SYSTEM FOR PERSONALIZED INDOOR MICROCLIMATES
1. A system for establishing a personalized microclimate in an enclosed space, comprising:
- a zone comprising;
a variable damper, wherein the first variable damper controls the flow of air through a first air duct outlet,a first wireless remote sensor, the first wireless remote sensor comprising a thermometer, hygrometer, and a human recognition sensor;
a second wireless remote, the second wireless remote sensor comprising a thermometer, hygrometer, and a human recognition sensor;
a control unit wirelessly coupled to the wireless remote sensors and the variable damper, the control unit comprising;
a memory configured to store a plurality of climate profiles, wherein each climate profile comprises a desired temperature, a desired humidity, and at least one user identifier;
a processor configured to;
receive, from the first wireless remote sensor, the identification of the human in the zone;
receive, from the first and second wireless remote sensors, measurements of the temperature and the humidity in the zone;
search for a match between the identification of the human in the zone with a first user identifier in a first climate profile;
if a match is found;
compare the desired temperature and humidity in the first climate profile with the temperature and humidity measured by the first and second wireless remote sensors;
instruct the variable damper to alter the flow of air into the zone if the temperature and humidity measurements from the first zone differ from the desired temperature and desired humidity settings in the first climate profile.
A network of wireless remote climate sensors in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system permits the creation of personalized microclimates within an enclosed space. In addition to collecting temperature and humidity data, the wireless remote climate sensors can detect whether the enclosed space is occupied by a human. Human detection is made possible by optional cameras, microphones, and gas sensors on the wireless remote climate sensors. As the human moves throughout the enclosed space, the HVAC system is able to track the human'"'"'s movement using the wireless remote climate sensors. The HVAC system may adjust airflow to different portions of the enclosed space based on the human'"'"'s location. The result is an efficient use of system resources to keep users at their ideal temperature.
- 1. A system for establishing a personalized microclimate in an enclosed space, comprising:
a zone comprising; a variable damper, wherein the first variable damper controls the flow of air through a first air duct outlet, a first wireless remote sensor, the first wireless remote sensor comprising a thermometer, hygrometer, and a human recognition sensor; a second wireless remote, the second wireless remote sensor comprising a thermometer, hygrometer, and a human recognition sensor; a control unit wirelessly coupled to the wireless remote sensors and the variable damper, the control unit comprising; a memory configured to store a plurality of climate profiles, wherein each climate profile comprises a desired temperature, a desired humidity, and at least one user identifier; a processor configured to; receive, from the first wireless remote sensor, the identification of the human in the zone; receive, from the first and second wireless remote sensors, measurements of the temperature and the humidity in the zone; search for a match between the identification of the human in the zone with a first user identifier in a first climate profile; if a match is found; compare the desired temperature and humidity in the first climate profile with the temperature and humidity measured by the first and second wireless remote sensors; instruct the variable damper to alter the flow of air into the zone if the temperature and humidity measurements from the first zone differ from the desired temperature and desired humidity settings in the first climate profile.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
- 8. A method for establishing a personalized microclimate in an enclosed space, the method comprising:
receiving, from a first wireless remote sensor, an identification of a human located in a first zone of an enclosed space; matching the identification of the human in the first zone with a first user identifier in first a climate profile; comparing a desired temperature saved in the first climate profile with a temperature measurement received from a wireless remote sensor located in the first zone; instructing a first variable damper located in the first zone to alter the flow of air into the first zone if the temperature and humidity measurements from the first zone differ from the desired temperature saved in the first climate profile.
- View Dependent Claims (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)
- 15. A wireless remote sensor for managing an indoor climate system, the wireless remote sensor comprising:
a housing that fits into a wall box; an environmental data collector, wherein the environmental data collector comprises a thermometer and a hygrometer; a memory configured to store data collected by the environmental data collector and a database of human identification characteristics; a networking interface configured to connect the wireless remote sensor to a wireless network; a processor coupled to the memory and the environmental data collector, the processor configured to; detect the presence of a human; compare characteristics of the detected human with the database of human identification characteristics stored in the memory; transmit, to a HVAC control unit, the identification of the human.
