Browse Prior Art Database

Key With LCD Indicator

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000036306D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-28
Document File: 2 page(s) / 51K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Marks, LV: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

This article describes a key mechanism in which the key has a liquid crystal display (LCD) imbedded in it that is used to keep track of the number of key insertions in the key lock housing.

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Key With LCD Indicator

This article describes a key mechanism in which the key has a liquid crystal display (LCD) imbedded in it that is used to keep track of the number of key insertions in the key lock housing.

A liquid crystal display can be imbedded in a key, since thin LCD displays are readily available. In one embodiment of the mechanism of this disclosure a small watch-sized LCD indicator is imbedded in an ordinary-sized house key (or key for an office desk, terminal, safe, etc.). In addition to the small display, there are two small contacts located towards the front tip of the key on either side of the key. When the key is inserted into a lock, a very small current flows from the lock and activates the LCD display. Alternatively, the key itself can have solar cells and rechargeable batteries.

Another embodiment (not shown) can be a simple counter in the lock that increments every time a key is inserted. It serially transmits its value to the LCD in the key each time the key is inserted, over a two-wire interface. Both power and signal information can be provided over the same two-wire interface. The counter and LCD can be put in the key, and that implies that a battery or non- volatile memory is available to maintain the count.

This mechanism can be used for a number of purposes such as tabulating the use of a place or device which it unlocks. This can be for accounting purposes or for projections of usage. An example of this would be for unlocking a personal computer. The key with a LCD readout would indicate to the user the numb...