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Publication numberUS3714396 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 30, 1973
Filing dateMay 15, 1970
Priority dateMay 15, 1970
Publication numberUS 3714396 A, US 3714396A, US-A-3714396, US3714396 A, US3714396A
InventorsStambler L
Original AssigneeStambler L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gravity feed card transports and readers
US 3714396 A
An inexpensive card transport or reader serves to move a credit card or other similar type card as an identification card or the like by means of gravitational forces along a path on a surface which may be inclined with respect to the horizontal plane. The card is alternately enabled and restrained from moving by a suitable selectively operated electromechanical assembly, such as a solenoid to enable sensing elements to respond to information printed on said card. The sensing elements are used for converting the information into electrical signals having repetition rates determined by cycling means for activating the solenoid or electromechanical assembly.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 1 1111 3,714,396

Stambler I 1 51 Jan. 30, 1973 541 GRAVITY FEED CARD TRANSPORTS 3,328,589 6 1967 Ferguson ..250 2191 AND READERS 2,670,066 2/1954 Bruce ..194 1110. 6 2,792,148 5 1957 Goldenberg 1 ..194 010. 6

[76] Inventor: Slammer 534 Lmgacre 3,470,358 9 1969 Sallach ....235 61.11 R Avenue woodmere, 11598 3,592,972 7 1971 Lane .179/90 cs [22] Filed: May 15, 1970 P E M d R w lb rlmary xammera. nar 1 U1 [2]] Appl' 3775l Assistant ExaminerRo 1 ert M, Kilgore An0rneyArthur L. Plevy [52] 11.8. C1. .235/6l.l1 C, 179/90 CS, 194/D1G. 6,

235/6l.1l E, 235/6l.l1 R, 346/85 [57] ABSTRACT [51] Int. Cl ..G06k 13/07, 606k 7/10, H04m 1/26, 1

.HOZGOId 15/14 An mexpens ve card transport or reader serves to [58] Field 61 Search ....235/61.11 B, 61.11 E, 61.7 B; F cred Card other type card as 179/6.3 CC, 90 CL; 194mm. 6 4 C 4 G; identification card or the like by means of gravita- 250/219 226/56 271/57. 346/85. tional forces along a path on a surface which may be 200/46 inclined with respect to the horizontal plane. The card I 1 is alternately enabled and restrained from moving by a 5 References Cited suitable selectively operated electromechanical assembly, such as a solenoid to enable sensing elements UNITED S S PATENTS to respond to information printed on said card. The 2 968 521 1 1961 Gross ..346/85 Senslng elements are used for Wetting the infmma R tion' into electrical signals having repetition rates ..226/56 X determined by cycling means for activating the sole- ..200/46 noid or electromechanical assembly.

3,527,406 9/1970 'Snellman 3,423,037 1/1969 Good 3,243,532 3/1966 Bondune 3,171,020 2/1965 Lord ..235/61.11 C 3,320,369 5/1967 Hershey ..179/90 CL 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures 1 F Y 1 U II I /80 CARD TRANSPORTS AND READERS This invention relates to card transports and more particularly to such transports for reading cards operated by a gravity feed principle.

' Presently, there are a wide variety of card reading" or card transport equipments which utilize complicated mechanical drive assemblies for feeding a card or a stack of cards into the reading mechanism.

Basically, many of the card transports function with the so-called IBM card which is a rather thin piece of cardboard having a plurality of holes thereon representative of particular data formulated by a digital code. Many other cards which contain pertinent data are widely circulated and utilized within our economy. For example, there exists the conventional credit card, and other cards as well, which are fabricated from a plastic or laminated type cardboard, and hence are more rugged and heavier than the typical IBM card.

As far as such cards are concerned, particularly considering the credit card, it would be desirable to read such cards mechanically or electronically in lieu of the normal uses of such cards. For example, credit cards having numbers impressed thereon are used to imprint this number on a piece of paper via the common carbon paper transfer technique.

In .order to electronically or otherwise read such card's, an economical and simple system would be desirable. The reason for this is that with the wide advent of computer technology, many banking and other financial institutions, aswell as many commercial businesses employ digital computers which process, update and maintain the credit status of various customers.

