US20160320083A1 - System and method for controlling an environment - Google Patents

System and method for controlling an environment Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160320083A1
US20160320083A1 US15/107,697 US201315107697A US2016320083A1 US 20160320083 A1 US20160320083 A1 US 20160320083A1 US 201315107697 A US201315107697 A US 201315107697A US 2016320083 A1 US2016320083 A1 US 2016320083A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
system
thermostat
device
configured
method
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Abandoned
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US15/107,697
Inventor
William Paul Windgassen
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Schneider Electric Buildings LLC
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Schneider Electric Buildings LLC
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Application filed by Schneider Electric Buildings LLC filed Critical Schneider Electric Buildings LLC
Priority to PCT/US2013/077756 priority Critical patent/WO2015099721A1/en
Assigned to SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC BUILDINGS, LLC reassignment SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC BUILDINGS, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: WINDGASSEN, WILLIAM PAUL
Publication of US20160320083A1 publication Critical patent/US20160320083A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/62Control or safety arrangements characterised by the type of control or by internal processing, e.g. using fuzzy logic, adaptive control or estimation of values
    • F24F11/006
    • F24F11/0086
    • F24F11/02
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/30Control or safety arrangements for purposes related to the operation of the system, e.g. for safety or monitoring
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/89Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D23/00Control of temperature
    • G05D23/19Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D23/1902Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means characterised by the use of a variable reference value
    • G05D23/1905Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means characterised by the use of a variable reference value associated with tele control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D23/00Control of temperature
    • G05D23/19Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D23/1927Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means using a plurality of sensors
    • G05D23/193Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means using a plurality of sensors sensing the temperaure in different places in thermal relationship with one or more spaces
    • G05D23/1932Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means using a plurality of sensors sensing the temperaure in different places in thermal relationship with one or more spaces to control the temperature of a plurality of spaces
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C17/00Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link
    • G08C17/02Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link using a radio link
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L9/00Cryptographic mechanisms or cryptographic arrangements for secret or secure communication
    • H04L9/32Cryptographic mechanisms or cryptographic arrangements for secret or secure communication including means for verifying the identity or authority of a user of the system or for message authentication, e.g. authorization, entity authentication, data integrity or data verification, non-repudiation, key authentication or verification of credentials
    • H04L9/3234Cryptographic mechanisms or cryptographic arrangements for secret or secure communication including means for verifying the identity or authority of a user of the system or for message authentication, e.g. authorization, entity authentication, data integrity or data verification, non-repudiation, key authentication or verification of credentials involving additional secure or trusted devices, e.g. TPM, smartcard, USB or software token
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04QSELECTING
    • H04Q9/00Arrangements in telecontrol or telemetry systems for selectively calling a substation from a main station, in which substation desired apparatus is selected for applying a control signal thereto or for obtaining measured values therefrom
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/50Control or safety arrangements characterised by user interfaces or communication
    • F24F11/56Remote control
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/62Control or safety arrangements characterised by the type of control or by internal processing, e.g. using fuzzy logic, adaptive control or estimation of values
    • F24F11/63Electronic processing
    • F24F2011/0061
    • F24F2011/0068
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L2209/00Additional information or applications relating to cryptographic mechanisms or cryptographic arrangements for secret or secure communication H04L9/00
    • H04L2209/80Wireless
    • H04L2209/805Lightweight hardware, e.g. radio-frequency identification [RFID] or sensor

Abstract

A system for controlling an environment of a controlled space includes a thermostat coupled to an HVAC system. The thermostat is configured to manipulate the HVAC unit to manage the environment within the controlled space. The system further includes a device configured to be detected by the thermostat. The thermostat includes user preferences associated with a person possessing the device, and manipulates the HVAC system to control the environment of the controlled space based on the user preferences.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field of Disclosure
  • The present disclosure relates generally to the field of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and more particularly to systems and methods for automatically controlling residential and commercial environments in response to individual preferences.
  • 2. Discussion of Related Art
  • Common residential heating and cooling systems in the United States and in other countries typically have a central heating unit, which can be configured to further include a separate or integrated cooling unit, e.g., a combined furnace and optional an air conditioning unit. This combined unit is generally referred to a residential HVAC unit or system. A residential HVAC unit typically includes a user interface, commonly referred to as a thermostat, which measures the space environmental conditions, commonly temperature. The thermostat may also include future space HVAC control options, such as optional smoke, humidity, pollen, and carbon monoxide control units. The thermostat also has set points for any or all of these measured parameters.
