Title:
Audio label
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to radio-engineering. The invention increases the operational reliability and user convenience of the inventive label. In the first embodiment, the inventive audio label comprises a message reproducing block provided with a loud speaker and a switch. Said label is also provided with the second switch operative to lock upon an external activation. One end of the cord for attaching to an object is connected to the first switch, thereby allowing the first switch to lock, when the cord is drawn. In the second embodiment, the audio label comprises second and third switches and a control block.



Inventors:
Dudkin, Valery Valentinovitch (Moscow, RU)
Application Number:
10/297856
Publication Date:
07/03/2003
Filing Date:
12/10/2002
Assignee:
DUDKIN VALERY VALENTINOVITCH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E05B45/00; G09F25/00; (IPC1-7): F01N1/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, CON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
V Dudkin (Bronx, NY, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A sound-reproducing label comprising a housing equipped with a cord for attaching to an object and displaced in said housing a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a first switch, a power supply, connected to said message reproducing block through said first switch, and a second switch, coupled to control input of said message reproducing block to start its work, wherein said first switch is made with a forced return into an unlocked position when there is no external activation of said switch and at least one of the ends of said cord is connected to said first switch so that the stretching of said cord locks said first switch and wherein said second switch is operative to be locked by an external activation.

2. The sound-reproducing label of claim 1, further equipped by a capacitor attached between the supply inputs of said message reproducing block.

3. The sound-reproducing label of claim 1, wherein said cord for attaching to an object is made out of an elastic material and has a length providing the fastening of said sound-reproducing label to an object with said cord being stretched.

4. The sound-reproducing label of claim 1, wherein the first end of said cord is fastened to said housing, and its second end is fastened to said first switch and has a limiter of said cord extraction out of said housing.

5. The sound-reproducing label of claim 1, wherein both ends of said cord are located on one of the housing sides so that said sound-reproducing label can be hung on said object.

6. A sound-reproducing label comprising a housing equipped with a cord for attaching to an object and displaced in said housing a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a first, second and third switches, a control block, a power supply, connected to said message reproducing block and said control block through said first switch and said second switch which are serially connected, wherein said first switch is made with a forced return into an unlocked position when there is no external activation of said first switch and at least one of the ends of said cord is connected to said first switch so that the stretching of said cord locks said first switch, said second switch is operative to be locked by an external activation, said third switch is attached in parallel to said second switch and its control input being connected to the output of said control block.

7. The sound-reproducing label of claim 6, wherein said control block comprises serially connected a delay element, a threshold element, and a monostable multivibrator, an output of which is an output of said control block.

8. The sound-reproducing label of claim 6, further equipped with a capacitor attached between the point of connection of said first and second switches an said power supply output not connected to said first switch.

Description:

THE FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to radio-electronics, and more particularly to audio-alarm and audio-advertisement devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] U.S. Pat. No. 5,903,869 to Jacobson, 1999, discloses an audio-reproducing label comprising a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a power supply, a first and second switches displaced in its housing.

[0003] The device according to Jacobson can be fastened to an object with the help of adhesive stickers or a suction cup. The first switch serves to turn the power on. The second switch is for turning on the playback of the message recorded in the message reproducing block. The message comprises information about the object it is fastened to.

[0004] The limitation of the above device is the lack of an automatic power switch-off, when the label is removed from the object, as to switch the power off the first switch has to be manually unlocked by the user. To avoid an accidental switch-on during the transportation or positioning on the object, the first switch is covered by a protective jacket, which is not very convenient. Once the protective jacket is taken off it can get lost. Besides, the user can forget to switch the power off and the batteries of the power supply can discharge.

[0005] The most close to the present invention device is an audible tag as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,778,574, to Reuben, 1998. The device according to Reuben comprises a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a power supply, and a first switch displaced in the housing equipped with a cord for attaching to an object. The first bus of the power supply is connected to the first supply input of the message reproducing block. The second bus of the power supply is connected to the second supply input of the message reproducing block via the first switch that gets forced return in the unlocked position when there is no external activation.

[0006] The housing of the above device is made in a form of a small book hung on an object, for example to a product in a store. When the book is opened, the first switch is unlocked and the power is supplied to the message reproducing block, which plays back an audible message related to the product. When the book is closed, the playback is terminated.

