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Patent highlights

21 May 2003

The pick of this week's patent applications including an invention that monitors the alertness of drivers behind the wheel.

•  Title: Alertness monitor
Applicant: Sleep Diagnostics Pty Ltd, US
International application number: WO 03/039358
Are you worried about falling asleep while you are driving? If so, then the invention described in patent application WO 03/039358 could be one to look out for. The application details a device that uses infrared pulses to monitor eye movement. The system looks for factors such as slow or drifting eye movements, closing or drooping eyelids and loss of eye co-ordination. "The monitor provides an indication of the operator's legal fitness to operate the vehicle or machine from the point of view of drowsiness no matter how it is caused," say the inventors.

•  Title: Spectroscopic fluid analyzer
Applicant: S.A.E. Afikim Computerized Dairy Management System, Israel
International application number: WO 03/040704
Patent application WO 03/040704 describes an LED-based spectroscopy system capable of making absorption measurements of a flowing fluid. The system relies on a series of near infrared LEDs with overlapping wavelengths to make measurements over a broad spectrum. The LEDs illuminate the fluid sequentially and the instrument records transmission and reflectance intensities and scattering from the sample over the wavelength range of each LED. The system calculates the composition of the fluid by comparing the measured intensities with a large number of test samples containing known concentrations of components.

•  Title: Use of oxidic nanoparticles
Applicant: Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Germany
International application number: WO 03/040727
Nanoparticles with an oxidic ceramic core and a customized fluorescent coating are efficient emitters of ultraviolet light, according to application WO 03/040727. The inventors add that the nanoparticles are chemically-stable, non-toxic and can be suspended in water.

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

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