US 20050235215 A1
A presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising a control interface, a master presentation unit including a flat panel display screen and a processor, the screen including a master space and a slave presentation assembly including a slave presentation surface and a first projector for projecting images on the slave presentation surface, the master unit processor linkable to the interface to receive commands therefrom, the processor programmed to monitor for a command from the interface to flip an image from the master space to the slave space and, when a command to flip an image is received, causing the image from the master space to be presented in the slave space.
1. A presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising:
a control interface;
a master presentation unit including a flat panel display screen and a processor, the screen including a master space; and
a slave presentation assembly including a slave presentation surface and a first projector for projecting images on the slave presentation surface, the master unit processor linkable to the interface to receive commands therefrom, the processor programmed to monitor for a command from the interface to flip an image from the master space to the slave space and, when a command to flip an image is received, causing the image from the master space to be presented in the slave space.
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22. A presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising:
a display screen including a master presentation space;
a slave presentation surface including at least first and second slave spaces;
at least one projector for projecting first and second separate images onto the first and second slave spaces; and
a control interface for receiving control commands and controlling images presented via the master and slave presentation spaces wherein, when a command is received that indicates that an image presented via the master presentation space should be displayed via one of the first and second slave spaces, the image presented via the master presentation space is displayed via the one of the slave presentation spaces.
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28. A method for configuring electronic presentation units for cooperative activities, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of presentation units in a conferencing space including a master unit and other units;
electronically identifying the other units present in the conferencing space;
enabling a configuration interface for identifying a sub-set of the other units as slave units;
receiving input via the configuration interface identifying the slave unit sub-set; and
enabling a control interface for transferring images from the master unit to each of the slave units in the selected sub-set.
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40. A presentation system for presenting information to first and second audiences located within first and second different spaces, the system comprising:
a first sub-system including:
a first master presentation unit including a first master display screen juxtaposed within the first space so as to be viewable by the first audience within the first space;
at least a first slave presentation unit including a first slave image presenter operable to present images to the audience within the first space;
a control interface;
a second sub-system including
a second master presentation unit including a second master display screen juxtaposed within the second space so as to be viewable by the second audience within the second space;
at least a second slave presentation unit including a second slave image presenter operable to present images to the audience within the second space;
at least one processor;
an interface operable to cause the processor to manipulate images displayed via the first master and first slave presentation units; and
a network linked to the processor, the first and second master presentation units, the first and second slave presentation units and the interface;
wherein, the processor is programmed to replicate the first master and first slave presentation unit images on the second master and second slave presentation units, respectively.
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47. An apparatus for displaying information, the apparatus comprising:
a master presentation unit including a display screen having a height dimension that is greater than a width dimension, the master unit mounted for rotation between portrait and landscape orientations wherein the height dimension is vertical and horizontal, respectively;
a slave presentation unit that includes a slave presentation space and a slave image presenter wherein the slave image presenter is capable of presenting images in one of landscape and portrait formats wherein images in the portrait format have a height dimension that is greater than a width dimension and images in the landscape format have a width dimension that is greater than the height dimension; and
an interface that enables transfer of images between the master unit and the slave space;
wherein, when the master presentation unit is in the portrait orientation, the slave presenter presents slave images in the portrait format and when the master presentation unit is in the landscape orientation, the slave presenter presents slave images in the landscape format.
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50. A presentation system for presenting information to an audience located within a space, the system comprising:
a master presentation unit including a master display screen juxtaposed within the space so as to be viewable by the audience within the space;
at least a first slave presentation unit including a first slave image presenter operable to present images to the audience within the space;
at least one processor;
an interface operable to cause the processor to transmit an image displayed via the master display screen to the slave presenter; and
a network linked to the processor, the master presentation unit, the first slave presentation unit and the interface;
wherein, the slave presentation unit displays images received from the processor.
51. The system of
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This application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/816,537 which was filed on Apr. 4, 2004 and which is titled Virtual Flip Chart Method And Apparatus.
The field of the invention is information presentation systems and more specifically presentation systems that enable interactive information presentation to an audience within a conference room or the like where information is presented in a manner akin to conventional paper type flip charts that can be dynamically edited in a collaborative fashion.
Various tools have been developed to help people in a conference type environment to share information and exchange ideas efficiently. For instance, widely used tools include chalk boards, writable/erasable whiteboards (e.g., dry-erase or dry wipe) and the like where information can be presented in a large format to an audience within a conference room, a class room, etc. One advantage of whiteboards and chalkboards is that information presented thereon can be modified or augmented so that information can be dynamically altered to reflect current thoughts thereby facilitating collaborative activity. Hereinafter, while boards and other tools are useable for various types of activities including single person presentations as well as collaborative activities, in the interest of simplifying this explanation, unless indicated otherwise, all types of information sharing activities will be referred to generally as “collaborative activities”.
While erasable boards are suitable for certain collaborative activities, erasable boards typically have several shortcomings. To this end, when a clear presentation surface is required and therefore information currently thereon is erased, in most cases there is no way to continue to present the erased information in front of the audience so that the erased information as well as the newly applied information can be simultaneously viewed. In addition, in most cases, there is no way to archive erased information for subsequent presentation when using an erasable board. Moreover, in many cases (e.g., chalkboards or large whiteboards) erasable boards are either not portable (e.g., are mounted to a wall) or are difficult to transport (e.g., may be mounted on wheels to transport within a facility but may only rarely be transported outside a facility to another facility due to their size.
