Patents by Inventor Joseph S. Eckerle

Joseph S. Eckerle 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).

  • Patent number: 10232383
    Abstract: A process for sorting materials using material-selective electroadhesive grippers is disclosed. At least one of an electroadhesive surface or a plurality of articles is manipulated such that multiple ones of the plurality of articles are at least intermittently proximate the electroadhesive surface. Voltage is applied to one or more electrodes in the electroadhesive surface to thereby cause the electroadhesive surface to selectively adhere to a subset of the plurality of articles based on the subset of the plurality of articles having different material properties than others of the plurality of articles. While the voltage is applied, the electroadhesive surface is moved with respect to the others of the plurality of articles to thereby separate the subset of the plurality of articles from the others of the plurality of articles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Ronald E. Pelrine
  • Publication number: 20170072407
    Abstract: A process for sorting materials using material-selective electroadhesive grippers is disclosed. At least one of an electroadhesive surface or a plurality of articles is manipulated such that multiple ones of the plurality of articles are at least intermittently proximate the electroadhesive surface. Voltage is applied to one or more electrodes in the electroadhesive surface to thereby cause the electroadhesive surface to selectively adhere to a subset of the plurality of articles based on the subset of the plurality of articles having different material properties than others of the plurality of articles. While the voltage is applied, the electroadhesive surface is moved with respect to the others of the plurality of articles to thereby separate the subset of the plurality of articles from the others of the plurality of articles.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 4, 2016
    Publication date: March 16, 2017
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Ronald E. Pelrine
  • Patent number: 9563274
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an adaptable input/output device. One embodiment of a hardware device for facilitating an interaction between a computing system and a user includes: an interaction surface for supporting the interaction, a single actuator capable of driving a first region of the interaction surface, and a first selective clamping mechanism capable of restricting movement of one or more second regions of the interaction surface that partly intersect the first region, wherein a displacement of one or more desired portions of the interaction surface is dynamically controllable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2017
    Assignee: SRI INTERNATIONAL
    Inventors: Rukman Senanayake, Grit Denker, Patrick D. Lincoln, Roy D. Kornbluh, Sierra J. Lincoln, Richard P. Heydt, Harsha Prahlad, Daniel McConnell Aukes, Karl D. van Dyk, Geoffrey A. Mangus, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Patent number: 9486814
    Abstract: A process for sorting materials using material-selective electroadhesive grippers is disclosed. At least one of an electroadhesive surface or a plurality of articles is manipulated such that multiple ones of the plurality of articles are at least intermittently proximate the electroadhesive surface. Voltage is applied to one or more electrodes in the electroadhesive surface to thereby cause the electroadhesive surface to selectively adhere to a subset of the plurality of articles based on the subset of the plurality of articles having different material properties than others of the plurality of articles. While the voltage is applied, the electroadhesive surface is moved with respect to the others of the plurality of articles to thereby separate the subset of the plurality of articles from the others of the plurality of articles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2016
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Ronald E. Pelrine
  • Publication number: 20140251701
    Abstract: A wall-crawling robot or other electroadhesive device can include a battery or other low voltage power source driving a motor that provides a primary device function, a voltage convertor adapted to convert the low voltage to a high voltage using the motor output, and electrodes configured to apply the high voltage to produce an electrostatic force between the electroadhesive device and a foreign substrate. The electrostatic force maintains a current position of the electroadhesive device relative to the foreign substrate, and the voltage convertor is separate from the primary function of the electroadhesive device. The primary function can be a mechanism for locomotion, and the voltage convertor can be a Van de Graff generator, a piezoelectric generator, or an inductive switch generator, any of which are driven in a secondary manner as a result of the motor output.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 22, 2014
    Publication date: September 11, 2014
    Applicant: SRI INTERNATIONAL
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Ronald E. Pelrine, Philip A. Von Guggenberg, Roy D. Kornbluh, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Patent number: 8665578
