Patents are a virtue: second sight, head cases and waterworks

  • Patents are a virtue
  • December 3, 2013
  • Anton Blijlevens and Jillian Lim
Patents are a virtue: second sight, head cases and waterworks

AJ Park patent specialists Anton Blijlevens and Jillian Lim touch on some of the interesting patents to look out for on the shelves.

Read Braille...visually

By the end of this year, Americans blinded by degenerative retinal disease could have their sight partially restored thanks to a bionic eye developed by Second Sight. The visual prosthesis captures images via a camera mounted on the patient’s glasses and processes the images into instructions for stimulating an array of electrodes implanted in the patient’s retina. Stimulation of the retinal cells generates the perception of different patterns of light, which the patient learns to interpret as shapes of objects, and even letters and words.

However, according to Second Sight, reading letters is not yet practical, because it can take minutes to read short words, and the letters have to be at least 1 cm high at reading distance.

In their patent application, US 20130157229, Second Sight describes a solution - replacing letters in the captured scene with Braille. The processor scans the captured image for any patterns representing letters, converts these into Braille characters, then presents these to the patient by stimulating a 3x2 grid of electrodes to depict the Braille patterns.

The Braille characters could be overlaid over written letters in the scene that is perceived by the patient. Or the patient could switch between a reading mode and the scene mode.  

Helmet in a scarf

We all know how important it is to wear a helmet while cycling, but some people still choose not to wear one, because it’s too bulky, too hot, or too ugly.

Hovding has designed a completely different type of helmet, as described in patent US 8,402,568, which was granted earlier this year. In fact, it looks a lot more like a scarf – at least until it senses abnormal movement of the wearer’s head and starts inflating its airbag around the wearer’s neck and head.

The patent covers a system with an airbag in two parts; the first part starts to inflate to surround the wearer’s neck first before the second part begins to inflate into a hood for the wearer’s head. This ensures that the wearer’s neck is stabilised first, to prevent whiplash.

Recycle your shower, while you shower

Orbital Systems has designed a recirculating shower system which it claims can save 90 percent of the water and 80 percent of the energy used in a conventional shower. As described in the patent application, WO 2013095278, the system does this by purifying all the water that goes through the shower drain and pumping it directly back to the shower head. The cycle repeats until a filter sensor detects that the water is sufficiently dirty, then the water is redirected to drainage.

In other words, it is a hybrid system which is automatically set to recycle water, but which can be overridden, either when the system senses inferior water quality, or manually by the user. This makes sense, for when the system malfunctions, or as the patent application suggests, if there are several users and “a few of the users have little faith in technology”.

The system additionally includes a nano-filter to remove particulates such as silica, bacteria and even viruses. The water passes through a pre-filter first, such as a standard UV filter or carbon filter, which removes larger particles first in order to lengthen the lifetime of the more expensive nano-filter.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Axis 2019: Colenso BBDO to defend its title, leads finalists with FCB and DDB

  • Awards
  • February 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Axis 2019: Colenso BBDO to defend its title, leads finalists with FCB and DDB

The finalists for the 2019 Axis Awards have been announced and it’s Colenso BBDO leading the way with 64 mentions, followed by FCB on 55 and DDB on 51.

Read more
Next page
Results for

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.


Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit