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Publication numberUS20080111408 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/840,026
Publication dateMay 15, 2008
Filing dateAug 16, 2007
Priority dateFeb 3, 2004
Publication number11840026, 840026, US 2008/0111408 A1, US 2008/111408 A1, US 20080111408 A1, US 20080111408A1, US 2008111408 A1, US 2008111408A1, US-A1-20080111408, US-A1-2008111408, US2008/0111408A1, US2008/111408A1, US20080111408 A1, US20080111408A1, US2008111408 A1, US2008111408A1
InventorsRaymond Jamie Duran, Richard Edward Florez
Original AssigneeRaymond Jamie Duran, Richard Edward Florez
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Video Game Chair
US 20080111408 A1
Abstract
A video game chair comprises a chair; a vibrating mechanism coupled to the chair; and an interface capable of receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play and of activating the vibrating mechanism in response to one or more aspects of the audio signal.
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Claims(13)
1. A video game chair, comprising:
a chair;
a vibrating mechanism coupled to the chair; and
an interface capable of receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play and of activating the vibrating mechanism in response to one or more aspects of the audio signal.
2. The chair of claim 1, wherein the vibrating mechanism includes multiple vibration motors and the interface uses the one or more aspects of the audio signal to control the multiple vibration motors.
3. The chair of claim 1, wherein the interface includes a wireless interface to enable wireless communication of the audio signal.
4. The chair of claim 1, wherein the one or more aspects of the audio signal includes the bass signal.
5. The chair of claim 1, further comprising lighting coupled to the chair, and wherein the interface is further capable of controlling the lighting in response to one or more features of the audio signal.
6. The chair of claim 5, wherein the one or more aspects and the one or more features are substantially the same.
7. A method comprising:
receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play;
converting one or more aspects of the audio signal to an in-chair motor control signal; and
using the in-chair motor control signal to control at least one vibration motor coupled to a chair.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the using the in-chair motor control signal includes controlling multiple vibration motors.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the receiving includes receiving the audio signal via a wireless interface.
10. The method of claim 7, wherein the one or more aspects of the audio signal includes the bass signal.
11. The method of claim 7, further comprising using one or more features of the audio signal to control lighting coupled to the chair.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the one or more aspects and the one or more features are substantially the same.
13. A video game chair, comprising:
means for receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play;
means for converting one or more aspects of the audio signal to an in-chair motor control signal; and
means for using the in-chair motor control signal to control at least one vibration motor coupled to a chair.
Description
    PRIORITY CLAIM
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation-in-part of and hereby incorporates by reference U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/483,307, by inventors I. Real and R. Florez, filed on Jul. 7, 2006, entitled “Video Game Chair,” which is a continuation of and hereby incorporates by reference U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/770,960, by inventors J. Real and R. Florez, filed on Feb. 3, 2004, entitled “Video Game Chair;” and is a continuation-in-part of and hereby incorporates by reference U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/430,596, by inventors Richard E. Florez, Raymond. Jamie Duran and William Colias, filed on May 8, 2006, entitled “Video Game Chair.”
  • COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK NOTICE
  • [0002]
    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0003]
    This invention relates generally to chairs, and more particularly provides a video game chair.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0004]
    Video games are a popular form of entertainment for adults and children. Today, people spend billions of dollars a year on video game consoles, video games, video game accessories, and video game paraphernalia.
  • [0005]
    Most video game players sit on a sofa, which is typically kept at a distance from the television set and speakers. To improve the video game experience, some players lie on the floor or use floor seats closer to the television. However, the floor and most floor seats are uncomfortable.
  • [0006]
    Therefore, a system and method that improve the video game experience and improve comfort are needed.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0007]
    In accordance with an embodiment, the present invention provides a video game chair, comprising a chair; a vibrating mechanism coupled to the chair; and an interface capable of receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play and of activating the vibrating mechanism in response to one or more aspects of the audio signal. The vibrating mechanism may include multiple vibration motors and the interface may use the one or more aspects of the audio signal to control the multiple vibration motors. The interface may include a wireless interface to enable wireless communication of the audio signal. The one or more aspects of the audio signal may include the bass signal. The chair may further comprise lighting coupled to the chair, and the interface may be further capable of controlling the lighting in response to one or more features of the audio signal. The one or more aspects and the one or more features may be substantially the same.
  • [0008]
    In accordance with another embodiment, the present invention provides a method comprising receiving an audio signal from a portable game console during game play; con veiling one or more aspects of the audio signal to an in-chair motor control signal; and using the in-chair motor control signal to control at least one vibration motor coupled to a chair. The step of using the in-chair motor control signal may include controlling multiple vibration motors. The step of receiving may include receiving the audio signal via a wireless interface. The one or more aspects of the audio signal may include the bass signal. The method may farther comprise the step of using one or more features of the audio signal to control lighting coupled to the chair. The one or more aspects and the one or more features may be substantially the same.
  • [0009]
    in accordance with yet another embodiment, the present invention provides a video game chair, comprising means for receiving an audio signal from a portable game console daring game play; means for converting one or more aspects of the audio signal to an in-chair motor control signal; and means for using the in-chair motor control signal to control at least one vibration motor coupled to a chair.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    FIGS. 1A-1G arc various perspectives of an example video game chair, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a chair system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating details of a chair subsystem, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating details of a computer system.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating details of a chair system, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 6 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for the iBox SOC of FIG. 5.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 7 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for the iControl SOC of FIG. 5.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 8 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for the iDemo SOC of FIG. 5.
  • [0018]
    FIGS. 9( a)-9(g) are tables illustrating the pin-out connection signals of FIGS. 6-8.
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 10A is a flowchart of a method of using the video game chair for game play, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 10B is a flowchart of a method of using the video game chair as a telephone, possibly during game play, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0021]
    FIGS. 11A-11G are various perspectives of a video game chair, in accordance with another embodiment.
  • [0022]
    FIGS. 12A-12G are various perspectives of a video game chair, in accordance with another embodiment.
  • [0023]
    FIGS. 13A-13G are various perspectives of a video game chair, in accordance with another embodiment.
  • [0024]
    FIGS. 14A-14F are various perspectives of a video game chair, in accordance with another embodiment.
  • [0025]
    FIGS. 15A-15D are various perspectives of a video game chair, in accordance with another embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0026]
    The following description is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and is provided in the context of a particular application and its requirements. Various modifications to the embodiments are possible to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein maybe applied to these and other embodiments and applications without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles, features and teachings disclosed herein.
  • [0027]
    This application hereby incorporates by reference patent application Ser. No. 10/770960, entitled “Video Game Chair,” filed on Feb. 3, 2004, by inventors Real and Florez.
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 1A-1G are various perspectives of an example video game chair 100, in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. Video game chair 100 includes a seat portion 105 and a back portion 110. The seat portion 105 and back portion 110 are ergonomically shaped for human comfort. As shown, the seat portion 105 and back portion 110 are each bucket-shaped to “hug” the person sitting in the chair 100. Since the chair 100 is low to the ground, the seat portion 105 may be angled upward in the forward direction for more comfortable leg extension and to reduce pressure on the knee joint.
  • [0029]
    The back portion 110 may recline to a variety of positions, possibly using a lever 155 (see FIG. 1B) and an internal locking mechanism (not shown). For example, the back portion 110 may have twenty-four locking positions. The back portion 110 may also fold forward into the seat portion 105 for more compact storage. Two wheels 115 (only one shown in FIG. 1A) may be placed at the rear two corners of the seat portion 105 to enable the chair 100 to be moved easily from one location to another by tilting the chair backward. The two wheels 115 are more visible in FIG. 1E. For convenience, a cup and remote holder 120 can be attached to one side of the seat portion 105, and a drawer 125 maybe placed in the bottom of the seat portion 105 to enable storage of additional remotes, game instructions, magazines, electronics, and/or other things. Other embodiments may include a raisable footrest instead of the drawer 125 positioned in front of the seat portion 105 (see element 1220 of FIGS. 12A-12D). The raisable footrest, e.g., footrest 1220, may raise independently of the reclining action of the back portion 110. A drawer 125 may be repositioned elsewhere on the chair 100, should the raisable footrest take up the entire front of the seat portion 105.
  • [0030]
    The chair 100 may have armrests 130. As shown, each armrest 130 maybe repositioned along the vertical axis or removed completely. Other embodiments may enable the armrests to swing about a pivot point (e.g., see pivotable armrests 1305 and pivot point 1310 of the video game chair 1300 shown in FIGS. 13A-13G) or may be completely stationary (e.g., see stationary armrests 1105 of the video game chair 1100 shown in FIGS. 11A-11G). The chair may have a slideably adjustable headrest/neckrest 135, such that the neckrest 135 can slide within elongated grooves 145.
  • [0031]
    The chair 100 may include two speakers 140 located in the back portion 110 of the chair 100. As shown, the back portion 110 may have flanging portions 150 on the left and right sides of the upper section of the back portion 110. The flanging portions 150 may be positioned on the back portion 110 at a height approximate the average teenager's ears and may angle inward to direct sound towards the person sitting in the chair 100.
