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Patent 2365684 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 2365684
(54) English Title: BAR CODE ARRANGEMENT FOR IDENTIFYING POSITIONS ALONG AN AXIS
(54) French Title: CONFIGURATION DE CODE A BARRES PERMETTANT D'IDENTIFIER DES POSITIONS LE LONG D'UN AXE
Status: Expired
Bibliographic Data
Abstracts

English Abstract

A bar code arrangement allows determining positions along an axis. The bar code arrangement includes a plurality of bar code symbols, each having start and stop end characters and encoded data therebetween. The symbols are positioned in a column along the axis and are so oriented that each bar of the symbols is parallel to the axis and that two consecutive bar code symbols have different orientations, one being rotated 180° relative to the other. Scanning the bar code symbol corresponding to a particular position among the plurality of bar code symbols in the column allows identification of the particular position along the axis. A symbol scan is considered successful when two different characters are found in a symbol scan. In the form of a ribbon, this bar code arrangement is suitable to correctly detect a liquid level on a bottle of liquid.


French Abstract

La présente invention a trait à une configuration de code à barres permettant de déterminer une position le long d'un axe. Cette configuration de code à barres comprend une série de symboles de code à barres, chacun comportant un caractère de début et de fin, ainsi que des données codées entre les deux. Les symboles sont positionnés en colonne le long de l'axe et sont orientés de telle sorte que chaque barre des symboles est parallèle à l'axe et que deux symboles de code à barres consécutifs ont une orientation distincte, un ayant une rotation de 180 degrés par rapport à l'autre. Le balayage du symbole de code à barres correspondant à une position particulière parmi la série de symboles de code à barres dans la colonne permet d'identifier la position de la position particulière le long le l'axe. Un balayage du symbole est jugé comme étant réussi lorsque deux caractères distincts sont décelés dans le balayage du symbole. Sous la forme d'un ruban, cette configuration de code à barres convient à la détection correcte du niveau de liquide dans une bouteille.

Claims

Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.




WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:


1. A bar code ribbon for identifying positions along an object,
the ribbon comprising:
two generally parallel longitudinal sides extending along an axis;
two opposite faces, each spanning between said two longitudinal
sides;
one of said two opposite faces having a plurality of bar code
symbols printed thereon, each having start and stop end characters and
encoded data therebetween; said plurality of bar code symbols being
positioned on top of each other and being so oriented that their bars are
parallel to the axis, and that no two consecutive bar code symbols have
corresponding end characters on the same side;
whereby a particular position along the ribbon may be identified by scanning
the bar code symbol corresponding to said particular position among said
plurality of bar code symbols; a symbol scan being considered successful when
two different characters are decoded following said symbol scan.

2. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1, wherein one of said
plurality of symbols is a reference symbol.

3. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1, wherein information
is associated in a computer database to at least one of said plurality of bar
code symbols.

4. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 3, wherein said
information is related to at least one of a position on the object along said
axis,
and a characteristic of the object at the position corresponding to said at
least
one of said plurality of bar codes.



5. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1, wherein each symbol
represents a different two digit number.

6. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1, wherein at least two
of said plurality of bar code symbols have different heights.

7. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1, further comprising
adhesive on the other of said two opposite faces.

8. A bar code ribbon as recited in claim 7, further comprising a
removable paper protector covering said adhesive.

9. A bottle having a bar code ribbon as recited in claim 1
affixed thereon; said bar code ribbon extending generally perpendicularly from

the bottom of the bottle.

10. A bar code ribbon for identifying positions along an object
comprising:
two opposite faces;
one of said two opposite faces having a plurality of bar code
symbols printed thereon, each having start and stop end characters and
encoded data therebetween; said plurality of printed bar code symbols being
positioned in a column generally defining a longitudinal axis; each symbol
being
so oriented that each bar of the bar code symbols is parallel to the axis and
that
two consecutive bar code symbols have different orientations, one being
rotated 180° relative to the other;
whereby a particular position along the ribbon may be identified by scanning
the bar code symbol corresponding to said particular position among said



plurality of bar code symbols in said column; a symbol scan being considered
successful when two different characters are decoded following said symbol
scan.

