WO2005036487A2 - Personal security system - Google Patents

Personal security system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2005036487A2
WO2005036487A2 PCT/GB2004/004247 GB2004004247W WO2005036487A2 WO 2005036487 A2 WO2005036487 A2 WO 2005036487A2 GB 2004004247 W GB2004004247 W GB 2004004247W WO 2005036487 A2 WO2005036487 A2 WO 2005036487A2
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
module
mobile terminal
user
signal
actuator
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2004/004247
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2005036487A3 (en )
Inventor
Gina Parmar
Original Assignee
Gina Parmar
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19665Details related to the storage of video surveillance data
    • G08B13/19671Addition of non-video data, i.e. metadata, to video stream
    • G08B13/19673Addition of time stamp, i.e. time metadata, to video stream
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19617Surveillance camera constructional details
    • G08B13/19621Portable camera
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/18Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength
    • G08B13/189Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems
    • G08B13/194Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems
    • G08B13/196Actuation by interference with heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength; Actuation by intruding sources of heat, light or radiation of shorter wavelength using passive radiation detection systems using image scanning and comparing systems using television cameras
    • G08B13/19654Details concerning communication with a camera
    • G08B13/19658Telephone systems used to communicate with a camera, e.g. PSTN, GSM, POTS
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B15/00Identifying, scaring or incapacitating burglars, thieves or intruders, e.g. by explosives
    • G08B15/004Identifying, scaring or incapacitating burglars, thieves or intruders, e.g. by explosives using portable personal devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B21/00Alarms responsive to a single specified undesired or abnormal operating condition and not elsewhere provided for
    • G08B21/02Alarms for ensuring the safety of persons
    • G08B21/0202Child monitoring systems using a transmitter-receiver system carried by the parent and the child
    • G08B21/0269System arrangements wherein the object is to detect the exact location of child or item using a navigation satellite system, e.g. GPS
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/005Alarm destination chosen according to a hierarchy of available destinations, e.g. if hospital does not answer send to police station
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/009Signalling of the alarm condition to a substation whose identity is signalled to a central station, e.g. relaying alarm signals in order to extend communication range
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/01Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium
    • G08B25/016Personal emergency signalling and security systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/01Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium
    • G08B25/08Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium using communication transmission lines
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B25/00Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems
    • G08B25/01Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium
    • G08B25/10Alarm systems in which the location of the alarm condition is signalled to a central station, e.g. fire or police telegraphic systems characterised by the transmission medium using wireless transmission systems

Abstract

A personal security module (21) that is capable of being carried by a user (15), the module (21) comprising a controller (37), an actuator (39) that can be operated by a user (15) in the event of an emergency, and an interface (41) by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to a mobile terminal (17), wherein on operation of the actuator (39) the controller (37) is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal (17) via said interface (41), said mobile tenninal (17) - on receipt of a said signal from the module (21) - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes performing one or more operations.

Description

PERSONAL SECURITY SYSTEM

Field of the Invention This invention relates to personal security systems. One particularly preferred embodiment of the invention relates to a personal security system which includes a mobile user terminal (such as a mobile telephone, or other electronic device with telephonic capabilities), and a module that is capable of communicating with the mobile user terminal and which may be carried by a user to facilitate access thereto in the event of an emergency. In the context of the present application, the term "mobile user terminal" is used to encompass mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) with telephonic capabilities, and any other portable telephonic device that is capable of communicating wirelessly with a telecommunications network. Whilst certain parts of the present application refer explicitly to mobile telephones for illustrative purposes, such references should not be construed as a limitation of the scope of the present invention.

Background to the Invention

A recent survey1 conducted on behalf of OFTEL (the United Kingdom Office of Telecommunications) has suggested that in excess of seventy percent of the United Kingdom population over the age of fifteen claims to personally own or use a mobile telephone. Whilst the majority of these users use their mobile telephones on a daily basis for social and work purposes, a significant minority tend to reserve use of their mobile telephones only for emergencies. For all users, however, it remains the case that the carrying of a mobile telephone provides that person with an effective means to contact others in an

