Surfaces Pressed Together (e.g., Compressible Type) Patents (Class 338/99)
  • Publication number: 20040100356
    Abstract: A high precision power resistor having the improved property of reduced resistance change due to power is disclosed. The resistor includes a substrate having first and second flat surfaces and having a shape and a composition; a resistive foil having a low TCR of about 0.1 to about 1 ppm/° C. and a thickness of about 0.03 mils to about 0.7 mils cemented to one of the flat surfaces with a cement, the resistive foil having a pattern to produce a desired resistance value, the substrate having a modulus of elasticity of about 10×106 psi to about 100×106 psi and a thickness of about 0.5 mils to about 200 mils, the resistive foil, pattern, type and thickness of cement, and substrate being selected to provide a cumulative effect of reduction of resistance change due to power. The present invention also provides for a method of producing a high precision power resistor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 25, 2002
    Publication date: May 27, 2004
    Applicant: Vishay Intertechnology
    Inventors: Joseph Szwarc, Reuven Goldstein
  • Patent number: 6737953
    Abstract: A description is given of a passenger detector comprising a flexible support of insulating material, at least two electrode structures placed on said insulating substrate at a certain distance from each other, and a layer of semiconducting material placed above said electrode structures in an active zone of the detector. In conformity with the invention, said layer of semiconducting material has an internal resistance that varies with a deformation of said layer and said layer of semiconducting material is placed in intimate contact with said electrode structures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignee: I.E.E. International Electronics & Engineering S.A.R.L.
    Inventors: Bogdan Serban, Michel Witte
  • Publication number: 20040080395
    Abstract: A multidirectional control switch of the present invention is used in a variety of electronic apparatuses including a portable telephone and a personal digital assistant. A first switch contact of this switch outputs a first signal continuously varying as a top surface of a substantially disc-shaped operating member undergoes a sliding press along a locus substantially in arc form. With a stronger press, a second switch contact outputs a second signal. The multidirectional control switch has a simple structure and can be reduced in size because these two switch contacts are integrally formed, eliminating the need to combine discrete elements.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 19, 2003
    Publication date: April 29, 2004
    Inventors: Hiroyasu Okada, Masaki Sawada, Hiroto Inoue, Tamotsu Yamamoto
  • Patent number: 6661332
    Abstract: A press-type varistor switch is disclosed. A center of an upper cover is formed with a round hole. A head of a silicide cap is embedded into the round hole. Opposite sides of the seat are formed with a metal guide pin. The head of the silicide cap protrudes from a round hole of the upper cover so that the silicide cap is enclosed between the upper cover and the seat. Each of the adjacent sides of the metal guide pins are extended with a carbon-film resistor; and the two carbon-film resistors are not in contact to one another. An interior of the head is installed with a conductive rubber. The conductive rubber is above the two carbon-film resistors. When a force is applied to the silicide cap, the two carbon-film resistors are in contact with the two metal guide pins partially or fully so that the impedance is adjustable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2003
    Inventor: Wei Hsu
  • Patent number: 6646540
    Abstract: A conductive structure is used in electric variable resistance devices to provide changes in electrical resistance with movement and changes in pressure, the variable resistance device comprising externally connectable electrodes (10) bridged by an element (14) containing polymer and particles of metal, alloy or reduced metal oxide, said element (14) having a first level of conductance when quiescent and being convertible to a second level of conductance by change of stress applied by stretching or compression or electric field, the device further comprising by means (18) to stress the element (14) over a cross-sectional area proportional to the level of conductance required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 11, 2003
    Assignee: Peratech Limited
    Inventor: David Lussey
  • Patent number: 6568068
    Abstract: A method and system for fabricating electrical heating devices employing positive temperature coefficient (PTC) thermistor as heating elements which includes: assembling the heating devices with PTC thermistor heating elements preselected according to electrical resistance, applying pressure across the interface between the PTC heating elements and the radiator plates of the heating devices during their assembly, and exposing the heating devices for extended periods of time to both ambient and operational temperatures. The method of fabrication further includes continuously monitoring the electrical resistance of the heating devices and holding their electrical resistance stable by adjusting the pressure applied across the interface between the PTC heating elements and the radiator plates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2003
    Assignee: A.T.C.T. Advanced Thermal Chips Technologies Ltd.