    Abstract: Described herein is electroadhesion technology that permits controllable adherence between two objects. Electroadhesion uses electrostatic forces of attraction produced by an electrostatic adhesion voltage, which is applied using electrodes in an electroadhesive device. The electrostatic adhesion voltage produces an electric field and electrostatic adherence forces. When the electroadhesive device and electrodes are positioned near a surface of an object such as a vertical wall, the electrostatic adherence forces hold the electroadhesive device in position relative to the surface and object. This can be used to increase traction or maintain the position of the electroadhesive device relative to a surface. Electric control of the electrostatic adhesion voltage permits the adhesion to be controllably and readily turned on and off.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Ronald E. Pelrine, Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Scott E. Stanford
  • Publication number: 20130292303
    Abstract: A process for sorting materials using material-selective electroadhesive grippers is disclosed. At least one of an electroadhesive surface or a plurality of articles is manipulated such that multiple ones of the plurality of articles are at least intermittently proximate the electroadhesive surface. Voltage is applied to one or more electrodes in the electroadhesive surface to thereby cause the electroadhesive surface to selectively adhere to a subset of the plurality of articles based on the subset of the plurality of articles having different material properties than others of the plurality of articles. While the voltage is applied, the electroadhesive surface is moved with respect to the others of the plurality of articles to thereby separate the subset of the plurality of articles from the others of the plurality of articles.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 2, 2013
    Publication date: November 7, 2013
    Applicant: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Ronald E. Pelrine
  • Patent number: 8564926
    Abstract: An electroadhesive gripping device or system includes a plurality of electroadhesive gripping surfaces, each having electrode(s) and each configured to be placed against respective surface regions of a foreign object, such that one or more electroadhesive forces can be provided between the electroadhesive gripping surfaces and the foreign object. Such electroadhesive forces operating to hold the foreign object against the electroadhesive gripping surfaces while the foreign object is held or moved by the electroadhesive gripping system. The electroadhesive gripping surfaces can be arranged onto a plurality of continuous fingers, and various gripping surfaces on each finger can be coupled together and manipulated with respect to each other by an actuating component, such as a cable actuator. A variable voltage can be delivered to the electrodes to control the amount of electroadhesive force generated, such that only a portion of a foreign object is held or moved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2013
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Ronald E. Pelrine, Pablo E. Garcia, Richard Mahoney, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Publication number: 20130186699
    Abstract: A wall-crawling robot or other electroadhesive device can include a battery or other low voltage power source driving a motor that provides a primary device function, a voltage convertor adapted to convert the low voltage to a high voltage using the motor output, and electrodes configured to apply the high voltage to produce an electrostatic force between the electroadhesive device and a foreign substrate. The electrostatic force maintains a current position of the electroadhesive device relative to the foreign substrate, and the voltage convertor is separate from the primary function of the electroadhesive device. The primary function can be a mechanism for locomotion, and the voltage convertor can be a Van de Graff generator, a piezoelectric generator, or an inductive switch generator, any of which are driven in a secondary manner as a result of the motor output.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 23, 2012
    Publication date: July 25, 2013
    Applicant: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha E. PRAHLAD, Ronald E. PELRINE, Philip A. VON GUGGENBERG, Roy D. KORNBLUH, Joseph S. ECKERLE
  • Publication number: 20130058001
    Abstract: An electroadhesive gripping device or system includes a plurality of electroadhesive gripping surfaces, each having electrode(s) and each configured to be placed against respective surface regions of a foreign object, such that one or more electroadhesive forces can be provided between the electroadhesive gripping surfaces and the foreign object. Such electroadhesive forces operating to hold the foreign object against the electroadhesive gripping surfaces while the foreign object is held or moved by the electroadhesive gripping system. The electroadhesive gripping surfaces can be arranged onto a plurality of continuous fingers, and various gripping surfaces on each finger can be coupled together and manipulated with respect to each other by an actuating component, such as a cable actuator. A variable voltage can be delivered to the electrodes to control the amount of electroadhesive force generated, such that only a portion of a foreign object is held or moved.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 2, 2012
