WO2010109313A1 - Apparatus for detecting the movement and/or for training of a individual - Google Patents

Apparatus for detecting the movement and/or for training of a individual Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2010109313A1
WO2010109313A1 PCT/IB2010/000677 IB2010000677W WO2010109313A1 WO 2010109313 A1 WO2010109313 A1 WO 2010109313A1 IB 2010000677 W IB2010000677 W IB 2010000677W WO 2010109313 A1 WO2010109313 A1 WO 2010109313A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
individual
apparatus
remote
training
remote element
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2010/000677
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Federica Landi
Original Assignee
Promogreen.Com S.R.L.
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 ITPV20090004 priority Critical patent/ITPV20090004A1/en
Priority to ITPV2009A000004 priority
Application filed by Promogreen.Com S.R.L. filed Critical Promogreen.Com S.R.L.
Publication of WO2010109313A1 publication Critical patent/WO2010109313A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K15/00Devices for taming animals, e.g. nose-rings or hobbles; Devices for overturning animals in general; Training or exercising equipment; Covering boxes
    • A01K15/02Training or exercising equipment, e.g. mazes or labyrinths for animals ; Electric shock devices ; Toys, e.g. for pets
    • A01K15/021Electronic training devices specially adapted for dogs or cats
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K15/00Devices for taming animals, e.g. nose-rings or hobbles; Devices for overturning animals in general; Training or exercising equipment; Covering boxes
    • A01K15/02Training or exercising equipment, e.g. mazes or labyrinths for animals ; Electric shock devices ; Toys, e.g. for pets
    • A01K15/021Electronic training devices specially adapted for dogs or cats
    • A01K15/023Anti-evasion devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C21/00Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups
    • G01C21/10Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups by using measurements of speed or acceleration
    • G01C21/12Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups by using measurements of speed or acceleration executed aboard the object being navigated; Dead reckoning
    • G01C21/16Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups by using measurements of speed or acceleration executed aboard the object being navigated; Dead reckoning by integrating acceleration or speed, i.e. inertial navigation
    • G01C21/165Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups by using measurements of speed or acceleration executed aboard the object being navigated; Dead reckoning by integrating acceleration or speed, i.e. inertial navigation combined with non-inertial navigation instruments
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S13/00Systems using the reflection or reradiation of radio waves, e.g. radar systems; Analogous systems using reflection or reradiation of waves whose nature or wavelength is irrelevant or unspecified
    • G01S13/02Systems using reflection of radio waves, e.g. primary radar systems; Analogous systems
    • G01S13/50Systems of measurement based on relative movement of target
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S13/00Systems using the reflection or reradiation of radio waves, e.g. radar systems; Analogous systems using reflection or reradiation of waves whose nature or wavelength is irrelevant or unspecified
    • G01S13/74Systems using reradiation of radio waves, e.g. secondary radar systems; Analogous systems
    • G01S13/82Systems using reradiation of radio waves, e.g. secondary radar systems; Analogous systems wherein continuous-type signals are transmitted
    • G01S13/825Systems using reradiation of radio waves, e.g. secondary radar systems; Analogous systems wherein continuous-type signals are transmitted with exchange of information between interrogator and responder
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S13/00Systems using the reflection or reradiation of radio waves, e.g. radar systems; Analogous systems using reflection or reradiation of waves whose nature or wavelength is irrelevant or unspecified
    • G01S13/86Combinations of radar systems with non-radar systems, e.g. sonar, direction finder
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S3/00Direction-finders for determining the direction from which infrasonic, sonic, ultrasonic, or electromagnetic waves, or particle emission, not having a directional significance, are being received
    • G01S3/02Direction-finders for determining the direction from which infrasonic, sonic, ultrasonic, or electromagnetic waves, or particle emission, not having a directional significance, are being received using radio waves
    • G01S3/14Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction
    • G01S3/16Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction using amplitude comparison of signals derived sequentially from receiving antennas or antenna systems having differently-oriented directivity characteristics or from an antenna system having periodically-varied orientation of directivity characteristic
    • G01S3/22Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction using amplitude comparison of signals derived sequentially from receiving antennas or antenna systems having differently-oriented directivity characteristics or from an antenna system having periodically-varied orientation of directivity characteristic derived from different combinations of signals from separate antennas, e.g. comparing sum with difference
    • G01S3/24Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction using amplitude comparison of signals derived sequentially from receiving antennas or antenna systems having differently-oriented directivity characteristics or from an antenna system having periodically-varied orientation of directivity characteristic derived from different combinations of signals from separate antennas, e.g. comparing sum with difference the separate antennas comprising one directional antenna and one non-directional antenna, e.g. combination of loop and open antennas producing a reversed cardioid directivity characteristic
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S5/00Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations
    • G01S5/02Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations using radio waves
    • G01S5/0205Details
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S5/00Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations
    • G01S5/02Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations using radio waves
    • G01S5/0284Relative positioning
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S5/00Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations
    • G01S5/02Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more direction or position line determinations; Position-fixing by co-ordinating two or more distance determinations using radio waves
    • G01S5/0294Tracking, i.e. predictive filtering, e.g. Kalman filtering