One other commonly used collaborating tool that overcomes some of the limitations of conventional erasable boards is a paper type flip chart. A typical flip chart resembles a large pad of paper typically mounted to an easel or the like and bound along a top edge. The easel is usually placed at the front of a room in which collaborative activity is to occur. In the case of a flip chart, information is applied to a top sheet of a pad as concepts are developed. When a new concept is to be developed, a top sheet including applied information is either torn along the top edge and is removed or is flipped over the top of the pad (hence the label “flip chart”) to reveal a new clean top sheet on which additional information can be applied.
Where a sheet is torn off a pad after information is applied thereto, in cases where the information to be applied to the new clean top sheet is related to the information on the sheet removed, the removed sheet may be posted on a wall or other generally vertical supporting structure adjacent the flip chart at the front of the room in which the presentation takes place so that information on both the top sheet and the removed sheet can be viewed simultaneously by the audience. Often sheets are posted via tape strips or tacks. In most cases flip charts and associated easels are portable.
Thus, flip charts are advantageously portable and can be used to present a large amount of information by removing and posting sheets within audience view. In addition, when desired, flip chart sheets can be stored in a folder or the like to archive collaborative information and to facilitate subsequent access.
One major drawback to flip charts is that the flipping or paper removing activities as well as the posting activities are both visibly and audibly (i.e., paper flipping and tearing machinations are noisy) distracting to audience members. This is particularly true where an information presenter herself has to flip, tear and/or post sheets between information presentation which results in pauses during collaborating activity.
In addition, where a presenter posts sheets quickly so as to minimize the pause in collaborating activity, often sheet edges are misaligned and/or become crinkled, frayed and/or at least partially rolled at ends resulting in a sloppy presentation that further reduces presentation/collaboration effectiveness.
Moreover, in most cases non-erasable pens are used to apply information to flip chart sheets and therefore, while information can be added to sheets, information typically cannot be removed from sheets once added. Thus, where a flip chart user wants to provide a sheet that includes only part of the information appearing on an existing sheet, the user typically has to create a new sheet including only the desired information and foregoing the other information.
Furthermore, while information can be added to a flip chart sheet while posted (e.g., a sheet removed from the easel and mounted to a wall), often the topology of a wall behind a posted sheet is unsuitable for supporting the sheet during application of information (i.e., the wall surface may be contoured). Thus, when information is to be added to a posted sheet, often the sheet has to be removed from the support wall and remounted to the easel after which the information is added. Thereafter, the sheet has to be removed from the easel and reposted on the wall a second time. This sheet shuffling activity, like the tearing and initial posting activity, is distracting and time consuming.
Yet another problem with typical flip charts is that, while sheets used during collaborative activity can be saved for subsequent reference, typical chart sheets are relatively large (e.g., 3×5 feet) and therefore, either a large storage space is required to store the sheets or the sheets have to be folded to be accommodated in a smaller storage space (e.g., a file drawer). Where sheets are folded for storage, while the sheets remain available for subsequent reference and reposting for subsequent viewing by an audience, the folds often reduce the effectiveness of subsequent presentation.
One more problem with typical flip charts is that collaborative activities often yield information that is considered confidential by persons participating in the activities. Here, when collaborative activities are interrupted for some reason, ideally, posted flip charts are blocked or removed from general view in some way so as to maintain the information thereon confidential from people in the vicinity of the activity space. This is particularly true where collaborative activities are interrupted for hours, days or even weeks. Here, where posted pages are removed from supporting structure and stowed until activities are resumed, ideally, upon resuming a session, the stowed pages are re-posted in the same relative juxtaposition that the pages were in when the session was interrupted to aid session participants in re-orienting trains of thought. Storing pages during an interruption in an organized manner and re-posting the pages in their previous juxtapositions is tedious and time consuming. This is particularly true in cases when sessions yield a large number (e.g., 10 or more) of posted pages where relative juxtaposition may be difficult to remember.
To address some of the problems discussed above, other systems have been developed that combine electronics and a board surface (e.g., a whiteboard, flat panel display screen, etc.) so that information presented on the board surface can be stored for subsequent access and/or presentation. For example, in some cases a digital camera may be provided that, upon command, takes and stores a digital picture of a whiteboard surface. Here, a letter sized copy of the digital picture can be printed for storage or distribution. As another example, in some cases systems are provided that can track pen tip and eraser movement on a whiteboard surface and that can generate representations of the pen and eraser movements and digitally store the representations for subsequent access and/or printing (in this regard see U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/452,178 which is titled “Electronic Whiteboard” and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety).
As one other example, in some systems pen and eraser type instrument movements adjacent a whiteboard surface are tracked and a projector projects an image indicative of the instrument activity onto the board surface (i.e., a pen movement appears on a projection screen as a line that follows the movement of the pen tip, all projected marks within the swath of an eraser instrument are erased from the projected image, etc.). Here, either in real time or when instructed to, a processor stores the image projected onto the board surface in a database. At a subsequent time the stored image can be retrieved from storage and re-presented via the projector and board surface. Similar systems have been provided using flat panel displays (e.g., plasma, LCD, etc.) and touch sensitive projection screens.
While the electronically enhanced assemblies described above overcome many of the problems associated with erasable boards, unfortunately the assemblies cannot be used in a flip chart fashion to present large amounts of information via several sheets or presentation structure akin thereto. Thus, even where information consecutively presented via an electronically enhanced system is related and simultaneous presentation of the information would result in collaborative synergies, only one screen image can be viewed and augmented at a time.
