EP3008412B1 - A refrigerator comprising an imaging unit - Google Patents

A refrigerator comprising an imaging unit Download PDF

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Publication number
EP3008412B1
EP3008412B1 EP20140727808 EP14727808A EP3008412B1 EP 3008412 B1 EP3008412 B1 EP 3008412B1 EP 20140727808 EP20140727808 EP 20140727808 EP 14727808 A EP14727808 A EP 14727808A EP 3008412 B1 EP3008412 B1 EP 3008412B1
Authority
EP
Grant status
Grant
Patent type
Prior art keywords
camera
light source
refrigerator
imaging unit
characterized
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.)
Active
Application number
EP20140727808
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP3008412A1 (en )
Inventor
Metin Kaya
Faik Emre Ozyuksel
Mustafa Arslan
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.)
Arcelik AS
Original Assignee
Arcelik AS
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
Grant date

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D29/00Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/06Sensors detecting the presence of a product

Description

  • The present invention relates to a refrigerator comprising an imaging unit.
  • It cannot be understood which products are inside the refrigerator without opening the door thereof and this situation causes time and energy losses.
  • In the state of the art, cameras are used in order to record the inside of the refrigerator; however, objects (pot, pan, cookware, etc.) standing in front of the cameras may cause image losses. Light sources disposed cannot be effectively used due to reflective materials inside the refrigerator and shadows occurring at the region where the image is desired to be taken. Separate installation of the camera and the light sources is another problem that can be encountered.
  • In the state of the art Patent Application No. US2003164754 , a refrigerator is disclosed, that enables the images of the foodstuffs inside the refrigerator to be taken by means of one or more cameras and these images to be watched on devices such as mobile phone, computer, television, etc.
  • European Patent Application EP 1 030 521 A1 discloses a refrigerator comprising a cabinet and a camera mounted to the door or an inner surface of the cabinet. The camera can take pictures of the cabinet contents each time the door is opened.
  • Japanese Patent Application JP 2001 317858 A discloses a refrigerator with a cabinet in which cameras are arranged on the door or a wall of the cabinet and light sources are provided on the ceiling of the cabinet.
  • The aim of the present invention is the realization of a refrigerator comprising an imaging unit that enables the images of the foodstuffs in the refrigerator to be taken without opening the refrigerator door and that enables the refrigerator to be remotely controlled.
  • The refrigerator realized in order to attain the aim of the present invention and explicated in the claims, comprises a compartment wherein foodstuffs to be cooled or frozen are placed and a housing that is arranged in the compartment.
  • The refrigerator of the present invention comprises an imaging unit that can be detachably mounted to the housing and that has at least one camera enabling the images of the area inside the compartment to be taken, at least one light source illuminating the area where images are to be taken and a body holding together the light source and the camera placed thereon. By means of the imaging unit, the camera and the light source are placed onto a single unit, thus a compact and easy-to-access structure is obtained. By means of the compact structure of the imaging unit, the camera and the light source can be connected to the same energy source. After being grouped outside the compartment, the imaging unit is placed into the compartment, thus providing ease of assembly. By means of the portable imaging unit, the position of the imaging unit can be changed so that the foodstuffs, the images of which are to be taken, are in the field of view. Thus, the image recording process is improved. The angles and power of the camera and the light sources can be controlled independently, thus the quality of the image recording process is improved.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit comprises a lid that is mounted onto the body and that enables the light source and the camera to remain between the body and the lid. The light source and the camera are placed into the body by means of the lid, thus the rigidity of the imaging unit is improved.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit comprises more than cut-out that is arranged on the lid and that is shaped in a form matching the shapes of the light source and the camera. The cut-outs enable the camera and the light source to be easily placed onto the lid. The cut-outs surround the outer walls of the camera and the light source and prevent the camera and the light source from displacing and making noise.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit comprises a supporter that is placed into the cut-out and whereon the light sources are borne. Accessing more than one light source via a single supporter provides ease of utilization and maintenance.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit comprises at least one gear that is situated on the supporter and that enables the light sources to move by being rotated. By means of the gear, the light source is rotated and the light source is enabled to focus on the areas the images of which are to be taken. Thus, the foodstuffs in the refrigerator are illuminated in an efficient manner.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the refrigerator comprises a control unit that enables the camera and the light source to be moved and the angles thereof to be changed according to the status of the area the images of which are to be taken, and furthermore enables the cameras to work coordinately with each other and with the light source. By controlling the light source, reflection and image losses are prevented and image quality is improved. By controlling the cameras and the light sources separately, the power and/or the angles of the cameras and the light sources can be independently changed. When an object is placed in front of one camera that prevents the camera from taking images, the control unit activates the other camera.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, by means of the box-shaped body, integral supply components (such as batteries, etc.), memory unit or cabled/wireless signal transmission/receiving mechanisms, etc. can be hidden inside the imaging unit.