Abstract

The present invention concerns an apparatus (1) for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual, comprising a collar (2) equipped with an electronic remote element (3), said collar (2) being able to be placed around the neck (wrist, etc.) of the individual to be trained and/or whose state is to be detected, said electronic remote element (3) having, in mutual operating connection, an accelerometer or similar vibration sensor for detecting the state of the controlled individual, a microprocessor, a first transceiver device and an acoustic transducer (5); a hand¬ held remote control (4) having, in mutual operating connection, a second transceiver device and a microprocessor; said electronic remote element (3) and said remote control (4) establishing a bidirectional signal communication to transmit/receive signals with data coded therein, said signals being transmitted/received through said first transceiver device and said second transceiver device respectively. The peculiar characteristic of the apparatus is that said microcontroller (4B) of said remote control (4) is designed to detect the distance of the electronic remote element (3) relative to said remote control (3) by measuring the intensity of the signal transmitted by said electronic remote element (3) and received by said second transceiver device (4A) of the remote control (4), said communication being a radio-frequency communication in a range from a minimum value of a few hundreds of MHz to a maximum value of 2.5 GHz, and the value of the linear meters covered by said remote element (3) between successive instants, said value of the linear meters covered being a function of the acceleration- time curve of said remote element (3), said acceleration being detected by the accelerometer (3A) of the electronic remote element (3).

Description

Apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual according to the preamble of claim 1. More particularly, the apparatus is composed of a remote electronic element (hereinafter

"remote element"), carried by an individual (hereinafter "controlled individual") and a remote control that allows a user to receive information about the state and position of the individual being controlled and to transmit sound or ultrasound signals to such controlled individual.

The remote control notifies the user of the position and state of the controlled individual by indications on a display screen and acoustic signals, allowing him/her to locate the remote element accurately enough to find it.

Such apparatus is advantageously used both in the field of training, monitoring and control of animals, regardless of their size, and for detecting the movement of tourists, ramblers, sportsmen, children, persons, elder people, vehicle fleets, boats, etc. The existing electronic devices for locating and training individuals, designed for the same purposes, are affected by the following limitations:

- they have a high cost because they use GPS technology for tracking the remote element and possibly the GSM mobile-telephony network for communication between the remote element and the remote control; - certain prior art systems do not provide accurate indications about the position of the remote element, but only notify when the user has pointed the remote control towards the remote element,

- certain prior art systems do not indicate the state of the controlled individual on the remote control; - certain prior art systems use bulky antennas, which are exposed to the risk of accidental damages or of causing damages to third parties during operation;

- certain prior art systems employ an acoustic transducer, which loses effectiveness if it becomes soiled with mud, earth, vegetable substances, dust, sweat.

Examples of these prior art systems are disclosed, for instance, in prior documents US 5,815,077, US 2007/0204804 and US 2007/0056526.

The above clearly shows that a need is strongly felt, in the field of existing electronic devices for locating and training a controlled individual, for precise and accurate location of the controlled individual, for a system insensitive to environmental operation conditions, as well as an apparatus for effectively training the controlled individuals.

This invention is based on the problem of providing an apparatus for locating and/or training the controlled individual, that has such structural and functional characteristics as to fulfill the above need, while obviating the above mentioned drawbacks of prior art apparatus. This problem is solved according to claim 1.

With the present invention, the above limitations may be overcome by using different technologies for antennas, for the radio transmission system, for detecting the position of the remote element, for the devices designed for control of and interaction with the user and for acoustic transducers.

Further characteristics and advantages of the apparatus of the present invention will be apparent from the following description of one preferred embodiment thereof, which is given by way of illustration and without limitation with reference to the accompanying figures, in which: - Figure 1 is a perspective view of an element that is part of the apparatus, particularly a perspective view of the remote element of the present invention;

- Figures 2 and 4 are perspective views of another element that is part of the apparatus, particularly perspective views of the remote control, when the latter is closed (Figure 2) and open (Figure 4) according to the present invention; - Figure 3 is a perspective view of a further element that is part of the apparatus, particularly the acoustic transducer, when the latter is removed from the remote element, according to the present invention; - Figures 5A and 5B are respective views of the block diagrams of the remote element (Figure 5A) and the remote control (Figure 5B).