[0007] However, this device also has its limitations. The message can be played back even when the tag is not attached to an object, if the book is accidentally opened. This can result in the battery discharge during the transportation of the tag or when a big party of objects with the tags according to Reuben is being prepared for sales or demonstration. Besides, messages are played back only when the book is open. It is necessary to put some effort in keeping the book open. If the user lets the book go, under the influence of the spring displaced in the first switch, this switch unlocks and the device stops reproducing the message. This creates inconveniences in using the merchandising tag according to Reuben.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an object of the present invention to provide a sound-reproducing label providing a higher level of reliability and convenience in use.

[0009] This object is achieved by providing a sound-reproducing label comprising a housing equipped with a cord for attaching to an object and displaced in said housing a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a first switch, a power supply, connected to said message reproducing block through the first switch, and a second switch, coupled to control input of the message reproducing block to start its work. The first switch is made with a forced return into an unlocked position, when there is no external activation of said switch. At least one of the ends of the cord is connected to the first switch so that the stretching of the cord locks the first switch, and wherein the second switch is operative to be locked by an external activation.

[0010] Further, the sound-reproducing label is equipped with a capacitor attached between the supply inputs of the message reproducing block.

[0011] Further, the cord for attaching to an object in the sound-reproducing label is made out of an elastic material and has a length providing the fastening of the sound-reproducing label to an object with the cord being stretched.

[0012] Further, the first end of the cord in the sound-reproducing label is fastened to said housing, and its second end is fastened to the first switch and has a limiter of the cord extraction out of the housing.

[0013] Further, both ends of the cord are located on one of the housing sides so that the sound-reproducing label can be hung on the object.

[0014] In the second embodiment of the present invention, the sound-reproducing label comprises a housing equipped with a cord for attaching to an object and displaced in the housing a message reproducing block with a loudspeaker, a first, second and third switches, a control block, a power supply, connected to the message reproducing block and the control block via the first switch and the second switch, which are serially connected. The first switch is made with a forced return into an unlocked position, when there is no external activation of the first switch and at least one of the ends of said cord is connected to the first switch so that the stretching of the cord locks the first switch. The second switch is operative to be locked by an external activation. The third switch is attached in parallel to the second switch and its control input is connected to the output of the control block.

[0015] Further, the sound-reproducing label control block comprises serially connected a delay element, a threshold element, and a monostable multivibrator, an output of which is an output of the control block.

[0016] Further, the sound-reproducing label is equipped with a capacitor attached between the point of connection of the first and second switches an the power supply output not connected to said first switch.

[0017] The sound-reproducing label according to both embodiments of the present invention can reproduce audio messages only in the working mode, that is only being attached, for example hung to an object. Besides, the message is played back after the user activation of the sound-reproducing label and is reproduced till the end without any further user actions. In one of the embodiments of the present invention, after the message is reproduced, the circuit is automatically unlocked. This prevents the power supply battery discharge. Both embodiments of the present invention have an option to interrupt the message reproduction. For this purpose it is enough to take the label off the object it has been attached to.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] Further the invention will be illustrated by the accompanying drawings.

[0019] FIG. 1 shows a construction of a sound-reproducing label according to the first embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 shows an electric structural circuit of the sound-reproducing label according to the first embodiment of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 3 shows another example of the construction for the device according to the first embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 4 shows a construction of the sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 5 shows an electric structural circuit of the sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 6 shows an example of implementing a control block for the second embodiment of the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 7 shows an example of implementing of a first switch for both embodiments of the invention.

THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0026] The sound-reproducing label according to the first embodiment of the present invention (FIG. 1 and FIG. 2) has housing 1 comprising message reproducing block 2 connected to loudspeaker 3, power supply 4, first switch 5, cord 6 for attaching to an object, second switch 7. Housing 1 is shown with a partially deleted front panel.

[0027] The first power supply 4 bus is connected to the first supply input of message reproducing block 2. The second power supply 4 bus is connected to the second supply input of message reproducing block 2 via first switch 5. Second switch 7 is attached between the second supply input of message reproducing block 2 and its control input for starting its work.

[0028] First switch 5 is made with a forced return into the unlocked position when there is no external activation of this switch. At least on of the ends of cord 6 for attaching to an object is connected to the first switch 5 so that first switch 5 is locked when cord 6 for attaching to an object is strained. The implementation of first switch 5 in FIG. 1 is shown in a simplified form Second switch 7 is locked when it is externally actuated.

[0029] Besides, the sound-reproducing label according to the first embodiment of the present invention can comprise capacitor 8 attached between the first power supply 4 bus and the second supply input of message reproducing block 2.

[0030] Cord 6 for attaching to an object can be made out of an elastic material, for example out of rubber, and has a length providing fastening of the device to an object so that cord 6 is stretched. The first end of cord 6 can be attached to housing 1, and the second end of cord 6 is connected to first switch 5 and has a limiter of the cord stretch out of the housing.

[0031] In another example of implementing the sound-reproducing label according to the first embodiment of the present invention (FIG. 3), both ends of cord 6 for attaching to an object are located on one of the housing 1 sides. This provides the possibility to hang the device on an object.

[0032] The sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention (FIG. 4 and FIG. 3) has housing 1 comprising message reproducing block 2 connected to loudspeaker 3, power supply 4, first switch 5, cord 6 for attaching to objects, second switch 7, third switch 10, and control block 11. Third switch 10 and control block 11 are shown as constructively adjoined in FIG. 4. Housing 1 is shown with a partially deleted front panel.

[0033] The first power supply 4 bus is connected to the first supply input of message reproducing block 2. The second power supply 4 bus is connected to the first output of first switch 5. The first supply input of control block 11 is connected to the first power supply 4 bus. The first outputs of second switch 7 and third switch 10 are connected to the second outputs of first switch 5, and their second outputs are connected to the second supply inputs of message reproducing block 2 and control block 11, the output of which is connected the control input of third switch 10.

[0034] First switch 5 is implemented with a forced return in the unlocked position when there is no external activation of said switch. At least one of the ends of cord 6 for attaching to objects is connected to first switch 5 so that first switch 5 is locked when cord 6 is strained. Second switch 7 is locked when it is externally actuated.

[0035] Besides, the sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention can comprise capacitor 8 attached between the first power supply 4 bus and the second output of first switch 5.

[0036] As it is shown in the example of the device implementation in FIG. 4, the first end of cord 6 is attached to housing 1, and the second end of cord 6 is input inside housing 1, connected to first switch 5 and has limiter 9 of cord extraction out of the housing. Cord 6 and the construction of the sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention can be the same as in the first embodiment.

[0037] Besides, control block 11 in the sound-reproducing label according to the second embodiment of the present invention (FIG. 6) can comprise serially connected delay element 12, threshold element 13, and monostable multivibrator 14, the output of which is the output of control block 11. The first supply inputs of delay element 12, threshold element 13, and monostable multivibrator 14 are connected to the first supply inputs of control block 11, the second supply input of which is connected to the second supply inputs of delay element 12, threshold element 13 and monostable multivibrator 14.

[0038] First switch 5 in both embodiments of the present invention (FIG. 7) can comprise housing 15 of the first switch, wherein the following elements are located: switch 16, mobile bar 17 connected to first switch housing 15 by spring 18, first and second bars 19, 20, the first ends of which are fastened to mobile bar 17, and second ends are brought into first switch housing 15 through apertures and are connected by cross beam 21. The end of cord 6 for attaching to objects is connected to cross beam 21. First switch housing 15 is shown with partially deleted panels. The construction without first switch housing 15 is also possible. Switch 16 can be implemented as a standard micro-switch, for example a key switch 7906 H, by Bourns Inc., normally unlocked contacts of which are first and second outputs of first switch 5 and are connected to other elements of the device circuit via apertures in first switch housing 15.

[0039] Housing 1 in both embodiment of the present invention can have various sizes and forms. Outwardly, it may look like a locket, a miniature book, a toy, etc.

[0040] Message reproducing block 2 in both embodiments of the present invention can be based on a customized integrated circuit (IC) of sound synthesis, for example W52910, W52915, W52920 by Winbond Electronics Corp., Taiwan. Such integrated circuits comprise means for reproducing prerecorded therein audible messages with total length of 40, 60 and 80 seconds accordingly. The first and second supply inputs of message reproducing block 2 are the positive and negative supply inputs of the integrated circuit. RESET input of the IC is the control input for starting its work of message reproducing block 2.

