Patents Assigned to TRW Inc.
  • Patent number: 6741170
    Abstract: A sensor (36) for monitoring rotation of an object (16) about an axis (20) comprises a switch member (40) that is urged into a neutral position and is movable relative to the object (16). A direction of movement of the switch member (40) relative to the object (16) is indicative of a direction of rotation of the object (16). Inertia of the switch member (40) during initial rotation of the object (16) results in relative movement of the switch member (4) away from the neutral position. Centrifugal force during object (16) rotation further enhances the relative movement of the switch member (40). The sensor (36) also comprises a device (56) for monitoring a direction of movement of the switch member (40) and for providing a signal indicative thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Ansaf Ibrahem Alrabady
  • Patent number: 6739622
    Abstract: A method of folding an air bag (10) includes locating the air bag in a first configuration with front and back parts (140, 142) overlying each other and with a side part (70) folded and extending outwardly from the front and back parts. First and second portions (150, 152) of the air bag (10) are on opposite sides of a top to bottom centerline (154). A retainer (114) is located adjacent the top edge (144) of the configuration. The air bag (10) is folded from bottom to top to a second configuration in which it overlies and has a height corresponding to the height of the retainer (114). The first and second portions (150, 152) of the air bag (10) have portions (151, 153) that project laterally beyond the sides (124, 126) of the retainer (114). The laterally projecting portions (151, 153) are moved laterally inward to overlie the retainer (114), and the air bag (10) has a width corresponding to the width of the retainer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2004
    Assignees: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Rick L. Halford, Paul E. Chizenko, Jeffrey A. Jenkins, Kurt F. Fischer
  • Patent number: 6741169
    Abstract: A tire monitoring method and apparatus is provided to predict tire tread separation for a tire on a wheel of a vehicle. This may involve monitoring a parameter of a tire of a vehicle over time and comparing information regarding the monitored parameter (over time) with a reference threshold value of the parameter (over time). The method may also include providing information to a driver based on the comparison. The parameter may be acceleration (axial, radial or longitudinal) along an axis of the tire. The parameter may also be tire imbalance, temperature inside the tire, speed of the tire, load and/or pressure, for example. Information regarding the comparison may be transmitted to a driver if the monitored parameter exceeds the reference threshold value for a predetermined amount of time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 6, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Kiran R. Magiawala, Barry Dunbridge, George W. McIver, David L. Juzswik, Timothy DeZorzi, Albert M. Straub
  • Publication number: 20040095233
    Abstract: An apparatus for associating tires with tire locations of a vehicle includes two sensors, each sensor having an associated tire. Each sensor transmits an associated sensor identification in response to receipt of an interrogation signal. The interrogation signal is provided so that the two sensors transmit at different rates. A controller is responsive to receipt of transmitted identification signals for associating each sensor with a tire location and thereby associating the tires with tire locations of the vehicle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 16, 2002
    Publication date: May 20, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy DeZorzi, David G. E. Myatt
  • Patent number: 6736421
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) having a side structure (16) and a roof (18) comprises an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14). The inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) into a position between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and the vehicle occupant. A fill tube (22) has a portion located in the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14). The apparatus (10) also includes at least one support device (40) that has a portion (42) that clamps around a portion of the fill tube (22). The apparatus (10) further includes a grab handle (150) that has at least one portion (156) adapted to interconnect with the support device (40). A fastener (180) is extendable through the support device (40) to connect the grab handle (150), support device (40), fill tube (22) and inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) to the vehicle (12).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas E. Blake, III, Gary G. Gordon, Steve Zofchak
  • Patent number: 6736423
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for damping vibration of a vehicle part, such as a steering wheel or an electric motor. According to one embodiment, an apparatus (26) for damping vibration of a vehicle part (12) includes at least one container (50) having a chamber (56) defined by at least one interior wall (58). The container (50) is associated with the vehicle part (12). A plurality of particles (52) is disposed in the chamber (56). The particles (52), when at rest, occupy a first portion (82) of the chamber (56) and define an unoccupied second portion (84) of the chamber. The particles (52) move back and forth between the first and second portions (82 and 84) of the chamber (56) in response to vibration of the vehicle part (12) and collide with each other and with the interior wall (58) defining the chamber to damp the vibration of the vehicle part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignees: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Stepan S. Simonian, Charles S. Pillsbury, IV, William P. Braun, A. Dale Parker
  • Patent number: 6736021
    Abstract: A rack and pinion steering gear (10) comprises a housing (12) having an axially extending passage (14) and a yoke bore (18) that intersects the axially extending passage (14) within the housing (12). A pinion gear (26) is rotatably mounted in the housing (12). A rack bar (34) extends through the axially extending passage (14) and is movable relative to the pinion gear (26). The rack bar (34) has teeth in meshing engagement with teeth (32) of the pinion gear (26). A yoke assembly (54) is located in the yoke bore (18) of the housing (12) for at least partially supporting and guiding movement of the rack bar (34) relative to the pinion gear (26). The yoke assembly (54) comprises a yoke (56) having first and second roller assemblies (154 and 166) for contacting the rack bar (34) and rotating during movement of the rack bar (34). A first spindle (112) supports the first roller assembly (154) and a second spindle (114) supports the second roller assembly (166).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Bobby Joe Adams, Scott C. Little