Referring to the accompanying figures, numeral 1 generally designates an apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual to be controlled, which comprises: - a collar 2 having an electronic remote element 3, where the collar 2 may be placed around the neck (or the wrist or any other encirclable object) of an individual, such as an animal, a person or a thing, for state detection and/or training and

- a remote control 4 designed to be held in one or both hands and to be portably carried by a user (not shown). The remote element 3 is adapted to detect a condition or state of the individual having the collar 2 and/or to transmit signals with the data required to estimate the position of the remote control 4 relative to the remote element 3.

For this purpose, the remote element 3 comprises, in mutual operating connection, an accelerometer 3A or similar vibration sensor, a microprocessor or microcontroller 3B, a first transceiver device 3C and optionally an acoustic transducer 3D.

The remote control 4 is adapted to receive the signals transmitted by the remote element 3 and process them to estimate the position of the remote control 4 relative to the remote element 3, transmit signals to the remote element 3 to actuate particular functions of the remote element 3 and/or detect a condition or state in which the remote control is located. For this purpose, the remote control 4 comprises, in mutual operating connection, a second transceiver device 4A, a microprocessor or microcontroller 4B, an accelerometer 4C or similar sensor and, optionally, a display screen 4D.

It shall be noted that the condition or state of an individual being monitored by the apparatus 1 may consist of a running movement, a slow movement, a slow movement after a stop, a stop, but also the loss of the remote element from the individual that wears it, or also special behaviors of the individual being controlled, such as falling, coughing, barking, etc.

It should be first noted that the remote element 3 and the remote control 4 establish a bidirectional signal communication to transmit/receive signals with data coded therein. Communication occurs through the first transceiver device 3 C and the second transceiver device 4A. Preferably, the bidirectional signal communication is a radio-frequency communication with a working range from a minimum of a few hundreds of MHz and a maximum of 2.5 GHz. In other words, the signal communication between the remote element 3 and the remote control 4 is not based on a GSM protocol or evolutions thereof.

For such operating frequency range, the market provides transceiver modules, known as "radio modems" that can be interfaced with the microcontroller 3 B or 4B of the remote module 3 or the remote control 4 respectively. Such operating frequency range is selected in view of obtaining an optimally precise estimate of the position of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4. Frequencies below the minimum value will have the advantage of better penetrating natural obstacles, but also the disadvantage of requiring the use of large antennas or poorly efficient antennas if their size is reduced using techniques known in the field of radio engineering; frequencies above the minimum value will be characterized by a different reflection by obstacles, which will be sometimes overcome, and by the use of medium-sized antennas; with the use of frequencies above the indicative value of 2.5 GHz, such frequencies will have the disadvantage of being strongly attenuated by natural obstacles and of only allowing radio connection in direct visibility conditions.

In the light of these considerations, in a preferred embodiment, the transceiver device 3 C of the remote element 3 comprises an omnidirectional antenna, whereas the transceiver device 4A of the remote control 4 comprises a combination of a directional antenna 7 and an omnidirectional antenna 10.

Therefore, such operating frequency range is advantageously selected because it can provide comparatively small-size directional antennas 7, freely usable frequencies, acceptable propagation due to the alternation of acceptable attenuations and favorable reflections in the special environment of use, which is mainly characterized by plants.

Preferably, the inventive apparatus uses a frequency close to the maximum value of 2.5GHz for radio transmissions; thus, the directional antenna 7 is in the form of a "panel" antenna. This particular antenna has the advantage of optimizing performance in terms of size, open-field range (over 2 Km), while operating at low power and employing a high-gain, low- noise receiver. For example, such "panel" antenna 7 is about 10 cm long, 10 cm wide and 1 cm deep.

Other types of directional antennas, as is known in radio engineering, may be used at this and other frequencies.

Thus, the remote control 4 communicates with the remote element 3 through the bidirectional radio-frequency connection, to transmit controls to the remote element 3, such as the control of triggering particular acoustic signals to encourage or discourage particular behaviors in the individual being controlled and the remote element 3 transmits to the remote control 4 its state and its position relative thereto, preferably estimated according to the acceleration-time curve of the remote element 3; the acceleration-time curve being detected by the provision of an acceleration sensor 3 A. Ln order to obtain an optimized estimate for the position or direction or distance of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control, the directional antenna 7 is in such a location that the user can perceive the position in which it is pointed by moving the remote control, hi brief, when the user points the remote control 4 (and thus the directional antenna 7 integral with the remote control, as described below) in various directions, his/her transceiver module 4A transmits the intensity of the received signal and the data coded therein to the microcontroller 4B, by periodically and continuously alternating the use of the directional antenna 7 and the omnidirectional antenna 10, to find the direction in which the controlled individual is located. Such direction coincides with that in which the transceiver device 4A of the remote control 4 detects the maximum intensity of the signal received by the directional antenna 7 and the minimum error rate in radio-frequency communication.

