US20190109904A1 - System and method for server based control - Google Patents

System and method for server based control Download PDF

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US20190109904A1
US20190109904A1 US16/198,804 US201816198804A US2019109904A1 US 20190109904 A1 US20190109904 A1 US 20190109904A1 US 201816198804 A US201816198804 A US 201816198804A US 2019109904 A1 US2019109904 A1 US 2019109904A1
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sensor
based
actuator
device according
network
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Yehuda Binder
Benjamin Maytal
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May Patents Ltd
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May Patents Ltd
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Priority to US13/733,634 priority patent/US20130201316A1/en
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Priority to US16/198,804 priority patent/US20190109904A1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/12Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications adapted for proprietary or special purpose networking environments, e.g. medical networks, sensor networks, networks in a car or remote metering networks
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60KARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PROPULSION UNITS OR OF TRANSMISSIONS IN VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PLURAL DIVERSE PRIME-MOVERS IN VEHICLES; AUXILIARY DRIVES FOR VEHICLES; INSTRUMENTATION OR DASHBOARDS FOR VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH COOLING, AIR INTAKE, GAS EXHAUST OR FUEL SUPPLY OF PROPULSION UNITS IN VEHICLES
    • B60K31/00Vehicle fittings, acting on a single sub-unit only, for automatically controlling vehicle speed, i.e. preventing speed from exceeding an arbitrarily established velocity or maintaining speed at a particular velocity, as selected by the vehicle operator
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60KARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PROPULSION UNITS OR OF TRANSMISSIONS IN VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENT OR MOUNTING OF PLURAL DIVERSE PRIME-MOVERS IN VEHICLES; AUXILIARY DRIVES FOR VEHICLES; INSTRUMENTATION OR DASHBOARDS FOR VEHICLES; ARRANGEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH COOLING, AIR INTAKE, GAS EXHAUST OR FUEL SUPPLY OF PROPULSION UNITS IN VEHICLES
    • B60K31/00Vehicle fittings, acting on a single sub-unit only, for automatically controlling vehicle speed, i.e. preventing speed from exceeding an arbitrarily established velocity or maintaining speed at a particular velocity, as selected by the vehicle operator
    • B60K31/18Vehicle fittings, acting on a single sub-unit only, for automatically controlling vehicle speed, i.e. preventing speed from exceeding an arbitrarily established velocity or maintaining speed at a particular velocity, as selected by the vehicle operator including a device to audibly, visibly, or otherwise signal the existence of unusual or unintended speed to the driver of the vehicle
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/10Road Vehicles
    • B60Y2200/11Passenger cars; Automobiles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/10Road Vehicles
    • B60Y2200/12Motorcycles, Trikes; Quads; Scooters
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/10Road Vehicles
    • B60Y2200/12Motorcycles, Trikes; Quads; Scooters
    • B60Y2200/126Scooters
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/10Road Vehicles
    • B60Y2200/13Bicycles; Tricycles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/30Railway vehicles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/40Special vehicles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/50Aeroplanes, Helicopters
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60YINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO ASPECTS CROSS-CUTTING VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
    • B60Y2200/00Type of vehicle
    • B60Y2200/90Vehicles comprising electric prime movers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C21/00Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups G01C1/00-G01C19/00
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q2240/00Transportation facility access, e.g. fares, tolls or parking
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C5/00Registering or indicating the working of vehicles
    • G07C5/008Registering or indicating the working of vehicles communicating information to a remotely located station
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y04INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAVING AN IMPACT ON OTHER TECHNOLOGY AREAS
    • Y04SSYSTEMS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO POWER NETWORK OPERATION, COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING THE ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT OR USAGE, i.e. SMART GRIDS
    • Y04S40/00Systems for electrical power generation, transmission, distribution or end-user application management characterised by the use of communication or information technologies, or communication or information technology specific aspects supporting them
    • Y04S40/10Systems for electrical power generation, transmission, distribution or end-user application management characterised by the use of communication or information technologies, or communication or information technology specific aspects supporting them characterised by communication technology
    • Y04S40/18Network protocols supporting networked applications, e.g. including control of end-device applications over a network

Abstract

A system and method in a building or vehicle for an actuator operation in response to a sensor according to a control logic, the system comprising a router or a gateway communicating with a device associated with the sensor and a device associated with the actuator over in-building or in-vehicle networks, and an external Internet-connected control server associated with the control logic implementing a PID closed linear control loop and communicating with the router over external network for controlling the in-building or in-vehicle phenomenon. The sensor may be a microphone or a camera, and the system may include voice or image processing as part of the control logic. A redundancy is used by using multiple sensors or actuators, or by using multiple data paths over the building or vehicle internal or external communication. The networks may be wired or wireless, and may be BAN, PAN, LAN, WAN, or home networks.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure relates generally to an apparatus and method for control such as in a building or in a vehicle using a server implementing gateway or control functionalities.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standardized Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP), including Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the interlinked hypertext documents on the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support electronic mail. The Internet backbone refers to the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers in the Internet. These data routes are hosted by commercial, government, academic and other high-capacity network centers, the Internet exchange points and network access points that interchange Internet traffic between the countries, continents and across the oceans of the world. Traffic interchange between Internet service providers (often Tier 1 networks) participating in the Internet backbone exchange traffic by privately negotiated interconnection agreements, primarily governed by the principle of settlement-free peering.
  • The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams (packets) across a network using the Internet Protocol Suite. Responsible for routing packets across network boundaries, it is the primary protocol that establishes the Internet. IP is the primary protocol in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and has the task of delivering datagrams from the source host to the destination host based on their addresses. For this purpose, IP defines addressing methods and structures for datagram encapsulation. Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is the dominant protocol of the Internet. IPv4 is described in Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 791 and RFC 1349, and the successor, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), is currently active and in growing deployment worldwide. IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses (providing 4 billion: 4.3×109 addresses), while IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses (providing 340 undecillion or 3.4×1038 addresses), as described in RFC 2460.
  • The Internet Protocol is responsible for addressing hosts and routing datagrams (packets) from a source host to the destination host across one or more IP networks. For this purpose the Internet Protocol defines an addressing system that has two functions. Addresses identify hosts and provide a logical location service. Each packet is tagged with a header that contains the meta-data for the purpose of delivery. This process of tagging is also called encapsulation. IP is a connectionless protocol for use in a packet-switched Link Layer network, and does not need circuit setup prior to transmission. The aspects of delivery guaranteeing, proper sequencing, avoidance of duplicate delivery, and data integrity are addressed by an upper transport layer protocol (e.g., TCP—Transmission Control Protocol and UDP—User Datagram Protocol).
  • The main aspects of the IP technology are IP addressing and routing. Addressing refers to how end hosts become assigned IP addresses and how sub-networks of IP host addresses are divided and grouped together. IP routing is performed by all hosts, but most importantly by internetwork routers, which typically use either Interior Gateway Protocols (IGPs) or External Gateway Protocols (EGPs) to help make IP datagram forwarding decisions across IP connected networks. Core routers serving in the Internet backbone commonly use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) as per RFC 4098 or Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). Other prior art publications relating to Internet related protocols and routing include the following chapters of the publication number 1-587005-001-3 by Cisco Systems, Inc. (7/99) entitled: “Internetworking Technologies Handbook”, which are all incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein: Chapter 5: “Routing Basics” (pages 5-1 to 5-10), Chapter 30: “Internet Protocols” (pages 30-1 to 30-16), Chapter 32: “IPv6” (pages 32-1 to 32-6), Chapter 45: “OSI Routing” (pages 45-1 to 45-8) and Chapter 51: “Security” (pages 51-1 to 51-12), as well as IBM Corporation, International Technical Support Organization Redbook Documents No. GG24-4756-00 entitled: “Local area Network Concepts and Products: LAN Operation Systems and management”, 1st Edition May 1996, Redbook Document No. GG24-4338-00 entitled: “Introduction to Networking Technologies”, 1st Edition April 1994, Redbook Document No. GG24-2580-01 “IP Network Design Guide”, 2nd Edition June 1999, and Redbook Document No. GG24-3376-07 “TCP/IP Tutorial and Technical Overview”, ISBN 0738494682 8th Edition December 2006, which are incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.
  • A Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) and Wireless Distribution Systems (WDS) are known in the art to be a communication network made up of clients, mesh routers and gateways organized in a mesh topology and connected using radio. Such wireless networks may be based on DSR as the routing protocol. WMNs are standardized in IEEE 802.11s and described in a slide-show by W. Steven Conner, Intel Corp. et al. entitled: “IEEE 802.11s Tutorial” presented at the IEEE 802 Plenary, Dallas on Nov. 13, 2006, in a slide-show by Eugen Borcoci of University Politehnica Bucharest, entitled: “Wireless Mesh Networks Technologies: Architectures, Protocols, Resource Management and Applications”, presented in INFOWARE Conference on Aug. 22-29, 2009 in Cannes, France, and in an IEEE Communication magazine paper by Joseph D. Camp and Edward W. Knightly of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Tex., USA, entitled: “The IEEE 802.11s Extended Service Set Mesh Networking Standard”, which are incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein. The arrangement described herein can be equally applied to such wireless networks, wherein two clients exchange information using different paths by using mesh routers as intermediate and relay servers. Commonly in wireless networks, the routing is based on MAC addresses. Hence, the above discussion relating to IP addresses applies in such networks to using the MAC addresses for identifying the client originating the message, the mesh routers (or gateways) serving as the relay servers, and the client serving as the ultimate destination computer.
  • The Internet architecture employs a client-server model, among other arrangements. The terms ‘server’ or ‘server computer’ relates herein to a device or computer (or a plurality of computers) connected to the Internet and is used for providing facilities or services to other computers or other devices (referred to in this context as ‘clients’) connected to the Internet. A server is commonly a host that has an IP address and executes a ‘server program’, and typically operates as a socket listener. Many servers have dedicated functionality such as web server, Domain Name System (DNS) server (described in RFC 1034 and RFC 1035), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server (described in RFC 2131 and RFC 3315), mail server, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server and database server. Similarly, the term ‘client’ herein refers to a program or to a device or a computer (or a series of computers) executing this program, which accesses a server over the Internet for a service or a resource. Clients commonly initiate connections that a server may accept. For non-limiting example, web browsers are clients that connect to web servers for retrieving web pages, and email clients connect to mail storage servers for retrieving mails.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) is a Software Application (SA) supplied by a service provider, namely, a SaaS Vendor. The service is supplied and consumed over the internet, thus eliminating requirements to install and run applications locally on a site of a customer as well as simplifying maintenance and support. Particularly it is advantageous in massive business applications. Licensing is a common form of billing for the service and it is paid periodically. SaaS is becoming ever more common as a form of SA delivery over the Internet and is being facilitated in a technology infrastructure called “Cloud Computing”. In this form of SA delivery, where the SA is controlled by a service provider, a customer may experience stability and data security issues. In many cases the customer is a business organization that is using the SaaS for business purposes such as business software, hence, stability and data security are primary requirements.
  • The term “Cloud computing” as used herein is defined as a technology infrastructure facilitating supplement, consumption and delivery of IT services. The IT services are internet based and may involve elastic provisioning of dynamically scalable and time virtualized resources. The term “Software as a Service (SaaS)” as used herein in this application, is defined as a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an SA to customers for use as a service on demand. The term “customer” as used herein in this application, is defined as a business entity that is served by an SA, provided on the SaaS platform. A customer may be a person or an organization and may be represented by a user that responsible for the administration of the application in aspects of permissions configuration, user related configuration, and data security policy.
  • The term “SaaS Platform” as used herein in this application is defined as a computer program that acts as a host to SAs that reside on it. Essentially, a SaaS platform can be considered as a type of specialized SA server. The platform manages underlying computer hardware and software resources and uses these resources to provide hosted SAs with multi-tenancy and on-demand capabilities, commonly found in SaaS applications. Generally, the hosted SAs are compatible with SaaS platform and support a single group of users. The platform holds the responsibility for distributing the SA as a service to multiple groups of users over the internet. The SaaS Platform can be considered as a layer of abstraction above the traditional application server, creating a computing platform that parallels the value offered by the traditional operating system, only in a web-centric fashion. The SaaS platform responds to requirements of software developers. The requirements are to reduce time and difficulty involved in developing highly available SAs, and on-demand enterprise grade business SAs. ZigBee is a specification for a suite of high level communication protocols using small, low-power digital radios based on an IEEE 802 standard for personal area networks. Applications include wireless light switches, electrical meters with in-home-displays, and other consumer and industrial equipment that require short-range wireless transfer of data at relatively low rates. The technology defined by the ZigBee specification is intended to be simpler and less expensive than other WPANs, such as Bluetooth. ZigBee is targeted at radio-frequency (RF) applications that require a low data rate, long battery life, and secure networking. ZigBee has a defined rate of 250 kbps suited for periodic or intermittent data or a single signal transmission from a sensor or input device.
  • ZigBee builds upon the physical layer and medium access control defined in IEEE standard 802.15.4 (2003 version) for low-rate WPANs. The specification goes on to complete the standard by adding four main components: network layer, application layer, ZigBee Device Objects (ZDOs) and manufacturer-defined application objects which allow for customization and favor total integration. Besides adding two high-level network layers to the underlying structure, the most significant improvement is the introduction of ZDOs. These are responsible for a number of tasks, which include keeping of device roles, management of requests to join a network, device discovery and security. Because ZigBee nodes can go from sleep to active mode in 30 ms or less, the latency can be low and devices can be responsive, particularly compared to Bluetooth wake-up delays, which are typically around three seconds. ZigBee nodes can sleep most of the time, thus average power consumption can be lower, resulting in longer battery life.
  • There are three different types of ZigBee devices: ZigBee coordinator (ZC), which are the most capable device, the coordinator forms the root of the network tree and might bridge to other networks. There is exactly one ZigBee coordinator in each network since it is the device that started the network originally. It is able to store information about the network, including acting as the Trust Center & repository for security keys. ZigBee Router (ZR) may be running an application function as well as can acting as an intermediate router, passing on data from other devices. ZigBee End Device (ZED) contains functionality to talk to the parent node (either the coordinator or a router). This relationship allows the node to be asleep a significant amount of the time thereby giving long battery life. A ZED requires the least amount of memory, and therefore can be less expensive to manufacture than a ZR or ZC.
  • The protocols build on recent algorithmic research (Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector, neuRFon) to automatically construct a low-speed ad-hoc network of nodes. In most large network instances, the network will be a cluster of clusters. It can also form a mesh or a single cluster. The current ZigBee protocols support beacon and non-beacon enabled networks. In non-beacon-enabled networks, an unslotted CSMA/CA channel access mechanism is used. In this type of network, ZigBee Routers typically have their receivers continuously active, requiring a more robust power supply. However, this allows for heterogeneous networks in which some devices receive continuously, while others only transmit when an external stimulus is detected.
  • In beacon-enabled networks, the special network nodes called ZigBee Routers transmit periodic beacons to confirm their presence to other network nodes. Nodes may sleep between the beacons, thus lowering their duty cycle and extending their battery life. Beacon intervals depend on the data rate; they may range from 15.36 milliseconds to 251.65824 seconds at 250 Kbit/s, from 24 milliseconds to 393.216 seconds at 40 Kbit/s and from 48 milliseconds to 786.432 seconds at 20 Kbit/s. In general, the ZigBee protocols minimize the time the radio is on, so as to reduce power use. In beaconing networks, nodes only need to be active while a beacon is being transmitted. In non-beacon-enabled networks, power consumption is decidedly asymmetrical: some devices are always active, while others spend most of their time sleeping.
  • Except for the Smart Energy Profile 2.0, current ZigBee devices conform to the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Network (LR-WPAN) standard. The standard specifies the lower protocol layers—the PHYsical layer (PHY), and the Media Access Control (MAC) portion of the Data Link Layer (DLL). The basic channel access mode is “Carrier Sense, Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance” (CSMA/CA). That is, the nodes talk in the same way that people converse; they briefly check to see that no one is talking before they start. There are three notable exceptions to the use of CSMA. Beacons are sent on a fixed timing schedule, and do not use CSMA. Message acknowledgments also do not use CSMA. Finally, devices in Beacon Oriented networks that have low latency real-time requirements may also use Guaranteed Time Slots (GTS), which by definition do not use CSMA.
  • Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol by the Z-Wave Alliance (http://www.z-wave.com) designed for home automation, specifically for remote control applications in residential and light commercial environments. The technology uses a low-power RF radio embedded or retrofitted into home electronics devices and systems, such as lighting, home access control, entertainment systems and household appliances. Z-Wave communicates using a low-power wireless technology designed specifically for remote control applications. Z-Wave operates in the sub-gigahertz frequency range, around 900 MHz. This band competes with some cordless telephones and other consumer electronics devices, but avoids interference with WiFi and other systems that operate on the crowded 2.4 GHz band. Z-Wave is designed to be easily embedded in consumer electronics products, including battery operated devices such as remote controls, smoke alarms and security sensors.
  • Z-Wave is a mesh networking technology where each node or device on the network is capable of sending and receiving control commands through walls or floors and use intermediate nodes to route around household obstacles or radio dead spots that might occur in the home. Z-Wave devices can work individually or in groups, and can be programmed into scenes or events that trigger multiple devices, either automatically or via remote control. The Z-wave radio specifications include bandwidth of 9,600 bit/s or 40 Kbit/s, fully interoperable, GFSK modulation, and a range of approximately 100 feet (or 30 meters) assuming “open air” conditions, with reduced range indoors depending on building materials, etc. The Z-Wave radio uses the 900 MHz ISM band: 908.42 MHz (United States); 868.42 MHz (Europe); 919.82 MHz (Hong Kong); 921.42 MHz (Australia/New Zealand).
  • Z-Wave uses a source-routed mesh network topology and has one or more master controllers that control routing and security. The devices can communicate to another by using intermediate nodes to actively route around and circumvent household obstacles or radio dead spots that might occur. A message from node A to node C can be successfully delivered even if the two nodes are not within range, providing that a third node B can communicate with nodes A and C. If the preferred route is unavailable, the message originator will attempt other routes until a path is found to the “C” node. Therefore a Z-Wave network can span much farther than the radio range of a single unit; however with several of these hops a delay may be introduced between the control command and the desired result. In order for Z-Wave units to be able to route unsolicited messages, they cannot be in sleep mode. Therefore, most battery-operated devices are not designed as repeater units. A Z-Wave network can consist of up to 232 devices with the option of bridging networks if more devices are required.
  • Most existing offices and some of the newly built buildings facilitate the network structure based on dedicated wiring. However, implementing such a network in existing buildings typically requires installation of new wiring infrastructure. Such installation of new wiring may be impractical, expensive and problematic. As a result, many technologies (referred to as “no new wires” technologies) have been proposed in order to facilitate a LAN in a building without adding new wiring. Some of these techniques use existing utility wiring installed primarily for other purposes such as telephone, electricity, cable television (CATV), and so forth. Such approach offers the advantage of being able to install such systems and networks without the additional and often substantial cost of installing separate wiring within the building.
  • The technical aspect for allowing the wiring to carry both the service (such as telephony, electricity and CATV) and the data communication signals commonly involves using an FDM technique (Frequency Division Multiplexing). In such configuration, the service signal and the data communication signals are carried across the respective utility wiring each using a distinct frequency spectrum band. The concept of FDM is known in the art, and provides means of splitting the bandwidth carried by a medium such as wiring. In the case of a telephone wiring carrying both telephony and data communication signals, the frequency spectrum is split into a low-frequency band capable of carrying an analog telephony signal and a high-frequency band capable of carrying data communication or other signals.
  • A network in a house based on using powerline-based home network is also known in the art. The medium for networking is the in-house power lines, which is used for carrying both the AC power (mains) power and the data communication signals. A PLC (Power Line Carrier) modem converts a data communication signal (such as Ethernet IEEE802.3) to a signal which can be carried over the power lines, without affecting and being affected by the power signal available over those wires. A consortium named HomePlug (www.homeplug.org) is active in standardizing powerline technologies. A powerline communication system is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,243,571 to Bullock et al., which also provides a comprehensive list of prior art publications referring to powerline technology and applications. A non-limiting example for such PLC modem housed as a snap-on module is HomePlug1.0 based Ethernet-to-Powerline Bridge model DHP-100 from D-Link® Systems, Inc. of Irvine, Calif., USA. Outlets with built in PLC modems for use with combined data and power using powerlines are described in U.S. Patent Application Publication 2003/0062990 to Schaeffer et al. entitled ‘Powerline Bridge Apparatus’. Such power outlets are available as part of PlugLAN™ by Asoka USA Corporation of San Carlos, Calif., USA.
  • Similarly, carrying data over existing in home CATV coaxial cabling is also known in the art, for example in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0166124 to Gurantz et al. A non-limiting example of home networking over CATV coaxial cables using outlets is described in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0194383 to Cohen et al. Such outlets are available as part of HomeRAN™ system from TMT Ltd. of Jerusalem, Israel.
  • The term “telephony” herein denotes in general any kind of telephone service, including analog and digital service, such as Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Analog telephony, popularly known as “Plain Old Telephone Service” (“POTS”) has been in existence for over 100 years, and is suited for the transmission and switching of voice signals in the 300-3400 Hz portion (or “voice band” or “telephone band”) of the audio spectrum. The familiar POTS network supports real-time, low-latency, high-reliability, moderate-fidelity voice telephony, and is capable of establishing a session between two end-points, each using an analog telephone set.
