US20110279081A1 - Electronic Rechargeable Stylus and Eraser System - Google Patents

Electronic Rechargeable Stylus and Eraser System Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110279081A1
US20110279081A1 US13143035 US200913143035A US2011279081A1 US 20110279081 A1 US20110279081 A1 US 20110279081A1 US 13143035 US13143035 US 13143035 US 200913143035 A US200913143035 A US 200913143035A US 2011279081 A1 US2011279081 A1 US 2011279081A1
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Prior art keywords
stylus
charging
fig
contacts
device
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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.)
Abandoned
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US13143035
Inventor
Christopher M. Cacioppo
Hector Padilla
Manuel Perez
Timothy Higgins
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MIMIO LLC
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Sanford LP
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/03Arrangements for converting the position or the displacement of a member into a coded form
    • G06F3/033Pointing devices displaced or positioned by the user, e.g. mice, trackballs, pens or joysticks; Accessories therefor
    • G06F3/0354Pointing devices displaced or positioned by the user, e.g. mice, trackballs, pens or joysticks; Accessories therefor with detection of 2D relative movements between the device, or an operating part thereof, and a plane or surface, e.g. 2D mice, trackballs, pens or pucks
    • G06F3/03545Pens or stylus

Abstract

A system for recording writing performed on a surface includes a rechargeable stylus, a rechargeable eraser, and a charging station for one or both of the rechargeable stylus and the rechargeable eraser. Each of the rechargeable stylus and the rechargeable eraser includes a pair of charging rings. The charging rings are disposed so as to contact a corresponding pair of charging contacts on a receptacle on the charging station for the stylus or the eraser. The receptacle, charging contacts, and charging rings cooperate to charge rechargeable stylus or the rechargeable eraser when the stylus or eraser is placed into the receptacle.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to the filing date of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/141,530, filed on Dec. 30, 2008, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0002]
    The present disclosure relates generally to a system for recording writing performed on a surface. More particularly, the disclosure is directed to a rechargeable stylus for a system for recording writing performed on a surface, a rechargeable eraser for a system for recording writing performed on a surface, and a charging station for the rechargeable stylus and/or the rechargeable eraser.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    Technologies for capturing and storing handwritten notes include digitized writing surfaces such as electronic whiteboards and spatial recognition pens. Typically, electronic whiteboards either photocopy the entire writing surface or serve as the actual input device, recording the movements of a pen or stylus along the surface of the board. Spatial recognition pens record the movement of the pen across a writing surface, which surface typically must include special marking for the pen to recognize its position. Newer systems track the movement of a stylus across any surface using technology embedded in the stylus. One such system, which uses ultrasonic position tracking, is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,109,979, entitled “System and Method for Recording Writing Performed on a Surface,” and is hereby incorporated herein by reference. Typically, styli used in such systems, such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,111,565, entitled “Stylus for Use with Transcription System,” and hereby incorporated herein by reference, include a transmitter (e.g., an ultrasonic transmitter), which must be supplied with a power source. Additional features of similar systems are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,100,877, 6,104,387, 6,124,847, 6,147,681, 6,177,927, 6,191,778, 6,211,863, 6,217,686, 6,232,962, 292,180, 6,310,615, and 7,109,979, each of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1A depicts an exemplary rechargeable stylus system that may be used with a system for capturing and digitizing markings on a writing surface;
  • [0005]
    FIG. 1B depicts a more detailed view of a portion of the system of FIG. 1A;
  • [0006]
    FIG. 1C illustrates the functionality of the portion of the system depicted in FIG. 1B;
  • [0007]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a rechargeable stylus for use with an exemplary rechargeable stylus system;
  • [0008]
    FIGS. 3A depicts a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the charging rings used on the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 2;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 3B depicts a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the charging rings used on the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 2;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3C depicts an alternate embodiment of charging contacts used on the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 2;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 3D depicts an alternate embodiment of the charging contacts used on the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 2;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a rechargeable eraser for use with an exemplary rechargeable stylus system;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a rechargeable stylus, a rechargeable eraser, and a charging tray for recharging the stylus and eraser;
  • [0014]
    FIGS. 6A depicts an embodiment of a receptacle included in the charging tray of FIG. 5;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 6B depicts a perspective view of an embodiment of a receptacle included in the charging tray of FIG. 5 and having a curvilinear cross-section;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6C depicts a perspective view of an embodiment of a receptacle included in the charging tray of FIG. 5 and having a rectangular cross-section;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 depicts a top plan of the recharging tray of FIG. 5;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8A depicts an alternate embodiment of a charging contact for use in the charging tray of FIG. 5;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 8B depicts a different alternate embodiment of a charging contact for use in the charging tray of FIG. 5;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 9A illustrates an embodiment of a rechargeable stylus for use in the system of FIG. 1;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9B illustrates an embodiment of a charging tray receptacle for use with the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 9A;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 10A illustrates a second embodiment of a rechargeable stylus for use in the system of FIG. 1;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 10B illustrates an embodiment of a charging tray receptacle for use with the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 10A;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 100 depicts the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 10A in a different orientation to illustrate compatibility with the charging tray receptacle of FIG. 10B;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 11A illustrates a third embodiment of a rechargeable stylus for use in the system of FIG. 1;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 11B illustrates an embodiment of a charging tray receptacle for use with the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 11A;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 11C depicts the rechargeable stylus of FIG. 11A in a different orientation to illustrate compatibility with the charging tray receptacle of FIG. 11B;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 12 illustrates a rechargeable stylus having mouse functionality;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 13 illustrates an alternate embodiment of a system for capturing and digitizing movement of a stylus on a writing surface;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 14A depicts an embodiment of complementary stylus-side and mobile device-side coupling circuits in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 13;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 14B depicts an alternate embodiment of complementary stylus-side and mobile device-side coupling circuits in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 13;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 15 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the system depicted in FIG. 13; and
  • [0033]
    FIG. 16 illustrates yet another embodiment of the system depicted in FIG. 13.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0034]
    The present disclosure relates to a digitizing system for recording movements of a stylus across a surface and, in particular, to a rechargeable stylus for use with the system and a charging station for the stylus. The digitizing system digitizes the movement of the stylus across the surface by tracking the stylus using signals such as infrared signals, ultrasonic signals, and the like. The movements of the stylus across the surface may include the formation or modification of any type of image by the stylus, including printing, drawings, sketching, erasing, etc. The surface across which the digitizing system tracks movement of the stylus may be any suitable surface including, but not limited to, dry erase boards, chalk boards, clipboards, desktops, walls, projection screens, flip chart tablets, and glass panels, regardless of whether any of these surfaces is covered by a material such as paper, glass, metal, or plastic, which can be written upon. The surface is preferably relatively smooth and relatively flat, though the surface may have a small degree of curvature.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 1A illustrates one use of a digitizing system 10. The digitizing system 10 includes a tracking and communication unit (TCU) 12, a writing surface 14, a stylus 16, and a stylus charging station 18. FIG. 1A depicts the writing surface 14 as a dry erase board (i.e., a “whiteboard”) though, as noted above, the writing surface 14 may be any desired surface. Although FIG. 1A illustrates the writing surface 14 as a vertical surface, it should be noted that the writing surface 14 could also be a horizontal surface, as the orientation of the surface is irrelevant to operation of the digitizing system 10. The digitizing system 10 tracks the movements of the stylus 16 across the writing surface 14. However, it is not necessary that the movement of the stylus 16 creates any mark on the writing surface 14 for the system 10 to operate to digitize the movements of the stylus 16. Moreover, while many of the embodiments described herein are described with reference to a dry erase board such as that depicted in FIG. 1A, and an accompanying dry erase stylus, the stylus 16 may be any desired stylus. For example, in some embodiments, the stylus 16 operates as a pointing device (e.g., a mouse) and not a marking device, and the system 10 digitizes the movement of the stylus 16 across a projector screen (not shown), which allows the system 10 to be used with a computer (not shown) and a projector (not shown).
