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Publication numberUS20030003976 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/170,130
Publication dateJan 2, 2003
Filing dateJun 12, 2002
Priority dateJun 19, 2001
Publication number10170130, 170130, US 2003/0003976 A1, US 2003/003976 A1, US 20030003976 A1, US 20030003976A1, US 2003003976 A1, US 2003003976A1, US-A1-20030003976, US-A1-2003003976, US2003/0003976A1, US2003/003976A1, US20030003976 A1, US20030003976A1, US2003003976 A1, US2003003976A1
InventorsMitsuru Mura
Original AssigneeSony Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Memory card, personal digital assistant, information processing method, recording medium, and program
US 20030003976 A1
Abstract
A memory card with a tilt sensor is inserted into a personal digital assistant (PDA). When the PDA is tilted back and forth, the tilt sensor detects a tilt angle and outputs the tilt angle to an A/D converter. The A/D converter converts the tilt angle into digital data and supplies the digital data to a signal controller. The signal controller converts the format of the tilt data (digital data) into a communication format processable by the PDA in which the memory card is installed. The signal controller outputs the converted data to the PDA through an input/output interface. Accordingly, the PDA can control display of a game screen in accordance with the tilt data supplied from the memory card. A user who used to play the game using key input can now cause the PDA to function as a more interesting game machine.
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Claims(23)
What is claimed is:
1. A memory card removably connected to a personal digital assistant, comprising:
recording means for recording first data to be supplied to the personal digital assistant;
detection means for detecting second data indicating the status of the memory card connected to the personal digital assistant; and
input/output control means for controlling, in accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant, the outputting of the first data, which is recorded in the recording means, or the second data, which is detected by the detection means, and for controlling the inputting of third data from the personal digital assistant.
2. A memory card according to claim 1, wherein the recording means further records the third data, the inputting thereof being controlled by the input/output control means.
3. A memory card according to claim 1, wherein the first data includes at least program data.
4. A memory card according to claim 1, wherein the second data comprises data relating to a tilt angle of the memory card, acceleration applied to the memory card, or temperature applied to the memory card.
5. A memory card according to claim 1, wherein the third data comprises data indicating a program execution status, the data being generated in association with the first data.
6. A memory card according to claim 1, wherein the memory card comprises a rewritable memory.
7. A personal digital assistant in which a memory card is installed, comprising:
reading control means for controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
display control means for executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled by the reading control means, and for controlling a display screen; and
obtaining means for obtaining data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card,
wherein the display control means controls display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being obtained by the obtaining means.
8. A personal digital assistant according to claim 7, wherein the program data comprises program data relating to a game.
9. A personal digital assistant according to claim 7, wherein the data indicating the status of the memory card comprises data relating to a tilt angle of the memory card, acceleration applied to the memory card, or temperature applied to the memory card.
10. An information processing method for a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is installed, comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and
an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card,
wherein, in the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.
11. A recording medium having recorded therein a computer-readable program for controlling a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is inserted, the program comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and
an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card,
wherein, in the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.
12. A program to be executed by a computer for controlling a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is inserted, comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and
an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card,
wherein, in the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.
13. A memory card removably connected to a personal digital assistant, comprising:
recording means for recording first data to be supplied to the personal digital assistant;
control means for performing predetermined control in accordance with second data supplied from the personal digital assistant; and
input/output control means for controlling the outputting of the first data, which is recorded in the recording means, and for controlling the inputting of the second data, which is supplied from the personal digital assistant, in accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant.
14. A memory card according to claim 13, wherein the recording means further records data indicating a program execution status, the data being generated in association with the first data by the personal digital assistant.
15. A memory card according to claim 13, wherein the first data includes at least program data.
16. A memory card according to claim 13, wherein the second data comprises vibration data or audio data, and the control means controls vibration generation or audio output.
17. A memory card according to claim 13, wherein the memory card comprises a rewritable memory.
18. A personal digital assistant in which a memory card is installed, comprising:
reading control means for controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
display control means for executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled by the reading control means, and for controlling a display screen;
generation means for generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and
supplying means for supplying the additional data, which is generated by the generation means, to the memory card.
19. A personal digital assistant according to claim 18, wherein the program data comprises program data relating to a game.
20. A personal digital assistant according to claim 18, wherein the additional data comprises vibration data or audio data.
21. An information processing method for a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is installed, comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen;
a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and
a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.
22. A recording medium having recorded therein a computer-readable program for controlling a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is installed, the program comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen;
a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and
a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.
23. A program to be executed by a computer for controlling a personal digital assistant in which a memory card is inserted, comprising:
a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card;
a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen;
a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and
a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to memory cards, personal digital assistants (hereinafter referred to as PDAs), information processing methods, recording media, and programs, and more particularly relates to a memory card which has a sensor, a vibrator, or a speaker and which records therein a game program, a personal digital assistant, an information processing method, a recording medium, and a program.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Known memory cards based on flash memories can store, for example, music data, video data, computer program software, or other content.

[0005] For example, a memory card storing a game program is installed in a PDA. As a result, the mere PDA functions as a game machine.

[0006] Even when the memory card storing the game program is installed in the PDA and the PDA functions as the game machine, the PDA cannot receive information other than that input by operating buttons, such as tilting of the game machine, or cannot output audio data (sound effects) and vibrations which are to be conveyed to a user in accordance with the progress of a game. As a result, the PDA lacks a game machine feel.

[0007] A sensor for inputting information such as tilting of the game machine, a vibrator for transferring a vibration, or a speaker for outputting sound can be mounted on the PDA. When the sensor or the vibrator, which is not generally used, is mounted on the PDA, increases in the cost and the size are caused unnecessarily.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In view of the foregoing circumstances, it is an object of the present invention to cause an existing personal digital assistant to function as an exciting game machine by mounting a sensor, a vibrator, or a speaker on the memory card, by storing a game program in the memory card, and installing the memory card in the personal digital assistant.

[0009] A first memory card of the present invention includes a recording unit for recording first data to be supplied to a personal digital assistant; a detection unit for detecting second data indicating the status of the memory card connected to the personal digital assistant; and an input/output control unit for controlling, in accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant, the outputting of the first data, which is recorded in the recording unit, or the second data, which is detected by the detection unit, and for controlling the inputting of third data from the personal digital assistant.

[0010] The recording unit may further record the third data, the inputting thereof being controlled by the input/output control unit.

[0011] The first data may include at least program data.

[0012] The second data may include data relating to a tilt angle of the memory card, acceleration applied to the memory card, or temperature applied to the memory card.

[0013] The third data may include data indicating a program execution status, the data being generated in association with the first data.

[0014] The memory card may include a rewritable memory.

[0015] According to the first memory card of the present invention, first data to be supplied to a personal digital assistant is recorded. Second data indicating the status of a memory card connected to the personal digital assistant is detected. In accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant, the outputting of the first data, which is recorded in the recording unit, or the second data, which is detected by the detection unit, is controlled, and the inputting of third data from the personal digital assistant is controlled. Accordingly, an existing personal digital assistant can function as a more interesting game machine.

[0016] A first personal digital assistant of the present invention includes a reading control unit for controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control unit for executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled by the reading control unit, and for controlling a display screen; and an obtaining unit for obtaining data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card. The display control unit controls display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being obtained by the obtaining unit.

[0017] The program data may include program data relating to a game.

[0018] The data indicating the status of the memory card may include data relating to a tilt angle of the memory card, acceleration applied to the memory card, or temperature applied to the memory card.

[0019] A first information processing method includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card. In the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.

[0020] A program recorded in a first recording medium of the present invention includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in the memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card. In the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.

[0021] A first program of the present invention, which is to be executed by a computer, includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; and an obtaining control step of controlling the obtaining of data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card. In the display control step, display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the data indicating the status of the memory card, the obtaining of the data being controlled in the obtaining control step.

[0022] According to the first personal digital assistant, the first information processing method, and the first program, the reading of program data recorded in a memory card is controlled. The program data, the reading thereof being controlled, is executed, and a display screen is controlled. Data indicating the status of the memory card, the data being supplied from the memory card, is obtained. Display of a predetermined image displayed on the display screen is controlled in accordance with the obtained data indicating the status of the memory card. Accordingly, an existing personal digital assistant can function as a more interesting game machine.

[0023] A second memory card of the present invention includes a recording unit for recording first data to be supplied to a personal digital assistant; a control unit for performing predetermined control in accordance with second data supplied from the personal digital assistant; and an input/output control unit for controlling the outputting of the first data, which is recorded in the recording unit, and for controlling the inputting of the second data, which is supplied from the personal digital assistant, in accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant.

[0024] The recording unit may further record data indicating a program execution status, the data being generated in association with the first data by the personal digital assistant.

[0025] The first data may include at least program data.

[0026] The second data may include vibration data or audio data. The control unit may control vibration generation or audio output.

[0027] The memory card may include a rewritable memory.

[0028] According to the second memory card of the present invention, first data to be supplied to a personal digital assistant is recorded. Predetermined control is performed in accordance with second data supplied from the personal digital assistant. In accordance with an instruction from the personal digital assistant, the outputting of the recorded first data is controlled, and the inputting of the second data from the personal digital assistant is controlled. Accordingly, an existing personal digital assistant can function as a more interesting game machine.

[0029] A second personal digital assistant of the present invention includes a reading control unit for controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control unit for executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled by the reading control unit, and for controlling a display screen; a generation unit for generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and a supplying unit for supplying the additional data, which is generated by the generation unit, to the memory card.

[0030] The program data may include program data relating to a game. The additional data may include vibration data or audio data.

[0031] A second information processing method of the present invention includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.

[0032] A program recorded in a second recording medium of the present invention includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.

[0033] A second program of the present invention, which is to be executed by a computer, includes a reading control step of controlling the reading of program data recorded in a memory card; a display control step of executing the program data, the reading thereof being controlled in the reading control step, and of controlling a display screen; a generation step of generating additional data based on the display status of the display screen; and a supplying step of supplying the additional data, which is generated in the generation step, to the memory card.

[0034] According to the second personal digital assistant, the second information processing apparatus, and the second program, the reading of program data recorded in a memory card is controlled. The program data, the reading thereof being controlled, is executed, and a display screen is controlled. Additional data is generated based on the display status of the display screen. The generated additional data is supplied to the memory card. Accordingly, an existing personal digital assistant can function as a more interesting game machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0035]FIGS. 1A and 1B are external views showing the configuration of a memory card according to the present invention;

[0036]FIG. 2 shows the configuration of the interior of a memory card with a tilt sensor;

[0037]FIG. 3 shows the configuration of the tilt sensor;

[0038]FIG. 4 shows the configuration of the exterior of a PDA in which the memory card is installed:

[0039]FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the electrical configuration of the PDA shown in FIG. 4;

[0040]FIG. 6 illustrates an example of a game screen;

[0041]FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a process of outputting tilt data;

[0042]FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing a process of controlling display in accordance with the tilt data;

[0043]FIG. 9 shows the configuration of the interior of the memory card with another example of a tilt sensor;

[0044]FIG. 10 illustrates the configuration of the interior of the memory card with yet another example of a tilt sensor;

[0045]FIG. 11 illustrates the configuration of the interior of the memory card with a vibrator function;

[0046]FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing a process of outputting vibration data;

[0047]FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a vibrator driving process;

[0048]FIG. 14 shows the configuration of the interior of the memory card with a speaker;

[0049]FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing a process of outputting audio data; and

[0050]FIG. 16 is a flowchart showing an audio output process.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0051] With reference to the accompanying drawings, the present invention will become clear from the following description of embodiments of the present invention.

[0052]FIGS. 1A and 1B show the configuration of a memory card according to the present invention. FIG. 1A is an external view of the front side of the memory card, and FIG. 1B is an external view of the reverse side of the memory card.

[0053] Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a memory card 1 is a flash memory card referred to as a memory stick (registered trademark), which was developed by the applicant of the present invention. The memory stick is produced by storing a flash memory device, which is one type of EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), a non-volatile memory in which information can be electrically overwritten and erased, in a small-sized thin plastic casing 11, which is 50.0 mm (H)21.5 mm (W)2.8 mm (D). Various data such as images, audio data, and music data can be written to and read from the memory stick through a terminal 12 having ten pins.

[0054] The memory stick employs a unique serial protocol that can assure compatibility with an apparatus using the memory stick in response to a change in the specification of the built-in flash memory in order to increase the capacity or the like. The memory stick accomplishes high-speed performance, i.e., a maximum write speed of 1.5 MB/s and a maximum read speed of 2.45 MB/s. An erroneous erase protection switch 13 for protecting recorded data from being erroneously erased is provided to ensure high reliability.

[0055] The pins of the terminal 12 are numbered 1 to 10. Specifically, pin numbers 1 and 10 (VSS) are grounded (GND); a serial protocol bus state signal is supplied to pin number 2 (BS: Bus State); power supply voltage is supplied to pin numbers 3 and 9 (VCC); a serial protocol data signal is exchanged through pin number 4 (SDIO: Serial Data In/Out); pin numbers 5 and 7 are kept in reserve; pin number 6 (INS: Interrupted Status) is for detecting card insertion and removal; and a serial protocol clock signal is supplied to pin number 8.

[0056] A first embodiment of the present invention will now be described. In the first embodiment, a memory card having a tilt sensor will be described.

[0057]FIG. 2 shows the configuration of the interior of a memory card 1 having a tilt sensor 23. Hereinafter the memory card 1 having the tilt sensor 23 will be referred to as the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0058] A signal controller 21 converts parallel data into serial data and controls a storage unit 22 in accordance with a serial interface protocol.

[0059] The storage unit 22 is formed by a memory for storing various data from an electronic apparatus such as a personal computer, a PDA, or a cellular phone in which the memory card 1 is installed. For example, the memory has a storage capacity of a few MB to a few tens of MB. The memory can be formed by a RAM (Random Access Memory) type memory, to and from which information can be written and read, or a ROM (Read Only Memory) type memory, into which a dedicated program is stored in advance and which is then used as a read only memory. Alternatively, the memory can be formed by a combination of RAM and ROM. The storage unit 22 in the present invention is a memory for storing data such as a game program, and data concerning the progress status of a game (such as information indicating the number of stages cleared) can be written in the memory.

[0060] For example, when the storage unit 22 is formed by a plurality of memories, the signal controller 21 is designed to control each memory. For example, when the storage unit 22 is formed by a plurality of memories of different types, the signal controller 21 accommodates characteristic differences among these memories, controls each memory, and performs error correction processing in accordance with error characteristics of each type of memory.

[0061] Accordingly, the memory card 1 can perform processing in compliance with the serial interface protocol by the signal controller 21, and hence the memory card 1 is highly extensible.

[0062] The tilt sensor 23 is provided at a location in the longitudinal direction of the memory card 1. The tilt sensor 23 detects a tilt angle when the electronic apparatus having the memory card 1 is tilted back and forth.

[0063] The tilt sensor 23 is, for example, a variable-resistance sensor such as that shown in FIG. 3. The tilt sensor 23 outputs a resistance in accordance with a tilt angle. As shown in FIG. 3, a tension spring 42 a is connected to a main body 40 through a connection pin 43 a, and a tension spring 42 b is connected to the main body 40 through a connection pin 43 b. The tension springs 42 a and 42 b are connected to each other through a connection pin 44.

[0064] When the tilt sensor 23 is placed horizontally, a movable contact 41 is designed to be substantially at the center between the tension springs 42 a and 42 b through the connection pin 44 (that is, the movable contact 41 stands still at a balanced position). The movable contact 41 is in contact with an electrode terminal rail 45 (resistance is zero) and a resistor 46. The resistor 46 outputs a resistance at a position at which the movable contact 41 is in contact therewith through output terminals 47 a and 47 b.

[0065] For example, when the B side of the tilt sensor 23 is tilted downward (A side is higher than B side), the force of gravity in accordance with the tilt acts on the movable contact 41. The movable contact 41 is moved to the B side so that the tension spring 42 a can stretch and the tension spring 42 b can contract. Accordingly, the path of the resistor 46 becomes shorter compared with a case in which the tilt sensor 23 is placed horizontally. Thus, the resistance output through the output terminals 47 a and 47 b becomes smaller than that output when the tilt sensor 23 is placed horizontally.

[0066] For example, when the A side of the tilt sensor 23 is tilted downward (B side is higher than A side), the force of gravity in accordance with the tilt acts on the movable contact 41. The movable contract 41 is moved to the A side so that the tension spring 42 a can contract and the tension spring 42 b can stretch. Accordingly, the path of the resistor 46 becomes longer compared with a case in which the tilt sensor 23 is placed horizontally. Thus, the resistance output through the output terminals 47 a and 47 b becomes greater than that output when the tilt sensor 23 is placed horizontally.

[0067] Referring again to FIG. 2, an analog to digital (A/D) converter 24 converts the resistance (tilt angle) output from the tilt sensor 23 into digital data and supplies the digital data to the signal controller 21.

[0068] The digital data output from the A/D converter 24 may be either serial data or parallel data. Since the signal controller 21 is designed to perform processing in accordance with the serial interface protocol, the serial data is preferable. When the parallel data is output, the signal converter 21 performs serial/parallel conversion processing.

[0069] The signal controller 21 converts the format of the tilt data, which is detected by the tilt sensor 23 and which is converted into digital data by the A/D converter 24, into a communication format processable by the electronic apparatus having the memory card 1. The signal controller 21 outputs the converted tilt data to the electronic apparatus through an input/output (I/O) interface (I/F) 25.

[0070] The I/O interface 25 is connected to the electronic apparatus and inputs/outputs various data from/to the electronic apparatus. Among the ten pins of the terminal 12, three pins, namely, pin number 2, to which a serial protocol bus state signal is supplied, pin number 4, through which a serial protocol data signal is exchanged, and pin number 8, to which a serial protocol clock signal is supplied, are used to transmit and receive the serial protocol bus state signal, the serial protocol data signal, and the serial protocol clock signal to/from the electronic apparatus.

[0071] The serial protocol clock signal and the serial protocol bus state signal are supplied from the electronic apparatus. Data is transmitted to and received from an external apparatus by bidirectional half-duplex transfer. When the memory card 1 transmits/receives a control packet as data to/from the electronic apparatus, for example, the maximum frequency of the clock is set to 20 MHz, and data is transferred by adding an error check code on the basis of units of 512 bytes.

[0072]FIG. 4 shows the configuration of the exterior of a PDA in which the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed.

[0073] A PDA 60 has a casing formed to be a size that would allow a user to hold and operate the PDA 60 with one hand. At the top of the PDA 60, a memory card slot (not shown) in which the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed and an infrared communication unit 80 (FIG. 5) for exchanging information with other apparatuses using infrared-ray communication are provided. In addition, a wireless LAN (not shown) for performing wireless communication using Bluetooth (registered trademark) may be provided.

[0074] On the bottom face of the PDA 60, a modem (not shown) for connecting to a public circuit switched network and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port or an RS-232C port (both of which are not shown) for exchanging various data are provided. The PDA 60 has a display unit 61, a key group 62, and a jog dial 63.

[0075] The display unit 61 is formed by a thin display such as a liquid crystal display and displays images including icons, thumbnail images, and text. A touchpad 61 a is provided at the bottom of the display unit 61. The user presses a finger or a pen against the display unit 61 and the touch pad 61 a, thus inputting predetermined data or an operation instruction to a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 71 (FIG. 5) of the PDA 60.

[0076] The key group 62 includes keys 62 a to 62 f, which are operated by the user when inputting predetermined data or an operation instruction to the CPU 71.

[0077] When the PDA 60 operates as a PDA performing normal functions, and when the key group 62 is operated by the user, the CPU 71 activates a schedule, an address book, or a memo pad or scrolls the screen. In contrast, when the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, having stored therein a game program, is installed in the PDA 60 and thus the game program is activated on the PDA 60, and when the key group 62 is operated by the user, an operation instruction differing from that in the normal operation is input.

[0078] For example, a ball rolling game is displayed on a game screen displayed on the display unit 61. When the key 62 a or 62 b is operated, the CPU 71 moves a ball displayed on the game screen in the left direction of the screen. When the key 62 e or 62 f is operated, the CPU 71 moves the ball in the right direction of the screen. When the key 62 c is operated, the CPU 71 moves the ball in the upward direction of the screen. When the key 62 d is operated, the CPU 71 moves the ball in the downward direction of the screen.

[0079] The jog dial 63 is rotated or pressed against a main body in order to select, by the user, an icon, a thumbnail image, or text displayed on the display unit 61. For example, when a plurality of icons is displayed on the display unit 61, and when the jog dial 63 is rotated, a desired icon is selected from among the plurality of icons. When the jog dial 63 is pressed against the main body, the selected icon is confirmed. When the confirmed icon corresponds to an application program, the application program is activated.

[0080] Rotating the jog dial 63 while pressing the jog dial 63 against the main body can correspond to a command differing from a normal rotation operation. The operation of the jog dial 63 and the contents of a command corresponding to the operation are not limited to the foregoing case.

[0081]FIG. 5 shows the electrical configuration of the PDA 60.

[0082] The CPU 71 performs an operating system or various programs such as an application program stored in a flash ROM 73 or an EDO DRAM (Extended Data Out Dynamic Random-Access Memory) 74 in synchronization with a clock signal supplied from an oscillator 72.

[0083] The flash ROM 73 is formed by a flash memory, which is one type of EEPROM. In general, the flash ROM 73 stores a program used by the CPU 71 and basically-fixed data of parameters for arithmetic processing. The EDO DRAM 74 stores a program executed by the CPU 71 and variable parameters which appropriately change in accordance with the execution of the program.

[0084] A memory card interface (I/F) 75 reads program data from the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, which has been installed in the PDA 60, and writes data relating to the progress state of a game, which is supplied from the CPU 71, to the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0085] An USB interface (I/F) 76 receives data or a program from a drive 91, which is a connected USB apparatus, in synchronization with a clock signal supplied from the oscillator 77 and supplies data supplied from the CPU 71 to the drive 91.

[0086] The drive 91 reads data or a program recorded in a magnetic disc 101, an optical disc 102, or a magneto-optical disc 103, which is installed if necessary, and supplies the read data or program to the CPU 71 or the EDO DRAM 74 through the USB interface 76. The drive 91 records data or a program in the installed magnetic disc 101, the optical disc 102, or the magneto-optical disc 103.

[0087] The flash ROM 73, the EDO DRAM 74, the memory card interface 75, and the USB interface 76 are connected to the CPU 71 through an address bus and a data bus.

[0088] The display unit 61 receives data from the CPU 71 through an LCD bus and displays an image or a character corresponding to the received data. When the display unit 61 or the touchpad 61 a is operated, a touchpad controller 78 receives data corresponding to the operation (for example, data indicating the coordinates of a touched position) from the display unit 61 or the touchpad 61 a and supplies a signal corresponding to the received data to the CPU 71 through a serial bus.

[0089] An electroluminescence (EL) driver 79 activates an EL device provided at the back of the liquid crystal display of the display unit 61 and controls the brightness of the display unit 61.

[0090] The infrared communication unit 80 transmits data received from the CPU 71 as an infrared signal to another apparatus (not shown) through a universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter (UART). The infrared communication unit 80 also receives an infrared signal transmitted from another apparatus and supplies the received infrared signal to the CPU 71. The PDA 60 can also communicate with another apparatus through the UART.

[0091] An audio playing unit 82 is formed by a speaker and a demodulator circuit for demodulating audio data. The audio playing unit 82 demodulates pre-stored audio data or audio data received from another apparatus, plays the audio data, and outputs sound. For example, the audio playing unit 82 plays audio data supplied from the CPU 71 through a buffer 81 and outputs sound corresponding to the data.

[0092] A power supply circuit 83 transduces a power supply voltage supplied from a battery 92 attached thereto or an AC (Alternating Current) adapter 93 connected thereto and supplies necessary power to the components from the CPU 71 to the audio playing unit 82.

[0093] A communication unit 84 is, for example, an RS-232C interface and is connected to a communication module. The communication unit 84 connects to the Internet through the communication module, stores data (e.g., email) supplied from the CPU 71 in a packet in a predetermined format, and transmits the data to another apparatus through the Internet. The communication unit 84 also outputs data or a program stored in a packet received from another apparatus to the CPU 71 through the Internet.

[0094] Game program data for allowing the PDA 60 to function as a game machine is stored in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0095] Recording of the game program data in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor will now be described. For example, the game program data is recorded in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor by methods described below.

[0096] (1) The memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in a memory card slot of a personal computer. A CD-ROM (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory) having recorded therein game program data is installed in a drive of the personal computer. The game program data is copied (recorded) from the CD-ROM to the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0097] (2) The memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in a memory card slot of a personal computer or a cellular phone. Game program data is downloaded from a predetermined site through the Internet to the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, thus recording the game program data in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0098] (3) The memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the memory card slot of the PDA 60. The PDA 60 is connected to a cellular phone, thus connecting to the Internet through the cellular phone. Game program data is downloaded from a predetermined site to the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, thus recording the game program data in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0099] (4) The memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the memory card slot of the PDA 60. The PDA 60 is connected to a terminal installed at a store. Game program data is downloaded from a predetermined site through the terminal to the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, thus recording the game program data in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor.

[0100] In this manner, the game program data is stored in advance in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor so that the PDA 60 can function as a game machine when the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the PDA 60.

[0101]FIG. 6 shows a game screen displayed on the display unit 61 of the PDA 60.

[0102] A game screen 101 shown in FIG. 6 is displayed in the following case. Specifically, the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the PDA 60, and a user inputs an instruction to activate the game program data stored in the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor. In this case, the CPU 71 reads the game program data from the storage unit 22 of the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor and activates the program. Accordingly, the game screen 101 is displayed. If the game program data was activated previously using the PDA 60 and a game was played, data including the past score and the past progress state of the game (for example, the number of stages cleared) is read from the storage unit 22.

[0103] On the game screen 101 shown in FIG. 6, a game of rolling a ball 111 is activated (displayed). Various obstacles 112-1 to 112-6 (hereinafter simply referred to as obstacles 112 if it is unnecessary to distinguish the individual obstacles 112-1 to 112-6) are located at arbitrary positions. The user inputs instructions to roll the ball 111 so that the ball 111 does not collide with these obstacles 112.

[0104] Specifically, the user holds the PDA 60 and operates the PDA 60 so that the ball 111 does not collide with the obstacles 112 displayed on the game screen 101, that is, to avoid these obstacles 112. Accordingly, the PDA 60 is naturally tilted. The memory card 1 with the tilt sensor detects the tilt angle and outputs corresponding tilt data to the CPU 71 of the PDA 60.

[0105] The CPU 71 controls display of the ball 111 in accordance with the signal (tilt data) corresponding to the user operational input. Also, the CPU 71 controls display of the game screen 101 so that the background of the ball 111 can be switched in accordance with the movement of the ball 111.

[0106] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 7, a process of outputting, by the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, tilt data will now be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the PDA 60.

[0107] In step S1, the tilt sensor 23 detects whether or not a tilt angle of the PDA 60 is detected. The determination is repeated until a tilt angle is detected. If it is determined in step S1 that a tilt angle of the PDA 60 is detected, the tilt sensor 23 outputs an analog signal corresponding to the detected tilt angle to the A/D converter 24.

[0108] In step S2, the A/D converter 24 converts the analog signal corresponding to the tilt angle detected by the tilt sensor 23 into digital data and supplies the digital data to the signal controller 21. In step S3, the signal controller 21 converts the format of the digitally-converted tilt data, which is converted by the A/D converter 24, to a communication format processable by the PDA 60.

[0109] In step S4, the signal controller 21 outputs the converted tilt data in the communication format processable by the PDA 60 to the PDA 60 through the I/O interface 25. The process returns to step S1, and the above-described processing is repeated. The tilt sensor 23 repeatedly detects a tilt angle until the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is removed from the PDA 60 or when the game is terminated.

[0110] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 8, a process of controlling, by the PDA 60, display in accordance with the tilt data output from the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor by the process illustrated by FIG. 7 will now be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is installed in the PDA 60, that the game program data is read from the storage unit 22 of the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor and activated, and that the game screen 101 shown in FIG. 6 is displayed on the display unit 61.

[0111] In step S11, the CPU 71 determines whether or not tilt data is supplied from the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor through the memory card interface 75. The determination is repeated until tilt data is supplied. If it is determined in step S11 that tilt data is supplied from the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor, the process proceeds to step S12. In step S12, the CPU 71 controls display of the ball 111 based on the input tilt data. Subsequently, the process returns to step S1, and the above-described processing is repeated until the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor is removed from the PDA 60 or when the game is terminated.

[0112] In this manner, the PDA 60 can cause the game to progress in accordance with tilt data supplied from the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor. The user, who used to play the game using key input, can now use the PDA 60 as a more interesting game machine.

[0113] In the foregoing description, the tilt sensor 23 is provided so as to be positioned in the longitudinal direction of the memory card 1. For example, as shown in FIG. 9, the tilt sensor 23 can be provided at a position orthogonal to the longitudinal direction of the memory card 1. In this case, a tilt angle is detected when the PDA 60 having the memory card 1 therein is tilted from side to side.

[0114] For example, as shown in FIG. 10, a tilt sensor 23-1 can be provided so as to be positioned in the longitudinal direction of the memory card 1, and a tilt sensor 23-2 can be provided so as to be positioned in the direction orthogonal to the longitudinal direction. Also, an A/D converter 24-1 for converting a tilt angle detected by the tilt sensor 23-1 into a corresponding signal (digital data), and an A/D converter 24-2 for converting a tilt angle detected by the tilt sensor 23-2 into a corresponding signal (digital data) can be provided. In this case, a tilt angle can be detected when the PDA 60 having the memory card 1 is tilted back and forth or from side to side.

[0115] In the foregoing description, a signal corresponding to a tilt angle output by the tilt sensor 23 is an analog signal. Alternatively, a tilt sensor for outputting digital data can be provided. In this case, the A/D converter 24 can be omitted.

[0116] The PDA 60 can change display of the ball 111 displayed on the game screen 101 in accordance with a tilt data value supplied by the memory card 1 with the tilt sensor. For example, the larger the tilt data value (i.e., the larger the tilt angle of the PDA 60), the faster the rolling speed of the ball 111 becomes or the faster the display of the background is changed.

[0117] Although the memory card 1 has the tilt sensor 23 to detect a tilt angle of the PDA 60 in the foregoing description, the present invention is not limited to this case. For example, the memory card 1 can have an acceleration sensor to detect acceleration applied thereto or a temperature sensor to detect temperature applied thereto.

[0118] A second embodiment of the present invention will now be described. In the second embodiment, a memory card with a vibrator will be described.

[0119]FIG. 11 shows the configuration of the interior of the memory card 1 with a vibrator 122 (hereinafter referred to as the memory card 1 with the vibrator function). The same reference numerals are given to components corresponding to those of the memory card 1 described in the first embodiment, and repeated descriptions of the common portions are omitted.

[0120] The signal controller 21 supplies vibration data, which is input through the I/O interface 25, to a digital to analog (D/A) converter 121. The D/A converter 121 converts the supplied vibration data into an analog signal and outputs the analog signal to the vibrator 122.

[0121] The vibrator 122 generates vibrations for driving the vibrator 122 in accordance with a signal input from the D/A converter 121.

[0122] As described above, the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is installed in the PDA 60 (FIG. 4). By the above-described method(s), game program data is stored in advance in the memory card 1 with the vibrator function so that the PDA 60 can function as a game machine when the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is installed in the PDA 60.

[0123] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 12, a process of outputting, by the PDA 60, vibration data will now be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is installed in the PDA 60, that the game program data is read from the storage unit 22 of the memory card 1 with the vibrator function and activated, and that the game screen 101 shown in FIG. 6 is displayed on the display unit 61.

[0124] In step S21, the CPU 71 determines whether or not the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112 shown on the game screen 101. The determination is repeated until the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112. If it is determined in step S21 that the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112, the process proceeds to step S22. In step S22, the CPU 71 generates predetermined vibration data.

[0125] In step S23, the CPU 71 converts the format of the generated predetermined vibration data into a communication format processable by the memory card 1. In step S24, the converted vibration data is output to the memory card 1 with the vibrator function through the memory card interface 75. The process returns to step S21, and the above-described processing is repeated until the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is removed from the PDA 60.

[0126] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 13, a vibrator driving process, which is to be performed by the memory card 1 with the vibrator function in accordance with the vibration data output from the PDA 60 by the process illustrated by FIG. 12, will now be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is installed in the PDA 60.

[0127] In step S31, the signal controller 21 determines whether or not vibration data is supplied from the PDA 60 through the I/O interface 25. The determination is repeated until vibration data is supplied. If it is determined in step S31 that vibration data is supplied from the PDA 60, the signal controller 21 outputs the supplied vibration data to the D/A converter 121.

[0128] In step S32, the D/A converter 121 converts the vibration data supplied from the signal controller 21 into an analog signal and outputs the analog signal to the vibrator 122. In response to the signal input from the D/A converter 121, the vibrator 122 generates vibrations for driving the vibrator 122 for a predetermined period of time. Subsequently, the process returns to step S31, and the above-described processing is repeated until the memory card 1 with the vibrator function is removed from the PDA 60 or until the game is terminated.

[0129] In this manner, the PDA 60 can generate vibration data in accordance with the game status (status in which the ball 111 collides with the obstacle 112) and can supply the generated vibration data to the memory card 1 with the vibrator function. The memory card 1 with the vibrator function can transmit vibrations to the PDA 60 in accordance with the supplied vibration data. The user holding the PDA 60 can feel the vibrations while playing the game. Thus, the user can use the PDA 60 as a more interesting game machine.

[0130] Although vibration data generated by the PDA 60 is predetermined data in the foregoing description, the present invention is not limited to this case. For example, the CPU 71 of the PDA 60 can only transfer digital code corresponding to vibrations to the memory card 1 with the vibrator function. The memory card 1 with the vibrator function can store beforehand vibration data corresponding to digital code. In accordance with the digital code supplied by the PDA 60, the corresponding vibration data can be read from the storage unit 22 and can be supplied to the D/A converter 24. Accordingly, the processing load on the CPU 71 of the PDA 60 can be reduced.

[0131] A third embodiment of the present invention will now be described. In the third embodiment, a memory card with a speaker will be described.

[0132]FIG. 14 shows the configuration of the interior of the memory card 1 with a speaker 141 (hereinafter referred to as the memory card 1 with the speaker). The same reference numerals are given to components corresponding to those of the memory card 1 in the first and second embodiments, and repeated descriptions of the common portions are omitted.

[0133] The signal controller 21 supplies audio data, which is input through the I/O interface 25, to a D/A converter 131. The D/A converter 131 converts the supplied audio data into an analog signal and outputs the analog signal to an audio output unit 132.

[0134] The audio output unit 132 outputs predetermined audio data in accordance with the signal input from the D/A converter 131 to a speaker 141, and the speaker 141 plays the audio data.

[0135] The speaker 141 can be provided in the memory card 1. Alternatively, the speaker 141 can be provided outside the memory card 1 so that the speaker 141 can easily output sound even when the memory card 1 is entirely included in the memory card slot of the PDA 60. In this case, the speaker 141 is exposed from the PDA 60.

[0136] As described above, by the above-described method(s), game program data is stored in advance in the memory card 1 with the speaker so that the PDA 60 can function as a game machine when the memory card 1 with the speaker is installed in the PDA 60 (FIG. 4).

[0137] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 15, a process of outputting, by the PDA 60, audio data will now be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the speaker is installed in the PDA 60, that the game program data is read from the storage unit 22 of the memory card 1 with the speaker and activated, and that the game screen 101 shown in FIG. 6 is displayed on the display unit 61.

[0138] In step S41, the CPU 71 determines whether or not the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112 displayed on the game screen 101. The determination is repeated until the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112. If it is determined in step S41 that the ball 111 comes into contact with the obstacle 112, the process proceeds to step S42. In step S42, the CPU 71 generates predetermined audio data.

[0139] In step S43, the CPU 71 converts the format of the generated predetermined audio data into a communication format processable by the memory card 1. In step S44, the converted audio data is output to the memory card 1 with the speaker through the memory card interface 75. Subsequently, the process returns to step S41, and the above-described processing is repeated until the memory card 1 with the speaker is removed from the PDA 60.

[0140] Referring to a flowchart shown in FIG. 16, a process of outputting, by the memory card 1 with the speaker, audio data (sound) in accordance with the audio data output from the PDA 60 by the process illustrated using FIG. 15 will be described. Upon the start of this process, it is regarded that the memory card 1 with the speaker is installed in the PDA 60.

[0141] In step S51, the signal controller 21 determines whether or not audio data is supplied from the PDA 60 through the I/O interface 25. The determination is repeated until audio data is supplied. If it is determined in step S51 that audio data is supplied, the signal controller 21 outputs the supplied audio data to the D/A converter 131.

[0142] In step S52, the D/A converter 131 converts the audio data, which is supplied from the signal controller 21, into an analog signal and outputs the analog signal to the audio output unit 132. The audio output unit 132 outputs the audio data in accordance with the signal input from the D/A converter 131 to the speaker 141, and the speaker 141 plays the audio data. Subsequently, the process returns to step S51, and the above-described processing is repeated until the memory card 1 with the speaker is removed from the PDA 60 or until the game is terminated.

[0143] In this manner, the PDA 60 can generate audio data in accordance with the game status (status in which the ball 111 collides with the obstacle 112) and can supply the audio data to the memory card 1 with the speaker. The memory card 1 with the speaker can play predetermined audio data (sound) in accordance with the supplied audio data. Thus, the user can use the PDA 60 as a more interesting game machine.

[0144] Although audio data generated by the PDA 60 is predetermined data in the foregoing description, the present invention is not limited to this case. For example, the CPU 71 of the PDA 60 only transfers digital code corresponding to audio data (sound) to the memory card 1 with the speaker. The memory card 1 with the speaker stores in advance audio data corresponding to digital code. The corresponding audio data can be read from the storage unit 22 in accordance with the digital code supplied from the PDA 60, and the read audio data can be supplied to the D/A converter 131. Accordingly, the processing load on the CPU 71 of the PDA 60 can be reduced.

[0145] Although the memory card 1 has the tilt sensor 23, the vibrator 122, or the speaker 141 in the foregoing description, a combination thereof can be provided.

[0146] Although cases in which a memory stick (memory card 1) has a tilt sensor, a vibrator, or a speaker have been described in the foregoing description, the present invention can be applied to other types of storage media.

[0147] Although cases in which the memory card 1 is installed in the PDA 60 and the PDA 60 functions as a game machine have been described in the foregoing description, the present invention is not limited to these cases. For example, the present invention is applicable to various apparatuses having a slot in which the memory card 1 can be installed.

[0148] The above-described series of processes can be performed by hardware or by software. When performing the series of processes by software, a program constructing that software is installed from a recording medium into a computer incorporated in dedicated hardware or in a general-purpose personal computer capable of performing various functions by installing various programs.

[0149] A recording medium for recording a program to be installed into a computer and to be executed by the computer includes, as shown in FIG. 5, package media having the magnetic disc 101 (including a flexible disc), the optical disc 102 (including CD-ROM and DVD (Digital Versatile Disc)), the magneto-optical disc 103 (including MD (Mini-Disc) (registered trademark)), or the memory card 1, the flash ROM 73 for temporarily or permanently recording the program, and hard disk. The program can be recorded in the recording medium by a wireless or wired communication medium, such as a public circuit switched network, a local area network, the Internet, or digital satellite broadcasting, through an interface, such as a router or a modem, as circumstances demand.

[0150] In this description, steps for writing a program to be recorded in a recording medium include not only processing performed in time series in accordance with the written order but also parallel or discrete processing performed not necessarily in time series.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7268290May 26, 2005Sep 11, 2007Solutions For Thought, LlcTactile metronome
US7285101May 26, 2005Oct 23, 2007Solutions For Thought, LlcVibrating transducer with provision for easily differentiated multiple tactile stimulations
US7304230May 26, 2005Dec 4, 2007Solutions For Thought, LlcMultiple channel metronome
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US20140195907 *Mar 5, 2014Jul 10, 2014Lester F. LudwigTouch user interface supporting global and context-specific touch gestures that are responsive to at least one finger angle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/1
International ClassificationA63F13/00, G01D9/00, G06K19/00, G06F3/033, G06K17/00, A63F13/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2300/1006, A63F2300/204, A63F2300/1037, A63F2300/206, A63F13/02, A63F2300/8011
European ClassificationA63F13/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 12, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: SONY CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MURA, MITSURU;REEL/FRAME:013017/0579
Effective date: 20020603