Title:
Device for inhibiting the functioning of receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus of the portable type
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for inhibiting the functioning of electronic receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus, of the portable type and functioning with electromagnetic waves, comprises a container suitable for containing said electronic apparatus. The container comprises at least one sheet or layer of material having good electrical conductivity properties, arranged so as to surround totally said electronic apparatus to act as a shield against the propagation of electromagnetic waves to/from the antenna of the electronic apparatus, inhibiting functioning thereof.



Inventors:
Diaferia, Nicola (Corato, IT)
Application Number:
10/246738
Publication Date:
03/27/2003
Filing Date:
09/19/2002
Assignee:
Itel Telecomunicazioni Srl (Ruvo Di Puglia, IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/320
International Classes:
A45C11/00; B65D75/20; B65D81/30; B65D85/38; H05K9/00; A45C7/00; B65D85/68; B65D85/86; (IPC1-7): B65D85/86
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LUONG, SHIAN TINH NHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A device for inhibiting the functioning of electronic receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus, of the portable type and operating with electromagnetic waves, said inhibitor device comprising a container suitable for containing said electronic apparatus, characterised in that said container comprises at least one sheet or layer of material having good electrical conductivity properties, arranged so as to surround at least partly said electronic apparatus so as to act as a shield against the propagation of electromagnetic waves to/from the antenna of said electronic apparatus, inhibiting functioning thereof.

2. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said material having good electrical conductivity properties is a metal material.

3. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said material having good electrical conductivity properties is a conductive fabric or conductive polymer.

4. A device according to claim 2, characterised in that said metal material is a flexible aluminium sheet.

5. A device according to claim 4, characterised in that said aluminium sheet has a thickness of less than 1 mm.

6. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said sheet of material having good electrical conductivity properties is covered with another material such as fabric, paper, plastic and the like.

7. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said container suitable for containing said electronic apparatus is obtained from a sheet by successive folding operations in order to pack in its interior said electronic apparatus.

8. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said container has the shape of a tubular bag comprising an aperture for insertion of said electronic apparatus.

9. A device according to claim 7, characterised in that said container is closed hermetically by the overlapping and attaching of end flaps on the body of said container.

10. A device according to claim 9, further comprising fixing means for fixing said end flaps and ensuring good electrical conductivity properties.

11. A device according to claim 10, characterised in that said fixing means comprises an adhesive layer or a heat-sealable layer.

12. A device according to claim 10, characterised in that said fixing means comprises welds, seams or joints.

13. A device according to claims 1, characterised in that said container has a box shape comprising a base body and a cover which can be coupled to the base body.

14. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that said container is of such a size as to contain objects such as bags, cases, packages and the like.

15. A device according to claim 2, characterised in that said sheet of material having good electrical conductivity properties is covered with another material such as fabric, paper, plastic and the like.

16. A device according to claim 8, characterised in that said container is closed hermetically by the overlapping and attaching of end flaps on the body of said container.

17. A device according to claim 16, further comprising fixing means for fixing said end flaps and ensuring good electrical conductivity properties.

18. A device according to claim 17, characterised in that said fixing means comprises an adhesive layer or a heat-sealable layer.

19. A device according to claim 2, characterised in that said container suitable for containing said electronic apparatus is obtained from a sheet by successive folding operations in order to pack in its interior said electronic apparatus.

20. A device according to claim 2, characterised in that said container has the shape of a tubular bag comprising an aperture for insertion of said electronic apparatus.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates in general to a device for inhibiting the functioning of receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus of the portable type, such as for example cellular phones, radio equipment, modems and other types of wireless telecommunication equipment.

[0002] The present invention can be applied in particular in the field of security for inhibiting the functioning of portable apparatus, functioning with electromagnetic waves at radio frequency (RF), which can trigger explosive devices and the like and is apt to cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) with other apparatus.

[0003] In terrorist attacks, receiver-transmitter equipment, such as for example cellular phones, is often used in place of the timer for triggering explosive devices. Indeed it is sufficient to connect the explosive device to receiver apparatus which can be controlled at any moment by transmitter apparatus. When the transmitter apparatus sends a command signal to the receiver apparatus the latter activates the device, triggering the explosion.

[0004] In this case the use of a cellular phone as receiver apparatus is advantageous as it can be activated at any time and from any part of the world.

[0005] Moreover, on board civilian aircraft, above all during the phases of take-off and landing, the use of apparatus emitting electromagnetic waves, such as cellular phones, is forbidden in that these electromagnetic waves can interfere with the functioning of flight instruments.

[0006] Another reason which justifies the ban on the use of cellular phones on board aircraft is dictated by the need to avoid interference with several land base radio stations, when the airplane is in the air. In this case, one same mobile cellular phone can communicate with several land base radio stations with disastrous consequences for the logic units of the system and consequent break in communication.

[0007] From what has been stated it is clear that there is the need to provide such a device which is capable of inhibiting functioning of portable receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus in places wherein this portable apparatus can interfere with other electronic equipment and/or in places with the risk of attacks wherein the level of security has to be increased.

[0008] The object of the present invention is to provide such a device for inhibiting the functioning of portable receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus which is practical, versatile, compact, economical and easy to manufacture.

[0009] This object is achieved in accordance with the invention with the features listed in appended independent claim 1.

[0010] Advantageous embodiments of the invention are disclosed by the dependent claims.

[0011] The device for inhibiting functioning of electronic receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus, of the portable type and functioning with electromagnetic waves, according to the invention comprises a container suitable for containing said electronic apparatus. The special characteristic of the invention is represented by the fact that said container comprises at least one sheet or layer of material having good electrical conductivity properties. This sheet of conductive material is arranged in such a way as to surround totally said electronic apparatus so as to act as a shield against propagation of the electromagnetic waves to/from the antenna of said electronic apparatus, inhibiting functioning thereof.

[0012] The advantages of the inhibitor device according to the invention appear clear. In fact this device can be used in all those areas where functioning of electronic radio frequency apparatus has to be inhibited, both for security reasons against possible attacks and because this electronic apparatus interferes with the proper working of other equipment.

[0013] The inhibitor device according to the invention can be provided in various shapes and sizes so as to be applied directly on portable electronic apparatus, or so as to be applied on containers such as bags, cases, packages or the like which could contain this portable electronic apparatus functioning with electromagnetic waves at radio frequency.

[0014] Further features of the invention will be made clearer from the detailed description that follows, referring to purely exemplary and therefore non-limiting embodiments thereof, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a first embodiment of the device for inhibiting functioning of portable receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter devices, according to the invention, wherein the device has a planar configuration and is shown in an open condition;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating the device of FIG. 1 in an initial phase of closure and in use with portable apparatus, such as a cellular phone;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating the device of FIG. 2 in a final phase of closure;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating a second embodiment wherein a device according to the invention is shown having a tubular shape, in use with portable apparatus, such as a cellular phone;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating a third embodiment wherein the device according to the invention is shown having a box shape and in use with portable apparatus, such as a cellular phone.

[0020] With the aid of the drawings the device for inhibiting functioning of portable receiver, transmitter and/or receiver-transmitter apparatus, according to the invention, is described. For the time being, referring in particular to FIGS. 1-3, a first embodiment of the invention is described wherein an inhibitor device is shown, denoted overall by reference numeral 1.

[0021] The device 1 has to comprise a material suitable for acting as a screen or shield for the typical electromagnetic waves at radio frequencies for controlling the functioning of various types of portable wireless apparatus, such as for example cellular phones, radio receiver-transmitters, modems and the like. The material selected must have good electrical conductivity properties so as to shield the electromagnetic field so as to act as a shield for the electromagnetic waves at radio frequency. Moreover this material must have good electrical conductivity properties so as to be able to generate a Faraday cage type structure.

[0022] From among the materials with these features a conductive metal material has preferably been selected. For reasons of bulk and costs, use was made preferably of a metal material which can be reduced to thin sheets, such as for example aluminium and in particular the sheets of aluminium which are used for example for packing food.

[0023] However in place of the metal material any other electrically conductive material can be used, such as for example conductive fabric or conductive polymer.

[0024] The thickness of the metal sheet has been studied in accordance with the wavelength and power of the electromagnetic waves used by the portable electronic apparatus and in accordance with the laws of optics which govern the reflection of the electromagnetic waves. Following simulations and experimental tests the Applicant has found that a metal sheet with a thickness of less than 1 mm and in particular approximately 10 μm (microns) in thickness was sufficient to act as a screen and inhibit the functioning of portable electronic apparatus at radio frequency.

[0025] The fundamental condition for the success of the experiment is represented by the fact that the metal sheet completely surrounds the electronic apparatus at radio frequency without producing openings and limiting the gaps through which electromagnetic waves at radio frequency can penetrate.

