(19)
(11)EP 3 664 052 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
10.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/24

(21)Application number: 18209777.4

(22)Date of filing:  03.12.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G07F 13/00  (2006.01)
A47J 31/00  (2006.01)
A47G 19/12  (2006.01)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: Riprup Company S.A.
St. Peter Port GY1 1WQ (GG)

(72)Inventor:
  • Schucker, Josef
    6622 Ronco Sopra Ascona (CH)

(74)Representative: Wittmann, Günther 
Patentanwaltskanzlei Wittmann Frans-Hals-Straße 31
81479 München
81479 München (DE)

  


(54)INTELLIGENT CONTROL OF BEVERAGE DISPENSER


(57) The present invention discloses an intelligent vessel, comprising
- a housing;
- a container for storing food; and
- a touch sensitive surface arranged on the surface of the housing, wherein said touch sensitive surface is adapted to receive data input by a human and/or display information; and
- a vessel controller adapted
- to communicate with a dispenser controller of a liquid dispenser, wherein the liquid dispenser is configured to fill the vessel with liquid and wherein the dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser;
- to display a user interface as information on the touch sensitive surface; and
- to determine a user input on the user interface displayed on the touch sensitive surface and to transmit a command to the dispenser controller depending on the user input, wherein the dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser depending on the command received from the vessel controller.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a beverage dispenser and and intelligent vessel having an intelligent control and reduced space requirements.

Related art



[0002] Beverage dispensers are known for preparing beverages in households, offices and restaurants. Such beverage dispenser may be a coffee machine, a tea machine, a water dispenser, a juice dispenser or a lemonade dispenser for example. Such beverage dispensers are comparably bulky and require a significant amount of space on a kitchen counter, a bar or the like.

[0003] Therefore, it is desirable to position as many components of the beverage dispenser below the kitchen counter. However, a significant number of components has to be placed above the kitchen counter with prior art beverage dispensers. Such components include for example nozzles for dispensing the beverage, operation elements with which the user may operate the beverage dispenser or the like.

[0004] It is an object of the invention, to provide a liquid dispenser with reduced space requirements.

Summary of the Invention



[0005] The object of the invention is achieved by an intelligent vessel according to claim 1, by a liquid dispenser according to claim 12 and a method according to claim 13. The depending claims are directed to preferred embodiments.

[0006] An intelligent vessel for storing a liquid comprises a housing having an opening in the upper section for pouring liquid out of the vessel, a touch sensitive surface arranged on the surface of the housing, wherein the touch sensitive surface is adapted to receive data input by a human user and/or to display information, and a vessel controller. The vessel controller is adapted to communicate with a dispenser controller of a liquid dispenser, wherein the liquid dispenser is configured to fill the vessel with liquid and wherein the dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser. The vessel controller is further adapted to display a user interface as information on the touch sensitive surface. The vessel controller is further adapted to determine a user input on the user interface displayed on the touch sensitive surface of the housing of the intelligent vessel and to transmit a command to the dispenser controller depending on the user input. The dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser depending on the command received from the vessel controller.

[0007] The touch sensitive surface may be transparent. The housing may extend from the bottom of the intelligent vessel to the opening located in the upper section. The touch sensitive surface may be arranged on the housing or a portion thereof.

[0008] As soon as the vessel controller and/or the dispenser controller determines that the user intends to a refill the intelligent vessel, the vessel controller can display a user interface on the touch sensitive surface. The user can control the liquid dispenser by the touch sensitive surface.

[0009] Consequently, the liquid dispenser does not need any operation elements such as a user interface or electric buttons or mechanical buttons. Thereby, the space required by a liquid dispenser above a kitchen counter can be reduced significantly.

[0010] The liquid can be a beverage, such as water, juice, lemonade, coffee, tea, beer, wine or the like.

[0011] The user input and/or the command can be a type of liquid selected by the user, a type of beverage selected by the user, an amount of liquid selected by the user, an amount of beverage selected by the user, a property of the liquid selected by the user, a temperature of the liquid selected by the user, a carbonization rate of the liquid selected by the user, a mineralization of the liquid selected by the user and/or a flavor of the beverage selected by the user.

[0012] The touch sensitive surface and the controller may interact to identify a user. The touch sensitive surface and the controller can identify a user by a finger print of the user. The vessel controller may transmit the identity of the user to the dispenser controller and thus, the dispenser controller can personalize the beverage output into the intelligent vessel depending on the identity of the user.

[0013] In one embodiment the display surface may display the temperature of the food in the container. In another embodiment the display surface may change its color depending on the temperature of the good in the container.

[0014] In still another embodiment the color displayed by the display surface may be merely for decorative purposes and be selected by a user. The color displayed by the display surface may change automatically, such as in a pseudo-random manner or in a manner preselected by a user.

[0015] The housing may comprise a lid. The touch sensitive layer may also be arranged on the lid.

[0016] The intelligent vessel may be carried by a person and stored in a refrigerator or cupboard. The intelligent vessel may be placed on furniture, such as for displaying the food stored therein. The intelligent vessel may be placed on a table during a meal. The intelligent vessel may store a quantity of beverage that is suited for an average household. The intelligent vessel may store a quantity of beverage suited for a single person or to a group of persons comprising two to approximately ten members.

[0017] The expression intelligent vessel does not include portable cooling boxes.

[0018] The intelligent vessel may further comprise a sensor for measuring at least one property of a good in the container. The sensor may be a temperature sensor for measuring the temperature of the good in the container. The sensor may determine the filling level of the liquid in the container, wherein the filling level may be displayed by the touch sensitive layer.

[0019] The intelligent vessel may further comprise a communication means for transmitting data. The communication means may transmit the data wirelessly, such as by using the Bluetooth protocol, WLAN (IEEE 802.11), IP protocol or the like. The communication means may also comprise a receiver for receiving data. The data may be transmitted to a personal electronic device or received from a personal electronic device. The data may relate to the properties of the liquid in the container that are sensed by the sensor. The data may relate to the temperature of the good in the container. The data transmitted by the intelligent vessel may be displayed on the personal electronic device.

[0020] In another embodiment the personal electronic device may transmit data to the intelligent vessel. The data may be displayed on the intelligent vessel.

[0021] The surface for displaying information may be a so-called epaper. The information may be information relating to the good in the vessel. In one embodiment the information may relate to the temperature of the goods in the container. In another embodiment the information may relate to the temperature of the liquid in the vessel. In still another embodiment the information may be received by a receiver of the intelligent vessel. The information may be received from a personal electronic device. The information may be an image or a property of the goods stored in the vessel. The information may also be input by the touch sensitive layer. The information may relate to the filling level of the vessel in the container.

[0022] The intelligent vessel may further comprise the circulation element for circulating the liquid in the vessel.

[0023] In one embodiment the intelligent vessel may comprise an active cooling element adapted to cool the liquid in the vessel. The active cooling element may be a Peltier element. The active cooling element may be based on adsorption refrigeration, absorption refrigeration, such as a system based on zeolite.

[0024] In another embodiment the intelligent vessel may comprise a phase change material adapted to cool the liquid in the vessel. Phase change materials are known to the person skilled in the art. Phase change materials change from the liquid aggregate state to the solid aggregate state, if the phase change material is cooled. If the phase change material cools the liquid, the aggregate state of the phase change material changes from solid to liquid.

[0025] The intelligent vessel may comprise a receiver and a loudspeaker coupled to the receiver. The loudspeaker may be coupled by an amplifier with the receiver. The loudspeaker is configured to output audio received by the receiver.

[0026] The intelligent vessel may also display a video on the touch sensitive layer, wherein the video was received by the receiver. The intelligent vessel may further comprise the recharge means.

[0027] The intelligent vessel may comprise at least one insulation element insulating the container from the outer surface of the carafe. The insulation element may be a vacuum portion arranged between the outer and inner wall of the container of the carafe.

[0028] The intelligent vessel may comprise a recharge means. The intelligent vessel may comprise at least one rechargeable accumulator to supply onboard electronics with electricity. In one embodiment the recharge means may comprise electric contacts, preferably arranged at the bottom section of the intelligent vessel. The recharge means may also comprise an inductive coupling element, preferably arranged at the bottom section of the intelligent vessel.

[0029] The intelligent vessel may comprise a communication element for transmitting data. The communication element may transmit the data wirelessly to the receiver, such as a smart phone. The communication element may transmit the data via Bluetooth, an IP network or the like. The communication element may also be adapted to receive data. The data sent by the vessel may be displayed on a portable device having the receiver. The electronic device may also transmit data to the intelligent vessel.

[0030] The invention also discloses a carafe comprises an opening in an upper section of the carafe and a lower section. The carafe comprises a wall extending from the lower section to the upper section. The walls and the lower section define a container in which a liquid may be stored. The carafe further comprises a positioning element for positioning the carafe on furniture. The positioning element is adapted such that the surface of the furniture is not affected by placing and/or moving the carafe on the surface of the furniture. The positioning means may be adapted to position the carafe in a stable stance on the surface of the furniture. The carafe comprises a valve element positioned in an opening in the lower section. The valve element is configured such that a liquid may flow from underneath the lower section into the container and that no liquid must flow from the container through the valve.

[0031] The carafe may further comprise a gripping section on the wall, wherein a user may hold the carafe at the gripping section. The gripping section may comprise a smaller diameter as the lower section and/or upper section of the carafe. The carafe may comprise vertical walls. The gripping section may be a handle.
The lower section may comprise a sealing around the valve. The liquid may flow through the opening and valve into the carafe and not out of the carafe.

[0032] The carafe according to the present invention has the advantage that the carafe may be filled from its lower portion and not by its upper opening. Thereby, an apparatus for filling a carafe may be designed smaller and less high. The apparatus for filling a carafe may be mounted underneath a counter plate of a kitchen.

[0033] In another embodiment a liquid dispenser may be a desktop dispenser that may be placed on the counter plate. The liquid dispenser may fill the intelligent vessel and/or carafe according to the present invention through the valve in the lower section of the intelligent vessel and/or carafe.

[0034] The valve element may comprise a riser pipe extending from the lower section through the vessel. The riser pipe may act as a valve element, since no liquid may flow out of the vessel through the riser pipe as long as the liquid level in the vessel is lower than the opening of the riser pipe, i.e. the upper opening of the riser pipe.

[0035] In another embodiment the intelligent vessel and/or carafe may comprise a check valve. The check valve only allows a liquid flow in one direction. The check valve is mounted such that the liquid may only flow into the carafe at the lower section and not out of the carafe.

[0036] The intelligent vessel and/or carafe may comprise a fastening means that are adapted to interact with complementary fastening means of a liquid dispenser adapted to fill the carafe through the opening in the lower section. The carafe may be rotated such that the fastening means of the carafe and the complementary fastening means of the water dispenser are reasonably locked. The fastening means may comprise bayonet elements.

[0037] The carafe may comprise an active cooling element adapted to cool the liquid in the carafe. In one embodiment, the active cooling element may be a Peltier element. The active cooling element may be based on adsorption refrigeration, absorption refrigeration, such as a system based on zeolite.

[0038] In one embodiment the carafe may comprise a phase change material adapted to cool the liquid in the carafe. Phase change materials are known to the person skilled in the art. Phase change materials change from the liquid aggregate state to the solid aggregate state, if the phase change material is cooled. If the phase change material cools the liquid in the container, the aggregate state of the phase change material changes from solid to liquid.

[0039] The carafe may comprise at least one insulation element insulating the container from the outer surface of the carafe. The insulation element may be a vacuum portion arranged between the outer and inner wall of the container of the carafe.

[0040] The carafe may comprise recharge means. The carafe may comprise at least one rechargeable accumulator to supply onboard electronics with electricity. In one embodiment the recharge means may comprise electric contacts, preferably arranged at the bottom section. The recharge means may also comprise an inductive coupling element, preferably arranged at the bottom section.

[0041] The carafe may comprise a communication element for transmitting data. The communication element may transmit the data wirelessly to a receiver, such as a smart phone. The communication element may transmit the data via Bluetooth, an IP network, WLAN (IEEE 802.11) or the like. The communication element may also be adapted to receive data. The data sent by the carafe may be displayed on a portable device having the receiver. The electronic device may also transmit data to the carafe.

[0042] The carafe may comprise a sensor for measuring at least one property of a good in the container. The sensor may measure the temperature of the good in the container, preferably measure the temperature of a liquid in the container.

[0043] In one embodiment the active cooling element may be controlled by the sensor measuring the temperature of the good in the container. The control may be a closed loop control.

[0044] The carafe may comprise a touch sensitive layer for displaying information. The touch sensitive layer for displaying information may be arranged on the walls of the carafe. The touch sensitive layer may display information to a user and a user may select and/or input information on the touch sensitive layer. The touch sensitive layer for displaying information may be a so-called epaper. The information may be information relating to the good in the container. In one embodiment the information may relate to the temperature of the goods in the container. In another embodiment the information may relate to the temperature of the liquid in the container. In still another embodiment the information may be received by a receiver of the carafe. The information may be received from a personal electronic device or from the liquid dispenser. The information may be an image or a property of the goods stored in the container. The information may also be input by the touch sensitive layer.

[0045] In one embodiment the touch sensitive layer may receive user input for configuring the properties of the display. The display surface may display data input by the touch sensitive layer, such as a text or symbols.

[0046] In one embodiment the carafe comprises a touch sensitive layer adapted for inputting data. The touch sensitive layer may be a so-called epaper or a touch screen. Such touch sensitive layer is known by the person skilled in the art.

[0047] The carafe may further comprise a circulation element adapted to circulate the content of the container. The circulation element may be adapted to circulate the liquid, preferably water, in the container. The circulation element may comprise an electric motor driven by an accumulator. The circulation element and the accumulator may be arranged in the lower section of the carafe.

[0048] The carafe may comprise a receiver and a loudspeaker coupled to the receiver. The loudspeaker is configured to output audio received by the receiver. The loudspeaker may be coupled by an amplifier with the receiver.

[0049] The display surface may also be adapted to output an image or video received by the receiver. The audio or video media may be transmitted to the receiver by a personal electronic device such as a smart phone.

[0050] The present invention also discloses a liquid dispenser comprising a flow control device for controlling flow of a liquid from a liquid source to a liquid output for dispensing the liquid into an intelligent vessel. The liquid dispenser further comprises a dispenser controller adapted to receive a command from a vessel controller of the intelligent vessel, wherein the command is input by a user on a user interface arranged on the intelligent vessel. The dispenser controller is further adapted to control the flow control device in response to the command received from the vessel controller.

[0051] The liquid dispenser is preferably arranged under a kitchen counter, wherein the liquid output is arranged above the kitchen counter. Since the user can input commands on the intelligent vessel the liquid dispenser does not require a user interface or operating buttons. Thereby, space requirements can be reduced.

[0052] In one embodiment the liquid dispenser adapted to dispense a drinkable liquid, comprises a liquid pump element adapted to pump the liquid and/or to generate a pressure in the liquid, and a liquid output opening or nozzle for outputting the liquid to the carafe. The liquid dispenser is adapted to output the liquid through the output opening or nozzle into the vessel in an upward direction. The liquid is filled into the vessel through an opening in the bottom section of the vessel.

[0053] The present invention also relates to a method for filling an intelligent vessel with liquid by a liquid dispenser. The method comprises the step of displaying a user interface on a touch sensitive surface of the vessel. An input from a user is received on the touch sensitive surface of the vessel. The user input is transmitted as a command to the liquid dispenser. The method controls a liquid output of the liquid dispenser responsive to the user input.

[0054] The method further comprises the step of displaying the user interface on the touch sensitive surface of the vessel, if the vessel is in mechanical contact with the liquid dispenser. In one embodiment, the intelligent vessel may detect that the intelligent vessel is in mechanical contact with the liquid dispenser. In another embodiment the liquid dispenser may detect that the intelligent vessel is in mechanical contact with the liquid dispenser and the dispenser controller may transmit a message to the vessel controller for requesting display of the user interface on the touch sensitive surface.

[0055] Additionally or alternatively the method may display the user interface on the touch sensitive surface, if the distance between the intelligent vessel and the liquid dispenser is below a predetermined threshold. In one embodiment the vessel controller may determine that the distance between the intelligent vessel and the liquid dispenser is below a predetermined threshold and display the user interface on the intelligent vessel. In another embodiment the dispenser controller may determine that the distance between the intelligent vessel and the vessel dispenser is below a predetermined threshold, and the dispenser controller may transmit a message to the vessel controller for requesting display of the user interface on the vessel.

[0056] In one embodiment the method may request the user to input the set volume to be filled into the intelligent vessel by touching the intelligent vessel at a position up to which the vessel shall be filled. The method may determine the position of the touch sensitive surface on the housing of the intelligent vessel the user touched in response to requesting the user to input the set volume to be filled into the intelligent vessel. The method may select the position touched by the user as the set fill level. Then, the method determines the set volume to be filed into the intelligent vessel based on the set fill level such that after filling the vessel the actual fill level corresponds to the set fill level. Finally, the method may fill an actual volume of liquid into the vessel that corresponds to the set volume. Thereby, the user can conveniently input the desired volume to be filled into the smart vessel.

[0057] The smart vessel may be a carafe, a bottle, a glass, a cup or the like.

[0058] The invention is now described under further reference to the enclosed figures showing exemplary and non-limiting embodiments of the present invention, wherein

Figure 1a shows a cross section of the first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 1b shows a cross section of the second embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 1c shows a cross section of the third embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 shows a fourth embodiment of the present invention; and

Figures 3 shows further details of the first and second embodiment of the present invention.



[0059] Figure 1a shows a first embodiment 100 of a carafe according to the present invention. The carafe comprises an upper opening 102, a sidewall 101 and a lower section 112. The carafe 100 may be held at a gripping section 103 having a smaller diameter than the lower section 112 and the circumference of the opening 102. The bottom 119 comprises a flat and smooth surface, such that the carafe 100 may be positioned on furniture such as a cupboard, table or the like. The smooth bottom surface 119 allows that the carafe 100 may be moved on the furniture without scratching the surface of the furniture.

[0060] According to the present invention the carafe 100 comprises an opening 108 in the bottom section 112. Through the opening 108 a liquid, such as water, may be supplied by a liquid dispenser 500.

[0061] The liquid dispenser 500 may comprise a nozzle 506 supplying water into the opening 108. The nozzle 506 is guided and sealed by a sealing 140 secured in the opening 108. The sealing 140 may be secured with the bottom section 112 of the carafe 100. A valve, such as a check valve 110, is arranged in the opening 108. The valve 110 can ensure that liquid is only supplied into a container 104 of the carafe 100 and not flowing out of the container 104.

[0062] The liquid dispenser 500 comprises a dispenser controller 514 for controlling a pump element 502 and for receiving a pressure value sensed by the pressure sensor 504. By sensing the pressure in the container 104 of the carafe 100 it is possible to determine the liquid level in the carafe 100 such that no liquid flows out of the upper opening 102 during filling the carafe 100. Further, by sensing the pressure in the container 104 it may be ensured that the carafe 100 is refilled up to a predetermined level. The pressurizing element 502 may be a pump pumping liquid from a liquid reservoir (not shown) through the pressure sensor 504, the nozzle 506, and the opening 108 into the container 104.

[0063] The carafe 100 may comprise a vessel controller 114 connected with an accumulator 116. The vessel controller 114 is connected with a sensor 124, such as a temperature sensor. The sensor 124 may sense at least one property of a liquid in the container 104 such as the temperature of water in the container 104. Depending on the temperature of the liquid in the container 104 the vessel controller 114 may control a cooler 132 connected to a pipe system 134 that is thermally coupled with the container 104. The cooling system may be a Peltier element or any other suitable cooling system. The carafe 100 may keep the liquid in the container 104 of the carafe 100 at a predetermined temperature level.

[0064] The carafe may comprise at its outer surface at least one display 106, 107 that may be a touch sensitive film (layer) such as an epaper. The vessel controller 114 may be adapted to change the color displayed by the display 106, 107 depending on the temperature sensed by the sensor 124. The vessel controller 114 may request a user by an image or text displayed by the display 106, 107 to enter a set temperature, target temperature or the like. The vessel controller 114 may be adapted to control the cooler 132 such that the liquid in the container 104 has an actual temperature corresponding to the set temperature.

[0065] The vessel controller 114 is also connected to a circulator 126 circulating the liquid in the container 104. The circulator 126 may comprise a pump forcing the liquid to enter a opening 128, flowing through the circulator 126 and returning to the container via the opening 130. By this circulation the liquid in the container 104 can be held more fresh during a longer period of time.

[0066] The vessel controller 114 may also be connected to a receiver 120. The receiver may be connected to the personal electronic device, such as a smart phone (not shown). The receiver 120 may receive a set temperature for the liquid in the container 104, text, an image or video to be displayed on the display 106, 107 and/or audio to be output by a loudspeaker 136 connected to the controller 114. The circulator may comprise a propeller arranged in the container, wherein the propeller is driven inductively or by magnet force generated by an actor in the bottom section 112.

[0067] The carafe may also comprise a transmitter 122 connected with the vessel controller 114. The transmitter may transmit the property sensed by the sensor, such as the temperature of the liquid in the container 104, the fluid level in the container 104 or the like.

[0068] The controller 114 may also be connected to an illuminator 142 that may comprise at least one light emitting diode. The color and/or intensity of the light emitted by the illuminator 142 may depend from the property of the liquid sensed by the sensor 124, the audio received by the receiver 120, by a random value generated by the controller 114 and the like. In another embodiment the light emitted by the illuminator may be for decorative purposes.

[0069] The accumulator 116 supplies the controller 114, the receiver 120, the transmitter 122, the cooler 132, the illuminator 142, the circulator 126, the display 106, 107 and the sensor 124 with electric energy. The accumulator 116 may be recharged by a recharge means 138 of the carafe 100 and complimentary recharge means 538 of the liquid dispenser 500. The recharge means 138 and the complimentary recharge means 538 may be an electric contact, an inductive transmission means, such as a coil, or the like.

[0070] The carafe 100 may comprise fastening means 118 engaging with complementary fastening means 518 of the liquid dispenser 500. For engaging the carafe 100 with the liquid dispenser the carafe may be rotated by a predetermined angle in order to have the fastening means 118 and the complementary fastening means 518 to engage with each other. The liquid dispenser 500 may comprise a guide 510 at its circumference guiding the carafe 100 and ensuring that the carafe may not be inadvertently moved from its filling and/or recharging position.

[0071] As depicted in figure 1a the liquid dispenser 500 may be integrated in a counter plate 512 of a kitchen. It is to be understood that the liquid dispenser 500 may also be placed atop of the cupboard, counter plate 512 or the like.

[0072] The controller vessel 114 and/or the accumulator 116 may be coupled with the components described above by essentially transparent conductors 139, e.g. formed by silver nano wires or carbon nano tubes or graphene.

[0073] Figure 1b shows a second embodiment of a carafe 100' of the present invention essentially corresponding to the first embodiment of the carafe 100. In the second embodiment the pressure sensor is not comprised by the liquid dispenser 500 but the carafe 100'. The pressure sensor 111 is located on the lower section 112 of the carafe 100', such as in the opening 108. The pressure sensor 111 may be a pressure cell, a piezo sensor or the like. The pressure sensor may measure the pressure of the liquid located above the sensor and thereby determine the filling level and liquid level, respectively of the liquid in the container 104.

[0074] Further, the carafe 100' may comprise a handle 105 for grasping the carafe by a user.

[0075] Figure 1c shows a third embodiment of the carafe 100" of the present invention that essentially corresponds to the second embodiment. The carafe 100" of the third embodiment comprises a capacitive pressure sensor for determining the fluid level and liquid level, respectively in the container 104.

[0076] Reference is made to figure 2 showing a fourth embodiment of the carafe 200 according to the present invention. The fourth embodiment of the carafe 200 essentially corresponds to the first to third embodiment of the carafe 100, 100', 100" shown in figures 1a to 1c and as described above. In the fourth embodiment 200 the check valve 110 has been replaced by a riser pipe 210. The riser pipe can ensure that liquid may only flow from underneath the carafe into the carafe and not flow out of the carafe as long as the fluid level is lower than the upper opening 211 of the riser pipe. The level of the fluid in the riser pipe may be controlled by the pressure sensor 504 or a sensor described with respect to figures 1b or 1c.

[0077] Reference is made to figure 3 showing more details of the carafe 300. The details shown in figure 3 with respect to the carafe 300 may apply to any embodiment 100, 100', 100", 200 of the inventive carafe described above. The carafe 300 according to the present invention may comprise an inner shell 301 and an outer shell 302. Between the inner shell 301 and the outer shell 302 a vacuum section may be arranged. Thereby, the outer shell is insulated from the inner shell. The outer shell 302 and the inner shell 301 may comprise the opening 108, by which the carafe 300 is filled.

[0078] On the outer shell 302 the display layer 106, more particularly the touch sensitive display layer may be arranged. Generally, the touch sensitive display layer 106 may be a transparent film, such as a transparent and flexible film arranged on the carafe. The touch sensitive display layer may be transparent. The touch sensitive display layer 106 may be a film comprising carbon nano tube as it is commercially available as CNB at Canatu Oy. The touch sensitive display layer 106, 107 may also be a screen-printed thermo-moldable film with electroluminescence. Alternatively, the touch sensitive display layer 106 may be a flexible transparent polymer sheet that contains embedded LEDs. The touch sensitive display layer 106 may comprise graphene-based LEDs.

[0079] The display 106 may be transparent. The display 106 may be interconnected by transparent conductors 139, tracks or the like. The conductors 139 may be formed by silver nano wires or carbon nano tubes or graphene. Such conductors are essentially transparent. The display 106, the sensor 124 or any other component may be connected by the transparent conductors 139 with the controller 114 and/or accumulator 116.

[0080] With reference to figures 1a to 2 operation and control of the liquid dispenser 500 is explained. The vessel controller 114 may communicate with the dispenser controller 514. The communication between the vessel controller 114 and the dispenser controller 514 can be a wired communication or a wireless communication, such as Bluetooth, WLAN (IEEE 802.11), optical communication or the like.

[0081] The liquid dispenser 500 does not comprise a user interface or buttons for operating the liquid dispenser 500, apart from a potential power switched that might be arranged above the kitchen counter.

[0082] As soon as the vessel controller 114 or the dispenser controller 514 detect that the distance between the vessel 100 and the liquid dispenser 500 is below a predetermined threshold, the vessel controller 114 displays a user interface 150 on the at least one display 106, 107 arranged on the housing or sidewall 101 of the container 104.

[0083] In one embodiment the vessel controller 114 may determine the distance between the vessel 100 and the liquid dispenser 500. If the vessel controller 114 determines that the distance between the vessel 100 and the water dispenser 500 is below a predetermined distance, the vessel controller 115 may display the user interface 150 on the display area 107.

[0084] In another embodiment, the dispenser controller 514 may determine the distance between the vessel 100 and the liquid dispenser 500 and transmit a message to the vessel controller 114 to display the user interface 150 on the display area 107, if the distance between the vessel 100 and the water dispenser 500 is below a predetermined threshold. In response to this message, the vessel controller 114 can display the user interface 150 on the display area 107.

[0085] In still another embodiment, the vessel controller 114 may determine that the vessel 100 is in physical contact with the liquid dispenser 500, for example the fastening means 118 of the vessel 100 engage with the complementary fastening means 518 of the liquid dispenser or the recharge means 138 of the vessel 100 is in contact with the complimentary recharge means 538 of the liquid dispenser 500.

[0086] The vessel controller 114 may display the user interface 150 on a transparent display area 107 or a non-transparent display area 107. The user interface may comprise a plurality of control elements 152, 154, 156, 158, 160.

[0087] The user interface 150 may comprise a first control element 152 including a slider-type control element for adjusting the set temperature of the beverage to be filled into the carafe 100. A user interface 150 may comprise a second control element, which is implemented as a button-type control element, by which a user can determine whether the beverage filled into the carafe 100 shall include carbon dioxide or not. The user interface 150 further comprises a first volume adjustment control element 156 and a second volume adjustment element 158. The first volume adjustment element 156 and the second volume adjustment element 158 are implemented as botton-type control elements. If the user presses the first volume adjustment element 156 he indicates the user interface 150 that the wishes to fill a large volume into the carafe 100. If the user presses the second volume adjustment element 158 the user indicates that he wishes to fill the vessel 100 with a small quantity of beverage. By pressing the bottom-type start control element 160 the user indicates that all settings for the beverage to be filled into the vessel 100 have been input on the user interface 150 and that the vessel 100 shall be filled not.

[0088] The vessel controller 114 detects any user action input on the user interface. As soon as the user presses the start bottom 160 the vessel controller transmits a command to the dispenser controller 514 comprising the data input by the user on the user interface 150. In response to the receipt of such message the vessel controller 514 controls the pump element 502, a cooling device 540 and a carbonization device 542 such that the actual temperature corresponds to the set temperature input by the user, that the actual volume filled by the pump element 502 into the vessel 100 corresponds to the set volume input by the user and that the actual carbonization of the beverage filled into the vessel 100 corresponds to the set carbonization input by the user.

[0089] In one embodiment, the vessel controller 114 may transmit the set temperature input by the user on the temperature control element 152 as soon as the user has adjusted the set temperature to the dispenser controller 514 before the user has pressed the start bottom 160. The dispenser controller 514 may transmit the set temperature as input by the user to the cooling device 540, such that the cooling device 540 starts preparing cooling before the user presses the start bottom 116.

[0090] The vessel controller 114 may display on the user interface 150 an identification section 162 by which a user can be identified by its fingerprint after the user touches the identification section with a finger. In response to the identification of the user the vessel controller 114 can adapt the user interface 150 to the preference on the user.

[0091] In one embodiment the vessel controller can request the user by a message displayed on the user interface 150 to touch the touch sensitive surface 106 (see Fig. 2) with his finger 170 at a position 172 up to which the vessel 100 shall be filled. The position 172 touched by the user determines a set volume of beverage to be filled into the vessel. Then, the vessel controller 114 and/or the dispenser controller 514 calculate the set volume to be filled into the vessel. Then, the vessel controller 514 operates the pump element 502 such that an actual volume is filled into the vessel that corresponds to the set volume determined by the position 172 touched by the user.

[0092] It is to be understood that all embodiments and all features of the embodiments may be arbitrarily combined.

[0093] The smart vessel may be a carafe, a bottle, a glass, a cup or the like.

[0094] The present invention has the advantage that the carafe may be filled by an opening on the bottom of the carafe. Thereby, a dispenser may be designed less high.

[0095] In one embodiment the intelligent vessel or carafe can be filled by the opening in the upper section. In this case the intelligent vessel or carafe does not require an opening or valve or riser pipe in the bottom section.

[0096] The present invention achieves an intelligent houseware and an intelligent carafe displaying information, such as information about the properties of the good stored therein and a user interface for controlling the liquid dispenser.


Claims

1. An intelligent vessel for storing a liquid, comprising

- a housing having an opening in the upper section for pouring liquid out of the vessel;

- a touch sensitive surface arranged on the surface of the housing, wherein said touch sensitive surface is adapted to receive data input by a user and/or to display information; and

- a vessel controller adapted

- to communicate with a dispenser controller of a liquid dispenser, wherein the liquid dispenser is configured to fill the vessel with liquid and wherein the dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser;

- to display a user interface as information on the touch sensitive surface; and

- to determine a user input on the user interface displayed on the touch sensitive surface and to transmit a command to the dispenser controller depending on the user input, wherein the dispenser controller controls the liquid dispenser depending on the command received from the vessel controller.


 
2. The intelligent vessel according to claim 1, wherein the user input and/or the command is at least one of the following:

- a type of a liquid selected by the user;

- a type of a beverage selected by the user;

- an amount of liquid selected by the user;

- an amount of beverage selected by the user;

- a property of the liquid selected by the user;

- a temperature of the liquid selected by the user;

- a carbonization rate of the liquid selected by the user;

- a mineralization of the liquid selected by the user;

- a flavor of the beverage selected by the user.


 
3. The intelligent vessel according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the touch sensitive surface and the controller interact to identify a user.
 
4. The intelligent vessel according to claim 3, wherein the touch sensitive surface and the controller interact to identify a user by a finger print of the user.
 
5. The intelligent vessel according to claim 1, further comprising a sensor for measuring at least one property of a good in the container.
 
6. The intelligent vessel according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the information displayed by the touch sensitive surface may be at least one of:

- information relating to the good in the vessel;

- information relating to the temperature of the good in the vessel;

- information relating to the temperature of the liquid in the vessel;

- information received by a receiver of the vessel;

- information input by the touch sensitive surface

- information relating to the filling level of the liquid and/or good stored in the vessel.


 
7. The intelligent vessel according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising recharge means, wherein the recharge means may be at least any one of:

- electric contacts;

- electric contacts arranged at the lower section;

- an inductive coupling element;

- an inductive coupling element arranged at the lower section.


 
8. The intelligent vessel according to any one of claims 1 to 9, further comprising

- a wall extending from a lower section of the housing to the upper section of the housing, wherein said wall and lower section define a container, in which the liquid may be stored;

- a positioning element for positioning the intelligent houseware on a furniture, wherein said positioning element is adapted such that the surface of the furniture is not affected by placing and/or moving the intelligent houseware on the surface of the furniture; and

- a valve element positioned in an opening in the lower section, wherein said valve is configured such that a liquid may flow from underneath the lower section into the container and no liquid must flow from said container through the valve.


 
9. The intelligent vessel according to claim 8, wherein the valve element comprises a raiser pipe extending from the lower section through the container.
 
10. The intelligent vessel according to claim 8 or 9, wherein the valve comprises a check valve.
 
11. The intelligent vessel according to any one of claims 8 to 10, further comprising fastening means that are adapted to interact with complementary fastening means of a liquid dispenser filling said intelligent houseware though the valve in the lower section.
 
12. A liquid dispenser, comprising:

- flow control device for controlling flow of a liquid from a liquid source;

- liquid output for dispensing the liquid from the liquid source to an intelligent vessel;

- a dispenser controller adapted to:

- receive a command from a vessel controller of the intelligent vessel, wherein the command is input on a user interface arranged on the vessel controller; and

- control the flow control device in response to the command received from the vessel controller.


 
13. Method for filling an intelligent vessel with liquid by a liquid dispenser, comprising the following steps:

- displaying a user interface on a touch sensitive surface of the vessel;

- receiving an input from a user on the touch sensitive surface of the vessel;

- transmitting the user input as a command to the liquid dispenser; and

- controlling a liquid output of the liquid dispenser responsive to the command.


 
14. Method according to claim 13, further comprising at least one of the following steps:

- displaying the user interface on the touch sensitive surface, if the intelligent vessel is in mechanical contact with the liquid dispenser;

- displaying the user interface on the touch sensitive surface, if the distance between the intelligent vessel and the liquid dispenser is below a predetermined threshold.


 
15. Method according to any one of claims 13 or 14, further comprising the following steps:

- requesting the user to input the set volume to be filled into the intelligent vessel by touching the intelligent vessel at a position up to which the vessel shall be filled;

- determining the position of the touch sensitive surface on the housing of the intelligent vessel the user touched in response to requesting the user to input the set volume to be filled into the intelligent vessel;

- selecting the position touched by the user as the set fill level;

- determining the set volume to be filed into the intelligent vessel based on the set fill level such that after filling the vessel the actual fill level corresponds to the set fill level; and

- filling an actual volume of liquid into the vessel that corresponds to the set volume.


 




Drawing