Presently, the holder of a credit card when making a purchase hands the card to a merchant who places the card above a multiple sales receipt form with carbons, and by the use of a relatively simple mechanism imprints the number on the receipt. At the end of the merchants business day, these receipts are then mailed to acentral location where they are processed. In lieu of this, if one could electronically read such a card and transmit the number or identification of the card over a communications line, i.e., such as a telephone line, theabove process would be eliminated and substantial-time saved. However, as one can see, in order to do this economically, the mechanism that reads" the card at the merchants place of business has to be simple, reliable, andrelatively inexpensive. If this were GRAVITY FEED not the case, the cost'of such units considering the significant number of those required'would be prohibitive.

A further and pertinent use of a'simple operated card transport and reader mechanism would enable a businessman or other person to possess a simple telephone directory composed of aplurality of plastic type cards having holes thereon which holes correspond to a particular telephone number. Using such a card reader with suitable touch tone multi-frequency decoding equipment the user could then eliminate the dialing process by using such equipments as will be described herein.

In summation, there is a need for a simple, reliable transport mechanism which can direct'a card having information thereontowards or in the vicinity of, a suitable reading means. Such reading means may be a bank of photo-electric cells, mechanically responsive transducers or needles which will convert the information on the card to electrical signals having a repetition rate dependent upon the velocity or speed of the card as moving through the economical transport. ltis therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved, economical card transport.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an economical card transport utilizing a gravity feed principle.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide improved card transports in conjunction with separate reading mechanisms to enable the conversion of information impressed or imprinted on the card to be converted to electrical signals for transmission via conventional communication channels.

These and'other objects of the present invention are accomplished in one embodiment thereof by utilizing a slide or inclined plane member having a surface inclined with respect to the horizontal plane. The surface is adapted to accommodate a credit card or other card for directing the motion of said card along a given path on said surface. The path may be defined by a pair of suitable tracks positioned to enable the card to fit within and slide down the inclined plane or slide under the force of gravity. Selectively operated means are disposed and positioned with respect to the path to operate in a first position to restrain motion of the card and in a second position to enable such motion. Further means are coupled to the selectively operated means to alternate the same between said first and second positions, thereby controlling the motion of the card as primarily resulting from said gravitational forces.

Other embodiments include various sensing means for responding to information imprinted on the surface of the card.

These and other objects of the present invention will become clearer if reference is made to the following specification when read in conjunction with the-accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a card utilized with transports according to' this invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the mechanical transport assembly and a schematic view partially in block form of a transport and card reader circuitry according to this invention; I 4

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a transport and reader circuitry including a top view of the mechanical assembly shown in FIG. 2;

1 FIG 4 is a top view of an alternate mechanical transport assembly;

FIG. 5A is a front view of a credit card used with the invention;

FIG. 5B is a side view of the credit card;

FIG. 6 is a representative schematic view of a stylus assembly for reading the credit card of FIG. 5

FIG. 7 is a perspective view partially in cross-section of a transport according to the invention; and

FIG. a perspective view of an alternate transport configuration.

If reference is made to FIG. 1, there is showna credit card or information bearing card 10. The card 10. has a plurality of holes 12 located thereon; which holes, as can be seen, are positioned in columns and rows on the surface of the card and extend therethrough. A further plurality of holes 11 appear near the left edge' of the card along the length thereof and are utilized to provide timing information as will be subsequently explained.

The card is fabricated from a suitable hard plastic type material or a laminated cardboard and is approximately the size of a typical credit card which is approximately 2 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches in length. As will be described subsequently, an actual credit card can be utilized in accordance with the apparatus of this invention. The card 10 as fabricated is a relatively rigid member in that it has a suitable mass considering its size as compared, for example, to the typical lBM type paper card used in conjunction with computer readouts. Such cards 10 are available and are not considered part of this invention.

Referring to FIG. 2, there is shown a perspective view of a transport for reading the card 10 in FIG. 1 and moving it in order to provide suitable scanning of the information contained by the column and row, hole configuration described in conjunction with P16. 1.

