Patents Examined by Stephen C. Buczinski
  • Patent number: 6657705
    Abstract: A distance measuring apparatus controls a forward laser beam to scan a detection area. A photodetector array includes a plurality of photo detecting elements. At least one is selected among the photo detecting elements as an effective element, and the effective element is changed from one to another in response to the direction of the forward laser beam. Identification is given of at least one among the photo detecting elements which receives an echo laser beam corresponding to the forward laser beam in a specified direction. An actual correspondence relation between directions of the forward laser beam and the photo detecting elements receiving corresponding echo laser beams is grasped on the basis of a relation between the identified photo detecting element and the specified direction. The selection and change of the effective element are executed according to the grasped actual correspondence relation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 2, 2003
    Assignee: Denso Corporation
    Inventors: Naoki Sano, Emiko Isogai, Ryoichi Sugawara
  • Patent number: 6657706
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for resolving relative times-of-arrival of a plurality of light pulses includes a plurality of drift-field detectors. Each drift-field detector includes a light sensor and a semiconductor drift region. Each light sensor generates an electrical charge from at least one of the plurality of light pulses. Each semiconductor drift region receives the electrical charge from its respective light sensor and, pursuant to an electric field therein, produces a spatial charge distribution. The spatial charge distribution for each of the semiconductor drift regions is stored in an analog storage device associated therewith. The relative positions of the charge distributions in the semiconductor drift regions are used to calculate the relative times-of-arrival of the light pulses.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 2, 2003
    Assignee: Sarnoff Corporation
    Inventors: Peter Alan Levine, Taner Dosluoglu, Nathaniel Joseph McCaffrey, John Robertson Tower
  • Patent number: 6657704
    Abstract: A forward electromagnetic wave is generated in accordance with a succession of pseudo random noise code signals. An echo electromagnetic wave caused by reflection of the forward electromagnetic wave at an object is converted into a received signal. Direct-current and low-frequency components are removed from the received signal to generate a filtering-resultant signal. The filtering-resultant signal is compared with a preset decision reference voltage to generate a binary signal. The binary signal is sampled into received data. Calculation is made as to a correlation between the received data and the pseudo random noise code signal. The distance to the object is computed on the basis of the calculated correlation. The pseudo random noise code signal is repetitively generated to produce a succession of the pseudo random noise code signals during a surplus time covering a stabilization time taken by the received signal to stabilize in direct-current voltage level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 2, 2003
    Assignee: Denso Corporation
    Inventors: Noriaki Shirai, Katsuhiro Morikawa
  • Patent number: 6654102
    Abstract: A miniature laser Doppler probe includes a laser, lens, another lens with a diffraction grating etched thereon, and a focusing lens. The focusing lens focuses the diffraction grating on an interrogation volume which has the particles whose movement is to be detected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2003
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Darius Modares, Mory Gharib, Fred Taugwalder
  • Patent number: 6650401
    Abstract: An optical distance sensor is provided with a substrate on which a light emitting element and a light detecting element are disposed, and a single optical structure including a first converging mechanism for converging a light beam emitted from the light emitting element, a second converging mechanism for converging a light beam reflected by an object at a distance to be measured, and a reflecting mechanism for deflecting the light beam reflected by the object twice.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2003
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Toru Oka
  • Patent number: 6650404
    Abstract: In a laser rangefinder receiver, a return signal from a light-sensitive detector is passed through a high-pass filter, and is then processed in two separate circuit paths, a “signal” path and a “noise” path. The “signal” path employs a time-variable offset scheme to control receiver sensitivity. The “noise” path measures noise in the return signal, and maintain a noise-based threshold independent of the time-variable sensitivity of the “signal” path. No interstage coupling capacitors are employed, which contributes greatly to the receiver's quick saturation recovery.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2003
    Assignee: Analog Modules, Inc.
    Inventor: Ian D. Crawford
  • Patent number: 6650403
    Abstract: In a distance measuring device, reflected pulsed light beams with respect to one transmitted light beam are amplified by plural amplifiers (22a, 22b) of different gains. The retroreflection times of the reflected pulsed light beams are detected by retroreflection time detectors (30a, 30b) respectively connected to the amplifiers. Based on outputs of the retroreflection time detectors, distance calculator (40) judges the overlapping state of the reflected pulses and the power of reflection from first pulse widths of the reflected pulsed light beams, selects a distance calculating method in accordance with the state, and outputs distance measurement data of high reliability.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2003
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Kenji Ogawa, Minoru Nishida, Shigekazu Okamura
  • Patent number: 6650407
    Abstract: A wide field scanning laser obstacle awareness system (LOAS) comprises: a plurality of first optical elements configured to direct a portion of a pulsed laser beam generated by a light source to a light detector, and to direct the pulsed laser beam to a beam expander wherein the pulsed laser beam is expanded; and at least one rotationally operated second optical element for directing the expanded pulsed laser beam from the system with a predetermined pattern scanned azimuthally over a wide field, the at least one rotationally operated second optical element also for receiving reflections of the pulsed laser beam from at least one object along the predetermined pattern and directing them to the laser beam expander wherein the laser beam reflections are focused; the plurality of first optical elements also configured to direct the focused laser beam reflections to the light detector for use in determining the location of the at least one object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2003
    Assignee: Rosemount Aerospace Inc.
