GB2170338A - Portable magnetically encoded data analyzer - Google Patents

Portable magnetically encoded data analyzer Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2170338A
GB2170338A GB8513084A GB8513084A GB2170338A GB 2170338 A GB2170338 A GB 2170338A GB 8513084 A GB8513084 A GB 8513084A GB 8513084 A GB8513084 A GB 8513084A GB 2170338 A GB2170338 A GB 2170338A
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Prior art keywords
card
data
analyzer
information
unit
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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.)
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Application number
GB8513084A
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GB8513084D0 (en )
Inventor
Kenneth Raymond Aubrey
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Cubic Western Data
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Cubic Western Data
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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07BTICKET-ISSUING APPARATUS; FARE-REGISTERING APPARATUS; FRANKING APPARATUS
    • G07B15/00Arrangements or apparatus for collecting fares, tolls or entrance fees at one or more control points
    • G07B15/02Arrangements or apparatus for collecting fares, tolls or entrance fees at one or more control points taking into account a variable factor such as distance or time, e.g. for passenger transport, parking systems or car rental systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/08Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes
    • G06K7/082Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors
    • G06K7/083Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors inductive
    • G06K7/084Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors inductive sensing magnetic material by relative movement detecting flux changes without altering its magnetised state

Abstract

A portable analyzer for automatically reading, de-coding, and displaying data magnetically coded on cards 34 such as tickets comprises a card reader 16, a data processing unit 18 for de-coding information read from a card, and a visual display device 20 for automatically displaying the de-coded information. The analyzer is provided in a self-contained, portable unit which includes a battery power source 22. <IMAGE>

Description

SPECIFICATION Portable magnetically encoded data analyzer The present invention relates to the reading of information written or encoded magnetically on cards such as fare cards or tickets and other cards on which magnetic data is recorded.

In many public transportation systems these days passenger ticketing is at least partially automated.

That is, the passenger buys a ticket from an automatic vending machine and uses that to travel to their destination. In some cases there is an automatic gate orbarrierthroughwhich theticket must be passed in orderto enteror exitfrom thetransport embarking/ disembarking station. However, the system often relies more or less completely on passenger honesty, allowing passengers to walk-on andwalk-offwith no rigid ticket checking. In both cases the only real check is a periodic spot check of a small percentage of traveller's tickets byan in-transitticketinspector.

Public transportation systems which rely on passen get 5 honesty in purchasing a ticket and paying the correct fare include raii, underground, bus, and trolley systems in most major cities ofthe world.

The purchased ticket will normally bear printed information, such as the date and sometimes the time the ticket was purchased, the place it was purchased, the fare paid and possibly the ultimate destination.

Clearly there are opportunitiesforfaro avoidance even with spot checks of this type, since a passenger could use an old ticket and alterthe date, or even copy the normal printed information on a counterfeit or other blankticket. Even in the case wherethe ticket has magnetically encoded information to allowtho passengerto pass through a barrier, the barrier can often be avoided and there is no way for an inspector to check the magnetic information on the card.

Public transportation systems normally lose a large amount of money in uncollected fares because of the ease in which dishonest passengers can avoid payment, and even escape a spot check undetected.

It is an object ofthe present invention to provide a portable device for analyzing magnetically encoded information on cards such as tickets.

According to the present invention a magnetically encoded data analyzer is provided which is portable.

The analyzer can, for example, be carried by ticket inspectors on public transportation systems to allow on the spot checking of fare card orticketvaiidity. It is less easy and more expensive for potential fare avoiders to duplicate magnetically encoded information on a fare card than to print information, and probably choaperforthem simply to buy a valid ticket.

The portable magnetically encoded data analyzer of this invention is a self-controlled unit comprising a magnetic card reader, a data processor for de-coding the data read by the card reader, and a visual display device for displaying the decoded information.

The analyzer is suitable battery operated, and a switch is provided for connecting the battery to the analyzer when a card is to be read. The battery is thus normally off to save battery power. The switch is preferably spring-loaded into an off position to avoid the problem ofthe user forgetting to tu rn it off after use. The switch may be provided with a time delay before automaticturn-off, so that the user does not have to hold it on by hand during the card reading operation.

Thus the portable analyzer ofthis invention has the advantage of allowing on the spot reading of information encoded on cards, and may be used in any application where this would be useful, particularly in publictransportation where ticket inspectors do on-the-spot checks of passengers between destinations.

The above and other objects and advantages ofthe present invention will be apparent in the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure lisa perspective view of a portable magnetically encoded data analyzer according to a preferred embodiment of the invention; Figure 2 is a block diagram showing the basic components of the analyzer of Figure 1; and Figure 3 is a flow chart illustrating various steps in the operation ofthe analyzer.

Figures 1 and 2 show a preferred embodiment of a portable magnetically encoded data analyzer 10 according to the invention.

As seen in Figure 1 the analyzer 10 is a fully self-contained unit carried by an external housing 12 provided with a carrying strap 1 4for neck orshoulder carrying of the unit. Thus the user's hands are leftfree for opertion ofthe analyzer.

The basic components ofthe analyzer are illustrated in Figure 2 and comprise a card reader 16for detecting, receiving, and transmitting data magnetically encoded on a card such as a ticket, a data processing unit 18 communicatingwith the card readerfor receiving, storing, and processing data received from the card reader and a visual display device 20 communicating with the processing unit 18 for receiving and displaying decoded information.

Suitable conventional communication lines or interfaces are provided for coupling the card reader and display device to the processing unit. A battery power source 22 for operating the analyzer is connected to a power input of the analyzervia a one-way switch 24.

The power source 22 preferably comprises a rechargeable battery, and a suitable external battery chargerjack 26 is provided in the housing 12 (not visible in Figure 1) for connecting the battery to a battery charging unit 28 during off periods when the analyzer is not being carried around. The battery charging unit 28 is suitably of a standard mains operated type.

Referring to Figure 1, it can be seen that the housing has a window 30 on its frontface for showing the information displayed by the visual displaydevice20, which is mounted behind the window. The switch 24 is also externally mounted on the front face of the housing. The switch 24 is preferably spring-loaded into an off position, and is either held on by an operator while a card is analyzed or is provided with some sort of time delay mechanism for holding it on for a predetermined time interval each time the switch is depressed, and then releasing it automatically to return it to the off position. The time interval will be the normal period necessary for reading, analyzing and dispalying the data on a card such as a ticket, for example 30 secondsto 1 minute.This avoids the problem of batten/ drain as a result ofthe operator forgetting to switch off the analyzer between uses.

The card reader6 may be mounted in the housing or mounted on it either horizontally as shown in Figure 1 or on a vertical orientation. The card reader suitably comprises a wipe reader ofthe type having external slot 32 through which the operator "wipes" or moves the part of a card 34 on which the magnetic information is encoded as illustrated in Figure 2. The card is moved in a particular direction and orientation through the slot so thatthe magnetic informationbearing part or strip 36 ofthe card passes across a magnetic read head (not visible in the drawings). The card reader is preferably ofthetype allowing for some variation in the speed with which the card is passed through the slot.

The data processing unit 18 comprises a central processing unit (CPU) and associated memory, and is suitably programmed to control operation ofthe analyzer components automatically, to de-codesig- nals received from the magnetic read head ofthe card reader 16 according to program instructions stored in the memory, and to operate the display device to display decoded data and other messages. The various steps carried out bythe processing unit 18 in the preferred embodiment ofthe invention are illustrated in the flow chart of Figure3, described below. The unit 18 in a preferred embodiment of the invention comprises chiefly C-MOS type circuitry with low battery power consumption. It may be provided on two interconnected printed circuit hoards, one comprising the CPU and the other comprising the memory.Such boards are manufactured, for example, by National Semiconductor. In one example NSC-800 microprocessor circuit boards may be used forthe central processing unit,for example the CIM 8021-802 AC orCIM 8041-804AC boards, and the National SemiconductorCIM-11X Memory Expansion Board may be used for the memory. The memory is non-volatile so that program instructions and stored data are not lost when the power is turned off.

Other system components comprise suitable de- vicesforin filed use and home low power requirements, and are relatively light weight. In one specific example the card reader comprises a wipe-type reader such as Xico Series 6000 Magnetic Stripe Reader, and the display device is an 8 line, 40 character per line LCD display of a type manufactured by Epson Co. EA-4400 80 AT. Standard interfaces are provided between the data processing unit 18 and the card reader and display device. Furtherdetails on the interface to each of those components is provided by the respective manufacturers. The battery comprises a rechargeable Ni Cad battery or equivalent.