There is shown first and second tracks 14 and 15. The tracks 14 and 15 may be fabricated from a suitable plastic material or metal and are positioned so that the separation therebetween is slightly greater than the width of the credit card. Each track 14 and 15 has a slot 16 or aperture running the full length thereof, which apertures 16 are positioned to face each other to thereby provide a card accommodating channel. As can be seen from FIG. 2, after the card 10 is inserted in the respective slots of each track 14 and 15, it will of course fall to the bottom or horizontal plane 18 due to the force of gravity acting on the card. This is so as the separation between the channels or tracks 14 and 15 is slightly greater than the width of the card 10. External forces such as air friction and turbulence will not affect the velocity of the card during a fall, because of its weight, but it will be substantially affected by gravitational forces. The tracks 14 and 15 are mounted with respect to the'horizontal plane 18 so that gravity will cause the card to fall along a path determined by the 7 positioning of the tracks 14 and 15 and their card accommodating slots 16. Although FIG. 2 shows the tracks 14 and 15 mounted approximately perpendicular to the horizontal plane 18, it is of course known that the tracks could be inclined with respect to the horizontal plane 18 and gravity will again cause the card to slide down the track configuration. Shown mounted on the horizontal plane 18 approximately perpendicular thereto and parallel to the tracks 14 and 15 is a post 19 onto which is mounted a solenoid 20.

There is also shown a movable metallic member 21 associated with the solenoid 20 onto which is mounted a finger-like projection 22. The projection 22 may be a metallic member having a relatively sharp point and of a diameter smaller than the diameters of the timing holes 11, shownfor example, located on the left side of the card 10. A small spring 23 is coupled between the movable member 21 of the solenoid and the vertical track 14. The function of the spring member 23 is to urge the movable member 21 of the solenoid in a first position to cause the member 22 to be positioned in the path of the card 10 inserted into the card accommodating slots 16 oftracks 14 and 15.

The body 20 of the solenoidjincludes a coil which surrounds the metallic member 21. The coil has two terminals to which a voltage is' impressed, thus producgravitational forces.

ing a magnetic field which serves to move member 21 towards the post 19. The coil is energized by a solenoid driver 25 coupled to the coil. Driver 25 may include a transistor amplifier or some other suitable solenoid driving apparatus, many examples of which are well known in the art. The solenoid driver is activated by a pulse source 26 for alternately energizing and de-energizing the solenoid as will be explained subsequently.

Also shown in the figure is an arrow labeled 28 and representative of a beam of light from a source positioned in front of the card. The light from the source is wide enough to illuminate the entire surface of the card 10. A suitable source may be an ordinary bulb with a suitable reflector arrangement to confine the beam of light within the desired location. Such techniques for light sources as well as bulbs and other light emitting apparatus are also well known in the art. Positioned behind the card is a bank of photo-cells 30. The photocells 30 are lined up parallel to the horizontal plane 18 and are positioned such that there is one photo-cell for each hole 12 that the card 10 can accommodate along its width; Accordingly, if there is a hole in the card at a particular location defined by a column and a row, the beam of light 28 will pass through the hole and illuminate the corresponding photo-cell included in the bank 30 associated with that row. The outputs of the photo-cells are coupled to suitable processing circuitry 31 for amplification and gating and the output of such processing circuitry 31 is capable of application to a suitable communications channel 32. The operation of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2 is as follows.

Assume a card 10 is inserted into the slots 16 and therefore placed between the tracks 14 and 15. Due to the relationship of the solenoid 20 as positioned and the biasing of the movable member 21 by spring 23, the projection 22 is positioned in the path of the card. This position prevents the card from falling to the bottom or horizontal plane 18 by supporting the card in that position. As power is applied to the pulse source 26 via the ON OFF switch 35, the source provides a series of pulses which alternately energize and de-energize the coil of the solenoid 20 via the solenoid driver 25. During the first pulsetransition, the solenoid is energized, and hence the slideably movable member 21 is drawn into the solenoid body. The spring 23 as coupled to member 21 is stretched, and the finger-like projection 22- also moves, permitting the card to fall due to As the card 10 is failing, the light beam 28, for example, sees" the hole 12 and illuminates a suitable cell in the bank of photo-cells 30 which provides a voltage proportional to the intensity of the light beam. This voltage or d.c. level is applied to the processing circuitry during the-duration of the pulse or according to the diameter of the hole 12. Atthe end of the pulse, the

