One of the world’s foremost developers of home appliances and electronics systems is the Samsung Group, a conglomerate of many subsidiaries that is headquartered in the South Korean city of Seoul. The company has struck hard times of late, with Reuters reporting that the corporation plans to meet with shareholders to discuss strategies in the face of a 13 percent reduction in stock prices. However, its presence in the electronic device market has been strong as of late, and the company recently announced its plans to release a smartwatch device during the fall of 2013.
The IPWatchdog Companies We Follow series has profiled this South Korean electronics developer in the past, and we’re returning today for another check into the corporations recent operations. We’re profiling a collection of patent applications and issued patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that discuss their various appliance developments that will likely be available soon in the consumer market. What we find is an eclectic mix of computer systems, display devices and even an automated vacuum cleaner.
Improved display devices are featured in a number of USPTO patent applications that we discuss in today’s column, and are an important focus for Samsung. One particular application would protect a display that is capable of providing a cleaner three-dimensional image, while another application would protect an LCD screen that can display a wider viewing angle for users. Other patents and applications we explore show the wide scope of Samsung’s development activities. One patent application describes a motorized robotic floor cleaner that can better clean under furniture. Another patent application has been filed for a system of providing personal health records to medical professionals in a way that better benefits patients. Finally, we look at a recently issued patent that gives Samsung protections over a system of simultaneously translating a voice message into a different language.
Simultaneous Interpretation System
U.S. Patent No. 8527258
Telephone communications for cordless and corded phones can allow users to access remote translation services that can interpret spoken language for two telephone parties who speak different languages. In these systems, a user sends a verbal message to an interpretation service center, which provides a translated message in the language of the receiving party. However, this is inefficient for communications systems like call centers, as accessing additional remote services can be cumbersome for business.
Recently, the USPTO issued a patent to Samsung for the protection of simultaneous translational services within a single communications terminal. A portable communications terminal within the communication network receives a voice message from a first party. The data is converted into a voice message composed in a second language that the message’s recipient can understand. This portable terminal is more effective at incorporating headset communications into the interpretation system.
Claim 1 of this issued patent gives Samsung the official right to protect:
“A simultaneous interpretation system, comprising: a plurality of headsets for inputting and outputting voice speech signals; and a portable terminal configured for receiving output from the first headset of an original language voice speech signal to be interpreted/translated, and for outputting to the second headset an interpreted language voice speech signal in a first translated language based on the original language voice speech signal, wherein the portable terminal is configured to operate a short range wireless communication to communicate with headsets of a respective speaker and a listener of the plurality of headsets in which the portable terminal translates between a plurality of pre-designated languages, and wirelessly communicates with an interpretation server for translation between languages other than the plurality of pre-designated languages.”
Robot Cleaner With Improved Dust Collector
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130227812
Floor-cleaning robots have been developed by appliance manufacturers as they’re popular among homeowners who don’t want to vacuum their floors manually. These machines travel around on wheels and pick up dirt from floors using a motorized suction fan. However, their operating capacity is hindered by constraints posed by couches and other furniture pieces. The low clearance prevents these appliances from using a suction fan capable of providing the optimal force required to collect dust.
Samsung has filed this application with the USPTO to protect a robotic vacuum cleaner that has improved suction force for dust and fine particles. This design uses a rotating brush located near the suction hole to beat the particles off of the floor and towards the suction hole. A blower sending air through a dust collector also improves the suction force of this appliance.
Claim 1 of this patent application would give Samsung protection over:
“A robot cleaner comprising: a suction hole to suction dust; a blower to generate a suction force to suction the dust; an approximately rectangular shaped dust collector to receive the dust through the suction hole; and a rotating brush to sweep up and collect the dust into the dust collector, wherein the dust collector includes a collecting region to receive the dust swept up by the rotating brush, and a backflow preventing member movably coupled at an inlet opening of the collecting region between an open position and a closed position, wherein the backflow preventing member is pivotably rotatable in an air suction direction by the suction force of the blower to the open position to suction the dust into the dust collector and is adapted to return to the closed position to prevent the dust in the dust collector from being discharged through the suction hole upon stoppage of the blower, wherein the backflow preventing member includes one end hingedly coupled to upper portion of the inlet opening, and the other end configured as a free end, and wherein the other end is contacted with an inner surface of the collecting region in the closed position.”
Liquid Crystal Display Having Wide Viewing Angle
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130229611
A liquid crystal display (LCD) screen is typically constructed of a liquid crystal that is packed between two substrates. Vertically aligned twisted nematic (VATN) LCD screens, used in some applications, have polarizing plates that aid the orientation of the screen picture. When an electric field is applied to the liquid crystal, the liquid crystal molecules are manipulated to display a picture. However, for many LCD screens, some voltage levels, especially those used for grayscale colors, narrow the viewing angle of the screen for users.
