US 3571802 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor John J. Serra 3,344,401 9/1967 Mac Donald et a] IMO/172.5 Monroe, Conn. 3,377,622 4/1968 Burch et al. 340/1 72.5 ] Appl. No. 733,365 3,407,387 10/1968 Looschen et a1 340/1 72.5  Wed May 1968 Primary Examiner-Paul J. Henon ii zg a Co on Assistant Examiner-R. F. Chapuran Camp park Calm rpor Attorney-Robertson, Bryan, Pannelee and Johnson 541 QUERY AND REPLY SYSTEM WITH A and reply. 3; gf f s ALPHA NUMERIC READOUT savings an s to a: in processing c s suc as eposlts an 35 Claim 13 Drawing Figs withdrawals, and mclud|ng a number of remote teller machines each havmg (1) a data entry keyboard, (2) a CRT U.S. device for presenting alphanumeric characters cor. [Ill-Cl responding to data entered on the keyboard, and (3) a line  Field of Search 340/172.5; printer for riming data in the customer's passbook. The 235/157 remote station sends queries through a time-sharing multiplex arrangement to a central computer which produces cor-  References CM responding answers for retransmitta] to the querying teller UNITED STATES PATENTS machine. The answer signals are stored in a recirculating 3,248,705 4/1966 Dammann eta1............. 340/172.5 memory and are used to control the operation of the line 3,249,922 5/1966 Mero 340/172.5 printer so that the answer data can be placed directly in the 3,296,597 1/1967 1 Scantlin et al. 340/ 1 72.5 customers passbook. The system also includes an off-line op- 3,299,408 1/1967 AnWang et a1. 340/172.5 tion permitting certain computations to be made locally 3,307,154 2/1967 Garth et a1. 340/172.5 without the aid ofthe central computer.
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I 23456789 ACCOUNT NUMBER I 328 OLD BALANCE 7 5 Q Q lJEPoslTtLocAl. CHECK) 3 5 DEPOSlflOUT-OF-TOWNCHECK) I l 5 [U ID ID 2t;:
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TRANSMIT KEY PATENTEB m2 3 |97| SHEE 03 0F 10 h J m w 1 R/ 8 m H & L TT M w A l m m B a 4 M M m l I 0 M M w w SHIFT REGISTER OUTPUT DRIVERS SHIFT REGSTER PATENTEU M23197! 3,571,802
SHEET [35 F P MRL MODEM MRTS t K)! 7 I04 CONTROLS I03 I I22) QUERY GATE -TRAusM|T H 1 MODE HI 4 I36 L J TAB ADDRESS T m I38\H V V l 108 COMPARATOR GATE 0 E c o u E a I l 2 E jzl Es] TAB D COUNTER -T o ER PRINTJ H0 FLOP -1r 7 son Ao A A 2 1 TEXT ETX HPO I PRINT MODE E R E c I n c u L A T E 000 DELAY LINE 2 SHIFT I W W W W T A a c o i GATE PATENTED W23 I971 SHEET 07 OF T11 35 l l ANALYZER 6 5 K w L 0 R 4 4 O I. 6 w J ME 2 POV 5 c H m 5 p10 3 3 PM K n Infi l PATENTED W23 197i SHEET [18 (1F 10 /8O I 80a\ 7 CHARACTER I GENERATOR cmcun'nv MULTIPLEX T ViDEO DRIVER TO ORT':
Tm 5E1 FIG 3A me as FIG 30 m an FIG as FIG 3F PATENTED mes IQTI SHEET 1 9 m E aE Il Tl uhuJlsOu PuuJmw QUERY AND REPLY SYSTEM WITH ALPHA-NUMERIC READOUT This invention relates to information-handling systems. More particularly, this invention relates to such systems of the type including a central data processor operable under programmatic control to produce messages for transmission to a remote device arranged to develop a corresponding set of alpha-numeric characters, such as by means of a conventional line printer.
In a preferred embodiment of this invention, to be described hereinbelow, a savings bank system is provided comprising a number of so-called teller machines" all coupled to a central data processing computer on a time-shared basis, with each teller machine having (I) data-entry pushbuttons for transmitting query messages to the central computer and (2) a printer for entering alpha-numeric characters in the customers passbook under control of the computer. A prior art system of this general type now in commercial use is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,146,701.
Although such prior art systems have performed well, ex perience has shown that there are several aspects of such systems requiring improvement. For example, there has been found a need for increased efficiency in transmitting messages between the computer and the teller machines. Also, there is need for increased flexibility, particularly with respect to expanding communications between the teller stations and the central computer so as to provide the teller with greater assistance in servicing the customer, especially by means of supplementary information relative to any given transaction. The overall system arrangement also has needed improvement to make it more readily adaptable to applications having different requirements.
Advances along these lines have been achieved in the present invention by a more generalized design approach wherein the functional controlling operations are concentrated more in the central computer areas than theretofore. This has permitted a wider latitude of functions to be performed under the readily alterable programmatic control of the computer, and correspondingly has permitted a reduction of previously used fixed purpose specialized peripheral equipment such as that employed for interpreting and distributing messages from the computer.
In one aspect of the invention, increased flexibility is achieved through an arrangement wherein each of the individual columnar printing elements of a conventional passbook printer at the teller machine is assigned a corresponding single-character storage location in a local memory associated with the teller machine. The computer transmits its reply message serially through a single channel to this memory, and utilizes special tab signals to direct printer instruction signals only to those particular storage locations corresponding to the columnar printing elements to be activated. With such an arrangement, any combination of the columnar printing elements can be activated for each printout, thus providing a functional result not attainable with the system of said U.S. Pat. No. 3, l46,70l.
Flexibility further is enhanced by combining in one machine a data-entry keyboard, a document printer, and a CRT display device which presents the query message characters entered by the operator. The CRT display also serves to present cer tain computer reply information not to be printed in the customers passbook. An advantageous feature of this composite teller machine is an arrangement wherein the memory which stores the data for presentation on the CRT also stores the computer reply data used for controlling the passbook printer.
Accordingly, it is a general object of this invention to provide datahandling systems and techniques which are superior to those available heretofore. Another object of this invention is to provide a more flexible data processing system of the type wherein a number of input-output stations are serviced by a central computer on a time-shared basis. A specific object of this invention is to provide an improved system for servicing customers of savings banks and the like in an economical and reliable manner. Other objects, aspects and advantages of the invention will in part be pointed out in, and in part apparent from, the following description considered together with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I illustrates the general arrangement of a system incor porating this invention;
FIG. 2 shows the CRT display and certain portions of the data-entry keyboard associated therewith;
FIG. 36 shows the relationship between FIGS. 3A through 3F;
FIGS. 3A through 3F together present a schematic diagram showing details of the control unit for one subgroup of teller machines;
FIG. 4 is a timing diagram of the printer pulses used for activating the type bar selection mechanism;
FIG. 5 is a modification to provide off-line functions; and
FIG. 6 and 7 show CRT displays in the off-line mode.
Referring now to FIG. I, the preferred embodiment of this invention includes several groups of teller machines 10(sometimes called window machines") coupled to corresponding control units 12, only two of which are shown in order to simplify the presentation. Each group of teller machines might, for example, be located at a corresponding branch of a savings bank. These machines include means to provide the teller with certain operating functions to assist him in servicing the customers of the bank, as well be described.
