US 3648242 A
A record card internally structured in accordance with a predetermined code pattern is passed through a validating device to verify its genuineness and/or produce readin signals for a computer. The validating device senses coded information which is processed through logic circuitry built into the device in such a manner as to prevent alteration thereof.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Grosbard [151 3,648,242 5] Mar. 7, 1972 [541 CARD VALIDATING APPARATUS AND METHOD  inventor: Gregory Grosbard, Long Beach, NY.
 Assignee: Strategic Research Inc.
 Filed: Oct. 23, 1968 ['2 l] Appl. No.: 770,052
 [1.8. CI. ..340/l49  Int. Cl. "04g 3/70  FleldotSeareh ..l79/2 CA; 340/l49A A  Relerences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,154,761 IO/I964 OYGorman ..340/l49 A 3,403,380 9/1968 Welch ..340/l49A Primary Examiner-Ralph D. Blakeslee Anorney--Clarence A.-OBrien and Harvey B. Jacobson ABSTRACT A record card internally structured in accordance with a predetermined code pattern is passed through a validating device to verify its genuineness and/0r produce readin signals for a computer. The validating device senses coded information which is processed through logic circuitry built into the device in such a manner as to prevent alteration thereof.
13 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures i' I F1 PATENTEDMAR 7 I972 SHEET 2 UF 3 Fig. 4
LOGIC Gregory Grosbard BY MM 13% CARD VALIDATING APPARATUS AND METHOD This-invention relates to the readout-of recorded information on a record medium such as a card as well as the record medium structure which cooperates with the data readout apparatus.
Coded information is commonly recorded on the flat surfaces of record cards and various recording methods have been utilized such as the punching of holes, imprinting of magnetic ink, deposit of conductive coatings, use of color coding, etc. It has been proposed that such coded information may be recorded on cards which also serve as documents for other purposes such as stock certificates, negotiable instruments, identification and credit indicia, customer billing statements, etc. One type of such a document containing coded information thereon is disclosed for example in my prior copending application U.S. Ser.' No. 749,840 filed Sept. l6, I968, entitled UNAUTHORIZED USE PREVENTING RECORD MEDIUM. With regard to record cards of such type, it is not only necessary to provide facilities for converting the coded data into appropriate signals for read-in to a computer, but it is also necessary tocheck the genuineness or authenticity of the document itself. The provision of apparatus capable of achieving this purpose by rapid, and relatively economical method is one of the important objectives of the present invention.
The apparatus of the present invention is capable of handling record cards of the type disclosed in my prior copending application aforementioned as well as other record cards that are internally structuredin accordance with a predetermined coded pattern without interference with the normal coding of the flat surfaces for the purpose of validating the card and converting any coded data recorded thereon into read-in signals capable of being fed to a computer. Thus, a high degree of security against alteration maybe obtained for documents of the type aforementioned in a manner which is compatible with the. conversion of coded data for readout purposes. Thus, substantial benefits and economies may be realized by combining the validation and information retrieval procedures. Y
, In accordance with the present invention, a stack of record cards when loaded into the validating machine are sequentially fed along a predetermined path within a housing mounting b'oth code sensing apparatusand logic circuitry through which coded information is detected and processed or converted into suitable form.'The logic circuitry in addition to converting the coded informationto suitable form for supply to a computer, also controls the validation mechanism to notify the operator of any counterfeit document, by establishment of a warning circuit in response to an appropriate output of the logiccircuitry. A genuine record card passing through the device on the other hand produces an output signal from the logic circuitry necessary to complete the movement of the record card through the machine as well as to cause recycling. A self-destruct feature built into the machine will prevent any alteration of the logic circuitry. Also, different types of signal detecting means may be utilized in order to recognize the coded pattern preferably exposed through the edges of the record card structure ineluding physical contact means, optical and radiation sensing means, optical scanning means and inductive or capacitive sensing means.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being bad to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to .3 .e parts throughout, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the apparatus of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 2--2 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 3-3 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a partial transverse sectional view taken substantiallythrough a plane indicated by section line 44 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 5-5 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 6-6 in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a simplified electrical circuit diagram corresponding to the control system associated with the apparatus.
