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Device fault navigation using tags and mobile devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236336D
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This idea proposes a system that synchronizes a mobile device (smartphone) with a physical device (including an MFD - Multifunctional Device) via tags mounted on the physical device. The tag could be a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag. The mobile device touches the tag which gives it a relative position to the physical device. This relative position can be used to display information about the physical device. This idea can work on any physical device, but for an MFD, this application can direct a user to a problem area as part of the process to remedy the problem. Benefits of the proposal include having more detailed information displayed about the inner mechanics of the physical device than can be displayed on the device itself. This extra information may make it easier to find an area of the machine or diagnose and correct a device problem.

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Device fault navigation using tags and mobile devices

This idea proposes a system that synchronizes a mobile device (smartphone) with a physical device (including an MFD - Multifunctional Device) via tags mounted on the physical device. The tag could be a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag. The mobile device touches the tag which gives it a relative position to the physical device. This relative position can be used to display information about the physical device. This idea can work on any physical device, but for an MFD, this application can direct a user to a problem area as part of the process to remedy the problem. Benefits of the proposal include having more detailed information displayed about the inner mechanics of the physical device than can be displayed on the device itself. This extra information may make it easier to find an area of the machine or diagnose and correct a device problem.

Multifunction devices incorporate a range of hardware components. These components might be power switches, USB ports, paper trays, document feeders, bypass trays, or other features. Not all users are aware of the existence of these components and their location in the device. A paper jam near the bypass tray means the user needs to know where the bypass tray is and how to clear such jams and so forth. Even visual aids, where they can be displayed on the machine, can be hard for users to interpret in practice. This complicates the operation of the devices.

The idea allows a user to move a mobile device around an MFD, starting from a reference point, to detect where MFD components are located. The user can navigate in this way to find faults at particular positions on or within the MFD, such as paper jams, or to locate other features. The user starts by touching the mobile device onto a tag on the device, such as an NFC tag, which provides a reference point and also identifies the device model. After this, the mobile device guides the user to navigate to the fault or feature location, using mobile sensors (e.g. the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass etc.).  The relative position is calculated, compared to the reference point provided by the tag, and mapped against a detailed device model specification.  Fault events can be retrieved via a network management protocol like SNMP, and located using the device specification. Visual, haptic (e.g. vibration) or audible feedback guides the user in how to move the mobile and when to stop. Extra tags may be used for more reference points, e.g. on each tray or door. Visual feedback reveals the inner components of the MFD based on information gleaned from SNMP (e.g. pinch rollers) as the mobile device hovers.

Tags which can be read by mobile devices have many applications.  These tags take multiple forms, such as NFC/RFID tags, or Bluetooth tags, or printed tags like QR codes or other visually encoded forms.  The tags may be read-only, or both readable and writeable.  It is only important for the discussion...