Each teller machine I0 (see also FIG. 2) basically comprises a data-entry keyboard I4, an alpha-numeric data dis play device 16 in the form of a CRT, and a printer l8 suitable for imprinting columns of characters in the customer's passbook. The teller in servicing the customer makes various entries by depressing selected keys I4, and corresponding electrical signals are transmitted through the associated control unit 12 to a central computer 20. This computer includes the usual data storage means containing all of the information concerning the savings deposit accounts. It also includes computational apparatus and program means to process queries and develop reply messages for controlling the printing of information in a passbook at any remote teller machine.
Each control unit 12 includes a magnetostrictive delay line 22 which serves, generally in the manner disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,368,028, to store message character codes developed by the teller machines 10 and the computer 20. The delay line storage capacity is subdivided into so-called segments illustrated at A, etc., each assigned to a corresponding teller machine I0. These segments need not be serially arranged, as pictorially shown in the drawing, and may for example be arranged in an interlaced fashion in accordance with known techniques. All query messages developed at a particular teller machine are stored in the corresponding delay line segment, and all reply messages for that teller machine produced by the computer 20 similarly are stored in the same delay line segment. ASCII 7-bit code characters are used for the various messages, as well as for related control purposes,
Code characters stored in the delay line 22 under certain conditions activate CRT control circuitry to develop corresponding graphic symbol characters on the face of the CRT 16. Under other conditions, codes stored in the delay line control the printer 18, as will be described hereinbelow in detail.
The present system provides for communication between the control units 12 and the computer 20 by means of a polling arrangement like that described in copending application Ser. No. 460,l l7, filed on Jun. 1, 1965 by Richmond D. Belcher, et al. In this arrangement, the control units are interrogated periodically in a predetermined sequence to determine whether they contain any teller query messages awaiting transfer to the computer. When such a query message is found, the polling operation is interrupted until transfer of the query to the computer is effected and the reply message sent back.
Communication between the control units 12 and the computer 20 preferably takes place through a transmission circuit including a common output line 24 leading from the control units to the computer and a common input line 26 for transferring messages from the computer to the control units. Lines 24 and 26 are coupled to the control unit operating circuitry by a conventional Modem (Modulate-Demodulate") unit such as is widely used with leased-line communication systems.
All characters transmitted through lines 24 and 26 to and from the control unit 12 will have a lO-bit structure. The first bit always will be a space" (zero). Bits 2*8 will be the 7-bit ASCII encoded character. Bit 9 will be vertical parity on the first 8 bits. Bit l always will be a mark" (one).
Referring again to FIG. 2, the CRT display device 16 in one embodiment is arranged to present characters in eight successive horizontal lines, each line being it) characters in length. Principal display characters (e.g. alphabetic letters and dollar numerics) are formed in a full-sized X7 dot matrix, while cents numerics are fonned in a reduced-area 4X5 dot matrix, utilizing techniques described in the above-identified copend ing application Ser. No. 460,l 17. An entry marker, consisting of the 35-dot matrix with all dot positions illuminated, may be used to indicate the position where the next character is to be entered.
The keyboard 14 includes one group of keys 28 for identifying transaction functions, and a second group of keys 30 for establishing certain transaction conditions. A third group of keys 32 is provided for entering numeric characters. A fourth group of keys 34 furnishes editing functions.
To illustrate one type of operation which typically might be performed at one of the teller machines 10, the operator may initiate a transaction by first entering the customer's account number in the top line by depressing the 0" symbol transaction key, followed by the particular numerics of the actual account number. The old balance is entered on the second line, and on successive lines are entered different classes of deposits presented by the customer (e.g. local check, out-oftown check, cash). The display on the CRT then will be exampled by the operator for accuracy, and any required corrections will be made by known editing techniques.
When the assembled message displayed on the CRT 16 is verified as correct, the operator presses a Transmit Key 36, and the complete query is transmitted to the computer for processing. The computer thereupon carries out certain programmed operations, including for example the computation of accumulated interest and a new balance for the account. The resulting reply signal for the computer controls the printer 18 so as to make suitable entries in the customers passbook.
Only the first seven lines of the CRT 16 are used for entering query data, the eighth line being reserved for presenting communications from the computer. The teller generally will be able to transmit in a single query message all of the necessary information concerning any one transaction. In the event that the transaction requires more than seven lines on the CRT display, however, the teller will be able to handle it simply by sending successive queries, each limited to not more than seven fields of data. The time for processing any single query generally will be approximately l second following depression of the Transmit Key 36. 70 To facilitate the handling of dollars and cents data, numeric characters are entered in the CRT display starting at the right-hand column. For example, if the set of numerics 132.32 is to be entered, the operator will depress the corresponding keys in regular sequence reading from left to right. When the first key (numeral l) is depressed, a corresponding 1 will appear in the last (farthest right-hand) column of the line. When the next key (numeral 3") is depressed, the previously displayed l will be shifted one position to the left on the face of the CRT, and 3 will appear in the last column. This procedure continues until the complete number is entered. Thus, numeric entries on successive lines always will be aligned properly for rapid inspection by the teller.
The control unit 12 operates in any of several different Modes" referred to respectively as Query Assembly, Query Transmission, Reception of Reply, and Printout of Reply. The latter three modes are mutually exclusive, but queries may be assembled by any teller machine which does not have a query outstanding.
Considering now the Query Assembly operation is more detail, and referring to FIG. 3B, the keyboards 14 of all of the teller machines 10 are continuously scanned at a rapid rate to detect when any key has been depressed. This scanning is car ried out by a Multiplex Keyboard Drive 50 which as disclosed in the above-identified application Ser. No. 460,1 [7 sequentially energizes a series of scanning leads 52 under control of a timing generator 54 activated by a clock 56. The timing generator also produces a full range of timing signals for controlling the various circuits of the control unit (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,368,028), including hit count, character count, line count, and device count signals. Such signals are identified generally as "T" in selected places in FIG. 3.
Scanning leads 52 are connected to respective teller machines 10 and are pulsed in sequence (e.g. with a pulse duration of 3.5 milliseconds) to sample the condition of the keyboards [4. Depression of any key at a teller machine at tivates an associated switch circuit (not shown herein) which stores in a relay buffer a code identifying the character of the depressed key. This relay buffer in turn develops a cor responding unique set of circuit completions from the scanning lead 52 to individual lines of an eight-wire multiple 60 connecting all of the teller machines to the control unit 12. The particular lines energized by a pulse on lead 52 define the individual parallel bits" of the code identifying the selected key. Current flows from these energized lines through a gate circuit 62 to an input buffer 68 where the parallel code is stored for subsequent transfer into the delay line storage 22. Seven of the eight lines 60 represent the seven ASCll data bits; an eighth line transmits editing control signals.
The gate circuit 62 is controlled by data flops (A, 8, etc.) which are in turn set by respective leads 63A, etc. from the keysets. Whenever any key is depressed at a keyset, the lead from that keyset is grounded to set the associated data flop. At the trailing edge of the 3.5 millisecond energizing pulse to that particular teller machine, its data flop opens gate 62 to transfer the sampled character to the buffer 68. At the same time, the relay buffer in the keyset is released. Each character transferred to the input buffer 68 is examined by an analyzer 70 to make certain preliminary determinations as to the na ture of the character and the action that will be taken with respect thereto.
For entering a keyset character into the delay line 22, there is provided a parallel'to-serial strobe 72 operating continuously at the bit count rate to transfer the stored parallel code synchronously into the delay line 22 through control gates illustrated at 74 and 76. This insertion takes place at some time during the 3.5 millisecond pulse period following the sampling pulse. That is, the delay line data segment A, etc., for each teller machine starts to enter the delay line input gate 76 im mediately after the end of the 3.5 millisecond keyboard scanning pulse for that teller machine.
When entering the sampled character data into the delay line 22, it is of course necessary to determine the delay line storage position ("slot) which is to receive this character. This is accomplished by the use of a character flag hit (sometimes referred to herein as the entry marker bit EM) which, as described in theabove-mentioned US. Pat. Nov 3,368,028, is automatically placed in a preassigned bit position in the slot next to be acted on. A suitably timed entry marker detector 78 continuously examines the preassigned bit position of all slots during spinning" of the delay line and, when the flag bit is found, produces an output signal to gate any waiting character into the marked delay iine slot".
Generally, the keyboard characters will be entered in so called display slots" of the delay line, i.e. slots arranged to control the CRT display 16. As the delay line data recirculates, the codes in the display slots are gated by timing signals to CRT Control Equipment generally indicated at 80 in H6.
31-. This equipment is essentially identical to that disclosed in the above identified Application Ser. No. 460,1 [7, and there fore will not be described herein in detail. It is noted, however, that this equipment includes character generator circuitry 800 for continuously convening the delay line codes from sevenbit format into corresponding 48-bit format suited for controlling the 5X7 dot matrix of the CRT display and providing one unmarked vertical sweep between each display character. These matrix control characters are distributed to the respective teller machines by a multiplex video driver 80b, in appropriately timed relationship with CRT sweep synchronizing signals, so as to repetitively paint corresponding graphic symbols on the faces of the CRTs asthe delay line spins.
The delay line 22 may comprise a number of separate units operating in synchronism to provide the required storage capacity. Such a composite delay line may for example be constructed of individual units each having a delay of 7 milliseconds, i.e. having sufficient storage capacity for six teller machines The system is so designed that up to 18 teller machines can be accommodated by three such delay lines. In that system, the keyboards 14 of the teller machines would be scanned every 63 milliseconds, but access time to any stored character would be no greater than 7 milliseconds. To simplify the description herein, the delay line is shown as having only four segments (A,B,C,D), corresponding to four teller machines.
Each delay line segment (A, etc.) includes sufficient storage capacity for 128 code characters for controlling a CRT display of eight lines having 16 characters each. Each such segment also includes additional so-called dead storage" slots for control and related purposes, eg for each l6-slot line storage section, there is provided three dead storage" slots, two at the start of the line section and one at the end.
Each delay line slot comprises eight data bit positions. The first bit position of each character is used for storing the flag bit (referred to above) to indicate where the next character is to be placed or taken from. The remaining seven bit positions are for the seven ASCll data bits identifying the character. When an operation first is begun by a teller making entries through his keyboard 14 to assemble a query message, the character flag bit normally will be located in the first display character position of the first (top) line storage section for that teller machine, i.e. corresponding to the upper left-hand corner of the CRT display 16. Thus, the first character transferred into the input buffer 68 and subsequently inserted in the delay line 22 by the strobe 72 will appear in the upper lefthand corner (as illustrated by the transaction identifier symbol in FIG. 2).
After the first transaction character has thus been entered into the delay line 22, logic means (such as described in US. Pat. No. 3,369,028) operate to transfer the flag bit to the next slot in the delay line. If another transaction key is depressed, its code will be inserted in the newly marked slot, and the corresponding symbol will appear on the CRT alongside of the first character symbol. However, when a key is depressed for a numeric, as in the example described above with reference to F l6. 2, the character code is not inserted in the next marked slot, but instead is placed in the 16th slot of the line storage section then being worked on, i.e. the line containing the entry marker. The character symbol of this numeric thus will appear on the CRT in the farthest right-hand column position.
Detection of a numeric character is indicated by a high signal on a numeric output lead 82 from analyzer 70. This signal activates the numeric logic circuitry 83 which also receives timing signals from the timing generator 54 so as to gate the numeric code into the delay line when the l6th character position is reached. As illustrated by lead 84, the numeric logic circuitry suppresses the normal control action of the character flag bit, so as to prevent loading the waiting numeric code into the marked slot. However, the flag bit is de tected for the purpose of loading the numeric into the particular line storage section containing the flag bit.
If the next key depressed is for another numeric, the numeric detection lead 82 again will go high, and the logic circuitry 83 referred to in the preceding paragraph again is activated to insert the corresponding numeric code in the 16th slot of the line storage section, i.e. in the same slot into which the previously stored numeric code had been inserted. That prior code, however, is not lost because, when the second numeric is detected, a circuit 86 is activated to move all of the numeric codes in that line storage section (i.e. all of the codes except the transaction identifier codes at the initial part of the section) one character position back towards the beginning of the line storage section.
Such rearward shifting is accomplished in this embodiment by a gated bypass circuit 88 coupled around the usual onecharacter shift register 90 at the output of the delay line. (Note that if a 3:1 interlace storage arrangement is used, this shift register may actually have a three character storage capacity, i.e. 24 bits.) When this bypass circuit 88 is activated by the numeric logic circuit 83 and shift circuit 86, at the required period for the line section involved, all of the codes are advanced in time one character. This is, the affected code characters do not sulTer the delay of passing through the shift register 90.
It the operator depresses another transaction key after a numeric character entry (as described above), the character flag bit is automatically moved by known techniques (sometimes referred to as "carriage return-line feed" or CR-LF) to the first display slot of the the next succeeding line storage section of the delay line. The CR-LF circuitry 92 for accomplishing this is activated by a transaction key lead 94 from the analyzer 70, and which goes high whenever a transaction character code is detected in the input buffer. Thus the next transaction code is inserted in the first slot of the next line section and is displayed on the CRT 16 in the corresponding first character position of the next line.
In this manner the entire query is entered and assembled in the control unit 12. Thereafter, the message is checked for accuracy by the teller. The message can be edited in accordance with procedures outlined in the above-mentioned US. Pat. No. 3,368,028, through signals sent over one line of the eightline multiple 60.
After the editing procedure has been completed, the the query message verified as accurate, the teller depresses his Transmit Key 36. Normally at this time the teller already will have placed the passbook in the printer carriage, and this carriage will automatically have been driven into printing position. With the carriage so positioned, depression of the transmit key actuates a relay which directs to the eight-wire multiple 60 a special transmit" code, and also activates the keyset lead 63 to the corresponding data flop 64 so as to effect readout of the transmit code on the next scan. When the trans mit code character reaches the input buffer 68, the analyzer 70 detects this special code and produces a high output on a transmit" lead 96 which serves to generate a Bid from the teller machine for access to the computer 20.
