Title:
Card reader apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus and method whereby a credit card sized high-memory card, composed of recordable storage media such as plastic or ceramic having a suitable recording medium inserted therein or placed thereon, can be inserted into an operative position adjacent to a rotating read/write head and the rotating head can be moved linearly relative to the high-memory card, while at the same time rotating, to permit the head to write data to or read data from the recording medium of the high-memory card. In the preferred embodiment, a high-memory card is fixed in position under a read/write head mounted in or on a holding assembly that can be rotated about its own axis. The read/write head assembly can then be moved incrementally, by stepper motor, voice coil actuator or other stepping device, in an arc, or linearly across the surface of the media, thus sweeping a recording path along the length of the high-memory card. One or more recording paths are swept parallel to each other along either axis of the high-memory card, or alternatively, recording paths are swept on both sides of a high-memory card by turning the card over or by placing read/write head assemblies on both sides of the high-memory card and providing the high-memory card with recording surfaces on both sides.



Inventors:
Rogers, Robert R. (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/371746
Publication Date:
07/10/2003
Filing Date:
02/21/2003
Assignee:
ROGERS ROBERT R.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/25.002, G9B/7.004
International Classes:
B61C17/00; G06K7/08; G06K7/14; G11B7/0033; G11B25/04; G11B5/008; G11B5/80; G11B7/085; (IPC1-7): G06K7/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FUREMAN, JARED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a housing having a card slot; a thin high density recording card approximately the size of a credit or business card; a driven rotatable platen having a recess in its surface approximately the length and width of said card and large enough to accept the card into said recess, said recess being located substantially symmetrical to the axis of rotation of said platen; card retainer apparatus; a movable read/write head located continuously proximate the surface of said card without crossing an interface between the recording surface of the card and the surface of the platen; head actuator apparatus coupled to drive said head incrementally across the surface of said card; a card slot in said housing; and platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal to position said recess in juxtaposition with said card slot.

2. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a housing having a card slot; a thin high density recording card approximately the size of a credit or business card; a driven rotatable platen having a recess in its surface approximately the length and width of said card and large enough to accept the card into said recess; card retainer apparatus; a movable read head located proximate the surface of said card; head actuator apparatus coupled to drive said head incrementally across the surface of said card; and a card slot in said housing; and platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal to position said recess in juxtaposition with said card slot.

3. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a thin high density recording card; a rotatable platen having a recess approximately the length and width of said card; card retainer apparatus; an incrementally movable read head located proximate the surface of said card; and platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal.

4. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, wherein said card is approximately the size of a credit or business card.

5. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, wherein said card retainer apparatus includes one or more projection ears about the surface of said recess.

6. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, including an actuator for incrementally moving said head through an arc across the surface of said card.

7. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, including an actuator for radially moving said head across the surface of said card.

8. The card reader apparatus of claim 4, including a pivotal actuator for moving said head across the surface of said card, the pivot axis of said actuator being located substantially aligned with the center axis of said platen.

9. The card reader apparatus of claim 4 including a pivotal actuator for moving said head in an arc across the surface of said card, the pivot axis of said actuator being located off-center from the center axis of said platen so that when at the mid-point of its movement, said arcuate path of said head is centered substantially midway over the radius of the recording area of said card.

10. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, wherein said platen locating apparatus includes an electro-mechanical actuator.

11. The card reader apparatus of claim 10, wherein said actuator includes a solenoid driving an actuator.

12. The card reader apparatus of claim 10, wherein said actuator is a movable projection engaging notch in the periphery of said platen.

13. The card reader apparatus of claim 11, wherein said actuator is a moveable projection engaging the underside of said platen.

14. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, wherein said card is located substantially symmetrical to the axis of rotation of said platen while data is stored or read from said card.

15. The card reader apparatus of claim 3, wherein said recess for said card is located off-center from the axis of rotation of said platen and said platen is counterbalanced to compensate for the off-center location of said recess and card.

16. A method for recording and/or reading on a recordable medium provided on a rectangular card similar in size to a credit card, comprising: placing said card on a rotatable platen substantially symmetrical to the axis of rotation of said platen and adjacent to a read and/or write head; rotating said platen and incrementally moving said head with respect to said card without crossing an interface between the recording surface of the card and the surface of the platen.

17. A method for recording and/or reading on a recordable medium provided on a rectangular card similar in size to a credit card, comprising: placing said card on a platen adjacent to a read and/or write head; rotating said platen and incrementally moving said head with respect to said card.

18. A method for recording and/or reading on a recordable medium provided on a rectangular card similar in size to a credit card, comprising: placing said card on a platen adjacent to a read and/or write head; rotating said platen and incrementally moving said head along a path radial with respect to the geometric center of said platen.

19. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a housing having a card slot; a driven rotatable platen having a channel in its surface approximately the width of said card and large enough to accept the card into said channel; card retainer apparatus; a movable read head located proximate the surface of said platen; head actuator apparatus coupled to drive said head incrementally across the surface of said card; and platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal to position said channel in juxtaposition with said card slot.

20. The actuator of claim 19, wherein said actuator is located inline with a diameter of said platen.

21. The actuator of claim 20, wherein said actuator is located offset from a diameter of the platen.

22. The card reader of claim 20, wherein said locating platen apparatus is located below said platen.

23. The card reader of claim 20 further comprising a second read head located proximate to the opposite surface of said first read head.

24. The card reader of claim 23 further comprising a head actuator apparatus coupled to drive said second head incrementally across the surface of said card.

25. The card reader of claim 24, wherein said actuator drives said head in a linear fashion.

26. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a rotatable platen having a channel having approximately the correct length and width to locate a memory card concentrically with said platen; card retainer apparatus; an incrementally movable read head located proximate the surface of said platen; and platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal.

27. The card reader apparatus of claim 26, wherein said card is approximately the size of a credit or business card.

28. The card reader apparatus of claim 26, wherein said card is the size of a credit card, adhering to ISO standard 2894.

29. The card reader apparatus of claim 26, wherein said card retainer apparatus includes one or more projection ears about the surface of said channel.

30. The card reader apparatus of claim 26, including an actuator for incrementally moving said head through an arc across the surface of said card.

31. The card reader apparatus of claim 26, including an actuator for radially moving said head across the surface of said card.

32. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a rotatable platen having a channel having approximately the correct length and width to locate a memory card concentrically with said platen; card retainer apparatus; an incrementally movable read head located proximate the surface of said platen; head actuator apparatus located off set from a diameter of said platen and coupled to drive said head incrementally in an arc across the surface of said card; and a platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal.

33. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a housing having a card slot; a rotatable platen having a channel having approximately the correct length and width to locate a memory card concentrically with said platen; card retainer apparatus; an incrementally movable read head located proximate the surface of said platen; and a platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal.

34. The card reader of claim 33 further comprising a linear actuator coupled to said read head allowing said head to move radially from the geometric center of said platen.

35. The card reader of claim 33 further comprising a second read head located proximate to the opposite surface of said first read head.

36. The card reader of claim 35 further comprising a head actuator apparatus coupled to drive said second head incrementally across the surface of said card.

37. The card reader of claim 33, wherein said locating device is located beneath said platen on said housing.

38. The card reader of claim 33, wherein said channel will locate said card in such a fashion as to locate the recordable media present on said card concentrically with said platen.

39. A high density card reader apparatus comprising: a housing having a card slot; a rotatable platen having a channel having approximately the correct length and width to locate a memory card concentrically with said platen; card retainer apparatus; a multiplicity of incrementally movable read heads, coupled to an actuator, located proximate the surface of said platen; and a platen locating apparatus responsive to card entry or card withdrawal.

40. The card reader of claim 39, further comprising a second set of multiple read heads coupled to a second actuator, located proximate to the opposite surface of said surface of said platen.

41. The card reader of claim 39 or claim 40, wherein said actuator enables said multiplicity of head to be moved in an arc across aid surface of said platen.

42. The card reader of claim 39 or claim 40, wherein said actuator enables said multiplicity of said heads to be moved linearly across said surface of said platen.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional Application No. 60/161,302 filed Oct. 23, 1999 entitled “Data Storage Device, Apparatus and Method for Using Same”.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to read-write apparatus and methods for high density data recording on recordable media supported by a compact card.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Cards the size of a credit card or business cards supporting a layer of magnetizable medium, offer a convenient and highly portable data storage device. However, typical cards have a non-circular or irregularly shaped data storage configuration, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,107,099 describes such a card as well as a reader for the card. These designs present substantial difficulties in use, and design of high density data recording and storage.

[0004] In the prior art, recordable media supported on certain types of card have a largely asymmetric geometry, creating a difficult to use storage medium, with a low surface area to used space ratio. Additionally, the card is typically placed asymmetrically in the reader. This asymmetry can cause rotational vibrations, leading to difficulties in wear and read head accuracy. Moreover, transition of the head on and off the card as it moves around the reader causes excessive wear on the read head. Additionally, the media will only periodically be in contact with the read head, seriously reducing access time, and efficiency. Furthermore, the control circuitry required to read the media in this periodic fashion can be costly, and complicated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The preferred embodiments of the present invention provide a card reader apparatus in which a thin card, supporting a large storage capacity recording media, is inserted. In preferred embodiments of this invention the cards are the size of a credit card (e.g., ISO #2894, ANSI x4.13-1971) or common business card. The novel features of this invention enable the card reader to be efficiently, and effectively used in a variety of applications. The card is placed in a recessed platen and rotated proximate to a read/write head. In preferred embodiments, this platen is circular in shape. In one embodiment, the read head is incrementally moved through an arc across the surface of the recordable media to record, and read a series of tracks thereon. In another preferred embodiment, a single magnetic head is positioned over the card and is incrementally stepped along the longitudinal axis of the reader to read and/or write a plurality of spaced circular tracks covering the recordable material. In further embodiments, the head may be an optical device such as a laser, for use in recording and reading optically recordable media. In other embodiments a servo control precisely positions the head or the card to compensate for manufacturing tolerances while maintaining high density recording capability.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a card reader constructed in accordance with this invention;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of another embodiment of a card reader constructed in accordance with this invention; and

