Magic Leap Patent | Determining Proximity Of Transmitter Antennas Of Portable Devices To A Human Body For Limiting Transmitter Output Power To Meet Specific Absorption Rate (Sar) Requirements

Patent: Determining Proximity Of Transmitter Antennas Of Portable Devices To A Human Body For Limiting Transmitter Output Power To Meet Specific Absorption Rate (Sar) Requirements

Publication Number: 10686538

Publication Date: 20200616

Applicants: Magic Leap

Abstract

A method for adjusting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) comprises sensing, by a proximity sensor communicatively coupled to a transmitting device, whether an object is proximate to the transmitting device. The method further comprises analyzing an image from a camera to determine whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body, when the proximity sensor senses the object proximate to the transmitting device. Further, the method comprises adjusting the P.sub.TX of an antenna operatively coupled to the transmitting device to be less than or equal to a SAR threshold output power (P.sub.SARMAX), when it is determined that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body.

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to determining proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body. In particular, it relates to determining proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet specific absorption rate (SAR) requirements.

BACKGROUND

Portable devices used by the general public need to meet regulatory specific absorption rate (SAR) compliance requirements (e.g., refer to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15–Radio Frequency (RF) exposure requirements). The need to limit a user’s exposure to RF energy from a portable device (in particular, from the device’s RF transmitter antenna) under the regulatory thresholds may necessitate a need in certain use cases to limit the transmitter power at a level (P.sub.SARMAX), which is below the maximum transmitter power (P.sub.MAX). In such cases, during which a portable device may be closer to human body than in other use case scenarios, the RF exposure to the user from the device may exceed mandatory SAR exposure limits if the transmitter of the device is allowed to operate at its maximum transmitter power.

On the other hand, unnecessarily cutting back the transmitter power of the device in situations where the device is not close to human body, or the device is being operated in a way that does not cause SAR exposure above compliance limits, would result in reduced wireless link performance and network range (e.g., in cellular networks, wireless local area network (WLAN) networks, etc.). As such, there is a need for an improved design for determining the relationship of RF devices to proximate humans to determine maximum permissible transmitter power within SAR requirements.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure relates to a method, system, and apparatus for adjusting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) according to the proximity of the portable device to a human body to meet SAR requirements. In one or more embodiments, a method for adjusting P.sub.TX comprises sensing, by a proximity sensor communicatively coupled to a transmitting device, whether an object is proximate to the transmitting device. The method further comprises analyzing an image from a camera to determine whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body, when the proximity sensor senses the object proximate to the transmitting device. Further, the method comprises adjusting the P.sub.TX of an antenna operatively coupled to the transmitting device to be less than or equal to a SAR threshold output power (P.sub.SARMAX), when it is determined that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body.

In one or more embodiments, the method further comprises sensing, by a proximity sensor communicatively coupled to a transmitting device, an object proximate to the transmitting device. The method also comprises determining whether the P.sub.TX of an antenna operatively coupled to the transmitting device is greater than a SAR threshold output power (P.sub.SARMAX), when the proximity sensor senses the object proximate to the transmitting device. In addition, the method comprises obtaining an image from a camera. Additionally, the method comprises analyzing the image to determine whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body, when it is determined that the P.sub.TX of the antenna is greater than the P.sub.SARMAX. Further, the method comprises adjusting the P.sub.TX of the antenna to be less than or equal to P.sub.SARMAX, when it is determined that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises determining whether the antenna is transmitting.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises not adjusting the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when the proximity sensor does not sense the object proximate to the transmitting device.

In one or more embodiments, the method further comprises determining whether a human body proximity flag has been set, when it is determined that the P.sub.TX of the antenna is not greater than the P.sub.SARMAX.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises delaying performance of the method by a predetermined amount of time, when it is determined that the human body proximity flag has been set.

In one or more embodiments, the method further comprises not adjusting the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when it is determined that the human body proximity flag has not been set.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises clearing a human body proximity flag, after the obtaining of the image.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises determining whether the transmitting device is within a field of view (FOV) of the camera by analyzing the image.

In one or more embodiments, the method further comprises adjusting the P.sub.TX of the antenna to be less than or equal to P.sub.SARMAX, when it is determined that the transmitting device is not within the FOV of the camera.

In at least one embodiment, the method further comprises not adjusting the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when it is determined that the transmitting device is not proximate to the portion of the human body.

In one or more embodiments, the method further comprises setting a human body proximity flag, when it is determined that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body.

In at least one embodiment, the proximity sensor is an optical sensor, a capacitive touch sensor, or a mechanical button sensor.

In one or more embodiments, the antenna is internal or external to the transmitting device.

