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Publication numberUS20050178074 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/043,375
Publication dateAug 18, 2005
Filing dateJan 26, 2005
Priority dateFeb 2, 2004
Publication number043375, 11043375, US 2005/0178074 A1, US 2005/178074 A1, US 20050178074 A1, US 20050178074A1, US 2005178074 A1, US 2005178074A1, US-A1-20050178074, US-A1-2005178074, US2005/0178074A1, US2005/178074A1, US20050178074 A1, US20050178074A1, US2005178074 A1, US2005178074A1
InventorsJay Kerosetz
Original AssigneeKerosetz Jay E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multifunction table
US 20050178074 A1
Abstract
A multifunction table which has a base and a table top having a flush surface. The table top is attached to the base. The table top has individual flush mounted fast acting controllers, and a graphical display screen mounted below the flush surface and controlled by the flush mounted fast acting controllers. This multifunctional table can have a rechargeable battery operated power source, where a recharging device is located within the base of said table. Additionally the multifunctional table has a computer integrated into the base. The computer is networkable and the network can be wireless. This table also has a means accepting payment where said means for accepting payment is selected from the group consisting of: bill acceptors, coin acceptors, token acceptors, credit card acceptors, debit card acceptors and gift certificate acceptors.
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Claims(23)
1. A multifunction table comprising:
a base;
a table top having a flush surface, said table top is attached to said base;
said table top having individual flush mounted fast acting controllers, a graphical display screen mounted below said flush surface, controlled by said flush mounted fast acting controllers.
2. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising a rechargeable battery operated power source.
3. The multifunctional table according to claim 2 where a recharging device is located within the base of said table.
4. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising a computer integrated into said base.
5. The multifunctional table according to claim 4 where said computer is networkable.
6. The multifunctional table according to claim 5 where said computers are networkable by wireless means.
7. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising a means for accepting payment.
8. The multifunctional table according to claim 7 where said means for accepting payment is selected from the group consisting of: bill acceptors, coin acceptors, token acceptors, credit card acceptors, debit card acceptors and gift certificate acceptors.
9. The multifunctional table according to claim 7 where said means for accepting payment is located in the table top, or the base, or both the base and the table top.
10. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising lockable casters mounted to said base.
11. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising means for electronically controlling the orientation of said graphical display screen.
12. The multifunctional table according to claim 1 further comprising a plurality of graphical display screens each with and individual fast acting controller.
13. The multifunctional table according to claim 4 further comprising a printer in communication with said computer, where said printer is integral with said multifunctional table.
14. A multifunction table comprising:
a base;
a table top having a flush surface, said table top is attached to said base;
said table top having individual flush mounted controllers, a graphical display screen mounted below said flush surface, controlled by said flush mounted controllers; and
a rechargeable battery operated power source, mounted within said base.
15. The multifunctional table according to claim 14 where a recharging device is located within the base of said table.
16. A multifunction table comprising:
a base;
a table top having a flush surface, said table top is attached to said base;
said table top having individual flush mounted controllers, a graphical display screen mounted to maintain said flush surface, controlled by said flush mounted controllers;
a networkable computer integrated into said table.
17. The multifunctional table according to claim 16 further comprising:
a rechargeable battery operated power source;
a recharging device;
where said rechargeable battery operated power source and said recharging device is located within the base of said table.
18. A fast acting flush mount controllers comprising:
an upper retaining ring;
an elastomeric polymer backed plastic sheet;
a plurality of arcade style pushbutton switches;
a lower switch support member; and
where said lower switch support member is adapted to accept said plurality of arcade style pushbutton switches which are overlaid with said elastomeric polymer backed plastic sheet which is connected with a sealant to said upper retaining ring.
19. A fast acting flush mount controllers according to claim 18 where said elastomeric polymer backed plastic sheet is graphically printed.
20. A system for providing information and entertainment to patrons comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of interactive multifunctional tables where each interactive table contains a networkable computer;
providing a communication network for transferring data; and
connecting said plurality of interactive multifunctional tables to said communication network through peer to peer network connections.
21. The system for providing information and entertainment to patrons according to claim 20 further comprising the steps of:
providing a point of sales terminal where said point of sales terminal is networkable; and
connecting said point of sales terminal to said communication network and said plurality of interactive multifunctional tables through peer to peer network connections.
22. A system for orientation and control of a graphical display screen for a plurality of patrons comprising the steps of:
providing a graphical display screen providing a computer control unit connected to said graphical display screen;
providing a plurality of controllers connected to said computer control unit;
providing a first algorithm capable of changing an orientation of the graphical display screen based on an input from a controller where said first algorithm is stored within said computer control unit; and
controlling the orientation of said graphical display screen by a first patron selecting the orientation of said graphical display screen through a controller by activating said first algorithm and where a subsequent patron can change the orientation of said graphical display screen through another controller by activating said first algorithm.
23. The system for orientation and control of a graphical display screen according to claim 22 further comprising the steps of:
providing a second algorithm capable of controlling order and duration of inputs from a controller where said second algorithm is stored within said computer control unit;
controlling the orientation of said graphical display screen by a first patron selecting the orientation of said graphical display screen through a controller by activating said first algorithm and being given a predetermined time by said computer control unit and said second algorithm in which to take an action; and
waiting said predetermined time before a subsequent patron can change the orientation of said graphical display screen or take an action through input to a controller.
Description
REFERENCE TO RELATED CASES

