|United States Patent
||September 10, 2002 |
Kidnap alarm with acceleration sensor
A personal security device includes a motion sensor, such as a MEMS chip. In
response to a characteristic motion pattern, especially acceleration of a car,
the security device will trigger a consequence. The consequence might be an
audible or visible alarm. Optionally the device may communicate with the engine
to direct it to take some action, such as stopping or exploding air bags.
||Ekkel; Frederik (Cupertino, CA) |
||Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
(Eindhoven, NL) |
||February 28, 2001|
|Current U.S. Class:
|Field of Search:
U.S. Patent Documents
||Rosenthal et al.
||Singer et al.
||Smith et al.
||Guthrie et al.
||D'Angelo et al.
|Foreign Patent Documents|
http://mems.isi.edu/ "Welcome to the MEMS
"Technologies/applications IMEMS.COPYRGT.", by Analog Device, Inc.
Primary Examiner: Trieu; Van
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Pennec; Gwen Le
What is claimed is:
1. An anti-kidnapping device comprising:
a carrier adapted to attach to a person to be protected; a
motion detector; and a processor adapted to perform the following
operations determining whether a current motion detected by the motion
detector matches a known motion patter representative of an acceleration of a
motor vehicle; and triggering consequence if a match is found.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein the carrier is expected to be
attractive to a child.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the known
pattern is a known pattern of acceleration. motor vehicle.
4. The device
of claim 1, wherein the consequences comprise triggering some kind of alarm.
5. The device of claim 4, wherein the alarm makes a sound.
The device of claim 4, wherein the alarm releases smoke.
7. The device
of claim 1, wherein the consequences comprise communicating with a vehicle
engine to direct it to take some action.
8. The device of claim 1,
wherein the known motion pattern is not representative of an acceleration of a
known motor vehicle.
9. A method for enhancing personal security
comprising: transporting a security device on a person whose protection
is sought; within the security deice, determining whether a current
motion of the person matches a known motion pattern representative of an
acceleration of a motor vehicle; and in response to detection of the
motion pattern, within the security device, triggering a consequence.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the known pattern is a known pattern
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the consequence
comprises communicating with an engine to direct the engine to take some action.
12. A medium, readable by a processing device, embodying code for
performing the following operations: determining where a current motion
of an attached person matches a known motion pattern representative of an
acceleration of a motor vehicle; and in response to detection of the
motion pattern, triggering a consequence.
13. The medium of claim 12,
wherein the known pattern is a known pattern of acceleration.
medium of claim 12, wherein the consequence comprises communicating with an
engine to direct the engine to take some action.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to the field of anti-kidnapping alarms for
B. Related Art
U.S. Pat. No. 5,939,988 shows an alarm
device for monitoring the proximity of a child and for putting out an alarm if
the child exceeds a given distance. This device has the disadvantage of
insufficient flexibility. What if the child needs to go to school or to visit
Other such devices, e.g. GB 2,284,726, depend on the child
to activate the device, which may not be wise in the presence of a dangerous
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the
invention to further improve anti-kidnapping alarm devices.
is achieved by a device that includes a sensor that can determine a
characteristic motion pattern and produce a consequence in response to such a
pattern. The characteristic motion pattern will most typically be that of
acceleration of a motor vehicle. Since most kidnapped children will be placed in
automobiles, this will allow instant detection of most kidnapping.
Further objects and advantages will become apparent in the following.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
The invention will now be
described by way of non-limiting example with reference to following drawings.
FIG. 1a is a schematic diagram of a belt useful in carrying the
FIG. 1b is a schematic diagram of a wall mounted battery
FIG. 1c is a schematic diagram of a child wearing the belt of
FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing operation of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a high level circuit diagram for a belt in accordance with the
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
alarm according to the invention should be packaged so as to be attractive to
children, to motivate them to wear the device, such as with cartoon characters,
bright colors, or a camouflage motif. The bright coloring also serves to notify
potential kidnappers that this child is protected, which makes them more likely
to turn to another child as a victim. The preferred embodiment of the invention
is part of a decorative belt that a child could wear as a kind of toy or
costume. However, those of ordinary skill in the art of child apparel and toys
might devise any number of other carrying apparatus for the invention that would
be appealing to children.
FIG. 1a is a schematic of the preferred belt
A, while FIG. 3 shows a schematic circuit diagram. The belt carries a MEMS
movement sensor 302, such as the IMEMS.RTM. chip marketed by Analog Devices,
Inc., together with a processor 301 and a battery at A1. The belt also carries a
siren A2, a visible alarm A3, accessories of interest to the child at A4, and a
locking mechanism A5. Preferably the visible alarm A3 is smoke alarm adapted to
release smoke of a distinctive color, such as orange, to increase the attention
brought to bear on the situation. Such smoke detectors are currently used in
pilot lifejackets. The accessories A4 might include a radio, an MP3 player, a
toy, or any other items of interest to the child.