- View Dependent Claims (16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
This application claims priority benefit to provisional application No. 62/749,963 filed Oct. 24, 2018 entitled, “Wireless Remote Indoor Sensor for Home Automation.”
This disclosure relates generally to generally to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and methods of their use. More specifically, this disclosure relates to a wireless remote indoor sensor for HVAC automation.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are used to regulate environmental conditions within an enclosed space. A thermostat may connect to one or more HVAC units to move, cool, or heat air. Decisions on whether to increase or decrease airflow were traditionally made based on a temperature reading at the thermostat. Because airflow was increased or decreased throughout the system based on a temperature reading in only one isolated area of the enclosed space, hot or cool spots developed in other areas of the enclosed space. Dampers were introduced to restrict air flow to individual rooms to help remedy this shortcoming. However, damper users had to manually adjust the dampers in each room.
Automated dampers were eventually introduced. These automated dampers could include a temperature sensor to help provide a more accurate picture of local temperatures throughout a HVAC system. While an improvement over HVAC systems that make air flow decisions based on a single temperature reading at the thermostat, there are several shortcomings in HVAC systems making heating and cooling decisions based on a network of damper-associated sensors. This approach still gives a vague picture of the temperature map within the enclosed space. For example, a room in a house may only have a single damper. The single sensor cannot illustrate temperature imbalances across the room. Additionally, the location of the sensor at the damper is more accurately describing the temperature of the air exiting the damper rather than the ambient temperature that will be felt by occupants of the room. These factors result in air flow decisions that can exacerbate hot and cool spots in the enclosed space.
In an embodiment, a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system includes a network of wireless remote climate sensors to develop a complete heat map of an enclosed space. The remote climate sensor is configured to collect temperature and humidity data on a zone of the enclosed space. The HVAC system uses a network of these sensors to obtain data points across the enclosed space. The resulting heat map is used by the HVAC system to determine where to direct air in the enclosed space. By comparing the temperature and humidity at a specific remote climate sensor with the user'"'"'s desired temperature and humidity, the HVAC system can decide whether to increase or decrease the air flow through a variable damper that is located near the remote climate sensor. By conducting this analysis throughout the enclosed space and making incremental adjustments to the air flow in hot and cold spots in the enclosed space, the disclosed HVAC system provides even comfort to the user along with reduced energy consumption.
The integration of the wireless remote climate sensors with an HVAC system also permits the creation of personalized microclimates within the enclosed space. In addition to collecting temperature and humidity data, the wireless remote climate sensors can detect whether the enclosed space is occupied by a human. Human detection is made possible by optional cameras, microphones, and gas sensors on the wireless remote climate sensors. As the human moves throughout the enclosed space, the HVAC system is able to track the human'"'"'s movement using the wireless remote climate sensors. The HVAC system may adjust airflow to different portions of the enclosed space based on the human'"'"'s location. The result is an efficient use of system resources to keep users at their ideal temperature.
Certain embodiments may include none, some, or all of the above technical advantages. One or more other technical advantages may be readily apparent to one skilled in the art from the figures, descriptions, and claims included herein.
For a more complete understanding of the present disclosure, reference is now made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Embodiments of the present disclosure and its advantages are best understood by referring to
As described above, previous HVAC systems lacked the ability to accurately map temperatures across an enclosed space. The present disclosure details a climate sensor designed for installation with existing HVAC systems using a smart thermostat. These sensors form a wireless network that can provide an accurate climate map throughout the enclosed space. The disclosed HVAC system can leverage this network of sensors to make improved allocations of HVAC resources and eliminate hot and cool spots in the enclosed space. A further advantage of the sensor network is that the disclosed HVAC system can track users through different zones of the enclosed space and create a microclimate in the occupied zone while conserving system resources in the unoccupied zones of the enclosed space.