This application claims the Priority of the Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/541,090 filed Feb. 2, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Owners of bars, restaurants, and other food service related businesses, typically sit their patrons together at tables placed at various locations within each establishment. These establishments can increase their revenues by providing fee-based video amusement or multiplayer electronic gaming entertainment that is embedded within their tables for patrons who wait for service or for their orders to arrive. In addition, these same tables are also capable of incorporating convenient graphical based ordering and payment systems. With a computer, monitor, bill acceptor, and a magnetic card reader all built into the table, these types of systems are possible.

With typical high power consuming electronic devices such as a computer and monitor built into a table, the table's placement within an establishment becomes limited to locations that are permanently positioned against walls or otherwise near one of an establishment's AC power receptacles. Furthermore, such a table is not normally moved in an effort to join another table for accommodating a larger single group of patrons without disconnecting the table's power cord or using an extension cord. More often than not, such electronic tables are not moved at all in order to prevent AC power cords or extension cords from having to be stretched across a busy floor or undesirably upward towards the ceiling, as would be the case for a table with such electronic devices onboard and its location placed out in open floor space away from any wall or electrical outlet.

A more desirable type of table with an embedded computer, monitor, and other electronics should be such that no AC power cords are required to be plugged into an electrical outlet during operating hours when patrons are generally present. Instead, all the electronics of the table can be powered by a safe alternative power source such as one or more large deep-cycle batteries that are attached to the table. The electronics may run in either AC mode with a power inverter or in direct DC mode using DC compatible electronic devices. At the end of the business day, a table's on-board computer controlled charging unit can fully recharge the table's batteries overnight.

Applicant is aware of the following U.S. patents and applications concerning customer ordering systems and amusement table devices and the like:

McKee, et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,580,360 dated Jun. 17, 2003, entitled Smart Table. The McKee patent discloses a central processing system which uses remote sensors to detect the presence of a restaurant customer.

Ragsdale-Elliot, et al U.S. Pat. No. 6,636,835 dated Oct. 21, 2003, entitled Wireless Maitre D' System for Restaurants. The Ragsdale-Elliot system utilizes a touch screen wireless communication kiosk device solely independent of the table for which it is mounted on. This type of device utilizes tabletop area and can potentially be an obstruction. As a standard touch screen device, this system is unable to allow fast simultaneous multiplayer interaction on the same screen during game play.