11. A bar-inventory management system comprising:
a computer server including instructions for managing an
inventory;
a plurality of bar code ribbons as recited in claim 10 to be affixed
to liquor bottles; and
at least one bar code scanner connected to said computer, and
being configured so as to read said bar code symbols on said bar code ribbons.

12. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 11, further comprising at least one access point for wirelessly
connecting
said at least one bar code scanner to said computer server.

13. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 11, wherein at least one of said computer server and said at least one
bar
code scanner is configured to decode said bar code symbols.

14. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 11, wherein said computer server includes at least one database.

15. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 14, further comprising a plurality of unique inventory bar codes to be
affixed to bottles.

16. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 15, wherein said computer database includes information associated to at



least one of said bar code symbols on said bar code ribbons and said plurality

of unique inventory bar codes.

17. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 16, wherein said information is related to volumes of the bottles.

18. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 17, said bar code symbols correspond to the "Interleaved 2 of 5"
encoding system.

19. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 18, wherein said bar code ribbons have a width of about 8 mm.

20. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 11, wherein said bar code scanner is a handheld device.

21. A bar-inventory management system as recited in
claim 11, wherein said bar code scanner is configured so as output a signal
when a scan of one of said plurality of bar code symbols is successful.

22. A method for identifying positions along an axis on an
object, said method comprising:
providing a unique bar code symbol at predetermined positions
along the axis; each bar code symbol having start and stop end characters and
encoded data therebetween; each bar code symbol being positioned in a
column along the axis and being so oriented that each bar of the symbols is
parallel to the axis and that two consecutive bar code symbols have different
orientations, one being rotated 180° relative to the other;



associating in a computer database each said unique bar code
symbol to a corresponding one of said predetermined positions along the axis;
scanning a position along the axis until a bar code symbol having
two different end characters is found; and
searching in said computer database the position associated to
the last scanned position.

23. A bottle having a bar code arrangement printed thereon for
identifying positions along an axis, the bar code arrangement extending
generally perpendicularly from the bottom of the bottle and including:
a plurality of bar code symbols, each having start and stop end
characters and encoded data therebetween; each symbol being positioned in a
column along the axis and being so oriented that each bar of the symbols is
parallel to the axis and that two consecutive bar code symbols have different
orientations, one being rotated 180° relative to the other;
whereby a particular position along the axis may be identified by
scanning the bar code symbol corresponding to said particular position among
said plurality of bar code symbols in said column; a symbol scan being
considered successful when two different characters are found in said symbol
scan.

Description

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.



CA 02365684 2001-12-19
1

TITLE OF THE INVENTION

BAR CODE ARRANGEMENT FOR IDENTIFYING
POSITIONS ALONG AN AXIS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to bar codes. More specifically,
the present invention is concerned with the use of bar codes for measurement.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Bar codes are widely used for identifying and tracking
objects. Their applications are numerous, including sorting and inventory
management.

[0003] A bar code symbol typically includes a sequence of
consecutive parallel bars and spaces of varying widths that are either printed
directly onto the object or printed onto labels that are affixed to the
object. The
bar codes are generally read by a scanning light source, such as a laser,
often
in the form of a handheld device. The beam of light projected onto the bar
code produces a spot that is moved by an oscillating motor to produce a line
or
a series of lines across the bars and spaces. A sensor detects the light
reflected form the bar code and converts it into an electric signal to be
interpreted (or decoded) by an electronic circuit or software.

[0004] Bar codes may have different structures, each requiring a
different set of rules and definitions to be interpreted. Examples of such a
structure include Universal Product Code (UPC), Code 39, Codabar, and


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Interleaved 2 of 5. For concision purposes, the "Interleaved 2 of 5" bar code
structure will be referred to herein simply as "Interleaved"

[0005] The structure of an Interleaved bar code 10 is illustrated in
Figure 1. "Interleaved" is a numbers-only bar code system that can only handle
numbers having a even number of digits. This bar code system is said to be
interleaved, because a first digit is encoded in the bars 12, and a second
digit is
encoded in the spaces 14. There are five bars 12, two of which 12' are wide
and five spaces 14, two of which 14' are also wide. The interleaved 2 of 5
system allows the representation of numbers having an infinite number of
digits, provided that there is a surface large enough to hold the symbols.

