Hitachi Patents: Big Data, Identity Authentication and Tsunami Protection

Hitachi, Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, is an electronics and engineering conglomerate and the parent company of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is involved in an incredibly diverse collection of business segments, including social infrastructure, power systems and digital media. Hitachi’s subsidiaries have been very active in recent days, including Hitachi Data Systems, which recently acquired the data protection firm Sepaton, Inc., a company from Marlborough, MA, which holds a patent portfolio related to data management. Hitachi Metals Ltd. just spent $1.3 billion on acquiring the Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry, Inc., the largest purchase completed by that subsidiary. The parent Hitachi company also entered into an agreement with three American universities to develop uses of radioactive waste material from nuclear power plants as fuel.

Many of the patent applications published recently by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to Hitachi involve various aspects of data storage and systems for data management, including a method for energy-efficient cooling of data center equipment. Hitachi is also involved in the development of automotive services, and we’ve included one patent application describing a vehicle information system that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. Other patent applications that intrigued us today include one waterproof panel for protecting a building against a tsunami influx and an identification system that can authenticate a person based on the blood vessel pattern in their finger.

Hitachi enjoys a pretty robust portfolio of intellectual properties thanks to its research and development activities, and data system innovations were again expressed in a number of patents recently issued to the corporation. A couple of the patents which we’ve shared enable better methods of backup operations for data security. We were intrigued by another two patents protecting technologies that authenticate people by analyzing the blood vessel patterns in their fingers and hands, an intriguing area of recent development for Hitachi. Finally, we wrap up with a quick look at a novel method for connecting solar battery cells without the functional shortcomings that can be created when soldering wire connections to these battery cells.

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Hitachi’s Patent Applications: Big Data, Safer Pedestrians and Tsunami Protection

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140238656, which is titled “Air-Conditioning Control Apparatus for Data Center.”

Hitachi’s innovative forays into the world of data storage were expressed in a couple of patent applications recently filed by the company with the USPTO. For example, a system designed for the cooling of information processing equipment is disclosed by U.S. Patent Application No. 20140238656, which is titled Air-Conditioning Control Apparatus for Data Center. The control apparatus described here operates air conditioners and other cooling equipment which regulates the temperature of the information processing units within a data center. The objective for this technology is the effective cooling of data center equipment in a way that also reduces the considerable energy consumed by cooling equipment. We found another invention related to data storage in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140244958, filed under the title Storage System and Management Method Therefor. This technology involves a data storage system using multiple first storage areas partitioned by a controller. When data is migrated from a storage system to a host computer through this system, the control of the physical storage area allows for the consumption of less physical storage area by the data operation.

Another patent application which came to our attention was assigned to the Hitachi Metals subsidiary discussed in one of the business articles linked in today’s introduction. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140230968, simply titled Maraging Steel. This patent application would protect a process involving maraging steel, a type of steel utilized for its toughness and malleability, in which a nitriding treatment is applied. This nitriding treatment creates steel that has both high strength and high fatigue strength while minimizing the amount of cobalt contained within the maraging steel. Cobalt is a rare metal and it’s believed that the price for cobalt will increase dramatically in time.

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20140120328, titled “Flap Gate-Type Waterproof Panel for Wall Installation.”

Improvements to vehicular or pedestrian transportation systems have also been developed by Hitachi and can be seen in another couple of patent applications we decided to share today. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140238796, which is titled Shock Absorber and Vehicle Using the Same, would protect a shock absorber for vehicle piston rods which prevents working fluid from oozing outside of the cylinder. The shock absorber described here has good damping force properties which can maintain riding comfort for passengers in response to increased stiffness, such as when the stiffness of a run-flat tire is increased. Another vehicle apparatus, albeit one intended to benefit pedestrians and bicyclists, is described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20140232567, entitled Vehicle Support Systems for Pedestrians to Cross Roads and Support Methods for Pedestrians to Cross Roads. This would protect a vehicle support information system comprised of a man-detecting unit, a vehicle-positioning detecting unit, a stopping-vehicle determination unit and a traveling controller designed to help prevent collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. The system also includes a man-crossing-signal display unit so that pedestrians near a vehicle can see whether it is safe to cross the street.

