formed in separate housings that are releasably connected to each other via connecting means 15, which can comprise, for example, one or more of pressure or friction fit connection means, twist mechanical lock means, magnetic connection means and any other connecting means as well known to those skilled in the art. The connecting means 15 may include a female 510 threaded connector on the control assembly 14 that releasably engages a male 510 threaded connector on the atomizer assembly 19 or payload assembly 24. A 510 threaded connector, as is known in the art, is a M7-0.5x5 threaded connector, i.e., a threaded connector with a nominal diameter of 7 mm, a pitch of 0.5 mm, and a length of 5mm. Connecting means 15 may include threaded connectors of other sizes. The connecting means 15 may be a threaded connector configured to operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000. By way of example, mouthpiece assembly 12 may be .. releasably connected to atomizer assembly 19, payload assembly 24 and control assembly 14, which are either formed integrally together or in separate housings that are releasably connected to each other. Mouthpiece assembly 12 and atomizer assembly 19 may be formed integrally together and releasably connected to payload assembly 24 and control assembly 14, which are either formed integrally together or in separate housings that are releasably
23 connected to each other. Further, mouthpiece assembly 12, atomizer assembly 19, and payload assembly 24 may be formed integrally together and releasably connected to control assembly 14. The combination of the mouthpiece assembly 12, atomizer assembly 19, and payload assembly 24 may be referred to as a cartridge herein, and substituted for any of the cartridges 900, 1000, 1100, 1900, 2100, 2400, 2500, and 2600 described below. It is also within the scope of the invention for the mouthpiece assembly 12 to be omitted and for the vaporized payload to exit the atomizer assembly 19 directly for inhalation.
In some embodiments, mouthpiece assembly 12 is operatively coupled to control assembly 14 via connecting means 15. In some embodiments, a heater or atomizer 20 is disposed in atomizer assembly 19, with atomizer 20 further comprising a heating element 22 disposed therein for heating and vaporizing a payload that may comprise liquids, oils, other fluids, or tablets. Heating element 22 may be a heating coil. Atomizer 20 can comprise an inlet 21 and an outlet 23, wherein inlet 21 can be in communication, via fluid connector 46, with payload reservoir 26 disposed in payload assembly 24, wherein payload reservoir 26 can contain a payload for vaporization or atomization. The payload may be for example, liquids, oils, other fluids, or tablets. The payload may comprise cannabis oil or nicotine oil or be any of the tablets 940, 1002, 1102, 1202, 1300, 1302, 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700 described below if vape device 10 is modified to vaporize a tablet of dry material. Outlet 23 can be in communication with a user mouthpiece 16 of mouthpiece assembly 12 via a conduit 17. In some embodiments, payload assembly 24 can comprise an identifier ("ID") tag 28, which can further comprise a unique payload identifier that identifies payload reservoir 26, and also optionally, secondary data as described below. The unique payload identifier of ID tag 28 may be a serial number or tracking number for payload reservoir 26 as a means to identify what payload is contained in payload reservoir 26 so as to obtain information as to the specific parameters of operation of atomizer 20, or operational settings, that are optimal for vaporizing the specific payload contained in payload reservoir 26. For example, the payload identifier may be compared to a database that includes the payload identifiers from a plurality of payload reservoirs. The database may include specific operational settings and secondary data for each of the payload identifiers, as described below. When cartridges 900, 1000, 1100, 1900, 2100, 2400, 2500, and 2600 are used with vape device 10 or 100, the cartridges preferably have an ID tag 28 that contain a unique payload identifier, as described below.
ID tag 28 may be any type of device that includes memory or storage capable of storing payload identifier and, optionally, secondary data, and means for allowing that payload identifier and/or secondary data to be retrieved by another device, such as microcontroller 31
- 24 -and/or RF transceiver circuit 36, for processing and/or further transmission.
For example, ID
tag 28 may be an RFID tag or non-volatile memory. ID tag 28 may be configured for use with NFC or a UHF RFID communication system. Vape device 10 may be configured to include the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000 so .. that data from ID tag 28 is transmitted to microcontroller 31 via connecting means 15 and so that power is transmitted from the control assembly 14 to the atomizer 20 via connecting means 15.
For the purposes of this specification, the term "electrical connection" shall include any form of electrical connection via a wired or wireless connection, such as electrical conductors or wires suitable for the transmission of alternating or direct current power, analog or digital electrical signals or radio frequency signals, as the case may be and as well-known to those skilled in the art.
In some embodiments, mouthpiece assembly 12 can comprise a draw sensor 18 operatively coupled to atomizer 20 via an electrical connection 44, wherein draw sensor 18 can cause electric current from battery 42 to flow through heating element 22. In some embodiments, draw sensor 18 comprises a sensor, such as a mass air flow sensor, that can produce an electrical signal in response to when a user inhales or draws on mouthpiece 16, wherein the electrical signal can cause electric current from battery 42 to flow through heating element 22. In some embodiments, draw sensor 18 can be used as a simple "switch" as a means .. to turn on atomizer 20 to vaporize payload drawn into atomizer 20 from payload reservoir 26 as the user draws on mouthpiece 16. In some embodiments, draw sensor 18 can be configured to monitor how much payload is being vaporized or how much volume of vapor is being inhaled by the user. Draw sensor 18 is one type of activation mechanism that may be used to activate atomizer 20. Draw sensor 18 may be replaced with or used in connection with another .. type of activation mechanism that receives an input to switch it from an off position, in which atomizer 20 is not activated, and a on position, in which atomizer 20 is activated. For example, draw sensor 18 may be replaced with or used in connection with any of the following types of activation mechanisms: a button, switch, draw sensor, pressure transducer, proximity sensor, touch sensor, voice recognition sensor, haptic control, saliva and breath biosensor, and the like.
In some embodiments, mouthpiece 16 and draw sensor 18 can be part of a single-piece mouthpiece assembly 12, or can be disposed in a separate mouthpiece section 13 that forms part of mouthpiece assembly 12.
In some embodiments, atomizer 20 can be disposed in atomizer assembly 19 that can either be integral to mouthpiece assembly 12, or a physically separate enclosure that
- 25 -can couple to mouthpiece assembly 12. Instead of or in addition to including a heating element 22 as disclosed herein, atomizer 20 may include any other structure capable of vaporizing or atomizing a payload in a suitable form for inhalation. For example, atomizer 20 may include a jet nebulizer, an ultrasonic nebulizer, or a mesh nebulizer.
In some embodiments, payload reservoir 26 and ID tag 28 can be disposed in payload assembly 24 that can either be integral to mouthpiece assembly 12 and/or atomizer assembly 19, or a physically separate enclosure that can couple to mouthpiece assembly 12 and/or atomizer assembly 19, which can include one or more of connecting means described above. Preferably, ID tag 28 is physically coupled to payload reservoir 26 either directly or indirectly (e.g., ID tag 28 and payload reservoir 26 are included in a common housing of payload assembly 24) in a tamper resistant manner.
In some embodiments, control assembly 14 can comprise one or more antennas 40, a battery 42 and a circuit board 30 that can further comprise a microcontroller 31 configured for carrying out one or more electronic functions in respect of the operation of vape device 10. Having more than one antenna 40 can enable the ability for diversity wireless communications of RF signals, as well known to those skilled in the art. In some embodiments, circuit board 30 can comprise a charger circuit 32 configured for charging battery 42. Charger circuit 32 can be integral to circuit board 30 or can be disposed on a separate circuit board operatively connected to circuit board 30 and to battery 42 via electrical connection 54.
Charger circuit 32 can be configured to be operatively connected to an external source of power, either via a shared or dedicated electrical connector 35 operatively coupled to circuit board 30 with internal connection to charger circuit 32, or a wireless connection for power transfer, as well known to those skilled in the art.
In some embodiments, circuit board 30 can comprise user input interface circuit 34 and output interface circuit 38. Either or both of input interface circuit 34 and output interface circuit 38 can be integral to circuit board 30 or can be disposed on a separate circuit board operatively connected to circuit board 30. In some embodiments, input interface circuit 34 can provide the electrical interface between user controls and activation mechanisms disposed on vape device 10, such as buttons, switches, draw sensors, pressure transducers, proximity sensors, touch sensors, voice recognition sensors, haptic controls, saliva and breath biosensors, and the like, and microcontroller 31 and, thus, can provide the means to relay user input commands from the user controls as instructions to microcontroller 31 to operate vape device 10. For example, input interface circuit 34 may be electrically coupled to draw sensor 18 for receiving an on signal from draw sensor 18 when a user draws on mouthpiece 16. When
- 26 -input interface circuit 34 receives the on signal from draw sensor 18, it may send instructions to microcontroller 31 to activate atomizer 20, provided that any other conditions necessary to activate atomizer 20 have been met, as described below. In some embodiments, output interface circuit 38 can provided the electrical interface between microcontroller 31 and output display devices, such as indicator lights, alphanumeric display screens, audio speakers, surface heaters, vibration devices, and any other forms of tactile feedback devices as well known to those skilled in the art, and, thus, can provide the means to relay information relating to the operation of vape device 10 from microcontroller 31 to the user.
In some embodiments, circuit board 30 can comprise radio frequency ("RF") transceiver circuit 36 to provide the means for wireless communication of data between vape device 10 and a personal computing device, such as computing device 72 as shown in Figure 3.
In some embodiments, RF transceiver circuit 36 can be integral to circuit board 30 or can be disposed on a separate circuit board operatively connected to circuit board 30. RF transceiver circuit 36 can be connected to one or more antennas 40 via electrical connection 52, as well known to those skilled in the art. RF transceiver circuit 36 and the one or more antennas 40 comprise a wireless transceiver of vape device 10.
In some embodiments, microcontroller 31 can comprise a microprocessor (which for purposes of this disclosure also incorporates any type of processor) having a central processing unit as well known to those skilled in the art, wherein the microprocessor can further comprise a memory configured for storing a series of instructions for operating the microprocessor in addition for storing data collected from sensors disposed on vape device 10 or data received by vape device 10 to control its operation, such as operational settings.
Microcontroller 31 is in electrical communication with charger circuit 32, user input interface circuit 34, output interface circuit 38, and RF transceiver circuit 36 for receiving instructions and/or data from and/or transmitting instructions and/or data to charger circuit 32, user input interface circuit 34, output interface circuit 38, and RF transceiver circuit 36. In some embodiments, atomizer 20 can be operatively and electrically connected to circuit board 30 via electrical connection 48, which can provide the means to activate atomizer 20 (e.g., deliver electrical current from battery 42 to heating element 22) when an activation mechanism such as draw sensor 18 sends an on signal to microcontroller 31, as well as receiving data signals from draw sensor 18 and/or atomizer 20. In this manner, the activation mechanism (i.e., draw sensor 18) is coupled to the atomizer 20 indirectly through microcontroller 31, and a direct connection between the activation mechanism and atomizer 20 is not required (i.e., activation mechanism sends a signal to microcontroller 31 that sends a signal to activate atomizer 20). In one
- 27 -embodiment, draw sensor 18 may be electrically connected to connecting means 15, which may operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000, so that signals from draw sensor 18 may be sent to microcontroller 31 through the two lead communication system. In addition to controlling operation of atomizer 20 based on a signal received from the activation mechanism, microcontroller 31 also controls operation of atomizer 20 based on the operational settings as described herein. In some embodiments, microcontroller 31 can be operatively connected to ID tag 28 via electrical connection 50, which may be either a wired or wireless connection.
The operational settings referred to herein include any type of setting or .. instruction that instructs the vape device 10 or certain components of the vape device 10 to operate or not operate in a particular manner. Specifically, operational settings of the vape device 10 include a duty cycle setting, a temperature setting, an operational time duration, a dosage setting, and a security setting. The duty cycle setting preferably corresponds to a pulse width modulation instruction transmitted from microcontroller 31 to battery 42 to send electrical current to heating element 22 in a particular desired manner. The temperature setting preferably corresponds to a temperature instruction transmitted from microcontroller 31 to battery 42 to send electrical current to heating element 22 to maintain heating element 22 at a desired temperature or range of temperatures. A temperature sensor may be coupled to microcontroller 31 to measure the actual temperature of heating element 22 and transmit that information to microcontroller 31 for determination on the amount and duration of electrical current that needs to be sent to heating element 22 to maintain a particular temperature or range of temperatures. Any portion of the cartridge, including mouthpiece assembly 12, atomizer assembly 19, and payload assembly 24, may also include the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200 to regulate the temperature of heating element 22. The operational time duration preferably corresponds to a time instruction transmitted from microcontroller 31 to battery 42 to maintain heating element 22 at a temperature suitable for vaporization of the contents of payload reservoir 26 for a desired time.
The dosage setting preferably corresponds to a dosage instruction transmitted from microcontroller 31 to battery 42 that powers down heating element 22 when a desired volume of vapor passes through atomizer 20. A vapor metering device may measure the volume of vapor passing through atomizer 20 and transmit that information to microcontroller 31, which compares the actual volume passed through atomizer 20 to the dosage setting to determine when to shut off heating element 22. The vapor metering device may be positioned between the atomizer 20 and the mouthpiece 16 to measure the vaporized payload exiting mouthpiece
- 28 -16. The vapor metering device may incorporate the capacitive vapor measurement system described below in connection with vape device 3100. The security setting preferably corresponds to a security instruction that causes microcontroller 31 to prevent operation of atomizer 20 when an event has or has not occurred. Security settings described herein that would prevent operation of atomizer 20 include a payload reservoir 26 that is tampered with or stolen, a payload reservoir 26 that has been returned to a return center (e.g., to recycle payload reservoir 26 and/or its associated cartridge), a payload reservoir 26 that has been recalled, a payload reservoir 26 that has been depleted, a control assembly that is not authorized for use with payload reservoir 26, an unauthorized user (e.g., a user who does not have a valid prescription for the substance within payload reservoir 26, or a user who is not identified as owning or having valid rights to use payload reservoir 26), a user that is in a location that does not permit use of vape device 10, a user that is traveling in a vehicle, a user that has exceeded his/her permitted usage of the substance in payload reservoir 26 within a particular time frame, and any other security setting described herein or reason why vape device 10 is rendered inoperable as described herein.
In some embodiments, ID tag 28 and/or microcontroller 31, along with appropriate sensors, can also be used as part of a system for gathering data relating to the use of vape device 10 by the user by monitoring that can include, without limitation, historical vape device usage information, such as how many times vape device 10 is used during a given period of time (hour, day, week, etc.), the duration of each use of vape device 10, how many draws the user takes on vape device 10, the strength of those draws, the amount of payload consumed during each use of vape device 10, and other information as described herein. The historical vape device usage information is stored in a database in association with the payload identifier, as described below. In some embodiments, the historical vape device usage information can be used as clinical data for determining whether the user is consuming the right amount of medicine to be vaporized and inhaled and at the right times of day. The information can be used to provide feedback to the user in terms of whether the user should consume medicine more frequently or less frequently throughout the day and/or to increase or decrease the amount of medicine consumed per usage overall or per usage at particular times of the day. In some embodiments, the information collected about the user's consumption of a cannabis liquid or oil payload with vape device 10 can be used to estimate the user's intoxication or impairment based on the user's physical characteristics and the amount of cannabis liquid or oil payload consumed. This estimation can be relayed to the user as a means
- 29 -to inform the user as to whether the user is too intoxicated or impaired to operate a motor vehicle or to operate tools or machinery, as an example.
Second Embodiment of Vape Device Referring to Figure 2, another embodiment of vape device 100 is shown. In .. some embodiments, vape device 100 can comprise control assembly 14, atomizer assembly 79 and mouthpiece assembly 88 operatively coupled together in that order using mechanical connection means 56 to join the subassemblies together. Mechanical connection means 56 can comprise one or more of threaded connection means, magnetic connection means and friction or press-fit connection means, and any of the connection means 15 described above, including 510 threaded connectors. In some embodiments, mouthpiece assembly 88 can comprise a mouthpiece 58 in communication with the outlet of atomizer 20 via conduit 60.
Mouthpiece assembly 88 can further comprise a payload reservoir 62 that can be filled with a payload 64 that may be liquid or oil. The payload 64 can flow from payload reservoir 62 to inlet 21 of atomizer 20 via one or more valves 68. In some embodiments, mouthpiece assembly 88 can comprise ID tag 28 and an oil gauge 66, which can be configured to monitor the volume of payload 64 in payload reservoir 62 and relay that information to microcontroller 31. In this embodiment, mouthpiece assembly 88 can be a consumable element that can be replaced as a complete subassembly once depleted, or simply interchanged with another mouthpiece assembly 88 containing a different payload 64 for consumption, depending on the needs and wants of the user. In some embodiments, oil gauge 66 can simply be a sight glass disposed on mouthpiece assembly 88 to provide a visual indicator to the user as to the amount of payload remaining therein. Atomizer assembly 79 is preferably configured to prevent air-lock and/or clogging with thick, undiluted payloads.
In some embodiments, atomizer assembly 79 can also be a replaceable subcomponent of vape device 100 if and when atomizer 20 becomes damaged or simply ceases to work any further. In some embodiments, control assembly 14 can comprise sensors 70 electrically coupled to input interface circuit 34 along with user input buttons and controls (not shown) disposed on vape device 10 in addition to draw sensor 18, as described above and shown in Figure 1. The sensors 70 may include the capacitive vapor measurement system, or portions thereof, described below in connection with vape device 3100 and/or the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200 and may be positioned anywhere in vape device 10.
Control assembly 14 of vape device 100 is preferably substantially similar to control assembly 14 of vape device 10. Atomizer 20 of vape device 100 is preferably
- 30 -substantially similar to atomizer 20 of vape device 10, and may include alternative means for vaporizing a payload other than a heating element as described above in connection with vape device 10. It is within the scope of the invention for atomizer assembly 79 and mouthpiece assembly 88 to be formed integrally within a common housing that is releasably connected to .. control assembly 14. Further, it is within the scope of the invention for control assembly 14 and atomizer assembly 79 to be formed integrally within a common housing that is releasably connected to mouthpiece assembly 88. It is also within the scope of the invention for atomizer assembly 79, mouthpiece assembly 88, and control assembly 14 to be formed integrally within a common housing.
Vape Device Application Referring to Figure 3, a vape device system 102 includes vape device 10 and computing device 72 running application 74 thereon. It is understood that computing device 72 includes a processor 94 that runs application 74, and that references herein to computing device 72 include its processor 94. Vape device 100 and vape device 2800 (described below) may also be operated with computing device 72 in the same manner as described below with respect to vape device 10. In some embodiments, vape device 10 can wirelessly communicate with computing device 72 and application 74 via RF communications link 73. In some embodiments, RF communications link 73 can comprise one or more of BluetoothTM
communications protocol, WiFiTM IEEE 802 communications protocol, Zigbee IEEE
802.15.4-based protocol, and any other RF, short-range, and long-range communications protocol as well known to those skilled in the art. Vape device 10 may also communicate with computing device 72 via a wired connection established for example between electrical connector 35 of vape device 10 and a communications connector (not shown) of computing device 72.
In some embodiments, application 74 can present a visual "dashboard" 75 comprising visual information and controls that can be operated by a user. In some embodiments, dashboard 75 can comprise user information window 76 for displaying information regarding the operation of vape device 10 in addition to general information. This general information can include general news as well as information on available updates for vape device 10 or the application 74 from the manufacturer or supplier of the same.
In some embodiments, dashboard 75 can comprise a locate button 78 as a means for the user to determine the location of vape device 10 should the user misplace it. By
-31 -pressing locate button 78, computing device 72 can send a signal wirelessly to vape device 10 to operate an audible signal from an audio speaker or buzzer or other like device disposed thereon to assist the user in finding vape device 10. In other embodiments, pressing locate button 78 can assist the user to determine his or her geographic location (using geographic location capabilities of computing device 72) and whether cannabis products can be consumed using vape device 10 in that location (e.g., whether there are any governmental regulations, laws, or rules applicable to or enforceable in the geographic area where vape device 10 is located that may subject the user of vape device 10 to criminal or administrative penalties, fines, or enforcement actions). In some embodiments, dashboard 75 can comprise heat swipe button 80 as a means for the user to manually control the heat used to vaporize payload 64, wherein the signal transmitted by application 74 to vape device 10 to control the heat can be included in the operational settings. In some embodiments, dashboard 75 can comprise lock indicator 82, unlock indicator 84 and swipe button 86 as a means to enable and disable vape device 10 by the user swiping swipe button 86 right or left, respectively.
In some embodiments, the application 74 can access an online source of data to update the database (described below) or otherwise process information, which can be done periodically and/or automatically, or manually by the user prompting the application to update the data, or a combination of both processes. As described below, the online source of data may include operational settings for a plurality of vape devices 10 and substances contained with payload reservoirs 26. The online source of data may also include a list of payload identifiers that have been stolen, a list of payload identifiers that have been recalled, and/or a list of payload identifiers that have been returned to a return center (e.g., for recycling). In addition, the online source of data may include a list of control assemblies that are authorized for use with each payload reservoir 26. In one embodiment, each control assembly is identified by a control assembly identifier, and the online source of data comprises a list of control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with each payload reservoir 26.
Database In some embodiments, a database is provided that stores the unique payload .. identifiers for a plurality of payload reservoirs and associates each of the unique payload identifiers with specific operational settings and/or secondary data. The secondary data may comprise, for example, user information, authentication information, prescription information, payload information, historical usage information (including historical vape device usage information and historical payload reservoir information), recall information, return
- 32 -information, and control assembly information, as described below. Of course, it should be understood that the database may store any combination of operational settings and secondary data as required for a particular application.
User information can include, but is not limited to, various physiological characteristics, such as a user's height, weight, age, gender, medical record and histories, and medical conditions.
User information can also include demographic information, such as a user's employer, employment history, educational history, criminal history, and the like. Not only can such user information be used for controlling operational settings of the vane device 10, but demographic information can be used to display targeted content, advertisements, and material on the dashboard 75 and/or user information window 76.
User information can be retrieved from, for example, third-party health, fitness, and social networking software applications on the computing device 72, such as Facebook0, LinkedIn , SnapchatO, Twitter , and/or Fitbit0. In addition, user information can be retrieved by application 74 or a remote computing device from third-party databases, such as health information databases, medical records databases, health insurance company databases, crime databases, legal and court databases, and the like. Further, user information can be entered into the application 74 and/or vane device 10 (via, e.g., user input devices coupled to user input interface circuit 34) by the user.
Authentication information can include a password or passcode, a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, a retinal scan, or any other type of biometric information that can be used to identify a user. Authentication information can be entered into the application 74 and/or vane device 10 (via, e.g., user input devices coupled to user input interface circuit 34) by the user.
Prescription information can be retrieved from, for example, pharmacy and dispensary databases, as well as from physicians, pharmacists, and others licensed to write and/or manage prescriptions. The prescription information preferably includes whether a particular user has a valid, unexpired prescription to use the substance within payload reservoir 26.
Payload information may include an identification of the particular substance located within a payload reservoir 26 and the original volume of the substance located within payload reservoir 26.
Historical usage information may include information associated with use of the vane device 10 (historical vane device usage information) and/or information associated with
- 33 -use of the payload reservoir 26 (historical payload reservoir information).
The historical vape device usage information can include, but is not limited to, the number of prior sessions during which the vape device 10 was used, user information related to prior sessions, durations of prior sessions, operational settings of prior sessions, metering and dose information of prior sessions, and the like. The historical payload reservoir information can include details related to the payload reservoir 26, such as the original payload contents, remaining contents, used contents, content usage by session, and the like.
Recall information may include information indicating that payload reservoir has been recalled. Return information may include information indicating that payload reservoir 26 has been returned to a return center (e.g., for recycling).
Control assembly information may include information on control assemblies that are authorized for use with payload reservoir 26. In one embodiment, each control assembly is identified by a control assembly identifier, and the control assembly information comprises a list of control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with payload reservoir 26.
It should be understood that the database may be maintained in memory of computing device 72 that is accessible by application 74, in memory of microcontroller 31, and/or in an external memory remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72 that is accessible via a global telecommunications network 92. Any type of relational database software may be used to maintain the data in the applicable memory, such as the Microsoft Access software sold by Microsoft Corporation, the Oracle software sold by Oracle Corporation, or the SQL software sold by Sybase, Inc. Of course, other database software may also be used as is known to those skilled in the art.
Method of Usin2 Vape Device Referring to Figure 4, steps in accordance with one exemplary method for operating and controlling vape device 10 and 100 are shown. Although the method is described below in connection with vape device 10, the method may also be used with vape device 100 and vape device 2800 (described below). When used in accordance with the method described herein, vape device 2800 preferably includes an ID tag 28 with a unique payload identifier. The method may be carried out by vape device 10 in connection with application 74 running on computing device 72, shown in FIG. 3. The method may start at step 402 with vape device 10 in a default, locked state, meaning, it cannot be operated. When a user gains access to their computing device 72 at step 404, the computing device 72 can confirm the user's identification (e.g., by the user entering a password, passcode, or biometric authentication) so as to be able to move to step 406, where the computing device 72 can open
- 34 -the application 74 and then communicate with vape device 10 to poll for the unique payload identifier of ID tag 28. The application 74 may also be used to authenticate the user prior to transmission of the payload identifier to the computing device 72. At step 408, vape device 10 can, upon being polled by the computing device 72, read ID tag 28 and then transmit the .. payload identifier to the computing device 72. Specifically, in one embodiment, microcontroller 31 of vape device 10 receives the payload identifier from ID
tag 28, transmits the payload identifier to the wireless transceiver (i.e., RF transceiver circuit 36 and antenna(s) 40), and the antenna(s) 40 transmit the payload identifier to computing device 72.
In step 410, the application 74 can utilize the payload identifier of ID tag 28, .. and optionally, secondary data, to determine the vaporizing or operational settings associated with the payload identifier of ID tag 28, and optionally, as well as in light of the secondary data. As described above, computing device 72 can alternatively transmit the unique payload identifier to a remote computing device at a central server or in the cloud.
The remote computing device may maintain a database of operational settings that are associated with each unique payload identifier and tailored to the particular substance located in the payload reservoir 26 and the particular user using the payload reservoir 26. The remote computing device may then send the operational settings and identification of the specific substance within the payload reservoir 26 back to the computing device 72. In some embodiments, the application 74 proceeds to step 412 and transmits the operational settings to vape device 10.
Specifically, in one embodiment, a wireless transceiver of computing device 72 transmits the operational settings to the antenna(s) 40 and RF transceiver circuit 36 of vape device, which transmits the operational settings to the microprocessor of microcontroller 31. In step 414, the microcontroller 31 in the vape device 10 then operates and controls the vape device 10 based on the operational settings.
In other embodiments, the application 74 proceeds to step 416 instead of step 414, whereupon the application 74 can confirm whether the user is authorized to use vape device 10. Application 74 can utilize any combination of secondary data (e.g., user information, prescription information, location information, payload information, historical vape device usage information, and historical payload reservoir information) and the payload identifier in order to determine if the user is authorized to use the vape device 10. For example, application 74 can use secondary data such as prescription information, as well as payload information indicating the contents of the payload reservoir 26, to determine if the prescription associated with the prescription information allows the user to access the payload contents within payload reservoir 26. In yet another example, application 74 can utilize user
- 35 -information such as gender, age, and weight, as well as historical vape device usage information, to determine an appropriate dosage and/or metering of the vape device 10.
If the user is so authorized, the application 74 can further determine whether payload reservoir 26 (in Figure 1) or mouthpiece assembly 88 (in Figure 2) is genuine and not a counterfeit or, optionally, whether it is stolen or otherwise not authorized for use by the user (e.g., the application 74 may compare the payload identifier to payload information that indicates whether the payload reservoir 26 or mouthpiece assembly 88 has been reported as tampered with or stolen). If genuine and not stolen, then the application 74 can proceed to step 412 where the operational settings can be transmitted to vape device 10 and the user is subsequently allowed to operate vape device 10 in step 414. If not genuine or stolen, the application 74 can lock vape device 10 to prevent its use.
In other embodiments, the application 74 proceeds from step 416 to step 418, instead of proceeding to step 414. In step 418, the application 74 can determine the geographic location of vape device 10 and whether the payload in vape device 10 can be consumed in that location by comparing the geographic location to location information obtained by the application 74. If the payload in vape device 10 can be consumed in the location of vape device 10, the application 74 can proceed to step 412 where the operational settings can be transmitted to vape device 10, and the user is subsequently allowed to operate vape device 10 in step 414.
If the payload in vape device 10 cannot be consumed in the location of vape device 10, the application 74 can lock vape device 10 to prevent its use.
In other embodiments, the application 74 proceeds to step 420 where a permitted duration of time that the vape device 10 can be used is determined.
The permitted duration of time can be determined based on any combination of secondary data (e.g., user information, prescription information, location information, payload information, historical vape device usage information, and historical payload reservoir information) and/or the payload identifier. The permitted duration of time can be transmitted to the vape device as an operational setting in step 412. Once the operational settings are received by vape device 10 at step 414, vape device 10 can implement these operational settings to vaporize the payload contained therein accordingly. In this embodiment, vape device 10 can unlock for use by the user in accordance with the received operational settings. In addition, the vape device 10 can be locked in step 402 after the permitted duration of time or usage has expired.
In addition, after the vape device 10 is operated in step 414, vape device 10, either via the microcontroller 31 and/or the application 74, can be locked in step 402 after use, after a predetermined duration, after being deactivated by the user, after the payload reservoir
- 36 -26 is deemed or calculated to be empty or used, after a new user has been detected, and/or for any other reason that vape device 10 may be locked as described herein.
In one embodiment, the method shown in FIG. 4 may be carried out by vape device 10 running application 74, or an application similar thereto, on the microprocessor of microcontroller 31 without use of computing device 72. In such an embodiment, step 402 remains the same as described above. Step 404 may be modified so that user information is inputted into vape device 10 to determine whether the user is an approved user of vape device and the contents of payload reservoir 26. Steps 406 and 408 may be omitted, or optionally, step 408 may comprise the microprocessor of microcontroller 31 receiving the payload 10 identifier from ID tag 28. In step 410, operational settings are determined based on the payload identifier and/or the secondary data as described above but they are determined by the microprocessor of microcontroller 31 of vape device 10. Step 412 is omitted as the operational settings are already contained on vape device 10. Step 414 proceeds as described above.
Optional steps 416, 418, and 420 may proceed as described above but with an application running on the microprocessor of microcontroller 31 carrying out the steps.
The method may also include operating the vape devices 10 and 100 in accordance with the system and method for optimizing vaporization described below.
In yet another embodiment, the computing device 72 is integrated within, or physically coupled to, the vape device 10. In this embodiment, the payload identifier can be transmitted to the computing device 72 via an electrical connection between the payload reservoir 26 and the integral computing device 72. Similarly, the computing device 72 can transmit the operational settings via the electrical connection to the microcontroller 31. In yet another embodiment, the integral computing device 72 can include a wireless transceiver, or an optical transceiver, and can operate as in the remote computing device embodiments described herein.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise security settings to prevent unauthorized use of the vape devices by anyone other than the owner of the vape devices who has a prescription for medical marijuana. In some embodiments, the security settings can prevent the use of the vape devices in regions or jurisdictions, even by the rightful owner of the vape devices, where the consumption of medical marijuana is not authorized or legal. These security settings can be implemented to appease government or law enforcement for unauthorized use of the vape devices in the consumption of cannabis products, for medical purposes or otherwise.
- 37 -In another embodiment, application 74 and/or vane device 10 can utilize acceleration, motion, altitude, and/or velocity sensors to determine if the user is within, for example, a moving vehicle or airplane. Such information can be used by application 74 and/or vane device 10 to restrict access to, or lock, the vane device 10. Sensors 70 such as accelerometers, altimeters, gyroscopes, and velocity sensors may be integrated with the vane device 10 and/or the computing device 72.
Of course, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the exemplary method for operating and controlling a vane device as described above in connection with FIG. 4, and that other steps and combinations of steps for operating and controlling a vane device using a computing device running application 74 may be used.
In some embodiments, computing device 72 runs an application 74 comprising a set of instructions stored in the memory of computing device 72 and executable by the processor of computing device 72 to perform the processes described herein.
Application 74 causes computing device 72 to retrieve the unique payload identifier, wherein the unique payload identifier and any combination of operational settings and secondary data stored in the database in association with the unique payload identifier, as described above, are used to modify, determine, adjust, or otherwise control the operational settings of, and access to, the vane device. In these embodiments, the database may be maintained in memory of computing device 72 that is accessible by application 74 and/or in an external memory remote from the vane device and computing device 72 that is accessible via a global telecommunications network 92.
In other embodiments, computing device 72 can retrieve the unique payload identifier from the vane device and transmit the unique payload identifier to a remote computing device via global telecommunications network 92, such as a computing device located at a central server or in the cloud. The remote computing device runs an application comprising a set of instructions stored in the memory of the remote computing device and executable by the processor of the remote computing device to perform the processes described herein. The remote computing device utilizes the unique payload identifier and any combination of operational settings and secondary data stored in the database in association with the unique payload identifier, as described above, in order to determine the operational and/or security settings for the vane device and transmit the operational and/or security settings back to computing device 72.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the
- 38 -unique payload identifier as a means to determine the operational settings of the vape device.
In one embodiment, upon receipt of the unique payload identifier, the application can retrieve operational settings stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
The operational settings comprise operational settings for the vape device to vaporize the .. specific payload contained in the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier as per the recommended settings from the manufacturer of the payload and/or vape device. In another embodiment, upon receipt of the unique payload identifier, the application can retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
The payload information can include an identification of the substance contained in the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier, and the application can access the operational settings associated with that substance via a connection to an online source of data.
In another embodiment, the application can access the online source of data to update the operational settings stored in the database, which can be done periodically and automatically, or manually by the user prompting the application to update the data, or a combination of both processes. The operational settings (whether stored in the database or accessed via a connection to an online source of data) may be updated by the manufacturer or provider of the payload reservoir or vape device when new information is learned about the specific substance.
Once the operational settings have been determined as described above, the application causes transmission of the operational settings to the vape device whereby the vape device operates in accordance with the operational settings. Preferably, the vape device checks for new operational settings each time a user uses the vape device so that if the operational settings have been updated, the vape device operates in accordance with the updated operational settings. In this manner, a manufacturer or provider of the payload reservoir or vape device may update operational settings for a specific substance and specific payload reservoirs and be ensured that they will take effect for any future usage of the particular substance and payload reservoirs affected.
In some embodiments, application 74 running on computing device 72 can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if the person in possession of the vape device and computing device 72 is an authorized user.
In one embodiment, application 74 can request the user to input user authentication information, such as a password, a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, a retinal scan, or other biometric information. Upon receipt of the unique payload identifier, application 74 can retrieve authentication information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database. Application 74 can then compare the user authentication
- 39 -information input by the user with the authentication information stored in the database and generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the user who input the user authentication information is authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier. Application 74 can then cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the user who input the user authentication information is not authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier. However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the user who input the user authentication information is authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
In another embodiment, the vape device can be unlocked when the user opens his/her personal computing device 72 and satisfies the device's general security settings, that is, by the user entering his/her security access code or password into the personal computing device, or by using a fingerprint scanner disposed on the personal computing device, or by using a camera disposed on the device for facial or retinal scans of the user, as well known to those skilled in the art. If the person in possession of computing device 72 and the vape device is permitted to open up applications on computing device 72 and, thus, access application 74, application 74 can send an enable signal to the vape device to poll for the unique payload identifier and allow the vape device to operate, provided that all other factors or conditions to allow operation of the vape device have been met. When computing device 72 "goes to sleep,"
is turned off or powers down due to a low battery charge condition, as well known to those skilled in the art, application 74 can send a disable signal to the vape device, to prevent the vape device from operating. Also, when the vape device and computing device 72 are separated by a predetermined physical distance, the vape device can turn off or become disabled until it receives an enable signal from computing device 72. In some embodiments, application 74 can require the input of a password by the user, in addition to any password to be entered or other security measure required by computing device 72, to open up and enable operation of application 74 and, thus, operation of the vape device. If the user can enter the correct password into application 74, then application 74 can send an enable signal to the vape device to poll for the unique payload identifier. Otherwise, while application 74 is closed, application 74 can send a disable signal to the vape device to disable it.
In yet another embodiment, application 74 can compare user information associated with the unique payload identifier (e.g., one or more particular users that can or cannot use the substance within the payload reservoir) with application user information that a
- 40 -user provides to application 74 to determine whether the user of application 74 is permitted to operate the vape device and use the particular payload reservoir.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if the payload can be consumed in the geographic region, location, country, state, or municipality where the user is located. In these embodiments, the application can access the global positioning system ("GPS") features that computing device 72 can possess to determine the physical location of computing device 72 and, thus, of its user. In other embodiments, computing device 72 can use cell tower triangulation techniques or other cell phone location techniques, as well known to those skilled in the art, to determine its geographical location.
Upon receipt of the unique payload identifier, the application can retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
The application can then determine if the substance identified in the payload information can be legally consumed in the location of the user (i.e., the location of computing device 72). In one embodiment, this determination is made by comparing the geographic location of computing device 72 with a database of location information (that may be stored on computing device 72 or a remote computing device) to determine whether the user may legally consume the substance in that location. The application can then generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the substance identified by the unique payload identifier can be legally consumed in the location of computing device 72. The application can then cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the substance identified by the unique payload identifier cannot be legally consumed in the location of computing device 72 (because its usage would violate laws or regulations or for any other reason). However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the substance identified by the unique payload identifier can be legally consumed in the location of computing device 72.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if a payload reservoir has been recalled, e.g., if a recall has been issued for the substance contained in the payload reservoir. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving recall information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the recall information
- 41 -indicates whether the payload reservoir has been recalled. In another embodiment, the application makes this determination by accessing an online source of data that identifies the payload reservoirs that have been recalled (or alternatively, the substances that have been recalled, which can be compared to the payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database). The application can then generate a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been recalled and cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled. However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has not been recalled. This security feature also enables the display of a recall message and/or the sounding of an audible recall message on computing device 72 and/or the vape device itself Of course, these recall messages would not be required if the payload reservoir was depleted, as described below.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if a payload reservoir has been returned to a return center, e.g., for recycling of a cartridge or payload reservoir. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving return information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the return information indicates whether the payload reservoir has been returned. In another embodiment, the application makes this determination by accessing an online source of data that identifies the payload reservoirs that have been returned. The application can then generate a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been returned and cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been returned. However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has not been returned.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if a payload reservoir has been stolen. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the information indicates whether the payload reservoir has been stolen. In another embodiment, the application makes this determination by accessing an online source of data that identifies the
- 42 -payload reservoirs that have been stolen. The application can then generate a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been stolen and cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device.
Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been stolen.
However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has not been stolen.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine if a control assembly of the vape device is authorized for use with the payload reservoir contained in a cartridge of the vape device. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by receiving a control assembly identifier for the control assembly of the vape device (which may be stored in the microcontroller of the control assembly and transmitted to the computing device 72 along with the unique payload identifier). In one embodiment, the control assembly identifier comprises a unique control assembly identifier, but this is optional and not required. The application then identifies a list of one or more control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique identifier. The application then compares the received control assembly identifier with the list of control assembly identifiers and, based on this comparison, generates a security setting indicating whether the control assembly identified by the received control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the received unique payload identifier. The application can then cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is not authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that if the security setting indicates that the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine whether the user of the vape device has a prescription for vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving and analyzing user information and/or prescription information stored in association with the unique payload
- 43 -identifier in the database. The application can then generate a security setting indicating whether the user has a valid prescription for vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir and cause transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the user does not have a valid prescription for vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir. However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the user has a valid prescription for vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir. Preferably, the prescription information is updated in the database when a user's prescription has changed.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine whether the payload reservoir is depleted. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving and analyzing payload information and historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database. The payload information includes the original volume of payload contained within the payload reservoir. The historical payload reservoir usage information is updated based on payload reservoir usage information obtained from the vape device, as described above. The application analyzes the payload information and the historical payload reservoir usage information to determine if the payload reservoir is depleted, e.g., if the current calculated volume of payload is below a predetermined threshold. The application then generates a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir is depleted and causes transmission of the security setting (e.g., an enable or disable control signal) to the vape device. Operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is depleted. However, operation of the vape device is allowed if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is not depleted. This security feature prevents the operation of vape devices with counterfeit payload reservoirs (e.g., a payload reservoir with the same unique identifier as a valid payload reservoir) or vape devices in which the payload reservoirs have been refilled without authorization. This security feature also prevents a user from dry vaping (i.e., inhaling without any payload in the payload reservoir), which provides improved consumer health.
In some embodiments, the application (whether application 74 running on computing device 72 or an application running on the remote computing device) can use the unique payload identifier as a means to determine when the payload reservoir is nearly empty of payload. In one embodiment, the application makes this determination by retrieving and
- 44 -analyzing payload information and historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database. The payload information includes the original volume of payload contained within the payload reservoir. The historical payload reservoir usage information is updated based on payload reservoir usage information obtained from the vape device, as described above. The application analyzes the payload information and the historical payload reservoir usage information to determine when the payload reservoir is nearly empty of payload. When this occurs, the application can alert the user to replace or order a new cartridge and/or automatically order a replacement cartridge.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise a disposable or single-use version with reduced functionality but adapted from higher quality embodiments thereof In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise a traditional "cigarette appearance" while other embodiments can comprise a non-cigarette appearance.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise a light to emulate the ember of a cigarette when vapor is being inhaled.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100, in combination with application 74 running on personal computing device 72, can control the temperature and/or duty cycle of vaporization to optimize for flavor or vapor quantity for any given type of payload to be vaporized for inhalation. In some embodiments, the application 74 can be used to improve the efficiency of the operation of the vape devices 10 and 100 and to maximize the longevity of a fluid or oil-filled cartridge or payload reservoir 26 used in the vape devices.
In some embodiments, the application 74 can include features to customize a user's vape device 10 or 100, such as naming the vape device, selecting its color and controlling a vibrating device disposed in the vape device. In some embodiments, the application 74 can include security settings to control access to the vape devices 10 and 100, and to lock them when not in use.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise a processor (i.e., such as included within microcontroller 31) operating on firmware disposed thereon.
Connectivity between the vape devices 10 and 100 and the application 74 disposed on the personal computing device 72 can enable means for updating the firmware on the vape devices to keep them operating on the most current firmware. In some embodiments, the vape devices can comprise a physical configuration that can be adapted to display an OEM
brand or sub-brand depending on the brand, the sales channel for the branded vape device, and the vape devices' anticipated end use such as medical, recreational, etc.
- 45 -In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 will be used with high quality oil products that cannot leak from the vape devices. The vape devices will avoid producing stale vapor by precise temperature control, quick cooling and providing a fast path for vapor to be inhaled from the vape devices.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise a battery 42 as a power source for vaporizing a payload. The battery 42 can comprise a lithium ion power cell although other battery technologies can be used, as well known to those skilled in the art. As the vape devices are personal use devices, the battery 42 can comprise technology that prevents the advent of an explosion should the battery fail.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be configured not to contain or use propylene glycol ("PG") or other non-essential chemicals anywhere, whether in the oils used in the vape devices or on materials used in the manufacture thereof In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise means for preventing them from overheating.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise means for preventing them from producing latent odors or smells. Vape devices 10 and 100 can further be configured to produce vapor that can be seen when it is exhaled by a user.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be configured to enable viewing of the payload in a cartridge or payload reservoir 26 when it is inserted or attached to the vape devices. In other embodiments, the vape devices can be configured so that the payload in the cartridge is not visible when the cartridge is inserted into the vape devices.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be configured to be water-resistant or water-proof In some embodiments, cartridges for use with the vape devices 10 and 100 can be separated from the vape devices, and can be available in various sizes in terms of the amount of payload they can contain.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise means for acquiring data on a cartridge based on the serial number of the cartridge that can be used to control the operation of the vape device. For example, the vape device can acquire certain data specific to the payload in the cartridge to know the manufacturer-recommended temperature and/or duty cycle for heating the payload in order to achieve optimum vaporization. In some embodiments, the vape devices can comprise means for enabling the user to alter one or more operational settings of the vape devices to suit the user's personal preferences. In some embodiments, the vape devices can comprise means for tracking of data relating to the
- 46 -operation of the vape devices and their use by a user. In some embodiments, the vape devices can be configured to provide warnings in the advent of certain conditions of the vape devices, such as when the cartridge is almost empty, when the battery is nearly depleted, when the heating element is overheating or non-functioning to name but a few. In some embodiments, the vape devices can comprise means for monitoring and collecting data on how the vape devices are being used by a user, and to provide information and assessments about the way the user uses the vape devices in addition to being able to provide advice to the user on how to improve or optimize their use of the vape devices based on the user's current use of the vape devices.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be configured for exchanging data with other personal computing devices 72 that a user may use or possess, such as a smart phone or device (like an iPhone0 or Apple Watch ) or a fitness tracking wristband (like a Fitbit0) to provide the user with further information on their life and habits.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can comprise means for locating them should they become lost. This can include means for communicating with a smart phone or device to provide similar functionality as the Find iPhoneTM
app as used on Apple iPhones0 and iPads0.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be configured for communicating with an application 74 running on a smart phone or personal computing device 72, wherein the app can comprise the ability to adjust the temperature and/or duty cycle the heating element 22 operates at, as well as being able to control the operation of the vape devices for users of various experience. As an example, the application 74 can enable an anti-cough setting on the vape devices for a novice user.
Vape devices 10 and 100 can preferably communicate with smart phones or devices and operate in conjunction with applications running thereon to control and monitor the use of the vape devices by a user, as described above. In some embodiments, the application 74 can be configured to acquire specific information on the payload being vaporized based on the serial number of the cartridge. This information can then be used to control or meter the dose of vapor inhaled by the user.
In some embodiments, vape devices 10 and 100 can be locked and unlocked by the user with their personal computing device 72. In some embodiments, the vape devices can be configured to be child-resistant, as well as prevent use by an unauthorized user. In some embodiments, the vape devices can be configured to lock inherently when not connected to the application 74 for regulatory purposes. In some embodiments, the vape devices can further
- 47 -comprise means for identifying an authorized user when connectivity with the user's smart phone or device is lost, such as when the user does not have their smart phone or device, or when the battery in the smart phone or device becomes depleted. Such means can include a fingerprint sensor disposed on each vane device itself, wherein the vane devices can retain personal data on the user such as one or more fingerprint scan data stored in a memory on the vane devices in order to determine whether a fingerprint scan taken by the fingerprint sensor matches the fingerprint scan data stored in the memory to confirm the identity of the person attempting to use the vane devices is an authorized user.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, vane devices 10 and 100 may comprise:
an atomizer comprising a heating element, the atomizer further comprising an inlet and an outlet; a mouthpiece operatively coupled to the outlet; and a payload reservoir operatively coupled to the inlet, the payload reservoir comprising an identifier ("ID") tag comprising a unique identifier for the payload reservoir, the payload reservoir configured to hold a payload that can be drawn into the atomizer to be vaporized when the user draws on the mouthpiece.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vane device can further comprise a radio frequency transceiver or wireless transceiver and at least one antenna operatively coupled to the transceiver, the combination of the transceiver and the antenna configured for enabling the wireless transmission of data between the vane device and a personal computing device.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, an improved vane device system can be .. provided, the system comprising a vane device comprising: an atomizer comprising a heating element, the atomizer further comprising an inlet and an outlet, a mouthpiece operatively coupled to the outlet, a payload reservoir operatively coupled to the inlet, the payload reservoir comprising an identifier ("ID") tag comprising a unique identifier for the payload reservoir, the payload reservoir configured to hold a payload that can be drawn into the atomizer to be vaporized when the user draws on the mouthpiece, and a radio frequency transceiver and at least one antenna operatively coupled to the transceiver, the combination of the transceiver and the at least one antenna configured for wirelessly transmitting and receiving data; and a personal computing device configured for the wireless transmission of the data to and from the vane device.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vane device can further comprise a switch or a draw sensor operatively coupled to the mouthpiece, the switch or the draw sensor configured to cause electrical current to flow through the heating element when the switch is operated or when the user draws on the mouthpiece.
- 48 -Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vape device can further comprise a battery configured to provide the electrical current.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vape device can further comprise a battery charger configured for charging the battery.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the personal computing device can comprise a software application running thereon, wherein the combination of the vape device and the personal computing device can be configured for wireless control of the vape device using the personal computing device.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the software application can be further configured for carrying out the steps of: interpreting the ID tag via first data transmitted to the personal computing device from the vape device, the first data comprising the unique payload identifier; using the unique identifier to determine what payload is in the payload reservoir; and transmitting an operational setting to the vape device from the personal computing device, the operational setting comprising instructions to the vape device to either enable operation of the vape device if the user is authorized to use the vape device or to disable operation of the vape device if the user is not authorized to use the vape device.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the operational setting can further comprise instructions to the vape device to either enable operation of the vape device if the user is located in a geographic region where the payload can be vaporized by the user and to .. disable operation of the vape device if the user is located in a geographic region where the payload cannot be vaporized by the user.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vape device can further comprise a microcontroller operatively coupled to the atomizer and to the ID tag, the microcontroller configured to control the operation of the vape device.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the vape device can further comprise a user interface operatively coupled to the microcontroller.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the user interface can comprise one or more user input control devices operatively coupled to the microcontroller, the input control devices configured for controlling the operation of the vape device when operated by the user.
Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the user interface can further comprise one or more user output indicating devices operatively coupled to the microcontroller, the output indicating devices configured for relaying information on the operation of the vape device to the user.
- 49 -Broadly stated, in some embodiments, the atomizer can be disposed in an atomizer assembly; the mouthpiece and the payload reservoir can be both disposed in a mouthpiece assembly; and the microcontroller can be disposed in a control assembly, wherein the atomizer assembly can be disposed between the mouthpiece assembly and the control assembly.
0ptimizin2 Vaporization In addition to operating as described above, vape devices 10 and 100, vape device system 102, and vape device 2800 (described below) may be configured to optimize vaporization for a particular user by using sensors and microcontrollers to monitor, analyze, and store a user's draw profile. The information obtained may be used to adapt the heat profile of the vape device 10, 100, 2800 and vape device system 102. Optimizing vaporization in accordance with the system and method described below results in a more efficient vape device and a better user experience.
As described above, vape devices 10 and 100 include an atomizer 20 that is used to vaporize a payload, such as but not limited to, a fluid, oil, or tablet containing nicotine or cannabis (in dry, oil, wax, crystalline, or shatter form). Although the description below refers to the vape devices 10 and 100, it is within the scope of the invention to configure cartridges 900, 1000, 1100, 1900, 2100, 2400, 2500, and 2600 and vape device 2800 to operate in a similar manner. When atomizer 20 includes a heating element such as heating element 22 to vaporize the payload, different compounds of the payload may be vaporized at different temperatures. For example, the table below lists the temperature at which different compounds of a payload may vaporize.
Compound Boiling/Vaporization Temperature A-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 157 C
Cannabidiol (CBD) 160-180 C
Cannabinol (CBN) 185 C
Cannabichromene (CBC) 220 C
A-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (A-8-THC) 175-178 C
tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) <220 C
- 50 -Nicotine 247 C
The various compounds within the payload may have different effects on the user when vaped, and thus the user may desire to control the temperature of heating element 22 so that it releases certain compounds from the payload and not others, which may not provide a desired effect or be harmful. In order to ensure that desired compounds from the payload are released when heating element 22 heats the payload, it is desirable for the temperature of heating element 22 to be as accurate and consistent as possible. The temperature of the heating element 22 can vary based on a number of different factors, including the air flow through the mouthpiece 16 and atomizer 20 caused by a user drawing vaporized payload and air through the vape device 10, the composition of the payload within payload reservoir 26, and the thermal conductivity of the vape device 10. The temperature of heating element 22 can also be adjusted by regulating the amount of power provided to the heating element 22 from battery 42. Microcontroller 31 has the ability to adjust the level of power (by either current or voltage control) provided to the heating element 22 from battery 42.
A vape device user often uses a vape device in a similar manner from one vape session to the next. For example, FIGS. 6A-6D are charts showing the mean and 95%
confidence intervals calculated based on multiple measurements of draws or puffs from a vape device for twenty-two different vape device users. FIG. 6A shows the mean and 95%
confidence intervals for the users' measured puff duration, or draw length, in seconds. FIG.
6B shows the mean and 95% confidence intervals for the users' measured puff flow, or draw strength, in milliliters/second. FIG. 6C shows the mean and 95% confidence intervals for the users' measured puff or draw volume in milliliters. FIG. 6D shows the mean and 95%
confidence intervals for the users' measured puff interval, or time span between puffs/draws, in seconds. From the charts, it can be seen that the majority of the vape device users had relatively narrow confidence intervals for puff duration (FIG. 6A), puff flow (FIG. 6B), and puff volume (FIG. 6C). Many of the users also had relatively narrow confidence intervals for puff interval (FIG. 6D). The narrow confidence intervals are an indication that each user has a similar draw length and draw strength in each of multiple draws from the vape device.
By measuring a user's draw length, draw strength, and other operational conditions of the vape device over time, the user's preferred draw length, draw strength, and other operational conditions can be predicted for future vaping sessions and used to optimize operational settings of the vape device to correspond to that particular user.
The measured operational conditions can also be used to predict a user's typical vape session, which may
-51 -constitute a plurality of draws from the vape device of different draw lengths and draw strengths with time intervals between each draw. By way of example, a typical session for a user that includes multiple draws may follow the pattern of: five total draws;
each draw having a draw length of approximately three seconds; each draw consisting of two seconds of a relatively high draw strength with the draw strength decreasing for the last second; and a time interval of fifteen seconds between each draw.
FIG. 5 shows one example of a typical representative vape session of a user based on measured draw lengths, draw strengths, and time intervals between draws. The representative vape session shown in FIG. 5 includes a first puff/draw, a second puff/draw, and a final (nth) puff/draw. The representative vape session may be used by any of the vape devices and cartridges described herein to power the heating element of the vape devices and cartridges an appropriate amount at appropriate times. For example, the power sent to heating element 22 may be variable based on the representative vape session with more power sent to heating element 22 at times of peak draw strength (shown in FIG. 5 as a higher flow in ml/s) and less power sent to heating element 22 as the draw begins and ends. Between draws, no power or a minimal amount of power may be sent to heating element 22. The level of power sent to heating element 22 may also vary based on real-time measurements of the draw strength and draw length that may vary from the representative vape session profile, which is based on historical draw strength and historical draw length measurements, the type of payload being heated, preferred heating modes selected by the user (as described below), and desired temperatures associated with the payload and preferred selected heating mode.
The representative vape session profile may be updated with each vape session so that it changes when a user's manner of vaping changes.
A preferred vape device for use in accordance with the system and methods of optimizing vaporization described herein is described below in connection with vape device 10; however, any of the vape devices and cartridges described herein, and other types of vape devices and cartridges may be used in connection with this system and method.
When used in connection with the system and method of optimizing vaporization described herein, the payload reservoir 26 of vape device 10 is preferably configured to hold a payload or substance for vaporization. Heating element 22, or any other type of heating element, is configured to heat the payload within the payload reservoir 26. The heating element 22 may be placed in direct contact with the payload, or heat the payload by convection or another manner as described herein. Battery 42, or any other type of power source, is electrically coupled to heating element 22. At least one sensor, such as draw sensor 18 or sensors 70 (which may be
- 52 -one or more of a mass air flow sensor, air pressure sensor, air temperature sensor, payload temperature sensor, atomizer ambient temperature sensor, a heating element temperature sensor, a dose measurement sensor and/or any other type of suitable sensor), is configured to sense an operational condition of vape device 10 as a user draws vapor from vape device 10 or as vapor is generated by the vape device 10. The sensors used may include the capacitive vapor measurement system described below in connection with vape device 3100 and/or the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200.
A processor, such as included within microcontroller 31, is configured to execute a set of instructions stored in a memory device allowing it to receive the operational condition from the sensor and adjust power provided to the heating element 22 by the battery 42 based on the sensed operational condition. When the at least one sensor includes an air pressure sensor or an air flow sensor, the sensed operational condition is an air pressure and/or a draw strength (i.e. air flow measured in, for example, ml/s). When the at least one sensor includes a temperature sensor, the temperature sensor is preferably configured to sense at least one of a temperature of the heating element 22, a temperature of the payload in the payload reservoir 26, or a temperature of a vaporized portion of the payload after it is vaporized by the heating element 22. The processor in microcontroller 31 is configured to operate the vape device 10 and vape device system 102 in accordance with any of the methods described below.
A first method for optimizing vaporization with vape device 10 and vape device system 102 (or any of the vape devices and cartridges described herein) includes sensing an operational condition of vape device 10 as a user draws vapor from vape device 10 or, more broadly, as vapor is generated by the vape device 10, and adjusting a power provided to heating element 22 based on the sensed operational condition. The operational condition includes at least one of a draw strength, a draw length, a payload temperature, an air temperature, an air pressure, an atomizer ambient temperature, an air flow, a heating element temperature, and a dose measurement. The operational condition(s) of the vape device 10 are sensed by draw sensor 18 and/or sensors 70 in real time and adjustments are made to the power provided to heating element 22 to maintain during the user's draw or generation of vapor by the vape device 10: the heating element 22 at a desired heating element temperature (or range of .. temperatures); the payload that is in contact with and/or being heated by the heating element (not necessarily the payload positioned within the payload reservoir 26 and not being heated for vaporization) at a desired payload temperature (or range of payload temperatures); and/or a sensed air temperature (e.g., a sensed air temperature adjacent an outlet of atomizer 20) at a desired air temperature (or range of air temperatures). The desired range for the payload
- 53 -temperature preferably corresponds to a user selected cannabinoid. For example, the user may select one of the cannabinoids from the table above, and the desired temperature range correlates with the temperature listed in the table for the selected cannabinoid. Preferably, the operational condition(s) of the vape device 10 are continuously sensed by draw sensor 18 or sensors 70 during a user's draw of vapor from vape device 10 and during a vape session, and the microcontroller 31 continuously adjusts the power provided to heating element 22 to maintain the heating element 22 and payload at a desired temperature or within a range of desired temperatures.
When the operational condition is an air pressure and/or a draw strength, the power provided to heating element 22 is increased to raise the temperature of the heating element 22 when the sensed outlet air pressure decreases relative to inlet air pressure (or inlet air pressure increases relative to outlet air pressure) or the sensed draw strength increases. The power provided to heating element 22 is decreased to lower the temperature of heating element 22 when the sensed outlet air pressure increases relative to inlet air pressure (or inlet air pressure decreases relative to outlet air pressure) or the sensed draw strength decreases.
Because the draw strength and corresponding air flow rate impacts the temperature of the heating element 22, an air pressure sensor or an air flow sensor can be used to quantify the volume of the air flow going through the heating element 22. A
stronger draw (more air flow) will cool the element and the payload at a much faster rate, which can result in a suboptimal temperature for vaporization (the temperature might become too low for vaporization). A weaker draw (less air flow) will lead to a higher temperature, which can result in the vaporization of undesirable compounds or burning of the payload.
By measuring the air flow (either using an air flow sensor or an air pressure sensor), the power is dynamically adjusted (by either current or voltage control) to the heating element 22 in real time.
FIGS. 7A and 7B show flow diagrams of this first method of optimizing vaporization. As shown in FIG. 7A, the heating element power is increased based on an increase in a desired temperature of the payload and heating element 22 and based on an increase in an air flow measurement taken by an air flow sensor. The heating element power increases the heating element temperature and the air flow decreases the heating element temperature. Thus, the air flow measurement is used to increase the heating element power to take into account the decrease in heating element temperature caused by the air flow.
FIG. 7B shows a flow diagram that is the same as FIG. 7A with the addition that the process in FIG. 7B includes using the heating element temperature, as measured by a temperature sensor, to adjust the heating element power. The integrated temperature control
- 54 -system described below in connection with vape device 4200 may be used to sense the temperature and adjust the heating element power. For example, if the heating element temperature rises above the desired temperature, the heating element power may be decreased to lower the heating element temperature back to the desired temperature.
A second method for optimizing vaporization with vape device 10 and vape device system 102 (or any of the vape devices and cartridges described herein) includes sensing a plurality of draw strengths and a plurality of draw lengths with the draw sensor 18 and/or sensors 70 on the vape device 10 (preferably either an air pressure sensor or an air flow sensor). Each draw strength and each draw length is associated with an instance of a user drawing vapor from the vape device 10. A historical draw strength is determined from the sensed plurality of draw strengths, and a historical draw length is determined from the sensed plurality of draw lengths. A heating profile for heating element 22 is determined based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length. Microcontroller 31 adjusts the power provided to the heating element 22 by battery 42 in accordance with the heating profile.
Using the historical draw strength and historical draw length, the heating profile can be pre-defined so that the heating element 22 is heated to a temperature that is appropriate for how the user typically uses the vape device 10.
The historical draw strength and the historical draw length may be determined by averaging all measured draw strengths and draw lengths, respectively, over time as the user uses vape device 10. The historical draw strength and the historical draw length may be determined by microcontroller 31 based on individual draw strengths and draw lengths that are stored in memory on vape device 10, in memory on computing device 72, or in memory remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72. The historical draw strength and the historical draw length may alternatively be determined by processor 94 of computing device 72, which is separate from vape device 10, that executes a set of instructions (e.g., as provided with application 74) stored in memory of computing device 72. Processor 94 may determine the historical draw strength and draw length based on individual draw strengths and draw lengths that are sent by vape device 10 to computing device 72 and stored in memory of computing device 72. Further, the historical draw strength and the historical draw length may be determined by processor 94 executing application 74 based on individual draw strengths and draw lengths that are sent by vape device 10 to computing device 72 and sent by computing device 72 via global telecommunications network 92 to a database or remote computing device that is remote and separate from the vape device 10 and the computing device 72. The individual draw strengths and draw lengths may be stored in the remote