  • The thermostat is set by the user for the desired space conditions. In response, the residential HVAC unit then takes the user desired set points, the measured space condition and sends run or stand by signals to the residential HVAC unit, which then controls the space conditions. Simple thermostats control the furnace to one user-identified temperature set point. Some thermostats also allow selection of cooling or heating, and then also control of the central air conditioning system. The thermostat may be programmed to maintain the set points for both the heating or cooling seasons.
  • Thermostats are also available which allow discrete temperature set points for time of day, and day of the week, commonly referred to as programmable thermostats. For example, the thermostats may be programmed to allow set point control for the temperature to be altered automatically as the time of the day and the day of the week changes. Programmable thermostats are becoming more common due their increased residential HVAC energy efficiency, and improved user comfort.
  • SUMMARY OF DISCLOSURE
  • One aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a system for controlling an environment of a controlled space. In one embodiment, the system comprises a thermostat coupled to an HVAC system. The thermostat is configured to manipulate the HVAC unit to manage the environment within the controlled space. The system further comprises a device configured to be detected by the thermostat. The thermostat includes user preferences associated with a person possessing the device, and manipulates the HVAC system to control the environment of the controlled space based on the user preferences.
  • Embodiments of the system further may include a control unit coupled to the thermostat. The thermostat may include a reader unit configured to detect the device. In one embodiment, the device may be an RFID tag and the reader unit may be a transceiver unit configured to detect the RFID tag. The RFID tag may be passive, semi-passive, or active, and attached or connected to a key ring, necklace, or key chain. In another embodiment, the device may be a mobile device and the reader unit is configured to detect the mobile device. The mobile device may include a global positioning system. The mobile device may include a mobile phone, handheld device or computer. The controlled space may include multiple zones. The system further may include multiple devices, with each device being configured to manipulate the HVAC system through the thermostat to control the environment of a respective zone.
  • Another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a method of controlling a HVAC system of a controlled space. In one embodiment, the method comprises: providing a device configured to be detected by a thermostat, the thermostat being configured to store user preferences associated with a person possessing the device; and manipulating the HVAC system by the thermostat when the device is located at or near the controlled space.
  • Embodiments of the method further may include the thermostat having a reader unit configured to detect the device. In one embodiment, the device may be an RFID tag and the reader unit may be configured to detect the RFID tag. The RFID tag may be passive, semi-passive, or active, and may be attached or connected to a key ring, necklace, or key chain. In another embodiment, the device is a mobile device and the reader unit is configured to detect the mobile device. The mobile device may include a global positioning system. The mobile device may include a mobile phone, handheld device or computer. The reader unit may be a transceiver. The controlled space may include multiple zones. The method further may include providing multiple devices, each device being configured to manipulate the HVAC system by the thermostat to control the environment of a respective zone.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Various aspects of at least one embodiment are discussed below with reference to the accompanying figures, which are not intended to be drawn to scale. Where technical features in the figures, detailed description or any claim are followed by references signs, the reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the figures, detailed description, and claims. Accordingly, neither the reference signs nor their absence are intended to have any limiting effect on the scope of any claim elements. In the figures, each identical or nearly identical component that is illustrated in various figures is represented by a like numeral. For purposes of clarity, not every component may be labeled in every figure. The figures are provided for the purposes of illustration and explanation and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the disclosure. In the figures:
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a system for controlling a residential environment of a controlled space;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a system for controlling a commercial environment of a controlled space; and
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a system for controlling a residential environment of a controlled space of another embodiment of the disclosure.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In one embodiment, the present disclosure is directed to using personalized radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to control environmental conditions within a residence. RFID tags have been used since at least the 1980s in many applications, including, but not limited to inventory management, toll collection, contactless payment, and related applications. This technology is available in the form of passive, semi-passive and active RFID tags, which enables the presence of the tag within a radius up to 100 or 200 feet to be identified. The RFID tag is used in many forms, inexpensive, and very small. In some embodiments, the RFID tag embodies a card that is similar in size and shape to a credit card. In other embodiments, the RFID tag can be put on a ring or necklace, a key chain, or similar article, and can include multiple items of information. The RFID tag can include readable identifiers for the controlling computer.