1 See OFTEL report - "Consumers' use of mobile telephony", Q8 February 2002 emergency situation. Emergency situations range from the relatively trivial, such as a missed train for example, to more serious emergencies such as a road traffic accident that the emergency services may be required to attend. To facilitate the summoning of the emergency services, it used to be commonplace to provide mobile telephones with an autodial function for the emergency services. One such autodial function automatically dialled "911" if the user of the telephone pressed the "9" key on the phone's keypad for more than two seconds. These autodial facilities made it relatively easy for users to contact the emergency services in times of an emergency, but unfortunately they also caused a significant increase in the number of calls accidentally placed (often without the user's knowledge) to the emergency services. In fact, an article published in The Guardian® on 30 July 2001 reported that one in four calls placed to the emergency services in the UK were accidental calls from mobile telephones. To combat these problems, the authorities in the UK and elsewhere have launched campaigns to remind mobile phone users to activate the keypad lock facilities included on most modern mobile telephones before storing their phones in their pockets or handbags. The authorities have also persuaded the mobile phone manufacturers to remove the aforementioned autodial facilities from the mobile phones they supply to the public. These measures have helped to reduce the number of accidental phone calls placed to the emergency services. However, this improvement has been achieved primarily by making it more difficult for a user to place a call in an emergency. One group of users who has been particularly hard hit by this change in policy are women. Women's clothing typically does not include as many pockets as men's clothing, and as such most women tend to keep their mobile telephones in their handbags or briefcases. Indeed, to combat the rising incidence of street crime, women (and men for that matter) have been positively encouraged to keep their mobile telephones out of sight of anyone who might be inclined to try and steal them. The effect of all this is that a woman, for example, who encounters an emergency where they might wish to use their mobile telephone typically has first to rummage in their handbag or briefcase for their telephone. Once they have found their telephone, they then typically have to disengage the keypad lock before finally being able to dial the appropriate number, for example to summon the emergency services. Men carrying their telephones, for example in an inside jacket pocket, face similar difficulties. It remains the case, therefore, that in an emergency such as a mugging or street robbery, for example, it is unlikely that there would be enough time for a man or woman under attack to find their phone and place a call to summon assistance before having to deal with the attacker. It is apparent, therefore, that there is a need in the art for a means to alleviate these problems, and it is an aim of the present invention to provide just such a means.

Statement of the Invention

In pursuit of this aim, an embodiment of the present invention provides a personal security module that can be carried by a user, the module including a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to a mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes performing one or more operations. In a highly preferred aspect of this embodiment, the security module is arranged to be capable of being worn by the user. For example, the security module may be configured as a broach or other item (such as a belt buckle) that may be fastened to the clothing of the user. The security device could alternatively be configured as an item to be worn by the user, in a similar fashion to a wristwatch for example. Alternatively it may include a peg mechanism that is fastenable to a lapel or pocket. This arrangement is advantageous in that it provides the user with the facility to take action in the event of an emergency without having to locate their mobile terminal. In addition, as the components of the module are relatively commonplace the manufacturing cost (and hence retail cost) of the module is likely to be such that the module itself is unlikely to become a target for thieves. This means that users should readily be able to have the module accessible, for example on display, without fear of identifying themselves as being a potentially lucrative target. . In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a personal security system comprising a mobile user terminal that is operable to transmit and receive signals via a wireless telecommunications network, and a personal security module that can be carried by a user, the module including a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to the mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes performing one or more operations. In a highly preferred scenario the system aforementioned additionally comprises an emergency monitoring centre to which the mobile terminal is configured to send a signal on operation of the module actuator, the sending of said signal comprising a said operation. In an envisaged implementation, the emergency monitoring centre is an organisation discrete from the emergency services. This aspect of the invention is advantageous in that accidental actuator operations, whilst being something of an inconvenience for the emergency monitoring centre, will not be a burden upon the emergency services themselves. In summary, therefore, another aspect of the invention provides a personal security system comprising: a mobile user terminal that is operable to transmit and receive signals via a wireless telecommunications network, an emergency monitoring centre, and a personal security module that can be carried by a user, the module including a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to the mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes sending a signal to said emergency monitoring centre to notify said centre that operation of the module actuator has occurred. Preferred features of all of these aspects of the invention are set out in the accomp anying claims . However, in a preferred arrangement, once a user has activated the module, the module activates a camera and/or a microphone to record images and sound from the area around the user, and transmits the images and sound to an emergency monitoring centre via a mobile terminal using bluetooth technology. • Upon activation of the module, the emergency monitoring centre is alerted that the user is potentially at risk and begins monitoring the location, images and sound. The emergency monitoring centre preferably also establishes contact with the user. Should the situation become serious, or the user does not respond, the emergency monitoring centre preferably alerts the emergency services. Alternatively the emergency monitoring centre may alert the emergency services at the request of the user.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Various preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is an illustrative representation of a system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Fig. 2 is an illustrative representation of a personal security module in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Fig. 3 is a schematic representation of the architecture of a module such as that depicted in Fig. 2; and Fig. 4 is a schematic representation of the architecture of a module and mobile terminal with which the module is registered.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments

Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of a system 1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In general terms, Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of a mobile telecommunications network, in this instance a GSM compatible network, comprised (as is well known in the art) of a Base Station System 3, and associated Network Switching System 5. The Base Station System includes a plurality of Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) 7 that are each in turn associated with a cell 9 of the wireless telecommunications network. Each BTS is connected to a Base Switching Centre (BSC) 11 that is in turn connected to the aforementioned Network Switching System 5. The operation of a wireless telecommunications system, such as the aforementioned GSM system, is well known to those persons skilled in the art and as such will not be described in any great detail in this application. For the purposes of the present application it is sufficient to explain that signals generated by a mobile terminal are picked up by the BTS of the cell in which the phone is currently located, and transferred from the BTS via the BSC to the Network Switching System. If those signals constitute a call, the network switching system establishes a communications channel between the mobile terminal and the party they wish to call (the called party). If that party should be another mobile terminal then a channel is opened to the called party via the BSC and BTS for the particular cell in which the mobile terminal of the called party is located. If, on the other hand, the called party is a landline, the Network Switching System routes the call via the Public Switched Telephone

Network (PSTN). In the system of the embodiment, the Network Switching System is capable of establishing a communications link to an emergency monitoring centre 13, the purpose of which will later be described. As shown in Fig. 1, a user 15 is located in one of the aforementioned cells 9 and is carrying a mobile terminal 17 (in this instance a mobile telephone) in her briefcase 19. The mobile terminal is in periodic communication with the BTS 7 of the cell 9 in which the user is located. The user 15 is also wearing (in this instance clipped to a belt) a personal security module 21 that is configured - in this embodiment - to be able to communicate wirelessly with the mobile terminal 17 located in the briefcase 19. In one embodiment the mobile terminal is pre-programmed with an "emergency" profile detailing one or more actions that the terminal will undertake on receipt of an appropriate signal from the security module. Such actions may include, as a minimum, transmitting a signal to the aforementioned emergency monitoring centre to notify the centre that an operation of the user's personal security module has occurred. Additionally, or alternatively the Mobile terminal 17 may have sets of commands that allow it to be controlled remotely and make it behave as a modem. Thus on activation of the actuator the mobile terminal 17 will be instructed to dial the emergency monitoring centre phone number and/or set up an IP connection via the internet (for packet services mobile (GPRS/3 G)) and act as a 'transparent pipe' between the module 21 and the emergency monitoring centre 13. Generally software will be down loaded onto the mobile terminal 17, preferably over the air at the time of purchase of the service. The signal transmitted by the terminal 17 to the centre 13 may also include an identifier permitting the module and associated terminal, and hence the user, to be identified. The signal may also include other identifying information such as, for example, the date and time that the signal from the module was received by the terminal. In a highly preferred arrangement, the signal may also include position locating information identifying at least the approximate location of the module on activation by the user 15. This position location information may be obtained from a Global Positioning System (GPS) component installed in either the terminal or the module, or may be calculated using any one of a number of different previously proposed triangulation algorithms. Two illustrative algorithms known in the art use "Round Trip Times" (RTT) or Observed Time Difference of Arrival (OTDA) to calculate the position of the terminal with respect to a number of BTSs. It is also possible to approximately locate the terminal simply by finding the nearest BTS to the terminal. All of these mechanisms are well known in the art and will not further be described herein. In an emergency, the user operates an actuator on the module 21, and the module responds by sending a signal to the mobile terminal 17. The mobile terminal, on receipt of that signal and sends a signal to the emergency monitoring centre 13. In an envisaged implementation, the emergency monitoring centre is an organisation discrete from the emergency services. Users will be provided with an opportunity to subscribe to an emergency service, whereby the centre will undertake to do certain tasks in the event of the activation of a user's personal security module 21. The centre 13 is manned by a plurality of human operators who are each provided with access to a database of users 15 and associated preferences dictating the tasks that individual subscribers would wish the centre to undertake on receipt of an emergency signal from the mobile terminal associated with their personal security module. As an example, a first user might instruct the centre - in the event of an emergency signal being received - first to place a call to the mobile terminal, and then if that call is not answered to alert the emergency services to the fact that an emergency has occurred. A second user might instruct the centre - again in the event of an emergency signal being received - to place a call to a relative or friend to alert them to the fact that an emergency has occurred. The preferences dictated by each customer may also include certain actions to be undertaken by the centre on receipt of a signal from a mobile terminal 17. Those actions might include, for example, the centre controlling a module (via the mobile terminal) that includes image capture functionality to capture a digital image of the immediate vicinity of the user and to transmit that image to the centre. The centre may also be capable of instructing the mobile terminal to perform any one of a number of tasks. For example, the centre may instruct the mobile terminal to continuously monitor the location of the terminal and to provide the centre with periodic messages containing, at least, current position locating information. The mobile terminal could provide the centre, in addition to periodic updates of position information (preferably as a part of the periodic updates), with image updates - i.e. a current image captured from the digital imaging device of the module (if one is provided). In any event it is preferred as a minimum that the centre is arranged to send an acknowledgement signal back to the module (via the terminal) so that the user is provided with an indication that the emergency signal has been received. If the centre has insufficient information/data it places a call to the user's mobile terminal, and, if the user does not respond (preferably with a predetermined password) the emergency monitoring centre 13 contacts the emergency services. Likewise, if, at any time, there is a sudden loss of information from the module to the centre, the centre contacts the emergency services. An SMS message may be sent to the user's handset containing the contact telephone number of the emergency monitoring centre. In a preferred embodiment, it may be possible to prevent any calls coming to the users' mobile terminal except for those from the emergency monitoring centre 13. To facilitate the identification of users, it is envisaged that a module will be registered to one mobile terminal. The system may be adapted, however, to allow a module to be registered with several mobile terminals belonging - for example - to members of one family. The simplest way to register a module with a mobile terminal is for the module to download the

LMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) or IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) from the mobile terminal on first registration with that terminal. The IMEI or IMSI can be stored in a persistent memory of the module, and a check can be made on subsequent registration of the module with a mobile terminal to ensure that the IMEI or IMSI stored in the module matches that stored in the terminal. Only if the two stored items agree can the module be used with that terminal. As an alternative to using the LMSI or

IMEI, any other appropriate unique identifier - such as the telephone number or numbers allocated to that mobile terminal or group of terminals - may instead be used. An alternative way to implement this functionality would be for the mobile terminal to check, once the module has been registered with a mobile terminal, that its unique identifier matches that stored in the module. This check may be done on registration of the module with that terminal. Alternatively, either check (i.e. the check conducted in the module or the check conducted in the mobile terminal) could be conducted at any stage during communication between the module and terminal. A particular advantage of either arrangement is that as the module is tied to one terminal or group of terminals, it is less attractive to potential thieves as they are unlikely to be able to sell-on the module for use with any other terminal or group of terminals - at least not without first reprogramming the module, or indeed the mobile terminal. Alternatively, a plurality of modules may be associated with a single terminal. This arrangement is particularly suitable for school group/family outings, with each of the children being equipped with a module and the parent/guardian being equipped with the mobile terminal. In the envisaged implementation, the module is provided with a wireless interface to permit signals to be sent wirelessly to the mobile terminal associated therewith. As an illustrative example the interface may comprise a so-called Bluetooth' interface, although any other suitable wireless interface may instead be provided if desired. Whilst the provision of a wireless interface between the module and associated terminal is preferred for ease of use, it will be apparent that the module could instead be connected to the terminal by means of a cable terminated with appropriate connectors - and the scope of the invention should be construed accordingly. However, as a wired link between the module and terminal may be prone to deactivation in the event of an emergency (for example if the cable connector should be pulled from the terminal), it is preferred to provide a wireless interface if possible. As will be appreciated from the above, the personal security module to be carried by the user must provide a base level of functionality. To this end the module should include an actuator which can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, an interface by means of which signals can be transmitted to a mobile terminal and a controller that is operable on operation of the actuator to send a signal to the mobile terminal via the interface. In a particularly preferred embodiment the actuator comprises a plurality (typically two) buttons. In order for the device to be activated the user would need to press and hold both buttons simultaneously. Beyond this base functionality, the module can take any of a number of different forms. The module could, for example, be implemented as part of a digital camera, in a personal entertainment device (such as a portable MP3 or CD player for example), in a personal security device such as a rape alarm (of which the Mace® SCREECHER2 is one example), or where local legislation permits in a personal defence spray such as the Mace pepper spray. The module may also provide additional functionality to that described above. Fig. 2 is a schematic illustration of one preferred arrangement where the module aforementioned is provided with this base functionality and several further features in addition thereto. As shown, the module 21 of this embodiment comprises a generally cuboid casing 23 having a front face 25 in which the lens 27 of a digital image capture device (hereafter referred to as a camera) is mounted. As will later be described, it is preferred that the camera is capable of capturing an image in relatively low light levels, and as such the logic associated with the camera may include image enhancement functionality. Also provided in the front face 25 of the module are an actuator 29 and a display 31. The actuator comprises, in this embodiment, a raised button which can be pressed by a user in an emergency to activate the module. In the preferred arrangement, the button is textured so that it can easily be located by a user in an emergency. However, in and even more preferred arrangement two buttons are provided, with both buttons needing to be pressed simultaneously in order to activate the module. The provision of two buttons reduces the risk of accidentally activating the module. The display 31 comprises, in this embodiment, an LED (or LEDs) which is configured to provide the user with an indication of the operating mode of the module. For example, the or each of the LEDs may be off when the module is charging, or actively switched off. The display may be configured to illuminate with a flashing green light to indicate to the user that the module is operating correctly with the light turning continuous upon activation. A red light may be used to indicate that a signal has been sent (on operation of the actuator 29) to the mobile terminal, that the mobile terminal

