WO2006085821A1 - Method and device for supervising and searching - Google Patents

Method and device for supervising and searching Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2006085821A1
WO2006085821A1 PCT/SE2006/000196 SE2006000196W WO2006085821A1 WO 2006085821 A1 WO2006085821 A1 WO 2006085821A1 SE 2006000196 W SE2006000196 W SE 2006000196W WO 2006085821 A1 WO2006085821 A1 WO 2006085821A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
unit
id
monitor unit
monitor
id unit
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/SE2006/000196
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Mats Iderup
Original Assignee
Momenta I Bergeforsen Ab
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
Priority to SE0500304-1 priority Critical
Priority to SE0500304A priority patent/SE528300C2/en
Application filed by Momenta I Bergeforsen Ab filed Critical Momenta I Bergeforsen Ab
Publication of WO2006085821A1 publication Critical patent/WO2006085821A1/en

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Classifications

    • 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
    • G08B21/0238Child monitoring systems using a transmitter-receiver system carried by the parent and the child adding new units to the system
    • 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
    • G08B21/023Power management, e.g. system sleep and wake up provisions
    • 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
    • G08B21/0241Data exchange details, e.g. data protocol
    • G08B21/0247System arrangements wherein the alarm criteria uses signal strength
    • 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
    • G08B21/0241Data exchange details, e.g. data protocol
    • G08B21/025System arrangements wherein the alarm criteria uses absence of reply signal after an elapsed time
    • 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
    • G08B21/0241Data exchange details, e.g. data protocol
    • G08B21/0252System arrangements wherein the child unit emits, i.e. the child unit incorporates the emitter
    • 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
    • G08B21/0261System arrangements wherein the object is to detect trespassing over a fixed physical boundary, e.g. the end of a garden
    • 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
    • G08B21/0263System arrangements wherein the object is to detect the direction in which child or item is located
    • 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
    • G08B21/0288Attachment of child unit to child/article
    • 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
    • G08B21/0294Display details on parent unit

Abstract

Method and device comprising at least one wireless ID unit and at least one monitor unit for supervising and searching, e.g. for missing children or persons with senile dementia. A monitor unit with two-way short-distance wireless transmission can automatically and wirelessly supervise that one or more ID units, e.g. carried by persons, are within a defined radius from a monitor unit. ID units may with advantage be applied in a small pocket in a garment such as a traffic vest. A combination of an electronic compass, a directional antenna, auto- matic interpolation/extrapolation and a user-friendly user interface in a dis¬ play in a monitor unit provides a unique and automatic way in real time of searching for and locating the distance and direction of registered and acti¬ vated ID units.

Description

METHOD AND DEVICE FOR SUPERVISING AND SEARCHING

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a method and an arrangement for supervising and searching, e.g. for children missing from day nurseries, schools etc. or for persons with senile dementia missing from residential accommodation for the elderly, old people's homes etc.

For these applications, persons at risk of going missing are provided with a portable unit. The unit emits either continuously or after some form of activation a radio signal receivable by a base unit which is likewise usually mobile. The strength of the signal received or some other method can be used to estimate the direction and distance of the portable unit and to check that the portable unit is within a certain distance from the base unit.

A device of this type comprises a unit called a monitor unit which itself comprises various components such as a radio unit, a directional antenna and a computer unit which can control a display and button set. The device also comprises one or more units called ID units which comprise components such as computer units and radio units. An ID unit is placed on or with each person who is to be supervised. Similar units have also previously been used for tracking hunting dogs and other animals. A known practice is for the directional antenna to be omitted and ID units and even the monitor unit to be equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers. Current location is transmitted by radio from ID unit to monitor unit. There are also various examples where units of this kind are used in the tracking of wild animals.

There has also been recent introduction of mobile telephones with part of the GPS technology built into the mobile telephone while other parts are situated at mobile telephone base stations.

STATE OF THEART

Each year, persons are reported missing. Sometimes the situation resolves itself and the person turns up, but sometimes major resources have to be devoted to finding a person. Searching for missing persons often involves substantial police resources in the form of dog patrols, police personnel and police helicopters. If the missing person is not found at an early stage, more police personnel, military personnel, home defence personnel and personnel from voluntary organisations usually become involved in the search. The usual case is where a child or a person with senile dementia has lost his/her way. These two categories are also those most liable to go missing because they have difficulty in managing on their own and often cannot themselves remedy the situation. Various electronic devices have for some years been available for preventing, for example, children from going missing and for thereby reducing the need for resources as above. There is for example known technology in the form of a simple monitor unit comprising a radio receiver with a primitive user interface. By measuring the signal strength from a small ID unit with a radio transmitter carried by a child, it is possible for parents to be warned via the monitor unit if the child is outside a certain supervision radius from the parents.

