US20150075546A1 - Controller With Network Access and Unique ID for Personal Electronic Devices - Google Patents

Controller With Network Access and Unique ID for Personal Electronic Devices Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150075546A1
US20150075546A1 US14/337,697 US201414337697A US2015075546A1 US 20150075546 A1 US20150075546 A1 US 20150075546A1 US 201414337697 A US201414337697 A US 201414337697A US 2015075546 A1 US2015075546 A1 US 2015075546A1
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module
data
device
remote computing
computing device
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Abandoned
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US14/337,697
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Todd R. Kueny, SR.
Todd R. Kueny, JR.
Nicholas McKelvey
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Stoicheion Technology LLC
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Stoicheion Technology LLC
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Priority to US14/337,697 priority patent/US20150075546A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F47/00Smokers' requisites not provided for elsewhere, e.g. devices to assist in stopping or limiting smoking
    • A24F47/002Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes
    • A24F47/004Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel
    • A24F47/008Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel with electrical heating means

Abstract

An add-on module for an electronic cigarette or vaporizer providing an electronic means to communicate with remote computers and electronic devices and to provide a dynamic means to control temperature over time, manage and save device settings, dynamically control temperatures, monitor sensors, and transmit and read this data from remote computing devices for display, alteration and storage

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/845,437, filed Jul. 12, 2013.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention related generally to the field of personal electronic devices and, in particular, to the enhancement of the performance and enjoyment of such devices through the inclusion of a networking capability that allows remote data gathering regarding the use of the device and the control of certain aspects of the operation of the device. In particular, the invention is related to the field of electronic cigarettes, also sometimes referred to as atomizers or vaporizers.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular and today have reached a point where they can include powerful computerized micro-controllers to provide voltage regulation, text-based user displays, and other features such as buttons to adjust voltage. Most of these devices are currently manufactured overseas and improvements are based on small, incremental changes to existing power-controller centered designs with minimalist user interfaces.
  • As a result, electronic cigarettes currently on the market do not take full advantage of the potential networking and sensing capabilities that could be used for monitoring the operation of the devices and user control of the functioning of the devices.
  • Thus, it would be advantageous and desirable to incorporate sensors and networking capabilities into these devices to allow the advantages that could be realized thereby.
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION
  • This invention presents improvements to prior art personal electronic devices, such as electronic cigarettes or vaporizers, and operates to computerize the capture, management, control and transmission to and from these devices of data generated for and by the use and operation of the devices.
  • We disclose improvements to the current designs of personal electronic devices in the form of a computerized controller which will allow smart phones and remote computers to perform dynamic adjustments on the operation of these devices through networked connections in real time, and to use the display of these remotely connected devices to act as the display for the user interface of the device.
  • In the case or an electronic cigarette or vaporizer, the computerized controller is able to perform functions that will allow the user to treat the device much as they would an extension to a modern smart phone and to reap the advantages of the kind of connectivity, social function and computing power smart phones offer.
  • The invention is embodied by embedding an electronic communication system in the device that includes a unique identifier. This allows remote computers to identify, communicate with and track specific information about specific devices. Further, a smart phone or computer, using this technology, can act as a sophisticated display for data generated by the device, or an interactive display allowing changes on the smart phone screen to dynamically change the parameters of the operation of the device.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows a generalized representation of the configuration of the computer-based control unit or the primary embodiment of the invention. In particular, the Unique ID of the controller is part of the electronic network interface or the controller.
  • FIG. 2 shows a remote computing device connected to the personal electronic device and receiving and displaying data therefrom, in this case a “hit count”.
  • FIG. 3 shows a remote computing device connected to the personal electronic device, and transmitting data to control the operation of the device, in this case the parameter being controlled is the temperature of the vaporization cycle.
  • FIG. 4 shows the computer-based control unit can receiving data as named sets.
  • FIG. 5 depicts the processes of a remote computer or cellphone “discovering” a device and connecting to it via a network.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention as described herein may be associated with any type of personal electronic device, but, for purposes of explanation, embodiments for an electronic cigarette or vaporizer will be used as an example. These will be referred to herein as the “device”. The invention provides a means to associate a unique network IP address or other unique electronic identifier with a device to provide communication capabilities which will allow the exchange of operational and control data between the device and other, remotely-connected devices. For purposes of this application, such remotely-connected devices can include, for example, smart phones or devices, computers, dedicated appliances or an application running in a cloud environment. These will be referred to collectively herein as “remote computing devices”.
  • The additional components comprising the invention, as shown in FIG. 1, consist of a processor 60, computer-readable memory 70 and a communication system 80, with software stored in memory 70 and executed by processor 60 to enable the functions described below. The functions provided as part of the invention will include the exchange of data with a remote computing device to (1) control certain parameters of the device's operation and (2) record various aspects of the device's operation.
  • A “vaporization cycle” is typically started when the initiation sensor 10 is actuated by a user. In an alternative embodiment, additional user controls could be used to distinguish between actuating one or both of the vaporization cycle and the network communications capability.
  • As seen in FIG. 1, the device begins operation when initiation sensor 10 detects the user has initiated a vaporization cycle. Data stored in computer memory 70 related to the vaporization cycle and the heating of the vaporizer or atomizer 50 is used to control the operation of heating controller 40 in accordance with stored instructions execute by processor 60, which may be provided by default (i.e., permanently stored in memory 70) or which may be downloaded from a remote computing device as described below.
  • During the vaporization cycle, data regarding operational parameters and operation of the device is retrieved by processor 60 from memory 70 and used by processor 60 to control the operation of the device. An example of operational parameters read from memory might be dynamic temperature adjustments of heating controller 40.
  • With reference to FIG. 1, processor 60 will collect data regarding the operation of the device and either transmit it in real time to a remote computing device for display, storage or analysis, or store it locally in memory 70 for later transmission or use. Data collected regarding the operation of the device would be stored in memory and for transmission to a remote computing device either at a time after the vaporization cycle completes or dynamically as it is collected in real-time, providing, of course, the network connection is active.
  • While the vaporization occurs, processor 60 is also gathering data from other sensors (not shown) about the state of the vaporizer and storing this data in memory 70. At some point after this data is gathered, the user may initiate a networking connection with the vaporizer to a remote computing device. This connection will cause processor 60 to scan memory 70 for data that is to be transmitted to the remote device. After such data is located, communication system 80 sends the data, along with the unique identifier of the device, to a remote computing device.
  • In the case of wherein communications system 80 is a WiFi, USB, BlueTooth or wired ethernet connection, the unique identifier for the communications port may serve as this identifier, for example, the MAC address in the case of ethernet. In situations where communications system 80 has no such unique address, the vaporizer will be configured with a generated identifier during its manufacture via some hardware or software means. This generated identifier will be transmitted along with the data such that the remote computing device can identify the source of the data.
  • Some forms of networking which the device could utilize does not provide a direct means to pair the vaporizer with the remote computing device. For example, BlueTooth networking provides a specific means to pair a device (e.g., a mouse) with a computer. WiFi or ethernet, on the other hand, does not. It is anticipated that in some embodiments of the invention the device and the remote computing device will need a commonly accessible third computer, visible on the network to both, through which a common link can be created.
  • For example, a device may obtain an IP address via its network interface from a local router to which a remote computing device is also connected. The user, wishing to use the remote computing device to control or read data from the device, needs a means to identify the IP address of the device.
  • The invention provides the following means to accomplish this: The device, on start-up and before it is initially configured, or when it is actively looking for a network in an environment with which it has no recorded memory of, would blindly transmit its IP address along with its unique ID to a third party computer or website at a known address, e.g., www.elementvapors.com. An application running on the website would consult this same website looking for devices unpaired with a remote computing device at this same web address. FIG. 5 shows a device connecting to a remote computing device via a local Wi-Fi connection.
  • The user of the device may wish to transmit data to a remote computing device for purposes of monitoring the status of the device. Examples of data which may be collected might include readings from one or more sensors, that can, for example, determine the volume of breath the user is applying to the device, determine the number of vaporization cycles that have occurred since the last time such data was monitored or determine the number of “hits” that the user has taken from the device, as shown in FIG. 2.
  • Additionally, data regarding the current status of the device may be collected, for example, the current state of the battery charge or the current state (i.e., quantity) of the contents of the vaporization chamber. Specifically, the invention allows for the collection of data about the state or quantity of the liquid or other material to be vaporized. This data can be transmitted to the remote computing device for viewing by a user.
  • To effect this data transfer, the user would cause the vaporizer to enter a state where the networking function would be enabled. In a preferred embodiment, this may be accomplished by utilizing a remote computing device, for example, a smart phone, to initiate a connection to the device via a wireless means, such as Wi-Fi or BlueTooth. Once this connection is established the device is able to transmit its data to the remote computing device.
  • In the preferred embodiment, the remote computing device receiving data from the vaporizer would provide an application to store and view the data that is generated.
  • Similarly, during a vaporization cycle and thereafter, parameters set by the user can be used by processor 60 to alter the behavior of the device. Operation of the device's atomizer or vaporizer, under the control of such data, would allow the user to apply different configurations to the operation of the device.
  • In preferred embodiment, a remote computing device, such as a smartphone, could be used by the user to configure parameters for the vaporizer. Once the parameters are configured, for example, by utilizing an application running on the remote computing device, these parameters will be transmitted to the device via communication system 80. An example of parameters that may be set for a vaporizer-type device would be the setting of parameters to control the temperature over time of vapor heating element 50.
  • Given this capability, it will be possible for a user of a device equipped with the components of the invention to create a number of different operational configurations or profiles which the user may wish to recall at different times. For example, a “hotter” vaporization temperature setting for use in the morning and a “cooler” vaporization temperature setting for use in the evening. The invention allows the user to save a series of settings as a profile with a given alphanumeric name using the application running on the remote computing device, or to save the settings on the device itself by entering a series of button clicks on the device. FIG. 4 shows the naming and downloading of several named operational profiles from the remote computing device to the device. The invention also allows the user to utilize the electronic communication means to provide for more descriptive naming via a connected remote computing device, which can also be used to store the profiles and transmit the profiles to the device for recall during use.
  • As example of such settings would allow for specific control over the heating cycle used by the device. This can be accomplished by utilizing a series of timed temperature settings or a continuous temperature function. When the vaporization cycle is initiated, the specific heat of the vaporizer at a given time after the initiation of the cycle is controlled by consulting a table or function. As an example, various liquids placed in the vaporization chamber may have varying vaporization temperatures, and as such, the temperature may be varied accordingly. It may also be possible to have one or more liquids having different vaporization temperatures mixed in the vaporization chamber and to time the vaporization of each individual liquid by varying the temperature of the vaporizer accordingly.
  • Other examples of parameters of the device that could be set by the user are temperature-related characteristics. Users of vaporizers have preferred characteristics for their use. For example, “throat hit” is the way in which the vapor initially feels in the user's throat when they begin inhaling the vapor. Each user has a preferred specific value or values for these characteristics. The invention allows the user to control temperature-related characteristics by providing an application on a remote computing device that allows the user to “draw out” the characteristics via a graphics user interface, in the preferred embodiment some type of interactive graphing application, and to transmit the data represented by the graph to the device for testing or saving as a “named” setting. FIG. 3 shows a graph on a remote computing device being converted into an operational profile and being downloaded to the device.
  • In one embodiment, the vaporizer could remain connected to the remote computing device while the user continues to operate the vaporizer. In such a case, controller 80 could transmit real-time data directly to the remote computing device about the process. When the user has finished using the device, the network connection could be disabled to save battery power.
  • Alternatively, the device could collect data regarding its operation and store it in memory 70 for a one-time transmission to the remote computing device at a later time. This embodiment may be useful when the vaporizer is out of range of a means for connecting to a remote computing device, or is conserving power.
  • Some types of vaporizers provide the ability to utilize interchangeable components or parts, for example, different batteries with different characteristics, vaporizers or atomizers with different ohm ratings, etc. Many of these components have specific requirements that, if mismatched with other interchangeable components, would cause damage to the component or to another component, for example, a lithium ion battery. The invention specifically allows for the gathering and storing of information about the configuration of the device, either manually or via sensors located in the device itself, or in a remote computer and comparing that configuration with an idealized template or model configuration. The comparison would indicate to the user if there are any incompatibilities between the actual configuration and the template.
  • Other embodiments of the invention allow users to personalize the devices in a variety of ways. The invention allows the attachment of a sound-generating module that would allow the creation of sounds as part of the vaporization cycle. The sounds could be stored in named configurations and transmitted to and from the remote computing device for storage for further storage or manipulation.
  • Some secondary functions, such as playing sounds or exchanging data with the remote computing device may require processor 60 to operate beyond the end of the vaporization cycle. For example, a sound may play for five seconds but the user only triggers a three second vaporization cycle. In such a case processor 60 may continue to operation beyond the vaporization cycle to complete the action. The invention provides a means for processor 60 to affect its own power supply such that it can control how long it continues to be powered after the cycle completes.
  • It will be understood that the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed by way of example and that other modifications and alterations may occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the disclosure herein.

Claims (20)

We claim:
1. An add-on module for a device having a vaporizer that provides a user with an inhalable vapor during a vaporization cycle, said control module comprising:
one or more sensors for collecting data related to the operation of said device, at least one of said one or more sensors detecting the initiation of said vaporization cycle by a user of said device;
a communications module capable of communicating with a remote computing device; and
a processor and memory for storing data and executing software for performing the functions of:
dynamically altering the operation of said vaporizer during said vaporization cycle or from cycle-to-cycle to vary a vaporization temperature based on data stored in said memory;
collecting data from said one or more sensors and storing said collected data in said memory; and
exchanging data with a remote computing device via said communications module;
wherein said add-on module can provide a unique identifier associated with said device to said remote computing device.
2. The module of claim 1 wherein said function of exchanging data includes receiving data from said remote computing device regarding the operation of said device and storing said data in said memory.
3. The module of claim 1 wherein said function of exchanging data includes sending data collected from said one or more sensors to a remote computing device.
4. The module of claim 3 wherein one or said one or more sensors is capable of sensing the power remaining in a battery powering said device.
5. The module of claim 3 wherein one or said one or more sensors is capable of sensing the quantity of a substance in said vaporizer.
6. The module of claim 3 wherein said exchanged data includes information regarding the number of times a user has inhaled vapor from said device.
7. The module of claim 2 wherein data received from said remote computing device is associated with said unique identifier.
8. The module of claim 7 wherein only a subset of data received from a remote computing device is associated with said unique identifier and further wherein said device only processes said subset of said data associated with said unique identifier.
9. The module of claim 2 wherein said data received from said remote computing device includes a operational profile specifying a timed or continuous sequence of two or more temperatures to be used by said vaporizer.
10. The module of claim 9 wherein said operational profile may be named.
11. The module of claim 9 wherein a remote computing device with which data is being exchanged, coordinates the managing, organizing and naming of operational profile data.
12. The module of claim 9 wherein, during said vaporization cycle, the heating of a substance in said vaporizer varies in temperature according to a timed or continuous sequence of varied temperatures specified in said operational profile.
13. The module of claim 3 wherein said data sent to said remote computing device includes data useful for determining compatibility of components of said device.
14. The module of claim 12 wherein a user using an application on said remote computing device can perform the functions of:
creating, viewing and managing one or more operational profile;
associate said unique identifier with said one or more operational profiles, and
transmitting said one or more operational profiles via a uniquely addressable electronic connection to said device.
15. The module of claim 1 further comprising a sound module for communication of information with a user via sound
16. The module of claim 1 wherein said module has access to power after completion of said vaporization cycle, said module completing secondary tasks during the time between the end of said vaporization cycle and the loss of power.
17. The module of claim 1 wherein said module can communicate said unique identifier to a first remote computing device and further where a second remote computing device can retrieve information necessary to discover and initiate communications with said device using said unique identifier.
18. The module of claim 12 wherein said operational profile is used to vary the vaporization temperature such as to cause the vaporization of mixed substances at different times during said vaporization cycle.
19. An electronic cigarette comprising:
a vaporization chamber capable of having the temperature within varied;
a power supply;
a user interface, allowing a user to inhale vapors produced by vaporizing substances placed into said vaporization chamber;
one or more sensors for collecting data related to the operation of said device, at least one of said one or more sensors detecting the initiation of said vaporization cycle by a user of said device;
a communications module capable of communicating with a remote computing device; and
a processor and memory for storing data and executing software for performing the functions of:
dynamically altering the operation of said vaporizer during said vaporization cycle or from cycle-to-cycle to vary a vaporization temperature based on data stored in said memory;
collecting data from said one or more sensors and storing said collected data in said memory; and
exchanging data with a remote computing device via said communications module;
wherein said add-on module can provide a unique identifier associated with said device to said remote computing device.
20. The device of claim wherein said function of exchanging data includes receiving data from said remote computing device regarding the operation of said device and storing said data in said memory and sending data collected from said one or more sensors to a remote computing device.
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