Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050087255 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/971,486
Publication dateApr 28, 2005
Filing dateOct 22, 2004
Priority dateOct 23, 2003
Also published asUS8151832, US8776838, US20140319167
Publication number10971486, 971486, US 2005/0087255 A1, US 2005/087255 A1, US 20050087255 A1, US 20050087255A1, US 2005087255 A1, US 2005087255A1, US-A1-20050087255, US-A1-2005087255, US2005/0087255A1, US2005/087255A1, US20050087255 A1, US20050087255A1, US2005087255 A1, US2005087255A1
InventorsRichard Humphrey, Peter Dorney
Original AssigneeHumphrey Richard L., Peter Dorney
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
RF device in drinkware to record data/initiate sequence of behavior
US 20050087255 A1
Abstract
A drinkware is provided to provide information to a receiver. The drinkware is a RF device coupled to a handheld drinking container. The RF device can receive and send RF signals and communicate with a sensory device. A transmitter can send a signal to the communication device, which then activates sensory device. The RF device can communicate with the transmitter to control a fountain machine.
Images(14)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(28)
1. A drinking container comprising:
a sensory device coupled to the drinking container; and
a receiver coupled to the drinking container and capable of receiving signals, the receiver in communication with the sensory device.
2. The drinking container of claim 1, further comprising a power supply connected to the receiver and the sensory device.
3. The drinking container of claim 1, wherein the drinking container has a wall, and the receiver is within the wall.
4. The drinking container of claim 1, wherein the drinking container has an outer surface, and the receiver is attached to the outer surface.
5. A drinking system comprising:
a handheld drinking container;
a transmitter;
a sensory device coupled to the handheld drinking container; and
a communication device coupled to the handheld drinking container in communication with the transmitter and the sensory device.
6. The drinking system of claim 5, wherein the transmitter can send a RF signal and the communication device can receive the RF signal.
7. The drinking system of claim 6, wherein the communication device can send a RF signal.
8. The drinking system of claim 5, wherein the communication device comprises a RF chip powered by a power supply.
9. The drinking system of claim 5, wherein the communication device comprises a radio frequency identification chip.
10. A drinking container, comprising;
a communication device attached to the drinking container capable of receiving and transmitting signals.
11. The drinking container of claim 10, further comprising a sensory device attached to the container in communication with the communication device, wherein the communication device is a RF circuit configured to receive a signal from a transmitter and transmit a signal to a receiver.
12. A drinking container comprising:
a sensory device coupled to the container;
a receiver communication device coupled to the container; and
a switch coupled to the container in communication with the receiver communication device and the sensory device.
13. The container of claim 12, wherein the receiver communication device is configured to send a signal to the switch to cause the switch to activate the sensory device.
14. The container of claim 12, wherein the receiver communication device is a signal receiver and signal transmitter.
15. A drinking system comprising:
a handheld drinking container;
a receiver sensory device coupled to the drinking container and capable of receiving a signal.
16. The drinking system of claim 15, wherein the receiver sensory device is a RF circuit in communication with a light, which is powered by a battery.
17. A method of dispensing a liquid comprising:
providing a handheld drinking container having a RF device;
providing a transmitter that communicates with the RF device;
controlling a fountain machine being capable of dispensing a liquid in response to the communication between the transmitter and the RF device and/or sending a signal that an unauthorized refill is attempted.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the handheld drinking container is a disposable cup.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein the fountain machine is controlled based on the amount of liquid dispensed into the handheld drinking container.
20. A beverage dispensing system to control and supervise the billing, inventorying and pouring of drinks comprising, in combination:
a cup having a generally cylindrical configuration with an inner wall and an outer wall defining an intermediate air space, the cup further having an upper lip and a bottom and a cylindrical sidewall there between;
an ISO 15693 certified read/write 13.56 MHz RFID, hereinafter radio frequency identification, tag on the container, the tag being passive and adapted to store information relating to a purchase situated on the sidewall of the cup, the tag being adapted to store information relating to purchase time and purchase date and being related to the size of the cup and amount being purchase;
a self serve beverage dispenser having a plurality of dispensing valves associated with a plurality of different beverages, each valve also having an actuator formed as a proximity sensor to notify the unit a cup is present and a antenna adapted to read information in the tag on the cup;
a reader located in a vertical plane in the proximity of the dispenser beneath the valves and operatively coupled with respect to the tag for communicating with the tag and for communicating with the actuator; and
an electronic system operatively coupled to the tag and the actuators and the reader, the electronic system including a central processing unit (CPU), and an antenna and the tag with the actuator coupled to the cup and the CPU and with a relay coupled to the valves;
the electronic system also including an input/output (I/O) board and a host controlled board, the I/O board including an off/on switch and a power providing transformer and a rectifier and two regulators, the electronic system also including a RFID reader board and an Optical Radio Modem inputting the I/O board, the host controller board including a Realtime Clock, a Flash, an I/O, a SRAM, a CPU and timers; and
the ISO 15693 Tag Format for RFIDMUG PRODUCTS being a 64 block sub system with Block 1 being a MAGICNUMBER: 32 bits, Block 2 being a VERSIONID: 32 bits, Block 3 being a STARTDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 4 being a STOPDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 5 being a VENDORID: 32 bits, Block 6 being a LOCATIONID: 32 bits, Block 7 through Block 64 being SPARE: 32 bits. All of the blocks are preferably hard coded ID: 64 bits.
21. A beverage dispensing system comprising:
a container having an upper lip and a bottom and a cylindrical sidewall there between;
a read/write radio frequency identification tag on the container;
a beverage dispenser having a plurality of dispensing valves associated with a plurality of different beverages, each valve also having an actuator;
a reader operatively coupled with respect to the tag for communicating with the tag and for communicating with the actuator; and
an electronic system operatively coupled to the tag and the actuators and the reader.
22. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the electronic system includes a central processing unit (CPU), and an antenna and the tag with the actuator coupled to the cup and the CPU and with a relay coupled to the valves.
23. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the electronic system also includes an input/output (I/O) board and a host controlled board, the I/O board including an off/on switch and a power providing transformer and a rectifier and two regulators, the electronic system also including a RFID reader board and an Optical Radio Modem inputting the I/O board, the host controller board including a Realtime Clock, a Flash, an I/O, an SRAM, a CPU and timers.
24. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the electronics includes an ISO 15693 Tag Format for RFIDMUG PRODUCTS which is a 64 block sub system with Block 1 being a MAGICNUMBER: 32 bits, Block 2 being a VERSIONID: 32 bits, Block 3 being a STARTDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 4 being a STOPDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 5 being a VENDORID: 32 bits, Block 6 being a LOCATIONID: 32 bits, Block 7 through Block 64 being SPARE: 32 bits, all of the blocks are preferably hard coded ID: 64 bits.
25. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the actuator is a proximity sensor adapted to read information in the tag on the cup.
26. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the actuator is a button for each valve to initiate dispensing.
27. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the reader is in a vertical plane in the proximity of the dispenser beneath the valves.
28. The system as set forth in claim 21 wherein the reader (read/write antenna) is in a horizontal plane in front of and beneath the dispenser.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application No. Ser. 10/922,470, filed Aug. 20, 2004, and is based on and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/513,662, filed Oct. 23, 2003 and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/518,904, filed Nov. 10, 2003. Each of the foregoing applications is hereby expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates in general to consumer products and, particularly, to drinkware associated with a receiver and/or transmitter.