  • The terms “telephone”, “telephone set”, and “telephone device” herein denote any apparatus, without limitation, which can connect to a Public Switch Telephone Network (“PSTN”), including apparatus for both analog and digital telephony, non-limiting examples of which are analog telephones, digital telephones, facsimile (“fax”) machines, automatic telephone answering machines, voice modems, and data modems. In-home telephone service usually employs two or four wires, to which telephone sets are connected via telephone outlets.
  • Similarly to the powerlines and CATV cabling described above, it is often desirable to use existing telephone wiring simultaneously for both telephony and data networking. In this way, establishing a new local area network in a home or other building is simplified, because there is no need to install additional wiring. Using FDM technique to carry video over active residential telephone wiring is disclosed by U.S Pat. No. 5,010,399 to Goodman et al. entitled: “Video Transmission and Control System Utilizing Internal Telephone Lines”, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,621,455 to Rogers et al. entitled: “Video Modem for Transmitting Video Data over Ordinary Telephone Wires”, which are both incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.
  • Existing products for carrying data digitally over residential telephone wiring concurrently with active telephone service by using FDM commonly uses a technology known as HomePNA (Home Phoneline Networking Alliance) (www.homepna.org). This phoneline interface has been standardized as ITU-T (ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector) recommendation G.989.1. The HomePNA technology is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,069,899 to Foley, U.S. Pat. No. 5,896,443 to Dichter, U.S. Patent Application No. 2002/0019966 to Yagil et al., U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003/0139151 to Lifshitz et al., and others. The available bandwidth over the wiring is split into a low-frequency band capable of carrying an analog telephony signal (POTS), and a high-frequency band is allocated for carrying data communication signals. In such FDM based configuration, telephony is not affected, while a data communication capability is provided over existing telephone wiring within a home.
  • Prior art technologies for using the in-place telephone wiring for data networking are based on single carrier modulation techniques, such as AM (Amplitude Modulation), FM (Frequency Modulation) and PM (Phase Modulation), as well as bit encoding techniques such as QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) and QPSK (Quadrature Phase Shift Keying). Spread spectrum technologies, to include both DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) and FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) are known in the art. Spread spectrum commonly employs Multi-Carrier Modulation (MCM) such as OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing). OFDM and other spread spectrum are commonly used in wireless communication systems, and in particular in WLAN networks. As explained in the document entitled “IEEE 802.11g Offers Higher Data Rates and Longer Range” to Jim Zyren et al. by Intersil which is hereby incorporated by reference, multi-carrier modulation (such as OFDM) is employed in such systems in order to overcome the signal impairment due to multipath.
  • A popular approach to home networking (as well as office and enterprise environments) is communication via radio frequency (RF) distribution system that transports RF signals throughout a building to and from data devices. Commonly referred to as Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), such communication makes use of the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency spectrum. In the US, three of the bands within the ISM spectrum are the A band, 902-928 MHz; the B band, 2.4-2.484 GHz (a.k.a. 2.4 GHz); and the C band, 5.725-5.875 GHz (a.k.a. 5 GHz). Overlapping and/or similar bands are used in different regions such as Europe and Japan.
  • In order to allow interoperability between equipment manufactured by different vendors, few WLAN standards have evolved, as part of the IEEE 802.11 standard group, branded as WiFi (www.wi-fi.org). IEEE 802.11b describes a communication using the 2.4 GHz frequency band and supporting communication rate of 11 Mb/s, IEEE 802.11a uses the 5 GHz frequency band to carry 54 MB/s and IEEE 802.11g uses the 2.4 GHz band to support 54 Mb/s.
  • A node/client with a WLAN interface is commonly referred to as STA (Wireless Station/Wireless client). The STA functionality may be embedded as part of the data unit, or alternatively be a dedicated unit, referred to as bridge, coupled to the data unit. While STAs may communicate without any additional hardware (ad-hoc mode), such network usually involves Wireless Access Point (a.k.a. WAP or AP) as a mediation device. The WAP implements the Basic Stations Set (BSS) and/or ad-hoc mode based on Independent BSS (IBSS). STA, client, bridge and WAP will be collectively referred to hereon as WLAN unit.
  • Bandwidth allocation for IEEE 802.11g wireless in the U.S. allows multiple communication sessions to take place simultaneously, where eleven overlapping channels are defined spaced 5 MHz apart, spanning from 2412 MHz as the center frequency for channel number 1, via channel 2 centered at 2417 MHz and 2457 MHz as the center frequency for channel number 10, up to channel 11 centered at 2462 MHz. Each channel bandwidth is 22 MHz, symmetrically (+/−11 MHz) located around the center frequency. In the transmission path, first the baseband signal (IF) is generated based on the data to be transmitted, using 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) based OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) modulation technique, resulting a 22 MHz (single channel wide) frequency band signal. The signal is then up converted to the 2.4 GHz (RF) and placed in the center frequency of required channel, and transmitted to the air via the antenna. Similarly, the receiving path comprises a received channel in the RF spectrum, down converted to the baseband (IF) wherein the data is then extracted.
  • FIG. 1 shows an arrangement 10 according to the prior art including a residence 19 which may be connected via the Internet 16 to many multiple servers, such as a server 17. In the premises 19 there may be multiple internal networks, such as home network 14 a connecting the desktop computer 18 a and a home device 15 a, and other connected equipment may as well be connected. Similarly, home network 14 b is shown connecting desktop computer 18 b and a home device 15 b, and other connected equipment may as well be connected. A sensor network 12 may further be used, connecting sensor units 13 a, 13 b and 13 c. The sensor network 12 may be based on ZigBee protocol or another public or proprietary commercially accepted protocol, or any suitable protocol now known or becoming known to those skilled in the art in the present context. A gateway 11 is connected, via suitable ports, to the various networks in the residence 19, and allows communication between devices in a specific network, between networks in the residence 19, and further provides external connection to the Internet 16, typically via a WAN network. While three internal networks 12, 14 a and 14 b are shown in arrangement 10, one, two, four, or any number of such internal networks may be equally deployed. Further, the various networks inside the premises 19 may be the same, similar or different. For example, the same or different network mediums may be used, such as wired or wireless networks, and the same or different network protocols may be used. Further, each of the networks may be a LAN (Local Area Network), WLAN (Wireless LAN), PAN (Personal Area Network), or WPAN (Wireless PAN). The gateway 11 is typically a dedicated hardware and software integrated device, and is based on a firmware and a processor. A prior-art architecture involving moving limited management functions of a home gateway onto network cloud is described in the paper entitled: “Home Network with Cloud Computing for Home Management”, by Katsuya Suzuki and Masahiro Inoue, IEEE 15th International Symposium on Consumer Electronics, 2011, pages 421-425, which is incorporated in its entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein. The gateway 11 is known in the art and is sometimes referred to as Residential Gateway (RG) or Home Gateway, and serves to connect devices in the home (commonly via a home network) to the Internet or other WAN. Such RG may include a broadband modem (such as DSL or cable modem), a firewall, a router, a packet-switch, and a Wireless Access Point (WAP). The RG is typically manageable and support auto-configuration, and may support various type services, as well as Quality-of-Service (QoS). All the interconnections described herein may be achieved by direct connection of components or by indirect coupling through a suitable connector, interface or other hardware and/or software components enabling the exchange of signals between the coupled components.
  • There is a growing widespread use of the Internet for carrying multimedia, such as video and audio. Various audio services include Internet-radio stations and VoIP (Voice-over-IP). Video services over the Internet include video conferencing and IPTV (IP Television). In most cases, the multimedia service is a real-time (or near real-time) application, and thus sensitive to delays over the Internet. In particular, two-way services such a VoIP or other telephony services and video-conferencing are delay sensitive. In some cases, the delays induced by the encryption process, as well as the hardware/software costs associated with the encryption, render encryption as non-practical. Therefore, it is not easy to secure enough capacity of the Internet accessible by users to endure real-time communication applications such as Internet games, chatting, VoIP, MoIP (Multimedia-over-IP), etc. In this case, there may be a data loss, delay or severe jitter in the course of communication due to the property of an Internet protocol, thereby causing inappropriate real-time video communication. The following chapters of the publication number 1-587005-001-3 by Cisco Systems, Inc. (7/99) entitled: “Internetworking Technologies Handbook”, relate to multimedia carried over the Internet, and are all incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein: Chapter 18: “Multiservice Access Technologies” (pages 18-1 to 18-10), and Chapter 19: “Voice/Data Integration Technologies” (pages 19-1 to 19-30).
  • VoIP systems in widespread use today fall into three groups: systems using the ITU-T H.323 protocol, systems using the SIP protocol, and systems that use proprietary protocols. H.323 is a standard for teleconferencing that was developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). It supports full multimedia audio, video and data transmission between groups of two or more participants, and it is designed to support large networks. H.323 is network-independent: it can be used over networks using transport protocols other than TCP/IP. H.323 is still a very important protocol, but it has fallen out of use for consumer VoIP products due to the fact that it is difficult to make it work through firewalls that are designed to protect computers running many different applications. It is a system best suited to large organizations that possess the technical skills to overcome these problems.
  • SIP (for Session Initiation Protocol) is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard signaling protocol for teleconferencing, telephony, presence and event notification and instant messaging. It provides a mechanism for setting up and managing connections, but not for transporting the audio or video data. It is probably now the most widely used protocol for managing Internet telephony. Like the IETF protocols, SIP is defined in a number of RFCs, principally RFC 3261. A SIP-based VoIP implementation may send the encoded voice data over the network in a number of ways. Most implementations use Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP), which is defined in RFC 3550. Both SIP and RTP are implemented on UDP, which, as a connectionless protocol, can cause difficulties with certain types of routers and firewalls. Usable SIP phones therefore also need to use STUN (for Simple Traversal of UDP over NAT), a protocol defined in RFC 3489 that allows a client behind a NAT router to find out its external IP address and the type of NAT device.
  • The connection of peripherals and memories to a processor may be via a bus. A communication link (such as Ethernet, or any other LAN, PAN or WAN communication link) may also be regarded as bus herein. A bus may be an internal bus (a.k.a. local bus), primarily designed to connect a processor or CPU to peripherals inside a computer system enclosure, such as connecting components over the motherboard or backplane. Alternatively, a bus may be an external bus, primarily intended for connecting the processor or the motherboard to devices and peripherals external to the computer system enclosure. Some buses may be doubly used as internal or as external buses. A bus may be of parallel type, where each word (address or data) is carried in parallel over multiple electrical conductors or wires; or alternatively, may be bit-serial, where bits are carried sequentially, such as one bit at a time. A bus may support multiple serial links or lanes, aggregated or bonded for higher bit-rate transport. Non-limiting examples of internal parallel buses include ISA (Industry Standard architecture); EISA (Extended ISA); NuBus (IEEE 1196); PATA—Parallel ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) variants such as IDE, EIDE, ATAPI, SBus (IEEE 1496), VESA Local Bus (VLB), PCI and PC/104 variants (PC/104, PC/104 Plus, and PC/104 Express). Non-limiting examples of internal serial buses include PCIe (PCI Express), Serial ATA (SATA), SMBus, and Serial Peripheral Bus (SPI) bus. Non-limiting examples of external parallel buses include HIPPI (High Performance Parallel Interface), IEEE-1284 (‘Centronix’), IEEE-488 (a.k.a. GPIB—General Purpose Interface Bus) and PC Card/PCMCIA. Non-limiting examples of external serial buses include USB (Universal Serial Bus), eSATA and IEEE 1394 (a.k.a. Firewire). Non-limiting examples of buses that can be internal or external are Futurebus, InfiniBand, SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), and SAS (Serial Attached SCSI). The bus medium may be based on electrical conductors, commonly copper wires based cable (may be arranged as twisted-pairs) or a fiber-optic cable. The bus topology may use point-to-point, multi-drop (electrical parallel) and daisy-chain, and may further be based on hubs or switches. A point-to-point bus may be full-duplex, providing simultaneous, two-way transmission (and sometimes independent) in both directions, or alternatively a bus may be half-duplex, where the transmission can be in either direction, but only in one direction at a time. Buses are further commonly characterized by their throughput (data bit-rate), signaling rate, medium length, connectors and medium types, latency, scalability, quality-of-service, devices per connection or channel, and supported bus-width. A configuration of a bus for a specific environment may be automatic (hardware or software based, or both), or may involve user or installer activities such as software settings or jumpers. Recent buses are self-repairable, where spare connection (net) is provided which is used in the event of malfunction in a connection. Some buses support hot-plugging (sometimes known as hot swapping), where a connection or a replacement can be made, without significant interruption to the system or without the need to shut-off any power. A well-known example of this functionality is the Universal Serial Bus (USB) that allows users to add or remove peripheral components such as a mouse, keyboard, or printer. A bus may be defined to carry a power signal, either in separate dedicated cable (using separate and dedicated connectors), or commonly over the same cable carrying the digital data (using the same connector). Typically dedicated wires in the cable are used for carrying a low-level DC power level, such as 3.3VDC, 5VDC, 12VDC and any combination thereof. A bus may support master/slave configuration, where one connected node is typically a bus master (e.g., the processor or the processor-side), and other nodes (or node) are bussed slaves. A slave may not connect or transmit to the bus until given permission by the bus master. A bus timing, strobing, synchronization, or clocking information may be carried as a separate signal (e.g., clock signal) over a dedicated channel, such as separate and dedicated wired in a cable, or alternatively may use embedded clocking (a.k.a. self-clocking), where the timing information is encoded with the data signal, commonly used in line codes such as Manchester code, where the clock information occurs at the transition points. Any bus or connection herein may use proprietary specifications, or preferably be similar to, based on, substantially according to, or fully compliant with, an industry standard (or any variant thereof) such as those referred to as PCI Express, SAS, SATA, SCSI, PATA, InfiniBand, USB, PCI, PCI-X, AGP, Thunderbolt, IEEE 1394, FireWire and Fibre Channel.
  • In consideration of the foregoing, it would be an advancement in the art to provide an improved networking or gateway functionality method and system that is simple, secure, cost-effective, reliable, easy to use or sanitize, has a minimum part count, minimum hardware, and/or uses existing and available components, protocols, programs and applications for providing better security and additional functionalities, and provides a better user experience.
  • SUMMARY
  • Environment control networks are networks of sensors and controller which provide an optimized solution for an environment control. The environment can be a house, agricultural farm, city traffic systems etc. The sensors will provide information on the environmental conditions and events. The controller will allow automatic control or control by the user via the Internet. Presently, a dedicated hardware gateway is required to control the wireless network in each environment. The disclosure describes how the dedicated gateway can be replaced by a cloud server, offering much better cost, reliability and level of service.
  • Any communication or connection herein, such as the connection of peripherals in general, and memories in particular to a processor, may use a bus. A communication link (such as Ethernet, or any other LAN, PAN or WAN communication links may also be regarded as buses herein. A bus may be an internal bus, an external bus or both. A bus may be a parallel or a bit-serial bus. A bus may be based on a single or on multiple serial links or lanes. The bus medium may electrical conductors based such as wires or cables, or may be based on a fiber-optic cable. The bus topology may use point-to-point, multi-drop (electrical parallel) and daisy-chain, and may be based on hubs or switches. A point-to-point bus may be full-duplex, or half-duplex. Further, a bus may use proprietary specifications, or may be based on, similar to, substantially or fully compliant to an industry standard (or any variant thereof), and may be hot-pluggable. A bus may be defined to carry only digital data signals, or may also defined to carry a power signal (commonly DC voltages), either in separated and dedicated cables and connectors, or may carry the power and digital data together over the same cable. A bus may support master/slave configuration. A bus may carry a separated and dedicated timing signal or may use self-clocking line-code.
  • A sensor unit may include one or more sensors, each providing an electrical output signal (such as voltage or current), or changing a characteristic (such as resistance or impedance) in response to a measured or detected phenomenon. The sensors may be identical, similar or different from each other, and may measure or detect the same or different phenomena. Two or more sensors may be connected in series or in parallel. In the case of a changing characteristic sensor or in the case of an active sensor, the unit may include an excitation or measuring circuits (such as a bridge) to generate the sensor electrical signal. The sensor output signal may be conditioned by a signal conditioning circuit. The signal conditioner may involve time, frequency, or magnitude related manipulations. The signal conditioner may be linear or non-linear, and may include an operation or an instrument amplifier, a multiplexer, a frequency converter, a frequency-to-voltage converter, a voltage-to-frequency converter, a current-to-voltage converter, a current loop converter, a charge converter, an attenuator, a sample-and-hold circuit, a peak-detector, a voltage or current limiter, a delay line or circuit, a level translator, a galvanic isolator, an impedance transformer, a linearization circuit, a calibrator, a passive or active (or adaptive) filter, an integrator, a deviator, an equalizer, a spectrum analyzer, a compressor or a de-compressor, a coder (or decoder), a modulator (or demodulator), a pattern recognizer, a smoother, a noise remover, an average or RMS circuit, or any combination thereof. In the case of analog sensor, an analog to digital (A/D) converter may be used to convert the conditioned sensor output signal to a digital sensor data. The unit may include a computer for controlling and managing the unit operation, processing the digital sensor data and handling the unit communication. The unit may include a modem or transceiver coupled to a network port (such as a connector or antenna), for interfacing and communicating over a network.
  • The sensor may be a CCD or CMOS based image sensor, for capturing still or video images. The image capturing hardware integrated with the unit may contain a photographic lens (through a lens opening) focusing the required image onto an image sensor. The image may be converted into a digital format by an image sensor AFE (Analog Front End) and an image processor. An image or video compressor for compression of the image information may be used for reducing the memory size and reducing the data rate required for the transmission over the communication medium. Similarly, the sensor may be a voice sensor such as a microphone, and may similarly include a voice processor or a voice compressor (or both). The image or voice compression may be standard or proprietary, may be based on intraframe or interframe compression, and may be lossy or non-lossy compression.
  • An actuator unit may include one or more actuators, each affecting or generating a physical phenomenon in response to an electrical command, which can be an electrical signal (such as voltage or current), or by changing a characteristic (such as resistance or impedance) of a device. The actuators may be identical, similar or different from each other, and may affect or generate the same or different phenomena. Two or more actuators may be connected in series or in parallel. The actuator command signal may be conditioned by a signal conditioning circuit. The signal conditioner may involve time, frequency, or magnitude related manipulations. The signal conditioner may be linear or non-linear, and may include an amplifier, a voltage or current limiter, an attenuator, a delay line or circuit, a level translator, a galvanic isolator, an impedance transformer, a linearization circuit, a calibrator, a passive or active (or adaptive) filter, an integrator, a deviator, an equalizer, a spectrum analyzer, a compressor or a de-compressor, a coder (or decoder), a modulator (or demodulator), a pattern recognizer, a smoother, a noise remover, an average or RMS circuit, or any combination thereof. In the case of analog actuator, a digital to analog (D/A) converter may be used to convert the digital command data to analog signals for controlling the actuators. The unit may include a computer for controlling and managing the unit operation, processing the actuators commands and handling the unit communication. The unit may include a modem or transceiver coupled to a communication port (such as a connector or antenna), for interfacing and communicating over a network.
  • A sensor/actuator unit is a device integrating a part or whole of a sensor unit with part or whole of an actuator unit. For a non-limiting example, such hardware integration may relate to housing in the same enclosure, sharing the same connector (power, communication or any other connector), sharing the same power source or power supply, sharing PCB or other mechanical support, sharing the same processor or computer, sharing the same modem or transceiver, or sharing the same communication port. A sensor actuator unit may include one or more sensors, each with its associated signal conditioner and A/D (if required), and one or more actuators, each with its associated signal conditioner and D/A, if required. A sensor unit, an actuator unit, and a sensor/actuator unit are collectively referred to as ‘field units’.
  • A field unit may be powered in part or in whole from AC or DC power source. A local powering scheme may be used, where the power source may be integrated with field unit, such as within the same enclosure, or a remote powering scheme may be used, where the power source may be external to the field unit enclosure, and connected via a power connector in the field unit. The power source may power feed a power supply, which supplies the DC (and/or AC) voltages required by the field units sensors. A sensor may be power fed from the same power source or power supply powering the field unit circuits, or may use a dedicated power source or power supply, which may be internal or external to the field unit enclosure. An actuator may be power fed from the same power source or power supply powering the field unit circuits, or may use a dedicated power source or power supply, which may be internal or external to the field unit enclosure. The same element may serve as both a power source and as a sensor, such as solar cell, a Peltier-effect based device, and motion-based generators.
  • The power source may be a primary or rechargeable battery, and the field unit may include a battery compartment for holding the battery, and a connector for connecting to a battery charger. Alternatively or in addition, the power source may be based internal electrical power generator, such as a solar or photovoltaic cell, or may use an electromechanical generator (e.g., a dynamo or an alternator) harvesting kinetic energy, such as from the field unit motion. The power source may be the mains AC power, and the power supply may include AC/DC converter. The same element may double as a sensor and as a power source. For example, a solar or photovoltaic cell may be used as a light sensor, simultaneously with serving as a power source, and an electromechanical generator, for example based on harvesting mechanical vibrations energy, may at the same time be used to measure the mechanical vibrations (e.g., frequency or magnitude).