Some electronically enhanced systems have been developed that allow an information presenter to preview, edit and direct images to be presented to an audience via two or more large screens. For instance, in some cases an information presenter can use a podium mounted display device to view and edit slides or pre-stored images during a presentation and prior to presenting the images to an audience. Here, a processor may provide controls to the presenter via the podium mounted display to, when an image is selected to be presented to the audience, identify which of two or more large screens to send the selected image to. For instance, where first and second large screens are located behind a podium and to the left and right of the podium, respectively, the controls may enable the presenter to select one of the left or right large screens on which to present the image.
Despite advantages of image previewing/directing systems like the one described above, even these systems have shortcomings. For instance, while the podium mounted display is useable to edit an image prior to presentation to an audience, the podium mounted display is specifically juxtaposed so that the audience cannot see the information presented thereon. Thus, the podium mounted display is not useable in a collaborative fashion as is the top sheet of a flip chart.
In addition, in known systems like the one described above, presented images have to be digitally stored separately for archive purposes. Thus, for instance, where a system includes ten large screens, separate images are displayed on each of the large screens and a group using the system decides to break for the day intending to resume collaborative activity the next day, each of the ten images has to be stored separately prior to turning off the system and has to be retrieved separately the following day.
Moreover, the next day when the ten separately stored images are retrieved to resume the activities, in order to pick up where the previous days session ended, the retrieved images have to be presented via the exact same large screen units used to present the images the previous day to avoid confusion. This process of retrieving and presenting images in the proper spatial order would be tedious at best.
In at least some cases other drawbacks associated with systems that include two or more large screens and a podium based preview display are the size of the overall system and associated complexity of setting up the system. Thus, for instance, where each of the large screens includes a screen and a projector, movement of the systems between different venues may be cumbersome or, in some cases, entirely impractical.
In general, the present invention includes a master presentation unit and one or more slave presentation units that can be used to mimic the advantageous aspects of a conventional paper pad type flip chart in both visual presentation characteristics as well as the manner in which a system operator interacts with the master and slave units. To this end, generally, a system operator uses the master unit in a collaborative fashion with an audience located in a conference room, class room, on a factory floor, or the like, to present concepts and develop ideas dynamically via a master display screen that is observable to each of the operator and the audience at the same time. Thus, for instance, the operator may use a stylus or virtual ink pen to draw an image on the master display screen in front of the audience and may use a virtual ink eraser type tool to remove portions of the image in a collaborative fashion.
After a diagram has been completed on the master display screen, the operator can use interactive tools provided by the master unit or some other type of interacting device to “flip” the completed diagram from the master display screen to any one of the slave presentation units thereby mimicking the process of tearing a top page of a flip chart pad of paper from a pad and posting the removed sheet of paper in front the audience for continued viewing while the next sheet of paper on the pad is used to collaboratively develop additional images.
Because many people are familiar with and are comfortable with using a conventional paper type flip chart, using the inventive system that mimics a conventional paper type flip chart is generally intuitive. In addition, while the image flipping process is intuitive, in many inventive embodiments the process required to flip an image to a slave presentation unit is not as distracting as the tearing and re-posting process required when a conventional paper pad type flip chart is employed.
In at least some embodiments of the present invention, in addition to being usable to add information to and delete information from a diagram or the like, the master presentation unit may also be useable to access digitally stored data generated by various types of computer software. For example, in at least some embodiments, the master unit may be used to access word processor documents, spread sheet images, CAD drawings and models and/or internet browser screen shots. Here, when a digitally stored image is accessed, the digitally stored image is presented simultaneously to the operator and the audience via the master display screen and, when flipped to one of the slave presentation units is presented in its entirety via the slave unit.
Moreover, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, the master presentation unit may be used to control various types of software via master unit interface tools or through interaction with some other type of input device such as a portable laptop computer, a palm type computing device or some other type of handheld remote control device. For instance, the master unit may be useable to access a CAD drawing tool, spread sheet software, an internet or other computer network browser, or the like. Where a software program is controlled via the master presentation unit, the master display screen operates in a manner similar to that of a typical computer monitor. In at least some embodiments the master display screen may be touch sensitive and programs may be controllable via selection of icons presented on the master display screen (e.g., within tool margins along the borders of the master screen).
In at least some cases, when a digitally stored image is presented via the master display screen, information on the image may be modified via interactive tools such as virtual ink pens and erasers as described above. In addition to being useable to flip information from the master display screen to the slave presentation units for posting, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, the master unit is also useable to re-access information currently presented via one of the slave presentation units so that the information presented by the slave unit can be modified via the master unit when desired. Here, the process of re-accessing information presented via one of the slave units for modification is akin to or mimics the conventional flip chart process of adding or deleting information presented on a previously posted sheet of flip chart paper and again should be intuitive to persons that are already familiar with how to effectively use a conventional flip chart.
Interconnectivity between the master and slave units of the present invention may be accomplished in any of several different well known ways including wireless RF communication, infrared communication, actual hardwired communication between the units or other type of communication. In addition, where a remote control interface device such as a palm type computer or laptop computer is employed to control the master presentation unit, connectivity between the remote device and the master unit may be either wireless or hardwired communication. Where wireless communication between an interface unit and presentation units is supported, the wireless communication may either be direct between the communicating system elements or, in the alternative, may be via access points distributed within or near the space in which the system components are being used.