  • [0032]
    For convenience, the video game chair 100 may have game controllers (not shown in FIGS. 1A-1G) connected to the armrests 130, The video game chair 1200 shown, in FIGS. 12A-12G illustrates example game controllers 1205 connected to armrests 1210. The game controllers 1205 can be manipulated into the armrests 1210 by raising armrest flaps 1215, pivoting the game controllers 1205 into the armrests 1210, and closing the flaps 1215.
  • [0033]
    The chair 100 may have a component interface and configuration panel 160 on one side of the seat portion 105. The panel 160 may enable game controllers connections, game console connections, volume control, vibration control, lighting control, external audio source connections, etc. Additional details of the panel 160 and controls thereon are described below, and especially with reference to FIGS. 2, 3 and 5.
  • [0034]
    FIGS. 11A-11G are various perspectives of a video game chair 1100, in accordance with another embodiment. FIGS. 12A-12G are various perspectives of a video game chair 1200, in accordance with another embodiment. FIGS. 13A-13G are various perspectives of a video game chair 1300, in accordance with another embodiment. FIGS. 14A-14F are various perspectives of a video game chair 1400, in accordance with another embodiment. FIGS. 15A-15D are various perspectives of a video game chair 1500, in accordance with another embodiment. Each of the video game chairs 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400 and 1500 may have similar components to the video game chair 100, e.g., seat portions, back portions, speakers, flanging portions for the speakers, cup holders, remote holders, drawers, chair system 200 described below, etc, However, for convenience, all elements have not been numbered.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the chair system 200, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Chair system 200 includes a chair subsystem 205, connected to a game console 210 (e.g., Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, etc.), which is in turn connected to a television 215. The chair subsystem 205 is also connected to the television 215, to game controllers 220, to in-chair vibration motors 225, to in-chair speakers 230 and/or to headphones 235, to an external audio source 240, to lighting 245, to a microphone 250, and to a telephone line 255. All connections between the chair subsystem 205 and the other elements (and between the other elements) may be wired or wireless.
  • [0036]
    The video game console 210 executes the video game. Today's video game console 210 manages video operations, audio operations, game controller operations (joystick, buttons, directional pads, etc.), and vibration feedback operations, in system 200, the video game console 210 forwards video and audio signals to the television 215, and sends the vibration feedback signal to the chair subsystem 205. The chair subsystem 205 may connect to the audio-out port in the television 215 to obtain the audio signals. In another embodiment, the audio signals can be sent directly from the game console to the chair subsystem 205. Any game controller signals (e.g., initialization signals) from the game console 210 intended for the game controllers 220 can be sent to the game controllers 220 directly or via the chair subsystem 205.
  • [0037]
    In one embodiment, the chair subsystem 205 communicates with the game controllers 220 to obtain user play, and transmits the game controller signals to the game console 210. In another embodiment, the game controller signals may be sent directly to the game console 210 without going through the chair 100. In one embodiment, generic game controllers 220 may be used. In another embodiment, game controllers 220 specific to the game console 210 maybe used. In yet another embodiment, game controllers 220 specific to different game console 210 may be used. For example, PS2 game controllers 220 may be used for an Xbox 360 game console 210.
  • [0038]
    During game play, the game console 210 sends the vibration feedback signal to the chair subsystem 205. In one embodiment, instead of forwarding the vibration feedback signal to the game controllers 220, the chair subsystem 205 converts the vibration feedback signal to in-chair motor control signals and forwards the in-chair motor control signals to the in-chair vibration motors 225. The in-chair vibration motors 225 cause the chair to vibrate in a similar manner that the game controllers 220 would have vibrated, in another embodiment, the vibration feedback signal may also be sent to the game controllers 220, so that they vibrate in addition to the in-chair vibration motors 225. In yet another embodiment, the user may be able to select whether the game controllers 220 and/or in-chair motors 225 vibrate.
  • [0039]
    Today's game consoles 210 provide a vibration feedback signal that includes two motor control voltage signals, such that the level of each motor control voltage signal controls the intensity of the vibration of a corresponding motor in the game controllers 220. It will be appreciated that one motor in the game controller 220 provides a lightweight vibration and the other provides heavyweight vibration. In one embodiment, different vibration motors 225 in the chair 100 can be set to vibrate at intensities based on the motor control voltage signals from the game console 210. The vibration motors 225 may have a knob to reduce the strength of the intensities of vibration of the in-chair motors 225 (e.g., all at once, each motor independently, etc.). In another embodiment, based on the vibration feedback signal, alternative or different combinations of motors 225 may vibrate. For example, a vibration feedback signal of low intensity vibration (e.g., above a noise threshold and below a medium-level threshold) may be translated to have the seat vibrate. A vibration feedback signal requesting medium intensity vibration (e.g., above the medium-level threshold and below a high-level threshold) may be translated to have the back vibrate. A vibration feedback signal requesting high intensity vibration (e.g., above the high-level threshold) maybe translated to have the seat and back vibrate. In another embodiment, the vibration feedback signal may select a different vibration program mode, e.g., pulse, rolling, all on, etc.