A limitation common to these simple devices is that the monitor unit only passively receives unidirectional radio signals from the ID unit's radio transmitter. A further limitation is that the devices cater for only one child or a few children. Other limitations of these devices are that they do not comprise any auxiliary means for finding out whether a child has gone missing beyond the supervision radius.

Other devices are provided with two-way radio communication as de- scribed, for example, in patent specification US4593273. The ID units concerned have to have their receiver activated all the time, entailing an obvious power supply problem. This system also lacks a function for finding out whether a child has gone missing beyond a supervision radius.

Other more complex systems for increasing child safety as regards both supervision and searching are.devices basedjDn thedobal Positioning System. A GPS receiver is carried by a child and hence gives the child's location. The problem with this technology, apart from cost and power con- sumption, is that the child's location has in some way to be communicated wirelessly to an underlying system. It is usual to rely on mobile telephone standards which entail the disadvantage that the device carried by the child has to be provided with still more expensive and power-hungry technology, e.g. in the form of GSM/GPRS functionality, and thereby also becomes more cumbersome.

As mentioned above, GPS can be used for searching. A search can be conducted via simpler known technology and more locally by means of a device and a directional antenna indicating the signal strength received in different directions. There are various examples of devices whereby searching is conducted by moving such a directional antenna to and fro and trying manually to decide the direction of the strongest signal and hence being able to estimate the direction and distance of an ID unit. As well as searching for persons in this way, it is usual to use similar systems for locating, for exam- pie, wild animals and hunting dogs during a hunt.

There are variant devices, e.g. according to patent specification FH 13900, which combine search functionality with supervision functionality for persons with senile dementia. A usual problem with these combined devices is that the ID units concerned have mutually different requirements as regards different states for supervision and searching respectively and how the change between these states is effected. Inter alia, it is usual to wish to change state when an (D unit leaves a defined region and therefore, for example, begins to send messages more often in order to make it possible for searching to take place. Change of state is also a way of achieving minimum power consumption and maximum battery life.

Said patent specification proposes change of state wirelessly via special permanently fitted inductive sensors when a person provided with an ID unit leaves a defined region. A clear limitation of such a device is the need for permanently fitted inductive sensors and whether the device would need to be usable in a more mobile way, e.g. during excursions. A further disadvantage is having to also provide ID units with functionality for being able to communicate with permanently fitted inductive sensors. Another example of known technology and a device combining search functionality with supervision functionality is described in patent specification US5714932, which proposes estimation of direction by using four different antennas and complex phase calculation electronics. The device has unidi- rectional communication and hence the same limitations as previously described devices with regard to exchange of commands, different states of ID units etc.

Technology and devices intended only to search for ID units fastened round a wrist are also known. These ID units are normally inactive and are activated centrally by authorities via a so-called Minicall network. As described previously, searching is conducted locally with a device and a directional antenna in order to try manually to estimate the direction and distance of an ID unit. Limitations in this case are that the system needs Minicall functionality and Minicall coverage and that valuable time may pass before the ID unit is centrally activated. It also lacks the supervision functionality which might at as early a stage as possible provide warning that a person is about to go missing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A first part of the device according to the invention, hereinafter called a monitor unit, may for example comprise a computer unit, a user interface, two-way short-distance wireless transmission, an electronic compass, a button set, an internal antenna and an external or built-on directional antenna. A second part of the device according to the invention, which cooperates with the first part and is hereinafter called an ID unit, may for example comprise a computer unit, two-way short-distance wireless transmission and an antenna.

An object of the foregoing is to provide a method and a device for supervising and searching, e.g. missing children or persons with senile dementia whereby the previously mentioned problems and disadvantages are sub- stantially or wholly eliminatedr The fact that according to the invention a monitor unit is provided with two-way short-distance wireless transmission and an internal antenna makes it possible at the same time to supervise automatically and wirelessly that one or more ID units carried by, for example, persons are within a defined radius from the monitor unit. It is possible to cause a user to preset various radii to be supervised. ID units being supervised transmit regularly, e.g. once or several times per minute, a wireless message to the monitor unit. If an ID unit does not communicate within a time preset by the user or is outside a defined radius, an alarm in the monitor unit is activated and the ID unit can automatically or in response to a command from the monitor unit change state to enable it to be searched for. The fact that an ID unit is in search state may be indicated by a flashing light-emitting diode. Measured signal strengths of messages from ID units are inversely proportional to distance and can therefore be used for calculating the distance of ID units. It is there- fore possible to decide whether ID units are within or outside a predefined radius.