Consistent with the above, at least some embodiments of the invention include a presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising a communication network, a control interface, a master presentation unit including a processor and a master display screen, the master screen located within the space so as to be viewable by the audience within the space, the processor operable to transmit an image displayed on the master screen over the network upon user command issued via the control interface and at least a first slave presentation unit including a first slave image presenter operable to receive and present images that are transmitted by the master unit to the first slave unit over the network to the audience within the space.
In addition, some embodiments include a presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising a communication network, a plurality of presentation units, each presentation unit positioned to present images to the audience within the space, at least one of the presentation units being a master unit including a processor and a display screen, the processor operable to transmit images displayed on the display screen over the network to another one of the presentation units upon user command, each of the other presentation units operable to receive and present images to the audience within the space that are transmitted by the master unit to the other unit over the network.
Moreover, some embodiments of the invention include a method for use with a plurality of image presenting units within a space wherein each of the presenting units is positioned so that an audience within the space can observe images presented by the unit, the method for managing presented images and comprising the steps of providing a control interface, presenting images via each of the presenting units, the image presented by each of the presenting units being a unit specific image, monitoring the control interface for an indication that the presented images should be stored, when an indication is received that the presented images should be stored for each presenting unit, correlating the unit specific image presented with a unit identifier to form an image-unit set and storing the image-unit sets for all of the units as a session image set.
Furthermore, some embodiments include a method for use with a master presentation unit, at least a first slave presentation unit, a communication network and a control interface, the master unit including a processor and a master display screen and the slave unit including a slave presenter, the method for presenting images to an audience within a space, the method comprising the steps of locating the master display screen within the space so as to be viewable by the audience within the space, locating the slave presenter within the space so that an image generated thereby will be viewable by the audience within the space, monitoring the control interface for an indication that an image presented on the master screen should be presented via the slave presenter and when an indication is received that the image presented on the master screen should be presented via the slave presenter, transmitting the image presented on the master screen to the slave unit for presentation via the communication network.
Still other embodiments include a presentation system for presenting information to an audience within a space, the system comprising a control interface, a presentation unit including a processor and a display screen, the screen having a master presentation space and at least a first slave presentation space separate from the master space, the processor linkable to the interface to receive commands therefrom, the processor programmed to monitor for a command from the interface to flip an image from the master space to the slave space and, when a command to flip an image is received, rendering the image from the master space unobservable and presenting the image via the slave space.
These and other objects, advantages and aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown a preferred embodiment of the invention. Such embodiment does not necessarily represent the full scope of the invention and reference is made therefore, to the claims herein for interpreting the scope of the invention.
While the present invention may be embodied in any of several different forms, the present invention is described here with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as setting forth exemplary embodiments of the present invention which are not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiment(s) illustrated.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference characters represent similar elements throughout the several views and, more specifically, referring to
In at least some embodiments of the present invention, an elongated horizontal rail 40 is mounted to wall 12 at approximately 6 to 7 feet above the floor within room 11 for either temporarily or permanently supporting master and slave presentation units adjacent wall 12. Referring also to
Referring still to
Referring also to
To mount master unit 28 to rail 40, as best illustrated in
Referring again to
Memory 88 is a digital memory device and includes a plurality of different types of information usable by processor 80 to perform various methods. Generally, the information stored in memory 88 takes two forms including programs run by processor 80 and data such as images presented via display screen 48. Programs run by processor 80 include, in at least some cases, position sensing programs for sensing the position of virtual ink pens and virtual ink type eraser devices used to add information to and delete information from screen 48 as well as display driver programs for presenting information via display 48.
In addition, memory 88 includes programs used to manage images present via display 48. For instance, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, a program in memory 88 may assign unique identifier numbers or the like to each image flipped from unit 28 to one of the slave presentation units and may store each flipped image and corresponding identifier number within memory 88 for subsequent access. As another instance, when an image is flipped to a specific one of the slave presentation units, the master unit processor 80 may be programmed to correlate and store the flipped image with a unit identifier that uniquely identifies the slave unit to which the image is being flipped. After an identifier and an image is stored in memory 88, the image may be accessed via reference to the unique identifier.
Moreover, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, copies of conventional software applications such as PowerPoint, various spread sheet applications, CAD applications, word processor applications, internet browser applications, etc., may be stored within memory 88 for access and running by processor 80. Here, it should be appreciated that, in at least some embodiments of the invention, conventional software applications may not be useable with system 10 and in that case, copies of the conventional software applications would not be stored in memory 88. Moreover, it should be appreciated that, in at least some embodiments of the invention, software applications such as PowerPoint, spreadsheets and the like may be stored in or accessed via a palm or laptop type computer useable with master presentation unit 28 so that, while processor 80 is used to display images corresponding to conventional software applications, processor 80 itself does not run the software applications. Here, the computer would run the programs and provide information to processor 80 to drive the display 48.
Referring still to
Hereinafter, unless indicated otherwise, in order to simplify this explanation, it will be assumed that the master unit 28 includes a mechanical type keyboard 30. In addition, unless indicated otherwise, palm and laptop computers and control devices will be referred to generally as hand held devices (HHDs). Moreover, while unit and device communication may be wired, it will be assumed here that all unit and device communication is via a wireless protocol and transceivers (e.g., 20 in
Referring once again to
Referring still to
In the present example, processor 80 is programmed to monitor keyboard 30 for an indication that the image on display 48 is to be flipped to one of units 22 a or 22 b. In this case, it is contemplated that, to flip an image to one of units 22 a or 22 b, a system operator uses number 67 to select the unit identifier number corresponding to the unit to which the image is to be flipped and subsequently selects send key 58. For example, to flip an image from display 48 to unit 22 a, the operator uses pad 67 to select number “1” and then selects key 58. Similarly, to flip an image to unit 22 b, the operator selects number “2” from pad 67 and subsequently selects send key 58.