- 55 -database and accessed by computing device 72 for determining the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, or a processor remote from computing device 72 may access the individual draw strengths and individual draw lengths on the remote database, determine the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, and send them to computing device 72.
The historical draw strength and the historical draw length may be stored: in the database that is remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72; in memory on computing device 72;
and/or in memory on vape device 10.
The heating profile corresponds to the amount of power that needs to be provided to the heating element 22 over time to maintain the heating element 22 and payload at a desired temperature over time. The amount of power within the heating profile is preferably variable over time taking into account the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, and how the power provided to heating element 22 needs to be varied based on the cooling effect of a draw to maintain the temperature of the heating element 22 and payload within a desired range of temperatures. The heating profile may be determined by any of .. microcontroller 31, processor 94 of computing device 72 executing application 74, or a processor remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72, and stored in memory of vape device 10, computing device 72, or a database remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72. If the heating profile is determined and stored remotely from vape device 10, it is preferably sent to the microcontroller 31 of vape device 10 so that the microcontroller 31 can adjust the power provided to heating element 22 in accordance with the heating profile. The historical draw strength, historical draw length, and heating profile are preferably updated with each draw from the user so that over time the vape device 10 learns the user's vaping profile.
Microcontroller 31 may begin powering heating element 22 in accordance with the heating profile, and then adjust the heating profile in real-time as vapor is generated by the vape device 10 in accordance with the first method of optimizing vaporization described above. For example, operational conditions, such as draw strength, draw length, payload temperature, air temperature, air pressure, atomizer ambient temperature, air flow, heating element temperature, and dose measurement, can be measured in real-time as the vapor is generated by the vape device 10, and the heating profile based on the historical draw length and historical draw strength can be modified in real-time as vapor is generated by the vape device to adjust the power provided to heating element 22 based on the sensed operational conditions.
In addition to being determined based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, the heating profile is also preferably determined based on the particular
- 56 -payload being heated and desired compounds or cannabinoids that a user selects. For example, different payloads and different desired compounds or cannabinoids require different temperatures for optimal vaporization. The heating profile may also be determined based on operational settings that vape device 10, processor 94 of computing device 72, or a central processor remote from vape device 10 and computing device 72 determine based on the unique payload identifier for payload reservoir 26 described above. For example, the unique payload identifier may be transmitted from the vape device 10 to the computing device 72, which uses the unique payload identifier to determine the specific compound(s) within the payload reservoir 26. The computing device 72 may send the unique payload identifier to a remote central processor and database using global telecommunications network 92, where the unique payload identifier is associated with the specific compound(s) within the payload reservoir 26 and with preferred operational settings for the specific compound. Those operational settings may be transmitted back to computing device 72 and vape device 10 and used to develop the heating profile. If the vape device 10 is not connected to a computing device 72, the vape device 10 may have the ability to independently determine the operational settings and heating profile(s), the vape device 10 may operate with default operational settings and heating profile(s) stored on the vape device 10, and/or the vape device 10 may operate with the last set of operational settings and heating profile(s) received from a computing device 72.
The heating profile is also preferably determined in accordance with a heating mode selected by the user for vape device 10. For example, the user may use user input buttons or controls of control assembly 14 or application 74 to select a desired heating mode for the vape device 10. Exemplary heating modes may include a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode, each of which are described below.
When the potency mode is the selected heating mode for vape device 10, power is provided to heating element 22 when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from vape device 10, and power is not provided to heating element 22 when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user has stopped drawing vapor from vape device 10.
Thus, the heating element 22 is powered throughout a user's entire draw of vapor from vape device 10. This results in vapor production throughout the entire length of the draw. The amount of power provided to heating element 22 for the potency mode may be determined based on the heating profile (i.e., the historical draw strength, historical draw length, particular payload, and desired compounds or cannabinoids that a user selects). At the end of the draw, the heating element 22 and payload will still be at the vaporizing temperature for the particular
- 57 -compounds desired for vaporization, which may cause some of the payload to vaporize and be lost after the user has completed drawing vapor from the device.
When the efficiency mode is the selected heating mode for vape device 10, power is provided to heating element 22 for no longer than an efficiency time period that is determined based on the user's historical draw length such that the efficiency time period is shorter than the historical draw length. The efficiency time period begins when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from vape device 10 and preferably ends before the user stops drawing vapor from vape device 10 unless the user stops drawing vapor before the end of the efficiency time period. By turning off the heating element 22 before the end of the draw, the user is able to inhale all of the residual vapor that is generated as the heating element 22 and payload cool down, without substantial loss of vaporized payload. As an alternative to turning off the heating element 22 entirely before the end of the draw, power to the heating element 22 may be reduced gradually or in steps before the end of the user's historical draw length. The reduction of power may be determined based on the user's historical draw strength. If the actual draw length is shorter than the efficiency time period, vape device 10 may sense that the draw has ended and turn off the heating element 22 at the end of the draw even though the efficiency time period has not fully ended. In this manner, the efficiency time period is a maximum time for powering the heating element 22, but not a minimum time. Further, when in the efficiency mode, the vape device 10 has more time to begin cooling down, which reduces the residual heat that is transferred to the user's hand, pocket or purse.
When the decarb mode is the selected heating mode for vape device 10, the heating profile corresponds to a decarb temperature and a decarb time duration that allows decarboxylation of the payload of the vape device. The decarb time duration may be selected by the user or based on the user's historical draw length, and the decarb temperature may be calculated based on the decarb time duration. The decarb time duration may optionally be shortened based on an actual draw length if an actual draw is shorter than the preset decarb time duration. For example, FIG. 8A shows the approximate time for decarboxylation of THCA to THC at different temperatures, and FIG. 8B shows the THC content in cannabis over time at different temperatures. The times and temperatures shown in FIGS. 8A
and 8B may be used to set the heating profile for the decarb mode.
In addition, or as an alternative, to determining historical draw strength and historical draw length of a user, the method of optimizing vaporization may include determining a vape session profile of a user. The vape session profile is based on a plurality of
- 58 -vape sessions undertaken by the user, where each vape session includes a plurality of draws that are separated by a relatively short period of time. The vape session profile may include a historical number of draws during a user's typical vape session. For each of the draws, the vape session profile may include a historical draw length and a historical draw strength. For .. example, the vape session profile may include a first historical draw strength and a first historical draw length that are determined based on a first plurality of draw strengths and a first plurality of draw lengths, respectively, each corresponding to a first draw of vapor from vape device 10 during the plurality of vape sessions. The vape session profile may include a second historical draw strength and a second historical draw length that are determined based on a second plurality of draw strengths and a second plurality of draw lengths, respectively, each corresponding to a second draw of vapor from vape device 10 during the plurality of vape sessions. The vape session profile may further include additional historical draw strengths and additional historical draw lengths for each of the historical number of draws during a user's typical vape session.
Further, each of the historical number of draws during a user's typical vape session may include its own heating profile that is based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length of the particular draw in the sequence of the historical number of draws.
For example, the vape session profile may include a first heating profile that is determined based on the first historical draw strength and the first historical draw length, a second heating profile that is determined based on the second historical draw strength and the second historical draw length, and additional heating profiles each determined based on the additional historical draw strengths and additional historical draw lengths. Each of the heating profiles may be determined as described above and used to adjust the power provided to the heating element 22 during a user's vape session, such that each draw in sequence of a user's vape session has its own predefined heating profile in accordance with how the user typically draws vapor during a vape session or generated vapor with the vape device. For example, during a first draw of a new vape session, power is provided to heating element 22 in accordance with the first heating profile, during a second draw of a new vape session, power is provided to heating element 22 in accordance with the second heating profile, and during additional draws of a new vape session, power is provided to heating element 22 in accordance with the additional heating profiles.
The first heating profile, the second heating profile, and the additional heating profiles may each be determined in accordance with one of the exemplary heating modes described above (i.e., the potency mode, the efficiency mode, and the decarb mode). The user
- 59 -may select different heating modes for each of the first heating profile, the second heating profile, and the additional heating profiles such that during a new vape session, different heating modes may be used for each draw of vapor from vape device 10. For example, if a user's typical vape session includes five draws, the user's vape session profile may be set up so that the heating mode for the first three draws is set to the potency mode, and the heating mode for the last two draws is set to the efficiency mode. Because the user will take additional draws after each of the first three draws, there is less worry about losing vaporized material, and thus the potency mode can be used during those first three draws. The last two draws are set to the efficiency mode so that little vapor is lost and the vape device has time to cool down before it is stowed away in a user's pocket, purse, or other desired location.
Alternatively, a heating profile for a user may be defined to have multiple heating modes that each operate for a set period of time. For example, the heating profile may have a first heating mode and a second heating mode that are each selected to be one of the potency mode, the efficiency mode, or the decarb mode. The heating profile may cause the vape device 10 to operate in the first heating mode for a first time period of the heating profile and in the second heating mode for a second time period of the heating profile following the first time period. Additional heating modes operating for additional time periods may follow the second time period. The overall time period for the heating mode may correspond to the overall length of a user's historical vape session as determined based on the lengths of a plurality of vape sessions. For example, if a user's historical vape session length is 390 seconds, the first 300 seconds of a new vape session may be set to operate in the potency mode, and the last 90 seconds (or more depending on how long the new vape session lasts) may be set to operate in the efficiency mode.
The user may set the heating modes on user controls of vape device 10 or using application 74 or another computing device that can send information to vape device 10 directly or through another computing device. Further, the user may view the measured operational conditions (e.g., draw strength, draw length, payload temperature, air temperature, air pressure, atomizer ambient temperature, air flow, heating element temperature, and dose measurement), historical draw strength, historical draw length, vape session profile, heating profile, power levels, cannabinoid selections and/or specific compound(s) within the payload on an output display of vape device 10 or on computing device 72 or another computing device that can receive information from vape device 10 directly or through another computing device. The user can preferably alter or fine tune the vape session profile, heating profile, and power levels to desired settings using vape device 10 or computing device 72.
Further, the
- 60 -user can preferably set up multiple vape session profiles, heating profiles, and power levels, and for new vape sessions select one of the multiple predefined vape session profiles, heating profiles, and power levels, as desired.
Vape Devices and Cartrid2es for Use With Dry Tablets Additional embodiments of the invention described herein include a vape device that is designed to heat a payload comprising dry material, such as cannabis, such that the active components in the dry material are vaporized for inhalation, a cartridge portion of the vape device that receives the dry material, a tablet formed from dry material for use with the vape device and cartridge, methods of using the vape device and cartridge to vaporize the tablet, and methods of making the tablet. The tablets may be formed from dry material that is pressed into a shape. The tablets may be heated by conduction, when they are in direct contact with a heating element, by convection, when heated air is drawn over or through the tablets, or by a combination of conduction and convection. The term "dry material" when used herein is not limited to material that is completely devoid of any fluid. Rather, the term is used to denote material that is capable of being pressed together to form a solid or semi-solid tablet for insertion into a vape device or cartridge.
A cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with one embodiment of the invention described herein is identified generally as 900 in FIG. 9A.
Cartridge 900 heats a tablet 940 (FIG. 9B) by conduction with the tablet 940 being in direct contact with a heating element 942. Although cartridge 900 is shown and described herein as being used with a tablet 940, it is within the scope of the invention for cartridge 900 to be used in connection with a payload comprising dry material that is not necessarily pressed into tablet form. If tablet 940 has internal holes or flow passageways (as described below), heated air may flow through tablet 940 to also heat tablet 940 by convection. Cartridge 900 includes a housing formed from an outer side wall 902 and end caps 904 and 906 each removably threaded into engagement with internal threads of the outer side wall 902. Outer side wall 902 is preferably clear, but may be any color. End cap 904 includes a first end wall 908 of cartridge 900, and end cap 906 includes a second end wall 910 of cartridge 900. End cap 904 further includes a first cylindrical tube 912 (FIG. 9B) integral with and extending from first end wall 908, and a second cylindrical tube 914 integral with and extending from first cylindrical tube 912. The outer surface of second cylindrical tube 914 has a diameter that is less than the diameter of the outer surface of first cylindrical tube 912. The inner surface of second cylindrical tube 914 has a diameter that is substantially the same as the diameter of the inner surface of first cylindrical
- 61 -tube 912. External threads are formed on the outer surfaces of first cylindrical tube 912 and second cylindrical tube 914. The external threads on first cylindrical tube 912 removably engage internal threads of outer side wall 902. End cap 906 further includes a cylindrical tube 916 integral with and extending from second end wall 910. External threads formed on the outer surface of cylindrical tube 916 removably engage internal threads of outer side wall 902.
A tubular threaded connector 918 is integral with first end wall 908 and extends outward from first end wall 908 in a direction opposite to first cylindrical tube 912. Threaded connector 918 includes external threads on its outer surface. Preferably, the threaded connector 918 is configured for coupling the cartridge 900 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1. Threaded connector 918 may be a 510 threaded connector. Further, threaded connector 918 may be configured to operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000. A central opening 920 extends through first end wall 908 and threaded connector 918. A plurality of radial openings 922 (FIG. 9A) extend through first end wall 908. The central opening 920 and radial openings 922 comprise an inlet of first end wall 908. The inlet of first end wall 908 may be any opening through first end wall 908 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 932 of cartridge 900 described below.
A tube 924 is integral with second end wall 910 and extends outward from second end wall 910 in a direction opposite to cylindrical tube 916. A central opening 926 extends through second end wall 910 and tube 924. Central opening 926 comprises an outlet of the second end wall 910. The outlet of second end wall 910 may be any opening through second end wall 910 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 932 of cartridge 900 described below. A tubular spring retainer 928 is integral with second end wall 910 and extends outward from second end wall 910 in the same direction as cylindrical tube 916.
Spring retainer 928 is concentric with cylindrical tube 916. Central opening 926 extends through spring retainer 928.
Cartridge 900 includes an interior side wall 930 with internal threads that removably engage the external threads of second cylindrical tube 914. Interior side wall 930 has an external surface that is spaced apart from outer side wall 902 to form a gap between interior side wall 930 and outer side wall 902.
Outer side wall 902, first end wall 908, and second end wall 910 define and surround an interior chamber 932 of cartridge 900. The interior chamber 932 includes an inlet chamber 934 that is positioned between outer side wall 902 and interior side wall 930, a vaporization chamber 936 defined by and positioned within interior side wall 930, and a
- 62 -mixing chamber 938 defined by and positioned within outer side wall 902. Inlet chamber 934 is in fluid communication with the inlet (i.e., central opening 920 and radial openings 922) for receiving ambient air when a user draws air through cartridge 900.
Vaporization chamber 936 receives vaporized material from a tablet 940 heated within vaporization chamber 936. Mixing chamber 938 is in fluid communication with inlet chamber 934, vaporization chamber 936, and the outlet (i.e., central opening 926). Mixing chamber 938 receives ambient air from inlet chamber 934 and vaporized material from vaporization chamber 936 when a user draws air through cartridge 900. The mixed ambient air and vaporized material exit mixing chamber 938 through central opening 926 for inhalation by the user.
Cartridge 900 further includes a heating element 942 that is positioned within vaporization chamber 936. Heating element 942 is retained in place between interior side wall 930 and end cap 904 when interior side wall 930 threadably engages end cap 904. Wires (not shown) preferably electrically couple heating element 942 to threaded connector 918 for receiving electrical current or an electrical signal from a control assembly joined to threaded connector 918 that causes heating element 942 to power on or begin generating heat. Heating element 942 extends across the vaporization chamber 936 and includes a payload retention surface 944 (FIG. 9C) facing end cap 906. Payload retention surface 944 may be a tablet retention surface when a tablet is used with vape device 900.
A spring 946 positioned within interior chamber 932 has a first end that is positioned around spring retainer 928 and a second end that is positioned around a tablet engager 948. Tablet engager 948 engages tablet 940 and spring 946 presses tablet 940 into vaporization chamber 936 and into direct engagement with the payload retention surface 944 of heating element 942. Heating element 942 heats tablet 940 by conduction to heat tablet 940 until desired compounds of tablet vaporize. As tablet 940 is vaporized and reduces in volume, spring 946 maintains tablet 940 in direct connection with heating element 942.
Other types of biasing mechanisms may be used instead of spring 946 to maintain tablet 940 in engagement with heating element 942. Interior side wall 930 is preferably sized so that the internal diameter of interior side wall 930 is slightly larger than the exterior diameter of tablet 940.
A mouthpiece (not shown) is preferably coupled to end cap 906 and includes an interior channel that is in fluid communication with central opening 926. The mouthpiece is preferably configured for partial placement within a user's mouth so that the user can draw air through the mouthpiece and mixing chamber 938 to receive the vaporized material from tablet 940.
- 63 -Tablet 940 may be placed within vaporization chamber 936 by unscrewing end cap 906 from outer side wall 902 so that vaporization chamber 936 may be accessed by a user.
After placing tablet 940 within vaporization chamber 936, end cap 906 is screwed back into engagement with outer side wall 902. Alternatively, end cap 904 may be unscrewed from outer side wall 902 to place tablet 940 within vaporization chamber 936.
Alternatively, another type of opening may be formed in cartridge 900 for allowing placement of tablet 940 within vaporization chamber 936. The opening is preferably closeable after tablet 940 is placed within vaporization chamber 936 to prevent the leaking of vaporized material from the chamber. When the tablet 940 is spent, any remnants thereof are removed before a new tablet 940 is placed within the cartridge 900.
Cartridge 900 may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) that is operable to power heating element 942, or cartridge 900 may be screwable into a control assembly using threaded connector 918 as shown. Threaded connector 918 is preferably a 510 threaded connector that allows cartridge 900 to be used with compatible 510 threaded control assemblies or vape devices.
A cartridge for vaporizing dry material in accordance with another embodiment of the invention described herein is identified generally as 1000 in FIG. 10A.
Cartridge 1000 heats a tablet 1002 by convection as hot air heated by a heating element 1004 is drawn over and/or through the tablet 1002. Although cartridge 1000 is shown and described herein as being used with a tablet 1002, it is within the scope of the invention for cartridge 1000 to be used in connection with a payload comprising dry material that is not necessarily pressed into tablet form. Cartridge 1000 includes an outer side wall 1006 and end caps 1008 and 1010 each removably threaded into engagement with internal threads of the outer side wall 1006. Outer side wall 1006 is preferably clear, but may be any color. End cap 1008 includes a first end wall 1012 of cartridge 1000, and end cap 1010 includes a second end wall 1014 of cartridge 1000. Referring to FIG. 10B, end cap 1008 further includes a first cylindrical tube 1016 integral with and extending from first end wall 1012, and a second cylindrical tube 1018 integral with and extending from first cylindrical tube 1016. The outer surface of second cylindrical tube 1018 has a diameter that is less than the diameter of the outer surface of first cylindrical tube 1016. The inner surface of second cylindrical tube 1018 has a diameter that is substantially the same as the diameter of the inner surface of first cylindrical tube 1016.
External threads are formed on the outer surfaces of first cylindrical tube 1016 and second cylindrical tube 1018. The external threads on first cylindrical tube 1016 removably engage internal threads of outer side wall 1006. End cap 1010 further includes a cylindrical tube 1020
- 64 -integral with and extending from second end wall 1014. External threads formed on the outer surface of cylindrical tube 1020 removably engage internal threads of outer side wall 1006.
A tubular threaded connector 1022 is integral with first end wall 1012 and extends outward from first end wall 1012 in a direction opposite to first cylindrical tube 1016.
Threaded connector 1022 includes external threads on its outer surface.
Preferably, the threaded connector 1022 is configured for coupling the cartridge 1000 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1. Threaded connector 1022 may be a 510 threaded connector. Further, threaded connector 1022 may be configured to operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vane device 4000. A central opening 1024 extends through first end wall 1012 and threaded connector 1022. A plurality of openings 1026 radially spaced from central opening 1024 extend through first end wall 1012. The central opening 1024 and openings 1026 comprise an inlet of first end wall 1012. The inlet of first end wall 1012 may be any opening through first end wall 1012 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 1040 of cartridge 1000 described below.
A tube 1028 is integral with second end wall 1014 and extends outward from second end wall 1014 in a direction opposite to cylindrical tube 1020. A
central opening 1030 extends through second end wall 1014 and tube 1028. Central opening 1030 comprises an outlet of the second end wall 1014. The outlet of second end wall 1014 may be any opening through second end wall 1014 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 1040 of cartridge 1000 described below. A tubular spring retainer 1032 is integral with second end wall 1014 and extends outward from second end wall 1014 in the same direction as cylindrical tube 1020. Spring retainer 1032 is concentric with cylindrical tube 1020.
Central opening 1030 extends through spring retainer 1032.
Cartridge 1000 includes a divider 1034 that is coupled to end cap 1008 and positioned within outer side wall 1006. Divider 1034 includes an interior side wall 1036 that is cylindrical and concentric with outer side wall 1006. Interior side wall 1036 is spaced apart from outer side wall 1006 to define a gap between the interior side wall 1036 and outer side wall 1006. Interior side wall 1036 extends from adjacent first end wall 1012 to adjacent second end wall 1014. Divider 1034 further includes a dividing panel 1038 that is integral with an interior surface of interior side wall 1036 and extends across interior side wall 1036 to divide the interior of divider 1034 into two compartments.
Outer side wall 1006, first end wall 1012, and second end wall 1014 define and surround an interior chamber 1040 of cartridge 1000. The interior chamber 1040 includes an
- 65 -outer chamber 1042 that is positioned between outer side wall 1006 and interior side wall 1036, an inlet chamber 1044 defined by and positioned within interior side wall 1036 on the side of dividing panel 1038 facing end cap 1008, and a vaporization chamber 1046 defined by and positioned within interior side wall 1036 on the side of dividing panel 1038 facing end cap 1010. Dividing panel 1038 divides inlet chamber 1044 from vaporization chamber 1046. Inlet chamber 1044 is in fluid communication with the inlet (i.e., central opening 1024 and openings 1026) for receiving ambient air when a user draws air through cartridge 1000.
A spiral flow guide 1048 is positioned within inlet chamber 1044 along with heating element 1004. Wires (not shown) preferably electrically couple heating element 1004 to threaded connector 1022 for receiving electrical current or an electrical signal from a control assembly joined to threaded connector 1022 that causes heating element 1004 to power on or begin generating heat. Spiral flow guide 1048 is positioned between central opening 1024 and heating element 1004, which is in contact with dividing panel 1038. Spiral flow guide 1048 includes a continuous groove 1050 formed in its outer surface that spirals to direct air from adjacent central opening 1024 to heating element 1004 adjacent dividing panel 1038. The outer surface of spiral flow guide 1048 has a diameter that is substantially the same as the diameter of the inner surface of interior side wall 1036 so that air entering central opening 1024 is directed through the groove 1050 as a user draws air through cartridge 1000. Heating element 1004 heats the spiral flow guide 1048 and air within inlet chamber 1044. The spiral flow guide 1048 provides a relatively large, heated surface area to enhance heating of the air passing through inlet chamber 1044, and causes the incoming air to remain in inlet chamber 1044 for a length of time that is sufficient to heat it to a desired temperature.
Interior side wall 1036 includes a first set of openings 1052 (FIG. 10C) that place the outer chamber 1042 in fluid communication with inlet chamber 1044 adjacent heating element 1004. Air flowing through inlet chamber 1044 passes through the openings 1052 into outer chamber 1042 after being heated by heating element 1004 and spiral flow guide 1048. Interior side wall 1036 includes a second set of openings or slots 1054 that place the outer chamber 1042 in fluid communication with vaporization chamber 1046 adjacent tablet 1002. The heated air from inlet chamber 1044 and outer chamber 1042 flows through openings 1054 into vaporization chamber 1046 as a user draws air through cartridge 1000. The heated air makes contact with tablet 1002 heating tablet 1002 via convection.
Tablet 1002 may also be heated via conduction in as much as heating element 1004 heats divider 1034, which heats tablet 1002.
- 66 -As tablet 1002 is heated, compounds and material vaporize from tablet 1002 and mix with the heated air within vaporization chamber 1046. Vaporization chamber 1046 is in fluid communication with the outlet (i.e., central opening 1030). The mixed heated air and vaporized material from tablet 1002 exit vaporization chamber 1046 through central opening .. 1030 for inhalation by the user.
A spring 1056 positioned within vaporization chamber 1046 has a first end that is positioned around spring retainer 1032 and a second end that is positioned around a tablet engager 1058. Tablet engager 1058 engages tablet 1002 and spring 1056 presses tablet 1002 into vaporization chamber 1046 and into direct engagement with a payload retention surface 1060 of divider 1034. As tablet 1002 is vaporized and reduces in volume, spring 1056 maintains tablet 1002 in place within vaporization chamber 1046 to maximize contact between the heated air and tablet 1002. Other types of biasing mechanisms may be used instead of spring 1056 to maintain tablet 1002 in place. Interior side wall 1036 is preferably sized so that the internal diameter of interior side wall 1036 is slightly larger than the exterior diameter of tablet 1002.
A mouthpiece (not shown) is preferably coupled to end cap 1010 and includes an interior channel that is in fluid communication with central opening 1030.
The mouthpiece is preferably configured for partial placement within a user's mouth so that the user can draw air through the mouthpiece and vaporization chamber 1046 to receive the vaporized material .. from tablet 1002.
Tablet 1002 may be placed within vaporization chamber 1046 by unscrewing end cap 1010 from outer side wall 1006 so that vaporization chamber 1046 may be accessed by a user. After placing tablet 1002 within vaporization chamber 1046, end cap 1010 is screwed back into engagement with outer side wall 1006. Alternatively, end cap 1008 may be .. unscrewed from outer side wall 1006 to place tablet 1002 within vaporization chamber 1046.
Alternatively, another type of opening may be formed in cartridge 1000 for allowing placement of tablet 1002 within vaporization chamber 1046. The opening is preferably closeable after tablet 1002 is placed within vaporization chamber 1046 to prevent the leaking of vaporized material from the chamber. When the tablet 1002 is spent, any remnants thereof are removed before a new tablet 1002 is placed within the cartridge 1000.
Cartridge 1000 may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) that is operable to power heating element 1004, or cartridge 1000 may be screwable into a control assembly using threaded connector 1022 as shown.
Threaded
- 67 -connector 1022 is preferably a 510 threaded connector that allows cartridge 1000 to be used with compatible 510 threaded control assemblies or vane devices.
FIGS. 11A-D show another alternative embodiment of a cartridge 1100 for vaporizing dry material. Like cartridge 900, cartridge 1100 heats a tablet 1102 (or other dry material not pressed into tablet form) by conduction with the tablet 1102 being in direct contact with a heating element 1104. If tablet 1102 has internal holes or flow passageways (as described below), heated air may flow through tablet 1102 to also heat tablet 1102 by convection. Cartridge 1100 includes an outer side wall 1106 and an end cap 1108 coupled to one end of outer side wall 1106. Outer side wall 1106 is preferably clear, but may be any color. End cap 1108 includes a first end wall 1110 of cartridge 1100, and a second end wall 1112 is integral with outer side wall 1106 on the opposite end of cartridge 1100. End cap 1108 further includes a cylindrical protrusion 1114 integral with and extending from first end wall 1110. External threads may be formed on the outer surface of cylindrical protrusion 1114 to removably engage internal threads of outer side wall 1106.
A tubular threaded connector 1116 is integral with first end wall 1110 and extends outward from first end wall 1110 in a direction opposite to first cylindrical protrusion 1114. Threaded connector 1116 includes external threads on its outer surface.
Preferably, the threaded connector 1116 is configured for coupling the cartridge 1100 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1. Threaded connector 1116 may be a 510 threaded connector. Further, threaded connector 1116 may be configured to operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vane device 4000. A central opening 1118 extends through first end wall 1110 and threaded connector 1116. A plurality of openings 1120 radially spaced from central opening 1118 extend through first end wall 1110. The openings 1120 comprise an inlet of first end wall 1110. The inlet of first end wall 1110 may be any opening through first end wall 1110 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 1125 of cartridge 1100 described below.
A tube 1122 (FIG. 11C) is integral with second end wall 1112 and extends outward from second end wall 1112 in a direction opposite to first end wall 1110. A central opening 1124 extends through second end wall 1112 and tube 1122. Central opening 1124 comprises an outlet of the second end wall 1112. The outlet of second end wall 1112 may be any opening through second end wall 1112 that is in fluid communication with the interior chamber 1125 of cartridge 1100 described below.
- 68 -Outer side wall 1106, first end wall 1110, and second end wall 1112 define and surround an interior chamber 1125 (FIG. 11D) of cartridge 1100. Heating element 1104 is positioned within interior chamber 1125 and includes a heater 1126 and a cap 1128 that covers the heater 1126. Wires (not shown) preferably electrically couple heating element 1104 to threaded connector 1116 for receiving electrical current or an electrical signal from a control assembly joined to threaded connector 1116 that causes heating element 1104 to power on or begin generating heat. A spring 1130 presses tablet 1102 against the cap 1128.
One end of spring 1130 engages second end wall 1112, and the other end of spring 1130 engages a tablet retention plate 1132 that abuts tablet 1102. Holes are formed through tablet retention plate 1132 to allow vaporized material from tablet 1102 to travel through central opening 1124.
Holes are also preferably formed in tablet 1102 (as described below) so that when a user draws air through cartridge 1100, the air enters cartridge 1100 through openings 1120 and then flows through tablet 1102, tablet retention plate 1132, and central opening 1124.
FIG. 11A shows one embodiment of a mouthpiece 1136 that is coupled to second end wall 1112 (FIG. 11C) and tube 1122. Mouthpiece 1136 includes an interior channel that is in fluid communication with central opening 1124 through tube 1122.
Mouthpiece 1136 is configured for partial placement within a user's mouth so that the user can draw air through the mouthpiece 1136 to receive the vaporized material from tablet 1102.
FIGS. 11B-11D show an alternative embodiment of mouthpiece 1138 that is also coupled to second end wall 1112 and tube 1122, and that has an interior channel in fluid communication with central opening 1124.
Tablet 1102 may be placed within cartridge 1100 by uncoupling end cap 1108 from outer side wall 1106. After placing tablet 1102 within cartridge 1100, end cap 1108 is coupled back into engagement with outer side wall 1106. Alternatively, another type of .. opening may be formed in cartridge 1100 for allowing placement of tablet 1102 within cartridge 1100. The opening is preferably closeable after tablet 1102 is placed within cartridge 1100 to prevent the leaking of vaporized material from the cartridge.
Cartridge 1100 may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) that is operable to power heating element 1104, or cartridge 1100 may be screwable into a control assembly using threaded connector 1116 as shown.
Threaded connector 1116 is preferably a 510 threaded connector that allows cartridge 1100 to be used with compatible 510 threaded control assemblies or vape devices.
FIG. 12 shows an alternative embodiment of heating element 1200 that may be used in connection with any of the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 described herein. Heating
- 69 -element 1200 is configured to heat a tablet 1202 (or other dry material not pressed into tablet form) by conduction and also preferably by convection as described below.
Heating element 1200 includes a first wall 1204 and a second wall 1206 that define a heating chamber 1208 positioned between the first wall 1204 and the second wall 1206. The heating chamber 1208 is accessible through a first opening 1210 in a side wall 1212 and through a second opening 1214 in a side wall 1216.
Ventilation holes (not shown) may be provided through the first wall 1204 and the second wall 1206 to allow air flow through the walls into heating chamber 1208. The use of ventilation holes allows for convection heating of tablet 1202 and also reduces the thermal mass that must be heated when tablet 1202 is solely heated by conduction. The use of ventilation holes also provides an efficient way of allowing vapor to be released for inhalation.
The first wall 1204 and the second wall 1206 may also include grooves or patterns (not shown) that are formed in the walls adjacent heating chamber 1208. The use of grooves or patterns preferably increases air turbulence and maximizes heat transfer from heating element 1200 to the air proximate tablet 1202 if contact is not perfect between heating element 1200 and tablet 1202. The first wall 1204 and the second wall 1206 of the heating element 1200 may be constructed from any suitable material, including ceramic, aluminum, and stainless steel. First wall 1204 and second wall 1206 may also include metal heating coils that are encased in a material, such as ceramic. The metal heating coils may be implemented as single or multi-strand elements in serial or parallel arrangement, among other configurations.
Heating chamber 1208 may be configured to receive tablets of different sizes and configurations. For example, heating chamber 1208 may be configured to accept circular tablets, such as tablet 1300 shown in FIG. 13A and/or rectangular tablets, such as tablet 1302 shown in FIG. 13B. Any of the tablets described herein may also be toroidal, such as tablet 1304 shown in FIG. 13C. With heating chamber 1208 being open at both ends, a tablet may be inserted through first opening 1210, and once the tablet is spent, the remaining debris from the tablet can be pushed through heating chamber 1208 out through second opening 1214. A
cleaning tool 1218 may be used to push the tablet debris out through second opening 1214.
Cleaning tool 1218 includes a handle 1220 for grasping by a user and a ram 1222 that is shaped to be received by first opening 1210 and push tablet debris through and out of heating chamber 1208.
Tablets
- 70 -The tablets and methods for making and using the tablets described herein provide a more convenient way to vape or smoke dry material. The composition, potency and physical characteristics of the tablets may be controlled in such a manner that they provide for a convenient and repeatable vaping or smoking experience.
Referring to FIGS. 14A-D, an exemplary embodiment of tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material is identified as 1400. Tablet 1400 may be used with any of the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 described above and in heating element 1200. Tablet 1400 includes dry material that is pressed into a relatively flat cylindrical shape; although other shapes are within the scope of the present invention. Tablet 1400 may be formed from any suitable dry material, such as cannabis, tobacco, hemp, or cannabinoid. It is within the scope of the invention for the dry material to be mixed with other materials, solids, semi-solids, or liquids, that assist in retaining the dry material in a tablet shape.
Tablet 1400 includes a first surface 1402 and a second surface 1404 (FIG.
14C) positioned opposite the first surface 1402. Each of the first and second surfaces 1402 and 1404 are circular. An annular side wall 1406 extends between the first and second surfaces 1402 and 1404. A recess 1408 is formed in first surface 1402. Recess 1408 is spiral shaped, but may be shaped in any desirable manner. A hole 1410 extends through tablet 1400 from first surface 1402 to second surface 1404. Hole 1410 is positioned at one end of recess 1408 such that the hole 1410 is in fluid communication with the recess 1408.
Another recess 1412 (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 14A) is formed in second surface 1404. Recess 1412 is also preferably spiral shaped, but extends across a different portion of tablet 1400. Recess 1408 on first surface 1402 begins at the center of tablet 1400, winds around 180 degrees in a fairly tight spiral, and then winds another 180 degrees in a spiral of larger radius until it terminates at hole 1410 adjacent a peripheral edge of tablet 1400. From hole 1410, recess 1412 winds 270 degrees around a peripheral edge of tablet 1400 and then bends 90 degrees toward hole 1410.
While tablet 1400 includes a recess on both first surface 1402 and second surface 1404, it is within the scope of the invention for only one of first and second surfaces 1402, 1404 to include a recess.
As shown in FIG. 14D, side walls 1414 and 1416 are adjacent and define recess 1408. It is within the scope of the invention for the side walls 1414 and 1416 to include protrusions, ribs, or further recesses or patterns to increase the surface area of the tablet 1400 that is exposed to heated air flowing through the recess 1408. The side walls 1414, 1416 of recess 1412 may also include protrusions, ribs, or further recesses or patterns (e.g., the protrusion 1417 shown in FIG. 14D).
- 71 -The recesses 1408 and 1412 and hole 1410 improve the convective heating of tablet by allowing heated air to reach portions of the tablet 1400 that would be inaccessible if tablet 1400 was solid. Recesses 1408 and 1412 and hole 1410 increase the overall surface area of tablet 1400 that is exposed to heated air within a vane device or cartridge. Thus, tablet 1400 .. is preferably desirable for use with a vane device or cartridge that heats the tablet 1400 with convection heating. Tablet 1400 may also be used with vane devices or cartridges that use conduction heating by itself or in connection with convection heating. The recesses 1408 and 1412 may be implemented as a part of a logo or image of the manufacturer of the tablet 1400.
The addition of surface discontinuities on the side walls 1414, 1416 that define the recesses 1408, 1412 (e.g., protrusions, ribs, further recesses or patterns) can further improve heat transfer by causing turbulence as the air flows through the recesses.
A tablet with recesses and holes, such as tablet 1400, may also be formed by laminating, or otherwise joining, two separate tablets together to form a combined, laminated tablet. FIG. 15 shows one exemplary embodiment of a laminated tablet 1500.
Laminated .. tablet 1500 is formed from two tablets 1502 and 1504 that are laminated together to permanently join the tablets 1502 and 1504 together. Each of tablets 1502 and 1504 is substantially similar to tablet 1400 described above. Tablet 1502 has a first surface 1506 and a second surface 1508, and tablet 1504 has a first surface 1510 and a second surface 1512. The second surface 1508 of tablet 1502 is laminated to the second surface of 1512.
Tablet 1502 has a hole 1514 extending through it, and tablet 1504 has a hole 1516 extending through it. The tablets 1502 and 1504 are oriented so that the holes 1514 and 1516 are on opposite sides of the laminated tablet 1500. The orientation of the tablets 1502 and 1504 creates a serpentine flow path where heated air flows through the tablet from a recess 1518 on first surface 1510, through hole 1516, through a recess 1520 on second surface 1512, through a recess 1522 on second surface 1508, through hole 1514, and through a recess 1524 on first surface 1506. In lieu of laminating tablets 1502 and 1504 permanently together, a user may simply insert tablets 1502 and 1504 into a vane device or cartridge back-to-back as shown in FIG. 15 to obtain substantially the same effect.
FIGS. 16A-C show another exemplary embodiment of tablet 1600 that includes a heating element 1602, which is coupled to the dry material that is pressed into the generally rectangular shape of the tablet 1600. The heating element 1602 helps to achieve a uniform vaporization and consumption of the tablet material by heating a relatively large surface area of the tablet 1600. Heating element 1602 may also be used in connection with convection heating and with the recesses and holes of the tablet 1400 described above.
- 72 -Tablet 1600 includes dry material, such as cannabis, tobacco, hemp, or cannabinoid, that is pressed into a generally rectangular shape having a first surface 1604 and a second surface 1606 positioned opposite the first surface 1604. An annular side wall 1608 extends between the first and second surfaces 1604 and 1606. Heating element 1602 is coupled to the first surface 1604 and to side wall 1608. The contacts of heating element 1602 are designed and positioned to contact electrical terminals of a vape device or cartridge to allow electrical current to flow through heating element 1602. The contacts are positioned on the side wall 1608, 180 degrees apart from each other on opposite sides of tablet 1600.
Heating element 1602 is preferably a resistive heating element. Heating element 1602 is preferably pressed into or onto the tablet 1600 as a part of the pressing process for forming the dry material into tablet 1600.
Tablet 1600 preferably has a shape that only allows it to be inserted into a vape device or cartridge in one particular orientation to ensure that the contacts of heating element 1602 are in solid electrical contact with the electrical terminals of the vape device or cartridge.
For example, tablet 1600 may have an alignment structure that is configured to align the tablet 1600 in a particular orientation within a cartridge so that heating element 1602 is in proper electrical contact with electrical terminals of the cartridge. The vape device or cartridge may have a mating alignment structure that receives or engages the alignment structure of tablet 1600 to ensure the tablet 1600 is correctly oriented when inserted into the vape device or cartridge. The alignment structures of tablet 1600 and the vape device may include alignment notches on one of tablet 1600 and the vape device and alignment protrusions on the other of tablet 1600 and the vape device. The alignment structures of tablet 1600 and the vape device may also include pogo contact pins.
FIG. 17 shows an exemplary embodiment of laminated tablet 1700 that is formed from three separate tablets 1702, 1704, and 1706, which are laminated together with portions of a heating element 1708 laminated and positioned between the adjacent tablets 1702, 1704, and 1706. Each of tablets 1702, 1704, and 1706 may be formed from dry material that is pressed together. The tablets 1702, 1704, and 1706 may then be positioned so that a first portion 1710 of heating element 1708 is between tablets 1702 and 1704, and a second portion 1712 of heating element 1708 is between tablets 1704 and 1706. Heating element 1708 also includes side portions 1714 and 1716 on the sides of laminated tablet 1700. As an alternative to being formed from three separate tablets 1702, 1704, and 1706, tablet 1700 may be formed in a single pressing operation. Integrating the heating element 1708 within the tablet 1700 improves the heating of tablet 1700 by conductively heating inner areas of tablet 1700 and
- 73 -increasing the surface area of tablet 1700 that is exposed to conductive heating. Tablet 1700 may also include holes or recesses as described above in connection with tablet 1400 to improve the convective heating of tablet 1700.
Any of the tablets 940, 1002, 1102, 1202, 1300, 1302, 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700 described above may be made in accordance with the dose control methods described below. One dose control method is to simply vary the thickness of tablets that have a predefined cross-sectional area so that there are a plurality of different thicknesses of different doses for a user to choose from. Further, any of the tablets 940, 1002, 1102, 1202, 1300, 1302, 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700 described above may be formed in any shape including a .. cylindrical shape, which may, for example, have a circular or elliptical cross-section, or a toroidal shape.
In accordance with another method, first, a quantity of loose, preferably relatively dry material, such as dry cannabis buds, is provided. A percentage of a component of the dry material, by weight or volume, may be measured. For example, the dry material may be analyzed to determine the percentage weight of a particular compound or compounds of the dry material. If the dry material is cannabis, the component measured may be one of the cannabinoid compounds listed in the table above under the heading Optimizing Vaporization.
Once the percentage weight of the particular component is known for the type of plant or plants from which the dry material is derived, that type of plant or plants may be grown in known, repeatable conditions to yield a consistent cannabinoid profile. This can reduce or eliminate the need to test future dry material produced from the type of plant or plants because the percentages of particular cannabinoids within that type of plant or plants are already known.
Next, a desired amount of the component by weight or volume may be determined (e.g., 0.2g). A desired volume of the tablet may be determined that corresponds with the desired amount of the component. Alternatively, if the tablet has a predefined cross-sectional area, then a desired thickness of the tablet may be determined that corresponds with the desired amount of the component. A tablet pressing machine may be modified to press the tablet into the desired volume or thickness. The dry material is then pressed into a tablet of the desired thickness, which includes the desired amount of the component.
To provide an additional level of control on the dosage, the tablet's thickness can be increased or decreased from production lot to lot (using the same production tooling), based on sample measurements taken of the raw material to be pressed into tablet form, in order to adjust the content as necessary. This degree of freedom, to adjust the tablet's volume,
- 74 -is highly desirable as the relative concentrations of cannabinoids can vary from crop to crop despite the crops being from the same genetic strain.
This method of making a tablet assists a user of the tablet in dosage control by ensuring that the tablet includes a known, desired amount of the target component so that a user of the tablet knows how much of the target component they are inhaling.
By following this method, a consistent and specified amount of cannabinoids can be delivered reliably from tablet to tablet. For example, the method may be used to make tablets that a doctor would prescribe to a patient so that the doctor and patient know exactly how much of the target component is within each tablet. Tablets made in accordance with the method would also assist a recreational user of the tablets in determining how much of the target component they are inhaling.
Any of the tablets described above may also be made to include multiple types of dry material that are pressed together into a single tablet. For example, two or more types of loose, relatively dry material may be provided. A percentage, by weight or volume, of a target component of one or more of the types of dry material may be measured. Desired ratios between the target components may be determined. For example, if two types of dry material are used to make the tablet, a desired ratio of a first percentage of a target component of the first type of dry material to a second percentage of a target component of the second type of dry material may be determined. The two types of dry material are mixed together to form a combined dry material so that the combined dry material includes the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage. The combined dry material is then pressed into a tablet of a desired thickness. The desired thickness may be determined as described above by determining a desired amount of the first and/or second component within the tablet and determining the desired thickness that corresponds to that amount before pressing the tablet into the desired thickness. For example, a tablet may be produced in accordance with this method to include a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and a desired amount by weight or volume of THC and/or CBD.
When it is desired to vaporize two or more types of dry material, the different types of dry material may each be pressed into separate tablets. The separate tablets may be combined by lamination, by heating and pressing the tablets together, adhesive, or any suitable method. Alternatively, a user of the tablets may use the two or more tablets together by inserting them back-to-back within a vape device or cartridge. Each of the tablets may be produced in accordance with the method described above so that the tablet is formed to have a desired thickness that corresponds to a desired amount of a component present within the
- 75 -tablet. The tablets may also be produced so that when combined, a desired ratio of components within the separate tablets is achieved. For example, the separate tablets may be produced to have a desired ratio between a weight or volume of a first component within a first tablet and a weight or volume of a second component within a second tablet. The separate tablets may be combined or simply used together.
Any of the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 and heating element 1200 described above may be used with any of the tablets 940, 1002, 1102, 1202, 1300, 1302, 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700 described above to vaporize desired components of the tablets for inhalation.
With reference to cartridge 900 and tablet 940, end cap 906 is removed from engagement with outer side wall 902, and tablet 940 is inserted through the opening at the end of outer side wall 902. The tablet 940 is inserted into the interior chamber 932 adjacent heating element 942.
Heating element 942 is activated to vaporize a portion of tablet 940 into tablet vapor. The user inserts a mouthpiece of the cartridge 900 into his or her mouth and draws air and the tablet vapor into his or her mouth for inhalation. The cartridge 900 heats the tablet by conduction, but may also heat the tablet by convection as described above. Further, as described above with respect to cartridge 1000, the tablet may be heated primarily or solely by convection by heating air that is drawn into contact with the tablet.
Any of the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 described above may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) to form a vape device that is operable to power the heating elements of the cartridges upon demand by a user by supplying a controlled current or voltage to the atomizer. The cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 may also be screwable into a control assembly using their threaded connectors or may have snap clips or some other structure that joins them to a control assembly. The control assembly 14 is configured to cause the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 to provide vapor through the outlet in response to a user's input by supplying a controlled current or voltage to the heating element, as described above. Any of the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 may be operated to heat a tablet in accordance with the methods described above for vape devices 10 and 100 and vape device system 102, including in accordance with the system and method for optimizing vaporization described above. The cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 or tablets placed within the cartridges may have an ID tag 28 that includes a unique payload identifier, which identifies the particular tablet. The cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 may also include sensors to measure operational conditions of the cartridges. For example, the cartridges 900, 1000, and 1100 may include the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200 to regulate the temperature of the heating elements and the capacitive vapor measurement system
- 76 -described below in connection with vape device 3100. Conductive plates of the capacitive vapor measurement system, such as the conductive plates 3114 and 3116 shown in FIG. 31, may be positioned anywhere between the heating element and outlet of the cartridges. For example, the conductive plates may be position in the mixing chamber 938 or the tube 924 of cartridge 900, in the tube 1028 of cartridge 1000, or in the tube 1122 of cartridge 1100. Data from the sensors may be transmitted to a control assembly via a threaded connector that operates in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000 such that power is also provided to the cartridge via the threaded connector.
A tablet storage and dispensing device 1800, shown in FIG. 18, may be used to facilitate easier tablet transport, and/or loading of tablets into a cartridge or vape device. The tablet storage and dispensing device 1800 includes a side wall 1802 that surrounds an interior cavity 1804. An end wall 1806 is coupled to one end of side wall 1802 and an opening 1808 is at the other end of side wall 1802. A plurality of tablets 1810 are positioned within the interior .. cavity 1804. The tablets 1810 may be either pre-loaded at point of manufacture or loaded by the end-user. A spring 1812 engages end wall 1806 and the tablets 1810 to force the tablets 1810 upward toward opening 1808. A retention device 1814 engages the uppermost tablet 1810 and positions it to have an edge slightly angled upward for easy grasping by a user or by a loading mechanism on a vape device or cartridge with which tablet storage and dispensing device 1800 is engaged. Tablet storage and dispensing device 1800 may be designed for single use or it may be reusable. Tablet storage and dispensing device 1800 may be loaded into or engaged with a vape device or cartridge to enable a user to use the vape device with multiple tablets without individually loading each tablet into the vape device. A
mechanism may be incorporated into the tablet storage and dispensing device 1800 or vape device to expel waste from a spent tablet either simultaneous with or before loading the next tablet.
Any of the tablets described above and shown herein may be formed from a dry material that is milled or ground and then pressed in a specially designed tableting press. In one aspect, the dry material is milled using a Comil conical mill, Model 194 manufactured by Quadro Engineering Corp. of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The dry material may be milled to have an average particle size of <1000 mesh. The dry material may be milled so that > 95% of the particle sizes of the milled dry material are between 100 and 200 lam.
The dry material may be milled at a temperature below 0 C, below -5 C, below -10 C, below -15 C, below -20 C, below -25 C, below -30 C, below -35 C, below -40 C,
- 77 -below -45 C, below -50 C, below -55 C, below -60 C, below -65 C, below -70 C, below -75 C, below -100 C, below -150 C, or below -190 C.
The table below identifies variables and results of six dry material milling tests.
The dry material used in the tablets disclosed herein may be milled in accordance with any of the variables identified below.
Test 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 Number:
Comil 197 197 197 197 197 197 Model:
Screen : 024R 018R 018R 024R 024R 045R
Bonded Bonded Impeller: 1607 1607 1601 1601 1601 1601 RPM : 4800 4800 3600 3600 3600 3600 Process - - 25 22 33 -Time (secs.) :
Product - - 0.145 0.161 0.133 -Out Weight (kg) :
Capacity - - 21 26 15 -(kg/hr) :
Capacity - - 46 58 32 -(lbs/hr) :
Other: -Pre-frozen with -Pre- -Pre-frozen -Pre-frozen -Pre-frozen -Pre-frozen nitrogen frozen with with nitrogen with nitrogen with -Action zone with nitrogen (-700g to (-238g to nitrogen temperature nitrogen -Pre-milled ¨230g of 238g of (-150g to maintained low -Pre- material (to material) material) 59g of via cryo ring milled ¨4mm) and -Pre-milled -Pre-milled material) -Pre-milled material heated for 2 material (to material (to -Pre-milled material (to to ¨4mm hrs @ 1200 ¨4mm) and ¨4mm) and material (to ¨4mm) and -Less dry heated for 2 heated for 2 ¨4mm) heated for 2 hrs than Test hrs @ 1200 hrs @ 1200 -Less dry @ 1200 1 material than Test 1 material The tableting press used to form a tablet from the milled dry material may use a pressing force of less than 10 tons to form the tablet. The tableting press may be a NP400 rotary tablet press manufactured by Natoli Engineering of St. Charles, Missouri. The tablets
- 78 -can be pressed into any shape, including but not limited to, a cylindrical shape, which may, for example, have a circular or elliptical cross section, or a toroidal shape.
The dry material may be pressed into its final tablet shape at a temperature below 0 C, below -5 C, below -10 C, below -15 C, below -20 C, below -25 C, below -30 C, below -35 C, below -40 C, below -45 C, below -50 C, below -55 C, below -60 C, below -65 C, below -70 C, below -75 C, below -100 C, below -150 C, or below -190 C.
The dry material used to form any of the tablets described above and shown herein may be a cannabis composition having a variation of +/- 5% in the percentage by weight (wt. %) of a specified cannabinoid, cannabinoids or other phytoconstituents.
The dry material used to form any of the tablets described above and shown herein may be specially processed cannabis derived plant material. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have a moisture content of about 0 wt. %, about 1 wt. %, about 2 wt. %, about 3 wt. %, about 4 wt. %, or about 5 wt. % moisture. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have no material added to the cannabis whatsoever. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only glidants as added material to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only terpenes as added material to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only humectants e.g., glycerine or propylene glycol, as added material to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only glidants and humectants as added materials to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only glidants and terpenes as added materials to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only terpenes and humectants as added materials to the cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may have only glidants, terpenes and humectants as added material to the cannabis.
The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may be enriched in its trichome component. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may comprise plant material derived from a single strain of cannabis. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may be derived from two or more different strains of cannabis.
The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may comprise a blend of batches of cannabis chosen to provide a homogenous material with a defined phytochemical profile. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may comprise cannabis leaves that have been trimmed off of the cannabis plant in the process of harvesting manicured whole flowers and cannabis extracts. The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may be prepared by combining cannabis leaf material with cannabis extracts in a ribbon blender.
- 79 -When the dry material is specially processed cannabis derived plant material that is trichrome enriched, the material may be subjected to a first pressing and micropelletizing step to provide a granulated material with a higher density than the original trichome enriched cannabis material. The granulated material is then pressed into the final tablet shape by the tableting press.
The specially processed cannabis derived plant material may be decarboxylated in a vacuum at about 50 C at any point during the tablet making processes described above.
Fluid Cartrid2es Other aspects of the invention described herein include cartridges and vape devices designed to vaporize a payload comprising fluids and oils for inhalation, and preferably cartridges and vape devices designed to vaporize cannabis oil or other viscous oils for inhalation of a vapor stream. The cartridges are an improvement to a commonly used cartridge in the personal vaporizer market, the vaporizer cartridge (or cartomizer) with two-conductor electromechanical connectors (often referred to as 510 threaded connectors). The cartridge technology described herein may also be incorporated into a self-contained vape device, for example, a one piece disposable vape device or a one piece refillable and rechargeable vape device, such as the vape device 2800 described below.
The cartridges described herein are designed for use with highly-viscous oils like those extracted from the cannabis plant. The cartridges described herein are also configured to prevent oil leakage from fouling the area where the cartridge attaches to the control assembly, which includes the battery and control unit.
One embodiment of a cartridge for a vape device in accordance with the invention described herein is identified generally as 1900 in FIG. 19A.
Cartridge 1900 includes a first section 1902 (FIG. 19D) and a second section 1904 that removably engages the first section 1902 via threads as described below. The first section 1902 and second section 1904 in combination form a housing 1906 of cartridge 1900. Referring to FIG.
19B, an atomizer 1908, deflectors 1910 and 1912, and power connector 1914 are positioned within housing 1906.
Housing 1906 has a first end 1916 and a second end 1918. A longitudinal axis of housing 1906 extends from first end 1916 to second end 1918. At second end 1918, housing 1906 includes a threaded connector 1920 that is configured for coupling the housing 1906 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1.
Threaded connector 1920 may be a 510 threaded connector. Further, threaded connector 1920
- 80 -may be configured to operate in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000. Housing 1906 includes an outer side wall 1922 and an inner side wall 1924 that is spaced apart from outer side wall 1922. The outer side wall 1922 includes a first section 1922a that is a part of first section 1902 of housing 1906 and a second section 1922b that is a part of second section 1904. When the first section 1902 and second section 1904 of housing 1906 are joined together, a seal 1926 seals between the first and second sections 1922a-b of outer side wall 1922 to prevent leakage of the fluid payload from cartridge 1900. The first section 1922a is preferably formed from a clear material, such as glass or a polymer. For example, first section 1922a may be formed from a heat resistant glass such as a borosilicate glass, a glass ceramic, synthetic sapphire, or quartz.
The first section 1922a may also be sheathed in a metal sleeve positioned on the exterior surface of outer side wall 1922.
Housing 1906 includes a first end wall 1928 at first end 1916 and a second end wall 1930 at second end 1918. First end wall 1928 is preferably formed integrally with the second section 1922b of outer side wall 1922 to form a generally cylindrical mouthpiece 1929 (FIG. 19C). Second end wall 1930 is part of an end cap 1932 that includes a cylindrical tube 1934 that extends into a portion of the first section 1922a of outer side wall 1922. Seals 1936a-b are positioned between cylindrical tube 1934 and outer side wall 1922 to prevent leakage of the fluid payload from cartridge 1900. Threaded connector 1920 extends outward from second end wall 1930 away from the remainder of cartridge 1900. Power connector 1914 extends through a central opening 1938 in threaded connector 1920 and second end wall 1930.
Seal 1940a is positioned between power connector 1914 and end cap 1932 to prevent leakage of the fluid payload from cartridge 1900. Threads 1942 are formed on an interior surface of cylindrical tube 1934 for removably joining the first and second sections 1902 and 1904 of cartridge 1900. Cylindrical tube 1934 forms a part of the inner side wall 1924 of cartridge 1900 along with a portion of second section 1904 as described below.
Second section 1904 includes the mouthpiece 1929 and a central post 1944 that is coupled to and extends away from an end wall 1946 of mouthpiece 1929 in a direction opposite first end 1916. Central post 1944 may be coupled to mouthpiece 1929 in any suitable manner, including a threaded or press-fit connection, or central post 1944 may be formed integrally with mouthpiece 1929. Central post 1944 is a generally cylindrical tube that includes external threads 1948 at an end of central post 1944 opposite mouthpiece 1929.
Threads 1948 on central post 1944 are configured to removably engage the threads 1942 on cylindrical tube 1934 for joining the first and second sections 1902 and 1904 of cartridge 1900.
- 81 -Cartridge 1900 is formed in first and second sections 1902 and 1904 to allow refilling and cleaning of cartridge 1900. Central post 1944 forms the inner side wall 1924 of cartridge 1900 along with cylindrical tube 1934. Central post 1944 includes an enlarged diameter portion 1944a (FIG. 19D) that contains atomizer 1908 and deflector 1910 near the second end 1918 of cartridge 1900 and a reduced diameter portion 1944b that extends from mouthpiece 1929. As the atomizer 1908 and deflector 1910 cannot fit within the reduced diameter portion 1944b, the reduced diameter portion 1944b retains the atomizer 1908 and deflector 1910 in place within central post 1944.
A power connector 1950 is partially inserted into the end of central post 1944 adjacent atomizer 1908. Seal 1940b seals between power connector 1950 and central post 1944 to prevent fluid payload leakage. Power connector 1950 is electrically coupled with atomizer 1908 to provide power to atomizer 1908. Power connector 1950 is also in electrical connection with power connector 1914 when first and second sections 1902 and 1904 of cartridge 1900 are joined together. Power connector 1914 receives power from a control assembly when threaded connector 1920 joins cartridge 1900 to a control assembly.
Housing 1906 defines a payload reservoir 1952 (FIG. 19A) positioned between outer side wall 1922 and inner side wall 1924. Payload reservoir 1952 preferably contains a fluid payload that may include substances such as nicotine, cannabis, or cannabinoid for vaporization and inhalation by a user. Payload reservoir 1952 may also contain propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin. Payload reservoir 1952 is accessible for refilling when first and second sections 1902 and 1904 (FIG. 19D) are separated. For refilling cartridge 1900, the fluid payload may be poured into the first section 1902 and then second section 1904 may be threadably coupled with first section 1902. Seals 1926, 1936a, 1936b, 1940a, and 1940b prevent the fluid payload from leaking out of cartridge 1900.
Referring to FIG. 19B, housing 1906 defines an air flow chamber 1953 that extends through mouthpiece 1929 and central post 1944. A divider 1954 is positioned within the air flow chamber 1953 to divide the air flow chamber 1953 into an inlet flow chamber 1956 and an outlet flow chamber 1958. Divider 1954 is a cylindrical tube that is positioned within the central post 1944 and spaced apart from the interior surface of the central post 1944 to form inlet flow chamber 1956. The inlet flow chamber 1956 is concentric with the outlet flow chamber 1958.
- 82 -An inlet 1960 is positioned adjacent the first end 1916 of cartridge 1900, and an outlet 1962 is positioned adjacent the first end 1916 of cartridge 1900. The air flow chamber 1953 is positioned between inlet 1960 and outlet 1962 such that air entering inlet 1960 travels through the air flow chamber 1953 to outlet 1962. Inlet 1960 consists of two holes that extend through outer side wall 1922 of mouthpiece 1929. Inlet 1960 is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber 1956. Divider 1954 engages an interior surface of mouthpiece adjacent inlet 1960 to seal inlet flow chamber 1956 from outlet flow chamber 1958.
Outlet 1962 is an opening formed in first end wall 1928 and is in fluid communication with outlet flow chamber 1958 through the center of divider 1954.
FIG. 20 shows a schematic view of the air flow within cartridge 1900 from inlet 1960 to outlet 1962. When a user inserts mouthpiece 1929 in his or her mouth and draws air through outlet 1962, fresh air from external to cartridge 1900 enters inlet 1960 and travels through inlet flow chamber 1956 toward atomizer 1908. The divider 1954 is spaced apart from .. a first end 1964 of atomizer 1908 to place the inlet flow chamber 1956 in fluid communication with outlet flow chamber 1958 adjacent the first end 1964 of atomizer 1908 in the space between divider 1954 and atomizer 1908. Air from inlet flow chamber 1956 combines with vaporized payload from atomizer 1908 and enters outlet flow chamber 1958. The air and vaporized payload is drawn through outlet flow chamber 1958 through outlet 1962 into the .. user's mouth. The inlet air passing through inlet flow chamber 1956 can cool the vaporized payload and air flowing through the outlet flow chamber 1958 to prevent the user's mouth or lips from being burned. Alternatively, cartridge 1900 may be formed with an air flow path as shown in FIG. 23A and described below.
Inner side wall 1924 is positioned around at least a portion of atomizer 1908 and air flow chamber 1953, including inlet flow chamber 1956 and outlet flow chamber 1958.
A plurality of openings 1966 are formed in inner side wall 1924 adjacent atomizer 1908 to place atomizer 1908 in fluid communication with payload reservoir 1952.
Referring to FIG.
19A, each of the openings 1966 is an elongated slot that extends in a direction aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 1906, which extends from first end 1916 to second end 1918. The openings 1966 are spaced approximately equidistant from each other around a circumference of inner side wall 1924. Any suitable number of openings 1966 may be formed in inner side wall 1924. For example, there may be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 openings 1966. The openings 1966 are rectangular-shaped slots with rounded vertices. Each of the openings 1966
- 83 -is defined by a pair of linear side edges 1968a-b that are spaced apart from each other and a pair of rounded end edges 1970a-b that are each positioned at one end of the opening 1966.
The linear side edges 1968a-b extend in a direction that is aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 1906. The end edge 1970b is positioned near the cylindrical tube 1934 of end cap 1932. The end edge 1970b may be positioned directly adjacent to and abut the cylindrical tube 1934 so that when cartridge 1900 is oriented with first end 1916 facing up and second end 1918 facing down, the payload within payload reservoir 1952 is in fluid communication with the openings 1966 even when very little payload remains in payload reservoir 1952. Further, the openings 1966 may be configured to be at the bottom of the payload reservoir 1952 when the cartridge 1900 is oriented with first end 1916 facing up and second end 1918 facing down.
The linear side edges 1968a-b and the rounded end edges 1970a-b (including the surfaces surrounding the openings 1966 and extending radially from the side edges 1968a-b, 1970a-b to atomizer 1908) may be coated with an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or low surface energy coating to facilitate flow of the payload within payload reservoir 1952 through the openings 1966. Further, the linear side edges 1968a-b and the rounded end edges 1970a-b (including the surfaces surrounding the openings 1966 and extending radially from the side edges 1968a-b, 1970a-b to atomizer 1908) may be micro-patterned to promote flow of the payload through the openings 1966. The micro-patterns may comprise ridges and/or dimples.
The openings 1966 are preferably sized and configured to prevent air bubbles from blocking the openings 1966 and preventing the flow of the fluid payload into the atomizer 1908. If air bubbles form in any of the openings 1966, the shape of the openings allows any air bubbles to channel up the elongated slot and release to unblock the opening.
Including openings 1966 spaced circumferentially around the inner side wall 1924 allows the fluid payload within payload reservoir 1952 to be in contact with atomizer 1908 through an opening 1966 no matter how the cartridge 1900 is oriented rotationally around its longitudinal axis (i.e., one of the openings 1966 will always be at or near the bottom of cartridge 1900 no matter how it is rotated).
Preferably, the openings 1966 are all of equal size and shape; however it is within the scope of the invention for the openings 1966 to have different sizes and shapes. In an alternative embodiment, the openings 1966 may be oval shaped. Further, the end edges 1970a-b may be linear so that the openings 1966 are rectangular shaped. The openings 1966 may additionally be any type of suitable shape such as triangular or square.
In an alternative embodiment, the openings 1966 may be elongated around the circumference of housing 1906 such that the side edges 1968a-b are perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the housing 1906.
- 84 -The openings 1966 may have the same shape on the outer surface of inner side wall 1924 as on the inner surface of inner side wall 1924 that abuts atomizer 1908.
Alternatively, the openings 1966 may taper to expand or decrease in size as they move from the outer surface of inner side wall 1924 to the inner surface of inner side wall 1924. The openings 1966 may be spaced equidistant from each other so they are symmetrically distributed around the inner side wall 1924. Alternatively, the openings 1966 may be distributed asymmetrically around the inner side wall 1924 with varying distances between adjacent openings 1966. Each of the openings 1966 may be filled with a wicking filler, which may be, for example, porous ceramic, metal mesh, metal fibers, fiberglass, porous or sintered plastic, or porous or sintered metal.
In one aspect, each of the openings 1966 may have a surface area of about 0.25 mm2, 0.5 mm2, 1.0 mm2, 1.5 mm2, 2 mm2, 3 mm2, 4 mm2, 5 mm2, 6 mm2, 7 mm2, 8 mm2, 9 mm2, 10 mm2, 11 mm2, 12 mm2, 13 mm2, 14 mm2, 15 mm2, 16 mm2, 17 mm2, 18 mm2, mm2, 20 mm2, 21 mm2, 22 mm2, 23 mm2, 24 mm2, or 25 mm2.
In one aspect, the aspect ratio of the length (i.e., distance between end edges 1970a-b) and width (i.e., distance between side edges 1968a-b) of the one or more of the openings 1966 may be about 1.1:1, 1.2:1, 1.3:1, 1.4:1, 1.5:1, 1.6:1, 1.7:1, 1.8:1, 1.9:1, 2:1, 2.1:1, 2.2:1, 2.3:1, 2.4:1, 2.5:1, 2.6:1, 2.7:1, 2.8:1, 2.9:1, 3:1, 3.2:1, 3.4:1, 3.6:1, 3.8:1, 4:1, 4.2:1, 4.4:1, 4.6:1, 4.8:1 or 5:1.
Atomizer 1908 is positioned within housing 1906 adjacent the second end 1918 of the housing 1906. The atomizer 1908 is in fluid communication with both the payload reservoir 1952 and the air flow chamber 1953, as described above. Atomizer 1908 is a generally cylindrical tube that includes an outer side wall 1972 and an inner side wall 1974, which defines a cylindrical atomizer chamber 1976. Atomizer 1908 has a first end 1964 facing the first end 1916 of housing 1906 and a second end 1978 facing the second end 1918 of housing 1906.
Atomizer 1908 is preferably formed from a porous ceramic material (e.g., a non-fibrous material such as Japanese alumina ceramic or black porous ceramic such as A1203 or black A1203) that surrounds a heating element positioned between the outer side wall 1972 and the inner side wall 1974. The heating element is electrically connected to power connector 1950. The heating element may be a coil that is encased in a porous ceramic material. The heating element may be a resistive or inductive heating element and may comprise SS316L
surgical stainless steel or a titanium alloy. In one embodiment, the heating element has an electrical resistance of less than 2 ohm, less than 1.5 ohm, less than 1.3 ohm or less than 1
- 85 -ohm. In one embodiment, the heating element and atomizer 1908 does not include nichrome or kanthal. The heating element may also be applied to the inner side wall 1974 of atomizer 1908. The outer side wall 1972 may be coated with an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or low surface energy coating to facilitate flow of the payload through openings 1966. The outer side wall 1972 may also be micro-patterned to facilitate flow of the payload through openings 1966. The micro-patterns may comprise ridges and/or dimples.
The payload within payload reservoir 1952 is in contact with the outer side wall 1972 through openings 1966. The payload travels through the porous atomizer 1908 from outer side wall 1972 to the atomizer chamber 1976. The heating element heats and vaporizes the payload as it passes through the atomizer 1908 to the atomizer chamber 1976. The vaporized payload within the atomizer chamber 1976 is drawn into the outlet flow chamber 1958 where it is mixed with air from inlet flow chamber 1956, as described above.
Deflectors 1910 and 1912 are positioned in the air flow chamber 1953 between the atomizer 1908 and the outlet 1962 for the purpose of preventing unvaporized fluid payload from leaking out of cartridge 1900. Deflector 1910 includes a side wall 1980 with a cylindrical portion that is positioned within the atomizer chamber 1976. The side wall 1980 defines a hollow deflector chamber 1982. The end of side wall 1980 facing first end 1916 of housing 1906 flares outwardly into a section 1980a of side wall 1980 that has a larger diameter than the cylindrical portion of side wall 1980. The outwardly flared section 1980a is shaped as a truncated cone and is positioned outside of atomizer chamber 1976. The truncated cone shape of the section 1980a expands in diameter as it extends away from the cylindrical portion of the side wall 1980 toward first end 1916.
In one aspect, the largest diameter portion at the end of the flared section 1980a has a diameter that is about 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, or 2 times the diameter of the cylindrical portion of the deflector 1910. In one aspect, the length of the flared section 1980a (i.e., the distance from the cylindrical portion of side wall 1980 to the end of deflector 1910) is about 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, or 0.5 times the length of the cylindrical portion of deflector 1910.
Deflector 1910 is perforated with a plurality of holes. Each of the holes may have a diameter that is between about 0.1 mm to about 0.5 mm, between about 0.5 mm to about 1 mm, between about 1 mm to about 2mm, or between about 2 mm to about 5 mm. In one aspect, each of the holes may have a diameter that is about 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 0.9 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.1 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.4 mm, 1.5 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.7 mm, 1.8 mm, 1.9 mm, or 2.0 mm.
- 86 -Deflector 1910 may also be formed from a hollow cylindrical mesh including a plurality of openings. In one aspect, the longest distance across each of the openings of the hollow cylindrical mesh may be from about 0.1 mm to about 0.5 mm, about 0.5 mm to about 1 mm, about 1 mm to about 2mm, or about 2 mm to about 5 mm. In one aspect, the longest distance across each of the openings may be about 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 0.9 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.1 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.4 mm, 1.5 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.7 mm, 1.8 mm, 1.9 mm, or 2.0 mm.
Deflector 1912 is positioned downstream of deflector 1910 within the outlet flow chamber 1958 near outlet 1962. Deflector 1912 is a generally planar, perforated disc with a plurality of holes formed therein that allow air to flow through deflector 1912. Each of deflectors 1910 and 1912 may comprise an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, a hydrophilic, or a low surface energy coating. The deflectors 1910 and 1912 may comprise a micro-patterned surface configured to be hydrophobic and/or oleophobic. Deflectors 1910 and 1912 are optional and may be omitted from cartridge 1900. Further, cartridge 1900 may include one of deflectors 1910 or 1912 and not the other.
In one aspect, each of the holes of deflector 1912 may have a diameter that is between about 0.1 mm to about 0.5 mm, between about 0.5 mm to about 1 mm, between about 1 mm to about 2mm, or between about 2 mm to about 5 mm. In one aspect, each of the holes of deflector 1912 may have a diameter that is about 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 .. mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 0.9 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.1 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.4 mm, 1.5 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.7 mm, 1.8 mm, 1.9 mm, or 2.0 mm.