This patent application, filed with the USPTO by Samsung, would protect the manufacture of a LCD screen with improved picture quality for a wider viewing angle. This design includes the use of a color filter substrate with depression patterns and a thin film transistor array substrate with pixel electrodes. The electrodes and depression patterns in these new substrates stabilize the light orientation of the display screen and provide a wider viewing angle.
As Claim 1 explains, Samsung is seeking the rights to protect:
“A liquid crystal display (LCD), comprising: a first substrate; a second substrate facing the first substrate; a liquid crystal layer disposed between the first substrate and the second substrate; a pixel area disposed on the first substrate and including at least two sub-regions; a first electrode disposed in the pixel area and having at least one cross-shaped domain divider including a horizontal portion and a vertical portion, and a second electrode disposed on the second substrate and having a plurality of domain dividers arranged in an at least approximately square-shaped pattern.”
Method and Apparatus for Providing Personal Health Record Information
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130231958
The use of personal health records to track patient medical procedures and diagnoses has grown in recent years as it has proven to be more effective at preventing medical issues, which is much more cost-effective than responding to issues through hospitalization. Computerization in medical facilities allows professionals to create health records for patients easily. However, these records aren’t typically shared between facilities, and even when they are, sharing practices may constitute an invasion of privacy against a patient.
Samsung is seeking a patent for its new method of providing personal health record information to better benefit patients. Patients can access a computerized healthcare terminal that manages virtual personal healthcare record information. A processor allows a terminal manager to read the personal health records that have been stored by the terminal.
As Claim 1 describes, this patent application would protect:
“A method for providing Personal Health Record Information (PHR) in a terminal which stores and manages Virtual Personal Healthcare Record Information (VHR), the method comprising: receiving a request for a PHR list from a healthcare terminal of a manager, managing a user’s health; providing the PHR list to the healthcare terminal; receiving a request for at least one PHR included in the PHR list from the healthcare terminal; and performing authentication such that the healthcare terminal is provided with the at least one PHR.”
Three-Dimensional Display Device
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130229449
Various forms of entertainment, including video games and movies, have moved towards methods of displaying animated content in three dimensions for viewers. Stereoscopic three-dimensional presentations require the use of glasses, but there are auto stereoscopic methods that do not require viewers to wear special lenses. For instance, a lenticular device allows a display to refract light so as to create three-dimensional images. However, as these devices get longer for larger displays, the light refraction can create Moiré patterns or other artifacts.
This patent application has been filed by Samsung to protect a display device capable of reproducing auto stereoscopic three-dimensional images while reducing the occurrence of visual disturbances. This display creates a screen that is comprised of many unit cells, each with its own lenticular device. The incline of these devices allows for light to be refracted in a way that provides a three-dimensional image while cutting down on Moiré patterns.
Claim 30 (Claims 1 through 30 cancelled) of this patent application aims to give Samsung the rights to:
“A display device configured for displaying three-dimensional images and comprising: a display panel having a plurality of display unit cells disposed as a matrix in the form of rows and columns, the unit cells being spaced apart from one another with opaque areas disposed between the spaced apart unit cells, where a central point to central point first pitch between adjacent cells in each row is ‘a’ and a central point to central point second pitch between adjacent cells in each column is ‘b’ and where the display unit cells are respectively configured to be controlled to respectively emit or pass through different amounts of light so that intermixed 2D images may be formed on the display panel for stereo-scopic projection therefrom; and an image-converting sheet disposed on the display panel and including a plurality of elongated lenticular lenses, each of the lenticular lenses having a longitudinal lens axis inclined with respect to the rows and columns of the matrix where the inclination of the lens axis may be expressed as a ratio of a first distance, y in the column direction divided by a second distance, x in the row direction, where x is an integer multiple, m of the first pitch ‘a’ and y is an integer multiple, n of the second pitch ‘b’, where the respective multiples m and n are each greater than one, and where each of the lenticular lenses has a lateral width that fully encompasses a plurality of view point lines that are equally spaced apart from one another, disposed on the matrix as phantom lines which are evenly distributed over the lateral width of the respective lens and are inclined to be parallel to the longitudinal lens axis, where the fully included plural view point lines correspond to a same number of display unit cells arranged along the row direction, and further where each of the view point lines passes sequentially through respective central points of a first subset of the unit cells and also extends substantially centrally, as part of the sequential passing-through, through the opaque areas disposed between a second subset of the unit cells through whose central points the view point line does not pass as part of the sequential passing-through.”