Alex et al., U.S. patent application Publication No. US 2004/0193610 A1 dated Sep. 30, 2004, entitled Digital Interactive Network Appliance and System. The Alex patent discloses a central processing system which is in communication with individual input devices located at different tables throughout a restaurant. These input devices are capable of taking orders and accepting payment for services as well as providing paid for entertainment such as video games and audio and video entertainment options.

Unlike the Instant Application these kiosks devices are either table top or wall mounted and not integral to the table, let alone flush mount. These kiosks must be powered by AC power source which reduces options for table placement as it requires them to be located at position having an electrical outlet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A multifunction table which has a base and a table top having a flush surface. The table top is attached to the base. The table top has individual flush mounted fast acting controllers, and a graphical display screen mounted below the flush surface and controlled by the flush mounted fast acting controllers. This multifunctional table can have a rechargeable battery operated power source, where a recharging device is located within the base of said table. Additionally the multifunctional table has a computer integrated into the base. The computer is networkable and the network can be wireless. This table also has a means accepting payment where said means for accepting payment is selected from the group consisting of: bill acceptors, coin acceptors, token acceptors, credit card acceptors, debit card acceptors and gift certificate acceptors.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing will become more readily apparent by referring to the following detailed description and the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table with embedded electronics and multiplayer game controls in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a semi-exploded perspective view of the table with the locations of certain embedded electronic components shown.

FIG. 3 is an exploded assembly view of a fast-action game controller that remains flush with a table surface.

FIG. 4 is an aerial view of the table displaying the graphical menu system with adjustable orientation for patrons sitting on all sides of a table.

FIG. 5 is diagram displaying the basics of a local wireless network in two separate locations that are tied together by a wide area network via the Internet.

FIG. 6 is diagram displaying the basics of the screen orientation program and user management system.

FIG. 7 is an aerial view of an alternate embodiment of the table displaying multiple graphical display screens for each patron sitting on all sides of a table.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invented multifunction table 10, FIG. 1, has a base 15 and a table top 20 where the table top has a flush surface. The table top is attached to the base. The shape of the tabletop 20 shown in FIG. 1 is square, but any tabletop shape could be effectively utilized. The table top has individual flush mounted fast acting controllers 25. The fast acting controllers are defined as controllers capable of quickly processing inputs sent to them. These controllers are distinguished from touch screen input devices, that while flush, they are incapable of quickly processing input commands. A graphical display screen 30 is viewable from the table top. This graphical display screen 30 is either mounted so that it is flush with the tabletop or the graphical display screen 30 mounted below the flush surface as shown in FIG. 2 and has a transparent protective cover 55 which is mounted flush with the table and covers the graphical display screen 30. It has been found that a thin framed liquid crystal display (LCD) works well for the graphical display screen, but the invention is not limited to this type of display. The invention will also work with the plasma monitor, or a DLP monitor, though the LCD and plasma monitors offer advantage of being thinner and more easily integrated into the table. In another embodiment of the invention a cathode ray tube CRT monitor may also be used as the graphical display screen. If a CRT monitor is used it may be either a conventional or a flat screen monitor. The graphical display screen 30 is controlled by the flush mounted fast acting controllers 25.

The multifunctional table 10, in another embodiment, has a rechargeable battery operated power source 35, where the rechargeable battery operated power source 35 is located in the base 20 of the table. An advantage of having a rechargeable battery operated power source is that when in operation the tables can be placed anywhere within the establishment and are not bound to be located near a power outlet. Further it allows more flexibility in movement and grouping of the tables. While any type of battery can be used in this application it has been found that an absorbed glass matt AGM lead acid battery works well in this application. An advantage of using AGM cells is that these batteries do not leak, they are substantially dry, and they do not produce dangerous levels of hydrogen gas during recharging. AGM batteries are available in the United States under the brand names Odyssey, Concord and Lifeline. An example of which is the Concord Sun XTender battery. For this type of application multiple deep-cycle batteries may be employed. Types of batteries that can be used other than lead acid batteries include but are not limited to lithium rechargeable batteries, nickel cadmium NiCd batteries and nickel metal hydride NiMH batteries. The rechargeable battery operated power source 35 can be recharged using an external recharging unit or, in another embodiment of the invention, a recharging device 40 is located within the base 20 of the table 10. When using the integrated recharging device 40, a plug can be fitted to the charging receptacle 90. For either the external recharging device or the internal unit the use of a smart charger, which can prevent overcharging of the battery provides added flexibility in operation while reducing the need to mind the unit during the recharging cycle. While the battery and recharging unit can be placed anywhere within the table, the batteries tend to be heavy and there placement low in the base of the table, behind a removable vent panel 85, which helps in the stability of the table overall.