[0008] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of yet another embodiment of a card reader constructed in accordance with this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0009] One embodiment of a card read/write apparatus constructed in accordance with one preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 1. High-density memory card reader 100 is particularly adapted for reading high-density memory cards. Generally reader 100 includes a housing 10, platen 25 for rotation of the inserted memory card 20, and read/write head 30 for interface with the card.

[0010] In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1, platen 25 is a circular disc, having a thickness, diameter, outer edge, top and bottom surfaces, with a recessed channel 30 in its upper surface, and radial notch 70 in the outer edge. Recessed channel 30 has a depth below the top surface of platen 25, and is preferably designed to accommodate the insertion of a high-density memory card 20 which, in preferred embodiments, is substantially the size of a credit card. In the embodiments shown, channel 30 extends from the edge of platen 25, and terminates in such a fashion as to locate the geometric center of the memory card 20 concentrically with the axis of rotation of platen 25. A plurality of projecting ears 43 extend from the upper surface of platen 25, over recessed channel 30. In the specific embodiment shown, the platen includes a card retainer apparatus in the form of projection ears 43 which are semi-circular in shape, but may be another shape or form that will prevent the memory card from moving from the plane of channel 30, especially during operation.

[0011] Housing 10 includes a front wall 11 provided with a slot 37 through which can pass a card carrier (not shown) in which the high-memory card 20 is initially placed. This carrier then transfers the card 20 to the recessed channel 30 and card 20 is moved longitudinally until the leading edge 41 of high-memory card 20 is firmly lodged against the rear wall 42 of the recessed channel 30 and clamped in place against the projecting ears 43.

[0012] During card entry, platen 25 is maintained in an appropriate position vis-a-vis slot 37 by platen lock apparatus 45. This apparatus includes a pivoting arm 50 having a platen engageable projection 51 at or proximate to the distal end 52 of arm 50 remote from its pivot axis 55. Control system 60 senses a card entry 61 or a card withdrawal 62 command to energize solenoid 65. Solenoid plunger 66 then engages the distal end of the arm 50 so that the projection 51 engages a radial notch 70 of platen 25. Platen is then “locked” into a stationary position in which the front edge of recess is juxtaposed slot 37 for card insertion or card withdrawal.

[0013] Typically, the card 20 will have the approximate size of a credit card or business card supporting a layer of recordable medium. The preferred embodiments of card 20 include cards in which substantially all of one face of the card is comprised of a recordable medium 71 or both faces of the card are composed of a recordable medium. In still other embodiments, card 20 is, substantially in its entirety, formed of a suitable recording medium. Specific examples of recordable medium are magnetizeable or optically recordable mediums.

[0014] A head actuating mechanism 80 is mounted to reader 100 in proximity to platen 25. A cantilevered control arm 75 is mounted to actuating mechanism 80, and extends from mechanism 80 towards the geometric center 27 of platen 25. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, arm 75 extends along the diameter of platen 25. The read/write head 30 is mounted near the distal end of control arm 75, adjacent to geometric center 27 of platen 25. Actuator 80 is free to rotate on reader 100, for example along a limited arc 90 whose axis of rotation is at 81, when engaged to move read/write head 30 to different positions above the inserted high-density memory card between center line segment 84 and either line segments 82 or 83. In other embodiments such as shown in FIG. 3 and described below, the read/write head may move radially by way of a linear actuator such as a stepper motor.

[0015] Another preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 2 includes shows a reader comprising a housing 10, having a slot 12, a platen 125, an actuator 180, a linear control arm 175, and a read/write head 30. Cantilever control arm 175 extends over platen 125 toward the center of platen 127, but is located off set from center line 21 of platen 125. Read/write head 30 is located near the distal end of arm 175, in proximity to the location of the recordable media. Actuator 180 allows control arm 175, and read/write head 30 to move along arc 19.

