(19)
(11)EP 3 043 481 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
31.05.2017 Bulletin 2017/22

(21)Application number: 14837094.3

(22)Date of filing:  01.07.2014
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H04B 1/04(2006.01)
H04W 52/38(2009.01)
H04B 1/38(2015.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2014/003483
(87)International publication number:
WO 2015/029298 (05.03.2015 Gazette  2015/09)

(54)

INFORMATION PROCESSING APPARATUS

INFORMATIONSVERARBEITUNGSVORRICHTUNG

APPAREIL DE TRAITEMENT D'INFORMATIONS


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 02.09.2013 JP 2013181078

(43)Date of publication of application:
13.07.2016 Bulletin 2016/28

(73)Proprietor: Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd.
Osaka-shi, Osaka 540-6207 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • NISHIKAWA, Kenji
    Osaka-shi, Osaka 540-6207 (JP)

(74)Representative: Vigand, Philippe et al
Novagraaf International SA Chemin de l'Echo 3
1213 Onex - Genève
1213 Onex - Genève (CH)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 787 780
JP-A- 2011 102 787
JP-A- 2011 526 099
WO-A1-2009/149023
JP-A- 2011 124 685
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to an information processing device having a proximity sensor. An information processing device reflecting the preamble of present claim 1 is disclosed by the document EP 2 787 780 and by the document WO 2009/149023.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] PTL 1 discloses a proximity sensor. The disclosed proximity sensor determines whether a detected object exists or not during a first time period T1, and determines whether an extraneous radio wave exists or not during a second time period T2. This prevents malfunction due to an extraneous radio wave, with a simple circuit configuration.

    Citation List


    Patent Literature



    [0003] PTL 1: Unexamined Japanese Patent Publication No. 2011-102787

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0004] The present disclosure provides an information processing device that reduces the possibility of emission of an electromagnetic wave that may affect a user.

    [0005] The information processing device according to the present disclosure is defined in the appended claims and includes a processor, a power source configured to supply power, a proximity sensor configured to detect approach of an object, and an antenna configured to output an electromagnetic wave. The processor sets a maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna to a first value after the power source starts supplying the power, and then sets the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna to a second value greater than the first value when the proximity sensor no longer detects approach of an object that has once been detected by the proximity sensor.

    [0006] This configuration is advantageous in reducing the possibility of emission of an electromagnetic wave that affects the user.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



    [0007] 

    FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a configuration of an information processing device according to an exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the information processing device according to the exemplary embodiment connected to an external device.

    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the information processing device according to the exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method of controlling the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from an antenna when power is supplied to the information processing device according to the exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating another method of controlling the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from an antenna when power is supplied to the information processing device according to the exemplary embodiment.


    DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT



    [0008] An exemplary embodiment will be described below in detail with reference to the drawings as appropriate. Note that description in excessive detail may be omitted. For example, detailed description of a well-known subject and duplicate description of substantially the same configuration may be omitted. The aim of this is to avoid unnecessary redundancy in the following description, and thus to facilitate understanding of those skilled in the art.

    [0009] Note that the attached drawings and the following description are provided for those skilled in the art to fully understand the present disclosure, and are not intended to limit the subject matter as described in the appended claims.

    (Exemplary Embodiment)



    [0010] An exemplary embodiment will be described below with reference to FIGS. 1 to 5.

    (1-1-1. Configuration of Information Processing Device)



    [0011] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a configuration of an information processing device according to this exemplary embodiment.

    [0012] In this exemplary embodiment, information processing device 100 is described as a tablet personal computer.

    [0013] Note that a tablet personal computer is merely by way of example, and thus information processing device 100 may also be a convertible PC (Personal Computer), a clamshell PC, a smart phone, or the like.

    [0014] Information processing device 100 performs various information processing, and displays a result thereof on display portion 105.

    [0015] Display portion 105 is disposed on a main face of information processing device 100. Display portion 105 is formed of, for example, a liquid crystal display. Information processing device 100 performs predetermined information processing based on OS (Operating System) 325 (FIG. 3).

    [0016] Antenna 110 emits electromagnetic waves in various frequency ranges into space, and receives electromagnetic waves from space. Information processing device 100 has, at one side surface, antenna 110 inside. Antenna 110 is formed of, for example, a metallic pattern printed on a substrate disposed inside information processing device 100. Information processing device 100 performs wireless data communication using an electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110.

    [0017]  Sensor element 120 is a proximity sensor, and detects an object including a human body. In this exemplary embodiment, information processing device 100 has sensor element 120 disposed inside at the same surface in the same manner as antenna 110. In this exemplary embodiment, sensor element 120 is disposed near antenna 110. In this exemplary embodiment, sensor element 120 has an "L" shape, disposed so as to have antenna 110 in the concave region of the "L" shape. Disposing sensor element 120 around antenna 110 allows sensor element 120 to detect that an object has approached a vicinity of antenna 110.

    [0018] Sensor element 120 is formed of, for example, a metallic pattern printed on a substrate disposed inside information processing device 100. Information processing device 100 changes a maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 depending on a status of detection by sensor element 120 of approach of an object. More specifically, information processing device 100 changes the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 between two modes which are a power down mode and a normal mode. In the power down mode, the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave, which is an output emitted from antenna 110, is limited to a value that satisfies a SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) regulation during approach of an object. In the normal mode, the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave, which is an output emitted from antenna 110, is higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, and is in a range of possible values of network interface 340.

    [0019] Power switch 130 is disposed on a main face of information processing device 100. When power switch 130 is pushed, information processing device 100 is powered on and is started.

    (1-1-2. Configuration of External Device)



    [0020] Information processing device 100 may be connected to an external device for use. Referring to FIG. 2, a configuration of one example to use information processing device 100 connected to an external device will be described.

    [0021] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of information processing device 100 according to this exemplary embodiment connected to an external device.

    [0022] In this exemplary embodiment, external device 200 is described as a car dock that is used when information processing device 100 is provided in a vehicle.

    [0023] Information processing device 100 is attached to external device 200. External device 200 and information processing device 100 respectively have dedicated external device interfaces (not shown), and are thus electrically connected to each other via the dedicated external device interfaces when information processing device 100 is attached to external device 200.

    [0024] External device 200 is secured so as to cover antenna 110 and sensor element 120 of information processing device 100.

    [0025] External device 200 has outer frame 210 having a predetermined thickness W of, for example, 2 cm. Outer frame 210 covers antenna 110 and sensor element 120.

    (1-1-3. Block Configuration of Information Processing Device)



    [0026] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of information processing device 100 according to this exemplary embodiment.

    [0027] Processor 310 executes a program stored in storage device 320, and thereby controls information processing device 100. By executing the program, processor 310 controls other components of information processing device 100.

    [0028] In the present disclosure, the term processor 310 is intended to include any and all components having a function to process an information signal. In this exemplary embodiment, components each having a comparable function to that of processor 310, for example a network interface or the like, are described as separate components from processor 310. However, such components may be disposed integrally and physically inside processor 310 in a single package, or may be disposed individually as in this exemplary embodiment.

    [0029] Storage device 320 temporarily or permanently stores data required for processing in information processing device 100. For example, storage device 320 stores OS 325, programs, and the like. Storage device 320 is implemented by a volatile memory, a nonvolatile memory, an HDD (Hard Disk Drive), or the like.

    [0030] An electrical signal transmitted and received by other components of information processing device 100 passes through bus 330. Control signals and data are transmitted and received between components of information processing device 100 via bus 330.

    [0031] Network interface 340 establishes and disconnects a connection with a network, and acquires information on the network. Network interface 340 is controlled by processor 310. Network interface 340 processes a signal used for communication using a predetermined communication scheme. Network interface 340 is connected to antenna 110. Network interface 340 is controlled by processor 310 to control the output of antenna 110.

    [0032] Proximity sensor 350 detects whether any object is approaching antenna 110 or not based on a signal transmitted from sensor element 120. Proximity sensor 350 includes, for example, a circuit to detect a change in an electrical status of sensor element 120. Proximity sensor 350 is connected to sensor element 120. Proximity sensor 350 converts a signal transmitted from sensor element 120 into approach detection information that is processable by processor 310. Approach detection information differentiates between an "approach is detected" situation and an "approach is not detected" situation. Approach detection information is notified to processor 310.