  • [0036]
    In any event, the stylus 16 is preferably wireless, to facilitate easy movement of the stylus 16 across the writing surface 14. As described below, the digitizing system 10 processes signals received from the stylus 16 in order to track the movement of the stylus 16 across the writing surface 14. Of course, generation of the signals requires a transmitter and a power source for the transmitter. Thus, the stylus 16 also includes a battery and, in particular, a rechargeable battery. The system 10 includes the charging tray 18 for this purpose. The stylus 16 and the charging tray 18 are described in greater detail below.
  • [0037]
    Each of the TCU 12 and the charging tray 18 may be mounted to the writing surface 14, though the charging tray 18 may also be mounted to any convenient surface, as its presence is not strictly required for proper operation of the digitizing system 10. In one embodiment, the writing surface 14 is a magnetic surface, such as a dry erase board that includes a steel plate, and one or both of the TCU 12 and the charging station 18 are removably mounted to the writing surface 14 by an array of rare earth magnets (not shown). The rare earth magnets preferably exert a strong magnetic force over a short distance, providing sufficient force to hold the TCU 12 and/or the charging station 18 to the writing surface 14 (or other surface), but allowing relatively easy removal of the TCU 12 and/or the charging station 18 from the writing surface 14 (or other surface). Of course, the TCU 12 and/or the charging station 18 may be adhered to the writing surface 14 using any known method including, but not limited to, suction cups, hook-and-loop material, one or more individual magnets, adhesive tape, etc., depending on the writing surface 14, the permanence of the installation, cost, etc. For example, if the writing surface 14 is a glass window pane, suction cups may be preferable.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 1B illustrates in greater detail the TCU 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the TCU 12 is a mobile device that tracks the position and/or movement of the stylus 16 across the writing surface 14 using ultrasonic and infrared signals transmitted by the stylus 16, and also receives additional information about the stylus 16 in the infrared signal. The TCU 12 includes ultrasonic two sensors 20 and 22 separated by a fixed distance, D1, and an infrared sensor 24. When the stylus 16 is pressed against the writing surface 14, the stylus 16 emits both infrared and ultrasonic signals. The infrared sensor 24 receives the infrared signal, which identifies which stylus touched the surface (the system 10 may include numerous styli including, for example, different colors of writing styli, styli using different types of writing elements, styli with different width writing tips, a mouse stylus, etc.) using an encoded signal. The infrared signal received by the infrared sensor 24 also indicates to the TCU 12 that the stylus 16 transmitted an ultrasonic signal. Meanwhile, the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22 receive the ultrasonic signal transmitted by the stylus 16.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 10 illustrates the concept behind the method used by the TCU 12 to track the stylus 16. FIG. 1C depicts the stylus 16 at a position, P, on the writing surface 14. As described above, upon being pressed against the writing surface 14, the stylus 16 transmits both an infrared signal and an ultrasonic signal. The infrared signal arrives at the infrared sensor 24 before the ultrasonic signals arrive at the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22 because, of course, light travels faster than sound. The infrared signal, in addition to indicating to the TCU 12 which stylus is in contact with the writing surface 14, also activates the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22. The TCU 12 uses the known time at which the stylus 16 transmitted the ultrasonic signals (i.e., the time at which the infrared sensor 24 received the infrared signal) and the time at which each of the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22 received the ultrasonic signal to calculate the distance between the stylus 16 and the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22. The TCU 12 employs a computer processor (not shown) to calculate the location of the stylus 16 using basic trigonometric formulas. That is, knowing that the stylus 16 is a distance A from the ultrasonic sensor 20 and a distance B from the ultrasonic sensor 22, and knowing that a distance, D1, separates the ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22, the TCU 12 can calculate the angles of the resulting triangle and, by doing so, the precise location of the stylus 16 on the writing surface 14.
  • [0040]
    One or more styli 16 may be used with the system 10. FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a stylus 16 that can be used with the system 10 illustrated in FIG. 1A. As illustrated, the stylus 16 includes a tip end 32 and a circuitry end 34. The stylus 16 includes a stylus housing 26 forming an elongated body, generally symmetrical about a lengthwise axis A, that may encompass a writing element 28. FIG. 2 depicts a dry erase marker, such as the SANFORD EXPO, as the writing element 28. However, the stylus 16 may employ any suitable writing element 28 including, by way of example and not limitation, an inkwell, chalk, a pencil, pencil lead, or a pen. The writing element 28 may have a writing tip 30, such as the tip 30 of the marker illustrated in FIG. 2. Alternatively, a non-writing element 28A may replace the writing element 28 when, for example, a user desires that the stylus 16 not create marks on the writing surface 14 (e.g., when the stylus is acting as an input device such as, a mouse or a pointing device, to a computer projecting a display through a projector onto the writing surface 14, which writing surface 14 may be a projector screen). The non-writing element 28A may, for example, have an identical form factor to the writing element 28 (e.g., the dry erase marker), but may substitute for the writing tip 30 a non-marking tip 30A, such as a Teflon tip for moving along the writing surface 14. Of course, alternate writing elements 28 and non-writing elements 28A with form factors other than that illustrated (e.g., pencils, chalk, etc.) may be employed by fitting adaptors (not shown) to the form factor of the illustrated writing element 28, or by employing alternative embodiments of the stylus 16 designed specifically for those alternate writing elements 28.