    Publication date: March 7, 2013
    Inventors: Harsha Prahlad, Ronald E. Pelrine, Pablo E. Garcia, Richard Mahoney, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Publication number: 20120313857
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an adaptable input/output device. One embodiment of a hardware device for facilitating an interaction between a computing system and a user includes: an interaction surface for supporting the interaction, a single actuator capable of driving a first region of the interaction surface, and a first selective clamping mechanism capable of restricting movement of one or more second regions of the interaction surface that partly intersect the first region, wherein a displacement of one or more desired portions of the interaction surface is dynamically controllable.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 10, 2011
    Publication date: December 13, 2012
    Inventors: Rukman Senanayake, Grit Denker, Patrick D. Lincoln, Roy D. Kornbluh, Sierra J. Lincoln, Richard P. Heydt, Harsha Prahlad, Daniel McConnell Aukes, Karl D. van Dyk, Geoffrey A. Mangus, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Publication number: 20120313854
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an adaptable input/output device. One embodiment of a hardware device for facilitating an interaction between a computing system and a user, the hardware device includes an adaptable surface for supporting the interaction, where the adaptable surface is dynamically deformable under a control of the computing system, and one or more sensors, in communication with the computing system, for detecting a physical presence that is not in direct contact with the adaptable surface. The computing system is configured to cause a deformation of the adaptable surface in response to the physical presence.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 10, 2011
    Publication date: December 13, 2012
    Inventors: RUKMAN SENANAYAKE, GRIT DENKER, PATRICK D. LINCOLN, ROY D. KORNBLUH, SIERRA J. LINCOLN, RICHARD P. HEYDT, HARSHA PRAHLAD, DANIEL McCONNELL AUKES, KARL D. van DYK, GEOFFREY A. MANGUS, JOSEPH S. ECKERLE
  • Patent number: 8325458
    Abstract: An electroadhesive gripping device or system includes a plurality of electroadhesive gripping surfaces, each having electrode(s) and each configured to be placed against respective surface regions of a foreign object, such that one or more electroadhesive forces can be provided between the electroadhesive gripping surfaces and the foreign object. Such electroadhesive forces operating to hold the foreign object against the electroadhesive gripping surfaces while the foreign object is held or moved by the electroadhesive gripping system. The electroadhesive gripping surfaces can be arranged onto a plurality of continuous fingers, and various gripping surfaces on each finger can be coupled together and manipulated with respect to each other by an actuating component, such as a cable actuator. A variable voltage can be delivered to the electrodes to control the amount of electroadhesive force generated, such that only a portion of a foreign object is held or moved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2012
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Harsha E. Prahlad, Ronald E. Pelrine, Pablo E. Garcia, Richard Mahoney, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Publication number: 20120120544
    Abstract: Described herein is electroadhesion technology that permits controllable adherence between two objects. Electroadhesion uses electrostatic forces of attraction produced by an electrostatic adhesion voltage, which is applied using electrodes in an electroadhesive device. The electrostatic adhesion voltage produces an electric field and electrostatic adherence forces. When the electroadhesive device and electrodes are positioned near a surface of an object such as a vertical wall, the electrostatic adherence forces hold the electroadhesive device in position relative to the surface and object. This can be used to increase traction or maintain the position of the electroadhesive device relative to a surface. Electric control of the electrostatic adhesion voltage permits the adhesion to be controllably and readily turned on and off.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 19, 2012
    Publication date: May 17, 2012
    Applicant: SRI International
    Inventors: Ronald E. PELRINE, Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Scott E. Stanford
  • Patent number: 8125758
    Abstract: Described herein is electroadhesion technology that permits controllable adherence between two objects. Electroadhesion uses electrostatic forces of attraction produced by an electrostatic adhesion voltage, which is applied using electrodes in an electroadhesive device. The electrostatic adhesion voltage produces an electric field and electrostatic adherence forces. When the electroadhesive device and electrodes are positioned near a surface of an object such as a vertical wall, the electrostatic adherence forces hold the electroadhesive device in position relative to the surface and object. This can be used to increase traction or maintain the position of the electroadhesive device relative to a surface. Electric control of the electrostatic adhesion voltage permits the adhesion to be controllably and readily turned on and off.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 28, 2012
