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1. (WO2018009877) SYSTEMS TO AUTOMATE ADJUSTMENT OF WATER VOLUME RELEASE TO A TOILET BOWL TO CORRESPOND TO BOWL CONTENTS, TOILETS INCLUDING THE SYSTEM AND RELATED METHODS
Anmerkung: Text basiert auf automatischer optischer Zeichenerkennung (OCR). Verwenden Sie bitte aus rechtlichen Gründen die PDF-Version.

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A water-flush toilet comprising:

a toilet bowl that is in fluid communication with a water source and is mounted with a sensor that comprises a transmitter capable of transmitting an ultrasonic signal, and a receiver capable of receiving an ultrasonic signal, wherein the sensor is configured to measure a Time of Flight (ToF) of the signal to obtain a ToF measurement,

a microcontroller electrically connected to the sensor that is configured to receive and process the ToF measurement to determine a bowl status; and at least one water valve that is disposed between the bowl and the water source, and is electrically connected to the microcontroller for instructing the at least one water valve to move from a first position to a second position for a duration of time, wherein the duration of time corresponds to the bowl status.

2. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the sensor is a piezo-ceramic sensor.

3. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the sensor is mounted at an exterior of the toilet bowl.

4. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the sensor is mounted at an interior of the toilet bowl.

5. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the sensor is mounted at a bottom center of the toilet bowl.

6. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the transmitter is mounted on a first side of the bowl, and the receiver is mounted on a second side of the bowl that is opposite the first side.

7. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the water valve is an electromechanically operated valve.

8. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the water valve is a solenoid valve.

9. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the water valve is a flush valve.

10. The toilet of claim 9, wherein the bowl status is selected from: "liquid," "solids," and "intermediary."

11. The toilet of claim 10, wherein the bowl status is "liquid" and the flush valve is moved from a closed position to an open position for a duration of time to release a sufficient amount of water to clear the bowl.

12. The toilet of claim 9, wherein the bowl status is "low water" and the flush valve is moved from a closed position to an open position for a duration of time to release a sufficient amount of water to restore a water seal.

13. The toilet of claim 10, wherein the bowl status is "solids" and the flush valve is moved from a closed position to an open position for a duration of time to release a sufficient amount of water to clear the bowl.

14. The toilet of claim 10, wherein the bowl status is "intermediary" and the flush valve is moved from a closed position to an open position for a duration of time to release a sufficient amount of water to clear the bowl.

15. The toilet of claim 1, wherein the water valve is a water source valve.

16. The toilet of claim 13, wherein the bowl status is selected from "leak," "liquid clog," "solid clog," and "object."

17. The toilet of claim 16, wherein the water valve is moved from an open position to a closed position.

18. The toilet of claim 1 further comprising a secondary sensor for detecting a presence of a user on or in a proximity of the toilet bowl that is electrically connected to the microcontroller.

19. The toilet of claim 18 wherein the secondary sensor is an infrared (IR) sensor for detecting the presence of a user in front of the toilet bowl.

20. The toilet of claim 18 wherein the secondary sensor is an infrared (TR) sensor for detecting a deposit of bowl contents into the toilet bowl.

21. A system for mounting on a water-flush toilet comprising:

i) a sensor electrically connected to a microcontroller comprising

a transmitter to transmit an ultrasonic signal, and a receiver to receive the ultrasonic signal; wherein the sensor, in use, is configured to generate a ToF measurement of the signal; and ii) a microcontroller that is configured to receive and process the ToF measurement to determine a toilet bowl status in use and is electrically connectable to at least one water valve of a water-flush toilet.

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the sensor is configured so, in use, the transmitter is mountable on a first side of the toilet bowl and the receiver is mountable on a second side of the bowl that is opposite the first side.

23. The system of claim 21, wherein the sensor is a piezo-ceramic sensor.

24. The system of claim 21 further including a secondary sensor for detecting a presence of a user on or in a proximity of the toilet bowl that is electrically connectable to the microcontroller.

25. The system of claim 24 wherein the secondary sensor is an infrared (TR) sensor for detecting the presence of a user in front of the toilet bowl.

26. The system of claim 24 wherein the secondary sensor is an infrared (TR) sensor for detecting a deposit of bowl contents into the toilet bowl.

