Patents Assigned to Active Control eXperts, Inc.
  • Patent number: 6485380
    Abstract: A golf club includes an electroactive assembly attached to the club and electrically tuned to capture energy from one or more vibrational modes with high efficiency. More generally, a sports implement includes an electroactive element, such as a piezoceramic sheet attached to the implement, and a circuit attached to the electroactive element. The circuit may be a shunt, or may include processing such as amplification and phase control to apply a driving signal which may compensate for strain sensed in the implement, or may simply alter the stiffness to affect performance. The electroactive element is located in a region of high strain to apply damping, and may include plural subassemblies mounted to capture energy in different planes, or to capture an asymmetric strain distribution while maintaining structural symmetry. In a ski the element captures between about one and five percent of the strain energy of the ski.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald Spangler, David Gilbert, Carl Prestia, Emanuele Bianchini, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Jonathan C. Allen, Farla M. Russo
  • Patent number: 6454303
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for a damped steering assembly are provided. The damped steering assembly includes a steering wheel attached to a steering column. Disposed between the steering wheel and the steering column is an active vibration control mechanism. The active vibration control mechanism damps vibration transmitted from the steering column to the steering wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 24, 2002
    Assignees: Delphi Technologies, Inc., Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Mansour Ashtiani, Kenneth Alan Gassman, Rale Richard Wolf, Robert N Jacques, Elizabeth M Marsh, Edward Crawley
  • Patent number: 6427812
    Abstract: A valve regulates fluid displacement in a damper assembly, for example, displacement of hydraulic fluid in a sealed shock absorber. The valve is placed between a portion of fluid at one pressure and regulates the passage of fluid through an aperture or passage to a portion of fluid at a lower pressure by a blocking member which moves to obstruct the aperture in accordance with a desired level of damping. The blocking member is, or is driven by, an electroactive device, such as a bimorph actuator formed of ferroelectric material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Edward F. Crawley, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Douglas A. Simpson, Gerald F. Caron, Farla M. Russo
  • Patent number: 6420819
    Abstract: A modular actuator assembly includes one or more plates or elements of electro-active material bonded to an electroded sheet, preferably by a structural polymer to form a card. The card is sealed, and may itself constitute a practical device, such as a vane, shaker, stirrer, lever, pusher or sonicator for direct contact with a solid or immersion in a fluid, or may be bonded by a stiff adhesive to make a surface-to-surface mechanical coupling with a solid workpiece,device, substrate, machine or sample. The structural polymer provides a bending stiffness such that the thin plate does not deform to its breaking point, and a mechanical stiffness such that shear forces are efficiently coupled from the plate to the workpiece. In further embodiments, the card may include active circuit elements for switching, powering or processing signals, and/or passive circuit elements for filtering, matching or damping signals, so that few or no connections to outside circuitry are required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control EXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Mark E. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Moore, Edward F. Crawley
  • Patent number: 6404107
    Abstract: A modular actuator assembly includes one or more plates or elements of electro-active material bonded to an electroded sheet, preferably by a structural polymer to form a card. The card is sealed, and may itself constitute a practical device, such as a vane, shaker, stirrer, lever, pusher or sonicator for direct contact with a solid or immersion in a fluid, or may be bonded by a stiff adhesive to make a surface-to-surface mechanical coupling with a solid workpiece, device, substrate machine or sample. The structural polymer provides a bending stiffness such that the thin plate does not deform to its breaking point, and a mechanical stiffness such that shear forces are efficiently coupled from the plate to the workpiece. In further embodiments, the card may include active circuit elements for switching, powering or processing signals, and/or passive circuit elements for filtering, matching or damping signals, so that few or no connections to outside circuitry are required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Mark E. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Moore, Edward Crawley, Farla Russo, Shoko Yoshikawa
  • Patent number: 6376967