FIG. 1b is a schematic
of a wall mounted battery charger. The belt 101 preferably contains a
rechargeable battery A1 and so at the end of the day, when the child is home
eating diner and going to bed, the belt is placed in recharging device C hanging
on the wall. Preferably the device is placed in a prime location somewhere in
such as the kitchen. This way the child's parent or guardian can instantly check
if the child is wearing it or not. The entire belt 101, with its bright colors,
is preferably inserted into the device C, rather than just the battery, so that
the need to put the belt back on the child is more apparent. For the purpose of
recharging, the battery A1 must have a connection 309 external to the belt as
well as connections 308 to all the devices on the belt needing power.
Alternatively, the belt may be used with a conventional battery, but
still hung in the charger, to be more obvious.
FIG. 1c is a schematic of
the appearance of the preferred belt when a child is wearing it.
belt has a locking mechanism A5, that can only be opened by a key. The key may
be physical; or the locking mechanism may be responsive to numerical keys, a
spoken password, or any other suitable security device. Preferably, the child
does not have the key in his possession, so the kidnapper cannot remove the belt
or ask the child to remove it. Preferably the locking mechanism includes a
circuit 310 that goes all along the belt, so that, if the belt is broken at any
point, or if the lock is opened by force, the alarm will go off
shows a flowchart of the operation of the processor 301 with respect to
triggering the alarm in response to motion detection. The processor 301 may
execute other operations, such as detecting breakage of the belt via the locking
mechanism A5, but these other operations are not shown here.
At 201, the
child with the belt enters a motor vehicle. Optionally, entry into the vehicle
may be confirmed by additional circuitry such as transceiver 303, which may
communicate via antenna 304 with the engine, or may detect characteristic
electric or magnetic fields produced by the car. Otherwise, if entry into the
vehicle cannot be detected, 201 may simply be regarded as a "start" box.
At 202 the MEMS chip 302 is queried to determine if vehicle acceleration
is detected, until a positive detection is made. The MEMs sensor 302 is
programmed to detect the very specific acceleration curve of a motor vehicle,
such as an automobile. Such programming can be done as a result of a statistical
analysis of acceleration patterns undertaken by the manufacturer of the belt.
Alternatively, a pattern or patterns of movement may be stored in memory
306. Every motion detected by the MEMS chip 302 can then be compared in
accordance with a chosen comparison procedure with contents of memory 306.
Another alternative is that the belt may have artificial intelligence
capability (not shown) that allows the belt to learn, during a learning period,
characteristic accelerations of friendly vehicles. There might be several such
vehicles, such as two family cars and a school bus. These artificial
intelligence capabilities may, for instance, be resident in neural networks or
Movements other than vehicle acceleration like
riding a bicycle, running, jumping from a tree, etc., are also detected by the
sensor, but these will not cause control to pass on to box 204. If the device is
able to distinguish friendly vehicle acceleration patterns, these also may
prevent passing to box 204.
If the acceleration pattern is that of a
vehicle, optionally an additional check is done at 204 to determine if the
vehicle is "friendly". This may be done by a wireless link between transceiver
303 and an anti-theft system in the vehicle. The circuitry necessary to make
this determination will add to the cost of the belt, so that it might be left
out of the cheaper versions. In such a case, if the child's parent or guardian
forgets to remove the belt, the alarm is more likely to be triggered even in a
friendly vehicle. The wireless link is more advisable with less sophisticated
techniques for detecting acceleration patterns, i.e. with techniques that fail
to allow for learning patterns of several individual vehicles.
motor vehicle is "friendly" then nothing happens per 205.
If the motor
vehicle is not recognized as "friendly", or if there is no friendly vehicle
check, then some consequence should ensue. Those of ordinary skill in the art
might devise any number of consequences such as:
activation of siren A2,
ignition of a smoke alarm A3,
stopping of the motor vehicle
remote signaling to a base station, presumably in the home or on
the person of a parent or guardian via transceiver 303; and/or
of the motor vehicle's air bags.
Consequences such as stopping of the
engine or exploding of the air bags would require communication between the
transceiver 303 and the engine. Corresponding modifications to the engines of
commercially sold vehicles would then be required to receive such signals.
Appropriate security checks should be performed in the engines prior to
accepting such signals, in order to prevent miscreants from remotely interfering
with the operation of the vehicles and/or to prevent explosion of the air bags
if the child is in the front seat.
Other patterns of motion might
trigger some consequence as well. For instance a period of no motion after a
fall might indicate that a child was injured or unconscious and might trigger an
From reading the present disclosure, other modifications will be
apparent to persons skilled in the art. Such modifications may involve other
features which are already known in the design, manufacture and use of personal
security devices and which may be used instead of or in addition to features
already described herein. Although claims have been formulated in this
application to particular combinations of features, it should be understood that
the scope of the disclosure of the present application also includes any novel
feature or novel combination of features disclosed herein either explicitly or
implicitly or any generalization thereof, whether or not it mitigates any or all
of the same technical problems as does the present invention. The applicants
hereby give notice that new claims may be formulated to such features during the
prosecution of the present application or any further application derived
The word "comprising", "comprise", or "comprises" as used
herein should not be viewed as excluding additional elements. The singular
article "a" or "an" as used herein should not be viewed as excluding a plurality
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