A feature of the invention is that ID units can be registered in the monitor unit by means of a circuit-breaker in the ID unit and a wireless message to the monitor unit. The same circuit-breaker can be used for starting the su- pervision of ID units already registered. ID units can be activated directly to search state by activating the circuit-breaker for a prolonged time. Deactivation can be effected in the same manner if the ID unit is in search state, by activating the circuit-breaker according to a certain sequence. Deactivation of individual or various ID units can also be effected wirelessly via the moni- tor unit.

The ID unit's mechanical configuration together with an antenna makes it advantageous for it to be applied in a small pocket in a garment such as, for example, a traffic vest in which the antenna may be applied along a seam. Registration, activation and deactivation can then be effected by acting upon the ID unit from outside the fabric and hence acting upon the circuit-breaker in the ID unit: The circuit-bTeakeflή^iy^b^Ti^chanical^ndΕe acted upon by pressure from outside. A common feature of registration, activation and supervision is that ID units receive answers from the monitor unit by two-way short-distance wireless transmission as to whether the message has been understood, making it possible to decide the next step.

Another feature of the invention is that the monitor unit may also be provided with a unique combination of an electronic compass and an external or built-on directional antenna. The previously mentioned problems and disadvantages in searching, e.g. for persons, can thus be substantially eliminated. During supervision, the directional antenna may also at the same time in certain cases replace the internal antenna. ID units which are outside a defined radius can, as mentioned above, be caused to change to search state either automatically or in response to a command from the monitor unit. During searching, wireless messages may be sent several times per second instead of the previously mentioned several times per minute. ID units can thus be effectively searched for via the directional antenna. The electronic compass and a user-friendly user interface with a rotating compass scale in a display can according to the invention present in a unique, automatic and simple manner the distance, direction and identity of a located ID unit. Incoming signal strength can also be converted in a conventional manner to the loudness or frequency of an acoustic signal and be presented at the user interface. A further feature of the invention in connection with searching as above is putting together momentary compass directions from the electronic compass and associated or simultaneously measured signal strengths, converted to distance, of incoming messages from ID units. These compass directions and distances can be saved in a table in the monitor unit. By means of special software it is then possible mathematically according to the invention for the direction and distance from the monitor unit to an ID unit to be calculated automatically in real time by first interpolating the table's points in a function in order thereafter to extrapolate a maximum point corresponding to the direction and distance of the ID unit concerned. Another feature of the invention with a view to achieving long battery life is that ID units can be in various power saving positions. When an ID unit is not active, it can be in a maximum power saving position. Whenever an ID unit is active but not communicating via radio traffic, it can be in a power saving position.

Further features and details of the invention are indicated by the description below and the dependent claims set out thereafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail on the basis of examples of embodiments with reference to the attached drawings, in which

Fig. 1 is a schematic diagram of part of an electrical device of search unit type and according to previously known technology comprising a computer unit, a radio unit, a light-emitting diode stack, a sound unit, a channel selector, an amplification wheel and a built-in directional antenna for manual handling in a conventional manner in order to estimate distance and direction during searching,

Fig. 2 is a schematic diagram of part of an electrical device according to an embodiment of the invention, called a monitor unit, comprising a computer unit, a radio unit, a display, a button set and a built-on directional antenna whereby the status, alarm, distance and direction of ID units during supervision and searching can be shown graphically in a display,

Fig. 3 is a schematic diagram of part of an electrical device in accordance with Fig. 2 and according to the invention whereby the built-on directional antenna is replaced by an external directional antenna in accordance with another embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 4 is a schematic diagram showing compass directions and meas- ured sigriarstrerigrfhs of lno^nglmels^ cfis- tance, whereby the direction and distance of an ID unit are calcu- lated by mathematical interpolation and extrapolation in accordance with the invention,

Fig. 5 is a schematic diagram of part of an electrical device in an embodiment according to the invention, called an ID unit, which comprises, for example, a computer unit, a radio unit, a breaker, a light-emitting diode and an antenna and which communicates wirelessly,

Fig. 6 is a schematic diagram in which an ID unit according to an embodiment of the invention has been placed in a garment of traffic vest type,

Fig. 7 is a schematic general diagram depicting a monitor unit according to the invention at mutually different distances from various ID units which communicate with one another wirelessly in accordance with the invention,

Fig. 8 is a schematic block diagram of an ID unit according to an embodiment of the invention comprising a computer unit, a radio unit, a power unit, a breaker, a light-emitting diode and an antenna which communicates wirelessly with monitor units de- scribed above,

Fig. 9 is a schematic block diagram of a monitor unit according to an embodiment of the invention comprising a computer unit, a radio unit, a compass unit, a power unit, a display, a button set and a directional antenna, whereby the status, alarm, distance and direction of ID units during supervision and searching are automatically calculated and shown graphically in the display according to the embodiment described in the invention. THE INVENTION

Fig. 1 depicts an example of the state of the art. A search unit 10 of this type for searching for ID units comprises, for example, a built-on directional antenna 11, a sound unit 12, a light-emitting diode stack 13, a channel selector 14 and an amplification wheel 15.

