Interesting Patents | February 22, 2022

Interesting USPTO Patents

Interesting Patents
TUESDAY, February 22, 2022

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants hundreds of new patents every week, showcasing the most exciting developments in technology and innovation.

In this article, we highlight several interesting US patents recently issued by the USPTO.

Looking for more information on patents? Visit our Patents Page here. We also recommend that you check out our Intellectual Property Resources page for guides, videos, and insight on patents and inventorship. We also provide Tips on Choosing a Patent Lawyer.

Car provided with a rear spoiler and with a movable deflector panel to adjust the action of the rear spoiler

INVENTION OVERVIEW:

Ferrari was granted a patent for an adjustable deflector panel to control the amount of drag that the spoiler will generate. In the first configuration of the deflector, airflow is directed over the spoiler to generate drag and provide the car with downforce. A second configuration of the deflector panel diverts airflow over the rear spoiler, decreasing drag and allowing the car to increase its aerodynamic efficiency.

PATENT ABSTRACT:

“A car having: a passenger compartment; a body surrounding the passenger compartment and having: a roof, a tail provided with a rear bumper, and a joining portion connecting the roof to the tail; a rear spoiler, which is arranged at the end of the joining portion in the area of the tail; and a deflector panel, which is arranged on the joining portion, is directly hit by an air flow brushing the joining portion during the travel and is mounted in a movable manner so as to move between a rest position, in which the deflector panel rests on the joining portion, and an active position, in which the deflector panel is lifted and spaced apart from the joining portion.”

DETAILS FROM THE PATENT:

“Modern high-performance cars feature an extreme care of aerodynamics both in order to reduce the drag coefficient (also known as “CX”) and in order to increase the vertical force acting upon the wheels.

In order to increase the vertical force acting upon the rear wheels, on the rear part of the body there generally is a rear spoiler (namely, a “flow deflector”), which, by deflecting the air flow caused by the movement of the car upwards, generates a downforce (namely, a downwards lift force). The rear spoiler is mounted on the third box of the body in three-box cars or on the rear window in two-box cars.

In some sports cars, the rear spoiler is replaced by a rear stabilizer, which has the same function as the rear spoiler, but is separate from the body and is connected to the body by means of suitable supports.

The downforce generated by the rear spoiler increases as the dimensions of the rear spoiler increase; however, when the dimensions of the rear spoiler increase, the drag generated by the rear spoiler increases as well.

Namely, the greater the rear spoiler, the greater the downforce (positive effect), but also the greater the drag (negative effect). Furthermore, the increase in the dimensions of the rear spoiler implies an inevitable increase in weight and size and this often also leads to aesthetic problems; indeed, the rear spoiler, for it is an element on the outside of the body, can be very striking, especially if it is large-sized.

Whether the design of the rear spoiler is good or not is generally evaluated based on the aerodynamic efficiency thereof, namely based on the ratio between the downforce generated by the rear spoiler and the corresponding drag generated by the rear spoiler; the greater this ratio, the greater the aerodynamic efficiency, namely the greater the quality of the design of the rear spoiler.

Furthermore, the action of the rear spoiler, by increasing the vertical force acting upon the rear wheels, on the one hand, allows for an improvement of performances in driving conditions in which the main need is grip (for example, while braking, during an acceleration and while driving along a bend), but, on the other hand, it worsens performances in driving conditions in which the main need is smoothness (for example, while driving along a straight road, when very high speeds need to be reached or fuel consumptions need to be optimized).

In order to obtain a great vertical force (and, hence, an unavoidably high drag) only when it is needed, a motor-driven and movable rear spoiler was suggested, which increases its angle of attack and/or comes out of its housing only under given conditions. However, the installation of a motor-driven and movable rear spoiler causes mechanical problems, besides space-related problems. In particular, the positioning of the moving members of the rear spoiler make the application of this solution particularly complicated.”