[0006] In the case of Figure 1, the number 96 is provided as an
example. The first digit 9 is represented by the bars 12, and the second digit
6
is represented by the spaces 14.

[0007] Bar codes, according to the "Interleaved" encoding system,
include start and stop characters 16 and 18 as explained hereinbelow.

[0008] The use of the "Interleaved" structure is advantageous in
many applications since it allows holding up to 18 digits per inch when
printed
using a 0.19 mm X dimension. As is well known in the art, the X-dimension is
the width of the smallest element in a bar code symbol.

[0009] It is to be noted that, in the case of "Interleaved" symbols, the
use of check digit is optional.

[0010] Since bar codes, in general, and the "Interleaved 2 of 5"


CA 02365684 2001-12-19
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system in particular, are believed to be well known in the art, they will not
be
described herein in further detail.

[0011] Most recent developments in bar code technology have
aimed to increase the quantity and diversity of data supported by bar code
symbols. However, new possibilities made possible by these new technologies
remain in the context of sorting and inventory management.

[0012] Recently, a new application for bar code symbols has been in
use as a measurement tool. Indeed, by aligning bar code symbols along an
axis, and by predetermining positions corresponding to each bar code symbol,
the scanning of a symbol may readily allow the retrieval of the coordinates of
this position along the axis.

[0013] Turning now to Figure 2 of the appended drawings, a bar
code ribbon 20, according to the prior art, will now be described.

[0014] The bar code ribbon 20 comprises a plurality of bar code
symbols 22 positioned in a column along the axis 24. Although the example of
Figure 2 is illustrated with symbols representing numbers using the
"Interleaved
2 of 5" encoding system, other bar code systems can also be used. The
numbers represented by each bar code symbol 22 have been provided in
Figure 2 to the left of each symbol 22.

[0015] To use the ribbon 20 for measuring positions on an object
(not shown), a calibration of the ribbon 20 is first carried out. The
calibration
consists of measuring the distance from one end 26 of the ribbon 20 to each
bar code symbol 20, and by associating this distance to a corresponding
symbol 20.


CA 02365684 2001-12-19
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[0016] In operation, by correctly positioning the bar code ribbon 20
on or near an object (not shown), positions on this object along the axis 24
may
be readily determined using a conventional bar code scanner and an
appropriate apparatus for decoding the symbols 20.

[0017] Of course, the ribbon 20 has to be adequately positioned on
or near the object and the height of the bar code symbols should be small
enough to provide the precision required by the application. The ribbon 20 can
then be seen as a ruler.

[0018] Although bar code symbols encoded by other systems may
be used, the use of the "Interleaved 2 of 5" is advantageous, since it allows
for
the use of smaller bar code symbols when required by the application.

[0019] A major drawback in the use of a column of adjacent bar
code symbols to measure the position on an object is that the smaller the
height of the symbol is, the less the orientation of the bar code scanning
beam
has to deviate from the horizontal to cause an incorrect reading.

[0020] Figures 3 and 4 illustrate how an oblique scanning beam may
cause an incorrect reading of a bar code symbol when there is at least one
other bar code symbol adjacent to the one being scanned.

[0021] In Figure 3, it is shown that a beam scanning between the
symbols representing the numbers 09 and 19 on the ribbon 20 along the
direction represented by line 28 may incorrectly yield the decoded number 49.
In Figure 4, it is shown that a beam scanning between the symbols
representing the numbers 09 and 19 on the ribbon 20 along a direction
opposite to the direction of line 28 in figure 3, as represented by line 30,
may in


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

this case incorrectly yield the decoded number 89. It is to be noted that, in
some applications, the positions of the symbols representing the numbers 49
and 89 may be far enough from the actual scanning position to cause
significant detrimental results.

