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 numberUS20060028459 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/193,482
Publication dateFeb 9, 2006
Filing dateAug 1, 2005
Priority dateAug 3, 2004
Also published asCA2576010A1, CA2576010C, CA2576016A1, CA2576026A1, CN1993688A, CN1993688B, EP1779081A1, EP1779081A4, EP1779178A1, EP1779178A4, EP1782228A1, US7567241, US8308387, US20060028400, US20060028458, US20060028674, US20090273588, US20110018903, WO2006012677A1, WO2006012678A1, WO2006012679A1
Publication number11193482, 193482, US 2006/0028459 A1, US 2006/028459 A1, US 20060028459 A1, US 20060028459A1, US 2006028459 A1, US 2006028459A1, US-A1-20060028459, US-A1-2006028459, US2006/0028459A1, US2006/028459A1, US20060028459 A1, US20060028459A1, US2006028459 A1, US2006028459A1
InventorsMatthew Underwood, Tobin King, Paul Lapstun, Kia Silverbrook
Original AssigneeSilverbrook Research Pty Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pre-loaded force sensor
US 20060028459 A1
Abstract
A force sensor comprising: a load bearing structure for contact with an input member subject to a force to be sensed; a sensor circuit for converting a force applied to the load bearing structure into a signal indicative of the force; and, a pre-load bias assembly for engaging the input member to bias it against the load bearing structure.
Images(42)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
1. A force sensor comprising:
a load bearing structure for contact with an input member subject to a force to be sensed;
a sensor circuit for converting a force applied to the load bearing structure into a signal indicative of the force; and,
a pre-load bias assembly for engaging the input member to bias it against the load bearing structure.
2. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the pre-load bias assembly has a spring and engagement formations for releasably engaging the input member.
3. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the sensor circuit is a piezoresistive bridge circuit.
4. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the sensor circuit is a capacitative or inductive force sensing circuit.
5. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the sensor circuit senses forces up to about 500 grams (5 Newtons).
6. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the signal output from the sensor circuit supports a hand writing recognition facility.
7. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the load bearing structure has a 10 micron full span movement during operation.
8. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the pre-load bias assembly applies a bias of about 10 grams to 20 grams (0.1 Newtons to 0.2 Newtons).
9. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the input member is an ink cartridge within a writing stylus.
10. A force sensor according to claim 1 wherein the load bearing structure has an elastomeric member to absorb shock loads to the input member.
11. An electronic stylus comprising:
an elongate molding;
a nib at one end of the elongate molding; and,
a force sensor mounted to the elongate molding, the force sensor having a load bearing structure for contact with an input member connected to the nib, a sensor circuit for converting a force applied to the nib into a signal indicative of the force, and a pre-load bias assembly for engaging the input member to bias it against the load bearing structure.
12. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the nib is a ball point nib and the input member is an ink cartridge in fluid communication with the nib.
13. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the pre-load bias assembly has a spring and engagement formations for releasably engaging the input member.
14. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the sensor circuit is a piezoresistive bridge circuit.
15. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the sensor circuit is a capacitative or inductive force sensing circuit.
16. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the sensor circuit senses forces up to about 500 grams (5 Newtons).
17. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the signal output from the sensor circuit supports a hand writing recognition facility.
18. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the load bearing structure has a 10 micron full span movement during operation.
19. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the pre-load bias assembly applies a bias of about 10 grams to 20 grams (0.1 Newtons to 0.2 Newtons).
20. An electronic stylus according to claim 11 wherein the load bearing structure has an elastomeric member to absorb shock loads to the input member.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to the fields of interactive paper, printing systems, computer publishing, computer applications, human-computer interfaces using styli with force sensors and information appliances.
    CO-PENDING REFERENCES
    NPS101US NPS108US NPS110US
    CROSS-REFERENCES
    10/815621 10/815612 10/815630 10/815637 10/815638 10/815640 10/815642
    10/815643 10/815644 10/815618 10/815639 10/815635 10/815647 10/815634
    10/815632 10/815631 10/815648 10/815641 10/815645 10/815646 10/815617
    10/815620 10/815615 10/815613 10/815633 10/815619 10/815616 10/815614
    10/815636 10/815649 11/041650 11/041651 11/041652 11/041649 11/041610
    11/041609 11/041626 11/041627 11/041624 11/041625 11/041556 11/041580
    11/041723 11/041698 11/041648 10/815609 10/815627 10/815626 10/815610
    10/815611 10/815623 10/815622 10/815629 10/815625 10/815624 10/815628
    10/913375 10/913373 10/913374 10/913372 10/913377 10/913378 10/913380
    10/913379 10/913376 10/913381 10/986402 IRB013US 11/172815 11/172814
    10/409876 10/409848 10/409845 11/084769 11/084742 11/084806 09/575197
    09/575195 09/575159 09/575132 09/575123 6825945 09/575130 09/575165
    6813039 09/693415 09/575118 6824044 09/608970 09/575131 09/575116
    6816274 09/575139 09/575186 6681045 6678499 6679420 09/663599
    09/607852 6728000 09/693219 09/575145 09/607656 6813558 6766942
    09/693515 09/663701 09/575192 6720985 09/609303 6922779 09/609596
    6847883 09/693647 09/721895 09/721894 09/607843 09/693690 09/607605
    09/608178 09/609553 09/609233 09/609149 09/608022 09/575181 09/722174
    09/721896 10/291522 6718061 10/291523 10/291471 10/291470 6825956
    10/291481 10/291509 10/291825 10/291519 10/291575 10/291557 6862105
    10/291558 10/291587 10/291818 10/291576 6829387 6714678 6644545
    6609653 6651879 10/291555 10/291510 10/291592 10/291542 10/291820
    10/291516 6867880 10/291487 10/291520 10/291521 10/291556 10/291821
    10/291525 10/291586 10/291822 10/291524 10/291553 6850931 6865570
    6847961 10/685523 10/685583 10/685455 10/685584 10/757600 10/804034
    10/793933 6889896 10/831232 10/884882 10/943875 10/943938 10/943874
    10/943872 10/944044 10/943942 10/944043 10/949293 10/943877 10/965913
    10/954170 10/981773 10/981626 10/981616 10/981627 10/974730 10/986337
    10/992713 11/006536 11/020256 11/020106 11/020260 11/020321 11/020319
    11/026045 11/059696 11/051032 11/059674 NPA19NUS 11/107944 11/107941
    11/082940 11/082815 11/082827 11/082829 11/082956 11/083012 11/124256
    11/123136 11/154676 11/159196 NPA225US 09/575193 09/575156 09/609232
    09/607844 6457883 09/693593 10/743671 11/033379 09/928055 09/927684
    09/928108 09/927685 09/927809 09/575183 6789194 09/575150 6789191
    10/900129 10/900127 10/913328 10/913350 10/982975 10/983029 6644642
    6502614 6622999 6669385 6827116 10/933285 10/949307 6549935
    NPN004US 09/575187 6727996 6591884 6439706 6760119 09/575198
    09/722148 09/722146 6826547 6290349 6428155 6785016 6831682
    6741871 09/722171 09/721858 09/722142 6840606 10/202021 10/291724
    10/291512 10/291554 10/659027 10/659026 10/831242 10/884885 10/884883
    10/901154 10/932044 10/962412 10/962510 10/962552 10/965733 10/965933
    10/974742 10/982974 10/983018 10/986375 11/107817 11/148238 11/149160
    09/693301 6870966 6822639 6474888 6627870 6724374 6788982
    09/722141 6788293 09/722147 6737591 09/722172 09/693514 6792165
    09/722088 6795593 10/291823 6768821 10/291366 10/291503 6797895
    10/274817 10/782894 10/782895 10/778056 10/778058 10/778060 10/778059
    10/778063 10/778062 10/778061 10/778057 10/846895 10/917468 10/917467
    10/917466 10/917465 10/917356 10/948169 10/948253 10/948157 10/917436
    10/943856 10/919379 10/943843 10/943878 10/943849 10/965751 11/071267
    11/144840 11/155556 11/155557 09/575154 09/575129 6830196 6832717
    09/721862 10/473747 10/120441 6843420 10/291718 6,789,731 10/291543
    6766944 6766945 10/291715 10/291559 10/291660 10/409864 NPT019USNP
    10/537159 NPT022US 10/410484 10/884884 10/853379 10/786631 10/853782
    10/893372 10/893381 10/893382 10/893383 10/893384 10/971051 10/971145
    10/971146 10/986403 10/986404 10/990459 11/059684 11/074802 10/492169
    10/492152 10/492168 10/492161 10/492154 10/502575 10/683151 10/531229
    10/683040 NPW009USNP 10/510391 10/919260 10/510392 10/919261 10/778090
    09/575189 09/575162 09/575172 09/575170 09/575171 09/575161 10/291716
    10/291547 10/291538 6786397 10/291827 10/291548 10/291714 10/291544
    10/291541 6839053 10/291579 10/291824 10/291713 6914593 10/291546
    10/917355 10/913340 10/940668 11/020160 11/039897 11/074800 NPX044US
    11/075917 11/102698 11/102843 6593166 10/428823 10/849931 11/144807
    6454482 6808330 6527365 6474773 6550997 10/181496 10/274119
    10/309185 10/309066 10/949288 10/962400 10/969121 UP21US UP23US
    09/517539 6566858 09/112762 6331946 6246970 6442525 09/517384
    09/505951 6374354 09/517608 6816968 6757832 6334190 6745331
    09/517541 10/203559 10/203560 10/203564 10/636263 10/636283 10/866608
    10/902889 10/902833 10/940653 10/942858 10/727181 10/727162 10/727163
    10/727245 10/727204 10/727233 10/727280 10/727157 10/727178 10/727210
    10/727257 10/727238 10/727251 10/727159 10/727180 10/727179 10/727192
    10/727274 10/727164 10/727161 10/727198 10/727158 10/754536 10/754938
    10/727227 10/727160 10/934720 10/296522 6795215 10/296535 09/575109
    6805419 6859289 09/607985 6398332 6394573 6622923 6747760
    6921144 10/884881 10/943941 10/949294 11/039866 11/123011 11/123010
    11/144769 11/148237 10/922846 10/922845 10/854521 10/854522 10/854488
    10/854487 10/854503 10/854504 10/854509 10/854510 10/854496 10/854497
    10/854495 10/854498 10/854511 10/854512 10/854525 10/854526 10/854516
    10/854508 10/854507 10/854515 10/854506 10/854505 10/854493 10/854494
    10/854489 10/854490 10/854492 10/854491 10/854528 10/854523 10/854527
    10/854524 10/854520 10/854514 10/854519 10/854513 10/854499 10/854501
    10/854500 10/854502 10/854518 10/854517 10/934628 11/003786 11/003354
    11/003616 11/003418 11/003334 11/003600 11/003404 11/003419 11/003700
    11/003601 11/003618 11/003615 11/003337 11/003698 11/003420 11/003682
    11/003699 11/071473 11/003463 11/003701 11/003683 11/003614 11/003702
    11/003684 11/003619 11/003617 10/760254 10/760210 10/760202 10/760197
    10/760198 10/760249 10/760263 10/760196 10/760247 10/760223 10/760264
    10/760244 10/760245 10/760222 10/760248 10/760236 10/760192 10/760203
    10/760204 10/760205 10/760206 10/760267 10/760270 10/760259 10/760271
    10/760275 10/760274 10/760268 10/760184 10/760195 10/760186 10/760261
    10/760258 11/014764 11/014763 11/014748 11/014747 11/014761 11/014760
    11/014757 11/014714 11/014713 11/014762 11/014724 11/014723 11/014756
    11/014736 11/014759 11/014758 11/014725 11/014739 11/014738 11/014737
    11/014726 11/014745 11/014712 11/014715 11/014751 11/014735 11/014734
    11/014719 11/014750 11/014749 11/014746 11/014769 11/014729 11/014743
    11/014733 11/014754 11/014755 11/014765 11/014766 11/014740 11/014720
    11/014753 11/014752 11/014744 11/014741 11/014768 11/014767 11/014718
    11/014717 11/014716 11/014732 11/014742 11/097268 11/097185 11/097184
    10/728804 10/728952 10/728806 10/728834 10/729790 10/728884 10/728970
    10/728784 10/728783 10/728925 10/728842 10/728803 10/728780 10/728779
    10/773189 10/773204 10/773198 10/773199 6830318 10/773201 10/773191
    10/773183 10/773195 10/773196 10/773186 10/773200 10/773185 10/773192
    10/773197 10/773203 10/773187 10/773202 10/773188 10/773194 10/773193
    10/773184 11/008118 11/060751 11/060805 MTB40US 11/097308 11/097309
    11/097335 11/097299 11/097310 11/097213 11/097212 10/760272 10/760273
    10/760187 10/760182 10/760188 10/760218 10/760217 10/760216 10/760233
    10/760246 10/760212 10/760243 10/760201 10/760185 10/760253 10/760255
    10/760209 10/760208 10/760194 10/760238 10/760234 10/760235 10/760183
    10/760189 10/760262 10/760232 10/760231 10/760200 10/760190 10/760191
    10/760227 10/760207 10/760181 10/407212 10/407207 10/683064 10/683041
    6750901 6476863 6788336 6623101 6406129 6505916 6457809
    6550895 6457812 10/296434 6428133 6746105
  • [0002]
    The disclosures of these co-pending applications are incorporated herein by cross-reference. Some applications are temporarily identified by their docket number. This will be replaced by the corresponding USSN when available.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The Applicant has developed the Netpage system discussed in detail below and in many of the above cross reference documents. As the invention is particularly well suited to this system, it will be described in a Netpage context. However, it will be appreciated that hand-held optical sensors have broad ranging application in many different fields and the invention is not limited to its use within the Netpage system.
  • [0004]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0005]
    One of the primary features of the Netpage pen is its ability to ‘click’ on interactive elements on a Netpage in the same way a mouse can click on screen-based interactive elements (e.g. hyperlinks and so on). However, with a Netpage pen, the user simply puts the nib on the interactive element in order to click on it. The optical sensor identifies the element via its unique page and location ID while a force sensor registers a ‘pen down’ condition when the nib is pressed against the page. Registering ‘pen down’ and ‘pen up’ is also fundamental to capturing the user's handwriting on Netpage input fields. Non-binary force signals are also captured for reproducing hand-drawn strokes with varying force-related width and opacity. Force variation can also be used as one of the dimensions examined during signature verification.
  • [0006]
    To accurately sense relatively light forces (such as the force of handwriting on a nib) the force sensor needs to be mounted against the nib or cartridge with very fine tolerances. With a full span movement of sensor being relatively small (typically less than 50 microns), positioning the force sensor and the replaceable cartridge with sufficiently accuracy can be prohibitively difficult and commercially impractical for a mass produced article.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    According to a first aspect, the present invention provides a force sensor comprising:
  • [0008]
    a load bearing structure for contact with an input member subject to a force to be sensed;
  • [0009]
    a sensor circuit for converting a force applied to the load bearing structure into a signal indicative of the force; and,
  • [0010]
    a pre-load bias assembly for engaging the input member to bias it against the load bearing structure.
  • [0011]
    By keeping the input member biased against the load bearing structure of the sensor, accurately mounting the sensor next to the input member is no longer an issue. The biasing mechanism can be a simple spring structure while still providing a suitably consistent biasing force. Such a mechanism has relatively low production costs and avoids the need to adhere to fine tolerances.
  • [0012]
    Optionally, the pre-load bias assembly has a spring and engagement formations for releasably engaging the input member. Optionally, the sensor circuit is a piezoresistive bridge circuit. Optionally the sensor circuit is a capacitative or inductive force sensing circuit. Optionally, the sensor circuit senses forces up to about 500 grams (5 Newtons). Optionally the signal output from the sensor circuit supports a hand writing recognition facility. Optionally the load bearing structure has a 10 micron full span movement during operation. Optionally, the pre-load bias assembly applies a bias of about 10 grams to 20 grams (0.1 Newtons to 0.2 Newtons).
  • [0013]
    Optionally, the input member is an ink cartridge within a writing stylus. Optionally the load bearing structure has an elastomeric member to absorb shock loads to the input member.
  • [0014]
    According to a second aspect, the present invention provides an electronic stylus comprising:
  • [0015]
    an elongate molding;
  • [0016]
    a nib at one end of the elongate molding; and,
  • [0017]
    a force sensor mounted to the elongate molding, the force sensor having a load bearing structure for contact with an input member connected to the nib, a sensor circuit for converting a force applied to the nib into a signal indicative of the force, and a pre-load bias assembly for engaging the input member to bias it against the load bearing structure.
  • [0018]
    Optionally, the nib is a ball point nib and the input member is an ink cartridge in fluid communication with the nib.
  • ADDITIONAL ASPECTS
  • [0019]
    Related aspects of the invention are set out below together with a discussion of their backgrounds to provide suitable context for the broad descriptions of these aspects.
  • Electronic Stylus with Substantially Triangular Cross-Section
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0020]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0021]
