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Publication numberUS20010035860 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/893,562
Publication dateNov 1, 2001
Filing dateJun 28, 2001
Priority dateJul 29, 1999
Also published asUS6396523
Publication number09893562, 893562, US 2001/0035860 A1, US 2001/035860 A1, US 20010035860 A1, US 20010035860A1, US 2001035860 A1, US 2001035860A1, US-A1-20010035860, US-A1-2001035860, US2001/0035860A1, US2001/035860A1, US20010035860 A1, US20010035860A1, US2001035860 A1, US2001035860A1
InventorsJack Segal, WiIliam Yates, Steven Branton, Jeff Mossontte
Original AssigneeInterlik Electronics, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Home entertainment device remote control
US 20010035860 A1
Abstract
A remote control for controlling a device having a display screen provided with a movable object includes a touch pad. The pad is operable such that the screen is mapped to the pad area. The pad generates a signal indicative of an operator's touch on the pad. A controller moves the object on the screen to the location on the screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the pad. The pad generates a gesture signal indicative of a gesture performed on the pad corresponding to a control function. In response to an operator performing a gesture on the pad the controller controls the device to enable the control function corresponding to the gesture performed on the pad.
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Claims(17)
What is claimed is:
1. A remote control for controlling a home entertainment device having a display screen provided with a movable object, the remote control comprising:
a touch pad having a surface area for an operator to touch, wherein the touch pad is operable with the display screen such that the display screen is mapped to the touch pad surface area, wherein the touch pad generates a signal in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area, the signal being indicative of the location of the touch on the touch pad surface area; and
a controller operable with the touch pad for receiving a signal from the touch pad in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area, wherein in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area the controller moves the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad surface area.
2. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the controller moves the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad surface area independent of the location of the movable object on the display screen prior to the touch on the touch pad surface area.
3. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the touch pad generates a gesture signal in response to a gesture performed on the touch pad surface area, the gesture signal being indicative of the gesture performed on the touch pad surface area, each gesture performed on the touch pad surface area corresponding to a home entertainment device control function, wherein the controller is operable with the touch pad for receiving a gesture signal from the touch pad in response to an operator performing a gesture on the touch pad surface area, wherein in response to an operator performing a gesture on the touch pad surface area the controller controls the home entertainment device to enable the control function corresponding to the gesture performed on the touch pad surface area.
4. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the controller controls the home entertainment device to enable a control function corresponding to the location of the movable object on the display screen in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area.
5. The remote control of
claim 4
further comprising:
a selection actuator operable with the controller, wherein the controller controls the home entertainment device to enable a control function corresponding to the location of the movable object on the display screen in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area and actuating the selection actuator.
6. The remote control of
claim 4
wherein:
the controller controls the home entertainment device to enable a control function corresponding to the location of the movable object on the display screen in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area and then removing the touch from the touch pad surface area.
7. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the display screen includes an electronic program guide listing programming choices, the electronic program guide mapped to the touch pad surface area, wherein the controller controls the home entertainment device to select a programming choice corresponding to the location of the movable object on the electronic programming guide in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area.
8. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the display screen includes a menu listing control functions for the home entertainment device, the menu mapped to the touch pad surface area, wherein the controller controls the home entertainment device to select a control function for the home entertainment device corresponding to the location of the movable object on the menu in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area.
9. The remote control of
claim 1
wherein:
the display screen includes a keyboard having alphanumeric keys, the keyboard mapped to the touch pad surface area, wherein the controller controls the home entertainment device to select an alphanumeric key corresponding to the location of the movable object on the menu in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area.
10. A method for controlling a home entertainment device having a display screen provided with a movable object, the method comprising:
touching a touch pad of a remote control, wherein the display screen is mapped to the touch pad;
generating a touch signal indicative of the location of the touch on the touch pad;
transmitting the touch signal;
receiving the transmitted touch signal; and
moving the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad in response to receiving the touch signal.
11. The method of
claim 10
wherein:
moving the movable object on the display screen includes moving the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad independent of the location of the movable object on the display screen prior to the touch on the touch pad.
12. The method of
claim 10
wherein:
performing a gesture on the touch pad;
generating a gesture signal based on the gesture performed on the touch pad;
transmitting the gesture signal;
receiving the transmitted gesture signal; and
determining a home entertainment device control signal based on the gesture signal.
13. The method of
claim 10
wherein:
controlling the home entertainment device to enable a control function corresponding to the location of the movable object on the display screen in response to a touch signal.
14. The method of
claim 10
wherein the display screen includes an electronic program guide listing programming choices, the electronic program guide mapped to the touch pad, the method further comprising:
controlling the home entertainment device to select a programming choice corresponding to the location of the movable object on the electronic programming guide in response to a touch signal.
15. The method of
claim 10
wherein the display screen includes a menu listing control functions for the home entertainment device, the menu mapped to the touch pad, the method further comprising:
controlling the home entertainment device to select a control function for the home entertainment device corresponding to the location of the movable object on the menu in response to a touch signal.
16. The method of
claim 10
wherein the display screen includes a keyboard having alphanumeric keys, the keyboard mapped to the touch pad, the method further comprising:
controlling the home entertainment device to select an alphanumeric key corresponding to the location of the movable object on the menu in response to a touch signal.
17. A method for controlling a home entertainment device configured for at least one of cable video programming, Internet browsing, Internet telephony, video cassette recording, and stereo receiving, the home entertainment device having a display screen provided with a movable object, the method comprising:
touching a touch pad of a remote control, wherein the display screen is mapped absolutely to the touch pad;
generating a touch signal indicative of the location of the touch on the touch pad;
transmitting the touch signal from the remote control to the home entertainment device;
receiving the transmitted touch signal at the home entertainment device from the remote control; and
moving the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad in response to receiving the touch signal irrespective to the location of the movable object prior to receiving the touch signal.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/413,919, filed on Oct. 7, 1999, entitled “Home Entertainment Device Remote Control” which is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/363,177, filed on Jul. 29, 1999, entitled “Remote Computer Input Peripheral.”

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention generally relates to remote controls for controlling home entertainment devices and, more particularly, to a remote control having a touch pad for controlling a home entertainment device.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] Other than being remote, home entertainment (HE) device remote controls are generally despised by human operators for a variety of reasons. There are many reasons why HE remote controls are not liked. HE remote controls are based on a button-centric paradigm and usually contain too many buttons. This crowded geography causes considerable confusion and intimidation and makes it difficult to find the desired button. It is often dark in the room in which HE remote controls are used. This makes it difficult or impossible to read the legends on the crowded button layout.

[0004] Normal home entertainment viewing takes place at a distance of 3 meters or more and the display being viewed is usually quite large such as a TV having a diagonal viewing surface falling between 27″ to 72″. The legends on HE remote controls are usually twelve point type or smaller. For many operators, changing viewing distance requires changing glasses or putting on reading glasses.

[0005] Enhanced TV and related applications require the extensive use of graphic user interfaces (GUI) and on-screen displays/menus. An enhanced TV is a TV configured for cable video programming, Internet browsing, Internet telephony, video cassette recording, stereo receiving, and the like. The operator has to navigate through various menus to use enhanced TV. Using up, down, right, and left arrow keys to navigate these menus is difficult, slow, and frustrating. The increasing number of television channels has given rise to the electronic program guide (EPG). Because an EPG is a dense grid of selections, using arrow keys to navigate is even more difficult.

[0006] Interactive television requires text entry. The current solution, a wireless keyboard, is undesirable in a living room because many people cannot type, the keyboard does not fit the decor of the living room, there is no place to set the keyboard down to type on it, and people simply refuse to have computer related material in living rooms. In addition, typing is associated with work and is not desired to be in a room devoted to entertainment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a remote control having a touch pad that recognizes gestures performed on the touch pad for controlling a home entertainment (HE) device.

[0008] It is another object of the present invention to provide a remote control having a touch pad operable with a display screen for displaying a gesture performed on the touch pad.

[0009] It is a further object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a display screen for displaying a gesture performed on the touch pad in which the display screen is mapped to the touch pad so that a gesture performed on the touch pad surface area is scaled correspondingly on to the display screen.

[0010] It is still another object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a display screen for providing an indication of an enabled home entertainment device control function corresponding to a gesture performed on the touch pad.

[0011] It is still a further object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a home entertainment device display screen provided with a movable object such that in response to an operator touching the touch pad the movable object is moved to the location of the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad.