Additionally the multifunctional table 10 has a computer control unit 45 integrated into the table. Computer control unit as defined here comprises a central processing unit CPU, at least one fast access mass storage units, such as a hard drive or flash memory, and memory. The computer control unit also has connections for connecting the computer with the other devices incorporated within the table, such as but not limited to the fast acting controllers 25 and graphical display screen 30. The fast acting storage unit allows for video games, order taking programs and the like to be stored at each individual table. The computer is networkable and the network can be wireless. Computer as used herein is defined as a unit comprising: a central processing unit, memory, mass storage device, input device and output device. The central processing unit is the heart of the computer, the component that actually executes instructions, an example of which is a Pentium III chip by Intel. Memory enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data and programs. An example of memory is random access memory or RAM and read only memory or ROM. A mass storage device allows a computer to permanently retain large amounts of data. Common mass storage devices include disk drives, tape drives and hard drives. Input device is the conduit through which data and instructions enter a computer. Examples of input devices are keyboards, a mouse or a controller. An output device lets one see what the computer has accomplished. Examples of output devices include display screens and printers. In one embodiment an exhaust fan vent 95 is located within the base 20. The advantage of this type of system is that an establishment can initially buy just one table for trial purposes and if it works well other tables can be added and each table can be set up individually or as network.

In another embodiment of the invention the table 10 also has a means accepting payment 50 where the means for accepting payment is selected from the group consisting of: bill acceptors, coin acceptors, token acceptors, credit card acceptors, debit card acceptors and gift certificate acceptors. The multifunctional table's 10 means for accepting payment can be located in the table top, or the base, or both the base and the table top. In FIG. 1 shows one embodiment with a card reader 65 in the table top 15. In another embodiment two card readers can be deployed each in a chamfered edge where it is readily accessible by two patrons simultaneously. In another embodiment the table can be fitted with a bill acceptor, a coin acceptor, a token acceptor or any combination thereof. FIG. 1 shows one embodiment with a means for accepting payment positioned behind a security cash door 70 located in the column 75 which is positioned behind where the face 80 of the means for accepting payment is located within the security door 70.

In another embodiment of the invention the table 10, the computer control unit can be connected to a printer that is integral to the table. For this type of application any type of printer can be used. Example include thermal, dot matrix, ink-jet, laser. This feature could provide a patron with a receipt of payment after payment is tendered to the table.

In order to facilitate mobility, the multifunctional table 10, in one embodiment, has lockable casters 60 mounted to the base. These casters allow the tables to be easily wheeled to any location within an establishment. Additionally, when the batteries in the table 10 need a charge the table can be wheeled to an outlet or charging room then wheeled back into operation.

The fast acting flush mount controller 25, FIG. 2, is comprised of an upper retaining ring 85, FIG. 3, an elastomeric polymer backed plastic sheet 90, a plurality of arcade style pushbutton switches 95 and a lower switch support member 100. The elastomeric polymer backed plastic sheet in one embodiment has graphics printed on them to facilitate use. The lower switch support member may be a molding as shown in FIG. 3, or it may be an integral part of the table. Where the lower switch support member 100 is adapted to accept the plurality of arcade style pushbutton switches 95 which are overlaid with the elastomeric polymer backed graphically printed plastic sheet 90 which is connected with a sealant to said upper retaining ring 85. Examples of the arcade style pushbutton controller is a “HAPPS” top of the line Arcade Pushbutton with “cherry” brand microswitch, or a leaf switch pushbutton with a leaf switch button base, both available from Centsible Amusements at www.centsibleamusements.com.