    The pen is intended to be held in the same manner as a normal pen and therefore inclined relative to paper instead of normal to the plane of the paper. The optical sensor is adjacent the nib and so the distance between the lens and the surface of the page will differ depending on whether the lens is above, below or beside the nib as it is held inclined to the paper. As the focal length of the lens is generally fixed, the optics require a large depth of field and blur tolerance to accommodate every possible position of the lens relative to the paper. This imposes practical limits on the size of the coded data, the optics and the tilt of the pen during use.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0022]
    Accordingly, this aspect provides a hand-held, electronic stylus for use with a surface having coded data disposed thereon, the stylus comprising:
  • [0023]
    an elongate casing with a grip having a substantially triangular cross section for pen-like manipulation of the stylus;
  • [0024]
    a nib at one end of the casing for contact with the surface, the nib having a longitudinal axis that is offset from the longitudinal axis of the casing; and,
  • [0025]
    a sensor positioned adjacent the nib for optically sensing the coded data; wherein during use,
  • [0026]
    the stylus is held such that the longitudinal axis of the nib is proximate the apex of the substantially triangular cross section.
  • [0027]
    A rounded triangular profile gives the pen an ergonomically comfortable shape to grip and use the pen in the correct functional orientation. It offers a natural conformity to a triangular shape between thumb, index finger and middle finger. The range of pitch angles over which the pen is able to image the pattern on the paper can be optimised for this asymmetric usage. The shape of the pen helps to orient the pen correctly in the user's hand and to discourage the user from using the pen “upside-down”.
  • [0028]
    It is also a practical shape for accommodating the internal components. The ballpoint pen cartridge fits naturally into the apex of the triangular cross section, placing it consistently with the user's grip. This in turn provides space for the main PCB in the centre of the pen and for the battery in the base of the pen. It also naturally places the tag-sensing optics unobtrusively below the nib (with respect to nominal pitch).
  • [0029]
    Optionally, the nib is a ball point nib mounted to an elongate ink cartridge such that the cartridge extends along the longitudinal axis of the nib, proximate the apex of the substantially triangular cross section.
  • [0030]
    Optionally, the stylus further comprises an elongate battery mounted along the base of the triangular cross section, opposite the apex.
  • [0031]
    Optionally, the stylus further comprises a printed circuit board mounted between the battery and the cartridge.
  • [0032]
    Optionally, the sensor has an image sensor and lens for capturing images of the coded data when the sensor is in an operative position relative to the surface;
  • [0033]
    the sensor further comprising a plurality of light sources for illuminating the coded data for the image sensor, the light sources each configured for illuminating an area of the surface such that there is a common region illuminated by all the light sources; wherein during use,
  • [0034]
    at least one of the light sources is selectively extinguishable while at least one of the light sources provides sufficient illumination for image capture.
  • [0035]
    Optionally, the plurality if light sources are two LEDs mounted on either side of the lens.
  • [0036]
    Optionally, the substantially triangular cross section extends the length of the elongate casing.
  • [0037]
    Optionally, the substantially triangular cross section has rounded corners.
  • [0038]
    Optionally, the substantially triangular cross section approximates an equilateral triangle.
  • Hand-Held Optical Sensor with Multiple Light Sources
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0039]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface). A source of light in the optical sensor brightly illuminates the surface so that an image of the coded data on the paper is focused by a lens onto the active region of an image sensor. The spectral emission peak of the light source is matched to the spectral absorption peak of the ink used to print the coded data to maximise contrast in captured image.
  • [0040]
    Unfortunately, as the pen is hand-held, it may be held to the paper at an angle that causes reflections from the light source that are detrimental to the image sensor. Glossy paper is particularly prone to this and the user is not likely to realise that any failure of the optical sensor to read the coded data is caused by the angle at which they are holding the pen.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0041]
    Accordingly, this aspect provides a hand-held optical sensor for sensing coded data disposed on a surface, the sensor comprising:
  • [0042]
    an image sensor and lens for capturing images of the coded data when the optical sensor is in an operative position relative to the surface;
  • [0043]
    a plurality of light sources for illuminating the coded data for the image sensor, the light sources each configured for illuminating an area of the surface such that there is a common region illuminated by all the light sources; wherein during use,
  • [0044]
    at least one of the light sources is selectively extinguishable while at least one of the light sources provides sufficient illumination for image capture.
  • [0045]
    The use of two light sources that can be individually selected allows dynamic avoidance of undesirable reflections when the pen is held at some angles, especially on glossy paper. It also ensures a more uniform illumination of the coded data.
  • [0046]
    Optionally, the plurality of light sources are two illumination sources mounted on opposite sides of the lens.
  • [0047]
    Optionally, the two illumination sources have intersecting axes of illumination. Optionally, the optical sensor further comprises a control unit connected to the image sensor and the two illumination sources such that the control unit extinguishes one of the two illumination sources upon detection of undesirable reflection from the surface. Optionally the control unit predicts undesirable reflection from the surface using past detection of the undesirable reflection. Optionally, the control unit uses one or more captured images to compute the position of the stylus relative to the surface in order to predict when undesirable reflection will occur.
  • End Cap Switch for Electronic Stylus
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0048]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0049]
    For convenience the electronics within the pen are powered by a rechargeable battery. This affords the pen a high degree of portability is likely to be carried about by the user for much of the day. However there will be prolonged periods where the pen is not used and it is inconvenient to return it to a battery recharger. To preserve the battery the user should ideally switch the pen off after each use. Unfortunately, users often forget to turn off the pen after each and every use. The pen can automatically power down after a set period of being idle. However a significant amount of battery power is wasted during the idle period.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0050]
    Accordingly, this aspect provides an electronic stylus and end cap assembly comprising:
  • [0051]
    a stylus with an elongate casing that houses battery powered electronic components;
  • [0052]
    electrical contacts exposed by an opening in the elongate casing; and,
  • [0053]
    a cap that fits over one end of the stylus, the cap having a conductive portion positioned such that fitting the cap over said one end of the stylus electrically connects the contacts to control power to the electronic components.
  • [0054]
    By linking the power switch to the removal and replacement of the end cap, the pen is only active when it is uncapped. Whenever it is capped (and therefore not in use) it switched to a low power state to conserve power and extend battery life. The contacts of the on/off switch can be proximate the nib, in which case fitting the cap over the nib and closing the switch deactivates the pen. Alternatively the contacts can be at the opposite end of the pen and the cap closes the contacts to activate the pen immediately before use.
  • [0055]
    Optionally, the electronic stylus further comprises a nib at said one end of the elongate casing and fitting the cap over the nib, and the electrical contacts are proximate the nib such that fitting the cap over the nib switches the stylus to a low power inactive state.
  • [0056]
    Optionally, the stylus is configured to use the electrical contacts to recharge the battery.
  • [0057]
    Optionally, the conductive portion in the cap is a conductive elastomeric molding.
  • [0058]
    Optionally, the nib is a ball point nib and the stylus further comprises an tubular ink cartridge and a structure defining a cavity for retaining the ink cartridge, the structure having an open end for axially receiving the ink cartridge as it is slid into the cavity; wherein,
  • [0059]
    the open end of the structure is at least partially formed by the electrical contacts.
  • [0060]
    Optionally, the structure has conductive sections connected to the electrical contacts for transmitting power to the battery. Optionally, the structure is tubular with an internal conductive layer insulated from an outer conductive layer by an insulating layer.
  • Ink Cartridge with Inbuilt Cartridge Removal Tool Background
  • [0061]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0062]
    One of the primary features of the Netpage pen is its ability to ‘click’ on interactive elements on a Netpage in the same way a mouse can click on screen-based interactive elements (e.g. hyperlinks and so on). However, with a Netpage pen, the user simply puts the nib on the interactive element in order to click on it. The optical sensor identifies the element via its unique page and page location while a force sensor registers a ‘pen down’ condition when the nib is pressed against the page. Registering ‘pen down’ and ‘pen up’ is also fundamental to capturing the users handwriting on Netpage input fields.
  • [0063]
    For optimal operation, the cartridge should be securely coupled to the force sensor. However, the cartridge should be easily de-coupled from the force sensor whenever it is replaced with a fresh cartridge.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0064]
    Accordingly this aspect provides an ink cartridge for insertion into a stylus, the ink cartridge comprising:
  • [0065]
    an elongate body for containing a supply of ink, the elongate body having a nib end and an opposing end; and
  • [0066]
    an engagement formation at the opposing end for engaging the nib end of another ink cartridge of the same type in the stylus in order to extract it from the stylus.
  • [0067]
    By forming the customized removal tool on the cartridge itself, it will always be convenient to the user when a spent cartridge is to be replaced. The tool allows the user to grip the replacement cartridge for better purchase and more force when removing the existing cartridge from the stylus. With a greater extracting force, the releasable coupling between the cartridge and the force sensor can be tighter and more secure. Furthermore, extracting the cartridge through the nib end of the pen rather than the back (as is the case with many conventional pens) minimizes pen disassembly and the force sensor can remain in place.
  • [0068]
    Optionally, the nib end has a writing nib in fluid communication with the supply of ink.
  • Electronic Stylus with Recharging Contacts at Ink Cartridge Receptacle Opening
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0069]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is usually an electronic stylus with a writing nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0070]
    For convenience the electronics within the pen are powered by a rechargeable battery. Typically the pen is used frequently throughout the day with many intervening periods when the pen is not used. The battery can be sized to accommodate a full day's use before overnight recharging. However, it will be appreciated that battery size directly affects the overall size and weight of the pen. To keep the battery size down to a practical size, the user should be encouraged to connect the pen to the recharger when it is not in use. In light of this, connecting the pen to the recharger should be quick and simple for the user.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0071]
    Accordingly this aspect provides an electronic stylus comprising:
  • [0072]
    an outer casing housing electronic components and a rechargeable battery;
  • [0073]
    a structure defining a receptacle for retaining an ink cartridge with a ball point nib at one end, the structure having an open end for axially receiving the ink cartridge as it is slid into the receptacle; wherein,
  • [0074]
    the open end of the structure is at least partially formed by electrical contacts configured for connection to complementary contacts within a battery recharger.
  • [0075]
    Putting the recharging contacts at the opening of the ink cartridge receptacle allows the pen to be simply placed into a cup style recharger when the pen is not being used. The internal shape of the recharger can be formed so that the outer casing and/or the nib accurately guides the recharging contacts into engagement with the complementary contacts. In this way, the recharger can effectively double as a pen holder on the user's desk.
  • [0076]
    Optionally, the structure has conductive sections connected to the electrical contacts for transmitting power to the battery. Optionally, the structure is tubular with an internal conductive layer insulated from an outer conductive layer by an insulating layer.
  • [0077]
    Optionally, the stylus further comprises a cap that fits over the nib, the cap having a conductive portion positioned such that fitting the cap over the nib switches the stylus to a low power inactive state.
  • [0078]
    Optionally, the stylus further comprises a printed circuit board (PCB) wherein the internal conductive layer and the outer conductive layer engage respective electrical contacts on the PCB.
  • Stylus with Customizable Appearance
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0079]
    The Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0080]
    Netpage pens have a unique identity so that the owner of the pen can be recorded in the network. Registering the owner of each pen has a number of advantages such ‘walk-up’ printing (described below), signature recognition and so on. In light of this, pen owners will want to be able to quickly identify their own Netpage pen(s) from those of others.
  • [0081]
    Beyond the Netpage context, most people with quality pens consider them to be personal property and may engrave them to indicate ownership. However, this has little impact on the appearance of the pen and there is still a risk of confusion if several co-workers have the same brand of pen.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0082]
    Accordingly, this aspect provides a stylus comprising:
  • [0083]
    an elongate chassis molding;
  • [0084]
    a nib at one end of the chassis molding; and,
  • [0085]
    an elongate cover molding for close-fitting engagement with the chassis molding; such that, the cover molding is user replaceable.
  • [0086]
    By providing a cover molding that the user can easily remove and replace at will, each pen can be individually customized. The owner of each pen can quickly distinguish their pen from those of others. Regular replacement of the cover prevents the pen from looking worn and lets a user choose a new appearance if they tire of the old one, or if they discover a co-worker already has the same cover.
  • [0087]
    Optionally, the stylus is an electronic stylus wherein the chassis molding houses electronic components. Optionally, the cover molding is a tubular molding that snap locks onto the chassis molding exterior. Optionally, the tubular molding is slid into place on the chassis molding, wherein the chassis molding has a location detail to indicate that the tubular molding has been pushed home. Optionally, the tubular molding can be slid off the chassis molding by grasping the nib end of the stylus and pulling the tubular molding off the opposing end. Optionally, the cover molding is a suitable substrate for aquagraphic prints.
  • [0088]
    Optionally, the chassis has LEDs to indicate the operational status of the stylus and the tubular molding has one or more transparent windows for viewing the LEDs.
  • Pen with Side Loading Cartridge
  • [0000]
    Background
  • [0089]
    This Netpage system involves the interaction between a user and a computer network (or stand alone computer) via a pen and paper based interface. The ‘pen’ is an electronic stylus with a marking or non-marking nib and an optical sensor for reading a pattern of coded data on the paper (or other surface).
  • [0090]
    The Netpage pen is an electronic stylus with force sensing, optical sensing and Bluetooth communication assemblies. A significant number of electronic components need to be housed within the pen casing together with a battery large enough to provide a useful battery life. Despite this, the overall dimensions of the pen need to be small enough for a user to manipulate it as they would a normal pen.
  • [0091]