    Inventors: Gad Golan, Yuly Galperin
  • Patent number: 6563415
    Abstract: An analog sensor depressible by a single human finger/thumb. Depressive force is applied to a dome-cap and to analog materials for varying an analog output of the sensor responsive to varying force applied by a single finger or thumb. Depressive force causes the dome-cap to bow downward passing through a user discernable threshold, causing a snap-through tactile sensation. In some embodiments the dome-cap is metallic.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 13, 2003
    Inventor: Brad A. Armstrong
  • Patent number: 6563435
    Abstract: In a glass keyboard comprising a keyboard surface (4) made from a flexible thin glass pane (2) and at least one carrier material pane (6), each pane being provided with an electroconductive layer (8,10) on the faces facing each other, wherein the opposing electroconductive layers (8,10) are kept at a distance to each other with the aid of a spacer (12), and wherein the electroconductive layers (8,10) touch each other when pressure is applied to the flexible thin glass layer (2) at the essentially localized place of pressure application, it is provided that the flexible thin glass pane (2) is made from a drawn thin glass film.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 13, 2003
    Inventor: Karl-Otto Platz
  • Patent number: 6531951
    Abstract: The invention concerns a force sensor (10) comprising a first electrode (22) and a second electrode (24) made of conductive material, which are arranged spaced from each other on a first insulating support (12). The invention is characterized in that a contact element (26) is conductive material is placed opposite the two electrodes and some distance therefrom, said contact element t(26) being pressed against said electrodes (22, 24) when a force is exerted on the pressure sensor (10) and at least one of the electrodes (22, 24) is coated with a pressure sensitive material layer (28, 30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2003
    Assignee: I.E.E. International Electronics & Engineering S.a.r.l.
    Inventors: Bogdan Serban, Aloyse Schoos, Emmanuel Huegens
  • Patent number: 6529122
    Abstract: The tactile sensor has at least two conductive workpieces which bear on one another at a bearing area, at least one workpiece of which is produced from elastomer, with the result that it is possible to measure a contact resistance between the workpieces, which contact resistance is dependent at least on a pressure on the bearing area. At least one of the conductive workpieces comprises a conductive closed cell foam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2003
    Assignees: Siemens Technology-to-Business Center, LLC, Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Bjoern Magnussen, Cyril Valfort, Andrew Dahley, Victor Su
  • Publication number: 20020180578
    Abstract: A position sensor (101) is arranged to detect the position of a mechanical interaction. such as the application of manual pressure. A first fabric layer (201) has electrically conductive fibers machined therein to provide a first conductive outer layer allowing conduction in all directions along the layer. A second fabric layer (202) has electrically conductive fibers machined therein to provide a second conductive outer layer allowing conduction in all directions along the layer. A central layer (203) is disposed between the first outer layer (201) and the second outer layer (202). The central layer (203) includes conductive elements. A first insulating separating element (204) is disposed between the first conductive outer layer and the conducting elements. A second insulating separating element (205) is disposed between the second conductive outer layer and the conducting elements.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 24, 2002
    Publication date: December 5, 2002
    Applicant: Eleksen Limited
    Inventor: David L. Sandbach
  • Patent number: 6452479
    Abstract: A position sensor is arranged to detect the position of a mechanical interaction, such as the application of manual pressure. A first fabric layer has electrically conductive fibers machined therein to provide a first conductive outer layer allowing conduction in all directions along the layer. A second fabric layer has electrically conductive fibers machined therein to provide a second conductive outer layer allowing conduction in all directions along the layer. A central layer is disposed between the first outer layer and the second outer layer. The central layer includes conductive elements. A first insulating separating element is disposed between the first conductive outer layer and the conducting elements. A second insulating separating element is disposed between the second conductive outer layer and the conducting elements. The conducting elements provide a conductive path between the first conducting outer layer and the second conducting outer layer at the position of a mechanical interaction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2002
    Assignee: Eleksen Limited
    Inventor: David L. Sandbach
  • Patent number: 6437682
    Abstract: Pressure sensitive direction devices are provided which may facilitate assembly and provide higher tolerance for variation in alignment of components while still providing for pressure sensitive direction detection. The devices of the present invention may be particularly advantageous when integrated into devices, such as cellular radiotelephones, to provide a user interface to facilitate user navigation through increasingly complex menu structures. In various embodiments, the present invention may detect pressure in addition to two and, preferably, at least four directions. In particular embodiments, the devices of the present invention provides a switching device having a plurality of trace grid areas located, for example, on a printed circuit board and actuated responsive to pressure applied by a user through a poly-dome layer where increase pressure results in contact with a greater number of the traces in respective grids.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2002
    Assignee: Ericsson Inc.