27. A method of adjusting a volume of water released into a toilet bowl to correspond to a bowl status in a water-flush toilet comprising:

i) transmitting an ultrasonic signal from a transmitter mounted on the toilet bowl toward bowl contents of the toilet bowl;

ii) receiving the ultrasonic signal by a receiver to determine a ToF measurement of the signal;

iii) electrically conveying the ToF measurement to a microcontroller that determines a toilet bowl status corresponding to the ToF measurement and electronically instructs an at least one electromechanically operated valve that is in fluid communication with the toilet bowl to move from a first position to a second position for a duration of time, wherein the duration of time corresponds to the toilet bowl status; and

iv) moving the at least one electromechanically operated valve from the second position to the first position, upon passage of the duration of time.

28. The method of claim 27 wherein the transmitter and receiver are a piezo-ceramic sensor.

29. The method of claim 27 wherein the determined toilet bowl status is selected from: "liquid," "solids," and "intermediary."

30. The method of claim 29, wherein at least one electromechanically operated valve is a flush valve, the determined toilet bowl status is "liquid," the first position is a closed position, the second position is an open position, and the duration of time releases a sufficient amount of water to clear the toilet bowl.

31. The method of claim 29, wherein at least one electromechanically operated valve is a flush valve, the determined toilet bowl status is "solids," the first position is a closed position, the second position is an open position, and the duration of time releases a sufficient amount of water to clear the toilet bowl.

32. The method of claim 29, wherein at least one electromechanically operated valve is a flush valve, the determined toilet bowl status is "intermediary," the first position is a closed position, the second position is an open position, and the duration of time releases a sufficient amount of water to clear the bowl.

33. The method of claim 29 wherein the at least one electromechanically operated valve is a water source valve, and the determined toilet bowl status is selected from "leak," "liquid clog," "solid clog," and "object."

34. The method of claim 29 wherein the first position is an open position, the second position is closed position, and the duration of time is indefinite.

35. A method of increasing water conservation of a water-flush toilet comprising fitting the toilet with the system of claim 21.

36. A method of detecting and ameliorating water waste in a water-flush toilet comprising periodic activation of a monitoring cycle comprising i) transmitting a ultrasonic signal from a transmitter mounted on a toilet bowl toward bowl contents of the toilet bowl; ii) receiving the ultrasonic signal by a receiver that determines a ToF measurement of the signal; and iii) electrically conveying the ToF measurement to a microcontroller that determines a bowl state corresponding to the ToF measurement, wherein when the determined bowl state is "normal," the cycle is ended but when the determined bowl state is "leak," the microcontroller electronically instructs an at least one electromechanically operated valve that is in fluid communication with the toilet bowl to move from an open position to a closed position for a duration an indefinite duration of time.

37. The method of claim 36, wherein the activation occurs once every 24 hours.

38. A water-flush toilet, comprising:

a toilet bowl having an exterior surface and an interior space; and a sensor located on the exterior surface of the toilet bowl;

wherein the sensor is configured to identify an activity in the interior space of the toilet bowl.

39. The water-flush toilet of claim 38, wherein the sensor is located on a bottom of the exterior surface of the toilet bowl.

40. The water-flush toilet of claim 38, wherein the sensor further comprises a transmitter located on a first side of the exterior surface of the toilet bowl and a receiver located on a second side of the exterior surface of the toilet bowl, wherein the transmitter and receiver are located at the same axial height on the exterior surface of the toilet bowl.

41. The water-flush toilet of claim 38, further comprising a microcontroller in communication with the sensor, the microcontroller configured to initiate a response to the activity.

42. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is a presence of a solid waste in the toilet bowl and the response is to open a valve to perform a high volume flush of the water-flush toilet.

43. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is a presence of a liquid waste in the toilet bowl and the response is to open a valve to perform a low volume flush of the water-flush toilet.

44. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is a leak into the toilet bowl and the response is to close a water supply valve.

45. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is a presence of a low water level in the bowl and the response is to open a water supply valve.

46. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is a presence of a high water level in the bowl and the response is to close prevent a flush of the water-flush toilet.

47. The water-flush toilet of claim 46, wherein the high water level in the bowl is due to a solid clog in the water-flush toilet.

48. The water-flush toilet of claim 46, wherein the high water level in the bowl is due to a line clog upstream of the water-flush toilet.

49. The water-flush toilet of claim 41, wherein the activity is presence of intermediary content and the response is to perform a low volume flush of the water-flush toilet.