  • Patent number: 6734799
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) helps protect an occupant (1) of a vehicle (100). The apparatus (10) includes first means (11) for non-intrusively sensing at least one health condition of the vehicle occupant (1) and for producing a first output signal (110) indicative of the health condition of the vehicle occupant (1). The apparatus (10) further includes 2ND means (21) for transmitting a health condition signal derived from the first output signal (110) to a person at a location remote from the vehicle (100) to convey health condition information to the person and to enable the person to determine a suitable type of response.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Carl A. Munch
  • Patent number: 6731085
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for determining a motor fault in an electric motor (50) determines a calculated rotor position (&thgr;calc) of the electric motor. The calculated rotor position (&thgr;calc) is compared to a measured rotor position (&thgr;meas) of the electric motor (50) to determine a rotor position error (&thgr;err). A motor fault in the electric motor (50) is determined when the rotor position error (&thgr;err) exceeds a predetermined maximum rotor position error (&thgr;err—max).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Hemant M. Sardar, Abbas A. Fardoun
  • Publication number: 20040082393
    Abstract: A universal joint (10) includes a cross member (24) having a trunnion (26) with a radially outer surface (32). A cup (20) is connectable with the trunnion (26) and a yoke (18). The cup (20) has an open end (54) with a radially outer surface (58). A bearing (30) supports the cup (20) for rotation relative to the trunnion (26). A seal (48) engages the trunnion (26) and the cup (20). The seal (48) has a first axial end portion (50) engaging the radially outer surface (32) of the trunnion (26) and a second axial end portion (52) engaging the radially outer surface (58) of the cup (20). The first axial end portion (50) is stretched over the radially outer surface (32) of the trunnion (26) and the second axial end portion (52) is stretched over the radially outer surface (58) of the cup (20).
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 24, 2002
    Publication date: April 29, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: James M. Hobaugh
  • Patent number: 6728275
    Abstract: A laser diode package (10) according to the present invention is tolerant of short-circuit and open-circuit failures. The laser diode package (10) includes a laser diode bar (12), a forward-biased diode (14), a heat sink (18), and a lid (16) which may have fusible links (86). The laser diode bar (12) and the forward-biased diode (14) are electrically connected in parallel between the heat sink (18) and the lid (16). The emitting region of the laser diode bar (12) is aligned to emit radiation away from the forward-biased diode (14). Several packages can be stacked together to form a laser diode array (42). The forward-biased diode (14) allows current to pass through it when an open-circuit failure has occurred in the corresponding laser diode bar (12), thus preventing an open-circuit failure from completely disabling the array (42).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 27, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Edward F. Stephens, IV, Joseph L. Levy, John S. Whiteley
  • Patent number: 6726392
    Abstract: A ball joint (10) connects a first vehicle part (12) to a second vehicle part (14) and enables relative movement between the first and second vehicle parts. The ball joint (10) includes a housing (30) that defines a chamber (40). A first stud (80) has a first portion (84) fixedly connected to the first vehicle part (12) and an opposite second portion (82) received in the chamber (40). A second stud (120) has a first portion (124) fixedly connected to the second vehicle part (14) and a second portion (122) received in the chamber (40). A spherical member (160) is disposed in the chamber (40) between the second portions (82 and 122) of the first and second studs (80 and 120) in mating and abutting engagement with the second portions of the studs. The first and second studs (80 and 120) each are movable independently in pivotal and rotational directions relative to the housing (30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 27, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Adham El-Haw, John Thompson, Rob Schmidt, Gord Rowe
  • Publication number: 20040074570
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) includes a low-carbon steel tube (24). The low-carbon steel tube (24) yields plastically more than about 5% before fracturing at temperatures down to about −40° C. when stress is applied to the low-carbon steel tube sufficient to cause the low carbon steel tube to so yield.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 3, 2003
    Publication date: April 22, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Eric C. Erike
  • Patent number: 6724920
    Abstract: An imaging system (50) for providing vehicle safety features that employs face recognition software to identify and track a person. The system (50) employs infrared emitters (30) that emit an infrared signal along a predetermined field-of-view, and an infrared sensor (34), such as a CMOS sensor used as a video signal array, that receives reflected infrared illumination from objects in the field-of-view. A processor (52) including the face recognition software, is employed to detect human faces to identify and track the person. Once a face is detected, it can be compared to a data base to identify the person. Various applications for the imaging system (50) for providing vehicle safety features include identifying the driver or passenger for personalizing the vehicle's airbags, providing pre-crash collision avoidance, providing blind spot detection, providing vehicle crash recording, and providing a warning signal if the driver appears drowsy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: John J. Berenz, George W. McIver, Joseph W. Niesen, Barry Dunbridge, Gregory A. Shreve
  • Publication number: 20040071501
    Abstract: An apparatus (12) includes a housing (142), a ball stud (170), a first bearing layer (110), and a second vibration dampening layer (120 or 130). The housing (142) defines a chamber (160) and has an opening (147) in communication with the chamber (160). The ball stud (170) has a ball portion (172) located in the chamber (160) and a stud portion (174) extending from the ball portion (172) through the opening (147). The ball portion (172) has a center (180). The stud portion (174) has a longitudinal axis (181) intersecting the center (180). The first bearing layer (110) is disposed in the chamber (160) and engages the ball stud (170). The ball stud (170) is rotatable about the center (180) relative to the first bearing layer (110). The second vibration dampening layer (120 or 130) dampens vibration transmitted between the housing (142) and the ball stud (170).