In one of the embodiments of the present invention each sitting position may have a plurality of flush mount controllers, FIG. 2, 205 and 210. This feature is useful if the table is equipped with advanced video games in many cases a single control may be insufficient to control both movements and operations (such as firing) which may have to be done simultaneously dependant on the speed of the game.

In operation the multifunction table is capable of performing several functions. It can be used by patrons of an establishment to place food and drink orders as well as provides options for the patrons at the table to pay for the order through use of credit cards or by inserting the money into the table. The table also can provide pay for play entertainment as video games, trivia, videos, music and other types of entertainment or information. It is also possible for an establishment to choose to only provide some of these services while leaving others inactive. The pay for play feature provides an additional revenue source for say a restaurant which can charge for video games as well as food and beverage.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the multifunction table's graphical menu system 105 allows patrons to play games, order food or drinks, review their bill, and pay for all charges they may have occurred. The menu system 105 can adjust its orientation in predetermined increments, based on the shape and layout of the table, to appear upright for any patron 110 who touches their respective controller 25 while none of the other controllers 25 are currently activated. With a table of the configuration found in FIG. 4, the adjustment may be in 90-degree increments. The menu system 105 permits other patrons to change the visual orientation by pressing their dedicated fast acting controller 25 at any time after a software timer has elapsed and provided that no other controllers 25 are active. The current position within the menu system 105 for any patron 110 is indicated by a cursor 115 that highlights a predetermined graphical area on the graphical display screen 30.

In operation the first patron 110 to touch the appropriate controller 190 will have the menu oriented to be readable to that patron as shown in FIG. 4. The system for orientation and control of the graphical display screen comprises a graphical display screen, a computer control unit connected to the graphical display screen 30, a plurality of controllers 25 connected to said computer control unit 45, a first algorithm capable of changing an orientation of the graphical display screen based on an input from a controller where the first algorithm is stored within the computer control unit 45. Orientation of the graphical display screen is controlled by the first patron selecting the orientation through a controller by activating the first algorithm. A subsequent patron 195 can change the orientation of the graphical display screen through another controller 200 by activating said first algorithm.

In one of the embodiments of the present invention the patron which has selected the orientation of the graphical display screen has a predetermined amount of time in which to take an action, such as choosing one of the displayed menus. This system for orientation and control of the graphical display screen further comprises a second algorithm capable of controlling order and duration of inputs from a controller where said second algorithm is stored within said computer control unit. The first patron selecting the orientation of said graphical display screen controls both the orientation and duration of time that patron has to choose from the menu options. When this patron uses the controller to activating the first algorithm they are given a predetermined time by a second algorithm, also stored in the computer control unit, in which to take an action. Any subsequent patron must wait the predetermined time before change the orientation of said graphical display screen or take an action through input to a controller. If that patron takes no action the table will rotate the menu to another patron who has requested the menu or it will cycle in a predetermined pattern until a patron requests it by the use of the controller. If no requests are made by patrons the table is capable of cycling ads, screen savers, announcements or the like or the table can go into a sleep mode until it is called again. The subroutines related to orientation are set forth in FIG. 6.

Each table unit can be embedded with a wireless network node to allow multiple tables to play games and communicate with one another, over a single location's 165 local wireless network 125. As shown in FIG. 5, multiple tables 130 and 135 are free to communicate with each other via a wireless transmission 145. Each table can also transmit order and payment information 150 to a location's point of sale (POS) system 140 for the recording of such information. A separate computer or printer can replace a POS system 140 to record all table transactions in the event an establishment does not have such a system. Tables 155 and 160 in another location 170 running its own local wireless network 175 and POS system 180 can communicate with the tables 130 and 135 located in a separate location via a wide area network and the Internet 185 to provide a multi-location game and communication network between all tables. For security reasons, the recording of table order and payment information is generally reserved for the local POS system in which the tables are located. Software and hardware encryption schemes can be used to protect the information being transferred.