  • [0041]
    In any event, the writing element 28 is disposed toward the tip end 32 of the stylus 16, with the writing tip 30 of the writing element 28 protruding from the housing 26 at the tip end 32. The tip 30 of the writing element 28 may be enclosed by a cover or cap 36 that mates with the housing 26. The cap 36 may be formed to have an inner bore 38 and an outer bore 40, such that the inner bore 38 fits securely around a base 42 of the tip 30, providing a sealed environment 44 in which the tip 30 may be enclosed to prevent the tip 30 from drying out or to protect the tip 30 against damage. The outer bore 40 may provide further isolation of the tip 30 and, additionally, may protect other components of the stylus 16 from damage.
  • [0042]
    One or more transmitters may be disposed around the base 42 of the tip 30. The transmitters may include transmitters of different types and/or transmitters of the same type and, in one embodiment, include both an infrared transmitter 43 and an ultrasonic transmitter 46. In some embodiments, the infrared transmitter 43 is protected by a window 45 and, in a similar manner, a protection cage 47 may protect the ultrasonic transmitter 46. While FIG. 2 depicts the transmitters 43 and 46 as situated around the base 42 of the tip 30, the transmitters may be located in any suitable location on the stylus 16, though locating the transmitters away from the tip 30 may, in some instances, affect the accuracy of the resulting digitization.
  • [0043]
    The housing 26 also includes an electronics sub-assembly 48 at a non-writing end 50 of the writing element 28. The electronics sub-assembly 48 houses a rechargeable power source 52, a switch 53, an indicator light source 54, and various other electronics for controlling, among other things, the transmitters 43 and 46. A button 51 may allow the separation of the electronics sub-assembly 48 from the housing 26, to allow access to, or replacement of, the writing element 28.
  • [0044]
    The stylus 16 is activated by pressing the writing element 28 against the writing surface 14, which activates the switch 53, and causes the rechargeable power source 52 to power the included electronics and the transmitters 43 and 46. As generally known, the rechargeable power source 52 may employ any rechargeable battery technology or capacitive storage solution. In one embodiment, the rechargeable power source 52 is a Lithium-ion battery, though Nickel Zinc batteries, Nickel-Cadmium batteries, rechargeable alkaline batteries, Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, and Carbon Zinc or Zinc Chloride batteries are all possible alternatives, and other alternatives exist or may be developed in the future.
  • [0045]
    The rechargeable power source 52 also provides power to the indicator light source 54. A light pipe 56 extending from the indicator light source 54 to the perimeter of the housing 26, and covered by a cover 57, creates an illuminated ring 58 (when the indicator light source 54 is active) at the circuitry end 34 of the stylus 16. In one embodiment, the indicator light source 54 and associated light pipe 56 and illuminated ring 58 indicate that the rechargeable power source 52 is charging when the stylus 16 is properly placed in the charging station 18. Of course, the indicator light source 54 may, by any means known in the art (e.g., by flashing one or more patterns, by using a multi-LED light source, etc.), be used for other or additional indications as well, such as to indicate the stylus 16 is fully charged, or to indicate the stylus 16 has a low battery. Moreover, while the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 uses the light pipe 56 to form the illuminated ring 58, other embodiments may place the indicator light source 54 at the perimeter of the housing 26 so that the indicator light source 54 is directly viewable to a user (e.g., through a window in the housing 26). Additionally, the light pipe 58 may illuminate a logo or other symbol (e.g., a battery symbol) on the stylus 16. In some embodiments, an aural indicator (e.g., a buzzer, speaker, etc.) (not shown) may be included instead of, or in addition to, the indicator light source.
  • [0046]
    The rechargeable power source 52 is electrically connected to two charging contacts (also referred to herein as charging elements) 60 and 62, one of which is connected to each terminal of the rechargeable power source 52. FIG. 2 depicts an embodiment in which each of the charging contacts 60 and 62 forms a metallic ring encircling the stylus 16. The two charging contacts 60 and 62 are disposed toward opposite ends of the housing 26, with the charging contact 60 disposed toward the tip end 32 of the stylus 16, and the charging contact 62 disposed toward the circuitry end 34 of the stylus 16, adjacent to the indicator ring 58. As will be apparent from the remainder of the description, the use of metallic rings for the charging contacts 60 and 62 allows the contacts 60 and 62 to mate with corresponding charging contacts on the charging station 18, regardless of the axial rotation of the stylus 16 therein. Nevertheless, in other embodiments, the charging contacts may take other forms. For example, in some embodiments, the charging contacts 60 and 62 may be incomplete rings such as the incomplete rings 64 and 66 illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, respectively. In other embodiments, one or both of the charging contacts may be a metallic plate 68 disposed along the length of the housing 26, as depicted in FIG. 3C, or a metallic plate 70 disposed at an end (e.g., the circuitry end 34) of the stylus 16 as depicted in FIG. 3D. In still other embodiments, the charging contacts 60 and 62 may be disposed in other locations along the length of the stylus 16, or may include additional charging contacts (not shown in FIG. 2), as described below in further detail. The charging contacts 60 and 62 are formed of (or plated with) a conductive material, and are preferably formed of (or plated with) a conductive, metallic material that is non-oxidizing, such as Zinc or Nickel, to prevent corrosion.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a rechargeable erasing device 100 that can also be used with the system 10 illustrated in FIG. 1A. The rechargeable erasing device 100 has an erasing pad 108 affixed to an erasing platform 106, and a housing 105 forming an eraser body 103 and having an eraser end 102 and a grip end 104. FIG. 4 depicts an eraser pad 108 complementary to the stylus 16 depicted in FIG. 2. That is, the eraser pad 108 is a soft, synthetic felt material suitable for removing dry erase ink from a dry erase board. However, the eraser pad 108 may be any material suitable or desired for erasing the markings left by the stylus 16. In some embodiments, the eraser pad 108 is replaceable, to allow replacement of worn eraser pads 108 and/or allowing replacement of an eraser pad 108 of one material with an eraser pad 108 of a different material. In other embodiments, the eraser pad 108 and the eraser platform 106 form a replaceable cartridge. For example, in either embodiment a first cartridge or pad may include a soft, synthetic felt for use in erasing dry erase ink from a dry erase board, while a second cartridge or pad may include a harder felt for use erasing chalk from a chalk board, and a third cartridge or pad may include a Teflon pad for “erasing” part of a projected display (e.g., when the eraser 100 is acting as an input device to a computer projecting a display through a projector onto the writing surface 14, which writing surface 14 may be a projector screen).