The omnidirectional antenna 10 of the remote control 4 also allows radio communication to be established with the remote element 3 even when the remote control 4 is not pointed to the remote element; thus, the remote control 4 advantageously warns the user that the remote element 3 is not located in the direction in which the remote control 4 has been pointed, and hence that the remote control must be pointed in a direction other than that in which it was directed before. In other words, by comparing the amplitude of the signals detected by the directional antenna 7 and the omnidirectional antenna 10, the remote control 4 can determine of the remote element 3 is located in the direction pointed by the directional antenna or in another direction.

It shall be noted that, in a preferred embodiment, when the remote control 4 operates in transmission mode, it only uses the omnidirectional antenna 7, and when it operates in reception mode, it can alternately select the directional antenna 7 or the omnidirectional antenna 10, such alternation occurring automatically, under the control of the microcontroller 4B in the remote control 4. hi order to obtain an optimized estimate of the position of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4, the apparatus 1 may use a feedback system to utilize both the information retrieved from the comparison of the amplitudes of the signals picked up by the directional antenna 7 and the omnidirectional antenna 10, and the information collected by the accelerometer 3 A of the remote element 3.

In other words, the microcontroller 4B may be designed to estimate the distance (or the movement) of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4 both: - as a function of the relative position of the remote element 3 (as determined by comparison of the amplitudes of the signals picked up by the directional antenna 7 and the omnidirectional antenna 10), and

- by determining the value of the linear meters covered by the remote element 3 between two successive instants of time, such value of the linear meters covered being a function of the acceleration-time curve of the remote element 3.

This will provide an advantageous synergistic effect, affording improved performance of the apparatus 1 because the estimate of the distance (or movement) of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4, as determined by comparing the amplitudes of the signals picked up by the directional antenna 7 and the omnidirectional antenna 10, is fed back with the estimate obtained by determining the value of the linear meters covered by the remote element 3.

For instance, if elements are interposed between the controlled individual and the remote control 4, which prevent proper connection between the transceiver 3 C and the transceiver 4A, then the estimated value of the distance of the remote element 3 from the remote control 4 might not be realistic. Nevertheless, by feeding back with estimated value with the estimate obtained by calculating the linear meters covered by the remote element, a definitely more truthful value might be provided to the user. It should be noted that currently available accelerometers ensure such sensitivity that, as the microcontroller 3 B of the remote element 3 analyzes the signal transmitted therefrom, it can detect the various states of the individual being controlled; the movements of the controlled individual, and hence the relative position thereof, based on the acceleration-time curve, as suggested by kinematic principles. The acceleration-time curve of the individual are detected by the remote element by a discriminator device or variable calculator 11, which is designed to determine:

- the acceleration-time curve of the remote element 3 or imparted to the remote element 3 by the individual, at least along one of three Cartesian axes, preferably along all three Cartesian axes, or - the instantaneous value of one or more variables determined from such acceleration-time curve; the variables are selected from the group comprising a first variable "A", identifying the instantaneous acceleration imparted by said individual to said electronic remote element, a second variable "D" identifying the acceleration differential imparted by said individual to said electronic remote element and/or a third variable "P" identifying the period of the harmonic oscillations imparted by said individual to said electronic remote element. Then each of the three variables A, D and P is calculated along three orthogonal Cartesian axes x, y and z.

Particularly, the microcontroller 3 B of the electronic remote element 3 implements, through the discriminator 11, a classification algorithm 12 which instantaneously estimates the state of the controlled individual based on the time curve of the measures provided by the accelerometer. hi a preferred embodiment, the microcontroller 3 B of the electronic remote element 3 operates on all three variables A, D and P, each calculated along the three Cartesian axes, instead of processing the acceleration-time curve; this will require a smaller computational load for the microcontroller 3B and provide improved precision as compared with prior art systems.

This classification algorithm 12 recognizes the possible states of the controlled individual (resting, running, walking, coughing, barking/coughing, fall/accident, kidnapping, etc.) based on two possible criteria: comparison or correlation.