[0016] During card entry into platen 125, platen 125 is maintained in its appropriate position for card entry by notch 145 on its bottom surface. A locator pin 142, and solenoid actuator 149 are also located below platen 125. Pin 142 is located at the radial location 191 of notch 145. Locator pin 142, when engaged with notch 145, stop platen 125 in such a position as to align recessed channel 30, and slot 12 for card insertion, and removal. In other embodiments of this invention, the notch 145 may alternatively be a groove, castellation, or any other structure that can interface with a locating device, to locate the platen in a desired position to receive or remove card 20 from platen 125.

[0017] A significant feature of the embodiment of FIG. 2 is the placement by the axis of control arm 175 off-center of the axis 27 of rotation of platen 125. The length of control arm 175 is such that the read/write head 30, when at the mid-point of its arc of motion 19, is centered midway over the radius of the recording area 240, and positioned such that throughout its arc of motion 19, the average signal strength is optimized for all recording tracks in the recording area 240 of the magnetizable medium of card 20. In other embodiments, control arm actuator may include a cam or other mechanism to convert the rotational motion of the read/write head to a linear motion illustrated in FIG. 2 by straight line 18. As the platen rotates, the head can record, or read information from the recordable media present on the card.

[0018] In the embodiment of FIG. 3, control arm 275 is fixed to a linear actuator 295. Actuator 295 is typically a stepper motor or similar motor actuating mechanic to move the read/write head 30 linearly across its recording area 240 of card 20 in the direction of various 200, 200.

[0019] In the preferred embodiments shown the platen 25 or 125 is a disk shaped member rotated by a motor (not shown) below this platen for rotating the platen in a direction indicated by arrow 90. The platen thus rotates relative to a fixed reference to rotate storage card 20 symmetrically with the axis of rotation of the platen under the read/write head 30.

[0020] By way of specific example the platen drive motor (not shown) is advantageously a brushless D.C. motor.

[0021] In the preferred embodiments shown in the Figures, the recorded area of card 20 is shown as an approximate ring shaped area 240 in the center of the card and the read/write head 30 is continuously proximate to the recording surface of its card 20.

[0022] In further embodiments of this invention, the head actuators 80 and 295 may be located directly above or below the platen in the plane of the reader. For example, a linear actuator located below the platen such as in a compact disc player, or similarly above the platen, to drive the read/write head across the rotating recordable media.

[0023] Other embodiments of this invention may advantageously include a second read/write head below the platen. The second read/write head will allow for the double-sided use of the inserted card, increasing the amount of data capable of being stored on the memory card.

[0024] The platen illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 is shown as a circular disc. In other embodiments of this invention, the platen may have a non-circular configuration that is preferably rotationally balanced.

[0025] Embodiments of this invention may advantageously include a conventional motor driven apparatus (not shown) to move the storage card along channel 30 longitudinally until the leading edge of card 20 is firmly lodged against the rear wall of the channel 30.

[0026] In the specific embodiments shown, the platen includes a card retainer apparatus in the form of projection ears 43 which extend over channel 2 surface to leave a space between the bottom of each ear and the surface of channel 2 which is slightly larger than the thickness of the card. This allows the card to be slid onto channel 2 while retaining the card on platen 25 during its rotation. In some preferred embodiments of the invention, the upper surface of the card will be retained substantially level with the upper surface of platen 25. In these embodiments, other card retainer apparatus, such as an air suction applied through apertures in the floor of channel 30, can be used to retain the card within channel 30. In further embodiments, channel 30 may include multiple depths extending into the thickness of the platen. For example, the memory card may, when properly inserted to the reader, rest in a deeper recess than the initial length of the channel. In other embodiments, the channel may further comprise a mechanism for securing the memory card in place, such as a spring-mounted locking device.

[0027] As described above, during card insertion and removal of the card from the reader, the platen is maintained in an appropriate position to locate channel 30 in alignment with an insertion slot 12 on the outside surface of reader housing 10. In further embodiments, the platen lock apparatus may be located on the top surface of the platen. In other preferred embodiments, the location of the platen via locator pin and notch, and the read/write head actuation may be combined into the same structure. It will be apparent that many other platen locating devices and control systems may be used to locate channel 30 for card entry. For example, the platen drive motor (not shown) may be controlled by a servo loop that includes a sensor responsive to the rotational position of the platen relative to the slot. The platen drive motor would thus be used to rotate the platen recess to the desired position. In further embodiments, the motor may be mounted above, or to the side of the platen in a configuration which will allow the motor to control the rotation of the platen.

[0028] Further embodiments of this invention may advantageously locate substantially only that portion of card 20 containing the recordable media concentrically on the platen, rather than the entire card on which the media is supported. Thus, in certain applications, it may be advantageous to locate the card off-center on the platen. In such embodiments, it may be advantageous to counter balance the weight of the card as the platen spins.