Here, it is assumed that each separately addressable slave units and also, in some embodiments, master unit 28, has a unique network address that can be used to send data thereto. For instance, in
In at least some embodiments of the present invention, master presentation unit 28 is also useable to retrieve images presented via the slave presentation units 22 a, 22 b, etc., so that those images can be edited and then re-presented via the slave units in the edited form. To this end, referring still to
After an image is presented via a slave unit, if a system operator wants to edit that image, in a manner similar to the manner described above for flipping an image to unit 22 b, the system operator uses number pad 67 to select the identifier number corresponding to the slave unit and then selects retrieve key 62. When retrieve key 62 is selected, master processor 80 forms a retrieve data packet including an image retrieve request and the address of the slave unit from which to retrieve the image and wirelessly transmits the retrieve data packet to the slave unit. In response, the slave unit generates an image data packet including the slave image and the network address of the master unit and transmits the image data packet back to the master unit 28. When unit 28 receives the image data packet, master unit 28 re-presents the image via display 48 for further collaborative viewing/editing.
Instead of accessing slave images from slave unit memories as described above, in at least some inventive embodiments, when master unit 28 flips an image to a slave unit, the image may be correlated with and stored with the unique slave unit identifier in master unit memory 88. Thereafter, when an operator wants to re-present a slave image via master unit 28 for editing or the like, the operator can select the appropriate slave unit identifier (i.e., the identifier number associated with the slave unit presenting the image to be re-accessed) via number pad 67 followed by retrieve key 62 causing processor 80 to access the previously stored image in memory 88 and present the image via display 48.
Referring yet again to
Here, when an image-unit set is stored or is re-accessed, processor 80 may be programmed to enable the operator to uniquely identify the image-unit set by providing a name therefore useable to recognize the specific image-unit set. In this case, more than one image-unit set may be stored in memory 88 and subsequently unambiguously retrieved to resume presentations.
While images may be stored with unit identifiers, it should also be appreciated that similar results can be achieved by storing images along with network addresses when store key 60 is selected. Here, when a session is resumed, processor 80 simply accesses the stored images and addresses and flips the images to the correlated addresses without having to perform the intermediate step of correlating the unit identifiers and addresses.
In at least some embodiments it is contemplated that the number of slave units used with a master unit will not change and that keys dedicated to specific slave units and functions may be provided on keyboard 30. For instance, where a system 10 only includes one master unit 28 and two slave units 22 a and 22 b, separate send and retrieve keys for each of the slave units 22 a and 22 b may be provided so that single key selection can cause image flipping/retrieving. Similarly, referring once again to
Referring once again to
Transceiver 34 a is mounted to top wall 107 and extends upwardly therefrom. Screen 38 a, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, is a flexible and rollable generally rectilinear member that, when unrolled, extends through opening 122 and there below to provide a presentation surface 48 a that faces in the same direction as front surface 101 of housing 100. In at least some embodiments, presentation surface 48 a is a writable/erasable surface such as Mylar (trademarked name of a polyester material developed and sold by DuPont) or the like on which erasable ink can be printed or plotted and can subsequently be erased. In some cases, a weighted bar 106 may be mounted to a distal lower end of screen 38 a that helps to maintain screen 38 a substantially flat when screen 38 a is unrolled and extends below housing 100.
In the illustrated embodiment each of processor 110, motor 112, spindle 114, printer 116 and eraser 118 is mounted within housing cavity 105. Processor 110 is linked to each of motor 112, printer 116 and eraser 118 for controlling each of those components. Processor 110 is also linked to memory 119 for accessing information therein and is linked to transceiver 34 a to send and receive data packets. Motor 112 is linked to spindle 114 for rolling and unrolling slave screen 38 a which is attached at a top end to spindle 114.
Processor 110 controls printer 116 to, when an image is flipped to slave unit 22 a from master unit 28, print the image on presentation surface 48 a either as screen 38 a is being unrolled or, in the alternative, by moving one or more printer heads adjacent to the surface 48 a while moving screen 38 a up and down via spindle. In any event, processor 110 controls printer 116 to provide a rendition of the image flipped to unit 22 a from master unit 28. In some cases the rendition will be in color while in other cases it may be in black and white. In still other cases the user may have the option to print in color or in black and white.
Eraser 118 is controlled by processor 110 to erase ink applied by printer 116 to presentation surface 48 a. To this end, eraser 118 may simply move back and forth along the length of housing 100 while holding an eraser pad on surface 48 a as screen spindle 114 rolls up screen 38 a. In the alternative, processor 110 may be able to control eraser 118 to erase certain information from surface 48 a while leaving other information on surface 48 a. Here, for instance, where a system operator re-accesses an image from slave unit 22 a to be edited via master unit 28, if the edit simply entails erasing a distinct part of the image via unit 28 and then re-flipping the modified image back to unit 22 a, the modified image may be presented via unit 22 a by erasing the appropriate information from surface 48 a and unrolling screen 38 a so that the modified image is viewable via surface 48 a.
Thus, in the embodiment illustrated in
While it may take some time (e.g., thirty or more seconds) for one of the slave units 22 a or 22 b to erase an existing image and to apply ink forming a new image on surface 48 a, after an image is flipped from master unit 28, display 48 can be cleared immediately and used to continue the collaborative process. Thus, the delay in generating an image in the manner described above will not delay the collaborative effort.