  • [0040]
    To add a third zone of vibration, the chair subsystem 205 may he configured to compare whether one or both motor control voltage signals from tire game console 210 exceed a threshold or thresholds. If both voltages exceed, then the chair subsystem 205 may activate a third vibration motor 225. The third vibration motor 225 may vibrate at a single intensity or may vibrate at an intensity based on how much each or both the motor control voltage signals exceed the threshold or thresholds.
  • [0041]
    It will be appreciated that, as video game companies increase the complexity of the vibration feedback signal, various other combinations may also be possible. For example, if the vibration feedback signal indicates that a player is being hit lightly in the head, the headrest 135 may vibrate at low intensity. If the feedback signal indicates that the player is being hit in the stomach with high intensity, the back portion 110 may vibrate at high intensity. If the feedback signal indicates that the player is about to die, then all vibration motors 225 may vibrate at high intensity. Many other possible embodiments exist.
  • [0042]
    The chair subsystem 205 may also control lighting 245. Lighting 245 may include sets of LEDs 165/170/175 (see FIG. 1G) around the periphery of the underside of the seat portion 105. The lighting 245 may be always-on to add dramatic effect during game play. Alternatively, the chair subsystem 205 may control the lighting 245 in response to the vibration feedback signal received from the game console 210. Based on the vibration feedback signal, the lighting 245 may flicker. For example, if the vibration feedback signal indicates a low intensity vibration, the lighting 245 may flicker with low intensity. If the feedback signal indicates a medium intensity vibration, the lighting 245 may flicker with medium intensity. If the feedback signal indicates a high intensity vibration, the lighting 245 may flicker with high intensity. If the feedback signal indicates that the player has died, the lighting 245 may remain on without flickering. In another embodiment, different sets of colored lighting 245 may flicker based on the strength of the vibration feedback signal. For example, a low-strength vibration feedback signal may mean that green lights flicker. A medium-strength vibration feedback signal may mean that yellow lights flicker, A high-strength vibration feedback signal may mean the purple lights flicker. And death may mean the red lights remain on, with or without flickering. In yet another embodiment, the lighting 245 may flicker only if the vibration feedback signal exceeds a given threshold, e.g., when both motor control signals from the game console 210 exceed one or more thresholds. Many other possible embodiments exist.
  • [0043]
    The chair subsystem 205 receives the audio signals, whether via the game console 205 or the television 215, and transmits them to the chair speakers 230 and/or to the headphones 235. An external audio source 240, e.g., an iPod, a CD player, a DVD player, a PC, etc., may be connected to the chair subsystem 205. During game play, the audio signals from the external audio source 240 may be transmitted to the chair speakers 230 and/or headphones, instead of the audio signals from the game console 210. When not playing a video game, the person may still be able to sit in the chair 100 and listen to the external audio source 240 via the in-chair speakers or headphones 235. When listening to music from an external audio source 240, the chair subsystem 205 may cause the vibration motors 225 to vibrate and/or the lighting 245 to flicker, possibly to the beat of the music. This can also be implemented using a video system, such as a home theater.
  • [0044]
    The chair subsystem 205 may also be connected to a telephone line 255 (via a landline or a cellular telephone). Upon receiving a telephone call, the chair subsystem 205 may send the telephone ring signal to the in-chair speakers and/or headphones 235 in addition to or instead of the audio signals from the video game or external audio source 240. If the player pauses the video game, the chair subsystem 205 may still send the telephone ringer signal to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones. A button in the panel 160 (see FIG. 1B) or on the game controllers 220 may answer the telephone. Answering the telephone may cause game play to be paused automatically.
  • [0045]
    During a telephone call, the chair subsystem 205 may capture outgoing audio signals via microphone 250, and may playback incoming audio signals to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. If playback is not paused and the telephone is answered, the chair subsystem 205 may still transmit the outgoing signals captured by the microphone 250, and may playback the incoming telephone signals along with the audio signals from the game console 210 or external audio source 240 to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. Configuration and/or manufacturer presets may cause the video game audio signals to reduce in volume, so that the telephone ringer and/or telephone call can be better heard. To improve the clarity of outgoing voice signals, a directional microphone 250 may be aimed at a position estimated to be the mouth of the average-size teenager. Further, the chair system 200 may use additional microphones for real-time filtering of external game play or other ambient noises.