The comparison criterion operates by instant-by-instant comparison of one or more variables of the above variables A, D and/or P with a set of thresholds. Particularly, in a preferred embodiment, the comparison criterion consists in the comparison of all three variables, as detected along the three Cartesian axes, with each other or with appropriate thresholds to determine the state of the controlled individual. In other words, in the preferred embodiment, the comparison criterion compares a complex of nine variables Ax3Ay3Az, Dx,Dy,Dz and Px3Py5Pz (i.e. A detected along the three Cartesian axes x, y, z, D detected along the three Cartesian axes x, y, z and P detected along the three Cartesian axes x, y, z) either with each other or with appropriate thresholds determined beforehand. For example, if the controlled individual is a dog, and assuming that the x-axis faces in front of it, i.e. in the walking direction, the z-axis is transverse, i.e. in the direction of steering and the y-axis is vertical, the classifier will identify the running state, when the oscillations A on the y-axis have a higher intensity than those on the x-axis (i.e. Ay>Ax), the amplitude of the oscillations A on the y-axis exceeds a given value (i.e. Ay>Running Threshold) and is positively greater than the oscillation A on the z-axis (i.e. Ay»Az, for instance Ay>2Ay), and the period P of the oscillations on the y-axis is from 1 to 2Hz (i.e. lHz<Py<2Hz).

On the other hand, the correlation criteria is based on real-time calculation of the scalar product of a vector whose elements are the time-dependent values of one or more of the above variables A, D and P and a vector containing the expected values of said variable at a particular state to be detected, hi other words, the correlation criteria is based on instant-by-instant comparison of one or more vectors (whose elements represent the time curve of corresponding variables) with as many reference vectors.

Particularly, according to this correlation criterion: a) for each of the nine variables Ax5Ay5Az, Dx,Dy,Dz e Px,Py,Pz a vector Vi (i=l,9) is stored, which contains the values assumed at successive instants in an interval T of about 2 seconds (sampled indicatively every 64 ms); b) for each state s to be recognized, a set of nine constant reference vectors Sj (i=l,9) are provided, each corresponding to the expected value for the particular vector at the state, multiplied by an appropriate coefficient; c) for each state s to be recognized, the "* Z-ι o ς. value is calculated, which is

J=I °, ' θ; proportional to the probability that the controlled individual might be in the state s (where V1 S1 is the scalar product of Vj and Sj). d) as s changes, the state recognized by the classification algorithm is the one whose ps assumes the maximum value, assuming that the latter exceeds a minimum thresholds whose value define false alarm probabilities, as well as the probability of losing the classifier.

The correlation criterion also advantageously allows the implementation of a useful learning feature, for learning the states to be recognized to identify new states and reduce the false alarms caused by weight and attitude differences in the controlled individuals. To introduce a new state to be identified and improve recognition of a known state, as the controlled individual assumes the particular state to be determined, the device shall copy the nine vectors Vj into the corresponding nine vectors Sj.

It shall be noted that, regardless of the criterion of operation of the classification algorithm

12 to calculate the acceleration of the remote element 3, the value of the linear meters is preferably calculated by the microcontroller 3B of the remote element 3 as a function of both the period of harmonic oscillations P and the intensity of the oscillations A which characterize its motion. Once that such meter value has been calculated by the microcontroller 3 B of the remote element 3, it is transmitted to the remote control 4.

For example, the accelerometer 3 B is in the form of a solid-state accelerometer, preferably sensitive along the three orthogonal axes of space, of the type that is commonly used for consumer applications, antitheft devices and inertial navigation systems, such as STMicroelectronics LIS344AL. The outputs of the accelerometer 3A are connected to the microcontroller 3 B which implements the operating logic of the remote element 3 by an analog- to-digital converter 3E, possibly integrated in the accelerometer or the microcontroller. For example, the microcontroller Microchip PIC16F887 may be used, which includes an analog-to- digital converter with multiple inputs.

It shall be noted that the detected accelerations induced on the remote control 4 by the user may be utilized for more precise estimates of the direction of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4. Particularly, the microcontroller 4B is adapted to detect the angular scanning movement imparted to the remote control 4 by the user as he/she searches for the remote element 3.

Such scanning motion induced by the user as he/she searches for the remote element 3 is particularly useful as it allows easier determination of the exact direction in which the remote element 3 is located. . The scanning motion detected by the accelerometer 4C may be sensed on a horizontal plane, relative to the user's arm, to detect the angular displacement imparted by the user to the remote control 4 over such horizontal plane.

The accelerometer 4C is also preferably of the solid state type, sensitive along the three orthogonal axes, and is electrically connected to the microcontroller 4B via an analog-to-digital converter 4E. The accelerometer 4C is of the type that is commonly used for consumer applications, antitheft devices and inertial navigation systems, such as STMicroelectronics

LIS344AL. Otherwise, a compass sensor may be used instead of the accelerometer 4C, for measuring the angular displacement of the remote control 4 during the scanning movement.

For easier determination of the direction in which the remote element 3 is located, a

, graphical icon may be used, which can be represented on the display screen 4D as an arrow. The direction of the arrow may be indicative of the direction of the remote element 3 relative to the remote control 4, even when the remote control is no longer pointed to the remote element.

Particularly, the graphical icon may be of the animated type; this animated icon may be obtained, for instance, by alternately displaying fixed images stored in a special flash memory in the remote control 4. hi this case, the animated icon allows the user to more easily determine the state of the controlled individual that wears the remote element 4.

For simple and quick setting of controls by the user, the display screen 4D may integrate a touch-screen device. This touch-screen allows the remote control 4 to be used even when the user wears gloves. Furthermore, a touch-screen ensures higher resistance to dust and weather agents. When the antenna 7 of the remote control 4 is pointed to the remote element 3, the remote control 4 may also actuate a tone and/or a vibration that may be individually disabled by the user. The tone and/or vibration notify the user of a possible change of state in the controlled individual.

As shown in Figures 2 and 4, the remote control 4 is in the form of a device with the shape of a parallelepiped, having a base portion 4F and a top portion 4G associated with the base portion 4F via a hinge connection 8.

The base portion 4F is designed to be the seat for the display screen 4D, whereas the top portion 4G integrates the directional antenna 7, in addition to acting as a cover element for the display 4D. The apparatus 1 may simultaneously use multiple remote elements 3, interacting with the remote control 4, each operating as described hereinabove.

The provision of multiple remote elements 3 allows the apparatus 1 to provide further features and increase the range of detection of the farthest remote element of the remote control 4.

When multiple remote elements 3 are provided, each of them periodically transmits a signal (whose information content will be described below), and allows any other remote element, in addition to the remote control 4, to estimate the distance therefrom according to the power of the received radio-frequency signal and the communication error rate. This measure will be repeatedly taken at successive instants and possibly at different frequencies to eliminate the effects of accidental signal attenuation caused by penetration of obstacles and reflection thereupon. hi the periodic signal, each remote element transmits:

- information about its relative position, if available, as determined according to its acceleration-time curve;

- information about its distance from any other remote element and the remote control, if available, as determined according to the power and error rate of radio-frequency signals. Furthermore, each remote element periodically retransmits the same information received from the other elements, to increase the maximum range of communication of each remote element with the remote control 4, i.e. the maximum user locating range. Thus, the remote control 4 and the remote elements 3 calculate the position of each of them relative to the others by triangulation, and the remote control 4 calculates the position of all remote elements by pointing the directional antenna 7, and displays such position on the display screen 4D.

Use of a time-multiplexing protocol, for example, allows each of the remote elements to transmit with no risk of interferences or superposition of signals. The small amount of data to be transmitted affords effective time-multiplexed transmission by the various remote elements, and reserves the possibility of changing the frequency of transmission to the remote control and to all the remote elements, to avoid interferences with other similar devices operating in the same range.

Different communication protocols can be obviously used in the inventive apparatus. The apparatus 1 as described hereinbefore can be provided with typically as many as eight remote elements for training, monitoring and control of animals, but it may also have tens of remote elements, even for applications such as monitoring of ramblers, swimmers, fleets of vehicles, boats, etc. The transmission of sounds occurs via the acoustic or ultrasonic transducer 3D, which may be of magnetic or piezoelectric type.

Also referring to Figure 3, the transducer 3D is enclosed in an appropriate protective casing of substantially cylindrical shape, which may be removable from the casing of the remote element 3 for quick replacement if it is damaged or too dirty to operate properly. The mechanism that allows removal of the acoustic transducer 3D may consist of engagement means 9 which advantageously do not require the use of tools. Such engagement means 9 are preferably provided in the form of a pair of teeth adapted for snap engagement with corresponding seats formed on the casing of the remote element 3.

The transmission of the control signal from the microcontroller 3 B of the remote element 3 to the transducer 3D may occur in ether of the following manners: 1) through two pairs of metal contacts placed on the surface of the protective casing of the transducer 3D and the surface of the casing of the remote element 3 respectively, or 2) by an inductive coupling that consists of a transformer composed of a primary winding and a secondary winding (each wound around its core, or on a common core integral with one of the windings only) in mutually facing relation and placed on the surface of the casing of the transducer 3D and the surface of the casing of the remote element 3 respectively; the primary winding is connected to the electronic circuit of the remote element 3 and the secondary winding is connected to the transducer 3D; when the transducer 3D with its casing is placed on the remote element 3, the two windings are coupled together, thereby forming a transformer. Typically, the transducer 3D is controlled by a transformer (not shown) to obtain an adequate power for the application.

The microcontroller 3 B of the remote element 3 controls the transducer 3D to emit audible sounds or ultrasounds, whose frequency, amplitude and envelope (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release), duration and periodicity can make them:

- pleasant or unpleasant for the controlled individual, as determined during training;

- more or less audible remotely by the user and/or - able to notify the user of the state of the controlled individual, e.g. by emission of a sound periodically alternated to pauses when the dog is pointing and a sound of different frequency and periodicity when it is running.