During searching, the search unit 10 is moved to and fro in order by means of the directional antenna 11 and its extended antenna rod to use directional sensitivity to the signal strength of incoming radio signals from ID units. To enable a user to estimate manually the direction and distance of an ID unit, incoming signal strength is converted in a conventional manner to the loudness or frequency of the acoustic signal from the sound unit 12 and the number of light-emitting diodes fired in the light-emitting diode stack 13. The maximum loudness or frequency and the maximum number of light-emitting diodes fired usually correspond to the maximum signal strength received, which makes it possible to estimate manually the distance and direction of an ID unit. The channel selector 14 is usually so adapted that the carrier wave frequency for the search unit 10 can be changed, making it possible to search for different IDs.

The search unit 10 is usually also provided with an amplification wheel 15 whereby the amplification of incoming radio signals can be adjusted manually. This is to make it possible to adapt the loudness or frequency of the acoustic signal from the sound unit 12 and the number of light-emitting diodes fired in the light-emitting diode stack 13 in relation to both weak and strong incoming signals, depending on the distance and terrain conditions between the search unit 10 and the ID unit being searched for. The manually estimated distance of an ID unit is usually related to the setting of the amplification wheel 15.

Fig. 2 shows a first embodiment of a monitor unit 16 according to the invention. The monitor unit 16 may comprise the same type of built-on direc- tional antenna 11 with extendable antenna jod as described above._The light-emitting diode stack 13, the channel selector 14 and the amplification wheel 15 described above are here replaced by a button set 17 and a display 19. Both the button set 17 and the display 19 may be of a more or less complex configuration. The display 19 and the button set 17 may be combined in a so-called touch screen whereby the user presses directly on the touch screen to control functions and settings in the monitor unit 16.

5 In the embodiment depicted in Fig. 2, the monitor unit 16 may also be provided with an internal antenna 23 used instead of the directional antenna 11 and according to the invention during automatic and wireless supervision that one or more ID units are within a defined radius from the monitor unit 16. The built-on directional antenna 11 may in the retracted state also be used as 10 the antenna for supervision and hence eliminate the internal antenna 23. It is further possible according to the invention for preferably a status screen 21 , e.g. with defined radius, status and alarm, to be activated if someone is missing or not shown in the display 19 and, where necessary, the sound unit 22.

In a more flexible user interface, it is easy for buttons in the button set 15 17 adjacent to the display 19 to be given, via text fields 20 in the display 19, different meanings depending on which function and menu are active in the monitor unit 16.

Fig. 3 depicts a further embodiment of a monitor unit 16 according to the invention. In the embodiment depicted in Fig. 3, the built-on directional

20 antenna 11 described above is replaced by an external directional antenna 24. During searching, the external directional antenna 24 and its fastening means 26 can be fastened mechanically to the monitor unit 16 and its fastening means 27, and a cable 25 can be connected to a contact 28. The mechanical fastening ensures that the monitor unit 16 and a compass unit built

25 into the monitor unit (see Fig. 9) are correctly oriented relative to the external directional antenna 24. In more flexible embodiments, the directional antenna 24 may be foldable and be stored folded and only unfolded for use.

As previously described, the monitor unit 16 can be moved to and fro during searching in order to be able with the directional antenna to use direc- 3.0. tionaL sensitivity to the strength ofjncoming radiojsignalsJrom lD_units and ba able according to the invention automatically and in real time to calculate the distance and direction of ID units. According to the invention, a search screen 29 showing the calculated distance and direction of one or more located ID units can preferably be presented in the display 19 in the form of one or more ID unit positions 31, a rotating compass scale 30 and IDs, distance values and direction values in the text fields 20. According to the in- vention, the compass scale 30 can rotate in real time like a compass needle when the monitor unit 16 is moved to and fro by continuous direction reading from the compass unit built into the monitor unit 16. One or more ID unit positions 31 can therefore be extracted and read in a user-friendly manner. The origin on the rotating compass scale corresponds to the starting point of the monitor unit and its user's position. The button set 17 can be used to cause the circular graduations of the compass scale to show distances graduated in different scales and hence various resolutions. When necessary, the distance and direction of a ID unit 35 being searched for can be presented in a conventional manner by the signal strength of incoming radio signals being converted to the loudness or frequency of an acoustic signal from the sound unit 22 and by the signal strength being shown graphically and numerically in a display 19.