  • A field unit may be remotely powered, in part or in whole, from a power source via a cable simultaneously carrying another signal. For example, the same cable may carry digital data used for communication (e.g., with a router, a gateway, or another field unit), and the same connector may be used for digital data communication and for receiving power from a power source. The powering via a connection (such as a connector) may use a dedicated cable, where the cable may have power-dedicated wires or conductors, or by using power and data carried over the same wires such as by using FDM or phantom scheme. In the case of using FDM, the field unit may include circuits for splitting the power signal and the data signal, and may include filters, transformers or a center-tap transformer. A field unit (or any part thereof) may be used to supply power from a power source to a device connected to it, such as a sensor, an actuator, a router, a gateway or another field unit. Such powering may be via a connection that use a dedicated cable, or by using the same cable and having power-dedicated wires or conductors, or by using power and data carried over the same wires such as by using FDM or phantom scheme. A powering scheme may be based on the PoE standard.
  • A field unit (sensor, actuator, or sensor/actuator unit) may be integrated, partially or in whole, with the router or gateway. A router, a gateway, a sensor, an actuator, or a field unit may be integrated, in whole or in part, in an electrically powered home, commercial, or industrial appliance. The home appliance may be major or small appliance, and its main function may be food storage or preparation, cleaning (such as clothes cleaning), or temperature control (environmental, food or water) such as heating or cooling. Examples of appliances are water heaters, HVAC systems, air conditioner, heaters, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaner, microwave oven, electric mixers, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, food processors, dishwashers, food blenders, beverage makers such as coffeemakers and iced-tea makers, answering machines, telephone sets, home cinema systems, HiFi systems, CD and DVD players, induction cookers, electric furnaces, trash compactors, and dehumidifiers. The field unit may consist of, or be integrated with, a battery-operated portable electronic device such as a notebook/laptop computer, a media player (e.g., MP3 based or video player), a cellular phone, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), an image processing device (e.g., a digital camera or a video recorder), and/or any other handheld computing devices, or a combination of any of these devices. Alternatively or in addition, a router, a gateway, a sensor, an actuator, or a field unit may be integrated, in whole or in part, in furniture or clothes.
  • In one example, a sensor, an actuator, one or more field units, or the router may be integrated with, or may be part of, an outlet or a plug-in module. The outlet may be telephone, LAN (such as Structured Wiring based on Category 5, 6 or 7 wiring), AC power or CATV outlet. The field unit or the router may communicate over the in-wall wiring connected to the outlet, such as telephone, AC power, LAN or CATV wiring. The outlet associated sensor, actuator, one or more field units, or router may be powered from a power signal carried over the in-wall wiring, and may communicate using the in-wall wiring as a network medium.
  • The router (or gateway) may include a communication port and a modem (or transceiver) for connecting to the control server via the Internet. The router may include one or more communication ports, each associated with a modem (or transceiver), for communicating with field units in the building (or vehicle). A routing core may be connected to all modems (or transceivers) for routing the digital data therebetween.
  • In one aspect, a control server may be used as part of system implementing a control loop. The system may include one or multiple field units in a building or in a vehicle. One or more networks in the building (or vehicle) may be used for the communication between two or more field units, and for allowing the field units to communicate with a router (which may include some, or whole of, gateway functionalities) in the building (or vehicle). Each of the networks may be a wireless or wired network, and may be a control network, a home network, a PAN, a WPAN, a LAN, a WLAN, or a WAN. The router (or gateway) may communicate with a data units (such as PC) over a network in the building (or vehicle). The router (or the gateway) may serve as an intermediary device in a control loop, and may communicate with the control server over the Internet via an ISP using a network which may be wireless or wired network, which may be a PAN, a WPAN, a LAN, a WLAN, a WAN, or a cellular network.
  • The system may implement a control loop, which may be arranged to control one or more physical phenomena, such as regulating the phenomena to or at a setpoint (target value) or any other reference value. One or more field units may transmit sensor (or sensors) data to a controller via one or more networks. The controller functionality may receive the sensors data, may condition or process the received sensors data, and according to a control logic determines the actuator (or actuators) commands. The actuators commands may be sent via one or more networks to the target actuators in the field units. The setpoint may be fixed, set by a user, or may be time dependent. The setpoint may be dependent upon an additional sensor that is responsive to another phenomenon distinct from the controlled phenomenon, and the additional sensor is part of, or is coupled to, the system.
  • The controller may implement open loop (such as feed-forward control). Alternatively or in addition, a closed loop may be implemented, which may be based on proportional-only, PI, Bistable, hysteretic, PID, bang-bang, or fuzzy control based on fuzzy logic. The controller may use sequential control, may be a PLC, or may include PLC functionalities. The controller functionalities may be implemented, in part or in full, in the control server, in the router, in a computer in the building (or vehicle), or divided in any combination thereof.
  • The system operation or the control logic may involve randomness, and may be based on a random number generated by a random number generator. The random number generator may be based on a physical process (such as thermal noise, shot noise, nuclear decaying radiation, photoelectric effect or other quantum phenomena), or on an algorithm for generating pseudo-random numbers, and may be integrated (in part or entirely) as part of one or more of the field units, the router or gateway, or in the control server.
  • In one aspect, one of the sensors is an image sensor, for capturing an image (still or video). The controller responds to characteristics or events extracted by image processing of the captured image or video. For example, the image processing may be face detection, face recognition, gesture recognition, compression or de-compression, or motion sensing. The image processing functionality may be in the field unit, in the router (or gateway), in the control server, in a computer in the building (or vehicle), or any combination thereof. In another aspect, one of the sensors may be a microphone for capturing a human voice. The controller responds to characteristics or events extracted by voice processing of the captured audio. The voice processing functionality may include compression or de-compression, and may be in the field unit, in the router (or gateway), in the control server, in a computer in the building (or vehicle), or any combination thereof.
  • Any element capable of measuring or responding to a physical phenomenon may be used as a sensor. An appropriate sensor may be adapted for a specific physical phenomenon, such as a sensor responsive to temperature, humidity, pressure, audio, vibration, light, motion, sound, proximity, flow rate, electrical voltage, and electrical current.
  • A sensor may be an analog sensor having an analog signal output such as analog voltage or current, or may have continuously variable impedance. Alternatively on in addition, a sensor may have a digital signal output. A sensor may serve as a detector, notifying only the presence of a phenomenon, such as by a switch, and may use a fixed or settable threshold level. A sensor may measure time-dependent or space-dependent parameters of a phenomenon. A sensor may measure time-dependencies or a phenomenon such as the rate of change, time-integrated or time-average, duty-cycle, frequency or time period between events. A sensor may be a passive sensor, or an active sensor requiring an external source of excitation. The sensor may be semiconductor-based, and may be based on MEMS technology.
  • A sensor may measure the amount of a property or of a physical quantity or the magnitude relating to a physical phenomenon, body or substance. Alternatively or in addition, a sensor may be used to measure the time derivative thereof, such as the rate of change of the amount, the quantity or the magnitude. In the case of space related quantity or magnitude, a sensor may measure the linear density, surface density, or volume density, relating to the amount of property per volume. Alternatively or in addition, a sensor may measure the flux (or flow) of a property through a cross-section or surface boundary, the flux density, or the current. In the case of a scalar field, a sensor may measure the quantity gradient. A sensor may measure the amount of property per unit mass or per mole of substance. A single sensor may be used to measure two or more phenomena.
  • The sensor may be thermoelectric sensor, for measuring, sensing or detecting the temperature (or the temperature gradient) of an object, which may be solid, liquid or gas. Such sensor may be a thermistor (either PTC or NTC), a thermocouple, a quartz thermometer, or an RTD. The sensor may be based on a Geiger counter for detecting and measuring radioactivity or any other nuclear radiation. Light, photons, or other optical phenomena may be measured or detected by a photosensor or photodetector, used for measuring the intensity of visible or invisible light (such as infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray or gamma rays). A photosensor may be based on the photoelectric or the photovoltaic effect, such as a photodiode, a phototransistor, solar cell or a photomultiplier tube. A photosensor may be a photoresistor based on photoconductivity, or a CCD where a charge is affected by the light. The sensor may be an electrochemical sensor used to measure, sense or detect a matter structure, properties, composition, and reactions, such as pH meters, gas detector, or gas sensor. Using semiconductors, oxidation, catalytic, infrared or other sensing or detection mechanisms, gas detector may be used to detect the presence of a gas (or gases) such as hydrogen, oxygen or CO. The sensor may be a smoke detector for detecting smoke or fire, typically by an optical detection (photoelectric) or by a physical process (ionization).
  • The sensor may be a physiological sensor for measuring, sensing or detecting parameters of a live body, such as animal or human body. Such a sensor may involve measuring of body electrical signals such as an EEG or ECG sensor, a gas saturation sensor such as oxygen saturation sensor, mechanical or physical parameter sensors such as a blood pressure meter. A sensor (or sensors) may be external to the sensed body, implanted inside the body, or may be wearable. The sensor may be an electracoustic sensor for measuring, sensing or detecting sound, such as a microphone. Typically microphones are based on converting audible or inaudible (or both) incident sound to an electrical signal by measuring the vibration of a diaphragm or a ribbon. The microphone may be a condenser microphone, an electret microphone, a dynamic microphone, a ribbon microphone, a carbon microphone, or a piezoelectric microphone.
  • A sensor may be an image sensor for providing digital camera functionality, allowing an image (either as still images or as a video) to be captured, stored, manipulated and displayed. The image capturing hardware integrated with the sensor unit may contain a photographic lens (through a lens opening) focusing the required image onto a photosensitive image sensor array disposed approximately at an image focal point plane of the optical lens, for capturing the image and producing electronic image information representing the image. The image sensor may be based on Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD) or Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS). The image may be converted into a digital format by an image sensor AFE (Analog Front End) and an image processor, commonly including an analog to digital (A/D) converter coupled to the image sensor for generating a digital data representation of the image. The unit may contain a video compressor, coupled between the analog to digital (A/D) converter and the transmitter for compressing the digital data video before transmission to the communication medium. The compressor may be used for lossy or non-lossy compression of the image information, for reducing the memory size and reducing the data rate required for the transmission over the communication medium. The compression may be based on a standard compression algorithm such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, or ITU-T CCIR 601.
  • The digital data video signal carrying a digital data video according to a digital video format, and a transmitter coupled between the port and the image processor for transmitting the digital data video signal to the communication medium. The digital video format may be based on one out of: TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), RAW format, AVI (Audio Video Interleaved), DV, MOV, WMV, MP4, DCF (Design Rule for Camera Format), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, ITU-T CCIR 601, ASF, Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format), and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) standards.
  • A sensor may be an electrical sensor used to measure electrical quantities or electrical properties. The electrical sensor may be conductively connected to the measured element. Alternatively or in addition, the electrical sensor may use non-conductive or non-contact coupling to the measured element, such as measuring a phenomenon associated with the measured quantity or property. The electric sensor may be a current sensor or an ampmeter (a.k.a. ampermeter) for measuring DC or AC (or any other waveform) electric current passing through a conductor or wire. The current sensor may be connected such that part or entire of the measured electric current may be passing through the ampermeter, such as a galvanometer or a hot-wire ampermeter. An ampermeter may be a current clamp or current probe, and may use the ‘Hall effect’ or a current transformer concept for non-contact or non-conductive current measurement. The electrical sensor may be a voltmeter for measuring the DC or AC (or any other waveform) voltage, or any potential difference between two points. The voltmeter may be based on the current passing a resistor using the Ohm's law, may be based on a potentiometer, or may be based on a bridge circuit.
  • A sensor may be a wattmeter measuring the magnitude of the active AC or DC power (or the supply rate of electrical energy). The wattmeter may be a bolometer, used for measuring the power of incident electromagnetic radiation via the heating of a material with a temperature-dependent electrical resistance. A sensor may be an electricity AC (single or multi-phase) or DC type meter (or electrical energy meter), that measures the amount of electrical energy consumed by a load. The electricity meter may be based on a wattmeter which accumulate or average the readings, may be based on induction, or may be based on multiplying measured voltage and current.
  • An electrical sensor may be an ohmmeter for measuring the electrical resistance (or conductance), and may be a megohmmeter or a microohmeter. The ohmmeter may use the Ohm's law to derive the resistance from voltage and current measurements, or may use a bridge such as a Wheatstone bridge. A sensor may be a capacitance meter for measuring capacitance. A sensor may be an inductance meter for measuring inductance. A sensor may be an impedance meter for measuring an impedance of a device or a circuit. A sensor may be an LCR meter, used to measure inductance (L), capacitance (C), and resistance (R). A meter may use sourcing a DC or an AC voltage, and use the ratio of the measured voltage and current (and their phase difference) through the tested device according to Ohm's law to calculate the resistance, the capacitance, the inductance, or the impedance (R=V/I). Alternatively or in addition, a meter may use a bridge circuit (such as Wheatstone bridge), where variable calibrated elements are adjusted to detect a null. The measurement may be using DC, using a single frequency or over a range of frequencies.
  • The sensor may be a Time-Domain Reflectometer (TDR) used to characterize and locate faults in transmission-lines such as conductive or metallic lines, based on checking the reflection of a transmitted short rise time pulse. Similarly, an optical TDR may be used to test optical fiber cables.
  • A sensor may be a scalar or a vector magnetometer for measuring an H or B magnetic fields. The magnetometer may be based on a Hall effect sensor, magneto-diode, magneto-transistor, AMR magnetometer, GMR magnetometer, magnetic tunnel junction magnetometer, magneto-optical sensor, Lorentz force based MEMS sensor, Electron Tunneling based MEMS sensor, MEMS compass, Nuclear precession magnetic field sensor (a.k.a. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance—NMR), optically pumped magnetic field sensor, fluxgate magnetometer, search coil magnetic field sensor, or Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometer.
  • A sensor may be a strain gauge, used to measure the strain, or any other deformation, of an object. The sensor may be based on deforming a metallic foil, semiconductor strain gauge (such as piezoresistors), measuring the strain along an optical fiber, capacitive strain gauge, and vibrating or resonating of a tensioned wire. A sensor may be a tactile sensor, being sensitive to force or pressure, or being sensitive to a touch by an object, typically a human touch. A tactile sensor may be based on a conductive rubber, a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) material, a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) material, a metallic capacitive element, or any combination thereof. A tactile sensor may be a tactile switch, which may be based on the human body conductance, using measurement of conductance or capacitance.
  • A sensor may be a piezoelectric sensor, where the piezoelectric effect is used to measure pressure, acceleration, strain or force, and may use transverse, longitudinal, or shear effect mode. A thin membrane may be used to transfer and measure pressure, while mass may be used for acceleration measurement. A piezoelectric sensor element material may be a piezoelectric ceramics (such as PZT ceramic) or a single crystal material. A single crystal material may be gallium phosphate, quartz, tourmaline, or Lead Magnesium Niobate-Lead Titanate (PMN-PT).
  • A sensor may be a motion sensor, and may include one or more accelerometers, which measures the absolute acceleration or the acceleration relative to freefall. The accelerometer may be piezoelectric, piezoresistive, capacitive, MEMS or electromechanical switch accelerometer, measuring the magnitude and the direction the device acceleration in a single-axis, 2-axis or 3-axis (omnidirectional). Alternatively or in addition, the motion sensor may be based on electrical tilt and vibration switch or any other electromechanical switch.
  • A sensor may be a force sensor, a load cell, or a force gauge (a.k.a. force gage), used to measure a force magnitude and/or direction, and may be based on a spring extension, a strain gauge deformation, a piezoelectric effect, or a vibrating wire. A sensor may be a driving or passive dynamometer, used to measure torque or any moment of force.
  • A sensor may be a pressure sensor (a.k.a. pressure transducer or pressure transmitter/sender) for measuring a pressure of gases or liquids, and for indirectly measuring other parameters such as fluid/gas flow, speed, water-level, and altitude. A pressure sensor may be a pressure switch. A pressure sensor may be an absolute pressure sensor, a gauge pressure sensor, a vacuum pressure sensor, a differential pressure sensor, or a sealed pressure sensor. The changes in pressure relative to altitude may be used for an altimeter, and the Venturi effect may be used to measure flow by a pressure sensor. Similarly, the depth of a submerged body or the fluid level on contents in a tank may be measured by a pressure sensor.
  • A pressure sensor may be of a force collector type, where a force collector (such a diaphragm, piston, bourdon tube, or bellows) is used to measure strain (or deflection) due to applied force (pressure) over an area. Such sensor may be a based on the piezoelectric effect (a piezoresistive strain gauge), may be of a capacitive or of an electromagnetic type. A pressure sensor may be based on a potentiometer, or may be based on using the changes in resonant frequency or the thermal conductivity of a gas, or may use the changes in the flow of charged gas particles (ions).
  • A sensor may be a position sensor for measuring linear or angular position (or motion). A position sensor may be an absolute position sensor, or may be a displacement (relative or incremental) sensor, measuring a relative position, and may be an electromechanical sensor. A position sensor may be mechanically attached to the measured object, or alternatively may use a non-contact measurement.
  • A position sensor may be an angular position sensor, for measuring involving an angular position (or the rotation or motion) of a shaft, an axle, or a disk. Absolute angular position sensor output indicates the current position (angle) of the shaft, while incremental or displacement sensor provides information about the change, the angular speed or the motion of the shaft. An angular position sensor may be of optical type, using reflective or interruption schemes, or may be of magnetic type, such as based on variable-reluctance (VR), Eddy-current killed oscillator (ECKO), Wiegand sensing, or Hall-effect sensing, or may be based on a rotary potentiometer. An angular position sensor may be transformer based such as a RVDT, a resolver or a synchro. An angular position sensor may be based on an absolute or incremental rotary encoder, and may be a mechanical or optical rotary encoder, using binary or gray encoding schemes.
  • A sensor may be an angular rate sensor, used to measure the angular rate, or the rotation speed, of a shaft, an axle or a disc, and may be electromechanical (such as centrifugal switch), MEMS based, Laser based (such as Ring Laser Gyroscope—RLG), or a gyroscope (such as fiber-optic gyro) based. Some gyroscopes use the measurement of the Coriolis acceleration to determine the angular rate. An angular rate sensor may be a tachometer, which may be based on measuring the centrifugal force, or based on optical, electric, or magnetic sensing a slotted disk.
  • A position sensor may be a linear position sensor, for measuring a linear displacement or position typically in a straight line, and may use a transformer principle such as such as LVDT, or may be based on a resistive element such as linear potentiometer. A linear position sensor may be an incremental or absolute linear encoder, and may employ optical, magnetic, capacitive, inductive, or eddy-current principles.
  • A sensor may be a mechanical or electrical motion detector (or an occupancy sensor), for discrete (on/off) or magnitude-based motion detection. A motion detector may be based on sound (acoustic sensors), opacity (optical and infrared sensors and video image processors), geomagnetism (magnetic sensors, magnetometers), reflection of transmitted energy (infrared laser radar, ultrasonic sensors, and microwave radar sensors), electromagnetic induction (inductive-loop detectors), or vibration (triboelectric, seismic, and inertia-switch sensors). Acoustic sensors may use electric effect, inductive coupling, capacitive coupling, triboelectric effect, piezoelectric effect, fiber optic transmission, or radar intrusion sensing. An occupancy sensor is typically a motion detector that may be integrated with hardware or software-based timing device.
  • A motion sensor may be a mechanically-actuated switch or trigger, or may use passive or active electronic sensors, such as passive infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors, microwave sensor or tomographic detector. Alternatively or in addition, motion can be electronically identified using infrared (PIR) or laser optical detection or acoustical detection, or may use a combination of the technologies disclosed herein.
  • A sensor may be a humidity sensor, such as a hygrometer or a humidistat, and may respond to an absolute, relative, or specific humidity. The measurement may be based on optically detecting condensation, or may be based on changing the capacitance, resistance, or thermal conductivity of materials subjected to the measured humidity.
  • A sensor may be a clinometer for measuring angle (such as pitch or roll) of an object, typically with respect to a plane such as the earth ground plane. A clinometer may be based on an accelerometer, a pendulum, or on a gas bubble in liquid, or may be a tilt switch such as a mercury tilt switch for detecting inclination or declination with respect to a determined tilt angle.
  • A sensor may be a gas or liquid flow sensor, for measuring the volumetric or mass flow rate via a defined area or a surface. A liquid flow sensor typically involves measuring the flow in a pipe or in an open conduit. A flow measurement may be based on a mechanical flow meter, such as a turbine flow meter, a Woltmann meter, a single jet meter, or a paddle wheel meter. Pressure-based meters may be based on measuring a pressure or a pressure differential based on Bernoulli's principle, such as a Venturi meter. The sensor may be an optical flow meter or be based on the Doppler-effect.
  • A flow sensor may be an air flow sensor, for measuring the air or gas flow, such as through a surface (e.g., through a tube) or a volume, by actually measuring the air volume passing, or by measuring the actual speed or air flow. In some cases, a pressure, typically differential pressure, may be measured as an indicator for the air flow measurements. An anemometer is an air flow sensor primarily for measuring wind speed, and may be cup anemometer, a windmill anemometer, hot-wire anemometer such as CCA (Constant-Current Anemometer), CVA (Constant-Voltage Anemometer) and CTA (Constant-Temperature Anemometer). Sonic anemometers use ultrasonic sound waves to measure wind velocity. Air flow may be measured by a pressure anemometer that may be a plate or tube class.
  • A sensor may be a gyroscope, for measuring orientation in space, such as the conventional mechanical type, a MEMS gyroscope, a piezoelectric gyroscope, a FOG, or a VSG type. A sensor may be a nanosensor, a solid-state, or an ultrasonic based sensor. A sensor may be an eddy-current sensor, where the measurement may be based on producing and/or measuring eddy-currents. Sensor may be a proximity sensor, such as metal detector. A sensor may be a bulk or surface acoustic sensor, or may be an atmospheric sensor.
  • In one example, multiple sensors may be used arranged as a sensor array (such as linear sensor array), for improving the sensitivity, accuracy, resolution, and other parameters of the sensed phenomenon. The sensor array may be directional, and better measure the parameters of the impinging signal to the array, such as the number, magnitudes, frequencies, Direction-Of-Arrival (DOA), distances, and speeds of the signals. The processing of the entire sensor array outputs, such as to obtain a single measurement or a single parameter, may be performed by a dedicated processor, which may be part of the sensor array assembly, may be performed in the processor of the field unit, may be performed by the processor in the router, may be performed as part of the controller functionality (e.g., in the control server), or any combination thereof. The same component may serve both as a sensor and as actuator, such as during different times, and may be associated with the same or different phenomenon. A sensor operation may be based on an external or integral mechanism for generating a stimulus or an excitation to generate influence or create a phenomenon. The mechanism may be controlled as an actuator or as part of the sensor.
  • Any element designed for or capable of directly or indirectly affecting, changing, producing, or creating a physical phenomenon under an electric signal control may be used as an actuator. An appropriate actuator may be adapted for a specific physical phenomenon, such as an actuator responsive to temperature, humidity, pressure, audio, vibration, light, motion, sound, proximity, flow rate, electrical voltage, and electrical current. Typically a sensor may be used to measure a phenomenon affected by an actuator.
  • An actuator may be an analog actuator having an analog signal input such as analog voltage or current, or may have continuously variable impedance. Alternatively on in addition, an actuator may have a digital signal input. An actuator may affect time-dependent or space-dependent parameters of a phenomenon. An actuator may affect time-dependencies or a phenomenon such as the rate of change, time-integrated or time-average, duty-cycle, frequency or time period between events. The actuator may be semiconductor-based, and may be based on MEMS technology.
  • An actuator may affect the amount of a property or of a physical quantity or the magnitude relating to a physical phenomenon, body or substance. Alternatively or in addition, an actuator may be used to affect the time derivative thereof, such as the rate of change of the amount, the quantity or the magnitude. In the case of space related quantity or magnitude, an actuator may affect the linear density, surface density, or volume density, relating to the amount of property per volume. Alternatively or in addition, an actuator may affect the flux (or flow) of a property through a cross-section or surface boundary, the flux density, or the current. In the case of a scalar field, an actuator may affect the quantity gradient. An actuator may affect the amount of property per unit mass or per mole of substance. A single actuator may be used to measure two or more phenomena.
  • An actuator may be a light source used to emit light by converting electrical energy into light, and where the luminous intensity may be fixed or may be controlled, commonly for illumination or indication purposes. An actuator may be used to activate or control the light emitted by a light source, being based on converting electrical energy or another energy to a light. The light emitted may be a visible light, or invisible light such as infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray or gamma rays. A shade, reflector, enclosing globe, housing, lens, and other accessories may be used, typically as part of a light fixture, in order to control the illumination intensity, shape or direction. Electrical sources of illumination commonly use a gas, a plasma (such as in arc and fluorescent lamps), an electrical filament, or Solid-State Lighting (SSL), where semiconductors are used. An SSL may be a Light-Emitting Diode (LED), an Organic LED (OLED), Polymer LED (PLED), or a laser diode.
  • A light source may consists of, or comprises, a lamp which may be an arc lamp, a fluorescent lamp, a gas-discharge lamp (such as a fluorescent lamp), or an incandescent light (such as a halogen lamp). An arc lamp is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc voltaic arc. Such a lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a noble gas.
  • A motion actuator may be a rotary actuator that produces a rotary motion or torque, commonly to a shaft or axle. The motion produced by a rotary motion actuator may be either continuous rotation, such as in common electric motors, or movement to a fixed angular position as for servos and stepper motors. A motion actuator may be a linear actuator that creates motion in a straight line. A linear actuator may be based on an intrinsically rotary actuator, by converting from a rotary motion created by a rotary actuator, using a screw, a wheel and axle, or a cam. A screw actuator may be a leadscrew, a screw jack, a ball screw or roller screw. A wheel-and-axle actuator operates on the principle of the wheel and axle, and may be hoist, winch, rack and pinion, chain drive, belt drive, rigid chain, or rigid belt actuator. Similarly, a rotary actuator may be based on an intrinsically linear actuator, by converting from a linear motion to a rotary motion, using the above or other mechanisms. Motion actuators may include a wide variety of mechanical elements and/or prime movers to change the nature of the motion such as provided by the actuating/transducing elements, such as levers, ramps, screws, cams, crankshafts, gears, pulleys, constant-velocity joints, or ratchets. A motion actuator may be part of a servomotor system.
  • A motion actuator may be a pneumatic actuator that converts compressed air into rotary or linear motion, and may comprises a piston, a cylinder, valves or ports. Motion actuators are commonly controlled by an input pressure to a control valve, and may be based on moving a piston in a cylinder. A motion actuator may a hydraulic actuator using a pressure of the liquid in a hydraulic cylinder to provide force or motion. A hydraulic actuator may be a hydraulic pump, such as a vane pump, a gear pump, or a piston pump. A motion actuator may be an electric actuator where electrical energy may be converted into motion, such as an electric motor. A motion actuator may be a vacuum actuator producing a motion based on vacuum pressure.
  • An electric motor may be a DC motor, which may be a brushed, brushless, or uncommutated type. An electric motor may be a stepper motor, and may be a Permanent Magnet (PM) motor, a Variable reluctance (VR) motor, or a hybrid synchronous stepper. An electric motor may be an AC motor, which may be an induction motor, a synchronous motor, or an eddy current motors. An AC motor may be a two-phase AC servo motor, a three-phase AC synchronous motor, or a single-phase AC induction motor, such as a split-phase motor, a capacitor start motor, or a Permanent-Split Capacitor (PSC) motor. Alternatively or in addition, an electric motor may be an electrostatic motor, and may be MEMS based.
  • A rotary actuator may be a fluid power actuator, and a linear actuator may be a linear hydraulic actuator or a pneumatic actuator. A linear actuator may be a piezoelectric actuator, based on the piezoelectric effect, may be a wax motor, or may be a linear electrical motor, which may be a DC brush, a DC brushless, a stepper, or an induction motor type. A linear actuator may be a telescoping linear actuator. A linear actuator may be a linear electric motor, such as a linear induction motor (LIM), or a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM).
  • A motion actuator may be a linear or rotary piezoelectric motor based on acoustic or ultrasonic vibrations. A piezoelectric motor may use piezoelectric ceramics such as Inchworm or PiezoWalk motors, may use Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) to generate the linear or the rotary motion, or may be a Squiggle motor. Alternatively or in addition, an electric motor may be an ultrasonic motor. A linear actuator may be a micro- or nanometer comb-drive capacitive actuator. Alternatively or in addition, a motion actuator may be a Dielectric or Ionic based Electroactive Polymers (EAPs) actuator. A motion actuator may also be a solenoid, thermal bimorph, or a piezoelectric unimorph actuator.
  • An actuator may be a pump, typically used to move (or compress) fluids or liquids, gasses, or slurries, commonly by pressure or suction actions, and the activating mechanism is often reciprocating or rotary. A pump may be a direct lift, impulse, displacement, valveless, velocity, centrifugal, vacuum pump, or gravity pump. A pump may be a positive displacement pump, such as a rotary-type positive displacement type such as internal gear, screw, shuttle block, flexible vane or sliding vane, circumferential piston, helical twisted roots or liquid ring vacuum pumps, a reciprocating-type positive displacement type, such as piston or diaphragm pumps, and a linear-type positive displacement type, such as rope pumps and chain pumps, a rotary lobe pump, a progressive cavity pump, a rotary gear pump, a piston pump, a diaphragm pump, a screw pump, a gear pump, a hydraulic pump, and a vane pump. A rotary positive displacement pumps may be a gear pump, a screw pump, or a rotary vane pumps. Reciprocating positive displacement pumps may be plunger pumps type, diaphragm pumps type, diaphragm valves type, or radial piston pumps type.
  • A pump may be an impulse pump such as hydraulic ram pumps type, pulser pumps type, or airlift pumps type. A pump may be a rotodynamic pump such as a velocity pump or a centrifugal pump. A centrifugal pump may be a radial flow pump type, an axial flow pump type, or a mixed flow pump.
  • An actuator may be an electrochemical or chemical actuator, used to produce, change, or otherwise affect a matter structure, properties, composition, process, or reactions, such as oxidation/reduction or an electrolysis process.
  • An actuator may be a sounder which converts electrical energy to sound waves transmitted through the air, an elastic solid material, or a liquid, usually by means of a vibrating or moving ribbon or diaphragm. The sound may be audible or inaudible (or both), and may be omnidirectional, unidirectional, bidirectional, or provide other directionality or polar patterns. A sounder may be an electromagnetic loudspeaker, a piezoelectric speaker, an electrostatic loudspeaker (ESL), a ribbon or planar magnetic loudspeaker, or a bending wave loudspeaker.
  • A sounder may an electromechanical type, such as an electric bell, a buzzer (or beeper), a chime, a whistle or a ringer and may be either electromechanical or ceramic-based piezoelectric sounders. The sounder may emit a single or multiple tones, and can be in continuous or intermittent operation.
  • The system may use the sounder to play digital audio content, either stored in, or received by, the sounder, the actuator unit, the router, the control server, or any combination thereof. The audio content stored may be either pre-recorded or using a synthesizer. Few digital audio files may be stored, selected by the control logic. Alternatively or in addition, the source of the digital audio may a microphone serving as a sensor. In another example, the system uses the sounder for simulating the voice of a human being or generates music. The music produced can emulate the sounds of a conventional acoustical music instrument, such as a piano, tuba, harp, violin, flute, guitar and so forth. A talking human voice may be played by the sounder, either pre-recorded or using human voice synthesizer, and the sound may be a syllable, a word, a phrase, a sentence, a short story or a long story, and can be based on speech synthesis or pre-recorded, using male or female voice.
  • A human speech may be produced using a hardware, software (or both) speech synthesizer, which may be Text-To-Speech (TTS) based. The speech synthesizer may be a concatenative type, using unit selection, diphone synthesis, or domain-specific synthesis. Alternatively or in addition, the speech synthesizer may be a formant type, and may be based on articulatory synthesis or hidden Markov models (HMM) based.
  • An actuator may be used to generate an electric or magnetic field, and may be an electromagnetic coil or an electromagnet.
  • An actuator may be a display for presentation of visual data or information, commonly on a screen, and may consist of an array (e.g., matrix) of light emitters or light reflectors, and may present text, graphics, image or video. A display may be a monochrome, gray-scale, or color type, and may be a video display. The display may be a projector (commonly by using multiple reflectors), or alternatively (or in addition) have the screen integrated. A projector may be based on an Eidophor, Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS or LCOS), or LCD, or may use Digital Light Processing (DLP™) technology, and may be MEMS based or be a virtual retinal display. A video display may support Standard-Definition (SD) or High-Definition (HD) standards, and may support 3D. The display may present the information as scrolling, static, bold or flashing. The display may be an analog display, such as having NTSC, PAL or SECAM formats. Similarly, analog RGB, VGA (Video Graphics Array), SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array), SCART or S-video interface, or may be a digital display, such as having IEEE1394 interface (a.k.a. FireWire™), may be used. Other digital interfaces that can be used are USB, SDI (Serial Digital Interface), HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), UDI (Unified Display Interface), DisplayPort, Digital Component Video or DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) interface. Various user controls may include an on/off switch, a reset button and others. Other exemplary controls involve display associated settings such as contrast, brightness and zoom.
  • A display may be a Cathode-Ray Tube (CRT) display, or a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display. The LCD display may be passive (such as CSTN or DSTN based) or active matrix, and may be Thin Film Transistor (TFT) or LED-backlit LCD display. A display may be a Field Emission Display (FED), Electroluminescent Display (ELD), Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD), or may be an Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display, based on passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLED).
  • A display may be based on an Electronic Paper Display (EPD), and be based on Gyricon technology, Electro-Wetting Display (EWD), or Electrofluidic display technology. A display may be a laser video display or a laser video projector, and may be based on a Vertical-External-Cavity Surface-Emitting-Laser (VECSEL) or a Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL).
  • A display may be a segment display, such as a numerical or an alphanumerical display that can show only digits or alphanumeric characters, words, characters, arrows, symbols, ASCII and non-ASCII characters. Examples are Seven-segment display (digits only), Fourteen-segment display, and Sixteen-segment display, and a dot matrix display.
  • An actuator may be a thermoelectric actuator such as a cooler or a heater for changing the temperature of a solid, liquid or gas object, and may use conduction, convection, thermal radiation, or by the transfer of energy by phase changes. A heater may be a radiator using radiative heating, a convector using convection, or a forced convection heater. A thermoelectric actuator may be a heating or cooling heat pump, and may be electrically powered, compression-based cooler using an electric motor to drive a refrigeration cycle. A thermoelectric actuator may be an electric heater, converting electrical energy into heat, using resistance, or a dielectric heater. A thermoelectric actuator may be a solid-state active heat pump device based on the Peltier effect. A thermoelectric actuator may be an air cooler, using a compressor-based refrigeration cycle of a heat pump. An electric heater may be an induction heater.
  • An actuator unit may include a signal generator serving as an actuator for providing an electrical signal (such as a voltage or current), or may be coupled between the processor and the actuator for controlling the actuator. A signal generator an analog or digital signal generator, and may be based on software (or firmware) or may be a separated circuit or component. A signal may generate repeating or non-repeating electronic signals, and may include a digital to analog converter (DAC) to produce an analog output. Common waveforms are a sine wave, a saw-tooth, a step (pulse), a square, and a triangular waveforms. The generator may include some sort of modulation functionality such as Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency Modulation (FM), or Phase Modulation (PM). A signal generator may be an Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWGs) or a logic signal generator.
  • An actuator unit may include an electrical switch (or multiple switches) coupled between the processor and the actuator for activating the actuator. Two or more switches may be used, connected in series or in parallel. The switch may be integrated with the actuator (if separated from the actuator unit), with the actuator unit, or any combination thereof. In the above examples, a controller can affect the actuator (or load) activation by sending the actuator unit a message to activate the actuator by powering it, or to deactivate the actuator operation by breaking the current floe thereto, or shifting the actuator between states. A switch is typically designed to open (breaking, interrupting), close (making), or change one or more electric circuits under some type of external control, and may be an electromechanical device with one or more sets of electrical contacts having two or more states. The switch may be a ‘normally open’, ‘normally closed’ type, or a changeover switch, that may be either a ‘make-before-break’ or ‘break-before-make’ type. The switch contacts may have one or more poles and one or more throws, such as Single-Pole-Single-Throw (SPST), Single-Pole-Double-Throw (SPDT), Double-Pole-Double-Throw (DPDT), Double-Pole-Single-Throw (DPST), and Single-Pole-Changeover (SPCO). The switch may be an electrically operated switch such as an electromagnetic relay, which may be a non-latching or a latching type. The relay may be a reed relay, or a solid-state or semiconductor based relay, such as a Solid State Relay (SSR). A switch may be implemented using an electrical circuit, such as an open collector or open drain based circuit, a thyristor, a TRIAC or an opto-isolator.
  • The image processing may include video enhancement such as video denoising, image stabilization, unsharp masking, and super-resolution. The image processing may include a Video Content Analysis (VCA), such as Video Motion Detection (VMD), video tracking, and egomotion estimation, as well as identification, behavior analysis and other forms of situation awareness, dynamic masking, motion detection, object detection, face recognition, automatic number plate recognition, tamper detection, video tracking, and pattern recognition.
  • The image processing may be used for non-verbal human control of the system, such as by hand posture or gesture recognition. The recognized hand posture or gesture may be used as input by the control logic in the controller, and thus enables humans to interface with the machine in ways sometimes described as Man-Machine Interfaces (MMI) or Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) and interact naturally without any mechanical devices, and thus to impact the system operation and the actuators commands and operation. An image-based recognition may use a single camera or 3-D camera. A gesture recognition may be based on 3-D information of key elements of the body parts or may be 2-D appearance-based. A 3-D model approach can use volumetric or skeletal models, or a combination of the two.
  • A redundancy may be used in order to improve the accuracy, reliability, or availability. The redundancy may be implemented where two or more components may be used for the same functionality. The components may be similar, substantially or fully the same, identical, different, substantially different, or distinct from each other, or any combination thereof. The redundant components may be concurrently operated, allowing for improved robustness and allowing for overcoming a single point of failure (SPOF), or alternatively one or more of the components serves as a backup. The redundancy may be a standby redundancy, which may be ‘Cold Standby’ and ‘Hot Standby’. In the case three redundant components are used, Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR) may be used, and Quadruple Modular Redundancy (QMR) may be used in the case of four components. A 1:N Redundancy logic may be used for three or more components.
  • A sensor redundancy involves using two or more sensors sensing the same phenomenon. One of the two may be used, or all the sensors may be used together such as for averaging measurements for improved accuracy. Two or more data path may be available in the system between the system elements, where one of the may be only used, or alternatively all the data paths may be used together such as for improving the available bandwidth, throughput and delay.
  • In one example two or more sensor may be used for sensing the same (or substantially the same) phenomenon. The two (or more) sensors may be part of, associated with, or connected to the same field unit. Alternatively or in addition, each sensor may be connected to, or be part of, a distinct field unit. Similarly, two or more actuators may be used for generating or affecting the same (or substantially the same) phenomenon. The two (or more) actuators may be part of, associated with, or connected to the same field unit. Alternatively or in addition, each actuator may be connected to, or be part of, a distinct field unit.
  • The field units and the router may be located in the same building (or vehicle), in different buildings (or vehicles) or external (adjacent or remote) to the building (or vehicle) or the user premises. A field unit may communicate (such as send sensor info or receive actuator commands) with the router (or gateway) or the control server using the same or different WANs used by the router, and may be associated by the controller and its control logic by communication with the router or the control server.
  • The memory may be a random-accessed or a sequential-accessed memory, and may be location-based, randomly-accessed, and can be written multiple times. The memory may be volatile and based on semiconductor storage medium, such as: RAM, SRAM, DRAM, TTRAM and Z-RAM. The memory may be non-volatile and based on semiconductor storage medium, such as ROM, PROM, EPROM or EEROM, and may be Flash-based, such as SSD drive or USB ‘Thumb’ drive. The memory may be based on non-volatile magnetic storage medium, such as HDD. The memory may be based on an optical storage medium that is recordable and removable, and may include an optical disk drive. The storage medium may be: CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM BD-RE, CD-ROM, BD-ROM or DVD-ROM. The memory form factor may be an IC, a PCB on which one or more ICs are mounted, or a box-shaped enclosure.
  • The communication may be based on a PAN, a LAN or a WAN communication link, may use private or public networks, and may be packet-based or circuit-switched. The first bus or the second bus (or both) may each be based on Ethernet and may be substantially compliant with IEEE 802.3 standard, and be based on one out of: 100 BaseT/TX, 1000 BaseT/TX, 10 gigabit Ethernet substantially (or in full) according to IEEE Std 802.3ae-2002as standard, 40 Gigabit Ethernet, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet substantially according to IEEE P802.3ba standard. The first bus or the second bus (or both) may each be based on a multi-drop, a daisy-chain topology, or a point-to-point connection, use half-duplex or full-duplex, and may employs a master/slave scheme. The first bus or the second bus (or both) may each be a wired-based, point-to-point, and bit-serial bus, where a timing, clocking or strobing signal is carried over dedicated wires, or using a self-clocking scheme. Each of the buses (or both) may use a fiber-optic cable as the bus medium, and the adapter may comprise a fiber-optic connector for connecting to the fiber-optic cable.
  • The communication between two devices in the building (or vehicle), external to the building (or vehicle), or between a device in the building (or vehicle) to a device external to the building (or vehicle), such as the communication between field units, between routers, between home devices, between field unit and a router, between field unit and a server, or between a router and a server, may use multiple communication routes over the same or different networks, which may be used separately as redundant data paths or cooperatively such as aggregated communication links. A device in the system may include multiple network interfaces for communicating the multiple data routes or for communication over the multiple networks. A network interface may include a transceiver or modem and a communication port for coupling to the network, such as a connector for connecting to a wired or conductive network and an antenna for coupling to a wireless network. A physical, software, or logical (or a combination thereof) based interface selector in the device receives the packet to be sent and under a dedicated or general computer or processor control directs it to one or more of the network interfaces, to be sent over the multiple networks or data routes. A packet to be sent may be received by the interface selector, and when the interfaces that are available for transmission of the received packet are identified, and then an interface to be used (or multiple interfaces) may be selected out of the available interfaces, and the packet may be directed and sent to the selected interface for being transmitted over the associated network.
  • The network interfaces may be (in part or in whole) similar, identical or different from each other. The networks or the data paths may be similar, identical or different from each other, and may use different, similar or same medium, protocol, or connections. The networks may be wired (or otherwise conductive) and may be using coaxial cable, twisted-pair, power lines (powerlines) or telephone lines, or wireless (or otherwise using non-conductive propagation), using over the air or guided Radio Frequency (RF), light or sound propagation, and the network interfaces may include antennas, fiber-optics connectors, light emitters or light detectors, or speakers and microphones, or any combination thereof.
