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Publication numberUS3569935 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 9, 1971
Filing dateApr 30, 1969
Priority dateApr 30, 1969
Publication numberUS 3569935 A, US 3569935A, US-A-3569935, US3569935 A, US3569935A
InventorsCoombe Thomas, Sieracki Frank W
Original AssigneeUltronic Systems Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Keyboard-controlled multiplex information retrieval system
US 3569935 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventors Frank W. Sieracki;

Thomas Coombe, Berlin, NJ. Appl. No. 820,593 Filed Apr. 30, 1969 Patented Mar. 9, 1971 Assignee Ultronic Systems Corporation KEYBOARD-CONTROLLED MULTIPLEX INFORMATION RETRIEVAL SYSTEM Primary Examiner-Harold I. Pitts Attorneys-Norman J. OMalley and Theodore C. Jay, .Ir.

ABSTRACT: Information, such as stock market transactions, stored in a common memory, is to be displayed visually by a pluralityv of remotely disposed video monitors. The displays of the various monitors can be totally independent in content, but partial or complete duplication is possible. Each monitor has a keyboard associated therewith whereby the memory can 7Cla'ms1Drawmg be interrogated for certain specific information to be dis- U.S. Cl 340/152, played by the corresponding monitor. To this end, interroga- 340/ I47, 340/ 167, 340/163 tions or requests are supplied sequentially into the memory. Int. Cl. ql/QOQ The requests are then read out of the memory into a data H04q 3/00 rocessor which enerates answers. The answers are fed back P 8 Field of Search 340/152, into the memory and then read out from the memory to the 14? various monitors at which the requests originated.

7 i 05/ 05550 swam 5/107 i 1 A'Yflf/[F/Y)? 41017712649170?" I I u/v/r/ 28/ i 22' I I A 2a 0 II /8 I I I KEYED/419D (cw/M40751? l Ell/484E R540 007' I Sw/rcw sw/rr/v I i -5 J FPO (/N/T 2 F1901! (MI/7 3 c 4 1 1 egg/241afl/ES I MEMO/P) ENHELE Z we 0M! 2 MIMI! SIG/ML m WM;- FPO a/v/r 3 TIM/V6 Paved/Mild L T 676710945 SWITCH karaawa u/v/r I 854 56 3f Ill/484 {1V6 g fi l% flur "AIM/6 SWITCH .92 SWITCH 34- SIGIVA'LS KEYBOARD-CONTROLLED MULTIPLEX ENFORMATION RETRIEVAL SYSTEM CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS Our copending application entitled Information Storage and Display System filed Apr. 4, I969, Ser. No. 822785, discloses apparatus wherein stock market transactions or other information stored in a single memory is to be displayed visually be a plurality of remotely disposed video monitors. The information can take the form of alphanumeric characters. The displays of the various monitors can be totally independent in content from each other but partial or complete duplication is possible.

Our copending application entitled Information Processing System filed Apr. 30, 1969, Ser. No. 820,592, discloses apparatus which cooperates with keyboards associated with each of the monitors whereby the memory can be interrogated for certain specific information to be displayed by a corresponding monitor. To this end, requests or interrogations are supplied sequentially into the memory. The requests are read out of the memory into a data processor which generates answers. The answers are fed back into the memory and then read out from the memory to the various monitors at which the requests originated.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Our invention is directed toward apparatus including keyboard .units associated with each monitor and coupled to a single memory for transmission of requests or interrogations thereto. The apparatus described herein cooperates with the apparatus described in both of the above-referenced patent applications to enable the requests and answers on stockmarket transactions to be displayed by the monitors.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A separate keyboard unit is associated witheach monitor. Requests or interrogations can only be entered in character by character sequence into the keyboard unit at which the request originates. The units are sequentially enabled whereby each character after entry into any unit is individually read out and transferred into the proper time slot in the memory. The memory is of the type wherein information in series-bit, seriescharacter form is recirculated. The recirculating information is disposed in time slots which have been preassigned to individual monitors. A recirculation switch, associated with the memory and included in the recirculation loop, has one position at which recirculation can be interrupted and old information selectively erased, while new information is inserted in the memory to replace the erased old information. The recirculation switch has a second position at which recirculation ensues, and no new information is inserted.

