Article Storing, Retrieval, Or Arrangement (e.g., Warehousing, Automated Library) Patents (Class 700/214)
  • Patent number: 10322881
    Abstract: The application describes a system and process for anticipating when a user will leave a selection area within a materials handling facility and determining if a notification requesting that the user provide a tote of picked items to a drop off location should be presented to the user. For example, a user may be asked to provide items picked from a selection area for processing, such as packing, while the user is picking items from other selection areas of a materials handling facility.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 26, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Ohil Krishnamurthy Manyam, Jon Robert Ducrou, Anamika Sinha, Long Xuan Nguyen, Daniel Buchmueller, Ramanathan Palaniappan, Michel Leonard Goldstein, Raymond Wheekyun Lim
  • Patent number: 10311395
    Abstract: An inventory data management system manages information related to items, such as implants, used during a medical procedure. The inventory data management system includes multiple sensing devices for reading set identification information from a container in which the set of items is disposed. The sensing devices are connected to a communication network and are placed in multiple locations, where each location is associated with a particular status of the set of items. The system also includes an inventory management computer that executes an inventory management application for receiving the set identification information from the communication network, and associating the set identification information with set status information based on the location of the sensing device that read the set identification information. An item inventory database stores the set identification information in association with the set status information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2012
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: DeRoyal Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Brian Clark DeBusk, Angela Michelle Sewell, John Garner Jacobs, Rex Alan Hurd, Elizabeth Ann White, Jeffrey Dennis Griffith, Samuel Joseph Elijah Fox
  • Patent number: 10279911
    Abstract: A system and method for storing and sequencing a plurality of luggage items. The system includes containers with vertically stacked shelves and an automatic guided vehicle releasably attachable to the containers for transporting a container between a first predetermined area and a loading area with a loading assembly to move a luggage item from an entrance conveyor onto one of the shelves of the container. The containers may include wheels for being manually moved. A transport vehicle is provided for moving a plurality of containers together. The method includes determining a grouping criterion of the luggage item and sorting and sequencing luggage items onto containers according to the grouping criterion. Different embodiments of the loading assembly are provided with one using a packing automated vehicle and another using stacked platform conveyors. Several grouping criteria are provided which may depend on processing requirements of the luggage items.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignees: Jervis B. Webb Company, Daifuku Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Christopher Murphy, Robertus A. Schmit, Michael Fleming
  • Patent number: 10268981
    Abstract: A method and system for computing the price for shipping goods. The method includes causing a computer to deliver first information to a user prompting the user to enter at the computer information about a rail transportation service for shipment of goods by one or more railcars. Information about a basic pool of railcars is received and filtered based on one or more filtering criteria to produce a filtered pool of railcars. The computer is then caused to deliver second information to the user prompting the user to select at the computer one or more railcars among the filtered pool of railcars for the shipment of goods. A price for the shipment of the goods is then computed at least in part on the basis of the rail transportation service and the one or more characteristics of the railcars in the filtered pool of railcars selected by the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2019
    Assignee: Canadian National Railway Company
    Inventors: Leonard John Podgurny, Anita Ernesaks
  • Patent number: 10259650
    Abstract: An inventory system can include multiple floors. The system can assign operations involving inventory items to a floor based on information about the floor, other floors, the operations, and/or the inventory items. In one example, the system may assign an order to be assembled on a floor based on the floor containing items for the order. Items may be moved to the floor from other floors to complete the order. In another example, a receipt receptacle received from a shipping vehicle can be moved to a rack without separating inventory items from the receipt vehicle. A mobile drive unit can move the rack to a floor based on information known about the inventory items matching criteria about the floor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2019
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Cordell Mountz, John Joseph Enright, Joseph W. Durham, Michael Harrison Decker, Jonathan Harris Schechter, Peter R. Wurman, Eryk Brian Nice
  • Patent number: 10236080
    Abstract: A medical equipment case is provided for containing and transporting at least one article of medical equipment and a two-way audio-visual system. Such equipment may be used, for example, for telemedicine applications by a patient discharged from a hospital, or other subject in need of remote health care monitoring. The medical equipment case may include features that provide for security and facilitate return of the medical equipment case and medical equipment and audio-visual system contained therein, such as machine-readable indicia encoding information for return of the case from a usage location. The medical equipment case and contained medical equipment and two-way audio visual system together form a medical support system that can be used by a patient discharged from a hospital. Methods of controlling the medical support system are also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2019
    Assignee: Elwha LLC
    Inventors: Roderick A. Hyde, Jordin T. Kare, Elizabeth A. Sweeney, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10214400
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems of facilitating movement of product-containing pallets include at least one forklift unit configured to lift and move the product-containing pallets, at least one motorized transport unit configured to mechanically engage and disengage a respective forklift unit, and a central computer system in communication with the at least one motorized transport unit. The central computer system is configured to transmit at least one signal to the at least one motorized transport unit. The signal is configured to cause the at least one motorized transport unit to control the at least one forklift unit to move at least one of the product-containing pallets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10196210
    Abstract: A robot capable of autonomously navigating through a warehouse to execute orders on items at locations in the warehouse with the assistance of the human operators. There is a mobile base unit and a display device associated with the mobile base unit having a display area to allow the human operators to interact with the robot. And, there is a processor configured to display on a first portion of the display area information corresponding to an item on which an operator is to assist the robot execute the order at a first location and to display on a second portion of the display area icons representing other robots within a predetermined area surrounding the first location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: Locus Robotics Corp.
