US 3614651 A
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United States Patent Inventors Claude-Marie Pasquier 37, Avenue de Saxe, Paris; Francoise Mannel-Sanson, 5, rue de lAdde Dubos, 60 Beauvais, both of France Appl. No. 837,042 Filed June 27, 1969 Patented Oct. 19, 1971 Priority June 28, 1968 France 157011 EXTERNAL CONTROL OF VARIABLE Primary ExaminerA1fred L. Brody Attorney-Fishman and Van Kirk ABSTRACT: An electronic control device comprising a pair 3 rawmg of electrodes connected in an oscillator circuit. The electrodes US. Cl 331/65, are designed to be held between the hands ofa subject and the 128/2.1, 331/1 13, 331/143, 338/13, 338/47, oscillator output frequency is continuously variable in ac- 331/177 cordance with the conditions imposed on the electrodes by the Int. Cl 1103b 5/30 subject.
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PATENTEDUU 19 ISH 651 INVENTORS CLAUDE MARIE PASQUIER FRANCOIS MANNEL-SANSON F/SHMAN a VAN K/Rx' ATTORNEYS EXTERNAL CONTROL OF VARIABLE FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to electronic control systems and devices. More specifically, the present invention is directed to the manual control of the output frequency of an oscillator. Accordingly, the general objects of the present invention are to provide novel and improved methods and apparatus of such character.
2. Description of the Prior Art There are, of course, innumerable electronic systems and devices wherein a characteristic of an output signal may be varied manually. Such prior art systems and devices may be generally classified as those wherein the output signal is either in an on or off state and those wherein the manipulation of a control device, for example a potentiometer or variable capacitor, is required in order to vary a parameter of the information bearing output signal. The first of these categories of prior art control systems is exemplified by the well-known capacity operated switch. The second category of prior art control systems is exemplified by the tuning control for communications receivers.
In addition to the above-mentioned prior art control systems and devices, there are a considerable number of existing electronic circuits which enable the measuring of different electric phenomenon which accompany certain chemical and physical functions of living organisms, and particularly human body functions. However, such circuits have been capable of sensing only a condition and have not provided for the exer cise of control over the output signal by the subject.
To summarize, from the standpoint of an electronic control system, the prior art has been deficient in that it has not provided for the progressive control of a parameter of an electrical signal by a subject without the necessity of performing physical manipulations on a positionable control device.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention overcomes the aforementioned deficiencies of the prior art by providing an electronic system which enables the progressive control of at least one of the characteristics of an electrical signal by a living organism, particularly a human subject, without the manipulation of positionable control devices. It is also to be noted that, unlike the prior art devices which are sensitive to changes in capacitance, the present invention is unaffected by the proximity of others to the subject.
In accomplishing the foregoing, the present invention comprises an oscillator circuit which includes a pair of electrodes. The electrodes, which are electrically isolated from one another, will be gripped by a subject and, for the reasons to be explained below, the output frequency of the oscillator will vary directly with the pressure exerted on the electrodes by the subject. Accordingly, the present invention is characterized in that it contemplates the transmission of an electrical signal through a living organism or part thereof, the electrical resistance of the organism being voluntarily modified by the subject so as to obtain a corresponding variation in the oscillator frequency.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The presen invention may be better understood and its numerous objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing which is a schematic of a preferred embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The disclosed embodiment of the present invention comprises an oscillator circuit which is supplied with power from a low-voltage source, not shown. The voltage source will typically be a battery, for example a 9 -volt battery, which is connected to the invention with the polarity as shown. The circuit of the present invention comprises a transistor T1 which forms part of the oscillator circuit and a transistor T2 which functions as an amplifier. The collector of oscillator transistor Tl is coupled to the base of amplifier transistor T2 by capacitor C l. The collector of amplifier transistor T2 is coupled back to the base of oscillator transistor T1 by capacitor C2. The circuit also comprises resistors R1, R2, R3 and R4, potentiometer R5 and capacitor C3.
