Interesting Patents Round-Up:
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

This week in interesting patents:

Tesla continues refining its solar roof panels. AT&T analyses how and where you consume media. Spotify singles in on the vocals. Disney speeds up the storyboard process. Amazon eggs on the purchase process. Apple amps up the digital assistant. Details and links to the patents below:

Glass cover with optical-filtering coating for managing color of a solar roof tile
U.S. Patent No. 10,978,990

About the Patent

Tesla’s latest solar panel patent claims a method to disguise solar cells on a roof using an optical filter encapsulating the individual cells while allowing the majority of sunlight to pass through. To control the color of the encapsulation a system of louvers acts as an optical wavelength band reject filter for the light being reflected from the solar panels. The absorption of the reflections coming off of the solar panels removes the color contrast between the photovoltaic cells and the rest of the roof.


This patent gives us further information about new features of Tesla’s solar roof. Unlike previous home solar arrays that are merely mounted on top of an existing roof, Tesla aims to seamlessly integrate the solar system into the roof.  By encapsulating the cells in a casing that captures the reflected light coming from the cells it gives users the illusion that the cells are not even there. The optical filter can be deposited directly onto the encapsulating surface to create a 3D louver pattern, further blocking the view of the photovoltaic cells from certain angles.

System for trend discovery and curation from content metadata and context
U.S. Patent No. 10,979,528

About the Patent

AT&T wants to know what type of media you’re consuming and where. According to their recently granted patent, “online media content is received and consumed by users on a variety of platforms, while a wide variety content is offered by multiple providers. A user’s choice of content can depend on several factors, including the type of device used to receive the content and the user’s real-time activity and environment, in addition to characteristics of the content.”

AT&T’s claimed system discloses a method of analyzing network subscribers’ metadata to determine media consumption patterns of audiences. From the aggregated metadata media trends can be identified and recommendations for new media content not previously consumed by the user can be provided. The media consumption of an individual user is matched to a cohort of additional users with a similar media consumption pattern. As more metadata is collected on the user they are correlated with additional cohorts enabling additional media and advertisements to be presented based on the user’s unique profile.

Automatic isolation of multiple instruments from musical mixtures
U.S. Patent No. 10,977,555

About the Patent

Spotify’s latestt patent teaches a method of leveraging neural networks to isolate specific instruments or voices from musical mixtures. To analyze the mixed audio signal it is first converted to an image file and using a convolutional neural network individual audio signals can be identified from the mix. This would give listeners a new way to appreciate their favorite artists by giving them a new way to experience each individual track that goes into the final mix of their favorite songs.

Other uses for the new invention? According to the patent, “as for commercial applications, it is evident that the karaoke industry, estimated to be worth billions of dollars globally (see, e.g., Reference [4]), would directly benefit from such technology.”

Automated storyboarding based on natural language processing and 2D/3D pre-visualization
U.S. Patent No. 10,977,287

About the Patent

According to a new Disney patent, “storyboard creation is usually an iterative and lengthy process performed by a group of storyboard artists that sketch the visual representations by hand or with the help of digital sketching software.” The patent also describes the struggle of scriptwriters who lose focus on story development due to maintaining logical consistency of stories and story worlds.

However, Disney has been issued a patent for a way to automatically generate a storyboard from a natural language processing network using pre-defined visualizations for specific story assets. Disney’s new patented technology seeks to allow storyboard creation to be focused on the story rather than becoming preoccupied with the actual creation and execution of the storyboard. A knowledge base is defined for the pre-visualized story assets with data elements to allow users to query the system for script information. The knowledge base can continually be updated and queried by the users as more information is added to the script. This ensures a streamlined approach to storyboarding that enables more creative freedom to the users of the system.

Personalize Product Pricing
U.S. Patent No. 10,977,681

About the Patent

On the fence about a specific Amazon purchase? Amazon patented a new method to help merchants engage with interested buyers.

This Amazon system discloses a method to analyze a user’s interest in an unpurchased item and notifies the merchant of the user’s interest and prompts them to provide an offer to the customer. By analyzing the user’s potential interest in an unpurchased product and alerting the merchant, it enables a chase for the merchant to provide an individualized offer to the customer. By bringing the user’s interest to the attention of the merchants it allows the merchant to further solicit their products by offering the customer an additional discount.

Voice trigger for a digital assistant

U.S. Patent No. 10,978,090

About the Patent

Is your digital assistant killing your device’s battery? There might be a fix for that.

Apple was issued a patent this week regarding activating a digital assistant. Sound input is recognized that corresponds to a specific word or phrase that activates a speech-based service like a digital assistant.

The patent states, “there is a need for a low-power voice trigger that can provide ‘always-listening’ voice trigger functionality without excessively consuming limited power resources.”

This new system provides a low power method of providing an “always-listening” voice trigger by using light sensor data to determine when to switch between standby and active listening mode. Once the trigger for the system has been detected a speech-based service will be initiated with the user.
Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
Edited by Lauren Hawksworth, Marketing Administrator

April 13, 2021