    Inventors: Bruce Welty, Sean Johnson, Luis Jaquez, Michael Charles Johnson
  • Patent number: 10179965
    Abstract: A radiology garment storage and cleaning system, for storing and cleaning radiology garments, each garment including a radiology apron and a radiology collar. The radiology garment storage and cleaning system includes a storage apparatus, which is divided into a number of compartments for accepting a radiology garment, the compartments extending from the first side to the second side. Each compartment is equipped with a cleaning system, a door with a lock and at least one status light. The storage apparatus also includes an ID card and a monitoring system which is in electronic communication with the ID card reader, the lock of each compartment, each of the cleaning mechanisms, and the status light of each compartment. The monitoring system is configured to monitor when the radiology garment is placed in one of the compartments, automate the cleaning of the garment, and track the garment's usage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2019
    Inventors: Nikia Gordon, Tashma Watson
  • Patent number: 10144587
    Abstract: Features are disclosed for a mobile drive unit and systems including mobile drive units that eliminate the need for dedicated lifting motors. The mobile drive unit arrangements described leverage existing motors used to drive the rolling elements (e.g., wheels) of the mobile drive unit to perform the lifting. For example, a mobile drive unit may include four locomotion motors. Because each motor can be individually controlled, the distance between front and rear (or left and right) rolling elements can be used to actuate mechanisms for lifting payloads without requiring a dedicated lifting motor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Andrew Stubbs, Robert Michael Shydo, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10144588
    Abstract: Disclosed are various embodiments that may facilitate transferring an item to a receptacle using a tiltable floor and a robotic drive unit. The robotic drive unit moves along a travel path to be proximate to a receptacle. The robotic drive unit can align an item with the receptacle. The item can be transferred by causing the tiltable floor to tilt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Rishabh Agarwal, Venkataramanan Subramanian, Mustafa Mustansir Hussain, Ahmed Shareef, Vikas Vishwanatham
  • Patent number: 10138101
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates to a method performed in a forklift truck, for determining a load position in a load rack. The forklift truck includes optical detection means movable with a load carrier. The method includes the steps of determining a reference position related to the optical detection means of a first land mark located on a first height of the load rack based on the position of the first landmark in a first image captured by the optical detection means; determining a second position related to the optical detection means of a second land mark located on a second height of the load rack based on the position of the second landmark in a second image captured by the optical detection means at a predetermined height; and determining a load position on the second height based on a comparison between the reference position and the second position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2018
    Assignee: Toyota Material Handling Manufacturing Sweden AB
    Inventors: Rune Svensson, Magnus Persson, HÃ¥kan Frid
  • Patent number: 10134006
    Abstract: A workflow management system (WMS) coordinates, controls, and monitors item picking assets, item retrieval assets, and order packaging assets in performance of different workflows. The WMS optimizes the different workflows by assigning tasks to the different assets in a manner that minimizes overall execution time, cost, and resource utilization. Some optimizations include maximizing or prioritizing item pick rate, item packaging rate, or both. Assets integrated with the WMS and under WMS control include human workers, autonomous robots, and resources used in performance of the workflows.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2018
    Assignee: inVia Robotics, Inc.