Fig. 4 depicts a schematic way in which according to the invention the distance and direction of one or more ID units can be calculated and in real time update the search screen 29. The distance and direction are calculated in a direction calculation module (see Fig. 9) and distance calculation module (see Fig. 9) built into the monitor unit 16. Measured value pairs 33 comprising momentary compass directions from the compass unit and simultaneous measured signal strengths of incoming messages from ID units, converted to distance, are saved in a table. The measured value pairs can thereafter be used by interpolation for calculating an interpolation curve 32. This interpolation may for example be based on a polynomial function 34, but trigonometric and exponential polynomials may also be used. The interpolation curve 32 can thereafter be used by extrapolation to calculate an ID unit position 31. Fig. 5 depicts an ID unit 35 according to the invention. An ID unit 35 of this type may comprise

Figure imgf000013_0001
breaker 36, a light-emitting diode 33 and an antenna 38. Depending on the application and the antenna requirements, the antenna 38 may be designed as a freestanding quarter-wave antenna or half-wave antenna or constitute together with a further antenna 39 a dipole antenna. In a more advanced antenna solution, the antenna 38 and the antenna 39 may take the form of two freestanding antennas used one at a time during both reception and transmission.

The embodiment depicted in Fig. 5 is in accordance with the invention and the above ID unit 35 is equipped with a circuit-breaker 36 in the form of a mechanical breaker in order to be able to register, activate and deactivate an ID unit 35. Registration can be effected by activating the circuit-breaker 36 and by the ID unit then awakening from the maximum power saving position and sending a wireless message to the monitor unit 16. The monitor unit's display 19 shows the ID unit's unique ID and a user can choose whether the ID unit should be registered and saved in the monitor unit 16 and an acknowledgement message be sent back to the ID unit 35. The user may also via the button set 17, the display 19 and text input associate and save any desired name with the relevant ID unit 35 and ID. Upon acknowledgement, the ID unit 35 switches to the previously described supervision state. Failing acknowledgement, the ID unit 35 returns to the maximum power saving position. Activation of an already registered ID unit 35 can be effected by activating the circuit-breaker 36, whereupon the ID unit 35 awakens from the maximum power saving position, sends a wireless message to the monitor unit 16, receives automatically an immediate acknowledgement from the monitor unit 16 and switches to the previously described supervision state. Deactivation of ID units can be effected by a user ordering this by command via the button set 17, whereupon each registered ID unit 35 which sends a wireless message to the monitor unit 16 receives an acknowledgement message to deactivate itself and switch to the maximum power saving position. An ID unit 35 which is in the previously described search state can be deactivated by activating the circuit-breaker 36 in a predetermined sequence or once only for a prolonged continuous time. Activation directly to search state can be effected in a similar manner by activating the circuit- breaker for a prolonged time. The fact that an ID unit 35 is in search state may for example be indicated by a light-emitting diode 33.

Fig. 6 shows schematically how an ID unit 35 can with advantage and according to the invention be disposed in a garment of traffic vest type 40 in a sewn-on fabric pocket 41. According to the invention, the antenna 38 can be sewn in along an extra fabric seam 42 in the traffic vest 40. As previously described and depending on the application and the antenna requirements, the antenna 39 can also easily be sewn in along an extra fabric seam 43. Registration, activation and deactivation can be effected, as previously de- scribed, by pressing the ID unit 35 via the outside of the fabric and hence acting upon the circuit-breaker 36 in the ID unit.

Fig. 7 takes the form of a schematic general diagram of the device and the invention showing how a monitor unit 16 can supervise various ID units within various defined radii by two-way short-distance wireless transmission. Various defined radii, e.g. the radius 44 and the radius 45, can be defined by a user via the button set 17 and the display 19 of the monitor unit 16.

During supervision according to the invention, the monitor unit 16 can check that ID units send messages one or several times per minute at regular intervals to the monitor unit 16. Ensuring that time limits are complied with and that messages are sent often enough can be processed by built-in time functions (see Fig. 8 and Fig. 9) in the monitor unit 16 and the ID unit 35 respectively. The monitor unit can thereafter, by distance calculation as described above, decide whether the ID units are within a defined radius.