    Inventor: Scott LaDell Vance
  • Patent number: 6404323
    Abstract: A variable resistance device comprises a resistive member having a resistive rubber material. A first conductor is configured to be electrically coupled with the resistive member at a first contact location over a first contact area. A second conductor is configured to be electrically coupled with the resistance member at a second contact location over a second contact area. The first contact location and second contact location are spaced from one another by a distance. The resistance between the first conductor at the first contact location and the second conductor at the second contact location is equal to the sum of a straight resistance component and a parallel path resistance component. At least one of the first location, the second location, the first contact area, and the second contact area is changed to produce a change in resistance between the first conductor and the second conductor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2002
    Assignee: Varatouch Technology Incorporated
    Inventors: Allan E. Schrum, Michael D. Rogers
  • Publication number: 20020067242
    Abstract: A current limiting device comprises at least two electrodes; an electrically conducting composite material between the electrodes; interfaces between the electrodes and electrically conducting composite material; an inhomogeneous distribution of resistance at the interfaces whereby, during a high current event, adiabatic resistive heating at the interfaces causes rapid thermal expansion and vaporization and at least a partial physical separation at the interfaces; and a structure for exerting compressive pressure on the electrically conducting composite material, wherein the electrically conducting composite material comprises at least one polymer matrix and at least one conductive filler.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 24, 2002
    Publication date: June 6, 2002
    Inventors: Anil Raj Duggal, Andrew Jay Salem, Lionel Monty Levinson, Michael Leslie Todt
  • Patent number: 6388556
    Abstract: A film pressure sensitive resistor comprises conductive particles such as carbon black, a binder such as polyester resin, and spherical elastic particles having an average particle diameter of 2 &mgr;m to 50 &mgr;m, and further has average surface roughness of 0.1 &mgr;m to 3 &mgr;m, a peak-to-peak concavo-convex period of 10 &mgr;m to 1000 &mgr;m, and an elastic modulus of 800 MPa to 8000 MPa so as to have reliable quality, and excellent environmental resistance, and durability to repeated use (depressing).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2002
    Assignee: Fujikura Ltd.
    Inventors: Takayuki Imai, Toshifumi Nakajima, Takahiro Ishii, Toshio Ochiai, Nobuyuki Kohama, Nobutada Hyakutake
  • Publication number: 20020050917
    Abstract: An improved vehicle road sensor is provided for signalling the passage of a vehicle over a predetermined location on a roadway. The vehicle road sensor includes a membrane switch which includes a first member and a second member. The first member includes a non-conductive substrate, a pair of electrically-conductive stripes upon the non-conductive substrate, an electrically non-conductive gap separating the electrically-conductive stripes, and an electrically-conductive lead connected to each electrically-conductive stripe. The second member includes an electrically-conductive strip which is superposed upon the electrically-conductive stripes on the first member. The second member is normally out of electrical contact with the electrically-conductive stripes on the first member.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 9, 2001
    Publication date: May 2, 2002
    Inventor: Brian Taylor
  • Patent number: 6373373
    Abstract: Disclosed is an electronic pressure-sensitive device which has a long service life and which is capable of detecting with high accuracy loads of various magnitudes including values in proximity to zero. In the electronic pressure-sensitive device, first and second resistive element layers 2b and 6b are formed on the outermost surfaces of first and second contact portions 2 and 6, and the first and second resistive element layers 2b and 6b are constantly maintained in an electrical contact state, the force bringing the first and second resistive element layers 2b and 6b into press contact with each other being detected as the electrical resistance between the first and second contact portions 2 and 6.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2002
    Assignee: Alps Electric Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Mitsuru Saito
  • Patent number: 6351205
    Abstract: A method of using an analog sensor variably depressed by only a single human finger to variably control an electronic game, the method including the steps: a) depressing, with the human finger, the analog sensor with varying pressure for variably controlling the electronic game; and b) receiving, through the finger, a user discernible snap-through tactile feedback. Additionally, a second depressing may be applied substantially because of the receiving of the feedback.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2002
