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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1324364 07.08.2003
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1324364
Titel Vorrichtung für die Erfassung eines menschlichen Körpers
Anmelder Aisin Seiki K.K., Kariya, Aichi, JP
Erfinder Ieda, Kiyokazu, Chiryu-shi, Aichi-ken, JP;
Murakami, Yuichi, Chiryu-shi, Aichi-ken, JP;
Mushiake, Eiji, Chita-gun, Aichi-ken, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 23.12.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 020288734
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 02.07.2003
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 07.08.2003
IPC-Hauptklasse H01H 36/00
IPC-Nebenklasse E05B 1/00   E05B 65/20   

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to a human body detecting device. More particularly, this invention pertains to a human body detecting device for detecting an approach of a human body to a door handle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A known human body detecting sensor for a vehicle including a parallel cable as a non-contact sensor, which detects an approach of a user in a noncontacting manner, is disclosed in Japanese Patent Laid-Open Publication No. H10-308149. The parallel cable is accommodated in a hollow portion formed inside of a door handle for opening and closing a vehicle door. According to the disclosed human body detecting device for a vehicle, when the approach of a registered user to the vehicle door is recognized, first a control signal is transmitted to just allow a release of a door lock. Next, when the human body detecting sensor detects that the door handle is gripped to be opened, the door lock is then actually released.

When a user operates the door handle, his hand normally contacts with a front or back surface of the door handle. The disclosed human body detecting sensor is provided in the middle position of the door handle, i.e., provided rather far from both the front and the back surfaces of the door handle. Thus the effect of detecting the human body may not be always sufficient on both the front and the back surfaces of the door handle.

Recently, such as an antenna for communicating with an outside of the vehicle is provided in a space inside of the door handle and therefore, the human body detecting sensor and such the antenna should be accommodated in a limited space in the door handle. In this case, only one sensor for detecting the human body is used, being provided in the vicinity of either the front surface or the back surface of the door handle. The human body detecting element cannot be provided in the vicinity of both surfaces of the door handle so that only one surface can provide a preferred sensitivity to detect the human body.

An ornamental plating may be applied on resin or the door handle may be made of a metal in view of design or texture. In this case, however, the known human body detecting sensor cannot provide a sufficient detecting function or cannot detect the human body appropriately.

Thus, a need exists for the human body detecting device which addresses at least the foregoing drawback associated with other known human body detecting device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a human body detecting device having a high sensitivity for detecting an approach of a human body by using multiple different surfaces of a housing.

According to an aspect of the present invention, a human body detecting device includes a sensor electrode provided in a housing and having detecting portions for detecting an approach of a human body to the housing. The detecting portions of the sensor electrode detect at least two different surfaces of the housing, and each of the detecting portions is provided at each surface side in the housing.

The sensor electrode is bent in a U-shape to form an outwardly extending portion on one side wall of the sensor electrode and an inwardly extending portion on the other side wall of the sensor electrode. The outwardly extending portion on the one side wall of the sensor electrode is provided at one surface side in the housing as one of the detecting portions and the inwardly extending portion on the other side wall of the sensor electrode is provided at the other surface side in the housing as the other one of the detecting portions.

The housing is represented by a door handle for a vehicle forming a hollow portion therein, in which the detecting portions are housed at a vehicle-door side and at an opposite side to the vehicle door respectively. The detecting portion on the opposite side to the vehicle door is provided with a space for radio wave transmission and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space between the detecting portions.

The sensor electrode is branched from a base portion thereof into a first electrode piece and a second electrode piece. The first electrode piece and the second electrode piece are bent in the same direction in the U-shape whereby the outwardly extending portion and the inwardly extending portion are formed respectively as the detecting portions of the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece.

The sensor electrode may have a rectangular tube shape, and a space for radio wave transmission is formed on a surface provided at the opposite side to the vehicle door of the sensor electrode.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The foregoing and additional features and characteristics of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description considered with reference to the accompanying drawing figures in which like reference numerals designate like elements and wherein:

  • Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a vehicle door;
  • Fig. 2 is a cross sectional view taken along the line A-A of Fig. 1;
  • Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 4 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a second embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to.a third embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 6 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 7 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 8 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a sixth embodiment of the present invention;
  • Fig. 9 is a perspective view of a sensor electrode according to a seventh embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A first embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Figs. 1-3.

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a vehicle door. Fig. 2 is a cross sectional view taken along the line A-A of Fig. 1. As shown in Figs. 1, 2, a door handle 4 is assembled to a vehicle door 1. Precisely, the door handle 4 is assembled to an opening portion 3 formed in a rear portion of a door outer panel 2 forming the vehicle door 1. The door handle 4 includes an arm 5 in the forward and a key cylinder case 6 and a bell crank body 7 in the rearward. The bell crank body 7 constitutes a door lock device by cooperating with a link mechanism not shown.

In order to open the vehicle door 1, a user's hand is inserted in a space between the door outer panel 2 and the door handle 4 of the vehicle door 1 to grip the door handle 4. Then the rear portion of the door handle 4 is rotated in an outward direction of the vehicle (counterclockwise direction in Fig. 2) with respect to a tip portion of the arm 5. When the door handle 4 is rotated with respect to the tip portion of the arm 5, the vehicle door 1 becomes in an open state. In order to close the vehicle door 1, the vehicle door 1 is pushed in the direction opposite to that for opening the vehicle door 1.

The door handle 4 is made of synthetic resin. The door handle 4 includes a hollow portion 4a inside thereof, which is molded with resin under the condition that a transmitting antenna 8 and a sensor electrode 9 as an human body detecting element are accommodated in the hollow portion 4a. That is, the door handle 4 having the hollow portion 4a constitutes a housing in which the transmitting antenna 8 and the sensor electrode are accommodated. The transmitting antenna 8 is provided to communicate with a transmitter carried by the user. The sensor electrode 9 detects an approach of the user by a variation of a capacitance caused by a motion of gripping the door handle 4 (approach of the hand) when the user tries to open the vehicle door 1. That is, the sensor electrode 9 is a sensor for detecting whether the user approaches the door handle 4 or not.

Fig. 3 is a perspective view of the sensor electrode 9 molded in the hollow portion 4a. The sensor electrode 9 is branched from a base portion 9a thereof into a pair of first electrode piece 11 and second electrode piece 12 of each plate shape. The first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 are formed to extend by keeping a predetermined distance therebetween. Further, the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 are then formed to be folded back by keeping a predetermined distance (i.e., in parallel) with the extending portions of the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 respectively. The first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 include outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a respectively extending in a direction away from the base portion 9a. The first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 also includes clinch portions 11b and12b respectively being bent at right angles to end portions of the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a respectively. Further, the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 includes inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c respectively being bent at right angles to the clinch portions 11b and 12b and extending in a direction towards the base portion 9a.

According to the embodiment of the present invention, lengths of the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a are provided same as those of the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c. Thus, end portions of the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c are positioned to face to base portions of the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a respectively. Further, in the embodiment of the present invention, the sensor electrode 9 is provided to be molded in the hollow portion 4a so that the outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a are provided at a vehicle-door side and the inwardly extending portions 11 c and 12c are provided at an opposite side to the vehicle door in the hollow portion 4a. The outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a of the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 respectively detect the user's hand just before the user touches a surface on the vehicle-door side of the door handle 4. In the same way, the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c of the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 respectively detect the user's hand just before the user touches a surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4.

The transmitting antenna 8 is provided in a space surrounded by the outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a and the inwardly extending portions 11 c and 12c framing four corners of the space thereby. Thus, the transmitting antenna 8 is positioned between the inwardly extending portions 11c and12c when the door handle 4 is viewed from the opposite side to the vehicle door. The transmitting antenna 8 irradiates radio wave from a space between the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c. Further, the transmitting antenna 8 is provided to be molded in the hollow portion 4a together with the sensor electrode 9 under the condition of being electrically insulated from the sensor electrode 9.

According to the embodiment of the present invention as described above, the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a of the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 respectively of the sensor electrode 9 are provided at the vehicle-door side in the door handle 4, and the inwardly extending portions 11 c and 12c of the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 respectively of the sensor electrode 9 are provided at the opposite side to the vehicle door in the door handle 4. Thus, the user's hand can be surely detected in both cases when the user tries to touch the door handle 4 from the vehicle-door side and the opposite side to the vehicle door.

In addition, according to the embodiment of the present invention, the sensor electrode 9 is just bent in a U-shape to form detecting portions for detecting different surfaces of the door handle 4. Thus, a number of parts of the sensor electrode 9 can be reduced.

Moreover, according to the embodiment of the present invention, the transmitting antenna 8 is provided in the space surrounded by the outwardly extending portions 11a and12a and the inwardly extending portions 11c and12c of the sensor electrode 9 framing four corners of the space thereby. Then, the transmitting antenna 8 is positioned between the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c when the door handle 4 is viewed from the opposite side to the vehicle door. Thus, most part of the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 can be emitted outside the door handle 4. As a result, a signal to be transmitted requires low power and thus the transmitting antenna 8 can be smaller in size.

In the above-described embodiment, the sensor electrode 9 is branched from the base portion 9a thereof into the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12. The first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 includes the outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a extending in the direction away from the base portion 9a, and the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c being folded back and extending in the direction towards the base portion 9a. The outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a detect the approach of the user to the surface on the-vehicle-door side of the door handle 4 and the inwardly extending portions 11 c and 12c detect the approach of the user to the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4. However, the outwardly extending portions 11a and 12a may be provided at the opposite side to the vehicle door in the door handle 4 and the inwardly extending portions 11c and 12c may be provided at the vehicle-door side in the door handle 4.

In this case, the inwardly extending portions 11c and12c detect the approach of the user to the surface on the vehicle-door side of the door handle 4 and the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12a detect the approach of the user to the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4.

Although in the embodiment of the present invention, the transmitting antenna 8 is provided in the space surrounded by the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12, the transmitting antenna 8 is not limited to be provided in that space.

A second embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 4. As shown in Fig. 4, the sensor electrode 9 is branched into the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12, which consist of only the outwardly extending portions 11 a and 12b respectively. In addition, a sensor electrode 24 includes a third electrode piece 21 and a fourth electrode piece 22, which consist of only outwardly extending portions 21 a and 22a respectively having the same shape as the outwardly extending portions 11 a and12a respectively. The third electrode piece 21 and the fourth electrode piece 22 of the sensor electrode 24, and the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 are electrically connected so as to face to each other with keeping a predetermined distance therebetween.

In this case also, the first electrode piece 11 and the second electrode piece 12 detect the approach of the user to the surface on the vehicle-door side of the door handle 4, and the third electrode piece 21 and the fourth electrode piece 22 detect the approach of the user to the surface on the opposite side of the vehicle door of the door handle 4. Further, most part of the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 can be emitted outside the door handle 4 by providing the transmitting antenna 8 in a space between the first electrode piece 11, the second electrode piece 12, the third electrode piece 21 and the fourth electrode piece 22.

A third embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 5. As shown in Fig. 5, a sensor electrode 32 formed by twelve electrode pieces 31 is employed. The twelve electrode pieces 31 are interconnected each other so as to form a single rectangular shape by constituting each side thereof by each electrode piece. Then the approach of the user to the surface on the vehicle-door side and the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4 can be detected. In addition, the twelve electrode pieces 31 of the sensor electrode 32 is in the single rectangular shape so that it is also detected whether the user approaches to the surface on the upper side and the lower side of the door handle 4. Further, most part of the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 can be emitted outside the door handle 4 by providing the transmitting antenna 8 in a space surrounded by each piece of the twelve electrode pieces 31.

A fourth embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 6. As shown in Fig. 6, a sensor electrode 34 formed by electrode pieces 35, 36, and 37 is employed. The sensor electrode 35 obtains a rectangular-frame shape. The sensor electrodes 36 and 37 each having another rectangular-frame shape shorter than that of the electrode piece 35 in a longitudinal direction is electrically connected to one end and the other end of the sensor electrode 35 respectively so as to face to each other with keeping a predetermined distance therebetween. Then the approach of the user to the surface on the vehicle-door side and the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4 can be detected. In addition, most part of the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 can be emitted outside the door handle 4 by providing the transmitting antenna 8 in a space between the electrode pieces 35, 36, and 37.

A fifth embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 7. As shown in Fig. 7, a sensor electrode 38 having a rectangular shape in cross section with a hollow portion therein is employed. It can be surely detected whether the user approaches to the surface on the vehicle-door side and the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4. When the transmitting antenna 8 is provided inside of the sensor electrode 38 having the rectangular shape in cross section with the hollow portion therein, a surface facing outside the door handle 4 may be meshed to form a radio wave emission surface 38a as shown in Fig. 7. The radio wave emission surface 38a can be also provided with a great number of through-holes so that the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 is emitted outside the vehicle door 1. Further, the radio wave transmission surface 38a is not limited to be formed on a specific surface but formed on any surfaces of the sensor electrode 38.

A sixth embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 8. As shown in Fig. 8, a sensor electrode 41 including a pair of electrode pieces 39 and 40 of each plate shape is employed. The electrode pieces 39 and 40 are provided in parallel by keeping a predetermined distance therebetween. It can be surely detected whether the user approaches to the surface on the vehicle-door side and the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door of the door handle 4 by providing the electrode piece 39 on the opposite side to the vehicle door and providing the electrode piece 40 on the vehicle-door side in the door handle 4. When the transmitting antenna 8 is provided in a space between the electrode pieces 39 and 40, a surface provided at the opposite side to the vehicle door can be meshed to form a radio wave emission surface 39a as shown in Fig. 8. Further, the radio wave emission surface 39a can be also provided with a great number of through-holes so that the radio wave transmitted from the transmitting antenna 8 is emitted outside the vehicle door 1.

A seventh embodiment of the present invention is explained referring to Fig. 9. As shown in Fig. 9, the electrode pieces 39 and 40 having each plate shape are provided at the opposite side of the vehicle door and the vehicle-door side relative to the transmitting antenna 8 in the door handle 4 respectively. In addition, the electrode pieces 42 and 43 having each plate shape are provided at the upper side and the lower side relative to the transmitting antenna 8 respectively. In this case, the approach of the user to the surface on the vehicle-door side, the surface on the opposite side to the vehicle door, the surface on the upper side, the surface on the lower side relative to the transmitting antenna 8 of the door handle 4 can be detected.

Although in the above-described embodiments, the housing where an human body detecting device is accommodated is embodied by the door handle for the vehicle, the housing may be embodied by other parts.

According to the above-described embodiments, the human body detecting device can provided a high sensitivity for detecting the approach of the human body.

The principles, preferred embodiment and mode of operation of the present invention have been described in the foregoing specification. However, the invention which is intended to be protected is not to be construed as limited to the particular embodiments disclosed. Further, the embodiments described herein are to be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Variations and changes may be made by others, and equivalents employed, without departing from the sprit of the present invention. Accordingly, it is expressly intended that all such variations, changes and equivalents which fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the claims, be embraced thereby. A human body detecting device for detecting an approach of a human body includes a sensor electrode provided in a housing and having detecting portions for detecting the approach of the human body to the housing. The detecting portions of the sensor electrode detect at least two different surfaces of the housing, and each of the detecting portions is provided at each surface side in the housing.


Anspruch[en]
  1. A human body detecting device for detecting an approach of a human body, comprising:
    • a sensor electrode provided in a housing and having detecting portions for detecting the approach of the human body to the housing; and
    • the detecting portions of the sensor electrode detecting at least two different surfaces of the housing, each of the detecting portions being provided at each surface side in the housing.
  2. A human body detecting device according to claim 1, wherein;

    the sensor electrode is bent in a U-shape to form an outwardly extending portion on one side wall of the sensor electrode and an inwardly extending portion on the other side wall of the sensor electrode, and wherein the outwardly extending portion on the one side wall of the sensor electrode is provided at one surface side in the housing as one of the detecting portions and the inwardly extending portion on the other side wall of the sensor electrode is provided at the other surface side in the housing as the other one of the detecting portions.
  3. A human body detecting device according to claim 1, wherein;

    the housing is a door handle for a vehicle forming a hollow portion therein, in which the detecting portions are housed at a vehicle-door side and at an opposite side to the vehicle door respectively, wherein the detecting portion on the opposite side to the vehicle door is provided with a space for radio wave transmission and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space between the detecting portions.
  4. A human body detecting device according to claim 2, wherein;

    the housing is a door handle for a vehicle forming a hollow portion therein, in which the detecting portions are housed at a vehicle-door side and at an opposite side to the vehicle door respectively, wherein the detecting portion on the opposite side to the vehicle door is provided with a space for a radio wave transmission and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space between the detecting portions.
  5. A human body detecting device according to claim 4, wherein;

    the sensor electrode is branched from a base portion thereof into a first electrode piece and a second electrode piece, and wherein the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece are bent in the same direction in the U-shape whereby the outwardly extending portion and the inwardly extending portion are formed respectively as the detecting portions of the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece.
  6. A human body detecting device according to claim 3, wherein;

    the sensor electrode has a rectangular tube shape, and a space for radio wave transmission is formed on a surface provided at the opposite side to the vehicle door of the sensor electrode.
  7. A human body detecting device according to claim 3, wherein;

    the sensor electrode includes a first electrode piece and a second electrode piece each forming an outwardly extending portion, and another sensor electrode includes a third electrode piece and a fourth electrode piece each forming an outwardly extending portion which has the same shape as the outwardly extending portion of the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece respectively, wherein the third electrode piece and the fourth electrode piece are electrically connected to the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece so as to face to each other with keeping a predetermined distance therebetween.
  8. A human body detecting device according to claim 1, wherein;

    the sensor electrode includes twelve electrode pieces being interconnected each other so as to form a single rectangular shape by constituting each side thereof by each electrode piece, and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space surrounded by the twelve electrode pieces.
  9. A human body detecting device according to claim 1, wherein;

    the sensor electrode includes a first electrode piece having a rectangular-frame shape, and a second electrode piece and a third electrode piece each having another rectangular-frame shape shorter than that of the first electrode piece in a longitudinal direction, wherein the second electrode piece and the third electrode piece are electrically connected to one end and the other end of the first electrode piece respectively so as to face to each other with keeping a predetermined distance therebetween, and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space surrounded by the first electrode piece, the second electrode piece and the third electrode piece.
  10. A human body detecting device according to claim 1, wherein;

    the sensor electrode includes a pair of first electrode piece and second electrode piece of a plate shape, wherein the pair of first electrode piece and second electrode piece are provided in parallel by keeping a predetermined distance therebetween, and a transmitting antenna is provided in a space between the first electrode piece and the second electrode piece.
  11. A human body detecting device according to claim 10, wherein;

    a third electrode piece and a fourth electrode piece of a plate shape are provided at an upper side and a lower side relative to the transmitting antenna in the door handle.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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