Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 3 July 2007


(2007), "Patents", Sensor Review, Vol. 27 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Title: Semiconductor light source with optical feedbackApplicant: Downing John P Jr (US)Patent No: US2007063125Publication date: 22 March, 2007

A semiconductor light source with optical feedback includes a vertical member extending upward from an upper horizontal surface of a header parallel to a vertical beam projected from a semiconductor light-emitting element mounted on the horizontal surface of the header wherein the vertical member supports a light- sensing element for receiving light reflected transversely from the vertical beam by a beam splitter supported by the vertical member. The vertical beam passing through the beam splitter passes through a window or filter in a cap mounted on the header and covering the light-emitting element, the light- sensing element, the beam splitter, and the vertical member. Substantially all of the transversely reflected light impinges on the light-sensing element and can be used to control the power to the light- emitting element. A simple lens can by used to collimate the beam. Interior portions of the unit are formed from light absorbing materials such as black ceramic, black plastic, anodized aluminum, etc. The combined effect of the non-reflective interior of the assembly, the orientation of the photo- diode to have an acceptance cone perpendicular to the beam axis, the small entrance pupil, and the optical filter reduces ambient radiation in the unit by as much as 275dB of the level outside the device. This reduces noise and drift in the automatic power control loop to produce constant intensity in the output light beam.

Title: Proximity sensor for level sensing in a bilgeApplicant: Touchsensor Tech Llc (US)Patent No: EP1766343Publication date: 28 March, 2007Abstract not available for EP1766343Abstract of corresponding document: US2006005622

A sensor system for sensing liquid level in a bilge, for use in automatic bilge pump actuation. First and second field effect sensors are potted or sealed within a container or the bilge wall and are aligned in a vertical array and each comprise a substantially planar pattern of “electrodes” or conductive traces disposed on a printed circuit board along with integrated circuits used to create a loop or arc-shaped electric field. As bilge liquid rises to the proximity or level of the field effect sensors, a change in the arc-shaped electric field is sensed and, in response, a bilge pump is automatically actuated to pump liquid out of the bilge. Optionally, the pump control can be programmed by use of a microprocessor to permit control of on-off timing and prevent undesirable effects of “sloshing.”

Title: System for fault-tolerant fluid level sensing and switchingApplicant: Baniahmad Laila (US)Patent No: US2007051173Publication date: 8 March, 2007

A fault-tolerant system and a method for controlling levels of a fluid in a vessel during a fluid operation, which may include draining the fluid from the vessel or filling the fluid into the vessel, are provided. A first signal indicating the first fluid level in the vessel is sensed by a primary sensor set of the system. A second signal indicating the second fluid level in the vessel is sensed by a secondary sensor set of the system. The fluid operation can be controlled using both the first signal from the primary sensor set and the second signal from the secondary sensor. Alternatively, the fluid operation can be controlled using the second signal from the secondary sensor set if the primary sensor set fails.

Title: Sender unit for sensing the level of remaining fuel in a fuel tank utilizing a non- contacting sensorApplicant: Kafus (KR)Patent No: KR20060130833Publication date: 20 December, 2006Abstract not available for KR20060130833Abstract of corresponding document: WO2006132496

The present invention relates to a sender unit for sensing the level of remaining fuel in a fuel tank utilizing a non-contacting sensor. The sender unit for sensing the level of remaining fuel in a fuel tank of a vehicle is fixed in the fuel tank to sense the level of the remaining fuel by detecting the position of a float that floats depending on the level of the liquid surface of the fuel. The sender unit comprises a casing 110; a disk-shaped rotor yoke 130 pivotably received in the casing 110; a ring-shaped magnet 140 fixed to a lower portion of the rotor yoke 130; a stator yoke 150 that is a magnetic body including a plurality of horizontal arms 151, 152 and 153 spaced apart from a lower surface of the magnet 140 so as to form a closed magnetic circuit together with the magnet 140; a magnetic sensing element 160 fixed within a gap formed in the stator yoke 150; a plate 170 which is fixedly received in the casing 110 and to which the stator yoke 150 is fixed; and a rod 120 having one side end connected to the float 101 and the other side end penetrating through the casing 110 and fixed to the rotor yoke 130. According to the present invention, it is possible to accurately sense the level of fuel remaining in a fuel tank in a non- contacting manner, thereby improving the durability of the device.

Title: System and method for motion- controlled foot unitApplicant: Oessur HF (IS); Ossur (US); Jonsson Helgi (IS); Clausen Arinbjoern Viggo (IS); Ingimarsson Gudni (IS); Lecomte Christophe (IS); Sigfusson Larus (IS); Ragnarsdottir Heiorun Gigja (IS)Patent No: WO2007027668Publication date: 8 March, 2007

A system and method associated with the movement of a limb includes a system and method for sensing movement of a device associated with the limb. In one example, the system, such as a prosthetic or orthotic system, includes an actuator that actively controls, or adjusts, the angle between a foot unit and a lower limb member. The actuator preferably selectively locks during a desired phase in a gait cycle of the limb and minimizes friction against a rotor of the actuator. A processing module may control movement of the actuator based on data obtained from a sensor module. In one example, a prosthetic or orthotic system includes a sensor assembly configured to measure movement of a component of the system in a single direction while substantially isolating negative effects of forces and/or loads in other directions. For instance, sensing module data may include information relating to the gait of a user and may be used to adjust the foot unit to substantially mimic the movement of a natural, healthy ankle. The system may further accommodate, for example, level ground walking, traveling up/down stairs, traveling up/ down sloped surfaces, and various other user movements. In addition, the processing module may receive user input or display output signals through an external interface. For example, the processing module may receive a heel height input from the user. The sensor assembly may monitor rotation of a foot unit about an axis of a pivot pin of the pivot assembly and disregard other movements and/or forces. For example, the sensor assembly may include a potentiometer that detects rotation of an associated elongated bellow portion about the axis, wherein the bellow portion includes a plurality of ridges configured to substantially eliminate effects of radial and/or axial forces.

Title: Electronic sensing circuitApplicant: Koninkl Philips Electronics NV (NL)Patent No: US2007059936Publication date: 15 March, 2007

A sensor has an output coupled to a first comparator input. A control circuit is arranged to switch from an upward tracking mode to a downward relative level detection mode, to a downward tracking mode, to an upward relative level detection mode and back to the upward tracking mode successively. A first and second digital to analog conversion circuit receive a first and second digital control value from the control circuit, respectively. A controllable combiner circuit has inputs coupled to outputs of the first and second digital to analog conversion circuits and an output coupled to the second comparator input, the control circuit having first output coupled to controllable combiner circuit to cause the combiner circuit to supply first and second combiner output signals determined by the first and second digital to analog conversion circuit to the second comparator input in the upward and downward tracking mode, respectively, and to supply a third combiner output signal corresponding to an average of the first and second combiner output signals to the second comparator input in the relative level detection modes. The control circuit has an input coupled to the output of the comparator, the control circuit controlling one directional upward tracking by the first digital to analog conversion circuit of upward changes of the sensing signal in the upward tracking mode, and controlling one directional downward tracking by the second digital to analog conversion circuit of downward changes of the sensing signal in the upward tracking mode.

Jessica Mytum-SmithsonLevel and position sensing