The above-described circuit is a conventional relaxation oscillator which provides an output signal at terminals S. The operation of such relaxation oscillators being well known, the function of the above-described circuit will not be described herein. Suffice it to state that the relaxation oscillator uses a regenerative circuit in conjunction with RC components to provide a switching action. The charge and discharge times of capacitor C2, as determined by the RC time-constant of the circuit, determines the frequency of oscillation.
The present invention also comprises a pair of electrodes 1 and 1'. Electrode 1' is connected to one of output terminals S and to the negative polarity terminal of the power source. Electrode l is connected to the base of transistor T1 and to capacitor C2 via potentiometer R5.
With electrodes 1 and l electrically isolated from one another oscillation will not occur and no signal will be provided at output terminals S. When the two electrodes are connected together as, for example, by a bridging element which presents a very small and stable resistance, the circuit will oscillate and a relatively high-frequency signal will appear across output terminals S. The frequency of oscillation with the electrodes substantially short-circuited is sufficiently high so as to be considered a constant output signal. The alternating output is, of course, produced by the periodic discharge of capacitor C2.
In accordance with the present invention, electrodes I and 1' are preferably hemispherical in shape and are isolated from one another by an insulating ring 2. The electrodes are of such size as to be comfortably held between the hands of a subject. Accordingly, electrodes 1 and 1' may be connected to each other by a living organism and, to be specific, by the hand or hands of a person. When the subjects do not touch the electrodes, there will be essentially an open circuit and, as described above, the circuit will not oscillate. However, when electrodes 1 and I are coupled together through the subjects body, a signal is obtained at output terminals S. This output signal has a frequency commensurate with the electrical resistance of the hand or hands of the subject. As the pressure exerted on the electrodes by the subject increases, the output frequency of the oscillator circuit will similarly increase. This increase in frequency is due to the fact that, when the subjects hands are pressed with a greater force on the electrodes, the liquid in the pores of the hands gets pushed to the surface and the electrical resistance of the hands is thus reduced. Since the pressure applied to the electrodes can be controlled by the subject, the resistance of the hands can be modified progressively and the subject can thus control the output signal frequency of the device.
The control over the output signal by the subject can, in accordance with the present invention, be very progressive and precise. In one reduction to practice the circuit was adjusted whereby the holding of the electrodes in the hands of the sub jeet without the exercise of any pressure thereupon produced a low-frequency output signal; in the range of 14 cycles per second. When the subjects hands were pressed progressively with greater force on electrodes 1 and 1', the frequency of the output signal increased progressively and when the subject's hands were pressed as tightly as possible on the electrodes, a continuous output signal was obtained.
The present invention provides the advantage of continuous, progressive control over output signal frequency for a very large scale of pressures applied to the electrodes. The invention also permits a very intimate psychological relation of the subject to the electrodes. Tests have shown that the subject comes to the point of considering the electrodes as part of his own anatomy and the subject can accordingly in time master very precise control over the output signal frequency and thus over frequency responsive apparatus which is controlled thereby.
The output signals provided at terminals S can be used in a well-known manner to command any type of device, and particularly those devices which require a very precise and progressive control. Thus, for example, the present invention may be used to control a television set or similar equipment wherein the person effecting the control wishes or needs to exercise progressive and precise control over the equipment in order to satisfy his personal preferences as to focus, color, etc.
While a preferred embodiment has been shown and described, various modifications and substitutions may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the present invention has been described by way of illustration and not limitation.
What is claimed is:
1. An electronic control device comprising:
input means, said input means comprising a pair of hemispherically shaped electrodes and an insulator for normally electrically insulating said electrodes, said electrodes and insulator being assembled as a unit across which a variable input impedance may be impressed;
variable frequency oscillator means, said oscillator means including a regenerative circuit comprising a capacitor subject to periodic discharge; and
means for connecting said electrodes in the discharge path for said capacitor where by the impedance impressed across said electrodes will determine the RC time constant of said regenerative circuit thereby controlling the oscillator means output frequency.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said oscillator means comprises:
a relaxation oscillator.