  • The networks or the data paths may be similar, identical or different geographical scale or coverage types and data rates, such as NFCs, PANs, LANs, MANs, or WANs, or any combination thereof. The networks or the data paths may be similar, identical or different types of modulation, such as Amplitude Modulation (AM), a Frequency Modulation (FM), or a Phase Modulation (PM), or any combination thereof. The networks or the data paths may be similar, identical or different types of duplexing such half- or full-duplex, or any combination thereof. The networks or the data paths may be based on similar, identical or different types of switching such as circuit-switched or packet-switched, or any combination thereof. The networks or the data paths may have similar, identical or different ownership or operation, such as private or public networks, or any combination thereof.
  • Two or more network interfaces may communicate over the same network or connected to same network medium simultaneously or at different times, and may use FDM technique, where filters passing different, same, or overlapping frequency bands may be connected between the modems and the respective communication ports. Alternatively or in addition, distinct modulation or coding schemes may be used in order to carry two or more signals over the same medium or over the same frequency band. Two or more network interfaces may share the same network port such as the same antenna or the same connector.
  • A packet may be sent via one, part of, or all of the available interfaces. A packet may be sent via one of the available interfaces, selected by using a cyclic assigning mechanism, or may otherwise form an aggregated stream such as by using a Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) scheme. A packet may be sent via randomly selected one of the available interfaces, or using a priority that may be assigned to each network interface. The priorities may be pre-set, fixed or adaptive and changing in time. The selection of the interface to be used, or the priorities assigned to the network interfaces, may be based on the available networks attributes or history, such as cost of network usage, quality of the communication via the interface or network, available bandwidth or throughput, communication errors or packets loss, number of hops to destination, last receive packet, or transfer delay time.
  • The selection of the interface to be used, or the priorities assigned to the network interfaces, may be based on routing tables (fixed or dynamic) associating the network interfaces to the attributes of the packet, such as destination or source address, or may be based on the type of information carried in the packet.
  • The field units and the router may be located in the same building (or vehicle), in different buildings (or vehicles) or external (adjacent or remote) to the building (or vehicle) or the user premises. A field unit may communicate (such as send sensor info or receive actuator commands) with the router (or gateway) or the control server using the same or different WANs used by the router, and may be associated by the controller and its control logic by communication with the router or the control server.
  • The system may include computers, routers, and field units including, or connected to, sensors and actuators, in a vehicle, and may be communicating via a router or routers to a server external to the vehicle. The vehicle may communicate with other vehicles, or with the server, via other vehicle or via (or to) a roadside unit or other stationary devices. The vehicle may be designed for use on land, on or in fluids, or be airborne, such as bicycle, car, automobile, motorcycle, train, ship, boat, submarine, airplane, scooter, bus, subway, train, or spacecraft. The sensors may sense a phenomenon in the vehicle or external to the vehicle. The actuators may affect the vehicle speed, direction, or route, or may be affecting the in-vehicle systems or environment. The system may be used for improving safety, traffic management, driver assisting, pricing management, and navigation. The in-vehicle networks may be based on standard or vehicle specific buses, such as CAN or LIN.
  • Any device in the system, such as a router, a field unit, a home computer, a server, or any other device or computer, may be addressable in any of the system, networks (such as the in-building or in-vehicle network, or any external network such as the the Internet) using a digital address which may be stored in a volatile or non-volatile memory. The same address or different addresses may be used when communicating over the various networks in the system, and the address may be or locally administered addresses universally administered addresses, where the address is uniquely assigned to a device by its manufacturer (such as programmed during manufacturing) or by its installer or user. The address may be a permanent and globally unique identification, and may be software-based or hardware-based. The address may be layer 2 address such as MAC address (e.g., MAC-48, EUI-48, or EUI-64), or alternatively (or in addition) may be IP address such as IPv4 or IPv6. The address may be static or dynamic IP address. The address may be assigned by another device in the network via a communication port or interface over the network, and may use DHCP. For example, the control server, the home computer, or the router may assign addresses to the router or to the field units. A device may be associated with, or be identified, by multiple addresses, which may relate to different OSI model layers (such as MAC and IP address), or to be used by different networks, such as multiple addressable network interfaces. The sensors and the actuators in the systems, or their respective connections or ports, may be individually addressable added to the related field unit other addresses, and may serve for source or destination addresses in the system. The sensors or actuators addresses, or the related connections or ports, may be uniquely assigned to during manufacturing, or may be assigned by the associated field unit, or a device communicating with the associated field unit.
  • In one aspect, a vehicle control system is disclosed such as for commanding an actuator operation according to a control logic, in response to a sensor response associated with a phenomenon, for example for use with one or more in-vehicle networks for communication in a vehicle, and an external network for communicating with an Internet-connected control server via another vehicle or a roadside unit external to the vehicle. The system may comprise a router in the vehicle, connected to the one or more in-vehicle networks and to the external network, and may be operative to pass digital data between the in-vehicle and one or more external networks; a first device in the vehicle that may comprise of, or connectable to, a sensor that responds to the phenomenon, the first device may be operative to transmit a sensor digital data corresponding to the phenomenon to the router over the one or more in-vehicle networks; a second device in the vehicle that may comprise of, or connectable to, an actuator that affects the phenomenon, the second device may be operative to execute actuator commands received from the router over the one or more in-vehicle networks; and an Internet-connected control server external to the vehicle storing the control logic, and communicatively coupled to the router over the Internet via the one or more external networks. The control server may be operative to receive the sensor digital data from the router, may produce actuator commands in response to the received sensor digital data according to the control logic, and may transmit the actuator commands to the second device via the router.
  • One of the external networks may be a vehicle-to-vehicle network for communicating with the Internet-connected control server via another vehicle, or may be communicating with a stationary device that may be a roadside unit. The router, the first device, or the second device may be mechanical attached to the vehicle that may be adapted for travelling on land, water, or may be airborne. The vehicle may be a bicycle, a car, a motorcycle, a train, a ship, an aircraft, a boat, a spacecraft, a boat, a submarine, a dirigible, an electric scooter, a subway, a train, a trolleybus, a tram, a sailboat, a yacht, or an airplane. The sensor may be operative to sense a phenomenon in the vehicle, external to the vehicle, or in the surroundings around the vehicle, and the actuator may be operative to affect a phenomenon in the vehicle, external to the vehicle, or in the surroundings around the vehicle. The system may be coupled to monitor or control the Engine Control Unit (ECU), the Transmission Control Unit (TCU), the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), or the Body Control Modules (BCM), and may be integrated with or being part of a vehicular communication system used to improved safety, traffic flow control, traffic reporting, traffic management, parking help, cruise control, lane keeping, road sign recognition, surveillance, speed limit warning, restricted entries, pull-over commands, travel information, cooperative adaptive cruise control, cooperative forward collision warning, intersection collision avoidance, approaching emergency vehicle warning, vehicle safety inspection, transit or emergency vehicle signal priority, electronic parking payments, commercial vehicle clearance and safety inspections, in-vehicle signing, rollover warning, probe data collection, highway-rail intersection warning, or electronic toll collection.
  • One or more of the in-vehicle networks may be according to, or based on, SAE J1962, SAE J1850, SAE J1979, ISO 15765, or ISO 9141 standard, or may be a vehicle bus that may be according to, or based on, Control Area Network (CAN) or Local Interconnect Network (LIN), and may use the vehicle DC power lines as a communication medium. The system may be coupled to or integrated with the vehicle On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system that may be according to, or based on, OBD-II or EOBD (European On-Board Diagnostics) standards. The router, the first device, or the second device may be coupled to the OBD diagnostics connector, and may be at least in part powered via the OBD diagnostics connector. The router may be operative to communicate to the control server information regarding fuel and air metering, ignition system, misfire, auxiliary emission control, vehicle speed and idle control, transmission, on-board computer, fuel level, relative throttle position, ambient air temperature, accelerator pedal position, air flow rate, fuel type, oxygen level, fuel rail pressure, engine oil temperature, fuel injection timing, engine torque, engine coolant temperature, intake air temperature, exhaust gas temperature, fuel pressure, injection pressure, turbocharger pressure, boost pressure, exhaust pressure, exhaust gas temperature, engine run time, NOx sensor, manifold surface temperature, or the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • In one aspect, a control system is disclosed, for example for commanding an actuator operation according to a control logic, in response to processing of an image, such as for use with one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks for communication in the building (or vehicle), and an external network at least in part external to the building (or vehicle). The system may comprise a router in the building (or vehicle), connected to the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks and to the external network, and may be operative to pass digital data between the in-building (or in-vehicle) and external networks; a first device in the building (or vehicle) comprising an image sensor for capturing still or video image, the first device may be operative to transmit a digital data corresponding to the captured still or video image to the router over the one or more in-building (or in vehicle) network; a second device in the building (or vehicle) comprising an actuator that affects the phenomenon, the second device may be operative to execute actuator commands received from the router over the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks; an Internet-connected control server (referred herein also as ‘cloud server’ and ‘gateway server’) external to the building (or vehicle) storing the control logic, and communicatively coupled to the router over the Internet via the external network; and an image processor having an output for processing the captured still or video image; and the control server may be operative to produce actuator commands in response to the image processor output according to the control logic, and may be operative to transmit the actuator commands to the second device via the router, and the image processor may be entirely or in part in the first device, the router, the control server, or any combination thereof.
  • In one aspect, a control system is disclosed such as for commanding an actuator operation according to a control logic, in response to processing of a voice, for example for use with one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks for communication in the building (or vehicle), and an external network at least in part external to the building (or vehicle). The system may comprise a router in the building (or vehicle), connected to the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks and to the external network, and may be operative to pass digital data between the in-building (or in-vehicle) and external networks; a first device in the building (or vehicle) comprising a microphone for sensing voice, the first device may be operative to transmit a digital data corresponding to the sensed voice to the router over the one or more in-building (or in vehicle) network; a second device in the building (or vehicle) comprising an actuator that affects the phenomenon, the second device may be operative to execute actuator commands received from the router over the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks; an Internet-connected control server external to the building (or vehicle) storing the control logic, and communicatively coupled to the router over the Internet via the external network; and a voice processor having an output for processing the voice. The control server may be operative to produce actuator commands in response to the voice processor output according to the control logic, and may be operative to transmit the actuator commands to the second device via the router, and the voice processor may be entirely or in part in the first device, the router, the control server, or any combination thereof.
  • In one aspect, a control system is disclosed, for example for use with, or including, one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks for communication in the building (or vehicle), and for example for use with, or including, an external network at least in part external to the building (or vehicle), and may be used for commanding an actuator operation according to a control logic in response to a sensor response associated with a phenomenon. The system may comprise a router in the building (or vehicle), connected to the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks and to the external network, and may be operative to pass digital data between the in-building (or in-vehicle) and external networks; a first device in the building (or vehicle) comprising of, or connectable to, a sensor that responds to the phenomenon, the first device may be operative to transmit a sensor digital data corresponding to the phenomenon to the router over the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks; a second device in the building (or vehicle) comprising of, or connectable to, an actuator that affects the phenomenon, the second device may be operative to execute actuator commands received from the router over the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks; and an Internet-connected control server external to the building (or vehicle) storing the control logic, and communicatively coupled to the router over the Internet via the external network. The control server may be operative to receive the sensor digital data from the router, to produce actuator commands in response to the received sensor digital data according to the control logic, and to transmit the actuator commands to the second device via the router. The router may be a gateway or may comprise one or more gateway functionalities. The phenomenon may be associated with an object, and the object may be gas, air, liquid or solid.
  • The sensor may provide a digital output, and the sensor output may include an electrical switch, and the electrical switch state may be responsive to the phenomenon magnitude measured versus a threshold, which may be set by the actuator. The sensor may provide an analog output, and the first device may comprise an analog to digital converter coupled to the analog output, for converting the sensor output to a digital data. The first device may comprise a signal conditioning circuit coupled to the sensor output, and the signal conditioning circuit may comprise an amplifier, a voltage or current limiter, an attenuator, a delay line or circuit, a level translator, a galvanic isolator, an impedance transformer, a linearization circuit, a calibrator, a passive filter, an active filter, an adaptive filter, an integrator, a deviator, an equalizer, a spectrum analyzer, a compressor or a de-compressor, a coder, a decoder, a modulator, a demodulator, a pattern recognizer, a smoother, a noise remover, an average circuit, or an RMS circuit. The sensor may be operative to sense time-dependent characteristic of the sensed phenomenon, and may be operative to respond to a time-integrated, an average, an RMS (Root Mean Square) value, a frequency, a period, a duty-cycle, a time-integrated, or a time-derivative, of the sensed phenomenon. The first device, the router, or the control server may be operative to calculate or provide a time-dependent characteristic such as time-integrated, an average, an RMS (Root Mean Square) value, a frequency, a period, a duty-cycle, a time-integrated, or a time-derivative, of the sensed phenomenon. The sensor may be operative to sense space-dependent characteristic of the sensed phenomenon, such as to a pattern, a linear density, a surface density, a volume density, a flux density, a current, a direction, a rate of change in a direction, or a flow, of the sensed phenomenon. The first device, the router, or the control server may be operative to calculate or provide a space-dependent characteristic of the sensed phenomenon, such as a pattern, a linear density, a surface density, a volume density, a flux density, a current, a direction, a rate of change in a direction, or a flow, of the sensed phenomenon.
  • The actuator may affect, create, or change a phenomenon associated with an object, and the object may be gas, air, liquid, or solid. The actuator may be controlled by a digital input, and may be electrical actuator powered by an electrical energy. The actuator may be controlled by an analog input, and the second device may comprise a digital to analog converter coupled to the analog input, for converting a digital data to an actuator input signal. The second device may comprise a signal conditioning circuit coupled to the actuator input, the signal conditioning circuit may comprise an amplifier, a voltage or current limiter, an attenuator, a delay line or circuit, a level translator, a galvanic isolator, an impedance transformer, a linearization circuit, a calibrator, a passive filter, an active filter, an adaptive filter, an integrator, a deviator, an equalizer, a spectrum analyzer, a compressor or a de-compressor, a coder, a decoder, a modulator, a demodulator, a pattern recognizer, a smoother, a noise remover, an average circuit, or an RMS circuit. The actuator may be operative to affect time-dependent characteristic such as a time-integrated, an average, an RMS (Root Mean Square) value, a frequency, a period, a duty-cycle, a time-integrated, or a time-derivative, of the sensed phenomenon. The actuator may be operative to affect or change space-dependent characteristic of the phenomenon, such as a pattern, a linear density, a surface density, a volume density, a flux density, a current, a direction, a rate of change in a direction, or a flow, of the sensed phenomenon. The second device, the router, or the control server may be operative to affect a space-dependent characteristic such as a pattern, a linear density, a surface density, a volume density, a flux density, a current, a direction, a rate of change in a direction, or a flow, of the phenomenon.
  • The system may comprise a third device external to the building (or vehicle) comprising an additional sensor that responds to a distinct or same phenomenon, the third device may be operative to transmit an additional sensor digital data corresponding to the distinct phenomenon to the control server, and the control server may be operative to receive the additional sensor digital data, to produce actuator commands in response to the received additional sensor digital data according to the control logic. The third device may communicate with the control server over the external network, over a network distinct from the external network, or both.
  • Alternatively or in addition, the system may comprise a fourth device external to the building (or vehicle) comprising an additional actuator that responds to received additional actuator commands, the fourth device may be operative to receive an additional actuator commands from the control server, and the control server may be operative to transmit the additional actuator commands to the fourth device. The fourth device may communicate with the control server over the external network, over a network distinct from the external network, or both.
  • The control loop may involve randomness, and the system may comprise a random number generator for generating random numbers. The random number generator may be hardware based, and may based on thermal noise, shot noise, nuclear decaying radiation, photoelectric effect, or quantum phenomena. Alternatively or in addition, the random number generator may be software based, and the system may execute an algorithm for generating pseudo-random numbers.
  • The sensor, the actuator, the first device, the second device, or the router may comprise, or may be integrated with, an outlet or an outlet plug-in module for connecting to in-wall wiring. The outlet may be a telephone, LAN, AC power, or CATV outlet, and the in-wall wiring may be a telephone wire pair, a LAN cable, an AC power cable, or a CATV coaxial cable. The in-wall wiring may be carrying a power signal to power part or whole of the sensor, the actuator, the first device, the second device, or the router. The in-wall wiring may serve as the in-building (or in-vehicle) network medium for communication associated with the first device, the second device, or the router.
  • The system may comprise multiple sensors arranged as a directional sensor array, and the system may be operative to estimate the number, magnitude, frequency, Direction-Of-Arrival (DOA), distance, or speed of the signal impinging the sensor array. The control logic may include processing of the sensor array outputs. A single component may consist of, or may be part of, the sensor and the actuator. The sensor may be a piezoelectric sensor that uses the transverse, longitudinal, or shear effect mode of the piezoelectric effect. Alternatively or in addition, the sensor may be based on ultrasonic-waves propagation, sensing eddy-currents, based on proximity sensor. The sensor may be a bulk or surface acoustic sensor, or may be an atmospheric or an environmental sensor.
  • The sensor may be a thermoelectric sensor that senses or responds to a temperature or a temperature gradient of an object using conduction, convection, or radiation, and may consist of, or comprise, a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) thermistor, a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) thermistor, a thermocouple, a quartz crystal, or a Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD). A radiation-based sensor may respond to radioactivity, nuclear radiation, alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays, and may be based on gas ionization.
  • The sensor may be a photoelectric sensor that responds to a visible or an invisible light or both, such as infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, or gamma rays. The photoelectric sensor may be based on the photoelectric or photovoltaic effect, and consists of, or comprises, a semiconductor component such as a photodiode, a phototransistor, or a solar cell. The photoelectric sensor may be based on Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) or a Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) element. The sensor may be a photosensitive image sensor array comprising multiple photoelectric sensors, and may be operative for capturing an image and producing an electronic image information representing the image, and may comprise one or more optical lens for focusing the received light and mechanically oriented to guide the image, and the image sensor may be disposed approximately at an image focal point plane of the one or more optical lens for properly capturing the image. An image processor may be coupled to the image sensor for providing a digital data video signal according to a digital video format, the digital video signal carrying digital data video based on the captured images, and the digital video format may be according to, or based on, one out of: TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), RAW format, AVI, DV, MOV, WMV, MP4, DCF (Design Rule for Camera Format), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, ITU-T CCIR 601, ASF, Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format) and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) standards. A video compressor may be coupled to the image sensor for lossy or non-lossy compressing of the digital data video, and may be based on a standard compression algorithm such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, or ITU-T CCIR 601.
  • The sensor may be an electrochemical sensor and may respond to an object chemical structure, properties, composition, or reactions. The electrochemical sensor may be a pH meter or may be a gas sensor responding to the presence of radon, hydrogen, oxygen, or Carbon-Monoxide (CO). The electrochemical sensor may be a smoke, a flame, or a fire detector, and may be based on optical detection or on ionization for responding to combustible, flammable, or toxic gas.
  • The sensor may be a physiological sensor and may respond to parameters associated with a live body, and may be external to the sensed body, implanted inside the sensed body, attached to the sensed body, or wearable on the sensed body. The physiological sensor may be responding to body electrical signals such as an EEG Electroencephalography (EEG) or an Electrocardiography (ECG) sensor, or may be responding to oxygen saturation, gas saturation, or blood pressure.
  • The sensor may be an electroacoustic sensor and may respond to a sound, such as inaudible or audible audio. The electroacoustic sensor may be a an omnidirectional, unidirectional, or bidirectional microphone, may be based on the sensing the incident sound based motion of a diaphragm or a ribbon, and may consist of, or comprise, a condenser, an electret, a dynamic, a ribbon, a carbon, or a piezoelectric microphone.
  • The sensor may be an electric sensor and may respond to or measure an electrical characteristics or electrical phenomenon quantity, and may be conductively, non-conductively, or non-contact couplable to the sensed element. The electrical sensor may be responsive to Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC), and may be an ampermeter and respond to an electrical current passing through a conductor or wire. The ampermeter may consist of, or comprises, a galvanometer, a hot-wire ampermeter, a current clamp, or a current probe. Alternatively or in addition, the electrical sensor may be a voltmeter and may respond to or measure an electrical voltage. The voltmeter may consist of, or comprise, an electrometer, a resistor, a potentiometer, or a bridge circuit. The electrical sensor may be a wattmeter such as an electricity meter that responds to electrical energy, and may measure or respond to active electrical power. The wattmeter may be based on induction, or may be based on multiplying measured voltage and current.
  • The electrical sensor may be an impedance meter and may respond to the impedance of the sensed element such as bridge circuit or an ohmmeter, and may be based on supplying a current or a voltage and respectively measuring a voltage or a current. The impedance meter may be a capacitance or an inductance meter (or both) and may respond to the capacitance or the inductance of the sensed element, being measuring in a single frequency or in multiple frequencies. The electrical sensor may be a Time-Domain Reflectometer (TDR) and may respond to the impedance changes along a conductive transmission line, such as an optical TDR that may respond to the changes along an optical transmission line.
  • The sensor may be a magnetic sensor and may respond to an H or B magnetic field, and may consists of, or may be based on, a Hall effect sensor, a MEMS, a magneto-diode, a magneto-transistor, an AMR magnetometer, a GMR magnetometer, a magnetic tunnel junction magnetometer, a Nuclear precession magnetic field sensor, an optically pumped magnetic field sensor, a fluxgate magnetometer, a search coil magnetic field sensor, or a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometer. The magnetic sensor may be MEMS based, and may be a Lorentz force based MEMS sensor or may be an Electron Tunneling based MEMS.