This transmit lead 96 energizes a bid control circuit 98 which also receives timing signals T arranged to gate a marked bit in the third bit position of the first dead storage slot of the delay line storage segment (A, etc.) corresponding to the bidding teller machine. This dead storage slot is referred to as the Query Control Character," and is illustrated pictorially at 100 in the delay line 22 in FIG. 3. The bid control circuit 98 also includes means to shift the character flag bit to the first display position of the storage segment, to indicate where readout of the query message is to start when the message is retrieved for transmittal to the computer 20.
As mentioned hereinabove, the computer periodically interrogates or "polls" all of the control units l2 to which it is connected to determine when any contains a completed query ready for processing. This polling function follows well established procedures which do not form any part of this invention, and which are described in detail in the aboveidentified copending application Ser. No. 460,l l7. In the present embodiment of the invention, the polling message sent by the computer comprises a series of ASCII characters respectively identified as: SOH (start of header). AO (address of the controi unit being polled), ENQ enquiry character to identify the message as a poll), ETX (end of text), and HPC (horizontal parity character).
When the polled message is received, the control unit 12 will be in an idle mode and will wait until the common input line (MRL) from the processor has been in mark condition for two character times. The control unit then will monitor the line to detect the polling message sequence, and will continue to monitor the line only if the detected A character coin cides with the address for that particular control unit. lf there is no coincidence, ie if the message is for some other control unit, then the monitoring control unit reverts to the beginning of its idle mode.
The signals on the common line MRL from the processor are coupled from the Modem output terminal and through gates 102, 104 to a four-character communication buffer 106. The fourth stage IV of this bufier is coupled in parallel to a decoder 108 having conventional means to detect certain specific code characters and to produce corresponding signals for initiating particular control functions. In one embodiment, the output of this decoder is used to drive a format shift register 110 the individual stages of which are set in sequence to indicate receipt of the code characters of various messages including a poll message from the computer as described above. (In a poll message, detection of ENQ is used to jump from A0 to TEXT, as indicated by the dotted line.) After a complete poll has been decoded, the next step is to determine whether the control unit has a bid to be serviced.
Keyset bids are detected by a seeker 112 of the type described in detail in the above-identified application Ser. No. 460,l l7. In essence, this seeker comprises a combination of counters activated by timing signals and programmed to identify the delay line segments A, etc. in sequence. The seeker normally is searching continuously for bids, and for this purpose receives the output of a bid detector 114 arranged to sense the presence of marked bit in the third bit position of the query control characters 100. The seeker stops when a bid is detected, and sets a bid flop 116 to condition certain circuits for readout of the query message from the delay line.
When a poll is detected by decoder 108 while bid flop 116 is set, the control unit is in effect placed in Query Transmit Mode. Conventional wired gate circuitry (not shown) thereupon is activated to produce and transmit back to the computer the standard header" message (i.e. SOH, A0, etc.) identifying the control unit and the particular teller machine responding to the query. Thereafter, a gate 118 is opened so as to transfer the first query message character through gates 103, 104 to the communications buffer 106 at detection of the entry marker flag bit locating that first character. The fourth stage of this buffer directs the query character through an output gate 122 to the Modern and thence to the output line MRTS for the computer 20.
After the first character in the bidding delay line segment is read out from the delay line, the character flag bit is automatically shifted by known techniques to the next character slot so as to cause the following message character to be transferred out at the next available time. This procedure continues until the complete query has been transmitted together with the standard end-of-message characters. During the entire readout and transmission procedure, the seeker 112 remains at its count position identifying the particular teller machine segment containing the query message. While a query is outstanding, the control unit is maintained in busy condition, wherein it will accept only a reply to the query, and treat all other incoming messages as error.
After the computer 20 has received the complete query message, it carries out known procedures to produce a suitable reply message responsive to the information identified in the query. The reply message is arranged in standard fixed format: SOH, A0, Al/AZ (teller address, delay line address, and
display format instructions). MCC (a so-called message control character), TEXT. ETX, and HPC These reply char-no ters are shifted through the communications buffer I06 in the usual fashion, and are sensed by the decoder 108 to produce special control signals from the various decoder output leads, e.g. for the shift register 110, to transfer the control unit to Reception of Reply Mode, etc.
The data bits in the MCC character may for example having following significance:
Bit 0 l A one indicates that the printer will print only on its journal tape and not on the passbook.
2 A one indicates that no printout will occur.
3 A one indicates the reply "more to come.
4 A one indicates the reply reject condition.
5 A one indicates the reply that the processor will print the date in the passbook, rather than having the date printed under local control at the teller machine.
6 A one indicates the reply that the processor will print the identification of the teller, rather than having this information developed locally at the teller machine.
7 Complement of bit 06.
A typical reply message will provide material to be imprinted on the passbook, so that the second bit of MCC will not be marked. Detection of this unmarked bit by the decoder 108 serves to activate a print flop 124 which prepares circuitry for the printing operation. The TEXT portion of the reply message also will include a special first character, referred to as DC], which when detected by the decoder 108 activates conventional circuitry to clear the query message characters from the delay line to prepare for storage of the computer reply.
The principal TEXT characters of the typical reply comprise instruction signals for controlling the printer [8. These instruction signals include one or more groups of numeric characters with each group preceded by "tab" control signals indicating the storage positions (slots) in the delay line 22 where the immediately following group of numeric characters are to be inserted. In the preferred embodiment, the first 64 display positions of each segment (A, etc.) are made available for storage of the printer instruction signals.
The tab signals consist of two sequential characters, the first of which (referred to as the tab header) will indicate to the control unit 12 that the immediately following character contains storage address information. This second character (referred to as the tab address) will indicate with six bits the particular display line (1 through 4) and character position (I through 16) in which the first character of the following numerics data field will be stored. That is, the first two bits of the tab address signal will identify which line, and the next four bits will identify the character position in that line. The first printer instruction signal will be inserted in the addressed slot, and the remaining instruction signals will be inserted in successive slots after the addressed slot, under the control of the character flag bit which is automatically advanced by conventional logic circuitry after each character is inserted.
If there is a second group of printer instruction signals to be stored in the delay line, this will be indicated by a second set of tab signals, including both a tab header and a tab address character. The functioning of this second set of tab signals will be identical to that previously described.
Various logic circuits can of course be devised for directing the printer instruction signals to the delay line slots identified by the tab address information. In the present embodiment, the circuitry for this directing means includes logic at the decoder 108 to detect the tab header character, and arranged to produce a high signal on a lead 132 whenever the tab header is found in a message from the computer. This high signal opens a gate 134 to send the next succeeding character, i.e. the tab address character, to a corresponding register I36. Gate 134 is automatically closed after transfer of the tab address character, so that the succeeding printer instruction signals follow the regular path into buffer stage lV.
The high signal on lead 132 also activates a comparator circuit I38 which compares the tab address character bits in register 136 with the output lines of a conventional counter [40 responsive to character count and line count" timing signals from the timing generator 54. The signals on the output leads of this counter identify each delay line slot as it begins to enter the delay line.
