Samsung patents home network technologies, robotic vehicles

By Steve Brachmann
February 17, 2015

Samsung

“Samsung” by Samuel M. Livingston is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Samsung is a multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, which is comprised of a multitude of subsidiaries and affiliated businesses in electronics, ship building, construction and more.

Samsung invested the 2nd-greatest amount of money into research and development of any company worldwide in 2014; it’s $13.4 billion R&D investment that year was slightly edged by Volkswagen’s $13.5 billion R&D investment that year. Those 2014 R&D expenditures were 28 percent greater than Samsung’s 2013 totals and represented 6.4 percent of company sales. After a long succession of product development in personal electronics, including the popular Galaxy Note large-screen smartphone, Samsung has been putting together innovation teams with a greater focus on 3D printing and virtual reality tech.

In the third quarter of 2014, Samsung sold 73.2 million smartphone units globally, grabbing an industry-leading 24.4 percent market share. This is, however, a smaller market share than the 32.1 percent share that the company enjoyed during the same period last year. Speculation that Samsung is interested in buying BlackBerry has been downplayed by both companies in the face of recent meetings between executives of the two corporations. At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung CEO Boo-Keun Yoon announced that Samsung Text Cluster 2-12-15the company will invest $100 million into the developer community for the Internet of Things, which Yoon expects will connect about 90 percent of the company’s products by 2017.

Throughout 2014, Samsung earned the 2nd-largest amount of U.S. patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Its 4,952 U.S. patents outpaced 3rd-place Canon by nearly 1,000 patents, but greatly trailed IBM’s total of 7,534 U.S. patents. However, one of Samsung’s subsidiaries, Samsung Display Co., also ranked among the IFI Claims Top 50 U.S. Patent Assignee list with 1,511 U.S. patents during 2014. Using Innography’s analytical research tools to look at Samsung inventions over the past few months (represented in the text cluster diagram to the right), we’re seeing a heavy focus on semiconductor and memory devices as well as display units and wireless communications.

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The Connected Home and Other Home Appliances

A number of the patents recently assigned by the USPTO to Samsung disclose and protect some intriguing improvements to various home appliances. A washing machine with a rotatable drum and other components designed to improve stability and protect components from damage is the focus of U.S. Patent No. 8950219, which is titled Washing Machine and Control Method Thereof. The washing machine claimed here includes a rotatable drum for laundry, one or more balancer housings with disc-shaped channels which semi-auto closingare mounted on the drum, one or more balancing modules disposed in the channels of the balancer housings, a tub-mounted vibration sensor to measure drum unbalance and multiple position identification units and sensors to determine the position of balancing modules. A refrigerator with enhanced sealing ability upon being closed is discussed within U.S. Patent No. 8944540, issued under the title Semi-Auto Closing Apparatus and Refrigerator Having the Same. The refrigerator claimed here has a main body, at least one storage chamber with an opened front portion, multiple hinge modules installed at the top and bottom portions of the main body, a door cap with an auto close lever to transmit elastic force to a door in the door’s closing direction and a cam surface that helps the auto close lever to accumulate elastic force. The method of transferring elastic force to a closing door achieves a better closing seal without the complicated assembly of conventional auto closing apparatuses, which typically require the mounting of additional springs.

Connected home technologies, specifically those for sharing content between a multitude of devices, are featured within U.S. Patent No. 8943545, which is titled Digital Living Network Alliance System and Method for Providing Content Therein. The patent claims a method of providing content in a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) system withdigital living network an add-in server and an add-in controller connected to a digital media player by displaying a content list of video stored in the add-in server, transmitting a reproducing request for a selected video from the digital media player to the add-in controller, determining at least one registered digital media renderer capable of reproducing the video and reproducing the selected video by the digital media player. This system is designed to reduce the inconvenience of accessing video content by users of conventional content sharing systems. Improvements to Internet telephony networks for home telephone services are described within U.S. Patent No. 8948165, which is titled IP Telephony on a Home Network Device. The method for providing voice communications in a packet switched network protocol through a home network claimed here involves receiving an incoming call in the packet switched network protocol at a first home network device, notifying a second home network device of the call by operating a home network server to initiate an eventing mechanism, receiving a notification that the second home network device accepts the call and forwarding the call to the second home network device via a peer-to-peer signaling protocol. This Internet telephone innovation is designed to work with Universal Plug and Play open networking architecture and would enable a person in a networked home to answer a telephone call with their television.

 

Display Technologies for Multiple Screens and 3D Images 

multiple screensSamsung is a major developer of consumer televisions and other display technologies and its innovations in this field push the envelope in terms of how we interact with our devices. For example, there is some speculation that the Galaxy S6, likely to be unveiled in March, will have a three-sided touch display interface. Technologies for incorporating multiple screens on a single display for displaying contents are featured within U.S. Patent No. 8949894, entitled Apparatus for Providing Multiple Screens and Method of Dynamically Configuring Multiple Screens. The apparatus claimed here contains a receiving unit to receive a service comprised of video, audio and data components, a first module associating a plurality of logical screens with each of the received services, a second module associating each logical screen with a display screen, a third module that configures state information of screen objects and an abstract services module that provides an abstract service which is received for display on a display screen. This system for dynamic screen configuration is designed to improve the use of interactive television applications by enabling content control through multiple screens on a single display. An enhanced liquid crystal display (LCD) screen which can accommodate viewers who may not be situated directly in front of the display is the subject of U.S. Patent No. 8941793, issued under the title Liquid Crystal Display to Increase Side View Visibility. The LCD protected here includes a first substrate, multiple switching elements which are switched by the same signal, different subpixel electrodes connected to each switching element, a second substrate with a common electrode and a liquid crystal layer formed between the first and second substrates so that each of the subpixel electrodes have a specific area ratio to each other. The resulting LCD has higher transmittance and improved visibility so that the side viewing visibility is closer in experience to viewing the LCD screen from the front.