  • The sensor may be a tactile sensor and may respond to a human body touch, and may be based on a conductive rubber, a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) material, a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) material, a metallic capacitive element, or any combination thereof.
  • The sensor may be a single-axis, 2-axis, or 3-axis motion sensor and may respond to the magnitude, direction, or both, of the sensor motion. The motion sensor may be a piezoelectric, a piezoresistive, a capacitive, or a MEMS accelerometer and may respond to the absolute acceleration or the acceleration relative to freefall. The motion sensor may be an electromechanical switch and may consist of, or comprises, an electrical tilt, or a vibration switch.
  • The sensor may be a force sensor and may respond to the magnitude, direction, or both, of a force, and may be based on a spring extension, a strain gauge deformation, a piezoelectric effect, or a vibrating wire. The force sensor may be a dynamometer that responds to a torque or to a moment of the force.
  • The sensor may be a pressure sensor and may respond to a pressure of a gas or a liquid, and may consist of, or comprise, an absolute pressure sensor, a gauge pressure sensor, a vacuum pressure sensor, a differential pressure sensor, or a sealed pressure sensor. The pressure sensor may be based on a force collector, the piezoelectric effect, a capacitive sensor, an electromagnetic sensor, or a frequency resonator sensor.
  • The sensor may be an absolute, a relative displacement, or an incremental position sensor, and may respond to a linear or angular position, or motion, of a sensed element. The position sensor may be an optical type or a magnetic type angular position sensor, and may respond to an angular position or the rotation of a shaft, an axle, or a disk. The angular position sensor may be based on a variable-reluctance (VR), an Eddy-current killed oscillator (ECKO), a Wiegand sensing, or a Hall-effect sensing, and may be transformer based such as an RVDT, a resolver or a synchro. The angular position sensor may be an electromechanical type such as an absolute or an incremental, mechanical or optical, rotary encoder. The angular position sensor may be an angular rate sensor and may respond to the angular rate, or the rotation speed, of a shaft, an axle, or a disc, and may consist of, or comprise, a gyroscope, a tachometer, a centrifugal switch, a Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG), or a fiber-optic gyro. The position sensor may be a linear position sensor and may respond to a linear displacement or position along a line, and may consist of, or comprise, a transformer, an LVDT, a linear potentiometer, or an incremental or absolute linear encoder.
  • The sensor may be a motion detector and may respond to a motion of an element, and may based on sound, geomagnetism, reflection of a transmitted energy, electromagnetic induction, or vibration. The motion detector may consist of, or comprise, a mechanically-actuated switch.
  • The sensor may be a strain gauge and may respond to the deformation of an object, and may be based on a metallic foil, a semiconductor, an optical fiber, vibrating or resonating of a tensioned wire, or a capacitance meter. The sensor may be a hygrometer and may respond to an absolute, relative, or specific humidity, and may be based on optically detecting condensation, or based on changing the capacitance, resistance, or thermal conductivity of materials subjected to the measured humidity. The sensor may be a clinometer and may respond to inclination or declination, and may be based on an accelerometer, a pendulum, a gas bubble in liquid, or a tilt switch.
  • The sensor may be a flow sensor and may measure the volumetric or mass flow rate via a defined area, volume or surface. The flow sensor may be a liquid flow sensor and may be measuring the liquid flow in a pipe or in an open conduit. The liquid flow sensor may be a mechanical flow meter and may consist of, or comprise, a turbine flow meter, a Woltmann meter, a single jet meter, or a paddle wheel meter. The liquid flow sensor may be a pressure flow meter based on measuring an absolute pressure or a pressure differential. The flow sensor may be a gas or an air flow sensor such as anemometer for measuring wind or air speed, and may measure the flow through a surface, a tube, or a volume, and may be based on measuring the air volume passing in a time period. The anemometer may consist of, or comprise, cup anemometer, a windmill anemometer, a pressure anemometer, a hot-wire anemometer, or a sonic anemometer.
  • The sensor may be a gyroscope for measuring orientation in space, and may consist of, or comprise, a MEMS, a piezoelectric, a FOG, or a VSG gyroscope, and may be based on a conventional mechanical type, a nanosensor, a crystal, or a semiconductor.
  • The sensor may be an image sensor for capturing an image or video, and the system may include an image processor for recognition of a pattern, and the control logic may be operative to respond to the recognized pattern such as appearance-based analysis of hand posture or gesture recognition. The system may comprise an additional image sensor, and the control logic may be operative to respond to the additional image sensor such as to cooperatively capture a 3-D image and for identifying the gesture recognition from the 3-D image, based on volumetric or skeletal models, or a combination thereof.
  • The sensor may be an image sensor for capturing still or video image, and the sensor or the system may comprise an image processor having an output for processing the captured image (still or video). The image processor (hardware or software based, or a hardware/software combination) may be encased entirely or in part in the first device, the router, the control server, or any combination thereof, and the control logic may respond to the image processor output. The image sensor may be a digital video sensor for capturing digital video content, and the image processor may be operative for enhancing the video content such as by image stabilization, unsharp masking, or super-resolution, or for Video Content Analysis (VCA) such as Video Motion Detection (VMD), video tracking, egomotion estimation, identification, behavior analysis, situation awareness, dynamic masking, motion detection, object detection, face recognition, automatic number plate recognition, tamper detection, video tracking, or pattern recognition. The image processor may be operative for detecting a location of an element, and may be operative for detecting and counting the number of elements in the captured image, such as a human body parts (such as human face or a human hand) in the captured image. An example of image processing for counting people is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,466,844 to Arun Ramaswamy et al., entitled: “Methods and Apparatus to Count People Appearing in an Image”, which is incorporated in its entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.
  • The actuator may be a light source that emits visible or non-visible light (infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, or gamma rays) such as for illumination or indication. The actuator may comprise a shade, a reflector, an enclosing globe, or a lens, for manipulating the emitted light. The light source may be an electric light source for converting electrical energy into light, and may consist of, or comprise, a lamp, such as an incandescent, a fluorescent, or a gas discharge lamp. The electric light source may be based on Solid-State Lighting (SSL) such as a Light Emitting Diode (LED) which may be Organic LED (OLED), a polymer LED (PLED), or a laser diode. The actuator may be a chemical or electrochemical actuator, and may be operative for producing, changing, or affecting a matter structure, properties, composition, process, or reactions, such as producing, changing, or affecting an oxidation/reduction or an electrolysis reaction.
  • The actuator may be a motion actuator and may cause linear or rotary motion or may comprise a conversion mechanism (may be based on a screw, a wheel and axle, or a cam) for converting to rotary or linear motion. The conversion mechanism may be based on a screw, and the system may include a leadscrew, a screw jack, a ball screw or a roller screw, or may be based on a wheel and axle, and the system may include a hoist, a winch, a rack and pinion, a chain drive, a belt drive, a rigid chain, or a rigid belt. The motion actuator may comprise a lever, a ramp, a screw, a cam, a crankshaft, a gear, a pulley, a constant-velocity joint, or a ratchet, for affecting the produced motion. The motion actuator may be a pneumatic actuator, a hydraulic actuator, or an electrical actuator. The motion actuator may be an electrical motor such as brushed, a brushless, or an uncommutated DC motor, or a Permanent Magnet (PM) motor, a Variable reluctance (VR) motor, or a hybrid synchronous stepper DC motor. The electrical motor may be an induction motor, a synchronous motor, or an eddy current AC motor. The AC motor may be a single-phase AC induction motor, a two-phase AC servo motor, or a three-phase AC synchronous motor, and may be a split-phase motor, a capacitor-start motor, or a Permanent-Split Capacitor (PSC) motor. The electrical motor may be an electrostatic motor, a piezoelectric actuator, or a MEMS-based motor.
  • The motion actuator may be a linear hydraulic actuator, a linear pneumatic actuator, or a linear electric motor such as linear induction motor (LIM) or a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM). The motion actuator may be a piezoelectric motor, a Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) motor, a Squiggle motor, an ultrasonic motor, or a micro- or nanometer comb-drive capacitive actuator, a Dielectric or Ionic based Electroactive Polymers (EAPs) actuator, a solenoid, a thermal bimorph, or a piezoelectric unimorph actuator.
  • The actuator may be operative to move, force, or compress liquid, gas or slurry, and may be a compressor or a pump. The pump may be a direct lift, an impulse, a displacement, a valveless, a velocity, a centrifugal, a vacuum, or a gravity pump. The pump may be a positive displacement pump such as a rotary lobe, a progressive cavity, a rotary gear, a piston, a diaphragm, a screw, a gear, a hydraulic, or a vane pump. The positive displacement pump may be a rotary-type positive displacement pump such as an internal gear, a screw, a shuttle block, a flexible vane, a sliding vane, a rotary vane, a circumferential piston, a helical twisted roots, or a liquid ring vacuum pump. The positive displacement pump may be a reciprocating-type positive displacement type such as a piston, a diaphragm, a plunger, a diaphragm valve, or a radial piston pump. The positive displacement pump may be a linear-type positive displacement type such as rope-and-chain pump. The pump may be an impulse pump such as a hydraulic ram, a pulser, or an airlift pump. The pump may be a rotodynamic pump, such as a velocity pump or a centrifugal pump, that may be a radial flow, an axial flow, or a mixed flow pump.
  • The actuator may be a sounder for converting an electrical energy to emitted audible or inaudible sound waves, emitted as omnidirectional, unidirectional, or bidirectional pattern. The sound may be audible, and the sounder may be an electromagnetic loudspeaker, a piezoelectric speaker, an electrostatic loudspeaker (ESL), a ribbon or a planar magnetic loudspeaker, or a bending wave loudspeaker. The sounder may be electromechanical or ceramic based, and may be operative to emit a single or multiple tones, and may be operative to continuous or intermittent operation. The sounder may be an electric bell, a buzzer (or beeper), a chime, a whistle or a ringer. The sounder may be a loudspeaker, and the system may be operative to play one or more digital audio content files (which may include a pre-recorded audio) stored entirely or in part in the second device, the router, or the control server. The system may comprise a synthesizer for producing the digital audio content. The sensor may be a microphone for capturing the digital audio content to play by the sounder. The control logic or the system may be operative to select one of the digital audio content files, and may be operative for playing the selected file by the sounder. The digital audio content may be music, and may include the sound of an acoustical musical instrument such as a piano, a tuba, a harp, a violin, a flute, or a guitar. The digital audio content may be a male or female human voice saying a syllable, a word, a phrase, a sentence, a short story or a long story. The system may comprise a speech synthesizer (such as a Text-To-Speech (TTS) based) for producing a human speech, being part of the second device, the router, the control server, or any combination thereof. The speech synthesizer may be a concatenative type, and may use unit selection, diphone synthesis, or domain-specific synthesis. Alternatively or in addition, the speech synthesizer may be a formant type, articulatory synthesis based, or hidden Markov models (HMM) based.
  • The actuator may be a monochrome, grayscale or color display for visually presenting information, and may consist of an array of light emitters or light reflectors. Alternatively or in addition, the display may be a visual retinal display or a projector based on an Eidophor, Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS or LCOS), LCD, MEMS or Digital Light Processing (DLP™) technology. The display may be a video display that may support Standard-Definition (SD) or High-Definition (HD) standards, and may be 3D video display. The display may be capable of scrolling, static, bold or flashing the presented information. The display may be an analog display having an analog input interface such as NTSC, PAL or SECAM formats, or analog input interface such as RGB, VGA (Video Graphics Array), SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array), SCART or S-video interface. Alternatively or in addition, the display may be a digital display having a digital input interface such as IEEE1394, FireWire™, USB, SDI (Serial Digital Interface), HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), UDI (Unified Display Interface), DisplayPort, Digital Component Video, or DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) interface. The display may be a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display, a Thin Film Transistor (TFT), or an LED-backlit LCD display, and may be based on a passive or an active matrix. The display may be a Cathode-Ray Tube (CRT), a Field Emission Display (FED), Electronic Paper Display (EPD) display (based on Gyricon technology, Electro-Wetting Display (EWD), or Electrofluidic display technology), a laser video display (based on a Vertical-External-Cavity Surface-Emitting-Laser (VECSEL) or a Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL)), an Electroluminescent Display (ELD), a Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD), or a passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLED) Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display. The display may be a segment display (such as Seven-segment display, a fourteen-segment display, a sixteen-segment display, or a dot matrix display), and may be operative to only display digits, alphanumeric characters, words, characters, arrows, symbols, ASCII, non-ASCII characters, or any combination thereof.
  • The actuator may be a thermoelectric actuator (such as an electric thermoelectric actuator) and may be a heater or a cooler, and may be operative for affecting or changing the temperature of a solid, a liquid, or a gas object. The thermoelectric actuator may be coupled to the object by conduction, convection, force convention, thermal radiation, or by the transfer of energy by phase changes. The thermoelectric actuator may include a heat pump, or may be a cooler based on an electric motor based compressor for driving a refrigeration cycle. The thermoelectric actuator may be an induction heater, may be an electric heater such as a resistance heater or a dielectric heater, or may be solid-state based such as an active heat pump device based on the Peltier effect. The actuator may be an electromagnetic coil or an electromagnet and may be operative for generating magnetic or electric field.
  • The second device may comprise a signal generator that may signals, and may output or provide repeating or non-repeating electrical signal or signals. The actuator may consist of the signal generator. Alternatively or in addition, the signal generator may be coupled to control the actuator. The signal generator may be an analog signal generator and the analog signal generator output may be an analog voltage or an analog current, such as a sine wave, a sawtooth, a step (pulse), a square, or a triangular waveform. The analog signal generator output may be an Amplitude Modulation (AM), a Frequency Modulation (FM), or a Phase Modulation (PM) signal. The signal generator may be an Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) or a logic signal generator. The signal generator may have a digital output for providing a digital pattern signal.
  • The system may implement redundancy, and the system may include one or more additional identical, similar, or different sensors that respond to or measure the phenomenon, one or more additional identical, similar, or different actuators that affect the phenomenon, one or more redundant identical to, similar to, or different from each other additional data paths, or any combination thereof. The redundancy may be based on Dual Modula redundancy (DMR), Triple
  • Modular Redundancy (TMR), Quadruple Modular Redundancy (QMR), 1:N Redundancy, ‘Cold Standby’, or ‘Hot Standby’. The system may include an additional sensor that respond to the phenomenon, and the control server may be operative to receive the additional sensor data, and to produce actuator commands in response to the received additional sensor digital data, and the control logic may at one time produce actuator commands in response only to the received additional sensor digital data. The system may include a fifth device in the building (or vehicle) comprising the additional sensor that responds to the same phenomenon, and the fifth device may be operative to transmit the additional sensor digital data to the router over one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks in the building (or vehicle). The system may include an additional actuator that affects the phenomenon, and the control server may be operative to transmit the additional actuator commands to the additional actuator. The control server may at one time be operative to transmit the additional actuator commands only to the additional actuator. The system may include a seventh device in the building (or vehicle) comprising the additional actuator that affects the phenomenon, the seventh device may be operative to receive and execute the additional actuator commands received from the router.
  • The system may comprise an eighth device that comprises a sensor that responds to a second phenomenon, the eighth device may be operative to transmit a sensor digital data corresponding to the second phenomenon to the router over the one or more in-building (or in-vehicle) networks. The second phenomenon may be of the same, or distinct from, the phenomenon above. The sensor of the eighth device may be of the same type, or distinct type, of the sensor of the first device. The eighth device may communicate with the router over the same, or distinct from, the in-building (or in-vehicle) network used by the first device.
  • The system may comprise a ninth device that comprises an actuator that affects a third phenomenon; the ninth device may be operative to receive actuator commands corresponding to the third phenomenon from the router over the one or more in-building (or in vehicle) networks. The third phenomenon may be of the same, or distinct from, the phenomenon above. The actuator of the ninth device may be of the same type, or distinct type, of the sensor of the second device. The ninth device may communicate with the router over the same, or distinct from, the in-building (or in-vehicle) network used by the second device.
  • The router, the first device, or the second device may be connectable to be powered from a power source, and may comprise a power supply couplable to the power source, such as a DC or AC power source. The power source may be external to, or housed with, the enclosure of the router, the first device, or the second device, and may be a primary or rechargeable battery, an electrical power generator for generating power from the phenomenon or from a distinct another phenomenon, an electromechanical generator for harvesting kinetic energy, a solar cell, or a Peltier-effect based thermoelectric device. The AC power source may be mains AC power, and the respective device may comprise an AC power connector connectable to an AC power outlet.
  • One or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a wired network having a cable carrying a communication signal, and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a connector for coupling to the cable. The cable may be connectable to simultaneously carry a DC or AC power signal, and the router, the first device, or the second device may be operative to supply at least in part of the power signal, or at least in part be powered from the power signal. The power signal may be carried over dedicated wires in the cable, and the wires may be distinct from the wires in the cable carrying the communication signal. Alternatively or in addition, the power signal and the communication signal may be carried over the same wires in the cable, and the connected device or devices may comprise a power/data splitter arrangement having first, second and third ports, and only the digital data signal may be passed between the first and second ports, and only power signal may be passed between the first and third ports, and the first port may be coupled to the connector. The power and digital data signals may be carried using Frequency Division/Domain Multiplexing (FDM), where the communication signal may be carried over a frequency band above and distinct from the power signal frequency or frequency band, and the power/data splitter may be comprising an HPF between the first and second ports and a LPF between the first and third ports. Alternatively or in addition, the power/data splitter may comprise a transformer and a capacitor connected to the transformer windings. The power and digital data signals may be carried using a phantom scheme, and the power/data splitter may comprise at least two transformers having a center-tap connection. The power and digital data signals may be carried substantially according to IEEE 802.3af-2003 or IEEE 802.3at-2009 standards.
  • Two devices out of the router, the first device, the second device, and the Internet-connected control server may be operative for communicating with each other using two, three or more multiple data paths. Two, three or more multiple data paths may be in part or fully distinct from each other, or of the same type. The multiple data paths may be using multiple networks, and at least two out of the multiple networks may be similar, identical, or different from each other. At least two out of the multiple networks may use similar, identical, or different network mediums, and at least two out of the multiple networks may use similar, identical, or different protocols, or at least two out of the multiple networks may be coupled to using similar, identical, or different physical layers. In one example, one network may be a wired network and at least one other network may be a wireless network. In one example, one network may be based on conductive medium and at least one other network may be based on non-conductive medium. The conductive medium may be coaxial cable, twisted-pair, powerlines, or telephone lines, and the non-conductive medium may be using RF, light or sound guided or over-the-air propagation. Two networks may be of different types selected from NFC, PAN, LAN, MAN, and WAN. Two networks may use different modulation schemes selected from AM, FM, and PM. Two networks may use different duplexing schemes selected from half-duplex, full-duplex, and unidirectional. Two networks may use different line codes or provide different data-rates. One network may be packet-based and at least one other network may be circuit-switched. One network may be a private network and at least one network may be public.
  • The router, the first device, the second device, or the Internet-connected control server, may be operative for communicating with another device in the system over multiple data paths. The router, the first device, the second device, or the Internet-connected control server, may comprise multiple network interfaces each associated with a respective data path and an associated data path network coupled to the network interface, and each of the network interface may comprise a transceiver or a modem for transmitting digital data to, and receiving digital data from, the respective network, and a network port for coupling to the respective network. Two or all out of the network interfaces may be of the same type, two or all out of the network interfaces may use similar, identical, or different transceivers or modems, and two or all out of the network interfaces may use similar, identical, or different network ports or connectors. Each of the connectors may be a coaxial connector, a twisted-pair connector, an AC power connector, a telephone connector.
  • One or more out of the data path networks may be based on a non-conductive medium, and each of the respective network ports may be non-conductive coupler such as an antenna, a light emitter, a light detector, a microphone, a speaker, and a fiber-optics connector. One or more of the data path networks may be based on a conductive medium, and each of the respective network port may be a connector, and one out of the data path networks may be based on a non-conductive medium, and the respective network port may be a non-conductive coupler. Two or more out of the modems may be of different scales such as NFC, PAN, LAN, MAN or WAN modems, may use different modulation schemes such as AM, FM, or PM, or may use different duplexing schemes such as half-duplex, full-duplex, or unidirectional. One of the modems may be packet-based and at least other one may be circuit-switched. One (or more) network port may be used by two distinct network interfaces, designated as first and second network interfaces, and the first and second network interfaces may be operative to communicate over the same network using FDM, where a first network interface may be using a first frequency band and the second network interface may be using a second frequency band, and the first and second frequency bands may be distinct from each other or in part or in whole overlapping over each other. The first and second network interfaces may comprise a first and a second filters for substantially passing only signals in the first and second frequency bands respectively.
