Samsung Seeks to Patent Surgical Robot, Announces 5G Network

The Samsung Group of Seoul, South Korea, is a major international conglomerate involved in almost every industry. Here at IPWatchdog, we occasionally take a look at some of the recent technology patents and filed applications coming from this industry behemoth. For our complete series see Companies We Follow.

Over the past few years, electronic devices have become a staple for Samsung’s main subsidiary, Samsung Electronics. That subsidiary is a major standard bearer for the mobile device industry, and even recently announced plans to release consumer electronics on the 5G network as early as 2020, according to Forbes. This focus on technological research and development makes this international firm a common name at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Patent applications published by the USPTO recently and assigned to Samsung show the wide scope of the electronic developer’s operations. Different applications protect more space-efficient surgical robotic arms, a component device for video playback of broadcasts from different global regions and more precise systems of infrared 3D location sensing.

A few documents pertain directly to mobile consumer devices developed by the South Korean conglomerate. A fourth patent application covered here describes an enhanced system of analyzing touch gestures when reading e-books. A legal patent has also been awarded to Samsung for the protection of a hydrogen generating apparatus for powering fuel cells in electronic devices.


Surgical Robot and Control Method Thereof
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130116706

The use of surgical robots in operating rooms has made minimally invasive surgical operations widely accessible. Minimally invasive surgery involves procedures that can be performed on a patient with a surgical incision that in some cases only measures a few centimeters. These surgeries are superior to normal surgical procedures in that recovery time is quicker and fewer bodily systems are affected. Although surgical robots are finding more applications than ever in the operating room, their large size limits the number of units a hospital can have on hand.

This Samsung patent application has been filed to protect improvements to surgical robots devised by the electronics developer. This surgical robot uses a different control system to operate the arms during surgery. Instead of using a passive-type manual positioning system for a remote center of motion (RCM), or the point of pivot for the surgical arm, this robot’s RCM is operated by a control algorithm, considered to be an active-type system. This allows the surgical robot to be built to smaller specifications.

As Claim 1 states, Samsung is interested in protecting:

“A method for controlling a surgical robot comprising: calculating an external force acting on a robot arm mounted with a surgical instrument; filtering the external force acting on the robot arm, when a central point of an incision is set; calculating a virtual force, to enable the surgical instrument deviating from the central point of the incision to return to the central point of the incision; and applying the calculated virtual force to the filtered external force to control movement of the robot arm.”

3D Location Sensing System and Method
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130113890

Current methods of three-dimensional location sensing for remote objects requires an infrared projector and an image capturing device optimized for infrared light. Infrared light rays are projected against a remote object and captured by the infrared camera as they radiate back. The infrared camera includes software that analyzes the brightness of the reflected light rays and provides distance and location coordinates for the object. However, the resolution of the camera or the size of the object can create an inaccurate reading if either of these results in poor infrared radiation analysis.

This new system of 3D location sensing devised by Samsung introduces additional photographing units, allowing infrared radiation to be projected against many sides of a remote object. A system controller would receive input from all infrared camera units to determine the position of the object. This system returns much more precise readings from infrared analysis by using additional cameras.

Claim 1 of this Samsung patent application seeks protections for:

“A 3-dimensional (3D) location sensing system comprising: an emitter which emits light including a plurality of markers onto an object; at least two photographing units which sense the light reflected from the object to respectively recognize at least one same marker; and a controller which calculates a 3D location coordinate of the object based on information recognized by the at least two photographing units.”

System and Method for Executing an E-Book Reading Application in an Electronic Device
U.S. Patent Application 20130117703

E-book reading applications have flourished on electronic devices for a number of reasons. Typically, e-books are cheaper to produce than paperback or hardcover books, resulting in a cheaper purchasing price. They also take up much less space than physical books as they can be stored digitally on electronic devices. However, current methods of displaying e-books in reading applications are not very intuitive for users who want to flip to bookmarked pages or skip more than one page at a time.

This Samsung method of processing user commands while using e-book reading applications can detect differences in touch gestures for more user options when turning e-book pages. The reading application would contain a look up table to define the commands associated with different touch gestures.

As Claim 1 states, Samsung has developed a:

“A method for executing an e-book reading application in an electronic device with a touch screen, comprising: sensing a touch gesture while a first page (P1) of an e-book is displayed; determining whether the sensed touch gesture corresponds to a touch gesture to turn over pages of the e-book; identifying, if the sensed touch gesture corresponds to the touch gesture to turn over pages of the e-book, a second page (P2) to be turned according to the touch gesture; and displaying the second page.”

Device and Method for Receiving Multi-Channel Broadcasting
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130111523

Digital broadcast services can put consumers in touch with satellite transmissions and other television feeds from all over the world. However, there are many different regions of video standards across the globe. For example, the United States uses Advanced Television Committee Systems (ATCS) transmission standards, Europe has the Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard, and different broadcast transmission standards are used in China, Japan and other regions as well.

This Samsung patent application would protect a component device that could play back video regardless of the broadcast transmission standards. This peripheral device would be optimized for both digital streams as well as playback of analog streams that have been transmitted digitally. The component could also allow for picture-in-picture or video recording functions available through other digital television receivers.

Claim 1 of this Samsung patent application would provide legal protections for:

“A device for receiving multi-channel broadcasting comprises: a signal receiving unit which receives a broadcast signal; a control unit which controls the signal receiving unit to select a channel selected by a user and receive the broadcast signal; and a signal processing unit which modulates the broadcast signal received from the signal receiving unit with a digital modulation method in accordance with a predetermined broadcasting standard.”

Hydrogen Generating Apparatus and Fuel Cell Power Generation System
U.S. Patent No. 8435685

Fuel cell technologies have the potential to replace many forms of power generation for electronic devices while providing environmentally-friendly electricity. In a fuel cell reaction, hydrogen atoms are dissociated into ions and electrons. The electrons create an electric current when they pass through a circuit. The ions are restored to the electrons in the air electrode chamber, where they combine with oxygen to create water.

Last week, Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., a main Samsung subsidiary, received an official USPTO patent that protects a fuel cell power generation system that can create the hydrogen needed to create electricity. The hydrogen generating apparatus is comprised of a liquid-absorbent layer of material resting against a metal membrane layer. The absorbent material sucks up an aqueous solution that reacts with the metal to create hydrogen.

As Claim 1 states, Samsung has earned the right to protect:

“A hydrogen generating apparatus comprising: an absorbent layer configured to absorb an aqueous solution; a metal membrane deposited on either side of the absorbent layer such that the absorbent layer is interposed between the metal membranes; and a support layer formed on one side of one of the metal membranes, the support layer configured to transport the hydrogen generated by the reaction between the aqueous solution and the metal membranes, wherein the metal membrane comprises aluminum and the aqueous solution is water, and the hydrogen generated according to the following reaction equation: 2Al+3H2O–>Al2O3+3H2.”


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