  • Additionally, information about the foodstuffs inside the refrigerator can be remotely received by means of the compact and easy-to-access imaging unit without opening the refrigerator door. The position of the portable imaging unit can be changed so that the foodstuffs the images of which are to be taken are in the field of view. The quality of the image recording process is improved since the angles and power of the camera and the light sources can be controlled independently although the camera and the light sources are placed onto the same body side by side.
  • The model embodiments relating to the refrigerator realized in order to attain the aim of the present invention are illustrated in the attached figures, where:
    • Figure 1 - is the schematic view of a refrigerator.
    • Figure 2 - is the perspective view of the imaging unit related to an embodiment of the present invention.
    • Figure 3 - is the exploded view of the imaging unit related to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • The elements illustrated in the figures are numbered as follows:
  1. 1. Refrigerator
  2. 2. Compartment
  3. 3. Housing
  4. 4. Camera
  5. 5. Light source
  6. 6. Body
  7. 7. Lid
  8. 8. Cut-out
  9. 9. Supporter
  10. 10. Gear
  11. 11. Control unit
  12. 12. Imaging unit
  • The refrigerator (1) comprises a compartment (2) wherein foodstuffs to be cooled or frozen are placed and a housing (3) that is arranged in the compartment (2).
  • The refrigerator (1) of the present invention comprises an imaging unit (12) that can be detachably mounted to the housing (3) and that has at least one camera (4) enabling the images of the area inside the compartment (2) to be taken, at least one light source (5) illuminating the area where the images are to be taken and a body (6) holding together the light source (5) and the camera (4) placed thereon. By means of the imaging unit (12), the camera (4) and the light source (5) are placed close to each other, thus a compact and easy-to-access structure is obtained. The camera (4) and the light source (5) are mounted onto the body (6) outside the compartment (2), thereby providing ease of assembly. The imaging unit (12) is placed into the housing (3) after the assembly is completed. By means of the detachable imaging unit (12), the position of the imaging unit (12) can be changed so that the foodstuffs the images of which are to be taken are in the field of view. Thus, the image recording process is realized in an effective manner. By means of the imaging unit (12), the camera (4) and the light source (5) are fed through the same energy line. The quality of the image recording process is improved since the angles and power of the camera (4) and the light source (5) can be controlled independently although the camera (4) and the light source (5) are placed onto the same body (6) side by side.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit (12) comprises a lid (7) that is mounted onto the body (6) and that enables the light source (5) and the camera (4) to remain between the body (6) and the lid (7). The light source (5) and the camera (4) are placed into the body (6) after being mounted so as to remain between the lid (7) and the body (6), thus providing a rigid structure.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit (12) comprises more than cut-out (8) that is arranged on the lid (7) and that is shaped in a form matching the shapes of the light source (5) and the camera (4). The cut-outs (8) enable the camera (4) and the light source (5) to be easily placed onto the lid (7). The cut-outs (8) surround the outer walls of the camera (4) and the light source (5) that are seated therein and prevent the camera (4) and the light source (5) from displacing and making noise.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit (12) comprises a supporter (9) that is placed into the cut-out (8) and whereon the light sources (5) are borne. By means of the supporter (9), more than light source (5) is placed side by side and easily controlled.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the imaging unit (12) comprises at least one gear (10) that is situated on the supporter (9) and that enables the light sources (5) to move by being rotated. The gear (10) is rotated manually and/or automatically. With the movement of the gear (10), the angle of the light sources (5) can be adjusted.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the refrigerator (1) comprises a control unit (11) that enables the camera (4) and the light source (5) to be moved and the angles thereof to be changed according to the status of the area where the images are to be taken, and furthermore enables the cameras (4) to work coordinately with each other and with the light source (5). By means of the control unit (11), the camera (4), of which the field of view is obstructed due to objects such as pots, pans, etc. in the compartment (2), is deactivated, and the camera (4) with a clear field of view is activated and/or the angle of the camera (4) is changed. In cases of insufficient illumination, reflection or shadowing, the control unit (11) adjusts the light intensity and the angle of the light source (5). In case more than camera (4) is used, the control unit (11) enables the cameras (4) to be operated coordinately and to take images in a continuous manner.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the body (6) is shaped like a box. By means of the box-shaped body (6), integral supply components such as batteries, etc., memory unit or cabled/wireless signal transmission/receiving mechanisms, etc. are situated in the body (6).
  • By means of the present invention, a compact and easy-to-access imaging unit (12) is realized. The assembly of the imaging unit (12) being realized outside the compartment (2) provides ease of assembly. The position of the imaging unit (12) can be changed so that the foodstuffs the images of which are to be taken are in the field of view. The quality of the image recording process is improved since the angles and power of the camera (4) and the light source (5) can be controlled independently although the camera (4) and the light source (5) are placed onto the same body (6) side by side. The camera (4) and the light source (5) are connected to the same energy line via the imaging unit (12). Consequently, ease of production and cost advantage are provided.
  • Claims (7)