    [0033] Proximity sensor 350 may be included in processor 310, and implemented as a function of processor 310, or may be included in sensor element 120, and implemented as a function of sensor element 120.

    [0034] Power source 360 supplies power to information processing device 100. The power supply of power source 360 is controlled by power switch 130.

    [0035] External device interface 370 is an interface that detects connection of external device 200 to information processing device 100. Connection status information that indicates whether external device 200 is connected or not is notified to processor 310 via external device interface 370.

    (1-2. Operation)



    [0036] An operation of information processing device 100 will next be described below. More specifically, an operation will be described from a power-on of information processing device 100 until a transition, to the normal mode, of the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110. Information processing device 100 changes the value of the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 depending on the status of detection by antenna 110 of the approach of an object.

    [0037]  FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method of controlling the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 when power is supplied to information processing device 100, according to this exemplary embodiment.

    [0038] (S401) An operation of power switch 130 causes power source 360 to supply power to each of the components of information processing device 100.

    [0039] (S402) Processor 310 activates network interface 340 in the power down mode. In the power down mode, the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 is at a value that satisfies the SAR regulation.

    [0040] (S403) Processor 310 acquires approach detection information from sensor element 120 via proximity sensor 350. If the approach detection information indicates "approach is detected" (YES), the process proceeds to S404, whereas if the approach detection information indicates "approach is not detected" (NO), the process repeats step S403.

    [0041] (S404) Processor 310 acquires approach detection information from sensor element 120 via proximity sensor 350. If the approach detection information indicates "approach is detected" (YES), the process repeats step S404, whereas if the approach detection information indicates "approach is not detected" (NO), the process proceeds to S405.

    [0042] (S405) Processor 310 changes network interface 340 to the normal mode. In the normal mode, antenna 110 outputs an electromagnetic wave so that the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 is higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, and is in a range of possible values of network interface 340. That is, the output of antenna 110 exceeds a value that satisfies the SAR regulation.

    [0043] After changing network interface 340 to the normal mode, processor 310 changes the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 depending on the status of detection by sensor element 120 of approach of an object.

    [0044] As described above, when information processing device 100 is powered on, network interface 340 is activated in the power down mode. Detection by proximity sensor 350 that no objects are approaching after the detection of approach of the object confirms a transition of the status of detection by proximity sensor 350 of the object. A transition of the status of detection by proximity sensor 350 of the object can lead to the determination that proximity sensor 350 is not in failure. After confirming that proximity sensor 350 is not in failure, processor 310 changes network interface 340 to the normal mode.

    [0045] The operation described above can reduce the possibility of outputting an electromagnetic wave, higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, toward the user of information processing device 100.

    [0046] Next, a description will be made regarding a method of controlling the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 of information processing device 100 in consideration of use of information processing device 100 attached to external device 200.

    [0047] External device 200 has outer frame 210 having a predetermined thickness W of, for example, 2 cm. Since outer frame 210 covers antenna 110 and sensor element 120, the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 remains at a value that satisfies the SAR regulation even when network interface 340 is in the normal mode.

    [0048] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating another method of controlling the maximum power of an electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 when power is supplied to information processing device 100, according to this exemplary embodiment.

    [0049] (S501) An operation of power switch 130 causes power source 360 to supply power to each of the components of information processing device 100.

    [0050]  (S502) Processor 310 activates network interface 340 in the power down mode. In the power down mode, the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 is at a value that satisfies the SAR regulation.

    [0051] (S503) Processor 310 acquires approach detection information from sensor element 120 via proximity sensor 350. If the approach detection information indicates "approach is detected" (YES), the process proceeds to S504, whereas if the approach detection information indicates "approach is not detected" (NO), the process repeats step S503.

    [0052] (S504) Processor 310 acquires the connection status of external device 200 via external device interface 370. If the connection status indicates that external device 200 is connected to information processing device 100 (YES), the process proceeds to S506, whereas if the connection status indicates that external device 200 is not connected to information processing device 100 (NO), the process proceeds to S505.

