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Fuel-based paintball gun lasts longer

Patently Speaking highlights the technological achievements of Fort Wayne area residents.

Projectile Launcher

•U.S. Patent No. 7,665,396

•Invented by: Dennis J. Tippmann Jr., Fort Wayne

•Assigned to Tippmann Sports LLC, Fort Wayne

Though not necessarily obvious from the title, this patent covers paintball guns. Believe it or not, many of the advancements in paintball gun technology occur right here in Fort Wayne.

Despite the innocuous title, this new paintball gun can really fire up the market. It uses a combustible fuel, like propane or natural gas, to project the paintball. In contrast, conventional paintball guns rely on the force created by compressed carbon dioxide.

A problem with using compressed carbon dioxide or other conventional gas is that it provides a limited power supply to the gun. In other words, the number of paintballs that can be shot using conventional gas is limited. Players often keep spare tanks of gas at the ready so they’re not caught unable to fire because they ran out.

On the other hand, the explosive force created by a combustible fuel can handily fire a paintball while using substantially less fuel. That is, one tank of combustible fuel can fire many more paintball shots than a tank of carbon dioxide.

This new gun features a firing system specially adapted to fire a paintball with an explosive force. An igniter device, along with other components, inside the gun creates an explosion that projects the paintball from the barrel.

Reprogrammable Receiver Collar

•U.S. Patent No. 7,667,607

•Invented by: Duane A. Gerig, Fort Wayne; Stephen T. Russell, Fort Wayne; and Paul McAfee, Fort Wayne

•Assigned to Radio Systems Corp., Knoxville, Tenn.

Another technology Fort Wayne is known for is electronic dog and cat training collars. These collars produce a stimulus to the animal if it attempts to enter or exit a predefined location.

Wires or transmitters establish the confined area for the animal. When the receiver on the collar picks up the signal from the wire or transmitter, the animal gets a harmless stimulus, either an audible signal or electrical zap.

Because the receiver is, in essence, a tiny computer, it sometimes requires reprogramming. Typically, this entails getting at computer chips inside the receiver.

This seems workable, except that the receiver spends most of its life around the neck of an animal. Needless to say, if the receiver has to be accessible, this can cause wear and tear on the receiver itself.

This new receiver, however, is sealed in the collar to protect it. But how to reprogram it?

This patent describes a new receiver system that uses the probes that stimulate the animal to also transmit data through the collar and into the receiver. This way, data can be transferred without the receiver having to be opened.

The preceding are lay descriptions of patents obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s public records and are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing contained herein is a legal description of any claimed invention, identification of novelty, or offer of legal advice. Because issued patents are based on applications often filed years earlier, the subject matter of some patents may have been available on the market for some time prior to the issuance of the patent. Additional information on these patents is available at www.uspto.gov.

Greg Cooper is an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Fort Wayne practicing in the areas of patent, trademark, copyright, procurement, and litigation in both the U.S. and internationally. He can be reached at gcooper@btlaw.com or 425-4660.

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