US20060279423A1 - Stand alone surveillance system - Google Patents

Stand alone surveillance system Download PDF

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US20060279423A1
US20060279423A1 US11438820 US43882006A US2006279423A1 US 20060279423 A1 US20060279423 A1 US 20060279423A1 US 11438820 US11438820 US 11438820 US 43882006 A US43882006 A US 43882006A US 2006279423 A1 US2006279423 A1 US 2006279423A1
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dvr
power
video
plurality
surveillance system
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US11438820
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Soheil Nazari
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Soheil Nazari
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19678User interface
    • G08B13/19691Signalling events for better perception by user, e.g. indicating alarms by making display brighter, adding text, creating a sound
    • G08B13/19693Signalling events for better perception by user, e.g. indicating alarms by making display brighter, adding text, creating a sound using multiple video sources viewed on a single or compound screen
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19617Surveillance camera constructional details
    • G08B13/19632Camera support structures, e.g. attachment means, poles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19634Electrical details of the system, e.g. component blocks for carrying out specific functions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19639Details of the system layout
    • G08B13/19641Multiple cameras having overlapping views on a single scene
    • G08B13/19643Multiple cameras having overlapping views on a single scene wherein the cameras play different roles, e.g. different resolution, different camera type, master-slave camera
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/009Signalling of the alarm condition to a substation whose identity is signalled to a central station, e.g. relaying alarm signals in order to extend communication range

Abstract

A surveillance system provides a plurality of monitoring units placed in remote locations without access to electrical power. Each monitoring unit includes a self-powering source including at least one of batteries, solar cells, a hydroelectric generator, a wind generator and a hydrogen fuel cell. The power source provides power to surveillance components such as cameras, lights, infrared illuminators, DVRs, and transmitters. The power source also provides power to other components in the housing of the monitoring units such as temperature control, keycard access, and excess power made available at an outlet at the housing. Each monitoring unit wirelessly transmits video signals from each of the cameras to a hub or receiver that directs the images to the internet. An internet user with the proper access code can access the video surveillance and remotely control the cameras and other components of the monitoring units.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/683,579 filed May 23, 2005, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to surveillance systems that may be placed at remote sites and which record activities at the remote sites.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Surveillance systems, particularly video monitoring security systems, are popularly utilized in both residential and commercial areas, at shopping malls, construction sites, and border areas and virtually at any location at which it would be beneficial to monitor activities. Such systems provide security by deterring unlawful or otherwise improper activities, minimizing losses, maximizing worker productivity, identifying the causes of accidents and crimes and so forth. There are various surveillance systems currently available that capture images from the location of the surveillance system and provide these images for viewing.
  • A shortcoming associated with conventional surveillance systems that provide video images of the area being monitored, is that power must be provided to the system. Moreover, the power supply must be continuous if continuous surveillance is desired. It is difficult to provide electrical power in many cases where the security systems are used at remote locations. For example, it is difficult to provide power to security systems desired at remote construction locations where electrical power has not yet been provided. It is similarly difficult to provide electrical power to security systems that may be desired in undeveloped regions such as along national borders. Moreover, when the security system is used to monitor multiple locations that may be spread out over acres or miles, it is even more problematic to provide power to the various locations
  • The present invention addresses these shortcomings.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides a remote, self-powered surveillance system which may include multiple surveillance units each of which wirelessly transmits video images to the internet.
  • According to one aspect, the invention provides a stand-alone surveillance system that includes a self-generating power source, a digital video recorder (DVR) and a plurality of video cameras. Each camera obtains digital signals of images and provides the digital signals to the DVR that records the images. A remote receiver acts as a hub and receives wirelessly transmitted signals of the images and provides these images to the internet by way of a plurality of video signals that correspond to the plurality of video cameras.
  • According to another aspect, a stand-alone surveillance system with a plurality of monitoring units and a hub is provided. Each monitoring unit comprises a self-generating power source. The self-generating power source may be a battery, a hydrogen fuel cell, a solar panel, a hydroelectric generator, or a wind generator. Each monitoring unit further includes a digital video recorder (DVR), an inverter, and a plurality of video cameras. Each video camera records digital signals of video images and provides the digital signals to the DVR which records these video images. The hub includes a hub receiver that receives wireless signals of the video images from each DVR and provides the video images to the internet which simultaneously displays multiple video images.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, the cameras and other aspects of the monitoring units are controlled via the internet.
  • According to yet another aspect, a surveillance method is provided. The method comprises self generating power from a self-generating power source which may be a wind generator, a hydroelectric generator, one or more batteries, a hydrogen fuel cell or at least one solar panel. The method further includes directing the power to a DVR and at least one video camera disposed at a unit. The method further includes each video camera obtaining digital signals of video images and providing the digital signals to the DVR. The DVR records the images and the video signals corresponding to each camera are wirelessly transmitted from the DVR to a receiver. The method further provides for the receiver providing a video image corresponding to each video signal to the internet.
