Patents by Inventor Brian H. Wilcox

Brian H. Wilcox has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20200318721
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement tailored metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a flexspline of a strain wave gear includes: forming a MG-based composition into a flexspline using one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the forming of the MG-based composition results in a formed MG-based material; where the formed flexspline is characterized by: a minimum thickness of greater than approximately 1 mm and a major diameter of less than approximately 4 inches.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 22, 2020
    Publication date: October 8, 2020
    Applicant: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20200278016
    Abstract: Harmonic drives (HDs) are used widely in robotics as a method for achieving high gear reductions and for driving force transmissions. The HD is made a three components: a wave generator, a flexspline, and a circular spline. Low-cost wave generators for metal strain wave gearing are provided. Wave generators are provided that incorporate commercially available bearings that form an ellipse either statically or through adjustment. Wave generators are optimized to maximum performance, including increasing the efficiency and the lifetime, while maximizing the running torque. The shape, size, number, type and location of the bearings can be changed so that the wave generator fails at a similar lifetime as a low cost flexspline. The shape of the wave generator may be adjusted to change the performance of the strain wave gear. The combination of low-cost flexsplines with low-cost wave generators reduces the cost of the strain wave gear.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 26, 2020
    Publication date: September 3, 2020
    Applicant: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 10690227
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement tailored metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a flexspline of a strain wave gear includes: forming a MG-based composition into a flexspline using one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the forming of the MG-based composition results in a formed MG-based material; where the formed flexspline is characterized by: a minimum thickness of greater than approximately 1 mm and a major diameter of less than approximately 4 inches.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2020
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20190170235
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement tailored metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a flexspline of a strain wave gear includes: forming a MG-based composition into a flexspline using one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the forming of the MG-based composition results in a formed MG-based material; where the formed flexspline is characterized by: a minimum thickness of greater than approximately 1 mm and a major diameter of less than approximately 4 inches.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 10, 2018
    Publication date: June 6, 2019
    Applicant: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 10151377
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement tailored metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a flexspline of a strain wave gear includes: forming a MG-based composition into a flexspline using one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the forming of the MG-based composition results in a formed MG-based material; where the formed flexspline is characterized by: a minimum thickness of greater than approximately 1 mm and a major diameter of less than approximately 4 inches.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2018
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 9791032
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement bulk metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a strain wave gear includes: shaping a BMG-based material using a mold in conjunction with one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the BMG-based material is shaped into one of: a wave generator plug, an inner race, an outer race, a rolling element, a flexspline, a flexspline without a set of gear teeth, a circular spline, a circular spline without a set of gear teeth, a set of gear teeth to be incorporated within a flexspline, and a set of gear teeth to be incorporated within a circular spline.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2017
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20160258522
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement tailored metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a flexspline of a strain wave gear includes: forming a MG-based composition into a flexspline using one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the forming of the MG-based composition results in a formed MG-based material; where the formed flexspline is characterized by: a minimum thickness of greater than approximately 1 mm and a major diameter of less than approximately 4 inches.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 7, 2016
    Publication date: September 8, 2016
    Applicant: Californaia Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20160186850
    Abstract: Systems and methods in accordance with embodiments of the invention implement bulk metallic glass-based strain wave gears and strain wave gear components. In one embodiment, a method of fabricating a strain wave gear includes: shaping a BMG-based material using a mold in conjunction with one of a thermoplastic forming technique and a casting technique; where the BMG-based material is shaped into one of: a wave generator plug, an inner race, an outer race, a rolling element, a flexspline, a flexspline without a set of gear teeth, a circular spline, a circular spline without a set of gear teeth, a set of gear teeth to be incorporated within a flexspline, and a set of gear teeth to be incorporated within a circular spline.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 7, 2016
    Publication date: June 30, 2016
    Applicant: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Douglas C. Hofmann, Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 7905055
    Abstract: A robotic ocean farm includes a plant support means such as a grid, with a submersible towing system incorporating means for navigation of the support grid in the open ocean, and means for positioning of the support grid in a first surfaced position for sunlight exposure of the plants and a second submerged position for nutrient gathering by the plants. The submersible towing system incorporates one or more tow boats connected to a forward periphery of the grid, each of the tow boats incorporating a propulsion system for navigation of the grid and maintaining lateral tension in the forward periphery of the grid. Additionally, one or more reaction boats are connected to an aft periphery of the grid. Each of the reaction boats incorporates a propulsion system for maintaining lateral tension in the aft periphery of the grid and reacting in concert with the tow boats to maintain longitudinal tension in the grid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 15, 2011