    [0053]  (S505) Processor 310 acquires approach detection information from sensor element 120 via proximity sensor 350. If the approach detection information indicates "approach is detected" (YES), the process repeats step S505, whereas if the approach detection information indicates "approach is not detected" (NO), the process proceeds to S506.

    [0054] (S506) Processor 310 changes network interface 340 to the normal mode. In the normal mode, antenna 110 outputs an electromagnetic wave so that the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 is higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, and is in a range of possible values of network interface 340. That is, the output of antenna 110 exceeds a value that satisfies the SAR regulation.

    [0055] After changing network interface 340 to the normal mode, processor 310 changes the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave emitted from antenna 110 depending on the status of detection by sensor element 120 of the approach of an object.

    [0056]  As described above, when information processing device 100 is powered on, network interface 340 is activated in the power down mode. When information processing device 100 is attached to external device 200, proximity sensor 350 no more detects approach of an object after the detection of approach of the object. In addition, external device 200 is the only object that approaches proximity sensor 350. Accordingly, processor 310 can change network interface 340 to the normal mode irrespective of whether proximity sensor 350 is in failure or not. When information processing device 100 is not attached to external device 200, similarly to the case of FIG. 4, detection by proximity sensor 350 that no objects are approaching after the detection of approach of the object confirms a transition of the status of detection by proximity sensor 350 of the object. A transition of the status of detection by proximity sensor 350 of the object can lead to the determination that proximity sensor 350 is not in failure. After confirming that proximity sensor 350 is not in failure, processor 310 changes network interface 340 to the normal mode.

    [0057] The operation described above can reduce the possibility of outputting an electromagnetic wave, higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, toward the user of information processing device 100.

    (1-3. Advantages and Others)



    [0058] As described above, in this exemplary embodiment, information processing device 100 includes processor 310, power source 360 that supplies power, proximity sensor 350 that detects approach of an object, and antenna 110 that outputs an electromagnetic wave. Processor 310 sets a maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from antenna 110 to a first value after power source 360 starts supplying the power, and then sets the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from antenna 110 to a second value greater than the first value when the proximity sensor 350 no longer detects approach of an object that has once been detected by the proximity sensor 350.

    [0059] This configuration provides control in which, after information processing device 100 is powered on, the approach status information indicates "approach is detected" and then "approach is not detected" after which antenna 110 outputs an output at a second value greater than the first value that satisfies the SAR regulation. A transition of the approach status information on detection by proximity sensor 350 to one indicating "approach is detected" and then to one indicating "approach is not detected" demonstrates a high likelihood that proximity sensor 350 and sensor element 120 are not in failure, but operate normally. Therefore, after confirmation that proximity sensor 350 and sensor element 120 are not in failure, but operate normally, antenna 110 changes its output to a second value greater than the first value that satisfies the SAR regulation. In other words, if information processing device 100 determines that proximity sensor 350 or sensor element 120 is in failure, antenna 110 cannot output an output at a second value greater than the first value that satisfies the SAR regulation. Thus, this operation can reduce the possibility of emission of an electromagnetic wave that affects the user close to information processing device 100.

    [0060] In addition, in this exemplary embodiment, when information processing device 100 is attached to external device 200 such that proximity sensor 350 and antenna 110 are covered, processor 310 sets the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from antenna 110 to the second value after power source 360 starts supplying the power.

    [0061] When information processing device 100 is attached to external device 200 so that proximity sensor 350 and antenna 110 are covered, the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from antenna 110 remains at a value that satisfies the SAR regulation even when network interface 340 is in the normal mode. Thus, network interface 340 can be changed to the normal mode irrespective of whether proximity sensor 350 is in failure or not. This can reduce the possibility of outputting an electromagnetic wave, higher than a value that satisfies the SAR regulation, toward the user of information processing device 100, and thereby can improve convenience of information processing device 100.

    INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY



    [0062] The present disclosure is applicable to an information processing device having a proximity sensor, and more specifically, to a personal computer, a smart phone, or the like.