  • [0046]
    The chair 100 may enable the user to activate the vibration motors 225 without game play. The chair 100 may enable the user to select from various vibration programs, e.g., rolling motions, pulse, all on, etc. and vibration intensities.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating details of the chair subsystem 205, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The chair subsystem 205 includes a system manager 305, a game console interface 310, a game controllers interface 315, a vibration motors controller 320, an audio controller 325, a lighting controller 335, a demo module 340, a telephone module 345, a controller format translation module 350, and possibly other controllers.
  • [0048]
    The system manager 305 obtains configuration information from the panel 160. As stated above, the configuration information may include volume controls, vibration controls, lighting controls, audio input controls, telephone controls, etc. Based on the configuration information, the various components of the-chair subsystem 205 may be activated, deactivated, combined, modified, etc.
  • [0049]
    The game console interface 310 is hardware, software and/or firmware that enables communication with the game console 210. The game console interface 310 may enable wired and/or wireless communication. The game console interface 31.0 may have a game console connection port in panel 160.
  • [0050]
    The game controllers interface 315 is hardware, software and/or firmware that enables communication with the game controllers 220. The game controllers interface 315 may enable wired and/or wireless communication. The game controllers interface may have game controllers connection ports in panel 360.
  • [0051]
    The vibration motors controller 320 is hardware, software and/or firmware that, enables control of the vibration motors 225. The vibration motors controller 320 enables turning various program modes of the vibration motors 225 on or off, whether during or not during game play. The vibration motors controller 320 enables intensity control of the vibrations of the vibration motors 225 in response to vibration feedback signal from the game console 210. The vibration motors controller 320 may be capable of being configured for alternative vibration responses, e.g., motor selection, motor intensity, motor program mode, etc., based on the vibration feedback signal. The vibration motors controller 320 may be controlled and/or configured by knobs, buttons, switches, levers, etc. in panel 160.
  • [0052]
    The audio controller 325 is hardware, software and/or firmware that obtains incoming audio signals and forwards them to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. The audio-out controller 325 may receive audio signals from the game console 210 (possibly via the television audio-out port), audio signals from the external audio source 240, audio signals from the telephone module 345 (described below), and/or the like. Configurations in panel 160 or manufacturer presets may determine selection of audio signals to be transmitted to the speakers 230 and/or headphones 235, audio power of each of the signals to be sent at any given time, etc.
  • [0053]
    The lighting controller 335 is hardware, software and/or firmware that enables control of the lighting 245. The lighting controller 335 enables turning various program modes of the lighting 245 on or off, whether during or not during game play. The lighting controller 335 enables intensity control of the flickering of the lighting 245 in response to vibration feedback from the game console 210. The lighting controller 245 may be capable of being configured for alternative lighting responses, e.g., color selection, flicker intensity, flicker program mode, etc., based on the vibration feedback signal. The lighting controller 335 may turn the flickering of lighting 245 on, e.g., only when the vibration feedback signal exceeds a threshold or thresholds. The lighting controller 335 may be controlled and/or configured by knobs, buttons, switches, levers, etc. in panel 160.
  • [0054]
    The demo module 340 is hardware, software and/or firmware that enables a pre-programmed demo of the chair 100. The demo module 340 may include a recorded program that is played back through the speakers in coordination with control of vibration motors 225, lighting 245, etc. The demo may be initiated via a control on panel 160.
  • [0055]
    The telephone module 345 is hardware, software and/or firmware that, enables the chair 100 to operate as a telephone. The telephone module 345 monitors the telephone line 355 (landline or cellular telephone) for telephone calls. Upon detection of an incoming call, the telephone module 345, possibly in coordination with the audio controller 325, sends a ringer signal to the speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. Upon answering a call, the telephone module 345 monitors and transmits incoming audio signals from the microphone 250 to the telephone line 255. The telephone module 345 also monitors and transmits incoming audio signals from the telephone line 255 to the speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. The telephone module 345 may also conduct noise filtering. The telephone module 345 may also enable outgoing calls, in another embodiment, the telephone module 345 includes a Bluetooth-enabled earpiece that is capable of communicating with a cellular or other Bluetooth-enabled telephone. Upon receiving or initiating a telephone call, the Bluetooth-enabled telephone module 345 may use the in-chair microphone 250 and in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235 to communicate via the cellular or other telephone. Configuration of the telephone module 345, answering incoming telephone calls, dialing outgoing telephone calls, etc. may be controlled via panel 160.