    Abstract: An electrically driven signal unit is adapted for one-step assembly or injection molding with a device housing to vibrate, flex, beep or emit audio signals, or to sense and provide tactile feedback or control. The signal unit is a package with one or more active areas each containing a layer of ferroelectric or piezoelectric material, connected by inactive areas which may position, align and conduct electricity to the active areas. The active areas may be coupled over a region to transmit compressional, shear or flexural wave energy into the housing, or may contact at discrete regions while bending or displacing elsewhere to create inertial disturbances or impulses which are coupled to create a tactile vibration of the housing. The unit may be assembled such that the housing, the sheet or discrete areas thereof form a bender to provide tactile or sub-auditory signals to the user, or may be dimensioned, attached and actuated to produce audio vibration in the combined structure and constitute a speaker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Erik Saarmaa, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Charles Van Hoy, Richard Perkins, Mark Beauregard
  • Patent number: 6359371
    Abstract: An electrically driven signal unit is adapted for one-step assembly or injection molding with a device housing to vibrate, flex, beep or emit audio signals, or to sense and provide tactile feedback or control. The signal unit is a package with one or more active areas each containing a layer of ferroelectric or piezoelectric material, connected by inactive areas which may position, align and conduct electricity to the active areas. The active areas may be coupled over a region to transmit compressional, shear or flexural wave energy into the housing, or may contact at discrete regions while bending or displacing elsewhere to create inertial disturbances or impulses which are coupled to create a tactile vibration of the housing. The unit may be assembled such that the housing, the sheet or discrete areas thereof form a bender to provide tactile or sub-auditory signals to the user, or may be dimensioned, attached and actuated to produce audio vibration in the combined structure and constitute a speaker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard Perkins, Gerald Caron, Erik Saarmaa
  • Patent number: 6345834
    Abstract: A recreational board such as a snowboard incorporates strain transducers to damp a plate resonance of the board. The strain transducers are preferably located around a peripheral region to capture strain energy affecting control edges, for example steering control edges at the front and/or rear of the board. Electrical energy from the transducers is shunted to damp a targeted resonance. In a preferred embodiment the strain transducers cover a region of the snowboard adjacent one surface and extending along the forward periphery, preferably at both inside and outside edges, and are shunted with a resonant shunt tuned to a torsional or torsion-like mode of the board that is excited during steering maneuvers. The transducers may be fabricated as preassembled sheets or may be formed in the snowboard during the assembly process using sheets of piezoceramic material, or using piezo fiber or other composite constructions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2002
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Emanuele Bianchini, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Jonathan C. Allen
  • Patent number: 6291928
    Abstract: A hybrid actuator includes strain actuated elements that displace fluid to move a piston, with the elements forming a fluid housing, and being oriented and actuated to optimize force, stroke or bandwidth. In one preferred embodiment the elements are cylinders enclosing the fluid, with radial and axial components of strain-induced dimensional change adding together to enhance displacement. In another preferred embodiment, piezo bender elements produce large stroke, high bandwidth movements. Strokes of up to fifty percent of actuator length, and bandwidths above 500 Hz are achieved in light weight electrically actuated devices free of external piping or hydraulics. The actuator is readily integrated into a gate valve, sub-woofer, or other driven device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2001
    Assignee: Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Erik Saarmaa, Eric Fitch, Carl Prestia, Edward F. Crawley
  • Patent number: 6198206
    Abstract: An electrically driven signal unit is adapted for one-step assembly or injection molding with a device housing to vibrate, flex, beep or emit audio signals, or to sense and provide tactile feedback or control. The signal unit is a package with one or more active areas each containing a layer of ferroelectric or piezoelectric material, connected by inactive areas which may position, align and conduct electricity to the active areas. The active areas may be coupled over a region to transmit compressional, shear or flxural wave energy into the housing, or may contact at discrete regions while bending or displacing elsewhere to create inertial disturbances or impulses which are coupled to create a tactile vibration of the housing. The unit may be assembled such that the housing, the sheet or discrete areas thereof form a bender to provide tactile or sub-auditory signals to the user, or may be dimensioned, attached and actuated to produce audio vibration in the combined structure and constitute a speaker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Erik Saarmaa, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Charles Van Hoy, Richard Perkins, Mark Beauregard