2. Description of the Related Art

Drinkware typically are containers that hold a drinkable liquid, such as water, fountain drinks, or the like. Many times, drinkware filled with a liquid is sold at stadiums, theme or amusement parks, movie theaters, restaurants, complexes, and events (e.g., county fairs). For example, many times drinkware available at an amusement park incorporates an advertisement for either the amusement park or a drink manufacturer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Conventional drinkware may not in itself entertain or enhance the experience of a person at one of the aforementioned locations. In particular, conventional drinkware with advertisements is unlikely entertain or enhance the experience of a person at the amusement park. Further, it is important that amusement parks use drinkware that increases drink sales. Conventional drinkware may not further encourage people to purchase drinks. As a result, people at amusement parks may buy drinks primarily because of thirst, not because of drinkware. Thus, the amusement park is losing drink sales because the drinkware itself may not provide a motivation to purchase the drinkware.

Drinkware found in homes typically does not entertain and is not interactive. For example, in many instances a person plays a video game and a drink is nearby. Unfortunately, the drinkware merely holds a liquid and does not further the video game experience. Thus, conventional drinkware cannot perform functions, thus resulting in reduced drinkware sales and enjoyment.

Restaurants may have a policy that the customer can purchase a cup, which they can fill one time at a self serve fountain machine. If the customer wants to refill their cup, they may have to pay for the refill. Despite the restaurant's policy, customers may refill their cups without making proper payment. The restaurant may also have a policy that customers cannot use a single cup for multiple visits to the restaurant. For example, the restaurant may sell the cup to the customer so that the customer can refill the cup during a single continuous visit, but cannot refill the cup during a subsequent visit. Despite the restaurant's policy, after the customer purchases the cup leaves the restaurant, the customer may return to the restaurant for a second visit and reuse the same cup that they purchased during the first visit without making any payment. The restaurant loses money because the customer did not make the required payment for their drink. Thus, the restaurant loses costly liquid. Additionally, the restaurant may have a lost sale because the customer might have purchased a drink during the subsequent visit if they could not reuse cups.

There is provided in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention a consumer product, desirably drinkware, and more desirably a drinking container that comprises a sensory device coupled to the drinking container. The sensory device is a broad term and includes, for example, a light, vibrator (e.g., a rotating unbalanced mass), speaker, articulating part, visual display, and the like.

In one embodiment, drinking container comprises a receiver/transmitter that is capable of sending and receiving various signals. In one another embodiment, the drinking container comprises a receiver and a switch. The switch can be in communication with the sensory device to activate or deactivate the sensory device. In another embodiment, the drinking container comprises a receiver sensory device capable of receiving a signal.

A RF device is particularly desirable because it can be used to send and receive signals. In one embodiment, the receiver and/or transmitter, such as a RF device, is desirably coupled to the drinking container and is capable of receiving a signal, such as an RF signal. Further, the RF device is in communication with the sensory device. In one embodiment, the drinking container has a power supply connected to both the RF device and the sensory device.

In another embodiment, a drinking system comprises a handheld drinking container, a transmitter, a communication device, and a sensory device. The sensory device is coupled to the handheld drinking container. The communication device is also coupled to the handheld drinking container and is in communication with both the transmitter and the sensory device.

In one embodiment, the transmitter can send a signal (e.g., RF signal) and the communication device can receive the signal. Further, the communication device comprises a RF chip powered by a power supply that can send a RF signal. In another embodiment, the communication device comprises a radio frequency identification chip. Further, a timer can be in communication with the communication device and/or the sensory device.

In one embodiment, a method of dispensing a liquid comprises providing a handheld drinking container having a RF device. A transmitter is provided that communicates with the RF device. A fountain machine being capable of dispensing a liquid is controlled in response to the communication between the transmitter and the RF device. Further, the handheld drinking container can be a disposable cup. The fountain machine can be controlled based on the amount of liquid dispensed into the handheld drinking container.

The applicants recognized a need in the art for an improved beverage dispensing system that can be used for controlling and supervising the billing, inventorying and pouring of drinks. In one embodiment, a device or beverage dispensing system is provided that meets this need by enabling the control and supervision of the billing, inventorying, and pouring of drinks.

In one embodiment, an improved beverage dispensing system is provided. One embodiment provides a new and improved beverage dispensing system and method which has many of the advantages of the prior art and additional advantages.

In one embodiment, a cup or container is provided. The cup may be generally cylindrical with an inner wall and an outer wall defining an intermediate space. The cup further has an upper lip and a bottom. The cup has a cylindrical sidewall between the upper lip and the bottom.

In one embodiment, the cup or container has a radio frequency identification tag, such as an ISO 15693 certified read/write 13.56 MHz RFID. The tag is passive, but can be active, and is adapted to store information relating to a purchase. The tag may be situated on the sidewall or bottom of the cup. The tag is adapted to store information, e.g., relating to purchase time, purchase date, the size of the cup or container, and amount being purchase.

In one embodiment, a beverage dispenser is provided. The beverage dispenser may be a self serve dispenser. The beverage dispenser may have a plurality of dispensing valves associated with a plurality of different beverages. Each valve also has an actuator that may include a proximity sensor adapted to notify a central processing unit (“CPU”) that a cup is under a specific dispensing head and to notify a reader, such as an antenna, to read the information on the RFID tag. The actuator may be a mechanical actuator coupled with the reader.