The portable analyzer 10 described above is suitable for use in any application where it is desirable to provide an on-the-spot automatic display of data magnetically encoded on a card. One major applica tion ofthe analyzer is in thetickotchecking on public transportation systems, but other applications are clearly possible The use ofthe analyzerfor checking passengers tickets will now be described. Passengers enteri ng a transportation system such as a bus, railway, train, trolley, underground, or airline will purchase a ticket from an automatic ticket machine attheir departure point (or on the transportation system itself). The ticketorfare card may have information printed on it, and will have magnetically encoded information normally on a strip across one face of the card.The information normally provided on such cards may include the data and possiblythetime of issue, the fare paid, the place of issue, and the the destination.

Ticket inspectors who carry out in-transit spot checks of passengers carrying such tickets will be provided with a portable analyzer as described above.

They may carrythe analyzer around their neck using the strap, leaving their hands free to carry outticket checks. The analyzer is designed to be easily portable in this manner, and is sufficently lightweight and compact to be carried relatively easily over prolonged periods of time. In one specific embodimentthe weight of the entire unitwas 2.5 Kgs, and the dimensions ofthe housing were ofthe order of 28 cms by 12.7 cms by 10.2 cms. The analyzer is normally in the off condition, with the battery disconnected. To turn the unit off, the inspector oroperator depresses the switch 24. The processing unit 18 atthis point is preferably programmed to perform initialization by checking the ROM and RAM in the CPU and displaying any error.The processing unit may also initiate a check ofthe battery charge and control the display device 20to display a "BATTERY LOW" message if the battery charge is insufficeint to read and de-code the fare card, indicating that the analyzer needs to be re-charged. If there is no displayoran "ERROR" display, some otherfault in the system has arisen and maintenance ofthe analyzerwill be required. Ifthere is no error and the battery change is sufficient, the message "READY" or "READY TO READ" is displayed.

The processing unit then waits for data to be transmitted from the card reader. When the display "READY TO READ" is received, the operator passes a fare card through the wipe slot32 in the manner indicated in Figure 2. The card will normally be readable only if passed through the slot in the correct orientation and direction. If the card cannot be read, either because it was incorrectly presented or because the information on it is not readable for some reason, the processing unitwill cause the message "NOT READ" or "TICKET CORRUPTED" to be displayed.

If card is correctly presented and readable, the card reader will transmit the data serially over data lines connected to the processing unit The processing unit receives and stores the data, and operates programming instructions stored in its memoryto decode the data. The decoded data is then transmitted to the display device for display. Some data on the cards will normally represent standard ticketing information which is not necessary to determine if the passenger has paid the correctfare. The processing unit maythereforo be programmed to transmit only data from certain preselected data fields on the card fordisplay bythe display device. This may also be done in otherapplications of the analyzer,for exampte in banking orfinancial transactions wherefinancial data is selected for display.

The information will be presented in a format similarto that fond on standard printed tickets. The ticket may or may not be provided with printed information corresponding to the magnetically encoded information. The operator can then read the displayed information and easily determine whether or not the passenger has paid the correct fare. If data is also printed on the ticket, the displayed information can be compared with the printed information for an additional chock.

The decoded information is presented for as long as the switch 24 remains depressed -- either as long as the operatorcontinuesto depress the switch, or, where the switch has a built in time control, forthe predetermined on period. When the switch is released, either automatically or by the operator, the display is extinguished and all decoded data is erased.

Thus all the operator has to do in order two check a ticket is turn the analyzer on and wipe the ticket through the card reader. The analyzer is otherwise fully automatic and controlled by the preprogrammed processing unit 18.

The portable magnetically encoded data analyzer described above is a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use device for automatic display of data magnetically encoded on a card such as a ticket, or any strip material such as credit cards and the like. In one specification application it will enable public transportation system ticket inspectors to read information encoded on tickets while in transit, and thus make ticket frauds more difficult and probably too expensive to be worthwhile. This could result in significant savings to such transportation systems where losses due to ticket frauds are relatively high.

The analyzer may be programmed to display only datafrom certain pre-selected data fields on the card orticket if desired.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described in detail by way of example, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to changes and the described embodiment and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the nature and spirit of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.

