Lenovo’s algorithm tracks smartphone habits to notify when to charge its battery. It even wakes you up to recharge, if asleep

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The functionality of smartphones has increased rapidly overtime. This is due to technical advancement in the areas of processing, memory, graphics, display, connectivity etc. These technologies are moving too fast and they are redefining smartphones.

However, battery management technology in smartphones is almost stagnant. It is not moving as rapidly as the other technologies.

Currently, smartphones have a battery meter which shows the remaining battery life and time. An audio alert is given in case of low battery. This battery management functionality and UI has remained almost unchanged for many years.

To change this status quo, Lenovo has come up with an invention that makes battery management much smarter.

A patent application of Lenovo in this regard surfaced on the USPTO website on May 16th, 2019.

Lenovo in its patent application notes that some users may forget to charge their device when charging is needed. This can lead to undesirable consequences, such as the inability to use the device when the user may wish to do so or the user having to restrict the use of the device to conserve battery power.

Algorithm for determining when the smartphone battery is to be charged

Lenovo’s invention describes an algorithm for determining when a battery on the smartphone is to be charged based on various factors. The algorithm also provides a corresponding notification at the smartphone.

Lenovo’s algorithm operates in 3 steps. They are sown in the FIG. 3 of the patent application.

Lenovo’s 3-step algorithm

Step 1: Determining expected smartphone usage

The algorithm determines an expected battery discharge amount during a preset time frame i.e. in the next one day or week. This is determined based on an expected processor usage amount and random access memory (RAM) consumption during that period.

Processor and RAM usage amounts are determined based on the smartphone usage histories.

The smartphone accesses usage histories (smartphone usage habits) and identifies a past time frame that is similar to the upcoming preset time to identify an expected battery discharge amount.

In short, the algorithm accesses the smartphone usage history to determine the expected battery discharge amount during an upcoming time.

The past time frame which is similar to the upcoming preset time may be same day(s) of the week, same day of the month, same day of the year, same time(s) of day, same type of day (e.g., weekday or weekend), and/or same type of time (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening).  

A similar past time frame may also be identified based on the estimated location of the device during the upcoming preset time. Information in the calendar is used to estimate the device upcoming location.

For example, if the smartphone is estimated to be present at Lenovo headquarters in Beijing, then the time at which it was present at the same location during the past is considered.

A similar past time frame may also be identified based on some future activity in the upcoming preset time. This upcoming activity is estimated based on the calendar information.

For instance, if a user is traveling during a particular day, a previous day on which the user travelled may be identified from the history. The smartphone then identifies from the history, an application (such as a GPS) used and/or a battery usage, processor usage, and/or RAM usage amount that resulted from device use during the previous travel day. Then, it is determined that the same or a similar application, battery usage amount, processor usage amount, or RAM usage amount will be used for the upcoming travel day.

Step 2: Determining when the smartphone is to be charged

Once the algorithm determines an expected battery discharge amount during an upcoming preset time period, it then determines one or more times or time frames during which the smartphone is to be charged.

It is done by determining how long the present device’s battery can power the smartphone based on the expected usage.

For instance, an estimated usage amount over the preset time for a certain type of usage may be correlated to a maximum number of minutes or hours the battery is able to power the smartphone.

If the battery has enough power to last through the maximum minutes or hours and possibly even beyond (such as until a next charging opportunity arises), the time to charge the battery may be identified as being at the end of or after the maximum time would end.

If the battery does not have enough power, the time to charge the battery may be identified as an earlier time at which the battery is estimated to no longer be able to power the device based on the usage amount.

A next charging opportunity may be determined based on known charging locations. Known charging locations may be identified from a history correlating charging instances of the smartphone to particular locations, and/or based on user input indicating a particular location as a charging location.

The algorithm may even determine if the smartphone is currently at a known charging location based on coordinates from a GPS transceiver.

Step 3: Providing notification pertaining to time at which the smartphone is to be charged

After determining the time when the smartphone is to be charged, the algorithm provides a notification at the smartphone pertaining to the time at which the device is to be charged.

For instance, if the algorithm determines that the battery does not have enough charge remaining to power the smartphone through the preset time and until the time of a next charging opportunity, the algorithm may provide a notification on a display.

The notification indicates that the smartphone is currently at a known charging location and should be charged before the preset time or event begins that will consume power and discharge the battery completely.

In addition to presentation on a display, a notification may be presented via activation of a light emitting diode (LED) on the smartphone to indicate that the present device should be charged.

The notification may also be presented as an audible notification and/or as a haptic notification (vibration of the smartphone).

FIG. 4 from the patent application shows example logic that may be executed by a smartphone.

FIG. 5 & FIG. 6 from the patent application show example notifications on the smartphone.

FIG. 7 from the patent application shows an example settings that may be presented on a display for configuring settings of a device.

Determining user sleep time and waking up to charge battery

What if the user falls asleep during the time when the smartphone is supposed to be charged? Lenovo seems to have a solution for that problem too.

A sleep sensor is engaged with the user to determine when the user is falling asleep or is already asleep. if it is detected that the user begins to fall asleep while charging should be performed, an audible or haptic notification may be provided. The smartphone literally wakes you up and asks you to charge it. Wow!

Based on the history of the user’s sleep patterns, the charging time may also be moved up to an earlier time before the user is expected to sleep.

In the settings shown in FIG. 7 of the patent application, there is an option “Notify me if I’m supposed to charge and I’m falling asleep”

It is not known at this point of time when this invention will get incorporated into Lenovo smartphones.

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