  • The router, the first device, the second device, or the Internet-connected control server, may be operative to send a packet to another device via the one or more the network interfaces to be carried over the one or more data paths, the packet comprising a source address, a destination address, an information type, and an information content. The same packet may be sent via two or more, or via all of the network interfaces. The packet may be sent via one of the network interfaces selected by a fixed, adaptive, or dynamic selection mechanism, which may use, or be based on, distinct number that may be assigned to each of the network interfaces. The selection mechanism may be based on a cyclic selection, the network interfaces may be randomly selected, or the network interfaces may be selected based on the packet source or destination address. Alternatively or in addition, the assigned numbers may represent priority levels associated with the network interfaces, and the network interface having the highest priority level may be selected. The assigned numbers may be based on the associated networks types or attributes or the performance history, or on the current or past associated networks data rates, transfer delays, networks mediums or networks mediums types, qualities, duplexing schemes, line codes using, modulation schemes, switching mechanisms, throughputs, or usages. The one or more network interfaces may be selected based on the packet information type or based on the packet information content
  • The second device may comprise a first electrically actuated switch coupled for connecting an electric signal to the actuator, and the electrically actuated switch may be actuated in response to the control commands. The electric signal may be a power signal from a power source, and the first electrically actuated switch (‘normally open’ type, ‘normally closed’ type, or a changeover type) may be coupled between the power source and the actuator. The first electrically actuated switch may be ‘make-before-break’ or ‘break-before-make’ type, may have two or more poles or two or more throws, and the switch contacts may be arranged as a Single-Pole-Double-Throw (SPDT), Double-Pole-Double-Throw (DPDT), Double-Pole-Single-Throw (DPST), or Single-Pole-Changeover (SPCO). The first electrically actuated switch may be a latching or non-latching type, solenoid-based electromagnetic relay such as a reed relay. The relay may be solid-state or semiconductor based, such as Solid State Relay (SSR), or may be based on an electrical circuit such as an open collector transistor, an open drain transistor, a thyristor, a TRIAC or an opto-isolator. The second device may comprise a second electrically actuated switch which may be connected in parallel or in series with the first electrically actuated switch.
  • The first device, the second device, or the router, may be integrated in part or entirely in an appliance. The appliance primary function may be associated with food storage, handling, or preparation, such as microwave oven, an electric mixer, a stove, an oven, or an induction cooker for heating food, or the appliance may be a refrigerator, a freezer, a food processor, a dishwashers, a food blender, a beverage maker, a coffeemaker, or a iced-tea maker. The appliance primary function may be associated with environmental control such as temperature control, and the appliance may consist of, or may be part of, an HVAC system, an air conditioner or a heater. The appliance primary function may be associated with cleaning, such as washing machine or clothes dryer for clothes cleaning, or a vacuum cleaner. The appliance primary function may be associated with water control or water heating. The appliance may be an answering machine, a telephone set, a home cinema system, a HiFi system, a CD or DVD player, an electric furnace, a trash compactor, a smoke detector, a light fixture, or a dehumidifier. The appliance may be a handheld computing device or a battery-operated portable electronic device, such as a notebook or laptop computer, a media player, a cellular phone, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), an image processing device, a digital camera, or a video recorder. The integration with the appliance may involve sharing a component such as housing in the same enclosure, sharing the same connector such as sharing a power connector for connecting to a power source, where the integration involves sharing the same connector for being powered from the same power source. The integration with the appliance may involve sharing the same power supply, sharing the same processor, mounting onto the same surface. The first device or the second device may be integrated with the router, such as being enclosed in the router housing.
  • One or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a Body Area Network (BAN) according to, or based on, IEEE 802.15.6 standard, and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a BAN interface that may include a BAN port and a BAN transceiver. The BAN may be a Wireless BAN (WBAN), and the BAN port may be an antenna and the BAN transceiver may be a WBAN modem. Alternatively or in addition, the external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a Personal Area Network (PAN) according to, or based on, Bluetooth™ or IEEE 802.15.1-2005 standards, and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a PAN interface, and the PAN interface may include a PAN port and a PAN transceiver. The PAN may be a Wireless PAN (WPAN), and the PAN port may be an antenna and the PAN transceiver may be a WPAN modem. The WPAN may be a wireless control network according to, or based on, Zigbee™ or Z-Wave™ standards, such as IEEE 802.15.4-2003.
  • The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a Local Area Network (LAN), and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a LAN interface, and the LAN interface may include a LAN port and a LAN transceiver. The LAN may be an Ethernet-based wired LAN such as according to, or based on, IEEE 802.3-2008 standard, and the LAN port may be a LAN connector and the LAN transceiver may be a LAN modem. The wired LAN medium may be based on twisted-pair copper cables, and the LAN interface may be according to, or based on, 10 Base-T, 100 Base-T, 100 Base-TX, 100 Base-T2, 100 Base-T4, 1000 Base-T, 1000 Base-TX, 10 GBase-CX4, or 10 GBase-T, and the LAN connector may be according to, or based on, RJ-45 type. The wired LAN medium may be based on an optical fiber, and the LAN interface may be according to, or based on, 10 Base-FX, 100 Base-SX, 100 Base-BX, 100 Base-LX10, 1000 Base-CX, 1000 Base-SX, 1000 Base-LX, 1000 Base-LX10, 1000 Base-ZX, 1000 Base-BX10, 10 GBase-SR, 10 GBase-LR, 10 GBase-LRM, 10 GBase-ER, 10 GBase-ZR, or 10 GBase-LX4, and the LAN connector may be according to, or based on, a fiber-optic connector. The LAN may be a Wireless LAN (WLAN) such as according to, or base on, IEEE 802.11-2012, and the WLAN port may be a WLAN antenna and the WLAN transceiver may be a WLAN modem. The WLAN may be according to, or base on, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, or IEEE 802.11ac.
  • The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a Home Network (HN), and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a HN interface that may includes a HN port and a HN transceiver. The HN may be a wired HN using a wired HN medium, and the HN port may be an HN connector, and the HN transceiver may be an HN modem. The wired HN medium may comprise a wiring primarily installed for carrying a service signal, and the wiring may be an in-wall wiring connected to by a wiring connector at a service outlet. The HN may be according to, or based on, a standard such as ITU-T Recommendation G.9954, ITU-T Recommendation G.9960, ITU-T Recommendation G.9970, IEEE 1901-2010, ITU-T Recommendation G.9961, or ITU-T Recommendation G.9972. The wiring may be a telephone wire pair, the service signal may be an analog telephone signal (POTS), the wiring connector may be a telephone connector, and the HN may be according to, or based on, HomePNA standard. Alternatively or in addition, the wiring may be a coaxial cable, the service signal may be a Cable Television (CATV) signal, the wiring connector may be a coaxial connector, and the HN may be according to, or based on, Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) standard. The wiring may be an AC power wires, the service signal may be an AC power signal, the wiring connector may be an AC power connector, and the HN may be according to, or based on, HomePlug™, HD-PLC, or Universal Powerline Association (UPA) standards.
  • The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a Wide Area Network (WAN), and the router, the first device, or the second device may comprise a WAN interface that may include a WAN port and a WAN transceiver. The WAN may be a wired WAN, the WAN port may be a WAN connector, and the WAN transceiver may be a WAN modem. The wired WAN medium may comprise a wiring primarily installed for carrying a service signal to or within the building or vehicle. The wired WAN medium may comprise one or more telephone wire pairs primarily designed for carrying an analog telephone signal, and the external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be based on Digital Subscriber Line/Loop (DSL) technology, such as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) that may be according to, or based on, ANSI T1.413, ITU-T Recommendation G.992.1, or ITU-T Recommendation G.992.2, or ADSL2 that may be according to, or based on, ITU-T Recommendation G.992.3 or ITU-T Recommendation G.992.4. The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be based on Digital Subscriber Line/Loop (DSL) technology, such as ADSL2+ that may be according to, or based on, ITU-T Recommendation G.992.5, or Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) that may be according to, or based on, ITU-T Recommendation G.993.1 or ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2.
  • The wired WAN medium may comprise AC power wires primarily designed for carrying an AC power signal to, or within, the building (or vehicle), and the external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be using Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) that may be according to, or based on, IEEE 1675-2008 or IEEE 1901-2010. The wired WAN medium may comprise coaxial cable primarily designed for carrying a CATV to, or within, the building (or vehicle), and the network may be using Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS), that may be according to, or based on, ITU-T Recommendation J.112, ITU-T Recommendation J.122, or ITU-T Recommendation J.222. The wired WAN medium may comprise an optical fiber, and the WAN connector may be a fiber-optic connector, and the WAN may be based on Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH), Fiber-To-The-Building (FTTB), Fiber-To-The-Premises (FTTP), Fiber-To-The-Curb (FTTC), or Fiber-To-The-Node (FTTN).
  • The WAN may be a wireless broadband network, and the WAN port may be an antenna and the WAN transceiver may be a wireless modem. The wireless network may be a satellite network, the antenna may be a satellite antenna, and the wireless modem may be a satellite modem. The wireless network may be a WiMAX network such as according to, or based on, IEEE 802.16-2009, the antenna may be a WiMAX antenna, and the wireless modem may be a WiMAX modem. The wireless network may be a cellular telephone network, the antenna may be a cellular antenna, and the wireless modem may be a cellular modem. The cellular telephone network may be a Third Generation (3G) network and may use UMTS W-CDMA, UMTS HSPA, UMTS TDD, CDMA2000 1×RTT, CDMA2000 EV-DO, or GSM EDGE-Evolution. The cellular telephone network may be a Fourth Generation (4G) network and may use HSPA+, Mobile WiMAX, LTE, LTE-Advanced, MBWA, or may be based on IEEE 802.20-2008.
  • The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may be a wireless network and may use a licensed or an unlicensed radio frequency band, such as the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio band. The external network or one or more of the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks may use unlicensed radio frequency band that may be about 60 GHz, may be used for in-room (or in-vehicle) communication, may be based on beamforming, and may supports a data rate of above 7 Gb/s, and may be according to, or based on, WiGig™, IEEE 802.11ad, WirelessHD™ or IEEE 80215.3c-2009, may be operative to carry uncompressed video data, and may be according to, or based on, WHDI™. The wireless network may use a white space spectrum that may be an analog television channel consisting of a 6 MHz, 7 MHz or 8 MHz frequency band, and allocated in the 54-806 MHz band. The wireless network may be operative for channel bonding, and may use two or more analog television channels, and may be based on Wireless Regional Area Network (WRAN) standard, and the wireless communication may couple a Base Station (BS) and one or more CPEs, and the wireless communication may be based on OFDMA modulation. The router, the first device, the second device, or the external server may serve as BS. Alternatively or in addition, the router, the first device, the second device, or the external server may serve as a CPE. The wireless communication may be based on geographically-based cognitive radio, and may be according to, or based on, IEEE 802.22 or IEEE 802.11af standards.
  • The wireless network may be based on, or according to, Near Field Communication (NFC) using passive or active communication mode, may use the 13.56 MHz frequency band, and data rate may be 106 Kb/s, 212 Kb/s, or 424 Kb/s, and the modulation may be Amplitude-Shift-Keying (ASK). The communication may be based on an NFC standard, and the wireless communication may couple an initiator and a target, and the router may serve as an initiator, and the first or second device may serve as a target or transponder. Alternatively or in addition, the first or second device, or the external server may serve as initiator or as a target or both, and the wireless communication may be according to, or based on, ISO/IEC 18092, ECMA-340, ISO/IEC 21481, or ECMA-352. The external network or one or more of the in-building networks may be packet-based or circuit switched network.
  • The router, the first device, the second device, the router, the control server, the sensor, the actuator, or any combination thereof, or any network interface, port, or any component or sub-system of the devices, may be addressable in a digital data network, such as the in-building (or in-vehicle) network, one or more of the external networks, a WAN, a LAN, a PAN, a BAN, a home network, or the Internet. The devices may be addressable using a digital address stored in a volatile or non-volatile memory in the respective device, uniquely identifying in the digital data network. The digital address may be a MAC layer address such as MAC-48, EUI-48, or EUI-64, or may be a layer 3 address such as static or dynamic IP address such as Pv4 or IPv6 type address. The digital address may be locally administered addresses or a universally administered address that is assigned during manufacturing. The digital address may be autonomously assigned by the addressed device or the address may be assigned by another device (e.g., using DHCP mechanism) via a communication interface over the in-building (or in-vehicle) networks or the external networks. The router, the first device, or the second device may addressable in one or more digital data networks using multiple digital addresses, each associated with a respective network interface.
  • The control logic may be affecting a control loop for controlling the phenomenon. The control loop may be a closed control loop, and the sensor data may serve as a feedback to command the actuator. The control loop may be a linear closed control loop and may be using proportional, integral, or derivative (or Proportional, Integral, and Derivative (PID)) of the loop deviation from a set-point or a reference. The control loop may use feed-forward, Bistable, fuzzy, Bang-Bang, or Hysteretic control, or may use fuzzy control based on fuzzy logic.
  • In one aspect, an apparatus for coupling between an internal network extending substantially within an enclosed environment (such as a building or a vehicle) and an external network, coupled to the Internet for communication with a control server and extending substantially outside the enclosed environment is disclosed. The apparatus may be used with (or include) a sensor disposed in the enclosed environment that senses a first condition in the enclosed environment and provides sensor data corresponding to the condition, and may be used with (or include) an actuator disposed to affect the first condition in the enclosed environment in response to received actuator commands. The apparatus may comprise in a single enclosure a first port for coupling to the internal network; a first modem coupled to the first port for communication over the internal network; a second port for coupling to the external network; a second modem coupled to the second port for communication over the external network; and a router coupled between the first and second modems so as to pass information between the internal and external networks, the router may be configured to deliver the sensor data from the internal network to the control server over the external networks and to deliver the actuator commands from the control server to the actuator over the internal network.
  • The apparatus may be a gateway, or may be operative for IP routing, NAT, DHCP, firewalling, parental control, rate converting, fault isolating, protocol converting or translating, or proxy serving. The apparatus may comprise in the single enclosure an additional sensor that senses a second condition that may be distinct from, or same as, the first condition, and may provide additional sensor data corresponding to the second condition, and the apparatus may transmit the additional sensor data to the control server over the external network, or over a network distinct from the external network. The apparatus may comprise in the single enclosure an additional actuator that affects a second condition that may be distinct from, or same as, the first condition, in response to received additional actuator commands, and the apparatus may receive the additional actuator commands from the control server over the external network or over a network distinct from the external network.
  • The apparatus may produce actuator commands in response to the sensor data according to control logic, and may deliver the actuator commands to the actuator over the internal network. The control logic may affect a control loop for controlling the condition, and the control loop may be a closed linear control loop where the sensor data serve as a feedback to command the actuator based on the loop deviation from a setpoint or a reference value that may be fixed, set by a user, or may be time dependent. The closed control loop may be a proportional-based, an integral-based, a derivative-based, or a Proportional, Integral, and Derivative (PID) based control loop, and the control loop may use feed-forward, Bistable, Bang-Bang, Hysteretic, or fuzzy logic based control. The control loop may be based on, or associated with, randomness based on random numbers; and the apparatus may comprise a random number generator for generating random numbers that may be hardware-based using thermal noise, shot noise, nuclear decaying radiation, photoelectric effect, or quantum phenomena. Alternatively or in addition, the random number generator may be software-based and may execute an algorithm for generating pseudo-random numbers. The apparatus may couple to, or comprise in the single enclosure, an additional sensor responsive to a third condition distinct from the first or second conditions, and the setpoint may be dependent upon the output of the additional sensor.
  • The apparatus may communicate over an outlet connected in-wall wiring used by the internal or the external network as a network medium. The single enclosure may consist of, comprise, or may be integrated with, the outlet or a plug-in module pluggable to the outlet. The outlet may be a telephone, LAN, AC power, or CATV outlet, and the in-wall wiring may respectively be a telephone wire pair, a LAN cable, an AC power cable, or a CATV coaxial cable, and the first or second modem may be operative to respectively communicate over the telephone wire pair, the LAN cable, the AC power cable, or the CATV coaxial cable. The in-wall wiring may carry a power signal, and the apparatus may at least in part be powered from the power signal. The sensor may be a photosensitive image sensor array comprising multiple photoelectric sensors, for capturing an image and producing electronic image information representing the image, and the apparatus may comprise an image processor coupled to the image sensor for providing a digital video data signal that may carry digital video data based on the captured images, and may use a digital video format that may be based on one out of: TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), RAW format, AVI, DV, MOV, WMV, MP4, DCF (Design Rule for Camera Format), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, ITU-T CCIR 601, ASF, Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format), and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) standards. The apparatus may comprise an intraframe or interframe compression based video compressor coupled to the image sensor for lossy or non-lossy compressing the digital video data, and the compression may be based on a standard compression algorithm which may be JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), ITU-T H.261, ITU-T H.263, ITU-T H.264, or ITU-T CCIR 601. The apparatus may calculate or provide a space-dependent characteristic of the sensed condition, such as a pattern, a linear density, a surface density, a volume density, a flux density, a current, a direction, a rate of change in a direction, or a flow, of the condition.
  • The internal or external network may use a cable carrying a communication signal, and the first or second port may consist of a connector for connecting to the cable, and the cable may be connectable to simultaneously carry a DC or AC power signal and the communication signal. The apparatus may supply at least in part of the power signal or may be at least in part powered from the power signal. The power signal may be carried over dedicated wires in the cable, and the wires may distinct from the wires in the cable carrying the communication signal. Alternatively or in addition, the power signal and the communication signal may be concurrently carried over the same wires in the cable, and the apparatus may comprise a power/data splitter arrangement having first, second and third ports, where only the communication signal may be passed between the first and second ports, and only the power signal may be passed between the first and third ports, and the first port may be coupled to the connector. The power and communication signals may be carried using Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM), where the power signal may be carried over a power signal frequency or a power frequency band, and the communication signal may be carried over a frequency band above and distinct from the power signal frequency or the power frequency band, and the power/data splitter may consist or comprise an HPF between the first and second ports and a LPF between the first and third ports. Alternatively or in addition, the power/data splitter may comprise a transformer and a capacitor connected to the transformer windings. Alternatively or in addition, the power and digital data signals may be carried using a phantom scheme and the power/data splitter may comprise at least two transformers having a center-tap connection. Alternatively or in addition, the power and digital data signals may be carried substantially or entirely according to IEEE 802.3af-2003 or IEEE 802.3at-2009 standards.
  • The second port and the second modem may consist of (or be part of) a first network interface, for use with an additional external network and for communicating with the control server over multiple data paths. The apparatus may comprise a second network interface consisting of a third port for coupling to the additional external network, and a third modem coupled to the third port for communication over the additional external network. The first and second network interfaces may be of a same type, the external network interface may be based on a conductive medium, and the second port may be a connector that may be a coaxial connector, a twisted-pair connector, an AC power connector, or a telephone connector. Alternatively or in addition, the external network may use a non-conductive medium, and the second port may be a non-conductive coupler that may be an antenna, a light emitter, a light detector, a microphone, a speaker, or a fiber-optics connector. Alternatively or in addition, the external network may be based on conductive medium, the second port may be a connector, the additional external network may be based on a non-conductive medium, and the third port may be a non-conductive coupler. The second and third modems may be of different scales such as NFC, PAN, LAN, MAN or WAN modems, the second and third modems may use different modulation schemes such as AM, FM, or PM, the second and third modems may use different duplexing schemes such as half-duplex, full-duplex, or unidirectional, the second modem may be packet-based and the third modem may be circuit-switched, or the second port and the third port may be the same port used by both the first and second network interfaces. Alternatively or in addition, the first and second network interfaces may be operative to communicate over a same network using FDM, where the first network interface may be using a first frequency band and the second network interface may be using a second frequency band, that may be overlapping or non-overlapping with the first frequency band.
  • The first port and the first modem may consist of (or be part of) a third network interface, for use with an additional internal network and for communicating with the control server over multiple data paths. The apparatus may comprise a fourth network interface consisting of a fourth port for coupling to the additional external network, and a fourth modem coupled to the fourth port for communication over the additional internal network. The third and fourth network interfaces may be of a same type, the external network interface may be based on a conductive medium, and the second port may be a connector that may be a coaxial connector, a twisted-pair connector, an AC power connector, or a telephone connector. Alternatively or in addition, the external network may use a non-conductive medium, and the second port may be a non-conductive coupler that may be an antenna, a light emitter, a light detector, a microphone, a speaker, or a fiber-optics connector. Alternatively or in addition, the internal network may be based on conductive medium, the first port may be a connector, the additional internal network may be based on a non-conductive medium, and the fourth port may be a non-conductive coupler. The first and fourth modems may be NFC, PAN, LAN, MAN or WAN modems, the first and fourth modems may use different modulation schemes such as AM, FM, or PM, the first and fourth modems may use different duplexing schemes such as half-duplex, full-duplex, or unidirectional, the first modem may be packet-based and the fourth modem may be circuit-switched, or the first port and the fourth port may be the same port used by both the third and fourth network interfaces. Alternatively or in addition, the third and fourth network interfaces may be operative to communicate over a same network using FDM, where the third network interface may be using a first frequency band and the fourth network interface may be using a second frequency band, that may be overlapping or non-overlapping with the first frequency band.
  • The apparatus may send a packet to the control server via the network interfaces carried over two distinct data paths. The packet may comprise a source address, a destination address, an information type, and information content. The packet may be sent via the network interfaces (or both) selected by a fixed, adaptive, or dynamic selection mechanism. A distinct number may be assigned to each of the network interfaces, and the selection mechanism may use, or be based on, the assigned numbers that may represent priority levels associated with the network interfaces, and the network interface having the highest priority level may be selected. The network interfaces may be alternately or randomly selected. The assigned numbers may be based on the associated network types, attributes, or their performance history. Alternatively or in addition, the assigned numbers may be based on the current or past associated network data rates, transfer delays, networks mediums or network medium types, qualities, duplexing schemes, line codes, modulation schemes, switching mechanisms, throughputs, or usages. Alternatively or in addition, a network interface may be selected based on the packet source address, based on the packet destination address, based on the packet information type, or based on the packet information content.