  • [0048]
    In any event, the eraser platform 106 is affixed to a force transmission member 110. The force transmission member 110 may be formed of any suitable material (e.g., wood, plastic, metal, etc.), and may be solid or hollow. The force transmission member 110 may cooperate with a retention mechanism 112 that connects the eraser body 103 to the eraser platform 106. Alternatively, the force transmission member 110 may be formed with a retention mechanism (not shown) for affixing the eraser platform 106 (or the cartridge) to the eraser body 103.
  • [0049]
    When the eraser 100 is pressed against the writing surface 14, the force transmission member 110 transmits the pressure from the eraser pad 108 to the eraser body 103 and, in particular, to a switch 114 located within the housing 105 of the eraser body 103. As described above with respect to the stylus 16, activation of the switch 114 causes a rechargeable power source 116 to power various electronics and transmitters and, in particular, one or more infrared transmitters 118 (which may be protected by one or more lenses or windows 119) and one or more ultrasonic transmitters 120. Also like the rechargeable stylus 16, the transmitters 118 and 120 of the rechargeable erasing device 100 transmit an infrared signal and an ultrasonic signal, respectively, upon placement of the eraser pad 108 against the writing surface 14. The infrared signal identifies the eraser device 100 to the TCU 12, and indicates to the TCU 12 that the eraser device 100 has transmitted an ultrasonic signal. The TCU 12, given the diameter of the eraser pad 108 on the eraser device 100, calculates the position of the eraser device 100 and uses the information to determine what portion of the writing surface 14 and, therefore, what portion of the digitized text or drawing, the user has erased.
  • [0050]
    Referring still to FIG. 4, the illustrated embodiment of the rechargeable eraser 100 includes four infrared transmitters 118 and a single ultrasonic transmitter 120. It should be apparent that the line-of-sight nature of infrared communications requires that regardless of the orientation of the eraser 100 when placed against the writing surface 14, the infrared signal generated by the one or more infrared transmitters 118 must be directed toward the TCU 12. Thus, depending, among other things, on the shape of the eraser 100, the position of the infrared transmitters 118, the position of the eraser 100, and the sensitivity of the infrared receiver 24 on the TCU 12, an embodiment of the eraser 100 may require (or at least benefit from) multiple infrared transmitters 118, as depicted in FIG. 4. Where the eraser 100 includes multiple infrared transmitters 118 the infrared transmitters 118 are preferably disposed in a symmetric pattern around the perimeter of the eraser 100. For example, the eraser 100 depicted in FIG. 4 illustrates the eraser 100 with a generally cylindrical body and four infrared transmitters 118 disposed at 90 degree increments around the axial center of the eraser 100.
  • [0051]
    Similarly, one or more of the ultrasonic transmitters 120 may be employed on the eraser 100. FIG. 4 depicts an embodiment of the eraser 100 having a single ultrasonic transmitter 120 disposed concentrically around the force transmission member 110 such that the ultrasonic signal transmitted from the ultrasonic transmitter 120 propagates radially outward from the axial center of the eraser 100. This arrangement allows the ultrasonic receivers 20 and 22 on the TCU 12 to receive the ultrasonic signal regardless of the orientation of the eraser 100 when placed against the writing surface 14. While some embodiments of the stylus include only a single ultrasonic transmitter 120, other embodiments may use multiple ultrasonic transmitters 120. For example, one embodiment employs two ultrasonic transmitters 120 operating at different ultrasonic frequencies. This arrangement, when paired with a TCU 12 having ultrasonic sensors 20 and 22 capable of separately sensing each frequency, or when paired with a TCU 12 having two ultrasonic sensors 20 and two ultrasonic sensors 22, may provide additional accuracy as to the position and/or the orientation of the eraser 100.
  • [0052]
    The eraser 100 further includes two charging contacts 122 and 124, both of which are disposed on the housing 105 of the body 103, and one of which is connected to each terminal of the rechargeable power source 116. Each of the charging contacts 122 and 124 is formed of (or plated with) a conductive material and, preferably, a non-oxidizing, conductive material such as Zinc or Nickel. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, each of the charging contacts 122 and 124 forms a ring around the circumference of the eraser body 103, to facilitate contact between the charging contacts 122 and 124 and the corresponding charging contacts on the charging station 18, regardless of the axial rotation of the eraser 100 therein. Of course, the charging contacts 122 and 124 need not form a ring around the circumference of the eraser body 103. Instead, the charging contacts 122 and 124 may take any form compatible with the corresponding contacts on the charging station 18, or may be located elsewhere on the rechargeable eraser 100.
  • [0053]
    For example, in one embodiment, one of the charging rings 122 and 124 may be disposed on the body 103 of the eraser 100, while the other of the charging rings 122 and 124 may be disposed on the eraser platform 106 (so long as there is an electrical connection between the charging ring on the eraser platform 106 and the rechargeable power source 116).
  • [0054]
    In much the same way that the indicator light source 58 and the light pipe 56 cooperate to form an indicator ring 58 on the stylus 16, the eraser 100 includes an indicator light source 126 that cooperates with a light pipe 128 to form an illuminated ring 130. In one embodiment, the indicator light source 126 and associated light pipe 128 and illuminated ring 130 are used to indicate that the rechargeable power source 116 is charging when the eraser 100 is properly placed in the charging station 18. Of course, the indicator light source 126 may, by any means known in the art (e.g., by flashing one or more patterns, by using a multi-LED light source, etc.), be used for other or additional indications as well, such as to indicate the eraser 100 is fully charged, or to indicate that the eraser 100 has a low battery. Moreover, while the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4 uses the light pipe 128 to form the illuminated ring 130, other embodiments may place the indicator light source 126 at the perimeter of the housing 105 so that the indicator light source 126 is directly viewable to a user (e.g., through a window in the housing 126). Additionally, the light pipe 126 may illuminate a logo or other symbol (e.g., a battery symbol) on the eraser 100. In some embodiments, an aural indicator (e.g., a buzzer, speaker, etc.) (not shown) may be included instead of, or in addition to, the indicator light source.