A reader (antenna) is next provided. In one embodiment, the reader is a single reader. The reader may be located beneath the valves, e.g., in a vertical plane in the proximity of the dispenser. The reader is operatively coupled to the tag for communicating with the tag and for communicating with the CPU *which will actuator.

In one embodiment, an electronic system is provided. The electronic system is operatively coupled to the tag, the actuator (or actuators), and the reader. The electronic system includes a central processing unit (“CPU”), an antenna, the actuator, and the tag coupled with the cup. The CPU and is coupled with the valves, e.g., by a relay, and may be coupled with an ice dispenser.

In one embodiment, the electronic system also includes an input/output (I/O) board and a host controlled board. The I/O board includes an off/on switch and a power providing transformer, a rectifier, and a plurality of regulators (e.g., two regulators). The electronic system also includes an RFID reader board and an optical radio modem inputting the I/O board. The host controller board may include a realtime clock, a flash, an I/O, a SRAM, a CPU, and at least one timer.

In one embodiment, the ISO 15693 Tag Format for RFID MUG PRODUCTS is a 64 block sub system in which: block 1 is a MAGICNUMBER: 32 bits; Block 2 is a VERSIONID: 32 bits; Block 3 is a STARTDATE TIME: 32 bits; Block 4 is a STOPDATE TIME: 32 bits; Block 5 is a VENDORID: 32 bits; Block 6 is a LOCATIONID: 32 bits; and Block 7 through Block 64 are SPARE: 32 bits. All of the blocks are preferably hard coded ID: 64 bits.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, features of various embodiments so that the detailed description may be better understood and so that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. Additional features of the invention are described below, some of which are claimed herein.

In this respect, before explaining various embodiments of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of descriptions and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

It is another object of some embodiments of the present invention to provide a new and improved beverage dispensing system which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

It is further object of some embodiments of the present invention to provide a new and improved beverage dispensing system which is of durable and reliable constructions.

An even further object of some embodiments of the present invention is to provide a new and improved beverage dispensing system which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such beverage dispensing system economically available to the buying public.

Even still another object of some embodiments of the present invention is to provide a beverage dispensing system for controlling and supervising the billing, inventorying and pouring of drinks.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved beverage dispensing system that has a container with an upper lip, a bottom and a cylindrical sidewall. A read/write radio frequency identification tag is on the container. A beverage dispenser has a plurality of dispensing valves associated with a plurality of different beverages. Each valve has an actuator. A reader is operatively coupled with the tag for communicating with the tag and for communicating with a CPU*, which communicates with the actuators for beverage and ice. An electronic system is operatively coupled to the tag and the actuators and the reader.

These together with other objects of some embodiment of the invention, along with the various additional features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated various embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description refers to drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a drinkware device and a transmitter;

FIG. 1A is an illustration of a communication device;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the drinkware device;

FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of a communication device;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a transmitter and a communication device;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a transmitter and a communication device in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 6 is an illustration of a drinkware device in accordance with another embodiment

FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of a transmitter and a communication device in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a program of in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 9 is a perspective illustration of one embodiment of a RFID dispensing system;

FIG. 10 is a perspective illustration of another embodiment of a RFID dispensing system;

FIG. 11 is a perspective illustration of one embodiment of a cup for receiving fluids or other material dispensed from the systems shown in FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 is a block diagram of the circuitry employed in the dispensing systems of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 13 is a circuit diagram of the system of FIGS. 9-12 including an I/O board and a host controller board as well as inputs and outputs; and

FIG. 14 is a block diagram of one embodiment of an ISO 15693 Tag Format suitable for RFID mug products.

The same reference numerals refer to the same parts throughout the various Figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a drinkware device 2 comprising a handheld container 10 capable of holding liquid having a communication device or radio frequency (RF) device 20, which is in communication with a sensory device 40. Drinkware as used herein is intended as a broad term and includes, for example, cups, mugs, straws, and bottles. The RF device 20 communicates with the sensory device 40 in response to signals (e.g., a RF signal) received from a transmitter, desirably in the form of a RF transmitter 80.

The container 10 can hold liquid and is configured so that a person can conveniently hold and drink the liquid. In the illustrated embodiment, the container 10 is a tapered cylindrical cup having an opening 4 at one end and a closed bottom 6 at the other end. The container 10 has a wall 12 extends between the opening 4 and the bottom 6 and has an inner surface 14 and an outer surface 8. The container 10 is sized to be conveniently held by a person and can be made of glass, plastic, foam, ceramic, coated cardboard/paper, wood pulp, or the like. Additionally, the container 10 can be disposable or reusable. For example, the container 10 made from a ceramic is washable and reusable.

The RF device 20 is coupled to the container 10 and communicates with the sensory device 40. In the illustrated embodiment, the RF device 20 is attached to the outer surface 8 of the container 10 by, e.g., an adhesive or fasteners. For example, an adhesive, such as epoxy, can couple a back face 30 (as shown in FIG. 1A) of the RF device 20 to the surface 8 of the container 10. The back face 30 can have a curved surface with a curvature similar to the curvature of surface 8 to ensure a secure bond between the RF device 20 and the container 10. Additionally, the RF device 20 can be flexible so that the back face 30 can conveniently attached to the surface 8. Those skilled in the art recognize that there are various techniques for coupling the RF device 20 to the container 10. For example, although not illustrated, the RF device 20 can be attached to the inner surface 14 of the container 10. Of course, a protective layer or housing can prevent contact between the electrical components/circuits of the RF device 20 and the liquid held within the container 10. Advantageously, the RF device 20 can be part of a label that can be conveniently attached to the container 10. For example, the label could be either an advertisement or data (e.g., a bar code) related to the container or liquid. For easy manufacturing, the label can have an adhesive side that can be conveniently affixed to a conventional container (e.g., cup, glass, mug). The label could be attached to the inner surface 14, the outer surface 8, or the bottom 6 of the container 10. Additionally, inexpensive disposable labels can be coupled to containers 10, which are disposable. In one embodiment, the RF device 20 can be imbedded in the wall 12 of the container. For example, the RF device 20 can be imbedded in the inner surface 14 or the outer surface 8. The container 10 can also be a disposable cup, preferably sold a restaurant, as discussed below.

In one embodiment, the RF device 20 is a radio frequency identification chip (RFID). Preferably, the transmitter 80 provides an output that powers the RF device 20. In other words, the RF device 20 does not require a power supply 26 because the RF device 20 can have a circuit 80 powered by the transmitter 80. The circuit 80 can modulate waves, which are then are sent back to a receiver.