When the output of counter 140 identifies the delay line slot corresponding to the tab address signal stored in the register 136. the output of comparator 138 goes high to open a control gate 142. This control gate, in association with suitable timing signals. directs the following printer instruction character (then awaiting transfer from the fourth buffer stage IV) through another gate [43. controlled by the seeker 112. and thence to the input of the delay line. This first printer instruction signal can be loaded in the correct slot by means of the usual flag bit inserted in that slot under control of gate 142. Alternatively, the timing may be arranged in such a manner that the first instruction character is transferred directly under control of gate I42. In any event. after loading of this first character, the flag bit is inserted in the next slot of the delay line so as to identify the position for the next printer instruction signal of the group. After that character is loaded in the next slot, the flag bit is shifted to the next successive slot and so forth until all of the printer information signals have been inserted in the set of slots identified by the tab signals.
If a second group of printer instruction signals follows the first group. the detection of the tab header signal for that second group will activate the comparator circuitry 138 as described above to identify the slot position where the first character of the next group of printer instruction signals is to be stored. This second group then will be inserted in the delay line in the same fashion as the first group.
Ultimately the end of message characters ETX and HPC will arrive and be detected by the decoder 108 to indicate completion of the computer reply message. The detection signal reflecting this condition is combined with the output signal of print flop 124 (indicating that the second bit of the MCC character was not marked. so that a printout is to occur), and the resultant signal activates a Print Mode flop 150.
In print mode, the printer 18 is caused to go through a socalled select cycle. requiring about 250-300 milliseconds, followed by a print" cycle requiring about 250 milliseconds. During the latter cycle, the savings bank passbook will be imprinted with a line of characters corresponding to the printer instruction signals stored in the delay line. The character printed in each columnar position in the line of print is controlled by the code in the delay line slot corresponding to that columnar position. If no code was inserted in any given slot. there will be no character printed in the respective column (or, in some cases. an asterisk may be printed to indicate positively that no character is present).
The particular teller machine where the printout is to occur is prepared for activation at the time the bid is first detected. That is. the output of the seeker 112. after it has stopped on the address of the bidding teller machine, is directed to a teller machine control 154 to identify the bidding teller machine. The output of the Bid flop 116 also is applied to this control, and when the output goes high. one of the select lines 154A. etc. is energized corresponding to the bidding teller machine, thereby to activate that machine and initiate its select cycle.
The Print Mode flop 150 activates a transfer gate 156 to direct the corresponding printer instruction signals to operating means generally indicated at 158 in FIG. 3a for controlling the printer 18. This operating means comprises an instruction signal distributor circuit including an analyzer 160 which receives the printer instruction signals in sequence from the first 64 display positions of the delay line segment corresponding to the bidding teller machine. The instruction signals are reinserted in the delay line in their original position through a return circuit 161. Each numeric code is examined in transit by analyzer 160 to determine what number is to be printed in the pass book column corresponding to the delay line slot from which the code was read.
So as to pennit a better understanding of the printer control functions to be described hereinbclow. a brief summary of the printer mechanism first will be presented. This mechanism is in principal respects similar to that described in detail in US. Pat. No. 3.146.701 and in general comprises a large number (e.g. 60) ofcharacterforming elements consisting of side-byside type bars [64 for printing in respective columns of thc passbook. Each type bar includes three sections I66. [68 and 170, the front section 166 having type characters projecting from the opposite top and bottom edges for printing on the passbook at the bottom, and on a record proof tape ("journal tape") at the top. The intermediate section 168 has rack teeth along its top edge. while the rearward section [70 is formed along its top edge with successive notches. one for each type character on the front section I66.
At the start of the select cycle. all of the type bars 164 are driven forwardly at high speed towards positions in which the printout operation will take place. The extent of forward movement of each bar is determined by an arresting mechanism responsive to the corresponding printer instruction signal stored in the delay line. The physical mechanism by which the forward movement of the type bar may be arrested is described in detail in the above-identified US. Pat. No. 3.l46.70l.
This arresting mechanism for the type bars 164 is actuated by a solenoid 172. one for each type bar. That is, when the solenoid for any particular type bar is actuated. the arresting mechanism immediately stops the forward movement of the corresponding type bar. The time in the select cycle when any solenoid is actuated is determined by a corresponding printer instruction signal stored in the delay line. The position of the type bar when thus arrested determines which of the type characters on the forward section 166 will be printed on the passbook.
After the select cycle has been completed. all of the type bars 164 are stationary in various positions in accordance with the printer instruction signals stored in the delay line. Thus. when the print cycle takes place, immediately after completion of the select cycle. the passbook will be imprinted with a line of characters in the particular combination selected by the computer reply message.
During the select cycle. a conventional motor-driven rotary commutator (not shown) in the teller machine it] produces a series of IO printer pulses synchronized with the advancing movement of the type bars 164 such that each pulse effectively identifies a corresponding selectable type bar position at which printing can take place to produce a corresponding character. These pulses are of about 10 milliseconds duration. and are directed to respective lines 180 ofa group of 10 lines. The first pulse appears on the first line approximately 40 milliseconds after the start of the select cycle. the next pulse appears on the second line approximately [0 milliseconds after the first pulse has subsided. etc. FIG. 4 illustrates the timing relationship between these pulses.
The lines I from all of the teller machines are connected together in a common multiple. These lines also are connected as inputs to an OR gate 182 for producing an output signal whenever a printer pulse appears on any of the lines. The out put of this OR gate controls the transmission of actuating signals to the solenoids 172 for arresting the type bars as required by the printer instruction signals.
When the first printer pulse appears. all of the type bars 164 have moved forward to a position to produce a numeric 9" character in the passbook. Thus. during the time of this first pulse. actuating signals must be sent to the solenoids 172 of those type bars which are to produce a 9. To this end, bcfore the first printer pulse appears. i.e. during the 40 milliseconds initial delay indicated in FIG. 4. all of the printer instruction signals stored in the particular segment of the delay line 22 are examined to determine which contains an instruction representing a numeric Such readout requires no more than 7 milliseconds. the transit time through one delay line.
This examination is conducted by the analyzer 160 which receives the delay line signals through the transfer gate 156. Whenever the analyzer detects a 9," a corresponding binary one is loaded into the first stage of a 64-bit shift register 184. If the analyzer does not detect a '9, a binary zero" is loaded into the shift register. Thus, after the entire 64- character instruction signal area of the delay line segment has been examined in this manner, the shift register 184 will be filled with ones and zeros indicating which slots of the delay line contain instruction signals requiring printout ofa 9" and which slots do not.
Before the first printer pulse is generated by OR gate 182, the contents of shift register 184 are transferred serially to a second shift register 186. Thereafter, the printer pulse is directed to the output circuits of the individual stages of the second shift register. to transfer the stored "ones" and zeros" in parallel to a corresponding set of output drivers 190. These output drivers control corresponding energizing circuits 192 leading to the solenoids [72 respectively, so as to actuate each solenoid the shift register stage for which contains a one, i.e. those stages representing the detection ofa numeric 9" in the delay line data. The power circuit for actuating the solenoids is completed through the printer select line 154A (or B, etc.) which goes high only to the selected printer. Forward movement of all of the type bars identified by the energized drivers 190 is immediately arrested at the position where the type bars will produce a numeric "9" upon printout.