  • The sensor transfer function may be characterized as S(s), the actuator transfer function may be characterized as C(s), the actuator command may be characterized as A(s), and the sensor data may be characterized as F(s). The apparatus may analyze the sensor data versus the actuator commands, such as calculating of F(s)/[S(s)*A(s)*C(s)], and may use the analysis to estimate or to determine a condition characteristic or parameter. The apparatus may periodically initiate and transmit actuator commands, and analyzes the sensor data versus the transmitted actuator commands. The apparatus may be integrated in part or entirely in an appliance.
  • The internal network may be a Body Area Network (BAN), a Personal Area Network (PAN), or a Local Area Network (LAN), the first port may respectively be a BAN, PAN, or LAN port, and the first modem may respectively be a BAN, PAN, or LAN modem. The LAN may be a wired LAN using a wired LAN medium; the LAN port may be a LAN connector; and the LAN transceiver may be a LAN modem. The LAN may be Ethernet based; and the wired LAN may be according to, or based on, IEEE 802.3-2008 standard. The external network may be a packet-based or a circuit-switched-based Wide Area Network (WAN), the second port may be a WAN port, and the second modem may be a WAN transceiver.
  • The enclosed environment may be a vehicle and the single enclosure may be attachable to the vehicle body. The apparatus may communicate with another vehicle or with a roadside unit external to the vehicle over the external network, and the condition may be in the vehicle, external to the vehicle, or associated with surroundings around the vehicle. The vehicle may be a bicycle, a car, a motorcycle, a train, a ship, an aircraft, a boat, a spacecraft, a boat, a submarine, a dirigible, an electric scooter, a subway, a train, a trolleybus, a tram, a sailboat, a yacht, or an airplane. The apparatus may be coupled to monitor or control an Engine Control Unit (ECU), a Transmission Control Unit (TCU), an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), or Body Control Modules (BCM) of an automobile. The internal network may be a vehicle bus that may be according to, or based on, Control Area Network (CAN) or Local Interconnect Network (LIN). The vehicle may comprise an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system, and the apparatus may be coupled to or integrated with the OBD system, and may communicate to the control server an information regarding fuel and air metering, ignition system, misfire, auxiliary emission control, vehicle speed and idle control, transmission, on-board computer, fuel level, relative throttle position, ambient air temperature, accelerator pedal position, air flow rate, fuel type, oxygen level, fuel rail pressure, engine oil temperature, fuel injection timing, engine torque, engine coolant temperature, intake air temperature, exhaust gas temperature, fuel pressure, injection pressure, turbocharger pressure, boost pressure, exhaust pressure, exhaust gas temperature, engine run time, NOx sensor, manifold surface temperature, or a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • The system may be used to measure, sense, or analyze the changes over time of an environment, a phenomenon, or any controlled item. The measured item may be characterized by a transfer function P(s) impacted by an actuator (characterized as C(s)) and sensed by a sensor S(s). By generating or excitation of an actuator command A(s) and measuring the resulting sensor output F(s), the control logic or the system in general may measure, sense, estimate, or analyze the behavior or characteristic by analyzing or calculating P(s)=F(s)/[S(s)*A(s)*C(s)]. The calculation may be used to sense or measure a phenomenon that is not (or cannot be) directly measured or sensed by using a dedicated corresponding sensor, or as a sensor data for other control loops in the system, for setpoint adjustment of other control loop, or used for user notification. The control logic may initiate such measurement cycle periodically, upon power up, upon a user control (for example via a user device), or as part of a regular control.
  • In one aspect, a control system is disclosed, comprising a sensor disposed in an enclosed environment such as a building or a vehicle, that senses a condition in the enclosed environment and provides sensor response signals corresponding to the condition; an internal network extending substantially within the enclosed environment; an external network, coupled to the Internet, extending substantially outside the enclosed environment; a control server, disposed outside the enclosed environment, coupled to the Internet, the server receiving sensor data corresponding to the sensor response signals and executing control logic therein so as to generate actuator commands responsive to the received sensor data; a router coupled to the internal and external networks so as to pass information between the internal and external networks, and configured to deliver the sensor data from the internal to the external networks and to deliver the actuator commands from the external to the internal networks; and an actuator disposed within the enclosed environment, receiving the actuator commands from the router, the actuator operative to affect the condition in the enclosed environment.
  • The sensor transfer function may be characterized as S(s), the actuator transfer function may be characterized as C(s), the actuator command may be characterized as A(s), and the sensor data may be characterized as F(s). The control server is operative to analyze the sensor data versus the transmitted actuator commands, such as the calculating of F(s)/[S(s)*A(s)*C(s)]. The analysis may be used to estimate or determine a phenomenon characteristics or parameter, and may be used as an additional sensor data by the system or the control logic. The control logic may be operative for periodically initiating actuator commands and analyzing the sensor data versus the transmitted actuator commands.
  • The above summary is not an exhaustive list of all aspects of the present invention. Indeed, the inventor contemplates that his invention includes all systems and methods that can be practiced from all suitable combinations and derivatives of the various aspects summarized above, as well as those disclosed in the detailed description below and particularly pointed out in the claims filed with the application. Such combinations have particular advantages not specifically recited in the above summary.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The invention is herein described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like designations denote like elements. Understanding that these drawings only provide information concerning typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered limiting in scope:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a home network system with a dedicated hardware-based gateway;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a system with a cloud based gateway;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of multiple cloud gateways serving several houses;
  • FIG. 3a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a single cloud gateway serving several houses;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a router connected to a cloud-based gateway;
  • FIG. 4a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a router connected to multiple cloud-based gateways;
  • FIG. 4b illustrates the data paths and a schematic electrical diagram of a router connected to multiple cloud-based gateways;
  • FIG. 4c illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a router connected to a cloud-based gateway via multiple ISPs;
  • FIG. 4d illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a router connected to a cloud-based gateway via an ISP;
  • FIG. 4e illustrates the data paths and a schematic electrical diagram of multiple routers connected to multiple cloud-based gateways via multiple data paths;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a sensor unit;
  • FIG. 5a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a current measuring sensor unit;
  • FIG. 5b illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an AC current measuring sensor unit;
  • FIG. 5c illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of multiple sensor units for sensing the same phenomenon;
  • FIG. 5d illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a sensor unit having multiple sensors for sensing the same phenomenon;
  • FIG. 5e illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a sensor unit having multiple AC current sensors for sensing the same AC current;
  • FIG. 5f illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an image sensor based sensor unit;
  • FIG. 5g illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a sensor unit having two communication ports;
  • FIG. 5h illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a system including a field unit having two communication ports;
  • FIG. 5i illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a system including a field unit having two communication ports and coupled to two networks;
  • FIG. 5j illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of data paths in a system including a field unit having two communication ports and coupled to two networks;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an actuator unit;
  • FIG. 6a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an electrical switch actuator unit;
  • FIG. 6b illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an AC electrical switch actuator unit;
  • FIG. 6c illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of multiple actuator units affecting the same phenomenon;
  • FIG. 6d illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an actuator unit having multiple actuators affecting the same phenomenon;
  • FIG. 6e illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an actuator unit having multiple AC power switches connected in series;
  • FIG. 6f illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an actuator unit having multiple AC power switches connected in parallel;
  • FIG. 6g illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of an actuator unit having two communication ports;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a sensor/actuator unit;
  • FIG. 7a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a power control field unit;
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of remote powering scheme of a field unit;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of FDM power/data signals combining/splitting circuit;
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of FDM power/data signals combining/splitting circuit using capacitor and transformer;
  • FIG. 11 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of phantom scheme power/data signals combining/splitting circuit;
  • FIG. 12 depicts schematically a few food-related home appliances;
  • FIG. 12a depicts schematically a few cleaning-related home appliances and digital cameras;
  • FIG. 13 illustrates schematically a general computer system connected to the Internet;
  • FIG. 14 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a router;
  • FIG. 14a illustrates the data paths and a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a router;
  • FIG. 15 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a server;
  • FIG. 15a illustrates the data paths and a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a server;
  • FIG. 16 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a personal computer;
  • FIG. 16a illustrates the data paths and a schematic electrical diagram of a controller integrated with a personal computer;
  • FIG. 17 illustrates a schematic flow-chart diagram of a general controller;
  • FIG. 18 illustrates a schematic flow-chart diagram of a controller involving image processing; and
  • FIG. 19 illustrates a schematic flow-chart diagram of a controller involving voice processing;
  • FIG. 20 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a system including field units external to a building;
  • FIG. 20a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a data path between a field unit external to a building and a router in the building;
  • FIG. 20b illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a data path between a field unit located external to a building and a control or gateway server;
  • FIG. 20c illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a data path over the Internet between a field unit external to a building and a router in the building;
  • FIG. 20d illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a data path over the Internet between a field unit located external to a building and a control or gateway server;
  • FIG. 21 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of part of a device having multiple network interfaces;
  • FIG. 22 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of part of a device having wired and wireless network interfaces;
  • FIG. 22a illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of part of a device having a wireless network interfaces and two wired interfaces connected to the same network;
  • FIG. 22b illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of part of a device having a wireless network interfaces and two wired interfaces connected to the same network using FDM;
  • FIG. 23 illustrates a schematic flow-chart diagram of packet handling in a device having multiple network interfaces;
  • FIG. 24 illustrates a schematic electrical diagram of a vehicle-based system communicating with a cloud based gateway;
  • FIG. 25 illustrates a schematic block diagram of a control system;
  • FIG. 25a illustrates a schematic block diagram of a closed loop control system; and
  • FIG. 26 illustrates a timing diagram of a closed loop control system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The principles and operation of an apparatus according to the present invention may be understood with reference to the figures and the accompanying description wherein similar components appearing in different figures are denoted by identical reference numerals. The drawings and descriptions are conceptual only. In actual practice, a single component can implement one or more functions; alternatively or in addition, each function can be implemented by a plurality of components and devices. In the figures and descriptions, identical reference numerals indicate those components that are common to different embodiments or configurations. Identical numerical references (even in the case of using different suffix, such as 5, 5 a, 5 b and 5 c) refer to functions or actual devices that are either identical, substantially similar, or having similar functionality. It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the apparatus, system, and method of the present invention, as represented in the figures herein, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of embodiments of the invention. It is to be understood that the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” herein include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “a component surface” includes reference to one or more of such surfaces. By the term “substantially” it is meant that the recited characteristic, parameter, or value need not be achieved exactly, but that deviations or variations, including for example, tolerances, measurement error, measurement accuracy limitations and other factors known to those of skill in the art, may occur in amounts that do not preclude the effect the characteristic was intended to provide.
  • Environment control networks are networks of sensors and controller which provide an optimized solution for an environment control. The environment can be a house, agricultural farm, city traffic systems etc. The sensors will provide information on the environmental conditions and events. The controller will allow automatic control or control by the user via the Internet. The system can allow automatic control upon detection of certain conditions or events. The lights can be turned on when a motion is detected in a room. The electricity may be turned off upon a fire and the water off upon a flood. The heating may be adjusted based on internet information on the weather or information on neighbor behavior. Users may be warned of problems in neighboring homes. The motion sensors can be adjusted to be more sensitive upon a detection of a security problem in a home nearby.
  • For an agricultural farm there can be a field network and cattle handling network. In the field, there can be a temperature sensor, ground humidity sensor. The irrigation system may be adjusted accordingly. It can also be impacted by cloud server information of last week rainfall and weather forecast. The cattle feeding system can use measurements of the cow weight, food left and cloud server information on weather forecast and cattle diseases. For the system, a network can be used for the transportation system of traffic lights and road sign.
  • FIG. 2 shows an arrangement 20 including a residence 19 which may be connected via the Internet 16 to many multiple servers. For non-limiting example, the gateway server 24 (corresponding to gateway server 48 described below) may be associated with a specific premises 19. In the premises 19 there may be multiple internal networks, such as home network 14 a connecting the desktop computer 18 a and a home device 15 a, and other connected equipment may as well be connected. Similarly, home network 14 b is shown connecting desktop computer 18 b and a home device 15 b, and other connected equipment may as well be connected. A control network 22 may be used, connecting field units 23 a, 23 b and 23 c. Each of the field units 23 may correspond to a sensor unit 50, actuator unit 60, or a sensor/actuator unit 70 described below. The control network may be a ZigBee based sensor network. A router 21, corresponding with router 49 described below, is connected, via suitable ports, to the various networks in the residence 19, and allows communication between devices in one or all of the networks, between the networks in the residence 19, and provides external connection to the Internet 16, typically via a WAN network. While three internal networks 22, 14 a and 14 b are shown in arrangement 20, one, two, four, or any number of such internal networks may be equally deployed. The various networks inside the premises 19 may be the same, similar or different. For non-limiting example, the same or different network mediums may be used, such as wired or wireless networks, and the same or different network protocols may be used. Further, each of the networks may be a LAN (Local Area Network), a WLAN (Wireless LAN), a PAN (Personal Area Network), or a WPAN (Wireless PAN).
  • In one non-limiting example, where multiple premises 19 are involved, each of the premises 19 is associated with a single and dedicated gateway server 24 (referred herein also as ‘cloud server’ and ‘control server’). Such scenario is exampled in an arrangement 35 shown in FIG. 3. Three premises 19 a, 19 b, and 19 c, each respectively having routers 21 a, 21 b, and 21 c, are connected via the Internet 16 to be served by three respective gateway servers 24 a, 24 b, and 24 c. While three houses 19 are exampled in FIG. 3, any number of premises 19 may be equally employed. Alternatively or in addition, two, three or more premises 19 may share a single gateway server 24, as exampled in arrangement 30 in FIG. 3a , where three premises 19 a, 19 b, and 19 c, each respectively having routers 21 a, 21 b, and 21 c, are connected via the Internet 16 to a single gateway server 24.
  • Part or the entire of gateway functionalities in general, or part or the entire of Residential Gateway (RG) (a.k.a. home gateway) functionalities in particular, may be implemented in the router 21, serving as gateway 11 above, for example the gateway and the functionalities described in U.S. Patent Application No. 2007/0112939 to Wilson et al., entitled: “System and Method for Home Automation”, and in U.S. Pat. No. 7,213,061 to Hite et al., entitled: “Internet Control System and Method”, which are both incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein. Alternatively or in addition, part or the entire of the gateway functionalities may be moved onto the gateway server 24. Further, part or the entire of the gateway functionalities may be implemented by another entity in the building, such as the PC 18 a, home device 15 b, or a field unit 23. Furthermore, the gateway functionalities may be distributed and implemented by a combination of the gateway server 24, router 21, PC 18 a, home device 15 b, or a field unit 23, where each of the devices implements none, one, or a subset of the gateway functionalities, such as IP routing, VoIP, NAT, DHCP, firewall, parental control, rate converter, fault isolation, protocol conversion/translation/mapping, or proxy server. The router 21 may further be according to, or based on, the white paper entitled: “Home Gateway” by Wipro Technologies, or may be according to, or based on, the Home Gateway Initiative (HGI) documents entitled: “Home Gateway Technical Requirements: Residential Profile”, Version 1.0, HGI guideline paper entitled: “Remote Access” Version 1.01, and HGI document entitled: “Requirements for an energy efficient home gateway” HGI-RD009-R3, which are all incorporated in their entirety for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic block diagram of an arrangement 49 including a router 40. The router 40 serves an intermediary device for allowing communication between the various in home networks, such as wireless sensor network and a home network, and between the in-home devices and one (or more) server via the Internet 16. Coupling to each network commonly involves a port and a transceiver (which may be a modem) adapted for communication over the network medium. The connection to the Internet or to any other network external to the premises may include one or more WAN interfaces. A wired connection to the Internet may include a connector 41 a connected to a wired modem 42 a. In case of a wireless interface, the connector 41 a is substituted with an antenna and the wired modem 42 a is substituted with a suitable wireless modem (or a transceiver). Similarly, each connection to any premises internal network includes one or more interfaces. A wired connection to an internal network (e.g., wired home network) may include a connector 41 b connected to a wired modem 42 b. A wireless connection to an internal network (e.g., wireless sensor network) may include an antenna 44 connected to a wireless modem 43.
  • The router 40 commonly includes a microprocessor executing a firmware embedded in the device. However, a router may include whole or part of a computer such as the computer 130 shown in FIG. 13 below. The router 40 may include part or all of the functionalities associated with a conventional router in general, and home router in particular. The basic functionality of a packet router is the act of moving information across an internetwork from a source to a destination, based on the addresses embedded in the packets, performed by the routing core 45. Commonly a router supports OSI Layer 3 (the Network Layer), but may also support bridging functionality at OSI Layer 2 (the Link Layer). The router commonly uses headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the data packets, and they also use protocols such as ICMP to communicate with each other and configure the best route between any two hosts. The router may also support NAT (Network Address Translation), allowing multiple devices to share a single IP address on the Internet. Internet connection sharing routers may also support an SPI firewall and may serve as a DHCP Server. The wireless router may also provide features relevant to wireless security such as WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and wireless MAC address filtering. Additionally, the wireless router may be configured for “invisible mode” so that the internal wireless network cannot be scanned by outside wireless clients. However, the router 40 may support also part of, or whole of a gateway related functionalities, and in particular a home gateway (‘residential gateway’) typical functionalities. The router 40 may convert between different protocols of the interconnected networks, and typically directs the packets between networks based on a routing table or routing policy, which are built to offer the preferred routes.
  • FIG. 4 further shows a typical connection of premises to a gateway server 48 a via the Internet 16. The router 40 connects via a WAN port, such as the connector 41 a to a WAN (Wide Area Network) 46 a, to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) 47 a. The ISP 47 a connects to the gateway server 48 a via the Internet 16.
  • The ISP 47 a is commonly a company that provides Internet services, including personal and business access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider usually provides a software package, username, password and access phone number. Access ISPs directly connect clients to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for small businesses and other people (collocation). Hosting ISPs routinely provide email, FTP, and web-hosting services. Other services include virtual machines, clouds, or entire physical servers where customers can run their own custom software. Transit ISPs provide large amounts of bandwidth for connecting hosting ISPs to access ISPs.
  • In order to increase reliability and availability of the external system involving the connection of the premises to the gateway server, a redundancy may be used, relating to the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the case of a backup or fail-safe. A non-limiting example of implementation of such redundancy is shown as arrangement 49 a in FIG. 4a . In addition to the router 40 a connection to the gateway server 48 a via the ISP 47 a and the WAN 46 a, the router 40 a is also connected to another ISP 47 b (or different systems of the same ISP) via WAN 46 b, connected via a wireless modem 43 a and antenna 44 a. The ISP 47 b in turn connects to the gateway server 48 b via the Internet 16. In one non-limiting example, the hardware and software (or firmware), as well as the communication medium, associated with the communication route relating to the connection to the gateway server 48 a are distinct and different from the hardware, software (or firmware), and the communication medium of the communication route used for connecting the router 40 a to the gateway server 48 b. The two formed routes, designated as routes 400 a and 400 b in arrangement 49 b shown in FIG. 4b , are thus independent, hence in the case of any failure in one of the communication routes, the other route may still provide the required connection and the system functionality is preserved, thus a single point of failure (SPOF) therein renders the system fully functional. While two independent routes are shown in FIG. 4a , three or more routes may be equally used, further enhancing the reliability and availability of the system. For each additional route, preferably a port and associated modem is added to the router 40 a, for communication with a gateway server via additional WAN and additional ISP.
  • While router 40 a was exampled in FIG. 4a to include one wired WAN connection (connector 41 a and wired modem 42 a) and one wireless WAN connection (antenna 44 a and wireless modem 43 a), any two (or more) WAN connections may be used, and the WAN connections may be identical, similar or different from each other. Further, one or more of the WANs 46 a and 46 b may be replaced with a LAN, WLAN, or any other network allowing for connection to a gateway server 48 over the Internet 16, or over any other network.
  • In one non-limiting example, only part of the communication routes and the associated hardware and/or software (such as routes 400 a and 400 b) are redundant, and part of the route is not redundant, allowing for more economical solution, where the reliability is increased only for part of the system. In one non-limiting example shown as arrangement 49 c in FIG. 4c , a single gateway server 48 a is used, connected to the router 40 a via two independent communication routes. In another non-limiting example shown as arrangement 49 d in FIG. 4d , a single gateway server 48 a connected via a single ISP 47 a are used. The ISP 47 a is connected to the router 40 a via two independent communication routes.
  • In one non-limiting example, two routers 40 are redundantly used for improving reliability and availability. Such an arrangement 49 e in shown in FIG. 4e , showing a premises 19 a including two separated and independent routers 40 a and 40 b, each connected via independent communication route. The router 40 a is connected via communication route 400 d, corresponding to route 400 b in arrangement 49 b shown in FIG. 4b , while the router 40 b is connected via communication route 400 c, corresponding to route 400 a in arrangement 49 b shown in FIG. 4b . In the case of malfunction of one of the routers 40 a and 40 b, the other router is still available through its route. Alternatively or in addition, a single gateway server 48 a may be used, similar to the arrangement 49 c shown in FIG. 4c , the two routers 40 a and 40 b may be connected via a dedicated communication link (either wired or wireless), or may be interconnected via one of the networks in the premises 19 a. Preferably, each of the routers 40 a and 40 b is able to communicate with all internal networks and end-units in the premises. Alternatively or in addition, each router is connected to separate networks. Alternatively or in addition, some networks (and associated end-units) may be connected to both routers 40 a and 40 b, while other networks connect only to one of the routers. In the case of an internal mesh network, each of the routers 40 a and 40 b may be connected to a d