    REFERENCE MARKS IN THE DRAWINGS



    [0063] 
    100
    information processing device
    105
    display portion
    110
    antenna
    120
    sensor element
    130
    power switch
    200
    external device
    210
    outer frame
    310
    processor
    320
    storage device
    325
    OS
    330
    bus
    340
    network interface
    350
    proximity sensor
    360
    power source
    370
    external device interface



    Claims

    1. An information processing device (100) comprising:

    a processor (310);

    a power source (360) configured to supply power;

    a proximity sensor (350) configured to detect approach of an object; and

    an antenna (110) configured to output an electromagnetic wave,

    wherein the processor (310) sets a maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna (110) to a first value,

    characterized in that the processor (310) sets a maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna (110) to the first value upon the power source starting supplying the power and maintains this setting as long as no approach of an object is detected by said proximity sensor (350), and then, after an approach of an object has been detected by said proximity sensor (350), and said approach is no longer detected by said proximity sensor (350), sets the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna (110) to a second value greater than the first value.


     
    2. The information processing device (100) according to claim 1, wherein
    when the information processing device (100) is attached to an external device (200) such that the proximity sensor (350) and the antenna (110) are covered, the processor (310) sets the maximum power of the electromagnetic wave from the antenna (110) to the second value after the power source (360) starts supplying the power.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung (100), aufweisend:

    einen Prozessor (310);

    eine Energiequelle (360), konfiguriert für Energieversorgung;

    einen Näherungssensor (350), konfiguriert für Erfassen einer Annäherung eines Objekts; und

    eine Antenne (110), konfiguriert für ein Ausgeben einer elektromagnetischen Welle,

    wobei der Prozessor (310) eine Höchstleistung der elektromagnetischen Welle von der Antenne (110) auf einen ersten Wert einstellt,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Prozessor (310) eine Höchstleistung der elektromagnetischen Welle von der Antenne (110) auf den ersten Wert einstellt, nachdem die Energiequelle die Energieversorgung begonnen hat, und diese Einstellung beibehält, solange keine Annäherung eines Objekts vom Näherungssensor (350) erfasst wird, und dann, nachdem eine Annäherung eines Objekts durch den Näherungssensor (350) erfasst worden ist und diese Annäherung nicht weiter durch den Näherungssensor (350) erfasst wird, die Höchstleistung der elektromagnetischen Welle von der Antenne (110) auf einen zweiten Wert einstellt, der höher ist als der erste Wert.


     
    2. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei,
    wenn die Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung (100) so an einer externen Vorrichtung (200) angebracht ist, dass der Näherungssensor (350) und die Antenne (110) verdeckt sind, der Prozessor (310) die Höchstleistung der elektromagnetischen Welle von der Antenne (110) auf den zweiten Wert einstellt, nachdem die Energiequelle (360) die Energieversorgung beginnt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de traitement d'informations (100) qui comprend :

    un processeur (310) ;

    une source de puissance (360) configurée pour fournir une puissance ;

    un capteur de proximité (350) configuré pour détecter l'approche d'un objet ; et

    une antenne (110) configurée pour délivrer une onde électromagnétique,

    dans lequel le processeur (310) établit une puissance maximum de l'onde électromagnétique provenant de l'antenne (110) à une première valeur,

    caractérisé en ce que le processeur (310) établit une puissance maximum de l'onde électromagnétique provenant de l'antenne (110) à la première valeur lorsque la source de puissance commence à fournir la puissance et maintient ce réglage tant qu'aucune approche d'un objet n'est détectée par ledit capteur de proximité (350), et, ensuite, après qu'une approche d'un objet a été détectée par ledit capteur de proximité (350), et que ladite approche n'est plus détectée par ledit capteur de proximité (350), établit la puissance maximum de l'onde électromagnétique provenant de l'antenne (110) à une deuxième valeur supérieure à la première valeur.


     
    2. Dispositif de traitement d'informations (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel
    lorsque le dispositif de traitement d'informations (100) est attaché à un dispositif externe (200) de sorte que le capteur de proximité (350) et l'antenne (110) sont recouverts, le processeur (310) établit la puissance maximum de l'onde électromagnétique provenant de l'antenne (110) à la deuxième valeur après que la source de puissance (360) a commencé à fournir la puissance.
     




    Drawing




















    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description