The sensory device 40 generates or provides an output that can be perceived by a person. For example, the sensory device 40 can comprise one or more lights, vibrator (e.g., a rotating unbalanced mass), speaker, articulating part, visual display, or the like. Preferably, the sensory device 40 provides and output that is related to the proximate environment. For example, the drinkware device 2 has a sensory device 40 in form of a light, or an array of lights, and can be sold at a baseball stadium. When a batter hits a home run, the sensory device 40 located in the stands can be illuminated. Thus, a plurality of drinkware devices 2 can be illuminated resulting in a spectacular display of light. Alternatively, the sensory device 40 could be a shape or symbol that could be light up. For example, an amusement/entertainment park can have a show where people in the audience have the drinkware device 2. The sensory device 40 can be a symbol (e.g., Mickey Mouse) related to the show and could light up at various strategic times in during the show. Similarly, the audience may enjoy the visual display of the sensory devices 40, which may promote sales of the drinkware 2. Thus, various sensory devices 40 can be used throughout a single venue to further enhance people's enjoyment, while increasing drink sales. Those skilled in the art recognize that the sensory device 40 could be disposed on the outer surface 8 or inner surface 14 of the container 10, within the wall 12, on the bottom 6, or the like. For example, the sensory device 40 in the form of a light could be attached to the outer surface 8, while sensory device 40 in the form of a vibrator could be embedded in the wall 12 (as shown in FIG. 2). Thus, there can be a plurality of sensory devices 40 in various locations of the drinkware 2.

The transmitter 80 can send a signal to the RF device 20 and, preferably, has a range of 300 yards. Thus, the transmitter 80 can send a signal to the RF device 20 up to an access point 300 yards away. In one embodiment, there can be a plurality of transmitters 80 that form a network for communicating with the RF device 20. For example, an amusement park can have the plurality of transmitters 80 that are strategically placed throughout the park such that the RF device 20 can receive a signal anywhere in the park. Alternatively, the amusement park could provide signal from the transmitter 80 to particular regions of the park. In operation, the transmitter 80 can send information or instructions to the RF device 20. In one embodiment, the transmitter 80 can instruct the RF device 20 to activate or deactivate the sensory device 40. For example, the RF device 20 can activate the sensory device 40 for a period of time or sequence. Those skilled in art recognize that the device 20 can include a circuit, controller, receiver and/or transmitter, or the like that can perform a series of steps in response to the transmission or signal. The device 20 can illuminate a series of illuminated images in order to give the appearance of movement, such as a fish or whale jumping.

The device 2 can comprise a timer that is in communication with the sensory device 40 and/or the device 20. For example, the device 20 could activate the sensory device 40 and the timer can be employed to deactivate the sensory device 40 at a desired time. Of course, the timer can be employed so that device 20 sends a signal to a receiver at a desired time.

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of the drinkware device 2 comprising the container 10 with the wall 12, which surrounds the RF device 20. The wall 12 can reduce damage to the embedded RF device 20 because liquid cannot contact the RF device 20. Additionally, the wall 12 can reduce damage to the RF device 20 from incidental contact, such as by bumping the drinkware device 2 against a surface. The drinkware device 2 can be formed by molding the container 10 around the RF device 20. The molding process can be a one step or a multi-step process. For example, a first portion of the container 10 can be molded and then the RF device 20 can be attached to the first portion. An overlay or second portion can then be formed over both the first portion and the RF device 20. Of course, the RF device 20 can have various shapes and sizes. Preferably, the RF device 20 has a thickness t1 less than then the thickness of t2 of the wall 12. Those skilled in the art recognize that various techniques can be employed for embedding the RF receiver in the container 10.

FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of the RF device 20 comprising an antenna 24 in communication with a RF chip 22 powered by a power supply 26 (e.g., a battery). The antenna 24 is capable of receiving a signal sent by the transmitter 80 (shown in FIG. 1), or transmitting a signal to the transmitter 80. The antenna 24 communicates the signal sent from the transmitter 80 to the RF chip 22. The RF chip 22 can energize or actuate the sensory device 40, which may also be powered the power supply 26. Preferably, the RF chip 22 is about 2 mm wide and 2 mm long and can receive the signal sent by transmitter 80 up to 300 yards away. In one embodiment, the RF device 20 has an amplifier 28 to ensure that the signal from the RF chip 22 can drive the sensory device 40. In the illustrated embodiment, the RF device 20 comprises storage device 18 for storing data that can be transmitted from the RF device 20 to a receiver 90. The receiver 90 can receive and interpret the data, as discussed below. Those skilled in the art recognize that other embodiments of the RF device 20 may comprise the RF chip 22. The RF chip 22 can be in communication with various separate components, such as the power supply 26, antenna 24, storage device 18, and amplifier 28.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a transmitter and a communication device. In one embodiment, the RF device 20 can receive a first signal from the transmitter 80 and can transmit a second signal to the receiver 90. FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of a processor 30 in communication with the RF device 20 and the sensory device 40. In one embodiment, the processor 30 receives a signal from the RF chip 22 and processes the signal and then sends the processed signal to the sensory device 40. The processor 30 can be part of the RF device 20 or a separate component.

In operation, the transmitter 80 sends a signal or signals to the RF device 20, which activates the sensory device 40. The sensory device 40 is powered by the power supply 26 or an alternative power supply and is activated for a period of time or a sequence. The period of time can be related to the surrounding environment, such as events during a show. Alternatively, the RF device 20 can receive a first signal from the transmitter 80 to activate the sensory device 40. The sensory device 40 remains activated until the RF device 20 deactivates the sensory device 40 in response to second signal from the transmitter 80. Alternatively, the RF device 20 can activate the sensory device 40 for a sequence. For example, the sensory device 40 can be light or series of lights that is illuminated for repeating periods of time.