    Inventor: Brad A. Armstrong
  • Patent number: 6344791
    Abstract: Structures and methods for using an analog sensor in combination with a user discernable snap-through threshold feedback, the feedback may be created by a dome-cap element of the sensor. The threshold feedback, sensed by a human user's finger, indicates activation and deactivation of the analog sensor. Tactile analog sensor(s) are structurally combined with: a second kind of tactile feedback referred to as active tactile feedback, flexible sheet sensor elements, pivotal analog buttons, and game imagery controls.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2002
    Inventor: Brad A. Armstrong
  • Patent number: 6323751
    Abstract: A current limiter device comprises at least two electrodes; an interlocked-array electrically conductive composite material disposed between the electrodes; interfaces disposed between the electrodes; an inhomogeneous distribution of resistance at the interfaces whereby, during a high current event, adiabatic resistive heating at the interfaces causes rapid thermal expansion and vaporization and physical separation at the interfaces; and means for exerting compressive pressure on the electrically conducting composite material. The interlocked-array electrically conductive composite material comprises an interlocked-array of spaced apart discrete regions of at least one insulating flexible material and at least one electrically conductive composite material. A method for forming the interlocked-array electrically conductive composite material structure is also set forth by the invention.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Anil Raj Duggal, Minyoung Lee, Lionel Monty Levinson
  • Patent number: 6285276
    Abstract: A control device is provided for an industrial truck, in particular the towbar of a towbar-guided industrial truck, having a circuit element to generate a multi-stage electrical control signal. The invention teaches that the switching element has at least one contact membrane (6) which can be electrically connected by a pressure force exerted on the contact membrane (6) with at least one of a plurality of contact points (2) that correspond to the contact membrane (6). The contact points (2) are connected by electrical resistors (R1-8). The electrical resistors (R1-8) are preferably connected in series, whereby the connecting line between each two resistors is connected to a contact point (2). There are two sliders (8a, b), each of which exerts a pressure force on the contact membrane (6), as a result of which a contact point (2) can be connected to a contact area (3).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2001
    Assignee: Still & Saxby S.A.R.L.
    Inventors: Hartmut Nedele, Pierre Maller, Edgar Weber, Eugen Schöller, Frederic Bruder
  • Patent number: 6275138
    Abstract: The conventional variable resistor has a problem in that, because a pressure-sensitive member made of a pressure-sensitive conductive rubber is used, a serious scattering is caused in the characteristic (change curve), and scattering of thickness in the manufacture of the pressure-sensitive member results in a large scatter of the characteristic (change curve). The variable resistor of the invention uses the first resistor pattern forming the variable resistor. It is therefore possible to provide a variable resistor which scattering in the manufacture is smaller, can achieve a uniform resistance change characteristic, and gives a high accuracy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2001
    Assignee: ALPS Electric Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Ryoichi Maeda
  • Publication number: 20010001551
    Abstract: A ceramic thermistor chip has outer electrodes electrolytically formed on both end parts of a ceramic thermistor element and the portions of the surface of the ceramic thermistor element not covered by these outer electrodes are entirely covered by an organic insulating layer such as an acrylate resin layer or a ceramic layer with specific resistance greater than that of the thermistor element such as a material having as its principal component one or more oxides containing two or more metals selected from Mn, Ni, Co, Fe, Cu and Al and one or more metals selected from Zn, Al, W, Zr, Sb, Y, Sm, Ti and Fe.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 9, 1999
    Publication date: May 24, 2001
    Inventors: YASUNORI ITO, MASAHIKO KAWASE
  • Patent number: 6201468
    Abstract: A low cost analog deflection sensor assembled from a single component part which lends itself for use as a joystick. A central contact is surrounded by peripheral contacts and aligned by a dielectric spacer. Application of deflectional force results in one or more signals of measurable resistance which can be translated into speed and directional vectors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2001
    Inventor: Dean R. DeVolpi
  • Patent number: 6188331