will be within the open area of one of the timing holes 11. Hence, the card again will be restrained from moving. The positioning of the holes as 11 on such cards is in line with the rows of information bearing holes 12 and therefore during this motion restraining position, the hole seen by the photo-cell, as described above, is in line with the beam of light. Therefore, the photo-cell is energized. As can be seen, the output from the photo-cell bank 30, due to the above-mentioned hole 12, is a pulse approximately of a time duration according to that between the pulses which are used to energize the solenoid 20 via the driver 25. As can be seen from the figure, the card is alternately enabled and restrained to move due to the action of the fingerlike projection 22 as controlled or cycled by the solenoid driver 25 and pulse source 26. Although the velocity of the card in the direction of travel shown by the arrow is due to gravity when its moving, it is restrained by the solenoid 20 and its associated members from free-fall and is controlled according to the duration and width of the pulses developed by pulse source 26. In this manner, the photo-cells will be energized and de-energized as the holes 12 permit light to pass therethrough during the movement of the card. It can be seen therefore that the card is read by the bank of photo-cells at a rate determined'by the pulses produced by pulse source 26. As soon as the top most surface of the card 10 is below the projection 22, the card will fall to the horizontal plane 18 where it can be retrieved and again utilized.

From the above description, it can be seen that the mechanism described is very simple and inexpensive to fabricate and to operate. This is so as the entire transport functions primarily by using the force of gravity as a feed mechanism in conjunction with card motion being alternately restrained and permitted by solenoid 20 and its associatedmembers 22 and 23.

Referringto FIG. 3, there is shown a top view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2 with additional circuitry detail. The tracks 14 and are shown with the card accommodating channels or slots 16 facing each other andthe card 10 inserted therein. A light source 40 is shown energized by a suitable power supply 41 to provide a field of light of suitable width to illuminate the surface of the card 10. There are also shown two holes 42 and 43 on the surface of the card. Behind the card is the bank of photo-cells which are, for example, shown as five photo-cellslabeled 44-48, respectively. These photo-cells, as indicated, are arranged along a horizontal line parallel to the ground plane 18 of FIG. 2. The solenoid is shown with a coil 49 associated therewith and shown in schematic form. The metallic member 21 of the solenoid has rigidly mounted thereon the finger-like member 22 which, as can be seen from the figure, is in the motion restraining position. The member 22 is shown located within one of the timing holes 1 l and is thereby preventing card 10 from falling. The coil 49 of the solenoidhas one terminal thereof coupled to a source of potential designated as V+ and its other terminal coupled to the collector electrode of a driver transistor 50 having an emitter electrode coupled to ground through a current limiting resistor. 51. Across the terminals of the coil is a diode 52 having its cathode coupled to the V-F source and its anode coupled'to the collector electrode of transistor 50.

Diode 52 functions to limit transients developed by the coil 59, due to the pulsing of the coil, which transients might produce undesirable radio frequency interference. The base electrode of transistor 50 is biased .by means of resistors 52 and 53 coupled between the collector electrode thereof and a source of reference potential, such as ground, and having the junction therebetween coupled to the base electrode of transistor 50. Transistor 50 corresponds to the solenoid driver shown in FIG. 1. Also shown is an astable multivibrator comprising transistors 54 and 55 having their emitter electrodes connected together and returned to the point of reference potential through an ON OFF switch 56. Switch 56 functions in the ON position to connect the emitters to the point of reference potential, thus completing the circuit permitting the astable multivibrator to oscillate to provide at the collector electrodes a suitable train of pulses. The voltage of the collector electrodes varies between two distinct voltage levels. The collector electrodes of transistors 54 and 55 are coupled to the V+ supply respectively via resistors 57 and 58. The base electrodes of transistors 54 and 55 are biased respectively by the resistor dividers including variable resistor 59, resistor 60 and resistor 61 for transistor 54; and variable resistor 62, resistor 63 and resistor 64 for transistor 55. Each collector electrode is further coupled to the base electrode of the opposite transistor. Hence, the collector electrode of transistor 54 is coupled to the base electrode of transistor 55 via capacitor 64. In a similar manner, the collector electrode of transistor 55 is coupled to the base electrode of transistor 54 via capacitor 65. The circuit described above is commonly referred to as an astable multivibrator or a free-running multivibrator. When switch 56 is closed, there is provided at the collector electrodes of both transistors 54 and 55 apulse waveform. Shown coupled between the collector electrode of transistor 55 and the base electrode of transistor is 'a unidirectional current conducting device or diode 66. The. diode is poled to permit positive excursions of the pulse waveform developed at the collector electrode of transistor to be applied to the base electrode of transistor 50 thereby causingtransistorSO to saturate or conduct harder during this excursion. This causes the collector electrode of transistor 50 to go towards'ground. This action develops a sufficient voltage across the coil 49 at a sufficient current level to energize the solenoid 20, thus causing the member 21 to move and thereby withdraw member 22 from interfering with the motion of the card 10. This action permits the card to fall and hence provide the movement necessary to scan the holes as 42 and 43. As indicated in conjunction with F IG. 1, due to the positioning of holes as 42 and 43 with respect to the timing holes 11, the beam of light will energize the appropriate photo-cells as 44-48 if a hole is present when the card: is restrained from moving.

Further shown in FIG. 3 is a series of gates 70, 71 and 72. There is one gate as 71 and 72 for each photo-cell. The gates may be simple inverting gates and function to provide an output when there is a given voltage level on the input terminal thereof. The gates 70, 71 and 72 function as limiting circuits and are responsive to the change in resistance of the photo-cells due to the detection of the light beam as the card is-moved. The gates 71-72 provide at their outputs a train of pulses in accordance with the number of holes in any column associated with the card. Such techniques and apparatus for implementing such gates in conjunction with photocell readouts are also well known in the art and many suitable apparatus too numerous to mention herein, would be known by one skilled in the art.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is shown an alternate form of a card transport mechanism suitable for controlling the movement of a credit card or other type card which does not possess holes or timing indicia on the surface thereof.

Again there is shown a solenoid 80 having a coil 81 whose terminals are coupled to an appropriate pulse source and driver circuit 83 which also contains a source of operating potential. The pulse source and driver circuit 83 are similar to those shown already in FIGS. 2 and 3. A movable metallic member 84 is associated with the solenoid 80, which member is placed in a first position by means of the spring 85 coupled between the member and a plate 86. Plate 86 may be a plastic or metal plate mounted perpendicular to the horizontal plane and contains on the surface thereof two track members 87 and 88 separated one from the other according to the width of the card. Therefore, a card 89 may be inserted with its back surface resting against the back plate 86 and located between tracks 87 and 88. Rigidly attached to the metallic member 84 of solenoid 80 is a member 90. Member 90 is a metallic member rigidly secured to the-member 84 and approximately perpendicular thereto. Member 90 has coupled to two posts thereon a rubber or elastomeric member 91 which because of the action of the biasing spring 85 is caused to be positioned in the path of the card 89 and therefore serves to hold the card 89 against the back plate 86 when the solenoid is in one of its two states. As the solenoid is alternately energized and de-energized by means of the pulse source and driver circuitry 83, the card alternately falls and is restrained by the motion of member 91 moving in and out of its two positions. These positions are determined by the movement of the metallic member 84. Hence, as can be seen, the card 89 is fed or moved under the influence of gravity when it is not restrained, and will be held in position by member 91 alternately in accordance with the activation and de-activation of the solenoid.

Referring to FIG. 5, the transport assembly shown in FIG. 4 can be accommodated for use with a typical credit card 100, a front view of which is shown in FIG. A. Such credit cards as presently used have numerals impressed on the surface thereof to form raised ridges 108 projecting above the surface so that these credit cards can be conveniently utilized with the above mentioned carbon transfer technique.

FIG. 5B shows a side view of the credit card shown in FIG. 5A.