In one embodiment, the RF device 20 functions as a receiver and transmitter for information data. For example, the RF device 20 can be a receiver that programmed (i.e., stored on the storage device 18) with a user's information, such as their name, age, sex, and drink type. The RF device 20 can be programmed by a signal sent from the transmitter 80 or directly by the user. When the user goes to a vendor (e.g., a concession stand, bar, restaurant) the user's information is transmitted from the RF device 20 to the transmitter/receiver 80, which is in communication with the vendor. The transmitted information can be provided to workers at the vendor so that the workers can greet the user by name resulting in a very personal and enjoyable experience. The drinkware device 2 also permits the vendor to track and monitor the sales of drinks. The vendors can use the information when taking inventory, advertising, performing behavioral analysis, and the like. Advantageously, if the vendor has many distribution locations (such as an amusement park with many concession stands), a network can link all the distribution locations. Thus, workers at different distribution locations can greet the user by name and engage is a pleasant conversation. For example, a worker at an amusement park can ask the user whether they enjoyed their last show, event, ride, or the like. This can increase the user's enjoyment level while at the amusement park.

In one embodiment, the RF device 20 stores information corresponding to an amount of money. For example, the user could purchase the drinkware device 2 charged with $30, which is stored by the storage device 18 of the RF device 20. When the user buys a refill, the vendor can simply deduct the amount of money stored on the storage device 18 by the cost of the drink/refill. Advantageously, the user can simple carry the drinkware device 2 to the cashier and does not have to carry around money, a debt card, or a charge card. Alternatively, vendors can sell drinks with a limited number of refills. For example, a self-serve restaurant can sell a drink cup that includes two refills. When the user refills the drinkware 2, the RF device 20 and transmitter 80, which is in communication with the fountain machine, communicate so that the refill is recorded. After two refills, the fountain machine will not refill the user's drinkware 2. Of course, the communication device 20 can be a passive device that is recognized by the receiver. The receiver can be on the fountain machine and monitors the number of refills obtained by the user. Advantageously, the communication device 20 (e.g., RFID) does not require the power supply 26.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, the drinkware device 2 has the RF device 20, which is coupled to the container 10 and in communication with the register system 306 and/or the liquid dispenser system 403. In the illustrated embodiment, the register system 306 and the liquid dispenser system 403 are in communication with a controller 310.

The register system 306 comprises a transmitter 80′ (as discussed above) that preferably communicates with a register 304. The register could include an integrated transmitter. Alternatively, the system could use a separate transmitter which does not communicate with the register and, for example, includes a separate input device, such as a touch pad. In one embodiment, the register 304 is a cash register that is used to determine the cost of the customer's order. The transmitter 80′ can be in communication with the register so that data is exchanged between the RF device 20 and 80′ when the customer buys a drink and receives the drinkware device 2, preferably to use with a self serve fountain machine.

The liquid dispenser system 403 comprises a liquid dispenser in the form of a fountain machine 402 in communication with the transmitter 80. The fountain machine 402 comprises a lever 408 that can be moved to cause a nozzle 400 to dispense a liquid, such as soda. Although not illustrated, the fountain machine 402 can have a button that can be depressed to cause liquid to be dispensed from the nozzle 400 or can comprise a sensor which detects the presence of the cup and actuates the dispenser. The fountain machine 402 can have plurality of nozzles 400, 400′ and levers 408, 408′, similar to conventional multi-drink self serve fountain machines

The controller 310 can be in communication with the register system 306 and the liquid dispensing system 403. The register system 306 and liquid dispensing system 403 have the transmitters 80′, 80, respectively, and are in communication with controller 310. For example, the controller 310 can receive signals from the transmitter 80′ and then can communicate with the liquid dispensing system 403 to cause the fountain machine 402 to dispense or not dispense liquid when the lever 408 is moved. In one embodiment, when the customer buys a drink, the register 304 sends a signal based on data from the transmitter 80′. The controller 310 can communicate with the transmitter 80 to control the liquid dispensed by the fountain machine 402. Alternatively, the controller 310 can let the restaurant know, for example, through a signal to the register system and/or a display, that someone is seeking an unauthorized refill. Preferably, the transmitter 80 is proximate to the fountain machine 402 to ensure proper communication between the transmitter 80 and the device 20. Although not illustrated, the controller 310 can be at various locations on the vendor' premises. For example, the controller 310 can be within a housing 404 of the fountain machine 403 or underneath a counter, preferably not accessible to the public. Of course, the vendor can be a drink seller, such as a fast food restaurant, food court, a concession stand (e.g., at an amusement park), cafeteria, or the like.

As discussed above, the drinkware device 2 can preferably be a disposable cup that is sold by a vendor, such as a restaurant. The drinkware device 2 can made of inexpensive containers 10, such as paper cups, and inexpensive RF devices 20 for a low cost drinking container that can be sold in restaurants, preferably fast food restaurants.

Customers may buy a drink at a vendor in the form of a restaurant where the restaurant provides the customer with a cup that the customer takes to a self serve fountain machine. Upon reaching the fountain machine, the customer can fill up the cup with a liquid (e.g., soda) themselves. The controller 310 can be programmed to determine whether the drinkware device 2 should be filled by the fountain machine 402. The restaurant may limit the number of refills or prohibit customers from using a single cup for multiple visits to the restaurant. Despite the restaurant's policies, customers may refill up their cup more than the allowed number of times without making proper payment. Restaurants may have a policy that the customer can purchase a cup that they can fill one time. If the customer wants to refill their cup, they may have to pay for the refill. Other times, restaurants may also have a policy that customers cannot use the same cup for multiple visits to the restaurant. For example, the restaurant may sell the cup to the customer so that the customer can refill the cup during a single continuous visit to the restaurant. Despite the restaurant's policies, after the customer leaves the restaurant, the individual may return to the restaurant for a second visit and reuses the cup that they purchased during the first visit without making any payment.

A program 900 can be used by the controller 310 and can be based on time, amount of liquid dispensed, number of fill ups, or the like. The customer can buy a drink, i.e. device 2, in a restaurant. The device 2 and the register system 306 communicate and provide data to the controller 310. In one embodiment, the transmitter 80′ sends and receives a signal from the RF device 20 and provides data to the register 304, which sends a signal to the controller 310 indicating that the device 2 has been purchased. The register system 306 communicates with the controller 310 which can have the program 900 to limit the amount of liquid that the fountain machine 402 dispenses to any one drinkware device 2.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating steps of the program 900 that can be used by the controller 310. In step 1000, the RF device 20 communicates with the transmitter 80. Preferably, the RF device 20 and the transmitter 80 communicate the when the drinkware device 2 is under or near the nozzle 400. Thus, the fountain machine 402 can have a plurality of nozzles 400, 400′ and can determine which of the nozzles 400, 400′ the drinkware device 2 is under or near.