  • According to yet another aspect, a surveillance method for monitoring events at a plurality of remote locations is provided. The method includes providing a plurality of monitoring units. Each monitoring unit comprises a self-generating power source, an inverter and a plurality of video cameras, each recording digital signals of video images and providing the digital signals to the DVR which records the video images. The method further includes providing a hub with transmit and receive capabilities, wirelessly transmitting a video signal from each camera of the monitoring unit to a hub and the receiver providing a video image corresponding to each video signal to the internet. According to another aspect, the method includes remotely controlling the video cameras using the internet.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • The present invention is best understood from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing. It is emphasized that, according to common practice, the various features of the drawing are not necessarily to scale. On the contrary, the dimensions of the various features are arbitrarily expanded or reduced for clarity. Like numerals denote like features throughout the specification and drawing.
  • FIG. 1 a schematic layout of an exemplary surveillance system with multiple monitoring units;
  • FIG. 2 a schematic generally showing a layout of elements of an exemplary monitoring unit of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is an exterior side view of an exemplary monitoring unit of the invention;
  • FIG. 4 is an exterior front view of an exemplary monitoring unit of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is an exemplary monitor display of multiple images provided via the internet;
  • FIGS. 6-9 are schematic diagrams of exemplary self-powering monitoring units using various power sources; and
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic of the low power distribution system of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The invention provides a surveillance system that includes self-powering monitoring units that may be placed in remote locations far from electric power and far from internet access. The self-powering units may be powered by a plurality of batteries, a fuel cell such as a hydrogen fuel cell, a hydroelectric generator, a wind generator, or one or more solar cells. The power source provides power, through an inverter, to one or more cameras, one or more lights, one or more infrared illuminators, a transmitter/receiver and various other electrical peripherals at the monitoring unit. Among the electrical peripherals are an electrical temperature control system of the monitoring unit, a system for electronic card access into the monitoring unit, additional power provided to an external power output receptacle and a digital readout corresponding to the external power output receptacle and indicating the amount of additional power that may be used without compromising the integrity of the monitoring unit, and a video monitor that may be disposed at the housing. This list of electrical peripherals at the monitoring unit is intended to be exemplary only and other electrical features may be provided at the remote monitoring unit and powered by the self-powering source in other exemplary embodiments.
  • Another aspect of the invention is that each monitoring unit includes a digital video recorder, DVR, that records video images from each of the plurality of video cameras and a transmitter/receiver that transmits these images wirelessly to a receiver that includes a router and simultaneously provides these images to the internet. A plurality of images from various remote locations may be simultaneously displayed on the internet and may be displayed simultaneously on one screen, according to one exemplary embodiment. Additionally, an internet user with proper access credentials may remotely control various aspects of the monitoring unit such as the cameras, by accessing the correct IP (internet protocol) address and sending wireless signals to the transmitter/receiver.
  • Now referring to FIG. 1, the exemplary surveillance/security system includes a plurality of monitoring units 2. Monitoring units 2 transmit wireless signals 6 to antenna 8 of receiver 10. Antenna 8 is preferably a two-way antenna that functions as a transmitter as well as a receiver. Receiver 10 includes a router and is hard-wired 12 to the internet 14 via a computer using a conventional arrangement. A plurality of video images can be simultaneously displayed on the internet using various techniques. Moreover, an internet user with appropriate access credentials may control various aspects of the cameras and images as well as other devices at monitoring unit 2 using the internet 14.
  • The monitoring units 2 will be shown in further detail infra. Each monitoring unit 2 is self-powered. The self-generating power source at each monitoring unit 2 powers the components necessary to obtain and transmit video signals to receiver 10 through an inverter. The self-generating power source also provides power to control other electrical devices at the monitoring unit and may also provide excess power at an external power output receptacle disposed at or near the monitoring unit 2.