If the radius 44 is defined as an alarm limit, the monitor unit 16 can ac- tivate an alarm for ID unit 46, ID unit 47 and ID unit 48. If the radius 45 is defined as an alarm limit, the monitor unit 16 can activate alarms for ID unit 47 and ID unit 48 but not for ID unit 46. Alarms may preferably and according to the invention take the form of an acoustic signal from the sound unit 22 and come via a user interface in the display 19 of the monitor unit 16. In order according to the invention to achieve heightened safetyduring supervision, the monitor unit 16 can via two-way short-distance wireless transmission immediately acknowledge back to ID units that the periodic message described above has been understood. In cases where two or more ID units happen to send messages to the monitor unit simultaneously and a radio collision occurs, it is possible according to the invention for return transmission to take place with random time shift in order to avoid collision at the next transmission and hence increase the reliability of radio communication. For example, failing acknowledgement, ID unit 48 can try to communicate with the monitor unit 16 two more times, and if there is still no acknowledgement, ID unit 48 can automatically switch to search state.

Two-way short-distance wireless transmission can be used according to the invention to cause, for example, ID unit 47, which is outside a defined radius but still within radio range, to respond to an automatic request from the monitor unit 16 by changing to search state.

Fig. 8 is a schematic block diagram of an ID unit 35 according to the invention. A radio unit 50 sends and receives wireless messages via the an- tenna 38, an antenna matching unit 49 and, as described previously and depending on the application and antenna requirements, via a second antenna 39, if so required. Messages are processed in a computer unit 51 , an application module 52 and a data module 54. The data module 54 may with advantage save a unique ID code for each ID unit. To achieve long battery life in the ID unit 35, the computer unit 51 may according to the invention be provided with a time function 53 in order to be able, according to the previously described facility for change of state, to regulate how often messages are to be sent and make it possible for the ID unit to be in a power saving position when no message is being sent or re- ceived. Via the circuit-breaker 36, the ID unit can, as described above, be registered and activated via wireless messages and by the power unit 55 being connected and the computer unit 51 therefore starting to execute. As previously described, the ID unit 35 can also switch between inactive state and search state in response to activation of the circuit-breaker 36 for a pro- longed time. The circuit-breaker 36 may be a simple mechanical breaker, but within the scope of the invention the circuit-breaker 36 may also be of mag- netic (e.g. reed relay) type. The light-emitting diode 33 may indicate that the ID unit 35 is in search state.

Fig. 9 is a schematic block diagram of a monitor unit 16 according to the invention. During normal continuous supervision, a radio unit 57 receives and sends wireless messages via the built-in antenna 23 and a matching unit 56. During searching for ID units in continuing search state, the radio unit 57 receives and sends wireless messages via the external directional antenna 24, the contact 28 and the matching unit 56. As previously described, the external directional antenna 24 and the contact 28 may be replaced by a built-on directional antenna 11 (see Fig. 2). The messages are processed in the computer unit 58 and its application module 60 and data module 65. The data module may with advantage save a unique ID code for the monitor unit 16 together with ID codes and associated names for registered and activated ID units. During supervision and searching, a user can handle via the display 19 and the button set 17 all the interactions with the monitor unit 16. These interactions may for example include the previously described status screen 21 and search screen 29. According to the invention and as described above, it is possible in a unique manner by interpolation and extrapolation (see Fig. 4) to calculate the distance and direction and direction of ID units automatically in real time by means of software in the distance calculation module 59 and the direction calculation module 62 respectively and compass directions from an electronic compass unit 63. When necessary, e.g. during supervision, the sound unit 22 may be activated. Different parts of the monitor unit 16 can be supplied via the power unit 61 with power in various power saving states regulated by the computer unit 58. In addition, the computer unit 58 may according to the invention be provided with a time function 64 in order to be able, e.g. during supervision, to decide whether an ID unit has communicated within an expected time. An example of an area of application for the device according to the invention, comprising a monitor unit 16 and a number of ID units 35, is in supervising and searching for children at a day nursery. The day nursery staff are provided with a monitor unit 16. When it is necessary to supervise children, e.g. during excursions or when children play outdoors close to the day nursery, the monitor unit 16 can be started and the status screen 21 be selected. Each child can be provided with a traffic vest 40 provided with an ID unit 35. Each ID unit can be registered, if this has not already taken place, and be activated by resetting the circuit-breaker 36 through the fabric of the traffic vest 40. The previously described method whereby messages are sent wirelessly once or more times per minute from and to the monitor unit 16 is thereby started. Continuous distance calculation in the monitor unit 16 therefore provides supervision as to whether ID units are within a defined radius.