Deflector 1912 may be formed from mesh or a screen. In one aspect, the longest distance across each of the openings of the mesh may be from about 0.1 mm to about 0.5 mm, about 0.5 mm to about 1 mm, about 1 mm to about 2mm, or about 2 mm to about 5 mm. In one aspect, the longest distance across each of the openings may be about 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 0.9 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.1 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.4 mm, 1.5 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.7 mm, 1.8 mm, 1.9 mm, or 2.0 mm.
Deflectors 1910 and 1912 preferably catch or deflect unvaporized fluid payload within outlet flow chamber 1958 to prevent heated fluid payload from entering a user's mouth through outlet 1962. Deflectors 1910 and 1912 may inhibit any unvaporized payload from exiting outlet 1962 by limiting droplet accumulation with a micro-patterned surface configured to be hydrophobic and/or oleophobic. In another embodiment, inhibiting the droplets from exiting outlet 1962 comprises entrapping droplets on a micro-patterned surface. Deflectors 1910 and 1912 could be positioned anywhere between the atomizer 1908 and outlet 1962.
- 87 -Deflectors 1910 and 1912 may be made of a metal or metal alloy such as stainless steel, aluminum, titanium or another metal or metal alloy. Preferably, deflectors 1910 and 1912 are made from SS316L surgical grade stainless steel or a titanium alloy.
Alternatively, deflectors 1910 and 1912 may be made of a suitable polymer material that has sufficient heat resistance to maintain its shape and not outgas volatiles at the typical operating temperatures of the cartridge 1900.
In one embodiment, the mouthpiece 1929, end cap 1932, and central post 1944 of cartridge 1900 may be made of a metal or metal alloy such as stainless steel, aluminum, titanium or another metal or metal alloy.
Cartridge 1900 may also include a valve to regulate the size of the openings 1966 that place payload reservoir 1952 in fluid communication with atomizer 1908. For example, the valve may be a rotating sleeve positioned between the atomizer 1908 and inner side wall 1924. The rotating sleeve may have a plurality of spaced apart openings that are similar to the openings 1966 in inner side wall 1924. The rotating sleeve can be rotated into a fully open position, in which the openings in the rotating sleeve are aligned with the openings 1966, a plurality of partially open positions, in which the openings in the rotating sleeve are partially aligned with the openings 1966 and a solid portion of the rotating sleeve blocks fluid flow through a portion of the openings, or a closed position, in which the openings in the rotating sleeve are not aligned with the openings 1966 and a solid portion of the rotating sleeve .. completely blocks the openings 1966.
FIGS. 21-23D show a portion of an alternative embodiment of cartridge 2100 that is similar to cartridge 1900 except that cartridge 2100 has an inlet flow chamber 2102 that extends through channels 2104 in the atomizer 2106. Because cartridge 2100 is similar to cartridge 1900, only the differences between cartridges 2100 and 1900 are described in detail herein. Referring to FIG. 22, cartridge 2100 has a divider 2108 that divides the air flow chamber 2110 within inner side wall 2112 into inlet flow chamber 2102 and outlet flow chamber 2114. Air enters inlet flow chamber 2102 through inlets in a similar manner as described above with respect to cartridge 1900. Divider 2108 abuts atomizer 2106 so that air within inlet flow chamber 2102 is directed through channels 2104 in atomizer 2106. Atomizer .. 2106 includes a first end 2116 facing the first end 2117 of cartridge 2100 and a second end 2118 facing the second end 2119 of cartridge 2100. Atomizer 2106 includes an outer side wall 2120 and an inner side wall 2122. Channels 2104 are positioned between outer side wall 2120 and inner side wall 2122 and extend through atomizer 2106 from first end 2116 to second end 2118. The channels 2104 form part of the inlet flow chamber 2102 extending through
- 88 -cartridge 2100 so that the inlet flow chamber 2102 extends from the inlet past the first end 2116 of the atomizer 2106 to the second end 2118 of the atomizer 2106.
The inner side wall 2122 of atomizer 2106 defines an atomizer chamber 2124.
As shown in FIG. 23B, a recess 2126 is formed in the second end 2118 of atomizer 2106 to place channels 2104 and thus inlet flow chamber 2102 in fluid communication with atomizer chamber 2124 adjacent the second end 2118 of atomizer 2106. The atomizer chamber 2124 is in fluid communication with outlet flow chamber 2114 adjacent the first end 2116 of atomizer 2106, as shown in FIG. 22. The elongated slots 2128 (FIG. 21) formed in the inner side wall 2112 are preferably offset circumferentially from the channels 2104 through atomizer 2106 to allow fluid payload from payload reservoir 2130 to more easily pass through atomizer 2106 into atomizer chamber 2124 and prevent the fluid payload from entering the channels 2104.
The surfaces of atomizer 2106 surrounding the channels 2104 may also be formed from, coated with, or covered with a non-porous material to prevent the fluid payload in payload reservoir 2130 from entering the channels 2104. For example, while the atomizer 2106 may be formed from a porous material such as porous ceramic, the surfaces surrounding the channels 2104 may be coated or glazed with a non-porous material, covered with a sheet of non-porous material, or heat treated to render the surfaces non-porous.
The inner side wall 2112 is positioned within a housing 2132 to define payload reservoir 2130 between the inner side wall 2112 and housing 2132. A seal or gasket 2134 is positioned between the inner side wall 2112 and an end wall 2136 of the housing 2132 to prevent fluid payload from leaking out of payload reservoir 2130 and to prevent air from entering the cartridge 2100. The inner side wall 2112 may be joined to end wall 2136. For example, the inner side wall 2112 may be joined to end wall 2136 by fusing, swaging or gluing them together. The seal 2134 can also be eliminated if the inner side wall 2112 and end wall 2136 are joined in a manner that prevents fluid payload from leaking between the inner side wall 2112 and end wall 2136. Alternatively, the inner side wall 2112 may be part of a central post that removably screws into an end cap, like with the cartridge 1900 described above. The elongated slots 2128 may extend to end wall 2136 so that fluid payload is in communication with the elongated slots 2128 when cartridge 2100 is oriented with first end 2117 positioned above second end 2119 and very little fluid payload is left in cartridge 2100.
In an alternative embodiment, the channels 2104 of cartridge 2100 may be positioned between the atomizer 2106 and the inner side wall 2112. For example, a plurality of circumferentially spaced recesses may be formed in the outer side wall 2120 of atomizer 2106 to form the channels between the atomizer 2106 and the inner side wall 2112.
The recesses are
- 89 -preferably circumferentially offset from the elongated slots 2128 that place the payload reservoir 2130 in fluid communication with atomizer 2106. Surfaces surrounding the recesses may be formed from, coated with, or covered with a non-porous material to prevent the fluid payload in payload reservoir 2130 from entering the channels.
Extending the inlet flow chamber 2102 through or adjacent to the atomizer 2106 improves the performance of cartridge 2100. As the inlet air flows through or adjacent to the atomizer 2106, the atomizer 2106 pre-heats the inlet air, which allows the concentration of vaporized payload to be more easily optimized with respect to the wattage supplied to the heating element of atomizer 2106. Pre-heating the inlet air also allows for a more even temperature profile that prevents undesired thermolysis of the payload as it is vaporized. In another aspect, the inlet air can cool the vaporized payload and air flowing through the outlet flow chamber 2114 to prevent the user's mouth or lips from being burned.
In one embodiment, the ceramic material of the atomizer 2106 could be replaced with a sintered metal or a high-heat resistant plastic. The divider 2108, inner side wall 2112, and housing 2132 may be formed from metal, plastic, wood, a composite material or ceramic. The cartridge 2100 may include deflectors 1910 and 1912 (described above) with deflector 1910 being modified to remove the flared section 1980a so that divider 2108 can abut atomizer 2106.
Cartridge 2100 may have a rotating sleeve valve that is structured similar to the rotating sleeve valve described above for cartridge 1900 to regulate the fluid flow through elongated slots 2128.
FIG. 24 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of cartridge 2400 with a different air flow path than the cartridges 1900 and 2100. The air flow path of cartridge 2400 may be used in cartridge 1900 along with the elongated slot openings 1966 and deflectors 1910 and 1912. Cartridge 2400 has a first end 2402 and a second end 2404. The inlet 2406 is adjacent the second end 2404 of the cartridge 2400 and the outlet 2408 is adjacent the first end 2402. The inlet flow chamber 2410 extends from the inlet 2406 to the atomizer 2412 and the atomizer chamber 2414. The outlet flow chamber 2416 extends from the atomizer chamber 2414 to the outlet 2408. As a user draws air through a mouthpiece adjacent outlet 2408, air enters inlet 2406, the air mixes with vaporized payload within atomizer chamber 2414, and the air and vaporized payload exit outlet 2408.
Any of the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 described above may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) to form a vape device that is operable to power the atomizers 1908, 2106, and 2412 upon demand by a user by supplying a
- 90 -controlled current or voltage to the atomizer. The cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 may also be screwable into a control assembly using threaded connector 1920 as shown or may have snap clips or some other structure that joins them to a control assembly. The control assembly 14 is configured to cause the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 to provide vapor through the outlet in response to a user's input by supplying a controlled current or voltage to the atomizer 1908, 2106, or 2412, as described above. Threaded connector 1920 is preferably a 510 threaded connector that allows cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 to be used with compatible 510 threaded control subassemblies or vape devices. Any of the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 may be operated to vaporize a fluid payload within the payload reservoir in accordance with the methods described above for vape devices 10 and 100 and vape device system 102, including in accordance with the system and method for optimizing vaporization described above. The cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 may have an ID tag 28 that includes a unique payload identifier, which identifies the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400. The cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 may also include sensors to measure operational conditions of the cartridges. For example, the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 may include the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200 to regulate the temperature of the atomizers and the capacitive vapor measurement system described below in connection with vape device 3100. Conductive plates of the capacitive vapor measurement system, such as the conductive plates 3114 and 3116 shown in FIG. 31, may be positioned anywhere between the atomizer and outlet of the cartridges. For example, the conductive plates may be position in the outlet flow chamber 1958 of cartridge 1900, in the outlet flow chamber 2114 of cartridge 2100, or in the outlet flow chamber 2416 of cartridge 2400. Data from the sensors may be transmitted to a control assembly via a threaded connector that operates in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000 such that power is also provided to the cartridge via the threaded connector.
Cartrid2e with Pressurized Fluid Reservoir In addition to the cartridges 1900, 2100, and 2400 described above, another aspect of the invention described herein that relates to a cartridge for use with a fluid payload is a cartridge that pressurizes a fluid payload within a payload reservoir.
Pressurizing the fluid payload allows the fluid payload to reliably flow into the atomizer without the formation of air bubbles in the opening or channel between the payload reservoir and the atomizer. This is particularly advantageous when the fluid payload is a highly-viscous oil or fluid like those extracted from the cannabis plant. Further, pressurizing the fluid payload ensures that
- 91 -substantially all of the fluid payload is available for vaporization and that no substantial amount of fluid payload is leftover in the payload reservoir after use.
One embodiment of cartridge with a pressurized fluid reservoir is identified generally as 2500 in FIG. 25A. Cartridge 2500 includes a housing 2502, an atomizer 2504 (FIG. 25B), a pressurizer 2506, a stopper 2508, a dose ring 2510, and a spring 2512. Atomizer 2504, pressurizer 2506, stopper 2508, and spring 2512 are positioned within an interior chamber 2513 defined by housing 2502. The spring 2512 biases the pressurizer 2506 toward a payload reservoir 2514 of the housing 2502 to apply pressure to a fluid payload within the payload reservoir 2514, which forces the fluid payload into contact with atomizer 2504. Dose ring 2510 threadably engages stopper 2508 and allows a user to move stopper 2508 to regulate the amount of fluid payload forced into contact with atomizer 2504. Payload reservoir 2514 preferably contains a fluid payload that includes nicotine, cannabis, or cannabinoid for vaporization and inhalation by a user. Payload reservoir 2514 may also contain propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
As shown in FIG. 25A, housing 2502 includes a mouthpiece 2516, an end cap 2518, and a cylindrical tube 2520 coupled to end cap 2518. Dose ring 2510 is positioned between and joined to cylindrical tube 2520 and mouthpiece 2516 in a manner that permits rotation of dose ring 2510. End cap 2518 forms a first end wall 2522 of housing 2502, and mouthpiece 2516 forms a second end wall 2524. An outer side wall 2526 is formed by the combination of cylindrical tube 2520 and mouthpiece 2516. End cap 2518 includes a threaded connector 2528 that is configured for coupling the housing 2502 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1. An inlet 2530 is formed in the outer side wall 2526 adjacent the second end wall 2524, and an outlet 2532 is formed in the second end wall 2524. The inlet 2530 preferably comprises a plurality of holes that extend through outer side wall 2526 into a chamber 2533 of housing 2502. End cap 2518 may be permanently coupled to cylindrical tube 2520 or removably coupled to cylindrical tube 2520 for refilling payload reservoir 2514.
Pressurizer 2506 includes a circular pressure plate 2534, a cylindrical tube coupled to and extending from pressure plate 2534 toward second end wall 2524, and a flange 2538 coupled to the end of tube 2536 and extending generally perpendicular outward from the tube 2536. Pressure plate 2534 has a first side 2534a positioned adjacent payload reservoir 2514 and a second side 2534b positioned adjacent atomizer 2504. Payload reservoir 2514 is positioned between and defined by the pressure plate 2534, outer side wall 2526, and first end wall 2522. The outer peripheral edge of pressure plate 2534 sealingly engages outer side wall
- 92 -2526. The pressurizer 2506 moves within the housing 2502 in a direction that is aligned with a longitudinal axis of the housing 2502 (i.e., an axis extending between first end wall 2522 and second end wall 2524). Movement of pressurizer 2506 within the housing 2502 reduces or expands the size of the payload reservoir 2514.
Pressure plate 2534 includes a central opening 2540 that places atomizer 2504 in fluid communication with payload reservoir 2514. The opening 2540 is preferably sized based on the viscosity of the fluid payload contained within the payload reservoir 2514, the force exerted by spring 2512 on pressurizer 2506, and the desired flow rate of fluid payload through opening 2540. Tube 2536 extends through a central opening of dose ring 2510 into chamber 2533 adjacent inlet 2530. A valve may be positioned adjacent central opening 2540 to regulate the size of the opening 2540 and the amount of fluid that can flow therethrough.
For example, the valve 2540 may slide to unblock opening 2540, partially block opening 2540, or completely block opening 2540.
Atomizer 2504 is positioned within pressurizer tube 2536 adjacent the second side 2534b of pressure plate 2534. Atomizer 2504 preferably comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element. Atomizer 2504 may be formed from any of the materials, and may operate in the same manner, as described above in connection with atomizer 1908.
Atomizer 2504 is cylindrical and includes a central atomizer channel 2542 that is aligned with the opening 2540 in pressure plate 2534 for allowing fluid payload to flow from payload reservoir 2514 through the opening 2540 and into atomizer channel 2542.
A divider 2544 extends from chamber 2533 into tube 2536. The divider 2544 is a cylindrical tube that divides the chamber 2533 and interior chamber of tube 2536 into an inlet flow chamber 2546, positioned between an outer surface of divider 2544 and an inner surface of tube 2536, and an outlet flow chamber 2548, positioned within divider 2544.
Inlet 2530 is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber 2546, and outlet 2532 is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber 2548. The end of divider 2544 within tube 2536 is spaced from atomizer 2504 to place inlet flow chamber 2546 in fluid communication with outlet flow chamber 2548 adjacent atomizer 2504. When a user draws air through outlet 2532, air enters inlet 2530 and travels through inlet flow chamber 2546. Vaporized fluid payload from atomizer 2504 mixes with the air from inlet flow chamber 2546 and travels through outlet flow chamber 2548 into the user's mouth for inhalation. FIG. 27 shows a schematic view of the air flow path through cartridge 2500.
Stopper 2508 is a cylindrical tube that is positioned around the tube 2536 of pressurizer 2506. Stopper 2508 is positioned between the flange 2538 and pressure plate 2534
- 93 -of pressurizer 2506. The length of stopper 2508 is less than the distance between flange 2538 and pressure plate 2534 so that the stopper 2508 can move relative to pressurizer 2506 in a direction that is aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 2502. The outer surface of stopper 2508 is threaded and engages threads on an inner surface of dose ring 2510. Stopper 2508 engages a portion of tube 2536 or housing 2502 in a manner that prevents rotational movement of the stopper 2508 around the tube 2536 but that allows stopper 2508 to move in a direction that is aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 2502.
Dose ring 2510 includes an outer surface that is generally aligned with the outer surface of outer side wall 2526 and an inner surface with threads that engage the threads on stopper 2508. Dose ring 2510 is rotatable with respect to housing 2502.
Spring 2512 is positioned between dose ring 2510 and pressure plate 2534.
Spring 2512 biases the pressure plate 2534 toward the payload reservoir 2514 and first end wall 2522 when stopper 2508 does not prevent movement of pressurizer 2506.
Spring 2512 also biases flange 2538 toward stopper 2508. It is within the scope of the invention to use other types of biasing mechanisms that have the capability to exert force on pressurizer 2506 instead of spring 2512.
When a user desires to use cartridge 2500 to vaporize a fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514, the user connects the cartridge 2500 to a control assembly, such as control assembly 14 described above. The control assembly may operate to power a heating element of atomizer 2504 in accordance with the methods of operation described above for the vane devices 10 and 100 and vane device system 102. Before use, stopper 2508 is in a closed position in which it engages flange 2538 to prevent spring 2512 from moving pressurizer 2506 toward payload reservoir 2514. This prevents the pressurizer 2506 from pressurizing the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514 to an extent that the fluid payload will flow through the opening 2540 in pressure plate 2534. To allow fluid payload to flow through the opening 2540, the user rotates dose ring 2510 in a direction that causes stopper 2508 to move away from engagement with flange 2538. Alternatively, a motor may be used to rotate the dose ring 2510 and may be controlled manually by the user or by a processor that sends a signal to turn the motor on and off Because rotational movement of stopper 2508 is blocked, rotation of dose ring 2510 causes longitudinal movement of stopper 2508 away from flange 2538. Once stopper 2508 is moved away from flange 2538, spring 2512 and pressure plate 2534 exert pressure on the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514 causing the fluid payload to move through the opening 2540 in pressure plate 2534 and into contact with atomizer 2504.
- 94 -Dose ring 2510 and housing 2502 preferably include a dose indicator that corresponds with a particular amount of fluid payload contained within payload reservoir 2514.
For example, the dose indicator may be a line or set of lines on dose ring 2510 and a line or set of lines on the outer side wall 2526 adjacent dose ring 2510. The user may rotate dose ring 2510 so that a line on dose ring moves from alignment with a first line on outer side wall 2526 to a second line on outer side wall 2526. The dose ring 2510 may also move axially with respect to housing 2502 as it rotates. Alternatively, if a first line on dose ring 2510 is aligned with a line on outer side wall 2526, the user may rotate the dose ring 2510 until a second line on dose ring 2510 is aligned with the line on outer side wall 2526. The spacing between adjacent lines on dose ring 2510 or outer side wall 2526 corresponds with an angular degree of movement of dose ring 2510, which corresponds with a longitudinal movement of stopper 2508. The longitudinal movement of stopper 2508 toward payload reservoir 2514 corresponds with a volume reduction of payload reservoir 2514 and a volume of the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514 that is forced through opening 2540 into atomizer 2504 for vaporization. Thus, the user can use the dose indicator on dose ring 2510 and housing 2502 to select the volume of the fluid payload, or dose, that the user wants to vaporize. Other types of dose indicators may be used with cartridge 2500 instead of lines. For example, a detent mechanism can be used with a spring loaded ball or pin on either dose ring 2510 or housing 2502 engaging one of a series of holes or recesses on the other of dose ring 2510 or housing 2502. The use of a detent mechanism may provide the user with tactile or audible feedback so that the user knows when the dose ring has rotated from one position to the next, which each instance of rotation from one position to the next corresponding with a dose of the fluid payload that will be forced through opening 2540.
After the dose is selected with dose ring 2510, the user causes power to be supplied to the atomizer 2504 by, for example, pressing a button on the control assembly connected to cartridge 2500, beginning to draw air through outlet 2532, or any of the other methods described above with respect to vane devices 10 and 100. As the atomizer 2504 heats the fluid payload, the fluid payload vaporizes, is mixed with air from inlet 2530, and exits through outlet 2532 for inhalation. As the fluid payload passes through opening 2540 and vaporizes, spring 2512 causes pressurizer 2506 to move toward payload reservoir 2514, which also causes the flange 2538 of pressurizer 2506 to move toward stopper 2508.
When flange 2538 engages stopper 2508, pressurizer 2506 can no longer move toward payload reservoir 2514, which causes the fluid payload to stop flowing through opening 2540 and vaporizing.
To vaporize the fluid payload again, the user turns dose ring 2510 as described above.
- 95 -Opening 2540 is preferably sized so that the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514 does not leak through the opening 2540 when stopper 2508 engages flange 2538. The viscosity of the fluid payload combined with the size of the opening 2540 prevents leakage through the opening 2540.
A heater may be positioned in or adjacent payload reservoir 2514 to heat the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2514 to a temperature that is below the vaporization temperature of the fluid payload, but that reduces the viscosity of the fluid payload allowing it to flow in a desired manner through the opening 2540 of pressurizer 2506.
In an alternative embodiment, the inlet flow chamber 2546 may extend from the inlet 2530 through a channel in the pressurizer 2506. The channel may be blocked by the stopper 2508 when the flange 2538 engages stopper 2508 to prevent a user from drawing air through the cartridge 2500 when the stopper 2508 prevents spring 2512 and pressurizer 2506 from forcing fluid payload into contact with atomizer 2504. Blocking air flow from the inlet 2530 and inlet flow chamber 2546 can prevent the user from heating the atomizer 2504 when fluid payload is not in contact with the atomizer 2504 for vaporization, which is advantageous because heating the atomizer 2504 without it being in contact with the fluid payload can potentially damage the atomizer 2504. If the cartridge 2500 has a pressure activation switch, as described above in connection with vane devices 10 and 100, that senses a decrease in pressure before activating atomizer 2504, blocking air flow through inlet flow chamber 2546 will prevent activation of the pressure activation switch and atomizer 2504.
Another embodiment of cartridge with a pressurized fluid reservoir is identified generally as 2600 in FIG. 26A. Cartridge 2600 includes a housing 2602, an atomizer 2604 (FIG. 26B), a pressurizer 2606, a stopper 2608, a dose ring 2610, and a spring 2612. Atomizer 2604, pressurizer 2606, stopper 2608, and spring 2612 are positioned within an interior chamber 2613 defined by housing 2602. The spring 2612 biases the pressurizer 2606 toward a payload reservoir 2614 of the housing 2602 to apply pressure to a fluid payload within the payload reservoir 2614, which forces the fluid payload into contact with atomizer 2604. Dose ring 2610, pressurizer 2606, and stopper 2608 allow a user to move stopper 2608 to regulate the amount of fluid payload forced into contact with atomizer 2604, as described below.
Payload reservoir 2614 preferably contains a fluid payload that includes nicotine, cannabis, or cannabinoid for vaporization and inhalation by a user. Payload reservoir 2614 may also contain propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
Housing 2602 includes a mouthpiece 2616, an end cap 2618, and a cylindrical tube 2620 coupled to end cap 2618. Dose ring 2610 is positioned between and joined to
- 96 -cylindrical tube 2620 and mouthpiece 2616 in a manner that permits rotation of dose ring 2610. End cap 2618 forms a first end wall 2622 of housing 2602, and mouthpiece 2616 forms a second end wall 2624. An outer side wall 2626 is formed by the combination of cylindrical tube 2620 and mouthpiece 2616. End cap 2618 may include a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the housing 2602 to a control assembly, such as the control assembly 14 described above and shown in FIG. 1. An inlet 2630 is formed in the outer side wall 2626 adjacent the second end wall 2624, and an outlet 2632 is formed in the second end wall 2624.
The inlet 2630 preferably comprises a plurality of holes that extend through outer side wall 2626. End cap 2618 may be permanently coupled to cylindrical tube 2620 or removably coupled to cylindrical tube 2620 for refilling payload reservoir 2614.
A central post 2631 is integrally formed with mouthpiece 2616 and extends from mouthpiece 2616 to payload reservoir 2614 adjacent first end wall 2622.
Central post 2631 is positioned within the interior chamber 2613 defined by housing 2602. A
channel 2633 extends through central post 2631 and has an opening 2635 adjacent first end wall 2622.
Atomizer 2604 is positioned within the channel 2633 at the end of central post 2631 adjacent first end wall 2622. The end of central post 2631 is spaced apart from the first end wall 2622 so that fluid payload in payload reservoir 2614 can flow through opening 2635 into atomizer 2604 when stopper 2608 is spaced apart from first end wall 2622. Central post 2631 may also be attached to first end wall 2622 with, for example, threads or clips, in which case at least one opening would extend through central post 2631 to place atomizer 2604 in fluid communication with payload reservoir 2614 when the opening is not covered by stopper 2608.
Pressurizer 2606 includes an annular pressure plate 2634 and a cylindrical tube 2636 coupled to and extending from pressure plate 2634 toward second end wall 2624.
Payload reservoir 2614 is positioned between and defined by the pressure plate 2634, outer side wall 2626, and first end wall 2622. The outer peripheral edge of pressure plate 2634 sealingly engages outer side wall 2626. Pressurizer 2606 includes an interior surface 2638 that is threaded and surrounds an interior chamber extending through the pressurizer 2606. The threaded interior surface 2638 engages a threaded outer surface 2640 of stopper 2608. The pressurizer 2606 moves within the housing 2602 in a direction that is aligned with a longitudinal axis of the housing 2602 (i.e., an axis extending between first end wall 2622 and second end wall 2624). Movement of pressurizer 2606 within the housing 2602 reduces or expands the size of the payload reservoir 2614.
Pressurizer 2606 includes at least one flute 2642 that is positioned within a recess of dose ring 2610. The engagement between the flute 2642 and recess of dose ring 2610
- 97 -allows pressurizer 2606 to rotate with rotation of dose ring 2610 and also allows pressurizer 2606 to move axially with respect to dose ring 2610 in a direction aligned with the longitudinal direction of housing 2602. It is within the scope of the invention to use other types of structures besides a flute and recess as long as the pressurizer 2606 is rotationally fixed to dose ring 2610 and the pressurizer 2606 can move axially with respect to dose ring 2610.
Atomizer 2604 preferably comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element. Atomizer 2604 may be formed from any of the materials, and may operate in the same manner, as described above in connection with atomizer 1908. Atomizer 2604 is cylindrical and includes a central atomizer channel 2643 that is in fluid communication with payload reservoir 2614 when stopper 2608 does not engage first end wall 2622 for allowing fluid payload to travel from payload reservoir 2514 into atomizer channel 2643.
Housing 2602 includes a divider 2644 that is positioned within the channel 2633 of central post 2631. The divider 2644 is a cylindrical tube that divides the channel 2633 into an inlet flow chamber 2646, positioned between an outer surface of divider 2644 and an inner surface of central post 2631, and an outlet flow chamber 2648, positioned within divider 2644. Inlet 2630 is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber 2646, and outlet 2632 is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber 2648. The end of divider 2644 within central post 2631 is spaced from atomizer 2604 to place inlet flow chamber 2646 in fluid communication with outlet flow chamber 2648 adjacent atomizer 2604. When a user draws air through outlet 2632, air enters inlet 2630 and travels through inlet flow chamber 2646.
Vaporized fluid payload from atomizer 2604 mixes with the air from inlet flow chamber 2646 and travels through outlet flow chamber 2648 into the user's mouth for inhalation.
Stopper 2608 is a cylindrical tube that is positioned around the central post 2631. A portion of stopper 2608 engages housing 2602, which may include central post 2631, so that stopper 2608 cannot rotate around central post 2631, but the engagement allows stopper 2608 to move with respect to central post 2631 in a direction aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 2602. Stopper 2608 is positioned between first end wall 2622 and an interior wall 2650 of housing 2602. The length of stopper 2608 is less than the distance between first end wall 2622 and interior wall 2650 so that the stopper 2608 can move relative to pressurizer 2606 .. and central post 2631 in a direction that is aligned with the longitudinal axis of housing 2602.
The outer surface 2640 of stopper 2608 includes threads that engage threads on the interior surface 2638 of pressurizer 2606.
Stopper 2608 has an end surface 2652 adjacent first end wall 2622. End surface 2652 surrounds a central opening 2654 (FIG. 26C) that extends through stopper 2608. Central
- 98 -post 2631 is positioned within the opening 2654 of stopper 2608. End surface 2652 is configured to sealingly engage first end wall 2622, when spring 2612 forces stopper 2608 into engagement with first end wall 2622, which prevents fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 from flowing through opening 2654 and into contact with atomizer 2604.
When stopper 2608 is spaced apart from first end wall 2622, fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 may flow through opening 2654 into contact with atomizer 2604 for vaporization.
Dose ring 2610 includes an outer surface that is generally aligned with the outer surface of outer side wall 2626 and an inner surface that engages pressurizer 2606 in a manner that rotationally fixes pressurizer 2606 to dose ring 2610 but that allows pressurizer 2606 to move axially with respect to dose ring 2610. Dose ring 2610 is rotatable with respect to housing 2602.
Spring 2612 is positioned between dose ring 2610 and pressure plate 2634.
Spring 2612 biases the pressure plate 2634 toward the payload reservoir 2614 and first end wall 2622. Spring 2612 also biases the stopper 2608 toward the first end wall 2622 by virtue of the threaded engagement between stopper 2608 and pressurizer 2606. It is within the scope of the invention to use other types of biasing mechanisms that have the capability to exert force on pressurizer 2606 and stopper 2608 instead of spring 2612.
When a user desires to use cartridge 2600 to vaporize a fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614, the user connects the cartridge 2600 to a control assembly, such as control assembly 14 described above. The control assembly may operate to power a heating element of atomizer 2604 in accordance with the methods of operation described above for the vane devices 10 and 100 and vane device system 102. Before use, stopper 2608 is biased by spring 2612 to a closed position in which it engages first end wall 2622 to prevent fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 from entering the opening 2654 in stopper 2608 and making contact with atomizer 2604. To allow fluid payload to flow through the opening 2654, the user rotates dose ring 2610 in a direction that causes stopper 2608 to move away from engagement with first end wall 2622. Alternatively, a motor may be used to rotate the dose ring 2610 and may be controlled manually by the user or by a processor that sends a signal to turn the motor on and off As dose ring 2610 rotates, pressurizer 2606 rotates in the same direction. Because stopper 2608 engages housing 2602 in a manner that blocks rotational movement of stopper 2608 and the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 prevents pressurizer 2606 from moving toward first end wall 2622, rotation of pressurizer 2606 causes longitudinal movement of stopper 2608 away from first end wall 2622. Once stopper 2608 is moved away from first end wall 2622, the pressure exerted on the fluid payload within payload
- 99 -reservoir 2614 by spring 2612 and pressure plate 2634 causes the fluid payload to move through the opening 2654 in stopper 2608 and into contact with atomizer 2604.
Dose ring 2610 and housing 2602 preferably include a dose indicator that is substantially similar to the dose indicator described above for cartridge 2500 so that a user can select a desired dose of the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 by rotating dose ring 2610 a certain amount.
After the dose is selected with dose ring 2610, the user causes power to be supplied to the atomizer 2604 by, for example, pressing a button on the control assembly connected to cartridge 2600, beginning to draw air through outlet 2632, or any of the other methods described above with respect to vape devices 10 and 100. As the atomizer 2604 heats the fluid payload, the fluid payload vaporizes, is mixed with air from inlet 2630, and exits through outlet 2632 for inhalation. As the fluid payload passes through opening 2654 and vaporizes, spring 2612 causes pressurizer 2606 and stopper 2608 to move toward first end wall 2622. When the selected dose has moved through opening 2654 and vaporized, stopper 2608 sealingly engages first end wall 2622 to prevent the further flow of fluid payload into atomizer 2604. With the stopper 2608 sealingly engaging first end wall 2622, the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 is blocked from leaking out of cartridge 2600. To vaporize the fluid payload again, the user turns dose ring 2610 as described above.
Cartridge 2600 may also include an optional heater that is positioned in or adjacent payload reservoir 2614 to heat the fluid payload within payload reservoir 2614 to a temperature that is below the vaporization temperature of the fluid payload, but that reduces the viscosity of the fluid payload allowing it to flow in a desired manner through the opening 2654. The inlet 2630 of cartridge 2600 may also be positioned adjacent first end wall 2618, in which case the divider 2644 would not be necessary as the incoming air would flow from near first end wall 2618 through or by the atomizer 2604 before exiting through outlet 2632.
FIG. 26D shows another cartridge 2656 that is similar to cartridge 2600 except for the configuration of atomizer 2658 and center post 2660. Center post 2660 extends from near second end wall 2662 to atomizer 2658. There is a gap between center post 2660 and atomizer 2658. Stopper 2664 is movable in the same manner as the stopper 2608 described above to block the gap and stop the flow of fluid payload from payload reservoir 2666 to atomizer 2658 or open the gap to allow the flow of fluid payload from payload reservoir 2666 to atomizer 2658. Atomizer 2658 is positioned adjacent first end wall 2668 where it is in electrical communication with power connector 2670. Cartridge 2656 includes a threaded
- 100 -connector 2672 for joining the cartridge to a control assembly that can power atomizer 2658 in the same manner as described above with respect to the other cartridges described herein.
Any of the cartridges 2500 and 2600 described above may be formed integral with a control assembly (e.g., control assembly 14) to form a vape device that is operable to .. power the atomizers 2504, 2604 upon demand by a user by supplying a controlled current or voltage to the atomizer. The cartridges 2500 and 2600 may also be screwable into a control assembly using threaded connector 2528 or may have snap clips or some other structure that joins them to a control assembly. The control assembly 14 is configured to cause the cartridges 2500, 2600 to provide vapor through the outlet in response to a user's input by supplying a controlled current or voltage to the atomizer 2504, 2604, as described above.
Threaded connector 2528 is preferably a 510 threaded connector that allows cartridges 2500, 2600 to be used with compatible 510 threaded control subassemblies or vape devices. Any of the cartridges 2500, 2600 may be operated to vaporize a fluid payload within the payload reservoir in accordance with the methods described above for vape devices 10 and 100 and .. vape device system 102, including in accordance with the system and method for optimizing vaporization described above. The cartridges 2500, 2600 may have an ID tag 28 that includes a unique payload identifier, which identifies the cartridges 2500, 2600. The cartridges 2500, 2600 may also include sensors to measure operational conditions of the cartridges. For example, the cartridges 2500, 2600 may include the integrated temperature control system .. described below in connection with vape device 4200 to regulate the temperature of the atomizers and the capacitive vapor measurement system described below in connection with vape device 3100. Conductive plates of the capacitive vapor measurement system, such as the conductive plates 3114 and 3116 shown in FIG. 31, may be positioned anywhere between the atomizer and outlet of the cartridges. For example, the conductive plates may be position in .. the outlet flow chamber 2548 of cartridge 2500, or in the outlet flow chamber 2648 of cartridge 2600. Data from the sensors may be transmitted to a control assembly via a threaded connector that operates in accordance with the two lead communication system described below in connection with vape device 4000 such that power is also provided to the cartridge via the threaded connector.
The components of cartridges 2500 and 2600 may be made from any of the materials described above in connection with cartridge 1900.
Tamper Resistant Vape Device with Improved Atomizer/Fluid Contact An additional embodiment of the invention described herein is a vape device or cartridge with the ability to keep the atomizer continuously bathed in a viscous payload fluid
- 101 -when the vape device or cartridge is generally horizontal and even when there is very little payload remaining. The vape device or cartridge in accordance with the invention described herein does not need to be stored vertically or used with a viscosity modifier that adulterates the payload fluid. The vape device or cartridge may have the ability to orient itself in a predetermined position that keeps the atomizer continuously bathed in the payload fluid when the vape device or cartridge is placed on a horizontal surface. The vape device or cartridge is also preferably tamper resistant. The vape device may also be pre-charged and pre-filled.
A vape device in accordance with the invention described herein is identified generally as 2800 in FIG. 28A. Referring to FIGS. 28A, B, and D, vape device 2800 includes a housing 2802 and the following that are all positioned within an interior chamber defined by the housing: a tray 2804, a flexible circuit board 2806, a battery 2808, a pressure sensor 2810, a haptic motor 2812, an atomizer 2814, a seal 2816, and a button 2818.
As shown in FIG. 28D, housing 2802 may be formed from first and second sections 2802a and 2802b that are joined together to form a side wall 2820, a first end wall 2822 at a first end of housing 2802, a second end wall 2824 at a second end of housing 2802, and a generally planar surface 2826. A longitudinal axis of housing 2802 extends between the first end wall 2822 and the second end wall 2824. Side wall 2820 and generally planar surface 2826 extend from the first end wall 2822 to the second end wall 2824 in the same direction as the longitudinal axis. Generally planar surface 2826 has a first side edge 2826a (FIG. 28C) and .. a second side edge 2826b, and side wall 2820 extends around the housing 2802 from first side edge 2826a to second side edge 2826b. Side wall 2820 has a cross-section, as shown in FIG.
28C, that is generally oval-shaped with a major axis of the oval being parallel to and spaced apart from generally planar surface 2826 and a minor axis of the oval being perpendicular to generally planar surface 2826. It is within the scope of the invention for the cross-section of side wall 2820 to be any suitable shape, such as circular, triangular, or polygonal. Housing 2802 is generally shaped as an elongated, elliptical cylindrical tube with closed ends and a flat bottom.
Due to the oval-shaped side wall 2820 and generally planar surface 2826, vape device 2800 is configured so that housing 2802 orients itself in a predetermined position (i.e., a position in which generally planar surface 2826 faces downward) when housing 2802 is placed on a generally horizontal surface and the longitudinal axis of housing 2802 is generally horizontal. In this predetermined position, generally planar surface 2826 faces downward and abuts the generally horizontal surface on which housing 2802 is placed. Vape device 2800 assumes this predetermined position because if side wall 2820 is placed on the generally
- 102 -horizontal surface, the oval-shape of side wall 2820 will cause vape device 2800 to roll over until generally planar surface 2826 faces downward and abuts the generally horizontal surface.
As described above, housing 2802 may be formed to have other shapes, other than an oval-shaped side wall 2820 and generally planar surface 2826, that are capable of orienting vape device 2800 in a predetermined position when it is placed on a generally horizontal surface.
Further, in addition to, or in lieu of, having a housing 2802 that is shaped to orient vape device 2800 in a predetermined position, the weight and center of mass of vape device 2800 may be configured to cause the vape device 2800 to orient itself in a predetermined position when the housing 2802 is placed on a generally horizontal surface or a generally planar surface. For example, housing 2802 may have a side wall with a circular or oval-shaped cross-section and the housing 2802 may not include a generally planar surface so that the entire outer surface of the housing 2802 is cylindrical or curved. The weight and center of mass of the vape device 2800 may be configured so that when the side wall is placed on a generally horizontal surface, the vape device 2800 rolls to its predetermined position no matter how the side wall is originally placed on the generally horizontal surface. The approximately cylindrical shape of housing 2802 is preferably easily distinguished from round or polygonal pens, lipstick containers, pencils or penlights.
Preferably, when vape device 2800 is in the predetermined position, a payload reservoir 2856 (FIG. 28B) is oriented so that a fluid payload within the payload reservoir 2856 forms a pool that bathes the atomizer 2814 when the reservoir is at least about 1% to 5% full, about 5% to 10% full, or about 10% to 15% full.
Referring to FIG. 28A, an inlet 2828 of housing 2802 is positioned adjacent first end wall 2822. Inlet 2828 generally consists of six openings extending through side wall 2820 to an interior chamber surrounded by housing 2802. Three of the openings are positioned on one side of housing 2802, and three of the openings are positioned on the opposite side of housing 2802. An outlet 2830 of housing 2802 (FIG. 28F) extends through a center of second end wall 2824. Housing 2802 also includes a view port 2832 (FIG. 28E) that is positioned adjacent second end wall 2824. The view port 2832 is positioned adjacent payload reservoir 2856 of vape device 2800 (described below) so that a user of vape device 2800 may look through view port 2832 to determine how much payload remains in the payload reservoir 2856.
As shown in FIG. 28E, view port 2832 may include an opening formed through side wall 2820 and a clear sheet of material, such as glass or a polymeric material, that covers the opening to generally seal the interior chamber of housing 2802. View port 2832 is positioned on side wall 2820 opposite generally planar surface 2826, approximately 180 degrees around housing 2802
- 103 -from generally planar surface 2826. It is within the scope of the invention for view port 2832 to be placed in alternate locations, such as approximately 90 degrees around housing 2802 from view port 2832 on either side of vape device 2800. There may also be two or more view ports 2832, one on each side of housing 2802. If the payload reservoir 2856 cannot be fully .. filled, the view port 2832 may include a max fill line that indicates when the payload reservoir 2856 is full when vape device 2800 is in the predetermined position described above.
Referring to FIG. 28B, tray 2804 is positioned in housing 2802 and extends nearly the entire length of housing 2802 from first end wall 2822 to second end wall 2824. As shown in FIG. 28D, tray 2804 has a first section 2804a and a second section 2804b formed integrally with first section 2804a. It is also within the scope of the invention for the first and second sections 2804a and 2804b to be separate components that are joined together or merely placed adjacent each other within housing 2802. First section 2804a has curved side walls 2834a-b (FIG. 28C) that are shaped to abut the side wall 2820 of housing 2802.
First section 2804a has a generally planar bottom 2836 that is shaped to abut the generally planar surface 2826 of housing 2802. Side walls 2834a-b each extend upward from one side of generally planar bottom 2836 and terminate at a location that is at approximately half the overall height of housing 2802. As shown in FIG. 28D, side walls 2834a-b and generally planar bottom 2836 define a semi-cylindrical recess 2838. Side walls 2834a-b have flat sections 2840a-b (FIG.
28C), respectively, adjacent and perpendicular to the major axis of the oval-shaped side wall 2820. Flat sections 2840a-b cause enclosed channels 2842a-b to be formed between side walls 2834a-b, respectively, and side wall 2820 of housing 2802. Enclosed channels 2842a-b form a part of an inlet flow chamber of vape device 2800, as described below. As shown in FIG. 28D, openings 2844a-b are formed in side walls 2834a-b. Openings 2844a-b are positioned adjacent atomizer 2814 and place channels 2842a-b and inlet 2828 in fluid communication with atomizer 2814. Tray 2804 has a first side that is positioned adjacent housing 2802 and a second side adjacent recess 2838. The openings 2844a-b extend through tray 2804 from the first side to the second side.
As shown in FIG. 28B, second section 2804b of tray 2804 has an outer side wall 2846 with an outer surface that is generally cylindrical and that includes a flat bottom 2848 to match the generally planar surface 2826 of housing 2802. An interior surface of outer side wall 2846 forms a reservoir side wall 2850. First and second reservoir end walls 2852 and 2854 are coupled to and integral with outer side wall 2846 and reservoir side wall 2850.
Reservoir side wall 2850 and first and second reservoir end walls 2852 and 2854 define and enclose payload reservoir 2856, which is positioned adjacent the second end wall 2824 of
- 104 -housing 2802. A reservoir opening 2858 extends through the second reservoir end wall 2854.
Reservoir opening 2858 is spaced from outlet 2830 in a direction that is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of housing 2802. Spacing reservoir opening 2858 from outlet 2830 makes it more difficult to access reservoir opening 2858 through outlet 2830, which is advantageous to prevent tampering with the payload positioned in payload reservoir 2856 and to prevent the unauthorized refilling of payload reservoir 2856 after the original payload is depleted. For authorized refilling, the asymmetrical design of housing 2802 allows a refilling machine to properly orient vane device 2800 before filling payload reservoir 2856 if payload reservoir 2856 is designed in a manner that allows it to be refilled.
A plug, such as the plug 2910 shown in FIG. 29C or the plug 2966 shown in FIGS. 29F-G, is preferably inserted in the reservoir opening 2858 after it is filled. The plug may be tamper-resistant as described below with respect to plug 2910, and/or designed to equalize the pressure within payload reservoir 2856 as described below with respect to plug 2966. First reservoir end wall 2852 includes a plurality of openings 2860 to place the payload reservoir 2856 in fluid communication with atomizer 2814. Payload reservoir 2856 is preferably inserted in housing 2802 after it is filled.
Tray 2804 is advantageous during manufacturing of vane device 2800 because it allows the flexible circuit board 2806, battery 2808, pressure sensor 2810, haptic motor 2812, atomizer 2814, seal 2816, and button 2818, to be preassembled on tray 2804 before being slid into first section 2802a of housing 2802. Second section 2802b of housing 2802 may then be joined with first section 2802a. Payload reservoir 2856 may also be filled before tray 2804 is slid into housing 2802 for final assembly.
Referring to FIG. 28B, reservoir side wall 2850 is shaped as a truncated oblique cone and has a first end 2862 positioned adjacent atomizer 2814 and a second end 2864 positioned adjacent second end wall 2824. The truncated portion of the oblique cone is at the second end 2864. The apex of the cone is also positioned at the second end 2864 and is positioned at a height above the bottom of vane device 2800 that is about three-fourths of the total height of vane device 2800. When the vane device 2800 is oriented in the predetermined position described above and as shown in FIG. 28B (i.e., with generally planar surface 2826 of housing 2802 facing downward and vane device 2800 positioned so that the longitudinal axis of housing 2802 is generally horizontal), reservoir side wall 2850 slopes downward toward atomizer 2814 from the second end 2864 to the first end 2862. In this predetermined position, the second end 2864 of reservoir side wall 2850 is positioned just beneath the reservoir opening 2858 at a height above the bottom of vane device 2800 that is about two-thirds of the
- 105 -total height of vape device 2800. In this predetermined position, the first end 2862 of reservoir side wall 2850 is positioned near the bottom of vape device 2800. The reservoir side wall 2850 angles upwardly from first end 2862 to second end 2864 at an angle X
formed between reservoir side wall 2850 and the bottom of vape device 2800. The angle X is preferably determined by the viscosity of the payload and the tendency of the payload to stick to the reservoir side wall 2850. For example, the angle X may be increased for more viscous payloads and for payloads that have a greater tendency to stick to the reservoir side wall 2850.
The angle X is preferably optimized for the viscosity or other physical or chemical properties of the payload to improve flow of the payload toward atomizer 2814. Reservoir side wall 2850 may be made from any suitable material including plastic, metal, ceramic, and/or glass.
Atomizer 2814 is positioned in the housing 2802 adjacent first reservoir end wall 2852. Atomizer 2814 is positioned approximately 1-2 mm above the bottom of vape device 2800. It is within the scope of the invention for atomizer 2814 to be at a different height within vape device 2800, and preferably the position of atomizer 2814 is optimized based on the characteristics of the payload, e.g., the viscosity or other physical or chemical properties, within payload reservoir 2856 and the configuration of payload reservoir 2856.
Atomizer 2814 is in fluid communication with payload reservoir 2856 through the openings 2860 in first reservoir end wall 2852. Payload reservoir 2856 preferably contains a fluid payload that may include substances such as nicotine, cannabis, or cannabinoid for vaporization and inhalation by a user. Payload reservoir 2856 may also contain propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin. Atomizer 2814 is configured to heat and vaporize the payload to generate a vaporized payload. A valve is preferably positioned between payload reservoir 2856 and atomizer 2814 to regulate flow of the payload from payload reservoir 2856 to atomizer 2814. The valve may be mechanically operated by a user, or electromechanically operated with instructions received from the processor described below.
In one embodiment, a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pad may be positioned between payload reservoir 2856 and atomizer 2814 instead of a valve. The payload within payload reservoir 2856 preferably does not contain glycerine or propylene glycol as a solvent. The payload within payload reservoir 2856 may be a water-based payload. The payload is preferably substantially free from particulates.
Atomizer 2814 may be configured as any one of a pancake ceramic, coil wrapped wick, coil wrapped ceramic rod, or coil wrapped quartz rod. Further, atomizer 2814 may include titanium, stainless, nichrome, kanthal, and/or nickel wicks.
- 106 -Referring to FIG. 28D, flexible circuit board 2806 is positioned within the recess 2838 of tray 2804. Flexible circuit board 2806 includes a middle section 2866, a front section 2868 extending away from middle section 2866 toward first end wall 2822, and a rear section 2870 extending away from middle section 2866 toward second end wall 2824. Middle section 2866 is semi-cylindrical and defines a battery recess 2872 that receives battery 2808 to place flexible circuit board 2806 between the battery 2808 and tray 2804.
Front section 2868 is shaped as an inverted-U and is connected to a bottom portion of middle section 2866 with a tab 2874. Rear section 2870 is also shaped as an inverted-U and is connected to a bottom portion of middle section 2866 with a tab 2876. Battery 2808 may be any type of suitable battery including a lithium ion battery, a LiPo battery, a NiMH battery, an alkaline battery, or an air-zinc battery.
As shown in FIG. 28B, front section 2868 includes lights 2878a-b, preferably LEDs. Lights 2878a-b are positioned adjacent first end wall 2822. At least a portion of first end wall 2822 is preferably clear or opaque so that lights 2878a-b are visible to a user of vape device 2800. Lights 2878a-b preferably illuminate according to a status of vape device 2800.
For example, lights 2878a-b may turn on when atomizer 2814 is activated, the intensity of lights 2878a-b may increase throughout the length of a user's draw, and lights 2878a-b may blink at certain preset time intervals throughout a draw. Lights 2878a-b may also change colors at different times throughout the length of a draw.
Flexible circuit board 2806 contains circuit components for controlling vape device 2800, which may be positioned in rear section 2870 or other locations on flexible circuit board 2806. For example, flexible circuit board 2806 may contain the circuit components described above in connection with vape device 10, including microcontroller 31, charger circuit 30 configured for charging battery 2808, input interface circuit 34, RF transceiver circuit 36, output interface circuit 38, antenna(s) 40, and electrical connector 35, all of which may operate as described above in connection with vape device 10. Antenna(s) 40 may include an NFC antenna and a Bluetooth antenna. The use of flexible circuit board 2806 provides a relatively large surface area for placement of the antenna(s) 40.
For example, the antenna(s) 40 may be placed in the middle section 2866 of flexible circuit board 2806 extending the length of the middle section 2866. Microcontroller 31 includes a microprocessor or processor that is configured to receive signals from the pressure sensor 2810, pressure
- 107 -sensor 2880, and other sensors or controls of vape device 2800 and activate haptic motor 2812, lights 2878a-b, and atomizer 2814 as described below.
Pressure sensor 2810 is positioned adjacent the rear section 2870 of flexible circuit board 2806 between the battery 2808 and payload reservoir 2856.
Pressure sensor 2810 is electrically connected to flexible circuit board 2806. Pressure sensor 2810 preferably senses the air pressure within an air flow chamber 2882 (FIG. 28B) that is described in more detail below. Haptic motor 2812 is positioned underneath the rear section 2870 of flexible circuit board 2806 at a location that is approximately one-third of the total length of vape device 2800 from second end wall 2824, which is where a thumb of a typical user would be placed during use. Haptic motor 2812 is electrically connected with flexible circuit board 2806. The processor of vape device 2800 may be programmed to activate the haptic motor 2812 when a pressure sensed by the pressure sensor 2810 drops below a pressure threshold for a predetermined amount of time.
A seal 2816 is positioned within the housing 2802 between the atomizer 2814 and flexible circuit board 2806. Seal 2816 may be a silicone gasket. The seal 2816 separates an electronics recess 2884 within the interior of housing 2802 from the air flow chamber 2882, atomizer 2814, and payload reservoir 2856. The electronics recess 2884 is positioned between the seal 2816, first end wall 2822, and tray 2804. The electronics recess 2884 is preferably not in fluid communication with the air flow chamber 2882. The seal 2816 seals the flexible circuit board 2806 and battery 2808 within electronics recess 2884 from air flow chamber 2882 and atomizer 2814 so that the air entering vape device 2800 and vaporized payload exiting vape device 2800 do not contact the components of flexible circuit board 2806.
Pressure sensor 2810 is positioned within an opening in seal 2816. A portion of atomizer 2814 extends through the seal 2816 so that the atomizer 2814 is electrically connected to flexible circuit board 2806.
Air flow chamber 2882 is positioned within housing 2802 between the inlet 2828 and the outlet 2830. Air flow chamber 2882 includes an inlet flow chamber, which is formed by enclosed channels 2842a-b (FIG. 28C), and an outlet flow chamber 2886. The inlet flow chamber extends from inlet 2828 through the enclosed channels 2842a-b to the openings 2844a-b (FIG. 28D). The outlet flow chamber 2886 extends from atomizer 2814 to outlet 2830 around a gap formed between the second section 2804b of tray 2804 and housing 2802. The inlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the inlet 2828 and atomizer 2814 through openings 2844a-b. The outlet flow chamber 2886 is in fluid communication with atomizer 2814 and outlet 2830. When a user places his/her mouth on outlet 2830 and draws air through
- 108 -vape device 2800, air enters inlet 2828 and travels through enclosed channels 2842a-b to openings 2844a-b. The air makes contact with atomizer 2814 through openings 2844a-b and mixes with vaporized payload from atomizer 2814. The air and vaporized payload then travels through outlet flow chamber 2886 to outlet 2830 for inhalation by the user.
Vape device 2800 may include a vapor measurement system, such as the capacitive vapor measurement system of vape device 3100 described below, that is configured to determine a dosage of the vaporized payload that passes through outlet flow chamber 2886.
The vapor measurement system may measure dosage per unit time. Conductive plates, such as the conductive plates 3114 and 3116 of vape device 3100, may be positioned within the outlet flow chamber 2886. Flexible circuit board 2806 may include any of the sensor measurement circuits described in connection with vape device 3100, and the microcontroller 31 of vape device 2800 may determine the dosage of the vaporized payload. RF transceiver circuit 36 and antenna 40 may transmit the dosage to a separate computing device, which may be used to determine operational settings of the vape device 2800 in accordance with the systems and methods described above in connection with vape devices 10 and 100 and vape device system 102. The separate computing device, e.g., a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet, or watch, may run a software application accessible by the user (e.g., as shown in FIG. 3). The application can record the doses that the user has inhaled and record the user's dosage experience. This information can be analyzed by the application to track and optimize the user's experience with the substance inhaled. To help improve analysis, the user may enter personal information such as ailments, pains, weight and food intake. The information recorded can be used to accurately monitor a user's intake details and may be submitted to a doctor for review and/or improvement.
The application may also preferably connect with other users via the internet, .. which may be used to share experiences, receive recommendations, and network with a community of users. The application may also be used as an e-commerce platform to purchase dosage capsules, or vaporizer equipment. The platform may offer specific substances based on a user's rated experience. Another enhanced use might be finding other users within geographic locations that may allow for social interactions and meetings. These enhanced services may be integrated with others over the internet.
Vape device 2800 may also preferably be locked by the user via the application.
This may be used as a safety feature against undesired use (by children or others). The application may include a customizable lock setting to enhance safety or limit usage for those with low self-control.
- 109 -An ID tag associated with the payload in payload reservoir 2856 may also be positioned in housing 2802. The ID tag may be configured in a similar manner as ID tag 28 described above and may store a unique payload identifier that is used as described above in connection with vape devices 10 and 100 and vape device system 102. The ID tag may be an RFID tag and may use NFC, any other type of RFID communication system, including UHF
RFID, or any other type of suitable communication system to communicate with other devices.
The ID tag may be updated when the payload reservoir 2856 is filled or refilled to include a unique payload identifier associated with the payload. The ID tag may simplify Bluetooth enrollment by allowing the enrollment to be done automatically without pressing a button.
FIG. 29A shows an alternative configuration of payload reservoir 2900 that may be used with vape device 2800. Payload reservoir 2900 is defined by a reservoir side wall 2902 with a first section 2902a shaped as a truncated oblique cone and a second section 2902b that is cylindrical. First section 2902a is positioned adjacent reservoir opening 2904 and second section 2902b is positioned adjacent atomizer 2814.
FIG. 29B shows an alternative placement of atomizer 2814 within vape device 2800. In FIG. 29B, atomizer 2814 is positioned approximately 3-4 mm above the bottom of vape device 2800.
FIG. 29C shows another alternative configuration of payload reservoir 2906 that may be used with vape device 2800. A reservoir opening 2908 receives a solid plug 2910, which is inserted after payload reservoir 2906 is filled with a payload. FIG.
29C also shows an alternative configuration of second end wall 2912 and tray 2914 that may be used with vape device 2800. Second end wall 2912 is formed from an end cap that is separate from side wall 2916 and that is coupled to side wall 2916 (e.g., the end cap may snap into the side wall 2916).
Plug 2910 may be coupled to second end wall 2912 and configured in a tamper-resistant manner so that the plug 2910 breaks from second end wall 2912 near the reservoir opening 2908 if second end wall 2912 is pried off of side wall 2916 without the use of special tools.
Thus, if the second end wall 2912 is pried off by a user for the purpose of refilling payload reservoir 2906 or tampering with the payload therein, the plug 2910 breaks off within reservoir opening 2908 preventing the user from accessing payload reservoir 2906. Tray 2914 includes an outlet flow chamber 2917 that extends through a channel formed in tray 2914 to an outlet 2918. A seal 2920 is positioned between an outer surface of tray 2914 and side wall 2916.
- 110 -Fig 29D shows an alternative configuration of vape device 2922 that is similar to vape device 2800. Vape device 2922 includes an air flow chamber that extends from an inlet 2924 to an outlet 2926 through a housing 2928 of the vape device 2922.
The inlet 2924 is positioned on top of vape device 2922 adjacent a first end of vape device 2922. The air flow chamber includes an inlet flow chamber 2930 that extends from inlet 2924 underneath a tray 2932 holding a battery 2934. The inlet flow chamber 2930 flows around a circuit board 2936 and haptic motor 2938 to a chamber 2940 holding an atomizer. The air flow chamber includes an outlet flow chamber 2942 that extends from the chamber 2940 above a payload reservoir 2944 to outlet 2926. The payload reservoir 2944 is also cylindrical in shape.
Other than as described herein vape device 2922 may be substantially similar to vape device 2800. Vape device 2800 may be modified to include the air flow chamber configuration and payload reservoir configuration of vape device 2922.
FIG. 29E shows another alternative configuration of vape device 2946 that is similar to vape device 2800. Vape device 2946 includes an air flow chamber that extends from an inlet 2948 to an outlet 2950. Inlet 2948 is positioned adjacent the second end 2952 of the housing 2954 along with the outlet 2950. Inlet 2948 is positioned directly above the atomizer chamber 2956. The inlet flow chamber extends straight down from the inlet 2948 to the atomizer chamber 2956, and the outlet flow chamber 2957 extends from the atomizer chamber 2956 around the payload reservoir 2959 to the outlet 2950. The payload reservoir 2959 is configured substantially the same as shown in FIG. 29C. In this embodiment, the flexible circuit board 2958 is modified to position a haptic motor 2960 between the battery 2962 and first end 2964 of the housing 2954. The battery 2962 and flexible circuit board 2958 are preferably sealed from the atomizer chamber 2956 with a seal 2965. Other than as described herein vape device 2946 may be substantially similar to vape device 2800. Vape device 2800 may be modified to include the air flow chamber configuration, flexible circuit board 2958, and haptic motor 2960 placement of vape device 2946.
FIGS. 29F and 29G show a plug 2966 placed within a reservoir opening 2968.
Plug 2966 includes a vent hole 2970 and an air permeable membrane 2972. Air permeable membrane 2972 prevents a fluid payload within payload reservoir 2974 from leaking through vent hole 2970. Air permeable membrane 2972 and vent hole 2970 allow pressure to equalize within payload reservoir 2974. For example, as payload reservoir 2974 is depleted (i.e., the fluid therein is vaporized), air permeable membrane 2972 and vent hole 2970 allow air to enter payload reservoir 2974. Further, when there is an increase in ambient temperature or a decrease in external atmospheric pressure, air permeable membrane 2972 and vent hole 2970
- 111 -allow air to exit payload reservoir 2974. Plug 2966 preferably ensures that a fluid payload within payload reservoir 2974 does not leak out in response to air pressure, temperature, or altitude changes. Plug 2966 may be used with vape device 2800 described above.
Plug 2966 may be made from a self-healing material such as silicone.
FIG. 30 shows a method of operating vape device 2800 that may also be used with the other vape devices and cartridges disclosed herein. The processor of microcontroller 31 (as incorporated into the circuit components of vape device 2800) may be programmed to perform the process described herein. In accordance with the method of FIG.
30, at step 3002 vape device 2800 is unlocked and unused. At step 3004, vape device 2800 determines whether the time period of inactivity of vape device 2800 is greater than a predetermined amount of time. If the time period of inactivity is less than the predetermined amount of time, vape device 2800 remains unlocked. If the time period of inactivity is greater than the predetermined amount of time, vape device 2800 locks at step 3006 and remains in a locked state 3008. To unlock vape device 2800, the user must provide an application running on a separate computing device, e.g., a phone, tablet, or watch, with a PIN code associated with the user or the device. If the PIN code is provided, the computing device instructs the vape device 2800 to return to the unlocked state at step 3002. Vape device 2800 may also be manually locked at step 3010 via the user providing manual lock instructions to the application, regardless of the time period of inactivity. Vape device 2800 may also be locked and unlocked for use in accordance with any of the systems and methods described above for vape device 10.
From the unlocked state, step 3002, the atomizer 2814 of vape device 2800 is activated at step 3012 when a user draws air through outlet 2830. Pressure sensor 2810 senses the pressure decrease caused by the user drawing air and sends a signal to the processor of vape device 2800, which causes electrical current to be provided from battery 2808 to atomizer 2814. Vape device 2800 may also be activated when a user presses button 2818.
At step 3012, lights 2878a-b are also turned on to a relatively low intensity. The method of operating vape device 2800 then proceeds to a series of steps that detect the elapsed time of the user's draw and activate lights 2878a-b and haptic motor 2812 based on the elapsed time of the draw. At step 3014, the method waits for one second before proceeding to step 3016, where the elapsed time of the draw is determined. If the elapsed time is three seconds, six seconds, or nine seconds, the method proceeds to steps 3018, 3020, or 3022, respectively. If the elapsed time is three seconds, at step 3018 lights 2878a-b flash one time and then remain on with an increased intensity of 30% of the maximum intensity of the lights 2878a-b. Haptic motor 2812 is also turned on to vibrate one time with a relatively short time duration. If the elapsed time is six
- 112 -seconds, at step 3020 lights 2878a-b flash twice and then remain on with an increased intensity of 60% of the maximum intensity of the lights 2878a-b. Haptic motor 2812 is also turned on to vibrate two times each with a relatively short time duration. If the elapsed time is nine seconds, the intensity of lights 2878a-b is increased to 100% of the maximum intensity of the lights 2878a-b. Haptic motor 2812 is also turned on to vibrate one time with a relatively long time duration. From step 3022, the method proceeds to step 3024, at which the processor locks the atomizer 2814 to turn it off and prevent it from vaporizing the payload.
If the elapsed time is other than three seconds, six seconds, or nine seconds at step 3016, and after each of steps 3018, 3020, and 3024, the method proceeds to step 3026, where the elapsed time counted by the processor is increased by one second.
The method then proceeds to step 3028 (if the atomizer is not locked at step 3024) where the processor of vape device 2800 determines whether the user is still drawing air through the vape device 2800. If the user is still drawing air, the method proceeds back to step 3014, which repeats the loop of steps 3014, 3016, 3026, and 3028, and one of steps 3018, 3020, and 3022, if applicable. If the atomizer is locked after step 3026, or if the user is not still drawing air through the vape device at step 3028, the method proceeds to step 3030 at which the atomizer 2814 is deactivated and the lights 2878a-b are turned off The method then proceeds back to the start at step 3002.
The three seconds and six seconds triggers for steps 3018 and 3020 are preferably configurable by the user to be any other value less than nine. The nine seconds represents a max elapsed draw time that is not user configurable. Thus, after a draw of nine seconds, the atomizer is turned off and the method returns to step 3002.
Preferably, the user can also select another trigger point, such as five seconds, where the intensity of lights 2878a-b is between the intensities set at steps 3018 and 3020. The user can also preferably change how the lights 2878a-b and haptic motor 2812 are operated at each of the trigger points.
Vape device 2800 may be formed from two separate pieces, a cartridge and a control assembly, that are coupled together by the user. For example, 510 threaded connectors may be used on the cartridge and control assembly to couple the separate pieces together. A
bayonet, magnetic, or socket connection may also be used to join the cartridge and control assembly. The cartridge may include the payload reservoir 2856 and atomizer 2814, and the control assembly may include the flexible circuit board 2806, battery 2808, and haptic motor 2812. The air flow chamber may be altered so that the inlet is positioned in the cartridge, as shown in FIG. 29E. Data from sensors in the cartridge (e.g., the capacitive vapor measurement system of vape device 3100 described below) may be transmitted to the processor on flexible circuit board 2806 via a threaded connector that operates in accordance with the two lead
- 113 -communication system of vape device 400 described below such that power is also provided to the cartridge via the threaded connector. Vape device 2800 may be operated to vaporize a fluid payload within the payload reservoir 2856 in accordance with the methods described above for vape devices 10 and 100 and vape device system 102, including in accordance with the system and method for optimizing vaporization described above, which may include minimizing the chemical decomposition or transformation of the payload components. Vape device 2800 may also include sensors, other than pressure sensor 2810 and the capacitive vapor measurement system of vape device 3100, to measure operational conditions of the vape device 2800. For example, vape device 2800 may include the integrated temperature control system described below in connection with vape device 4200 to regulate the temperature of atomizer 2814.
In one aspect of the invention, a kit is provided that comprises the vape device 2800 and a payload comprising a cannabinoid. In one aspect of the invention, a kit is provided that comprises the vape device 2800 and a payload comprising a terpene. In one aspect of the invention, a kit is provided that comprises vape device 2800 and a diary for recording user experiences. In one aspect of the invention, a kit is provided that comprises vape device 2800 and a payload comprising a cannabinoid, a terpene, and a diary for recording user experiences.
Capacitive Vapor Measurement System In some embodiments, the vape device includes a capacitive vapor measurement system to accurately gauge the concentration of a vaporized payload in a measurement cavity of the vape device so that the dosage of the vaporized payload can be accurately determined. The vapor measurement system includes a capacitive sensor (which may comprise a parallel plate capacitor, a rolled capacitor, a digitated capacitor, or other types of capacitors known in the art) in combination with a sensor measurement circuit configured to measure the capacitance of the capacitive sensor. The vapor measurement system also includes a processor programmed to determine the dosage of the vaporized payload based on the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor. Various embodiments of the vapor measurement system are described below.
Referring to FIG. 31, one embodiment of a vape device 3100 is shown that utilizes a capacitive sensor in the form of a parallel plate capacitor. Vape device 3100 includes a housing 3102 that defines an inlet 3104 and an outlet 3106 with an air flow chamber 3108 that extends therebetween. An atomizer 3110 is positioned in air flow chamber 3108 and, as described above, atomizer 3110 is in fluid communication with a payload reservoir (not
- 114 -shown). Atomizer 3110 is configured to heat and vaporize the payload so as to output a vaporized payload 3112.
A first conductive plate 3114 and a second conductive plate 3116 are positioned in air flow chamber 3108 between atomizer 3110 and outlet 3106. Conductive plates 3114 and 3116 each comprise a generally square or rectangular plate that may be formed of metal or any other conductive material, such as copper, stainless steel, silicon (which may be doped), gold, or titanium. Conductive plates 3114 and 3116 are mounted or otherwise attached to the inner surface of housing 3102 using a non-conductive mechanical support (not shown).
Conductive plates 3114 and 3116 are spaced apart in a generally parallel relationship so as to define a measurement cavity 3118 therebetween. As such, conductive plates 3114 and 3116 form a parallel plate capacitor that is used as the capacitive sensor of the vapor measurement system.
When vaporized payload 3112 passes from atomizer 3110 to outlet 3106, it passes through measurement cavity 3118 such that vaporized payload 3112 effectively functions as the dielectric of the parallel plate capacitor formed by conductive plates 3114 and 3116.
It should be understood that the components shown in FIG. 31 may be provided as part of an atomizer assembly of a vape device, may be provided as part of a replaceable cartridge of a vape device, or may be provided as part of an integrated vape device. Further, it should be understood that measurement cavity 3118 may be placed at any position between the atomizer and the mouthpiece of a vape device.
The capacitance of the parallel plate capacitor formed by conductive plates 3114 and 3116 is expressed by the following equation:
Cr X CO X A
C ¨ (1) where C = capacitance of parallel plate capacitor in farads Er = relative dielectric constant of material between plates eo = permittivity of free space (8.854 x 10-12 farad/meter) A = area of plates in meters2 d = distance between plates in meters.
Because the relative dielectric constant of air is about 1 (Er = 1.00059), any material with a dielectric constant greater than that of air that passes through measurement cavity 3118 between conductive plates 3114 and 3116 will increase the capacitance of the
- 115 -parallel plate capacitor in a measurable manner. For example, the dielectric constant of vaporized payload 3112 will typically be in the range of 2 to 10). This same principle applies to other types of capacitors that include first and second electrical conductors to form a capacitive sensor, as described below.
In one embodiment, the electrical conductors of the capacitive sensor (e.g., conductive plates 3114 and 3116) are coated with a protective film to maintain the integrity of the conductors (i.e., protect them from degradation due to a chemical reaction) and reduce the likelihood of a change in capacitance due to a buildup of condensate, which will change the dielectric constant of the material between the conductors.
In another embodiment, measurement cavity 3118 is isolated within air flow chamber 3108 by placing a guard on the side of measurement cavity 3118 adjacent outlet 3106.
The guard is comprised of a conductor that is maintained at the same voltage as measurement cavity 3118. When voltage is applied to conductive plates 3114 and 3116, a separate circuit applies the exact same voltage to the guard. Because there is no voltage difference between measurement cavity 3118 and the guard, there is no electric field between them. Any conductors behind the guard will form an electric field with the guard instead of measurement cavity 3118. Only the unguarded side of measurement cavity 3118 adjacent atomizer 3110 is allowed to form an electric field with vaporized payload 3112. This guarding technique enables a more accurate measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
There are many different electrical circuits that can be used to measure the capacitance of the capacitive sensor, both directly and indirectly. In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is configured to measure the absolute capacitance of the capacitive sensor when vaporized payload 3112 passes through measurement cavity 3118. In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is configured to measure a capacitance shift, i.e., a change in capacitance of the capacitive sensor. In all of these embodiments, the measurement of the sensor's capacitance enables the dosage of the vapor's constituent parts to be accurately determined.
Various examples of sensor measurement circuits that can be used to measure the capacitance of the capacitive sensor will now be described. It should be understood that the invention is not limited to the use of these particular circuits and that other types of electrical circuits configured to measure the capacitance of the capacitive sensor may also be used in accordance with the invention.
Referring to FIG. 32, in one embodiment, the sensor measurement circuit comprises a charge pump circuit configured to charge the electrical conductors of a capacitive
- 116 -sensor (Csensor) of a vapor measurement system. The capacitive sensor (Csensor) may comprise, for example, the parallel plate capacitor shown in FIG. 31, in which case a first terminal connection (Term 1) is provided on conductive plate 3114 and a second terminal connection (Term 2) is provided on conductive plate 3116. Of course, other types of capacitive sensors may also be used as described below.
The charge pump circuit also includes a first current source (Isi) connected to the supply voltage (VDD) and a second current source (Is2) connected to ground. The current sources are separated by a first switch (SW1) and a second switch (SW2). A
controller (with may include control logic implemented in software) provides the "Up" and "Down" control signals that turn on the first switch (SW1) and the second switch (SW2), respectively. When the "Up" control signal is high (Up=1) to turn on the first switch (SW1) and the "Down"
control signal is low (Down = 0) to turn off the second switch (SW2), then the first current source (Isi) of known current output (I) charges the capacitive sensor (Csensor). By observing the change in output voltage (\Tout) across the capacitive sensor (Csensor) as a function of time (dV/dt), one can determine the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) using the following equation:
dV-1 C - I (2) dt where C = capacitance of capacitive sensor (Csensor) in farads / = current output of first current source (Isi) in amperes dV/dt = change in output voltage (Vout) as a function of time.
If the charge pump operates at a known switching frequency and duty cycle, the amount of charge deposited on the electrical conductors of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) with every "Up" current pulse is known. Thus, the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) can be determined by any one of the following methods: (1) counting the number of "Up" current pulses required to obtain a desired output voltage (Vout); (2) counting the time required to obtain a desired output voltage (\Tout) while the "Up" current pulses are provided at a fixed frequency and duty cycle; and (3) measuring the output voltage (Vout) following a known number of "Up" current pulses. Thus, the charge pump circuit shown in FIG. 32 enables direct measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Censor).
Alternatively, the output voltage (Vout) may be biased to some value (e.g., VDD/2) and the first and second switches (SW1 and SW2) may be used to carefully
- 117 -measure shifts in the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor). A large shift in the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) requires large asymmetry between the first and second switches (SWi and SW2) for a measurable shift in the output voltage (Vow). In contrast, a small shift in the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) requires small asymmetry between the first and second switches (SW1 and SW2) for a measurable shift in the output voltage (Vow) that does not clip.
It should be understood that all of the components of the charge pump circuit shown in FIG. 32 (with the exception of the capacitive sensor (Csensor)) are provided as a sensor measurement circuit with suitable connections to the first terminal connection (Term 1) and the .. second terminal connection (Term 2) of the capacitive sensor (Censor). In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned within air flow chamber 3108 of vape device 3100, preferably near the capacitive sensor (Csensor). In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of air flow chamber 3108, such as in the control assembly described above.
Referring to FIG. 33, in another embodiment, the sensor measurement circuit comprises a resistive voltage divider circuit that includes a first resistor (Ri) connected in series with a second switched-capacitor resistor (R2). The switched-capacitor resistor (R2) is comprised of a capacitive sensor (Csensor), a first switch (SW1) and a second switch (SW2). A
controller (with may include control logic implemented in software) provides the control signals that turn on the first switch (SW1) and the second switch (SW2). The capacitive sensor (Csensor) may comprise, for example, the parallel plate capacitor shown in FIG. 31, in which case a first terminal connection (Term 1) is provided on conductive plate 3114 and a second terminal connection (Term 2) is provided on conductive plate 3116. Of course, other types of capacitive sensors may also be used as described below.
The equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2) is a function of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) and the switching frequency, as shown by the following equation:

R2 ¨C x f (3) where R2 = equivalent resistance of switched-capacitor resistor (R2) in ohms C = capacitance of capacitive sensor (Csensor) in farads f= switching frequency in hertz.
- 118 -It should be understood that the duty cycle (D) will not have an appreciable effect on the equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2) if the period (T) is long enough (i.e., the switching frequency (I) is low enough) to enable the capacitive sensor (Csensor) to fully charge/discharge. With that said, if the duty cycle (D) decreases to the point that the capacitive sensor (Csensor) does not fully charge/discharge, then it will have an effect on the equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2).
Additionally, as the switching frequency (I) increases to the point that the capacitive sensor (Censor) does not fully charge/discharge over half of the period (T), then the duty cycle (D) will have an immediate and large effect on the equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2). In cases where the duty cycle (D) has an effect, the equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2) may be shown by the following equation:
R = _______________________________________________________________ (4) " (1¨D) xD
where R2 = equivalent resistance of switched-capacitor resistor (R2) in ohms R= parasitic resistance in the circuit in ohms D= duty cycle f= switching frequency in hertz.
With reference to equation (4), it is possible to add a resistor in order to provide a well-controlled resistance value in the circuit, in which case the duty cycle may be modified to adjust the equivalent resistance of the switched-capacitor resistor (R2) as a method of control.
The input supply voltage (VDD) is applied across the series of resistances (Ri and R2) and the output voltage (Vont) is read across the switched-capacitor resistor (R2). The output voltage (Vont) may thus be expressed by the following equation:
V = R2 V (5) out Ri+ R2 DD
where VDD = input supply voltage in volts Vont = output voltage in volts Ri = resistance of first resistor (Ri) in ohms R2 = equivalent resistance of switched-capacitor resistor (R2) in ohms.
Equations (3) and (5) can be combined and rewritten as follows:
- 119 -V ¨V
_ DD out (6) x f xVout where C = capacitance of capacitive sensor (Csensor) in farads VDD = input supply voltage in volts Vout = output voltage in volts Rj = resistance of first resistor (RI) in ohms f= switching frequency in hertz.
With reference to equation (6), it can be appreciated that the input supply voltage (VDD), the resistance of the first resistor (RI), and the switching frequency are known values. Thus, by reading the output voltage (Vont), it is possible to determine the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor). In some embodiments, the output voltage (Vont) may be scaled through a gain stage if the change in voltage is too small to measure directly in a reliable manner. Thus, the resistive voltage divider circuit shown in FIG. 33 enables direct measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor).
It should be understood that all of the components of the resistive voltage divider circuit shown in FIG. 33 (with the exception of the capacitive sensor (Csensor)) are provided as a sensor measurement circuit with suitable connections to the first terminal connection (Term 1) and the second terminal connection (Term 2) of the capacitive sensor (Censor). In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned within air flow chamber 3108 of vape device 3100, preferably near the capacitive sensor (Csensor). In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of air flow chamber 3108, such as in the control assembly described above.
Referring to FIG. 34, in another embodiment, the sensor measurement circuit comprises a phase locked loop circuit. The phase locked loop circuit generally includes a variable frequency oscillator that generates a reference signal having a reference frequency (Tref), as well as a phase comparator, a loop filter, and a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) that operate in a feedback loop. The phase comparator receives the two input periodic signals from the variable frequency oscillator and the feedback loop and generates an output signal representing the phase difference between the two inputs. The loop filter suppresses the higher-frequency components of that output signal and provides the filtered signal to the VCO.
The frequency of the periodic signal generated by the VCO is controlled by the control voltage
- 120 -(Ve). Thus, the VCO is a variable frequency oscillator that allows an external voltage, i.e., the control voltage (Ve), to control its frequency of oscillation. An N-Divider may optionally be provided to scale the output frequency of the VCO by a factor of N.
It can be seen that the capacitive sensor (Csensor) is included as part of the VCO.
.. The capacitive sensor (Censor) may comprise, for example, the parallel plate capacitor shown in FIG. 31, in which case a first terminal connection (Term 1) is provided on conductive plate 3114 and a second terminal connection (Term 2) is provided on conductive plate 3116. Of course, other types of capacitive sensors may also be used as described below.
By including the capacitive sensor (Csensor) as part of the VCO, there will be a shift in the output frequency of the VCO whenever the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Censor) changes (e.g., when vaporized payload 3112 passes through measurement cavity 3118). When the circuit corrects for the frequency shift by attempting to realign the phases of the two input periodic signals received by the phase comparator, there will be a measurable change in the control voltage (Ve) provided to the VCO. This change in the control voltage (Ve) is related to the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor). Thus, the phased lock loop circuit shown in FIG. 34 enables indirect measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor).
It should be understood that all of the components of the phase locked loop circuit shown in FIG. 34 (with the exception of the capacitive sensor (Csensor)) are provided as a sensor measurement circuit with suitable connections to the first terminal connection (Term 1) and the second terminal connection (Term 2) of the capacitive sensor (Csensor). In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned within air flow chamber 3108 of vape device 3100, preferably near the capacitive sensor (Csensor). In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of air flow chamber 3108, such as in the control assembly described above.
Referring to FIG. 35, in another embodiment, the sensor measurement circuit comprises a first order active low-pass filter circuit connected to a rectifier circuit. The low-pass filter circuit includes an operational amplifier in which an input signal in the form of a sine wave is provided through a first resistor (Ri) to the inverting input of the amplifier.
Preferably, the input voltage (Vin) is chosen close to the 3 dB point of the low-pass filter. A
.. second resistor (R2) and a capacitive sensor (Censor) are connected in parallel between the inverting input of the amplifier and the output of the amplifier. The capacitive sensor (Csensor) may comprise, for example, the parallel plate capacitor shown in FIG. 31, in which case a first terminal connection (Term 1) is provided on conductive plate 3114 and a second terminal
- 121 -connection (Term 2) is provided on conductive plate 3116. Of course, other types of capacitive sensors may also be used as described below.
The cut-off frequency (fe) of the low-pass filter is expressed as follows:

f = (7) where = cut-off frequency of low-pass filter in hertz R2 = resistance of second resistor (R2) in ohms C = capacitance of capacitive sensor (Csensor) in farads.
Also, the stop frequency (fs) of the low-pass filter is expressed as follows:

fs= (8) 271-RiC
where = stop frequency of low-pass filter in hertz Ri = resistance of first resistor (Ri) in ohms C = capacitance of capacitive sensor (Csensor) in farads.
At low frequencies, where f < fc, the capacitive sensor (Csensor) is open such that the gain of the amplifier is ¨R2/R1. At high frequencies, where f > fs, the capacitive sensor (Csensor) is a short such that the gain of the amplifier goes to zero. At frequencies between fe and f, the gain of the amplifier drops off at -20dB/decade. The bode plot of the low-pass filter is shown in FIG. 36.
Referring again to FIG. 35, the rectifier circuit is used to convert the alternating current (AC) signal provided at the output of the amplifier to direct current (DC). As such, a DC output voltage (Vow) is provided at the output of the circuit.
It can be appreciated that a change in the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Censor) causes a change in the bandwidth of the low-pass filter. An increase or decrease in the bandwidth changes the signal amplitude at the output of the amplifier, which in turn changes the value of the DC output voltage (Vout). The value of the DC output voltage (Vout) is related to the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor). Thus, the circuit shown in FIG. 35 enables indirect measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor).
In some embodiments, the DC output voltage (\Tout) may be scaled through a gain stage if the change in voltage is too small to measure directly in a reliable manner. Also,
- 122 -a higher order filter with a sharper roll-off may alternatively be used to increase the change in the DC output voltage (Vout) as the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Cseusor) changes.
It should be understood that all of the components of the circuit shown in FIG.
35 (with the exception of the capacitive sensor (Cseusor)) are provided as a sensor measurement circuit with suitable connections to the first terminal connection (Term 1) and the second terminal connection (Term 2) of capacitive sensor (Censor). In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned within air flow chamber 3108 of vape device 3100, preferably near the capacitive sensor (Censor). In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of air flow chamber 3108, such as in the control assembly described above.
Referring to FIG. 37, in another embodiment, the sensor measurement circuit comprises a crystal oscillation circuit that generates a reference signal having a reference frequency (Tref), which functions as the variable frequency oscillator of a phase locked loop circuit. In this embodiment, the crystal oscillation circuit comprises a Colpitts crystal oscillator that includes a quartz crystal (XTAL), a transistor, a first resistor (R1), a second resistor (R2), a third resistor (R3), a first capacitor (CO, and a second capacitor (C2), as shown in FIG. 37. Of course, other types of oscillation circuits may also be used.
The phase locked loop circuit includes a phase comparator, a loop filter, a VCO, and optionally a divider, as described in greater detail above in connection with the circuit of FIG. 34. However, in this embodiment, the capacitive sensor (Censor) is not included within the VCO. Rather, the capacitive sensor (Cseusor) is used to load the crystal oscillation circuit.
The capacitive sensor (Cseusor) may comprise, for example, the parallel plate capacitor shown in FIG. 31, in which case a first terminal connection (Term 1) is provided on conductive plate 3114 and a second terminal connection (Term 2) is provided on conductive plate 3116. Of course, other types of capacitive sensors may also be used as described below.
It can be appreciated that a change in the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Cseusor) causes a change in the reference frequency (fief) of the reference signal provided to the phase locked loop circuit. To compensate for the change in the reference frequency (fief), the phase locked loop circuit will change the value of the control voltage (Ve) provided to the VCO. The value of the control voltage (Ve) is related to the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Censor). Thus, the circuit shown in FIG. 37 enables indirect measurement of the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Cseusor).
It should be understood that all of the components of the circuit shown in FIG.
37 (with the exception of the capacitive sensor (Csensor)) are provided as a sensor measurement
- 123 -circuit with suitable connections to the first terminal connection (Term 1) and the second terminal connection (Term 2) of capacitive sensor (C.sor). In some embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned within air flow chamber 3108 of vape device 3100, preferably near the capacitive sensor (C..). In other embodiments, the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of air flow chamber 3108, such as in the control assembly described above.
It can be appreciated that the sensor measurement circuits described above may be required to accommodate very small to large shifts in capacitance. For example, the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (C..) will be low when the measurement cavity is filled with air. However, when the measurement cavity is filled with dense vapor, the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Censor) will be multiple times larger (potentially 2 or more orders of magnitude higher). As such, in some embodiments, a controller is used to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor measurement circuit (e.g., adjust the gain of the amplifier, charge pump current, or VC0).
The vapor measurement system of the present invention further includes a processor that is part of the control assembly or, alternatively, may be provided as part of the sensor measurement circuit. The processor is programmed to perform the following steps: (1) correlate the measured capacitance to a change in a dielectric constant; (2) correlate the change in the dielectric constant to a change in a dielectric density, i.e., the density of the vaporized payload; and (3) correlate the change in the dielectric density to a dosage of the vaporized payload. Thus, the measurement of the sensor's capacitance enables the dosage of the vapor's constituent parts to be accurately determined. The dose may be used in a variety of few ways, including: (1) the dose could be reported to the user after being administered; (2) a dose could be pre-selected by the user and the system could turn off the atomizer once that dose has been administered; or (3) a constant dose could be administered to the user (i.e., the dose is not configurable).
Because many types of payload (e.g., cannabis oil) are sticky, there will likely be a buildup of residue on the surfaces of conductive plates 3114 and 3116 (or other electrical conductors of a capacitive sensor, as described below) over time. In order to compensate for a capacitance shift due to this residue buildup, some embodiments utilize a calibration step in which the nominal capacitance of the capacitive sensor (C.s00 is measured (i.e., the capacitance when no vaporized payload is present in the measurement cavity) and used as a reference against which one or more subsequent capacitance measurements will be compared.
When vaporized payload is passed through the measurement cavity, the capacitance of the
- 124 -capacitive sensor (Csensor) is re-measured. This second capacitance measurement is compared to the reference value and the difference between them is used to determine the concentration of vaporized payload in the measurement cavity. The calibration step may be performed on a periodic basis, e.g., before every capacitance measurement or every group of capacitance measurements. Of course, other calibration schedules will be apparent to one skilled in the art.
For example, calibration steps may be performed both before and after the vaporized payload is present in the measurement cavity, in which case any new offset in the latter measurement is subtracted from the dose measured during inhalation insofar as the offset is attributable to new residue buildup on the sensor.
In some embodiments, the capacitance of the capacitive sensor (C..) is sampled at several points during usage of the vape device and used to modulate the atomizer's vaporization profile (i.e., create more or less vaporized payload). For example, if it is known that the heating element of an atomizer is hot but there is no vaporized payload detected, then the power to the atomizer can be reduced to avoid over-heating the element. As another example, if there is too much vaporized payload in the measurement cavity, then the power to the atomizer can be limited to reduce the amount of vaporized payload being created. Of course, other examples of modifications to the atomizer's vaporization profile will be apparent to one skilled in the art.
With reference again to vape device 3100 shown in FIG. 31, the vapor measurement system of the present invention is not limited to the use of a capacitive sensor positioned in air flow chamber 3108 between atomizer 3110 and outlet 3106. In some embodiments, the conductive plates of the capacitive sensor form a part of the atomizer, which enables the use of smaller vape devices that are more convenient to use. For example, one or both of the conductive plates of the capacitive sensor may function as a heating element/coil of the atomizer. In this case, a user can apply an arbitrary amount of payload (e.g., cannabis oil) directly to the conductive plates using various dispensing methods known in the art (e.g., the outlet of the payload reservoir may be positioned directly on the sensor plates/coils). The system can measure the pre-vape and post-vape capacitance of the capacitive sensor (Csensor) and the difference may be used to provide an accurate measurement of the dose administered.
As noted above, the vapor measurement system of the present invention is not limited to the use of a parallel plate capacitor as the capacitive sensor (Csensor). Other types of capacitors may also be used, such as a rolled capacitor or an interdigitated capacitor. In general, any capacitor may be used that includes a first electrical conductor spaced from a second electrical conductor to define a measurement cavity therebetween.
- 125 -FIGS. 38A-38C show an example of a rolled capacitor. As shown in FIG. 38A, the rolled capacitor includes a first electrical conductor 3800 and a second electrical conductor 3802. First electrical conductor 3800 comprises a plurality of rolled plates 3800a-3800f connected to a common mounting plate 3800g that provides a first terminal connection (Term 1). Second electrical conductor 3802 comprises a plurality of rolled plates 3802a-3802d connected to a common mounting plate 3802e that provides a second terminal connection (Term 2). First and second electrical conductors 3800 and 3802 may be formed of metal or any other conductive material, such as copper, stainless steel, silicon (which may be doped), gold, or titanium.
The rolled capacitor includes an air inlet 3804 and an air outlet 3806. FIG.

