United States Patent 3662111

Apparatus that attaches or couples to a patient's telephone which automatically calls for help when the patient is incapacitated or for any reason is unable to reach his telephone. The apparatus attempts to warn or advise persons at predetermined telephone numbers such as the patient's relatives, friends, neighbors or doctor in the event of his incapacity, without any effort or physical acts on the part of the patient. In addition, the patient may manually remotely trigger the unit when an emergency situation arises and he cannot physically reach the device. An alarm signal is cyclically generated at predetermined time intervals. If a manual switch is not activated within a predetermined time subsequent to the initiation of the alarm signal, a predetermined telephone number is dialed and a prerecorded message is transmitted. Remote manual activation of the dialing and message is also provided.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
379/40, 379/51
International Classes:
H04M11/04; (IPC1-7): H04M11/04
Field of Search:
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Primary Examiner:
Claffy, Kathleen H.
Assistant Examiner:
Stewart, David L.
I claim

1. An automatic telephone care device for automatically transmitting a message without any physical action by a human operator comprising:

2. The device of claim 1 further comprising: means, actuable by a human operator, for terminating said second alarm actuating signal

3. The device of claim 2 further comprising means for successively dialing a plurality of telephone numbers and for transmitting a plurality of prerecorded messages.

4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said means connectable to a telephone line is further responsive to a manually activated signal, and further comprising means for manually providing said manually activated signal.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said means for manually providing said manually activated signal is located remotely from said means connectable to a telephone line.

6. An automatic telephone care device for automatically transmitting a message without any physical action by a human operator comprising:

7. The combination of claim 6 further comprising means for successively dialing a plurality of telephone numbers and for transmitting a plurality of prerecorded messages.

8. The combination of claim 6 wherein said means for dialing a predetermined telephone number is further responsive to a manually activated signal, and further comprising means for manually providing said manually activated signal.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein said means for manually providing said manually activated signal is located remotely from said means for dialing a predetermined telephone number.


In the course of medical practice many patients are encountered who are at home for periods of time and could at anytime become incapacitated from disease or accident. Such instances often result in the death of the person because his condition is not discovered at an early stage. Oftentimes, such persons are physically incapacitated due to a sudden attack or accident and are physically unable to actuate any source of warning or alarm device. Prior art systems wherein a person may actuate a prerecorded message or alarm are numerous, however, such systems are not operable when the person is unable to actuate them.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a warning system for use with a conventional telephone that will automatically call a predetermined number or numbers in the event that an alarm is not reset by the patient within a predetermined interval of time after the initiation of an alarm.


The device provides for a timer that can be preset to one or several times during every 24-hour period to initiate an alarm that can be seen and/or heard by the person in his residence and which will continually run for a predetermined period of time. Upon completion of that time period, if the unit has not been reset the device will automatically begin to dial one or in succession a series of telephone numbers and deliver to each of them a prerecorded warning message. The message will explain the situation and bring help to the stricken person.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the automatic telephone care device shown with a conventional telephone.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the automatic telephone care device of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a tape format usable with the present invention.


Referring now to FIG. 1, an embodiment of the automatic telephone call device of the present device is shown generally as an L-shaped enclosure 3 having sufficient dimensions for a standard telephone unit 5 to rest thereon. An on/off switch 7 controls the alarm capability of the unit as described below. A green lamp 9 lights when the alarm is operative; a red lamp 11 lights when the alarm is disabled. A timer dial 13 may be set to actuate the alarm when the switch is on, at one or more times during each 24 hour period, for example. The timer operates continuously even when the alarm is disabled by switch 7. A reset button 15 terminates the alarm actuated by a timer unit associated with timer dial 13 as described hereinafter. A cord 17 and call button 19 may be used as an alternate manual remote means to actuate the unit as is described hereinafter. It will be apparent to those or ordinary skill in the art that the device may take any number of forms and is not limited to an L-shaped enclosure as shown herein.

FIG. 2 shows a partially block schematic diagram of the automatic telephone care system. A time 21 preferably having a 24 hour period, is set by timer dial 13 (FIG. 1) to provide a signal on line 23 at the predetermined times depending on the location of the cams 22. Any number of cams may be positioned around the 24 hour dial. For example, if 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. were set on dial 13, a pulse on line 23 would occur only at those times when switch 24 is closed by a cam 22. Line 23 is connected to the set input of a flip-flop 25 through switch 7 when it is closed. When switch 7 is open, the flip-flop 25 cannot be set and no alarm is therefore possible. Thus, switch 7 may be opened to place the unit in its "off" condition to prevent it from automatically functioning to falsely transmit a distress message when, for example, a person is away from his home or for some other reason wishes to inactivate the device. Timer 21 continues to operate when the switch 7 is open. A pulse is provided on line 26 a predetermined time after the pulse on line 23, for example, 15 minutes later by closure of switch 28 by cam 22. The timing between pulses may be changed by varying the distance between switch 24 and 28. Line 26 is connected to one input of an AND gate 29. The other input of AND gate 29 is connected to the output flip-flop 25. Reset button 15 is connected to the reset input of flip-flop 25. Thus when flip-flop 25 has been set by a signal on line 23 a high input is applied to AND gate 29 from flip-flop 25. A pulse is provided on line 26 at the end of the predetermined time period. If flip-flop 25 is not reset by then, AND gate 29 then has two high inputs and it provides a high output to set flip-flop 31. Flip-flop 31 is therefore set only if the predetermined time elapses following a time set on dial 13 without the reset button 15 being closed.