Generally, HVAC hardware 106 includes furnace 110, heat exchanger(s) 112, evaporator(s) 114, condensing unit(s) 116, and working-fluid conduit(s) 118. Furnace 110 heats up heat exchanger(s) 112. In turn, heat exchanger(s) 112 warm air before it enters air ducts 108 and is delivered to HVAC systems 102 and 104. Furnace 110 may use any of a number of heat sources. For example, furnace 110 might burn natural gas, propane, oil, or any other combustible compound. Alternatively, furnace 110 might use electric resistance or geo-thermal heat.
An evaporator 114 is generally any heat exchanger configured to provide heat transfer between air flowing through (or across) the evaporator 114 (i.e., air contacting an outer surface of one or more coils of the evaporator 114) and working fluid passing through the interior of the evaporator 114. The evaporator 114 may include one or more circuits. Working fluid generally flows from an evaporator 114 to a condensing unit 116 through fluid conduit 118. A portion of the HVAC hardware 106 is configured to move air across an evaporator 114 and into the air ducts 108 as conditioned airflow.
Working-fluid conduit 118 facilitates the movement of a working fluid (e.g., a refrigerant) through a cooling cycle. The working fluid may be any acceptable working fluid including, but not limited to, fluorocarbons (e.g. chlorofluorocarbons), ammonia, non-halogenated hydrocarbons (e.g. propane), hydroflurocarbons (e.g. R-410A), or any other suitable type of refrigerant.
A condensing unit 116 is generally comprised of a compressor, a condenser, and a fan. In some embodiments, a condensing unit 116 is an outdoor unit while other components of HVAC hardware 106 may be located indoors. The condensing unit 116 is configured to facilitate movement of the working fluid through the working-fluid conduit 118. The condenser is generally located downstream of the compressor and is configured to remove heat from the working fluid. The fan is configured to move air across the condenser. For example, the fan may be configured to blow outside air through the condenser to help cool the working fluid flowing therethrough.
The compressed, cooled working fluid flows from the condenser toward an expansion device. The expansion device is coupled to the working-fluid conduit 118 downstream of the condenser and is configured to remove pressure from the working fluid. In this way, the working fluid is delivered to an evaporator 114 and receives heat from airflow to produce a conditioned airflow that is delivered by air ducts 108 to the conditioned space of HVAC systems 102 and 104. The HVAC hardware 106 may include additional components or may omit one or more components shown in
Air ducts 108 are distributed throughout the building and use variable dampers 120 as outlets into the building. Variable dampers 120 are valves used to control air flow out of air ducts 108. Dampers 120 may comprise a single flap that can rotate about the centerline of the flap. In the closed position, the single flap completely obstructs the flow of air out of a variable damper 120. As the flap is rotated about its centerline, airflow increases through variable damper 120 until the flap reaches the fully open position. The flap can rotate up to 180 degrees from its initial closed position. This allows variable damper 120 to vary the direction in which the airflow is directed as well as the rate of air flow. Alternatively, variable dampers 120 may comprise several rotatable blades instead of a single flap. In the closed position, the blades meet edge-to-edge to completely obstruct the flow of air out of variable damper 120. Rotation of the blades increases airflow out of variable damper 120. Rotation of the blades in one direction or the other can be used to change the direction of airflow.
In the present disclosure, any mention of opening or closing a damper does not necessarily mean placing the damper in the fully closed or fully open positions. Opening or closing the damper refers to the act of increasing the degree to which the flap or blades have moved toward the fully open or fully closed positions.
Movement of the flap or blades in a variable damper 120 is performed by a motor. Each variable damper 120 also includes a temperature and humidity sensor. An integrated radio allows variable dampers 120 to wirelessly communicate with a control unit 124, which is described in detail below. Control unit 124 wirelessly controls the motor in damper 120 to alter the position of the flap or blades. The temperature and humidity data collected at variable damper 120 is wirelessly transmitted to control unit 124.