  • Patent number: 6196935
    Abstract: A golf club includes an electroactive assembly attached to the club and electrically tuned to capture energy from one or more vibrational modes with high efficiency. More generally, a sports implement includes an electroactive element, such as a piezoceramic sheet attached to the implement, and a circuit attached to the electroactive element. The circuit may be a shunt, or may include processing such as amplification and phase control to apply a driving signal which may compensate for strain sensed in the implement, or may simply alter the stiffness to affect performance. The electroactive element is located in a region of high strain to apply damping, and may include plural subassemblies mounted to capture energy in different planes, or to capture an asymmetric strain distribution while maintaining structural symmetry. In a ski the element captures between about one and five percent of the strain energy of the ski.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Assignee: Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald Spangler, David Gilbert, Carl Prestia, Emanuele Bianchini, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Jonathan C. Allen, Farla M. Russo
  • Patent number: 6193029
    Abstract: A valve regulates fluid displacement in a damper assembly, for example, displacement of hydraulic fluid in a sealed shock absorber. The valve is placed between a portion of fluid at one pressure and regulates the passage of fluid through an aperture or passage to a portion of fluid at a lower pressure by a blocking member which moves to obstruct the aperture in accordance with a desired level of damping. The blocking member is, or is driven by, an electroactive device, such as a bimorph actuator formed of ferroelectric material. In one embodiment, the blocking member is a bimorph which covers the aperture, and is flexibly displaced by passage of pressurized fluid through the aperture. A controller provides an electrical actuation signal to move the bimorph toward or away from the aperture, augmenting or decreasing its closing bias to affect both the threshold flow initiation pressure and the rate of flow once the passage opens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2001
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Edward F. Crawley, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Douglas A. Simpson, Gerald F. Caron, Farla M. Russo
  • Patent number: 6102426
    Abstract: A sports implement includes an electroactive element such as a piezoceramic sheet attached to the implement and a shunt circuit attached to the electroactive element to counteract strain or alter stiffness of the implement to affect its performance. In a ski, one shunt circuit is neither a linear nor a highly tuned shunt, but is a low Q resonant inductive shunt tuned to a performance band of the ski to enhance dissipation of energy from of the electroactive element. The performance band includes at least one structural mode of the ski and a neighborhood of that mode. The neighborhood may include variations in the frequency of a first or higher free structural resonance which arise from production variations or size variations of the ski or its components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2000
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Farla M. Russo, Ronald Spangler
  • Patent number: 6093995
    Abstract: A hybrid actuator includes strain actuated elements that displace fluid to move a piston, with the elements forming a fluid housing, and being oriented and actuated to optimize force, stroke or bandwidth. In one preferred embodiment the elements are cylinders enclosing the fluid, with radial and axial components of strain-induced dimensional change adding together to enhance displacement. In another preferred embodiment, piezo bender elements produce large stroke, high bandwidth movements. Strokes of up to fifty percent of actuator length, and bandwidths above 500 Hz are achieved in light weight electrically actuated devices free of external piping or hydraulics. The actuator is readily integrated into a gate valve, sub-woofer, or other driven device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2000
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Edward F. Crawley, Farla M. Russo, Erik Saarmaa
  • Patent number: 6086490
    Abstract: A baseball bat includes an electroactive assembly attached near the handle and electrically tuned to capture energy from several modes with high efficiency. More generally, a sports implement includes an electroactive element, such as a piezoceramic sheet attached to the implement, and a circuit attached to the electroactive element. The circuit may be a shunt, or may include processing such as amplification and phase control to apply a driving signal which may compensate for strain sensed in the implement, or may simply alter the stiffness to affect performance. In a ski, the electroactive element is located near to the root in a region of high strain to apply damping, and the element captures between about one and five percent of the strain energy of the ski. The region of high strain may be found by modeling mechanics of the sports implement, or may be located by empirically mapping the strain distribution which occurs during use of the implement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2000
