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Touch-Pad Code-Actuated Electrical Outlet

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000100808D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-16
Document File: 5 page(s) / 173K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Glass, DW: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

A device is described whereby an electrical outlet is equipped with a code-controlled touch-pad so as to provide users the ability to enable or disable power at the outlet. Described is the use of the touch-pad outlet in personal computer applications; however, the concept can be applied to many other uses.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 47% of the total text.

Touch-Pad Code-Actuated Electrical Outlet

       A device is described whereby an electrical outlet is
equipped with a code-controlled touch-pad so as to provide users the
ability to enable or disable power at the outlet. Described is the
use of the touch-pad outlet in personal computer applications;
however, the concept can be applied to many other uses.

      The touch-pad electrical outlet is designed to provide control
over the power supplied from an outlet.  Distinct benefits are
derived, such as safety, where a child would not receive electrical
shocks at the outlet unless the child can key-press an enabling code.
Unauthorized use is prohibited in that no one can use the power at
the outlet unless the proper code is entered.  Security is provided
through the use of the touch-pad controls.  It also protects
equipment, such that when the outlet is disabled, no electrical
surges, such as from lightning, can cause damage. In addition, safety
and security benefits are realized through current-usage monitoring
and ground-fault detection.

      Many devices are controlled from equipment, such as a personal
computer (PC), as shown in Fig.  1, where the PC is enclosed in
cabinet enclosure 1 along with various devices, such as monitor 2 and
a keyboard. Touch-pad electrical outlet 3 is shown in exploded view
in Fig.  2 and is designed to be mounted onto enclosure 1.
Typically, power cords from each of the devices are run to this
outlet. Outlet 3 is designed so that the plugs at the end of the
power cords are locked in place.  They cannot be removed from the
outlet without the proper entry of a security code. A light-emitting
diode (LED) is included inside each button. Although attached to the
outlet, the LEDs and the buttons can be designed using a cable so
that they do not have to be physically located onto the outlet panel.

      Details of touch-pad electrical outlet 3 are shown in Fig.  2.
Multiple AC sockets 4 provide the power strip. They are actuated by
multiple buttons 5 from a security code to turn on the power at the
sockets.  The AC power runs into outlet 3 from underneath through
cord 7 into power transistor unit 8 and control unit 9.  Rotating
column 10 is controlled by circular electromagnet 11, which, in turn,
controls position pins 12.  One pin is used at each socket. Since
plugs from the various devices have holes in their prongs, pins 12
engage into the holes to secure the plugs. When pins 12 are rotated
into the holes of the plugs, the plugs cannot be removed.  A security
code must be entered to enable rotation of the pins out of the way so
a that the plugs can be removed. Users would have the option of
leaving pins 12 in the open position; however, in this case an
unauthorized user could remove the plugs.  Pins 12 also prevent
plugging in a device unless rotated out of the way.

      A symbolic circuit representation of touch-pad outlet 3 is
shown in Fig.  3.  Discrete components are not...