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Help! Light-chasing robot

posts: 2

Hi everybody,

I am investigating the validity of a foreign patent that describes toy which chases a spot of light projected on the ground by a handheld controller (e.g. flashlight or laser pointer).

It is very similar behavior to a classic Photovore but is distinguished by the fact that the photodetectors are aimed such that they ignore the source of the light and only see the reflected spot.

I have heard of prople doing this with the Mindstroms kits, but does anyone have objective evidence - preferably dated printed or published material - of such a device existing earlier than 2002, either a commercially available product or something someone cobbled together? I would very much appreciate any help you can provide me in tracking this down; it's really important to me to find a prior art example.

Thanks in advance,

Stephen


posts: 31


> I am investigating the validity of a foreign patent that describes toy
> which chases a spot of light projected on the ground by a handheld
> controller (e.g. flashlight or laser pointer).

What's the problem with the patent? depending on wher it's registered it'll have limited value! US patent doesn't apply else where in the world... hence multiple applications. It doesn't have the same intnational agreements that copyright has.

I'm certain that you'll find reference in may books and web articles that predate 2002. However there may be some thing novel in the application...

regards,
colin

--
www.minisumo.org.uk


orion posts: 185

> Hi everybody,
Hi Stephen

> I am investigating the validity of a foreign patent that describes toy which chases a spot of light projected on the ground by a handheld controller (e.g. flashlight or laser pointer).

That sounds like it should fall foul on the clause about something being reasonably obvious.

> It is very similar behavior to a classic Photovore but is distinguished by the fact that the photodetectors are aimed such that they ignore the source of the light and only see the reflected spot.

Umm - Again - any given line follower uses a similar set up - no, it does not sound patentable. The whole toy may be copyrightable, but this part of it sounds unlikely. I am not a lawyer though.

> I have heard of prople doing this with the Mindstroms kits, but does anyone have objective evidence - preferably dated printed or published material - of such a device existing earlier than 2002, either a commercially available product or something someone cobbled together? I would very much appreciate any help you can provide me in tracking this down; it's really important to me to find a prior art example.

Most definately. If the specifics are that they are aimed at an angle, then I am sure examples exist in ample supply in Lugnet.robotics. The community there will definately be very, very vocal on this one. I have built (although I am not sure I have more than just a grainy photo) robots which have a light sensor, with a techic-brick-with-holes positioned to narrow its focus. I then used an angled beam (known as a lift-arm in Lego part terms) with the sensor to get it angled downwards.

> Thanks in advance,

You are more than welcome.

Danny


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