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald Spangler, David Gilbert, Carl Prestia, Emanuele Bianchini, Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Jonathan C. Allen, Farla M. Russo
  • Patent number: 6069433
    Abstract: A modular actuator assembly includes one or more plates or elements of electro-active material bonded to an electroded sheet, preferably by a structural polymer to form a card. The card is sealed, and may itself constitute a practical device, such as a vane, shaker, stirrer, lever, pusher or sonicator for direct contact with a solid or immersion in a fluid, or may be bonded by a stiff adhesive to make a surface-to-surface mechanical coupling with a solid workpiece,device, substratesmachine or sample. The structural polymer provides a bending stiffness such that the thin plate does not deform to its breaking point, and a mechanical stiffness such that shear forces are efficiently coupled from the plate to the workpiece. In further embodiments, the card may include active circuit elements for switching, powering or processing signals, and/or passive circuit elements for filtering, matching or damping signals, so that few or no connections to outside circuitry are required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2000
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Mark E. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Moore, Edward F. Crawley
  • Patent number: 6024340
    Abstract: A valve assembly includes a flexible sheet actuator in which two piezo sheets are stacked and actuated in opposite senses to form a bending assembly. The inner faces of the first and second sheets of piezoelectric material are laminated to respective conductive lead paths on opposite sides of a two-sided flex circuit, and the outer faces of the sheets of material are each covered by and electrically contacted to another flex circuit to produce a totally enclosed flat bender. At least a portion of the flex circuits extend away from the bender to provide a flexible and robust conductive lead-in thereto. The electrical connection is a flat ribbon-like strip of lesser thickness than the bender, and may pass hermetically between a gasketed or sealed face and cover plate of the valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2000
    Assignee: Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Erik Saarmaa, Jeffrey W. Moore, James Newman
  • Patent number: 5866971
    Abstract: A hybrid actuator includes strain actuated elements that displace fluid to move a piston, with the elements forming a fluid housing, and being oriented and actuated to optimize force, stroke or bandwidth. In one preferred embodiment the elements are cylinders enclosing the fluid, with radial and axial components of strain-induced dimensional change adding together to enhance displacement. In another preferred embodiment, piezo bender elements produce large stroke, high bandwidth movements. Strokes of up to fifty percent of actuator length, and bandwidths above 500 Hz are achieved in light weight electrically actuated devices free of external piping or hydraulics. The actuator is readily integrated into a gate valve, sub-woofer, or other driven device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 2, 1999
    Assignee: Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Edward F. Crawley, Farla M. Russo, Erik Saarmaa
  • Patent number: 5857694
    Abstract: A sports implement including an electroactive element, such as a piezoceramic sheet attached to the implement and a circuit attached to the electroactive element. The circuit may be a shunt, or may include processing such as amplification and phase control to apply a driving signal which may compensate for strain sensed in the implement, or may simply alter the stiffness to affect performance. In a ski, the electroactive element is located near to the root in a region of high strain to apply damping, and the element captures between about one and five percent of the strain energy of the ski. The region of high strain may be found by modeling mechanics of the sports implement, or may be located by empirically mapping the strain distribution which occurs during use of the implement. In other embodiments, the electroactive elements may remove resonances, adapt performance to different situations, or enhance handling or comfort of the implement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: January 12, 1999
    Assignee: Active Control Experts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore, Robert N. Jacques, Jonathan C. Allen
  • Patent number: D404100
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1996
    Date of Patent: January 12, 1999
    Assignee: Active Control eXperts, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Lazarus, Jeffrey W. Moore