In step 1002, the liquid dispensing system 403 sends a signal to the controller 310 that the device 2 is under the nozzle 400. In step 1004 the controller 310 determines whether the liquid dispensing system 310 should dispense liquid out of the nozzle 400 to fill device 2. In one embodiment, for example, the fountain machine 402 only fills the drinkware device 2 one time. After the drinkware device 2 is filled, the fountain machine 402 will not dispense liquid out of the nozzle 400 when the lever 408 is moved. In another embodiment, the fountain machine 402 can fill the drinkware device 2 a certain number of times. After the drinkware device 2 is filled the set number of times, the fountain machine 402 will not dispense liquid out of the nozzle 400 when the lever 408 is moved. In yet another embodiment, the fountain machine 402 can fill the drinkware device 3 during a period of time. For example, the register system 304 can communicate to indicate to the controller 310 that the drinkware device 2 has been sold. The controller 310 permits the drinkware device 2 to be filled for the period of time, preferably in the range of about 0.5 hour to 1 hour. Thus, the customer can fill the drinkware device 2 while they eat. Alternatively, the time period could be one half day or all day. However, the customer cannot fill the drinkware device 2 during another visit after the programmed period of time.

If the program 900 determines that the fountain machine 403 should dispense liquid, the controller proceeds to step 1006 and sends a signal to the fountain machine 402 so that the fountain machine 402 dispenses liquid into the drinkware 2, under the nozzle 400, when the lever 408 is moved. However, if the program determines that the fountain machine 402 should not dispense liquid, the controller proceeds to step 1008 and sends a signal to the fountain machine 402 so that the fountain machine 402 does not dispense liquid into the drinkware 2 under the nozzle 400 when the lever 408 is moved. If the fountain machine 402 has a plurality of nozzles 400, 400′ the fountain machine 402 can fill the drinkware device 2 under the nozzle 400 while not filling another drinkware device 2 under the other nozzle 400. That is, the program 900 can operate independently for each nozzle of the fountain machine 402. Again, if an individual tries to have the fountain machine 402 dispense liquid in violation of the restaurant's policies, the liquid dispensing system 403 can have a buzzer, alarm, or the like, to alert the workers at the restaurant that the individual is improperly trying to obtain a drink.

In one embodiment, the drinkware device 2 can have a RF device 20 responsive to a video game. For example, the user can play a web-based game on a computer. The RF device 20 can receive a signal from the computer and then activates the sensory device 40 at various times (e.g., when a player or enemy dies) during the game. The activation of the sensory device 40 can further increase the user's satisfaction during the gaming experience.

Those skilled in the art recognize that the RF device 20 can be used in various other applications. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 6, the RF device 20 can be coupled to a straw 200. Of course, the RF device 20 could also be coupled to a lid for a cup.

With reference to FIG. 9, further embodiments related to a beverage dispensing systems 1000 will be discussed.

The beverage dispensing system 2000 comprises a plurality of components. In one embodiment, such components include a container or cup, a read/write radio frequency identification tag coupled with the container, a beverage dispenser, a reader, an electronic system, and an antenna for sending the information to the RFID tag. Such components are individually configured and correlated to each other so as to attain the desired objective.

In one embodiment, the system 2000 includes a container or cup 2014 (FIG. 11). The cup 2014 has a generally cylindrical configuration with an inner wall 2016 and an outer wall 2018 defining an intermediate air space. The cup 2014 further has an upper lip 2020 and a bottom 2022. The cup 2014 has a cylindrical sidewall 2024 between the upper lip 2020 and the bottom 2022. The cup 2014 may be any other type of container, such as a glass, paper, bottle or, ice bucket as for ice.

In one embodiment, the system 2000 also includes a read/write radio frequency identification (RFID) tag 2028 coupled with the container. The RFID tag 2028 may be an ISO 15693 certified read/write 13.56 MHz RFID. The RFID tag 2028 is passive and is adapted to store information relating to a purchase in one embodiment. The RFID tag 2028 may be situated on the sidewall of the cup 2014. The tag 2028 is adapted to store information relating to at least one of the purchase time, the purchase date, the size of the cup, and the amount of beverage being purchase. In another embodiment of the invention, the tag 2028′ is located on the bottom of the cup. Note the dotted line showing of FIG. 11.

In one embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9, a self serve beverage dispenser 2032 is provided. The beverage dispenser 2032 preferably has a plurality of dispensing valves 2034 associated with a plurality of different beverages. The system may be used with a single dispensing valve and a single beverage. Each valve 2034 also has an actuator formed as a proximity sensor 2036 adapted to read information in the tag 2028 on the cup 2014. In another embodiment of the, the proximity sensor 2036 is replaced by a button 2037 for each valve to initiate dispensing. A CPU, discussed below, is inside the dispenser 2032.

In one embodiment, a reader 2038 is provided. The reader 2038 may be located in a vertical plane in the proximity of the dispenser beneath the valves. The reader 2038 is operatively coupled with the tag 2028 for communicating with the tag 2028. The reader 2038 is operatively coupled with the CPU for communicating with the CPU. The CPU communicates with the actuator. In another embodiment, a reader 2038′ similar to the reader 2038 is located in a horizontal plane in front of and beneath the dispenser 2032. The readers 2038, 2038′ can be a read/write antenna which will give the RFID system the ability send information back to the RFID tag 2028 in the cup 2014 to be stored. The stored information can be used for any purpose, for example for promotions, such as if the customer buys 10 drinks, the customer will be entitled to an additional 5 free drinks for a total of 15 drinks. Another example is a debit/credit transaction on prepaid cup or promotion.

In one embodiment, an electronic system 2042 (FIG. 12) is provided. The electronic system 2042 may be operatively coupled with the tag and the actuators and the reader 2038. The electronic system 2042 includes a central processing unit 2044 (CPU), an antenna 2046, and the tag 2028 coupled with the cup 2014. The CPU 2044 is coupled with the actuator. The electronic system 2042 has a relay 2048 coupled to the valves.