In addition to variable dampers 120, HVAC systems 102 and 104 include wireless climate sensors 122 and control units 124. Climate sensors 122 collect temperature and humidity data. The climate sensors 122 can be installed throughout an enclosed space to provide accurate climate data across various portions of the enclosed space. The climate sensors 122 are designed so that they may be installed in pre-existing wall boxes. For example, a climate sensor 122 may be installed in an electrical outlet box in place of a standard electrical outlet. Alternatively, a climate sensor 122 may be installed in a light switch box in place of a standard light switch. The climate sensors 122 can wirelessly communicate with the variable dampers 120 and the control unit 124. Variable dampers 120, climate sensors 122, and control unit 124 may communicate with a variety of wireless protocols. For example, the elements in a single HVAC system may communicate using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The structure and function of climate sensor 122 is discussed in more detail below with respect to
HVAC systems 102 and 104 include separate control units 124. The control unit 124 in HVAC system 102 controls the temperature and airflow through HVAC system 102 while the control unit 124 pictured in HVAC system 104 controls the temperature and airflow through HVAC system 104. While the example in
One example of a control unit 124 is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are thermostats with wireless networking capabilities. For example, control unit 124 may connect to the internet using Wi-Fi and with other devices using Bluetooth. Alternative protocols utilizing radio or optical frequencies can also be employed. Control unit 124 additionally includes a memory for storing climate profiles and other user settings. Control unit 124 may also access a cloud database for storing climate profiles and user settings.
User settings stored at control unit 124 include a desired temperature. The user settings may also include timers for changing the temperature from a first desired temperature to a second desired temperature. To factor in the effect of humidity on how a temperature feels to a human, the user settings may include a “feels like” temperature. This “feels like” temperature is represented as ET in the following equation: ET=T0+w*im*LR*(Pa−RHs*PETs). The symbols in the “feels like” equation assume the values listed in the tables below.
Since PETs (saturated vapor pressure at the ET) is not known until the ET is calculated, it is appropriate to use a first guess of 0.5, then calculate the ET, and re-calculate the PETS. This is done repeatedly until the successive calculations of ET converge to the third decimal place.
In addition to user settings, control unit 124 may store climate profiles 126. Climate profiles 126 allow each potential user to save climate settings that can be applied when that user is present. Each climate profile 126 includes at least one user identifier 128. For example, the user identifier 128 might be biometric data, such the user'"'"'s face, voice, retina, or fingerprint. The user identifier 128 may include a list of wireless devices associated with the user. Each climate profile includes that user'"'"'s preferred temperature setting 130. Climate profiles 126 also contain a preemption value 132 to be used when control unit 124 applies an arbitration logic 134 in the scenario where more than one user with a climate profile 126 is detected in a zone. The preemption value 132 may be any value equal to or greater than one. It is possible that multiple climate profiles 126 have the same preemption value 132.
The arbitration logic 134 is a setting stored in control unit 124 that may be changed by a user with administrative privileges. The arbitration logic 134 is a set of rules for control unit 124 to apply when it detects multiple users with climate profiles 126. For example, the arbitration logic 134 might be a rule that the climate profile 126 retrieved by control unit 124 with the lowest preemption value 132 will always have its settings applied regardless of any other occupants who may have a climate profile 126. Numerous different arbitration rules may be programmed to suit the needs of the users. Additional explanation of how an arbitration logic 134 operates is provided below with respect to
Control unit 124 is configured to receive user input in several ways. A user can alter settings in control unit 124 by interacting with a touch screen or with physical control buttons on the control unit 124. A user can also remotely change settings in control unit 124 though a mobile web application. Additional detail about the function of control unit 124 is provided below in the discussion related to
The one or more processors 202 are configured to process data and may be implemented in hardware or software. For example, the processors 202 may be 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit or of any other suitable architecture. The processors 202 may include an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) for performing arithmetic and logic operations, processor registers that supply operands to the ALU and store the results of ALU operations, and a control unit that fetches instructions from memory and executes them by directing the coordinated operations of the ALU, registers and other components.
Memory 204 represents any suitable combination of hardware and software configured to store data. The components of memory 204 may comprise volatile memory and/or non-volatile memory. A volatile memory medium may include volatile storage. For example, the volatile storage may include random access memory (RAM), dynamic RAM (DRAM), static RAM (SRAM), and/or extended data out RAM (EDO RAM), among others. In one or more embodiments, a non-volatile memory may include non-volatile storage. For example, the non-volatile storage may include read only memory (ROM), programmable ROM (PROM), erasable PROM (EPROM), electrically erasable PROM (EEPROM), a magnetic storage medium (e.g., a hard drive, a floppy disk, a magnetic tape, etc.), ferroelectric RAM (FRAM), flash memory, a solid state drive (SSD), non-volatile RAM (NVRAM), a one-time programmable (OTP) memory, and/or optical storage (e.g., a compact disc (CD), a digital versatile disc (DVD), a BLU-RAY disc (BD), etc.), among others. The term “memory medium” may mean a “memory device,” a “memory,” a “storage device,” a “tangible computer readable storage medium,” and/or a “computer-readable medium.”
Memory 204 is generally configured to temporarily store data received from microphone 208, camera 210, environmental data collector 212, and speakers 220. Memory 204 also stores instructions, executable on processor 202, for operating microphone 208, camera 210, environmental data collector 212, speakers 220, face plate 222, and button panel 224. This includes a voice digitizer and video processing firmware. Memory 204 may also store various programs such as facial recognition software.
Wireless interface 206 allows climate sensor 122 to wirelessly send and receive data with other devices, including variable dampers 120 and control units 124. Wireless interface 206 further allows the climate sensor 122 to join a wireless internet network. Wireless interface 206 may use any suitable wireless or optical communication protocol, including Bluetooth, ZigBee, an 802.11 standard, or any other appropriate protocol.
Environmental data collector 212 is a sensor array that includes a temperature sensor 214 and a humidity sensor 216. The humidity sensor 216 may be any type of hygrometer including any capacitive, resistive, thermal, gravimetric or any other suitable hygrometer. The temperature sensor 214 may be any sensor operable to measure the temperature of an environment, including, for example an electronic thermometer. Alternate embodiments of environmental data collector 212 also includes a gas detector 218. The gas detector 218 may be any sensor suitable for detecting the presence and concentration of a gas. For example, the sensor may be a combustible gas sensor, a photoionization detector, an infrared point sensor, an ultrasonic sensor, an electrochemical gas sensor, or a semiconductor sensor. The gas detector 218 can measure the presence of gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane.
In one embodiment face plate 222 is a device operable to display information and receive user input. For example, face plate 222 may be a touch screen with a liquid crystal or OLED display. The touch screen may be any variety of touch screen, including, for example resistive touch, surface capacitive, projected capacitive, surface acoustic wave touch, or infrared touch. In certain embodiments, touch screen installed as face plate 222 is used to operate a light. When wireless climate sensor 122 is installed in a pre-existing light switch box, wireless climate sensor 122 may serve as an electronic switch. The light wiring is removed from the previous light switch and installed at power junction 226. A physical switch can be depicted on the screen and wireless climate sensor 122 will alter the lighting based on manipulation of the switch depicted on the screen. Alternatively, the touch screen may respond to hand gestures for adjusting power to the light regardless of what is depicted on touch screen.
Because wireless climate sensor 122 is also designed to fit in wall boxes other than light switch boxes, face plate 222 may be replaced with one of several functional or decorative faceplates. For example, a solid faceplate may be used to minimize the appearance of wireless climate sensor 122. In an alternate embodiment, face plate 222 may include electrical outlet sockets.