Referring to FIG. 6, there is shown the credit card 100 with suitable ridges 108 on the surface thereof formed during the fabrication of the credit card by an embossing technique and representative of numerical data impressed thereon. An arrow 101 represents the direction of travel of the credit card as due to gravitational forces and the action of a transport as described in alternately enabling and restraining such motion. There is shown in connection with the credit card 100, needles 102 and 103 which are shown only, by way of example, as two. Of course, it is realized that in order to obtain the necessary data from such impressions on the surface of the credit card 100, a plurality of such needles may be utilized. The needles 102 and 103 are conventional phonograph type needles and are therefore associated with suitable cartridges 104 and 105 which may be piezo-electric or piezo-resistive elements. Such elements 104 and 105 are responsive to the pressure or forces on the needles to thereby provide waveforms at the output thereof representative of the ridges or impressions on the cards. The outputs of each of the cartridges 104 and 105 are coupled to suitable amplifier circuits 106 and 107 for application to suitable processing circuitry.

Essentially, the reader described and shown in conjunction with FIG. 6 is analogous to techniques utilized for responding to the impressions on a phonograph record. The surface of such a record, of course, contains varying height ridges formulated by audio signals during recording. In a similar manner, the apparatus of FIG. 6 provides voltages in accordance with the impressions on the credit card representative of numerals,

due to the unique characteristic of each numeral (i.e., 0-9). The outputs of the needle configurations will provide waveshapes determinative of the location of the ridges as they are scanned during the movement of the card 100 through a transport for example as that shown in FIG. 4.

Referring to FIG. 7, there is shown a transport assembly of the type shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 together with a housing in order to show the entire arrangement. The apparatus previously described can be accommodated within a housing which essentially is a box-like configuration having a card accommodating aperture 121 on the top surface thereof. On both sides of the aperture 121 and located within the housing are vertical tracks 122 and 123 which gradually incline and having the card accommodating slots as previously described to direct the path of the card as moved by gravity towards the horizontal plane. A portion of the tracks 122 and 123 are shown inclined or curved. The configuration will enable the card to be moved by means of the solenoid 125 and the projection member 126 as described for example in conjunction with FIGS. 2 and 3 respectively.

However, the tracks 122 and 123 as shown are curved downwardly towards an opening 128 in the front surface of the housing 120. This configuration of the tracks causes the card to slide, after it has been read, out of the opening 128. This enables a businessman or consumer to gain easy access to the card after placing it in the top aperture 121.

Also shown mounted within the housing is a light source 130, a bank of photo-cells 131 and a power supply 132. Power supply 132 may be activated by a source of a.c. power via the line cord 133. The entire assembly as previously described can be battery operated as well because of the low power requirements of the units utilized therein.

If reference is made to FIG. 8, there is shown an alternate variation of a transport wherein the track or path determining apparatus of the transport is in theconfiguration of an inclined plane. The inclined plane is formed as shown by a channel formed between two plates each of a sufficient width to accommodate. a credit card. In operation, the card 132 is inserted in the top opening 133 of the channel 130 and proceeds to fall towards the bottom opening 134 due to the action of gravity. However, as can be seen from the figure, the member 135 which is attached to a movable member of a solenoid 136 restrains such motion. The solenoid 136, as previously described, is alternately activated and de-activated by means of the pulse source 138 and driver 139. This action alternately retractsand inserts the needle 135 into the timing holes on the side of a card, thereby restraining and enabling motion. A light source 140 is mounted within the housing above the track to illuminate the surface of the card as it is moving. The bank of photo-cells 141 are situated underneath the channel so that the card, when moved, moves between the photo-cells 141 and source of light 140. The movement is very similar to the movement of the card as shown in conjunction with FIGS. 2 and 3. It

. is of course understood that one may substitute the positions of the lamp and photo-cell assemblies and obtain suitable operation.

In summation, there has been disclosed a number of simple, economical and inexpensive card transports together with apparatus useful for reading two different types of relatively rugged plastic cardspA first type shown utilizes a plurality of holes which are positioned in suitable rows and columns indicative of information such as numerical information. A particular use of such cards is storing telephone numbers. For example, the card shown in FIG. 1 may have on the surface thereof ten rowsin the vertical direction and ten columns in the horizontal direction. A typical telephone number with an area code contains ten digits. Therefore, the location of a hole in each row (i.e., 1-l0) will determine that digit associated with a directory number. The ten rows with the ten columns containing appropriately located holes serve to determine a telephone number. Each number desired would be contained on a-card and would be positioned by means of the suitable holes on the card shown in FIG. 1. and associated with a party having that number. Instead of dialing, one would take the card having holes thereon representative of the telephone number of the party to be called and place the card in one of the transport configurations shown for example in FIGS. 2, 3, 7 and 8. The photo-cells, as indicated, will respond to the holes in accordance with the movement of the card as determined by the operation of the pulse source. The holes are read" by the photo-cells, row by row, starting from the bottom row first and the top row last. Hence, the telephone number would determine the way in which the holes are placed on the card. The bank of photo-cells in the transport apparatus would include ten photo-cells each one associated with a different digit from I to 10. Therefore, the first photo-cell would represent the number 1 and the last photo-cell would represent the number zero. For tenrows, one of the ten photo-cells would be activated each time the card is moved.