    Inventors: Sagar Pandya, Daniel Frank Parks, II, Randolph Charles Voorhies, Lior Elazary
  • Patent number: 10127360
    Abstract: A system for medicine dosage compliance may comprise a dispensing component that provides for medicine to be dispensed based at least upon authorized identification of a user and a secondary authorizer. The dispensing component may comprise an identity authentication component that automatically authenticates an identity of the user and the secondary authorizer at the time of a dispensing event. The system may further comprise a communication component providing one or more notifications to one or more third parties. The communication component may comprise a wireless personal area networking component that sets up a local networking connection between the dispensing component and a local device to share data between the dispensing component and a local device. The local device may communicatively be coupled to a remote network component. A notification component may generate notification information of the dispensing event for one or more third parties.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2018
    Assignee: FirstEnergy Ventures Corp.
    Inventors: Dennis Marshall Chack, Brett William Reynolds, Michele Domiano Jones, Amanda Marie Kidder, Timothy William Wechter, David Lynn Griffing, Lauren Rae Lucas, Josh Ryan Schulte, Cheryl Ann Brubaker-Schaub, Kenneth Michael Burns, James Thomas Petroski, Benjamin Back Rose, Carl Anthony Shotwell, William Bagnal Timms, III, Jon Eric Washington
  • Patent number: 10112771
    Abstract: A system for transporting inventory items includes an inventory holder capable of storing inventory items and a mobile drive unit. The mobile drive unit is capable of moving to a first point with the inventory holder at least one of coupled to and supported by the mobile drive unit. The mobile drive unit is additionally capable of determining a location of the inventory holder and calculating a difference between the location of the inventory holder and the first point. The mobile drive unit is then capable of determining whether the difference is greater than a predetermined tolerance. In response to determining that the difference is greater than the predetermined tolerance, the mobile drive unit is also capable of moving to a second point based on the location of the inventory holder, docking with the inventory holder, and moving the mobile drive unit and the inventory holder to the first point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2018
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Raffaello D'Andrea, Peter K. Mansfield, Michael Cordell Mountz, Dennis Polic, Patrick R. Dingle
  • Patent number: 10102563
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for controlling an inventory carrier for replenishing a pod used for delivery of online orders includes displaying, using at least one of said at least one processor, at least one replenishment procedure option to a user, receiving, using at least one of said at least one processor, a selection of one of the at least one replenishment procedure from the user, and controlling, using at least one of said at least one processor, movement of the inventory carrier based on the received selection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Assignee: MYRMEX, INC.
    Inventors: Ioannis Kanellos, Eugenios Fainekos, Orestis Fainekos
  • Patent number: 10087000
    Abstract: Example pallet-conveyor systems may include a conveyor system configured with a delivery track arranged to move pallets to a delivery area, a recirculation loop, and a diverter mechanism. The system may include a computing system that selects an item for the recirculation loop based on future demand and causes a robotic device to maintain pallets of the selected item in the recirculation loop. The computing system may further receive an item request and determine that a requested item is available from the recirculation loop and responsively cause the diverter mechanism to divert the requested item from the recirculation loop to the delivery track. The computing system may also cause robotic devices to obtain and load pallets of remaining requested items onto the conveyer system for the delivery area, and cause pickers to remove one or more items from pallets at the delivery area in order to fulfill the item request.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2018
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventor: John Zevenbergen
  • Patent number: 10071893
    Abstract: A central computer system identifies a mobile item container in a retail shopping facility as being abandoned. The central computer system then directs a motorized transport unit through the retail shopping facility to the abandoned mobile item container and causes that motorized transport unit to physically attach to the abandoned mobile item container. The central computer system then directs that motorized transport unit through the retail shopping facility with the attached abandoned mobile item container to a specified destination within the retail shopping facility. Abandonment can be determined as a function, at least in part, of determining that the mobile item container is both stationary and unattended for at least a predetermined amount of time. By one approach the central computer system can use different predetermined amounts of time when assessing abandonment depending upon where in the retail shopping facility the mobile item containers are located.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley, David C. Winkle
  • Patent number: 10053289
    Abstract: A warehouse automation system adapted to improve warehouse operating productivity includes a plurality of carts for transporting products within a warehouse and a controller. The controller is adapted to associate a first one of the plurality of carts with a first person and to control the first cart to lead the first person around the warehouse. According to one advantage, the time the first person spends restocking, picking, counting, sorting, moving, and packing product into customer orders and shipments, for example, is reduced.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2018
    Assignee: 6 River Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Rylan Hamilton, Jerome Dubois, Christopher Cacioppo, Timothy Higgins
  • Patent number: 10046966
    Abstract: A method for a MEMS device includes receiving a diced wafer having a plurality devices disposed upon an adhesive substrate and having an associated known good device data, removing a first set of devices from the plurality of devices from the adhesive substrate in response to the known good device data, picking and placing a first set of the devices into a plurality of sockets within a testing platform, testing the first set of integrated devices includes while physically stressing the first set of devices, providing electrical power to the first set of devices and receiving electrical response data from the first set of devices, determining a second set of devices from the first set of devices, in response to the electrical response data, picking and placing the second set of devices into a transport tape media.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2018
    Assignee: MCUBE, INC.