During the next successive printer pulse, the solenoids of all of those type bars which are scheduled to print a number 8 must be energized. This can be done by supplying analyzer 160 with a compare signal for the numeric 8" in place of numeric "9," e.g. by means of a down counter. However, a preferred arrangement is to pass the analyzer output through a conventional add one" circuit 194 operable to alter each character by raising its decimal value by "one" prior to reinsertion ofthe character into the delay line. Thus, at the second readout of the instructional signals, original 8s will have become 9s, original 7s will have become 8s, etc.
By this means, the 9s detector 160 used during the first delay line readout will serve during the second readout to detect the presence of original 8s (now 9s) in the delay line. Corresponding ones (and zeros) will be loaded into the first shift register 184 and transferred to the second shift register 186 for controlling, in parallel fashion, all of the type bar solenoids 172 when the output of the OR gate I82 goes high during the second printer pulse.
Before the third readout of the delay line data, the add-one circuit [94 again will have raised the numeric characters one unit so that original 7s now become 9s, original 65 become 8s, etc. Thus, on the third readout, the analyzer 160 will load re' gister 184 with ones" for every original 7" in the delay line, and load "zeros for all others, so as correspondingly to con trol the solenoids 172. Ultimately, in this fashion all of the printer instruction signals will have been detected and used to actuate a corresponding solenoid 172 at the appropriate time to arrest the associated type bar at the position where it will print out the desired character.
After the 10th printer pulse has been produced on the lOth line of the common multiple 180, an l lth pulse is produced and transmitted (by conventional means, not shown) to the control unit 12 to signify the end of the select cycle. Thereafter, by means such as disclosed in the above us. Pat. No. 3,!46,701, the print cycle is initiated to press the passbook and the type bars 164 together so as to print out the line of characters defined by the computer 20. The query transaction is then complete.
As noted hereinabove, a query message is limited to the first seven data fields (ire. the top seven lines of the CRT), Any at tempt by the operator to enter further query characters in the eighth line will not be effective and logic circuitry is provided in the control unit to prevent entries in the eighth line, as by means of erasing the character flag bit when CR-LF is developed with the entry marker in the seventh line. The
eighth line is reserved for communications from the computer 20, such as stop-order messages (indicating that no withdrawal should be permitted), or requests to submit to the computer further data, e.g. such as customer identification information.
When such communications are sent from the computer, the printer operation must be inhibited. This can be done by the Message Control Character (MCC), as by marking the 05 bit to indicate that a stop order is impending. This code is detected by the decoder 108 which thereupon activates suitable control circuitry (not shown) to prevent the printer select circuitry from being energized as described hereinabovev Only certain control functions have been described hereinabove in detail. It will be understood however that system installed for commercial use generally will provide additional functions, such as provision for the computer to signal more-to-come"(MTC) when a complete reply requires more than a single printout, and means at the control unit responsive to such signals for maintaining the printer and its associated operating circuitry in readiness for the additional printer instructions from the computer. Many other functions may of course be provided, as desired.
One particularly important additional function is to perform certain basic operations without the aid of the computer, for example, to service customers while the computer is temporarily disabled. In such off-line" mode, the system should be able to make limited arithmetic computations associated with calls such as deposits and withdrawals, and to control the printout of corresponding information in the customer's pussbook. Providing such a so-called cross-footer in the framework of the system described hereinabove posed severe problems which have been solved by further features of the invention to be described hereinbelow. By these means, the teller is enabled to carry out off-line calls by following much the same procedure previously described, i.e. by making keyset entries which are stored in the delay line 22 and presented on the CRT 16 together with the results of the computation.
One of the difficulties encountered in providing an off-line computational facility arises from the fact that, for reasons related to control of the CRT display, the numbers stored in the delay line 22 emerge with the most significant digit first. This creates a problem in that arithmetic operations such as addition and subtraction are best carried out starting with the least significant digit. To solve this problem, the present system is adapted to include special means to facilitate readout of selected numbers starting with their least significant digits. so that the numbers can be operated on by conventional arithmetic equipment.
Referring now to FIG. 6, which illustrates an off-line deposit call, the display on the CRT 16 appears much like that previously described in connection with FIG. 2. In the top line is inserted the customer's account number, followed in the second line by the old balance, and in the third line by the deposit being made. The system to be described herein has the facility of handling only a single deposit (or withdrawal) per call, and the fourth line is for displaying the new balance computed by the off-line arithmetic equipment.
After the teller has entered the old balance and deposit data, he presses his Transmit Key as before. Detection by the control unit 12 of this bid, in the manner previously described, energizes a line 200 (lower left-hand corner of FIG. 5) which activates a special Marker lnsert Control circuit 202. This control circuit includes conventional means, based on the principles disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,368,028, for inserting flag bits in the delay line 22, and specifically in the slots thereof corresponding to the l6th character of each of the second, third and fourth lines. Such flag bits are pictorially illustrated in the CRT display of FIG. 6 by shading overlying those character positions, but it will be understood that the CRT display does not actually produce any visible indication ofthe positions ofthe flag bits.
Thereafter, as the data recirculates during the next spin of the delay line 22, the flag bits are sensed by a marker detector 204 which controls the reading and writing of corresponding characters. When the first flag bit is detected (in the second line), a gate 206 is opened to direct that character through a second gate 208 (timed for the second line of characters) to a temporary storage register 210. The next flag bit (in the third line) also opens gate 206, but the corresponding character passes from that gate through a gate 212 (timed for the third line) directly to the bottom input of a full adder 214.
Simultaneously, the marker detector 204 opens a gate 216 (also timed for the third line) to read out the contents of register 210 into the top input of the adder. The individual bits of the last characters of the second and third lines (the numerics 5 and in the example shown) thus arrive at the adder in synchronism. The adder carries out its function in known fashion, and the resulting character is inserted in the gegister 210 through output line 218. If the addition produces a carry, this is handled in conventional fashion by suitable manipulation.
When the next flag bit occurs (in the fourth line), the marker detector 204 opens gate 220 (timed for the fourth line) which transfers the character stored in the register 210 through the input gate 76 to the delay line 22. Thus the character (numeric is stored in the sixteenth position of the fourth line, as indicated in FIG. 7, to display the results of adding the two characters immediately above.
Each time a flag bit is detected, the Marker lnsert Control 202 is automatically activated (by timing means, not shown) to shift that flag bit back one slot, in this case from the 16th character position to the th character position in each of lines two, three and four. This shifting is accomplished by conventional apparatus such as is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,368,028. FIG. 7 illustrates with shading at these character positions the new locations of the flag bits.
Thereafter, the procedure described above is repeated for the numerics in the 15th positions, and the calculated addition result is entered in the 15th position of the fourth line. This procedure is repeated until all required additions are completed, and the new balance displayed in the fourth line. It will be apparent that similar techniques can be applied to withdrawals, as by using a subtraction circuit which operates digit by digit, starting with the least significant digit, as well as with other types of calls.
After the arithmetics have been completed, the required information must be printed in the customers passbook. This result is achieved using the same general techniques as described hereinabove with reference to FIG. 3, i.e. characters stored in the delay line are used to control the printout functions in such fashion that each columnar print position in the passbook is controlled by the character stored in a corresponding storage slot in the delay line. For a 60-column printer, four successive line sections of delay line storage (64 characters) are sufficient to control all printing in any one passbook line.