    If the Netpage pen has a ballpoint nib, the ink cartridge must be kept as small as possible to conserve space within the pen casing, yet not so small that it needs to be replaced too frequently. Furthermore, the force sensor is best located at the end of the cartridge axially opposite the nib. This effectively precludes retracting the cartridge through the top (non-writing end) of the pen without disassembling much of the pen.
  • [0092]
    Beyond the Netpage context, most ink pens have cartridges that need to be inserted or withdrawn through the ends of the tubular pen casing. This imposes structural restrictions of the shape of the cartridge and therefore its ink storage capacity.
  • [0000]
    Summary
  • [0093]
    Accordingly, this aspect provides a pen comprising:
  • [0094]
    an elongate chassis molding; and,
  • [0095]
    a cartridge with a nib and an elongate body; wherein,
  • [0096]
    the cartridge is configured for insertion and removal from the elongate chassis mold from a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis of the chassis molding.
  • [0097]
    Optionally, the cartridge is an ink cartridge and the elongate body houses an ink reservoir.
  • [0098]
    According to a closely related aspect, the present invention provides an ink cartridge for a pen, the ink cartridge comprising:
  • [0099]
    an elongate ink reservoir; and,
  • [0100]
    a writing nib in fluid communication with the ink reservoir; wherein,
  • [0101]
    the elongate ink reservoir has an enlarged transverse cross section along a portion of its length intermediate its ends.
  • [0102]
    By configuring the pen chassis and cartridge so that it can be inserted and removed from the side rather than through the ends, the capacity of the cartridge can be significantly increased. An enlarged section between the ends of the ink cartridge increases the capacity while allowing the relatively thin ends to be supported at the nib molding and opposing end of the pen chassis. In a Netpage pen, inserting the cartridge from the side avoids the need to remove the force sensor when replacing the cartridge. Again, the thinner sections at each end of the cartridge allow it to engage a ball point nib supported in the nib molding and directly engage the force sensor at the other end, while the enlarged middle portion increases the ink capacity.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0103]
    Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0104]
    FIG. 1 shows the structure of a complete tag;
  • [0105]
    FIG. 2 shows a symbol unit cell;
  • [0106]
    FIG. 3 shows nine symbol unit cells;
  • [0107]
    FIG. 4 shows the bit ordering in a symbol;
  • [0108]
    FIG. 5 shows a tag with all bits set;
  • [0109]
    FIG. 6 shows a tag group made up of four tag types;
  • [0110]
    FIG. 7 shows the continuous tiling of tag groups;
  • [0111]
    FIG. 8 shows the interleaving of codewords A, B, C & D within a tag;
  • [0112]
    FIG. 9 shows a codeword layout;
  • [0113]
    FIG. 10 shows a tag and its eight immediate neighbours labelled with its corresponding bit index;
  • [0114]
    FIG. 11 shows a nib and elevation of the pen held by a user;
  • [0115]
    FIG. 12 shows the pen held by a user at a typical incline to a writing surface;
  • [0116]
    FIG. 13 is a lateral cross section through the pen;
  • [0117]
    FIG. 14A is a bottom and nib end partial perspective of the pen;
  • [0118]
    FIG. 14B is a bottom and nib end partial perspective with the fields of illumination and field of view of the sensor window shown in dotted outline;
  • [0119]
    FIG. 15 is a partial perspective of the USB cable and USB socket in the top end of the pen;
  • [0120]
    FIG. 16 is an exploded perspective of the pen components;
  • [0121]
    FIG. 17 is a longitudinal cross section of the pen;
  • [0122]
    FIG. 18 is a partial longitudinal cross section of the cap placed over the nib end of the pen;
  • [0123]
    FIG. 19 is an exploded perspective of the optics assembly;
  • [0124]
    FIG. 20 is an exploded perspective of the force sensor assembly;
  • [0125]
    FIG. 21 is an exploded perspective of the ink cartridge tube and nib engaging removal tool;
  • [0126]
    FIG. 22 is a partially sectioned perspective of a new ink cartridge engaging the nib end of the currently installed ink cartridge;
  • [0127]
    FIG. 23 is a partial perspective of the packaged force sensor on the main PCB;
  • [0128]
    FIG. 24 is a longitudinal cross section of the force sensor and main PCB shown in FIG. 15;
  • [0129]
    FIG. 25 is an exploded perspective of the cap assembly;
  • [0130]
    FIG. 26 is a circuit diagram of the pen USB and power CCT's;
  • [0131]
    FIG. 27A is a partial longitudinal cross section of the nib and barrel molding;
  • [0132]
    FIG. 27B is a partial longitudinal cross section of the IR LED's and the barrel molding;
  • [0133]
    FIG. 28 is a ray trace of the pen optics adjacent a sketch of the ink cartridge;
  • [0134]
    FIG. 29 is a side elevation of the lens;
  • [0135]
    FIG. 30 is a side elevation of the nib and the field of view of the optical sensor;
  • [0136]
    FIG. 31 is an exploded perspective of the pad;
  • [0137]
    FIG. 32 is a longitudinal cross section of the pad with the pen inserted;
  • [0138]
    FIG. 33 is a schematic representation of the force sensor assembly;
  • [0139]
    FIG. 34 is a schematic representation of a top-loading ink cartridge and force sensor;
  • [0140]
    FIG. 35 is a schematic representation of a top loading ink cartridge into a pen with a retaining cavity for the pre-load spring;
  • [0141]
    FIG. 36 is a block diagram of the pen electronics;
  • [0142]
    FIG. 37 show the charging and connection options for the pen and the pod;
  • [0143]
    FIGS. 38A to 38E show the various components of the packaged force sensor;
  • [0144]
    FIG. 39 is a bottom perspective of the main PCB with the Bluetooth antenna shield removed;
  • [0145]
    FIG. 40 is a top perspective of the main PCB;
  • [0146]
    FIG. 41 is a bottom perspective of the chassis molding and elastomeric and cap;
  • [0147]
    FIG. 42A is a perspective of the optics assembly lifted from the chassis molding;
  • [0148]
    FIG. 42B is an enlarged partial perspective of the optics assembly seated in the chassis molding;
  • [0149]
    FIG. 43A is a bottom perspective of the force sensor assembly partially installed in the chassis molding;
  • [0150]
    FIG. 43B is a bottom perspective of the force sensing assembly installed in the chassis molding;
  • [0151]
    FIG. 44 is a bottom perspective of the battery and main PCB partially installed in the chassis molding;
  • [0152]
    FIG. 45 is a bottom perspective of the chassis molding with the base molding lifted clear;
  • [0153]
    FIGS. 46A and 46B are enlarged partial perspectives showing the cold stake on the chassis molding being swaged and sealed to the base molding;
  • [0154]
    FIG. 47 is a bottom perspective of the product label being fixed to the base molding;
  • [0155]
    FIG. 48 is an enlarged partial perspective of the nib molding being inserted on the chassis molding;
  • [0156]
    FIG. 49 is a perspective of the tube molding being inserted over the chassis molding;
  • [0157]
    FIG. 50 is a perspective of the cap assembly being placed on the nib molding;
  • [0158]
    FIG. 51 is a diagram of the major power states of the pen; and,
  • [0159]
    FIG. 52 is a diagram of the operational states of the Bluetooth module.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0160]
    As discussed above, the invention is well suited for incorporation in the Assignee's Netpage system. In light of this, the invention has been described as a component of a broader Netpage architecture. However, it will be readily appreciated that electronic styli have much broader application in many different fields. Accordingly, the present invention is not restricted to a Netpage context.
  • Netpage Surface Coding
  • [0000]
    Introduction
  • [0161]
    This section defines a surface coding used by the Netpage system (described in co-pending application Docket No. NPS110US as well as many of the other cross referenced documents listed above) to imbue otherwise passive surfaces with interactivity in conjunction with Netpage sensing devices (described below).
  • [0162]
    When interacting with a Netpage coded surface, a Netpage sensing device generates a digital ink stream which indicates both the identity of the surface region relative to which the sensing device is moving, and the absolute path of the sensing device within the region.
  • [0000]
    Surface Coding
  • [0163]
    The Netpage surface coding consists of a dense planar tiling of tags. Each tag encodes its own location in the plane.
  • [0164]
    Each tag also encodes, in conjunction with adjacent tags, an identifier of the region containing the tag. In the Netpage system, the region typically corresponds to the entire extent of the tagged surface, such as one side of a sheet of paper.
  • [0165]
    Each tag is represented by a pattern which contains two kinds of elements. The first kind of element is a target.
  • [0166]
    Targets allow a tag to be located in an image of a coded surface, and allow the perspective distortion of the tag to be inferred. The second kind of element is a macrodot. Each macrodot encodes the value of a bit by its presence or absence.
  • [0167]
    The pattern is represented on the coded surface in such a way as to allow it to be acquired by an optical imaging system, and in particular by an optical system with a narrowband response in the near-infrared. The pattern is typically printed onto the surface using a narrowband near-infrared ink.
  • [0000]
    Tag Structure
  • [0168]
    FIG. 1 shows the structure of a complete tag 200. Each of the four black circles 202 is a target. The tag 200, and the overall pattern, has four-fold rotational symmetry at the physical level.
  • [0169]
    Each square region represents a symbol 204, and each symbol represents four bits of information. Each symbol 204 shown in the tag structure has a unique label 216. Each label 216 has an alphabetic prefix and a numeric suffix.
  • [0170]
    FIG. 2 shows the structure of a symbol 204. It contains four macrodots 206, each of which represents the value of one bit by its presence (one) or absence (zero).
  • [0171]
    The macrodot 206 spacing is specified by the parameter S throughout this specification. It has a nominal value of 143 μm, based on 9 dots printed at a pitch of 1600 dots per inch. However, it is allowed to vary within defined bounds according to the capabilities of the device used to produce the pattern.
  • [0172]
    FIG. 3 shows an array 208 of nine adjacent symbols 204. The macrodot 206 spacing is uniform both within and between symbols 208.
  • [0173]
    FIG. 4 shows the ordering of the bits within a symbol 204.
  • [0174]
    Bit zero 210 is the least significant within a symbol 204; bit three 212 is the most significant. Note that this ordering is relative to the orientation of the symbol 204. The orientation of a particular symbol 204 within the tag 200 is indicated by the orientation of the label 216 of the symbol in the tag diagrams (see for example FIG. 1). In general, the orientation of all symbols 204 within a particular segment of the tag 200 is the same, consistent with the bottom of the symbol being closest to the centre of the tag.
  • [0175]
    Only the macrodots 206 are part of the representation of a symbol 204 in the pattern. The square outline 214 of a symbol 204 is used in this specification to more clearly elucidate the structure of a tag 204. FIG. 5, by way of illustration, shows the actual pattern of a tag 200 with every bit 206 set. Note that, in practice, every bit 206 of a tag 200 can never be set.
  • [0176]
    A macrodot 206 is nominally circular with a nominal diameter of (5/9)s. However, it is allowed to vary in size by ±10% according to the capabilities of the device used to produce the pattern.
  • [0177]
    A target 202 is nominally circular with a nominal diameter of (17/9)s. However, it is allowed to vary in size by ±10% according to the capabilities of the device used to produce the pattern.
  • [0178]
    The tag pattern is allowed to vary in scale by up to ±10% according to the capabilities of the device used to produce the pattern. Any deviation from the nominal scale is recorded in the tag data to allow accurate generation of position samples.
  • [0000]
    Tag Groups
  • [0179]
    Tags 200 are arranged into tag groups 218. Each tag group contains four tags arranged in a square. Each tag 200 has one of four possible tag types, each of which is labelled according to its location within the tag group 218. The tag type labels 220 are 00, 10, 01 and 11, as shown in FIG. 6.
  • [0180]
    FIG. 7 shows how tag groups are repeated in a continuous tiling of tags, or tag pattern 222. The tiling guarantees the any set of four adjacent tags 200 contains one tag of each type 220.
  • [0000]
    Codewords
  • [0181]
    The tag contains four complete codewords. The layout of the four codewords is shown in FIG. 8. Each codeword is of a punctured 24-ary (8, 5) Reed-Solomon code. The codewords are labelled A, B, C and D. Fragments of each codeword are distributed throughout the tag 200.
  • [0182]
    Two of the codewords are unique to the tag 200. These are referred to as local codewords 224 and are labelled A and B. The tag 200 therefore encodes up to 40 bits of information unique to the tag.
  • [0183]
    The remaining two codewords are unique to a tag type, but common to all tags of the same type within a contiguous tiling of tags 222. These are referred to as global codewords 226 and are labelled C and D, subscripted by tag type. A tag group 218 therefore encodes up to 160 bits of information common to all tag groups within a contiguous tiling of tags.
  • Reed-Solomon Encoding
  • [0184]
    Codewords are encoded using a punctured 24-ary (8, 5) Reed-Solomon code. A 24-ary (8, 5) Reed-Solomon code encodes 20 data bits (i.e. five 4-bit symbols) and 12 redundancy bits (i.e. three 4-bit symbols) in each codeword. Its error-detecting capacity is three symbols. Its error-correcting capacity is one symbol.
  • [0185]
    FIG. 9 shows a codeword 228 of eight symbols 204, with five symbols encoding data coordinates 230 and three symbols encoding redundancy coordinates 232. The codeword coordinates are indexed in coefficient order, and the data bit ordering follows the codeword bit ordering.
  • [0186]
    A punctured 24-ary (8, 5) Reed-Solomon code is a 24-ary (15, 5) Reed-Solomon code with seven redundancy coordinates removed. The removed coordinates are the most significant redundancy coordinates.
  • [0187]
    The code has the following primitive polynominal:
    p(x)=x 4 +x+1   (EQ 1)
    The code has the following generator polynominal:
    g(x)=(x+α)(x+α 2) . . . (x10)   (EQ 2)
    For a detailed description of Reed-Solomon codes, refer to Wicker, S. B. and V. K. Bhargava, eds., Reed-Solomon Codes and Their Applications, IEEE Press, 1994, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
    The Tag Coordinate Space
  • [0188]
    The tag coordinate space has two orthogonal axes labelled x and y respectively. When the positive x axis points to the right, then the positive y axis points down.
  • [0189]
    The surface coding does not specify the location of the tag coordinate space origin on a particular tagged surface, nor the orientation of the tag coordinate space with respect to the surface. This information is application-specific. For example, if the tagged surface is a sheet of paper, then the application which prints the tags onto the paper may record the actual offset and orientation, and these can be used to normalise any digital ink subsequently captured in conjunction with the surface.
  • [0190]
    The position encoded in a tag is defined in units of tags. By convention, the position is taken to be the position of the centre of the target closest to the origin.
  • [0000]
    Tag Information Content
  • [0191]
    Table 1 defines the information fields embedded in the surface coding. Table 2 defines how these fields map to codewords.
    TABLE 1
    Field definitions
    field width description
    per codeword
    codeword type 2 The type of the codeword, i.e. one of
    A (b′00′), B (b′01′), C (b′10′) and D (b′11′).
    per tag
    tag type 2 The type1 of the tag, i.e. one of
    00 (b′00′), 01 (b′01′), 10 (b′10′) and 11 (b′11′).
    x coordinate 13 The unsigned x coordinate of the tag2.
    y coordinate 13 The unsigned y coordinate of the tagb.
    active area flag 1 A flag indicating whether the tag is a member
    of an active area. b′1′ indicates membership.
    active area map 1 A flag indicating whether an active area map
    flag is present. b′1′ indicates the presence of a
    map (see next field). If the map is absent then
    the value of each map entry is derived from
    the active area flag (see previous field).
    active area map 8 A map3 of which of the tag's immediate eight
    neighbours are members of an active area.
    b′1′ indicates membership.
    data fragment 8 A fragment of an embedded data stream.
    Only present if the active area map is absent.
    per tag group
    encoding format 8 The format of the encoding.
    0: the present encoding
    Other values are TBA.
    region flags 8 Flags controlling the interpretation and routing
    of region-related information.
    0: region ID is an EPC
    1: region is linked
    2: region is interactive
    3: region is signed
    4: region includes data
    5: region relates to mobile application
    Other bits are reserved and must be zero.
    tag size 16 The difference between the actual tag size
    adjustment and the nominal tag size4, in 10 nm units, in
    sign-magnitude format.
    region ID 96 The ID of the region containing the tags.
    CRC 16 A CRC5 of tag group data.
    total 320