Additional details about the function of microphone 208, camera 210, speakers 220, and button 224 are included below in the discussions of
At step 406 the control unit 124 determines whether the HVAC system 102 is set to heat or cool. To illustrate, consider a scenario where the HVAC system 102 is set to cool. Now the control unit 124 proceeds to step 408 where it retrieves the user settings and compares it to the climate data received from the climate sensors and variable dampers. In this example the user setting in control unit 124 is an ambient temperature of 70° F. The temperature measurements received from climate sensors from the first climate zone (climate sensor 302, climate sensor 304, and variable damper 306) are 71° F., from the second climate zone (climate sensor 308, climate sensor 310, and variable damper 312) are 68° F., and from the third climate zone (climate sensor 314, climate sensor 316, climate sensor 318, and variable damper 320) are 73° F. Control unit 124 determines that climate zones one and three exceed the user settings and that climate zone two is below the user settings. Because the temperature measurements from climate zones one and three exceed the user settings, control unit 124 advances to step 410 and increases the airflow to zones one and three. Control unit 124 accomplishes this by wirelessly transmitting instructions to variable dampers 306 and 320 to increase the degree to which the damper is open. Because the temperature in zone three is greater than the temperature in zone one, variable damper 320 is ordered to open to a greater degree than variable damper 306. Because the temperature measurements from climate zone two fall below the user settings, control unit 124 advances to step 412 and decreases the airflow to zone two. Control unit 124 accomplishes this by wirelessly transmitting instructions to variable damper 312.
While the previous example addressed how method 400 operates when a temperature imbalance arises between the user settings and the different climate zones, alternate scenarios may arise where the various climate sensors in a climate zone do not return the same temperature measurement. This indicates an uneven heat map across the localized climate zone. To illustrate, assume that the user setting for temperature is 68° F. and the HVAC system 102 is set to heat. This example will focus on climate zone three (climate sensor 314, climate sensor 316, climate sensor 318, and variable damper 320) for the sake of simplicity. At step 402 climate sensors 314 and 316 measure the temperature as 70° F. Climate sensor 318 measures the temperature as 67° F. Variable damper 320 measures the temperature as 68° F. At step 404, the collected climate data is sent to control unit 124 as described in the previous example. Control unit 124 determines that HVAC system 102 is set to heat. Proceeding to step 414, control unit 124 and compares the sensor measurements to the user setting of 68° F. Because climate sensors 314 and 316 measured the temperature as greater than the user setting, control unit 124 proceeds to step 416 to decrease the air flow to the locations of climate sensors 314 and 316. Because climate sensor 318 measured the temperature as less than the user setting, control unit 124 proceeds to step 418 to increase airflow to the location of climate sensor 318. This example deviates from the previous example in that control unit 124 must instruct variable damper 320 to do more than just increase the opening of the damper. Control unit 124 must also instruct variable damper 320 on which direction to rotate the damper opening so that the flow of air is increased in the direction of climate sensor 318 while the flow of air is decreased to climate sensors 314 and 316.
While the user device in
Returning to the example in
This process is straightforward when only a single profile is detected in a zone. The climate settings in that profile will apply. There may be scenarios where humans are detected in a zone but control unit 124 does not find an associated climate profile. For example, a climate sensor 122 might detect a new Bluetooth capable device, indicating that someone entered the zone, but when the control unit 124 receives the device ID for this new Bluetooth capable device the control unit 124 does not find a match with any of the device IDs listed in the climate profiles. Control unit 124 will retrieve a set of default climate settings to apply in cases like this where an occupant enters a zone but cannot be identified.
Returning to the example of
While this example assumed that the climate sensors in zone 514 measured a consistent 74° F. across the zone, there will be cases in which there is a temperature gradient across the zone. The methods discussed in
An alternate embodiment of the HVAC system 102 pictured in
When someone speaks, climate sensor 122 picks up the voice signal using microphone 208. Voice digitizer module 702 converts the voice into a digital signal and transfers it to transmission module 704 which packetizes and sends the digital voice signal over wireless link 706, for example using Wi-Fi, to control unit 124. Control unit 124 relays the digital voice signal to smart device 708. Smart device 708 receives the digital voice signal and executes the instructions.
The previous example of system 700 requires depends on smart device 708 being able to receive digital commands in place of audible commands. An alternate embodiment of system 700 avoids potential incompatibility issues by leveraging the climate sensor network as an intercom system. The initial steps of voice detection by a climate sensor 122 and processing of the signal are the same. This alternate embodiment deviates from the previous example following the receipt of the digital voice signal at control unit 124. Instead of sending the signal directly to the smart device 708, control unit 124 analyzes the voice signal to determine which climate sensor is nearest to the destination smart device 708. Control unit 124 then transmits the digital voice signal to that climate sensor 122 using a wireless link 706 such as Wi-Fi. The destination climate sensor 122 receives the digital voice signal, converts the signal to analog using a DAC module, and emits the analog signal through speaker 220. The audio signal emitted from speaker 220 reaches the smart device 708 as if the user was speaking near the smart device 708.
System 800 is centered around wireless bridge 802. Wireless bridge 802 is the network formed by a plurality of wireless climate sensors 122 and a control unit 124. Details on the structure and function of climate sensors 122 and control unit 124 may be found in the discussion of
Cloud database 804 is a remote operating system for an HVAC system. Home automation systems 806 and 814 comprise at least one control device paired with at least one home appliance. For example, home automation system 806 may comprise a mobile control application on a smartphone that controls the operation of lights and ceiling fans in a house. Home automation system 814 comprises a mobile control application on a smartphone that controls televisions and audio appliances in the house. The controllers for home automation systems 806 and 814 are not interoperable.
Virtual assistant devices 810 and 812 are likewise incapable of operating together. Each virtual assistant device 810 and 812 is a software agent embedded in the operating system of a smart device that can perform tasks based on audible commands or questions. Virtual assistant device 810 can control other smart devices using the same operating system as virtual assistant device 810, and virtual assistant device 812 can control other smart devices using the same operating system as virtual assistant device 812.
Users can harmonize these disparate home automation systems and virtual assistant devices using wireless bridge 802. For example, a user provides a command to a virtual assistant device 810. Virtual assistant device 810 transmits instructions for carrying out the command to control unit 124 of wireless bridge 802. Control unit 802 determines which that the appliance to which the command applies is controlled by home automation system 814. Control unit 124 then translates the command from the protocol used by virtual assistant 810 to that of home automation system 814. Control unit then sends the translated command to home automation system 814. The command may be sent directly to home automation system 814, or in the case where home automation system 814 can only send and receive wireless signals from short range, control unit 814 may identify which of the climate sensors 122 is nearest the home automation system 814 and use that climate sensor 122 to relay the command to home automation system 814.
Modifications, additions, or omissions may be made to the methods described herein without departing from the scope of the disclosure. The methods may include more, fewer, or other steps. Additionally, steps may be performed in any suitable order.
Although this disclosure has been described in terms of certain embodiments, alterations and permutations of the embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the above description of the embodiments does not constrain this disclosure. Other changes, substitutions, and alterations are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure.
While several embodiments have been provided in the present disclosure, it should be understood that the disclosed systems and methods might be embodied in many other specific forms without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. The present examples are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the intention is not to be limited to the details given herein. For example, the various elements or components may be combined or integrated in another system or certain features may be omitted, or not implemented.
In addition, techniques, systems, subsystems, and methods described and illustrated in the various embodiments as discrete or separate may be combined or integrated with other systems, modules, techniques, or methods without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. Other items shown or discussed as coupled or directly coupled or communicating with each other may be indirectly coupled or communicating through some interface, device, or intermediate component whether electrically, mechanically, or otherwise. Other examples of changes, substitutions, and alterations are ascertainable by one skilled in the art and could be made without departing from the spirit and scope disclosed herein.
To aid the Patent Office, and any readers of any patent issued on this application in interpreting the claims appended hereto, applicants note that they do not intend any of the appended claims to invoke 35 U.S.C. § 122(f) as it exists on the date of filing hereof unless the words “means for” or “step for” are explicitly used in the particular claim.