[0041] In the device according to the first embodiment of the present invention, the message reproduction begins after the impulse of the negative polarity is applied to the control input for starting its work of message reproducing block 2. In the device according to the second embodiment of the present invention the RESET input is connected via the capacitor to the negative supply input and via the resistor—to the positive supply input of the IC. In both embodiments of the present invention the audio-reproduction terminates if the power is switched off or after the recorded message is reproduced till the end.

[0042] Besides of the above ICs, message reproducing block 2 comprises an amplifying transistor connected according to the technical data sheet of the above IC.

[0043] Other variants of message reproducing block are also possible. For example, it can comprise a microprocessor and ROM, wherein sound messages and a program run by the microprocessor are recorded.

[0044] Loudspeaker 3 is a miniature speaker. If one of the above-mentioned ICs is used, the active resistance of such a speaker should be 8 Ohm. Power supply 4 comprises from two to four miniature batteries.

[0045] Second switch 7 in devices according to both embodiments of the present invention can be implemented as a miniature key-button. Second switch 7 contacts are locked when the user presses the key-button, and unlocked, when the user releases the button. Other variants for second switch 7 are possible. For example, it can be a motion or acceleration sensor, which locks if the user begins to move the object with the sound-reproducing label attached to it. Also, second switch 7 can comprise a photo-transistor or a photo-diode. In this case, second switch 7 is locked if the sound-reproducing label appears in the electromagnetic radiation zone of visible or close infra-red range of wave lengths of sufficient intensity. It is also possible to use for the purpose of second switch 7 know devices responding to loud sounds, devices wherein the circuit is locked when a command is received via a radio-channel, etc.

[0046] Third switch 10 in the device according to the second embodiment of the present invention is an electronic switch locking when the voltage of a corresponding polarity is applied to its control input. For example, third switch 10 can be implemented as a field-effect transistor.

[0047] Delay element 12 in control block 11 of the device according to the second embodiment of the present invention can be implemented in a form of an RC-integrator. Threshold element 13 and monostable multivibrator 14 can be implemented along the well-known in the art schemes on discrete elements, as well as on ICs.

[0048] Other variants of control block 11 are possible. For example, it can comprise a microprocessor, which according to the program recorded therein unlocks third switch 10 after a predetermined interval of time. Message reproducing block 2 and control block 11 can be integrated on one microprocessor. Control block 11 can comprise some sensor, for example a key button. In this case, the circuit can be unlocked not after a predetermined period of time, but after the external activation of said sensor.

Operation of the Device

[0049] When the sound-reproducing label is in non-working mode, that is it is not attached to the object, cord 6 is not strained and switch 5 is unlocked. In this mode, the power from power supply 4 is not supplied to message reproducing block 2 and sound reproduction is not possible. The spontaneous activation of the sound reproduction in the result of an accidental locking of second switch 7 and batteries discharge in power supply 4 are excluded. If first switch 5 is implemented as shown in FIG. 7, the circuit is unlocked, as mobile bar 17 under the influence of spring 18 moves away from switch 16, the unlocked mode of which is maintained by an elastic element therein.

[0050] Before its use, the sound-reproducing label according to the present invention is attached to an object, information about which it is supposed to reproduce. These objects can be boxes, cans, bottles, toys, books, home appliances, etc. The sound message has to be prerecorded in message reproducing block 2. Messages are recorded during the device production according to technical data sheets of ICs employed. Messages can contain data about an object, music, advertising or entertaining content.

[0051] In case with the construction as shown in FIG. 1, cord 6 made of an elastic material is put on an object. It makes cord 6 stretch. Due to the strain of cord 6 first switch 5 is locked and the power from power supply 4 is supplied to message reproducing block 2 providing its possibility to function. Limiter 9 prevents exceeding impact of cord 6 on first switch 5, thus preventing the breaking of first switch 5 in the result of non-careful treatment.

[0052] If first switch 5 is implemented as shown in FIG. 7, the effort created by strained cord 6 is applied to cross beam 21, which moves along with bars 19 and 20 and mobile bar 17. As a result, mobile bar 17 presses on switch 16 button and gets into a locked mode.

[0053] To initiate the message reproduction, the user activates second switch 7, for example by pressing a key button. Second switch is locked and the power is supplied to the control input for starting its work of message reproducing block 2, which begins the message playback. Further, the user can terminate his/her activation of second switch 7, which then will unlock, but the message will be played back till the end.

[0054] To interrupt the message playback, the sound-reproducing label has to be taken off the object. In this case, the strain of cord 6 disappears, and first switch 5 unlocks, unlocking the supply circuit for message reproducing block 2.

[0055] If the construction of the device according to the present invention is as shown in FIG. 3, sound-reproducing label is hung on the object. In this case cord 6 is strained and consequently first switch is locked under the influence of gravity on the sound-reproducing label. The values of device weight and spring elasticity in first switch 5 provide the locking of first switch 5, when the label is hung on the object, and the unlocking of first switch 5, when the label is taken off the object.

[0056] Capacitor 8 provides the higher device reliability. After the sound-reproducing label is attached to the object and first switch 5 is locked, capacitor 8 gets charged to the voltage of power supply 4. When the user presses the key button of second switch 7, sound-reproducing label can be displaced under the influence of the effort applied by the user. As a result, the strain of cord 6 can disappear for a short time and first switch 5 will be unlocked and the power supply to message reproducing block 2 interrupted. During this short-term unlock of first switch 5, the power is supplied to block 2 by capacitor 8. Due to this, the message is reproduced even in the described unfavourable case. When the user releases the key button of second switch 7, the strain of cord 6 is retained, first switch gets locked and the further message reproduction proceeds in the normal conditions. The described situation can easily happen in the construction of the device shown in FIG. 3.

[0057] Locking and unlocking of first switch 5 in the device according to the second embodiment of the present invention proceed as in the device according to the first embodiment of the present invention. When the sound-reproducing label is attached to the object or hung on it, to initiate the message reproduction the user activates second switch 7, for example presses the key button. Then the power from power supply 4 is supplied to message reproducing block 2, that plays back the message.

[0058] At the same time, the power is supplied to control block 1, wherein it is supplied to delay element 12, threshold element 13, and monostable multivibrator 14. At the first moment after the power is supplied to the outputs of delay element 12 and threshold element 13 the voltage is equal to zero. Then the voltage at the output of delay element 12 is gradually increasing.

[0059] When the voltage achieves the level of threshold element 13 activation, the voltage fluctuation from zero to unit level is formed on the output of threshold element 13, monostable multivibrator activates and forms an impulse of a set length at the control block 11 output.

[0060] Third switch 10 under the influence of the voltage at the control block 11 output gets locked providing power supply to message reproducing block 2 and to control block 11 after second switch 7 is unlocked. After a set interval of time the voltage at the monostable multivibrator 14 output returns to the zero level and third switch 10 is unlocked. Power supply 4 is disconnected from message reproducing block 2 and control block 11. This excludes the batteries discharge in power supply 4. The interruption of the message playback is achieved as in the device according to the first embodiment of the present invention, by taking the label from the object and consequently by the disappearing strain of cord 6.

[0061] The delay in activating of monostable multivibrator 14 created by delay element 12 provides the termination of transition processes in monostable multivibrator 14 circuit after the power is supplied to it, which ensures its reliability. The length of the above-mentioned delay should be less than the length of the shortest user activation of second switch 7. This is not difficult to provide in the majority of cases. The length of the impulse formed by monostable multivibrator 14 should be more than the full length of a sound message reproduced by message reproducing block 2.

[0062] The functions of capacitor 8 are the same as in the device according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

[0063] As it is clear from the description of the two embodiments of the present invention, the invention provides the sound-reproducing label operative to reproduce audible messages only in the working mode, that is attached to the object, for example hung on it. Another advantage of the device according to the present invention is that the message is reproduced after the user activation of the sound-reproducing label and said message is played back till the end not requiring further user actions. Both embodiments of the present invention provide the possibility to interrupt the playback of the message by taking the label off the object it has been attached to.

Industrial Applicability

[0064] The devices according to the present invention can find a wide use in merchandising, where these label can provide a possibility to supply the customer with product related information in a form of easily comprehended audio messages. Such label can be used as an information supplement to medicine or perfume products. The label hung on the container can remind of some important features of the product use. Besides, the devices according to the present invention can be used for souvenir purposes. The sound-reproducing label attached for example to a bottle with a drink will reproduce voice messages or musical fragments entertaining the customer and promoting the commercial success of products along with which it is used.

[0065] Having described the preferred embodiments of the invention with the reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise embodiment, and that various changes and modifications may be effective therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.