[0022] A proposed solution to this problem is to use check digits on
the symbols along with the encoded values. The use of check digits allows
detection of incorrect readings resulting from a bad scan. However, a drawback
of this solution is that it requires larger symbols, which, in some
applications,
may not be possible.

[0023] Of course, as illustrated in Figure 2, the sequence of symbols
may also be chosen so as to minimize the possibility or the impact of an
incorrect reading, but, again, this may not be possible in some applications.
[0024] Another solution would be to provide the scanner with a
means to ensure an adequate positioning relative to the symbols to scan.
However, this would require either modifications to existing scanning
technologies or scanning processes, which would not be universal, or a
scanning method so complicated that it would cancel most of the advantages of
the existing bar code scanning technology.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0025] An object of the present invention is therefore to provide an
improved bar code arrangement for determining positions on an object.


CA 02365684 2010-09-14
6

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0026] More specifically, in accordance with the present invention,
there is provided a bar code arrangement for identifying positions along an
axis, the arrangement comprising: a plurality of bar code symbols, each having
start and stop end characters and encoded data therebetween; each symbol
being positioned in a column along the axis and being so oriented that each
bar
of the symbols is parallel to the axis and that two consecutive bar code
symbols
have different orientations, one being rotated 1800 relative to the other;
whereby a particular position along the axis may be identified by scanning the
bar code symbol corresponding to the particular position among the plurality
of
bar code symbols in the column; a symbol scan being considered successful
when two different characters are found in the symbol scan.

[0027] According to second aspect of the invention, there is provided
a bar code ribbon for identifying positions along an object, the ribbon
comprising: two generally parallel longitudinal sides extending along an axis;
two opposite faces, each spanning between the two longitudinal sides; one of
the two opposite faces having a plurality of bar code symbols printed thereon,
each having start and stop end characters and encoded data therebetween; the
plurality of bar code symbols being positioned on top of each other and being
so oriented that their bars are parallel to the axis, and that no two
consecutive
bar code symbols have corresponding end characters on the same side;
whereby a particular position along the ribbon may be identified by scanning
the bar code symbol corresponding to the particular position among the
plurality of bar code symbols in the column; a symbol scan being considered
successful when two different characters are decoded following the symbol
scan.


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[0028] According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided
a bar-inventory management system comprising: a computer server including
instructions for managing an inventory; a plurality of bar code ribbon
according
to the present invention to be affixed to liquor bottles; and at least one bar
code
scanner connected to the computer, and being configured so as to read the bar
code symbols on the bar code ribbons.

[0029] According to a fourth aspect of the invention, there is
provided method for identifying positions along an axis on an object, the
method comprising: providing a unique bar code symbol at predetermined
positions along the axis; each bar code symbol having start and stop end
characters and encoded data therebetween; each bar code symbol being
positioned in a column along the axis and being so oriented that each bar of
the
symbols is parallel to the axis and that two consecutive bar code symbols have
different orientations, one being rotated 1800 relative to the other;
associating in
a computer database each the unique bar code symbol to a corresponding one
of the predetermined positions along the axis; scanning a position along the
axis until a bar code symbol having two different end characters is found; and
searching in the computer database the position associated to the last scanned
position.

[0030] Other objects, advantages and features of the present
invention will become more apparent upon reading the following non-restrictive
description of preferred embodiments thereof, given by way of example only
with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0031] In the appended drawings:


CA 02365684 2001-12-19
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[0032] Figure 1, which is labelled "prior art", is a schematic view of a
bar code symbol according to the "Interleaved 2 of 5" system;

[0033] Figure 2, which is labelled "prior art", is a top plan view of a
bar code ribbon according to the prior art;

[0034] Figure 3, which is labelled "prior art", is an enlarged view of
the dashed portion from Figure 2, including a scanning beam oriented along a
first oblique direction;

[0035] Figure 4, which is labelled "prior art", is the enlarged view
from Figure 3, including a scanning beam oriented along a second oblique
direction;

[0036] Figure 5 is a top plan view of a bar code ribbon according to
an embodiment of the present invention;

[0037] Figure 6 is a perspective view of a bar-inventory
management system according to an embodiment of the present invention,
including the bar code ribbon of Figure 5;

[0038] Figure 7 is a perspective view of the bottle of liquor from
Figure 6; and

[0039] Figure 8 is a flowchart of a method for identifying positions
along an axis on an object, according to an embodiment of the present
invention.