  • [0055]
    As described, each of the rechargeable stylus 16 and the rechargeable eraser 100 cooperate with the charging station 18 to recharge the respective power sources 52 and 116. FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment 200 of the charging station 18. In the depicted embodiment, one or more of the styli 16, and the eraser 100, may cooperate with the charging station 200 to charge the respective power sources 52 and 116 of the one or more styli 16 and the eraser 100, as described in further detail below. The charging station 200 includes one or more stylus receptacles 202 for recharging the rechargeable styli 16. While FIG. 5 depicts an embodiment with four stylus receptacles 202, the charging station 200 may include a single stylus receptacle 202 or may otherwise include more or less than four stylus receptacles 202. Additionally, the charging station 200 may or may not include an eraser receptacle 204 for recharging the rechargeable eraser 100. The charging station 200 preferably has a generally rectangular top face 206, and the various receptacles 202 and 204 are preferably disposed within the top face 206 such that a top edge 208 of each receptacle 202, 204 is coplanar with the top face 206. The top face 206 and styli receptacles 202 may cooperate to form a plurality of depressions 210, which may facilitate grasping and removal of the styli 16 from the receptacles 202. In a similar manner, a depression 212 may facilitate grasping and removal of the eraser 100 from the receptacle 204. A back face 214 intersects the top face 206, and extends downward from the top face 206. The back face 214 is preferably planar, allowing the back face 214 to mount flush against another planar surface such as the writing surface 14, as depicted in FIG. 1A.
  • [0056]
    Each of the stylus receptacles 202 is preferably formed such that the shape of the receptacle 202 is generally complementary to the shape of the stylus 16. For example, the receptacles 202 illustrated in FIG. 5 have a shape generally complementary to the stylus 16. That is, each receptacle 202 is a horizontally-extending elongated groove or channel 211 with a generally curvilinear cross section 213 complementary to the generally cylindrical shape of the illustrated stylus 16. FIG. 5 depicts an embodiment in which the channels 211 of each of the stylus receptacles 202 are at an incline 215 such that an end 209A of each receptacle 202 is at a greater depth below the plane of the top surface 206 than an end 209B of each receptacle 202. This is further depicted in FIG. 6A. The incline 215 may, in addition to the depressions 210, aid in grasping and removing the stylus 16 from the receptacle 202. Of course, it will be apparent that, while in some embodiments the channel 211 has a curvilinear cross-section 213 and is at an incline 215 with regard to the plane of the top surface 206, as depicted in FIG. 6B, the channel 211 could also have a rectangular cross-section, as depicted in FIG. 6C, or any other desirable cross-section. Moreover, the channel 211 may have more or less of an incline 215 and, in fact, need not have an incline 215 at all.
  • [0057]
    While the shape of the channels 211 of each of the stylus receptacles 202 is described as complementary to the shape of the stylus 16, it is worth noting that there is no feature of the receptacles 202 that acts against removal of the stylus 16 from the channel 211. Thus, if the charging station 200 were turned upside-down (or even so that the top face 206 were perpendicular to the ground, each stylus 16 would simply fall out of its respective receptacle 202. The lack of any retention mechanism within the receptacle 202 (or the receptacle 204) promotes usage thereof, because this permits a user to place or remove the stylus 16 (or the eraser 100) in the receptacle 202 (or 204) without requiring any additional force, and permits the user to use the charging station 200 just as the user would use a marker tray on a dry erase board, or a chalk tray on a chalk board.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 7 depicts a top plan view of the charging station 200 in FIG. 5. As FIG. 7 illustrates, the back face 214 includes two arrays 216 of magnets for adhering the back face 214 of the charging station 200 to a metallic surface such as the writing surface 14. Of course, other methods of adhering the charging station 200 to a surface could also be employed, such as suction cups, clamps, adhesive tape, glue, hook-and-loop material, etc., depending on the surface to which the charging station 200 is to be adhered.
  • [0059]
    The top plan view FIG. 7 also illustrates each of the styli receptacles 202 having two sets of charging contacts 218 and 220. In the depicted embodiment, the charging contacts 218 include two contacts 218A and 2188, while the charging contacts 220 include two contacts 220A and 220B. Each pair of contacts 218, 220 is disposed within the receptacle 202 and arranged to contact the corresponding charging rings 60 and 62 disposed on the stylus 16. As depicted in FIG. 7, in one embodiment each set of charging contacts 218 and 220 protrudes through a pair of openings 221 in the surface 222 of the receptacle 202. Each of the contacts 218A and 218B and each of the contacts 220A and 220B may be electrically and physically connected to each other as depicted in FIGS. 8A and 8B. In one embodiment, depicted in FIG. 8A, each of the contacts 218A and 218B, and each of the contacts 220A and 220B, is formed on an arc-shaped metallic band 224. In this manner, the arc shape of the metallic band 224 is complementary to the underside of the channel 211, allowing the contacts 218 and 220 to protrude through the openings 221 in the surface 222 of the channel 211 forming the receptacle 202. In another embodiment, depicted in FIG. 8B, each of the contacts 218A and 218B, and each of the contacts 220A and 220B, is formed on (or as part of) a metallic plate 226 approximately twice the width of the contact. The pair of metallic plates 226 for the set 218 or the set 220 of contacts are electrically connected to each other by a metallic strip 228 stamped (or otherwise formed) into a “V” shape such that the contacts 218 and the contacts 220 protrude through the openings 221 in the surface 222 of the channel 211 forming the receptacle 202. As also depicted in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the openings 221 in the surface 222 may be surrounded on the underside of the channel 211 by a recessed area 223, to facilitate fitting engagement of the metallic band 224 or the metallic plate 226 with the underside of the channel 211 and prevent lateral or radial movement of the contacts 218 and 220.