    Inventors: Ben Lee, Ming Hong Kuo, Wen-Chih Chen, Wensen Tsai
  • Patent number: 10040632
    Abstract: An automated warehouse storage system including a multilevel storage array is provided. Each aisle has a set of storage levels and each level has storage locations distributed along the aisle. The guideway network extending through the multilevel storage array is configured for autonomous vehicles to move along the guideway network within the multilevel storage array. The guideway network including an inter-aisle guideway spanning at least two of the multiple aisles and a set of guideway levels extending in an aisle of the multiple aisles and disposed so that each guideway level is at a different one of the storage levels and the vehicles on the guideway level can access the storage locations distributed along the aisle. Each set of guideway levels is connected to the inter-aisle guideway forming a common guideway path so that a vehicle can move between inter-aisle guideway and each guideway level along the common guideway path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2018
    Assignee: Alert Innovation Inc.
    Inventor: John Lert, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10040630
    Abstract: An autonomous transport robot for transporting a payload, the autonomous transport robot includes a payload bed having at least one reference datum surface and at least one payload justification device, the at least one payload justification device being configured to position a payload on the payload bed in substantial contact with the at least one reference datum surface to place the payload in a predetermined position on the payload bed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2018
    Assignee: Nextshift Robotics, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles Grinnell, Joe Jones, John Kawola, Mary Ellen Sparrow, Stephen C. Toebes, Clara Vu, Matthew Aprea
  • Patent number: 10035264
    Abstract: Methods, apparatus, systems, and computer-readable media are provided for real time robot implementation of state machines. In various implementations, a robot controller may state machine data indicative of a state machine to be implemented by the robot controller while operating a robot. The robot controller may identify one or more states reachable by the robot controller during implementation of the state machine. At least a first state of the one or more states may include: a first action to be performed by the robot while the robot controller is in the first state; and a plurality of strategies to govern performance of the first action under multiple circumstances while the robot controller is in the first state. The robot controller may operate the robot to perform the first action in a manner governed by a first strategy of the plurality of strategies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2018
    Assignee: X DEVELOPMENT LLC
    Inventors: Mrinal Kalakrishnan, Torsten Kroeger
  • Patent number: 10024718
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and computer readable media for tracking signals from modular sensor segments are disclosed. One system includes modular sensor segments for tracking interactions with objects where each sensor segment includes an infrared transmitter and an infrared receiver for tracking human physical interaction with objects. Each modular sensor segment includes a circuit board on which the transmitter and receiver are mounted and a light shield mounted on the circuit board configured to separate, transmit and receive optical signal paths.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2018
    Assignee: Triangle Strategy Group LLC
    Inventor: Patrick Joseph Campbell
  • Patent number: 10026038
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides an information processing system including a recognition database generated from information on an article, wherein the article is associated with a home electric device, and the information processing system performs a matching process against the recognition database on the basis of article-use detection information provided by the home electric device with which the article is associated, and identifies an article used in the home electric device. With the configuration described above, on the basis of a recognition database generated from information on a purchased article and on the basis of article-use detection information of a home electric device associated with a purchaser of the purchased article, an article used in the home electric device can be identified.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2018
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CORPORATION OF AMERICA
    Inventors: Takashi Morimoto, Yasuhiro Yuki, Masao Nonaka, Kazunori Okubo, Mina Shimizu, Hidekatsu Kanemoto
  • Patent number: 10024734
    Abstract: A system and method are disclosed for controlling an inventory of point-of-care diagnostic devices. The inventory includes a main inventory and at least one subinventory. Each device has an ambient temperature shelf life. Data associated with the devices is entered, including: the current quantity and predetermined minimum quantity of devices in the main inventory; and the current quantity and predetermined minimum quantity of devices in the subinventory. A first timestamp is associated with each device when the device is transferred from the main inventory to the ambient temperature subinventory. The first timestamp is compared to a second timestamp prior to use of the device to determine whether the device's ambient temperature shelf life is exceeded. The current quantity of devices in the subinventory is updated in response to an event that causes a change in the current quantity of devices in the subinventory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2018
    Assignee: Abbott Point of Care Inc.