  • [0056]
    Controller format translation module 350 is hardware, software and/or firmware that enables using game controllers 220 from one brand of game console 210 with another brand of game console 210. Translation may be automatic. Alternatively, identification of game controller information and game console information may be provided at panel 160.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating details of a computer system, of which the chair subsystem 205 may be an instance. Computer system 400 includes a processor 405, such as an Intel Pentium® microprocessor or a Motorola Power PC® microprocessor, coupled to a communications channel 420. The computer system 400 further includes an input device 410 such as a keyboard or mouse, an output device 415 such as a cathode ray tube display, a communications device 425, a data storage device 430 such as a magnetic disk, and memory 435 such as Random-Access Memory (RAM), each coupled to the communications channel 420. The communications interface 425 may be coupled to a network such as the wide-area network commonly referred to as the internet. One skilled in the art will recognize that, although the data storage device 430 and memory 435 are illustrated as different units, the data storage device 430 and memory 435 can be parts of the same unit, distributed units, virtual memory, etc.
  • [0058]
    The data storage device 430 and/or memory 435 may store an operating system 440 such as the Microsoft Windows XP, Linux, the IBM OS/2 operating system, the MAC OS, or UNIX operating system and/or other programs 445. It will be appreciated that a preferred embodiment may also be implemented on platforms and operating systems other than those mentioned. An embodiment may be written using JAVA, C, and/or C++ language, or other programming languages, possibly using object oriented programming methodology.
  • [0059]
    One skilled in the art will recognize that the computer system 400 may also include additional information, such as network connections, additional memory, additional processors, LANs, input/output lines for transferring information across a hardware channel, the Internet or an intranet, etc. One skilled in the art will also recognize that the programs and data may be received by and stored in the system in alternative ways. For example, a computer-readable storage medium (CRSM) reader 450 such as a magnetic disk drive, hard disk drive, magneto-optical reader, CPU, etc. may be coupled to the communications bus 420 for reading a computer-readable storage medium (CRSM) 455 such as a magnetic disk, a hard disk, a magneto-optical disk, RAM, etc. Accordingly, the computer system 400 may receive programs and/or data via the CRSM reader 450. Further, it will be appreciated that the term “memory” herein is intended to cover all data storage media whether permanent or temporary.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating details of a chair system 500, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. Chair system 500 includes an iBox subsystem 505, in communication with an iControl subsystem 510 and with an iDemo subsystem 515 via an I2C bus 520. Using an I2C bus 520 enables easy connection of subsystems 505, 510 and 515 and of possible future device 565. Each of the iBox subsystem 505, iControl subsystem 510 and iControl subsystem maybe implemented using a system-on-chip (SOC), e.g., a Cypress CY8C24794 MLF module. Alternatively, the iDemo subsystem 515 may be implemented on a Cypress CY8C274438 PDIP module in communication with a recording chip 545, e.g., a Winbond ISD4002 module.
  • [0061]
    In this embodiment, the iBox subsystem 505 controls game console communication (possibly using a game console interface 310), vibration feedback operations (possibly using a vibration motors controller 320), audio operations (possibly using an audio controller 325), lighting operations (possibly using a lighting controller 335), telephone operations (possibly using a telephone module 345), and game controller translation operations (possibly using a controller format translation module 350). The iControl subsystem 510 may control game controller communication (possibly using a game controllers interface 315). The iDemo subsystem 515 may control demo playback (possibly using a demo module 345).
  • [0062]
    The iBox subsystem 505 may include a USB port 525 to connect with a PS3 or an Xbox game console 210 and/or a 9-pin port 520 to connect with a PS2 game console 210. The iControl subsystem 510 may include a USB port 535 to connect with PS3 or Xbox game controllers 220 and/or a 9-pin port 540 to connect with PS2 game controllers 220.
  • [0063]
    The iBox subsystem 505 may be connected to three vibration motors 225, which may include three sets of vibration motor circuits, namely, MOT_A circuit 550, MOT_B circuit 555 and MOT_C circuit 560. Each of these circuits may control a set of motors 225, e.g., three to four motors, MOT_A circuit 550 may control motors 225 in the seat portion 105, MOT_B circuit 555 may control motors 225 in the back portion 110, and MOT_C circuit 560 may control motors in the headrest 135. Alternatively, a circuit may control different (possibly overlapping) combinations of motors 225 and/or may control different intensities to the same motors 225.