    1corresponds to the bottom two bits of the x and y coordinates of the tag

    2allows a maximum coordinate value of approximately 14 m

    3 FIG. 29 indicates the bit ordering of the map

    4the nominal tag size is 1.7145 mm (based on 1600 dpi, 9 dots per macrodot, and 12 macrodots per tag)

    5CCITT CRC-16 [7]
  • [0192]
    FIG. 10 shows a tag 200 and its eight immediate neighbours, each labelled with its corresponding bit index in the active area map. An active area map indicates whether the corresponding tags are members of an active area. An active area is an area within any captured input should be immediately forwarded to the corresponding Netpage server for interpretation. It also allows the Netpage sensing device to signal to the user that the input will have an immediate effect.
    TABLE 2
    Mapping of fields to codewords
    codeword field
    codeword bits field width bits
    A 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′00′)
    10:2  x coordinate 9 12:4 
    19:11 y coordinate 9 12:4 
    B 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′01′)
     2 tag type 1 0
    5:2 x coordinate 4 3:0
     6 tag type 1 1
    9:6 y coordinate 4 3:0
    10 active area flag 1 all
    11 active area map flag 1 all
    19:12 active area map 8 all
    19:12 data fragment 8 all
    C00 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′10′)
    9:2 encoding format 8 all
    17:10 region flags 8 all
    19:18 tag size adjustment 2 1:0
    C01 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′10′)
    15:2  tag size adjustment 14 15:2 
    19:16 region ID 4 3:0
    C10 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′10′)
    19:2  region ID 18 21:4 
    C11 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′10′)
    19:2  region ID 18 39:22
    D00 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′11′)
    19:2  region ID 18 57:40
    D01 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′11′)
    19:2  region ID 18 75:58
    D10 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′11′)
    19:2  region ID 18 93:76
    D11 1:0 codeword type 2 all
    (b′11′)
    3:2 region ID 2 95:94
    19:4  CRC 16 all
  • [0193]
    Note that the tag type can be moved into a global codeword to maximise local codeword utilization. This in turn can allow larger coordinates and/or 16-bit data fragments (potentially configurably in conjunction with coordinate precision). However, this reduces the independence of position decoding from region ID decoding and has not been included in the specification at this time.
  • [0000]
    Embedded Data
  • [0194]
    If the “region includes data” flag in the region flags is set then the surface coding contains embedded data. The data is encoded in multiple contiguous tags' data fragments, and is replicated in the surface coding as many times as it will fit.
  • [0195]
    The embedded data is encoded in such a way that a random and partial scan of the surface coding containing the embedded data can be sufficient to retrieve the entire data. The scanning system reassembles the data from retrieved fragments, and reports to the user when sufficient fragments have been retrieved without error.
  • [0196]
    As shown in Table 3, a 200-bit data block encodes 160 bits of data. The block data is encoded in the data fragments of A contiguous group of 25 tags arranged in a 5×5 square. A tag belongs to a block whose integer coordinate is the tag's coordinate divided by 5. Within each block the data is arranged into tags with increasing x coordinate within increasing y coordinate.
  • [0197]
    A data fragment may be missing from a block where an active area map is present. However, the missing data fragment is likely to be recoverable from another copy of the block.
  • [0198]
    Data of arbitrary size is encoded into a superblock consisting of a contiguous set of blocks arranged in a rectangle. The size of the superblock is encoded in each block. A block belongs to a superblock whose integer coordinate is the block's coordinate divided by the superblock size. Within each superblock the data is arranged into blocks with increasing x coordinate within increasing y coordinate.
  • [0199]
    The superblock is replicated in the surface coding as many times as it will fit, including partially along the edges of the surface coding.
  • [0200]
    The data encoded in the superblock may include more precise type information, more precise size information, and more extensive error detection and/or correction data.
    TABLE 3
    Embedded data block
    field width description
    data type 8 The type of the data in the superblock.
    Values include:
    0: type is controlled by region flags
    1: MIME
    Other values are TBA.
    superblock width 8 The width of the superblock, in blocks.
    superblock height 8 The height of the superblock, in blocks.
    data 160 The block data.
    CRC 16 A CRC6 of the block data.
    total 200

    6CCIT CRC-16[7]