  • [0060]
    Each configuration of contacts depicted in FIGS. 8A and 8B may provide an additional advantage to the disclosed charging system 10. The metallic band 224 and the metallic strip 228 may each be formed such that they provide a spring force against the channel 211 when assembled so that the contacts 218 or 220 protrude through the openings 221 in the surface 222 of the channel 211. This arrangement provides a distinct advantage in that the metallic band 224 and/or the metallic strip 228 may be formed so the spring force is slightly less than the force of the stylus 16 against the contacts 218 and 220 when acted on by gravity. By so configuring the band 224 and/or the strip 228, the contacts 218 and 220 can be configured to retreat slightly through the opening 221 as they come into contact with the charging contacts 60 and 62 on the stylus 16, allowing the stylus to lower slightly into receptacle 202 while still maintaining contact between the charging contacts 60 and 62. Thus, as the stylus 16 is lowered into the receptacle 202, the charging contacts 218 and 220 move slightly along the charging contacts 60 and 62. This “swiping” movement may facilitate better conductivity between the contacts 218 and 220 and the respective charging contacts 62 and 60 by clearing debris or other fouling of the contacts or rings that may otherwise interfere between the two.
  • [0061]
    Referring again to FIG. 7, the top plan view also illustrates the eraser receptacle 204 having a set of charging contacts 230 and 232. The charging contacts 230 and 232 are disposed within the receptacle 204 and arranged to contact the corresponding charging contacts 122 and 124 on the rechargeable eraser 100. Similar to the charging contacts 218 and 220 in the stylus receptacles 202, in one embodiment the charging contacts 230 and 232 protrude through a pair of openings 231 in the surface 234 of the receptacle 204. While the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7 includes only a single contact 230 or 232 for each of the corresponding charging rings 122 and 124 on the rechargeable eraser 100, alternate embodiments may employ arrangements of two or more contacts 230 or 232, similar to the arrangement of two contacts 218 or two contacts 220 employed in the embodiment of the receptacles 202 depicted in FIG. 7.
  • [0062]
    Referring now to FIGS. 9A and 9B, an illustrated embodiment includes a stylus 240 and a receptacle 242 having generally corresponding form factors. For example, FIG. 9A depicts the stylus 240 including a first portion 244A, a second portion 246A, and mid-portion 248A. Each of the first and second portions 244A and 246A, respectively, is depicted as being wider, in general, than the mid-portion 248A. FIG. 9B similarly depicts the receptacle 242 including a first portion 244B generally corresponding in size and shape to the portion 244A of the stylus 240, a second portion 246B generally corresponding in size and shape to the portion 246B of the stylus 240, and a mid-portion 248B generally corresponding in size and shape to the portion 248A of the stylus 240. The charging contacts 60 and 62 on the stylus 240 are configured to align with the corresponding charging contacts 220 and 218, respectively, on the receptacle 242 when the stylus 240 is rested in the receptacle 242. Moreover, the lack of a retention mechanism facilitates effortless placement of the stylus 240 in, and removal of the stylus 240 from, the receptacle 242. The depressions 210 in the mid-portion 248B of the receptacle 242, aid in grasping the stylus 240 to remove it from the receptacle 242. It should be apparent both from the respective shapes of the stylus 240 and the receptacle 242, and from the respective placements of the charging contacts 60 and 62 and the charging contacts 218 and 220, that the stylus 240 and the receptacle 242 must be oriented as depicted by FIGS. 9A and 9B if the stylus 240 and the receptacle 242 are to cooperate to charge the rechargeable power source 52.
  • [0063]
    FIGS. 10A, 10B, and 10C illustrate an alternate embodiment of the system 10, in which a receptacle 250 (FIG. 10B) may cooperate with a stylus 252 (FIGS. 10A and 10C) to charge the stylus 252 regardless of the orientation of the stylus 252 when resting in the receptacle 250. In this alternate embodiment, the receptacle 250 includes three sets of charging contacts 254. A first set of charging contacts 254A is disposed at the midpoint of the length of the receptacle 250, while second and third sets of charging contacts 254B and 254C, respectively, are each disposed at a distance, D2, along the length of the receptacle 250 from the first set of charging contacts 254A. The charging contacts 254 are electrically connected to a power source (not shown) such that the charging contacts 254A are connected to one of “power” or “ground,” while the charging contacts 254B and 254C are connected to the other of “power” or “ground.”
  • [0064]
    The stylus 252 includes two charging contacts 256A and 256B. The charging contact 256A corresponds electrically (i.e., is the same one of “power” or “ground”) to the charging contacts 254A, and is disposed at the midpoint of the length of the stylus 252 so that it aligns with the charging contacts 254A when placed in the receptacle 250. The charging contact 256B corresponds electrically to the charging contacts 254B and 254C, and is disposed at the same distance, D2, from the charging contact 256A so that it aligns with either the set of contacts 254C (as depicted in FIG. 10A) or the set of contacts 254B (as depicted in FIG. 100). In this manner, the stylus 252 may be placed in the receptacle 250 in either of the orientations shown in FIGS. 10A and 100, while still cooperating with the charging station 200 to charge the rechargeable power source 52.
  • [0065]
    FIGS. 11A, 11B, and 110 illustrate yet another embodiment of the system 10, in which a receptacle 260 (FIG. 11B) may cooperate with a stylus 262 (FIGS. 11A and 110) to charge the stylus 262 regardless of the orientation of the stylus 262 when resting in the receptacle 260. In this embodiment, each receptacle includes two sets of charging contacts 264. A first set of charging contacts 264A is disposed at a distance, D3, from a first end 266 of the receptacle 260, while a second set of charging contacts 264B is disposed at the same distance, D3, from a second end 268 of the receptacle 260. A charging circuit (not shown) electrically connects the charging contacts 264 to a power source (not shown) such that each set of charging contacts 264 may be connected either to “power” or to “ground,” according to the orientation of the stylus 262 in the receptacle 260. A simple diode bridge is one charging circuit, known to those of ordinary skill in the art, that would accomplish this reversible polarity feature.
  • [0066]
    The stylus 262 includes two charging contacts 270A and 270B. Each of the charging contacts 270A and 270B may correspond electrically to either “power” or “ground” (so long as one contact 270 is connected to each), and is disposed at the distance, D3, a respective end 272 or 274 of the stylus 262. The charging circuit acts to align the two sets of charging contacts 264A and 264B on the receptacle 260 with the charging contacts 270A and 270B on the stylus 260. For example, suppose that the charging contact 270A is connected to the “power” terminal of the rechargeable power source 52, and that the charging contact 270B is connected to the “ground” terminal of the rechargeable power source 52. The charging circuit would act to align the relative polarities of the sets of charging contacts 264A and 264B such that, when the stylus 262 is placed in the receptacle 260 as depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B, respectively, the set of charging contacts 264A connects to “power” while the set of charging contacts 264B connects to “ground.” Likewise, when the stylus 262 is placed in the receptacle 260 as depicted in FIGS. 11C and 11B, respectively, the charging circuit would act to align the relative polarities of the sets of charging contacts 264A and 264B such that the set of charging contacts 264A connects to “ground” while the set of charging contacts 264B connects to “power.” In this manner, the stylus 262 may be placed in the receptacle 260 in either of the orientations shown in FIGS. 11A and 11C, while still cooperating with the charging station 200 to charge the rechargeable power source 52.