The duration of a single complete enabling cycle is so chosen that the time interval between two successive intervals during which any keyboard unit is enabled is less than the shortest time period required for any operator to enter two successive characters into any one unit. As a result, any one unitmay enable two or more time successively when only one character has been entered. Each keyboard is provided with means for preventing multiple entry of a single character into the'memory when only one entry is required.

Each keyboard unit includes a keyboard wherein each character to be selected for entry is associated with a separate key and an encoder wherein any key in the keyboard when depressed is caused to produce an electrical output in parallel bit fonnat. Only one key can be depressed at one time, and depressing of a second key automatically released the earlier depressed key. As a result, the characters entered into any unit to form a complete request appear in the series-character, parallel bit form at the output of the encoder.

The encoder output is connected through a keyboard enable switch and a character readout switch, in series connection to a keyboard unit selector readout switch. The selector readout switch is coupled through a converter wherein the information is converted from parallel bit, series-character for mat to series-bit, series-character format, to the recirculation switch for entry into the memory. The keyboard unit enable switch is used in conjunction with the keyboard unit selector switch to control the scanning process whereby characters forming a request are entered into the memory, and the character readout switch is used to prevent multiple entry of a single character when only a single'entry is required.

To this end, each keyboard enable switch is controlled by a separate enable signal detector. A keyboard unit selector enabling switch, stepped by timing signals, routes an enable signal to the enable detector of each keyboard unit in turn. When the enable detector received an enable signal, it closes the corresponding keyboard enable switch for a selected interval, this switch being otherwise open.

Each keyboard unit contains a depressed key detector which is actuated whenever a key is depressed and a character appears at the output of the encoder. This key detector, when actuated, triggers a single shot multivibrator which produces a single control pulse and then remains quiescent until the depressed key is released and a different key is depressed (or the original key is again depressed). This single pulse is sup plied to the character readout switch to close same, the switch remaining closed for one complete enabling cycle and then opening automatically. Thus, each time the enable signal is routed to a keyboard unit, the character represented by any depressed key, will be read out into the memory unless this key remains depressed long enough for the unit to receive the enable signal two or more times. In the latter case, no readout. of the same character (after initial readout) can occur.

The keyboard unit selector readout switch is stepped by timing signals to connect the output of the character readout switch of each keyboard unit in turn to the memory. This stepping action is synchronized with the stepping action of the keyboard unit selector enabling switch.

Since the information supplied to the keyboard selector BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawing is a block diagram of one em bodiment of our invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the accompanying FIG, a series-bit, seriescharacter format recirculating memory 12 is adapted to cooperate with recirculation switch 10. When the switch 10 is in position shown, the output of the memory is fed back for recirculation to the input of the memory. When the switch is in the opposite position, recirculation is interrupted and old information selectively erased, while new information is inserted. The recirculating information is disposed in time slots which have been preassigned to individual monitors each of which has a separate keyboard unit associated therewith. To insure that new information is supplied to the memory with proper timing to arrive in the correct time slot, timing signals are supplied to the switch to open and close same as required.

As will be explained in more detail hereinafter, the keyboard units develop information in parallel bit, seriescharacter format. Aconverter 14 receives such parallel bit, series-character information and converts same into series-bit, series-character format'for use by the memory.

A separate keyboard unit is associated with each monitor. Each unit includes a keybank 16, an encoder 18, a keyboard enable switch 20, a character readout switch 22, and an enable signal detector 24 for controlling switch 20. Each unit further includes a depressed key detector 26 and a single shot multivibrator 28 for controlling switch 22.

Each keyboard unit is successively enabled through the use of the keyboard unit selector enabling switch 32 whereby information yielded at the enabled unit can be read out to the converter and memory through use of the keyboard unit selector readout switch 32. Switches 32 and 34 are stepped in synchronism form keyboard unit to keyboard unit under the control of timing signals so as to ensure proper system timing whereby each unit is enabled and then disabled before the next unit is treated.

