World's Smallest Flying Robots

Posted 1 Jan 2004 at 01:36 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Linux Electrons has an article about the World's Smallest Flying Robots being unveiled. Unlike some other micro air vehicles, these robots have onboard batteries (no power tether) and are autonomous via radio link (as a side note, Rog-a-matic emailed me that it could be that radio links to robots are patented now?, weird!). Anyway, these micro fliers could be used from anything like surveilance to hobby toys. It's a small world after all!

They will let anything be patented..., posted 1 Jan 2004 at 04:35 UTC by siliconcybernetics » (Observer)

I dont see anything ground breaking about having a robot that talks with a radio link. The patent office is spoiling progress by awarding such obvious patents. Engineers will soon have to also be patent attorneys in order to design something not already patented.

That is rediculous, posted 1 Jan 2004 at 06:28 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

I can't beleive they awarded a patent for this. This patent thing is getting rediculous.

Humm, I guess I better get my patent application in for the "proper methods of taking a crap using a modern toilet". I can collect billions in royalties from everyone using toilets.

emphasis on web-server control, posted 1 Jan 2004 at 20:43 UTC by aplumb » (Journeyer)

IANAL, however I spent a year and a half doing patent infringement analysis; that was about five years ago. Here are a couple of observations and thoughts:

1. The independent claims (those which do not depend on other claims being valid) are claims 1, 17, 31, and 32. Those are the core of the patent. Violate those and it's a concern; if you can show prior art on a claim, then that claim and all dependent claims would be invalid. In order for the patent to be invalid, all four independent claims need to be invalid.

2. The focus of the patent seems to be on wireless, Internet-connected robots which can interact with their non-Internet-connected surroundings. The closest thing I can find on the market would be what Evolution Robotics did with their EV1; see which is close to the Jan. 14, 2002 date the patent was filed. Since that's when the official press release was issued, they would be the most likely source of "proof of prior art".

I'm a little rusty on the details & rules, but that "Provisional application No. 60/261,741, filed on Jan. 16, 2001" may be of concern as the earlier date to search around. Evolution Robotics was founded in March 2001.

Who knows, maybe the inventor Stephen Eliot Zweig works for Evolution Robotics.?.


But it seems a number of groups are doing this, posted 3 Jan 2004 at 14:20 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

So then this patent would affect all these groups doing internet remote control of robots. One of these seems to go back to 1996 or so. Granted it isn't ll that illustrious controlling a robot arm, but it is controlling something off the internet. Putting in a wireless link instead of a ethernet cable isn't a big stretch.

See more of the latest robot news!

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