[0012] It is still yet another object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a home entertainment device display screen provided with a movable object such that in response to an operator touching the touch pad the movable object is moved to the location of the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad thereby enabling a control function corresponding to the location of the movable object on the display screen for controlling an HE device.

[0013] It is still yet a further object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a display screen provided with an electronic program guide listing programming choices.

[0014] Still, it is still yet another object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a display screen provided with a menu listing control functions for an HE device.

[0015] Still, it is still a further object of the present invention to provide an HE remote control having a touch pad operable with a keyboard provided with alphanumeric keys for controlling an HE device.

[0016] In carrying out the above objects and other objects, the present invention provides a remote control for controlling a home entertainment device. The remote control includes a touch pad having a surface area for an operator to touch for performing a gesture thereon. The touch pad generates a signal in response to a gesture performed on the touch pad surface area. The signal is indicative of the gesture performed on the touch pad surface area. Each gesture performed on the touch pad surface area corresponds to a home entertainment device control function. A controller is operable with the touch pad for receiving a signal from the touch pad in response to a gesture performed on the touch pad surface area. In response to receiving a signal from the touch pad the controller controls the home entertainment device to enable the control function corresponding to the gesture performed on the touch pad surface area.

[0017] Further, in carrying out the above objects and other objects, the present invention provides a remote control for controlling a home entertainment device having a display screen provided with a movable object. The remote control includes a touch pad having a surface area for an operator to touch. The touch pad is operable with the display screen such that the display screen is mapped to the touch pad surface area. The touch pad generates a signal in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area. The signal is indicative of the location of the touch on the touch pad surface area. A controller is operable with the touch pad for receiving a signal from the touch pad in response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area. In response to an operator touching the touch pad surface area the controller moves the movable object on the display screen to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on the touch pad surface area.

[0018] These and other features, aspects, and embodiments of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019]FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a remote control for controlling a home entertainment device in accordance with the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 2 illustrates a table showing two gesture sets with corresponding home entertainment device control functions;

[0021]FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a remote control for controlling a home entertainment device in accordance with the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 4 illustrates an electronic program guide displayed on a display screen operable with the remote control for controlling a home entertainment device;

[0023]FIG. 5 illustrates a menu listing control functions or menu options for controlling a home entertainment device; and

[0024]FIG. 6 illustrates a keyboard having alphanumeric keys for controlling a home entertainment device.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0025] Referring now to FIG. 1, a block diagram of a remote control 10 for controlling a home entertainment device in accordance with the present invention is shown. Remote control 10 includes a touch pad 12, a controller 14, and a display screen 16. Touch pad 12 includes a touch pad surface area for an operator to touch. Touch pad 12 generates a signal in response to touching by an operator on the touch pad. The signal is indicative of the location of the touch on the touch pad. The signal may also be indicative of the duration and the pressure of the touch on the touch pad for each location being touched.

[0026] Touch pad 12 is operable with display screen 16 such that the display screen is mapped to the touch pad. Preferably, display screen 16 has a larger area than the area of touch pad 12 and the mapping is scaled as a function of the ratio of the areas. Each location on touch pad 12 has a corresponding location on display screen 16. Display screen 16 is preferably the display screen used by a home entertainment device such as a television screen. Display screen 16 includes a movable object 18. Display screen 16 may be separated from the home entertainment device and coupled directly to touch pad 12.

[0027] Controller 14 is operable with touch pad 12 for receiving a signal from the touch pad in response to an operator touching the touch pad. Controller 14 moves movable object 18 on display screen 16 to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on touch pad 12 in response to an operator touching the touch pad. Controller 12 controls the home entertainment device to enable a control function corresponding to the location of movable object 18 on display screen 16 in response to an operator touching touch pad 12. Controller 14 may be coupled directly or remotely located from touch pad 12. If remotely located, touch pad 12 transmits infrared signals to communicate with controller 14.

[0028] Preferably, controller 14 moves movable object 12 on display screen 16 to the location on the display screen corresponding to the location of the touch on touch pad 12 independent of the location of the movable object on the display screen prior to the touch on the touch pad. Thus, touch pad 12 is based on absolute pointing. This means that wherever the operator touches touch pad 12 movable object 18 moves to the corresponding location on display screen 16, regardless of the location of the movable object prior to the touch. That is, the touching movement of the operator on touch pad 12 is mapped absolutely on to display screen 16. Traditional pointing devices such as a computer mouse use relative pointing letting the operator move a cursor from one place to another place on a display screen. That is, the movement of the operator is mapped relative to the location from where the operator moved.

[0029] The operator may touch pad 12 to perform a gesture thereon. A gesture performed on touch pad 12 is a touch that corresponds to an understood or recognizable pattern. In response to a gesture performed on touch pad 12, the touch pad generates a gesture signal. The gesture signal is indicative of the gesture performed on the touch pad. Each gesture performed on touch pad 12 corresponds to a home entertainment device control function. Controller 14 is operable with touch pad 12 for receiving a gesture signal from the touch pad in response to an operator performing a gesture on the touch pad. In response to an operator performing a gesture on touch pad 12 controller 14 controls the home entertainment device to enable the control function corresponding to the gesture performed on the touch pad.

[0030] Referring now to FIG. 2, a table 20 illustrating two sets of gestures 22, 24 is shown. Gestures 22,24 correspond to a set of home entertainment device control functions 26. The set of home entertainment device control functions 26 are used for controlling a television and a video cassette recorder (VCR). For instance, a gesture may be a stroke from right to left on touch pad 12 as shown in line 9 of gesture set 22. This gesture corresponds to a control function for playing the VCR. Another gesture may be a stroke from left to right on touch pad 12 as shown in line 8 of gesture set 22. This gesture corresponds to a control function for changing the channel on the television to the previous channel.

[0031] A stroke on touch pad 12 constitutes all of the points crossed by an operator's finger or stylus on the touch pad while the finger or stylus is in continuous contact with the touch pad. Where the stroke has an X and Y displacement, the direction of the displacement is indicated in FIG. 2 by the arrowhead at the end of the stroke. A “T” enclosed in a square represents a tap on touch pad 12. An “H” enclosed in a square represents a hold on touch pad 12. Both the tap and hold do not have X and Y components. The tap and hold are differentiated from one another by time. A tap is an instantaneous touch on touch pad 12. A hold is a non-instantaneous touch on touch pad 12.

[0032] For example, a gesture may be a stroke from the right to the left followed by a hold as shown in line 2 of gesture set 22. This gesture corresponds to a control function for turning up the volume of the television. A gesture may be a tap as shown in line 11 of gesture set 22. This gesture corresponds to stopping the VCR. Similarly, a gesture may be a series of taps as shown in line 10 of gesture sets 21, 22. This gesture corresponds to pausing the VCR.

[0033] In general, gestures include one or more strokes. Multi-stroke gestures are shown in FIG. 2 in the order the strokes are performed on touch pad 12. Recognition of a gesture by touch pad 12 does not depend on the relative position of successive strokes on the touch pad. Of course, alternate gesture sets may be used to replace the gesture sets shown or to correspond with different home entertainment device control functions.

[0034] Gestures may also be alphanumeric characters traced on touch pad 12. For instance, an operator may trace “9” on touch pad 12 to change the television channel to channel “9”. The operator may also trace “M” to mute the volume of the television or trace “P” to play the VCR.

[0035] Using gestures to control home entertainment devices has many advantages. The operator has access to commands with no need to look at remote control 10. Gestures decrease the number of buttons on remote control 10. Remote control 10 can be upgraded simply by adding recognizable gestures. Hardware changes are not required meaning that there is no need to add, subtract, or change physical buttons or legends.

[0036] Referring now to FIG. 3, a perspective view of a remote control 30 for controlling home entertainment devices in accordance with the present invention is shown. Remote control 30 includes a touch pad surface area 32, a plurality of exposed control buttons 34, and a plurality of embedded control buttons 36. Control buttons 34 and 26 are used in conjunction with touch pad 12 and are operable with controller 12 for selecting a control function for controlling a home entertainment device.

[0037] In general, an operator uses touch pad 12 to point or move movable object 18 to an on screen option displayed on display screen 16. The operator then uses control buttons 34 and 36 to select the option being pointed at by movable object 18 on display screen 16. Remote control 30 is useful for harmonious bimodal operation. In this mode, the operator uses one hand on touch pad 12 to point to an option on display screen 16. The operator uses the other hand to hold remote control 30 and to make a selection by actuating a control button 34, 36.

