Patents Examined by Stephen C. Buczinski
  • Patent number: 6693706
    Abstract: A laser reference system orients a reference plane of laser light generated by a transmitter so compensation is made for a rake angle between the first and second axes of the transmitter and an alignment axis and an axis perpendicular thereto. The transmitter includes an optical system arranged to generate a laser beam, the optical system projecting said laser beam radially along a rotational arc defined about a central rotational axis, thereby substantially defining a reference plane of laser light, and a positioning arrangement, coupled to said optical system, for adjusting the angular orientation of the optical system with respect to a first transmitter axis and with respect to a second transmitter axis. A detector is arranged to detect reception of the laser beam. The detector includes a generally vertically arranged row of detector elements. The detector further includes a transmitter for transmitting information regarding the location of said laser beam, as detected by said detector elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2004
    Assignee: Trimble Navigation Limited
    Inventors: Kent W. Kahle, James T. Zalusky, Francisco R. Green
  • Patent number: 6693703
    Abstract: The present invention provides a distance measuring device for measuring a distance, comprising a light emitting unit for emitting a measuring light beam toward an object to be measured, and a photodetection unit for receiving a reflected measuring light beam reflected from the object to be measured, wherein said distance measuring device comprises a gain control unit for changing photodetection sensitivity of said photodetection unit by a bias voltage and a light amount switching unit for variably changing a light amount of the light emitting element which emits the light beam toward the photodetection unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2004
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha TOPCON
    Inventors: Masahiro Ohishi, Kaoru Kumagai, Ken-ichiro Yoshino
  • Patent number: 6693702
    Abstract: In order to judge range with the laser range estimation aid the lasers (1, 2 and 3) should be activated via the switch (8) and directed at the target of range desired. The lasers (1, 2 and 3) should produce a triangle pattern of dots. If there is an upright triangle (10, 11), then the target is below or closer that the zero range. If there is a single dot, then target is substantially at the zero range (12). If there is an inverted triangle (13, 14), then the target is above or further away from the zero range. Also, the size of the pattern produced can be found relative to the terrain which allows for further range calculation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2004
    Inventor: Mark Rogers
  • Patent number: 6690458
    Abstract: Methods and apparatuses for determining angular information from a target. A plurality of sensors on an image plane are used to obtain measured amplitude data. An azimuth and elevation may be estimated using this measured amplitude data. A residual error between the measured amplitude data and calibrated amplitude data may then be determined. The angular information corresponding to the azimuth and elevation at which the residual error is minimized may then be outputted as representing or corresponding to the angular information of the target.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2004
    Assignee: BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration Inc.
    Inventor: David Schorr
  • Patent number: 6690457
    Abstract: An object of the invention is to detect four conditions, namely upright, rightwardly inclined, leftwardly inclined and inverted conditions. A casing has a housing space formed therein, and has an inner surface symmetrical with respect to an axis. In the housing space of the casing, a detection object that rolls along the inner surface around the axis is housed. The inner surface of the casing is octagonal within a virtual plane vertical to the axis, and adjoining sides of the octagon are different in length. The detection object in the housing space of the casing is stably held when situated on one of the four shorter sides of the octagon, and the position of the detection object being held is detected by a light emitting element and a light receiving element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2004
    Assignee: Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Akifumi Yamaguchi
  • Patent number: 6690456
    Abstract: A wheel alignment apparatus has measurement heads for determining wheel positions of wheels of a motor vehicle. Each measurement head comprises at least one camera which is the direct to a measurement target arranged in the field of view of the camera and positioned in a well defined relationship to the wheel of the motor vehicle. Pictures taken by the camera are evaluated by an evaluation unit in order to determined the spatial position of the measurement target and, thereby, the wheel with respect to the position of the camera and the measurement head respectively. The wheel alignment apparatus wheel alignment apparatus comprises an optical reference system integrated into the measurement heads for calibrating the measurement heads of the wheel alignment apparatus as to the position of the measurement heads with respect to each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2004
    Assignee: Beissbarth GmbH
    Inventors: Herrmann Bux, Stefan Käfer, Stefan Schommer
  • Patent number: 6690451
