Samsung Invents: Robots, Computers & Kitchen Appliances Too

By Steve Brachmann
June 18, 2014

The largest business conglomerate in the country of South Korea is the Samsung Group, a collection of numerous subsidiaries and affiliates headquartered in Seoul. As recently as mid-June, Samsung announced a major foray into the tablet computer world with the Galaxy Tab S, a tablet designed to provide the best mobile entertainment experience for viewing films and television. Samsung is also building partnerships with major magazine publishers like Conde Nast and National Geographic for a Galaxy Tab S application which will be known as Papergarden. Although other device manufacturers are starting to develop health and fitness applications for their mobile devices, Samsung has been entrenched in this area for a couple of years through its Gear Fit technology.

Every few months, we profile the recent research and development operations in which the companies of the Samsung Group are engaged. Today, we’ve seen an incredible amount of both patent applications and issued patents assigned to this conglomerate which are filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Samsung’s patenting activities have been in the news recently, as reports from Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science indicate that no one has filed for more patents for home automation technologies over the past 14 years than Samsung. Today, we’ve performed a thorough search of patents covering a wide degree of innovation from this patenting giant, from medical technologies to virtual reality services for consumer devices.

In addition to an interesting bio-chip testing system that has applications in the medical world, for quicker diagnosis of disease, we encountered a variety of the more typical patent applications you might expect from Samsung. We found, and profile below, patent applications relating to better support mechanisms for touch screen notebooks as well as a method for creating multiple desktop environments on a mobile device are also expressed within recent patent application filings.

The Samsung Group is one of the most active patent-seeking organizations in the world, and it has added hundreds of patents to its intellectual property portfolio in the past few weeks alone. A couple of patents we discuss today focus on the corporation’s home appliance offerings, including one for a removable cutlery basket within a dishwasher which allows for easier removal of knives, forks and more. Another patent protects a method for allowing a user to easily select the proper format for 3D image display corresponding to their stereoscopic glasses. We were also intrigued by a recently issued patent that improves upon Samsung’s previous activities in the field of robotics, which relates to a method of generating human-like motion in a humanoid robot.

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Other Patent Applications

Since entering the field of consumer electronics in the late 1960s, Samsung has been the source of great development in personal electronics for decades. In recent years, the company has been focusing a lot of its research and development investment on devices like the Galaxy electronic device as well as mobile phones and other semiconductor products. A design for a notebook computer incorporating a touch screen for more stability in response to user touch is described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140160654, which is titled Foldable Computing Apparatus and Method of Erecting Display Unit. This foldable computing apparatus contains cushion and anti-slip members opposite of the touch screen which provides better support against the force of a user’s finger against a touch screen. Samsung is also looking to incorporate autostereoscopic technologies into its consumer electronics, as is evidenced by U.S. Patent Application No. 20140160258, filed under the title 3 Dimensional Image Display Device. The 3D image display device that would be protected through this patent application can produce 3D images of higher quality without requiring viewers to use special glasses for viewing stereoscopic images, which is costly.

Other patent applications we took a closer look at today feature further software improvements meant to be used by consumers of Samsung devices. As is often the case with device manufacturers, we’re seeing a fair amount of patent applications which express technologies related to personalized services or customization of a device. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20140164980, entitled Apparatus and Method for Creative Wallpaper, would protect a system that enables a user of a computing device to create multiple desktop environments. The system involves an uncoverer included in a first desktop environment which can reveal and enable a second desktop environment containing different icons or applications.

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140164980, entitled “Apparatus and Method for Creative Wallpaper.”

 

We also noticed a novel system of providing a multimedia broadcast system to mobile device users described in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140165115, titled System and Method for Providing a Personal Broadcasting Service Using a Mobile Communication Terminal. This system is designed to provide better access to multimedia content among mobile communication terminal users without downgrading content quality when the bandwidth is insufficient.

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Issued Patents of Note 

In the world of intellectual property development, Samsung earned the 2nd-most amount of U.S. patent grants among all companies from the USPTO during 2013. Its 4,676 patents awarded that year only trailed behind International Business Machines for the most patent grants that year; the USPTO issued Samsung more than 800 patents more than 3rd-place Canon. Our recent check into Samsung’s patented technologies found that nearly 200 patents were issued from the USPTO to various companies within the Samsung Group within the past week.

From U.S. Patent No. 8746467, simply titled “Dishwasher.”

Along with mobile electronic devices, the Samsung Electronics Company also manufactures a great deal of home appliances used by consumers all over the world. We noticed a couple of patents issued this week which protect improvements to various appliances produced by this corporation. A basket unit for better holding of cutlery and tableware within a dishwasher was recently protected by U.S. Patent No. 8746467, simply titled Dishwasher. The dishwasher incorporates upper and lower baskets for holding cutlery, and the upper basket can be easily removed from the dishwasher for removing clean forks, knives and spoons. Ice makers on Samsung refrigerators may become easier to clean and repair thanks to the refrigerator modifications protected by U.S. Patent No. 8745992, issued under the title Refrigerator. An auxiliary door located on the front of the refrigerator door allows access to the receiving chamber of an ice maker. This would enable a person to clean the ice maker without opening the main refrigerator door.

From U.S. Patent No. 8745992, titled “Refrigerator.”

Samsung is also a major developer of robotics and virtual reality software, two areas in computing technology which may pose some interesting implications for the future of consumer electronics. Methods for enhancing augmented reality applications with the use of sound are protected by U.S. Patent No. 8749584, which is titled Apparatus and Method for Providing Augmented Reality Service Using Sound. This system is capable of presenting useful information about nearby attractions when images cannot be presented through a head-mounted display. Another Samsung technology for more convenient methods of presenting 3D images is protected by U.S. Patent No. 8749617, titled Display Apparatus, Method for Providing 3D Image Applied to the Same, and System for Providing 3D Image. This system for controlling a display apparatus allows a user to more easily control the presentation format of the 3D image, including side-by-side or top-bottom types, according to the type of glasses used to view the 3D image. Finally, we were intrigued by a recent patent issued to protect methods of producing robots which can mimic certain human actions, U.S. Patent No. 8751041, entitled Method to Generate Humanlike Motion of Humanoid Robot. The humanlike breathing motion of humanoid robots described within this patent is designed to improve the aesthetic response of humans to robots by making them seem more natural. Samsung has long been interested in robotic technologies for various fields, as we’ve seen in past Companies We Follow features.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

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