    Cryptographic Signature of Region ID
  • [0201]
    If the “region is signed” flag in the region flags is set then the surface coding contains a 160-bit cryptographic signature of the region ID. The signature is encoded in a one-block superblock.
  • [0202]
    In an online environment any signature fragment can be used, in conjunction with the region ID, to validate the signature. In an offline environment the entire signature can be recovered by reading multiple tags, and can then be validated using the corresponding public signature key. This is discussed in more detail in Netpage Surface Coding Security section of the cross reference co-pending application Docket No. NPS100US, which is entirely incorporated into the application with docket no. NPS101US.
  • [0000]
    MIME Data
  • [0203]
    If the embedded data type is “MIME” then the superblock contains Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) data according to RFC 2045 (see Freed, N., and N. Borenstein, “Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)—Part One: Format of Internet Message Bodies”, RFC 2045, November 1996), RFC 2046 (see Freed, N., and N. Borenstein, “Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)—Part Two: Media Types”, RFC 2046, November 1996) and related RFCs. The MIME data consists of a header followed by a body. The header is encoded as a variable-length text string preceded by an 8-bit string length. The body is encoded as a variable-length type-specific octet stream preceded by a 16-bit size in big-endian format.
  • [0204]
    The basic top-level media types described in RFC 2046 include text, image, audio, video and application.
  • [0205]
    RFC 2425 (see Howes, T., M. Smith and F. Dawson, “A MIME Content-Type for Directory Information”, RFC 2045, September 1998) and RFC 2426 (see Dawson, F., and T. Howes, “vCard MIME Directory Profile”, RFC 2046, September 1998) describe a text subtype for directory information suitable, for example, for encoding contact information which might appear on a business card.
  • [0000]
    Encoding and Printing Considerations
  • [0206]
    The Print Engine Controller (PEC) supports the encoding of two fixed (per-page) 24-ary (15, 5) Reed-Solomon codewords and six variable (per-tag) 24-ary (15, 5) Reed-Solomon codewords. Furthermore, PEC supports the rendering of tags via a rectangular unit cell whose layout is constant (per page) but whose variable codeword data may vary from one unit cell to the next. PEC does not allow unit cells to overlap in the direction of page movement. A unit cell compatible with PEC contains a single tag group consisting of four tags. The tag group contains a single A codeword unique to the tag group but replicated four times within the tag group, and four unique B codewords. These can be encoded using five of PEC's six supported variable codewords. The tag group also contains eight fixed C and D codewords. One of these can be encoded using the remaining one of PEC's variable codewords, two more can be encoded using PEC's two fixed codewords, and the remaining five can be encoded and pre-rendered into the Tag Format Structure (TFS) supplied to PEC.
  • [0207]
    PEC imposes a limit of 32 unique bit addresses per TFS row. The contents of the unit cell respect this limit. PEC also imposes a limit of 384 on the width of the TFS. The contents of the unit cell respect this limit.
  • [0208]
    Note that for a reasonable page size, the number of variable coordinate bits in the A codeword is modest, making encoding via a lookup table tractable. Encoding of the B codeword via a lookup table may also be possible. Note that since a Reed-Solomon code is systematic, only the redundancy data needs to appear in the lookup table.
  • [0000]
    Imaging and Decoding Considerations
  • [0209]
    The minimum imaging field of view required to guarantee acquisition of an entire tag has a diameter of 39.6 s (i.e. (2×(12+2))√{square root over (2)}s), allowing for arbitrary alignment between the surface coding and the field of view. Given a macrodot spacing of 143 μm, this gives a required field of view of 5.7 mm.
  • [0210]
    Table 4 gives pitch ranges achievable for the present surface coding for different sampling rates, assuming an image sensor size of 128 pixels.
    TABLE 4
    Pitch ranges achievable for present surface coding
    for different sampling rates; dot pitch = 1600 dpi, macrodot
    pitch = 9 dots, viewing distance = 30 mm, nib-to-FOV
    separation = 1 mm, image sensor size = 128 pixels
    sampling
    rate pitch range
    2 −40 to +49
    2.5 −27 to +36
    3 −10 to +18
  • [0211]
    Given the present surface coding, the corresponding decoding sequence is as follows:
      • locate targets of complete tag
      • infer perspective transform from targets
      • sample and decode any one of tag's four codewords
      • determine codeword type and hence tag orientation
      • sample and decode required local (A and B) codewords
      • codeword redundancy is only 12 bits, so only detect errors
      • on decode error flag bad position sample
      • determine tag x-y location, with reference to tag orientation
      • infer 3D tag transform from oriented targets
      • determine nib x-y location from tag x-y location and 3D transform
      • determine active area status of nib location with reference to active area map
      • generate local feedback based on nib active area status
      • determine tag type from A codeword
      • sample and decode required global (C and D) codewords (modulo window alignment, with reference to tag type)
      • although codeword redundancy is only 12 bits, correct errors; subsequent CRC verification will detect erroneous error correction
      • verify tag group data CRC
      • on decode error flag bad region ID sample
      • determine encoding type, and reject unknown encoding
      • determine region flags
      • determine region ID
      • encode region ID, nib x-y location, nib active area status in digital ink
      • route digital ink based on region flags
  • [0234]
    Note that region ID decoding need not occur at the same rate as position decoding.
  • [0235]
    Note that decoding of a codeword can be avoided if the codeword is found to be identical to an already-known good codeword.
  • Netpage Pen
  • [0000]
    Functional Overview
  • [0236]
    The Netpage pen is a motion-sensing writing instrument which works in conjunction with a tagged Netpage surface (see Netpage Surface Coding and Netpage Surface Coding Security sections above). The pen incorporates a conventional ballpoint pen cartridge for marking the surface, a motion sensor for simultaneously capturing the absolute path of the pen on the surface, an identity sensor for simultaneously identifying the surface, a force sensor for simultaneously measuring the force exerted on the nib, and a real-time clock for simultaneously measuring the passage of time.
  • [0237]
    While in contact with a tagged surface, as indicated by the force sensor, the pen continuously images the surface region adjacent to the nib, and decodes the nearest tag in its field of view to determine both the identity of the surface, its own instantaneous position on the surface and the pose of the pen. The pen thus generates a stream of timestamped position samples relative to a particular surface, and transmits this stream to a Netpage server (see Netpage Architecture section in co-pending application Docket No. NPS110US). The sample stream describes a series of strokes, and is conventionally referred to as digital ink (DInk). Each stroke is delimited by a pen down and a pen up event, as detected by the force sensor.
  • [0238]
    The pen samples its position at a sufficiently high rate (nominally 100 Hz) to allow a Netpage server to accurately reproduce hand-drawn strokes, recognise handwritten text, and verify hand-written signatures.
  • [0239]
    The Netpage pen also supports hover mode in interactive applications. In hover mode the pen is not in contact with the paper and may be some small distance above the surface of the paper (or tablet etc.). This allows the position of the-pen, including its height and pose to be reported. In the case of an interactive application the hover mode behaviour can be used to move the cursor without marking the paper, or the distance of the nib from the coded surface could be used for tool behaviour control, for example an air brush function.
  • [0240]
    The pen includes a Bluetooth radio transceiver for transmitting digital ink via a relay device to a Netpage server.
  • [0241]
    When operating offline from a Netpage server the pen buffers captured digital ink in non-volatile memory. When operating online to a Netpage server the pen transmits digital ink in real time.
  • [0242]
    The pen is supplied with a docking cradle or “pod”. The pod contains a Bluetooth to USB relay. The pod is connected via a USB cable to a computer which provides communications support for local applications and access to Netpage services.
  • [0243]
    The pen is powered by a rechargeable battery. The battery is not accessible to or replaceable by the user. Power to charge the pen can be taken from the USB connection or from an external power adapter through the pod. The pen also has a power and USB-compatible data socket to allow it to be externally connected and powered while in use. The pen cap serves the dual purpose of protecting the nib and the imaging optics when the cap is fitted and signalling the pen to leave a power-preserving state when uncapped.
  • [0000]
    Pen Form Factor
  • [0244]
    The overall weight (45 g), size and shape (159 mm×17 mm) of the Netpage pen fall within the conventional bounds of hand-held writing instruments.
  • [0000]
    Ergonomics and Layout
  • [0245]
    FIG. 11 shows a rounded triangular profile gives the pen 400 an ergonomically comfortable shape to grip and use the pen in the correct functional orientation. It is also a practical shape for accommodating the internal components. A normal pen-like grip naturally conforms to a triangular shape between thumb 402, index finger 404 and middle finger 406.
  • [0246]
    As shown in FIG. 12, a typical user writes with the pen 400 at a nominal pitch of about 30 degrees from the normal toward the hand 408 when held (positive angle) but seldom operates a pen at more than about 10 degrees of negative pitch (away from the hand). The range of pitch angles over which the pen 400 is able to image the pattern on the paper has been optimised for this asymmetric usage. The shape of the pen 400 helps to orient the pen correctly in the user's hand 408 and to discourage the user from using the pen “upside-down”. The pen functions “upside-down” but the allowable tilt angle range is reduced.
  • [0247]
    The cap 410 is designed to fit over the top end of the pen 400, allowing it to be securely stowed while the pen is in use. Multi colour LEDs illuminate a status window 412 in the top edge (as in the apex of the rounded triangular cross section) of the pen 400 near its top end. The status window 412 remains un-obscured when the cap is stowed. A vibration motor is also included in the pen as a haptic feedback system (described in detail below).
  • [0248]
    As shown in FIG. 13, the grip portion of the pen has a hollow chassis molding 416 enclosed by a base molding 528 to house the other components. The ink cartridge 414 for the ball point nib (not shown) fits naturally into the apex 420 of the triangular cross section, placing it consistently with the user's grip. This in turn provides space for the main PCB 422 in the centre of the pen and for the battery 424 in the base of the pen. By referring to FIG. 14 a, it can be seen that this also naturally places the tag-sensing optics 426 unobtrusively below the nib 418 (with respect to nominal pitch). The nib molding 428 of the pen 400 is swept back below the ink cartridge 414 to prevent contact between the nib molding 428 and the paper surface when the pen is operated at maximum pitch.
  • [0249]
    As best shown in FIG. 14 b, the imaging field of view 430 emerges through a centrally positioned IR filter/window 432 below the nib 418, and two near-infrared illumination LEDs 434, 436 emerge from the two bottom corners of the nib molding 428. The use of two illumination LEDs 434, 436 ensures a more uniform illumination field 438, 440.
  • [0250]
    As the pen is hand-held, it may be held at an angle that causes reflections from one of the LED's that are detrimental to the image sensor. By providing more than one LED, the LED causing the offending reflections can be extinguished.
  • [0000]
    Pen Feedback Indications
  • [0251]
    FIG. 17 is a longitudinal cross section through the centre-line if the pen 400 (with the cap 410 stowed on the end of the pen). The pen incorporates red and green LEDs 444 to indicate several states, using colours and intensity modulation. A light pipe 448 on the LEDs 444 transmit the signal to the status indicator window 412 in the tube molding 416. These signal status information to the user including power-on, battery level, untransmitted digital ink, network connection on-line, fault or error with an action.
  • [0252]
    A vibration motor 446 is used to haptically convey information to the user for important verification functions during transactions. This system is used for important interactive indications that might be missed due to inattention to the LED indicators 444 or high levels of ambient light. The haptic system indicates to the user when:
  • [0253]
    The pen wakes from standby mode
  • [0254]
    There is an error with an action
  • [0255]
    To acknowledge a transaction
  • [0000]
    Pod Feedback Indications
  • [0256]
    Turning briefly to the recharging pod 450 shown in FIGS. 31 and 32, red and green LEDs 452 to indicate various states using colours and intensity modulation. The light from the LEDs is transmitted to the exterior of the pod via the polymer light pipe molding 454. These signal status information to the user including charging state, and untransmitted digital ink by illuminating/pulsating one LEDs 452 at a time.
  • [0000]
    Features and Accessories
  • [0257]
    As shown in FIG. 15, the pen has a power and data socket 458 is located in the top end 456 of the pen, hidden and moisture-sealed behind an elastomeric end-cap 460. The end-cap can be prised open to give access to the socket 458 and reset switch (at the bottom of recess 464) and remains open while the cable 462 is in use. The USB power and data cable 462 allows the pen to be used for periods that exceed the battery life.
  • [0258]
    The usual method of charging the pen 400 is via the charging pod 450 shown in FIGS. 31 and 32. As will be described in greater detail below, the pod 450 includes a Bluetooth transceiver connected by USB to a computer and several LEDs to indicate for charging status. The pod is compact to minimise its desktop footprint, and has a weighted base for stability. Data transfer occurs between the pen and the pod via a Bluetooth radio link.
  • [0000]
    Market Differentiation
  • [0259]
    Digital mobile products and quality pens are usually considered as personal items. This pen product is used by both genders from 5 years upwards for personal, educational and business use, so many markets have to be catered for. The pen design allows for substantial user customisation of the external appearance of the pen 400 and the pod 450 by having user changeable parts, namely the cap 410, an outer tube molding 466 (best shown in FIGS. 16 and 49) and the pod jacket 468 (best shown in FIGS. 31 and 32). These parts are aquagraphic printed (a water based transfer system) to produce a variety of high quality graphic images and textures over all surfaces of these parts. These parts are accessories to the pen, allowing the user to change the appearance whenever they wish. A number of licensed images provide enhancers for the sale of accessories as an additional business model, similar to the practice with mobile phone covers.
  • Pen Mechanical Design
  • [0000]
    Parts and Assemblies
  • [0260]
    Referring to FIG. 16, the pen 400 has been designed as a high volume product and has four major sub-assemblies:
  • [0261]
    an optical assembly 470;
  • [0262]
    a force sensing assembly 474;
  • [0263]
    a cap assembly 472; and,
  • [0264]
    the main assembly 476, which holds the main PCB 422 and battery 424.
  • [0265]
    Wherever possible, moldings have been designed as line-of-draw to reduce cost and promote longevity in the tooling.
  • [0266]
    These assemblies and the other major parts can be identified in FIG. 17. As the form factor of the pen is to be as small as possible these parts are packed as closely as practical. The electrical components in the upper part of the pen, namely the force sensor assembly 474 and the vibration motor 446 all have sprung contacts (512 of FIG. 24 and 480 of FIG. 38A respectively) directly mating with contact pads 482 and 484 respectively (see FIG. 40) on the PCB 422. This eliminates the need for connectors and also decouples these parts from putting any stress onto the main PCB.
  • [0267]
    Although certain individual molded parts are thin walled (0.8 to 1.2 mm) the combination of these moldings creates a strong structure. The pen is designed not to be user serviceable and therefore has a cold stake under the exterior label to prevent user entry. Non-conducting plastics moldings are used wherever possible to allow an omnidirectional beam pattern to be formed by the Bluetooth radio antenna 486 (see FIG. 40).
  • [0000]
    Optics Assembly
  • [0268]
    The major components of the optical assembly are as shown in FIGS. 18 and 19. The axial alignment of the lens 488 to the image sensor 490 is toleranced to be better than 50 cm to minimise blur at the image. The barrel molding 492 is therefore has high precision with tight tolerancing. It has a molded-in aperture 494 near the image sensor 490, which provides the location for the lens 488. As the effect of thermal expansion is very small on a molding this size, it is not necessary to use a more expensive material.
  • [0269]
    The flex PCB 496 mounts two infrared LEDs 434 and 436, a wire bonded Chip-on-Flex image sensor 490 and some chip capacitors 502. The flex PCB 496 is 75 micron thick polyimide, which allows the two infrared LEDs 434 and 436 to be manipulated. Stiffeners are required in certain areas on the flex as backing for the attached components. The flex PCB 496 is laser cut to provide accuracy for mounting onto the barrel molding 492 and fine pitch connector alignment.
  • [0000]
    Force Sensing Assembly and Ink Cartridge
  • [0270]
    FIGS. 20, 23, 24 and 40 show the components and installation of the force sensing assembly. The force sensing assembly 474 is designed to accurately measure force put on the ink cartridge 414 during use. It is specified to sense between 0 and 500 grams force with enough fidelity to support handwriting recognition in the Netpage services. This captive assembly has two coaxial conductive metal tubes 498, a retainer spring 504 and a packaged force sensor 500.
  • [0000]
    Conductive Metal Tube
  • [0271]
    The conductive metal tubes 498 has an insert molded insulation layer 506 between two metal tubes (inner tube 508 and outer tube 510), which each have a sprung gold plated contact finger (512 and 514 respectively). Power for charging the battery is provided by two contacts 516 (see FIG. 31) in the charging pod 450 and is conducted by these two tubes directly to recharging contacts 518 and 520 (see FIG. 40) on the main PCB 422, via a spring contact (512 and 514 respectively) on each tube.
  • [0272]
    When the pen cap assembly 472 is placed on the front of the pen 400, a conductive elastomeric molding in the pen cap mates with the ends of both concentric tubes in the conductive metal tube part, completing the circuit and signalling the cap presence to the pen electronics (see FIG. 18).
  • [0000]
    Force Sensor Operating Principles
  • [0273]
    FIG. 33 schematically illustrates the operation of the force sensing assembly 474. The spring 700 applies a pre-load to the force sensor IC 526 (via a ball bearing 524) before the cartridge 414 is subject to any force at the nib 418. The cartridge 414 itself is not pushed against the force sensor as it passes through the spring. Instead, the spring pushes a boot 702 against the force sensor, and the boot is coupled to the end of the cartridge. The boot 702 is a compromise between allowing easy manual insertion and removal of cartridge 414, and ensuring the cartridge is held securely without travel. The use of a boot 702 also allows the inclusion of a stop surface 698. The stop limits the travel of the boot 702 thereby protecting the spring 700 from overload.
  • [0000]
    Packaged Force Sensor
  • [0274]
    FIGS. 38A to 38E are perspectives of the various components of the packaged force sensor 500. FIG. 38A shows a steel ball 524 protruding from the front of a sensor IC (chip) 526. The ball 524 is the point contact used to transmit force directly to the chip. Wire bonds 604 connect the chip 526 to the spring contacts 478. The chip sits in the recess 564 formed in the rear molding 566 shown in FIG. 38B. A pressure relief vent 584 in the base of the recess 564 allows air trapped by the chip 526 to escape. The front molding 606 shown in FIG. 38C, has slots 608 in its underside for the sprung contacts 478 and a central aperture 610 to hold the ball 524. Location details 612 mate with corresponding details in the coaxial conductive tubes 498 as shown in FIG. 24.
  • [0275]
    As there is only 10 microns full span movement in this system, the mounting of this assembly in the pen and use of axial preload is tightly toleranced. The force sensing assembly is mounted in the top of the pen so that it can only stress the pen chassis molding 416 (see FIG. 16), and force will not be transmitted to the main PCB 422. The force sensor is a push fit onto the end of the inner conductive metal tube 508 also trapping the retainer spring 504, which makes a simple dedicated assembly 500.
  • [0000]
    Retainer Spring
  • [0276]
    Turning to FIGS. 20 and 24, the retainer spring 504 is the equivalent to the boot 702 described in FIG. 33. It is a high precision stamping out of thin sheet metal with an insulating layer 708 at the point where it contacts the ball 524. This inhibits electrical interference with the force sensor IC 526 caused by external electrostatic discharge via the ink cartridge 414. The metal retainer spring 504 is formed into four gripping arms 530 and two spring arms 532. A spent cartridge removal tool 534 is secured to the open end of the cartridge 414 with an interference fit. The gripping arms 530 grip a complementary external grip profile 704 on the removal tool 534. The spring arms 532 extend beyond the end of gripping arms 530 to press against the stepped section 706 in the coaxial tube assembly 498. This in turn pushes insulated base 708 against the ball 524 to put an accurate axial preload force of between 10 and 20 grams onto the force sensor.
  • [0000]
    Ink Cartridge
  • [0277]
    The pen ink cartridge 414 is best shown in FIGS. 21A and 21B. Research shows that industry practice is for the ballpoint nib 418 to be made by one source and the metal tube 536 to be made by another, along with assembly and filling. There are no front loading standard ink cartridges that meet the design capacity and form factor requirements so a custom cartridge has been developed. This ink cartridge 414 has a 3mm diameter tube 536 with a standard ballpoint nib inserted. The spent cartridge removal tool 534 is a custom end molding that caps the open end of the metal tube 536.
  • [0278]
    The removal tool 536 contains an air vent 538 for ink flow, a location detail 540 and a co-molded elastomeric ring 542 around a recess 544 detail used for extracting the spent ink cartridge. The tool is levered down to engage the nib of the old cartridge and then drawn out through the nib end of the pen as shown in FIG. 21B. The elastomer ring 542 reduces the possibility that a hard shock could damage the force sensor if the pen is dropped onto a hard surface.
  • [0279]
    The location detail 540 allows the ink cartridge 414 to accurately seat into the retainer spring 504 in the force sensing assembly 474 and to be preloaded against the force sensor 500. The removal tool (apart from the co-molded elastomeric ring) is made out of a hard plastic such as acetal and can be molded in color to match the ink contents. The ink capacity is 5 ml giving an expected write-out length comparable with standard ballpoint ink cartridges. This capacity means that refill cycles will be relatively infrequent during the lifetime of the pen.
  • [0000]
    Force Sensing Method
  • [0280]
    Pressing the nib 418 against a surface will transfer the force to the ball 524 via the gripping arms 530. The force from the nib adds to the preload force from the spring arms 532. The force sensor is a push fit into the end of the coaxial tube assembly 498 and both directly connect to the PCB with spring contacts (478 and 512 respecively).
  • [0281]
    FIG. 24 shows the limited space available for an axial force sensor, hence a packaged design is required as off-the-shelf items have no chance of fitting in this space envelope in the required configuration.
  • [0282]
    This force sensing arrangement detects the axial force applied to the cartridge 414, which is the simplest and most accurate solution. There is negligible friction in the system as the cartridge contacts only on two points, one at either end of the conductive metal barrel 498. The metal retainer spring 504 will produce an accurate preload force up to 20 grams onto the force sensor 500. This is seen to be a reliable system over time, as the main parts are metal and therefore will not suffer from creep, wear or stiction during the lifetime of the pen.
  • [0283]
    This design also isolates the applied force by directing it onto the packaged force sensor, which pushes against the solid seat in the chassis molding 416 of the pen. This allows the force sensing assembly 474 to float above the main PCB 422 (so as not to put strain on it) whilst transmitting data via the spring contacts 478 at the base of the packaged force sensor 500. The resulting assembly fits neatly into the pen chassis molding 416 and is easy to hand assemble.
  • [0000]
    Top/Side Loading Cartridge
  • [0284]
    As discussed above, the pen will require periodic replacement of the ink cartridge during its lifetime. While the front loading ink cartridge system is convenient for users, it can have some disadvantages. Front loading limits the capacity of the ink reservoir in the cartridge, since the diameter of the cartridge along its full length is limited to the minimum cartridge diameter, as dictated by the constraints of the pen nose.
  • [0285]
    The cartridge 414 must be pushed against the force sensor IC 526 (via the steel ball 524) by a pre-load spring 700 (see FIG. 33). However, the cartridge 414 itself does not provide the face against which the spring pushes, since the cartridge must pass through the spring. This necessitates the boot 702 or retaining spring 504 discussed above.
  • [0286]
    The boot is necessarily a compromise between allowing easy manual insertion and removal of cartridge, and ensuring the cartridge is held securely without travel.
  • [0287]
    A ‘top-loading’ cartridge, as illustrated in FIG. 34, can overcome these disadvantages. It will be appreciated that ‘top loading’ is a reference to insertion of the cartridge from a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis of the pen. Because of the other components within the pen, it is most convenient to insert the cartridge from the ‘top’ or apex 420 of the pen's substantially triangular cross section (see FIG. 13).
  • [0288]
    The pre-load spring 700 can be placed toward the nib 418 of the cartridge 414, thus providing a convenient mechanism for seating the cartridge against the force sensor ball 524 after insertion. A cartridge travel stop 712 is formed on the chassis molding 416 to prevent overloading the force sensor 526. Since the cartridge itself provides the face against which the pre-load spring pushes, the boot is eliminated and the cartridge couples directly with the force sensor.
  • [0289]
    As the cartridge is no longer constrained to a single diameter along its full length, its central section can be wider and accommodate a much larger ink reservoir 710.
  • [0290]
    The currently proposed pen design has an internal chassis 416 and an external tube molding 466. The external molding 466 is user replaceable, allowing the user to customise the pen 400. Removing the external molding 466 also provides the user with access to the pen's product label 652 (see FIG. 47). Skilled workers in this field will appreciate that the chassis molding 416 and the base molding 528 could be modified to provide the user with access to a replaceable battery.
  • [0291]
    Referring again to FIG. 34, removing the external molding 466 (not shown) can also provide the user with access to the top-loading pen cartridge 414. Once the external molding is removed, most of the length of the pen cartridge 414 is exposed. The user removes the cartridge by sliding it forwards against the pre-load spring 700 to extract its tail 718 from the force sensor aperture 720, then tilting it upwards to free the tail 718 from the cartridge cavity 722, and finally withdrawing the cartridge 710 from the pre-load spring 700 and cavity 722. The user inserts a new cartridge by following the same procedure in reverse.
  • [0292]
    Since a top-loading cartridge can have a much greater capacity than a front-loading cartridge, it is not unreasonable to require the user to remove the external molding 466 to replace the cartridge 414, since the user will have to replace a top-loading cartridge much less often than a front-loading cartridge.
  • [0293]
    Referring to FIG. 35, the pre-load spring 700 can be provided with its own cavity 716 and retaining ring 714 to make it easier to insert the cartridge 414.
  • [0000]
    Cap Assembly
  • [0294]
    The pen cap assembly 472 consists of four moldings as shown in FIG. 25. These moldings combine to produce a pen cap which can be stowed on the top end of the pen 456 during operation. When capped, it provides a switch to the electronics to signal the capped state (described in ‘Cap Detection Circuit’ section below). A conductive elastomeric molding 522 inside the cap 410 functions as the cap switch when it connects the inner 512 and outer 514 metal tubes to short circuit them (see FIG. 26). The conductive elastomeric molding 522 is pushed into a base recess in the cap molding 410. It is held captive by the clip molding 544 which is offered into the cap and snaps in place. A metallised trim molding 546 snaps onto the cap molding 410 to complete the assembly 472.
  • [0295]
    The cap molding 410 is line-of-draw and has an aquagraphic print applied to it. The trim 546 can be metallised in reflective silver or gold type finishes as well as coloured plastics if required.
  • [0000]
    Pen Feedback Systems—Vibratory
  • [0296]
    The pen 400 has two sensory feedback systems. The first system is haptic, in the form of a vibration motor 446. In most instances this is the primary user feedback system as it is in direct contact with the users hand 408 and the ‘shaking’ can be instantly felt and not ignored or missed.
  • [0000]
    Pen Feedback Systems—Visual
  • [0297]
    The second system is a visual indication in the form of an indicator window 412 in the tube molding 466 on the top apex 420 of the pen 400. This window aligns with a light pipe 448 in the chassis molding 416, which transmits light from red and green indicator LEDs 452 on the main PCB 422. The indicator window 412 is positioned so that it is not covered by the user's hand 408 and it is also unobstructed when the cap 410 is stowed on the top end 456 of the pen.
  • [0000]
    Optical Design
  • [0298]
    The pen incorporates a fixed-focus narrowband infrared imaging system. It utilises a camera with a short exposure time, small aperture, and bright synchronised illumination to capture sharp images unaffected by defocus blur or motion blur.
    TABLE 5
    Optical
    Specifications
    Magnification −0.225
    Focal length of lens 6.0 mm
    Viewing distance 30.5 mm
    Total track length 41.0 mm
    Aperture diameter 0.8 mm
    Depth of field +/−6.5 mm7
    Exposure time 200 us
    Wavelength 810 nm8
    Image sensor size 140 × 140 pixels
    Pixel size 10 um
    Pitch range9 −15 to +45 deg
    Roll range −30 to +30 deg
    Yaw range 0 to 360 deg
    Minimum sampling 2.25 pixels per
    rate macrodot
    Maximum pen velocity 0.5 m/s