  • An aspect of the invention is that wireless signals 6 may be transmitted over great distances and therefore distance 16 between two of the monitoring units and distance 20 between monitoring unit 2 and receiver 10 may also be several miles. Transmitter 4 is preferably a high gain antenna used to both wirelessly transmit and receive signals which may advantageously be digital signals. Various suitable antennas such as high gain access point antennas are commercially available. According to one exemplary embodiment in which distance 20 between monitoring unit 2 and receiver 10 is less than about three miles, transmitter 4 may be an access portal transmitter and a conventional LAN network may be used to transmit wireless signals 6 from monitoring unit 2 to receiver 10. According to another exemplary embodiment in which distance 20 is between about three and ten miles, cellular modem transmission including cell towers may be used. In this exemplary embodiment, transmitter 4 may be a cellular modem transmitter with a power booster. According yet another exemplary embodiment in which distance 20 between monitoring unit 2 and receiver 10 is about ten miles or greater, wireless signals 6 may be transmitted using satellite transmission techniques and in this exemplary embodiment, transmitter 4 may be a satellite transmitter. Other suitable arrangements and methods for transmitting video signals from plural monitoring units 2 to receiver 10 may be used in other exemplary embodiments. Receiver 10 includes a router capable of receiving and sending several signals simultaneously. Wireless signals 6 may each include a static IP address and may include various different frequencies depending on application. For example, frequencies of about 2.4 megahertz (MHz), 3.5 MHz, or 5.8 MHz may be used in various exemplary embodiments.
  • According to another exemplary embodiment in which several monitoring units 2 are used, one of the monitoring units may additionally function as a hub that includes a router and a receiver that receives signals wirelessly transmitted from the other monitoring units 2 and is directly wired to the DVR of the monitoring unit 2 serving as the hub. According to this exemplary embodiment, the monitoring unit 2 that serves as the hub is wired to an internet connection. Wireless transmission from the other units to the hub may be according to one of the aforedescribed methods.
  • FIG. 2 is a generalized schematic showing basic components of an exemplary monitoring unit 2 and is not intended to be limiting as the subsequent figures will show additional components. Monitoring unit 2 includes self-generating power source 24. In one exemplary embodiment, power source 24 may be one or more batteries. Various batteries may be used and in one exemplary embodiment, four 12 volt, 250 amp batteries are used but other arrangements and other types of batteries may be used in other exemplary embodiments. In another exemplary embodiment, power source 24 may consist of an array of one or more solar panels.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment, self-generating power source 24 may be a fuel cell. A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device similar to a battery but different from the battery in that the fuel cell is designed for replenishment of consumed reactants. Various fuel cells may be used. In one exemplary embodiment, a hydrogen fuel cell which can supply power with replenishment only every six months, may be used. Hydrogen fuel cells are commercially available and are produced, for example, by Jadoo Power of Folsom, Calif.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment, power source 24 may be a hydroelectric generator such as may be used in areas that are in the vicinity of flowing water. In yet another exemplary embodiment, power source 24 may be a wind generator. Various conventional hydroelectric and wind generators are currently available. The type of power source 24 used will depend on the environment in which the monitoring unit is being used. Additionally, other power sources may be used in other exemplary embodiments. Self-generating power source 24 provides DC power 26 to inverter 28 which converts the DC power to AC power. In the basic arrangement illustrated in FIG. 2, inverter 28 provides power to lights 34, video cameras 30, DVR 42 and transmitter 4 through at least one power distribution load center (not shown ) as will be seen in FIGS. 6-10 which show further details of power distribution. The power provided to some components will advantageously be low voltage power such as 12 volt or 24 volt power. Video cameras 30 provide digital signals by way of wires 38 to DVR 42 which is coupled by wire 44 to transmitter 4. Transmitter 4 transmits wireless signals 6 to receiver 10 and the internet 14 as discussed infra and supra. In one exemplary embodiment, power source 24, inverter 28, DVR 42 and additional components may be disposed within a housing as represented by dashed line 50 in FIG. 2.
  • FIGS. 3 and 4 are side and front exterior views, respectively, of an exemplary monitoring unit according to the invention. FIG. 3 shows housing 50 which may allow for internal access by a user. In one exemplary embodiment, housing 50 may weigh approximately 2,500 pounds to 3,000 pounds to insure it is not moved, but such is exemplary only and various other weights may be used in other exemplary embodiments. In one exemplary embodiment, housing 50 may include a length of 10 feet and width of 8 feet and a height of 8 feet providing convenient internal access to a person. Housing 50 may be a conventional shipping container, a truck, or other sturdy, wind-proof, waterproof and secure structures made of wood, metal or other durable, strong materials and may advantageously be insulated.
  • Extending above housing 50 is mast 48 which may include a height of 10 feet in one exemplary embodiment but various other heights may be used in other exemplary embodiments. Mounted on mast 48 are cameras 30, infrared illuminators 34, transmitter 4, pan tilt zoom (PTZ) camera 56 and lights 52. The relative placement of the various features is intended to be exemplary only and in other exemplary embodiments, other arrangements may be used and other numbers of components may also be used. Moreover, in other exemplary embodiments, the components such as cameras 30, infrared illuminators 34, transmitter 4, pan tilt zoom camera 56, and light 52 may be hardwired to housing 50 but not disposed above it. In yet another exemplary embodiment, the components may be mounted on housing 50 such as by means of mast 48 with additional components also hardwired to housing 50.