    Abstract: The invention relates to a tactile sensor comprising a base plate provided at a first side with a plurality of electrically conducting wires forming a row, and provided at a second side opposite to the first side of the base plate with a plurality of electrically conducting wires forming a column, each of these wires forming cross points with the electrically conducting row wires. Each of the column wires forms an electrical contact with the row wires near each cross point, which electrical contacts are located at the first side of the base plate. The first side of the base plate is provided with a covering having a pressure-dependent electrical resistance and which, together with the electrical contact of the column wires and the row wires, is suitable to form one or more current paths. The covering is divided into segments, with each segment covering at least two adjacent cross points.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2001
    Assignee: Fokker Space BV
    Inventors: Fulco Zee, Eduwardus Gerardus Maria Holweg, Paulus Petrus Leonardus Regtien, Willem Jongkind
  • Patent number: 6133820
    Abstract: An exemplary current limiting device comprises first and second electrodes; a composite material between the first and second electrodes, the composite material comprising: (a) a binder, and (b) an electrically conductive filler; a thin layer which provides an inhomogeneous distribution of resistance to the device; a web which reinforces the composite material; and a pressurizer for pressing the electrodes against the composite material; wherein the web is disposed in a volume of the composite material which does not include the thin layer. The current limiting device is simple and reusable, and can be tailored to a plurality of applications, including high voltage/current distribution systems, to protect sensitive components from high fault currents. The device has a robust structure which allows it to repeatedly withstand the high mechanical and thermal stresses which typically accompany switching events in high voltage/current circuits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Anil Raj Duggal, Minyoung Lee, Siegfried Aftergut
  • Patent number: 6121870
    Abstract: Pressure sensitive layers are disposed on respective resin films through electrodes to face each other, and include high conductivity flaky carbon particles and low conductivity amorphous-based carbon particles. The two kinds of carbon particles are bound together by a resin-system binder. Accordingly, when a pushing force is applied to the resin films, an average distance between the carbon particles is decreased to cause a tunnel conduction phenomenon, resulting in a decrease in conductive resistance between the electrodes. As a result, a pressure sensing property can be made gentle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignees: Denso Corporation, Hokuriku Electric Industry Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Katsuhiko Ariga, Masayasu Teraoka, Yoshimitsu Motoki, Ichiro Ishiyama
  • Patent number: 6121869
    Abstract: A pressure activated switching device includes an electrically insulative standoff positioned between two conductive layers. The standoff is preferably a polymeric or rubber foam configured in the form of contoured shapes having interdigitated lateral projections. Optionally, the switching device can include a piezoresistive material positioned between a conductive layer and the standoff. The pressure activated switching device can be used, for example, in a safety sensing edge system for a movable door.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Inventor: Lester E. Burgess
  • Patent number: 6114645
    Abstract: A pressure actuated switching apparatus includes first and second conductive layers and a plurality of discrete spaced apart dots between the first and second conductive layers. The dots serve as a standoff for separating the conductive layers and are fabricated from an insulative, elastomeric polymer foam which can collapse under the application of compressive force applied to the apparatus to allow contact between the conductive layers with minimized dead space. Alternatively, the standoff can include strips of electrically insulative elastomeric polymer foam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Inventor: Lester E. Burgess
  • Patent number: 6107612
    Abstract: A device and method for generating heat employs a heating element which is resiliently compressible or in which the electrical resistance can otherwise be varied, for a given electric current, to vary the level of heat generated. In a specific embodiment the device employs a plurality of layers of electrically conductive cloth material, for example, carbon cloth, disposed between electrodes; adjustment of the spacing between the electrodes alters the degree of compression and the electrical resistance of the plurality of layers whereby the level of heat generated for a given electric current can be varied.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2000
    Assignee: Martinex R & D Inc.