    1. A refrigerator (1) comprising a compartment (2) wherein foodstuffs to be cooled or frozen are placed, a housing (3) that is arranged in the compartment (2), at least one camera (4) enabling images of the area inside the compartment (2) to be taken, and at least one light source (5) illuminating the area where the images are to be taken,
      characterized by
      an imaging unit (12) that is detachably mounted to the housing (3) and that has the at least one camera (4), the at least one light source (5) and a body (6) holding together the light source (5) and the camera (4) placed thereon.
    2. A refrigerator (1) as in Claim 1, characterized by the imaging unit (12) having a lid (7) that is mounted onto the body (6) and that enable the light source (5) and the camera (4) to be situated between the body (6) and the lid (7).
    3. A refrigerator (1) as in Claim 2, characterized by the imaging unit (12) comprising more than cut-out (8) that is arranged on the lid (7) and that is shaped in a form matching the shapes of the light source (5) and the camera (4).
    4. A refrigerator (1) as in Claim 3, characterized by the imaging unit (12) comprising a supporter (9) that is placed into the cut-out (8) and whereon the light sources (5) are borne.
    5. A refrigerator (1) as in Claim 4, characterized by the imaging unit (12) comprising at least one gear (10) that is situated on the supporter (9) and that enables the light sources (5) to move by being rotated.
    6. A refrigerator (1) as in any one of the above claims, characterized by a control unit (11) that enables the camera (4) and the light source (5) to be moved and the angles thereof to be changed according to the status of the area wherein the images are to be taken, and furthermore enables the cameras (4) to work coordinately with each other and with the light source (5).
    7. A refrigerator (1) as in any one of the above claims, characterized by the imaging unit (12) comprising the box-shaped body (6).
    EP20140727808 2013-06-11 2014-05-30 A refrigerator comprising an imaging unit Active EP3008412B1 (en)

    Priority Applications (2)

    Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
    TR201307032 2013-06-11
    PCT/EP2014/061223 WO2014198554A1 (en) 2013-06-11 2014-05-30 A refrigerator comprising an imaging unit

    Publications (2)

    Publication Number Publication Date
    EP3008412A1 true EP3008412A1 (en) 2016-04-20
    EP3008412B1 true EP3008412B1 (en) 2018-01-03

    Family

    ID=50884388

    Family Applications (1)

    Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
    EP20140727808 Active EP3008412B1 (en) 2013-06-11 2014-05-30 A refrigerator comprising an imaging unit

    Country Status (2)

    Country Link
    EP (1) EP3008412B1 (en)
    WO (1) WO2014198554A1 (en)

    Families Citing this family (1)

    * Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
    Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
    CN105222514B (en) * 2015-10-27 2017-12-19 合肥华凌股份有限公司 Mounting box and refrigerator

    Family Cites Families (4)

    * Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
    Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
    CA2298374A1 (en) * 1999-02-19 2000-08-19 Rutger Roseen Device and procedure for information on the contents in a cabinet
    JP2001317858A (en) * 2000-05-09 2001-11-16 Matsushita Refrig Co Ltd Refrigerator
    EP1317721A1 (en) 2000-08-18 2003-06-11 Rutger Roseen Method and apparatus for keeping a check on the storage time for goods in a storage
    US8756942B2 (en) * 2010-07-29 2014-06-24 Lg Electronics Inc. Refrigerator and method for controlling the same

    Also Published As

    Publication number Publication date Type
    EP3008412A1 (en) 2016-04-20 application
    WO2014198554A1 (en) 2014-12-18 application

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