    Inventors: Jody Ann Tirinato, Michael P. Zelin, Paul Andrew Gibson, Lyudmila Zaltsman, Graham Davis
  • Patent number: 10017322
    Abstract: In some embodiments, methods and systems of facilitating movement of product-containing pallets include at least one forklift unit configured to lift and move the product-containing pallets, at least one motorized transport unit configured to mechanically engage and disengage a respective forklift unit, and a central computer system in communication with the at least one motorized transport unit. The central computer system is configured to transmit at least one signal to the at least one motorized transport unit. The signal is configured to cause the at least one motorized transport unit to control the at least one forklift unit to move at least one of the product-containing pallets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2018
    Assignee: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Inventors: Donald R. High, Michael D. Atchley
  • Patent number: 10007413
    Abstract: Technologies described herein provide a mixed environment display of attached control elements. The techniques disclosed herein enable users of a first computing device to interact with a remote computing device configured to control an object, such as a light, appliance, or any other suitable object. Configurations disclosed herein enable the first computing device to cause one or more actions, such as a selection of the object or the display of a user interface, by capturing and analyzing input data defining the performance of one or more gestures, such as a user looking at the object controlled by the second computing device. Rendered graphical elements configured to enable the control of the object can be displayed with a real-world view of the object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2018
    Assignee: MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY LICENSING, LLC
    Inventors: David M. Hill, Andrew William Jean, Jeffrey J. Evertt, Alan M. Jones, Richard C. Roesler, Charles W. Carlson, Emiko V. Charbonneau, James Dack
  • Patent number: 10001768
    Abstract: A method for executing orders by at least one robot on a plurality of items stored at locations throughout a warehouse including reading a bar code affixed to an item storage array disposed on said at least one robot. The item storage array includes a plurality of interconnected containers each for storing items associated with an order. The method also includes using the read bar code to retrieve information about at least one characteristic of the item storage array and assigning an order associated to each of the plurality of containers of the item storage array. The orders are based in part on the at least one characteristic of the item storage array. The method further includes navigating the at least one robot to locations throughout the warehouse to execute the orders associated with each of the plurality of containers of the item storage array.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2018
    Assignee: Locus Robotics Corp.
    Inventors: Michael Charles Johnson, Sean Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Luis Jaquez
  • Patent number: 9987665
    Abstract: A parcel processing system and method. A method includes inducting a plurality of parcels in a non-machinable parcel stream by a non-machinable parcel processing system. The method includes recording physical characteristics of each of the parcels. The method includes comparing the recorded physical characteristics of each parcel to machinable requirements. The method includes identifying machinable parcels based on the comparison. The method includes sorting the identified machinable parcels to an automation discharge. The method includes transporting all non-machinable parcels to workstations, by the non-machinable parcel processing system, for manual processing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: SIEMENS INDUSTRY, INC.