  • Referring additionally to the front view of FIG. 4, housing 50 includes door 58 with lock 60, exterior output power receptacle 62 and keypad/display 64. As referred to in FIG. 2, housing 50 may contain the DVR, inverter, a power box that distributes AC power from the inverter, and a low voltage power box that distributes low voltage power, e.g., 12V or 24V power. Power source 24 may also be in housing 50 in some exemplary embodiments and in other exemplary embodiments, such as when power source 24 is a solar panel, hydroelectric or wind generator, self-generating power source 24 may be external to housing 50. Within housing 50 may additionally be a temperature control system, and one or more video monitors to display images from cameras 30 by way of the DVR. Various commercially available video cameras may be used as cameras 30.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, cameras 30 may include a resolution of 520 TVL horizontal and require a minimum subject illumination of 0.001 lux@f.12. Cameras 30 may operate using the power supply of AC 24V±10%/60 Hz±1 Hz but other power may be used in other exemplary embodiments. Cameras 30 may be rotatable in various directions and in one exemplary embodiment, camera 30 may be rotatable by 360°. Cameras 30 may include various zoom in and zoom out features as commercially available. It will be seen that cameras 30 may be remotely controlled by an internet user.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, cameras 30 may be used in conjunction with infrared (ir) illuminators 34. Infrared illuminators 34 provide infrared illumination at a particular location and cameras 30 may be infrared cameras that work in conjunction with IR illuminators 34 and read the areas illuminated by infrared illumination. Such exemplary cameras are uninfluenced by ambient or ultraviolet light. For example, Infrared illuminator 34 may be focused on a license plate of a vehicle at night and camera 30 may easily read the license plate number even with the automobile headlights on, the glare of which would otherwise render it extremely difficult for the camera to read the license plate. Various infrared illuminators may be used as infrared illuminator 34. In one exemplary embodiment, infrared illuminator 34 may have a viewing range of up to 100 feet, use high performance 850 mm/940 nm LED's, run on a 12 or 24 volt power supply and may include 42 or more LEDs but such is intended to be exemplary only, i.e., various suitable devices may be used IR illuminators 34.
  • As discussed infra, transmitter 4 may be a satellite transmitter, access portable transmitter, or cellular modem transmitter with a power booster and may operate at low or conventional voltage. Pan tilt zoom camera 56 may be any suitable commercially available type unit. In one exemplary embodiment, pan tilt zoom camera 56 may be an all-weather indoor/outdoor camera including a vandal-proof dome with 23 or more LEDs and it may utilize 520 TV lines of resolution color or more. Such is exemplary only and various other models may be used as pan tilt zoom camera 56 in other exemplary embodiments. Various lights may be used as lights 52 and in one exemplary embodiment, light 52 may be a 100 watt light that illuminated the surveillance area.
  • Access into housing 50 may be secured by lock 60 in the illustration embodiment but in other exemplary embodiments, access may be gained through a conventional electronic access/key card reader or other electronic device. Keypad/display 64 may also be the access point for entering an approved code for access into housing 50. External power output receptacle 62 may provide excess power produced by power source 24 for powering additional devices. Keypad/display 64 may include a readout of the amount of power that may be obtained through external power output receptacle 62 without adversely affecting the operation of the surveillance components. Although not visible in FIGS. 3 and 4, inverter 28 provides AC power that is distributed to external power output receptacle 62, keypad/display 64, an optional card reader for gaining access into housing 50, internal lights within housing 50, a monitor within housing 50 and various other components such as a temperature control system for the inside of housing 50. The inside of housing 50 may also allow for storage or serve other utilitarian functions and may include internal lights and power outlets powered by power source 24. Similarly, the exterior of housing 50 may additionally or alternatively be configured for various functions. It is also noted that a user can, using the correct IP (internet protocol) address, remotely monitor and control the amount of power available through external power output receptacle 62, the display on keypad 54, any key card reader, cameras 30 and pan tilt zoom camera 56, for example.