Hitachi is involved in various areas of construction, and we wanted to share one technology developed by the corporation to address problems posed by natural disasters which have been experienced by Japan at times over the years. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140120328, titled Flap Gate-Type Waterproof Panel for Wall Installation, would protect a technology designed to prevent an influx of water brought on by a tsunami from entering a building through air supply and exhaust ducts. This waterproof panel simplifies the ability of closing the openings by using the vertical rising force of the tsunami instead of a manual operation, minimizing the risk of having human operators close the ducts manually. Finally, we were intrigued by an invention for identifying criminals outlined in U.S. Patent Application No. 20140240480, entitled Personal Identification System. This patent application would protect an imaging device capable of imaging a finger vein pattern, which can be more effective in identifying suspects than obtaining fingerprints, which can be forged, from a crime scene. This imaging device contains an improved light source for maximizing the quality of the captured image, and in turn increasing the accuracy of the identification system.

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Issued Patents of Note: Data Recovery, Solar Cells and More Personal Authentication

As we noted in our coverage of Hitachi’s recent business moves, subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems is making acquisitions in the field of data backup and protection. Our perusal of the U.S. patent grants recently issued to this Japanese corporation included some emergency data restoration services in this field, although these patents have been assigned to the Hitachi, Ltd., parent company. U.S. Patent No. 8812677, which is titled Data Processing Method and Apparatus for Remote Storage System, protects methods of data processing among remote file storage systems. Systems of data backup and replication to remote sites are often used for business continuity services in the face of power failure or disaster recovery. This technology is capable of reducing the significant processing time experienced when recalling files stored in a remote server to a local computer when those files aren’t available in a local server. Improvements to the integrity of data backup systems for electronic commerce are protected by U.S. Patent No. 8806119, entitled Storage Subsystem That Connects Fibre Channel and Supports Online Backup. The method of coupling a storage apparatus connected to a computer system provides high availability as well as the ability to execute backup processing without degrading online processing performance. In this system, backup processing for the recovery of data lost through device error can be performed at the same time or alternately with daily online processing.

Reducing the power consumed by data storage systems is a focus of another Hitachi innovation which recently achieved patent-protected status. U.S. Patent No. 8806125, issued under the title Storage System Comprising Power Saving Function, protects a method of managing a data storage system comprised of a plurality of storage devices which are shared by a plurality of upper-level computers. This technology enables a method for saving power in a storage device without impeding usage of the storage device by upper-level computers.

From U.S. Patent No. 8811689, titled “Finger Vein Authentication Device.”

Interestingly, we noticed a couple of other patents related to identification technologies relying on finger vein patterns, much like the invention expressed in the ‘480 patent application shared above. U.S. Patent No. 8805028, which is titled Personal Identification Device Using Vessel Pattern of Fingers, protects a personal identification device with a light source and a camera configured to capture an image of blood vessel patterns within a hand gripping the identification device. This innovation improves the ability for an identification device shaped as a doorknob to accurately and quickly authenticate the identification of a person based on the blood vessel patterns within the hand gripping the doorknob. A similar type of authentication device for identifying a person based on the blood vessels in their finger is protected by U.S. Patent No. 8811689, issued under the title Finger Vein Authentication Device. This patent protects a compact finger authentication device which can accurately detect the blood vessel pattern within a finger even if the finger’s placement deviates slightly from the proper placement within the device. In prior authentication devices, this misplacement could result in one person being authenticated as someone else entirely.

From U.S. Patent No. 8809102, which is titled “Solar Battery Cell Connection Method and Solar Battery Module.”

The Hitachi Chemical Company, another subsidiary based in the Japanese city of Tokyo, may have added an important technology in the field of alternative energies to the patent portfolio held by the corporation. U.S. Patent No. 8809102, which is titled Solar Battery Cell Connection Method and Solar Battery Module, protects a method of connecting solar battery cells through an adhesive layer that securely bonds with a wiring member that connects two electrodes. This method of connecting battery cells replaces earlier methods of using solder, which can require high temperatures which warp or otherwise degrade the performance of solar battery cells.

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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Evan Guthrie]
    Evan Guthrie
    September 9, 2014 05:32 pm

    The Tsunami Protection patent looks useful.