Should the need arise to search for a child, it is possible to change from the status screen 21 to the search screen 29 and the search function via the button set 17 and the display 19 of the monitor unit 16. Depending on the variant of monitor unit 16, it is thereafter possible via the built-on directional antenna 11 or the connected directional antenna 24 to carry out searching by moving the monitor unit 16 to and fro. The previously described method of searching by automatic calculation of the distance and direction of ID units 35 and the electronic compass 63 enables staff to locate any child or children who have gone missing and are within radio range.

Another example of an area of application for a device according to the invention is the care of old people and persons with senile dementia. The staff of residential accommodation for the elderly can be provided with a monitor unit 16. Elderly persons who need supervising, e.g. at home or dur- ing excursions, can be provided with an ID unit 35. As described above, ID units 35 are registered and activated by pressing the breaker 36. As before, acknowledgement of registration is effected via the button set 17 and the display 19 of the monitor unit 16 or automatically if the ID unit has already been registered, in which case automatic two-way wireless supervision can begin. Should the need arise to do a search, a user can in the same way as described above change to search function in the monitor unit 16 and search by moving the monitor unit 16 to and fro. The distance and direction of ID units 35 can then be calculated automatically and the staff of the residential accommodation for the elderly can locate a missing person who is within radio range.

A further example of an application for the invention pertaining to searching is in mountaineering tourism. One or more persons from, for example, the mountain rescue service and police authorities may each be provided with a monitor unit 16. Mountaineering tourists may, at tourist stations, be provided with an ID unit 35. In an emergency situation tourists may activate their ID unit 35 to search state by pressing the circuit-breaker 36 for a prolonged time. The search function in the monitor unit 16 then provides the mountain rescue service and police authorities with a means for locating a person in distress who is within radio range.