  • Referring again to FIG. 2, various digital video recorders may be used as DVR 42. DVR 42 may be a multiplexer that is a high quality, eight channel recorder capable of storage and playback of images from eight or more cameras. In one exemplary embodiment, the DVR may include an internal hard drive to record and store up to two months of digital recording. The type of hard drive will depend on application. The DVR may be able to record full-screen video images continuously, upon motion detection, or according to a time schedule, to internal hard drives. The DVR may have a capability to simultaneously record, archive background images, and allow multiple user network viewing and playback with no loss of performance. In one exemplary embodiment, the DVR may provide a maximum record rate of up to 30 pictures per second but other rates may be used in other exemplary embodiments. DVR 42, in displaying the multiple camera images, may include various commercially available features such as picture-in-picture, quad, electronic zoom, freeze frame and the like. DVR 42 may include frame advancement, rewind and up to 4 speeds for fast-forward or rewind of recorded images. DVR 42 may include a duplex multiplexer for live quad viewing or playback of images without interrupting multiplex recording. DVR 42 may include an event log and may display date and time of incidents recorded. DVR 42 may include various scheduling programs and may provide for archiving including a time expiry option that allows images to be held for a selected number of days and then deleted. DVR 42 may include various alarms such as a buzzer or automatic e-mail notification. An aspect of the invention is that DVR 42 may be programmed and controlled, real time, by a remote user through the internet. The foregoing features are exemplary only and commercially available DVRs with various features may be used.
  • Referring additionally to FIG. 1, antenna 8 of receiver 10 is a transmit and receive antenna and one aspect of the invention is that signals may be provided from the internet 14 to receiver 10 and transmitted to the antennas of transmitter 4 of monitoring units 2 which are adapted for receiving wireless signals. Various commercially available antennas are suitable for both receiving and transmitting wireless signals. Various commercially available routers may be used in receiver 10 to route multiple signals received from the DVRs and also multiple signals that may be internet programmed commands. Once the signals are received by the antennas of transmitter 4, signals sent by an internet user are used to control various aspect of monitoring unit 2 such as DVR 42. Each DVR may be accessed using a dedicated IP (internet protocol) address. In this manner, multiple cameras coupled to the accessed DVR may be controlled from one IP address. For example, the user may command one or more cameras to zoom in, zoom out, rotate, and so forth and may also direct the DVR to freeze images, play back images, and various other features conventionally available using DVRs in conjunction with cameras.
  • Using the internet, a dedicated IP address may be used to provide access to the various devices, i.e., each device has its own IP address. Such devices include each receiver/transmitter, the DVR including multiple cameras, a temperature control device within housing 50, an electronic card key reader, power available at the external power output receptacle and the like.
  • The user may use a standard monitor coupled to a computer with an internet connection, to access the multiple images from each monitoring unit 2. A single dedicated IP address may be used to access a particular DVR which may be coupled to a plurality of cameras. In this manner, through a single IP address, multiple images (i.e., images from every camera coupled to the selected DVR) may be accessed and simultaneously displayed 200 as in FIG. 5, and each of the images can be controlled by the internet user using conventional commands. Multiple images from the other monitoring units 2 can be similarly monitored and controlled. For example, the user may select a certain camera and activate the associated infrared illuminator 34 to isolate a particular area and have the camera directed to reading the field in which IR illumination is directed. In this manner, a user may remotely control aspects of the monitoring unit to focus in on a licensed plate of a vehicle at night even when the headlights are on, the glare of which would otherwise preclude the camera from registering a license plate. Moreover, conventional means may be used to program various software features into the computer through which internet access is provided.
  • Each of FIGS. 6-9 is a schematic diagram of various components and each of FIGS. 6-9 is illustrative of a particular type of power source and should be read in conjunction with FIG. 10. The schematics in each of FIGS. 6-9 include inverter 28 also discussed supra. Inverter 28 may be a conventional inverter, a device that changes direct current into alternating current, or vice versa, or inverter 28 may be an inverter and charger. Inverter 28 receives input DC and provides AC output power in the illustrated arrangement. Various inverters may be used and in one exemplary embodiment, the inverter may provide 2000 watts of continuous output power with a 5 second surge rating of 5,000 watts at 42 amps. Inverter 28 may output power at a voltage of 120V or 240V which is then distributed by an AC load center 80 to multiple components that operate at 120V or 240V, such as shown in FIGS. 6-9. According to the embodiment in which inverter 28 outputs 120V or 240V power, some of the power may advantageously be conditioned to a low voltage of 12V or 24V power by a low voltage load center 78 and distributed as in FIG. 10, to components that operate at low voltage. Inverter 28 may include an output frequency of 60 Hertz in one exemplary embodiment but the foregoing details are exemplary only and various other inverters or inverter/chargers may be used in other exemplary embodiments.
  • Now referring to FIG. 6, fuel cell 24A is the power source in the schematic illustrated in FIG. 6. Fuel cell 24A may be a hydrogen or other fuel cell as discussed supra and is coupled to D/C disconnect 76 which is coupled to inverter 28. D/C disconnect 76 functions as a kill switch which may be used to shut off power to all components. Inverter 28 is coupled to A/C load center 80 which distributes power to various components of each monitoring unit 2 and also provides external power to external power output receptacle 62 which can be used to provide power to various electronic components that may be plugged in to external power output receptacle 62. Load limiting transfer switch 82 controls the amount of excess power that may be provided external power output receptacle 62 without adversely affecting the functionality of the cameras, DVR, transmitter and auxiliary components such as lights or IR illuminators, necessary to provide the surveillance video to the internet.