    Inventor: Jean-Pierre Farant
  • Patent number: 6069552
    Abstract: An electrical switch has spaced, facing coupler and carrier layers with a set of electrodes formed on the facing surfaces thereof. There is an aperture in the coupler layer. A conductive armature is disposed in the space between the coupler and carrier, aligned with the aperture. The coupler is a magnet and the armature is made of magnetic material so the armature is normally held in engagement with the coupler. A user can press on any part of the armature through the aperture to cause a first portion of the armature to break away from the armature and contact the electrodes on the carrier while a second portion of the armature remains in contact with the coupler. The electrodes are arranged to provide an output which is dependent upon the location of contact with the armature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2000
    Assignee: DuraSwitch Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Anthony J. Van Zeeland
  • Patent number: 6011273
    Abstract: The present invention provides a thin-film semiconductor device suitable for an areal-pressure-distribution detector and the like. The thin-film semiconductor device according to the present invention comprises an insulating substrate 1, and element regions R being integrated and arranged on the substrate in the form of a matrix and each including a set of mutually connected electrode 2 and thin-film transistor 3. Each electrode 2 senses a signal voltage applied from above the element region R. Meanwhile, the thin-film transistor 3 are on/off-controlled in order and detect the signal voltage applied to the corresponding electrodes 2. In each element region, the surface level H1 of the sensitive region SR where the major part of the electrode 2 is formed is higher by .DELTA.H than the surface level H2 of the non-sensitive region NSR where the corresponding thin-film transistor 3 and a wiring pattern 9 are formed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 4, 2000
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventors: Hiroaki Ichikawa, Hisashi Kadota
  • Patent number: 6008718
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a single-resistor-foil pressure sensitive coordinate input system, which comprises: a resistor foil surrounded by a frame, and a base with a copper plate covered by the resistor foil and an control circuit. The frame has four corners, which each have an electrode. The base has four corners, which respectively contact the electrodes of the four corners of the resistor foil and connect to the control circuit. The control circuit has transistors as electronic switches, and the copper plate has a terminal, which is connected to the electronic switches. When the resistor foil contacts the base and a voltage is applied on the resistor foil, by switching the electronic switches, a coordinate measurement is performed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 28, 1999
    Inventor: Ming-de Chen
  • Patent number: 5999083
    Abstract: A membrane potentiometer that uses magnets to keep the membranes separated. A controller has a backplate and a cover that has sidewalls and a top wall which has a central opening defining a cavity. The cover mounts to the backplate. A pair of membrane potentiometer are interposed between the cover and the backplate to receive a first voltage, and output a second voltage that is a percentage of the first voltage. A pair of magnet assemblies are located on outer surfaces of the membrane potentiometer to generate a magnetic repulsion force to keep the membrane potentiometer separated from each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: CTS Corporation
    Inventor: David L. Kordecki
  • Patent number: 5952630
    Abstract: A vehicle interior trim panel electrical switch assembly (10) includes a switch panel portion (16) with a continuous outer surface (18). Force sensitive resistor switches (20a-20g) are supported on the switch panel portion (16) and are secured to the inner surface of a skin cover having a continuous outer surface (18) and forming the outer layer of a soft feel composite. The force sensitive resistor switches are embedded in the soft feel composite either as being cast in a layer of flexible foam or being applied within preformed openings in a layer of flexible foam in certain embodiments in which case they are associated with a circuit module (34) that negates preloading effects due to thermal expansion caused by changes in ambient conditions. In a preferred embodiment the correction occurs due to a circuit configuration that corrects for such preloading effects on a deflection rate basis. The circuit module (34) for each switch (20a-20g) may also include a relay in high power applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 14, 1999
    Assignee: Textron Automotive Company Inc.