    7Allowing 70 um blur radius

    8Illumination and filter

    9Pitch, roll and yaw are relative to the axis of the pen.

    Pen Optics and Design Overview
  • [0299]
    Cross sections showing the pen optics are provided in FIGS. 27A and 27B. An image of the Netpage tags printed on a surface 548 adjacent to the nib 418 is focused by a lens 488 onto the active region of an image sensor 490. A small aperture 494 ensures the available depth of field accommodates the required pitch and roll ranges of the pen 400.
  • [0300]
    First and second LEDs 434 and 436 brightly illuminate the surface 549 within the field of view 430. The spectral emission peak of the LEDs is matched to the spectral absorption peak of the infrared ink used to print Netpage tags to maximise contrast in captured images of tags. The brightness of the LEDs is matched to the small aperture size and short exposure time required to minimise defocus and motion blur.
  • [0301]
    A longpass IR filter 432 suppresses the response of the image sensor 490 to any coloured graphics or text spatially coincident with imaged tags and any ambient illumination below the cut-off wavelength of the filter 432. The transmission of the filter 432 is matched to the spectral absorption peak of the infrared ink to maximise contrast in captured images of tags. The filter also acts as a robust physical window, preventing contaminants from entering the optical assembly 470.
  • [0000]
    The Imaging System
  • [0302]
    A ray trace of the optic path is shown in FIG. 28. The image sensor 490 is a CMOS image sensor with an active region of 140 pixels squared. Each pixel is 10 μm squared, with a fill factor of 93%. Turning to FIG. 29, the lens 488 is shown in detail. The dimensions are:
  • [0303]
    D=3 mm
  • [0304]
    R1=3.593 mm
  • [0305]
    R2=15.0 mm
  • [0306]
    X=0.8246 mm
  • [0307]
    Y=1.0 mm
  • [0308]
    Z=0.25 mm
  • [0309]
    This gives a focal length of 6.15 mm and transfers the image from the object plane (tagged surface 548) to the image plane (image sensor 490) with the correct sampling frequency to successfully decode all images over the specified pitch, roll and yaw ranges. The lens 488 is biconvex, with the most curved surface facing the image sensor. The minimum imaging field of view 430 required to guarantee acquisition of an entire tag has a diameter of 39.6 s (s=spacing between macrodots in the tag pattern) allowing for arbitrary alignment between the surface coding and the field of view. Given a macrodot spacing, s, of 143 μm, this gives a required field of view of 5.7 mm.
  • [0310]
    The required paraxial magnification of the optical system is defined by the minimum spatial sampling frequency of 2.25 pixels per macrodot for the fully specified tilt range of the pen 400, for the image sensor 490 of 10 μm pixels. Thus, the imaging system employs a paraxial magnification of −0.225, the ratio of the diameter of the inverted image (1.28 mm) at the image sensor to the diameter of the field of view (5.7 mm) at the object plane, on an image sensor 490 of minimum 128×128 pixels. The image sensor 490 however is 140×140 pixels, in order to accommodate manufacturing tolerances. This allows up to ±120 μm (12 pixels in each direction in the plane of the image sensor) of misalignment between the optical axis and the image sensor axis without losing any of the information in the field of view.
  • [0311]
    The lens 488 is made from Poly-methyl-methacrylate (PMMA), typically used for injection moulded optical components. PMMA is scratch resistant, and has a refractive index of 1.49, with 90% transmission at 810 nm. The lens is biconvex to assist moulding precision and features a mounting surface to precisely mate the lens with the optical barrel molding 492.
  • [0312]
    A 0.8 mm diameter aperture 494 is used to provide the depth of field requirements of the design.
  • [0313]
    The specified tilt range of the pen is −15.0 to +45.0 degree pitch, with a roll range of −30.0 to +30.0 degrees. Tilting the pen through its specified range moves the tilted object plane up to 6.3 mm away from the focal plane. The specified aperture thus provides a corresponding depth of field of ±6.5 mm, with an acceptable blur radius at the image sensor of 16 μm.
  • [0314]
    Due to the geometry of the pen design, the pen operates correctly over a pitch range of −33.0 to +45.0 degrees.
  • [0315]
    Referring to FIG. 30, the optical axis 550 is pitched 0.8 degrees away from the nib axis 552. The optical axis and the nib axis converge toward the paper surface 548. With the nib axis 552 perpendicular to the paper, the distance A between the edge of the field of view 430 closest to the nib axis and the nib axis itself is 1.2 mm.
  • [0316]
    The longpass IR filter 432 is made of CR-39, a lightweight thermoset plastic heavily resistant to abrasion and chemicals such as acetone. Because of these properties, the filter also serves as a window. The filter is 1.5 mm thick, with a refractive index of 1.50. Each filter may be easily cut from a large sheet using a CO2 laser cutter.
  • [0000]
    The Illumination System
  • [0317]
    The tagged surface 548 is illuminated by a pair of 3 mm diameter LEDs 434 and 436. The LEDs emit 810 nm radiation with a divergence half intensity, half angle of ±15 degrees in a 35 nm spectral band (FWHM), each with a power of approximately 45 mW per steradian.
  • Pod Design and Assembly
  • [0318]
    TABLE 2
    Pod Mechanical Specifications
    Size h63 × w43 × d46 mm
    Mass 50 g
    Operating −10˜+55 C.
    Temperature
    Operating Relative 10-90%
    Humidity
    Storage Temperature −20 to +60 C. worst case
    Storage Relative 5-95%
    Humidity
    Shock and Vibration Drop from 1 m onto a hard surface without
    damage.
    Mechanical shock 600 G, 2.5 ms, 6 axis.
    Serviceability Replaceable jacket (part of customisation kit).
    No internal user serviceable parts - the case is
    not user openable.
    Power USB: 500 mA.
    External power adapter: 600 mA at 5.5 VDC.