    Inventors: James R. Jamieson, Mark D. Ray
  • Patent number: 6646725
    Abstract: A system for measuring components of the velocity of wind along two axes that are transverse to the line of sight of the system includes first and second light emitter arrays disposed along crossed first and second axes, respectively, for illuminating the distribution with light, a detector for receiving light backscattered from the distribution, and a controller to activate the arrays, receive detector signals, and calculate the projections of the velocity of the distribution onto the first and second axes. The light emitters of each array can be positioned at irregular distances and provide the system with the capability of discerning the direction of movement of the distribution along the two axes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 11, 2003
    Assignee: Iowa Research Foundation
    Inventors: William E. Eichinger, John R. Krieger
  • Patent number: 6646732
    Abstract: A position determining system is disclosed, which has a simplified configuration capable of producing a plurality of phantom planes simultaneously. The improved system according to the present invention consists of a light receiving and sensing device that includes a body having means for sending data on elevation- and depression-angles and horizontal angles, and a phantom plane determining function for determining phantom planes, so as to display or output differential angles of elevations and depressions in relation with the phantom surfaces produced from the data received from the body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 11, 2003
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Topcon
    Inventors: Fumio Ohtomo, Kunihiro Hayashi, Jun-ichi Kodaira, Kazuki Osaragi
  • Patent number: 6643004
    Abstract: Field-deployable spatial positioning or measurement systems are provided for improved versatility, reliability and performance. The spatial positioning or measurement systems use rotating laser fans or beams for positioning and measuring and include a system integrated field-deployable length standard that uses a reelable tape with positional indents. The systems further include the use of labyrinth seals at interface volumes between rotating laser heads and transmitter assemblies to prevent ingress of contaminants and allow for elimination of the use of rotary seals. Further, new dynamic leveling techniques are provided to plumb positional laser transmitter systems. Still further, strobe beam configurations are provided for improved near/far performance and a vertical mode sensing scheme that allows switching to measuring tall structures when needed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2003
    Assignee: Trimble Navigation Limited
    Inventors: Philip L. Detweiler, James E. Denney, Nathan A. Corey, Jonathan A. Jackson, Frank B. Douglas
  • Patent number: 6642999
    Abstract: A method and device for analyzing and quantifying flows for the three-dimensional determination of flow velocity components or the visualization of flows in fluids or gases. An illuminating device generates electromagnetic radiation of a predefined color to scan a detection space in the form of light planes arranged spatially one behind the other that are at least roughly parallel, and that are generated temporally one after the other. As a result, electromagnetic waves are generated in the detection space by particles characterizing the flow, and are detected using at least one image detector which records two-dimensional color images. The frequency, frequency spectrum, and/or intensity detected by at the least one of the image detectors is changed by an as a function of time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2003
    Assignee: Robert Bosch GmbH
    Inventors: Stefan Arndt, Christian Heinen, Klaus Reymann
  • Patent number: 6639659
    Abstract: The invention relates to a measurement method for determining the position and the orientation of a moving assembly in a base frame of reference. According to the invention, the method comprises the steps of: taking an image of an optical reference mark associated with the moving assembly by means of a first camera having a focal axis lying in a direction that is known in the base frame of reference; taking an image of an optical reference mark associated with the first camera by means of a second camera associated with the moving assembly; measuring the distance between a point associated with the first camera and a point associated with the second camera by using self-contained measurement means that are independent of said first and second cameras; and computing the position and the orientation of the moving assembly in the base frame of reference on the basis of the images taken and of the measured distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 28, 2003
    Inventor: Romain Granger
  • Patent number: 6636300
    Abstract: In a spatially resolving range-finding system, an object is illuminated in a pixelwise fashion by illuminating beams emanating from an array of light sources with returned imaging beams striking a corresponding array of solid state receiving elements. The particular arrangement of the light sources and the receiving elements may be varied. The laser light sources and receiving elements may be selectively operated such that one light source may illuminate one or more receiving elements or several light sources may illuminate a single receiving element. The light sources are driven serially, allowing limits of laser protection regulations to be reliably complied with. An advantage is a substantially better signal quality at the receiving elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2003
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Guenter Doemens, Peter Mengel
  • Patent number: 6633367