  • [0067]
    It should be understood that in the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 10A, 10B, and 10C, it need not be the receptacle 250 that has three sets of charging contacts 254. Instead, the stylus 252 could have three charging contacts 256, while the receptacle 250 includes only two sets of charging contacts 254. Likewise, it should also be understood that in the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 11A, 11B, and 11C, the charging circuit may electrically connect the charging contacts 270 on the stylus 262 to the rechargeable power source 52, while each of the two sets of charging contacts 264 on the receptacle 260 is connected to either “power” or “ground” (so long as one set of charging contacts 264 is connected to each).
  • [0068]
    As described above, the stylus 16 may also be a mouse operating in almost all regards similar to the styli 16 described with reference to FIG. 2, but having a non-marking writing element 28, and having some additional functionality. FIG. 12 depicts one embodiment of a mouse stylus 280 that, in addition to a non-marking writing element 28, also includes buttons 282 and 284, which may function as left and right mouse buttons, respectively. The mouse stylus 280 may also include one or more buttons 286 for activating features of associated software, performing macro operations, etc. Of course, the activation of any of the buttons 282, 284, or 286 may be communicated to a connected computer system (not shown) through the TCU 12 using the infrared signal to indicate to the TCU 12 that a user pressed the button 282, 284, or 286, or may be communicated directly to the connected computer system by another wireless means (e.g., wireless USB, Bluetooth®, etc.).
  • [0069]
    With reference now to FIG. 13, in some embodiments, a TCU 290 may include one or more charging circuits for charging a stylus device 292, which may be a stylus device such as the stylus 16, having a writing implement, or a stylus device such as the mouse stylus 280. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 13, the stylus device 292 includes at least a body 293 generally symmetrical about a lengthwise axis A, the one or more transmitters (e.g., an IR transmitter and an ultrasonic transmitter) (not shown), and the rechargeable power source (housed in the stylus body) for powering the transmitters. A stylus side coupling circuit may include charging elements 294 electrically coupled to the rechargeable power source. The charging elements 294 may be metallic rings coaxial with the lengthwise axis of the stylus body 293, as depicted in FIG. 13, however the charging elements 294 need not be ring-shaped. Of course, the charging elements 294 may be disposed anywhere on the body 293 of the stylus device 292 so as to cooperate with a mobile device-side coupling circuit on the TCU 290 to charge the rechargeable power source.
  • [0070]
    As described above, the TCU 290 may include appropriate receivers (e.g. IR and ultrasonic receivers) for receiving signals transmitted by the stylus device 292, a processor, a memory, and a communication port (not shown) for facilitating communication between the TCU 290 and a computer system (not shown). Additionally, the TCU 290 may include a mobile device-side coupling circuit. The mobile device-side coupling circuit may include charging contacts 296 electrically coupled to a charging power source. The charging contacts 296 may be metallic and need not have any particular shape or location on the TCU 290, so long as the charging contacts 296 cooperate with the charging elements 294 of the stylus-side coupling circuit on the stylus 292 to charge the rechargeable power source.
  • [0071]
    The embodiment depicted in FIG. 13 includes a groove 298 having a shape complementary to the shape of the stylus device 292. The charging contacts 296 of the mobile device-side coupling circuit are disposed in the groove 298 to cooperate with the charging elements 294 of the stylus-side coupling circuit on the stylus device 292. The stylus device 292 may be held in place near the TCU 290 and/or the stylus-side coupling circuit may be aligned with the mobile device-side coupling circuit by operation of one or more magnetic materials. For example, the charging elements 294 on the stylus device 292 and/or the charging contacts 296 on the TCU 290 may be magnetized. Alternatively or additionally, a magnet may be disposed within one or both of the stylus device 292 and the TCU 290. In some embodiments, a ring 300, adapted to receive an end of the stylus device 292, may be mounted on or formed in the TCU 290 for retaining and/or aligning the stylus device 292 with the TCU 290. For example, the ring 300 may be mounted at an end 302 of the groove 298, as depicted in FIG. 13. The ring 300 may also, in some embodiments, operate as a charging contact of the mobile device-side coupling circuit, replacing, for example, one of the charging contacts 296. Of course, some embodiments may omit one or more of the groove 298 (as described below with respect to FIG. 15), the ring 300, and the magnetic material.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 14A illustrates one embodiment of a stylus-side coupling circuit 304A and a mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A. The stylus-side coupling circuit 304A includes a rechargeable power source 305A in the stylus device 292, and the pair of charging elements 294 electrically coupled to the rechargeable power source 305A. The mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A includes corresponding charging contacts 296 electrically coupled to a charging power source 307A. When the charging elements 294 come into contact with the charging contacts 296, the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A cooperates with the stylus-side coupling circuit 304A to charge the rechargeable power source 305A. Of course, the stylus-side coupling circuit 304A and the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A may include additional components 312A and 314A, respectively.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 14B illustrates an alternate embodiment of a stylus-side coupling circuit 304B and a mobile device-side coupling circuit 306B. The mobile device-side coupling circuit 306B includes a primary induction coil 310 coupled to a charging power source 307B. The stylus-side charging circuit 304B includes a secondary induction coil 308 coupled to a rechargeable power source 305B. As readily understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, a charging power supply 307B may cause a first current flowing through the primary induction coil 310. The first current will induce a second current in the secondary induction coil 308 when the stylus-side coupling circuit 304B is placed proximate to the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306B. The second current will operate to charge a rechargeable power source 305B in the stylus device. Of course, the stylus-side coupling circuit 304B and the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306B may include additional components 312B and 314B, respectively.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 15 illustrates an embodiment of the system in which the TCU 290 does not include the groove 298 depicted in FIG. 13. Instead, the ring 300 cooperates with the charging contacts 296, which, in this embodiment, extend from the TCU 290. FIG. 15 depicts the charging contacts 296 as curved to complement the ring-like shape of the charging elements 294.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 16 illustrates an embodiment of the system in which the TCU 290 may have included or attached thereto a receptacle 320 for receiving an end of the stylus device 292 such that placement of the end of the stylus 290 into the receptacle 320 will cause the stylus-side coupling circuit 304A, 304B and the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A, 306B to cooperate to charge the rechargeable power source 305A, 305B. For example, the receptacle 320 may be shaped as an inkwell, and may include the mobile device-side coupling circuit 306A or 306B (e.g., the charging contacts 296 or the primary induction coil 310). Accordingly, the charging elements 294 or secondary induction coil 308 of the stylus-side coupling circuit 304A or 304B must be arranged in a corresponding manner.