    Abstract: One embodiment of the invention determines position of an object with respect to an original location. A first relative position of the first object with respect to a second object in a first scene is computed using a current first image of the first object and a second image of the second object provided by at least first and second image sensors. The current first image in the first scene is matched with a next first image of the first object in a second scene. The second scene contains a third object having a third image. A second relative position of the third object with respect to the second object in the second scene is computed using the third image and the next first image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2004
    Inventor: Gerald S. Schubert
  • Patent number: 6683679
    Abstract: An optical flow monitor. Fluid flow is determined by correlating two interference signals produced by coherent laser beams passing through a flowing fluid at two spaced-apart paths. The distance between the two paths is known and the correlation of the two signals is used to determine the time required for the fluid to flow between the two paths. In a preferred embodiment actually built and tested by Applicant the correlation is made by having an operator monitor on an oscilloscope the intensities of interference fringes corresponding to each of the two beam paths. Intensity variations in the interference fringes are caused by the same turbulent eddies passing each of the two paths. These turbulent eddies cause fluctuations in the index of refraction of the fluid which produce similar patterns on the oscilloscope which are separated on the oscilloscope time scale by an amount corresponding to the distance between the two beam paths and the flow rate of the fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2004
    Assignee: Trex Enterprises Corporation
    Inventor: Mikhail Belenkii
  • Patent number: 6683678
    Abstract: An improved optic flow sensor is provided which affords enhanced bandwidth without the use of a lens. A plurality of photoreceptor circuits, arranged in a linear array, sense light received from a visual field and produce a plurality of photoreceptor signals in accordance with the light sensed. A negative iris, disposed between the visual field and the photoreceptor circuits, blocks a portion of the light from the visual field so that the light blocked by the negative iris is not received by the photoreceptor circuits. The photoreceptor signals are used in determining optic flow in the visual field. The invention is useful for implementation using micro electromechanical system (MEMS) techniques.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2004
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Geoffrey Barrows
  • Patent number: 6683675
    Abstract: A distance measuring apparatus is provided which utilizes a light-section method capable of preventing input of disturbance light without narrowing measurement viewing angle. The apparatus comprises: a laser emitting section for generating laser light, an imaging section for imaging reflected light reflected by a surface of a target object, a telecentric optical system lens for forming an image of the reflected light on the imaging section, an optical filter provided between the telecentric optical system lens and the imaging section and perpendicular to an optical axis of the telecentric optical system lens, for passing light of a wavelength band of laser light emitted from the laser emitting section, and a distance calculation section for calculating a distance to the object based on an image taken by the imaging section and a positional relationship between a light emission position of the laser light and an image position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2004
    Assignee: Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Chiaki Aoyama
  • Patent number: 6677588
    Abstract: An improved detector assembly 10 having decreased sensitivity both to Narcissism and to stray light ghosting is disclosed herein. The improved detector assembly 10 of the present invention includes a housing 70 having an input aperture 142 in communication with a chamber within said housing. A detector 130 for sensing electromagnetic energy passing through the input aperture 142 within a first field of view is mounted within the chamber. Also mounted within the chamber is a detector mirror 100 for reflecting energy passing through the input aperture 142 within a second field of view outside of the first field of view. The improved assembly 10 of the present invention further includes a second mirror 110 mounted within the chamber for reflecting energy reflected by the first mirror 100 through the input aperture 142.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1988
    Date of Patent: January 13, 2004
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventor: Russell D. Granneman
  • Patent number: 6678039
    Abstract: High dynamic range brightness information is acquired by inputting detection current to a high (adjustable) gain resettable integrator whose output V(t) is compared to a Vth threshold by a comparator whose output is counted by a reset counter as V(t)≧Vth. When a desired count is attained, data acquisition ends, the counter is read, and the entire circuit is reset. A TOF data acquisition circuit includes first and second sequences of series-coupled delay units, and a like number of latch units coupled between respective delay units. A phase discriminator compares output from each chain and feedback a signal to one of the chains and to a comparator and can equalize delay through each chain. A control voltage is coupled to the remaining chain to affect through-propagation delay time. The latch units can capture the precise time when V(t)≧Vth. Successive measurement approximation can enhance TOF resolution.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 13, 2004
    Assignee: Canesta, Inc.