includes arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane parallel to the front face of the rolled capacitor. FIG. 38C includes arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane perpendicular to the front face of the rolled capacitor.
With reference to vape device 3100 shown in FIG. 31, the rolled capacitor is configured to be positioned in air flow chamber 3108 between atomizer 3110 and outlet 3106 (as an alternative to conductive plates 3114 and 3116) using a non-conductive mechanical support (not shown). First and second electrical conductors 3800 and 3802 define a measurement cavity between rolled plates 3800a-3800f and rolled plates 3802a-3802d. When vaporized payload 3112 passes from atomizer 3110 to outlet 3106, it passes through the measurement cavity such that vaporized payload 3112 effectively functions as the dielectric of the rolled capacitor.
FIGS. 39A-39C show an example of an interdigitated capacitor. As shown in FIG. 39A, the interdigitated capacitor includes a first electrical conductor 3900 and a second electrical conductor 3902. First electrical conductor 3900 comprises a plurality of interconnected segments 3900a-3900e that provide a first terminal connection (Term 1).
Second electrical conductor 3902 comprises a plurality of interconnected segments 3902a-3902e that provide a second terminal connection (Term 2). First and second electrical conductors 3900 and 3902 may be formed of metal or any other conductive material, such as copper, stainless steel, silicon (which may be doped), gold, or titanium.
The interdigitated capacitor includes an air inlet 3904 and an air outlet 3906.
FIG. 39B includes arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane parallel to the front face of the interdigitated capacitor. FIG. 39C includes arrows indicating the direction of air flow in a plane perpendicular to the front face of the interdigitated capacitor.
- 126 -With reference to vape device 3100 shown in FIG. 31, the interdigitated capacitor is configured to be positioned in air flow chamber 3108 between atomizer 3110 and outlet 3106 (as an alternative to conductive plates 3114 and 3116) using a non-conductive mechanical support (not shown). First and second electrical conductors 3900 and 3902 define a measurement cavity between segments 3900a-3900e and segments 3902a-3902e.
When vaporized payload 3112 passes from atomizer 3110 to outlet 3106, it passes through the measurement cavity such that vaporized payload 3112 effectively functions as the dielectric of the interdigitated capacitor.
It should be understood that multiple capacitors could be used in different .. configurations, including multiple parallel capacitors or multiple series capacitors. Of course, the use of multiple parallel capacitors is preferred because this configuration will increase the overall capacitance of the capacitive sensor and make it easier to detect (the overall capacitance would be reduced and harder to detect with multiple series capacitors).
In one embodiment, a modified differential interdigitated capacitive sensor design is used in which the electrical conductors of one capacitor are chemically modified and those of the other capacitor are not. The capacitors are positioned adjacent to each other so that substantially the same number of target molecules (e.g., THC and/or CBD
molecules) are present within each capacitor. The electrical conductors of the chemically modified capacitor have a coating designed to absorb the target molecules relative to the baseline capacitor. The surface absorption of the target molecules will alter the dielectric constant of the chemically modified capacitor, which may be measured by low noise electronics.
The capacitive vapor measurement system described above is configured to accurately determine the dosage based on a measured capacitance of vaporized payload in a measurement cavity of the vape device. This vapor measurement system is beneficial to both medicinal patients and recreational users because they will be able to accurately measure their dosage to obtain desired effects in a repeatable fashion.
Two-Lead Communication System In some embodiments, the vape device includes a two-lead communication system that utilizes an electromechanical connection in which a first connector provided as part of the control assembly is releasably coupled to a second connector provided as part of the cartridge. The electromechanical connection provides a two-conductor electrical interface that enables the communication of a plurality of electrical signals between the control assembly and
- 127 -the cartridge, such as a power signal and one or more data signals. Various embodiments of the two-lead communication system are described below.
Referring to FIG. 40, one embodiment of a vape device 4000 that includes a two-lead communication system is shown. In general, vape device 4000 includes a control assembly 4010 and a cartridge 4020 that are formed in separate housings and releasably connected to each other via an electromechanical connection 4040. In this embodiment, control assembly 4010 is provided as a re-useable component that can be used with multiple disposable cartridges, such as cartridge 4020. In other embodiments, control assembly 4010 may be disposable and/or cartridge 4020 may contain a payload reservoir that is accessible for refilling, as described above.
Control assembly 4010 is shown in FIG. 40 with a microcontroller 4012, a power source 4014, a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader 4016 and a switch 4018, which are the components that form a part of the two-lead communication system. It should be understood that control assembly 4010 may include a number of other components that are not .. shown in FIG. 40, as described above in connection with the control assembly 14 of vape device 10.
Microcontroller 4012 is configured for carrying out one or more electronic control functions in respect of the operation of vape device 4000, including control of power source 4014, control of RFID reader 4016, and control of switch 4018. In some embodiments, microcontroller 4012 comprises a microprocessor (which for purposes of this disclosure also incorporates any type of processor) having a central processing unit as known to those skilled in the art. Microcontroller 4012 further comprises a memory configured for storing a series of instructions for operating the microprocessor and storing data collected from RFID tag 4024 (described below) or sensors disposed on vape device 4000 to control its operation, such as operational settings.
Power source 4014 is configured to generate a power signal that is used to power heating element 4022 of the atomizer. In one embodiment, power source comprises a battery that generates a direct current. The direct current may be pulsed in accordance with a pulse width modulation (PWM) instruction provided by microcontroller 4012 in order to control the temperature of heating element 4022 in a particular desired manner. Alternatively, the temperature of heating element 4022 may be regulated through current and voltage control. In some embodiments, control assembly 4010 further comprises a draw switch (not shown) that sends an "on" signal to microcontroller 4012.
When microcontroller 4012 receives the "on" signal from the draw switch, it may send instructions to
- 128 -activate heating element 4022 (i.e., deliver electric current from power source 4014 to heating element 4022), provided that any other conditions necessary to activate heating element 4022 have been met, as described above.
RFID reader 4016 is configured to read data stored on an RFID tag 4024 (and optionally write data to RFID tag 4024) in accordance with instructions from microcontroller 4012. In one embodiment, RFID reader 4016 operates in accordance with the near-field communication (NFC) protocol and RFID tag 4024 comprises an NFC tag. Of course, RFID
reader 4016 may communicate with RFID tag 4024 using other RFID-type protocols, such as ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID, FeliCa, and analog signaling methods known to those skilled in the art.
Switch 4018 is configured to control the communication of signals between control assembly 4010 and cartridge 4020 over a two-conductor electrical interface provided by electromechanical connection 4040 in accordance with instructions from microcontroller 4012. In one embodiment, switch 4018 comprises a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch having a first switch position and a second switch position. Movement of the DPDT switch to the first switch position, as shown in FIG. 40, enables the transmission of a power signal from power source 4014 to heating element 4022. Movement of the DPDT switch to the second switch position enables the transmission of one or more data signals between RFID reader 4016 and RFID tag 4024.
Cartridge 4020 is shown in FIG. 40 with a heating element 4022 of the atomizer, an RFID tag 4024, capacitors 4026 and 4028, inductors 4030 and 4032, a choke 4034, and electrical terminals 4036 and 4038, which are the components that form a part of the two-lead communication system. It should be understood that cartridge 4020 may include a number of other components that are not shown in FIG. 40, as described above in connection with the control assembly 14 of vape device 10.
Heating element 4022 is disposed within the atomizer for heating and vaporizing a payload contained in the payload reservoir (not shown) of cartridge 4020, as described above. In this embodiment, heating element 4022 comprises a heating coil. Choke 4034 comprises a high-frequency choke that is provided to prevent the low impedance heating element 4022 from loading the analog circuitry (i.e., capacitors 4026 and 4028, inductors 4030 and 4032, and RFID tag 4024). Choke 4034 is self-resonant at the radio frequency of RFID
tag 4024 and is thus high impedance at that frequency.
RFID tag 4024 comprises any type of electronic storage device that includes memory for storing data relating to cartridge 4000. In one embodiment, RFID
tag 4024
- 129 -comprises an integrated circuit (IC) chip for modulating and demodulating radio frequency signals. For example, RFID tag 4024 may comprise a galvanically isolated NFC
tag.
The data stored in RFID tag 4024 may include a variety of different types of information, such as: (1) information on the specific payload contained in the payload reservoir of cartridge 4000 (e.g., payload volume, payload composition, THC
concentration, CBD concentration, terpene profiles); (2) information on the manufacture of cartridge 4000 (e.g., date and lot codes, serial number, MAC address); (3) information on one or more operational settings recommended for use in vaporizing the specific payload contained in the payload reservoir of cartridge 4000 (e.g., a current setting); (4) information to enable verification of the authenticity of cartridge 4000 (e.g., cryptographic key(s)); (5) information on software or hardware contained within cartridge 4000 (e.g., a software revision of a microcontroller of a temperature control circuit, as described below); and/or (6) information on an intended user of cartridge 4000 (e.g., user information and prescription information for a particular individual having a prescription for the payload within the payload reservoir of cartridge 4000). Of course, those skilled in the art will understand that other types of data may also be stored in RFID tag 4024.
RFID tag 4024 can be programmed during production (e.g., during filling of the payload reservoir) to store the desired data in order to personalize cartridge 4020. This can be accomplished by connecting the two-pin connector provided on cartridge 4020 (discussed below) to a corresponding RFID reader capable of programming RFID tag 4024 with the desired information.
In one embodiment, RFID tag 4024 operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. In another embodiment, RFID tag 4024 operates at a frequency in a range of 860-960 MHz. In other embodiments, RFID tag 4024 operates at a lower frequency (e.g., a frequency in a range of 125-134.2 kHz) or at a higher frequency (e.g., 2.45 GHz). Of course, other frequencies may also be used in accordance with the invention.
Capacitors 4026 and 4028 comprise DC-blocking capacitors that are provided to isolate RFID tag 4024 from the power signal transmitted from power source 4014 to heating element 4022 over the two-conductor electrical interface. Capacitors 4026 and 4028 are self-resonant at the radio frequency of RFID tag 4024 and are thus low impedance at that frequency.
Inductor 4030 functions as the antenna of RFID reader 4016, and inductor 4032 functions as the antenna of RFID tag 4024. Inductors 4030 and 4032 are positioned to allow magnetic coupling between them and provide wireless transmission over the very short range
- 130 -that separates the inductors. Alternatively, inductors 4030 and 4032 could be replaced with a transformer that serves the same function.
It should be understood that cartridge 4020 supports two different modes: (1) a DC mode in which a DC voltage is applied across electrical terminals 4036 and 4038 and (2) an AC mode in which the antenna terminals of RFID reader 4016 are connected across electrical terminals 4036 and 4038 so that RFID tag 4024 can be accessed by RFID reader 4016.
Electromechanical connection 4040 of vape device 4000 enables the communication of signals (e.g., a power signal and one or more data signals) between control assembly 4010 and cartridge 4020. Electromechanical connection 4040 comprises a pair of connectors, i.e., a first connector provided at an end of control assembly 4000 and a second connector provided at an end of cartridge 4020. The first and second connectors are configured to be mechanically and electrically connected together. The mechanical connection may comprise a threaded connection, a pressure or friction fit connection, a twist mechanical lock, a magnetic connection, or any other mechanical connecting means known to those skilled in the art. The electrical connection provides a two-conductor electrical interface that forms a part of the two-lead communication system.
In one embodiment, the first and second connectors comprise M7x0.5mm threaded connectors (commonly referred to as "510 threaded connectors"). The first connector (i.e., the connector on control assembly 4010) comprises a female 510 threaded connector, an example of which is shown in FIG. 41A. This connector comprises a two-pin electromechanical connector 4100 that uses an outer housing 4104 as the negative electrical terminal and a center pin 4106 as the positive electrical terminal, and an insulator may optionally be provided therebetween. The second connector (i.e., the connector on cartridge 4020) comprises a male 510 threaded connector, an example of which is shown in FIG. 41B.
This connector comprises a two-pin electromechanical connector 4102 that uses an outer housing 4108 as the negative electrical terminal and a center pin 4110 as the positive electrical terminal, and an insulator may optionally be provided therebetween.
When the male connector 4102 and female connector 4100 are connected, (1) center pin 4110 contacts center pin 4106 to provide a positive lead that extends between the positive electrical terminal of switch 4018 and positive electrical terminal 4036 of cartridge 4020 and (2) outer housing 4108 contacts outer housing 4104 to provide a negative lead that extends between the negative electrical terminal of switch 4018 and negative electrical terminal 4038 of cartridge 4020.
- 131 -Of course, the invention is not limited to the use of 510 threaded connectors and other types of two-conductor connectors may also be used.
The two-lead communication system provides a way of allowing at least two functions to share a two-conductor electrical interface: (1) the transmission of a power signal from power source 4014 to heating element 4022 and (2) the transmission one or more data signals between RFID reader 4016 and RFID tag 4024 (e.g., NFC data transmission).
The first function is provided when switch 4018 is moved to its first switch position. In this case, a power signal (e.g., a direct current or pulsed direct current) is transmitted from power source 4014 through switch 4018 and over the two-conductor electrical interface to electrical terminals 4036 and 4038. The power signal is then transmitted from electrical terminals 4036 and 4038 to heating element 4022 so as to activate the atomizer.
The second function is provided when switch 4018 is moved to its second switch position. In this case, the transmission of data signals will depend on whether RFID tag 4024 comprises a passive tag, an active transponder tag, or an active beacon tag.
If RFID tag 4024 comprises a passive tag, RFID reader 4016 transmits an interrogating signal through switch 4018 and over the two-conductor electrical interface to electrical terminals 4036 and 4038. The interrogating signal is then coupled from inductor 4030 to inductor 4032, which draws in energy from the radio frequency waves.
This energy moves from inductor 4032 to RFID tag 4024 to power the tag. In response, RFID
tag 4024 generates a response signal that encodes the data stored on the tag. The response signal is then coupled from inductor 4032 to inductor 4030 and provided at electrical terminals 4036 and 4038. The response signal is then transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface and through switch 4018 to RFID reader 4016.
If RFID tag 4024 comprises an active transponder tag, the operation is similar to that of the passive tag with the exception that the active transponder tag is not powered by the interrogating signal. Rather, the active transponder tag has its own internal power source.
If RFID tag 4024 comprises an active beacon tag, there is no interrogating signal and the active beacon tag has its own power source. In this case, RFID
tag 4024 generates a signal that encodes the data stored on the tag. The signal is then coupled from inductor 4032 to inductor 4030 and provided at electrical terminals 4036 and 4038. The signal is then transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface and through switch 4018 to RFID reader 4016.
In the embodiments described above, the power signal and data signal(s) are transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division
- 132 -multiplexing scheme. Thus, the DC and analog signaling paths require mutually exclusive time slots and cannot be operated simultaneously. In other embodiments, the DC
and analog signaling paths (which operate at different frequencies) can be simultaneously provided over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme. This functionality would be incorporated into the RFID reader 4016 so that the transmit and receive functions are operated in parallel at different frequencies, as known to those skilled in the art.
The two-lead communication system described above enables the cartridge data to be provided in a secure electronic memory within the cartridge. The cartridge data cannot be tampered with, discarded or lost and, thus, a user can be assured that the data is legitimate and not a forgery.
Inte2rated Temperature Control System In some embodiments, the vane device includes a cartridge with an integrated temperature control system. In particular, the cartridge includes a temperature sensor configured to sense or determine the temperature within the cartridge. The temperature sensor may comprise a component configured to sense the temperature within the cartridge, such as a thermistor, a thermocouple, a bandgap temperature sensor, an analog temperature sensor, a digital temperature sensor, or a light sensor. The temperature sensor may also comprise a circuit configured to measure the resistance of the heating element and utilize this measurement to determine the temperature within the cartridge. The temperature sensor is incorporated into a temperature control circuit configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element based on the temperature within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point. Various embodiments of the temperature control circuit are described below.
Referring to FIG. 42, one embodiment of a vane device 4200 that includes a cartridge with an integrated temperature control system is shown. In general, vane device 4200 includes a control assembly 4210 and a cartridge 4220 that may be formed in separate housings that are releasably connected to each other via an electromechanical connection 4230. In this embodiment, control assembly 4210 is provided as a re-useable component that can be used with multiple disposable cartridges, such as cartridge 4220. In other embodiments, control assembly 4210 may be disposable and/or cartridge 4220 may contain a payload reservoir that is accessible for refilling, as described above.
Electromechanical connection 4230 is configured to provide a mechanical connection between control assembly 4210 and cartridge 4220, as well as an electrical connection that enables the routing of power from a power source 4212 in control assembly
- 133 -4210 to the heater or atomizer 4224 in cartridge 4220. For example, electromechanical connection 4230 may comprise a female 510 threaded connector on control assembly 4210 that releasably engages a male 510 threaded connector on cartridge 4220. Of course, the invention is not limited to the use of 510 threaded connectors and other types of two-pin connectors may also be used, such as EGO connectors.
As shown in FIG. 42, control assembly 4210 includes a power source 4212. Of course, it should be understood that control assembly 4210 may include a number of other components and circuits that are not specifically shown in FIG. 42, as described above in connection with the control assembly 14 of vape device 10. Power source 4212 is configured to generate a power signal that is used to power the heating element of atomizer 4224. In one embodiment, power source 4212 comprises a battery that generates a direct current.
Cartridge 4220 is shown in FIG. 42 with a payload reservoir 4222, a heater or atomizer 4224, a temperature sensor 4226, and a temperature control circuit 4228. It should be understood that cartridge 4220 may include a number of other components that are not shown in FIG. 42, as described above in connection with vape devices 10, 100, and 2800 and cartridges 900, 1000, 1100, 1900, 2100, 2400, 2500, and 2600.
Payload reservoir 4222 is configured to contain a payload for vaporization or atomization, as described above. The payload may be for example, liquids, oils, other fluids, or tablets. The payload may comprise cannabis oil or nicotine oil or be any of the tablets 940, 1002, 1102, 1202, 1300, 1302, 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700 described above if vape device 4200 is modified to vaporize a tablet of dry material.
Heater or atomizer 4224 includes a heating element disposed therein for heating and vaporizing a payload contained in payload reservoir 4222. In this embodiment, the heating element comprises a heating coil. As described below, the heating element is connected to temperature control circuit 4228, which is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element based on the temperature sensed within cartridge 4220 and a desired temperature set point.
Temperature sensor 4226 may comprise any type of component capable of sensing the temperature within cartridge 4220. For example, temperature sensor 4226 may comprise a thermistor, a thermocouple, a bandgap temperature sensor, an analog temperature sensor, a digital temperature sensor (e.g., temperature sensors with I2C
interface compatibility), or any other type of temperature sensor known to those skilled in the art. The thermal path between the atomizer and the temperature sensor may be implemented with
- 134 -thermal paste, a ceramic thermal bridge (e.g., the Q-Bridge thermal conductor available from American Technical Ceramics), or air and PCB dielectric.
Temperature sensor 4226 may also comprise a light sensor configured to detect light emitted from a material within cartridge 4220, wherein the intensity of the emitted light is proportional to the temperature of the material, as is known to those skilled in the art. The light sensor may comprise, for example, a photodiode or phototransistor that detects light emitted by the heating element and/or light emitted by the vaporized payload (which would typically be in the infrared region of 0.7 microns to 20 microns). The light sensor is preferably able to detect the light through different seals or glass so that the light sensor can be isolated from the vaporized payload. The light sensor can be used to trigger when a certain threshold temperature has been reached or can be used to maintain operation within a range of temperatures. As an example, the light sensor can be used to detect when the wick is dry, in which case the heating element will heat much faster and become red. Detecting a dry wick can be used as a way to prevent the inhalation of burned silica and save battery power.
Temperature sensor 4226 may also comprise a circuit configured to measure the resistance of the heating element and utilize this measurement to determine the temperature within cartridge 4220. As is known in the art, the resistance of the heating element is directly proportional to the resistivity of the material from which the heating element is made (i.e., the resistance is dependent on the resistivity, length, and cross-sectional area of the heating element). The relationship between the resistivity of the heating element and temperature is shown by the following equation (which is a linear approximation for cases in which the temperature variance is not large):
p po(1+ cc(T ¨ T0)) (9) where p = resistivity of heating element at temperature Tin ohm meters po = resistivity of heating element at temperature To in ohm meters a = temperature coefficient of resistivity at To T = current temperature in K
To = fixed reference temperature (e.g., ambient temperature) in K.
It can be seen from equation (9) that the resistivity of the heating element increases with an increase in the current temperature of the heating element.
Thus, if the resistance of the heating element is known at any given moment, it is possible to calculate the
- 135 -resistivity of the heating element and, using equation (9), calculate the current temperature of the heating element.
For example, the following method may be implemented to determine the current temperature of the heating element (and thus the temperature within cartridge 4220):
(a) measure the ambient temperature within cartridge 4220 (the heating element will be approximately the same temperature provided it has not been activated recently); (b) periodically measure the resistance of the heating element while the heating element is being powered; and (c) calculate the current temperature of the heating element based on the measured resistance (or determine a change in the resistance of the heating element to provide the temperature increase above the ambient temperature value). Thus, the resistance of the heating element as a function of temperature can be used to provide an accurate assessment of the temperature within cartridge 4220 at any given moment.
Temperature control circuit 4228 is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element of atomizer 4224 based on the temperature sensed by temperature sensor 4226 within cartridge 4220 and a desired temperature set point. Various methods may be used to regulate the power provided to the heating element. In one embodiment, temperature control circuit 4228 is configured to increase or decrease the direct current (DC) voltage applied to the heating element. In another embodiment, temperature control circuit 4228 is configured to increase or decrease the direct current transmitted to the heating element. In another embodiment, temperature control circuit 4228 includes a processing element (e.g., microcontroller) programmed to modify the pulse width of pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element (i.e., fixed voltage/current implementations). In this embodiment, it is possible to use either pulse width modulation (PWM) (i.e., regular periodic pulsing for several cycles) or irregular pulsing. An example of irregular pulsing is to turn the current on until a set point is reached, and then turn the current off until a hysteresis point is reached, and then turn the current back on). In yet another embodiment, temperature control circuit 4228 is configured to interrupt the flow of direct current to the heating element. Of course, other methods of power regulation will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
Various examples of temperature control circuits that can be used to regulate the power provided to the heating element of atomizer 4224 will now be described.
It should be understood that the invention is not limited to the use of these particular circuits and that other types of electrical circuits configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element of atomizer 4224 may also be used in accordance with the invention.
- 136 -Referring to FIG. 43, in one embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes a DC-DC converter (DCDC) with an input voltage (Vin) connected to the voltage of the battery (VBATT) and an output voltage (\Tout) connected to the voltage of the heating element (Vcom). The DC-DC converter (DCDC) is enabled when a microprocessor, button or other control means applies a control voltage to the enable pin voltage (EN).
Alternatively, the DC-DC converter (DCDC) could be enabled when power is present. A resistive feedback divider that includes a fixed resistor (Rfixed) and a PTC thermistor (RpTc) is connected to the feedback pin voltage (FB) of the DC-DC converter (DCDC). The PTC thermistor (RpTc) is thermally connected to the atomizer and has a resistance that increases with an increasing temperature and decreases with a decreasing temperature. As such, the PTC thermistor (RpTc) functions as the temperature sensor of the circuit.
In operation, when the resistance of the PTC thermistor (RpTc) increases, the DC-DC converter decreases the output voltage (Vout) so as to decrease the voltage applied to the heating element (Vcom). Conversely, when the resistance of the PTC
thermistor (RpTc) decreases, the DC-DC converter increases the output voltage (Vout) so as to increase the voltage applied to the heating element (Vcom). Thus, this circuit regulates the power to the heating element by increasing or decreasing the direct current (DC) voltage applied to the heating element based on the temperature sensed by the PTC thermistor (RpTc).
Referring to FIG. 44, in another embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes an operational amplifier in which the non-inverting input is connected to the voltage of the battery (VBATT) through two reference resistors (RRen and RReF2). The output of the operational amplifier is connected to the inverting input through a capacitor (C2), and the output of the operational amplifier is connected to the non-inverting input through a feedback circuit that includes the capacitor (C2), an anti-burst fusible resistor (RFB), a PTC thermistor (RpTc), and a capacitor (CO. The PTC thermistor (RpTc) is thermally connected to the atomizer and has a resistance that increases with an increasing temperature and decreases with a decreasing temperature. As such, PTC thermistor (RpTc) functions as the temperature sensor of the circuit. It can also be seen that the output of the operational amplifier is connected to the heating element through a p-type field effect transistor (PFET) that provides DC current gain.
In operation, when the resistance of the PTC thermistor (RpTc) increases, the voltage at the non-inverting input of the operational amplifier decreases so as to increase the voltage at the output and, thus, the current transmitted to the heating element through the p-type field effect transistor (PFET) is decreased. Conversely, when the resistance of the PTC
thermistor (RpTc) decreases, the voltage at the non-inverting input of the operational amplifier
- 137 -increases so as to decrease the voltage at the output and, thus, the current transmitted to the heating element through the p-type field effect transistor (PFET) is increased. Thus, this circuit regulates the power to the heating element by increasing or decreasing the direct current transmitted to the heating element based on the temperature sensed by the PTC
thermistor (RpTc).
Referring to FIG. 45, in another embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes a microcontroller unit (MCU) connected through a general purpose input/output pin (GPIO) to a load switch positioned in the current path from the battery. The microcontroller unit (MCU) is programmed to transmit control signals to open and close the load switch and thereby generate a pulsed direct current at the output of the load switch. The microcontroller unit (MCU) also receives a temperature value as feedback from an analog temperature sensor configured to measure the temperature of the atomizer. Of course, any type of temperature sensor could be used to provide feedback to the microcontroller (MCU), such as a digital temperature sensor, a serial bus read sensor, a PWM output sensor, or a sensor that utilizes any type of analog temperature measurement as known to those skilled in the art.
In operation, when the temperature value received from the analog temperature sensor is above a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) decreases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to decrease the current transmitted to the heating element. Conversely, when the temperature value received from the analog temperature sensor is below a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) increases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to increase the current transmitted to the heating element Thus, this circuit regulates the power to the heating element by increasing or decreasing the pulse width of the pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element based on the temperature value received from the analog temperature sensor.
Referring to FIG. 46, in another embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes a microcontroller unit (MCU) connected through a general purpose input/output pin (GPIO) to a first switch (Si) positioned in the current path from the battery and a second switch (S2) positioned in the current path to the atomizer. The microcontroller unit (MCU) is programmed to transmit control signals to open and close the first switch (Si) and thereby generate a pulsed direct current at the output of the first switch (Si). The microcontroller unit (MCU) also includes a thermocouple in which the thermocouple junction is included as part of the wiring that supplies the atomizer. If the thermocouple junction is positioned outside of the payload area, then the thermal conductivity of the atomizer wiring is sufficient to transfer a temperature to the thermocouple junction that is directly related to the atomizer temperature.
- 138 -The thermocouple voltage (VsENsE) is communicated to another general purpose input/output pin (GPIO) of the microcontroller unit (MCU) and, thus, the thermocouple functions as the temperature sensor of the circuit. The microcontroller circuitry is programmed to implement a brief period of inactivity during which the atomizer is unpowered so that the thermocouple voltage (VsENsE) can be read.
In operation, when the thermocouple voltage (VsENsE) is above the voltage associated with a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) decreases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to decrease the current transmitted to the heating element. Conversely, when the thermocouple voltage (VsENsE) is below the voltage associated with a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) increases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to increase the current transmitted to the heating element.
Thus, this circuit regulates the power to the heating element by increasing or decreasing the pulse width of the pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element based on the sensed thermocouple voltage (VsENsE).
Referring to FIG. 47, in another embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes a microcontroller unit (MCU) that includes functionality similar to that described above in connection with FIG. 45. However, instead of utilizing an analog temperature sensor, the circuit receives feedback from another type of temperature sensor (TsENsE) positioned in the thermal path of the atomizer. The temperature sensor (TsENsE) may comprise, for example, a thermistor, a bandgap temperature sensor, a digital temperature sensor, or any other type of PCB-mounted passive or active temperature sensor.
In operation, when the sensor value received from the temperature sensor (TsENsE) is above a value associated with a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) decreases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to decrease the current transmitted to the heating element. Conversely, when the sensor value received from the temperature sensor (TsENsE) is below a value associated with a desired temperature set point, the microcontroller unit (MCU) increases the pulse width of the pulsed direct current so as to increase the current transmitted to the heating element. Thus, this circuit regulates the power to the heating element by increasing or decreasing the pulse width of the pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element based on the sensor value received from the temperature sensor (TsENsE).
Referring to FIG. 48, in another embodiment, the temperature control circuit includes a photodiode (i.e., a light sensor) that turns off the heating element (L1) when the temperature reaches an upper temperature limit (e.g., 200 C). The circuit also includes first
- 139 -and second resistors (R1 and R2) and first and second transistors (Q1 and Q2), as shown, wherein the level of light required to turn off the heating element (L1) can be adjusted by changing the value of the first resistor (R1) and/or the value of the second resistor (R2). It can be appreciated that this circuit ensures consistent and safe performance of the vape device.
Of course, it can be appreciated that other temperature control circuits may also be used in accordance with the invention. For example, it is possible to use an analog circuit that provides power regulation based on a temperature sensing element (e.g., a thermistor) in a configuration that biases an electronic element capable of providing regulation (e.g., a MOSFET transistor). As another example, it is possible to use a simple thermal fuse that temporarily interrupts the power connection when the temperature of the atomizer or heating element exceeds the desired temperature set point. When the temperature is reduced to a level below the temperature set point, then the thermal fuse would reset so as to provide power to the atomizer or heating element.
In all of the examples provided above, the desired temperature set point is either determined by the values of the electrical components within the circuit or is programmed into a microcontroller unit (MCU). In other embodiments, the desired temperature set point is user-configurable, i.e., the temperature set point may be modified as desired by a particular user or for a desired temperature profile.
In some embodiments, the temperature control circuit includes a potentiometer having a variable resistance, and the vape device includes a user-actuated mechanism that enables a user to modify the variable resistance of the potentiometer to thereby modify the temperature set point.
An example of a temperature control circuit that includes a potentiometer is shown in FIG. 49. This circuit includes a resistive divider that feeds an "analog in" pin of a microcontroller, wherein the value at the "analog in" pin changes the temperature set point.
The resistive divider includes a fixed resistor (Rfixed) and a potentiometer.
The potentiometer has a variable resistance that can be modified by a user, as described below, so that a change in the value of the resistance of the potentiometer changes the temperature set point. It should be understood that the microcontroller may be used with any of the temperature control circuits described above (e.g., load switch, FET, DCDC, etc.) to regulate the power provided to the atomizer. The microcontroller may optionally be connected to a radio tag, such as radio tag 4024 shown in FIG. 40 of the two-lead communication system described above.
The temperature control circuit shown in FIG. 49 may be used in combination with a user-actuated mechanism that can translate a mechanical setting to a resistance value of
- 140 -the potentiometer. Various examples of such user-actuated mechanisms are shown in FIGS.
50-52.
FIG. 50 shows a portion of a cartridge that includes an outer housing 5000 and a printed circuit board 5002 disposed therein. The printed circuit board includes the components of the temperature control circuit shown in FIG. 49, including the potentiometer 5004. A
rotary dial 5006 is positioned outside of outer housing 500 so as to be accessible to a user.
Dial 5006 is connected to potentiometer 5004 via a rotary connector 5008.
Thus, a user can modify the resistance value of potentiometer 5004 by turning dial 5006.
FIG. 51 shows a portion of a cartridge that includes an outer housing 5100 and a printed circuit board 5102 disposed therein. The printed circuit board includes the components of the temperature control circuit shown in FIG. 49, including the potentiometer 5104. A
slideable tab 5106 is positioned outside of outer housing 500 so as to be accessible to a user.
Slideable tab 5106 is integrally connected to an arm 5106a that extends into the cartridge and engages potentiometer 5104 that extends through a slider switch 5108. Thus, a user can modify the resistance value of potentiometer 5104 by sliding tab 5106 along outer housing 5100.
FIG. 52 shows a portion of a cartridge that includes an outer housing 5200 and a printed circuit board 5202 disposed therein. The printed circuit board includes the components of the temperature control circuit shown in FIG. 49, including the potentiometer 5204. Outer housing is rotatable and is connected to potentiometer 5204 via a rotary arm 5206 that is rigidly mounted to outer housing 5200 via a mount 5208/. Thus, a user can modify the resistance value of potentiometer 5204 by rotating outer housing 5200.
Of course, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the user-actuated mechanisms shown in FIGS. 50-52 and that other mechanisms may be used in accordance with the invention. Also, instead of using a potentiometer to vary the resistance and thereby modify the temperature set point, the temperature control circuit may incorporate a user interface that enables a user to input a digital value (e.g., based on several bits) to modify the temperature set point.
It is also possible to "translate" a voltage setting into a temperature setting (e.g., if the voltage output from the control assembly is 3.8 volts, the cartridge temperature is translated to 180 C; if the voltage output from the control assembly is 4.0 volts, the cartridge temperature is translated to 200 C, etc.). The cartridge is thus able to translate this voltage into an appropriate power setting to create the predetermined temperature setting.
- 141 -Cartridges with localized temperature sensing and control provide an additional layer of safety for the end user. Due to the commonality of the connectors used on vape devices, these types of cartridges can be installed on many different types of control assemblies with different capabilities. If a conventional cartridge with no localized temperature control is installed on a control assembly capable of supplying too much power, there is the possibility of the cartridge being damaged, the payload being burnt, or the user being injured. However, if the cartridge includes localized temperature control, then the cartridge, payload, and user are protected from such a control assembly.
It can be appreciated that the temperature control system described above adds localized temperature control to the cartridge containing the atomizer or heating element so that there is no need to pass additional electrical signals to facilitate temperature control through the electromechanical connector between the cartridge and control assembly. As such, it is possible for the vape device to use existing two-pin connector types while adding a desirable feature, i.e., localized control of the atomizer temperature.
Of course, the invention may be used with vape devices that utilize multi-pin connectors to enable communication between the control assembly and the cartridge. For example, the control assembly could send a signal that sets the upper temperature limit for a particular strain to the temperature control circuit of the cartridge, whereby one of the user-actuated mechanisms shown in FIGS. 50-52 could be used to lower the temperature from the upper limit. If the cartridge were connected to a control assembly that does not provide this functionality (i.e., does not send a signal with the upper temperature limit), then the temperature control circuit would see the signal as ground and operate in a standalone mode.
Referring to FIG. 53, another embodiment of a cartridge 5300 with an integrated temperature control system is shown. In this embodiment, cartridge 5300 includes a heating element 5302 (described above) and a temperature control circuit (described above) provided on a printed circuit board 5304. Printed circuit board 5304 provides connections 5304a and 5304b to an electromechanical connector 5306 to enable the transfer of power from a power source of a control assembly (not shown) to the temperature control circuit.
Electromechanical connector 5306 may comprise a male 510 threaded connector, although other types of connectors may also be used as described herein. Heating element 5302 provides connections 5302a and 5302b to printed circuit board 5304 to enable the temperature control circuit to regulate the power provided to heating element 5302.
Cartridge 5300 also includes two air inlets 5308 and 5310. When a user inserts a mouthpiece (not shown) in his or her mouth and draws air through outlet 5312, fresh air from
- 142 -external to cartridge 5200 enters inlets 5308 and 5310 and travels toward heating element 5302. This fresh air combines with vaporized payload 5314 from heating element 5302 and enters outlet 5312. The air and vaporized payload 5316 is drawn through outlet 5312 into the user's mouth.
In this embodiment, the temperature sensor provided as part of the temperature control circuit on printed circuit board 5304 is positioned in close proximity to heating element 5302 so as to enable measurement of the temperature within the atomizer. In other embodiments, a heat pipe may be used between the temperature sensor and heating element, in which case the temperature control circuit may be positioned a greater distance from the heating element. Thus, one skilled in the art will understand that the invention is not limited to the structural configuration of the cartridge shown in FIG. 53 and that other cartridge configurations may also be used.
The temperature control system described herein may be used for conduction or convection heating of a payload, which may be a fluid payload or a payload comprising dry material.
Smart Cartrid2e with Authenticated Access Control In some embodiments, the vape device comprises a cartridge that is releasably connected to a control assembly, wherein the cartridge includes an authentication device that permits access to the payload only when the cartridge and/or control assembly are properly authenticated. A cartridge that includes this functionality may be referred to herein as a "smart" cartridge insofar as the cartridge provides authentication and access control independent of the control assembly. Various embodiments of vape devices that include a smart cartridge are described below.
Referring to FIG. 54, one embodiment of a vape device 5400 comprises a control assembly 5410 and a smart cartridge 5420 that are formed in separate housings and releasably connected to each other via an electromechanical connector 5440. In this embodiment, control assembly 5410 is provided as a re-useable component that can be used with multiple disposable cartridges, such as smart cartridge 5420. In other embodiments, control assembly 5410 may also be disposable.
As shown in FIG. 54, control assembly 5410 includes a microcontroller 5412 connected to a power source 5414. It should be understood that control assembly 5410 may include a number of other components that are not shown in FIG. 54, as described above in connection with the control assembly 14 of vape device 10.
- 143 -Microcontroller 5412 is configured to carry out one or more electronic control functions with respect to the operation of vane device 5400, including control of power source 5414. In some embodiments, microcontroller 5412 comprises a microprocessor (which for purposes of this disclosure also incorporates any type of processor) having a central processing .. unit as known to those skilled in the art. Microcontroller 5412 further comprises a memory configured to store a series of instructions for operating the microprocessor and also store data collected from one or more sensors disposed on vane device 5400 to control its operation, such as operational settings.
The memory of microcontroller 5412 may also be configured to store authentication data transmitted from authentication device 5430 of cartridge 5420 to microcontroller 5412. In addition, the memory may be configured to store a list of valid public/private key pairs that are used for cryptographic authentication purposes, as described below. This list comprises the public/private key pairs associated with the various cartridges that have been manufactured for use with control assembly 5410. Preferably, this list is periodically updated via communication with a remote server to either add new public/private key pairs or revoke particular public/private key pairs if it is determined that particular cartridges have been compromised.
Power source 5414 is configured to generate a power signal that is used to power atomizer 5422 of cartridge 5420. In one embodiment, power source 5414 comprises a battery that generates a direct current. The direct current may be pulsed in accordance with a pulse width modulation (PWM) instruction provided by microcontroller 5412 in order to control the temperature of atomizer 5422 in a particular desired manner.
Alternatively, the temperature of atomizer 5422 may be regulated through current and voltage control. In some embodiments, control assembly 5410 further comprises a draw switch (not shown) that sends an "on" signal to microcontroller 5412. When microcontroller 5412 receives the "on" signal from the draw switch, it may send instructions to power source 5414 to deliver a power signal to atomizer 5422, provided that any other conditions necessary to activate atomizer 5422 have been met as described above.
Cartridge 5420 is shown in FIG. 54 with an atomizer 5422, a payload reservoir 5424, and an authentication assembly 5428. Authentication assembly 5428 includes an authentication device 5430 and a power gate 5432 that provide the "smart"
capabilities of cartridge 5420. It should be understood that cartridge 5420 may include a number of other components that are not shown in FIG. 54, as described above in connection with cartridge 12 of vane device 10.
- 144 -The inlet of atomizer 5422 is in communication with payload reservoir 5424 that contains a payload. The payload may be, for example, liquids, oils, other fluids, or tablets.
As described above, atomizer 5422 includes a heating element, such as a heating coil, configured to heat and vaporize the payload contained in payload reservoir 5424 to generate a vaporized payload 5426 provided at the outlet of atomizer 5422.
Authentication device 5430 comprises a standard or custom integrated circuit (IC) with a microcontroller unit (MCU) and secure element capable of storing authentication data and performing cryptographic operations, as described below. The secure element may comprise an inaccessible memory (i.e., a memory block that is guaranteed inaccessible from outside the IC), encrypted memory, or other secure elements known to those skilled in the art.
The authentication data may include a cryptographic key, such as the public key of a public/private key pair. The authentication data may optionally include an expiry date for the cartridge (or optionally a manufacture date and shelf life for the cartridge from which the expiry date may be determined), a maximum number of puff seconds allowed for operation of the cartridge, a unique identifier (e.g., a unique serial number) for the cartridge, and other authentication data known to those skilled in the art. Because the authentication data is stored in a secure element, the data cannot be tampered with, discarded or lost and, thus, a user can be assured that the data is legitimate and not a forgery.
Power gate 5432 is configured to control the transmission of a power signal from power source 5414 to atomizer 5422 over electromechanical connector 5440 in accordance with instructions received from authentication device 5430. In this embodiment, power gate 5432 comprises a single-pole single-throw switch (SW1) having an open position and a closed position. Movement of power gate 5432 to the open position, as shown in FIG. 54, disables the transmission of a power signal from power source 5414 to atomizer 5422.
In contrast, movement of power gate 5432 to the closed position enables the transmission of a power signal from power source 5414 to atomizer 5422. As described below, authentication device 5430 is programmed to cause movement of power gate 5432 from the open position to the closed position when cartridge 5420 and/or control assembly 5410 are determined to be authentic.
Authentication device 5430 and power gate 5432, as shown in FIG. 54, are provided as separate discrete components. In other embodiments, authentication device 5430 and power gate 5432 may be integrated into a single component, such as a silicon die, a multiple chip module (MCM), or other components known to those skilled in the art.
- 145 -In some embodiments, cartridge 5420 is initially provided in a locked state, i.e., power gate 5432 is in the open position. When cartridge 5420 is coupled to control assembly 5410, authentication device 5430 is configured to implement an authentication protocol to determine whether cartridge 5420 is authentic. The authentication protocol may comprise one or more different tests that rely on use of the authentication data stored in the secure element of authentication device 5430, as describe below.
Authentication device 5430 then uses the outcome of the authentication protocol to control power gate 5432, e.g., if cartridge 5420 is authenticated, power gate 5432 is moved from the open position to the closed position to enable operation of vane device 5400. This feature minimizes the opportunities for accidental or intentional misuse of vane device 5400.
In one embodiment, cartridge 5420 is implemented so as to return to its locked state on power loss to enforce strict access control, i.e., power gate 5432 is moved from the closed position back to the open position at the end of a power cycle. As such, authentication must occur on every inhalation. Of course, the act of authentication need not be noticeable by the user such that the cartridge may appear to remain authenticated at the start of a session even though authentication occurs on every inhalation. In another embodiment, cartridge 5420 is maintained in its unlocked state across power cycles to avoid having to authenticate on subsequent inhalations in a session. For example, authentication device 5430 may store the last time stamp of authentication and only require re-authentication if an internally defined timeout (user, factory, or otherwise) has lapsed.
One test that is part of the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake (e.g., challenge-response) between microcontroller 5412 and authentication device 5430 to enable authentication of cartridge 5420 and control assembly 5410. In one embodiment, authentication device 5430 stores a public key and microcontroller 5412 stores a list of valid public key/private key pairs, as described above. The cryptographic handshake may be performed as follows: (1) microcontroller 5412 transmits a message to authentication device 5430; (2) authentication device 5430 encrypts the message with the stored public key to generate an encrypted message; (3) authentication device 5430 transmits the encrypted message and the public key to microcontroller 5412; (4) microcontroller 5412 accesses the stored list of public key/private key pairs to identify the private key associated with the public key; (5) microcontroller 5412 decrypts the encrypted message with the private key to generate a decrypted message; (6) microcontroller 5412 determines whether the original message matches the decrypted message and, if so, cartridge 5420 and control assembly 5410 are
- 146 -deemed to be authentic. Of course, other cryptographic authentication protocols known to those skilled in the art may also be used.
Once the cryptographic handshake is complete, microcontroller 5412 transmits an indication of authenticity to authentication device 5412. If cartridge 5420 and control assembly 5410 are authentic, authentication device 5430 directly moves power gate 5432 to the closed position to enable the transmission of a power signal from power source 5414 to atomizer 5422. Alternatively, authentication device 5430 may move power gate 5432 to the closed positon upon receipt of operational instructions from microprocessor 5412. This may be accomplished by changing an operational setting that is either persistent or not-persistent across a power cycle as experienced by cartridge 5420 or control assembly 5410.
It can be appreciated that the cryptographic handshake described above enables the authentication of cartridge 5420 and control assembly 5410 without accessing a remote server. This authentication method is also sufficient to ensure that cartridge 5420 and control assembly 5410 are compatible, which eliminates the potential for pairing a mismatched cartridge and control assembly and potentially exposing the user to danger.
Another test that may optionally be performed as part of the authentication protocol comprises a test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is expired.
In one embodiment, the test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is expired may be performed as follows: (1) authentication device 5430 transmits the stored expiry date for cartridge 5420 (or optionally a manufacture date and shelf life from which the expiry date may be determined) to microcontroller 5412; (2) microcontroller 5412 determines the current date;
and (3) microcontroller 5412 determines if the expiry date for cartridge 5420 is after the current date. The data transmitted from authentication device 5430 to microcontroller 5412 may be encrypted data or plaintext data. If cartridge 5420 is deemed not to be authentic, microcontroller 5412 may permanently disable cartridge 5420 via authentication device 5430.
In another embodiment, the test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is expired may be performed as follows: (1) microcontroller transmits the current date to authentication device 5430; (2) authentication device 5430 determines the expiry date for cartridge 5420 (either from a stored expiry date or from a stored manufacture date and shelf life from which the expiry date may be determined); and (3) authentication device 5430 determines if the expiry date for cartridge 5420 is after the current date and, if so, cartridge 5420 is deemed to be authentic. The data transmitted from microcontroller 5412 to authentication device 5430 may be encrypted data or plaintext data.
- 147 -Yet another optional test that may be performed as part of the authentication protocol comprises a test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is being used beyond its maximum allowable operational time, i.e., the maximum allowed time for operation of cartridge 5420. The maximum allowable operational time may be measured in puff seconds.
As used herein, a "a puff second" means one second of time during which atomizer 5422 is powered and a portion of the payload in payload reservoir 5424 is being vaporized. In order to perform this test, authentication device 5430 is configured to record user analytics (i.e., number of puffs and puff durations) to enable a determination of the total number of puff seconds elapsed during operation of cartridge 5420, i.e., the current operational time.
In one embodiment, the test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is being used beyond its maximum allowable operational time may be performed as follows:
(1) authentication device 5430 transmits the stored maximum allowable operational time and the current operational time (or the user analytics from which the current operational time may be determined) to microcontroller 5412; and (2) microcontroller 5412 compares the maximum allowable operational time with the current operational time to determine whether the current operational time is greater than the maximum allowable operational time. In some cases, microcontroller 5412 may use this comparison result to determine if the maximum allowable operational time has elapsed. If so, microcontroller 5412 may permanently disable cartridge 5420 via authentication device 5430. Alternatively, microcontroller may transmit the comparison result to authentication device 5430 for recordation in authentication device 5430.
In this case, authentication device 5430 may refuse to power cartridge 5420 if the maximum allowable operational time has elapsed.
In another embodiment, authentication device 5430 compares the stored maximum allowable operational time with the stored user analytics to determine whether the current operational time is greater than the maximum allowable operational time. In some cases, authentication device 5430 may refuse to power cartridge 5420 if the maximum allowable operational time has elapsed. Alternatively, authentication device 5430 may transmit the comparison result to microcontroller 5412. If the maximum allowable operational time has elapsed, microcontroller 5412 may permanently disable cartridge 5420 via authentication device 5430.
Yet another optional test that may be performed as part of the authentication protocol comprises a test to determine whether cartridge 5420 is a counterfeit. This test may be performed as follows: (a) authentication device 5430 transmits the stored unique identifier for cartridge 5420 to microcontroller 5412; (2) microcontroller 5412 transmits the unique
- 148 -identifier to a wireless transceiver of control assembly 5410 (such as RF
transceiver circuit 36 and antenna(s) 40 of control assembly 14 shown in FIG. 1); (3) the wireless transceiver transmits the unique identifier to an external computing device (such as computing device 72 shown in FIG. 3) via an RF communications link (e.g., Bluetooth); (4) the external computing .. device determines via access to a remote server whether the unique identifier is valid; (5) the external control device transmits a response indicating whether the unique identifier is valid to the wireless transceiver; and (6) the write transceiver transmits the response to microcontroller 5412 and, if the unique identifier is valid, cartridge 5420 is deemed to be authentic. It can be appreciated that once a cartridge with its unique identifier has been registered to the remote .. server, any other cartridges with the same identifier will be deemed a counterfeit.
Vape device 5400 may utilize any one or combination of the tests described above as part of its authentication protocol. If cartridge 5420 is deemed to be authentic, vape device 5400 may provide an indication to a user that cartridge 5420 has been authenticated.
For example, control assembly 5410 may include a light emitting diode (LED) that turns green .. if cartridge 5420 has been authenticated. In another example, control assembly 5410 may wirelessly communicate the authentication information to an external computing device (such as computing device 72 shown in FIG. 3), wherein an application running on the computing device causes the authentication information to be displayed to the user.
In some embodiments, after cartridge 5420 has been authenticated, an additional key verification step is performed to verify that the operator of vape device 5400 is authorized to use cartridge 5420. In one embodiment, the owner of cartridge 3420 enters a key (cryptographic or mundane) to lock cartridge 5420, wherein the key is stored in the secure element of authentication device 5430. Authentication device 5430 will thereafter ensure that the operator of vape device 5400 is in possession of a smartphone or other RFID-enabled device that stores the key before moving power gate 5432 to the closed position to enable the transmission of a power signal from power source 5414 to atomizer 5422.
In one embodiment, multiple keys are allowed to be stored in the secure element of authentication device 5430. Multiple keys offer the benefit of enabling multiple operators to access the same cartridge without having to share a key. This is particularly beneficial if an owner has multiple applications on his/her smartphone or other RFID-enabled device that are capable of unlocking the cartridge, or, if an owner has multiple accounts on the same application on his/her smartphone or other RFID-enabled device that are capable of unlocking the cartridge. This key verification scheme may be implemented with a single administrator
- 149 -who can add/remove keys, with multiple administrators, or with all shared owners as administrators.
In another embodiment, the current owner of a cartridge may transfer ownership of the cartridge to a new owner via use of his/her smartphone or other RFID-enabled device to transfer the key. The transfer of cartridge ownership may be implemented permanently or temporarily. Temporary transfer of cartridge ownership use cases include, but are not limited to, number of puff seconds elapsed, dose, date, time of day, location, and others known to those skilled in the art. Also, temporary transfer of cartridge ownership may occur during scheduled times that define known usage windows, such as when a prescribing doctor temporarily transfers cartridge ownership to a patient for a limited dose, puff seconds, etc.
before ownership is automatically transferred back to the prescribing doctor.
The scheduled transfer of cartridge ownership may also be recurring.
Referring back to FIG. 54, electromechanical connector 5440 comprises a pair of connectors, i.e., a first connector provided at an end of control assembly 5410 and a second connector provided at an end of cartridge 5420. The first and second connectors are configured to be mechanically and electrically connected together. The mechanical connection may comprise a threaded connection, a pressure or friction fit connection, a twist mechanical lock, a magnetic connection, or any other mechanical connecting means known to those skilled in the art. As described below, electromechanical connector 5440 enables (1) the transmission of a power signal from control assembly 5410 to cartridge 5420 and (2) the transfer of one or more data signals between control assembly 5410 and cartridge 5420. Of course, it should be understood that this same electromechanical connector 5440 is also used to read and write payload information (e.g., strain information, optimal vaping temperature, puff counts, expiry date, etc.), which is used by control assembly 5410 or an external computing device to modify the operational parameters of vape device 5400.
In some embodiments, electromechanical connector 5440 provides an electrical interface that includes two conductors. For example, in a common implementation, the first and second connectors comprise M7x0.5mm threaded connectors which are commonly referred to as "510 threaded connectors." The first connector (i.e., the connector on control assembly 5410) comprises a female 510 threaded connector and the second connector (i.e., the connector on cartridge 5420) comprises a male 510 threaded connector, as described above and shown in FIG. 41A. Of course, the invention is not limited to the use of 510 threaded connectors and other types of two-conductor connectors may also be used.
- 150 -The two-conductor electrical interface is typically used in vape devices to provide a power conductor and a ground conductor. In order to accommodate the transfer of one or more data signals between control assembly 5410 and cartridge 5420, the data signals must also be transmitted over one of these conductors. A variety of different multiplexing schemes may be used to provide this functionality, such as time division multiplexing, frequency division multiplexing, or voltage level multiplexing. Of course, other types of multiplexing schemes may also be used in accordance with the invention.
In embodiments that use a time division multiplexing scheme, the power signal and the data signals are sequentially transmitted over the same conductor. An example of a circuit that may be used to implement a time division multiplexing scheme is shown in FIG. 55. Of course, other circuits may be used to implement a time division multiplexing scheme as known to those skilled in the art.
As shown in FIG. 55, circuit 5500 includes a microcontroller 5510 of a control assembly and an authentication device 5520 of a cartridge that are connected by a two-conductor electrical interface. The electrical interface includes a first conductor that provides a data/power path (i.e., data and power share the first conductor) and a second conductor that provides a ground path. The data and power require mutually exclusive time slots on the first conductor, i.e., data and power cannot be transmitted simultaneously over the first conductor.
In circuit 5500, microcontroller 5510 is connected through an input/output pin (I0) to an NMOS transistor (Q1), which is in turn connected across the electrical interface to an 10 pin of authentication device 5520. This provides a data path on the first conductor to enable the transmission of data signals between microcontroller 5510 and authentication device 5520.
The control assembly also includes a power source (not shown) that provides a power signal through a resistor (R1) having a relatively large resistance value, which is in turn connected across the electrical interface through a diode (D1) to an atomizer (not shown) of the cartridge. Of course, a power gate (not shown) will also be provided in the cartridge to control the transmission of the power signal to the atomizer, as described above. This provides a power path on the first conductor to enable the transmission of a power signal from the power source to the atomizer. It can be seen that the power signal also provides the supply voltage (VDD) for both microcontroller 5510 and authentication device 5520. A
capacitor (Cl) is provided with a capacitance value large enough to hold up the power to authentication device 5520 during the transfer of data signals between microcontroller 5510 and authentication device 5520. Thus, the first conductor may be used to temporarily transfer data signals
- 151 -between microcontroller 5510 and authentication device 5520 while authentication device 5520 remains powered-up.
In embodiments that use a frequency division multiplexing scheme, the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted between the control assembly and the cartridge. In this case, the data is encoded on either the power conductor or the ground conductor using an alternating current (AC) or radio frequency (RF) signal superimposed on that conductor. Frequency division multiplexing can support both full-duplex and half-duplex operations using different uplink and downlink frequencies, as known to those skilled in the art. Filtering is then used to separate the data from the power. This may also be accomplished using amplitude modulation (AM). Digital communication methods such as binary phase shift keying (BPSK), Guassian minimum shift keying (GMSK), and other methods known to those skilled in the art may also be used.
In embodiments that use a voltage level multiplexing scheme, the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted between the control assembly and the cartridge. As described below, it is possible to transfer data signals over the same conductor used to transmit the power signal if the logic low used for digital signaling is greater than the minimum required supply voltage of the cartridge's authentication device. An example of a circuit that may be used to implement a voltage level multiplexing scheme is shown in FIG. 56. Of course, other circuits may be used to implement a voltage level multiplexing scheme as known to those skilled in the art.
As shown in FIG. 56, circuit 5600 includes a microcontroller of a control assembly (referenced as processing device U1) and an authentication device of a cartridge (referenced as processing device U2) that are connected by a two-conductor electrical interface. The electrical interface includes a first conductor that provides a data/power path (i.e., data and power share the first conductor) and a second conductor that provides a ground path.
As can be seen, processing device (U1) is connected through an output pin (DATA OUT) to an NMOS transistor (Q1) and a resistor (R2), which is in turn connected across the electrical interface to a resistor (R3), an analog comparator, and an optional level shifter to an input pin (DATA IN) of processing device (U2). This provides a data path on the first conductor to enable the transmission of data signals from processing device (U1) to processing device (U2).
Similarly, processing device (U2) is connected through an output pin (DATA OUT) to an NMOS transistor (Q3) and resistor (R3), which is in turn connected
- 152 -across the electrical interface to resistor (R2), an analog comparator, and an optional level shifter to an input pin (DATA IN) of processing device (U1). This provides a data path on the first conductor to enable the transmission of data signals from processing device (U2) to processing device (U1).
The control assembly also includes a power source with battery protection (U5) that provides a power signal through a resistor (R1) in parallel with an NMOS
transistor (Q2) connected to the high power pin (HIGH-PWR) of processing device (U1), which is in turn connected across the electrical interface to a power gate (SW1). A control pin (SW1 CTL) of processing device (U2) is connected to the power gate (SW1) in order to control the transmission of the power signal to the atomizer of the cartridge, as described above. This provides a power path on the first conductor to enable the transmission of a power signal from the power source to the atomizer. It can be seen that the power signal provides the supply voltage (V PWR) for processing device (U1) through an optional DC-DC converter (U3).
Similarly, the power signal provides the supply voltage (V PWR) for processing device (U2) through an optional DC-DC converter (U4).
In circuit 5600, the non-inverting input to each of the analog comparators (V THRESH) is selected such that it is greater than the minimum required power supply voltage for the processing device (U2). Also, resistor (R1) is selected to have a small enough resistance value such that the current required to power processing device (U2) does not cause too large of a voltage drop. If the resistance value of resistor (R1) is selected incorrectly, then processing device (U2) may experience voltages below its minimum required power supply voltage.
It can be appreciated that the logic blocks illustrated in FIG. 56 can be integrated as monolithic integrated circuits, discrete components, or some combination thereof Preferably, all of the cartridge electronics (excluding the atomizer) are integrated into a single integrated circuit (IC) or module. This is advantageous because the envelope for electronics is extremely small in typical cartridge applications.
It can be appreciated that there are many alternative configurations for the circuit shown in FIG. 56 that can be used to achieve the same effect, including, but not limited to: (1) open-drain implementation of the level shifter(s); (2) removal of the optional level shifter(s) by integrating or using a compatible process; (3) removal of the optional DC-DC
converters by integrating or using a compatible process; (4) inverting the analog comparators to simplify the logic; and (5) addition of a diode and capacitor to assist with holding up the
- 153 -power supply voltage (V PWR) of processing device (U2) (or its corresponding DC-DC
converter (U4)) in the event that V 510 occasionally drops too far for short periods of time.
The data transfer protocol used by circuit 5600 may be optimized for many different use cases, including, but not limited to: (1) optimized for data transfer rate;
(2) optimized to minimize noise for V 510; and (3) optimized to minimize noise and/or ripple for the power supply voltage (V PWR) of processing device (U2) (or its corresponding DC-DC converter (U4)).
An example of a data transfer protocol used by circuit 5600 is shown in FIG. 57, which includes a "Not Authenticated" phase, an "Authentication Process" phase, and an "Authenticated" phase. During each of these phases, the logic values are shown for the pins of processing device (U1) (i.e., DATA OUT, DATA IN, and HIGH PWR), the pins of processing device U2 (i.e., DATA OUT, DATA IN, and SW1 CTL), V 510, and the atomizer current.
During the "Not Authenticated" phase, the control assembly attempts to heat the atomizer (i.e., the HIGH PWR pin of processing device (U1) is active low), but the processing device (U2) in the cartridge has not enabled the control pin (SW1 CTL) such that the power gate (SW1) remains in the open position. As a result, no current is delivered to the atomizer.
During the "Authentication Process" phase, the authentication protocol is implemented to authenticate the cartridge and the control assembly. As can be seen, authentication data is initially transmitted from processing device (U1) to processing device (U2), as shown by the active status of the DATA OUT pin of processing device (U1) and the active status of the DATA IN pin of processing device (U2) (see also V-510).
Then, authentication data is transmitted from processing device (U2) to processing device (U1), as shown by the active status of the DATA OUT pin of processing device (U2) and the active status of the DATA IN pin of processing device (U1) (see also V-510).
During the "Authenticated" phase (i.e., once the authentication process is complete), the control assembly again attempts to heat the atomizer (i.e., the HIGH PWR pin of processing device (U1) is active low), and the processing device (U2) in the cartridge has enabled the control pin (SW1 CTL) such that the power gate (SW1) is moved to the closed position. As a result, current is delivered to the atomizer to enable heating of the payload.
In all of the implementations discussed above, it is possible that the power signal comprises a direct current that is pulsed in accordance with a pulse width modulation (PWM) instruction in order to control the temperature of the atomizer in a particular desired manner. In this case, the cartridge must be able to ensure that the authentication device is
- 154 -sufficiently de-coupled to avoid brownouts and resets/power cycles. Another method of ensuring that the authentication device does not lose power is to ensure that the lowest level of the PWM signal is still sufficient to meet the minimum supply voltage requirements of the authentication device.
In all of the implementations discussed above, it is also possible that the power source uses variable output voltages in order to control the temperature of the atomizer in a particular desired manner. In this case, the authentication device must be sufficiently decoupled and function at low enough voltages to avoid brownouts and resets/power cycles.
The cartridge may also include the required circuitry to boost convert (i.e., raise the input voltage to a higher potential) the voltage of the power signal to a voltage that is high enough to meet the minimum supply voltage requirements of the authentication device.
In some embodiments, electromechanical connector 5440 provides an electrical interface that includes three or more conductors/pins. In this case, it is not necessary to use any of the multiplexing schemes described above. For a three-pin electrical interface, there are .. separate pins for power, ground, and data. There are also several options for a four-pin interface, such as the Inter Integrated Circuit ( I2C) interface. For example, it is possible to transmit data using dedicated signal pins of the ITC interface, such as the SDA (data line) and SCL (clock line) pins. It is also possible to use a multi-conductor connector that is similar to a stereo headphone connector with an integrated microphone. Using this method, it is possible to use a cartridge with a 510-thread that uses more than two electrical connections while being compatible with a control assembly having only two electrical connections (and vice versa).
In all of the embodiments described above, the smart cartridge is used with a control assembly having the functionality to implement the desired authentication protocol.
However, in other embodiments, the smart cartridge may be used with a "dumb"
control assembly, e.g., in cases where a user may not care to authenticate the cartridge or may have previously authenticated the cartridge with another control assembly. In these embodiments, the cartridge is defaulted to an unlocked state, i.e., the power gate is in the closed position.
It is also possible to authenticate a cartridge that is not coupled to a control assembly. For example, the cartridge may be implemented with RFID capabilities so as to enable communication with a smartphone or other RFID-enabled device. In this case, the cartridge can be authenticated wirelessly at the point-of-sale (POS) or by an owner using a smartphone or other RFID enabled device. It can be appreciated that providing authentication and unlocking of the cartridge at the POS is a desirable feature for retailers because it ensures that any stolen cartridges cannot be used.
- 155 -Although a few embodiments have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to these embodiments without changing or departing from their scope, intent or functionality. The terms and expressions used in the preceding specification have been used herein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the invention is defined and limited only by the claims that follow.
From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all ends and objectives herein-above set forth, together with the other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the invention.
Since many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matters herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings are to be interpreted as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.
While specific embodiments have been shown and discussed, various modifications may of course be made, and the invention is not limited to the specific forms or arrangement of parts and steps described herein, except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims. Further, it will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