[0026] The metal sheet used in the inhibitor device 1 has a sufficiently small thickness to be bent according to needs and can be covered with any other material with a stiffening function such as, for example, fabric, paper, plastic, plastic film and the like.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 1 the sheet material comprising the metal film is cut or punched into a substantially rectangular shape comprising a lower wall 2 connected by means of a folding line 4 to an upper wall 3 which can be superimposed on the lower wall 2. The lower wall 2 at its lateral ends is connected via two longitudinal folding lines 6, 6′ to respective side flaps 5, 5′. The upper wall 3 at its upper end is connected via a transverse folding line 8 to an upper end flap 7. Strips of adhesive material 9 are placed in the side flaps 5, 5′ and in the upper end flap 7.

[0028] Herein below, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the functioning of the inhibitor device according to the innovation is described. The portable electronic apparatus operating at radio frequencies, such as a cellular phone, denoted by reference numeral 10, is placed on the lower wall 2 of the inhibitor device 1. The upper wall 3 is then bent along the line of bending 4 so as to superimpose it on the lower wall 2. In this way the electronic apparatus 10 is enclosed as a sandwich between the lower wall 2 and the upper wall 3.

[0029] Subsequently, as shown in FIG. 3, the side flaps 5, 5′ are folded along the respective folding lines 6, 6′ so that the adhesive layers 9 of the side flaps 5, 5′ adhere on the upper surface of the upper wall 3. Then the end flap 7 is folded along its folding line 8 so that the adhesive layer 9 of the end flap 7 adheres on the lower surface of the lower wall 2. In this way the electronic apparatus 10 is hermetically closed between the casing formed by the inhibitor device 1, and consequently the electromagnetic waves at radio frequency cannot be picked up by the antenna of the electronic apparatus 10.

[0030] The adhesive material 9 is preferably placed in direct contact with the metal sheet and must have good properties of electrical conductivity so as not to create gaps in the screen formed by the casing of the inhibitor device 1. The adhesive material 9 can be a dry glue, a glue which can be activated by heat, a glue which can be activated by water, a glue with high conductivity or a heat-sealable plastic material.

[0031] In place of the adhesive layer 9 other means of fixing can be provided. For example the side flaps 5, 5′ and the end flap 7 can be fixed to the upper 3 and lower 2 walls by means of a seam, joint, attachment means such as clips and the like.

[0032] Despite the fact that in the drawings an embodiment applied to a cellular phone has been shown, the inhibitor device 1 can have any shape whatsoever in order to incorporate more voluminous objects, such as for example bags, cases, packages or other objects which can be assigned for delivery to postal carriers or to luggage depots.

[0033] FIG. 4 shows a second embodiment of the invention wherein the inhibitor device 100 has the shape of a tubular bag 101 having an insertion aperture 102 communicating with a hermetically closed internal chamber. From the insertion aperture 102 portable electronic apparatus 10, functioning at radio frequencies, can be inserted. The insertion aperture 102 can be closed by means of a closure flap 103 connected to the bag 101 via a line of bending 104. On the closure flap 103 a layer of adhesive material 109 is provided to make it adhere to the body 101 so as to close the aperture 102 hermetically. In place of the adhesive layer 109 other means of closure can be provided as described previously with reference to the first embodiment.

[0034] The inhibitor device 100 according to the second embodiment of the innovation clearly provides a body comprising a film of metal material which acts as a screen against the propagation of electromagnetic waves.

[0035] FIG. 5 shows a third embodiment of the innovation wherein the inhibitor device 200 has the form of a box 201 formed by a base container 202 defining a chamber 203 suitable for holding portable electronic apparatus 10 and a cover 204 which can be engaged on the base container in order to close the electronic apparatus 10 hermetically inside the box 201. The cover 204 can be connected to the base container 202 by means of hinge means 205 or can be a separate element which can be coupled to the base container.

[0036] The box 201 can be made of any rigid or semi-rigid material comprising a sheet or layer of metal. The metal sheet can be covered with another material and preferably the perimeter edges 206 of the cover 204 and the perimeter edges 207 of the base container 202 are left uncovered. In this way when the cover 204 couples with the base container 202 the respective perimeter edges 206 and 207 come into contact, ensuring electrical continuity of the metal sheet which has to act as a screen against the electromagnetic waves.

[0037] A number of variations and detailed modifications can be made to the present embodiments of the invention, within the reach of a skilled in the art, which nevertheless come within the scope of the invention expressed by the annexed claims.