. In a this manner, if the photo-cell, for example, representing digit 2 were illuminated, its output would be coupled to a circuit for providing two pulses. This circuit if coupled to a telephone instrument would represent two dial pulses. If the photo-cell representing digit 3 were so activated, three pulses would be provided.

Alternatively using the touch tone multi-frequency dialing system, a card providing provisions for holes in eight columns and 14 rows might be used. In each row, two out of the eight columns would have a hole punched, thus providing for a two out of eight code for each of 14 digits. Eight photo-cells would be provided and two out of eight photo-cells would be activated during the reading of each digit. In this manner, it can be seen that such transports because of the simplicity involved in moving the cards will enable many applications for responding to information on such cards.

It must be emphasized that the embodiments described above are merely a few of the innumerable circuits andassociated transports which can be accommodated by the techniques of the present invention. There is actually no limit upon the complexity of the configurations or of the electrical circuits for coupling to various communications channels which can be made in this manner.

As evidence of the advance of the art accomplished by the present invention, it is possible as described above to construct card transports which can be made available to every household-and business at expenses less than that of most appliances.

Although the invention has been shown and described in terms of specific embodiments, it will be evident that changes and modifications are possible which in fact would not depart from the spirit and scope of the apparatus as taught herein. Hence, such changes and modifications are deemed to fall within the purview of this invention.


1. Apparatus for transporting and scanning a card and responding to information imprinted thereon for retrieving said information in a form suitable for transmission over a communications channel, said transport operation being dependent on gravitational forces for moving said card, comprising,

a. a first member having a card input end adapted to receive said card and a card output end adapted to discharge said card,"'said ends being connected by a surface transverse to the horizontal plane and .adapted to direct said cardin a given path from said, input to saidoutput end for motion of said card due to said gravitational forces,

. selectively operated means positioned with respect to said path to restrain said card from moving in a first position and to enable said card to continue vance and restrain the motion of said card according to said gravitational forces, said selectively operated means further including an elastomeric member positionedwith respect to said path and adapted to securely hold and force said card against said transverse'surface by exerting forceacross said information imprinted surface of said card in said first position to thereby restrain said motion and to be withdrawn from said card in said second position,

c. means coupled to said selectively operative means for operating the same alternately in said first and second positions at a rate in accordance with the information content imprinted on said card,

d. sensing means adjacent said path for responding to the information imprinted on said card in said path to provide an electrical signal representative motion in a second position to successively ad thereof and suitable for transmission over a communications channel,

. said selectively operated means comprising a solenoid member having a coil surrounding the same for moving said member to a first position in a direction removed from said coil upon the application of a voltage across said coil, and means coupled to said coil for rigidly mounting said coil in the proximity of said first and second tracks, to position said member toward the path of the said card to thereby restrain the motion of said card

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Referenced by
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US4693373 *Jun 12, 1985Sep 15, 1987Slide Management Systems, Inc.Slide archival storage and retrieval system
US5110134 *Mar 1, 1991May 5, 1992No Peek 21Card mark sensor and methods for blackjack
US5219172 *Oct 9, 1991Jun 15, 1993No Peek 21Playing card marks and card mark sensor for blackjack
US5224712 *Apr 10, 1992Jul 6, 1993No Peek 21Card mark sensor and methods for blackjack
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U.S. Classification235/448, 379/355.9, 235/459, 194/213, 346/85, 235/483, 235/481
International ClassificationG06K13/02, G06K13/06, G06K13/08
Cooperative ClassificationG06K13/06, G06K13/08
European ClassificationG06K13/06, G06K13/08