Claims (504)

- 156 -We claim:
1. A vane device comprising:
a payload reservoir configured to hold a payload for vaporization;
a heating element configured to heat the payload;
a power source coupled to the heating element;
a sensor that is configured to sense an operational condition of the vane device as vapor is generated by the vane device;
a processor;
a memory device; and a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive the operational condition from the sensor; and adjust power provided to the heating element by the power source based on the sensed operational condition.
2. The vane device of claim 1, wherein the sensor comprises at least one of an air pressure sensor, an air flow sensor, or a temperature sensor and the operational condition comprises at least one of an air pressure, a draw strength, or a temperature.
3. The vane device of claim 2, wherein the temperature sensed by the temperature sensor is at least one of a temperature of the heating element, a temperature of the payload in the payload reservoir, or a temperature of a vaporized portion of the payload.
4. The vane device of claim 1, wherein the operational condition includes at least one of a draw strength, a draw length, a payload temperature, an air temperature, an air pressure, an atomizer ambient temperature, an air flow, a heating element temperature, and a dose measurement.
5. The vane device of any of claims 1-4, wherein the operational condition comprises at least one of an air pressure and a draw strength, and wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to:
increase the power provided to the heating element to raise the temperature of the heating element when a sensed outlet air pressure decreases relative to a sensed inlet air pressure, the sensed inlet air pressure increases relative to the sensed outlet air pressure, or a sensed draw strength increases; and decrease the power provided to the heating element to lower the temperature of the heating element when the sensed outlet air pressure increases relative to the sensed inlet air pressure, the sensed inlet air pressure decreases relative to the sensed outlet air pressure, or when the sensed draw strength decreases.
6. The vape device of any of claims 1-5, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to, as vapor is generated by the vape device, continuously repeat the steps of receiving the operational condition from the sensor, and adjusting the power provided to the heating element.
7. The vape device of any of claims 1-6, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to adjust the power provided to the heating element to maintain a payload temperature of a payload heated by the heating element, a heating element temperature, or an air temperature within a desired range.
8. The vape device of claim 7, wherein the desired range for the payload temperature corresponds to a user selected cannabinoid.
9. A system for determining a heating profile for a vape device, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device; and a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive a sensed plurality of draw strengths and a sensed plurality of draw lengths, wherein each draw strength and each draw length are associated with an instance of a user drawing vapor from the vape device;
determine a historical draw strength from the sensed plurality of draw strengths;
determine a historical draw length from the sensed plurality of draw lengths; and generate a heating profile for a heating element of the vape device based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length, wherein the heating profile corresponds with power provided to the heating element over time.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein the heating profile is generated in accordance with a heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode.
11. The system of claim 10, wherein when the potency mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, the heating profile is configured so that power is provided to the heating element when a sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from the vape device, and power is not provided to the heating element when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user has stopped drawing vapor from the vape device.
12. The system of any of claims 10-11, wherein when the efficiency mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, the heating profile is configured so that power is provided to the heating element for no longer than an efficiency time period that begins when a sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from the vape device, wherein the efficiency time period is shorter than the historical draw length.
13. The system of any of claims 10-12, wherein when the decarb mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, the heating profile is configured to correspond to a decarb temperature and a decarb time duration that allows decarboxylation of a payload of the vape device.
14. The system of any of claims 9-13, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to:
sense an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; and adjust the power provided to the heating element based on the sensed operational condition.
15. The system of any of claims 9-14, wherein the plurality of draw strengths and the plurality of draw lengths correspond to a first draw of vapor from the vape device during a plurality of vape sessions, and wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to:
receive a sensed second plurality of draw strengths and a sensed second plurality of draw lengths, wherein the second plurality of draw strengths and the second plurality of draw lengths correspond to a second draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions;
determine a second historical draw strength from the sensed second plurality of draw strengths;
determine a second historical draw length from the sensed second plurality of draw lengths; and generate a second heating profile for the heating element based on the second historical draw strength and the second historical draw length, wherein the second heating profile corresponds with power provided to the heating element over time.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to:
cause the power provided to the heating element to be adjusted in accordance with the heating profile during a first draw of a new vape session; and cause the power provided to the heating element to be adjusted in accordance with the second heating profile during a second draw of the new vape session.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to generate additional heating profiles for the heating element, each of the additional heating profiles based on additional historical draw strengths and additional historical draw lengths, each of the additional historical draw strengths determined from a sensed plurality of draw strengths corresponding to an additional draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions, and each of the additional historical draw lengths determined from a sensed plurality of draw lengths corresponding to an additional draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions.
18. The system of claim 17, wherein the heating profile, the second heating profile, and the additional heating profiles are each generated in accordance with a heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode.
19. The system of claim 18, wherein a different heating mode may be selected for each of the heating profile, the second heating profile, and each of the additional heating profiles.
20. The system of any of claims 10-19, wherein the heating profile is generated in accordance with a second heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the second heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode, wherein the first heating mode corresponds to a first time period of the heating profile, and wherein the second heating mode corresponds to a second time period of the heating profile.
21. The system of any of claims 9-20, wherein the set of instructions are executable by the processor to either cause transmission of the heating profile to the vape device, or cause the power provided to the heating element by a power source to be adjusted in accordance with the heating profile.
22. A method for operating a vape device, comprising:

sensing an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; and adjusting a power provided to a heating element of the vape device based on the sensed operational condition.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein the operational condition includes at least one of a draw strength, a draw length, a payload temperature, an air temperature, an air pressure, an atomizer ambient temperature, an air flow, a heating element temperature, and a dose measurement.
24. The method of any of claims 22-23, wherein the operational condition comprises at least one of an air pressure and a draw strength, wherein the power provided to the heating element is increased to raise the temperature of the heating element when a sensed outlet air pressure decreases relative to a sensed inlet air pressure, the sensed inlet air pressure increases relative to the sensed outlet air pressure, or a sensed draw strength increases, and wherein the power provided to the heating element is decreased to lower the temperature of the heating element when the sensed outlet air pressure increases relative to the sensed inlet air pressure, the sensed inlet air pressure decreases relative to the sensed outlet air pressure, or when the sensed draw strength decreases.
25. The method of any of claims 22-24, further comprising continuously repeating the steps of sensing an operational condition and adjusting the power provided to the heating element as vapor is generated by the vape device.
26. The method of any of claims 22-25, wherein the power provided to the heating element is adjusted to maintain a payload temperature of a payload heated by the heating element, a heating element temperature, or an air temperature within a desired range.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein the desired range for the payload temperature corresponds to a user selected cannabinoid.
28. A method for operating a vape device, comprising:
sensing a plurality of draw strengths and a plurality of draw lengths, wherein each draw strength and each draw length are associated with an instance of a user drawing vapor from the vape device;
determining a historical draw strength from the sensed plurality of draw strengths;
determining a historical draw length from the sensed plurality of draw lengths;
determining a heating profile for a heating element of the vape device based on the historical draw strength and the historical draw length; and adjusting a power provided to the heating element in accordance with the heating profile.
29. The method of claim 28, wherein the heating profile is determined in accordance with a heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein when the potency mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, power is provided to the heating element when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from the vape device, and power is not provided to the heating element when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user has stopped drawing vapor from the vape device.
31. The method of any of claims 29-30, wherein when the efficiency mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, power is provided to the heating element for no longer than an efficiency time period that begins when the sensed draw strength indicates that the user is drawing vapor from the vape device, wherein the efficiency time period is shorter than the historical draw length.
32. The method of any of claims 29-31, wherein when the decarb mode is the selected heating mode for the vape device, the heating profile corresponds to a decarb temperature and a decarb time duration that allows decarboxylation of a payload of the vape device.
33. The method of any of claims 28-32, further comprising:
sensing an operational condition of the vape device as vapor is generated by the vape device; and adjusting the power provided to the heating element based on the sensed operational condition.
34. The method of any of claims 28-33, wherein the plurality of draw strengths and the plurality of draw lengths correspond to a first draw of vapor from the vape device during a plurality of vape sessions, and further comprising:
sensing a second plurality of draw strengths and a second plurality of draw lengths, wherein the second plurality of draw strengths and the second plurality of draw lengths correspond to a second draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions;
determining a second historical draw strength from the sensed second plurality of draw strengths;

determining a second historical draw length from the sensed second plurality of draw lengths;
determining a second heating profile for the heating element of the vape device based on the second historical draw strength and the second historical draw length; and adjusting the power provided to the heating element in accordance with the second heating profile.
35. The method of claim 34, wherein the step of adjusting the power provided to the heating element in accordance with the heating profile is performed during a first draw of a new vape session, and wherein the step of adjusting the power provided to the heating element in accordance with the second heating profile is performed during a second draw of the new vape session.
36. The method of claim 35, further comprising determining additional heating profiles for the heating element of the vape device, each of the additional heating profiles based on additional historical draw strengths and additional historical draw lengths, each of the additional historical draw strengths determined from a sensed plurality of draw strengths corresponding to an additional draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions, and each of the additional historical draw lengths determined from a sensed plurality of draw lengths corresponding to an additional draw of vapor from the vape device during the plurality of vape sessions.
37. The method of claim 36, wherein the heating profile, the second heating profile, and the additional heating profiles are each determined in accordance with a heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode.
38. The method of claim 37, wherein a different heating mode may be selected for each of the heating profile, the second heating profile, and each of the additional heating profiles.
39. The method of any of claims 29-38, wherein the heating profile is determined in accordance with a second heating mode selected for the vape device, wherein the second heating mode selected for the vape device comprises at least one of a potency mode, an efficiency mode, and a decarb mode, wherein the first heating mode corresponds to a first time period of the heating profile, and wherein the second heating mode corresponds to a second time period of the heating profile.
40. The method of any of claims 28-39, wherein the historical draw strength, historical draw length, and heating profile are determined by an application on a computing device that is separate from the vape device, and wherein the heating profile is sent to a processor of the vape device that is configured to send instructions to a power source to adjust the power provided to the heating element.
41. A cartridge for vaporizing a payload comprising dry material, the cartridge comprising:
a housing that defines an interior chamber, wherein the housing comprises an inlet and an outlet, wherein the interior chamber is accessible through an opening in the housing, and wherein at least a portion of the housing is configured to movably cover and uncover the opening; and a heating element positioned within the interior chamber.
42. The cartridge of claim 41, further comprising a payload retention surface positioned within the interior chamber; and a biasing mechanism that engages a portion of the housing and is configured to bias a payload comprising dry material against the payload retention surface.
43. The cartridge of any of claims 41-42, wherein the housing comprises a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the cartridge to a control assembly.
44. The cartridge of any of claims 41-43, further comprising a mouthpiece that is coupled to or formed with the housing, wherein the mouthpiece comprises an interior channel that is in fluid communication with the outlet of the housing.
45. The cartridge of any of claims 41-44, wherein the housing comprises a plurality of walls comprising first and second end walls and a side wall that is coupled to the first and second end walls, wherein at least one of the first and second end walls is removably coupled to the side wall, and wherein the opening is covered when the at least one of the first and second end walls is coupled to the side wall.
46. The cartridge of claim 45, wherein the heating element extends across at least a portion of the interior chamber, wherein the heating element comprises a payload retention surface, wherein a biasing mechanism positioned within the interior chamber engages a portion of one of the walls and is configured to bias a payload comprising dry material into direct connection with the payload retention surface of the heating element.
47. The cartridge of any of claims 45-46, wherein the side wall comprises an outer side wall, and wherein the plurality of walls further comprises an interior side wall that is coupled to the first end wall and spaced apart from the outer side wall.
48. The cartridge of claim 47, wherein the interior chamber comprises an inlet chamber positioned between the outer side wall and the interior side wall, a vaporization chamber defined by the interior side wall, and a mixing chamber defined by the outer side wall, wherein the inlet chamber is in fluid communication with the inlet, and wherein the mixing chamber is in fluid communication with the inlet chamber, the vaporization chamber, and the outlet.
49. The cartridge of claim 48, wherein the heating element is positioned within the vaporization chamber, and wherein the biasing mechanism is configured to bias a payload comprising dry material into the vaporization chamber.
50. The cartridge of claim 45, further comprising a divider that is coupled to at least one of the first and second end walls, wherein the divider is positioned within the interior chamber, and wherein the divider is spaced apart from the side wall.
51. The cartridge of claim 50, wherein the divider defines an inlet chamber and a vaporization chamber that is divided from the inlet chamber by a dividing panel, wherein the inlet chamber is in fluid communication with the inlet, and wherein the vaporization chamber is in fluid communication with the outlet.
52. The cartridge of claim 51, wherein the heating element is positioned within the inlet chamber, wherein the divider comprises a payload retention surface that is positioned within the vaporization chamber, and wherein a biasing mechanism positioned within the vaporization chamber engages a portion of one of the walls and is configured to bias a payload comprising dry material against the payload retention surface.
53. The cartridge of any of claims 50-52, wherein the divider comprises an interior side wall that extends from adjacent the first end wall to adjacent the second end wall, wherein an outer chamber is positioned between the interior side wall of the divider and the side wall, wherein the interior side wall defines at least one first opening that places the inlet chamber in fluid communication with the outer chamber, and wherein the interior side wall defines at least one second opening that places the vaporization chamber in fluid communication with the outer chamber.
54. The cartridge of any of claims 41-53, wherein the heating element comprises at least a first wall and a second wall that define a heating chamber positioned between the first wall and the second wall, wherein the heating chamber is accessible through a first opening and a second opening in the heating element.
55. The cartridge of claim 54, wherein a plurality of ventilation holes extend through the first wall and the second wall of the heating element, and wherein the ventilation holes are in fluid communication with the heating chamber.
56. The cartridge of any of claims 54-55, wherein grooves or patterns are formed in each of the first wall and the second wall adjacent the heating chamber.
57. The cartridge of any of claims 54-56, wherein the first wall and the second wall of the heating element comprise a material selected from the group consisting of ceramic, aluminum, and stainless steel.
58. The cartridge of any of claims 54-57, wherein the first wall and the second wall of the heating element comprise metal heating coils encased in ceramic.
59. A tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material, comprising:
dry material pressed into a shape comprising at least a first surface and a second surface positioned opposite the first surface, wherein at least one recess is formed in at least one of the first surface and the second surface.
60. The tablet of claim 59, wherein the shape comprises at least one side wall that is adjacent the at least one recess, and wherein a protrusion extends outward from the at least one side wall into a portion of the at least one recess.
61. The tablet of any of claims 59-60, wherein a hole extends through the shape from the first surface to the second surface.
62. The tablet of claim 61, wherein the hole is in fluid communication with the recess.
63. The tablet of claim 62, wherein the at least one recess comprises a first recess formed in the first surface and a second recess formed in the second surface, and wherein the hole is in fluid communication with both the first recess and the second recess.
64. The tablet of claim 63, further comprising additional dry material pressed into a second shape comprising at least a third surface and a fourth surface positioned opposite the third surface, wherein at least one third recess is formed in at least one of the third surface and the fourth surface, wherein a second hole extends through the second shape from the third surface to the fourth surface, wherein the second hole is in fluid communication with the third recess, and wherein one of the third surface and the fourth surface is coupled to one of the first surface and the second surface such that the hole and the second hole are in fluid communication with each other.
65. The tablet of claim 64, wherein one of the third surface and the fourth surface is permanently laminated to one of the first surface and the second surface.
66. The tablet of any of claims 59-65, wherein the dry material is selected from the group consisting of cannabis, tobacco, hemp, and cannabinoid.
67. A tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material, comprising:

