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Can you help me develop my invention?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by poorfornow, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post ever. I am an electronics noob and so I hope that this forum will not find me an irritation. I will gracefully bow out if I am one.

    I have thought of a potential invention. This introduces the first major issue when asking for your help. I cannot explain the full context of this potential invention. I am sorry for this
    limitation and I hope you guys can still advise me.

    I am trying to keep my ideas as open as I can and perhaps you guys can help me evolve them into something that works. At the moment the idea is only at it's most rudimentary stage.

    I may as well ask a first question or move towards a question and assume you guys don't mind.

    I am looking at the area of communicating with devices via the mobile phone. The phone will generally be nearby, not more than say 6 ft away but it would be cool if it could operate at distances up to the 'average' house size. I am aware that house size is a rough estimate and that within a house there are obstacles to communication distance.

    The traffic of communication does not have to be two way. As long as the phone can tell the device something, then that is probably ok ( I am assuming that two way comms involves more parts and more money per unit). Since I am keeping my mind open then two way may be good but I largely believe that it won't be necessary.

    The communication to the receiver device may be only a very simple data transfer, it does not have to transfer large data at all ( I am hoping that this will mean less complexity thus smaller size of receiver component, which is an important factor.)

    I am aware that bluetooth is a common system for communications like these and I wondered about general RF devices (which may be cheaper, smaller and have more useful range?).

    I wanted a receiver which could be receive only from a particular phone, or in some other way tethered some particular way to some single id.

    Can anyone give me any advice or pointers or ideas relating to these issues? I hope that they are not too vauge to comment on productively.

    Regards to the forum and especially to anyone who cares to read and/or comment.
     
  2. BobK

    BobK

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    Actually WiFi would make more sense for what you want then bluetooth. It has the range to cover a whole house.

    By the way, I suspect your invention already exists.

    Bob
     
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    I have a bluetooth connection between a solar inverter and my PC that are at opposite ends of the house. Depending on the transmitter and receiver, bluetooth does not have to be limited to a couple of metres.

    I have a sad story to tell you about "inventions"...
     
  4. donkey

    donkey

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    Feb 26, 2011
    I was looking at this and thought wifi would be better too as depending on the type of router you can password the crap out of it. username and password can be hidden and rotated as security requirements change.
    bluetooth is a great idea as long as the only phone you want connected to the device never leaves the bluetooth range which opens it up to other people being able to pair the device. (at work I actually love repairing devices for fun with our retailers.)
    the last option could be a gsm module which costs the same as texting but that is more worldwide than just house hold
     
  5. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks Bob for taking the time to reply. I am pretty sure that this invention does not exist yet but will pay more attention to researching the possibility that it does, now that you have prompted me.

    I cannot assume that a wifi signal always exists around the end user and so this option may have limitations. I would prefer a more independent solution if possible. Restraints of size are vital and also I didn't mention an important parameter, which is that the device will have to have it's own power source. I guess this means more size and weight.

    I guess this further limits the potential range of the device.
     
  6. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks for your time Steve.

    The transmitter would have to be a mobile phone and the receiver should be self powered and as small as possible. Am I correct in the general principles that reducing the size of a unit, is proportional to reduction in range and increase in cost ?

    Apart from the emotional pain that you might endure having to recount your sad story about ""inventions"", I would love to hear it.

    Is it related to a comment I once heard about patenting inventions: "that a patent is only as good as the amount of money you are prepared to spend defending it" ?

    Regards.
     
  7. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks for taking time to reply donkey.

    Am I right in thinking that wifi would require the user to be within range of a wifi network that was free to use?

    Is it the case then, that one cannot exclusively pair ones phone to a bluetooth receiver?

    A gsm module? Can they be real cheap and real small? Were they used in the old Pagers? How small can a pager be when stripped down and without a screen?

    I should migrate the spec away from use within a home as it seems to be directing folk toward considerations of routers and personal wifi networks/equipment. It really needs to be a mobile device.

    Regards,
     
  8. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks Raven for that little homework reference.

    Am I correct in thinking that the larger range bluetooth implementation would require a larger and more power hungry receiver? More expensive components?

    Regarding the shorter range bluetooth technology. Do you know how sensitive are these signals to barriers such as walls and to barriers such as clothes in the 2 metre radius?

    Regards
     
  9. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks guys for your attention and considerations thus far. It has been kind of you to give time to my vague problem.

    Thus far, bluetooth seems to be standing out as more applicable as it may be cheaper, with low power requirements.

    As regards the potential requirement for the receiver to be tethered or exclusive to a particular phone or app on a phone. Could the phone ask the nearby bluetooth devices including the target device (my receiver) the following: "if you are device number 221248 then perform this command"?

    I am assuming now that bluetooth maintains an open protocol where one cannot stop other devices (eg phones) connecting to your bluetooth receiver if they are in range of it.

    Regards all.
     
  10. cjdelphi

    cjdelphi

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    no offense, but your idea however great is worthless if you can't explain exactly what it does, you can't patent an idea, come up with a circuit and some designs, sure, but you're being overly protective.

    there's so many ways of communicating with near by devices, bluetooth, wifi, or something like the NRF24L01 series chipset..

    for ease, stick with bluetooth, I use blueterm on my my android and have it control my house lights / and or relays or open a garage door.

    it's all been done before...
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  11. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    No, you can just WiFi between 2 devices. That IS your network, just those devices

    As donkey said, its pretty much all been done before

    At my workplace, equip I work on uses both WiFi and Bluetooth
    Bluetooth for distances out to ~ 10 metres max and wifi out to ~ 200-250 metres
    the gear in its various forms is used for robotic control and also remote control of specialist GPS receivers and transmitters

    Dave
     
  12. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Hi cjdelphi,

    I can understand a certain frustration in a person asking for advice but being unwilling to fully describe the problem space they want advice about. I am not sure what you mean by the statement that it has "all been done before".