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Ronald E. Pelrine, Harsha Prahlad, Joseph S. Eckerle, Roy D. Kornbluh, Scott E. Stanford
  • Publication number: 20110193362
    Abstract: An electroadhesive gripping device or system includes a plurality of electroadhesive gripping surfaces, each having electrode(s) and each configured to be placed against respective surface regions of a foreign object, such that one or more electroadhesive forces can be provided between the electroadhesive gripping surfaces and the foreign object. Such electroadhesive forces operating to hold the foreign object against the electroadhesive gripping surfaces while the foreign object is held or moved by the electroadhesive gripping system. The electroadhesive gripping surfaces can be arranged onto a plurality of continuous fingers, and various gripping surfaces on each finger can be coupled together and manipulated with respect to each other by an actuating component, such as a cable actuator. A variable voltage can be delivered to the electrodes to control the amount of electroadhesive force generated, such that only a portion of a foreign object is held or moved.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 16, 2010
    Publication date: August 11, 2011
    Applicant: SRI INTERNATIONAL
    Inventors: Harsha PRAHLAD, Ronald E. PELRINE, Pablo E. GARCIA, Richard MAHONEY, Joseph S. ECKERLE
  • Patent number: 7977923
    Abstract: Described herein is a generator with an electroactive polymer transducer. The transducer has a capacitance that varies with deflection of a polymer included in the transducer. The generator also includes a generator circuit, coupled to the electroactive polymer transducer, that includes a capacitor. The generator circuit is configured such that the capacitor collects electrical energy from the electroactive polymer transducer in response to a change in capacitance of the polymer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2011
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Ronald E. Pelrine, Roy D. Kornbluh, Joseph S. Eckerle, Harsha Prahlad
  • Patent number: 7971850
    Abstract: The invention describes devices for controlling fluid flow, such as valves. The devices may include one or more electroactive polymer transducers with an electroactive polymer that deflects in response to an application of an electric field. The electroactive polymer may be in contact with a fluid where the deflection of the electroactive polymer may be used to change a characteristic of the fluid. Some of the characteristic of the fluid that may be changed include but are not limited to 1) a flow rate, 2) a flow direction, 3) a flow vorticity, 4) a flow momentum, 5) a flow mixing rate, 6) a flow turbulence rate, 7) a flow energy, 8) a flow thermodynamic property. The electroactive polymer may be a portion of a surface of a structure that is immersed in an external fluid flow, such as the surface of an airplane wing or the electroactive polymer may be a portion of a surface of a structure used in an internal flow, such as a bounding surface of a fluid conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2011
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Jonathan R. Heim, Ronald E. Pelrine, Roy David Kornbluh, Joseph S. Eckerle, Marcus Rosenthal, Richard P. Heydt
  • Patent number: 7911115
    Abstract: The present invention relates to polymers, transducers and devices that convert between electrical and mechanical energy. When a voltage is applied to electrodes contacting an electroactive polymer, the polymer deflects. This deflection may be used to do mechanical work. Similarly, when the electroactive polymer deflects, an electric field is produced in the polymer. This electric field may be used to produce electrical energy. An active area is a portion of a polymer having sufficient electrostatic force to enable deflection of the portion and/or sufficient deflection to enable a change in electrostatic force. The present invention relates to transducers and devices including multiple active areas. The invention also relates to methods for actuating one or more active areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2011
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Ronald E. Pelrine, Roy D. Kornbluh, Qibing Pei, Joseph S. Eckerle
  • Patent number: RE45464
    Abstract: The present invention relates to animated devices that include one or more electroactive polymer transducers. When actuated by electrical energy, an electroactive polymer produces mechanical deflection in one or more directions. This deflection may be used to produce motion of a feature included in an animated device. Electroactive polymer transducers offer customizable shapes and deflections. Combining different ways to configure and constrain a polymer, different ways to arrange active areas on a single polymer, different animated device designs, and different polymer orientations, permits a broad range of animated devices that use an electroactive polymer transducer to produce motion. These animated devices find use in a wide range of animated device applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2015
    Inventors: Roy D. Kornbluh, Ronald E. Pelrine, Qibing Pei, Joseph S. Eckerle