US Patent No. 9,403,401


Patent No. 9,403,401
Issue Date August 02, 2016
Title Thermal Eraser For Tactile Drawings
Inventorship Michael Rosen, Burlington, VT (US)
Michael Coleman, South Burlington, VT (US)
Joshua Coffee, South Burlington, VT (US)
William David Banks, Saratoga Springs, NY (US)
Kristin Leigh Funabashi, Brookline, MA (US)
Rebecca Risko, Ferndale, MI (US)
Akie Hashimoto, Durham, NC (US)
Keegan Jennings Brown, Roxbury, MA (US)
Katherine Accomando, Beverly, MA (US)
Assignee University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, Burlington, VT (US) ...

Claim of US Patent No. 9,403,401

1. A thermal eraser for erasing a tactile feature from a tactile drawing medium, comprising:
a housing having a tip section and a back section;
a voltage source operably arranged within at least a portion of the back section; and
a thermal-tip assembly that resides in the tip section and that is in electrical contact with the voltage source, the thermal-tip
assembly having a tip and a heating element,

the voltage source provides a current to maintain the tip at a tip temperature sufficient to substantially flatten the tactile
feature by the application of heat from the tip to the tactile feature;

the thermal-tip assembly includes a temperature-regulating circuit configured to control a flow of current from the voltage
source to the heating element;

the tip is defined by a thermally conductive cap sized to contain the heating element and the temperature-regulating circuit;

the temperature-regulating circuit includes a temperature sensor that senses the tip temperature, wherein the temperature

resides within the cap;
measures a temperature within the cap and proximate the tip; and
provides an indication of the measured temperature to the temperature-regulating circuit such that the temperature-regulating
circuit causes the heating element to heat the cap to a temperature in excess of 135° F.