In at least one embodiment, the antenna is transmitting a radio frequency (RF) signal.

In one or more embodiments, the camera is operatively coupled to a user device.

In at least one embodiment, the user device is a head-mounted display.

In one or more embodiments, a system for adjusting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) comprises a transmitting device. The system further comprises an antenna operatively coupled to the transmitting device. The system also comprises a proximity sensor, communicatively coupled to the transmitting device, to sense an object proximate to the transmitting device. In addition, the system comprises a camera to obtain an image. Further, the system comprises a processor: (1) to determine whether the P.sub.TX of the antenna is greater than a SAR threshold output power (P.sub.SARMAX) when the proximity sensor senses the object proximate to the transmitting device, (2) to analyze the image to determine whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body when it is determined that the P.sub.TX of the antenna is greater than the P.sub.SARMAX, and (3) to adjust the P.sub.TX of the antenna to be less than or equal to P.sub.SARMAX when it is determined that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body.

In at least one embodiment, the processor determines whether the antenna is transmitting.

In at least one embodiment, the processor does not adjust the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when the proximity sensor does not sense the object proximate to the transmitting device.

In one or more embodiments, the processor determines whether a human body proximity flag has been set, when the processor determines that the P.sub.TX of the antenna is not greater than the P.sub.SARMAX.

In at least one embodiment, performance of the processor is delayed by a predetermined amount of time, when the processor determines that the human body proximity flag has been set.

In one or more embodiments, the processor does not adjust the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when the processor determines that the human body proximity flag has not been set.

In at least one embodiment, the processor clears a human body proximity flag, after the camera obtains the image.

In one or more embodiments, the processor determines whether the transmitting device is within a FOV of the camera by analyzing the image.

In at least one embodiment, the processor adjusts the P.sub.TX of the antenna to be less than or equal to P.sub.SARMAX, when the processor determines that the transmitting device is not within the FOV of the camera.

In one or more embodiments, the processor does not adjust the P.sub.TX of the antenna, when the processor determines that the transmitting device is not proximate to the portion of the human body.

In at least one embodiment, the processor sets a human body proximity flag, when the processor determines that the transmitting device is proximate to the portion of the human body or when it cannot be determined whether the transmitting device is proximate to a portion of a human body. In one or more embodiments, the proximity sensor is an optical sensor, a capacitive touch sensor, or a mechanical button sensor.

In one or more embodiments, a method for adjusting a maximum level of RF transmission power comprises obtaining output data from at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more conditions of at least one radio frequency (RF) antenna of a computing device relative to an environment of the computing device, determining that output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that the computing device is positioned relative to one or more objects located in the environment of the computing device in a manner such that, under current operating parameters of the at least one RF antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds, in response to determining that output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that, under current operating parameters of the at least one RF antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds, obtaining one or more images from at least one camera, processing the one or more images, determining, based on processing the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera, that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human, and in response to determining that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human, adjusting a maximum level of power at which the at least one antenna is to transmit RF signals.

In some embodiments, processing the one or more images processing the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera comprises performing one or more image recognition processes to identify specific objects shown in the one or more images.

In some of such embodiments, determining that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human comprises determining, based on processing the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera, that the computing device is not identified as being shown in the one or more images.

In some of such embodiments, determining that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human comprises determining, based on processing the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera, that at least one of the one or more objects is identified as being a human body or portion thereof.

In some of such embodiments, determining that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human comprises determining, based on processing the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera, that at least one of the one or more objects is unidentifiable or is not identified as being shown in the one or more images.

In some embodiments, the at least one sensor is a proximity sensor configured to monitor a distance between the at least one antenna and physical objects located in the environment of the computing device. In some of these embodiments, determining that output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that the computing device is positioned relative to one or more objects located in the environment of the computing device in a manner such that, under current operating parameters of the at least one RF antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds comprises evaluating the output data obtained from the at least one sensor against a look-up table, and determining, based on the evaluation results, that the computing device is positioned close enough to the one or more objects such that, under current operating parameters of the at least one RF antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds.

In some embodiments, the at least one sensor further is an orientation sensor configured to monitor an orientation of the computing device relative to the environment of the computing device.