In the off-line mode, however, the delay line sections corresponding to the top four lines of the CRT display cannot be used to control the printer, because the data already stored in those sections must be retained there in its original form to preserve the pertinent call information and maintain the display. Accordingly, in accordance with another aspect of the disclosed system, the delay line storage sections corresponding to the last four display lines are used for control purposes rather than the storage sections for the top four lines which were used in the computer-control mode.
For this purpose, the off-line equipment includes special means to transfer to the last four delay line sections, in particular locations thereof, the pertinent character data to be printed in the passbook. This data includes up to three characters for printing certain nonnumeric symbols, such as to indicate deposit interest, etc., in addition to the usual numerics for items such as the amount of the deposit and the computed new balance. The nonnumen'c symbols are determined by the field identifiers, ie the characters placed first in each display line to indicate functions such as deposit." check," and out of town." To determine which symbols are to be printed, these field identifiers first are readout and analyzed.
in more detail, and referring again to FIG. 5, after the arithmetic computation cycle has been completed, means are automatically activated to open a gate 230 to read out from the delay line data the field identifiers which are to control the printing of symbols. These field identifiers are directed to stage I ofa four-stage buffer 232 (which might for example be the communication buffer I06 normally used in the online mode for communicating with the computer). An analyzer 234 is coupled to this first buffer stage to determine first whether the character is of the class to be employed to control symbol printout. if it is, the analyzer opens a gate 236 leading to the last three buffer stages where up to three field identifiers can be stored.
Only one set of field identifiers is to be used to control symbol printout, and this set will be those in the last line containing symbol-controlling types of field identifiers. Thus, if one set of identifiers has been stored in buffer 232, and thereafter another set is read out from the delay line, the second set wiil overwrite the first set and remain in storage for control purposes, unless subsequently overwritten by still another set. in the example discussed above, the field indentifier D in the third display line would control symbol printout.
After the field indentifiers are stored in buffer stages ll. ill, and IV, corresponding gates 238, 240 and 242 are opened at appropriate times to insert the stored characters in specific delay line slots assigned to the printer columns where symbols are to be printed. The particular slots are predetermined in accordance with the particular needs of the banking system being serviced, and printout of symbols will occur only in those positions of the passboolt, if at all.
After the field identifiers have been stored in the assigned delay line slots, the next step is to transfer the required numeric character data from the top four original delay line sections to the bottom four delay line sections. These characters must be loaded in specific slots thereof corresponding to the passbook columnar positions when the numerics are to be printed. These slots will be determined by the nature of the first field identifier at the beginning of each line. Thus, during readout of the delay line for transferring the numeric data, the first field identifier will again be read out and will be analyzed to steer the numerics to correct delay line locations.
For this purpose, a timed gate 243 is operative during the first delay line spin to direct the first field identifier of the first display line to a corresponding register 244 and to direct the following numerics (up to eleven characters) to another register 250. This latter register may in a practical system include registers I, ll and Ill previously described, while register IV may be used as register 244. The character stored in register 244 is analyzed by a decoder 252 to produce an output signal identifying the delay line slots where the following numeric characters of that line are to be placed. This output signal activates an address control 254 which controls the transfer of all of the numerics from register 250 through gate 76 to the delay line 22, so that the characters are placed in the correct positions deten'nined by the field identifier. (Note that in a commercial system, the first display line identifying the customers account number typically will not be printed in the passbook, but would be printed on the journal tape.)
During the next spin of the delay line, the characters of the second display line are gated into registers 244 and 250. However, since this line is old balance," not to be printed in the passboolt, the field identifier produces no output from the decoder 252. and the numerics are not entered in the delay line.
The third and fourth display lines (deposit and new balance) are to be printed, and therefore the corresponding numerics are inserted in delay line slots corresponding to lhc passbook position where the numerics are to appear, as determined by the field identifiers at the beginning of these lines, respectively.
After all the data has been stored in the last four line sections of the delay line, that entire region of the delay line(64 characters) is read out to the printer-operating means 158 (FIG. 30) so as to effect a printout of the passbook as previously described. This readout operation is controlled by gate l56, with the data returning over line 161 after the analysis and "add one functions. Repetitive readout continues until all of the stored characters have positioned corresponding type bars 164 of the printer l8, and thereafter the print cycle occurs to complete the transaction.
Although a specific preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed in detail, it is desired to emphasize that this is for the purpose of illustrating the invention and is not be be considered as necessarily limiting thereof. Modifications to the disclosed apparatus within the scope of this invention will of course be apparent to those skilled in the art, in accordance with the requirements of particular applications.
1. in a system wherein a data processor develops and transmits character identification signals to apparatus controlling a printing device of the type comprising a plurality of individual character-forming elements, the printing device being arranged to print selected graphic symbols in a plurality of loca tions on a document, such as a savings bank passbook, with the particular characters printed in such locations corresponding to the character identification signals transmitted to the printer controlling apparatus by the data processor; that improvement wherein said printer-controlling apparatus comprises a memory having a plurality of units each assigned a corresponding one of said printing locations and adapted to store a character identification signal for determining the particular character to be printed in the assigned location; means responsive to signals from the data processor for storing each character identification signal in a particular memory unit as determined by the data processor; operating means responsive to character identification signals for controlling said character-forming elements to cause to be printed in any said locations graphic symbols corresponding to character identification signals directed to said operating means; and means for reading out said memory units in a predetermined pattern and directing the readout character identification signals to said operating means, the character identification signals controlling the graphic symbols in the locations on said document corresponding to the memory units from which the signals were read.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said memory is read out in a successive series of cycles; analyzer means responsive to the signals read out from said memory for recognizing a different class of characters during each of said cycles, such that characters of one class are detected in one cycle, characters of another class in a second cycle, and so forth; and means responsive to the analyzer output during each cycle for controlling said printing device to print out all of the characters of the different classes.
3. In a data-handling system of the type wherein a data processor develops and transmits character identification signals to apparatus controlling the operation of an output device comprising a plurality of individual character-forming elements for creating graphic symbols corresponding to the character identification signals; that improvement wherein said apparatus includes memory means having a plurality of distinct memory units each adapted to store a corresponding character identification signal, said memory units being assigned to respective character-forming elements of said output device for selecting the characters formed thereby in accordance with the particular character identification signal stored in the corresponding memory unit; means responsive to control signals from the data processor for directing each character identification signal to a specific memory unit as determined by said data processor; operating means responsive to character-identification signals for actuating said character-forming elements to produce corresponding graphic symbols; and means for reading out said memory units to said operating means in a predetermined pattern whereby said output device produces graphic symbols each having a placement and a character identity controlled by said data processor.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein said characterforming elements comprise printing elements for printing graphic symbols on a document such as a savings bank passbook.
S. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein each printing element carries a plurality of difi'erent print faces and is movable through a range of positions where the print faces can be made operative; and means responsive to the character identification read out from each memory unit for stopping the respective printing element in a position corresponding to the code character stored in that memory unit.