    Assignee: The Brian and Cynthia Wilcox Trust
    Inventor: Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20100319252
    Abstract: A robotic ocean farm includes a plant support means such as a grid, with a submersible towing system incorporating means for navigation of the support grid in the open ocean, and means for positioning of the support grid in a first surfaced position for sunlight exposure of the plants and a second submerged position for nutrient gathering by the plants. The submersible towing system incorporates one or more tow boats connected to a forward periphery of the grid, each of the tow boats incorporating a propulsion system for navigation of the grid and maintaining lateral tension in the forward periphery of the grid. Additionally, one or more reaction boats are connected to an aft periphery of the grid. Each of the reaction boats incorporates a propulsion system for maintaining lateral tension in the aft periphery of the grid and reacting in concert with the tow boats to maintain longitudinal tension in the grid.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 30, 2010
    Publication date: December 23, 2010
    Applicant: The Brian and Cynthia Wilcox Trust dated 26 November 2007
    Inventor: Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 7836633
    Abstract: A robotic ocean farm includes a plant support means such as a grid, with a submersible towing system incorporating means for navigation of the support grid in the open ocean, and means for positioning of the support grid in a first surfaced position for sunlight exposure of the plants and a second submerged position for nutrient gathering by the plants. The submersible towing system incorporates one or more tow boats connected to a forward periphery of the grid, each of the tow boats incorporating a propulsion system for navigation of the grid and maintaining lateral tension in the forward periphery of the grid. Additionally, one or more reaction boats are connected to an aft periphery of the grid. Each of the reaction boats incorporates a propulsion system for maintaining lateral tension in the aft periphery of the grid and reacting in concert with the tow boats to maintain longitudinal tension in the grid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2010
    Assignee: Brian and Cynthia Wilcox Trust
    Inventor: Brian H. Wilcox
  • Publication number: 20090193715
    Abstract: A robotic ocean farm includes a plant support means such as a grid, with a submersible towing system incorporating means for navigation of the support grid in the open ocean, and means for positioning of the support grid in a first surfaced position for sunlight exposure of the plants and a second submerged position for nutrient gathering by the plants. The submersible towing system incorporates one or more tow boats connected to a forward periphery of the grid, each of the tow boats incorporating a propulsion system for navigation of the grid and maintaining lateral tension in the forward periphery of the grid. Additionally, one or more reaction boats are connected to an aft periphery of the grid. Each of the reaction boats incorporates a propulsion system for maintaining lateral tension in the aft periphery of the grid and reacting in concert with the tow boats to maintain longitudinal tension in the grid.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 31, 2008
    Publication date: August 6, 2009
    Applicant: Brian and Cynthia Wilcox Trust
    Inventor: Brian H. Wilcox
  • Patent number: 6267196
    Abstract: A vehicle, for driving over a ground surface, has a body with a left side, a right side, a front and a back. The vehicle includes left and right drive mechanisms. Each mechanism includes first and second traction elements for engaging the ground surface and transmitting a driving force between the vehicle and ground surface. Each mechanism includes first and second arms coupled to the first and second traction elements for relative rotation about first and second axis respectively. Each mechanism includes a rotor having a third axis, the rotor coupled to the body for rotation about the third axis and coupled to the first and second arms for relative rotation about the third axis. The mechanism includes first and second drive motors for driving the first and second traction elements and first and second transmissions, driven by the first and second motors and engaging the rotor. Driving the first and second traction elements simultaneously rotates the rotor relative to the first and second arms, respectively.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2001
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Brian H. Wilcox, Annette K. Nasif
  • Patent number: 6112843
    Abstract: A vehicle, for driving over a ground surface, has a body with a left side, a right side, a front and a back. The vehicle includes left and right drive mechanisms. Each mechanism includes first and second traction elements for engaging the ground surface and transmitting a driving force between the vehicle and ground surface. Each mechanism includes first and second arms coupled to the first and second traction elements for relative rotation about first and second axis respectively. Each mechanism includes a rotor having a third axis, the rotor coupled to the body for rotation about the third axis and coupled to the first and second arms for relative rotation about the third axis. The mechanism includes first and second drive motors for driving the first and second traction elements and first and second transmissions, driven by the first and second motors and engaging is the rotor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Brian H. Wilcox, Annette K. Nasif
  • Patent number: 5372211
    Abstract: Surmounting obstacles in the path of a robot vehicle is accomplished by rotating the wheel forks of the vehicle about their transverse axes with respect to the vehicle body so as to shift most of the vehicle weight onto the rear wheels, and then driving the vehicle forward so as to drive the now lightly-loaded front wheels (only) over the obstacle. Then, after the front wheels have either surmounted or completely passed the obstacle (depending upon the length of the obstacle), the forks are again rotated about their transverse axes so as to shift most of the vehicle weight onto the front wheels. Then the vehicle is again driven forward so as to drive the now lightly-loaded rear wheels over the obstacle. Once the obstacle has been completely cleared and the vehicle is again on relatively level terrain, the forks are again rotated so as to uniformly distribute the vehicle weight between the front and rear wheels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 1992
    Date of Patent: December 13, 1994
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Brian H. Wilcox, Timothy R. Ohm
  • Patent number: D413551
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Brian H. Wilcox, Annette K. Nasif