Magic Leap Patent | Method and system for integration of electronic sensors with thermal cooling system

Patent: Method and system for integration of electronic sensors with thermal cooling system

Publication Number: 20190011965

Publication Date: 2019-01-10

Applicants: Magic Leap

Abstract

A system includes a computing device operatively coupled to one or more user interface components, and a thermal cooling system for cooling the computing device. The system further includes a proximity sensor positioned adjacent a thermal vent and configured to set a proximity flag in response to detecting an object in proximity to the thermal vent. The system further includes an orientation sensor coupled to the computing device and configured to set an orientation flag in response to detecting an orientation of the computing device being such that the thermal vent is facing downward. The system further includes a processor communicatively coupled to the proximity sensor, the orientation sensor, and the one or more user interface components. The processor is configured to provide an alert for output through the one or more user interface components in response to having the proximity flag set or the orientation flag set.

Background

In an electronics system, heat may be generated as a consequence of the circuits in the electronics system having finite electrical resistance. In a computing device, significant heat can be generated by its central processing units (CPUs) and graphical processing units (GPUs). The heat being generated may relate to the amount of processing power being used. As the temperature of the computing device rises above certain threshold, it may be necessary to scale down the operating frequencies of the computing device (referred to as “throttling”) to reduce power consumption, which can degrade user experience. In extreme cases, if the temperature rises above a safety threshold temperature, it may be necessary to shut down the computing device.

For a portable computing device that can come in contact with a human body (e.g., when the device is hand-held, body worn, or placed on the lap), the heat generated by the computing device can also cause the surface temperature of the computing device to rise above a comfort threshold temperature, or in worse cases above a safety threshold temperature. For example, the UL/IEC/EN-60950 thermal safety requirements dictate that the surface temperature of a user device does not exceed 55.degree. C.-75.degree. C. based on the type of material used for 8 hours or more of continuous use. The comfort threshold temperature can range from 40.degree. C. to 50.degree. C. for user devices with metal housings.

For these reasons, it is often desirable to have an efficient thermal cooling system for a computing device.

Summary

Embodiments of the present invention relate to electronic systems. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention provide methods and systems for improving the thermal cooling system efficiency of an electronic device including one or more electronic sensors. In the embodiments described herein, the one or more electronic sensors can operate either alone or in combination with each other.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, a system includes a computing device operatively coupled to one or more user interface components, and a thermal cooling system for cooling the computing device. The thermal cooling system includes at least one thermal vent. The system further includes a proximity sensor positioned adjacent the at least one thermal vent and configured to set a proximity flag in response to detecting an object in proximity to the at least one thermal vent. The system may further include an orientation sensor coupled to the computing device and configured to set an orientation flag in response to detecting an orientation of the computing device being such that the at least one thermal vent is facing downward. The system further includes a processor communicatively coupled to the proximity sensor, the orientation sensor, and the one or more user interface components. The processor may be configured to provide an alert for output through the one or more user interface components in response to having the proximity flag set or the orientation flag set.

According to some other embodiments of the present invention, a method includes detecting a condition indicating at least one of (i) an object is in proximity to a thermal vent of a cooling system of a computing device using a proximity sensor positioned adjacent the thermal vent, or (ii) an orientation of the computing device is such that the thermal vent is facing downward using an orientation sensor coupled to the computing device. The method further includes outputting an alert through one or more user interface components in response to detecting the condition.

According to some further embodiments of the present invention, a method includes detecting a condition indicating at least one of (i) an object is in proximity to a thermal vent of a cooling system of a computing device using a proximity sensor positioned adjacent the thermal vent, or (ii) an orientation of the computing device is such that the thermal vent is facing downward using an orientation sensor coupled to the computing device. The method further includes acquiring an image of the computing device using an image sensor in response to detecting the condition, and processing the image to confirm that the thermal vent is blocked or is facing downward. The method further includes outputting an alert through a user interface indicating that the thermal vent is identified as being blocked or facing downward.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, a method includes obtaining output from one or more sources of data indicative of one or more conditions of an electronic device or an environment within which the electronic device is located, and identifying, based on output data obtained from the one or more sources, the electronic device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the electronic device is prone to overheating. The method further includes, in response to identifying the electronic device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the electronic device is prone to overheating, controlling one or more user interface components to output an alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation. In some cases, the electronic device is a computing device including one or more processors. In some cases, obtaining output from one or more sources may include obtaining, by the computing device, output from one or more sources of data indicative of one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located. Identifying, based on output data obtained from the one or more sources, the electronic device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the electronic device is prone to overheating may include identifying, by the computing device based at least in part on output data obtained from the one or more sources, the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating. Controlling one or more user interface components to output the alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation may include controlling, by the computing device, one or more user interface components to output an alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation. In some cases, controlling, by the computing device, one or more user interface components to output the alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation may include sending, by the computing device to a user device that includes one or more user interface components and is located external to the computing device, a command for the user device to output an alert through the one or more user interface components of the user device. In some cases, the computing device may include one or more user interface components, and controlling, by the computing device, one or more user interface components to output the alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation may include controlling, by the computing device, the one or more user interface components of the computing device to output an alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation. In some cases, the computing device may include one or more sensors that are each configured to monitor one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located, and obtaining output from one or more sources may include obtaining data indicating output from the one or more sensors of the computing device that are configured to monitor one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located. In some cases, the computing device may include two or more ventilation ports and a thermal management system that is configured to move air into and out of the computing device through the two or more ventilation ports. In some cases, the one or more sensors of the computing device may include a proximity sensor that is configured to monitor the computing device’s proximity to physical objects located within the environment of the computing device, and obtaining data indicating output from the one or more sensors of the computing device that are configured to monitor one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located may include obtaining data representative of one or more measurements having been taken by the proximity sensor. In some cases, the method may further include determining that the obtained data representative of one or more measurements having been taken by the proximity sensor indicates that an exterior portion of the computing device within which at least one of the two or more ventilation ports is exposed is closer than a threshold distance away from one or more physical objects located within the environment of the computing device. The threshold distance may be about 0.5 mm, 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, or 10 mm according to various embodiments. Identifying the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating may include, in response to determining that the obtained data indicates that the exterior portion of the computing device within which at least one of the two or more ventilation ports is exposed is closer than the threshold distance away from one or more physical objects located within the environment of the computing device, identifying the computing device’s position within the environment as being that in which air flow through at least one of the two or more ventilation ports of the computing device is impeded. In some cases, the one or more sensors of the computing device may include an orientation sensor that is configured to monitor the computing device’s angular orientation with respect to the environment within which the computing device is located, and obtaining data indicating output from the one or more sensors of the computing device that are configured to monitor one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located may include obtaining data representative of one or more measurements having been taken by the orientation sensor. In some cases, the method may further include determining that the obtained data representative of one or more measurements having been taken by the orientation sensor indicates that an exterior portion of the computing device within which at least one of the two or more ventilation ports is exposed is facing downward. Identifying the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating may include, in response to determining that the obtained data indicates that the exterior portion of the computing device within which at least one of the two or more ventilation ports is exposed is facing downward, identifying the computing device’s orientation within the environment as being that in which air flow through at least one of the two or more ventilation ports of the computing device is impeded. In some cases, the one or more sensors of the computing device may include one or more temperature sensors that are each configured to monitor one or more thermal conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located, and obtaining data indicating output from the one or more sensors of the computing device that are configured to monitor one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located may include obtaining data representative of one or more measurements having been taken by the one or more temperature sensors. In some cases, the method may further include, in response to identifying the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating, obtaining data indicating output from another sensor different from the one or more sensors of the computing device. In some cases, the method may further include using the obtained data indicating output from the other sensor to verify that the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment is to be identified as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating. Controlling one or more user interface components to output the alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation may include, in response to verifying the identification of the computing device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the computing device is prone to overheating, controlling one or more user interface components to output an alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation. In some cases, obtaining data indicating output from the other sensor may include obtaining imaging data representative of one or more images having been captured by an imaging sensor located within the environment of the computing device. In some cases, obtaining output from one or more sources may include receiving, over a network, data from one or more services pertaining to current or predicted weather conditions of a geographic region associated with the electronic device. In some case, obtaining output from one or more sources may include obtaining, by a computing device different from the electronic device, output from one or more sources of data indicative of one or more conditions of the computing device or the environment within which the computing device is located, identifying, based on output data obtained from the one or more sources, the electronic device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the electronic device is prone to overheating comprises identifying, by the computing device based at least in part on output data obtained from the one or more sources, the electronic device’s position or orientation within the environment as being that in which the electronic device is prone to overheating, and controlling one or more user interface components to output the alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation comprises controlling, by the computing device, one or more user interface components to output an alert corresponding to the identified position or orientation.

According to some other embodiments of the present invention, a computing system includes a physical housing structure, a thermal cooling system including at least one thermal vent for dissipating heat away from the physical housing structure, at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more operating conditions of the thermal cooling system, a plurality of electronic hardware components, at least a portion of which are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. The plurality of electronic hardware components may include at least one user interface component, and at least one processor communicatively coupled to the at least one sensor and the at least one user interface component. The at least one processor may be configured to obtain output data from the at least one sensor, determine whether output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that the thermal cooling system is subject to one or more operating conditions that impede the dissipation of heat away from the physical housing structure, and provide one or more alerts for output through the at least one user interface component in response to determining that output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that the thermal cooling system is subject to one or more operating conditions that impede the dissipation of heat away from the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more operating conditions of the thermal cooling system may include a proximity sensor configured to monitor the at least one thermal vent’s proximity to physical objects located external from the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one processor is configured to obtain data representative of one or more measurements taken by the proximity sensor, determine whether the data representative of one or more measurements taken by the proximity sensor indicates that the at least one thermal vent is closer than a threshold distance away from one or more physical objects, and provide one or more alerts for output through the at least one user interface component in response to determining that the data representative of one or more measurements taken by the proximity sensor indicates that the at least one thermal vent is closer than the threshold distance away from one or more physical objects. In some cases, the at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more operating conditions of the thermal cooling system may include an orientation sensor configured to monitor the at least one thermal vent’s orientation relative to an environment within which the thermal cooling system is located. In some cases, the at least one processor is configured to obtain data representative of one or more measurements taken by the orientation sensor, determine whether the data representative of one or more measurements taken by the orientation sensor indicates that the at least one thermal vent is facing downward, and provide one or more alerts for output through the at least one user interface component in response to determining that the data representative of one or more measurements taken by the orientation sensor indicates that the at least one thermal vent is facing downward. In some cases, the at least one processor does not belong to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the plurality of electronic hardware components may further include another processor different from the at least one processor communicatively coupled to the at least one sensor and the at least one user interface component. In some cases, the other, different processor belongs to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one user interface component does not belong to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one processor is communicatively coupled to the at least one sensor through a channel of a wireless communication network. In some cases, the at least one processor is communicatively coupled to the at least one user interface component through the channel of the wireless communication network. In some cases, the at least one processor is communicatively coupled to the at least one user interface component through another, different channel of the wireless communication network. In some cases, the at least one processor belongs to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one user interface component does not belong to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the at least one user interface component belongs to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure. In some cases, the physical housing structure and the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure collectively function as an electronic device. In some cases, at least one of the plurality of electronic hardware components not belonging to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure functions as part of another, different electronic device. In some cases, the electronic device is a computing device, and the at least one processor is part of the computing device.

Numerous benefits are achieved by way of the present invention over conventional techniques. For example, embodiments of the present invention may provide efficient cooling mechanism for optimizing device performance through intelligent algorithms using sensory devices. Embodiments of the present invention may also provide seamless user experience due to efficient cooling by minimizing the throttling down the operating frequencies.

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注