  • [0064]
    By dividing the functionality, the different subsystems 505, 510 and 515 can be placed into different regions of the chair 100. For example, the iBox subsystem 505 may be placed near the game console connector, e.g., near panel 160. The iControl subsystem 510 may be placed near the game controller connections, e.g., in the armrests 130. And, the iDemo subsystem 515 may be placed in a hidden location, e.g., on the underside of the seat portion 105.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 6 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for an iBox SOC 600, in accordance with an embodiment using a Cypress CY8C24794 MLF. FIG. 7 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for the iControl SOC 700, using a Cypress CY8C24794 MLF. FIG. 8 illustrates an example set of pin-out connections for the iDemo SOC 800, using a Cypress CY8C27443B PDIP. FIGS. 9( a)-9(g) are tables illustrating the pin-out connection signals of FIGS. 6-8.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 10A is a flowchart of a method 1000 of using the video game chair 100, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Method 1000 begins in step 1005 with the user initiating a video game on the video game console 210. The video game console 210 in step 1010 transmits video and audio signals to the television 215. The audio controller 325 of the chair subsystem 205 in step 1015 receives the audio signals, whether directly from the game console 210 or via the television 215, and transmits the audio signals to the in-chair speakers 230 anchor headphones 235. In step 1015, the audio controller 325 may receive audio signals from an external audio source 240 and may select between the audio signals from the game console 210 or from the external audio source 240 for play back, hi step 1020, the game controllers interface 315 receives game controller signals from the game controllers 220 and the game console interface 315 transmits the game controllers signals to the game console 210. In step 1025, the game console 210 transmits a vibration feedback signal to the game chair 100, via the game console interface 315. In step 1030, the vibration motors controller 320 sends vibration motor control signals to the vibration motors 225 and/or to the game controllers 220 to cause them to vibrate based on the vibration feedback signal. In step 1035, the lighting controller 335 sends lighting signals to the lighting 245 to cause them to flicker based on the vibration feedback signal. In step 1040, the game console 2.10 determines if the game is over. If so, then method 1000 ends. If not, then method 1000 returns to step 1010 to continue game play.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 10B is a flowchart illustrating a method 1050 for using the chair as a telephone, possibly during game play, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Method 1050 begins in step 1055 with the telephone module 345 of the video game chair 100 monitoring for a telephone call, whether incoming or outgoing. Upon detecting an incoming telephone call, the telephone module 345, possibly in coordination with the audio controller 325, in step 1060 transmits the ringer signal to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235. The telephone module 345 in step 1065 monitors for the user to answer the phone, e.g., for the user to depress a button on panel 160. If unanswered, method 1050 returns to step 1055 to continue monitoring. If answered (or if an outgoing call), then the telephone module 345 in step 1070 transmits the appropriate telephone signals to the in-chair speakers 230 and/or headphones 235 and the appropriate telephone signals to the telephone line 255 (possibly using a Bluetooth connection with a cellular telephone). In step 1070, the telephone module 345, in coordination with the game console interface 310, may pause the game, if during game play. The telephone module 345 in step 1075 determines if the call is over. If not over, then method 1000 continues in step 1070 to transmit, the telephone signals. When over, the telephone module 345, possibly in coordination with the game console interface 310, in step 1080 un-pauses the game. Method 1000 then returns to step 1055 to resume monitoring for a telephone call.
  • [0068]
    It will be appreciated that the chair subsystem 205 can use aspects of the audio signals or video signals instead of the vibration feedback signal to control the various functions described herein. For example, the chair subsystem 205 may convert one or more aspects of the audio signals, e.g., the bass, to the in-chair motor control signals, which may be used to control the various vibration motors 225 in the chair 100. The amount of the bass may define the selection and intensity of the vibration motors 225. As another example, the chair subsystem 205 may convert one or more aspects of the audio signals, e.g., the bass, to control the lighting 245. The amount of bass may define the amount of flicker, the color, etc.
  • [0069]
    In one embodiment, the chair 100 may cooperate with a portable game console, e.g., a Sony PSP® game console, a Nintendo Game Boy® game console, etc. The headphone jack of the portable game console may be coupled to the chair subsystem 205. In one embodiment, the connection is wireless so that wires do not affect game play. During game play, the audio signal from tire portable game console may be sent to the speakers on the chair 100, and one or more aspects of the audio signals may be used to control the in-chair vibration motors 225 and/or lighting 245. In such system, no vibration feedback signal may be needed.
  • [0070]
    The chair 100 may include pockets, mounts, interfaces, etc. to receive and communicate with portable devices.