2 Both the Mace Screecher and pepper spray are available from Mace Security International, Inc, 1000 Crawford Place, Suite 400, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 USA has sent a signal to the emergency monitoring centre and that the emergency monitoring centre has sent a signal back to the mobile terminal to acknowledge receipt of the transmitted emergency signal. On activation, the module is configured to test functions, such as its own battery level, the battery level of the mobile terminal, whether the mobile terminal is in communication range of the module and the network coverage signal strength for the mobile phone. If any of the tests fail the module is configured to emit an audible beep, and the green LED will not flash. The above testing procedure may also be available via a manual switch. Preferably an orange LED located on the module will illuminate to indicate that the module is in manual test mode. The switch will allow the module to perform the above power level, network coverage test and so on. Thus if a user is entering (e.g.) an underground carpark or tube/subway station where they may be doubtful of obtaining network coverage a test is available. The warning issued on test failure provides a user with means to make an informed choice of whether to proceed. In the manual test mode, a procedure will be automated be the emergency monitoring centre, and typically controlled by a timer. The emergency monitoring centre (or at least an automated server located there) and the module 21 will communicate periodically. If any of the messages are not received, the module 21 will issue an audible alarm. In manual test mode it is also envisaged that the emergency monitoring centre 13 (typically be automated server) may issue SMS messages. For example, a message may state that a particular number of panic calls from other users have been received by the emergency monitoring centre in a given time period at a given location. The emergency monitoring centre may also give notification, preferably by SMS message that the user's location is not obtainable to within a predetermined accuracy. A "settings" control button 33 is provided, for example mounted in a sidewall of the module, and the user can - by pressing this button - turn on or turn off components of the module. For example, the user can use the control button to turn on or turn off the display 31 and/or an audible alarm (not shown in Fig. 2). As shown in Fig. 2, the module also comprises a pair of brackets 35 - or other suitable fastening device - to permit the module to be fastened to the user's clothing. In the embodiment depicted, the brackets are configured to allow the module to be mounted on a belt worn by the user. In alternative embodiments, the brackets may be configured to permit the user to wear the module in a similar fashion to a wristwatch, to wear the module around their neck in a similar fashion to a pendant, or alternatively as a safety pin to allow the module to be pinned to the user's clothing in a similar manner to a brooch. Alternatively the module may comprise a peg mechanism so as to be fastenable to a pocket, lapel or such. This allows much of the electronics to be hidden behind at item of clothing, with only the camera, microphone and actuator button(s) being on display. Fig. 3 is a schematic representation of the architecture of the module 21. As shown, the module is controlled by means of a controller 37. An actuator 39 is provided, and is configured to send a signal to the controller 37 on operation by a user. The controller, on receipt of that signal is configured to send a signal to a mobile terminal associated with the module via a wireless interface 41. In the preferred arrangement, the interface is a Bluetooth® compatible interface, but any other wireless interface may be provided instead if desired. The controller 37 is coupled to an imaging device 43 that is preferably provided with image enhancement functionality to allow the capture of a useful digital image in relatively low levels of light. Additionally, an infra red camera may be provide that is operable to take flash images when light conditions are below a predetermined threshold or sensor reading. The controller is further coupled to a microphone 42 and recording means operable to continuously record ambient sound from around the module. The G729 compression format may be used to save the data, being a good balance between file size and quality of recording. The module may comprise an image capture device, a microphone 42, or alternatively both. The controller 37 is also coupled to a memory 45 to which captured images may be stored, and to which the module refers when conducting a check to determine that the module is registered with the mobile terminal used by the user. The module may be provided with a series of accessories that are activated when the module is activated. The accessories may include a rape alarm, further cameras or microphones, a GPS module, means to trigger a home or car alarm or means to trigger an alarm attached to a further item, such as laptop. An audible alarm 47 is provided and can be activated, under the control of the controller 37, on operation of the actuator 39. A display 49 is coupled to the controller 37, and can be arranged to provide - as aforementioned - a visual indication of the operating state of the unit to the user. A settings control actuator 51 is provided to enable the user to control operation of the display 49 and audible alarm 47. The final component of the module is a power supply 53. This power supply can comprise one or more batteries that may be rechargeable. It is preferable that the battery is maintained within a sealed unit and cannot be removed. In a preferred mode of operation, the module controller is configured - on activation of the actuator 39 - to control the imaging device 43 to capture at least one image for storage in the memory 45. Once an image(s) has been captured the controller is configured to send that image from the memory 45 (optionally along with any identifier stored in the memory) via the wireless interface 41 to the mobile terminal associated with the module. The module will continue to take and transmit as many images that are possible by the telecommunications network. Thus the imagery may well be real-time (i.e. video) depending on the uplink bandwidth of the network, otherwise a series of snap shots may be sent. On conveyance of the data to the mobile terminal, the controller activates the audible alarm 47 in an effort to attract attention to the user who is in an emergency situation. The mobile terminal, on receipt of the message from the module, dials the emergency monitoring centre 13 and/or sets up an LP connection via the internet. Once the call has been established the mobile terminal transmits the message to the monitoring centre along with any other relevant information retrieved from the terminal - such as for example the data and time of actuator operation and/or the geographic position of the terminal. The emergency monitoring centre, on receipt of the message from the mobile terminal, proceeds to undertake particular tasks (and possibly pre- stored tasks as preferences for that user). The centre also sends a message back to the mobile terminal to acknowledge receipt of the message. On receipt of the acknowledgement message the mobile terminal sends a signal to the module, and the module controller 37 on receipt of this message controls the display 49 to indicate to the user that an emergency notification has been received and is being acted upon by the emergency monitoring centre. Fig. 4 is a schematic illustration of the core components of the module and a mobile terminal 17 registered therewith. The core components of the module are as depicted in Fig. 3, and for convenience are referenced in Fig. 4 with the same reference numerals used in Fig. 3. The mobile terminal 17 comprises a wireless interface 57 which is compatible with that provided in the personal security module 21. In the preferred arrangement, the wireless interface comprises a Bluetooth® interface. The terminal 17 includes a controller 59 that is operable to control the operation of the terminal 17. Coupled to the controller are a user interface 61, a GPS module 63, and a clock 65. The user interface typically comprises a keyboard and software which permits the user to operate the telephone, for example by selecting items from a menu or by entering a number to be dialled. The GPS module 63 may comprise - as described above - a dedicated GPS positioning device, or alternatively may comprise one or more algorithms that are designed to permit at least the approximate position of the terminal to be calculated. The controller is also coupled to a memory 67 in which items such as a user telephone directory may be stored, as well as a call processing module 69 that is responsible for instigating a call in accordance with the protocols of the particular mobile network with which the terminal is compatible. Security module application software 71 is also associated with the terminal and is operable to control the mobile terminal's communication with the emergency monitoring centre. In a particular embodiment the security module application software 71 comprises an emergency profile that contains the aforementioned pre- stored options inputted by the user for use on receipt of an emergency signal from the personal security module 21. The pre-stored options may comprise, for example, the telephone number to be dialled for connection to the emergency monitoring centre 13, as well as a list of operations (such as a time/date determination or a position determination) to be undertaken on receipt of an emergency message from the module 21. The mobile terminal 17 is arranged to communicate with a mobile telecommunications network 73 by means of an appropriate mobile network wireless interface 75. It is preferred that the module may only be switched off by way of a password. Power of Commands and settings issued to the mobile terminal 17 are set in the module 21. On operation of the module actuator 39, a signal is sent to the mobile terminal 17 (optionally including an image captured with the imaging device 43 and identification information retrieved from the memory 45) to indicate to the terminal that an emergency has occurred. On receipt of the signal, the terminal invokes the emergency profile 71 and sends a message via the mobile telecommunications network 73 to the emergency monitoring centre

13. The emergency monitoring centre, on receipt of the signal from the mobile terminal, then undertakes one or more of the actions aforementioned. In a preferred embodiment, any emergency call may only be cancelled by the emergency monitoring centre. Data received by the emergency monitoring centre from each active call is logged and stored on a data storage server. Both video (ie from a camera) and audio (ie from a microphone) captured from an appropriately configured module, as well as any associated outgoing calls made to the mobile terminal associated with the module, is recorded. It is envisaged that any authorised persons (eg a policeman) could have access to this data. The module may slow the transmission of images captured from a camera to the network, and give priority to the sound transmission from a microphone. This has the advantage that if the network slows down, the sound files (which are smaller files) are given priority, and hence the emergency monitoring centre 13 will receive at least receive audio information. It should be apparent from the above that the particular embodiments described provide an effective means to avoid the particular problems associated with prior art devices. In particular, it will be apparent that the module and system of the invention provide an elegantly simple means for a user to notify a third party in the event of an emergency. Particularly, in the embodiment incorporating a camera and/or microphone details of a potential attacker are sent to a third party, and may potentially aid in apprehension of the attacker In a preferred arrangement of the present system it is envisaged that module users (or potential users) will be able to have their module tested at particular locations, such as point of sale outlets. The module is operable to be connected to a PC (preferably via a password) across a bluetooth link. The PC is then able to test the functionality and features of the module, such as the microphone and camera. It is preferred that the user will be able to see a simulation screen of what the emergency monitoring centre 13 can see and hear. In this test mode the actuator buttons will only work to activate features and functions for demonstration purposes. With this arrangement faults in the module can be easily identified. In order that the present embodiments be more easily understood a description of emergency monitoring centre procedure will now be described. The emergency monitoring centre is resourced with a primary call/data routing server, a secondary call/data routing server, a series of manned PCs, a data storage server and call management software. Appropriate billing systems may also be located at the emergency monitoring centre 13. A particular function of the call/data routing server is to prioritise incoming and outgoing calls from the emergency monitoring centre 13. For incoming calls, the primary call/data routing server establishes whether a particular incoming call is an active call from a module, or a test call. If it is an active call the server routes it to an available manned PC. If the call is a test call it is routed to the secondary call/data routing server. Each PC in the emergency monitoring centre 13 is manned by an individual trained. Each PC in the emergency monitoring centre 13 may also be capable of controlling some of the functionality of the module. Of example the person manning the PC may wish to alter the sensitivity of the camera to take lower quality pictures in order to speed up transmission rates, or may be witnessing a crime and wish to enhance the quality of the pictures. It will be understood and should be noted that whilst particular presently preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described above in detail, these embodiments have been described by way of example only and that modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as set out in the accompanying claims. Such modifications may include allowing the module to interface with stationary base stations to allow small area security systems in, for example, a shopping mall, museum and so on. The module may also be operable to communicate with additional technologies such as mobile phones and laptops which are connectable to wi- fi hotspots on trains, in airports and so on. For example, whilst the particular embodiment described above pertains to a module incorporated into an image capture device, it is important to note that the scope of the invention is not limited to this particular implementation. Rather, the scope of the invention extends to encompass any device that includes the module functionality hereafter claimed. It should also be noted that whilst particular combinations and permutations of features have been claimed, the scope of the invention is not limited thereto and instead extends to any combination and permutation of features described or claimed herein irrespective of whether that particular combination or permutation has been explicitly enumerated in the accompanying claims.