[0038] Remote control 30 may also be configured for one handed operation. In this mode, control buttons 34, 36 are not needed. One handed operation allows the operator to keep one hand free for other purposes. For instance, to hold a drink while watching television. To select an option, one finger is used on touch pad 12 to point to an option while another finger on the touch pad is used on the touch pad to select the option. Another way to select an option is to have one finger on touch pad 12 to point to an option and then lifting that finger from the touch pad to select the option.

[0039] Referring now to FIG. 4, an electronic program guide (EPG) 40 displayed on display screen 16 is shown. EPG 40 lists programming choices 42. EPG 40 is displayed in a grid form with television channels displayed from top to bottom with program start times from left to right. EPG 40 is mapped to touch pad 12. When EPG 40 first appears on display screen 16, the current channel is highlighted. When the operator touches touch pad 12, the directly corresponding program on display screen 16 is highlighted. For example, if the operator touches the center of touch pad 12 then the program nearest the center of display screen 16, i.e., EPG 40, becomes highlighted. If the operator touches the extreme upper left corner of touch pad 12, the upper most, left most program becomes highlighted.

[0040] If the operator slides his finger to a different area of touch pad 12, the currently highlighted program stays highlighted until the finger reaches an area of the touch pad that corresponds to a different program. The different program is then highlighted. When the operator reaches the desired program, he may use one of the selecting methods described above to select the program or perform a control function. If the operator lifts his finger from touch pad 12 and touches a different area, another directly corresponding area is highlighted.

[0041] Referring now to FIG. 5, a menu 50 listing control functions or menu options for a home entertainment device such as a VCR is shown. As shown in FIG. 5, the VCR control functions or menu options include Play, Stop, Pause, etc. Menu 50 is mapped to touch pad 12. When an operator touches touch pad 12, the directly corresponding menu option is highlighted. For example, if the operator touches the center of touch pad 12, the menu option nearest the center of display screen 16 becomes highlighted. In general, highlighting and selecting control functions for menu 50 is performed similarly with respect to the highlighting and selecting methods associated with EPG 40. The advantages of using touch pad 12 for selecting options in menu 50 is that it is easier and faster to use than arrow keys or mouse/cursor menus; it decreases the button clutter that some button menus suffer from; and it is not necessary to look at the remote control to select an option.

[0042] Referring now to FIG. 6, a keyboard 70 having alphanumeric keys for a home entertainment device is shown. Keyboard 70 is mapped to touch pad 12. When an operator touches touch pad 12, the directly corresponding keyboard key is highlighted. For example, if the operator touches the center of touch pad 12, the “G” becomes highlighted. If the operator touches the upper left corner of touch pad 12, then “Q” becomes highlighted. Preferably, there are two ways to use keyboard 70. The first method is based on harmonious bimodal operation. An operator places his finger on touch pad 12 and then slides his finger until the desired key is highlighted. The operator then selects the desired key by pressing a control button 34, 36 without lifting his finger from touch pad 12. In the second method, the operator places his finger onto touch pad 12 as close as possible to the area corresponding to the desired key. The operator then lifts his finger from touch pad 12 to select the desired key.

[0043] Thus it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the present invention, a remote control for controlling a home entertainment device that fully satisfies the objects, aims, and advantages set forth above. While the present invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification345/173, 348/E05.103
International ClassificationH03J9/06, G06F3/048, H03J1/00, H01H9/02, H04B1/20, G06F1/16, H04N5/445, G06F3/033, H04N5/44
Cooperative ClassificationG06F3/03547, H03J1/0025, H01H2223/04, H04N2005/443, A63F2300/1075, H03J9/06, H01H2009/0257, H04N5/44582, H01H2217/014, A63F2300/1068, G06F3/0488, H04N5/4403, H03J2200/26, H01H2217/022, H01H9/0235, H01H2239/016, G06F3/04883, H04B1/202, H04N2005/4408, G06F1/1626, H01H2239/066
European ClassificationG06F3/0488, G06F3/0354P, G06F3/0488G, H03J9/06, G06F1/16P3, H01H9/02C4, H04N5/445R, H03J1/00A2, H04N5/44R
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 26, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: SMK-LINK ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERLINK ELECTRONICS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:020309/0183
Effective date: 20070831