  • [0071]
    in another embodiment, the chair 100 may cooperate with an audio or video player, whether portable or not, whether operative to provide games or not, e.g., for an improved music listening and or theatrical experience. The headphone jack of the audio or video player may be coupled to the chair subsystem 205. In one embodiment, the connection is wireless so that wires do not affect game play. During music or video playback, the audio signal from the audio or video player maybe sent to the speakers on the chair 100, and one or more aspects of the audio signals may be used to control the in-chair vibration motors 225 and/or lighting 245. For example, the chair subsystem 205 may use one or more features of the audio, e.g., the bass, to control the vibration motors 225 and/or lighting 245 for additional entertainment. In such system, no vibration feedback signal may be needed.
  • [0072]
    In another embodiment, the chair subsystem 205 may use one or more aspects/features of a video signal, e.g., the bitrate, possibly in addition to other aspects/features such as the audio signal and/or vibration feedback signals, to control the vibration motors 225 and/or lighting 245.
  • [0073]
    In one embodiment, a chair pad may include the chair subsystem 205, vibration motors 225 and/or lighting 245. in a similar manner to the chair 100 above. The chair pad may be appear to be a conventional vibrating chair pad with a “black box” that includes the chair subsystem 205. The chair pad may operate on batteries for portability and may wirelessly communicate with the console, e.g., game player, video player, audio player, etc. In one embodiment, the chair pad may be plugged into an electrical outlet on or near a chair, e.g., in a movie theater. In one embodiment, theaters may rent chair pads to theater-goers. The chair pads may have batteries or connect to a power outlet. The chair pads may communicate wired or wirelessly to capture the controlling signal, e.g., the audio signal, video signal and/or vibration feedback signal. The chair pads may have a microphone to capture audio signals, and/or a video camera to capture video signals to control the vibration motors 205. In another embodiment, each chair at the theater may be a chair 100.
  • [0074]
    in one embodiment, chairs 100 may be placed in a casino, e.g., next to each slot machine. The control signal for causing a chair 100 to vibrate may Include slot machine payout. The chairs TOO may each be connected to a server or server farm. If one slot machine pays out for example $5, the server or server farm may instruct the corresponding chair 100 to vibrate. If one slot machine pays out for example $100, the server or server farm may instruction all chairs 100 in the section of slot machines to vibrate. If one slot, machine pays out for example $1000, the server or server farm may instruct all chairs 100 in the casino to vibrate. If one slot machine pays out for example $10,000, the server or server farm may instruct all chairs 100 in all casinos to vibrate. Other alternatives are possible.
  • [0075]
    In another embodiment, the chair 100 may be used in a business. For example, the chair 100 may vibrate when the phone rings. In one embodiment, the chair 100 may vibrate in response to the audible ring. In another embodiment, the chair 100 may include a phone and the signal may be sent to the interface, which causes the chair 100 to vibrate and/or the phone to ring. In another embodiment, the phone wire may be connected to the chair 100, and the chair may have an output terminal for connecting to an external phone. In another embodiment, wired connections may instead be wireless. In one embodiment, the chair 100 may vibrate more intensely based on the caller ID, e.g., if the caller is the employees boss or a VIP client.
  • [0076]
    In another embodiment, chairs 100 may be connected to a server or server farm and used in a military environment. The server or server farm may instruct each chair 100 or specific chairs 100 to vibrate when homeland security changes the alert level. Further, server or server farm may instruct the lighting 245 to display the current alert-level color, e.g., red, yellow, etc.
  • [0077]
    The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention is by way of example only, and other variations and modifications of the above-described embodiments and methods are possible in light of the foregoing teaching. Although the network sites are being described as separate and distinct sites, one skilled in the art will recognize that these sites may be a part of an integral site, may each include portions of multiple sites, or may include combinations of single and multiple sites. The various embodiments set forth herein maybe implemented utilizing hardware, software, or any desired combination thereof. For that matter, any type of logic may be utilized which is capable of implementing the various functionality set forth herein. Components may be implemented using a programmed general purpose digital computer, using application specific integrated circuits, or using a network of interconnected conventional components and circuits. Connections may be wired, wireless, modem, etc. The embodiments described herein are not intended to be exhaustive or limiting. The present invention is limited only by the following claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/217.4, 297/217.3
International ClassificationA47C7/72
Cooperative ClassificationA47C7/72
European ClassificationA47C7/72
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 13, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ULTIMATE GAME CHAIR, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DURAN, RAYMOND JAMIE;FLOREZ, RICHARD EDWARD, JR.;REEL/FRAME:019822/0611
Effective date: 20070823