Referring still to
Referring now to
In this second embodiment, screen 126 is rigidly secured to a lower surface of header 122 and lower housing 124 forms an opening (not illustrated) through which a distal lower end of screen 126 extends and in which a screen spindle similar to spindle 114 described above with respect to
Referring now to
The embodiment of
In at least some embodiments, spindle 151 may be powered in either clockwise or counterclockwise direction so that screen 144 can move in either direction up or down as indicated by arrow 146 and so that freewheeling spindle 148 can rotate in either clockwise or counterclockwise directions as indicated by arrow 150. Here, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, when an image is flipped to unit 171, processor 110 controls the motor 112 and printer 116 simultaneously to apply ink and form the image on screen 144 as spindle 151 rotates in the clockwise direction. After an image is formed, the image is viewable on front surface 155 between housing 100 and freewheeling spindle 148. In this case, to erase the image, spindle 151 may be rotated in the counterclockwise direction while eraser 118 removes the ink from screen 144. In the alternative, to erase an image from front surface 155, spindle 151 may be rotated in the clockwise direction so that the image rotates about freewheeling spindle 148, back up toward and around powered spindle 151 and again down past eraser 118 while eraser 118 erases the ink on the screen. In yet one other embodiment that is not illustrated in
Referring now to
Referring now to
Keyboard 209 includes hardware keys that are akin to the keyboard keys described above with respect to
Left arrow key 222 is a send left key indicating, as its label implies, that an image currently presented via master unit 28 should be sent to a slave unit to the left of master unit 28. Similarly, right arrow key 228 is a send right key indicating that an image currently displayed by the master unit 28 should be sent to the slave unit to the right of the master unit 28. Right directed arrow key 223 is a left retrieve key indicating that the image currently presented on a slave unit to the left of master unit 28 should be retrieved to the master unit and displayed thereby. Similarly, left directed arrow key 226 is a right retrieve key indicating that an image currently presented by a slave unit to the right of master unit 28 should be retrieved and displayed via master unit 28.
In addition to the keys described above, an enter key 212 is provided via unit 200 which can be used to indicate that information entered via other keyboard keys should be acted upon. For example, in cases where a presentation is to be resumed and a specific seven digit number code must be entered to access a specific previously stored image-unit set, after resume button 208 is selected, processor 203 may present a session identification number field via display 204 in which a specific sequence of seven numbers has to be entered in order to access the images corresponding to an image-unit set and present the images via the presentation units. In at least some embodiments of the invention, it is contemplated that unit 200 may include a full keyboard compliment including letters, numbers and function keys that are typically found on a computer keyboard so that unit 200 can, in effect, be used as a complete laptop computer to interact with various software applications (e.g., Power Point, spreadsheet applications, word processor applications, etc.).
Referring still to
Importantly, according to one aspect of the present invention, the information presented via display 204 of control interface 200 is immediately updated on the master display 48 of unit 28. Thus, while a system operator may be anywhere within conference room 11 when using HHD 200, the operator can use HHD 200 to modify the image displayed on display 48 in a real time and collaborative flip chart like manner. After an image on display 48 is completed and when the operator wishes to flip the image from unit 28 to one of the slave units 22 a or 22 b in
Referring still to
In addition, in this case, the unit 200 may completely organize the image presentation and master unit 28 may not perform the flipping and retrieving processes. Here, for instance, unit 200 may store all of the images including the images displayed by the master and slave units. When a presenter indicates via master unit 28 that the master image is to be flipped to a slave unit, the command may be received by unit 200 which in turn causes the flip to occur via transmission of the master image to the designated slave unit. In addition, here, unit 200 may also automatically transmit a command to the master unit to erase the flipped image. Retrieval commands would also be performed via unit 200 as opposed to via the master processor 80.
Referring now to
Second, prior to flipping an image to slave unit 232, processor 80 is programmed to add an image identifier number to the flipped image which, in the example here, is added to the flipped image in the upper left hand corner. For example, in
Third, prior to flipping an image to slave unit 232, processor 80 correlates and stores the image and the image identifier number in master unit memory 88 for subsequent access. In the above example illustrated in
Referring still to
After an image is printed, the portion of the roll that was let out of unit 232 can be torn off and posted adjacent unit 232 for continuous viewing. To this end, in at least some embodiments, rail 40 may include a corkboard front surface so that tacks can be used to post torn sheets there along. In
In the embodiment illustrated in
Referring now to
Master unit 48 is similar to the master units described above and therefore will not be described here in detail. Each of slave units 252 a and 252 b is similarly constructed and operates in a similar fashion and therefore, in the interest of simplifying this explanation, only unit 252 a will be described in any detail. Unit 252 a includes a hardened, generally rectilinear, plastic or metallic housing 258 a, a transceiver 254 a and a large format thin profile plasma, LCD or other thin profile display screen 256 a. In addition, unit 252 a also includes a processor and a memory linked thereto, neither of the processor nor memory illustrated. The slave processor is linked to display 256 a and to slave transceiver 254 a as well as to the slave memory.