  • AC load center 80 is coupled to and provides distributed typically 120V or 240V power to interior lights and plugs 70, i.e. components internal to housing 50. AC load center 80 also provides power to pan tilt zoom camera controller 56, DVR 42, an optional video monitor 74 that may be in housing 50, the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit 72, and camera mast 48. By providing power to camera mast 48, illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, power is provided to cameras 30, infrared illuminators 34, lights 52 and, in one embodiment, to transmitter 4 which may be a satellite transmitter, an access portal transmitter, or a cellular modem transmitter with a power booster.
  • AC load center 80 is coupled to low voltage load center 78 which converts 120V or 240V power from inverter 28 to low voltage power and distributes the low voltage power to various low voltage components such as shown in FIG. 10. The low voltage power may be 12V or 24V power and is distributed, according to one exemplary embodiment, to pan tilt camera 110, battery amp hour control 112, exterior wall cameras CCTV 114, IR illuminators 116, mast mounted cameras 118 and HVAC controller 120. These components are intended to be exemplary only and in other exemplary embodiments, other components may receive low voltage power distributed from low voltage load center 78. Broken line 122 is used to indicate that low voltage load center 78 may provide power to transmitter 4 in some exemplary embodiments, depending on the specific type of transmitter used. In other exemplary embodiments, transmitter 4 may work on 120V or 240V power received from AC load center 80, such connection shown in FIGS. 6-9.
  • FIG. 7 is a schematic showing another exemplary arrangement in which the self-powering source is a hydroelectric or wind generator. The schematic of FIG. 7 is substantially similar to the schematic of FIG. 6 with similar references to FIG. 10, with the following differences. Hydroelectric or wind generator 24B provides power to batteries 88 by way of charge controller 84 which regulates the amount of power sent to batteries 88 and diverts any excess power not useable by the batteries 88 at excess generation diversion device 86. Excess generation diversion device 86 may divert the excess power to an air heater or other similar device. In other exemplary embodiments, the batteries 88 may be bypassed and charge controller 84 coupled directly to inverter 28 as indicated by dashed line 85.
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic of another exemplary arrangement in which the self-powering source is a solar panel or an array of solar panels. Like components in FIGS. 8 and 9 are as described in conjunction with FIGS. 6, 7 and 10. FIG. 8 illustrates solar array 24C and solar combiner 90 which combines the power generated by the respective solar panels of the array of solar panels 24C. In this exemplary embodiment, inverter 28 also functions as a charger and charges batteries 92. According to this exemplary arrangement, during extended periods without sunlight, batteries 92 provide backup power to monitoring unit 2.
  • Another aspect of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 9 which illustrates an on-grid embodiment of the invention in which grid electrical power is optionally provided to the monitoring unit to power the unit. The arrangement includes a battery backup in the form of batteries 104. Grid power 100 may represent hookup to conventional 110 volt AC power. According to one exemplary embodiment, charge controller 102 regulates power provided from grid power 100 to batteries 104. According to another exemplary embodiment, not shown, batteries 104 may be bypassed and grid power 100 may be provided directly to inverter 28 via DC disconnect 76. A switch (not shown) may also be provided to switch the system from the electrical power source, grid power 100, to the self powering source, batteries 104 substantially instantaneously when grid power 100 ceases to provide electrical power. In one exemplary embodiment, power may be switched to the battery backup in less than 2 milliseconds.
  • The preceding merely illustrates the principles of the invention. It will thus be appreciated that those skilled in the art will be able to devise various arrangements which, although not explicitly described or shown herein, embody the principles of the invention and are included within its spirit and scope. Furthermore, all examples and conditional language recited herein are principally intended expressly to be only for pedagogical purposes and to aid the reader in understanding the principles of the invention and the concepts contributed by the inventors to furthering the art, and are to be construed as being without limitation to such specifically recited examples and conditions. Moreover, all statements herein reciting principles, aspects, and embodiments of the invention, as well as specific examples thereof, are intended to encompass both structural and functional equivalents thereof. Additionally, it is intended that such equivalents include both currently known equivalents and equivalents developed in the future, i.e., any elements developed that perform the same function, regardless of structure.