A high output from flip-flop 25 resulting from a pulse on line 23 also initiates a "low" alarm condition. The flip-flop 25 output is connected to a multivibrator 34 over line 35. A signal on line 35 causes the multivibrator to oscillate to intermittently activate an alarm 33. The alarm 33 may be aural, visual, or some other means perceptible by the human senses or any combination of such means.

When flip-flop 31 is set, a high signal on line 37 is applied to alarm 33 to cause a continuous alarm condition. This state continues until the device is reset by reset switch 15 that resets flip-flop 31 along with flip-flop 25. A high output from flip-flop 31, indicating that no one has responded to the low alarm during the predetermined time period, applies a high input to input 71 of OR gate 73 and also controls unit 77 over line 75 to apply B+ power to a tone sensing unit 49. As will be explained hereinafter these actions start the automatic dialing and message features of the invention into operation.

A conventional tape deck (not shown) having an endless loop magnetic tape is activated by relay 41 that may close the tape deck motor power switch for example, or in some other manner activate the tape movement. Relay 41 includes a coil 79 and relay contacts 81 that are closed when the relay is energized by power unit 83. When the output of OR gate 73 is high the relay is energized. The output is high when the output of flip-flop 31 is high, indicating a high alarm condition. Tape foil sense unit 59, senses the end of the tape loop and provides a low output when the strip is sensed and a high output when no strip is sensed. Thus the relay is de-energized only when the foil is sensed during a non-high alarm condition.

The tape 61 carries two tracks: a lower track 85 having dialing information in the form of 1,000 Hz tones, and an upper track 87 having the prerecorded voice message. A typical tape format is described in greater detail hereinafter. A reproducing head 45 is aligned with the lower track to pick up the 1,000 Hz dial pulse tones. The head 45 signal is applied to a preamplifier 47 and a conventional tone sensing circuit 49 that controls a relay 51 having a coil 89 and relay contacts 91 to close relay 51 in the absence of a tone and to open relay 51 when a 1,000 Hz tone is sensed. Relay 51 contacts 91 are connected across the telephone line. When B+ power is applied to tone sending unit 49 by unit 77, the relay 51 initially closes thereby seizing the line (the "off-hook" condition). As the tape begins to move the 1,000 Hz tones on the tape cause "on-hook" conditions across the telephone line to simulate ordinary dialing.

A message pickup head 53 is aligned with the upper tape track to pickup the prerecorded message thereon. The head 53 signal is applied to a preamplifier 55 and to an amplifier and impedance matcher 57 for connection to the telephone line through an audio transformer 93. The signal amplitude and line impedance out of unit 57 is selected to match the requirements of the telephone line or coupling unit inserted before the telephone line if one is required by local telephone tariff regulations.

Metallic foil or some other means such as a tone on the tape is used to indicate the end of a message cycle on the endless loop tape. A foil sense unit 59 detects the foil and opens relay 41 to stop the tape deck motor when alarm 33 is not in the high alarm condition. If the alarm is still on, the tape continues to run.

Reset 15 is operable at any time to terminate the transmission of a message. By closing reset switch 15, flip-flop 31 is reset removing the B+ from tone sensing unit 49 and opens relay 41 to stop the tape motion when the tape foil is reached.

FIG. 3 illustrates one possible tape format for use with the apparatus of the type described in FIG. 2. The information on the tape can be recorded by conventional means using apparatus forming no part of this invention. A length of magnetic recording tape 61 is formed or spliced into a closed or endless loop. A strip of metallic foil 63 provides a detectable indication of the tape end and beginning. The tape shown in FIG. 3 is programmed for delivering three messages to two different telephone numbers: the upper track 87 carrying three prerecorded voice messages 67, 69, and 71, which may be identical to assure understanding by the answering party. The lower track 85 carries a 5 second period of no signal 75 to cause the "off-hook" condition required to seize the telephone line followed by 1,000 Hz tones 77 arranged in the dialing pulse pattern required to call a first predetermined number. Following dial pulses 77 is a period of no signal 79 to cause the "off-hook" condition so that the voice message may be transmitted. A 5 second tone 81 then causes an "on-hook" condition to hang-up or break the connection with the first number. A second "off-hook" condition 75 then occurs to re-seize the line followed by 1,000 Hz pulses 77 to dial a second telephone number. A no signal condition 79 keeps the telephone "off-hook" for the transmission of the messages to the second telephone called. A 5 second period of tone 81 causes an on-hook condition to break the connection after the second sequence of message.

It will be noted that a portion of message 67 will be interrupted by dialing pulses 77. This is not considered important if message 67, 69 and 71 are identical. Moreover, since no means is provided to detect when the dialed telephone is answered, the answering party may likely begin to hear message 67, 69 and 71 at almost any time. While this may result in some confusion, if messages 67, 69 and 71 are identical it is likely that the message will be understood and significant cost is eliminated by omitting a feature that detects when the called telephone is answered. It may also be noted that no provision is made for detecting a busy line or a failure to ring the dialed number. Since the unit will continue to dial one or more numbers, repetitively in an endless cycle as pre-programmed, it is likely that the message will be eventually received.

While the invention has been described with respect to one preferred embodiment, many modifications within the spirit of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. The invention is therefore to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.