Interesting Patents

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.

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Resistance control systems and methods for amusement attractions
Universal City Studios LLC
US PAT. NO. 11,260,311


Universal Studios has been granted a patent for a moveable support ride that actuates based on how the user applies force to it by the user. For example, if a user leans and changes their center of gravity, the platform will detect the change and lower one side of the support. These features could make rides more interactive or provide park goers with even more immersive rides.


“A resistance control system for a passenger support of an amusement attraction includes a first foundation, a second foundation, and a support extending between the first foundation and the second foundation. The second foundation is pivotably coupled to the support at a pivot joint. The resistance control system also includes a motor and a linkage system coupled to the motor and to the second foundation such that the motor is configured to output a torque to adjust, via the linkage system, a resistance to movement of the second foundation about the pivot joint and relative to the first foundation.”


“This section is intended to introduce the reader to various aspects of art that may be related to various aspects of the present techniques, which are described and/or claimed below. This discussion is believed to be helpful in providing the reader with background information to facilitate a better understanding of the various aspects of the present disclosure. Accordingly, it should be understood that these statements are to be read in this light, and not as admissions of prior art.

Various amusement attractions have been created to provide riders with unique motion and visual experiences. In some cases, an amusement attraction may include a ride vehicle and a ride track (or other path) along which the ride vehicle moves. In an increasing number of amusement attractions, the ride vehicle may not traverse a path. For example, the vehicle may be configured for roll, pitch, and/or yaw while remaining fixed to a location. Such vehicles may be referred to as stationary vehicles. For both stationary vehicles and those that traverse a path, virtual reality (VR) devices are being employed to provide additional excitement. It is now recognized that it is desirable to provide riders with the ability to control certain aspects of these rides and/or associated VR experiences to increase excitement and immersion in the ride experience. For example, it is now recognized that it is desirable to provide users with the ability to steer the ride vehicle or at least be given the perception, via the VR devices, that they are steering the ride vehicle.”

In-ear headphones


Apple has received a patent for a new type of headphones. One of the unique aspects of the headphone is the protrusion that goes into the user’s ear to deliver the sound. The construction of the headphone allows for reliable production of high-quality sound to the user’s ear regardless of the user’s ear canal shape.


“A low-profile earbud is disclosed that sits securely within an ear of a user. The earbud includes a protruding portion that passes through a channel defined by the tragus and anti-tragus of the ear. In some embodiments, the protruding portion can take the form of a cable configured to supply power and transfer data to the earbud. In some embodiments, the protruding portion can provide additional space for electrical components and sensors supporting the earbud.”


“Audio devices along the lines of in-ear headphones often have trouble achieving a size and shape that fits comfortably and stays securely in place for a large cross-section of users. Earbuds in particular often fall short of a design that fits comfortably within an ear of a user while achieving a high level of audio content delivery. One reason for this problem is that the size and shape of the ears of users can vary widely, making it difficult to achieve a design capable of fitting comfortably within the ears of a broad spectrum of users. For this reason, a comfortable earbud design capable of remaining securely within the ears of a broad spectrum of different ears while maintaining high quality audio content delivery is desired.”

Autonomous home security devices


Amazon has been granted a patent for a novel independent security system. The system uses an aerial vehicle to travel to a reported event in a house. For example, the aerial vehicle can detect fire alarms or be networked to other intelligent devices in the house to determine when it needs to be deployed. Sensors onboard the aerial vehicle allow it to independently determine if the event is ongoing and what resources are required to address the event adequately. Further, as the car responds to events within the space, it can create a map of the environment to navigate more efficiently as it responds to subsequent events.


“An aerial vehicle is programmed or configured to respond to reports of events or conditions within spaces of a facility. The aerial vehicle travels to a location of a reported event or condition and captures data using onboard sensors. The aerial vehicle independently determines whether the reported event or condition is occurring, or is otherwise properly addressed by resources that are available at the location, using images or other data captured by the onboard sensors. Alternatively, the aerial vehicle transmits a request for additional resources to be provided at the location, where necessary. A map of the location generated based on images or other data captured by the onboard sensors may be utilized for any purpose, such as to make one or more recommendations of products that are appropriate for use at the facility.”


“Many security systems are configured to monitor a space within a home, an office, or another facility to determine whether one or more predetermined substances is present within the facility, or whether one or more hazardous conditions is occurring there. For example, some security systems include sensors that may be mounted to fixed and movable portions of doors, windows or other portals, and configured to generate one or more signals when such portals are opened or closed. Some security systems also include one or more motion detectors that are configured to emit light at various wavelengths (e.g., infrared or microwave light) into spaces, and to generate one or more signals where return times of reflected light signals are different, due to the presence of one or more moving objects within such spaces. Some security systems also include one or more smoke detectors having photoelectric sensors with light sources that emit light into sensing chambers, or ionization chambers that permit electric current flow to pass between pairs of plates, and are configured to generate one or more signals upon determining that smoke is present within one or more spaces based on disruptions in the passage of light or the flow of current within such chambers. Some security systems also include one or more water sensors having probes or elements that form parts of electrical circuits that are open when the probes or sensors are dry, and closed when the probes or sensors are wet, and are configured to generate one or more signals upon determining that water is present within one or more spaces, e.g., when such circuits are closed. Security systems may include any number of such sensors, or other sensors, such as thermometers, hygrometers, barometers, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide detectors, radon detectors, or others.

Security systems may also be outfitted with one or more transceivers or other communication components that are configured to contact an owner or other occupant of a facility when one or more predetermined events or conditions are detected within one or more spaces of the facility. Where a sensor determines that one or more of the predetermined events or conditions is occurring, and an owner or other occupant of (or personnel associated with) the facility is not present or is unreachable, such security systems may also contact one or more public or private authorities, which may then dispatch resources to a location of the facility to determine whether the one or more predetermined events or conditions is actually occurring, or to determine a degree or an extent to which such events or conditions are occurring.

Unfortunately, many security systems have extremely high rates of “false alarms,” in which one or more sensors at a facility reports, in error, that an event or condition is occurring at a facility. Security systems, or public or private authorities dispatched in response to signals received from such systems, are typically programmed or instructed to treat all reports of events or conditions as if such events or conditions are actually occurring. Dispatching resources to a facility in response to a report of an event or condition comes at a cost, however, and where such reports are false, or are otherwise erroneous or misstated, resources that are dispatched in response to such reports are typically unavailable to respond to reports of events or conditions that are actually occurring or present at the facility or elsewhere.

Furthermore, many security systems that rely on cameras, microphones or other acoustic or visual sensors, may subject owners or other occupants of facilities to privacy risks. For example, cameras or microphones that are mounted outside or inside of facilities, or otherwise in association with the facilities, may be configured for continuous operation by one or more security systems. To the extent that such systems are subject to hacking, spoofing or other surreptitious acts, data captured using cameras or microphones for the purposes of monitoring or ensuring the safety of spaces within a home, an office, or another facility may end up in the wrong hands, thereby unintentionally, and ironically, leaving the owners or occupants less secure for having installed and operated such systems.

Moreover, most security systems are installed in a static manner, and are unable to determine when any structural or functional variations or modifications have occurred in spaces where such systems are installed. Most security systems that are installed within a space are also not integrated with existing systems within the space, and are instead limited to performing specific security-related functions.”