In one embodiment illustrated in FIG. 13, the electronic system 2042 also includes an input/output (I/O) board 2052 and a host controlled board 2054. FIG. 13 is a block diagram of one embodiment of RFID beverage dispenser circuitry. The I/O board 2052 includes an off/on switch 2056 and a power providing transformer 2058 and a rectifier 2060 and two regulators 2062. The electronic system 2042 also includes an RFID reader board 2064 and a modem 2066, which may be an optical radio modem, inputting information to the I/O board 2052. The host controller board 2054 preferably includes a clock 2068, which may be a realtime clock. The host controller board 2054 preferably also includes a flash 2070, an I/O 2072, a SRAM 2074, a CPU 2076 and timers 2078.*

In one embodiment, the RFID tag 2028 is an ISO 15693 RFID tag format. This tag format is well adapted for products, such as a SMARTMUG PRODUCTS. The RFID tag 2028 has a 64 block sub system 2082 (FIG. 14). The first six blocks of the sub system 2082 may include required information. The remaining blocks can be reserved for future expansion. In one arrangement, the final 64 bit block is used to identify multiple tags. In one arrangement, Block 1 includes a MAGICNUMBER: 32 bits, Block 2 includes a VERSIONID: 32 bits, Block 3 includes a STARTDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 4 includes a STOPDATE TIME: 32 bits, Block 5 includes a VENDORID: 32 bits, Block 6 includes a LOCATIONID: 32 bits, Block 7 through Block 64 include SPARE: 32 bits. All of the blocks are preferably hard coded ID: 64 bits.

The invention can use off the shelf ISO certified RFID readers, antennas, and chips to create a software driven system that can be manipulated to create self serve refill cup programs, track inventory of fountain beverage, ice, and cup inventory.

The beverage system 2000 helps 1) control beverage theft with containers not associated with the current program (e.g., competitors' cups); 2) calculate the exact amount of ounces and the brand being poured into each cup (e.g., based volumetric flow rate and time) to allow the customer to determine the average ounces poured per cup per program (e.g., for price validation); 3) just in time inventory can be achieved; and 4) the system can determine where the cups were purchased. These and other features will help operator's bill offsite locations for the beverages poured at their locations. For example, a location receives the money for the free refill mug, but the visitor goes to a different location and pours the beverage. The offsite operator has the expense of the beverage but receives no money for the sale.

In some embodiments, a software and hardware driven system is provided that uses off the shelf ISO RFID products to avoid issues with quality and inconsistent industry standards.

In some embodiments, the ISO 15693 certified read/write 13.56 MHz RFID tag works well because it has the ability to read through water, human tissue and plastic. Other RFID devices that have at least some of these capabilities may be used in other embodiments. These ISO certified tags are individually numbered giving the system the ability to individually track each cup in the system. The tags also have anti-collision identification protocols within the ISO 15693 readers allowing multiple transponder or tags to be read simultaneously. In some embodiments, the tags will be passive tags, so the tags will not have a battery source, giving the tag a very long shelf-life. The RFID tag may be powered up by the RFID antenna (write portion) at the register and by RFID antenna (read portion) at the dispensing system. Active tags which use a battery source are included.

The RFID antenna (write portion) at the cash register will send information (location, promotion code, date, etc.) to the RFID tag in the bottom of the cup.

After the cup is purchased, the consumer will go to the dispensing system to receive a beverage. In one embodiment, a single antenna (read station) that spans across one ore more than one dispensing heads is used. The antenna can be placed in any suitable location, e.g., on the back panel above the drip pan and in front of the drip pan. If multiple heads are used, one at each head, problems in reading a cup may arise because the multiple wave patterns, multiple antennas, will interfered with each other and cause a void area where the wave patterns overlap one another. There is a large percentage of overlap with a multiple head hardware setup which creates many inconsistent reads. This flaw can be overcome by using one antenna that stretches across the entire back of the unit. This alleviates the inconsistent reads.

The antenna is constantly looking for an RFID tag in the reading field. Once the antenna finds a valid RFID tag it will open all of the heads so a beverage can be dispensed. The reason this has to happen is the system cannot tell which dispensing head the cup is under, so it has to open all of the heads. Once a head is activated, the other heads will shut down. The problem with this scenario is if multiple people are pouring at the same time you will not be able to tell which brand is being poured into a RFID tag numbered cup. If you cannot identify each cup individually, each ISO tag has it own number, a lot of the data will not have any true value. This can be fixed in at least three ways:

    • 1) The antenna will not read into the reading field to validate a cup until after a lever or push button (on/off switch) is depressed. This will notify the dispensing machine to read the field for information.
    • 2) The antenna will not read into the reading field to validate a cup until after an infrared proximity sensor(s) sees that a cup is under the dispensing head. The sensor will notify the dispensing machine to read the field for information.
    • 3) The antenna will constantly be reading. As a cup goes into the reading field it will be time stamped by the host controller board/PCB. As multiple cups go into the field each cup will be time stamped and read for information individually. The first cup that touches a lever has the flow button pushed or is read by the infrared proximity sensor will be “classified” as the first cup into the reading field, and will be matched up with the information received form the cup (RFID tag) that was time stamped first.

Problems may occur if a consumer changes his/her mind on a brand during pouring. One way to fix this scenario is to calculate the ounces of a beverage being poured into each cup using time and flow rate based calculations. This is difficult if you do not know which cup the ounces are being poured into because of the inability to locate or identify the cup. The three solutions enumerated above will tell the dispensing machine where the cups are in the reading field.

The infrared proximity sensor solution produces major benefits over dispensing systems of known designs and configurations. A lever or a push button features is eliminated which will save on wear and tear of the unit as there are no moving parts. The system will also be easier to clean and more sanitary.

The host controller board (PCB) will provide the overall operation and data storage at the dispensing system. The information can be sent via cellular Ethernet (internet) or manual collection at the system. The information can then be downloaded into a main computer for predetermined calculations.

The antenna at the dispensing system can be attached as follows. The antenna can be retrofitted to the stainless steel panel on the unit. The RFID antenna can be plugged into a harness that connects to a small simple computer (flash memory, real time clock, battery backed SRAM, small CPU, etc.). The small computer (host controller board/PCB) will have another harness that has a relay switch for every dispensing head. This relay switch (harness) will piggyback to each dispensing head. This is a very simple electronic gate. This piggy backed switch will be always or at least most of the time so that the head will be inactive and inoperable until the gate is closed. The harness that goes to the dispensing heads may also be used, if infrared proximity sensors are not being used, to notify the dispensing system that a cup is under a certain head. If an infrared proximity sensor is used to determine if a cup is under a dispensing head, a separate harness will be used. The harness will go from the host controller board/PCB to the infrared proximity sensors located on the antenna or dispensing machine.