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 9, 2002
    Publication date: April 15, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Brian A. Ureach
  • Patent number: 6719312
    Abstract: An apparatus for use in a vehicle comprises a first steering link (30) having a first socket (54), a second steering link (34) having a second socket (70), and a steering knuckle (20) having a through hole (44). A stud (90) comprises first and second stud parts (92, 94). The first stud part (92) comprises a first ball portion (100) received in the first socket (54) to connect the first stud part for pivotal movement relative to the first link, and a shank portion (108) projecting from the first ball portion. The second stud part (94) has a second ball portion (132) received in the second socket (70) to connect the second stud part for pivotal movement relative to the second link. The second stud part (94) has an axially extending through opening (130). The shank portion (108) of the first stud part (92) extends through the through hole (44) in the steering knuckle (20) and through the through opening (130) in the second stud part (94).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 13, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: John Thompson, Steven P. Levesque, Adham El-Haw
  • Publication number: 20040061316
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) for helping to protect an occupant of a vehicle (12) that has a side structure (16) and a roof (18) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14). The inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) is inflatable away from the vehicle roof (18) into a position between the side structure (16) of the vehicle (12) and a vehicle occupant. The apparatus (10) also includes a housing (26) for storing the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) in a stored position extending along the vehicle side structure (16) adjacent the vehicle roof (18). The housing (26) includes a portion that forms an interior trim piece (190) of the vehicle (12). The apparatus (10) also includes at least one grab handle (34) and at least one connector (200) that extends through the inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14), the housing (26) and the grab handle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 1, 2002
    Publication date: April 1, 2004
    Applicants: TRW Inc., TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Wael S. Elqadah, Xingyuan Sun, Bruce R. Hill, John P. Wallner
  • Publication number: 20040056466
    Abstract: A steering column (10) includes a support (24), through which a steering column member (12) extends, connected with a mounting bracket (66). The support (24) supports the steering column member (12) for rotation about a longitudinal axis (26) of the steering column member. The support (24) is movable in a first direction extending transverse to the longitudinal axis (26) of the steering column member (12) relative to the mounting bracket (66). The support (24) is movable in a second direction extending transverse to the first direction and to the longitudinal axis (26) relative to the mounting bracket (66). The support (24) is also movable along the longitudinal axis (26) relative to the mounting bracket (66).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 20, 2002
    Publication date: March 25, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: James M. Hobaugh
  • Publication number: 20040057779
    Abstract: A ball joint assembly (10) comprises a socket (12) with a chamber (18), an opening extending through a first axial end (20) of the socket (12), and electrically conductive structure (60) closing the second axial end (22) of the socket (12). An electrically conductive ball stud (30) has a head portion (32) that is received in the chamber (18) and a shank portion (34) that extends through the opening. An electrically conductive bearing member (40) is received in the chamber (18) and provides an electrical connection between the structure (60) and the ball stud (30). An electrically non-conductive biasing member (50) is interposed between the structure (60) and the bearing member (40) and urges the bearing member away from the structure such that, in response to a predetermined amount of wear, the electrical connection between the structure (60) and the ball stud (30) is discontinued.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 20, 2002
    Publication date: March 25, 2004
    Applicant: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel E. Williams
  • Patent number: 6709291
    Abstract: A housing (10) for shielding a circuit (12) from electromagnetic interference comprises a shielding component (20) having at least one aperture (40). A plastic material (50) is molded over the shielding component (20). A portion (54) of the plastic material (50) is received within the aperture (40) for securing the plastic material to the shielding component (20). A method of making a housing (10) for shielding a circuit (12) from electromagnetic interference includes the steps of providing a shielding component (20) having an aperture (40); molding a plastic material (50) over the shielding component; and securing the plastic material to the shielding component by receiving a first portion (54) of the plastic material into the aperture in the shielding component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: David Lee Wallace, John Frederick Richards