Claims (10)

1. A portable magnetically encoded data analyzer, comprising: magnetic card reading meansfordetecting, receiving and transmitting data magnetically encoded on a card passed through the reading means; data processing means communicating with the card reading means including means for receiving and storing data transmitted from the card reading moans, means for processing program instructions to de-code the received data, and means for transmitting decoded data; and visual display means communicting with the data processing means for receiving decoded data and automatically displaying the decoded data.
2. The analyzer claimed in Ciaim 1, in which the analyzer comprises a self-contained unit and includes a battery power source fortheanalyzer.
3. The analyzer claimed in claim 2, in which a switch is provided for connecting the battery power source to the restofthe unit.
4. Theanalyzerclaimed in Claim 3, in which the switch is spring loaded into an off position.
5. The analyzer claimed in Claim 4, including means for holding the switch on for a predetermined time.
6. The analyzer claimed in Claim 2, wherein the card reading means comprises a wipe card reader having a slot across which at least part of a card is passed to read data encoded on the card.
7. The analyzer claimed in Claim 2, including an external housing for containing the data processing means, visual display means and power source, the card reading means being mounted on the housing and the housing having an external window for showing the display from the display means and an external switch for connecting the power source to the rest of the unit.
8. The analyzer claimed in claim 7, including a carrying strap connected to the housing for carrying the analyzer.
9. An analyzer for automatically reading, de- coding, and displaying data magnetically coded on cards such as tickets comprising a card reader, a data processing unit for de-coding information encoded on a card in the reader, and a visual display device for automatically displaying the decoded information.
10. A portable magnetically encoded data analyzer constructed and arranged substantially as herein described and shown in the drawings.
GB8513084A 1985-01-30 1985-05-23 Encoded data analyzer Withdrawn GB8513084D0 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US69663885 true 1985-01-30 1985-01-30

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GB8513084D0 GB8513084D0 (en) 1985-06-26
GB2170338A true true GB2170338A (en) 1986-07-30

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1988004458A1 (en) * 1986-12-12 1988-06-16 Skidata Computerhandelsgesellschaft M.B.H. Portable manual device for automatically processing data recorded on data carriers
DE9104593U1 (en) * 1991-04-16 1991-06-13 Kauls, Wilhelm, 4030 Ratingen, De
FR2733071A1 (en) * 1995-04-12 1996-10-18 Dassault Automatismes Portable handler for travel tickets with magnetic data track

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3573731A (en) * 1968-06-17 1971-04-06 Clary Corp Device for determining authenticity of a credit card or the like
US3581063A (en) * 1968-12-30 1971-05-25 Simcom Corp Verification means for character groups
GB1445846A (en) * 1973-07-17 1976-08-11 Norand Corp Bar code scanner apparatus
GB1457051A (en) * 1973-09-04 1976-12-01 Rusco Ind Inc Value/use control and identification system for magnetic cards
GB2090452A (en) * 1980-12-01 1982-07-07 Cubic Western Data Modularized ticket handling system

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3573731A (en) * 1968-06-17 1971-04-06 Clary Corp Device for determining authenticity of a credit card or the like
US3581063A (en) * 1968-12-30 1971-05-25 Simcom Corp Verification means for character groups
GB1445846A (en) * 1973-07-17 1976-08-11 Norand Corp Bar code scanner apparatus
GB1457051A (en) * 1973-09-04 1976-12-01 Rusco Ind Inc Value/use control and identification system for magnetic cards
GB2090452A (en) * 1980-12-01 1982-07-07 Cubic Western Data Modularized ticket handling system

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1988004458A1 (en) * 1986-12-12 1988-06-16 Skidata Computerhandelsgesellschaft M.B.H. Portable manual device for automatically processing data recorded on data carriers
US5135095A (en) * 1986-12-12 1992-08-04 Skidata Computerhandelsgesellschaft M.B.H. Portable hand device for machine processing of data carried on a data carrier
DE9104593U1 (en) * 1991-04-16 1991-06-13 Kauls, Wilhelm, 4030 Ratingen, De
FR2733071A1 (en) * 1995-04-12 1996-10-18 Dassault Automatismes Portable handler for travel tickets with magnetic data track

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GB8513084D0 (en) 1985-06-26 grant

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