Claims

Claims
1. A personal security module that is capable of being carried by a user, the module comprising a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to a mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, such that said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - functions in a predetermined emergency mode that includes performing one or more operations.
2. A module according to Claim 1, wherein the security module is capable of being worn by the user.
3. A module according to Claim 2, wherein the security module is configured as a brooch or other item (such as a belt buckle) that may be fastened to the clothing of the user.
4. A module according to Claim 2, wherein the security module is configured as an item to be worn by the user, in a similar fashion to a wristwatch or pendant for example.
5. A module according to any preceding claim, wherein said actuator comprises one or more buttons.
6. A module according to Claim 5, wherein the, either or both button is provided with a textured outer surface to facilitate its location by a user of the module.
7. A module according to any preceding claim, wherein the interface comprises a wireless communications interface.
8. A module according to Claim 7, wherein the wireless interface comprises a Bluetooth® compatible interface.
9. A module according to any preceding claim, comprising memory for storing data.
10. A module according to any preceding claim, comprising means for capturing at least one image.
11. A module according to Claim 10, wherein the image capture means comprises a digital image capture device.
12. A module according to Claim 11, wherein the digital image capture device includes image enhancement logic.
13. A module according to any of Claims 10 to 12 when dependent on Claim 9, wherein the image capture means is configured to capture one or more digital images and store said images as data in said memory.
14. A module according to any preceding claim, comprising a microphone
15. A module according to any preceding claim, comprising means for generating an audible alarm.
16. A module according to Claim 15, wherein the alarm means is activated by the controller on user operation of the actuator.
17. A module according to any preceding claim, comprising display means operable to provide the user with a visual indication of the operating mode of the module.
18. A module according to Claim 17, wherein the display means comprises one or more light emitting diodes.
19. A module according to any preceding claim, wherein said controller is configured on first registration of said module with a said mobile terminal to download a unique identifier from the mobile terminal for storage in the module.
20. A module according to Claim 19, wherein the unique identifier comprises one or more of an LMEI or LMSI identifier, or the telephone number allocated to the terminal.
21. A module according to Claim 19 or 20, wherem the controller is configured on subsequent communication with a mobile terminal to determine whether a unique identifier retrieved from that terminal matches the identifier stored in the module, and to deny use of the module with that terminal if the two identifiers are determined not to match.
22. A personal security system comprising a mobile user terminal that is operable to transmit and receive signals via a wireless telecommunications network, and a personal security module that can be carried by a user, the module including a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to the mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes performing one or more operations.
23. A system according to Claim 22, additionally comprising an emergency monitoring centre to which the mobile terminal is configured to send a signal on operation of the module actuator, the sending of said signal comprising a said operation.
24. A system according to Claim 22 or 23, wherein the mobile terminal includes means for generating position locating information.
25. A system according to Claim 24, wherein said generating means comprises a GPS module.
26. A system according to Claim 24, wherein said generating means comprises software operable to invoke one or more algorithms to determine the location of the mobile terminal.
27. A system according to any of Claims 22 to 26, wherein the mobile terminal comprises means operable to note the date and/or time of receipt of a signal from the user module, said signal being generated on operation of said module actuator.
28. A system according to Claim 23 and any of Claims 24 to 27 when dependent on Claim 23, wherein said signal transmitted by said mobile terminal to said centre comprises data configured to notify the centre that operation of the actuator of a security module has occurred.
29. A system according to Claim 28, wherein the signal additionally comprises one or more of: an identifier uniquely identifying the terminal and hence the user of the module, data indicating the date and/or time of user operation of the module, position locating information identifying at least approximately the location of the user module.
30. A system according to Claim 23 and any of Claims 24 to 28 when dependent on Claim 23, wherein said centre is arranged to send - on receipt of a said signal from the mobile terminal - an acknowledgement signal to said mobile terminal.
31. A system according to Claim 30, wherein the mobile terminal is configured - on receipt of a said acknowledgement signal - to send an acknowledgement signal to the security module.
32. A system according to Claim 31, wherein the module is configured - on receipt of an acknowledgement signal from the mobile terminal - to provide the user with an indication that the centre has been notified of the operation of the actuator.
33. A system according to Claim 23 and any of Claims 24 to 32 when dependent on Claim 23, wherein said centre is capable of sending instructions to said mobile terminal for local execution.
34. A system according to any of claims 22 to 33 wherein said module comprises either a microphone or a camera or both.
35. A system according to Claim 34, wherein audio and video data captured by the microphone and the camera are sent to the emergency monitoring centre.
36. A system according to Claim 33, wherein a said instruction issued by the centre controls the mobile terminal to monitor the current location of the terminal, and to provide periodic position information updates to said centre.
37. A system according to Claim 36, wherein a said instruction issued by the centre additionally instructs the mobile terminal to accompany each update with a current image captured from an image capture device of said personal security module.
38. A personal security system comprising: a mobile user terminal that is operable to transmit and receive signals via a wireless telecommunications network, an emergency monitoring centre, and a personal security module that can be carried by a user, the module including a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to the mobile terminal, wherein on operation of the actuator the controller is configured to send a signal to the mobile terminal via said interface, said mobile terminal - on receipt of a said signal from the module - being configured to function in a predetermined emergency mode that includes sending a signal to said emergency monitoring centre to notify said centre that operation of the module actuator has occurred.
39. A system according to Claim 38, wherein the centre - on receipt of a said signal from the mobile terminal - is configured to send an acknowledgement signal to said mobile terminal.
40. A system according to Claim 38 or 39, wherein the centre is capable of sending one or more instructions to said mobile terminal, said terminal on receipt of a said instruction being configured to undertake a task associated with that instruction.
41. A system according to any of claims 38 to 40 wherein said module comprises either a microphone or a camera or both.
42. A system according to Claim 41, wherein audio and video data captured by the microphone and the camera are sent to the emergency monitoring centre.
43. An operating method for a personal security module associated with a mobile terminal, the module comprising a controller, an actuator that can be operated by a user in the event of an emergency, and an interface by means of which signals may be transmitted from the module to the mobile terminal, the method comprising: detecting operation of the actuator; and sending a signal to the mobile terminal via the interface.
44. A method according to Claim 43, wherem the module further comprises image capture means and/or audio capture means, the method comprising capturing one or more images or sound with said image capture means and/or audio on operation of said actuator, and sending at least one of said captured images or sound to said mobile terminal.
45. A method according to Claim 44, wherein said mobile terminal is configured to forward any captured images received from the mobile terminal to an emergency monitoring centre.
46. A module substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
47. A system substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
48. A method substantially as hereinbefore described.
PCT/GB2004/004247 2003-10-09 2004-10-07 Personal security system WO2005036487A3 (en)

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WO2005036487A3 (en) 2005-06-16 application
GB2407001B (en) 2007-02-28 grant
GB0323691D0 (en) 2003-11-12 grant
GB2407001A (en) 2005-04-13 application

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