Referring still to
Where an image displayed via one of the slave units is to be retrieved and again displayed via master unit 28, the keyboard on unit 28 may be used to identify the slave unit from which the image is to be retrieved and then to perform the retrieval process. Once again, the retrieval process may be completely internal to unit 28 where the image presented by the slave unit is stored in master unit memory 88. In the alternative, where the slave image is stored in the slave unit memory, the retrieval process may require a retrieval request packet from master unit 28 to the slave unit (e.g., 252 a in
Referring now to
Referring still to
Referring still to
In the illustrated embodiment after an image has been formed in master space 530, a system operator can place the tip of a stylus in icon 536 to drag the image to another location on surface 526. Here, it is contemplated that when the image is dragged from master space 530, the master space and its visually distinguishing features will remain in their original positions on surface 526. In
In at least some cases when images are dragged from space 530, control icons will move therewith so that the flipped images can be moved about surface 526 after flipping. In addition, in at least some embodiments, images previously flipped may be retrieved to master space 530 by selecting the control icon on the flipped image and dragging the selected icon back into master space 530. Here as in the previously described embodiments, software for master space editing and display of software screen shots are contemplated.
Referring now to
While each of units 604, 606 and 608 is wall mounted, master unit 610 is a portable floor supported easel type assembly including an easel structure (also identified via numeral 610) having an interior space 614 and one or more shelf members 616. In the illustrated embodiment casters 618 (only two labeled) are mounted at the bottom end of easel structure 610 to facilitate movement within a facility. A computer projector and other system components may be located on shelves 616 within space 614. Unit 610 includes a master presentation surface 612 for presenting master images, modifying the images and generally facilitating collaborative activity. As in the embodiments above, on-screen selectable icons may be provided via surface 612 for flipping master images to the slave units, to retrieve images and to perform other image management functions. Here, screen 612 may take any of several forms including a plasma screen, a rear projection screen where a rear projector is located within space 614, a front projection screen, etc.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Rack mounted processor 810 is linked via LAN 812 to access point 814 to receive information therefrom and provide information thereto for transmission to unit 808. In addition, processor 810 is hardwired to DVD/VCR 818 and scanner/printer 816 as well as to each of projector units 804 and 806. Projector unit 804 is configured to project information generally on the left half of surface 802 while unit 806 is arranged and configured to generally project information on the right half of surface 802. More specifically, unit 804 is configured to project two images in a side-by-side fashion in adjacent spaces 820 and 822 on the left half of surface 802 while unit 806 is configured to project images into third and fourth spaces 824 and 826 that are adjacent and are generally on the right half of surface 802. When projecting either an image including information or a blank image into spaces 820 and 822, unit 804 also projects an image identifier into the space, the image identifiers in
Referring still to
Referring still to
Referring once again to
Referring now to
Referring specifically to
Referring now to
Continuing, at block 294, after an image flip has been completed, master processor 80 monitors for a retrieval request for an image associated with a specific identifier number. For example, where identifier number “7” has been appended to an image on sheet 234 as indicated in
Referring now to
At block 336, an image is presented and/or manipulated via master display 48. At block 338, master unit processor 80 monitors for a flip command indicating that the currently displayed image should be flipped to one of the slave presentation units. At block 340, where no flip is indicated, control passes back up and through blocks 336 and 338. Once a flip is indicated at block 340, control passes to block 342 where the master image is correlated with the slave identifier specified by the operator (i.e., the identity of the slave unit to which the image is to be flipped).
At block 344, master processor 80 stores the correlated image and slave identifier number in memory 88 and at block 346 master processor 80 transmits the master image to the slave unit. At block 348, the slave unit presents the received image.
At block 350, master processor 80 monitors for a retrieve request indicating a specific slave identifier associated with a slave unit from which an image should be retrieved. At block 352, if a retrieval command is not received, control passes back up to block 348 and the loop described above is repeated. At block 352, after a retrieval command is received, control passes to block 354 where processor 80 accesses the image correlated with the slave identifier in master memory 88. At block 356, processor 80 re-presents the correlated image via master display 48.
Referring now to
Continuing, at block 171 processor 80 requests a session identifier from the operator that can be subsequently used to access the session images. For instance, processor 80 may provide a session identifier field and a query prompting the operator to name the session image set via master display 48. Where a text session identifier is preferred, processor 80 may also provide touch selectable icons comprising a full alphabetical keyboard via display 48 or, in the alternative, may be capable of recognizing hand writing within the session identifier field. Instead of requesting a session identifier at block 171, processor 80 may simply assign a random access code to the session image set and temporarily provide the code to the operator via display 48.
At block 369, processor 80 correlates each image in the image set with a unique presentation unit identifier (i.e., an identifier that is unique to one of master unit 28 or one of the slave units (e.g., 22 a, 22 b, etc.). At block 370, master processor 80 stores the session image set with the session identifier where each of the images is associated with a specific one of the master unit and the slave unit identifiers in master memory 88. After block 370 all of the session images have been stored in an accessible format for future reference.
Next, at block 374, master processor 80 monitors for selection of resume icon 56 indicating that a previous collaborative session is to be resumed and therefore that a stored image set should be reaccessed and presented. At block 376, where no resume command is received, control passes back up to block 374. Once a resume command is received at block 376, control passes to block 377.
At block 377, master processor 80 provides a request prompting a system operator to provide a session identifier corresponding to a previously stored image set. Here, the prompt may include a text query and a session identifier field along with a suitable set of touch sensitive icons (e.g., numbers, alphanumeric, etc.) for specifying an identifier.
At block 378, the image set associated with an entered session identifier is retrieved from memory 88 and at block 380 the images in the set are displayed via the master display and the slave units so that the previous session can continue where it left off. After block 380, control passes back up to block 362 where the process described above continues.