    Inventors: John M. Zatopek, Abdul Hamid Salemizadeh
  • Patent number: 9984339
    Abstract: Examples described may enable rearrangement of pallets of items in a warehouse to an optimal layout. An example method includes receiving real-time item information including pallet locations in a warehouse and real-time inventory of items arranged on the pallets; determining a likelihood of demand for future access to the pallets based on a pallet relocation history and item receiving/shipment expectations; based on the real-time item information and the likelihood of demand, determining an optimal controlled-access dense grid layout in which distances of the pallets from a center of the layout are related to the likelihood of demand; receiving real-time robotics information and using the real-time robotics information to determine an amount of time to rearrange the pallets to the optimal layout; and, based on the amount of time to rearrange the pallets being less than a threshold, causing the robotic devices to rearrange the pallets to the optimal layout.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 29, 2018
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Christopher Hance, Daniel Shaffer
  • Patent number: 9965730
    Abstract: Examples described may enable consolidating pallets of items in a warehouse. An example method includes receiving real-time item information including pallet locations in a warehouse and inventory of items arranged on the pallets; based on the real-time item information, identifying a set of pallets of which at least one pallet includes less than a threshold quantity of a type of item; receiving real-time robotics information and determining, based on the real-time item and robotics information, an amount of time to condense the items on the set of pallets into a single pallet and a quantity of pallets that will become empty as a result of condensing the items; and, based on the amount of time being less than a threshold time and the quantity of pallets exceeding a threshold quantity of pallets, causing robotic devices to condense the items into the single pallet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Christopher Hance, Daniel Shaffer
  • Patent number: 9965815
    Abstract: A method and system for advertising a property comprises a hollow elongated post, at least one rechargeable battery, at least one solar panel, a double-sided monitor, and a real estate server in communication with the double-sided monitor via a network. The real estate server resides on a central computer having a processor installed with a real estate management application and coupled with a memory unit integrated with a central database. The double-sided monitor is configured to receive a plurality of input parameters about a property and to display the details of at least one property selected by a user. The double-sided monitor includes a plurality of sensors embedded inside the monitor, a hard-wire jack, a magnetic alarm, and a webcam. The double-sided monitor provides an interactive screen and allows the user to know about the property by displaying rotating images and videos.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Inventors: Eric Lamont Campbell, Richard Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 9950863
    Abstract: An automated order fulfillment system and automated method for fulfilling orders includes a donor-handling system having at least two donor buffers and a recipient-handling system having at least one recipient buffer. An item-handling system includes a vision system and an item manipulator. The vision system has a field of view encompassing the at least two donor receptacle buffers. A control causes the vision system to scan items in a donor receptacle at one of the donor buffers to obtain a pick list of location data of items in the scanned donor receptacle. The control causes the manipulator to pick an item from a donor receptacle at the other of the donor buffers under guidance of the vision system and place the picked item to a recipient receptacle at the at least one recipient buffer using the location data of items in that donor receptacle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2018
    Assignee: Dematic Corp.
    Inventors: Mark D. O'Brien, David M. Berghorn
  • Patent number: 9908701
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to a system and method for storage and retrieval of items including a control server and a database. The database receives the shelving configuration information of a particular user environment and the control server is operable to issue travel control signals to a robotic carriage within configuration parameters retrieved from the database. An alternate configuration includes a robotic carriage. The robotic carriage further comprises a base, at least one arm, and a motor. The arm is secured to the base and presents a resting surface for the items. The motor is cooperatively secured to the robotic carriage, enabling controlled travel by the robotic carriage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2018
    Inventor: Trevor I. Blumenau
  • Patent number: 9873561
    Abstract: Disclosed are various embodiments that may facilitate retrieval of items from a storage location. A robotic drive unit transports a receptacle to be proximate to a target storage unit that comprises an item. The robotic drive unit moves an item mover to transfer the item from the target storage unit to the receptacle. The robotic drive unit transports the item in the receptacle to a destination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2018
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Rishabh Agarwal, Venkataramanan Subramanian, Mustafa Mustansir Hussain, Ahmed Shareef, Vikas Vishwanatham
  • Patent number: 9802311
    Abstract: A control system, method and computer program product cooperate to assist control for an autonomous robot. An interface receives recognition information from an autonomous robot, said recognition information including candidate target objects to interact with the autonomous robot. A display control unit causes a display image to be displayed on a display of candidate target objects, wherein at least two of the candidate target objects are displayed with an associated indication of a target object score.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2017
    Assignee: SONY CORPORATION
    Inventors: Kenta Kawamoto, Yoshiaki Iwai, Satoru Shimizu
  • Patent number: 9805334
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided for a low stock product display alert system. A system includes a pushing element configured to push one or more products toward a front of a shelf as a unit of the product is removed from the shelf. The system also includes an RFID component, where the RFID component is configured to be in a dormant state when the pushing element is in a first position. The system further includes an activation element configured to activate the RFID component when the pushing element is in a second position, where when activated, the RFID component is configured to emit a signal indicating that the product display is out of product.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2017
    Assignee: SHELFBUCKS, INC.
