US 20050066626 A1
A packaging container (20) includes an audio integrated circuit (10) capable of converting digital audio data into electrical audio signals, connected to or integrated with a memory (11) for providing digital audio data to the audio integrated circuit. The memory has an input (16) through which digital audio data can be uploaded to the memory during the packaging process. A speaker (14) receives electrical audio signals from the audio integrated circuit (10) for reproducing corresponding sound signals. A battery (13) is connected to power the audio integrated circuit and the transducer, and a manually actuatable switch (15) causes the audio integrated circuit to operate to receive digital audio data from the memory and to provide electrical audio signals to the speaker (14) for reproduction of audio material.
1. A method of packaging a consumer product, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a container having a housing and, disposed therein;
an audio integrated circuit capable of converting digital audio data into electrical audio signals;
a memory connected to or integral with the audio integrated circuit for providing digital audio data to the audio integrated circuit;
an input connected to the memory through which digital audio data can be uploaded to the memory;
a transducer for receiving electrical audio signals from the audio integrated circuit and reproducing corresponding sound signals therefrom;
a battery connected to power the audio integrated circuit and the transducer; and
a manually actuatable switch for causing the audio integrated circuit to operate to receive digital audio data from the memory and to provide electrical audio signals to the transducer for reproduction of audio material;
inserting a consumer product into the container; and
uploading to the memory, via the input terminal, digital data for output via the speaker and pertaining to the contents of the consumer product; and
sealing the container.
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The present invention relates to packaging containers and, more particularly, to a packaging container capable of providing enhanced information to a potential purchaser of the product contained within the packaging container.
The invention has particular utility in the consumer product area especially in the marketing and selling of CDs, DVDs, video cassettes, books and the like, but is not limited thereto.
There is often a need to provide significant enhanced information to potential buyers of CDs, DVDs and the like at the point of sale and this requirement is normally met by allowing potential purchasers to play an audio selection or sample of a CD or DVD before purchase. This involves the purchaser requesting the playing of a CD/DVD or the like from staff within the store and then putting on a headset to listen to parts of a selection of the tracks or other set of samples. However, this process obviously wastes time on the part of both the potential buyer and the sales staff and the initial installation of the necessary equipment to enable playback of samples is costly. Furthermore, of course, only a limited number of potential purchasers can use the equipment at any one time.
According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided therefore a packaging container having a housing and, disposed therein,
By loading into the memory, which may be a random access memory (RAM), flash memory, or the like or which may be a one-time programmable memory such as an EPROM and which may be part of the voice chip, digital data corresponding to samples of one or more tracks of a CD, DVD or the like, and enabling them to be listened-to by a potential purchaser simply by manual actuation of the switch on the container, enhanced information can be provided to a potential purchaser.
The packaging containers according to the invention are not limited to CD, DVD, etc., packaging containers but may comprise containers of almost any description and type. For example, packaging may be applied to books and the digital data held in the replaceable memory may be passages from the book or else descriptive material related to its contents. Similarly, instructions for the use of or other information about other consumer products may be provided, or even instructions for the use of medicines and the like.
However, particularly in the consumer product area and, more particularly, the entertainment area, there exists a desire on the part of potential purchasers to sample information before making a purchase and the conventional containers for CDs, DVDs and the like already contains sufficient unused space to house the various components, making it a relatively simple procedure to fit the required components without major redesign of the conventional packaging container.
Having electronic components such as those mentioned above, particularly an integrated circuit chip, may also allow for RF ID tagging of packaging containers to be added relatively simply.
The invention also includes a method of packaging a consumer product, the method comprising uploading digital data to the replaceable memory of a packaging container according to the first aspect of the invention through the input;
In the case of a flexible manufacturing process in which different versions of the product or different products themselves can be inserted in the same packaging, a data base of digital data samples may be maintained and synchronised with the process for inserting the product into the packaging containers in order to associate appropriate sound samples with corresponding products. This is particularly useful in the case of CD or DVD production and the like where the manufacturing process involves the insertion, overtime, of different batches of CDs/DVDs by different artists so that sound samples corresponding to tracks on respective CDs/DVDs can be properly associated with the respective CDs/DVDs, etc.
The invention has application in many areas, as mentioned above, but a few of which are audio CDs, DVDs, video cassettes and similar entertainment products, computer software, books, food packaging, medicine packaging and the like.
One example of a packaging container according to the present invention and a method of packaging a product will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:—
In order to provide sound bytes to a potential purchaser of a CD or DVD, the various components shown in
The components shown in
All of these components can be located within free space which is available within the CD/DVD container or case 20 shown in
One method of packaging consumer products, in the form of CDs/DVDs, is shown in block diagram form in
Elsewhere, voice chips 20 are manufactured at a chip manufacturing facility 40, assembled into an electronics package 41, and then loaded (at 42) onto CD//DVD support trays (or ‘jewel cases’) 23 which have been prior manufactured, together with other CD/DVD case parts. The CD/DVD support trays 23 are supplied, in parallel with the other CD/DVD case parts, to a pre-insertion station 45 and sound bytes are uploaded, through contacts 16 or through the RF transceiver (not shown in
In another example of the present invention this computer system 51 may belong to a consumer and may be a standard PC, laptop, digital recording or playback device (for example an MP3 player) or any other device capable of producing a data stream that may be linked via a routing device to the contacts 16. This would allow the user to upload snatches of audio data in the form of, for example, .wav files to the memory.
In a further example of the present invention electronic uploads may be made at the retail or distribution outlet at the point of purchase. This would allow the retailer to add further information about the retailer, for example in the form of an advertisement as well as information about when the CD was purchased.
It can be appreciated from