Each unit then operates in the following manner. The key bank contains a plurality of keys, each character available for use being associated with a particular key. Each key has a return spring whereby finger pressure must be maintained to depress a key. Only one key can be depressed at a time. The encoder coupled to the key bank converts each depressed key to a corresponding output code parallel bit format which identifies the particular character represented by the depressed key. This information in parallel bit, seriescharacter format appears at the output of the encoder. Typically, the format is expressed in a five bit code of binary zeros and ones.

When any keyboard unit is to be enabled under the control of switch 32, an enable signal passes therethrough to actuate detector 24 and close switch 20 whereby, if any key in the bank has been depressed, the corresponding character passes through switch 20 and, if switch 22 is closed, through switch 22 and the keyboard unit selector readout switch (if in proper position) to the converter and memory.

The system so described operates at such a speed that a complete cycle of enabling and disabling all units will occur before any operator, no matter how quick, can successively depress and release two different keys (or one key can be depressed twice). As a result, it will often occur that one key at any unit may remain depressed for two or more cycles. A request originating at any keyboard unit will normally involve a plurality of characters, and no more than one character from each unit can be read thereout and'into the memory during each cycle.

In order to ensure that a character, once read into the memory during one cycle, will not be read in inadvertently during the next cycle, detector 26 responds to appearance of new character (or the disappearance of a character and its reappearance when the same character has been depressed twice) to actuate multivibrator 28 toproduce a single pulse. This pulse is supplied to switch 22 to close same. Switch 22, once closed, remains closed for one complete enabling cycle and then automatically opens. Thus, detector 26, multivibrator 28 and switch 22 interact to prevent undesired multiple entries.

The switches detectors and other components shown in block form in the FIGURE are only functional representations. For example, detector 24 and switch 20 can be replaced by flip-flop gates, and detector 16 by an OR gate responding to the presence of one or more binary ones, the converter by a parallel input, series output register, memory by a magnetrostructive delay line and so on.

We claim:

1. A system for entering information into a memory comprising:

a plurality of keyboard units, each unit when enabled, being controllable by an operator, to enter requests therein in character by character time sequence and to make each such character available in the same sequence for readout;

first means coupled to all of said units to enable each unit successively, the timing for a complete enabling cycle for all units being so chosen that an operator cannot successively enter more than one character in any unit during one cycle;

second means synchronized with the first means for reading out no more than one character from each unit during each of said cycles; and

third means synchronized with the second means for transferring said read out characters into said memory.

2. A system as set forth in claim 1 wherein each keyboard unit includes a key bank and an encoder, each character appearing in parallel bit format at the output of said encoder, said memory being of the recirculating type wherein the information is in series-bit, series-character format, said system further including a parallel bit to series-bit converter disposed between said second means and said third means.

3. A system as set forth in claim 2 wherein each unit includes a keyboard enable switch and an enable signal detector for operating said enable switch, the enable switch being disposed between the corresponding encoder and the second means, said first means including a keyboard unit selector enabling switch coupled to each of the enable signal detectors.

4. A system as set forth in claim 3 wherein each unit includes a depressed key detector, a control circuit and a character readout switch, each character readout switch being disposed between the corresponding keyboard enable switch and the second means and controlled by' the corresponding circuit, each key detector being disposed between the corresponding encoder and the corresponding multivibrator, said character read out switch being closed for one complete enabling cycle when a character appears at the output of the encoder and thereafter being open until the next character entry ensues.

5. A system as set forth in claim 4 wherein said second means includes a keyboard unit selector read out switch coupled between each of the character read out switches and the converter.

6. A system as set forth in claim 5 wherein said third means includes a recirculation switch.

7. A system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first, second and third means are all synchronized by timing signals.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3181121 *Nov 25, 1958Apr 27, 1965Int Standard Electric CorpElectronic programme-control
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3846756 *Jun 25, 1973Nov 5, 1974Westinghouse Electric CorpProgrammable sequential logic circuit
US4370649 *May 19, 1981Jan 25, 1983Fuerle Gerard APayment responsive data display network
Classifications
U.S. Classification235/145.00R
International ClassificationG06F3/023
Cooperative ClassificationG06F3/0232
European ClassificationG06F3/023K