02222022 Ferrari Patent Car provided with a rear spoiler and with a movable deflector panel to adjust the action of the rear spoiler
02222022 Ferrari Patent Car provided with a rear spoiler and with a movable deflector panel to adjust the action of the rear spoiler 2
02222022 Ferrari Patent Car provided with a rear spoiler and with a movable deflector panel to adjust the action of the rear spoiler 3
Fine-motion virtual-reality or augmented-reality control using radar

INVENTION OVERVIEW:

Google has been granted a patent to enable a radar system to provide augmented-reality control for a user device. Unlike other forms of augmented-reality control, Google’s approach utilizes radar signal processing to determine inputs from the movement of the user’s hands. Radar enables much finer resolution than other motion tracking techniques that allow the system to capture more refined user movements.

PATENT ABSTRACT:

“This document describes techniques for fine-motion virtual-reality or augmented-reality control using radar. These techniques enable small motions and displacements to be tracked, even in the millimeter or sub-millimeter scale, for user control actions even when those actions are small, fast, or obscured due to darkness or varying light. Further, these techniques enable fine resolution and real-time control, unlike conventional RF-tracking or optical-tracking techniques.”

PATENT BACKGROUND:

“Current virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) often use visual tracking of large-body movements. Visual tracking uses optical or infrared cameras to track major body motions to control a user’s VR or AR environment. These cameras, however, suffer from inadequate spatial resolution and sensitivity to light and darkness.

Some VR and AR systems use hand-held controllers. These controllers, however, do not permit the great breadth of control that is often desired to control a VR/AR world, as they are limited by the number and orientation of buttons or inadequate motion-sensing sensors, such as accelerometers. Further, hand-held controllers often are nearly worthless for VR, as in VR it is desirable to know a user’s body and hand orientation within the VR world, which hand-held controllers do not provide.

A partial solution to this problem involves radio-frequency (RF) techniques that track a point on a moving object. These current RF techniques, however, struggle to determine small motions without having large, complex, or expensive radar systems due to the resolution of the radar tracking system being constrained by the hardware of the radar system.”

02222022 Google Patent Fine-motion virtual-reality or augmented-reality control using radar 2
02222022 Google Patent Fine-motion virtual-reality or augmented-reality control using radar 2
Eye-tracking based on waveguide imaging
FACEBOOK TECHNOLOGIES
US PAT. NO. 11,256,086

INVENTION OVERVIEW:

Facebook has patented a method of eye-tracking based on images collected from a user waveguide. For example, the waveguide can be glasses that the user would wear. As the user looks through the glasses’ lenses, the system monitors changes in the waveguide to track the user’s gaze. Facebook’s system could enable eye-tracking systems to be integrated into many different user devices without disrupting the device’s design. For example, Facebook could integrate this system into sunglasses or corrective lenses without impacting the form of the glasses.

PATENT ABSTRACT:

“An optical system includes an optical waveguide, and a first optical element configured to direct a first ray, having a first circular polarization and impinging on the first optical element at a first incidence angle, in a first direction so that the first ray propagates through the optical waveguide via total internal reflection toward a second optical element. The first optical element is configured to also direct a second ray, having a second circular polarization that is distinct from the first circular polarization and impinging on the first optical element at the first incidence angle, in a second direction that is distinct from the first direction so that the second ray propagates away from the second optical element. The second optical element is configured to direct the first ray propagating through the optical waveguide toward a detector.”

PATENT BACKGROUND:

“Head-mounted display devices (also called herein head-mounted displays) are gaining popularity as means for providing visual information to a user. For example, the head-mounted display devices are used for virtual reality and augmented reality operations. Eye tracking allows the head-mounted display devices to determine a user’s gaze and provide visual information based on the user’s gaze direction.”

02222022 Facebook Patent Eye-tracking based on waveguide imaging 2
02222022 Facebook Patent Eye-tracking based on waveguide imaging 2

Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor

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