Florida, the Court denied FARO's motion for summary judgment of
patent invalidity. (CimCore Corp., et al. v. Faro Technologies, Inc., Civil Action No. 03-CV-2355 B(WMc)).
US 5,829,148 was issued November 3, 1998. It claims no priority to earlier filings and it has been cited by 29 US patents. The first claim states:
An articulated spatial coordinate measuring arm which comprises:
a supporting base;
a proximal transfer member having a proximal end and a distal end;
an intermediate transfer member having a proximal end and a distal end;
a distal transfer member having a proximal end and a distal end;
a probe having a proximal end and a distal end;
a first joint assembly swivelingly connecting said proximal end of said proximal member to said base;
a second joint assembly swivelingly and hingedly connecting the distal end of said proximal member to the proximal end of said intermediate member;
a third joint assembly swivelingly and hingedly connecting the distal end of said intermediate member to the proximal end of said distal member; and
a fourth joint assembly hingedly connecting the proximal end of said probe to the distal end of said distal member;
wherein at least one of said first, second and third joint assemblies has at least one degree of freedom capable of sweeping through an unlimited arc;
wherein said at least one of said first, second and third joint assemblies comprises at least one multi-contact slip-ring sub-assembly for transmitting electrical signals therethrough; and
wherein each of said first, second and third joint assemblies has an unlimited range of swiveling motion.
From the "background of invention,"
The ever-increasing complexity and sophistication of commercial and industrial components and assemblies, and the need for quality assurance during certain interim stages in their manufacture and assembly, along with the typical market pressures for cost reduction have prompted new methods of measuring complex three-dimensional parts in a fast, precise, accurate and reliable manner.
This is particularly true in the area of commercial or industrial quality assurance where numerous complex mechanical components are separately created with exacting tolerances for later assembly. In order to efficiently ordinate these systems, method and apparatuses for measuring the components have been devised.
An example coordinate measuring machine is described in Eaton, U.S. Pat. No. 3,944,798 and Raab, U.S. Pat. No. 5,402,582, both of which are incorporated herein by reference. In general, these devices comprise an articulated arm terminating in a probe. The arm has a plurality of rigid transfer members connected end-to-end with a series of joints. The position of the probe in space at a given instant in time can therefore be calculated by knowing the length of each member and the specific position of each of the joints. The operator simply manipulates the arm and takes readings at various points on the artifact being measured. Each of these readings is recorded and processed by an electronic recorder/analyzer to obtain the desired dimensions of the artifact.