Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Facebook wireless wake-up patent (US 8,644,892)

Today, US Patent Office awarded Facebook a patent on a wireless device with a passive RFID tag that can trigger different power modes. In one scenario, when your iPhone is in sleep mode it receives a wake-up call from an RFID reader, powers up the main battery, and transfers the data from the tag to the device.

Again, the easiest way to explain the patent is through the train analogy we used in Scalable Innovation (Chapter 3). 

Imagine that instead of wireless devices and Radio Frequency signals you are running a train station operation. You also have a telegraph machine that allows you to receive and read telegrams from neighboring stations. It's early in the morning; no major load-unload processes are in progress; the only half-awake person in the building is one Thomas Alva Edison, your trainee telegraph operator.
Suddenly, his telegraph machine starts chattering and he receives a telegram from a neighboring station that a big train is departing toward you. Mr. Edison reads the telegram, wakes up your station crew, and reads the contents of the telegram to the station manager.

In the Facebook patent, the wireless device is your train station in wake up or sleep mode. The RFID tag is Edison with his telegraph apparatus. First, he can receive a telegram that no trains are coming and send everybody home. Then, the tag receives a wake-up signal from an RFID reader (the neighboring station) and transfers the contents of the signal (the telegram) to the main memory with a processor (the manager), which is configured to run a pre-defined program. That's it. The rest of the wording in the patent is for obfuscation purposes.

The invention fits the Telegram before the Train invention pattern we consider in detail in Chapter 25. 

tags: patent, packaged, payload, control, system, example, facebook

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