During training, the apparatus 1 can automatically encourage or discourage appropriate or inappropriate behaviors (running, pointing, moving after pointing, persistent barking, moving in a desired or undesired direction, moving too far, recall, etc.) without causing any discomfort or injury to the controlled individual and allows the user to locate the controlled individual and ascertain its state by simply hearing the sound emitted by the remote element 3.

Therefore, the transducer 3D can automatically emit sounds that can be pleasant or unpleasant for the controlled individual upon detection of particular states or sequences of states to dissuade from or rewarding particular behaviors. For example, when the collar 2 is worn by a dog, the transducer 3D may emit an unpleasant sound when the dog starts to walk or barks immediately after the pointing state, or a pleasant sound if the dog remains perfectly still during the pointing state.

According to an advantageous aspect of the present invention, these sounds can be emitted due to the provision of a circuit for measuring the amplitude of electric voltage (not shown) at the ends of the transducer 3D, to allow the microcontroller 3B of the remote element 3 to measure the effectiveness of the transducer as the control frequency changes, by empirically determining the frequencies at which such transducer 3D exhibits resonance. The possibility of changing the resonance frequency is particularly useful, as it allows the transducer 3D to change its resonance frequency not only due to construction tolerances but also in response to various environmental factors, such as mud, humidity, dust, water, plant residues, etc.

According to the particular circumstances, the microcontroller of the remote element 3 will emit frequencies, within the range of resonance frequencies of the transducer 3D, that are pleasant or unpleasant for the controlled individual, or are more less audible for the user (the latter being selected by the user via a keypad, preferably a membrane keypad, which is also used to turn the remote element on and off, or via a remote control that will be described below). Such voltage measuring circuit may consist of a resistor that picks up the voltage from the transducer 3D and whose voltage is rectified, detected and presented to the microcontroller 3B of the remote element 3 through the analog-to-digital converter. Periodically, during the use of the remote element 3, the microcontroller 3 B of the remote element 3 controls the transducer 5 by performing a quick frequency scan to search for that resonance frequency with the purpose of tuning the control signal frequency with the resonance frequency of the transducer. Automatic tuning of the circuit for measuring the current of the transducer 3D with one of the resonance frequencies of the transducer 3D may be alternatively performed using a method that uses the response to an impulse.

Particularly, in such impulse response method the transducer 3D may be excited with a very short impulse, for later measurement of voltage drop time at the ends of the transducer (or of the control transformer, if any) by an analog-to-digital converter. This method is adequately reliable and quick and does not involve the emission of undesired sounds from the transducer in addition to the short impulse.

Those skilled in the art will obviously appreciate that a number of changes and variants may be made to the apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual that has been described hereinbefore, without departure from the scope of the invention, as defined in the following claims.