FIG. 8 is a partial top sectional view showing a modified form of apparatus.
FIG. 9 is a partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 9--9 in FIG. 8.
FIG. 10 is an enlarged partial sectional view of a typical record card to be utilized with the modified apparatus of FIGS. 8 and 9.
FIG. 11 is a partial sectional view showing another modification of the validating apparatus. a
FIG. 12 is a schematic and diagrammatic illustration corresponding to yet another modified form of apparatus.
FIG. 13 is a schematic and diagrammatic illustration of still another modification.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, FIGS. '1 and 2 illustrate one embodiment of a validating apparatus constructed in accordance with the present invention which is generally denoted by reference numeral 10. The apparatus includes a housing generally referred to by reference numeral 12 having an upper section 14 and a lower section 16. Code recognizing, sensing means to be hereafter described in detail, ,ismounted within the upper section 14 of the housing in operative relationship to power operated feeding means generally referred to by reference numeral 18. The feeding means is operative to sequentially displace record cards 20 through the housing. The record cards are accordingly guided for movement from an inlet slot 22 through an outlet slot 24, said slots being formed in opposite sides of the housing in proper alignment with each other and with the power operated feeding mechanism 18. The record cards are stored in a stack 26 as shown in FIG. 2 within a channel member 28 extending at an upward incline from the housing 12. Accordingly, the lowermost of the cards 20 in the stack 26 will be aligned with the inlet slot 22 for movement into the housing in view of its antifriction support by rollers 30 on the downwardly inclined bottom wall of the channel 28.
Referring now to F IGS'. 2, 3, and 4, it will be noted that the power operated feeding mechanism includes upper and lower endless belts 32 and 34 made-of friction material and supported for movement in close spaced relationship to each other so that the adjacent runs of the belts will be spaced from each other an appropriate distance to frictionally engage only the fiat body surfaces of record cards 20 received therebetween. The gap between the adjacent runs of the belts 32 and 34 are aligned between the inlet and outlet slots 22 and 24 of the housing. The housing mounts adjacent the inlet slot- 22, rollers 36 and 38 about which the belts are entrained while rollers 40 and 42 are rotatably mounted adjacent the outlet slot within the housing in proper spaced relation to the other so as to support the belts with proper tension. The friction belts 32 and 34 are driven at the receiving ends by means of a reduction gear and motor drive assembly 44, the output of, which is drivingly connected to one of the rollers 36 and 38, both of these rollers being drivingly interconnected for rotation in opposite directions by means of the meshing gears 46 and 48 respectively connected to the shafts associated with the upper and lower rollers 36 and 38. Thus, the forward rollers rotate in opposite directions in order to rearwardly displace the adjacent runs of both friction belts 32 and 34 in order to feed the cards 20 along a predetermined path.
As each of the cards 20 enters the inlet slot, it initially engages a microswitch device 50. The card is then guided for movement along its path between a plurality of roller guide assemblies 52 disposed on opposite lateral sides of the card between the belt rollers adjacent the inlet and outlet slots. In one form of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6, the guide roller assemblies also form sensing mechanism of the physical contact type. Accordingly, each of the guide roller assemblies includes a roller 54 made of a conductive material in engagement with one of the longitudinal edges 56 of the record card which is of a generally rectangular shape. The roller 54 may be mounted on a 90 angled stud 58 mounted by the housing in such a manner as to accommodate a limited amount of lateral shift. A brush element 60 may therefore by yieldably held in engagement with the roller 54 by means of a spring 62, the spring pressure of which may be adjusted by means of the threaded plug 64 by means of which removal and replacement of parts may also be effected. The brush element 60 may therefore establish an electrical connection from the roller 54 to the conductor 66 extending into a control circuit chamber 68 on top of the upper section 14 of the housing which is enclosed by a top control panel member 70. It should be appreciated, that any number of guide roller, contact assemblies 52 may be mounted on opposite lateral sides of the power operated feeding mechanism 18 for engagement with the longitudinal sides 56 of the record cards 20 in order to accommodate any particular coding system with which the logic circuitry may cooperate to convert the coded data on the record cards into suitable signals.