CA 02365684 2001-12-19
9

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0040] Turning now to Figure 5, a bar code ribbon 32, according to
an embodiment of the present invention, is illustrated.

[0041] On one of its two opposite faces, the bar ribbon 32 comprises
a plurality of bar code symbols 34 positioned on top of each other along a
longitudinal axis 36, representing a bar code arrangement. The series of
adjacent symbols 34 are so positioned so as to generally form a single column
aligned along the axis 36, and having two longitudinal sides 38 and 40. Each
of
the symbols 34 is so oriented that its bars are parallel to the axis 36.

[0042] The symbols 34 on the ribbon 32 correspond to the
"Interleaved 2 of 5" encoding system. As has been explained hereinabove, and
as illustrated in Figure 1, each of the symbols 34 therefore has start and
stop
end characters and encoded data therebetween.

[0043] Each other symbol 34 has been printed on the ribbon 32 in
an orientation rotated from 180 relative to the others, so that no two
consecutive symbols have the same end character (start or stop) on the same
side 38 or 40.

[0044] Even though, consecutive symbols 34 are shown adjacent in
Figure 5, some applications may require that the symbols 34 be printed onto
the ribbon 32 with gaps therebetween.

[0045] In operation, the ribbon 32 is positioned on or near an object
to measure, as one would do with a conventional dimensionally stable tape-


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

measure. However, since bar code scanning requires the use of a bar code
scanner, which is usually in the form of a handheld device, it may be
preferable
to fix the ribbon 32 directly onto the object. The ribbon 32 may therefore be
of
the self-adhesive type, i.e. provided with glue or other adhesive on its back.
[0046] As illustrated in Figure 5, and as explained hereinabove with
reference to Figure 2, different numbers are represented by the different
symbols 34 on the ribbon 32. Any information may be associated in a database
with each of these numbers, such as the characteristics of the material on the
object corresponding to that position, a color, etc., and of course, an
absolute
coordinate or a relative coordinate position.

[0047] Indeed, by knowing the distance between one of the symbols,
such as the symbols 41 at one of the two longitudinal ends 42-42', and each of
the other symbols, and by correlating the absolute position of this reference
symbol 41 with an actual known position on the object to be measured, the
reading of any symbols 34 on the ribbon 32 may provide the coordinate of other
positions on the object to measure along the axis 36.

[0048] Of course, since each symbol 34 has a predetermined height,
the precision of the ribbon as a position or distance-measuring tool is
limited.
As has been explained hereinabove, increasing the density of symbols on the
ribbon 32 may increase the precision that may be obtained by the ribbon. Of
course, the minimum height allowed for a symbol 34 is determined by the
scanning technology to be used to read and decode the symbols 34. Obviously,
the height of a symbol 34 is determined by the spanning of a symbol 34 in the
direction of the axis 36.

[0049] The bar code arrangement from the present invention, as


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

11
printed on the ribbon 32, prevents incorrect readings caused by incorrect
orientations of a scanning beam. Indeed, if a scanning beam were so oblique
relative to the preferred scanning orientation that the scanning beam catches
part of a first symbol and part of another symbol adjacent to the first one,
the
scanned bar code would include two identical end characters. It is to be noted
that the preferred scanning orientation is considered perpendicular to the
axis
36. Since the decoded bar code does not include a start and a stop end
character in this case, the reading is considered invalid and therefore an
incorrect reading is detected.

[0050] The ribbon 32 allows identification of a particular position
along the axis 36 by scanning the bar code symbol 34 corresponding to this
particular position among the plurality of bar code symbols in the column. A
symbol scan is considered as being successful when two different end
characters are found.