  • This description of the exemplary embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the figures of the accompanying drawing, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description, relative terms such as “lower,” “upper,” “horizontal,” “vertical,” “above,” “below,” “up,” “down,” “top” and “bottom” as well as derivatives thereof (e.g., “horizontally,” “downwardly,” “upwardly,” etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation. Terms concerning attachments, coupling and the like, such as “connected” and “interconnected,” refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise.
  • Although the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, it is not limited thereto. Rather, the appended claims should be construed broadly, to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and range of equivalents of the invention.

Claims (41)

  1. 1. A stand alone surveillance system comprising:
    a self-generating power source;
    a digital video recorder (DVR);
    a plurality of video cameras, each obtaining digital signals of images and providing said digital signals to said DVR that records said images; and
    a remote receiver that receives wirelessly transmitted signals of said images from said DVR and provides said images to internet by way of a plurality of video signals corresponding to said plurality of video cameras.
  2. 2. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein a transmitter/receiver coupled to said DVR generates said wirelessly transmitted signals based on DVR signals sent from said DVR to said transmitter/receiver.
  3. 3. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 2, wherein said transmitter/receiver comprises one of a satellite transmitter, a cellular modem transmitter and a high gain access portal transmitter.
  4. 4. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 2, wherein said transmitter/receiver also receives commands from said internet and said remote receiver comprises an antenna that further sends signals from said internet to said DVR.
  5. 5. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 4, further comprising an inverter that receives power from said self-generating power source and a load center that distributes said power at least to said plurality of video cameras, said DVR and said transmitter/receiver, wherein said inverter, said DVR and said load center are disposed within a housing.
  6. 6. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 5, further comprising said load center distributing said power to a temperature control for said housing, an electronic key card reader for entry into said housing, a power monitor and a power outlet receptacle.
  7. 7. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 6, wherein said remote receiver further sends signals from said internet to control said plurality of cameras, said DVR, said temperature control for said housing, said electronic key card reader, said power monitor and said power outlet receptacle.
  8. 8. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said wirelessly transmitted signals include a frequency of about 2.4 MHz, 3.5 MHz or 5.8 MHz.
  9. 9. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 7, wherein said remote receiver, said DVR, said temperature control for said housing, said electronic key card entry for said housing, said power monitor and said power outlet are each accessed using a separate IP address.
  10. 10. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, further comprising an inverter and load center that delivers power from said self-generating power source to said plurality of cameras and said DVR and wherein said self-generating power source comprises at least one of a battery, a solar panel, a hydrogen fuel cell, a hydroelectric generator and a wind-generator and said inverter further delivers said power to a charger that charges said battery.
  11. 11. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said DVR includes a multiplexer.
  12. 12. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said self-generating power source comprises at least one of a battery, a solar panel, a hydroelectric generator and a wind-generator.
  13. 13. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said self-generating power source comprises a hydrogen fuel cell with a lifetime of at least 3 months without replenishing.
  14. 14. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of cameras comprises a pan tilt zoom camera.
  15. 15. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said plurality of video signals is displayed on said internet simultaneously and using one IP address.
  16. 16. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said DVR transmits said wirelessly transmitted signal via a transmitter that is at least about 10 miles from said remote receiver and said remote receiver receives said wirelessly transmitted signals via satellite.
  17. 17. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said remote receiver receives said wirelessly transmitted signals via a cellular network.
  18. 18. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein said self-generating power source comprises a plurality of batteries and further comprising an electrical power source providing power to an inverter that charges said batteries.
  19. 19. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, further comprising an electrical power source that provides power to an inverter that distributes said power to said plurality of cameras and said DVR, and a switch that switches from said electrical power source to said self-generating power source substantially instantly when said electrical power source ceases to provide electrical power.
  20. 20. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of cameras is controllable responsive to commands sent from said internet, said commands controlling said camera to at least one of rotate by 360°, zoom in and zoom out and said DVR is controllable responsive to DVR commands sent from said internet, said DVR commands controlling said DVR to at least one of rewind and freeze.
  21. 21. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 1, further comprising an infrared illuminator adjacent at least one of said plurality of cameras.
  22. 22. A stand alone surveillance system comprising a plurality of monitoring units and a receiver hub;
    each monitoring unit comprising: a self-generating power source including at least one of a battery, a hydrogen fuel cell, a solar panel, a hydroelectric generator and a wind generator; a digital video recorder (DVR); an inverter; and a plurality of video cameras, each recording digital signals of video images and providing said digital signals to said DVR that records said video images; and
    said receiver hub having a receiver that receives wireless signals of said video images from each said DVR and provides said video images to be simultaneously displayed on the internet.
  23. 23. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, wherein a first monitoring unit of said plurality of monitoring units is spaced at least about 5 miles from said receiver hub and said DVR of said first monitoring unit is coupled to a transmitter that transmits said wireless signals of said video images to said receiver hub via satellite.
