Flexible OLED: details revealed
GB patent no: GB2450080, Vodafone Group plc (UK),
Granted: 18 April 2012
Passport, tickets, sun cream, novel. Going away used to be so simple, but these days the list goes on – camera, phone, tablet, chargers, adapters, cables… At some point we’ve all gone away and left one vital piece of equipment behind, which has prevented us from using another. How can we avoid doing this in the future (other than by becoming wise from our mistakes)?
GB patent no. 2450080 was granted towards the end of April of this year to Vodafone Group plc (UK) and describes a neat way of reducing the number of peripherals that you need to remember to pack. If, like me, you don’t get on with laptop mousepads and you always carry a mouse with your laptop, then this invention will be right up your street.
The invention eliminates the need to carry both a mouse and a wireless modem (3G ‘dongle’) and frees up a USB port in the process! This is very simply achieved by incorporating the wireless modem within a USB mouse. Since the mouse is big enough to incorporate a battery, the mouse also includes a power supply and buffer so that if the laptop is shut down before wireless transmission is complete (for example whilst the user is in a tunnel or in a poor reception zone) then the mouse will continue to transmit to the 3G network after the laptop has been turned off. This means that the power supply of the laptop can be preserved, whereas with existing wireless dongles the laptop must remain on until transmission is complete.
The laptop powers the modem whilst it is on and charges the battery in the mouse. In order to prevent the mouse unduly draining the laptop’s batteries (for example, when the laptop is not connected to the mains supply) power management modes can be deployed.
The invention gets round the issue of two devices on one USB port as follows: in order for the computer to recognise both devices within the mouse, each of the devices (mouse and modem) is enabled in turn so as to avoid problems in the computer communicating with each device.
A further subtlety of the device relates to the position of the antenna used by the modem, which may be integrated in the USB lead of the mouse. This feature provides a number of advantages – firstly, it improves wireless connectivity, since the antenna can be longer than a simple dongle. Secondly, it reduces the size of the mouse housing, and finally, it eliminates any screening effect which would be caused when the user handles the mouse. All in all, a rather elegant solution.
Michael Jaeger is a patent attorney at leading UK patent and trade mark attorneys, Withers & Rogers LLP.
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