  • In other embodiments, global positioning system (GPS) devices commonly found in mobile phones and car navigation devices may also be employed. In embodiments of the present disclosure, many residential HVAC users have these types of devices. Moreover, it is common to find computers and “smart” phones, in the possession of these same residential HVAC system users. The system of the present disclosure can be configured to incorporate these technologies to achieve a residential HVAC user to custom select and control their heating and cooling space from their smart phone, or computer to any desired position.
  • The present disclosure relates to removing the user set points from the thermostat. The thermostat includes a controlled space input sensor, such as a temperature sensor, which informs the residential HVAC system of the actual controlled space temperature. The residential HVAC system also includes an input receiver which receives the run or stand by signals from the host computer. The residential HVAC system allows a user to control the space environment conditions, primarily temperature, to computer-selected set points, based on individual user preferences, and will also automatically change based on the location and changing location of these same users. This results in significant energy savings, automatic temperature set back when the users are not home.
  • Existing programmable thermostats are incapable of allowing automatic set back when the user is away from the home. Such systems also do not allow the system change when the user is moving towards home. With multiple users, existing thermostats are incapable of allowing multiple set points based on individual preferences (and of automatically controlling the priority set points when multiple users are home). In certain embodiments, a GPS and/or mobile phone can be assigned to the user, and carried by the user. Movement of the GPS and/or mobile phone device becomes an automatically dialed internet call in input for user movement outside the immediate space. This then allows selected residential HVAC system run and stand-by operation based on user movement outside the RFID range. The result is that house is at a desired temperature when the person possessing the device arrives home. Other parameters may also be changed depending on the user's preferences.
  • In one form, an RFID tag can be carried by all users, identifying the user and operating the residential HVAC system based on individual RFID tag preferences and location within a user RFID tag range. Tags are available with incremental ranges, depending on passive/active tag configuration. A simple computer interface (host computer) is provided to allow easy intuitive programming from a graphics computer monitor.
  • Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1, a system for controlling an environment of a controlled space is generally indicated at 10. As shown, a controlled space 12 may be an internal space of a residential home. In other embodiments, which are represented in FIG. 2, the controlled space 12 may be commercial real estate. Embodiments of the system 10 of the present disclosure can have applicability to any type of HVAC system. In the drawing, the controlled space 12 includes an HVAC unit or system 14 that is configured to control the environment within the controlled space. In some embodiments, the HVAC unit 14 may include a furnace and an air conditioning unit to heat and cool the air temperature within the controlled space, respectively.
  • The system 10 includes a thermostat 16, coupled to the HVAC unit 14, to determine a temperature within the controlled space 12. Other devices may be provided, such as a humidistat, a carbon monoxide detector, an alarm system, and the like. In one embodiment, the thermostat 16 may include an RFID reader unit 18, which is configured to receive an encoded signal from a remote device 22. In a certain embodiment, the reader unit 18 is a transceiver. As shown, the reader unit 18 is embedded in the thermostat 16; however, the reader unit may be provided as part of a controller or even part of the HVAC unit 14. The system further includes a controller 20, which is connected to the thermostat 16 and the reader unit 18, to control the operation of the system 10. Although the controller 20 is shown to be coupled to the thermostat 16 and reader unit 18, the controller may be a dedicated controller associated with the HVAC unit 14 or a separate computer that is part of the home's control system.
  • The system 10 further includes a device 22, which is configured to be detected by the reader unit 18 provided in the thermostat 16. More than one device 22 may be provided for residences having more than one individual living in the residence. In one embodiment, the controller 20 stores information associated with the device 22, which may include user preferences associated with a person possessing the device. In another embodiment, the information may be stored by an embedded processor provided in the reader unit 18 or the thermostat 16. When the reader unit 18 detects the device 22, the thermostat 16 manipulates the HVAC system 14 to control the environment of the controlled space 12 based on the user preferences. For example, the thermostat 16 may be programmed to maintain the controlled space 12 at a predetermined temperature, e.g. 60° F., and when the device 22 is detected by the reader unit 18, the thermostat increases the temperature of the controlled space to another temperature, e.g., 72° F., by manipulating the HVAC unit 14. Thus, the controlled space 12 can be set at a temperature that is associated with the user preferences programmed within the device 22, for example. In certain embodiments, the device 22 can be located or positioned on a ring, necklace, or key chain. As mentioned, the device 22 can include multiple items of information, including the wearer's temperature preference, and can include a readable identifier for the thermostat 16, the reader unit 18 and/or the controller 20.