6; Apparatus w claimed in claim 5, wherein said memory means is a cyclically operable, recirculating data storage means; said reading means comprising a shift register adapted to be loaded with a set of data bits each representing information concerning the positioning of a corresponding printing element.
7. In a data-handling system for processing transactions such as those involving savings bank accounts, apparatus comprising a central computer with data storage and computation means for processing queries conceming stored items of information, a plurality of remote stations coupled to said computer including data entry means for transmitting query messages thereto on a time-shared basis and means for receiving reply messages from said computer, each remote station also including printer means responsive to said reply messages for imprinting alpha-numeric characters in line format on a document such as a savings bank passhook; the improvement comprising the combination with each remote station of a. a CRT display device operable to display graphic symbols corresponding to the query message characters developed by said data entry means;
b. means selectively operable for transmitting the query message characters to the computer after a complete query has been assembled and presented on the CRT, whereby the operator at said remote station can check an assembled query message prior to transmission thereof to said computer; and
. cyclic memory means for storing character code signals, first means selectively responsive to the readout of character codes from said memory means for controlling said CRT. and second means selectively responsive to the readout of character codes from said memory means to control said printer means.
8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 7, including first storage means for loading the query message characters in a particular sector of said memory means; and second storage means for loading the computer reply messages in said sector, replacing the query messages previously stored therein.
9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8. wherein the memory means includes a section for storing computer reply messages to be presented on said CRT.
10. In a data-handling system of the type comprising a central computer with at least one remote station including manually operable data-entry means for transmitting query messages to the computer and a CRT display device for presenting graphic characters corresponding to the query data in a series of successive lines across the face of the CRT; that improvement wherein said remote station includes cyclic memory means having a portion thereof arranged to store characters developed by said data entry means and used for controlling the CRT presentation each such storage portion being subdivided into storage sections for controlling corresponding lines of the CRT display. the individual character storage slots of each character storage section serving to control the graphic symbols presented in respective positions in the corresponding display line of said CRT; display controi means coupled to said memory means and inciuding analyzer means to determine whether any code signal to be stored in said portion represents a numeric or a nonnumeric character, first means responsive to the detection of a nonnumeric character for storing the corresponding code in the next available slot at the beginning of the line storage section, second means responsive to the detection of a numeric character for storing the corresponding code in the last character position of the line storage section, and shifting means responsive to such numeric detection for moving any previously stored numeric characters in that line storage section one character position backwards, so that such previously stored numeric characters appear in positions preceding the last character position of the line.
11. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10, wherein the last two numeric characters in at lewt one of the display lines are presented in characters having a smaller size than the principal characters of the line.
12. In a system of the type wherein a data processor develops and sends character identification signals to apparatus controlling an output device for making graphic symhols corresponding to the character identification signals; the combination comprising a memory having a plurality of distinct units each adapted to store a corresponding character identification signal for determining a graphic symbol to be produced by said output device; said data processor being arranged to produce and send to said controlling apparatus groups of character identification signals together with tab control signals specifying the particular memory units where the character identification signals are to be stored; and directing means responsive to said tab signals for storing the character identification signals in the specified memory units.
13. Apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein said tab signals comprise two successive characters, the first one consisting of a predetermined code indicating the tab function is to be performed, and the second specifying the storage address where the character identification signals are to be stored.
14. Apparatus as claimed in claim 13, including a register for temporarily storing the tab address character; comparator means for comparing the stored tab address with successive addresses of the memory; and means responsive to the com parator output for inserting the character identification signals in the specified address in the memory.
15. In a system of the type wherein an input message developed at a remote station is transmitted to a central data processor which produces a corresponding reply message of character identification signals to be sent back to the remote station to control printing apparatus at that station; the improvement wherein said remote station additionally includes a display device operable to present to an operator graphic character symbols corresponding to the input message signals to permit review and editing thereof by an operator prior to transmitting the message to the data processor; a memory adapted to store character identification signals from the data processor in positions of the memory determined by the processor; and means to read out said memory to said printing means in a predetermined pattern so as to produce a sequence of graphic character symbols in accordance with the reply message developed by said processor.
16. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein said data display device comprises a CRT unit; said memory including cyclically operable means arranged to develop sequential readout signals corresponding to stored character codes; said memory having a sector thereof assigned to the CRT display for controlling the presentation thereof; said memory sector serving to store the reply message signals for controlling said printing means.
17. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein said readout means includes analyzing means to examine the individual characters as read out from the memory to determine the nature thereof; and actuating means under the control of said analyzing means for operating said printing means.
18. Apparatus as claimed in claim 17, wherein said readout means includes a shift register into the individual stages of which are loaded data bits reflecting the analysis of respective characters stored in said memory; and means for transferring the data bits stored in said shift register in parallel to said actuating means to control individual printer elements for making imprints in respective columns.
19. In a system of the type wherein data processing means produces character identification signals for actuating a line printer to imprint a series of characters representing an output message from the data processing means, the combination of a memory having a plurality of individual storage units each adapted to hold one of said character identification signals. each of said memory units being assigned a respective position on the line of print; means for directing each character identification signal to a specific memory unit as determined by said data processing means; and distribution means for reading out all of the units of said memory in a predetermined sequence to said line printer and for causing said printer to print out a series of characters corresponding to the signals read out from all of said memory units.
20. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19, wherein said printer comprises a plurality of controllable character-forming elements each adapted to imprint any one of a plurality of symbols corresponding to an applied control signal; said distrihu tion means including a one-character storage register arranged to receive the character identification signals as they are read out from said memory; an analyzer for sensing each character in said storage register and to produce an output signal reflecting the presence of a predetermined characteristic respecting the nature of the character to be printed; a shift register responsive to the output of said analyzer for storing in the register stages a series of data bits reflecting the analyzed characteristics of each character read out from storage; and actuating means for reading out said shift register to said printer with each individual shifi register stage controlling a corresponding character-forming element.
21. Apparatus as claimed in claim 20. wherein said memory is read out repetitively to said storage register. said analyzer serving to search for a different characteristic during each readout and to load said shift register with corresponding data bits, said actuating means being responsive to each set of data bits stored in said shift register.
22. Apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein said analyzer searches for a different numeric during each readout of said memory, so that each complete set of data bits in said shift register indicates whether a particular numeric is present in each respective memory unit.
23. Apparatus as claimed in claim 20, wherein the character-fonning elements of said printer comprise a series of adjacent type elements adapted to be moved to any of a plurality of positions in each of which a corresponding character can be printed; said shift register being successively loaded in a series of passes with sets of data bits representing the presence or absence of the successive characters adapted to be printed by said type elements; and means responsive to each set of data bits in said shift register for placing individual type elements in positions to print out the characters represented by the data bits then stored in the shift register.
24. In a system of the type wherein a data processor transmits character identification signals to peripheral apparatus controlling the operation of an output device adapted to produce on a document or the like graphic symbols cor' responding to the character identification signal; that improvement wherein said peripheral apparatus includes memory means having a plurality of distinct units each arranged to store a corresponding character identification signal; means responsive to signals from the data processor for directing individual character identification signals to particular memory units as determined by said data processor; and means for reading out said memory units to said output device in a predetermined pattern so as to produce on the document graphic symbols each having a placement and character identity controlled by said data processor.