Following is the flow of a cup:

    • a) A cup is purchased and information is sent to the RFID tag using the write antenna at the register;
    • b) The cup is placed under the dispensing head and its position is located, e.g., by an infrared proximity sensor, a lever, or an on/off push button on the dispensing head;
    • c) The read antenna will read the information on the cup's RFID tag after the antenna is notified to do so (e.g., after steps 1 & 2 above). Or, the antenna will constantly be reading the information on the cup(s) RFID tags(s) so the cup(s) can be time stamped and the information from the RFID tag can be stored (3 above). The collected information from all scenarios will be used to verify the cups validity.
    • e) If the cup is valid, a signal is sent through another harness, from the host controller board/PCB to the dispensing head. This harness has a relay switch that is piggy backed on the dispensing head. The valid signal will close the relay switch gate allowing the beverage to pour.
    • f) The head will stop pouring after the cup is removed away from the proximity sensor, the pour lever is released, the on/off push button is released, or the allotted ounce capacity for the cup has been reached.

The system may be completely software driven so that promotions are endless. For example, to increase more frequent visits at a store with a cup refill program you have to create loyalty. A way to achieve this is to give cups (and their owners) reward points for using their cups at the store chain. The more times people pour at a certain store chain, the more reward points they receive. Another example is that a customer can be given 5 free ups for every 10 purchased. The customer does not have to worry about a ticket, and the store can actually see true numbers for the number of pours a person actually pours for this type of promotion.

As to the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

While particular forms of the invention have been described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7591418Apr 14, 2006Sep 22, 2009Target Brands, Inc.Stored-value card with housed object
US7617850 *Aug 20, 2004Nov 17, 2009Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
US7845375 *Jan 30, 2007Dec 7, 2010Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
US8127805Nov 13, 2009Mar 6, 2012Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
US8151832Oct 22, 2010Apr 10, 2012Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
US8245739 *May 29, 2009Aug 21, 2012ValidFill, LLCBeverage dispensing system
US8250972May 5, 2008Aug 28, 2012Primo Products, LLCSelect serving and flavored sparkling beverage maker
US8408255Jan 19, 2012Apr 2, 2013ValidFill, LLCBeverage dispensing system
US8523065 *Dec 30, 2011Sep 3, 2013ValidFill, LLCMethod and apparatus for recycling RFID tags for disposable cups
US8561830 *Jan 6, 2010Oct 22, 2013Christopher HallbergThermal beverage container with secure account identifier
US8565916Apr 26, 2010Oct 22, 2013The Coca-Cola CompanyMethod of printing indicia on vessels to control a beverage dispenser
US8616117 *Dec 12, 2008Dec 31, 2013Mds Global Holding Ltd.Substance dispensing system
US8704634 *Aug 12, 2011Apr 22, 2014Abb Technology AgSystem for creating, collecting, storing and providing access to data from an electric power device which contains a cooling or operating liquid
US8768505 *Aug 25, 2009Jul 1, 2014Bryan ThompsonSystem and method for dispensing pre-paid items using a uniquely identified container
US8776838 *Mar 2, 2012Jul 15, 2014Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
US8833241Jan 6, 2012Sep 16, 2014Primo Products, LLCSelect serving and flavored sparkling beverage maker
US8910674 *Feb 11, 2010Dec 16, 2014Pepsico, Inc.Beverage dispense valve controlled by wireless technology
US8972048Nov 20, 2008Mar 3, 2015Disney Enterprises, Inc.Self-service beverage and snack dispensing using identity-based access control
US20100108755 *Oct 29, 2009May 6, 2010Zack FuerstenbergBeverage Holder Having a Chip Unit for Performing Payment Transactions
US20100182518 *Jan 16, 2009Jul 22, 2010Kirmse Noel JSystem and method for a display system
US20100200110 *Feb 11, 2010Aug 12, 2010Pepsico, Inc.Beverage Dispense Valve Controlled by Wireless Technology
US20110011273 *Dec 12, 2008Jan 20, 2011Mds Global Holding Ltd.Substance dispensing system
US20110054678 *Aug 25, 2009Mar 3, 2011Bryan ThompsonSystem and method for dispensing pre-paid items using a uniquely identified container
US20120044048 *Aug 12, 2011Feb 23, 2012Abb Technology AgSystem for creating, collecting, storing and providing access to data from an electric power device which contains a cooling or operating liquid
US20120103926 *Nov 2, 2010May 3, 2012Fadi IbsiesSports Bottle and Fluid Dispensing system, device, and method.
US20130079926 *Nov 21, 2012Mar 28, 2013The Coca-Cola CompanySystems and methods for facilitating consumer-dispenser interactions
US20130127748 *Aug 20, 2012May 23, 2013Roel VertegaalInteraction techniques for flexible displays
US20140319167 *Jul 9, 2014Oct 30, 2014Validfill LlcBeverage dispensing system
DE102006024797A8 *May 27, 2006May 20, 2009Schlewing, Axel, Dr.Vorrichtung zur optischen Kennzeichnung von Gläsern
DE102006024797B4 *May 27, 2006Aug 30, 2012Axel SchlewingGetränkeglas mit im Bodenbereich angeordneter optischen Kennzeichnung
WO2010059373A2 *Oct 29, 2009May 27, 2010Visa U.S.A. Inc.Beverage holder having a chip unit for performing payment transactions
WO2014188389A1 *May 23, 2014Nov 27, 2014HABLUTZEL, Neil HofmeyrA beverage service system
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/94
International ClassificationG07F7/02, A47G19/22, A47G21/18, G07G1/00, B65B1/30, G07F13/06
Cooperative ClassificationA47G19/2227, B67D1/1236, B67D1/0888, B67D2210/00089, A47G21/182, G07F9/026, A47G2200/18, G07F13/065, B67D2210/00083, G06Q20/342, B67D1/0881, G07G1/0045, A47G2200/205, G06Q20/3278, A47G2019/2244, G07F7/025, B67D2001/0811, B67D2210/00091, A47G2019/2238
European ClassificationG07F9/02D, B67D1/08H4, G06Q20/342, G06Q20/3278, B67D1/12B6B, B67D1/08J, G07F7/02E, A47G21/18E, G07G1/00C2, A47G19/22B6, G07F13/06B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 12, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: WHIRLEY INDUSTRIES, INC., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HUMPHREY, RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:018880/0775
Effective date: 20070108
Oct 24, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WHIRLEY INDUSTRIES, INC., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DORNEY, PETER;REEL/FRAME:018425/0952
Effective date: 20060426