    Inventors: Scott M. Filion, Bruce A. Batchelder
  • Patent number: 5945929
    Abstract: A touch control potentiometer is formed of a lower lamina bearing on its upper surface a conductive trace of elongate outline, an upper lamina being flexible under digital pressure and bearing on its lower surface a second conductive trace aligned with the first trace and having the outline thereof, a central lamina being interposed between the upper and lower laminae and formed with an aperture aligned with the first and second traces and having an outline complementary to the outline common to them, one of the traces being formed of a material having relatively high electrical resistance, the other of the traces being formed of a material having relatively low electrical resistance, and a plurality of electrically conductive leads extending outwardly from the laminate and comprising first and second leads in contact with the said one trace at its ends, and a third lead in contact with said other trace at one end one of its ends.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 31, 1999
    Assignee: The Challenge Machinery Company
    Inventor: Michael Allen Westra
  • Patent number: 5929744
    Abstract: A current limiting device has an electrically conductive composite material, an inhomogeneous distribution of resistance structure comprises a conducting filler, and at least two electrodes. At least one of the electrodes is a flexible electrode to maintain contact between the electrode and the composite material, regardless of the consumption of the composite material during a high current condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 27, 1999
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Anil Raj Duggal, Minyoung Lee, Harold Jay Patchen
  • Patent number: 5912612
    Abstract: A low-cost pad pointing device with improved performance, reliability and durability, that can be used as a cursor pointing device for computers, remote controls, web TV, TV guide browsers, video games, consumer electronics, industrial controllers, medical, automotive and other applications. A protruding plus shaped segment can be deflected to positions on an electrical medium that results in the generation of a speed and direction signal to be interpreted by low cost available circuitry including microcontrollers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 31, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1999
    Inventor: Dean R. DeVolpi
  • Patent number: 5905485
    Abstract: A controller with a plurality of tactile sensors and a method of fabricating the controller is disclosed. The controller may be used for one, two or three parameter control in applications requiring manual user control of parameters such as temperature, volume, speed, direction and cursor position on a computer screen. The controller comprises two or more tactile sensors and a computing means. The centers of the tactile sensors are positioned at angles about a common center point. The computing means determines a magnitude and a direction of a resultant force from all the tactile sensors, using the force applied to each tactile sensor and the angle at which the center of each tactile sensor is oriented about a common center point. The configuration enables sensing applied force in two or more directions at angles from a common center point. Another parameter may be controlled based on the total force applied to all of the tactile sensors of the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 18, 1999
    Assignee: Breed Automotive Technology, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert Michael Podoloff
  • Patent number: 5847639
    Abstract: A variable resistance transducer responsive to an applied pressure including a smooth resistive layer on a flexible substrate and deposited thereon by printing or imaging technology, small points of nonconductive or semiconductive material, and resistive interdigitating fingers where in one finger is a wiper so that position on the resistive layer can be sensed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 8, 1998
    Inventor: Stuart I. Yaniger
  • Patent number: 5828289
    Abstract: A pressure sensitive sparkless switching device includes a layer of piezoresistive cellular polymer foam, at least two conductive layers, and an insulative spacer element having at least one opening. When pressure is applied to the device the piezoresistive foam disposes itself through the opening of the spacer element and makes electrical contact between the conductive layers. The resistance of the piezoresistive foam varies with the amount of pressure applied to provide an analog as well as on-off function. The device may also provide multiple switching, and shear detection capabilities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 27, 1998
    Inventor: Lester E. Burgess
  • Patent number: 5799533
    Abstract: A distributed pressure sensor is constructed such that a wire-like electrode member is arranged in the vertical (row) direction so that electrode surfaces alternately appear on the surface and the rear surface of a sheet-shaped pressure sensitive electrically conductive material, and moreover, a wire-like electrode is arranged also in the lateral (line) direction at right angles to the vertical (row) direction, and intersections defined by the electrode members arranged in the vertical direction and the lateral direction are located such that the pressure sensitive electrically conductive material is sandwiched from both the surfaces. The distributed pressure sensor has high flexibility and exhibits improved durability to repeated bending.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 1, 1998
    Assignee: Director-General of Agency of Industrial Science and Technology
    Inventors: Yoshikazu Seki, Makoto Shimojo, Sigeru Sato