In one or more embodiments, a computing system comprises a physical housing structure and 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 antenna for transmitting radio frequency (RF) signals, at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more conditions of the at least one antenna relative to an environment of the physical housing structure, at least one camera, and at least one processor communicatively coupled to the at least one antenna, the at least one sensor, and the at least one camera. 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 physical housing structure is positioned relative to one or more objects located in the environment of the physical housing structure in a manner such that, under current operating parameters of the at least one antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds, obtain one or more images from the at least one camera in response to determining that output data obtained from the at least one sensor indicates that, under current operating parameters of the at least one antenna, the one or more objects are subject to being exposed to levels of RF energy that exceed one or more thresholds, process the one or more images obtained from the at least one camera to determine whether the one or more images serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human, determine a maximum level of power at which the at least one antenna is to transmit RF signals based on determining whether the one or more images serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human, and control the at least one antenna to transmit RF signals at levels of power less than or equal to the determined maximum level of power.

In at least one embodiment, 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 embodiments, the at least one camera 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 of these embodiments, the at least one camera is contained within or attached to a user device that is physically displaced from the physical housing structure. In at least one of these embodiments, the user device is a headset. In another of these embodiments, the user device is a handheld controller.

In some of these embodiments, the at least one sensor configured to monitor one or more conditions of the at least one antenna relative to the environment of the physical housing structure belongs to the portion of the plurality of electronic hardware components that are contained within or attached to the physical housing structure.

In some embodiments, the plurality of electronic hardware components further comprise at least one user interface component communicatively coupled to the at least one processor. In at least one of these embodiments, the at least one processor is further configured to provide one or more alerts for output through the at least one user interface component in response to determining that the one or more images do not serve to confirm that none of the one or more objects are biologically human.

The features, functions, and advantages can be achieved independently in various embodiments of the present disclosure or may be combined in yet other embodiments.

DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present disclosure will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1A is a block diagram showing the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet specific absorption rate (SAR) requirements, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 1B is a diagram showing an augmented reality system including the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet specific absorption rate (SAR) requirements, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing a flow chart for the disclosed method for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet SAR requirements, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet SAR requirements, where the portable device is not located on a human body, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet SAR requirements, where the portable device is located on a human body, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a diagram showing the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet SAR requirements, where the portable device is not located on a human body, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the disclosed system for determining the proximity of transmitter antennas of portable devices to a human body for limiting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) to meet SAR requirements, where the portable device is located adjacent a human body, in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of components of a computing apparatus or system in which various embodiments may be implemented or that may be utilized to execute embodiments.

DESCRIPTION

The methods and apparatus disclosed herein provide an operative system for adjusting transmitter output power (P.sub.TX) according to the proximity of the portable device (e.g., a transmitting device) to a human body to maximize transmission potential relative to specific absorption rate (SAR) requirements as described above. The system of the present disclosure provides a method that uses real-time image sensing and image recognition capability of a wireless portable device along with proximity sensing to accurately detect the physical proximity of a radio frequency (RF) transmitter antenna of the portable device to a human body. In order to keep SAR exposure to the user below regulatory limits during normal operation of a wireless device, the RF transmitter output power level may need to be limited below its maximum power for the cases where the transmitter antenna comes in close proximity to human body. The use of image recognition to compliment proximity sensing provides a powerful method to distinguish whether the RF transmitter antenna is near a human body or merely near some other random object. If the system determines that the RF transmitter antenna is in proximity to a human body, then the RF transmitter power can be limited to a level below its maximum power level in order to meet regulatory limits for SAR exposure.

As previously mentioned above, portable devices used by the general public need to meet regulatory SAR compliance requirements (e.g., refer to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15–RF exposure requirements). The need to limit a user’s exposure to RF energy from a portable device (in particular, from the device’s RF transmitter antenna) under the regulatory thresholds may necessitate a need in certain use cases to limit the transmitter power at a level (P.sub.SARMAX), which is below the maximum transmitter power (P.sub.MAX). In such cases, during which a portable device may be closer to human body than in other use case scenarios, the RF exposure to the user from the device may exceed mandatory SAR exposure limits if the transmitter of the device is allowed to operate at its maximum transmitter power. On the other hand, unnecessarily cutting back the transmitter power of the device in situations where the device is not close to human body, or the device is being operated in a way that does not cause SAR exposure above compliance limits, would result in reduced wireless link performance and network range (e.g., in cellular networks, wireless local area network (WLAN) networks, etc.).

Currently, some conventional methods use proximity sensors along with some other subjective indicators to determine whether to limit the transmitter power of a portable device (e.g., a transmitting device) below its maximum power for reducing SAR exposure. However, these methods do not use real-time image sensing and image/pattern recognition to complement proximity sensing in order to accurately determine proximity of the RF transmitter antenna of the device to a human body. These methods could be overly conservative in that they tend to limit the transmitter power even in situations where the device could be in proximity of non-human objects. This is because these methods cannot accurately distinguish the type of object in proximity with the device. As such, these methods may unnecessarily limit the wireless network range and degrade link performance in situations where it is avoidable.

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