multi-view 3DSamsung is also continuing development on its lineup of 3D televisions, as is evidenced by U.S. Patent No. 8947779, which is titled Apparatus for Displaying a Multi-View 3D Image. The patent protects a 3D image display apparatus which includes an active optical element having different configurations for adjusting the path of light beams defining different perspectives of a single image by refracting light beams in a time sequential manner and a relay optical system that transmits refracted light beams towards a viewer’s pupil, creating multiple perspectives that are observed together by the pupil to give a 3D appearance. This invention is intended to provide a 3D image which is more naturally displayed than a conventional 3D display apparatus which only provides two views of a 3D image using left-eye and right-eye images.

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Vehicular Technologies for Humans and Robots 

Samsung has also been developing automotive and related vehicle innovations for a variety of purposes. Improved systems of communication between a mobile terminal and a vehicular head unit for providing infotainment to car passengers is explored within U.S. Patent No. 8954229, titled Method of Dynamically Changing Content Displayed in a Vehicular Head Unit and Mobile Terminal for the Same. The method of dynamically changing content displayed in a head unit of a vehicle by a mobile terminal which is claimed here receiving state information about the vehicle’s current state from the head unit, determining which content to display based on the state information and transmitting that content to the head unit. This system addresses shortcomings in distracting drivers through mobile terminal use or restrictions in the amount of content that can be accessed through a mobile terminal.

robotic vehicleA robotic vehicle for performing work in hazardous conditions which has an improved stability is the focus of U.S. Patent No. 8950762, which is titled Arm-Wheel Type Robotic Vehicle Comprising Suspension System. The vehicle claimed here is comprised of a body, two pivoting arms attached to the body through a common pivot axle, a bottom unit coupled to one end of each arm, a suspension system connected to each arm and a displacement variable actuator coupled to a resilient member of the suspension system so that both are displaced only in a direction parallel to a ground surface contacted by a bottom unit. This technology enables a greater degree of stability in robotic vehicles that travel over uneven ground, useful for robots developed for space exploration, disaster control or military applications.

 

Other Samsung Inventions: From Wireless Charging Systems to Tracking Human Relations 

We’ll wrap up today’s analysis of recently issued Samsung patents with a look at a collection of intriguing technologies that we wanted to share with our readers today. We’ve been seeing a fair amount of innovation in wireless charging systems by the Companies We Follow and Samsung has also joined the fray with U.S. Patent No. 8946940, entitled Wireless Power Transmission System, and Method for Controlling Wireless Power Transmission and Wireless Power Reception. The method for controlling wireless power transmission claimed here involves detecting a plurality of target devices to wirelessly receive power, selecting a source resonating unit based on the amount of power to be transmitted to the target device and wirelessly transmitting power using the selected source resonating unit. This innovation improves the power transmission efficiency of a wireless charging system by automating the selection of a resonator unit based on the amount of power used by a device to be charged. Energy storage systems for renewable forms of energy are disclosed and protected by U.S. Patent No. 8942010, issued under the title Inverter of New and Renewable Energy Storage System. The patent claims a renewable energy storage system for a renewable energy source which includes a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) converter connected to the energy source, a DC link connected to the MPPT converter, a DC-DC converting unit connected to the DC link and an inverting unit connected to the DC-DC converting unit. The DC-DC converting unit further includes a half-bridge circuit with multiple unregulated switches and the MPPT converter extracts maximum available power from the new renewable energy to provide an output voltage. This invention provides an inverter for the use of renewable energies from solar cells or wind power generators while providing electrical insulation and reducing the complexity and cost of the energy inverter.

viewer behaviorWe also took note of a couple of Samsung patents protecting technologies that are designed to track the behaviors of those consumers using Samsung products. Metadata for tracking the television content being viewed by an individual is provided by the technology described within U.S. Patent No. 8955005, which is titled Viewer Behavior Tracking Using Pattern Matching and Character Recognition. The method for user tracking claimed here involves capturing one of multiple frames viewed on a display device, matching a pattern of the captured frame with a frame template by searching frame templates based on a cropped image, extracting information based on the matched frame template and tracking user behavior based on the extracted information. This system is intended to improve methods of tracking viewers which have become more complex with the advent of smart TVs and TV-connected devices like set-top boxes or Blu-ray players. Tools for determining a person’s changing relations based on their mobile communication history are explained by human relationsU.S. Patent No. 8949341, titled Method and Apparatus for Providing Information on Human Relations Based on Analysis of Log Data in Mobile Communication Terminal. The method for providing information on human relations protected by this patent involves acquiring log data for two different time periods from a mobile communication terminal, analyzing log data for opposite parties, calculating averages of amounts in the log data, comparing the calculated averages of amounts from each log data and displaying a change in human relations which is determined to be increasing or decreasing based on the compared calculated averages. The system also provides for the visual display of a determined change in human relations in numerals, text or graphic elements.

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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