In addition to being able to store sets of images that are simultaneously presented via the system presentation units for subsequent access, it is also contemplated that, in at least some embodiments of the present invention, separate images may be selectable for storage and subsequent access independent of whether or not the images are flipped to slave units. For example, referring once again to
Where images are separately stored, referring still to
In at least some cases, it is contemplated that all images flipped from master unit 528 to any of the slave units are stored and maintained within the master memory 88 until a system operator terminates a collaborative session and corresponding thumb nail sketches (e.g., 452, 454, etc.) are added to bar 450. Here, where the number of flipped images exceeds the number of slave presentation units which is often the case during prolonged collaborative sessions, the system operator will still be able to quickly and easily access all flipped images independent of whether or not the images are currently presented via slave units or are simply stored in the master memory. Icons 64 and 66 are left and right scrolling icons that enable the operator to graphically search a large number of thumbnail sketches for specific images to re-present. In some cases it is contemplated that all flipped images and all stored images that are not flipped will be stored in master memory 88 and represented as selectable thumbnail sketches in bar 450.
Referring once again to
Referring now to
At process block 736, with each of the units in the conferencing space turned on, a system operator indicates that one of the units is to be employed as a master unit. To this end, as illustrated in
Continuing, at block 736, after an operator selects unit 702 as the master unit, unit 702 wirelessly polls the conference space to identify other presentation units 704, 706, 708, 710 and 712 within the space. When each of units 704, 706, 708, 710 and 712 receives the polling signals requesting that the units identify themselves as possible slave units, each unit 704, 706, 708, 710 and 712 transmits an information packet back to master unit 702 identifying the slave unit by its unique wireless network address. For example, consistent with the exemplary addresses above, unit 704 transmits an information packet including unique address 54478B1, unit 706 transmits an information packet including unique address 89908B1, etc. When unit 702 receives the return information packets from the possible slave units, unit 702 identifies each of the possible slave units, associates a unique simple identifier with each of the slave units and then further facilitates the configuration process. To this end, in the present example, master unit 702 identifies five separate slave units 704, 706, 708, 710 and 712 and associates simple identifiers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 therewith, respectively.
Referring still to
In addition, referring still to
Once ENTER icon 774 is selected, at process block 744, master unit 702 provides a control interface including the master label 750 designation and provides icons suitable for flipping master images to the sub-set of selected slave units and for retrieving images from the selected sub-set of slave units. To this end, referring to
Thus, it should be appreciated that multiple use electronic displays can be configured in many different ways for separate and combined uses. It should also be appreciated that where displays are equipped for wireless communication, software can be provided that allows the displays to streamline a configuring process.
Referring now to
Referring still to
In addition, activity that alters an image in master presentation space 907, in at least some embodiments, would also automatically and essentially in real time alter a similar image in master presentation space 902. Similarly, flipping and retrieving of images via space 907, in at least some embodiments, would be reflected by similar activity occurring in subsystem 900.
Referring now to
Second, when display 955 is rotated from the portrait orientation to the landscape orientation, the control icons 954 presented via display 955 are altered to, first, correspond to the changes made to the slave presentation spaces and so that the control icons 954 are better oriented within the viewing portion of display 955. To this end, as illustrated, while four slave space selection icons are illustrated if
In addition, while all of the presentation units described herein include mounting members that mount the presentation units to a wall mounted rail, it should be appreciated that other types of support structures for the presentation units are contemplated. For instance, master unit 28 may be supported by an easel type assembly or may be a cart mounted assembly where the cart includes casters to facilitate easy movement of the unit within a facility.
Moreover, while a simple eraser and printer are described above, it should be appreciated that various types of printers and erasers are contemplated and may be used with the various embodiments of the present invention. For instances, in some cases, slave presentation surfaces may be provided by rigid whiteboard member and the printers described above may be plotters that move along the presentation surface or relative thereto (i.e., the rigid whiteboards may in fact be moved with respect to the plotters) and the eraser may be supported and moved in a similar fashion to provide images on the presentation surface and to erase images therefrom.
Furthermore, both the slave and master presentation units may be supported in any fashion including permanent wall mounts, easel type support structures (see
While systems described herein include only two slave units, it should be appreciated that some systems will include three or more slave units. In addition, some systems may include more than one type of slave unit. For instance, referring again to
In at least some cases all of the system units (e.g., the master and slave units) may have identical constructions and functionality so that images can be edited via any of the units and can be flipped from or retrieved to any of the units. Thus, for instance, where three units like master unit 28 comprise a system, an operator may move among the units editing and flipping and retrieving in an enhanced collaborative fashion.
In addition, while one simple rail 40 configuration is described above, the invention contemplates many different types of rail configurations including other hook to hook type rails, rails that may receive wheels mounted on the master and slave units, rails that are only mountable via the ends thereof (e.g., the rail may restrict removal of mounted units via upward or forward motion—this is particularly important in cases where the units are relatively expensive) and other system where the units include securing structure to more effectively secure the units to the rail members 40.
As illustrated in
Moreover, referring to
In some cases unit 800 may include representations of each of the master and slave unit images to help the presenter keep track of the remote presentation. To this end display 812 in
In some cases the master unit 28 and sub-set of the slave units 22 a, 22 b may be located in Chicago while one or more slave units are remotely located in New York. Here the presenter could control the flipping process to the different slave units in a manner similar to that described above.
In addition, referring again to
Moreover, while the system of
Furthermore, the configuration aiding process described above with respect to
To apprise the public of the scope of this invention, the following claims are made: