Patent Number: 6,297,737

Title: Object locating system

Abstract: A locating unit includes a wireless communications interface for transmitting signals to one or more locating tags. A user physically associates each tag with an item of interest, such as a briefcase or key ring. When a tagged item is misplaced, the user uses the locating unit to find it. Using the user interface included in the locating unit, the user selects the desired item from a listing of tagged items. Based on the user selection, the locating unit polls the associated tag. The polled tag responds by emitting an audible signal, thereby aiding the user in determining its location. Preferably, the locating unit is a mobile terminal and communications between the mobile terminal and individual tags is two-way. Thus, a polled tag returns a found signal to the mobile terminal in response to being polled. The mobile terminal provides the user with found/not-found indication, from which the user can ascertain whether the desired tagged item is within range of the polling signal, even if the tag's audible signal cannot be heard. Tags preferably include a switch that, when actuated, causes the tag to poll the mobile terminal. In response to receiving a poll signal from a tag, the mobile terminal emits an audible signal and returns a found signal to the polling tag. The polling tag provides the user with a found/not-found indicator. Thus, individual tags can be used to locate the mobile terminal. Preferably, the wireless interfaces in the mobile terminal and locating tags are Bluetooth transceivers.

Inventors: Irvin; David R. (Raleigh, NC)

Assignee: Ericsson INC

International Classification: G08B 21/00 (20060101); G08B 21/24 (20060101); G08B 13/14 (20060101); G08B 013/14 ()

Expiration Date: 10/02/2018