Claims

1. An apparatus (1) for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual, comprising:
- a collar (2) equipped with an electronic remote element (3), said collar (2) being able to be placed around the neck of the individual to be trained and/or whose state is to be detected, said electronic remote element (3) having, in mutual operating connection, an accelerometer (3A) or similar vibration sensor for detecting the state of the controlled individual, a microcontroller (3B), a first transceiver device (3C);
- a hand-held remote control (4) having, in mutual operating connection, a second transceiver device (4A) and a microcontroller (4B); - said electronic remote element (3) and said remote control (4) establishing a bidirectional signal communication to transmit/receive signals with data coded therein, said signals being transmitted/received through said first transceiver device (3C) and said second transceiver device (4A) respectively; characterized in that said microcontroller (4B) of said remote control (4) is designed to detect the movement of the electronic remote element (3) relative to said remote control (3) by measuring:
- the intensity of the signal transmitted by said electronic remote element (3) and received by said second transceiver device (4A) of the remote control (4), said communication being a radio-frequency communication in a range from a minimum value of a few hundreds of MHz to a maximum value of 2.5 GHz, and
- the value of the linear meters covered by the remote element (3) between successive instants, said value of the linear meters covered being a function of the acceleration-time curve of said remote element (3), said acceleration being detected by the accelerometer (3A) of the electronic remote element (3).
2. An apparatus (1) for detecting the movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said accelerometer (3A) of said collar (2) comprises a discriminator (11), which is designed to detect the acceleration-time curve, with acceleration induced on said electronic remote element (3) at least along one of three Cartesian axes (x, y, z).
3. An apparatus (1) for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 2, wherein said discriminator (11) operates on the instantaneous value of at least one of three variables (A, D, P) determined from the acceleration-time curve of said electronic remote element (3), said at least one of the three variables (A, D, P) being selected from:
- a first variable for the instantaneous acceleration (A) imparted to said electronic remote element (3),
- a second variable for the acceleration differential (D) imparted to said electronic remote element (3), and - a third variable for the period of the harmonic oscillations (P) imparted to said electronic remote element, each of said three variables (A, D, P) being in turn calculated along each axis of said three Cartesian axes (x, y, z).
4. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 3, wherein said discriminator is a threshold discriminator, and is designed to compare each of said three variables (A, D, P), each calculated along the axes of said Cartesian coordinate system (x, y, z), with each other or with appropriate predetermined thresholds, to determine the state of the controlled individual.
5. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 3, wherein said meter value is calculated by said microcontroller (3B) of said remote element (3) as a function of said third variable (P) and the intensity (A) of motion-identifying oscillations, said calculated meter value being transmitted by the remote element (3) to the remote control
(4).
6. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 3, wherein said discriminator (11) is a threshold discriminator and is designed to perform real- time calculation of the scalar product of a vector whose elements are the time-dependent values of one or more of said three variables (A, D, P) and a vector containing the expected values of said variable at a particular state to be detected.
7. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second transceiver device (4A) comprises an omnidirectional antenna (10) and a directional antenna (7), said signal intensity being calculated by periodically and continuously alternating the use of the directional antenna (7) and the omnidirectional antenna (10), to find the direction in which the controlled individual is located, that is the direction in which said transceiver device (4A) measures the maximum intensity of the signal received by the directional antenna (7) and the minimum communication error rate.
8. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said electronic remote element (8) comprises a sonic or ultrasonic acoustic transducer (3D), sad acoustic transducer (3D) comprising a circuit for measuring the current that flows in said acoustic transducer (3D), so that said microcontroller (3B) of said remote element (3) is designed to control it at the frequencies in which said transducer exhibits resonance.
9. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 8, wherein said circuit for measuring the current that flows in said acoustic transducer (3D) is designed to change the range of frequencies for controlling the acoustic transducer (5) to emit audible sounds or ultrasounds whose frequency, amplitude and envelope (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release), duration and periodicity make them:
- pleasant or unpleasant for the controlled individual, as determined during training;
- more or less audible remotely by the user and/or - able to notify the user of the state of the controlled individual.
10. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 8 or 9, wherein said acoustic transducer (3D) is inductively coupled to said microcontroller (3B) of the electronic remote element (3) via a transformer composed of a primary winding integral with said remote element (3) and a secondary winding integral with said acoustic transducer (3D), said primary winding and said secondary winding facing towards each other so that, when the acoustic transducer (3D) is placed on the electronic remote element (3), said primary and secondary windings are coupled thereby forming a transformer.
11. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in any claim from 8 to 10, wherein said acoustic transducer (5) is removably associated with said remote element (3) by engagement means (9).
12. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said electronic remote element (3) comprises a keypad for turning it on and off and for selecting the operating mode and the kind of sound to be emitted according to the state of the individual.
13. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim I5 wherein said remote control (4) comprises an accelerometer (4C) that is sensitive in the horizontal plane to detect the angular displacement of the remote control (4) imparted by a user over the horizontal plane.
14. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said remote control (4) comprises a display screen (4D).
15. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 14, wherein said display screen (4D) displays a graphical icon adapted to indicate the state, direction and/or distance of every controlled individual that wears said remote element (3).
16. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 14 or 15, wherein said display screen (4D) comprises a touch screen sensor that the user employs to give controls or selectively actuate the available features.
17. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, comprising a plurality of electronic remote elements simultaneously controlled by said microcontroller (4B) of said remote control (4), so that each of said electronic remote elements periodically emits a signal for estimating the mutual distance from any other of said electronic remote elements according to the power of the radio-frequency signal that has been received and to the quality of radio connection, as measured at successive instants and/or at different frequencies, to eliminate the effects of signal attenuation due to the penetration of obstacles or the reflection thereon.
18. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1 or 17, wherein each remote element (3) transmits at least one of the following, in the periodically emitted signal: a) any information about its relative position, as determined based on its acceleration-time curve; b) any information about its distance from any other remote element and from the remote control, as determined based on the power and error rate of the radio- frequency signals, c) the total of the linear distance that has been covered, as estimated based on the period and intensity of the motion-characterizing oscillations.
19. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 17 or 18, wherein each remote element (3) transmits a replication of all the information it periodically receives from each of the other remote elements, in the periodically emitted signal, to extend the range of said apparatus.
20. An apparatus for detecting movement and/or for training of an individual as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first transceiver device (3C) comprises an ominidirectional antenna.
PCT/IB2010/000677 2009-03-27 2010-03-26 Apparatus for detecting the movement and/or for training of a individual WO2010109313A1 (en)

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