  24. 24. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, wherein a first monitoring unit of said plurality of monitoring units is spaced at least about 3 miles from said receiver hub and said DVR of said first monitoring unit is coupled to a transmitter that transmits said wireless signals of said video images to said receiver hub via a cellular/modem network.
  25. 25. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, wherein a first monitoring unit of said plurality of monitoring units is spaced less than 3 miles from said receiver hub and said DVR of said first monitoring unit is coupled to an access portal transmitter that transmits said wireless signals of said video images to said receiver hub at a frequency of about 2.4 MHz, 3.5 MHz or 5.8 MHz.
  26. 26. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, wherein each monitoring unit includes said DVR disposed within a housing and further comprising, disposed within said housing, an inverter that receives power from said associated self-generating power source, a power distributing load center and a low voltage power distributing load center, said low voltage distributing load center providing power being one of 12 and 24 volts.
  27. 27. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, further comprising said receiver hub receiving commands from said internet and wirelessly transmitting command signals to each of said monitoring units.
  28. 28. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 27, wherein each monitoring unit includes a housing, at least one said camera comprises a pan tilt zoom camera and said command signals control each said DVR, each said camera, and a temperature control device, a said electronic key card reader and a power monitor disposed at each said housing.
  29. 29. The stand alone surveillance system as in claim 22, further comprising an infrared illuminator adjacent each of said plurality of cameras.
  30. 30. A method for monitoring events at a remote location, said method comprising:
    self generating power from a self-generating power source,
    directing said power to a digital video recorder (DVR) and at least one video camera disposed at a surveillance unit;
    each video camera obtaining digital signals of video images and providing said digital signals to said DVR;
    recording said images using said DVR;
    wirelessly transmitting a video signal corresponding to each said camera, from said DVR to a receiver; and
    said receiver providing a video image corresponding to each said video signal, to the internet.
  31. 31. The method as in claim 30, wherein said at least one video camera comprises a plurality of video cameras and further comprising simultaneously displaying a plurality of video images corresponding to said plurality of cameras on a monitor.
  32. 32. The method as in claim 30, wherein said directing said power to said DVR and said plurality of video cameras includes first directing said power to an inverter.
  33. 33. The method as in claim 30, wherein said at least one video camera comprises a plurality of video cameras and further comprising selecting a single IP address of said internet and controlling said plurality of video cameras and said DVR via said IP address.
  34. 34. The method as in claim 30, wherein said controlling comprises at least one of rotating said camera by 360°, zooming in, zooming out, replaying said video images and freezing said video images.
  35. 35. The method as in claim 30, further comprising:
    said self-generating power source, said DVR, said at least one video camera, and an inverter disposed within a housing;
    said self-generating power source further providing outlet power to a receptacle at said housing; and
    selecting an internet address of said internet and controlling at least one of temperature at said housing, an electronic key card reader at said housing, and power made available at said receptacle, from said internet.
  36. 36. The method as in claim 30, wherein said self-generating power source comprises at least one of a wind generator, a hydroelectric generator, at least one battery, a hydrogen fuel cell, and at least one solar panel.
  37. 37. A method for monitoring events at a plurality of remote locations, said method comprising:
    providing a plurality of monitoring units, each monitoring unit comprising: a self-powering source including at least one of a battery, a hydrogen fuel cell, a solar panel, a hydroelectric generator, and a wind generator; a digital video recorder (DVR); an inverter; and a plurality of video cameras, each recording digital signals of video images and providing said digital signals of video images to said DVR that records said video images;
    providing a hub with transmit and receive capabilities;
    wirelessly transmitting a video signal from each camera of each said monitoring unit to said hub; and
    said hub providing a video image corresponding to each said video signal, to the internet.
  38. 38. The method as in claim 37, wherein said providing a video image comprises simultaneously displaying a plurality of said video images on a monitor.
  39. 39. The method as in claim 38, wherein said plurality of video images from a particular one of said DVRs is identified by a single internet IP address.
  40. 40. The method as in claim 37, further comprising selecting an internet address of said internet and controlling said plurality of video cameras and said DVR from said internet.
  41. 41. The method as in claim 37, further comprising:
    a housing containing each said monitoring unit;
    for each said monitoring unit, said associated self-generating power source further providing through said inverter, power to an outlet power receptacle at said associated housing; and
    selecting an internet address of said internet and controlling at least one of interior temperature of said housing, an electronic key card reader for entry into said housing, and power consumption from said power outlet receptacle via said internet.
US11438820 2005-05-23 2006-05-23 Stand alone surveillance system Abandoned US20060279423A1 (en)

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US7688544B1 (en) 2010-03-30 grant

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