Patent Portfolio for Sale:

Actuators, Motors, and Holonomic Robotic Platform Patent Portfolio for Sale    

Actuators, motors, and holonomic robotic platforms driven by oscillatory transducers.

Overview

By eliminating or limiting the need for gears, lead screws, wheels, or precision machining in the manufacture of devices, these two broad technology patents integrate the actuator or motor with the device to reduce cost, conform to available spaces, reduce weight, or achieve enhanced performance

Technical Description

These two broad technology patents describe long-stroke actuators, rotary motors and holonomic robotic elements all driven by any conceivable type of controllable oscillatory transducer. As such, the usual descriptions of devices as "electric", "pneumatic", "hydraulic", etc. are not sufficiently limiting to pigeon-hole the devices encompassed by these patents. Any type of transducer/driver can be used as dictated by the size category, power output, cost, or other special considerations such as radio-transparency for a medical device or inherently explosion-proof for use in a gas distribution facility.

The size range includes MEMS devices driven by electrostatic comb drivers to pneumatic industrial robots. Besides friction between driver and driven element, the use of oriented fibers and dynamic surface engagement switches (DSES) are also described as alternate novel methods to couple drivers. Also, the operating frequencies of the driver oscillations vary from sub-sonic to ultrasonic depending on application.

Special characteristics can be configured easily with this technology since velocity, direction, and position can be controlled by simple electronics irrespective of the actual transducer type used. For example, one possibility is an inexpensive long-stroke pneumatic actuator with good position control as well as excellent velocity control. Three separate independent parameters can be dynamically set to achieve exquisite velocity control.

Another possibility is motors or actuators used in end-effectors for laparoscopic surgery which are inexpensive and small enough to be part of disposable instruments.

Benefits

By eliminating or limiting the need for gears, lead screws, wheels, or precision machining in the manufacture of devices, this technology integrates the actuator or motor with the device to reduce cost, conform to available spaces, reduce weight, or achieve enhanced performance. Of course, separate OEM devices can also be configured. New approaches to old problems are possible with the flexibility offered. For example, a pulsating column of saline in a catheter lumen can be used in an oscillatory transducer to power a motor or linear actuator at the tip. Indeed, the pulsing of blood in-vivo, may itself have application to power implanted devices. The original impetus for this invention was the search for a robust, accurate, yet low-cost microscope stage.

Primary Application of the Technology

Applications of these devices are only limited by imagination. Within the patents, several applications are described. These are in medical, automotive, and industrial automation fields such as packaging machinery. For example, a holonomic robotic platform of this invention is used in a water-jet or laser cutting application. In that application a group of small cooperating pneumatic robots is used as a substitute for a large gantry robot (at least the size of the work-piece) thereby reducing capital cost for large marine or aircraft applications involving composite sheets. Automotive accessories such as window regulators, side view mirror actuators, power antennas, and windshield wipers are described. Familiar transducers such as voice coils, piezoelectric elements, pneumatic bladders, electrothermal devices, as well as new devices such as electroactive polymers (EAP) can be employed for the various uses.

Future extensions related to the holonomic robotic elements of these patents may result in opportunities for new intellectual property. These include spherical motors, haptic feedback joysticks, and powered ball joints.

Patent Summary

U.S. Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class 310: Electrical Generator Or Motor Structure

This is the residual class for all subject matter, not elsewhere classified, relating to electrical generator or motor structure.

Subclass 328: With mechanical energy coupling means
Subclass 15: Reciprocating
Subclass 20: Motion-converting mechanism
Subclass 68B: Condition responsive (e.g., position, torque, etc.)
Subclass 40MM: Miniature motors

Class 359: Optical: Systems And Elements

Optical elements included in this class are: Lenses; Polarizers; Diffraction gratings; Prisms; Reflectors; Filters; Projection screens; Optical Modulators; Optical Demodulators. Among the optical systems included in this class are: Compound lens systems; Light reflecting signalling systems (e.g., retroreflectors); stereoscopic systems; Binocular devices; Systems of lenticular elements; Systems involving light interference; Glare reducing systems; Light dividing and combining systems; Light control systems (e.g., light valves); building illumination with natural light; Systems for protecting or shielding elements; Optical systems whose operation depends upon polarizing, diffracting, dispersing, reflecting, or refracting light; kaleidoscopes. Further included are certain apertures, closures, and viewing devices of a specialized nature which involve no intentional reflection, refraction, or filtering of light rays. This class also includes optical elements combined with another type of structure(s) to constitute an optical element combined with a nonoptical structure or a perfection or improvement in the optical element.

Subclass 877: With switch or motor controlling mirror movement

Class 74: Machine Element Or Mechanism

Mechanical combinations, contrivances, or devices constituting portions of machines, instruments and apparatus and consisting of two or more fixed and movable parts so combined that the motion of one compels a completely controlled or constrained motion of the other according to a law of operation inherent in and depending on the nature of the combination, and also the elemental parts of such machines not provided for in other machine element classes.

Subclass 111: MECHANICAL MOVEMENTS (INTERMITTENT GRIP TYPE)
Subclass 126: Oscillation or reciprocation to intermittent unidirectional motion