As shown in FIG. 2, the conductors and components associated with the logic circuitry are mounted on nonconductive circuit boards 72 housed within the lower housing section 16. The circuit boards and electrical components mounted thereon are protectively encased by or embedded within a potting material 74 which completely fills the lower housing section 16 except for a plurality of cavities 76. The cavities are filled with a suitable acid that is extremely reactive with the circuit conductors and components but completely nonreactive with respect to the potting material 74. The cavities 76 ate therefore closely spaced from the circuit boards so that any attempt to tamper with the housing in order to remove the circuit boards and thereby alter the logic circuitry, will result in fracture of the potting material 74 and flow of the acid into contact with the circuit board to partially or completely destroy the logic component. Thus, the apparatus of the present invention has a built-in facility for preventing anyone from changing its operational characteristics in accepting only genuine record cards.
The top control panel 70 mounts a pair of indicator lamps 80 and 82 which may be respectively colored green and red to signify whether the card being processed is genuine or counterfeit. When the red lamp 82 is energized or illuminated to indicate reception of a counterfeit record card, an audible alarm indicated at 84 may also be energized for alerting the operator. The control panel 70 may also mount an on-ofi switch 86 and a reset switch 88 to be hereafter referred to.
The record cards 20 represent one form of record medium capable of cooperating with the apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 6 by virtue of the internal structure of the card. Thus, the card 20 has embedded therein one or more electrically conductive elements 90 as more clearly seen in FIG. 6 which extend transversely between the longitudinal edges 56 and are exposed at said edges for electrical contact with the roller brushes 54 at predetermined positions of the card during movement along its path through the housing. Thus, when electrical contact is established by a conductive element 90 between laterally opposite roller brushes, a signal is established. These signals are fed to the logic circuitry and are recognized either as record validating signals, record invalidating signals and as information to be read into a computer. The specific logic circuit per se may vary to meet different requirements and code systems and therefore forms no part of the present invention.
FIG. 7 illustrates by way of example a typical control system circuit which operatively interrelates the physical contact sensing devices 52 with the logic circuit component 92, the drive motor 44a, the lamp indicators 80 and 82 and the audible alarm device 84. Thus, upon closing of the on-off switch 86, a suitable source of voltage indicated by reference numeral 94 in FIG. 7 may be connected'to the roller brush devices 52 on one side of the card 20 in order to establish signals in the signal lines 96 and 98 when the conductive element in the card bridges two roller brush elements engaging opposite longitudinal edges in predetermined positions of the card. The signals are accordingly fed by the signal lines to the logic circuit component 92 from which three output lines extend consisting of the counterfeit signal output line 100, the validating output signal line 102 and the computer read-in signal line 104. The card upon entering the entry slot 22 closes the microswitch 50 in order to energize the drive motor 44a through the timing circuit 105. The timing circuit by way of example only, includes a timing motor 108 which is energized upon closing of the microswitch 50 and normally opened relay switch 116 through the normally closed timing switch 110 to initiate a timing cycle of a duration to cause movement of the card 20 a sufficient distance to obtain an output signal from either the line or 102 of the logic circuit component 92. When the timing cycle is begun, the normally opened timing switch 112 is closed in order to complete an energizing circuit for the drive motor 44 while the switch opens. At the end of the timing cycle, the timing switch 112 is opened and the switch 110 recloses in preparation of the next timing cycle. If the timing cycle is completed, and no motor energizing circuit is established by the logic circuit component 92, movement of the cards through the apparatus will stop as motor 44a is deenergized. Upon deenergization q the drive motor relay coil 114 is also deenergized so that normally opened relay switch 116 opens to prevent recycling of the timing'circuit 106. The timing circuit will recycle automatically if the motor 44a remains energized after the preceding timing cycle is terminated because the next record card will close microswitch 50. However, if the motor does not remain energized after a timing cycle is completed, the timing circuit must be manually recycled by closing of the reset switch 88 bypassing the relay switch 116. Removal of the counterfeit record card from the apparatus may thereby be effected. Whether or not the motor 44a remains energized following a timing cycle, will depend upon the output of the logic circuit component 92.