    I can understand that bluetooth comms and wifi comms and other comms have been 'done before' but since you do not know what my potential invention is (my specific application of this technology) then it is surely precocious to suggest that it has been done before.

    Also, since I am aware that often in the world of invention, it is often only a matter of being first to market that is important as many ideas will simply be copied quickly by the Chinese for one; therefore it would probably be unwise to explain the idea to others. Additionally if it came to matters of patent then it would have been very unwise to have shared the ideas without any kind of "legally binding " non disclosure agreement in place etc. Surely these issues are invention 101 these days.

    I can understand that there may be many ways of communicating with devices and this is mostly why I am here to attempt an understanding of that space and to elicit more clarity on the efficacy of my idea, as I attempted to explain in my initial post.

    Out of the many ways of communicating with a device I mainly wish to focus on what can be made smallest (including it's power supply) , cheapest. (though economies of scale/volume may come in to play here) and with enough power to do it's job which will be some kind of very simple command transfer between it and a phone which it is uniquely identified with.

    Thanks for expanding the potential repertoire of devices by mentioning NRF24L01 .:)
     
  13. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Hi Dave, thanks for your contribution.

    There seem to be many stating that things have all been done before. I am hearing this so often in such a short time I have to ask what this means? I cannot believe that you guys are suggesting all applications of these kinds of technology have all been invented.

    Could you speculate on how small a self powered device may be? Is the bluetooth range drastically reduced by physical obstacles? Can you get really small wifi receivers, with a tiny power supply? What about the NRF24L01 series of devices?

    Which of these can be smallest, together with really small power requirements?

    Regards.
     
  14. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    They all vary in size greatly, depending on your ability to manufacture it. wifi and BT in mobile phones are really small but millions of $$ have been sment on miniaturising them

    for the avg home constructor smallest to largest would be BT --> NRF24L01 --> wifi
    but if want really low volts and current supply then that is going to be the final determining factor for any range that you can achieve between the 2 units

    we are all saying that its been done before because when boiled down to it, its JUST a digital radio link nothing more nothing less. The equip you have connected to the radio link modems can be whatever you like.

    so without knowing anything more specific about what you want to connect to the radio link you have probably got all the info that you can get. :)

    cheers
    Dave
     
  15. donkey

    donkey

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    Feb 26, 2011
    poorfornow. another thing that has aided me is there are people who can help with the copyright side of things. A company here in australia showed me that if I can prove I cameup with an idea first thenIget copyright protection to certain extents.and placing your idea on a website isa great way to get proof of when you came up with the idea.

    anyway if you want to know how small wifi can get have alook at a USB wifi adapter. these run of 5v(as do all usb) and can be as small as a standard usb thumbdrive
     
  16. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks Dave,

    I am not aiming at home construction apart from prototyping and proof of concept. The overall concept is dependent on physical size with power supply. I still haven't found out about the possible difficulties of making a bluetooth receiver exclusive to a mobile phone it is linked to, without other devices being able to communicate with it, can this be done?

    I wanted to know how small these receivers in mobiles can be and whether they are commercially available.

    Is it easy to build a receiver unit and make it respond to a particular phone? Is phone programming an accessible activity for people on this board?
     
  17. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks Donkey,

    The copyright thing is interesting. I am wary however after watching enough Dragons Den (uk). There was the idea presented of the mobile phone Bungi which was a simple rubber tether for the mobile which reduced the chances of a mobile being dropped and hitting th floor. The dragons did invest even though they explained how quickly the idea would be copied by the Chinese. They did so because of the money that could be made in the immediate term by being first to market. I understand that this is frustrating for those trying to advise on technology and even though I explained this understanding throughout my posts, I can sense the frustration and possibly annoyance seeping through.

    I must again, apologise to members for such frustration and annoyance.

    Dave said that BT is smaller than NRF24L01 which is smaller than wifi, would you recommend wifi for miniaturisation? The small stuff they use in mobiles, is this stuff available for manufacturers of other equipment? Could I run anything on the smallest of button cells?

    Regards,
     
  18. donkey

    donkey

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    Feb 26, 2011
    the fun part is that if its out there already... its out there already. what I mean by this is if you know mobile phones have wifi in them then you can find someone with that module.
    when you present your item for patenting you will look at distribution and some of the big electronic warehouses might be interested in developing your item and making it smaller.
    another side is talking to people like cocacola on here who does this for a living (cost is there too). he might be able to show you how small wifi or bluetooth can get.
    if you have a project in mind feel free to give us power requirements and overall size and we could probably help you out. feel free to pm me and I might be able to give more definitive answers... but I am a noob in comparison to some of the members here
     
  19. poorfornow

    poorfornow

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    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks Donkey,

    You have been really cool with both the invention side of things and the limitations I felt the need to apply to my posts. I will think about all you have said. I must retire as it is
    2 a.m. here and the kids need an awake dad tomorrow.

    Cheers for now. :cool:
     
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