    Pod Design
  • [0319]
    The pen 400 is supplied with a USB tethered pod, which provides power to the pen and a Bluetooth transceiver for data transfer between the pen and the pod. Referring to FIG. 31, the pod 450 is a modular design and is comprised of several line of draw moldings. The pod tower molding 554 holds the pen at a 15 degree from vertical angle, which is both ergonomic from a pen stowing and extraction perspective, but also is inherently stable.
  • [0000]
    Pod Assembly
  • [0320]
    The assembly sequence for the pod 450 is as follows:
  • [0321]
    An elastomeric stop molding 556 is push fitted into the pod tower molding 554 to provide a positive stop for the pen when inserted into the pod.
  • [0322]
    The pod tower molding 554 has two metal contacts 516 pushed onto location ribs under the stop. These contacts 516 protrude into a void 558 where the nib molding 428 is seated as shown in FIG. 32. When a pen is present, they contact the coaxial metal barrels 498 around the ink cartridge 414. These act as conductors to provide charge to the battery 424.
  • [0323]
    The pod PCB 560 is offered up into the pod tower molding 554 and snapped into place. Sprung charging contacts 562 on the metal contact piece 516 align with power pads on the pod PCB 560 during assembly. The underside of the pod PCB 450 includes several arrays of red, green and blue LEDs 564 which indicate several charging states from empty to full. Blue is the default ‘charging’ and ‘pod empty’ status color and they are transmitted via a translucent elastomeric light pipe 566 as an illuminated arc around the pod base molding 568.
  • [0324]
    Despite a reasonable centre of gravity with a pen inserted, a cast weight 570 sits in the base molding 568 to increase stability and lessen the chance of the pod 450 falling over when knocked. The base molding 568 screws into the tower molding 554 to hold the weight 570, light pipe 566 and PCB 560 after the tethered USB/power cable 572 is connected to the pod PCB 560.
  • [0000]
    Personalisation
  • [0325]
    In line with the market differentiation ability of the pen, the pod includes a pod jacket molding 468. This user removable molding is printed with the same aquagrahic transfer pattern as the tube and cap moldings of the pen it is supplied with as a kit.
  • [0326]
    Therefore the pattern of the pen, cap and pod are three items that strongly identify an individual users pen and pod to avoid confusion where there are multiple products in the same environment. They also allow this product to become a personal statement for the user.
  • [0327]
    The pod jacket molding 468 can be supplied as an aftermarket accessory in any number of patterns and images with the cap assembly 472 and the tube molding 466 as discussed earlier.
  • Electronics Design
  • [0328]
    TABLE 3
    Electrical Specifications
    Processor ARM7 (Atmel AT91FR40162) running at
    80 MHz with 256 kB SRAM and 2 MB flash
    memory
    Digital ink storage  5 hours of writing
    capacity
    Bluetooth Compliance 1.2
    USB Compliance 1.1
    Battery standby time 12 hours (cap off), >4 weeks (cap on)
    Battery writing time  4 hours of cursive writing (81% pen down,
    assuming easy offload of digital ink)
    Battery charging time  2 hours
    Battery Life Typically 300 charging cycles or 2 years
    (whichever occurs first) to 80% of initial capacity.
    Battery Capacity/Type ˜340 mAh at 3.7 V, Lithium-ion Polymer (LiPo)

    Pen Electronics Block Diagram
  • [0329]
    FIG. 36 is a block diagram of the pen electronics. The electronics design for the pen is based around five main sections. These are:
      • the main ARM7 microprocessor 574,
      • the image sensor and image processor 576,
      • the Bluetooth communications module 578,
      • the power management unit IC (PMU) 580 and
      • the force sensor microprocessor 582.
        ARM7 Microprocessor
  • [0335]
    The pen uses an Atmel AT91FR40162 microprocessor (see Atmel, AT91 ARM Thumb Microcontrollers—AT91FR40162 Preliminary, http://www.keil.com/dd/docs/datashts/atmel/at91fr40162.pdf) running at 80 MHz. The AT91FR40162 incorporates an ARM7 microprocessor, 256 kBytes of on-chip single wait state SRAM and 2 MByte of external flash memory in a stack chip package.
  • [0336]
    This microprocessor 574 forms the core of the pen 400. Its duties include:
      • setting up the Jupiter image sensor 584,
      • decoding images of Netpage coded impressions, with assistance from the image processing features of the image sensor 584, for inclusion in the digital ink stream along with force sensor data received from the force sensor microprocessor 582,
      • setting up the power management IC (PMU) 580,
      • compressing and sending digital ink via the Bluetooth communications module 578, and
      • programming the force sensor microprocessor 582.
  • [0342]
    The ARM7 microprocessor 574 runs from an 80 MHz oscillator. It communicates with the Jupiter image sensor 576 using a Universal Synchronous Receiver Transmitter (USRT) 586 with a 40 MHz clock. The ARM7 574 communicates with the Bluetooth module 578 using a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART) 588 running at 115.2 kbaud. Communications to the PMU 580 and the Force Sensor microProcessor (FSP) 582 are performed using a Low Speed Serial bus (LSS) 590. The LSS is implemented in software and uses two of the microprocessor's general purpose IOs.
  • [0343]
    The ARM7 microprocessor 574 is programmed via its JTAG port. This is done when the microprocessor is on the main PCB 422 by probing bare pads 592 (see FIG. 39) on the PCB.
  • [0000]
    Jupiter Image Sensor
  • [0344]
    The Jupiter Image Sensor 584 (see U.S. Ser. No. 10/778,056 (Docket Number NPS047) listed in the cross referenced documents above) contains a monochrome sensor array, an analogue to digital converter (ADC), a frame store buffer, a simple image processor and a phase lock loop (PLL). In the pen, Jupiter uses the USRT's clock line and its internal PLL to generate all its clocking requirements. Images captured by the sensor array are stored in the frame store buffer. These images are decoded by the ARM7 microprocessor 574 with help from the Callisto image processor contained in Jupiter.
  • [0345]
    Jupiter controls the strobing of two infrared LEDs 434 and 436 at the same time as its image array is exposed. One or other of these two infrared LEDs may be turned off while the image array is exposed to prevent specular reflection off the paper that can occur at certain angles.
  • [0000]
    Bluetooth Communications Module
  • [0346]
    The pen uses a CSR BlueCore4-External device (see CSR, BlueCore4-External Data Sheet rev c, 6 Sep. 2004) as the Bluetooth controller 578. It requires an external 8 Mbit flash memory device 594 to hold its program code. The BlueCore4 meets the Bluetooth v1.2 specification and is compliant to v0.9 of the Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) specification which allows communication at up to 3 Mbps.
  • [0347]
    A 2.45 GHz chip antenna 486 is used on the pen for the Bluetooth communications.
  • [0348]
    The BlueCore4 is capable of forming a UART to USB bridge. This is used to allow USB communications via datalpower socket 458 at the top of the pen 456.
  • [0349]
    Alternatives to Bluetooth include wireless LAN and PAN standards such as IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) (see IEEE, 802.11 Wireless Local Area Networks, http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/11/index.html), IEEE 802.15 (see IEEE, 802.15 Working Group for WPAN, http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/15/index.html), ZigBee (see ZigBee Alliance, http://www.zigbee.org), and WirelessUSB Cypress (see Wireless USB LR 2.4-GHz DSSS Radio SoC, http://www.cypress.com/cfuploads/img/products/cywusb6935.pdf), as well as mobile standards such as GSM (see GSM Association, http:H/www.gsmworld.com/index.shtml), GPRS/EDGE, GPRSPlatform, http://www.gsmworld.com/technology/gprs/index.shtml), CDMA (see CDMA Development Group, http://www.cdi.org/, and Qualcomm, http://www.qualcomm.com), and UMTS (see 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), http://www.3gpp.org).
  • [0000]
    Power Management Chip
  • [0350]
    The pen uses an Austria Microsystems AS3603 PMU 580 (see Austria Microsystems, AS3603 Multi-Standard Power Management Unit Data Sheet v2.0). The PMU is used for battery management, voltage generation, power up reset generation and driving indicator LEDs and the vibrator motor.
  • [0351]
    The PMU 580 communicates with the ARM7 microprocessor 574 via the LSS bus 590.
  • [0352]
    The PMU uses one of two sources for charging the battery 424. These are the power from the power and USB jack 458 at the top of the pen 456 (see FIG. 15) and the power from the pod 450 via the two conductive tubes 498 (see FIG. 24). The PMU charges the pen's lithium polymer battery 424 using trickle current, constant current and constant voltage modes with little intervention required by the ARM7 microprocessor 574. The PMU also includes a fuel gauge which is used by the ARM7 microprocessor to determine how much battery capacity is left.
  • [0353]
    The PMU 580 generates the following separate voltages:
      • 3.0V from an LDO for the ARM7 IO voltage and the Jupiter IO and pixel voltages.
      • 3.0V from an LDO for the force sensor and force sensor filter and amplifier (3.0V for the force sensor microprocessor is generated from an off chip LDO since the PMU contains no LDOs that can be left powered on).
      • 3.0V from an LDO for the BlueCore4 Bluetooth device.
      • 1.8V from a buck converter for the ARM7 core voltage.
      • 1.85V from an LDO for the Jupiter core voltage.
      • 5.2V from a charge pump for the infrared LED drive voltage.
  • [0360]
    At power up or reset of the PMU, the ARM7 IO voltage and 1.8 V core voltage are available. The other voltage sources need to be powered on via commands from the ARM7 574 via the LSS bus 590.
  • [0361]
    Indicator LEDs 444 and the vibrator motor 446 are driven from current sink outputs of the PMU 580.
  • [0362]
    The PMU 580 can be put into ultra low power mode via a command over the LSS bus 590. This powers down all of its external voltage sources. The pen enters this ultra low power mode when its cap assembly 472 is on.
  • [0363]
    When the cap 472 is removed or there is an RTC wake-up alarm, the PMU 580 receives a power on signal 596 from the force sensor microprocessor 582 and initiates a reset cycle. This holds the ARM7 microprocessor 574 in a reset state until all voltages are stable. A reset cycle can also be initiated by the ARM7 574 via a LSS bus message or by a reset switch 598 which is located at the top of the pen next to the USB and power jack 458 (see FIG. 15).
  • [0000]
    Force Sensor Subsystem
  • [0364]
    The force sensor subsystem comprises a custom Hokuriku force sensor 500 (based on Hokuriku, HFD-500 Force Sensor, http://www.hdk.co.jp/pdf/eng/e1381AA.pdf), an amplifier and low pass filter 600 implemented using op-amps and a force sensor microprocessor 582.
  • [0365]
    The pen uses a Silicon Laboratories C805 IF330 as the force sensor microprocessor 582 (see Silicon Laboratories, C8051F330/1 MCUData Sheet, rev 1.1). The C8051F330 is an 8051 microprocessor with on chip flash memory, 10 bit ADC and 10 bit DAC. It contains an internal 24.5 MHz oscillator and also uses an external 32.768 kHz tuning fork.
  • [0366]
    The Hokuriku force sensor 500 is a silicon piezoresistive bridge sensor. An op-amp stage 600 amplifies and low pass (anti-alias) filters the force sensor output. This signal is then sampled by the force sensor microprocessor 582 at 5 kHz.
  • [0367]
    Alternatives to piezoresistive force sensing include capacitive and inductive force sensing (see Wacom, “Variable capacity condenser and pointer”, U.S. patent application 20010038384, filed 8 Nov. 2001, and Wacom, Technology, http://www.wacom-components.com/english/tech.asp).
  • [0368]
    The force sensor microprocessor 582 performs further (digital) filtering of the force signal and produces the force sensor values for the digital ink stream. A frame sync signal from the Jupiter image sensor 576 is used to trigger the generation of each force sample for the digital ink stream. The temperature is measured via the force sensor microprocessor's 582 on chip temperature sensor and this is used to compensate for the temperature dependence of the force sensor and amplifier. The offset of the force signal is dynamically controlled by input of the microprocessor's DAC output into the amplifier stage 600.
  • [0369]
    The force sensor microprocessor 582 communicates with the ARM7 microprocessor 574 via the LSS bus 590.
  • [0370]
    There are two separate interrupt lines from the force sensor microprocessor 582 to the ARM7 microprocessor 574. One is used to indicate that a force sensor sample is ready for reading and the other to indicate that a pen down/up event has occurred.
  • [0371]
    The force sensor microprocessor flash memory is programmed in-circuit by the ARM7 microprocessor 574.
  • [0372]
    The force sensor microprocessor 582 also provides the real time clock functionality for the pen 400. The RTC function is performed in one of the microprocessor's counter timers and runs from the external 32.768 kHz tuning fork. As a result, the force sensor microprocessor needs to remain on when the cap 472 is on and the ARM7 574 is powered down. Hence the force sensor microprocessor 582 uses a low power LDO separate from the PMU 580 as its power source. The real time clock functionality includes an interrupt which can be programmed to power up the ARM7 574.
  • [0373]
    The cap switch 602 is monitored by the force sensor microprocessor 582. When the cap assembly 472 is taken off (or there is a real time clock interrupt), the force sensor microprocessor 582 starts up the ARM7 572 by initiating a power on and reset cycle in the PMU 580.
  • Pen Design
  • [0000]
    Electronics PCBs and Cables
  • [0374]
    There are two PCBs in the pen, the main PCB 422 (FIG. 39) and the flex PCB 496 (FIG. 19). The other separate components in the design are the battery 424, the force sensor 500, the vibrator motor 446 and the conductive tubes 498 (FIG. 16) which function as the power connector to the pod 450 (FIG. 31).
  • [0000]
    Main PCB
  • [0375]
    FIGS. 39 and 40 show top and bottom perspectives respectively of the main PCB 422. The main PCB 422 is a 4-layer FR4 1.0 mm thick PCB with minimum trace width and separation of 100 microns. Via specification is 0.2 mm hole size in a 0.4 mm pad. The main PCB 422 is a rectangular board with dimensions 105 mm×11 mm.
  • [0376]
    The major components which are soldered to the main PCB are the Atmel ARM7 microprocessor 574, the AMS PMU 580, the Silicon Labs force sensor microprocessor 582, the op-amps for force sensor conditioning amplifier 600 and the CSR Bluetooth chip 578 and its flash memory 594, antenna 486 and shielding can 612.
  • [0377]
    The force sensor 500, the vibrator motor 446 and the coaxial conductive tubes 498 use sprung contacts to connect to pads on the main PCB 422. All of these items are pushed down onto the main PCB 422 by the chassis molding 416 of the pen.
  • [0378]
    There are three connectors soldered onto the main PCB 422; the flex PCB connector 612, the power and USB jack 458 at the top of the pen 456, and the battery cable harness connector 616. The cable harness to the battery is the only wired cable inside the pen.
  • [0379]
    Also soldered onto the main PCB 422 is the reset switch 598. This is in the recess 464 shown in FIG. 5.
  • [0000]
    Flex PCB
  • [0380]
    The Jupiter image sensor 576 is mounted on the flex PCB 496 as shown in FIG. 19. As the critical positioning tolerance in the pen is between the optics 426 and the image sensor 490, the flex PCB 496 allows the optical barrel molding 492 to be easily aligned to the image sensor 490. By having a flexible connection between the image sensor and the main PCB 422, the positioning tolerance of the main PCB is not critical for the correct alignment of the optics 426.
  • [0381]
    The image sensor 490, the two infrared LEDs 434 and 436, and five discrete bypass capacitors 502 are mounted onto the flex PCB 496. The flex is a 2-layer polyimide PCB, nominally 75 microns thick. The PCB is specified as flex on install only, as it is not required to move after assembly of the pen. Stiffener 612 is placed behind the discrete components 502 and behind the image sensor 490 in order to keep these sections of the PCB flat. Stiffener is also placed at the connection pads 620 to make it the correct thickness for the connector 614 the main PCB 422 (see FIG. 28). The PCB design has been optimised for panel layout during manufacture by keeping it roughly rectangular in overall shape.
  • [0382]
    The flex PCB 496 extends from the main PCB, widening around the image sensor 490 and then has two arms 622 and 624 that travel alongside the optical barrel 492 to the two infrared LEDs 434 and 436. These are soldered directly onto the arms 622 and 624 of flex PCB. The total length of the flex PCB is 41.5 mm and at its widest point it is 9.5 mm.
  • [0383]
    The image sensor 490 is mounted onto the flex PCB 496 using a chip on flex PCB (COF) approach. In this technology, the bare Jupiter die 628 is glued onto the flex PCB 496 and the pads on the die are wire-bonded onto target pads on the flex PCB. These target pads are located beside the die. The wire-bonds are then encapsulated to prevent corrosion. Two non-plated holes 626 in the flex PCB next to the die 628 are used to align the PCB to the optical barrel 492. The optical barrel is then glued in place to provide a seal around the image sensor 470. The horizontal positional tolerance between the centre of the optical path and the centre of the imaging area on the Jupiter die 628 is ±50 microns. The vertical tolerance due to the thickness of the die, the thickness of the glue layer and the alignment of the optical barrel 492 to the front of the flex PCB 496 is ±5 microns. In order to fit in the confined space at the front of the pen, the Jupiter die 628 is designed so that the pads required for connection in the Netpage pen are placed down opposite sides of the die.
  • [0000]
    Pod and External Cables
  • [0384]
    There are three main functions that are required by the pod and external cabling. They are:
      • provide a charging voltage so that the pen can recharge its battery,
      • provide a relay mechanism for transferring stored digital ink to the Netpage server via its Bluetooth/USB adapter and
      • provide a relay mechanism for downloading new program code to the pen via its Bluetooth/USB adapter.
        Pod
  • [0388]
    Again referring to FIGS. 31 and 32, when the pen 400 is inserted into the pod 450, power is provided by way of two sprung contacts 516 in the pod which connect to the two coaxial conductive tubes 498 that hold the ink cartridge tube 536 in the pen. The power for the pod 450 and the pen 400 charging is provided by USB bus power.
  • [0389]
    The pod has a tethered cable 572 which ends in two connectors. One is a USB “A” plug. The other is a 4-way jack socket. This 4-way jack socket is the same one present at the top of the pen (see socket 458 in FIG. 15). When the 4-way jack is inserted into the pod's cable, it provides power for the pod and to the pen for charging. Otherwise, the power for the pod and the pen charging is provided by the USB bus power.
  • [0390]
    Three indicator LEDs 452 are present in the pod. They indicate the status of pen charging and communications.
  • [0000]
    Pod PCB
  • [0391]
    The pod PCB 560 contains a CSR BlueCore4-External device. This is the same type of Bluetooth device as used in the pen 400. The BlueCore4 device functions as a USB to Bluetooth bridge.
  • [0000]
    Cabling
  • [0392]
    Three cables are provided with the pen. The first cable 572 is tethered to the pod. At the other end of the cable is a USB A connector and a 4-way jack socket. There are six wires going into the pod, the four USB wires and two from the 4-way jack socket.
  • [0393]
    The second cable is a USB cable 462 (FIG. 15) with a USB A connector on one end and a 4-way jack on the other end. The 4-way jack can be connected to either the pod or the top of the pen.
  • [0394]
    The third cable is a plug pack power cable (not shown) which plugs into a power outlet at one end and has a 4-way jack on the other end. This 4-way jack can be connected to either the pod 450 or the top of the pen 456.
  • [0000]
    Connection Options
  • [0395]
    FIG. 37 shows the main charging and connection options for the pen and pod:
      • Option 1 shows a USB connection from a host 630 to the pod450. The pen 400 is in the pod 450. The pod 450 and the pen 400 communicate via Bluetooth. The pod is powered by the USB bus power. The pen is charged from the USB bus power. As a result the maximum USB power of 500 mA must be available in order to charge the pen.
      • Option 2 shows a USB connection from the host 630 to the pod 450 and a plug pack 632 attached to the pod cable 572. The pen 400 is in the pod 450. The pod and the pen communicate via Bluetooth. The pod is powered by the plug pack. The pen is charged from the plug pack power.
      • Option 3 shows a USB connection from the host 630 to the pod 450 and a plug pack 632 attached to the pen 400. The pen 400 is in the pod 450. The pod and the pen communicate via Bluetooth. The pod is powered by the USB bus power. The pen is charged from the plug pack power.
      • Option 4 shows a plug pack 632 attached to the pod cable 572. The pen 400 is in the pod 450. There is no communication possible between the pod and the pen. The pod is powered by the plug pack. The pen is charged from the plug pack power.
      • Option 5 shows a USB connection from the host 630 to the pen 400. The pen 400 is not in the pod 450. The host 630 and the pen 400 communicate via USB, allowing a wired, non-RF communication link. The pen is charged from the USB bus power. As a result the maximum USB power of 500 mA must be available in order to charge the pen.
  • [0401]
    Option 6 shows the plug pack 632 attached to the pen 400. The pen 400 is not in the pod 450. The pen is charged from the plug pack power.
  • [0402]
    Other connection options are not shown. However, it should be kept in mind that the pod is powered via its 4-way jack connector (and not from the USB bus power) if there is a connector in this jack. Also, the pen is powered from its 4-way jack (and not from its pod connection) when there is a connector in this jack.
  • [0000]
    Battery and Power Consumption
  • [0403]
    Referring to FIG. 44, the pen 400 contains a Lithium polymer battery 424 with a nominal capacity of 340 mAh.
  • [0404]
    It's dimensions are 90.5 mm long×12 mm wide×4.5 mm thick.
  • [0405]
    Based on the pen design, Table 4 shows the current requirements for various pen and Bluetooth states.
    TABLE 4
    Battery drain currents for all Pen states.
    Total mA @
    State Notes VBatt1
    Pen Capped Pen is off 0.110
    Pen Active Pen Down 92.7
    Pen Hover-1 Pen up, trying to decoded tags 31.7
    Pen Hover-2 Pen up, decoding tags 62.9
    Pen Idle Pen up, not trying to decode tags 28.8
    Bluetooth Not Connected Bluetooth IC off 0.0
    Bluetooth Connection Bluetooth connected in low 0.6
    Timeout power, no digital ink to
    download
    Bluetooth Connected Bluetooth connected in low 4.1
    (Sniff) power Sniff state
    Bluetooth Connected Bluetooth connected in high 50.1
    (Active) power Active state
    Bluetooth Connecting Bluetooth trying to connect 15.1
    Point Network Access

    1Sum of all current drains at battery. The Bluetooth currents can be concurrent with and additive to the Pen-state currents.

    Pen Usage Scenarios
  • [0406]
    Some general usage scenarios are summarised here, showing the energy requirements needed to fulfil these scenarios.
  • [0000]
    Worst Case Scenario
  • [0407]
    Summary: The pen is used intensively for 4 hours (cursive writing) and will sit capped for one month (31 days), trying to offload stored digital ink.
  • [0408]
    The energy requirement for this scenario is 968 mAh. The nominal 340 mAh hour battery would achieve 35% of energy requirement for this scenario.
  • [0000]
    Single Working Week Case Scenario
  • [0409]
    Summary: The pen is used for cursive writing for a total of one hour a day for five days. and is capped for the remaining time. Total time for scenario is seven days.
  • [0410]
    The energy requirement for this scenario is 456 mAh. The nominal 340 mAh hour battery would achieve 75% of energy requirement for this scenario.
  • [0000]
    Single Working Week not Capped During Working Hours Case Scenario
  • [0411]
    Summary: The pen is used for cursive writing for a total of one hour a day for five days. and is capped for the remaining time. Total time for scenario is seven days.
  • [0412]
    The energy requirement for this scenario is 1561 mAh. The nominal 340 mAh hour battery would achieve 22% of energy requirement for this scenario.
  • Software Design
  • [0000]
    Netpage Pen Software Overview
  • [0413]
    The Netpage pen software comprises that software running on microprocessors in the Netpage pen 400 and Netpage pod 450.
  • [0414]
    The pen contains a number of microprocessors, as detailed in the Electronics Design section described above. The Netpage pen software includes software running on the Atmel ARM7 CPU 574 (hereafter CPU), the Force Sensor microprocessor 582, and also software running in the VM on the CSR BlueCore Bluetooth module 578 (hereafter pen BlueCore). Each of these processors has an associated flash memory which stores the processor specific software, together with settings and other persistent data. The pen BlueCore 578 also runs firmware supplied by the module manufacturer, and this firmware is not considered a part of the Netpage pen software.
  • [0415]
    The pod 450 contains a CSR BlueCore Bluetooth module (hereafter pod BlueCore). The Netpage pen software also includes software running in the VM on the pod BlueCore.
  • [0416]
    As the Netpage pen 400 traverses a Netpage tagged surface 548, a stream of correlated position and force samples are produced (see Netpage Overview above). This stream is referred to as DInk. Note that DInk may include samples with zero force (so called “Hover DInk”) produced when the Netpage pen is in proximity to, but not marking, a Netpage tagged surface.
  • [0417]
    The CPU component of the Netpage pen software is responsible for DInk capture, tag image processing and decoding (in conjunction with the Jupiter image sensor 576), storage and offload management, host communications, user feedback and software upgrade. It includes an operating system (RTOS) and relevant hardware drivers. In addition, it provides a manufacturing and maintenance mode for calibration, configuration or detailed (non-field) fault diagnosis. The Force Sensor microprocessor 582 component of the Netpage pen software is responsible for filtering and preparing force samples for the main CPU. The pen BlueCore VM software is responsible for bridging the CPU UART 588 interface to USB when the pen is operating in tethered mode. The pen BlueCore VM software is not used when the pen is operating in Bluetooth mode.
  • [0418]
    The pod BlueCore VM software is responsible for sensing when the pod 450 is charging a pen 400, controlling the pod LEDs 452 appropriately, and communicating with the host PC via USB.
  • [0419]
    A more detailed description of the software modules is set out below.
  • [0420]
    The Netpage pen software is field upgradable, with the exception of the initial boot loader. The field upgradable portion does include the software running on the Force Sensor microprocessor 582. Software upgrades are delivered to the pen via its normal communication mechanisms (Bluetooth or USB). After being received and validated, a new software image will be installed on the next shutdown/startup cycle when the pen contains no DInk pending offload.
  • [0000]
    Netpage System Overview
  • [0421]
    The Netpage pen software is designed to operate in conjunction with a larger software system, comprising Netpage relays and Netpage servers. The following is a brief overview of these systems in relation to the Netpage pen—a detailed discussion of the software for these systems and the specification of its interface to Netpage pen software is set out in the cross referenced documents.
  • [0422]
    Netpage relays are responsible for receiving DInk from pens, and transmitting that DInk to Netpage servers or local applications. The relay is a trusted service running on a device trusted by the pen (paired in Bluetooth terminology). The relay provides wide area networking services, bridging the gap between the pen and DInk consumers (such as Netpage servers or other applications). The primary relay device will be a desktop/laptop computer equipped with a Netpage pod. Bluetooth equipped mobile phones and PDAs can also be used as relays. Relays provide the pen with access to WAN services by bridging the Bluetooth connection to GPRS, WiFi or traditional wired LANs.
  • [0423]
    Netpage servers persist DInk permanently, and provide both application services for DInk based applications (such as handwriting recognition and form completion), and database functionality for persisted DInk (such as search, retrieval and reprinting).
  • [0424]
    Local applications may receive the DInk stream from the Netpage relay and use it for application specific purposes (such as for pointer replacement in image creation/manipulation applications).
  • [0000]
    Internal Design
  • [0425]
    The Netpage pen software is divided into a number of major modules:
      • Image Processing
      • DInk storage and offload management
      • Host Communications
      • User Feedback
      • Power Management
      • Software Upgrade
      • Real Time Operating System
      • Hardware Drivers
      • Manufacturing and Maintenance mode
      • Force Sensor Microprocessor software
      • Pen BlueCore VM software
      • Pod BlueCore VM software
  • [0438]
    The remainder of this section gives a brief overview of these major software modules.
  • [0000]
    Image Processing
  • [0439]
    The position information in the DInk stream produced by traversing a Netpage tagged surface is produced by performing an analysis of tagged images captured by the Jupiter Image Sensor 576.
  • [0440]
    The Image Processing module is responsible for analysing images captured by Jupiter, identifying and decoding tags, estimating the pose of the pen, and combining this information to obtain position samples.
  • [0000]
    DInk Storage and Offload Management
  • [0441]
    Any DInk which corresponds to physical marking of a Netpage tagged surface (e.g. excluding Hover DInk) must be reliably and transactionally recorded by the Netpage system to allow for accurate reproduction of the Netpage tagged surface. Ensuring such DInk is recorded is the responsibility of the DInk storage and offload management software. It persists DInk in flash memory on the Netpage pen, and arranges for offload of DInk to a Netpage server via a Netpage relay. This offload process is transactional—the pen software maintains its record of DInk until it can guarantee that DInk has been received and persisted by a Netpage server.
  • [0442]
    DInk may be streamed in real time to applications requiring real time response to DInk (for example applications which use the pen as a replacement for a mouse or table pointer, such as graphics editing applications). This may be normal DInk or Hover DInk (for applications supporting hover), and the ability of the Netpage pen software to stream DInk to such applications is orthogonal to the storage and offload requirements for persistent DInk.
  • [0000]
    Host Communications
  • [0443]
    The Netpage pen software communicates with the Netpage relay either through wireless Bluetooth communication, or through a wired USB connection. Bluetooth connectivity is provided by the pen BlueCore. USB connectivity is provided by using the Bluetooth module in “pass through” mode.
  • [0444]
    The Communications module of the software is responsible for reliably transmitting DInk from the DInk storage and offload management module to the relay. It also provides management functionality such as maintaining a persistent list of known, trusted relays, and allows pairing with devices according to user specification. The communications module includes third party software (namely the ABCSP stack, see CSR, ABCSP Overview, AN11) provided by CSR for communication with the pen BlueCore. Bluetooth communication is only performed with Bluetooth paired devices, and uses the Bluetooth encryption facilities to secure these communications.
  • [0000]
    User Feedback
  • [0445]
    The Netpage pen provides two LEDs (red and green) and a vibration motor for user feedback. The user feedback software module is responsible for converting signals from other software modules into user feedback using the provided mechanisms.
  • [0000]
    Power Management
  • [0446]
    The Netpage pen has a limited power budget, and its design allows for dynamic power saving in a number of ways. For example, the CPU can disable peripherals when they are not in use to save power, and the pen BlueCore can be placed into a deep sleep mode or powered down when it is not required. The CPU itself can be powered down when the pen is not performing higher functions. Indeed, the only always-on components are the Force Sensor microprocessor 582 and Power Management Chip 580 which can power on the CPU in response to external stimuli. The Power Management module 580 is responsible for analysing the current pen state and optimizing the power usage by switching off un-needed peripherals and other components as required. That is, this module intelligently manages the facilities offered by the Power Management module to provide optimal power usage given the required pen functionality.
  • [0000]
    Software Upgrade
  • [0447]
    The Netpage pen software is field upgradable, obtaining new software images via its Bluetooth or USB connections.
  • [0448]
    The Software Upgrade module is responsible for managing the download of complete images via the Communications module, validating these images against included checksums, and arranging for the pen to boot from a revised image when it has been validated.
  • [0449]
    The Software Upgrade process happens largely concurrently with normal pen behaviour. The download of new images can happen concurrently with normal pen operation and DInk offload. However, the actual switch to boot from a new software image is only performed when no outstanding DInk remains to be offloaded. This simplifies management of the internal DInk formats, allowing them to be upgraded as necessary in new software loads.
  • [0450]
    Existing pairing arrangements with relays are expected to survive software upgrade, although under some circumstances it may be necessary to repeat pairing operations.
  • [0451]
    It should also be noted that small parts of the Netpage pen software, such as basic boot logic, are not field upgradable. These parts of the software are minimal and tightly controlled.
  • [0452]
    Note that the Software Upgrade module also manages software images for the Force Sensor microprocessor. Images for the latter form a part of the Netpage pen software load, and the Software Upgrade module reprograms the Force Sensor microprocessor in the field when a new image contains revisions to the Force Sensor microprocessor software.
  • [0000]
    Real Time Operating System
  • [0453]
    The Netpage pen software includes a Real Time Operating System (RTOS) for efficient management of CPU resources. This allows optimal handling of concurrent DInk capture, persistence, and offload despite the latencies involved in image capture, flash manipulation, and communication resources.
  • [0454]
    The RTOS for the Netpage pen software is the uC/OS II RTOS from Micrium Systems (see Labrosse, J. L., MicroC OS II. The Real Time Kernel, 2nd Edition, CMP Books, ISBN 1578201039). This part of the Netpage pen software is comprised largely of third party code supplied by Micrium, tailored and customized for the needs of the pen.
  • [0000]
    Hardware Drivers
  • [0455]
    The Netpage pen software includes hardware drivers for all peripherals (both internal to the CPU and external to it) required for operation of the Netpage pen 400. This includes USRT 586, UART 588 and LSS 590 drivers for external bus communication, as well as higher level drivers for managing the Jupiter Image Sensor 576, the pen BlueCore 578, the Force Sensor microprocessor 582, the Power Management IC 580, and other internal systems.
  • [0000]
    Manufacturing and Maintenance Mode
  • [0456]
    The Netpage pen 400 may be put into a special manufacturing and maintenance mode for factory calibration or detailed non-field failure analysis. A deployed pen will never enter manufacturing and maintenance mode. It is a configuration, diagnostic and rectification mode that is only expected to be used by Silverbrook engineers under controlled conditions. The mechanism for placing the Netpage pen software into maintenance mode is not described here.
  • [0000]
    Force Sensor Microprocessor Software
  • [0457]
    The Force Sensor microprocessor 582 is an independent CPU tasked with filtering and resampling the force data obtained from the Force Sensor 500 proper to produce a stream of force samples to be included into the DInk stream as recorded by the pen. It is also responsible for initiating a wakeup of the CPU 574 in response to a pen down, uncap, or timer event, in the case that the CPU has been switched off for power saving purposes.
  • [0000]
    Pen Bluecore VM Software
  • [0458]
    The pen BlueCore is capable of running a small amount of software in a virtual machine (VM). Such VM software is highly resource limited, but can access the Bluetooth functionality, the I/O ports, and a small number of GPIO pins on the pen BlueCore. A small part of the Netpage pen software will run on the pen BlueCore in order to manage bridging the CPU UART to the USB connection provided by the pen BlueCore.
  • [0000]
    Pod Bluecore VM Software
  • [0459]
    The Netpage pod 450 contains a CSR BlueCore Bluetooth module, but no general purpose microprocessor. The pod BlueCore runs Netpage pen software in its VM. This software is responsible for sensing when the pod 450 is charging a pen 400, controlling the pod LEDs 452 to indicate charging and communications status, and managing the USB communication link between the pod BlueCore and the host PC. Note that BlueCore provides a split stack model for the Bluetooth network stack, and the majority of the Bluetooth network stack will in fact be running on the host PC (where it has considerably greater access to resources).
  • Pen Assembly Sequence
  • [0460]
    The various sub-assemblies and components are manually inserted into the pen chassis molding 416 (see FIG. 41).
  • [0461]
    There are no special tools required to insert any of the assemblies as there is extensive use of snap fits and bumps on moldings for location. The only assembly tool needed is a cold staking procedure required after a testing to seal the pen assembly.
  • [0462]
    The assembly sequence for the pen is as follows:
  • [0000]
    Pen Chassis Assembly
  • [0463]
    The elastomeric end cap 460 is fed through an aperture 634 at the end of the chassis molding 416 and a tab 636 pulled through to secure it in place.
  • [0000]
    Optics Assembly
  • [0464]
    The optics assembly sequence is as follows:
      • The lens is offered up to the aperture stop in the barrel and adhered in place.
      • The infrared filter is pushed into place in the front of the barrel molding.
      • The flex with image sensor is offered up to the top of the barrel molding and accurately located onto two pins.
      • Epoxy is applied around the base of the barrel molding to bond the flex into place and seal the image sensor from light and particulate contaminants.
        Optics Assembly Insertion
  • [0469]
    As shown in FIG. 42A, the optics assembly 470 with the unfolded flex PCB 496 protruding is inserted into the chassis molding 416 and snapped into place. The IR LEDs 434 and 436 are then manipulated into cradles 638 either side of the barrel molding 492 as shown in FIG. 42B.
  • [0000]
    Force Sensing Assembly Insertion
  • [0470]
    As shown in FIGS. 43A and 43B, the force sensing assembly 474 is fed through between the chassis molding 416 and the optical barrel molding 492. The assembly 474 is pivoted down and the force sensor is secured in the correct orientation into the chassis molding between ribs 640 and a support detail 642.
  • [0471]
    The vibration motor 446 with elastomeric boot 644 is assembled into an aperture in the chassis 416. The boot 644 has negative draft on the support detail 642, which secures the motor 446 into the chassis 416 and orients it correctly.
  • [0472]
    A light pipe molding 448 is placed into the chassis molding 416 and is a force fit.
  • [0000]
    PCB and Battery Insertion
  • [0473]
    The end of the optics flex PCB 496 is offered into the flex connector 614 on the main PCB 422 and secured.
  • [0474]
    The main PCB 422 and LiPo battery 424 are then connected together as the socket is on the upper side of the PCB 422 and is not accessible when the board is in the chassis molding 416. The battery 424 has foam pads to protect the components on the lower side of the PCB and to inhibit movement of the battery when it is fully assembled.
  • [0475]
    Referring to FIG. 45, the main PCB 422 and battery 424 can now be swung into place in the chassis molding 416, with care being taken not to unduly stress the flex PCB 496.
  • [0476]
    FIGS. 46A and 46B shows a cold stake tool 646 sealing a cold stake pin 648 to an aperture 650 the base molding 528. The cold stake 648 is used to help locate the PCB 422 into the chassis molding 416 and with gentle pressure the walls of the chassis 416 expand enough to allow snap fits to engage with the PCB and hold it securely. The PCB can still be extracted by flexing the chassis walls in the same manner if necessary. The battery can be tacked in place with adhesive tape if required.
  • [0477]
    The base molding 528 is hinged onto the chassis molding 416 and is fully located when the cold stake 648 appears in the aperture 650.
  • [0000]
    Testing and Staking
  • [0478]
    At this point the assembly is complete enough to perform an optical and electronic diagnostic test. If any problems occur, the assembly can easily be stripped down again.
  • [0479]
    Once approved, a cold stake tool 646 is applied to the pin 648 from the chassis molding 416 swaging it over to hold the base molding 528 captive (FIG. 46B). This prevents any user access to internal parts.
  • [0000]
    Product Label
  • [0480]
    FIG. 47 shows a product label 652 being applied to the base molding 416, which covers the cold stake 648. This label carries all necessary product information for this class of digital mobile product. It is exposed when the customisable tube molding 466 (see FIG. 49) is removed by the user.
  • [0000]
    Nib Molding Insertion
  • [0481]
    As shown in FIG. 48, the nib molding 428 is offered up to the pen assembly and is permanently snapped into place against the chassis 416 and the base moldings 528 to form a sealed pen unit.
  • [0000]
    Tube Molding Assembly
  • [0482]
    As shown in FIG. 49, the tube molding 466 is slid over the pen assembly. The tube 466 is a transparent molding drafted from the centre to allow for thin walls. An aquagraphic print is applied to the surface with a mask used to retain a window 412, which looks through to the light pipe 448 in the pen during use. A location detail 656 on the chassis molding 416 provides positive feedback when the molding is pushed home. The user can remove the tube molding by holding the nib end and pulling without gaining access to the pen assembly.
  • [0000]
    Cap Insertion
  • [0483]
    The cap assembly is fitted onto the pen to complete the product as shown in FIG. 50.
  • Netpage Pen Major Power States
  • [0484]
    FIG. 51 shows the various power states that the pen can adopt, as well as the pen functions during those power states.
  • [0000]
    Capped
  • [0485]
    In the Capped state 656, the Pen does not perform any capture cycles.
  • [0486]
    Corresponding Pen Bluetooth states are Connected, Connecting, Connection Timeout or Not Connected.
  • [0000]
    Hover1
  • [0487]
    In the Hover1 state 658, the Pen is performing very low frequency capture cycles (of the order of 1 capture cycle per second). Each capture cycle is tested for a valid decode, which indicates that the user is attempting to use the Pen in hover mode.
  • [0000]
    Valid Pen Bluetooth states are Connected or Connecting.
  • [0000]
    Hover2
  • [0488]
    In the Hover2 state 660, the Pen is performing capture cycles of a lower frequency than in the Active state 662 (of the order 50 capture cycles per second). Each capture cycle is tested for a valid decode, which indicates that the user is continuing to use the Pen in hover mode. After a certain number of failed decodes, the Pen is no longer considered to be in hover mode.
  • [0000]
    Valid Pen Bluetooth states are Connected or Connecting.
  • [0000]
    Idle
  • [0489]
    In the Idle state 664, the Pen is not performing any capture cycles, however, the Pen is active in as much as it is able to start the first of a number of capture cycles within 5 ms of a pen down event.
  • [0000]
    Valid Pen Bluetooth states are Connected or Connecting.
  • [0000]
    Active
  • [0490]
    In the Active state 662, the Pen is performing capture cycles at full rate (100 capture cycles per second).
  • [0491]
    Valid Pen Bluetooth states are Connected or Connecting.
  • Netpage Pen Bluetooth States
  • [0492]
    FIG. 52 shows Netpage Pen power states that are related to the Bluetooth wireless communications subsystem in order to respond to digital ink offload requirements. Additionally, the Pen can accept connections from devices in order to establish a Bluetooth Pairing.
  • [0493]
    Each of the possible Pen Bluetooth related states are described in the following sections.
  • [0000]
    Connected
  • [0494]
    In the Connected state 666 the primary task for the Pen is to offload any digital ink that may be present within Pen storage, or to stream digital ink as it is being captured. Whilst in the Connected state it should also be possible for other devices to discover and connect to the pen for the purposes of Bluetooth Pairing.
  • [0495]
    In order to reduce power consumption whilst connected, it is desirable to take advantage of the relatively low bandwidth requirements of digital ink transmission and periodically enter a Bluetooth low power mode. A useful low power mode will typically be Sniff mode, wherein the periodic Bluetooth activity required of the Pen is reduced based on the Sniff interval, with the Sniff interval being determined by the current bandwidth requirements of digital ink transmission.
  • [0000]
    Connecting
  • [0496]
    Whilst in the Connecting state 668, the Pen attempts to establish a connection to one of a number of known NAPs (Network Access Points) either to offload digital ink stored within Pen memory, or in anticipation of a sequence of capture cycles.
  • [0497]
    Upon entry into the Connecting state 668, the Pen attempts an Inquiry/Page of each device in round-robin fashion with a relatively high frequency. If the connection is unsuccessful, the frequency of Inquiry/Page is reduced successively in a number of steps in order to reduce overall power consumption.
  • [0498]
    An Inquiry can last for 10.24 s and is repeated at a random interval. Initially the Inquiry may be repeated on average at 5 s intervals for the first 3 attempts, followed by 30 s for the next 5 attempts and then 5 minute intervals for next 10 attempts and 10 minute invervals for subsequent attempts.
  • [0000]
    Connection Timeout
  • [0499]
    In the Connection Timeout state 670, the Pen maintains the current Bluetooth connection by entering a Bluetooth low power Sniff state with relatively long sniff interval (e.g. 2.56 seconds) for a period of at least 2 minutes before disconnecting. Re-establishment of the connection is not attempted, should the connection be dropped before 2 minutes have elapsed.
  • [0000]
    Not Connected
  • [0500]
    In the Not Connected state 672, the Pen does not hold any digital ink in its internal memory, and is capped. There is no Bluetooth activity, and no Bluetooth connection exists.
  • [0000]
    Discoverable and Not Discoverable
  • [0501]
    The Pen is only discoverable 674 during the major states of Hover1 658 and Idle 664. The Pen periodically enters the inquiry scan and page scan states whilst in Hover1 658 or Idle 664, in order to respond to connection requests from other devices.
  • [0000]
    Cap Detection Circuit
  • [0502]
    Referring once again to FIG. 26, a cap detection circuit diagram is shown. As discussed above, the presence or absence of the cap assembly 472 on the nib molding 428 can directly determine the Pen power state and the Bluetooth state. The cap assembly 472 serves the dual purposes of protecting the nib 418 and the imaging optics 426 when the pen 400 is not in use, and signalling, via its removal or replacement, the pen to leave or enter a power-preserving state.
  • [0503]
    As described in the ‘Pod Assembly’ section above, the pen 400 has coaxial conductive tubes 498 that provide a set of external contacts—power contacts 678 and data contacts 680. These mate with contacts 516 in the pod 450 to provide the pen with charging power and a USB connection. When placed over the nib molding 428, the conductive elastomeric molding 522 short-circuits the pen's power contacts 678 to signal the presence of the cap.
  • [0504]
    The pen has three capping states:
      • cap on
      • cap off, not in pod
      • cap off, in pod
  • [0508]
    In the cap on state, the CAP_ON signal 682 is high. The pen will be powered off, subject to other pending activities such as digital ink offload, as described above in the NetPage Pen Bluetooth States section.
  • [0509]
    In the cap off not in pod state, the CAP_ON signal 682 is low. The pen will be powered on.
  • [0510]
    In the cap off in pod state, the CAP_ON signal 682 is low. The pen will be powered on.
  • [0511]
    The CAP_ON signal 682 triggers transitions to and from the Capped state 656, as described in the NetPage Pen Power States section above, via the power management unit 580 and the Amtel ARM7 microprocessor 574 (see Pen Design section above).
  • [0512]
    The battery charger can use the VCHG signal 684 to charge the battery. The VCHG signal 684 can be connected to the USB VBUS voltage (nominally 5V) to allow the battery to be charged at up to 500 mA (based on the USB specification). The VCHG signal can also be connected to a higher voltage generated by boosting the USB VBUS voltage (maximum charging current would be lower than 500 mA). Alternatively, the VCHG signal can be connected to a different voltage, e.g. from a DC plug pack 632 (see Connection Options section) connected to the pod 450. In this case, the pen is a self-powered USB device from the point of view of the USB host 630. When the cap assembly 472 is removed, the CAP_ON signal 682 is pulled low via transistor Q1 686. The switching time of Q1, and hence the latency of cap removal detection, is a function of the stray capacitance of Q1 and the value of resistor R1 688. A value of 1 Mohm results in a latency of about 0.5 ms. The cap removal detection latency must be balanced against the discharge rate of the battery in the capped state. A value of 1 Mohm yields a trivial discharge rate of 3 μA. Diode D1 690 stops the battery being charged from the VCHG voltage 684 through R1 688. The external USB host 630 (see FIG. 37) is connected to the USB device 692 in the pen 400 via the USB+ 694 and USB− 696 signals. Although the circuit in FIG. 26 is shown with reference to a four-wire USB interface, the cap detection function of the circuit only relates to the two-wire power interface, and the pen can have a two-pin external power interface rather than a four-pin external USB interface depending on product configuration. The above description is purely illustrative and the skilled worker in this field will readily recognize many variations and modifications that do not depart from the spirit and scope of the broad inventive concept.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4864618 *Oct 17, 1988Sep 5, 1989Wright Technologies, L.P.Automated transaction system with modular printhead having print authentication feature
US4896543 *Nov 15, 1988Jan 30, 1990Sri International, Inc.Three-axis force measurement stylus
US5051736 *Jun 28, 1989Sep 24, 1991International Business Machines CorporationOptical stylus and passive digitizing tablet data input system
US5206785 *Aug 6, 1991Apr 27, 1993Wacom Co., Ltd.Variable capacitor and position indicator employing variable capacitor
US5290972 *Jan 26, 1993Mar 1, 1994Fujikura Rubber Ltd.Stylus pen
US5438275 *Jan 3, 1994Aug 1, 1995International Business Machines CorporationDigitizing stylus having capacitive pressure and contact sensing capabilities
US5477012 *Apr 3, 1992Dec 19, 1995Sekendur; Oral F.Optical position determination
US5571997 *Aug 2, 1993Nov 5, 1996Kurta CorporationPressure sensitive pointing device for transmitting signals to a tablet
US5652412 *Jul 11, 1994Jul 29, 1997Sia Technology Corp.Pen and paper information recording system
US5661506 *Nov 10, 1994Aug 26, 1997Sia Technology CorporationPen and paper information recording system using an imaging pen
US5692073 *Jul 30, 1996Nov 25, 1997Xerox CorporationFormless forms and paper web using a reference-based mark extraction technique
US5852434 *Dec 18, 1995Dec 22, 1998Sekendur; Oral F.Absolute optical position determination
US6076734 *Oct 10, 1997Jun 20, 2000Interval Research CorporationMethods and systems for providing human/computer interfaces
US6964374 *Oct 2, 1998Nov 15, 2005Lucent Technologies Inc.Retrieval and manipulation of electronically stored information via pointers embedded in the associated printed material
US20070052690 *Oct 25, 2006Mar 8, 20073M Innovative Properties CompanyCalibration of force based touch panel systems
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7523672 *Jul 31, 2006Apr 28, 2009Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCollapsible force sensor coupling
US7546694 *Apr 3, 2008Jun 16, 2009Il Poom JeongCombination drawing/measuring pen
US7770465Apr 14, 2009Aug 10, 2010Silverbrook Research Pty LtdForce sensor assembly
US8513547 *Oct 2, 2009Aug 20, 2013Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.Image reading apparatus and image reading method
US8810524Jul 29, 2010Aug 19, 2014Amazon Technologies, Inc.Two-sided touch sensor
US9244562 *Jul 29, 2010Jan 26, 2016Amazon Technologies, Inc.Gestures and touches on force-sensitive input devices
US9426430 *Mar 13, 2013Aug 23, 2016Bounce Imaging, Inc.Remote surveillance sensor apparatus
US9479697Mar 13, 2013Oct 25, 2016Bounce Imaging, Inc.Systems, methods and media for generating a panoramic view
US20070042620 *Jul 31, 2006Feb 22, 2007Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCollapsible force sensor coupling
US20090223300 *Apr 14, 2009Sep 10, 2009Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd.Force sensor assembly
US20100238523 *Oct 2, 2009Sep 23, 2010Kazushige OoiImage reading apparatus and image reading method
US20110205190 *Feb 7, 2011Aug 25, 2011Spaulding Diana AKeypad ring
US20140168443 *Mar 13, 2013Jun 19, 2014Bounce Imaging, Inc.Remote surveillance sensor apparatus
WO2008095232A1Feb 5, 2008Aug 14, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCoding pattern comprising tags with x and y coordinate data divided into respective halves of each tag
Classifications
U.S. Classification345/179
International ClassificationG09G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG02B27/0093, H04N13/044, G02B2027/0187, G02B27/2214, G06F3/013, G06F3/011, G06F3/0321, G02B2027/014, G02B26/06, G02B2027/0123, G02B27/017
European ClassificationG06F3/01B, G06F3/03H, G02B27/01C, G02B26/06, G06F3/01B4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 11, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:UNDERWOOD, MATTHEW JOHN;KING, TOBIN ALLEN;LAPSTUN, PAUL;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017177/0705
Effective date: 20050713