Apple has recently filed an application for a new patent on fuel cells which are designed to power mobile devices. These fuel cells would be used to create more efficient devices. The patent describes a technology for making mobile devices smaller and lighter in weight by utilizing a fuel cell system in place of the current batteries which are used in devices like laptops. This patent application follows on the heels of another patent application by Apple for a new hydrogen fuel cell design which is lighter than existing fuel cells.
This hydrogen fuel cell patent was filed late last year, and describes a process for connecting multiple fuel cells in a single unit via a power bus and a circuit that multiplies voltage to add additional power to the stack.
The use of fuel cells to power a new generation of notebooks which are lighter and smaller than any devices available today will be enabled if this patent application is granted to Apple. According to the patent filings, one of the advantages of using fuel cells in place of other power sources is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, as more consumers express a desire to move away from these older energy sources towards more renewable technologies.
Apple has noted in their patent application that it is the increased consumer demand and awareness for energy efficient technologies which is driving industry change towards these alternative technologies. Specifically, they note that the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is one rating system which allows consumers to effectively compare the energy efficiency of various consumer electronic devices.
The engineers at Apple have designed the new fuel cells described in their patent application to work well with more conventional batteries. This application describes how fuel cells can be incorporated into consumer electronic devices, including laptops, in order to deliver optimal performance while reducing weight. Fuel cells are a compelling next generation technology because they are energy dense, which means they offer high energy efficiency when compared to conventional batter power.
The high gravimetric and volumetric energy densities which can be achieved with fuel cell technology may revolutionize the consumer electronics industry, allowing devices to go for days or weeks without charging up. The technology offers a superior solution to the age old challenge of making mobile electronic devices cost effective and portable, as noted by Apple in their patent application.
Some of the best 2011 inventions are profiled in Time Magazine’s annual invention issue. One thing that many of these inventions share in common is a focus on perfecting the retail product that ends up in the hands of consumers. It is less important to be the creator of a new product idea than it is to make the final product as user friendly and cost effective as possible. Steve Jobs epitomizes this new paradigm for inventors, because he was not the first to come up with all the inventions that he is credited.
However, Jobs’ claim to fame is that he perfected the personal computer, iOS devices and digital animation to best fit with consumer demands. The advice that inventors can take away from success stories like Jobs is that it is far better to be the best than to be the first.
Popular Science is another magazine which publishes a top 10 list of 2011 inventions. For the last 5 years, the magazine has run an Invention Awards segment which highlights the most innovative contraptions to emerge from garages across the country. Some of these inventions help to save the earth, while others treat the sick. Some inventions are designed for entertainment purposes only.
Regardless of their purpose, these brilliant inventions are sure to inspire other inventors to dream big. For example, one of the top inventions for 2011 is a pen like device which can perform health screens for prenatal illnesses. This device costs less than a penny, so it is ideal for health care in poor regions. Another innovative device uses the exhaust from a boat to treat onboard waste.
Some 2011 inventions combine two popular products into a single package. The Google Prius is a perfect example of this, as the search engine giant joins forces with auto maker Toyota to offer what some describe as “motorized sofas on wheels.” These special edition Prius sedans do not require a driver behind the wheel, but they are similar to a standard Prius in almost every other way.
The cars feature a special sensor which acts like an eye for the vehicle. This cylinder shaped sensor is attached to the car roof and uses AI software to sense objects close to the car. The AI software can also make decisions of human drivers but actually reduce errors and thus prevent accidents.
Cequint recently sued Apple over alleged patent infringement relating to caller ID technology. Cequint has cited the fact that many other smartphone makers license the technology in question, including HTC, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Research in Motion (RIM). Cequint is seeking a court order to prevent Apple from using its caller ID patented technology and is also seeking unspecified damages from the company. Lawyers for Cequint allege that the company has been damaged by the patent infringement and that it will suffer irreparable harm unless a court orders Apple to halt the infringing activity immediately.
Some of the largest smartphone makers like Samsung, which is engaged in its own battles with Apple in courts around the globe, have provided testimonials on Cequint’s website which support the company’s case against Apple.
The patent lawsuit filed by Cequint against Apple alleges that Apple has infringed on patent rights to an advanced form of caller ID technology. Cequint is claiming that they are the first provider of enhanced mobile caller ID services which show not only the caller’s phone number but also the location where the call is originating from.
The lawsuit cites 2 patents which are being infringed upon, both of which were obtained by Cequint in 2007. One of the patents was acquired while the other was granted to the company by the US PTO. The caller ID invention in question covers the retrieval of geographical information about a call as well as the read out display format of this information. Some experts believe that Cequint may have a clear case against Apple because of the fact that so many other large smartphone makers do license the patented software from the company.
Cequint is asking for compensation from Apple related to both direct and indirect patent infringement of its advanced caller ID technology. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The company alleges that Apple has directly infringed on at least 4 claims of its ‘212 patent and many claims in its ‘664 patent as well by producing, importing and selling models of its iPhones which run the iOS 5.0 OS, as well as upgrades to previous versions of the iPhone which enable the use of iOS 5.0 features.
Cequint also alleges in the suit that Apple has indirectly infringed on the ‘212 patent and ‘664 patent by importing and selling components of Cequint patented systems and materials which are used in applying the patented methods and inventions of the company.