The motor 44a will remain energized at the end of the timing cycle if an output signal is developed in line 102 of the logic component 92 before the end of the timing cycle prior to opening of timing switch 112. Therefore, in the example illustrated in FIG. 7, the drive motor 44a is connected by conductor 118 to a normally opened relay switch 120 associated with the relay coil 122, one terminal of which is connected by conductor 124 to the source of voltage 94 while the other terminal is adapted to be grounded through the output line 102 of the logic circuit component in order to energize the relay. Energization of the relay coil closes the relay switch 120 in order to connect the motor 44a to the voltage source for maintaining it energized. At the same time, the normally opened relay switch 126 is closed in order to connect the voltage source to the green indicator lamp 80 signifying that the record card being processed is genuine. However, the relay coil 122 will not be energized if no grounding signal is applied to the output line 102. An output grounding signal would then be applied to the line 100 grounding one terminal of the relay coil 128 connected by conductor 124 to the voltage source. Energization of the relay coil 128 closes the normally opened, grounded relay switch 130 so as to complete energizing circuits through the parallel connected red indicator lamp 82 and alarm device 84. The operator is thereby visually as well as audibly alerted to the detection of a counterfeit record card. At the same time, power operated movement of the counterfeit record card is interrupted as hereinbefore described. The
reset switch 88 must then be actuated in order to cause its removal from the apparatus as previously indicated.
A modified form of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 8 which is similar in construction and operation to the apparatus hereinbefore described in connection with FIGS. 1 through 7 except for the sensing mechanism and the internal structure of the record card. The apparatus generally referred to by reference numeral 10' in FIGS. 8 and 9 has its lowermost card feeding belt 34' constructed in two sections laterally spaced from each other so as to accommodate a suitable Geiger counter-type device 132 of well known construction and operation which serves as the sensing mechanism in lieu of the physical contact brush devices 52 hereinbefore described. The Geiger counter type of sensing device 132 cooperates however with a different type of record card 20'. As shown in FIG. 10, the record card 20 includes outside plastic layers 134 and 136. An intermediate layer is formed by a filler material 138 and sections 140 containing a radioactive substance or radiation emitter arranged in a predetermined coded pattern with the filler material 138. A radiation shielding layer such as aluminum foil 142 is disposed on one side of the intermediate layer formed by the filler 138 and section 140 so that radiation will be effectively emitted through that side of the card facing the sensing device 132. The output signals from the sensingtype device may therefore supply the validating or invalidating signals to the logic circuitry as hereinbefore described in connection with FIG. 7. It should be appreciated that one or more such sensing devices 132 may be utilized to furnish both the validating and computer read-in signals or in combination with the sensing devices 52 hereinbefore described to furnish one of the signals in which case the sensing devices 52 would serve only to supply the other of the signals.
Coded data could also be formed by the internal structure of a card 20" constructed in accordance with the disclosure in my prior copending application aforementioned. This type of card would be processed by an appropriately modified apparatus as shown in FIG. 11 which is similar to the apparatus l0 hereinbefore described except for the mounting therein of one or more color coding detectors generally referred to by reference numeral 144. Just like the radiation sensing device 132 hereinbefore referred to, any suitable color coding detector could be utilized such as one having a lamp component 146 adjustable positioned relative to a receptor tube and photocell assembly 148, said components being electrically interrelated by means of the component 150 to supply an output signal to the logic circuitry 92 as hereinbefore described in connection with FIG. 7. Thus, the color coding detector 144 will function to recognize color coding on the internal strands associated with the record card as disclosed in my copending application.
Code recognizing signals may on the other hand be fed to the logic circuit component 92 by another type of detecting assembly as diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 12 associated with another type of card 20" within which one or more optical fibers 152 are embedded in a coded pattern. The optical code sensing assembly illustrated in FIG. 12 therefore includes an operatively positioned lamp assembly 154 connected to the voltage source adapted to emit light which is transmitted through the optical fiber and sensed by a photocell 156 adjacent a longitudinal edge of the record card opposite the edge exposed to the light source. Thus, when the card is disposed in a predetermined position along its path of movement, light will be transmitted through one or more optical fibers in order to establish the code recognizing signals through one or more photocell devices.
FIG. 13 illustrates yet another code sensing arrangement. In
this modification of the invention, the record card is provided along at least one longitudinal edge thereof, with a plurality of tuning slugs 158 adapted to be aligned with a plurality of sensing heads 160 when the card is in a predetermined position for recognizing a predetermined code pattern. The sensing heads may be associated with respective electronic oscillators 162 which are ordinarily detuned from their operating frequencies. Thus, the tuning slugs 158 when properly positioned relative to the heads 160, will either inctively or capacitively retune the respective oscillators 162 so that an oscillating output from each of the oscillators will be simultaneously fed to an AND-gate 164. When outputs are simultaneously fed from all of the oscillators to the AND-gate 164, a code recognizing signal is passed to the logic circuitry. As in the case of the sensing arrangements respectively shown in FIG. 9, I1 and 12, the arrangement shown in FIG. 13 is in itself well known per se as shown for example in U.S. Pat. No. 3,347,072.
The various sensing arrangements referred to may be used in combination with each other or by themselves to recognize different coded data. Thus, different combinations of coded structural patterns may be built into a record card to be recognized by one or more of the sensing arrangements in order to provide both validating signals and computer read-in signals in accordance with the operating principles described in connection with FIG. 7 and the constructional principles described more fully in connection with FIGS. 1 through 6.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
What is claimed as new is as follows:
1. In combination with a record medium having a codebearing surface portion and edges respectively presenting separate code patterns, a validating device comprising a housing, means for guiding movement of said record medium along a predetermined path through the housing, sensing means activated only by the code pattern on said edges and responsive to movement of said record medium along said path for establishing code recognizing signals, logic circuit means mounted within the housing and connected to said sensing means for receiving said code recognizing signals, and indicating means connected to the logic circuit means for signifying authenticity of the record medium in response to said establishment of the code recognizing signals.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said record medium has a conductive element embedded therein, said sensing means including a brush device in wiping engagement with at least one of said edges through which the element is exposed.
3. The combination of claim 1 wherein the surface portion of said record medium includes a radio active substance emitting radiation to which the sensing means is exposed during movement of the record medium through the housing.
4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said sensing means includes a photosensitive, signal-generating device.
5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said record medium has an optical fiber embedded in the surface portion for transmitting light to the photosensitive signal-generating device.
6. The combination of claim 1 wherein the indicating means includes a pair of lamp devices respectively energized in the presence and absence of the code pattern at said edges of the record medium, power-operated feeding means engageable with the surface portion only for imparting said movement to the record medium and means connected to the power operated means for interrupting said movement of the record medium in .response to energization of one of the lamp devices.
7. In a validating mechanism, a housing, sensing means establishing code recognizing signals, logic circuit means mounted within the housing and connected to said sensing means for receiving said code recognizing signals, indicating means connected to the logic circuit means for signifying establishment of the code recognizing signals, at least one circuit board on which conductors of the circuit means are supported, a potting material embedding the circuit board, said potting material having at least one cavity formed therein in close spaced relation to the circuit board and a conductor reactive ingredient nonreactive with the potting material, filling said cavity.
8. The combination of claim 1 wherein said sensing means comprises a plurality of detuned oscillators, AND gate means connected to the oscillators for establishing said code recognizing signals when all of the oscillators are operative, said record medium embedding tuning slugs exposed at said edges for simultaneously retuning all of the oscillators in a predetermined position of the record medium along said path to render all of the oscillators operative.
9v The combination of claim 7 including means for guiding movement of a record medium through the housing along a includes a plurality of detuned oscillators retuned by tuning slugs embedded in the record medium.
13. A security system for an electrically controlled device having a housing and a circuit board mounted in the housing and supporting conductors thereon a potting material embedding the circuit board, said potting material having at least one cavity formed therein in close spaced relation to the circuit board and a conductor reactive ingredient nonreactive with the potting material, filling said cavity.