  • Patent number: 5656988
    Abstract: A force sensor employing a segmental electrode construction, with a portion of one of its pair of electrodes being printed on a first backing sheet and another portion of the one electrode being printed on a second sheet. When they are juxtaposed they form a continuous electrode. The other of the pair of electrodes is also formed on the first backing sheet and cooperates with the first electrode to indicate when a load is applied to a zone in which the pair of electrodes overlie one another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 12, 1997
    Assignee: Breed Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert Podoloff
  • Patent number: 5550339
    Abstract: A low cost, highly sensitive tactile pointing device includes a planar substrate, an insulating spacer about a periphery of the substrate, and a planar cover. The cover in an active area carries an electrically conductive film designed to contact a conductive film carried upon an active area of the substrate. An insulating spacer and conductive dot are also located at some point within the active area to form a non-contacting rest area. Appropriate forces applied in a direction normal to the plane of the substrate or cover cause deflection, leading to contact between the cover and the substrate. The point of contact identifies intent, direction and magnitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 27, 1996
    Assignee: CTS Corporation
    Inventor: James E. Haugh
  • Patent number: 5499041
    Abstract: A keyswitch-integrated pointing assembly in which a plurality of substantially planar force sensing elements are disposed on a planar surface adjacent a keyswitch on a keyboard. The keyswitch includes a plunger which extends downwardly from a key cap for actuating a switch at the lower end of vertical key cap travel. The key cap engages an indexing surface when fully depressed which transmits force applied to the key cap to the force sensing elements. The force sensing elements are sandwiched between a pair of opposing plates thereby biasing the elements into a substantially linear operating region when no force is applied to the key cap.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 12, 1996
    Assignee: InControl Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Eric L. Brandenburg, Patrick J. Franz, David H. Straayer
  • Patent number: 5489900
    Abstract: A strain sensitive columnar transducer for a data entry keyboard contains a column upstanding from the keyboard. Strain sensitive orthogonally oriented patterns are formed on a single flexible planar sheet which is sliced to place each of the patterns on a separate tab. The planar sheet is forced over the column so that the patterns lie up against the sides of the column to measure force exerted on the column.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 6, 1996
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew F. Cali, Jerome J. Cuomo, Donald J. Mikalsen, Joseph D. Rutledge, Edwin J. Selker
  • Patent number: 5382938
    Abstract: A PTC element has at least one body and two electrodes. The body or bodies has/have and is/are two parallel surfaces, of an electrically conductive polymer composition with a positive temperature coefficient. At least one of the parallel surfaces on the body, or on one of the bodies, of polymer composition is in free contact with an electrode or with a parallel surface on another body of electrically conductive polymer composition. A pressure device exerts a pressure directed perpendicularly to the parallel surfaces on the body, or the bodies, on the electrodes. The pressure device is preferably provided with pressure-exerting devices with the ability to be resilient. After changing from a low resistance to a high resistance state, the PTC element returns to the initial resistance and is reusable after having been subjected to short-circuit currents. The parallel surfaces on the body, or the bodies, of polymer composition may be concentric.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1991
    Date of Patent: January 17, 1995
    Assignee: Asea Brown Boveri AB
    Inventors: Tomas Hansson, Per-Olof Karlstrom
  • Patent number: 5334967
    Abstract: A voltage divider which can be manipulated so as to vary the output voltage thereof, prevents mechanical wear of the voltage divider element, provides continuous contact, and can be sealed so as to prevent interaction with the ambient atmosphere including first and second non-conductive substrates with a predetermined spaced portion therebetween. A first conductive strip on the second substrate is depressed across the spaced portion so as to contact at least one of a plurality of conductive taps on the first substrate, each of which are in contact with a voltage divider element so as to complete a desired circuit. By sliding while depressing the second substrate along its surface where the conductive strip is positioned, one or more successive taps are contacted so as to vary the voltage supplied to the circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 2, 1994
    Assignee: Illinois Tool Works Inc.
    Inventor: George Paszkiewicz
  • Patent number: 5305644
    Abstract: A force sensor component comprising a dimensionally stable body of electrically conductive material, the body having a selected outer surface formed into a predetermined topography; the body including an electrically conductive material in an amount sufficient to render the body electrically conductive at least throughout the selected outer surface of the body; the predetermined topography of the outer surface of the body comprising a plurality of interconnecting ridges across the outer surface of the body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 1992
    Date of Patent: April 26, 1994
    Assignee: Ercon, Inc.
    Inventor: John Ehrreich