    Inventor: Edoardo Charbon
  • Patent number: 6674517
    Abstract: A light beam from a light-emitting device is applied to a measurement object via a collimator lens and an object lens, and reflected light concentrated via the object lens among the reflected light from a light spot formed on the measurement object is split and concentrated by a beam splitter and a light-receiving lens. The reflected lights from the two regions inside the light spot located at a prescribed interval on a straight line parallel to the travel direction of the measurement object are made to pass separately through two pinholes, respectively, and the resulting reflected lights are respectively made incident on two light-receiving sections. Then, on the basis of the outputs of the two light-receiving sections, the travel speed and the quantity of movement of the measurement object are measured by an operating unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 6, 2004
    Assignee: Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Akifumi Yamaguchi, Hisakazu Sugiyama
  • Patent number: 6674520
    Abstract: A missile tracking and deflection system for protecting a platform includes a missile warning system for detecting the presence of a missile and generating a warning signal. A countermeasure processor receives the warning signal and analyzes characteristics of the missile to prioritize a trajectory signal. A track processor receives the trajectory signal and generates a pointer signal. The system also includes a receiver, which is positioned by a pointer that receives the pointer signal, for receiving a passive and/or active signature of the missile to confirm the presence thereof. The countermeasure processor then directs a laser beam at the missile to determine its operational parameters and receives an active signature from the missile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 6, 2004
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Allen T. Hicks, Timothy E. MacKlin, Dennis L. Carter, Susan E. Hall
  • Patent number: 6670908
    Abstract: A computer based method of processing meteorological data to automatically characterize significant meteorological events is disclosed. Meteorological data is received and processed to generate a plurality of distinct threat products for a given geographic area. The threat products are combined over the given geographic area to create a composite threat product, which is automatically compared to predetermined threshold values to identify one or more areas of threat. A system for processing meteorological data to automatically characterize significant meteorological events is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2003
    Assignee: Baron Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Gregory S. Wilson, Michael P. Dickerson
  • Patent number: 6671053
    Abstract: In a method for influencing and measuring pulsed electromagnetic illumination, e.g. parallel laser light (L), said illumination or light can be spatially divided, in particular, in an autocorrelator comprising a beam receptor (12), can be recombined behind said beam receptor by a superposition or focusing device (18 or 58) and can be detected in the recombinant area by a detector (20). As the transmission system (52), the beam receptor comprises beam profile dividers in a penetrable housing (50), in the form of at least two transmission parts (54; 56), with or in which separate, preferably parallel component beams (S, T) can be modified in their time-based beam characteristics, before being recombined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2003
    Assignee: Transmit Gesellschaft fur Technologietransfer mbH
    Inventors: Arno Euteneuer, Harald Giessen, Martin Hofmann
  • Patent number: 6667798
    Abstract: Using a laser-tracker (1) with an interferometer together with a retroreflector (3) in the form of a triple prism or a triple mirror arranged on an object and designed for parallel reflection of the laser beam (5) directed to the reflector (3), the position of the object is computed by way of measurement data with respect to the direction of the laser beam (5) and its path length. Additionally the spacial orientation of the object (2) is determined by producing additional measurement data with respect to the angle of incidence (&agr;) of the laser beam into the reflector (3) and/or with respect to an adjustable orientation of the reflector (3) relative to the object (2) and by computing the position and spacial orientation of the object (2) by way of measurement data with respect to the direction and the path length of the laser beam (5) and by way of this additional measurement data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2003
    Assignee: Leica Geosystems AG
    Inventors: Albert Markendorf, Raimund Loser
  • Patent number: 6665063
    Abstract: A distributed laser based obstacle awareness system for use on-board an aircraft comprises: a plurality of obstacle detecting sensors disposable at a corresponding plurality of locations of the aircraft for emitting laser energy from the aircraft into a predetermined region of space and for receiving return laser energy from an obstacle in the predetermined region of space; a laser source for emitting a laser beam along an optical path; and a plurality of bistatic optical channels. Each channel comprises a plurality of transmission fiber optic cables and at least one receiver fiber optic cable and extends from the laser source to a corresponding obstacle detecting sensor of the plurality to direct the laser beam from the optical path to its corresponding obstacle detecting sensor of the plurality for emission into the corresponding predetermined region of space; and a light detector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 16, 2003
    Assignee: Rosemount Aerospace Inc.
    Inventors: James R. Jamieson, Mark D. Ray
  • Patent number: 6665055
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a light-wave rangefinder using a pulse method, which can reduce a measurement error, in which a tuned amplifier converts an electric signal of a light receiving unit into a damped oscillation waveform and thereby an arithmetic processing means can calculate a distance from a measuring position to a reflecting object on the basis of the damped oscillation waveform of the tuned amplifier. An optical noise sampling unit samples an optical noise produced in the rangefinder; an optical-noise storage unit stores sampling data of the optical-noise sampling unit; an arithmetic processing means reduces a measurement error caused by an optical noise on the basis of the sampling data of the optical-noise storage unit; and thereby a distance, a measurement error of which is reduced, can be calculated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 16, 2003
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha TOPCON
    Inventors: Masahiro Ohishi, Yoshikatsu Tokuda
  • Patent number: 6661505
    Abstract: A system for measuring caster trail of a wheel. The system comprises position sensing devices for sensing positional signals of the wheel and a data processing system configured to couple to the position sensing devices. The data processing system receives signals from the position sensing devices and determines spatial characteristics of a steering axis of the wheel, a reference plane and the center of a wheel. The system then determines the caster trail based on the spatial characteristics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2003
    Assignee: Snap-On Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: David A. Jackson, Stephen L. Glickman, James L. Dale, Jr.