Claims

1. A method for wireless supervision of and searching for at least one ID unit (35) by using at least one monitor unit (16), whereby the ID unit emits supervision messages to the monitor unit at a first periodicity and the distance between the monitor unit (16) and the ID unit (35) is determined on the basis of the signal strength of supervision messages received, characterised in that the monitor unit (16), upon receiving messages, returns acknowledgement messages to the ID unit (35) if the distance is less than a settable value, in that the monitor unit (16), upon receiving messages, returns a changeover message to the ID unit (35) if the distance exceeds a settable value, in that the ID unit (35), after receiving the changeover message, switches from a supervision state to a search state and emits search messages at a second periodicity, in that the monitor unit (16), after emitting the changeover message, calculates the distance and direction from the monitor unit to the switched ID unit (35) by reading the signal strengths of incoming messages from the ID unit, in that a momentary compass direction is determined at the time of receiving an incoming message from the ID unit, in that an ID unit position (31) relative to the monitor unit (16) is determined by association of compass direction and calculated dis- tance, and in that the ID unit position (31) is presented in a display (19).
2. A method according to claim 1 , whereby if the monitor unit (16) does not receive supervision messages from an ID unit (35) within a time preset by the user, an alarm is activated in the monitor unit (16) in the form of an acoustic signal and a message on a display.
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, whereby if there is no or incorrect acknowledgement of supervision messages because of radio collision or because the ID unit is out of range, supervision messages are sent again a number of times with random time shift.
4. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby an alarm in the monitor unit (16) is activated acoustically and on a display when an ID unit (35) is outside a defined radius.
5. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby the ID unit automatically changes state to search state if there is no acknowledgement of a supervision message.
6. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby registra- tion of an ID unit in the monitor unit is initiated by a circuit-breaker in the ID unit and via a registration message to the monitor unit.
7. A method according to claim 6, whereby registration and acknowledgement of the registration message to the ID unit are effected by text input on the monitor unit and the ID unit's identity and any desired name associated with it are saved in a data module (65) in the monitor unit (16).
8. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby a unique ID code for the monitor unit (16) at the time of production is saved in a data module (65).
9. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby a unique ID code for the ID unit (35) at the time of production is saved in a data module (54).
10. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby an ID unit registered in the monitor unit is activated via a circuit-breaker in the ID unit from maximum power saving position to supervision state and periodically emits a supervision message.
11. A method according to claim 10, whereby the ID unit is activated directly from maximum power saving position to search state by the circuit-breaker in the ID unit being activated for a prolonged time.
12. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby an ID unit which is in search state is deactivated to maximum power saving position by a circuit-breaker being activated in a predetermined sequence.
13. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby ID units are deactivated to maximum power saving position by a manual command on the monitor unit, and each ID unit registered in the monitor unit as acknowl- edgement of a supervision message or search message receives a deactivation message as response.
14. A method according to claim 1, whereby the ID unit position (31) is determined in a distance calculation module (59) and a direction calculation module (62) respectively by mathematical interpolation of composite value points on an interpolation curve (32).
15. A method according to claim 1 , whereby the distance and direction of one or more ID units searched for are presented in a display in the form of a search screen (29) which shows one or more ID unit positions on a rotating compass scale and whereby the origin of the rotating compass scale corresponds to the starting point of the monitor unit and the position of the latter's user.
16. A method according to claim 15, whereby a scale of the monitor unit and circular graduations on the compass scale are changed manually to change resolution.
17. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby the IDs, distances and direction values of one or more ID units searched for are presented in a display in the form of a status screen (21).
18. A method according to any one of the foregoing claims, whereby the direction and distance of an ID unit searched for are presented by the signal strength of supervision signals received being converted to loudness or frequency of an acoustic signal and the signal strength is shown graphically and numerically in a display.
19. A device for wireless supervision of and searching for at least one ID unit (35) provided with a computer unit (51), whereby an antenna (38) and a radio unit (50) are disposed on the ID unit (35) in order to emit at a first periodicity radio signals comprising supervision messages to a monitor unit (16) pro- vided with a computer unit (58), a radio unit (57), a display (19) and a button set (17), characterised in that the radio unit (57) of the monitor unit (16) is designed to measure the strength of radio signals emitted from the ID unit (35), in that the radio unit (57) is designed to send a radio signal comprising an acknowledgement message to the ID unit if the signal strength exceeds a predetermined value, in that the radio unit (57) is designed to send a radio signal comprising a changeover message to the ID unit if the signal strength is below a predetermined value, in that the ID unit (35) is switchable from a supervision state to a search state upon receiving the changeover message, whereupon the ID unit (35) in the search state emits search messages at a second periodicity, in that the monitor unit (16) is provided with an electronic compass unit (63) for receiving and providing compass directions, and in that the monitor unit (16) is provided with a display (19) showing a status screen (21) in the supervision state and a search screen (29) in the search state.
20. A device according to claim 19, whereby the ID unit (35) is provided with a circuit-breaker 36 for use in registering, activating and deactivating the ID unit (35).
21. A device according to claim 19, whereby the monitor unit (16) is provided with a built-on directional antenna (11) for use during searching.
22. A device according to claim 19, whereby the monitor unit (16) is con- nectable by fastening means (26, 27) to an external directional antenna (24) for use during searching.
23. A device according to claims 19-22, whereby the monitor unit (16) is provided with an internal antenna (23) for use during searching.
24. A device according to claims 19-23, whereby buttons in a button set (17) adjacent to the display (19) of the monitor unit (16) can via a text field (20) be given various meanings as regards functions and commands.
25. A device according to claims 19-24, whereby the monitor unit (16) is provided with a sound unit (22) controlled by the computer unit (58) with respect to frequency and loudness.
26. A device according to claims 19-25, whereby the monitor unit (16) is pro- vided with a time function (64) which is configurable via the button set (17) and the computer unit (58).
27. A device according to claims 19-26, whereby the monitor unit (16) is provided with a power unit (61) controlled by the computer unit (58) with respect to various power saving positions.
28. A device according to claims 19-27, whereby the ID unit (35) is provided with a first antenna (39) for use, together with a second antenna (38), as a dipole antenna.
29. A device according to claims 19-28, whereby the ID unit (35) is provided with a first antenna (39) for use in a freestanding manner and alternately with a second antenna (38).
30. A device according to claims 19-29, whereby the ID unit is provided with a light-emitting diode (33) which is controlled by a computer unit (51).
31. A device according to claims 19-30, whereby the ID unit (35) is provided with a time function (53) which is controlled by a computer unit (51).
32. A device according to claims 19-31 , whereby the ID unit (35) is provided with a power unit (55) which is controlled by a computer unit (51) and the circuit-breaker (36) with respect to various power saving positions.
33. A device according to claims 19-32, whereby the ID unit (35) is applied in a fabric pocket (41) sewn on a traffic vest (40) and with an antenna (38, 39) disposed along an extra fabric seam (42, 43).
34. A device according to claim 19, whereby the first periodicity is substantially smaller than the second periodicity.
PCT/SE2006/000196 2005-02-10 2006-02-10 Method and device for supervising and searching WO2006085821A1 (en)

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SE0500304A SE528300C2 (en) 2005-02-10 2005-02-10 Method and apparatus for monitoring and research

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WO2015044505A1 (en) * 2013-09-29 2015-04-02 Be Safe Innovations Oy Tracking system

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
SE0500304L (en) 2006-08-11
SE528300C2 (en) 2006-10-17

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