  • In one embodiment, the HVAC unit 14 can include the thermostat 16, the reader unit 18 and the controller 20 as part of the HVAC unit. In another embodiment, the thermostat 16 includes an antenna 24, which is configured to transmit an encoded signal to the remote device 22. The device 22 can be a mobile device, such as a “smart” phone, which includes an antenna 26 to transmit a signal to the reader unit 18 or the thermostat 16, when provided with the antenna 24. In a certain embodiment, the antenna 24 functions as a receiver and the antenna 26 of the “smart” phone functions as a transmitter. In this embodiment, the signal of the actual temperature of the controlled space 12 optionally can be sent to the device 22, which enables direct feedback of the actual temperature of the controlled space to the user, and enables an energy profile to be displayed on the “smart” phone.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, a system for controlling an environment of a controlled space is generally indicated at 100. As shown, a controlled space 102 may be a commercial space that includes a number of zones, each indicated at 104, which is heated and cooled by a central HVAC system 106. The HVAC system 106 is designed to control the environment of the zones 104 of the controlled space 102 in the traditional way. For example, the HVAC system 106 may include a supply line S to supply conditioned air or water to its respective zone 104 and a return line R to exhaust air or water back to the HVAC system. In some embodiments, the HVAC system 106 may include multiple furnaces or heat pumps and air conditioning units to heat and cool the air temperature within the controlled space, respectively.
  • Each zone 104 includes a thermostat 108 to control the temperature of its respective zone. In one embodiment, each thermostat 16, which is coupled to the HVAC system 106, is provided to detect a temperature (or other environmental parameter) within the controlled space 102, and manipulate the HVAC system to provide conditioned air (media) to the respective zone. Other devices may be provided, such as a humidistat, a carbon monoxide detector, an alarm system, and the like. Although three zones 104 are illustrated in FIG. 2, the controlled space 102 may be divided into any number of zones suitable for controlling the environment of the entire controlled space.
  • The system 100 further includes an HVAC system control 110, which is in communication with the thermostat 108 of each zone 104. The system control 110 further communicates with the HVAC system 106 by means of individual signals for each zone, which are directed to the HVAC system. Box 112 illustrates the consolidation of these signals from the HVAC system control.
  • The system 100 further may an RFID reader unit embedded within the HVAC system control 110, which is configured to transmit an encoded signal to a remote device. In one embodiment, the reader unit of the HVAC system control 110 is a transceiver. The system 100 further includes a device 114, which is configured to be detected by the reader unit of the HVAC system control 110. More than one device 114 may be provided. In one embodiment, the HVAC system control 110 stores information associated with the device 114, which may include user preferences associated with a person possessing the device. When the reader unit of the HVAC system control 110 detects the device 114, the system control manipulates the HVAC system 106 via the individual signals of box 112 to control the zones 104 of the controlled space 102. For example, the HVAC system control 110 may be programmed to maintain the controlled space 102 at a predetermined temperature, e.g. 60° F., and when the device 114 assigned to the 60° F. zone is detected by the system control, the system control increases the temperature of the controlled space to another temperature, e.g., 72° F., by manipulating the HVAC system 106. Thus, the controlled space 102 can be set at a temperature that is associated with the user preferences programmed within the device 114, for example.
  • In one embodiment, the HVAC system control 110 can be embedded within the HVAC system 106. Other embodiments of the system 100 also may include providing an RFID tag and/or a “smart” phone as the device 114 to select the user input based on the user carry preference.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, the system 10 may be modified to couple the controller 20 to the device 22. In such an embodiment, the device 22 may take the form of a “smart” phone, or similar device. In this embodiment, the device 22 controls the operation of the system 10. The system 10 of this embodiment can be configured to use the “smart” phone to achieve a residential HVAC user to custom select and control their heating and cooling space from their smart phone to any desired position.
  • Features of the residential HVAC system include electronic replacement of the existing conventional thermostat and energy efficient controlled space. A residential HVAC thermostat control based on individual user preferences is provided to control parameters, such as temperature control and timer settings. By programming these settings, significant energy savings due to regular HVAC set back events based on actual user movement and location are achieved.
  • In one embodiment, the system may be configured to include a wall thermostat, a home computer, and user RFID tags. The wall thermostat includes a residential HVAC control thermostat, which wires to the existing residential HVAC unit as current thermostats. The wall thermostat sends a typical on/off control to turn the HVAC system on when heat or cooling is required. The thermostat can be configured to include the computer programming The wall thermostat includes a wireless receiver to receive the RFID tag location signals. It is then programmed for the time of day preferences by the individual user preferences and user priority. Alternately, the wall thermostat can communicate with the house computer. The thermostat receives the wireless signal of the primary temperature set signal from the house computer.
  • In certain embodiments, the home computer may be provided to control the thermostat. The home computer includes hardware/software to send wireless, on/off signals to the thermostat, and track the positions of all of the RFID tags issued. The home computer has a temperature set profile software, which sends set point signals to the wall thermostat. The temperature set triggering is based on the wireless RFID tag location, RFID tagged movement, and individual user preferences, for all assigned user WiFi RFD tags. RFID tags are individually issued to the space users, and temperature set points are selectable based on time of day, user tag locations.
  • The RFID tags are used to send position signals to the house computer or thermostat based on system purchases. The tags can be user configured by the software; and, as described herein, can be located in cell phone, chain around neck, in purse, or worn around the ankle. The RFID tag system enables the tags to be carried without any burden, because the tags are so small. An optional GPS tracker option can also be provided. User locations outside the RFID wireless location are switched to the GPS tracker so movement towards or away from the home identifies the need to prepare the space set point or go to set back modes. Internet movement profiles which can be automatically sent from the phone based on user preferences selected.
  • HVAC is most often associated with technology of indoor environmental comfort. The three central functions of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning are interrelated, especially with the need to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality within reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. In addition to controlling temperature and humidity, HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. Control of the HVAC system is typically controlled by a thermostat. However, with the present disclosure, the operation of the HVAC system may be controlled by individually issued RFID tag.
  • Program set points and user profiles of the HVAC system are controlled automatically. Mobile phones can include software to receive alarms should the system move outside the set points. An improved wall thermostat, including receiving RFID tag input signals from the individual users within range, is provided. The improved wall thermostat enables user preferences and automatic set back when the users are outside range. An optional GPS tracker upgrade, for setback control based on user movement within selectable range and velocity movements, can also be provided. The system can further include wireless, GPS, RFID, Bluetooth, thermostat, and user selections. The system can be used in building applications, installation systems and control, and white space applications.
  • A typical RFID system uses tags (or labels), which are attached to the objects to be identified. Two-way radio transmitter-receivers, sometimes referred to as transceivers or reader units, send signals to the tag and read its response. As mentioned, RFID tags can be passive, active, or battery-assisted passive. An active tag has a battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. A battery-assisted passive (BAP) tag has a small battery, and is activated when located in the presence of an RFID reader. A passive tag can be smaller in size since it has no battery. However, to initiate the operation of passive tags, the passive tags must be activated by a power level that is stronger than active tags for signal transmission. That makes a difference in interference and in exposure to radiation.
  • RFID tags may be read-only, having a factory-assigned serial number that is used as a key into a database, or may be read/write, where object-specific data can be written into the tag by the system user. Field programmable tags may be write-once, read-multiple; “blank” tags may be written with an electronic product code by the user. A tag with no inherent identity is always threatened to get manipulated. In some embodiments, RFID tags contain at least two parts—an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, collecting DC power from the incident reader signal, and other specialized functions, and an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal. The tag information can be stored in a non-volatile memory. The RFID tag includes either a chip-wired logic or a programmed or programmable data processor for processing the transmission and sensor data, respectively. An RFID reader transmits an encoded radio signal to interrogate the tag. The RFID tag receives the message and then responds with its identification and other information. In embodiments of the present disclosure, this information may be unique to the person carrying the tag, such as his or her preferred temperature setting, humidity setting, and the like.