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a method for optoelectronic distance measurement and a measurement device based on this method, in which two light emitters, particularly laser emitters and two photodiode receivers are used for calibration. Part of the modulated output of the main emitter reaches the measurement object and then arrives at the main photoreceiver in the form of scattered light and another part of the output of the main emitter travels directly to a reference photoreceiver, while a part of the modulated output of the reference light emitter is guided directly to the main photoreceiver and another part is guided directly to the reference photoreceiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2003
    Assignee: Hilti Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Torsten Gogolla
  • Patent number: 6630993
    Abstract: Positions can be precisely and accurately fixed instantaneously within a three-dimensional workspace. A system of two or more transmitters each continuously sweep the workspace with two fanned laser beams which are preferably about 90 degrees apart on the rotational axis of the transmitter. A receiving instrument includes, preferably, two light detectors which detect the time at which each fanned laser beam is incident thereon. The light detectors also detect a synchronization pulse from each transmitter that is emitted once per revolution. Beams from different transmitters are differentiated by different rotational speeds and, therefore, different beam incidence cycles. Because three intersecting planes uniquely define a point in three-dimensional space, by detecting at least three of the fan beams from the transmitters, the receiving instrument can calculate its position in the workspace. A Quick Calc setup procedure allows the use to define a desired coordinate system within the workspace.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 7, 2003
    Assignee: ARC Second Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas M. Hedges, Scott C. Casteel, Andrew Dornbusch, Doug Gaff, Edmund S. Pendleton, Michael J. Sobel, Frey Wain
  • Patent number: 6624881
    Abstract: An optoelectronic laser distance-measuring instrument (1) with preselectable or sensitive reference points (3a, 3b, 3c) arranged on the outer edge of a portable housing (2) and having a radiation source (4), an associated radiation receiver (5) for a laser beam (6), a microcontroller (9), keypad (10), a display (11), which can be read off from the handling distance, for the depiction of a measured result (14), a camera lens (7) that is aimed in the direction of the laser beam (6) and has a image sensor (8), whose detected target area (12) can be graphically depicted on the display (11) at least partially together with a virtual measuring spot (13) calculated by the microcontroller (9) as well as with the measured result (14).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 23, 2003
    Assignee: Hilti Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Reinhard Waibel, Torsten Gogolla, Andreas Winter
  • Patent number: 6621561
    Abstract: The disclosed invention concept utilizes a homodyne/heterodyne interferometer technique in a modified lidar in such a manner as to sense the rotational velocity magnitude and sense of a rotating (or “spinning”) object. Sensing is accomplished in assessing either the Doppler bandwidth of a single axis system or in sensing the frequency separation of Doppler spectrums in a “two” axis system. The technique is unique in that the Doppler bandwidth is linearly proportional to rotational velocity and independent of intercept position in the rotation plane. The technique as disclosed is based on optical fiber lidar techniques, but can be implemented in free-space optics as well. The disclosed invention therefore comprises both a technique for utilization of an optical fiber lidar and a new arrangement of lidar elements. Compact and cost effective, standoff rotation velocity sensors and systems can be fabricated with this technique.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2003
    Assignee: Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties
    Inventor: Carvel E. Holton
  • Patent number: 6621565
    Abstract: An optical transmitter for use in position location or position measurement systems includes (i) an assembly including two optical sources that generate two optical beams which diverge in known ways in a first and second plane, respectively, and are narrow in the orthogonal planes, (ii) a power source which provides power to the assembly to rotate it at a constant angular velocity or with a previously known pattern of velocities through each complete rotation of the assembly, and (iii) a signaling unit that emits a synchronization signal at a specific rotational position of the assembly. The optical transmitter can be used in systems for determining points, lines, planes, distances, areas, volumes, azimuth, elevation, range, angles, or any other positional or spatial variable. The optical transmitter has wide application in, for example, surveying, construction, and the creation of virtual or real environments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2003
    Assignee: Arc Second Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy Pratt, Scott C. Casteel, Thomas M. Hedges, Donald Todd
  • Patent number: 6618125
    Abstract: A method and apparatus of a plurality of detecting elements for detecting and producing an image of an object includes a signal generator for generating a waveform signal, a laser for producing a light signal modulated by the waveform signal, and a mixing and detecting device coupled to and driven by the signal generator for converting reflected light signals received from the target into electrical signals and for mixing the converted electrical signals with the waveform signal to produce an output electrical signal. A read-out is connected to the mixing and detecting device for removing the output electrical signals from the mixing and detecting, and a signal processor is connected to the read-out for processing the output electrical signals from the read-out to detect and produce and image of the object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2003
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army
    Inventor: Barry L. Stann