    Inventors: Gary L. Overhultz, John W. Pyne, Gordon E. Hardman
  • Patent number: 9779435
    Abstract: Various embodiments provide computer program products and mobile purchase shipping systems for facilitating purchase of a product by a customer. The products and systems may be configured to receive customer data associated with the customer and to validate at least a portion of the received customer data. The products and systems may then receive package data associated with the product and receive payment data from a type of payment presented by the customer. Once received, the products and systems may use at least a portion of the validated data, the package data, and the payment data to generate a shipping manifest. In certain embodiments, the products and systems may include a magnetic card reader configured to read customer data from a customer driver's license. Still other embodiments may incorporate a mobile printer, such that the products and systems may generate a package shipping label, a shipping manifest, and/or a receipt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2017
    Assignee: UNITED PARCEL SERVICE OF AMERICA, INC.
    Inventors: Byron Crutcher, Lester Ross
  • Patent number: 9767432
    Abstract: An inventory management system is described. The inventory management system may be configured to use thermal image data to determine that an item was successfully placed in a storage structure. As part of this process, thermal images may be processed to identify instances of temperature differences that correspond to the item. These temperature differences may be evidence of a recent touch by an operator or may be generated by temperature changing devices during item placement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2017
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Jeremiah David Brazeau, Sergio Mendola
  • Patent number: 9715674
    Abstract: Features are disclosed for using location awareness, bin capacity, and environmental cues to provide in context guidance to the associate when stowing items such as at a fulfillment center. In accordance with aspects of the present disclosure, the associate may scan an item he or she may want to stow. In response, lights on the bins in the associate's vicinity are illuminated to indicate bins in which the item can be stowed (e.g., because the item fits in the bin) without breaking stow etiquette. For example, in order to prevent mix up, stow etiquette may indicate that two types of erasers should not be stored in the same bin. As yet another example, stow etiquette may indicate that an item should not be stowed in a bin, even if it fits and there is room, so that a total weight for the bin is not exceeded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2017
    Assignee: AMAZON TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
    Inventors: Adrian Christopher Quan, Jamie Marie Holland, Kimberly Anne Lewis, Benjamin Lee Farrow
  • Patent number: 9682821
    Abstract: An article transport facility comprises storage sections, a transport device, a controller, and a learning module. The transport device has a transfer device having a support portion, and a light-emitter-receiver. The controller is caused to store information that indicates a second target position at which the transfer device is located when transferring an article, and information that indicates a first target position to which the support portion is moved. Each of a plurality of storage sections is provided with a reflector. A learning control performed by the controller is a control in which a first target position and a second target position are learned based on information of an image of the reflector captured by the imaging device of the learning module and pre-learning position information. Each reflector has a first area which forms the periphery of the reflector, and a second area in the first area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 20, 2017
    Assignee: Daifuku Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Junichi Sakamoto, Hideo Yoshioka
  • Patent number: 9665091
    Abstract: In one embodiment, a manifold apparatus may include a number of housings. The housings may receive an electrical or a fluid conduit. The manifold apparatus may also include an actuation mechanism of each of the number of housings configured to control a supply of electricity or fluid from the respective electrical or fluid conduit to one or more industrial automation equipment, and a locking mechanism including a number of armatures. Each of the number of armatures is associated with a respective housing of the plurality of housings, and each of the number of armatures is configured to physically prevent a respective actuation mechanism of the respective housing from changing states.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Assignee: Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: John J. Jauquet, Jimi R. Michalscheck, Kelly A. Michalscheck, Jessica L. Korpela, Kyle K. Reissner, David A. Vasko, Matthew W. Fordenwalt, Matthew R. Ericsson, Andrew Wilber
  • Patent number: 9600224
    Abstract: According to one embodiment, a commodity information browsing system includes a shelf label apparatus including a first storing section and a first transmitting section, a portable terminal including a first receiving section, a notifying section, a second receiving section, and a display section, and a server apparatus including a second storing section and a second transmitting section. The first transmitting section transmits, by radio, one shelf label code among a plurality of shelf label codes. The notifying section notifies the server apparatus of the shelf label code. The second storing section stores association information representing a relation between the shelf label codes and commodity information. The second transmitting section determines, on the basis of the association information, the commodity information associated with the notified shelf label code and transmits the relevant commodity information to the portable terminal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2017