  • RFID systems can be classified by the type of tag and reader. A passive reader active tag (PRAT) system has a passive reader which only receives radio signals from active tags (battery operated, transmit only). The reception range of a PRAT system reader can be adjusted from 1-2,000 feet (0.30-610 m), allowing flexibility in applications, such as asset protection and supervision. An active reader passive tag (ARPT) system has an active reader, which transmits interrogator signals and also receives authentication replies from passive tags. The ARAT system uses active tags that are activated by an interrogator signal from the active reader. A variation of this system could also use a battery-assisted passive (BAP) tag which acts like a passive tag but has a small battery to power the tag's return reporting signal. Fixed readers can be set up to create a specific interrogation zone, which can be tightly controlled. This allows a highly defined reading area for when tags go in and out of the interrogation zone. Mobile readers may be hand-held or mounted on carts or vehicles.
  • Signaling between the reader and the tag may be achieved by several different incompatible ways, depending on the frequency band used by the tag. Tags operating on low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) bands are, in terms of radio wavelength, very close to the reader antenna because they are only a small percentage of a wavelength away. In a near field region, the tag is closely coupled electrically with the transmitter in the reader. The tag can modulate the field produced by the reader by changing the electrical loading the tag represents. By switching between lower and higher relative loads, the tag produces a change that the reader can detect. At ultra-high frequencies (UHF) and higher frequencies, the tag is more than one radio wavelength away from the reader, which requires a different approach.
  • Also, the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. Any references to embodiments or elements or acts of the systems and methods herein referred to in the singular may also embrace embodiments including a plurality of these elements, and any references in plural to any embodiment or element or act herein may also embrace embodiments including only a single element. References in the singular or plural form are not intended to limit the presently disclosed systems or methods, their components, acts, or elements. The use herein of “including,” “comprising,” “having,” “containing,” “involving,” and variations thereof is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. References to “or” may be construed as inclusive so that any terms described using “or” may indicate any of a single, more than one, and all of the described terms. Any references to front and back, left and right, top and bottom, upper and lower, and vertical and horizontal are intended for convenience of description, not to limit the present systems and methods or their components to any one positional or spatial orientation.
  • Having thus described several aspects of at least one embodiment, it is to be appreciated various alterations, modifications, and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such alterations, modifications, and improvements are intended to be part of this disclosure and are intended to be within the scope of the disclosure. Accordingly, the foregoing description and drawings are by way of example only, and the scope of the disclosure should be determined from proper construction of the appended claims, and their equivalents.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A system for controlling an environment of a controlled space, the system comprising:
a thermostat coupled to an HVAC system, the thermostat being configured to manipulate the HVAC unit to manage the environment within the controlled space; and
a device configured to be detected by the thermostat,
wherein the thermostat includes user preferences associated with a person possessing the device, and manipulates the HVAC system to control the environment of the controlled space based on the user preferences.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a control unit coupled to the thermostat.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein the thermostat includes a reader unit configured to detect the device.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the device is an RFID tag and the reader unit is a transceiver unit configured to detect the RFID tag.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the RFID tag is passive, semi-passive, or active.
6. The system of claim 4, wherein the RFID tag is attached or connected to a key ring, necklace, or key chain.
7. The system of claim 3, wherein the device is a mobile device and the reader unit is configured to detect the mobile device.
8. The system of claim 7, wherein the mobile device includes a global positioning system.
9. The system of claim 7, wherein the mobile device includes a mobile phone, handheld device or computer.
10. The system of claim 1, wherein the controlled space includes multiple zones, and wherein the system further comprises multiple devices, each device being configured to manipulate the HVAC system through the thermostat to control the environment of a respective zone.
11. A method of controlling a HVAC system of a controlled space, the method comprising:
providing a device configured to be detected by a thermostat, the thermostat being configured to store user preferences associated with a person possessing the device; and
manipulating the HVAC system by the thermostat when the device is located at or near the controlled space.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the thermostat includes a reader unit configured to detect the device.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the device is an RFID tag and the reader unit is configured to detect the RFID tag.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the RFID tag is passive, semi-passive, or active.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the RFID tag is attached or connected to a key ring, necklace, or key chain.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein the device is a mobile device and the reader unit is configured to detect the mobile device.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the mobile device includes a global positioning system.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the mobile device includes a mobile phone, handheld device or computer.
19. The method of claim 12, wherein the reader unit is a transceiver.
20. The method of claim 11, wherein the controlled space includes multiple zones, and wherein the method further comprises providing multiple devices, each device being configured to manipulate the HVAC system by the thermostat to control the environment of a respective zone.
US15/107,697 2013-12-26 2013-12-26 System and method for controlling an environment Abandoned US20160320083A1 (en)

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