dry material pressed into a shape comprising at least a first surface and a second surface positioned opposite the first surface, wherein a heating element is coupled to the dry material.
68. The tablet of claim 67, wherein the heating element is coupled to at least one of the first surface and the second surface.
69. The tablet of claim 68, wherein the shape comprises at least one side surface extending from the first surface to the second surface, and wherein the heating element is coupled to the at least one side surface.
70. The tablet of any of claims 67-69, further comprising additional dry material pressed into a second shape comprising at least a third surface and a fourth surface positioned opposite the third surface, wherein the second surface is coupled to the third surface such that the heating element is positioned between the second surface and the third surface.
71. The tablet of any of claims 67-70, wherein the shape comprises an alignment structure that is configured to align the shape in a particular orientation within a cartridge so that the heating element is in electrical contact with an electrical terminal of the cartridge.
72. A method of using a vape device to vaporize a tablet of pressed, dry material, the method comprising:
inserting the tablet through an opening in the vape device into an interior chamber of the vape device;
activating a heating element of the vape device to vaporize a portion of the tablet into tablet vapor; and inhaling at least a portion of the tablet vapor.
73. The method of claim 72, further comprising inserting a second tablet through the opening in the vape device so that the second tablet abuts the tablet.
74. The method of claim 73, wherein the tablet comprises a first hole extending through the tablet, and wherein the second tablet comprises a second hole extending through the second tablet, and wherein the second tablet abuts the tablet so that the first hole is in fluid communication with the second hole.
75. The method of claim 74, wherein the step of drawing air comprises drawing air through the first hole and the second hole.
76. The method of any of claims 72-75, wherein the tablet is placed adjacent the heating element so that the tablet is heated by conduction.
77. The method of any of claims 72-76, wherein the heating element heats air that is drawn into contact with the tablet to heat the tablet by convection.
78. A method of making a tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material, the method comprising:
providing a dry material;
measuring a percentage of a component of the dry material;
determining a desired amount of the component;
determining a desired thickness that corresponds with the desired amount of the component; and pressing the dry material into a tablet of the desired thickness to include the desired amount of the component.
79. The method of claim 78, wherein the dry material is cannabis, and the component is at least one cannabinoid.
80. The method of any of claims 78-79, further comprising modifying a tablet pressing machine to press the tablet into the desired thickness.
81. The method of any of claims 78-80, further comprising:
providing additional dry material;
measuring a second percentage of a second component of the additional dry material;
determining a desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage;
mixing the dry material with the additional dry material to form a combined dry material that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage; and wherein the step of pressing the dry material further comprises pressing the combined dry material into the tablet of the desired thickness.
82. A tablet made in accordance with the method of one of claims 78-81.
83. A method of making a tablet for use with a cartridge for vaporizing dry material, the method comprising:
providing a first dry material;
measuring a first percentage of a first component of the first dry material;
providing a second dry material;
measuring a second percentage of a second component of the second dry material;
determining a desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage;
and forming a tablet that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage.
84. The method of claim 83, further comprising:
mixing the first dry material with the second dry material to form a combined dry material that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage; and pressing the combined dry material into the tablet that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage.
85. The method of claim 83, further comprising:
pressing the first dry material into a first tablet;
pressing the second dry material into a second tablet; and combining the first tablet and the second tablet into the tablet that contains the desired ratio of the first percentage to the second percentage.
86. The method of claim 85, further comprising:
determining a desired amount of the first component;
determining a first thickness of the first tablet that corresponds with the desired amount of the first component, wherein the first tablet is formed into the first thickness;
determining a desired amount of the second component; and determining a second thickness of the second tablet that corresponds with the desired amount of the second component, wherein the second tablet is formed into the second thickness.
87. A tablet made in accordance with the method of one of claims 83-86.
88. A cartridge for a vape device, comprising:
a housing defining a payload reservoir, an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet;
an atomizer positioned within the housing, wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir; and a deflector positioned in the air flow chamber between the atomizer and the outlet, wherein the deflector comprises a plurality of holes.
89. The cartridge of claim 88, wherein the deflector is generally planar.
90. The cartridge of claim 88, wherein the deflector comprises a side wall, and wherein the side wall defines a deflector chamber.
91. The cartridge of claim 90, wherein at least a portion of the side wall is cylindrical.
92. The cartridge of claim 91, wherein an end of the side wall is shaped as a truncated cone extending outward from the cylindrical portion of the side wall, wherein the truncated cone shape of the side wall expands in diameter as it extends away from the cylindrical portion of the side wall.
93. The cartridge of claim 90, wherein the atomizer comprises an outer side wall and an inner side wall that defines an atomizer chamber.
94. The cartridge of claim 93, wherein at least a portion of the deflector is positioned within the atomizer chamber.
95. The cartridge of claim 94, wherein at least a portion of the side wall of the deflector is cylindrical, wherein an end of the side wall of the deflector is shaped as a truncated cone extending outward from the cylindrical portion of the side wall of the deflector, wherein the truncated cone shape of the side wall expands in diameter as it extends away from the cylindrical portion of the side wall, and wherein the truncated cone shape of the side wall is not positioned within the cylindrical atomizer chamber.
96. The cartridge of any of claims 88-95, wherein the housing comprises an outer side wall and an inner side wall spaced apart from the outer side wall, wherein the payload reservoir is positioned between the outer side wall and the inner side wall, wherein the inner side wall is positioned around at least a portion of the air flow chamber, and wherein the inner side wall is positioned around at least a portion of the atomizer.
97. The cartridge of claim 96, wherein openings are formed in the inner side wall of the housing adjacent the atomizer to place the atomizer in fluid communication with the payload reservoir.
98. The cartridge of claim 97, wherein each of the openings comprises an elongated slot extending in a direction aligned with a longitudinal axis of the housing.
99. The cartridge of any of claims 97-98, wherein a divider is positioned within the air flow chamber, wherein the divider divides the air flow chamber into an inlet flow chamber and an outlet flow chamber.
100. The cartridge of claim 99, wherein the inlet extends through the outer side wall of the housing and is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber, wherein the outlet is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber, and wherein the inlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber at a location that is adjacent the atomizer.
101. The cartridge of any of claims 96-100, wherein the housing comprises a first section and a second section that removably engages the first section, wherein the first section comprises at least a portion of the outer side wall of the housing, and wherein the second section comprises at least a portion of the inner side wall of the housing.
102. The cartridge of any of claims 88-101, wherein the housing comprises a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the housing to a control assembly.
103. The cartridge of any of claims 88-102, wherein the payload reservoir contains a fluid payload that comprises at least one of nicotine, cannabis, cannabinoid, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
104. The cartridge of any of claims 88-103, wherein the atomizer comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element.
105. The cartridge of any of claims 88-104, wherein the deflector comprises an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, a hydrophilic, or a low surface energy coating.
106. The cartridge of any of claims 88-105, wherein the deflector comprises a micro-patterned surface configured to be hydrophobic.
107. The cartridge of any of claims 88-106, wherein the deflector is configured to inhibit an unvaporized fluid from exiting the outlet.
108. A cartridge for a vape device, comprising:
a housing comprising a first end and a second end, wherein the housing defines a payload reservoir, an inlet positioned adjacent the first end, an outlet positioned adjacent the first end, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet; and an atomizer positioned within the housing, wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir and the air flow chamber.
109. The cartridge of claim 108, wherein a divider is positioned within the air flow chamber, wherein the divider divides the air flow chamber into an inlet flow chamber and an outlet flow chamber.
110. The cartridge of claim 109, wherein the inlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber at a location that is adjacent the atomizer.
111. The cartridge of any of claims 108-110, wherein the atomizer is positioned adjacent the second end.
112. The cartridge of any of claims 109-111, wherein the housing comprises an outer side wall, a first end wall at the first end, and a second end wall at the second end, wherein the inlet extends through the outer side wall of the housing and is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber, wherein the outlet extends through the first end wall and is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber.
113. The cartridge of claim 110, wherein the atomizer comprises a first end facing the first end of the housing, and wherein the atomizer comprises a second end facing the second end of the housing.
114. The cartridge of claim 113, wherein the divider is spaced apart from the first end of the atomizer, and wherein the inlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber adjacent the first end of the atomizer in the space between the divider and the atomizer.
115. The cartridge of claim 113, wherein the inlet flow chamber extends from the inlet past the first end of the atomizer to the second end of the atomizer.
116. The cartridge of claim 115, wherein the atomizer comprises an outer side wall and an inner side wall that defines an atomizer chamber.
117. The cartridge of claim 116, wherein the inlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the atomizer chamber adjacent the second end of the atomizer, and wherein the outlet flow chamber is in fluid communication with the atomizer chamber adjacent the first end of the atomizer.
118. The cartridge of claim 117, wherein the atomizer defines at least one channel extending from the first end of the atomizer to the second end of the atomizer, and wherein the at least one channel defines a portion of the inlet flow chamber.
119. The cartridge of claim 118, wherein the atomizer is formed from a porous material, and wherein a non-porous material is coupled to the portion of the atomizer surrounding the at least one channel.
120. The cartridge of claim 119, wherein the non-porous material is a coating, glaze, or sheet of material.
121. The cartridge of claim 118, wherein the housing further comprises an inner side wall spaced apart from the outer side wall, wherein the payload reservoir is positioned between the outer side wall and the inner side wall, and wherein the inner side wall is positioned around at least a portion of the atomizer, the inlet flow chamber, and the outlet flow chamber.
122. The cartridge of claim 121, wherein openings are formed in the inner side wall of the housing adjacent the atomizer to place the atomizer in fluid communication with the payload reservoir.
123. The cartridge of claim 122, wherein the openings formed in the inner side wall of the housing are offset from the at least one channel defined by the atomizer.
124. The cartridge of any of claims 118-123, wherein the at least one channel is positioned between the outer side wall and the inner side wall of the atomizer.
125. The cartridge of any of claims 118-123, wherein the at least one channel is positioned between the atomizer and the inner side wall of the housing.
126. The cartridge of any of claims 122-125, wherein each of the openings comprises an elongated slot extending in a direction aligned with a longitudinal axis of the housing.
127. The cartridge of any of claims 121-126, wherein a seal is positioned between the inner side wall and the outer side wall adjacent the second end of the atomizer.
128. The cartridge of any of claims 121-127, wherein the housing comprises a first section and a second section that removably engages the first section, wherein the first section comprises at least a portion of the outer side wall of the housing, and wherein the second section comprises at least a portion of the inner side wall of the housing.
129. The cartridge of any of claims 108-128, wherein the housing comprises a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the housing to a control assembly.
130. The cartridge of any of claims 108-129, wherein the payload reservoir contains a fluid payload that comprises at least one of nicotine, cannabis, cannabinoid, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
131. The cartridge of any of claims 108-130, wherein the atomizer comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element.
132. A cartridge for a vane device, comprising:
a housing comprising an outer side wall and an inner side wall spaced apart from the outer side wall, wherein the housing defines a payload reservoir positioned between the inner side wall and the outer side wall, wherein a plurality of elongated slots are formed in the inner side wall, wherein the housing defines an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet; and an atomizer positioned within a chamber defined by the inner side wall, wherein the plurality of elongated slots place the atomizer in fluid communication with the payload reservoir, and wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the air flow chamber.
133. The cartridge of claim 132, wherein the housing comprises a first end and a second end, wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing extends from the first end to the second end, and wherein each of the plurality of elongated slots extends in a direction aligned with the longitudinal axis of the housing.
134. The cartridge of any of claims 132-133, wherein the plurality of elongated slots are spaced approximately equidistant from each other around the inner side wall.
135. The cartridge of any of claims 132-134, wherein each of the plurality of elongated slots is defined by a pair of linear side edges that are spaced apart from each other, and a pair of end edges, each positioned at one end of the elongated slot.
136. The cartridge of claim 135, wherein each of the pair of end edges is rounded.
137. The cartridge of any of claims 135-136, wherein each of the pair of linear side edges and each of the pair of end edges is coated with an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or low surface energy coating.
138. The cartridge of any of claims 132-137, wherein an exterior surface of the atomizer is coated with an oleophobic, a hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or low surface energy coating.
139. The cartridge of any of claims 132-138, wherein the atomizer comprises an outer side wall and an inner side wall that defines an atomizer chamber.
140. The cartridge of any of claims 132-139, wherein the atomizer comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element.
141. The cartridge of any of claims 132-140, wherein the payload reservoir contains a fluid payload that comprises at least one of nicotine, cannabis, cannabinoid, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
142. The cartridge of any of claims 132-141, wherein the housing comprises a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the housing to a control assembly.
143. A vape device comprising any of the cartridges of claims 88-142.
144. The vape device of claim 143, wherein the vape device comprises a control assembly, and wherein the cartridge is integral with the control assembly or configured for removable attachment to the control assembly.
145. A cartridge for a vape device, comprising:
a housing defining a payload reservoir;
an atomizer positioned within the housing; and a pressurizer positioned within the housing, wherein the pressurizer is configured to apply pressure to a fluid payload within the payload reservoir to force the fluid payload into contact with the atomizer.
146. The cartridge of claim 145, wherein the pressurizer is positioned adjacent the payload reservoir, wherein the pressurizer is biased toward the payload reservoir, and wherein the pressurizer is movable within the housing to reduce and expand the size of the payload reservoir.
147. The cartridge of any of claims 145-146, wherein the pressurizer comprises a first side positioned adjacent the payload reservoir and a second side.
148. The cartridge of any of claims 145-147, wherein an opening through the pressurizer places the atomizer in fluid communication with the payload reservoir.
149. The cartridge of claim 148, wherein the opening is sized based on a viscosity of a fluid payload contained within the payload reservoir.
150. The cartridge of any of claims 145-149, wherein the housing comprises an outer side wall, a first end wall, and a second end wall, wherein the payload reservoir is positioned between the outer side wall, the first end wall, and the pressurizer, and wherein an outer peripheral edge of the pressurizer engages the outer side wall.
151. The cartridge of claim 150, wherein a stopper is positioned within the housing, wherein the stopper is configured to prevent movement of the pressurizer toward the first end wall, and wherein the stopper is movable to allow movement of the pressurizer toward the first end wall.
152. The cartridge of claim 151, further comprising a dose ring that threadably engages the stopper, and wherein rotational movement of the stopper is blocked so that rotation of the dose ring causes the stopper to move toward or away from the first end wall.
153. The cartridge of claim 152, wherein at least one of the dose ring or the housing comprises a dose indicator that corresponds with an amount of a fluid payload contained within the payload reservoir.
154. The cartridge of claim 153, wherein the dose indicator comprises a plurality of markings on at least one of the dose ring or the housing adjacent the dose ring.
155. The cartridge of any of claims 153-154, wherein the dose indicator comprises a detent mechanism.
156. The cartridge of any of claims 151-155, wherein the pressurizer comprises a pressure plate that is positioned adjacent the payload reservoir, wherein the pressurizer comprises a tube that is coupled to the pressure plate and extends toward the second end wall, wherein the pressurizer comprises a flange that is coupled to the tube, and wherein the stopper is positioned between the pressure plate and the flange.
157. The cartridge of claim 156, wherein the stopper is configured to engage the flange to prevent movement of the pressurizer toward the first end wall, and wherein the stopper is movable away from the flange to allow movement of the pressurizer toward the first end wall.
158. The cartridge of any of claims 156-157, further comprising a spring that biases the pressure plate toward the first end wall and the flange toward the stopper.
159. The cartridge of any of claims 157-158, wherein the pressurizer defines an inlet flow chamber and an outlet flow chamber, wherein the outer side wall of the housing defines an inlet positioned adjacent the second end wall, wherein the second end wall of the housing defines an outlet, wherein the inlet is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber when the stopper does not engage the flange, wherein the inlet is not in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber when the stopper engages the flange, and wherein the outlet is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber.
160. The cartridge of any of claims 156-158, wherein the atomizer is positioned within the tube of the pressurizer adjacent the pressure plate, wherein a divider is positioned within the tube and divides an interior chamber within the tube into an inlet flow chamber and an outlet flow chamber.
161. The cartridge of claim 160, wherein the outer side wall of the housing defines an inlet positioned adjacent the second end wall, wherein the second end wall of the housing defines an outlet, wherein the inlet is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber, and wherein the outlet is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber.
162. The cartridge of claim 146, wherein the housing comprises an outer side wall, a first end wall, and a second end wall, wherein the payload reservoir is positioned between the outer side wall, the first end wall, and the pressurizer, and wherein an outer peripheral edge of the pressurizer engages the outer side wall.
163. The cartridge of claim 162, further comprising a stopper that is coupled to the pressurizer, wherein the stopper is biased toward the first end wall, wherein the stopper comprises an end surface that is configured to engage the first end wall, wherein an opening is formed in the end surface of the stopper, and wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir through the opening when the end surface of the stopper does not engage the first end wall.
164. The cartridge of claim 163, wherein the stopper is threadably coupled to the pressurizer, and wherein rotational movement of the stopper is blocked so that rotation of the pressurizer in a first direction when movement of the pressurizer toward the first end wall is blocked causes the end surface of the stopper to move away from the first end wall.
165. The cartridge of claim 164, further comprising a dose ring that engages the pressurizer, wherein rotation of the dose ring causes rotation of the pressurizer.
166. The cartridge of claim 165, wherein at least one of the dose ring or the housing comprises a dose indicator that corresponds with an amount of a fluid payload contained within the payload reservoir.
167. The cartridge of claim 166, wherein the dose indicator comprises a plurality of markings on at least one of the dose ring or the housing adjacent the dose ring.
168. The cartridge of any of claims 166-167, wherein the dose indicator comprises a detent mechanism.
169. The cartridge of any of claims 164-168, wherein the housing comprises a central post that extends from adjacent the second end wall to the payload reservoir adjacent the first end wall, wherein the central post is positioned within the opening of the stopper, and wherein a channel extends through the central post.
170. The cartridge of claim 169, wherein the atomizer is positioned in the channel.
171. The cartridge of claim 169, wherein the atomizer is positioned adjacent the first end wall.
172. The cartridge of any of claims 169-171, wherein a divider is positioned within the channel of the central post, and wherein the divider divides the channel of the central post into an inlet flow chamber and an outlet flow chamber.
173. The cartridge of claim 172, wherein the outer side wall of the housing defines an inlet positioned adjacent the second end wall, wherein the second end wall of the housing defines an outlet, wherein the inlet is in fluid communication with the inlet flow chamber, and wherein the outlet is in fluid communication with the outlet flow chamber.
174. The cartridge of any of claims 172-173, wherein the divider is spaced apart from the atomizer within the channel of the central post.
175. The cartridge of any of claims 163-174, wherein the pressurizer comprises an interior surface that engages an outer surface of the stopper.
176. The cartridge of any of claims 163-175, further comprising a spring that biases the pressurizer and the stopper toward the first end wall.
177. The cartridge of any of claims 145-150, wherein a stopper is positioned within the housing, wherein the stopper is configured to prevent fluid payload flow from the payload reservoir to the atomizer when the stopper is in a closed position, and wherein the stopper is movable to allow fluid payload flow from the payload reservoir to the atomizer.
178. The cartridge of any of claims 145-157, wherein a spring biases the pressurizer toward the payload reservoir.
179. The cartridge of any of claims 145-178, further comprising a heater positioned adjacent the payload reservoir that is configured to heat a fluid payload within the payload reservoir.
180. The cartridge of any of claims 145-179, wherein the atomizer comprises porous ceramic that surrounds a heating element.
181. The cartridge of any of claims 145-180, wherein the payload reservoir contains a fluid payload that comprises at least one of nicotine, cannabis, cannabinoid, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or vegetable glycerin.
182. The cartridge of any of claims 145-181, wherein the housing comprises a threaded connector that is configured for coupling the housing to a control assembly.
183. A vape device comprising any of the cartridges of claims 145-182.
184. The vape device of claim 183, wherein the vape device comprises a control assembly, and wherein the cartridge is integral with the control assembly or configured for removable attachment to the control assembly.
185. A vape device, comprising:
a housing comprising a first end and a second end, wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end;
an atomizer positioned in the housing; and a payload reservoir positioned in the housing, wherein the payload reservoir is defined at least in part by a reservoir side wall comprising a first end positioned adjacent the atomizer and a second end, wherein the reservoir side wall slopes toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side wall when the housing is positioned so that the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal.
186. The vape device of claim 185, wherein the vape device is configured so that the housing orients itself in a predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface and the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal, and wherein the reservoir side wall slopes downward toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side wall when the vape device is oriented in the predetermined position.
187. The vape device of claim 186, wherein a weight of the vape device and a center of mass of the vape device causes the housing to orient itself in the predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface.
188. The vape device of claim 185, wherein the housing comprises a generally planar surface that extends in the same direction as the longitudinal axis, and wherein the reservoir side wall slopes downward toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side wall when the vape device is oriented so that the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal and the generally planar surface faces downward.
189. The vape device of claim 188, wherein the generally planar surface comprises a first side edge and a second side edge, and wherein the housing comprises a side wall that extends from the first side edge to the second side edge.
190. The vape device of claim 189, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally circular.
191. The vape device of claim 189, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally oval-shaped.
192. The vape device of any of claims 188-191, wherein the housing comprises a view port positioned adjacent the payload reservoir, and wherein the view port is positioned on a portion of the housing opposite the generally planar surface.
193. The vape device of any of claims 185-192, wherein the reservoir side wall is shaped as a truncated oblique cone.
194. The vape device of any of claims 185-191 or 193, wherein the housing comprises a view port positioned adjacent the payload reservoir.
195. The vape device of any of claims 185-194, wherein the housing defines an inlet, an outlet positioned adjacent the second end of the housing, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet.
196. The vape device of claim 195, wherein the inlet is positioned adjacent the first end of the housing.
197. The vape device of claim 195, wherein the inlet is positioned adjacent the second end of the housing.
198. The vape device of any of claims 195-197, further comprising a tray that is positioned in the housing, wherein the air flow chamber comprises an inlet flow chamber that is positioned between the tray and the housing.
199. The vape device of claim 198, wherein the tray comprises a first side positioned adjacent the housing and a second side, wherein a flexible circuit board is positioned adjacent the second side of the tray in a recess defined by the tray, and wherein the inlet flow chamber is positioned between the first side of the tray and the housing.
200. The vape device of claim 199, further comprising a battery positioned in the recess defined by the tray, wherein the flexible circuit board is positioned between the battery and the tray.
201. The vape device of any of claims 199-200, wherein the tray comprises a first section that defines the recess and a second section that comprises the reservoir side wall.
202. The vape device of any of claims 199-201, wherein at least one opening extends through the tray from the first side of the tray to the second side of the tray, wherein the opening is positioned adjacent the atomizer, and wherein the opening places the inlet flow chamber in fluid communication with the atomizer.
203. The vape device of any of claims 201-202, wherein the air flow chamber comprises an outlet flow chamber that is in fluid communication with the atomizer and the outlet, and wherein the outlet flow chamber is positioned between the second section of the tray and the housing.
204. The vape device of any of claims 195-203, wherein the housing comprises a side wall, a first end wall at the first end, and a second end wall at the second end, and wherein the outlet extends through the second end wall.
205. The vape device of claim 204, wherein the payload reservoir is further defined by a reservoir end wall positioned adjacent the second end wall of the housing, wherein a reservoir opening is formed in the reservoir end wall, and wherein the reservoir opening is spaced from the outlet in a direction that is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the housing.
206. The vape device of claim 205, further comprising a plug that is received by the reservoir opening.
207. The vape device of claim 206, wherein the plug is tamper-resistant.
208. The vape device of any of claims 185-207, wherein a payload is contained within the payload reservoir, and wherein the atomizer is configured to heat and vaporize the payload to generate a vaporized payload.
209. The vape device of claim 208, further comprising a vapor measurement system configured to determine a dosage of the vaporized payload that passes through a measurement cavity of the vapor measurement system.
210. The vape device of claim 209, further comprising a wireless transceiver that is configured to receive the dosage from the vapor measurement system and transmit the dosage to a separate computing device.
211. The vape device of any of claims 208-210, further comprising an RFID tag positioned in the housing, wherein the RFID tag stores a unique payload identifier.
212. The vape device of any of claims 185-211, further comprising a valve that is positioned between the payload reservoir and the atomizer.
213. The vape device of any of claims 185-212, further comprising a processor positioned in the housing, a haptic motor positioned in the housing, a battery positioned in the housing, and a pressure sensor positioned in the housing.
214. The vape device of claim 213, wherein the processor is programmed to activate the haptic motor when a pressure sensed by the pressure sensor drops below a pressure threshold for a predetermined amount of time.
215. The vape device of any of claims 185-212, wherein the housing is configured for coupling to a control assembly comprising a battery and a processor.
216. A vape device, comprising:
a housing comprising a first end and a second end, wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end, wherein the vape device is configured so that the housing orients itself in a predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface and the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal.
217. The vape device of claim 216, wherein a weight of the vape device and a center of mass of the vape device causes the housing to orient itself in the predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface.
218. The vape device of any of claims 216-217, wherein the housing comprises a generally planar surface that extends in the same direction as the longitudinal axis.
219. The vape device of claim 218, wherein the generally planar surface comprises a first side edge and a second side edge, and wherein the housing comprises a side wall that extends from the first side edge to the second side edge.
220. The vape device of claim 219, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally circular.
221. The vape device of claim 219, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally oval-shaped.
222. A vape device, comprising:
a housing comprising a first end and a second end, wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing extends between the first end and the second end, wherein the housing defines an inlet, an outlet positioned adjacent the second end of the housing, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet;
a tray that is positioned in the housing, wherein the tray comprises a first section that defines a recess and a second section that defines a payload reservoir positioned adjacent the second end of the housing, wherein the tray comprises a first side positioned adjacent the housing and a second side;
an atomizer positioned in the housing, wherein the atomizer is in fluid communication with the payload reservoir; and a flexible circuit board that is positioned adjacent the second side of the tray in the recess defined by the tray.
223. The vape device of claim 222, wherein the inlet is positioned adjacent the first end of the housing, and wherein the air flow chamber comprises an inlet flow chamber that is positioned between the first side of the tray and the housing.
224. The vape device of claim 223, wherein at least one opening extends through the tray from the first side of the tray to the second side of the tray, wherein the opening is positioned adjacent the atomizer, and wherein the opening places the inlet flow chamber in fluid communication with the atomizer.
225. The vape device of any of claims 222-224, wherein the air flow chamber comprises an outlet flow chamber that is in fluid communication with the atomizer and the outlet, and wherein the outlet flow chamber is positioned between the second section of the tray and the housing.
226. The vape device of any of claims 222-225, further comprising a seal positioned in the housing adjacent the atomizer, wherein an electronics recess is positioned between the seal, the first end of the housing, and the second side of the tray, wherein the flexible circuit board is positioned in the electronics recess, and wherein the electronics recess is not in fluid communication with the air flow chamber.
227. The vape device of any of claims 222-226, wherein the flexible circuit board defines a battery recess, and further comprising a battery positioned in the battery recess.
228. The vape device of claim 222, wherein the inlet is positioned adjacent the second end of the housing.
229. The vape device of any of claims 222-228, wherein the housing comprises a side wall, a first end wall at the first end, and a second end wall at the second end, and wherein the outlet extends through the second end wall.
230. The vape device of any of claims 222-229, wherein the tray comprises a reservoir side wall and a reservoir end wall that define the payload reservoir, wherein the reservoir end wall is positioned adjacent the second end of the housing.
231. The vape device of claim 230, wherein a reservoir opening is formed in the reservoir end wall, and wherein the reservoir opening is spaced from the outlet in a direction that is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the housing.
232. The vape device of claim 231, further comprising a plug that is received by the reservoir opening.
233. The vape device of any of claims 230-232, wherein the reservoir side wall comprises a first end positioned adjacent the atomizer and a second end, wherein the vape device is configured so that the housing orients itself in a predetermined position when the housing is placed on a generally horizontal surface and the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal, and wherein the reservoir side wall slopes downward toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side wall when the vape device is oriented in the predetermined position.
234. The vape device of any of claims 230-232, wherein the reservoir side wall comprises a first end positioned adjacent the atomizer and a second end, wherein the housing comprises a generally planar surface that extends in the same direction as the longitudinal axis, and wherein the reservoir side wall slopes downward toward the atomizer from the second end of the reservoir side wall to the first end of the reservoir side wall when the vape device is oriented so that the longitudinal axis is generally horizontal and the generally planar surface faces downward.
235. The vape device of claim 234, wherein the generally planar surface comprises a first side edge and a second side edge, and wherein the housing comprises a side wall that extends from the first side edge to the second side edge.
236. The vape device of claim 235, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally circular.
237. The vape device of claim 235, wherein the side wall of the housing comprises a cross-section that is generally oval-shaped.
238. The vape device of any of claims 222-237, wherein a payload is contained within the payload reservoir, and wherein the atomizer is configured to heat and vaporize the payload to generate a vaporized payload.
239. The vape device of claim 238, further comprising a vapor measurement system configured to determine a dosage of the vaporized payload that passes through a measurement cavity of the vapor measurement system.
240. The vape device of claim 239, further comprising a wireless transceiver that is configured to receive the dosage from the vapor measurement system and transmit the dosage to a separate computing device.
241. The vape device of any of claims 222-240, further comprising an RFID tag positioned in the housing, wherein the RFID tag stores a unique payload identifier.
242. The vape device of any of claims 222-241, further comprising a valve that is positioned between the payload reservoir and the atomizer.
243. The vape device of any of claims 222-242, further comprising a processor positioned in the housing, a haptic motor positioned in the housing, a battery positioned in the housing, and a pressure sensor positioned in the housing.
244. The vape device of claim 243, wherein the processor is programmed to activate the haptic motor when a pressure sensed by the pressure sensor drops below a pressure threshold for a predetermined amount of time.
245. A vape device, comprising:
a housing defining an inlet, an outlet, and an air flow chamber positioned between the inlet and the outlet;
an atomizer positioned in the air flow chamber, wherein the atomizer is configured to heat and vaporize a payload to generate a vaporized payload;
a capacitive sensor positioned in the air flow chamber between the atomizer and the outlet, wherein the capacitive sensor defines a measurement cavity within the air flow chamber; and a sensor measurement circuit connected to the capacitive sensor, wherein the sensor measurement circuit is configured to directly or indirectly measure a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when the vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity.
246. The vape device of Claim 245, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a first electrical conductor and a second electrical conductor.
247. The vape device of Claim 246, wherein the measurement cavity comprises a portion of the air flow chamber between the first and second electrical conductors.
248. The vape device of any of Claims 245-247, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a parallel plate capacitor.
249. The vape device of any of Claims 245-247, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a rolled capacitor.
250. The vape device of any of Claims 245-247, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises an interdigitated capacitor.
251. The vape device of any of Claims 245-250, wherein the sensor measurement circuit is positioned in the air flow chamber.
252. The vape device of any of Claims 245-250, wherein the sensor measurement circuit is positioned outside of the air flow chamber.
253. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a charge pump circuit that charges the capacitive sensor.
254. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a resistive voltage divider circuit comprising a first resistor and a second switched-capacitor resistor, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the switched-capacitor resistor.
255. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a phase locked loop circuit comprising a voltage-controlled oscillator, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the voltage-controlled oscillator.
256. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises an active low-pass filter circuit connected to a rectifier circuit, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the low-pass filter circuit.
257. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a crystal oscillator circuit that provides a reference signal to a phase locked loop circuit, wherein the crystal oscillator circuit is loaded with the capacitive sensor.
258. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures an absolute capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
259. The vape device of any of Claims 245-252, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures a change in capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
260. The vape device of any of Claims 245-259, wherein the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor is adjusted in accordance with a calibration procedure.
261. The vape device of any of Claims 245-260, further comprising a processor programmed to correlate the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor to a change in a dielectric constant.
262. The vape device of Claim 261, wherein the processor is further programmed to correlate the change in the dielectric constant to a change in a dielectric density.
263. The vape device of Claim 262, wherein the processor is further programmed to correlate the change in the dielectric density to a dosage of the vaporized payload.
264. A method of determining a capacitance of a capacitive sensor, the method comprising:
heating and vaporizing a payload to generate a vaporized payload;
passing the vaporized payload through a measurement cavity defined by the capacitive sensor; and measuring a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when the vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity.
265. The method of Claim 264, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a first electrical conductor and a second electrical conductor.
266. The method of Claim 265, wherein the measurement cavity is located between the first and second electrical conductors.
267. The method of any of Claims 264-266, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a parallel plate capacitor.
268. The method of any of Claims 264-266, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a rolled capacitor.
269. The method of any of Claims 264-266, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises an interdigitated capacitor.
270. The method of any of Claims 264-269, wherein the capacitance of the capacitive sensor is measured by a sensor measurement circuit.
271. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a charge pump circuit that charges the capacitive sensor.
272. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a resistive voltage divider circuit comprising a first resistor and a second switched-capacitor resistor, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the switched-capacitor resistor.
273. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a phase locked loop circuit comprising a voltage-controlled oscillator, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the voltage-controlled oscillator.
274. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises an active low-pass filter circuit connected to a rectifier circuit, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the low-pass filter circuit.
275. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a crystal oscillator circuit that provides a reference signal to a phase locked loop circuit, wherein the crystal oscillator circuit is loaded with the capacitive sensor.
276. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures an absolute capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
277. The method of Claim 270, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures a change in capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
278. The method of any of Claims 264-277, further comprising adjusting the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor in accordance with a calibration procedure.
279. The method of any of Claims 264-278, further comprising the step of correlating the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor to a change in a dielectric constant.
280. The method of Claim 279, further comprising the step of correlating the change in the dielectric constant to a change in a dielectric density.
281. The method of Claim 280, further comprising the step of correlating the change in the dielectric density to a dosage of the vaporized payload.
282. A vapor measurement system for a vane device, comprising:
a capacitive sensor that defines a measurement cavity; and a sensor measurement circuit connected to the capacitive sensor, wherein the sensor measurement circuit is configured to directly or indirectly measure a capacitance of the capacitive sensor when a vaporized payload passes through the measurement cavity.
283. The vapor measurement system of Claim 282, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a first electrical conductor and a second electrical conductor.
284. The vapor measurement system of Claim 283, wherein the measurement cavity is located between the first and second electrical conductors.
285. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-284, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a parallel plate capacitor.
286. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-284, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises a rolled capacitor.
287. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-284, wherein the capacitive sensor comprises an interdigitated capacitor.
288. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a charge pump circuit that charges the capacitive sensor.
289. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a resistive voltage divider circuit comprising a first resistor and a second switched-capacitor resistor, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the switched-capacitor resistor.
290. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a phase locked loop circuit comprising a voltage-controlled oscillator, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the voltage-controlled oscillator.
291. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises an active low-pass filter circuit connected to a rectifier circuit, wherein the capacitive sensor is included within the low-pass filter circuit.
292. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit comprises a crystal oscillator circuit that provides a reference signal to a phase locked loop circuit, wherein the crystal oscillator circuit is loaded with the capacitive sensor.
293. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures an absolute capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
294. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-287, wherein the sensor measurement circuit measures a change in capacitance of the capacitive sensor.
295. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-294, wherein the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor is adjusted in accordance with a calibration procedure.
296. The vapor measurement system of any of Claims 282-295, further comprising a processor programmed to correlate the measured capacitance of the capacitive sensor to a change in a dielectric constant.
297. The vapor measurement system of Claim 296, wherein the processor is further programmed to correlate the change in the dielectric constant to a change in a dielectric density.
298. The vapor measurement system of Claim 297, wherein the processor is further programmed to correlate the change in the dielectric density to a dosage of the vaporized payload.
299. A vape device, comprising:
a control assembly comprising a power source and a reader;
a cartridge comprising a heating element and an electronic memory configured to store data; and a two-conductor electrical interface configured to (a) transmit a power signal from the power source to the heating element and (b) transmit a data signal from the electronic memory to the reader.
300. The vape device of Claim 299, wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is provided by an electromechanical connection.
301. The vape device of Claim 300, wherein the electromechanical connection comprises a first connector coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly, and wherein the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge.
302. The vape device of Claim 301, wherein the first connector comprises a first outer housing spaced from a first center pin, wherein the second connector comprises a second outer housing spaced from a second center pin, and wherein the first outer housing contacts the second outer housing and the first center pin contacts the second center pin when the first connector is coupled to the second connector.
303. The vape device of any of Claims 299-302, wherein the power source comprises a battery, and wherein the power signal comprises a direct current or a pulsed direct current.
304. The vape device of any of Claims 299-303, wherein the reader comprises a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader, wherein the electronic memory comprises an RFID
tag configured to store cartridge data, and wherein the data signal comprises a modulated signal that encodes the cartridge data.
305. The vape device of Claim 304, wherein the cartridge data comprises at least one of information on the payload contained in a payload reservoir of the cartridge, information on manufacture of the cartridge, information on one or more operational settings recommended for use in vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir of the cartridge, information to enable verification of the authenticity of the cartridge, information on software or hardware contained within the cartridge, and information on an intended user of the cartridge.
306. The vane device of Claim 304 or Claim 305, wherein the RFID tag is configured to generate the data signal.
307. The vane device of Claim 306, wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is further configured to transmit an interrogating signal from the RFID reader to the RFID tag, whereby the RFID tag generates the data signal in response to the interrogating signal.
308. The vane device of Claim 307, wherein the RFID tag comprises a passive RFID tag that is powered by the interrogating signal.
309. The vane device of any of Claims 299-308, wherein the control assembly comprises a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch having a first switch position and a second switch position, wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the first switch position enables the transmission of the power signal from the power source to the heating element, and wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the second switch position enables the transmission of the data signal from the electronic memory to the reader.
310. The vane device of any of Claims 299-308, wherein the power signal and the data signal are sequentially transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division multiplexing scheme.
311. The vane device of any of Claims 299-308, wherein the power signal and the data signal are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme.
312. A method of transmitting a plurality of signals over a two-conductor electrical interface between a control assembly and a cartridge of a vane device, comprising:
transmitting a power signal from a power source of the control assembly over the two-conductor electrical interface to a heating element of the cartridge; and transmitting a data signal from an electronic memory of the cartridge over the two-conductor electrical interface to a reader of the control assembly.
313. The method of Claim 312, wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is provided by an electromechanical connection.
314. The method of Claim 313, wherein the electromechanical connection comprises a first connector coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly, and wherein the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge.
315. The method of Claim 314, wherein the first connector comprises a first outer housing spaced from a first center pin, wherein the second connector comprises a second outer housing spaced from a second center pin, and wherein the first outer housing contacts the second outer housing and the first center pin contacts the second center pin when the first connector is coupled to the second connector.
316. The method of any of Claims 312-315, wherein the power source comprises a battery, and wherein the power signal comprises a direct current or a pulsed direct current.
317. The method of any of Claims 312-316, wherein the reader comprises a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader, wherein the electronic memory comprises an RFID
tag configured to store cartridge data, and wherein the data signal comprises a modulated signal that encodes the cartridge data.
318. The method of Claim 317, wherein the cartridge data comprises at least one of information on the payload contained in a payload reservoir of the cartridge, information on manufacture of the cartridge, information on one or more operational settings recommended for use in vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir of the cartridge, information to enable verification of the authenticity of the cartridge, information on software or hardware contained within the cartridge, and information on an intended user of the cartridge.
319. The method of Claim 317 or Claim 318, wherein the RFID tag is configured to generate the data signal.
320. The method of Claim 319, further comprising transmitting an interrogating signal from the RFID reader to the RFID tag, whereby the RFID tag generates the data signal in response to the interrogating signal.
321. The method of Claim 320, wherein the RFID tag comprises a passive RFID
tag that is powered by the interrogating signal.
322. The method of any of Claims 312-321, wherein the control assembly comprises a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch having a first switch position and a second switch position, wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the first switch position enables the transmission of the power signal from the power source to the heating element, and wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the second switch position enables the transmission of the data signal from the electronic memory to the reader.
323. The method of any of Claims 312-321, wherein the power signal and the data signal are sequentially transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division multiplexing scheme.
324. The method of any of Claims 312-321, wherein the power signal and the data signal are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme.
325. A two-lead communication system for a vape device, comprising:
a control assembly;
a cartridge; and an electromechanical connection comprising a first connector coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly, wherein the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge, and wherein the electromechanical connection provides a two-conductor electrical interface that enables the communication of a plurality of electrical signals between the control assembly and the cartridge.
326. The two-lead communication system of Claim 325, wherein the first connector comprises a first outer housing spaced from a first center pin, wherein the second connector comprises a second outer housing spaced from a second center pin, and wherein the first outer housing contacts the second outer housing and the first center pin contacts the second center pin when the first connector is coupled to the second connector.
327. The two-lead communication system of Claim 325 or Claim 326, wherein the control assembly comprises a power source and a reader, wherein the cartridge comprises a heating element and an electronic memory configured to store data, and wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is configured to (a) transmit a power signal from the power source to the heating element and (b) transmit a data signal from the electronic memory to the reader.
328. The two-lead communication system of Claim 327, wherein the power source comprises a battery, and wherein the power signal comprises a direct current or a pulsed direct current.
329. The two-lead communication system of Claim 327 or Claim 328, wherein the reader comprises a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader, wherein the electronic memory an RFID tag configured to store cartridge data, and wherein the data signal comprises a modulated signal that encodes the cartridge data.
330. The two-lead communication system of Claim 329, wherein the cartridge data comprises at least one of information on the payload contained in a payload reservoir of the cartridge, information on manufacture of the cartridge, information on one or more operational settings recommended for use in vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir of the cartridge, information to enable verification of the authenticity of the cartridge, information on software or hardware contained within the cartridge, and information on an intended user of the cartridge.
331. The two-lead communication system of Claim 329 or Claim 330, wherein the RFID tag is configured to generate the data signal.
332. The two-lead communication system of Claim 331, wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is further configured to transmit an interrogating signal from the RFID reader to the RFID tag, whereby the RFID tag generates the data signal in response to the interrogating signal.
333. The two-lead communication system of Claim 332, wherein the RFID tag comprises a passive RFID tag that is powered by the interrogating signal.
334. The two-lead communication system of any of Claims 325-333, wherein the control assembly comprises a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch having a first switch position and a second switch position, wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the first switch position enables the communication of a first electrical signal between the control assembly and the cartridge, and wherein movement of the DPDT switch to the second switch position enables the communication of a second electrical signal between the control assembly and the cartridge.
335. The two-lead communication system of any of Claims 325-333, wherein the electrical signals are sequentially communicated over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division multiplexing scheme.
336. The two-lead communication system of any of Claims 325-333, wherein the electrical signals are simultaneously communicated over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme.
337. A vape device, comprising:
a control assembly comprising a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader;
a cartridge comprising an RFID tag; and a two-conductor electrical interface configured to transmit cartridge data from the RFID reader to the RFID tag to thereby program the cartridge data into the RFID tag.
338. The vape device of Claim 337, wherein the two-conductor electrical interface is provided by an electromechanical connection.
339. The vape device of Claim 338, wherein the electromechanical connection comprises a first connector coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly, and wherein the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge.
340. The vape device of Claim 339, wherein the first connector comprises a first outer housing spaced from a first center pin, wherein the second connector comprises a second outer housing spaced from a second center pin, and wherein the first outer housing contacts the second outer housing and the first center pin contacts the second center pin when the first connector is coupled to the second connector.
341. The vape device of any of Claims 337-340, wherein the cartridge data comprises at least one of information on the payload contained in a payload reservoir of the cartridge, information on manufacture of the cartridge, information on one or more operational settings recommended for use in vaporizing the payload contained in the payload reservoir of the cartridge, information to enable verification of the authenticity of the cartridge, information on software or hardware contained within the cartridge, and information on an intended user of the cartridge.
342. A vape device, comprising:
a control assembly comprising a power source; and a cartridge releasably connected to the control assembly, wherein the cartridge comprises:
a payload reservoir configured to hold a payload for vaporization;
a heating element configured to heat the payload in the payload reservoir;
a temperature control circuit configured to regulate a power provided to the heating element by the power source based on a temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point.
343. The vape device of Claim 342, wherein the temperature control circuit comprises a temperature sensor configured to sense the temperature within the cartridge.
344. The vape device of Claim 343, wherein the temperature sensor comprises one of a thermistor, a thermocouple, a bandgap temperature sensor, an analog temperature sensor, a digital temperature sensor, or a light sensor.
345. The vape device of Claim 343, wherein the temperature sensor comprises a circuit configured to measure a resistance of the heating element and utilize the resistance to determine the temperature within the cartridge.
346. The vape device of Claim 342 or Claim 343, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a direct current (DC) voltage applied to the heating element.
347. The vape device of Claim 342 or Claim 343, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
348. The vape device of Claim 342 or Claim 343, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element.
349. The vape device of Claim 342 or Claim 343, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by interrupting a flow of a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
350. The vape device of any of Claims 342-349, wherein the desired temperature set point is user-configurable.
351. The vape device of Claim 350, wherein the temperature control circuit incorporates a potentiometer having a variable resistance, and wherein the vape device further comprises a user-actuated mechanism that is configured to modify the variable resistance of the potentiometer to thereby modify the temperature set point.
352. The vape device of Claim 351, wherein the user-actuated mechanism comprises a dial positioned on an outer housing of the cartridge.
353. The vape device of Claim 351, wherein the user-actuated mechanism comprises a slideable tab positioned on an outer housing of the cartridge.
354. The vape device of Claim 351, wherein the user-actuated mechanism comprises a rotatable outer housing of the cartridge.
355. The vape device of Claim 350, wherein the temperature control circuit incorporates a user interface that enables a user to input a digital value to modify the temperature set point.
356. A method of controlling power provided to a heating element housed within a cartridge of a vape device, the method comprising:
sensing a temperature within the cartridge; and regulating a power provided to the heating element based on the temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point.
357. The method of Claim 356, wherein the temperature is sensed by one of a thermistor, a thermocouple, a bandgap temperature sensor, an analog temperature sensor, or a digital temperature sensor.
358. The method of Claim 356, wherein the temperature is sensed by a light sensor configured to detect light emitted by the heating element.
359. The method of Claim 356, wherein the heating element is configured to heat and vaporize a vaporized payload, and wherein the temperature is sensed by a light sensor configured to detect light emitted by the vaporized payload.
360. The method of Claim 356, wherein the temperature is sensed by a circuit configured to measure a resistance of the heating element and utilize the resistance to determine the temperature within the cartridge.
361. The method of Claim 356, wherein the power provided to the heating element is regulated by modifying a direct current (DC) voltage applied to the heating element.
362. The method of Claim 356, wherein the power provided to the heating element is regulated by modifying a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
363. The method of Claim 356, wherein the power provided to the heating element is regulated by modifying a pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element.
364. The method of Claim 356, wherein the power provided to the heating element is regulated by interrupting a flow of a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
365. The method of Claim 356, wherein the desired temperature set point is user-configurable.
366. A temperature control system for a cartridge of a vane device, comprising:
a heating element configured to heat a payload;
a temperature sensor configured to sense the temperature within the cartridge;
and a temperature control circuit incorporating the temperature sensor, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate a power provided to the heating element based on the temperature sensed within the cartridge and a desired temperature set point.
367. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature sensor comprises one of a thermistor, a thermocouple, a bandgap temperature sensor, an analog temperature sensor, a digital temperature sensor, or a light sensor.
368. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature sensor comprises a circuit configured to measure a resistance of the heating element and utilize the resistance to determine the temperature within the cartridge.
369. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a direct current (DC) voltage applied to the heating element.
370. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
371. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by modifying a pulse width of a pulsed direct current transmitted to the heating element.
372. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the temperature control circuit is configured to regulate the power provided to the heating element by interrupting a flow of a direct current transmitted to the heating element.
373. The temperature control system of Claim 366, wherein the desired temperature set point is user-configurable.
374. The temperature control system of Claim 373, wherein the temperature control circuit incorporates a potentiometer having a variable resistance that is modifiable by a user to modify the temperature set point.
375. The temperature control system of Claim 373, wherein the temperature control circuit incorporates a user interface that enables a user to input a digital value to modify the temperature set point.
376. A vape device, comprising:
a control assembly comprising a microcontroller and a power source, wherein the microcontroller is configured to control the power source so as to generate a power signal;
a cartridge comprising an atomizer, a payload reservoir, and an authentication device, wherein the atomizer is configured to heat a portion of the payload contained in the payload reservoir, and wherein the authentication device is configured to (a) implement an authentication protocol to determine whether the cartridge is authentic and (b) control transmission of the power signal from the power source to the atomizer based on an outcome of the authentication protocol; and an electromechanical connector comprising a first connector releasably coupled to a second connector, wherein the first connector is provided as part of the control assembly and the second connector is provided as part of the cartridge.
377. The vape device of Claim 376, wherein the authentication device is configured to securely store authentication data.
378. The vape device of Claim 377, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and the microcontroller to enable authentication of the cartridge and the control assembly.
379. The vape device of Claim 377, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and an external computing device to enable authentication of the cartridge.
380. The vape device of any of Claims 377-379, wherein the authentication data comprises data from which an expiry date for the cartridge is determined, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the expiry date to a current date to determine whether the cartridge is expired.
381. The vape device of any of Claims 377-380, wherein the authentication data comprises a maximum allowed operational time for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the maximum allowed operational time to a current operational time of the cartridge to determine whether the maximum allowed operational time has elapsed.
382. The vape device of any of Claims 377-381, wherein the authentication data comprises a unique identifier for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises transmitting the unique identifier to an external computing device to determine whether the cartridge is a counterfeit.
383. The vape device of any of Claims 376-382, wherein the cartridge further comprises a power gate moveable between an open position and a closed position, wherein movement of the power gate to the open position disables transmission of the power signal from the power source to the atomizer, and wherein movement of the power gate to the closed position enables transmission of the power signal from the power source to the atomizer.
384. The vape device of Claim 383, wherein the authentication device causes movement of the power gate from the open position to the closed position when the cartridge is determined to be authentic.
385. The vape device of any of Claims 376-384, wherein the power source comprises a battery, and wherein the power signal comprises a direct current or a pulsed direct current.
386. The vape device of Claim 376, wherein the electromechanical connector is configured to (a) transmit the power signal from the power source to the atomizer and (b) transfer one or more data signals between the authentication device and the microcontroller as part of the authentication protocol.
387. The vape device of Claim 386, wherein the electromechanical connector comprises a two-conductor electrical interface that includes two conductors.
388. The vape device of Claim 387, wherein the power signal and the data signals are sequentially transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division multiplexing scheme.
389. The vape device of Claim 387, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme.
390. The vape device of Claim 387, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a voltage level multiplexing scheme.
391. The vape device of Claim 386, wherein the electromechanical connector comprises a multiple-conductor electrical interface that includes at least three conductors.
392. The vape device of Claim 391, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the multiple-conductor electrical interface.
393. A cartridge for a vape device, comprising:
a payload reservoir;
an atomizer configured to heat a portion of the payload contained in the payload reservoir; and an authentication device configured to (a) implement an authentication protocol to determine whether the cartridge is authentic and (b) control transmission of a power signal to the atomizer based on an outcome of the authentication protocol.
394. The cartridge of Claim 393, wherein the authentication device is configured to securely store authentication data.
395. The cartridge of Claim 394, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and a microcontroller of a control assembly of the vape device to enable authentication of the cartridge and the control assembly.
396. The cartridge of Claim 394, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and an external computing device to enable authentication of the cartridge.
397. The cartridge of any of Claims 394-396, wherein the authentication data comprises data from which an expiry date for the cartridge is determined, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the expiry date to a current date to determine whether the cartridge is expired.
398. The cartridge of any of Claims 394-397, wherein the authentication data comprises a maximum allowed operational time for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the maximum allowed operational time to a current operational time of the cartridge to determine whether the maximum allowed operational time has elapsed.
399. The cartridge of any of Claims 394-398, wherein the authentication data comprises a unique identifier for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises transmitting the unique identifier to an external computing device to determine whether the cartridge is a counterfeit.
400. The cartridge of any of Claims 393-399, further comprising a power gate moveable between an open position and a closed position, wherein movement of the power gate to the open position disables transmission of the power signal to the atomizer, and wherein movement of the power gate to the closed position enables transmission of the power signal to the atomizer.
401. The cartridge of Claim 400, wherein the authentication device causes movement of the power gate from the open position to the closed position when the cartridge is determined to be authentic.
402. The cartridge of any of Claims 393-401, wherein the power signal comprises a direct current or a pulsed direct current.
403. The cartridge of any of Claims 393-402, further comprising a first connector configured to be releasably connected to a second connector of a control assembly of the vape device, wherein the first connector and the second connector form an electromechanical connection between the cartridge and the control assembly.
404. The cartridge of Claim 403, wherein the electromechanical connector is configured to (a) transmit the power signal from the control assembly to the atomizer and (b) transfer one or more data signals between the authentication device and the control assembly as part of the authentication protocol.
405. The cartridge of Claim 404, wherein the electromechanical connector comprises a two-conductor electrical interface that includes two conductors.
406. The cartridge of Claim 405, wherein the power signal and the data signals are sequentially transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a time division multiplexing scheme.
407. The cartridge of Claim 405, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a frequency division multiplexing scheme.
408. The cartridge of Claim 405, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the two-conductor electrical interface in accordance with a voltage level multiplexing scheme.
409. The cartridge of Claim 404, wherein the electromechanical connector comprises a multiple-conductor electrical interface that includes at least three conductors.
410. The cartridge of Claim 409, wherein the power signal and the data signals are simultaneously transmitted over the multiple-conductor electrical interface.
411. A method of authenticating a cartridge of a vape device, comprising:
storing authentication data in an authentication device within the cartridge;

implementing an authentication protocol that uses the authentication data to determine whether the cartridge is authentic; and controlling transmission of a power signal to an atomizer of the cartridge based on an outcome of the authentication protocol.
412. The method of Claim 411, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and a microcontroller of a control assembly of the vane device to enable authentication of the cartridge and the control assembly.
413. The method of Claim 411, wherein the authentication data comprises a cryptographic key, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a cryptographic handshake between the authentication device and an external computing device to enable authentication of the cartridge.
414. The method of any of Claims 411-413, wherein the authentication data comprises data from which an expiry date for the cartridge is determined, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the expiry date to a current date to determine whether the cartridge is expired.
415. The method of any of Claims 411-414, wherein the authentication data comprises a maximum allowed operational time for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises a comparison of the maximum allowed operational time to a current operational time of the cartridge to determine whether the maximum allowed operational time has elapsed.
416. The method of any of Claims 411-415, wherein the authentication data comprises a unique identifier for the cartridge, and wherein the authentication protocol comprises transmitting the unique identifier to an external computing device to determine whether the cartridge is a counterfeit.
417. The method of Claim 411, wherein the controlling step comprises enabling transmission of the power signal to the atomizer when the cartridge is determined to be authentic and disabling transmission of the power signal to the atomizer when the cartridge is determined to be inauthentic.
418. The method of Claim 411, wherein the implementing step comprises transferring one or more data signals between the authentication device and a control assembly of the vane device as part of the authentication protocol.
419. The method of Claim 418, further comprising the step of transmitting the power signal and the data signals over an electrical interface with the control assembly.
420. The method of Claim 419, wherein the electrical interface comprises a two-conductor electrical interface that includes two conductors.
421. The method of Claim 420, wherein the transmitting step comprises using a time division multiplexing scheme to sequentially transmit the power signal and the data signals over the two-conductor electrical interface.
422. The method of Claim 420, wherein the transmitting step comprises using a frequency division multiplexing scheme to simultaneously transmit the power signal and the data signals over the two-conductor electrical interface.
423. The method of Claim 420, wherein the transmitting step comprises using a voltage level multiplexing scheme to simultaneously transmit the power signal and the data signals over the two-conductor electrical interface.
424. The method of Claim 419, wherein the electrical interface comprises a multiple-conductor electrical interface that includes at least three conductors.
425. The method of Claim 424, wherein the transmitting step comprises simultaneously transmitting the power signal and the data signals over the multiple-conductor electrical interface.
426. A system for authenticating users of vape devices, wherein each of the vape devices comprises a payload reservoir identified by a unique payload identifier, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device;
a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive user authentication information input by a user;
receive a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir of a vape device;
retrieve authentication information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database;
compare the user authentication information input by the user with the authentication information stored in the database;

generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the user who input the user authentication information is authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier; and cause transmission of the security setting to the vape device.
427. The system of claim 426, wherein the database is maintained in the memory device.
428. The system of claim 426, wherein the database is maintained in a second memory device that is located remote from the processor and the memory device.
429. The system of claim 426, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a personal computing device, and wherein the personal computing device transmits the security setting to the vape device.
430. The system of claim 426, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a remote server, and wherein the remote server transmits the security setting to a personal computing device which in turn transmits the security setting to the vape device.
431. The system of claim 426, wherein the set of instructions is further executable by the processor to:
retrieve an operational setting stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database; and cause transmission of the operational setting to the vape device.
432. The system of claim 426, wherein the set of instructions is further executable by the processor to:
retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the payload information comprises an identification of a substance located within the payload reservoir of the vape device;
determine an operational setting associated with the substance; and cause transmission of the operational setting to the vape device.
433. The system of claim 432, wherein determining the operational setting associated with the substance comprises retrieving the operational setting stored in association with the substance in a second database.
434. The system of claim 426, wherein the set of instructions is further executable by the processor to:
generate an operational setting based on at least one of user information, prescription information, location information, payload information, historical vape device usage information, and historical payload reservoir information; and cause transmission of the operational setting to the vape device.
435. The system of any of claims 431-434, wherein the operational setting comprises at least one of a duty cycle setting, a temperature setting, an operational time duration, and a dosage setting.
436. The system of any of claims 426-435, wherein the user authentication information comprises at least one of a password, a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, and a retinal scan.
437. The system of any of claims 426-436, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the user who input the user authentication information is not authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
438. A method for authenticating users of vape devices, wherein each of the vape devices comprises a payload reservoir identified by a unique payload identifier, the method comprising:
receiving user authentication information input by a user into a personal computing device;
receiving a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir from a vape device;
retrieving authentication information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database;
comparing the user authentication information input by the user into the personal computing device with the authentication information stored in the database;
generating, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the user who input the user authentication information into the personal computing device is authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier; and transmitting the security setting to the vape device.
439. The method of claim 438, further comprising:
retrieving an operational setting stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database; and transmitting the operational setting to the vape device.
440. The method of claim 438, further comprising:
retrieving payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the payload information comprises an identification of a substance located within the payload reservoir of the vape device;
determining an operational setting associated with the substance; and transmitting the operational setting to the vane device.
441. The method of claim 440, wherein determining the operational setting associated with the substance comprises retrieving the operational setting stored in association with the substance in a second database.
442. The method of claim 438, further comprising:
generating an operational setting based on at least one of user information, prescription information, location information, payload information, historical vane device usage information, and historical payload reservoir information; and transmitting the operational setting to the vane device.
443. The method of any of claims 439-442, wherein the operational setting comprises at least one of a duty cycle setting, a temperature setting, an operational time duration, and a dosage setting.
444. The method of any of claims 438-443, wherein the user authentication information comprises at least one of a password, a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, and a retinal scan.
445. The method of any of claims 438-444, wherein operation of the vane device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the user who input the user authentication information is not authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
446. A system for authenticating users of vane devices, comprising:
a vane device comprising a payload reservoir, wherein the vane device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir, and wherein the vane device is configured to transmit the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device; and an application configured to be installed on the personal computing device, wherein the application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive user authentication information input by a user, (b) receive the unique payload identifier from the vane device, (c) retrieve authentication information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, (d) compare the user authentication information with the authentication information stored in the database, (e) generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the user who input the user authentication information is authorized to use a payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier, and (f) transmit the security setting to the vane device.
447. The system of claim 446, wherein the database is maintained by the personal computing device.
448. The system of claim 446, wherein the database is maintained by a server that is located remote from the personal computing device.
449. The system of claim 446, wherein the application is further configured to enable the personal computing device to (g) retrieve an operational setting stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database and (h) transmit the operational setting to the vape device.
450. The system of claim 446, wherein the application is further configured to enable the personal computing device to (g) retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, wherein the payload information comprises an identification of a substance located within the payload reservoir, (h) determine an operational setting associated with the substance, and (i) transmit the operational setting to the vape device.
451. The system of any of claim 450, wherein determining the operational setting associated with the substance comprises retrieving the operational setting stored in association with the substance in a second database.
452. The system of claim 446, wherein the application is further configured to enable the personal computing device to (g) generate an operational setting based on at least one of user information, prescription information, location information, payload information, historical vape device usage information, and historical payload reservoir information and (h) transmit the operational setting to the vape device.
453. The system of any of claims 449-452, wherein operation of the vape device is controlled based on the operational setting.
454. The system of any of claims 449-453, wherein the operational setting comprises at least one of a duty cycle setting, a temperature setting, an operational time duration, and a dosage setting.
455. The system of any of claims 446-455, wherein the user authentication information comprises at least one of a password, a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, and a retinal scan.
456. The system of any of claims 446-455, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the user who input the user authentication information is not authorized to use the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
457. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices are depleted, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device;
a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir of a vape device;
retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, wherein the payload information comprises an original volume of a payload contained within the payload reservoir;
retrieve historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database;
analyze the payload information stored in the database and the historical payload reservoir usage information stored in the database;
generate, based on the analysis, a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir is depleted; and cause transmission of the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is depleted.
458. The system of claim 457, wherein the database is maintained in the memory device.
459. The system of claim 457, wherein the database is maintained in a second memory device that is located remote from the processor and the memory device.
460. The system of claim 457, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a personal computing device, and wherein the personal computing device transmits the security setting to the vape device.
461. The system of claim 457, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a remote server, and wherein the remote server transmits the security setting to a personal computing device which in turn transmits the security setting to the vape device.
462. The system of claim 457, wherein the set of instructions is further executable by the processor to:
receive payload reservoir usage information from the vape device;

update the historical payload reservoir usage information based on the payload reservoir usage information received from the vape device; and store the updated historical payload reservoir usage information in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
463. A method for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices are depleted, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the method comprising:
receiving a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir from a vape device;
retrieving payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, wherein the payload information comprises an original volume of a payload contained within the payload reservoir;
retrieving historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database;
analyzing the payload information stored in the database and the historical payload reservoir usage information stored in the database;
generating, based on the analysis, a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir is depleted; and transmitting the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is depleted.
464. The method of claim 463, further comprising:
receiving payload reservoir usage information from the vape device;
updating the historical payload reservoir usage information based on the payload reservoir usage information received from the vape device; and storing the updated historical payload reservoir usage information in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
465. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices are depleted, comprising:
a vape device comprising a payload reservoir, wherein the vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir, and wherein the vape device is configured to transmit the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device; and an application configured to be installed on the personal computing device, wherein the application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) retrieve payload information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in a database, wherein the payload information comprises an original volume of the payload contained within the payload reservoir, (c) retrieve historical payload reservoir usage information stored in association with the unique payload identifier in the database, (d) analyze the payload information stored in the database and the historical payload reservoir usage information stored in the database, (e) generate, based on the analysis, a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir is depleted, and (f) transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir is depleted.
466. The system of claim 465, wherein the database is maintained by the personal computing device.
467. The system of claim 465, wherein the database is maintained by a server that is located remote from the personal computing device.
468. The system of claim 465, wherein the vape device is configured to determine payload reservoir usage information based on use of the vape device and transmit the payload reservoir usage information to the personal computing device, and wherein the application is further configured to enable the personal computing device to (g) receive the payload reservoir usage information from the vape device, (h) update the historical payload reservoir usage information based on the payload reservoir usage information received from the vape device, and (i) store the updated historical payload reservoir usage information in association with the unique payload identifier in the database.
469. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been returned to a return center, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device;
a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir of a vape device;
determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been returned;

generate a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been returned; and cause transmission of the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been returned.
470. The system of claim 469, wherein the database is maintained in the memory device.
471. The system of claim 469, wherein the database is maintained in a second memory device that is located remote from the processor and the memory device.
472. The system of claim 469, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a personal computing device, and wherein the personal computing device transmits the security setting to the vape device.
473. The system of claim 469, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a remote server, and wherein the remote server transmits the security setting to a personal computing device which in turn transmits the security setting to the vape device.
474. A method for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been returned to a return center, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the method comprising:
receiving a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir from a vape device;
determining whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been returned;
generating a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been returned; and transmitting the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been returned.
475. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been returned to a return center, comprising:
a vape device comprising a payload reservoir, wherein the vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir, and wherein the vape device is configured to transmit the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device; and an application configured to be installed on the personal computing device, wherein the application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been returned, (c) generate a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir has been returned, and (d) transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been returned.
476. The system of claim 475, wherein the database is maintained by the personal computing device.
477. The system of claim 475, wherein the database is maintained by a server that is located remote from the personal computing device.
478. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been recalled, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device;
a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir of a vape device;
determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been recalled;
generate a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been recalled; and cause transmission of the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
479. The system of claim 478, wherein the database is maintained in the memory device.
480. The system of claim 478, wherein the database is maintained in a second memory device that is located remote from the processor and the memory device.
481. The system of claim 478, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a personal computing device, and wherein the personal computing device transmits the security setting to the vape device.
482. The system of claim 478, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a remote server, and wherein the remote server transmits the security setting to a personal computing device which in turn transmits the security setting to the vape device.
483. The system of any of claims 478-482, wherein the vape device displays a recall message or sounds an audible recall message when the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
484. A method for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been recalled, wherein each of the payload reservoirs is identified by a unique payload identifier, the method comprising:
receiving a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir from a vape device;
determining whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been recalled;
generating a security setting indicating whether the payload reservoir has been recalled; and transmitting the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
485. The method of claim 484, further comprising displaying a recall message or sounding an audible recall message when the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
486. A system for determining whether payload reservoirs of vape devices have been recalled, comprising:
a vape device comprising a payload reservoir, wherein the vape device is configured to store a unique payload identifier that identifies the payload reservoir, and wherein the vape device is configured to transmit the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device; and an application configured to be installed on the personal computing device, wherein the application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) determine whether the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier has been recalled, (c) generate a security setting indicating whether he payload reservoir has been recalled, and (d) transmit the security setting to the vape device, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
487. The system of claim 486, wherein the database is maintained by the personal computing device.
488. The system of claim 486, wherein the database is maintained by a server that is located remote from the personal computing device.
489. The system of any of claims 486-488, wherein one or both of the vape device and the personal computing device displays a recall message or sounds an audible recall message when the security setting indicates that the payload reservoir has been recalled.
490. A system for determining whether control assemblies are authorized for use with cartridges of vape devices, wherein each of the cartridges comprises a payload reservoir identified by a unique payload identifier, the system comprising:
a processor;
a memory device;
a set of instructions stored in the memory device and executable by the processor to:
receive a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir of a vape device;
receive a control assembly identifier for a control assembly of the vape device;
identify a list of one or more control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique identifier;
compare the control assembly identifier with the list of control assembly identifiers;
generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier; and cause transmission of the security setting to the vape device.
491. The system of claim 490, wherein the database is maintained in the memory device.
492. The system of claim 490, wherein the database is maintained in a second memory device that is located remote from the processor and the memory device.
493. The system of claim 490, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a personal computing device, and wherein the personal computing device transmits the security setting to the vape device.
494. The system of claim 490, wherein the processor and the memory device are located within a remove server, and wherein the remote server transmits the security setting to a personal computing device which in turn transmits the security setting to the vape device.
495. The system of any of claims 490-494, wherein the control assembly identifier comprises a unique control assembly identifier.
496. The system of any of claims 490-495, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is not authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
497. A method for determining whether control assemblies are authorized for use with cartridges of vape devices, wherein each of the cartridges comprises a payload reservoir identified by a unique payload identifier, the method comprising:
receiving a unique payload identifier for a payload reservoir from a vape device;
receiving a control assembly identifier for a control assembly of the vape device;
identifying a list of one or more control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique identifier;
comparing the control assembly identifier with the list of control assembly identifiers;
generating, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier; and transmitting the security setting to the vape device.
498. The method of claim 497, wherein the control assembly identifier comprises a unique control assembly identifier.
499. The method of any of claims 497-498, further comprising preventing operation of the vape device if the security setting indicates that the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is not authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
500. A system for determining whether control assemblies are authorized for use with cartridges of vape devices, comprising:
a vape device comprising a control assembly and a cartridge comprising a payload reservoir, wherein the control assembly is configured to store a control assembly identifier, wherein the cartridge is configured to store a unique payload identifier, and wherein the vape device is configured to transmit the control assembly identifier and the unique payload identifier to a personal computing device; and an application configured to be installed on the personal computing device, wherein the application is configured to enable the personal computing device to (a) receive the control assembly identifier and the unique payload identifier from the vape device, (b) identify a list of one or more control assembly identifiers for control assemblies that are authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique identifier, (c)compare the control assembly identifier with the list of control assembly identifiers, (d) generate, based on the comparison, a security setting indicating whether the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier, and (e) transmit the security setting to the vape device.
501. The system of claim 500, wherein the database is maintained by the personal computing device.
502. The system of claim 500, wherein the database is maintained by a server that is located remote from the personal computing device.
503. The system of any of claims 500-502, wherein the control assembly identifier comprises a unique control assembly identifier.
504. The system of any of claims 500-503, wherein operation of the vape device is prevented if the security setting indicates that the control assembly identified by the control assembly identifier is not authorized for use with the payload reservoir identified by the unique payload identifier.
CA3096955A 2018-03-14 2019-03-14 Vape devices, including cartridges, tablets, sensors, and controls for vape devices, and methods for making and using the same Pending CA3096955A1 (en)

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US201862642805P 2018-03-14 2018-03-14
US201862642825P 2018-03-14 2018-03-14
US62/642,825 2018-03-14
US15/921,144 US10327479B2 (en) 2017-03-15 2018-03-14 System and method for an improved personal vapourization device
US15/921,144 2018-03-14
US62/642,805 2018-03-14
US201862661306P 2018-04-23 2018-04-23
US62/661,306 2018-04-23
US201862668380P 2018-05-08 2018-05-08
US62/668,380 2018-05-08
US201862680057P 2018-06-04 2018-06-04
US62/680,057 2018-06-04
US201862696930P 2018-07-12 2018-07-12
US201862696943P 2018-07-12 2018-07-12
US201862696937P 2018-07-12 2018-07-12
US62/696,943 2018-07-12
US62/696,930 2018-07-12
US62/696,937 2018-07-12
US201862733286P 2018-09-19 2018-09-19
US62/733,286 2018-09-19
US201962797694P 2019-01-28 2019-01-28
US62/797,694 2019-01-28
PCT/CA2019/050316 WO2019173923A1 (en) 2018-03-14 2019-03-14 Vape devices, including cartridges, tablets, sensors, and controls for vape devices, and methods for making and using the same

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