[0051] Alternatively, other bar code systems that include a means to
detect the orientation of the symbols may be used instead of the "Interleaved
2
of 5".

[0052] Although the bar code arrangement, according to the present
invention has been described printed on a ribbon, a bar code arrangement,
according to an embodiment of the present invention, may be printed on any
other support, including the actual object on which a position is to be
determined.

[0053] As will now appear obvious to a person skilled in the art, the
bar code arrangement may have different lengths depending on the
measurement requirement.


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

12
[0054] Turning now to Figure 6, a bar-inventory management
system 100, according to an embodiment of the present invention, is
illustrated.
The system 100 incorporates a plurality of ribbons 32.

[0055] The bar-inventory management system 100 comprises a
server computer 102, including conventional input 104 and output 106 devices,
respectively in the form of a keyboard and a display monitor, a plurality of
wireless bar code scanners 108 (only one shown), a wireless access point 110
for remotely connecting the scanners 108 to the server computer 102, and a
plurality of bar code ribbons 32 (only one shown) to be affixed onto liquor or
wine bottles 112 (only one shown).

[0056] The bar code scanners 108 are in the form of wireless
handheld devices. Examples of such scanning devices are the SymbolTM PPT
2742 and PPT 2746.

[0057] The bar code scanners 108 are wirelessly connected to the
server 102 via the access point 110. Alternatively, the bar code scanners 108
may be connected to the server 102 via conventional cables (not shown). Of
course, the number and configuration of the bar code scanners 108 and access
point 110 may vary.

[0058] Since bar code scanners and access points are believed to
be well known in the art, and for concision purposes, they will not be
described
herein in further detail.

[0059] The computer server 102 may take many forms, including a
desktop computer and a laptop computer. The server 102 includes a storing
means in the form of a hard drive, disk drive, CD-ROM drive, DVD-ROM drive,


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or other conventional storing means, allowing the storage information related
to
the bottle inventory and also the characteristics of each bottle, as will be
explained hereinbelow. This information is collected and stored in one or more
databases.

[0060] The server 102 is also programmed with a method for
decoding the bar code symbols 34. Since algorithm for decoding bar code
symbols is believed to be well known in the art, it will not be described
herein in
further detail. It is to be noted, however, that a bar code arrangement
according to the present invention, may be decoded using a conventional bar
code decoding algorithm.

[0061] Other configurations and features of the computer server 102
will become apparent upon reading the following description.

[0062] Of course, the server 102 includes conventional programmed
instructions for inventory management.

[0063] The scanner 108 may also be of the programmable-type
allowing, for example, autonomy whenever the connection with the server 102
is temporally interrupted.

[0064] Each of the components of the bar-inventory system 100 will
now be described in further detail with reference to the operation of the
system 100.

[0065] Turning briefly now to Figure 7, upon receiving new liquor
bottles 112, a conventional bar code symbol 114 is affixed to each bottle 112
to


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allow tracking of the bottle in the inventory. In addition, a bar code ribbon
32 is
affixed to every bottle whose variation of content needs to be tracked. The
ribbon is affixed onto the bottle so that it extends generally from the bottom
of
the bottle perpendicularly therefrom. The inventory bar code 114 may be
encoded using any system, provided that the scanner 108 is programmed with
the corresponding decoding algorithm.

[0066] To allow the provision of an accurate indication of the volume
content of each bottle 112, the ribbon 32 is affixed to the bottle 112 so that
its
bottom end 42 is flush with the inner bottom 116 of the bottle 112. Of course,
depending on the calibration method, the ribbon may be positioned differently
to the bottle 112.

[0067] As discussed hereinabove, the ribbon includes adhesive
means, such as glue, on its face not having the bar code arrangement printed
thereon, i.e. its back. Alternatively, other adhesive means may also be used.
Obviously, the glue is so chosen so as to provide adherence on glass or
plastic
and for different conditions, including cold temperatures and humidity. The
ribbon may further include a removable paper protector covering the adhesive,
therefore facilitating the handling of the ribbon 32 before it is affixed onto
a
bottle 112.

[0068] Since the ribbons 32 are affixed on a curved surface, their
widths are small enough to provide good adherence and also to minimize the
possibility of incorrect readings. For example, the "Interleaved 2 of 5"
encoding
system allows for the printing of symbols small enough to provide good
adherence and to minimize incorrect readings. It has been found that ribbons
having a width of about 8 mm are suitable for the requirement of bottle
scanning using conventional bar code scanners.


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

[0069] Bottles 32 are identified using the inventory bar code 114.
Information related, for example, to the type of liquor and to the volume of
the
bottle 112, has been pre-determined by scanning the manufacturer or
distributor bar code 118, usually present on the sticker of the bottle 112.
This
information is associated with the inventory bar code 114, and to the
corresponding information, as previously stored in an inventory database of
the
server 102.

[0070] At predetermined intervals, or whenever one of the bottles
112 in the inventory is moved, the placement of any bottle 112 in a location
or
in a plurality of locations (bars), is updated in the computer database by
scanning the inventory bar code 114.

[0071] The scanner 108 is programmed so as to allow input by the
user relative to its location on the premises. Alternatively, a bar code (not
shown) representative of the location of the bottle 112 may be provided in
such
locations. The user would then scan the location bar code, and the computer
102 would be configured to associate the following data entries with the
correct
location.

[0072] The volume of liquor in a bottle 112 can also be known by
scanning the ribbon 32 at the position of the ribbon 32 corresponding to the
level of liquid in the bottle 112.

[0073] A calibration is performed for each different type of bottle in
the inventory prior to any measurement of the volume. The calibration includes
gradually filling the bottle 112 with a liquid, and scanning, with the scanner
108,
the symbol 34 along the ribbon 32, corresponding to the level of liquid in the
bottle 112. The number corresponding to the scanned symbol 34 is associated


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16
with the corresponding level and volume of liquid in the database.

[0074] Obviously, the calibration process may be performed only
once for every configuration and shape of bottle. Indeed, the database may
include information related to volume and shapes of different types of
bottles,
as determined by the manufacturer's bar code symbol 118, and associate the
corresponding calibration information to the bottle, as identified by the
inventory
bar code symbol 114.

[0075] A scan may be performed any time on a calibrated bottle, and
the server computer 102 and/or scanner 108 will use the inventory database
calibration information to determine the volume of liquid in the scanned
bottle
112.

[0076] Whenever the deflection of the beam of the scanner 108 is
too oblique relative to the preferred scanning direction, and reads portions
of
two consecutive symbols 34, the scanner 108 will detect an incorrect reading,
since two identical end characters will be detected.

[0077] The bar-inventory management system 100 is configured so
as to output an error signal in the form, for example, of a particular sound
coming preferably from the scanner 108 whenever an incorrect reading is
decoded. Alternatively, the system 100 and more precisely, the scanner 108,
may be configured so as to issue a sound whenever a valid reading has been
recognized.

[0078] It is to be noted that the bar code arrangement, according to
the present invention prevents false readings due to incorrect orientation of
the
scanner 108 during a scan, while providing acceptable precision of the volume


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

17
reading.

[0079] Moreover, the bar code arrangement, according to the
present invention, may be printed on a relatively narrow ribbon, thereby
minimizing false readings caused by the curvature of the bottles 112, and of
the
ribbons 32 becoming unstuck from the bottles 112.

[0080] Alternatively, two separate databases may be used to store
inventory information and bottle configuration information.

[0081] Of course, the bar-inventory management system 100 may
have other configurations and features. For example, the computational
functions of the scanner 108 and of the server 102 may be interchangeable.
[0082] Even though the present invention has been described with
reference to an application where the liquid level in bottles is measured, a
bar
code arrangement, according to the present invention, may also allow
measuring, for example, any level or any position on an object or any length.
[0083] Figure 8 of the appended drawings describes a method for
determining a position on an object along an axis, according to an embodiment
of the present invention.