  • [0076]
    While the present disclosure describes specific embodiments intended to be illustrative only, and not limiting, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that changes, additions, or deletions may be made to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure. Moreover, it is explicitly contemplated that each of the individual features described with reference to the various embodiments disclosed may be combined with any of the other features disclosed herein. Thus, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

Claims (22)

  1. 1. A system comprising:
    a stylus device comprising:
    a stylus body generally symmetrical about a lengthwise axis;
    a first transmitter;
    a second transmitter;
    a rechargeable power source powering the first and second transmitters and disposed within the stylus body;
    a stylus-side coupling circuit; and
    a mobile device comprising:
    a first receiver;
    a second receiver;
    a communication port;
    a mobile device-side coupling circuit; and
    a charging power source electrically coupled to mobile device-side coupling circuit,
    wherein the mobile device-side coupling circuit cooperates with the stylus-side coupling circuit to charge the rechargeable power source, and
    wherein one or both of the stylus and the mobile device further comprises a magnetic material.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein the mobile device further comprises an elongated groove formed in the mobile device and having a shape complementary to that of the stylus body, and wherein the mobile device-side coupling circuit cooperates with the stylus-side coupling circuit to charge the rechargeable power source when the stylus is placed in the groove.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1, wherein the mobile device further comprises a receptacle formed to receive an end of the stylus device, and wherein the mobile device-side coupling circuit cooperates with the stylus-side coupling circuit to charge the rechargeable power source when the stylus is placed in the receptacle.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1, wherein:
    the stylus-side coupling circuit comprises:
    a first charging element disposed on the exterior of the stylus body and electrically coupled to a first terminal of the rechargeable power source; and
    a second charging element disposed on the exterior of the stylus body and electrically coupled to a second terminal of the rechargeable power source; and
    the mobile device-side coupling circuit comprises:
    a first charging contact disposed to align with the first charging element of the stylus; and
    a second charging contact disposed to align with the second charging element of the stylus.
  5. 5. The system of claim 4, wherein each of the first and second charging elements on the stylus device comprises a metallic ring formed around the stylus body about the lengthwise axis.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1, wherein:
    the mobile device-side coupling circuit comprises a primary induction coil;
    the stylus-side coupling circuit comprises: a secondary induction coil; and
    a first current flowing through the primary induction coil induces a second current in the secondary induction coil when the stylus device is coupled with the mobile device.
  7. 7. (canceled)
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, wherein the magnetic material aligns the stylus device with the mobile device such that the mobile device-side coupling circuit cooperates with the stylus-side device coupling circuit to charge the rechargeable power source.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1, wherein the magnetic material retains the position of the stylus device such that the mobile-device side coupling circuit remains coupled with the stylus-side coupling circuit.
  10. 10. The system of any of claim 1, wherein the mobile device further comprises a ring mounted on the mobile device at an end of the elongated groove, the ring having a central opening operable to receive an end of the stylus.
  11. 11. The system of claim 10, wherein the ring comprises a portion of the mobile device-side coupling circuit.
  12. 12-164. (canceled)
  13. 165. A stylus comprising:
    a stylus body generally symmetrical about a lengthwise axis;
    a first transmitter;
    a second transmitter;
    a rechargeable power source powering the first and second transmitters and disposed within the stylus body;
    a stylus-side coupling circuit operable to couple the rechargeable power source to a recharging power supply; and
    a magnetic material disposed to cooperate with a mobile device to maintain a position of the stylus-side coupling circuit with respect to the mobile device.
  14. 166. The stylus of claim 165, wherein a contact of the stylus-side coupling circuit comprises the magnetic material.
  15. 167. The stylus of claim 165, wherein a contact of the stylus-side coupling circuit comprises a ring coaxial with the lengthwise axis.
  16. 168. The stylus of claim 165, wherein the stylus-side coupling circuit comprises an induction coil, and wherein the magnetic material is disposed to align the induction coil with a corresponding induction coil in the mobile device.
  17. 169. The stylus of claim 165, further comprising an erasable writing element operable to mark a surface while each of the first and second transmitters transmit respective signals.
  18. 170. A mobile device comprising:
    an infrared receiver;
    a radio frequency receiver;
    a communication port;
    a charging power source;
    a mobile device-side coupling circuit operable to couple the charging power source to a rechargeable power source in a stylus device; and
    a magnetic material disposed to cooperate with the stylus device to maintain a position of the stylus with respect to the mobile device-side coupling circuit.
  19. 171. The mobile device of claim 170, wherein a contact of the mobile device-side coupling circuit comprises the magnetic material.
  20. 172. The mobile device of claim 170, wherein the mobile device-side coupling circuit comprises an induction coil, and wherein the magnetic material is disposed to align the induction coil with a corresponding induction coil in the stylus.
  21. 173. The mobile device of claim 170, further comprising a ring mounted on the mobile device, the ring having a central opening adapted to receive an end of the stylus.
  22. 174. The mobile device of claim 170, further comprising an elongated groove having a shape complementary to that of the stylus, wherein the mobile device-side coupling circuit cooperates with a corresponding stylus-side coupling circuit to charge the rechargeable power source when the stylus is placed in the groove.
US13143035 2008-12-30 2009-12-29 Electronic Rechargeable Stylus and Eraser System Abandoned US20110279081A1 (en)

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US13143035 US20110279081A1 (en) 2008-12-30 2009-12-29 Electronic Rechargeable Stylus and Eraser System

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US13143035 Abandoned US20110279081A1 (en) 2008-12-30 2009-12-29 Electronic Rechargeable Stylus and Eraser System

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US20100164434A1 (en) 2010-07-01 application
EP2382523A1 (en) 2011-11-02 application
US8450972B2 (en) 2013-05-28 grant
CN102341771A (en) 2012-02-01 application
WO2010078338A1 (en) 2010-07-08 application

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