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Patent highlights

14 Jan 2003

The pick of this week's hottest patent applications including a car security system that relies on iris recognition.

•  Title: Vehicular security access system
Applicant: Sam Mog Son and Michael I Kroll, US
International patent application: WO 03/002387
Iris-recognition technology usually found in high-security applications could soon be finding its way into cars. Patent application WO 03/002387 describes an optical recognition system that takes an image of the iris and compares it to a stored pattern before unlocking the doors.

When the door handle is grasped, the interior car lights come on and a camera pivots to capture an iris image. If no match is found, an alarm sounds. Once inside, the system continues to monitor the driver's iris in real-time to determine if they are falling asleep. An interior alarm sounds if the images do not match the stored pattern.

The inventors also say the system can be programmed to react to pre-set driver characteristics. For example, a teenage driver could be coded for daylight driving only. The system also comes equipped with a keypad to provide access if the recognition system fails.

•  Title: Atmospheric optical data transmission system
Applicant: Aoptix Technologies, US
International application number: WO 03/003618
A free-space optics data transmission system is the subject of application WO 03/003618. The system comprises two transceivers, each containing a telescope with a built-in transmitter for sending encoded data and a receiver for detecting it. Both transceivers also contain a wavefront sensor to determine the curvature of the light sent between the units. A deformable mirror compensates for distortions detected by the wavefront sensor. The patent says the system also separates the transmitted and received light for bidirectional transmission.

•  Title: Apparatus and method for laser etching wear patterns into denim pants
Applicant: Ellis Corporation, US
International application number: WO 03/002811
How do you get an authentic worn look in your denim pants? A US firm says that using a laser to simulated wear patterns is the answer. The company has designed a carousel that houses a loading and unloading station, a laser station and uniformly spaced pant-supporting mandrels. The system positions the fabric onto a mandrel at the loading station and tautly supports the pants such that a laser-generated pattern can be formed at predetermined locations.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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