[0084] It is to be noted that the unique bar codes, provided in step
200, are positioned on the object following a bar code arrangement, according
to the present invention.

[0085] Of course, this method may vary as described hereinabove in


CA 02365684 2001-12-19

18
further detail.

[0086] Although the present invention has been described
hereinabove by way of preferred embodiments thereof, it can be modified
without departing from the spirit and nature of the subject invention, as
defined
in the appended claims.

Representative Drawing
A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.
Administrative Status

For a clearer understanding of the status of the application/patent presented on this page, the site Disclaimer , as well as the definitions for Patent , Administrative Status , Maintenance Fee  and Payment History  should be consulted.

Administrative Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date 2012-10-09
(22) Filed 2001-12-19
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2003-06-19
Examination Requested 2006-12-11
(45) Issued 2012-10-09
Expired 2021-12-20

Abandonment History

There is no abandonment history.

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Application Fee $150.00 2001-12-19
Registration of a document - section 124 $100.00 2002-12-04
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2003-12-19 $50.00 2003-12-10
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2004-12-20 $50.00 2004-10-19
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2005-12-19 $50.00 2005-12-19
Request for Examination $400.00 2006-12-11
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2006-12-19 $100.00 2006-12-11
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2007-12-19 $100.00 2007-12-17
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 7 2008-12-19 $100.00 2008-12-15
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 8 2009-12-21 $100.00 2009-12-14
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 9 2010-12-20 $100.00 2010-11-15
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 10 2011-12-19 $125.00 2011-09-14
Final Fee $150.00 2012-08-01
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 11 2012-12-19 $125.00 2012-10-05
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 12 2013-12-19 $125.00 2013-11-07
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 13 2014-12-19 $125.00 2014-09-15
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 14 2015-12-21 $125.00 2015-11-05
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 15 2016-12-19 $225.00 2016-11-23
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 16 2017-12-19 $225.00 2017-10-18
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 17 2018-12-19 $225.00 2018-10-23
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 18 2019-12-19 $225.00 2019-11-04
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 19 2020-12-21 $225.00 2020-11-05
Owners on Record

Note: Records showing the ownership history in alphabetical order.

Current Owners on Record
SCANNABAR
Past Owners on Record
SAUVE, ERIC
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.
Documents

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Document
Description 
Date
(yyyy-mm-dd) 
Number of pages   Size of Image (KB) 
Representative Drawing 2002-03-22 1 7
Cover Page 2003-05-27 2 41
Description 2001-12-19 18 683
Abstract 2001-12-19 1 24
Claims 2001-12-19 6 194
Drawings 2001-12-19 5 124
Description 2010-09-14 18 676
Claims 2011-04-05 6 182
Description 2011-04-26 18 672
Claims 2011-11-28 5 149
Representative Drawing 2012-09-24 1 8
Cover Page 2012-09-24 2 42
Fees 2003-12-10 1 33
Fees 2006-12-11 1 30
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-04-05 3 90
Correspondence 2002-01-23 1 25
Assignment 2001-12-19 3 91
Correspondence 2002-12-04 2 70
Assignment 2002-12-04 4 202
Correspondence 2003-01-02 1 15
Correspondence 2003-01-02 1 18
Correspondence 2010-03-10 1 15
Correspondence 2010-03-10 1 18
Fees 2004-10-19 1 32
Fees 2005-12-19 1 29
Prosecution-Amendment 2006-12-11 1 32
Prosecution-Amendment 2007-09-20 1 26
Correspondence 2007-10-10 2 79
Fees 2007-12-17 1 31
Fees 2008-12-15 1 32
Correspondence 2010-02-23 2 63
Prosecution-Amendment 2010-06-04 2 47
Fees 2010-11-15 1 201
Prosecution-Amendment 2010-09-14 5 169
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-03-29 1 18
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-04-26 4 98
Fees 2011-09-14 1 163
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-10-28 2 45
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-11-28 8 209
Correspondence 2012-08-01 1 40
Fees 2012-10-05 1 163
Fees 2014-09-15 1 33