    Assignee: TOSHIBA TEC KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventors: Seiji Ishikawa, Shuji Takahashi, Kenya Suzuki, Ryu Morita, Hiroki Mochizuki, Yoshihiko Ikeda, Kazuya Nambu, Kazunari Kogure
  • Patent number: 9561587
    Abstract: Robotic arms or manipulators can be utilized to grasp inventory items within an inventory system. Information about an item to be grasped can be detected and/or accessed from one or more databases to determine a grasping strategy for grasping the item with a robotic arm or manipulator. For example, one or more accessed databases can contain information about the item, characteristics of the item, and/or similar items, such as information indicating grasping strategies that have been successful or unsuccessful for such items in the past.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2017
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Parris S. Wellman, Matthew David Verminski, Andrew Stubbs, Robert Michael Shydo, Jr., Ennio Claretti, Boris Aronchik, John Gregory Longtine
  • Patent number: 9499354
    Abstract: Provided herein are various apparatuses, systems, and methods for improving pneumatic tube system operating efficiency and facilitating secure access to pneumatic tube carriers. In particular, a system is provided that includes a magazine that has a first carrier chamber and a second carrier chamber and a pneumatic tube operably coupled to the magazine, where the pneumatic tube is configured to be in fluid communication with one of the first carrier chamber or the second carrier chamber. The magazine may be configured to be moved relative to the pneumatic tube between a first position in which the first carrier chamber is in fluid communication with the pneumatic tube and a second position in which the second carrier chamber is in fluid communication with the pneumatic tube. The first carrier chamber and the second carrier chamber may each be individually accessible to a user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 22, 2016
    Assignee: Aesynt
    Inventors: Colburn Leonard Jones, Michael Guidry
  • Patent number: 9479656
    Abstract: A system and a method for taking photographs in a photo kiosk and sharing the photographs with others using a mobile device loaded with a specialized application. When the user is in the vicinity of a photo kiosk, the mobile device wirelessly connects with the photo kiosk. The user's mobile device is used to take pictures by triggering the camera's shutter using the application on the mobile device. The mobile device retrieves the pictures taken by the user from the photo kiosk during the user's session and presents them to the user. The user may select photos to share with others through email, social media, a public stream, or other known means, or may add photos to the user's profile. Photos may be edited, deleted, tagged, or printed using a wireless printer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2016
    Inventor: Andrew Yuan-Da Lin
  • Patent number: 9471750
    Abstract: Methods, apparatuses and computer program products are provided for facilitating the expedited dispensing of medications from an automated medication storage device. In this regard, a method may cooperate with the first device to facilitate the presentation of various displays that include features to reduce number of user interactions to dispense medications safely and effectively.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2016
    Assignee: Aesynt Incorporated
    Inventors: Laurie Garda, Wendy Armstrong, Jyotsna Rao, Amy Blew, Ryan Thomas, James Kolodziej, Patrick J. Braun, Benjamin H. Tylenda, Shawn T. Greyshock
  • Patent number: 9465368
    Abstract: A haptic-based identification, authentication, authorization, and context aware authorization system usable with a touch-enabled device having a touch screen haptic interface, touch-enabled device receiving a plurality of inputs during interaction with a user which includes a storage space to store a first plurality of inputs corresponding to an authenticated user and a central processing unit (CPU) in communication with the storage space and the touch-enabled device to compare the first plurality of inputs with a second plurality of inputs inputted by the user, wherein the CPU authenticates the user to the touch-enabled device when the inputted second plurality of inputs is determined to be similar to the first plurality of inputs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 2012
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Inventors: Navroop Pal Singh Mitter, Aaron Bernard Huttner
  • Patent number: RE46502
    Abstract: An arrangement wherein a plurality of LED strings are driven with a balanced drive signal, i.e. a drive signal wherein the positive side and negative side are of equal energy over time, is provided. In a preferred embodiment, the drive signal is balanced responsive to a capacitor provided between a switching network and a driving transformer. Balance of current between various LED strings is provided by a balancing transformer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: Microsemi Corporation
    Inventor: Xiaoping Jin