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Patents are a virtue: second screens, free rides and convertible heels

AJ Park patent specialists Anton Blijlevens and Jillian Lim touch on some of the interesting patents to look out for on the shelves.

Why the back of your phone is just a waste of space

One screen on your phone is not enough – you need another one on the back of your phone. This way, no matter how your phone is lying on the table, your notifications are always visible.

Even better, make the second screen a low-power bi-stable screen like an e-Ink screen. You can then save and display maps, shopping lists, photos or important notes on the second screen even when the phone is turned off. The phone essentially doubles as an e-reader.

This patent application, US 20130222208, belongs to Yota Devices and relates to their Yota phone which was recently released in several European countries.

It’s an interesting, innovative concept, and deceptively simple in hindsight. Kudos to Yota Devices for remembering to protect their idea.

Would you like a free ride with that?

One of Google’s recently patented advertising strategies really puts the customer’s convenience at the forefront.

Imagine receiving an advertisement on your phone like the one below, clicking “yes”, and getting whisked away to the restaurant on a taxi. All for free. No hassles looking for parking or waiting for the bus.

The method, as described in US 8,630,897, is an extension of Google AdWords’ current ad bidding strategy. The advertiser places a bid, generally being the maximum price it is willing to pay to have a customer matching its target profile arrive at its business location. For example, the bid could be dependent on the target customer’s gender, current location, interests or purchasing history. 

A server has access to a bunch of target customer profiles. The server would also have transportation data to calculate the cost of transport a customer to a business location.

The server would then conduct an auction on the various bids available and select a winning advertiser. If there is only one advertiser, the server would determine whether the advertiser’s bid is greater than the estimated cost to transport the customer to the advertiser’s business location. If there are two advertisements matching the same the target customer’s profile, the server would determine the winning advertiser based on transport costs as well as each advertiser’s bid.

In search of the convertible high heel

The concept of shoes with convertible or replaceable heels is not new – anyone who has had to wear high heels for an unanticipated, extended period of time would certainly have come up with the idea at some stage. But there are technical reasons why such shoes are not currently readily available in stores. The challenge is developing a secure, yet reversible connection between shoe and heel. Additionally, the ergonomics of the rest of the shoe, so that it can comfortably be worn with various heel heights needs to be considered.

Patent US 8,505,218, recently granted to Barbara-Jay’s, focuses on a secure connection between the heel and shoe. The patent claims a recess in the heel portion of the sole, with two curved, tapered grooves extending from the recess. The removable heel has a locking projection which matches the shape of the recess, as well as two components (such as ball bearings) attached via springs to the locking projection. When the heel is rotated into the recess, the ball bearings travel along the grooves, tightening the connection between heel and sole.


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