In another embodiment of the invention the multifunctional table 10 may be configured with multiple smaller individual graphical display screens 120, FIG. 7 each with their own fast acting controllers 25. This configuration allows each patron 110 to play their own video game or to simultaneously perform independent tasks such as ordering and playing a pay for play video game.

Another embodiment of the invention is a multifunction table having a base, a table top having a flush surface, where the table top is attached to the base. The table top has individual flush mounted controllers. These controllers may be of a conventional touch type or they may be the fast acting controllers 25 described above. This embodiment has a graphical display screen mounted to maintain the flush surface of the table, and is controlled by the flush mounted controllers. This embodiment may have either a large graphical display 30 screen or small individual graphical display screens 120 each controlled by individual flush mounted controllers. This embodiment has a networkable computer integrated into the table. This embodiment can also have a rechargeable battery operated power source and a recharging device where the rechargeable battery operated power source and the recharging device are located within the base of the table. This embodiment may also have any of the other features described above including a means for accepting payment, a printer, lockable casters and mutiple controller means for each seating position.

Another embodiment of the invention is a multifunction table having a base, a table top having a flush surface, where the table top is attached to the base. The table top has individual flush mounted controllers. These controllers may be of a conventional touch type or they may be the fast acting controllers 25 described above. This embodiment has a graphical display screen mounted to maintain the flush surface of the table, and is controlled by the flush mounted controllers. This embodiment may have either a large graphical display 30 screen or small individual graphical display screens 120 each controlled by individual flush mounted controllers. This embodiment has a rechargeable battery operated power source, mounted within the base. This embodiment can also have a recharging device where the recharging device is located within the base of the table. This embodiment may also have any of the other features described above including a means for accepting payment, a printer, networkable computer, lockable casters and multiple controller means for each seating position.

The invented table can also be set up so that even if it has one large monitor as shown in FIG. 2, it could be configured so that the monitor is divided into 4 quadrants as shown in FIG. 4, but each of those quadrents are oriented to be viewable to the patron seated at that position. This configuration allows more than one person to order at the same time, or that each person at the table could play a game, such as trivia, at the same time.

Referenced by
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US7377078 *Jun 13, 2006May 27, 2008Michael John GolinoMobile desk with an integrated and adjustable privacy enclosure
US8231458 *Jun 3, 2011Jul 31, 2012IgtGaming system having multiple player simultaneous display/input device
US8235812Jun 3, 2011Aug 7, 2012IgtGaming system having multiple player simultaneous display/input device
US8430408Jun 3, 2011Apr 30, 2013IgtGaming system having multiple player simultaneous display/input device
US8439756Nov 7, 2008May 14, 2013IgtGaming system having a display/input device configured to interactively operate with external device
US20100095250 *Oct 15, 2008Apr 15, 2010Raytheon CompanyFacilitating Interaction With An Application
US20110230247 *Jun 3, 2011Sep 22, 2011IgtGaming system having multiple player simultaneous display/input device
DE202012104625U1 *Nov 28, 2012Mar 3, 2014Novocal GmbhRollengelagerter Handwagen
EP2120223A1 *Mar 5, 2008Nov 18, 2009Toshiba Tec Kabushiki KaishaCommercial product registration processing apparatus integrated with counter
WO2008009241A2Jul 17, 2007Jan 24, 2008Petr LukesTable with a monitor and related data-system, especially for home use and for use in public rooms equipped with this table
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/36.1, 52/27
International ClassificationE04H14/00, A47F10/00, A47F9/02
Cooperative ClassificationG07G1/0018, G07F19/205, A47F9/02, A47B2021/0076, A47B2200/0073
European ClassificationG07F19/205, A47F9/02, G07G1/00B