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Publication numberUS3713135 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 23, 1973
Filing dateMay 24, 1971
Priority dateMay 24, 1971
Publication numberUS 3713135 A, US 3713135A, US-A-3713135, US3713135 A, US3713135A
InventorsLazecki S
Original AssigneeUnited Aircraft Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Digital symbol generator
US 3713135 A
Abstract
A digital symbol generator uses simple arithmetic operations performed by digital logic components to determine the raster lines on a cathode ray tube where it is desired to display video. Two arithmetic operations are performed digitally for each disjunctive segment of a symbol to predict whether or not a raster line about to be swept, or a part thereof, for which the operations were performed, is used in displaying the symbol.
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United States Patent [191 Lazecki [451 Jan. 23, 1973 [5 DIGITAL SYMBOL GENERATOR 3,426,344 2/1969 Clark ..340/324A 3,528,068 9/1970 Johnson..... ..340/324 A [75] Invent: ga g? Norwalk 3,406,387 10/1968 Werme ..340/324 A A I U Aircraft East Ham Primary Examiner-John W. Caldwell [73] sslgnee T Conn p Assistant Examiner-Marshall M. Curtis I Att0rneyMelvin P. Williams [22] Filed: May 24,1971 [2]] Appl. No.: 146,343 [57] ABSTRACT A digital symbol generator uses simple arithmetic operations performed by digital logic components to "340/324 determine the raster lines on a cathode ray tube where a o I n u e l s v I e v l e v v e s v e a e I u I u v u e l v I e 1 l I I u- [58] held of Search "340/324 324 AD; 315/22 tions are performed digitally for each disjunctive seg- [56] R f C1 d ment of a symbol to predict whether or not a raster e erences I e UNITED STATES PATENTS line about to be swept, or a part thereof, for which the operations were performed, is used in displaying the symbol.

1 Claim, 4 Drawing Figures 3,396,377 8/1968 Strout ..340/324A 3,l09,l66 l0/l963 Kronenberg et al. ..340/324 A 77 0/677?! KflA/Pflfffi MX/A/J E J05 r/e/m 70/? Pmmmmzamn 3.713.135

SHEET 1 BF 4 [1 1Ill1%IIII IIIIDHIII IIIII MIIP PATENTEDJAKZEHBB 3.713.135

sum 3 OF 4 /f WEEK/4 DIGITAL SYMBOL GENERATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of Invention This invention relates to display of symbols on a cathode ray tube, and more particularly to symbol generation performed by digital logic circuitry used in cooperation with a digital computer.

2. Description of the Prior Art The most common and inexpensive types of CRT display employs a raster sweep in which a beam is swept horizontally across the face of a CRT, and at the end of each horizontal sweep, during a brief retrace time, the beam is returned to the side of the CRT where the sweep started and another sweep is initiated. Each successive one of these raster sweep lines is slightly lower than the prior raster sweep line and after a CRT beam is swept across the lowest line, it is rapidly moved to a position to sweep the top line, and the sweep pattern is thereby iterated from top to bottom on the CRT. The entire array of horizontal raster lines swept across the face of the CRT comprises the raster.

The display of symbols on a raster-swept CRT display is accomplished by illuminating those portions of the raster which comprise the symbol, and by not illuminating other portions. In commercial black and white television, illumination is performed in varying degrees, thereby producing shades of grey. In CRT displays where characters or symbols are displayed, the usual practice is to fully illuminate portions of the raster where a part of a symbol appears and to keep the raster completely darkened in those portions of the raster where no part of a symbol appears. The raster is kept darkened by biasing the CRT below cutoff, and the term commonly applied to this condition is blanking. Similarly, when a portion of the raster is to be illuminated, the CRT is biased well above cutoff and the term applied to this condition is unblanking.

The persistence of the phosphor or other coating of the face of the CRT permits the unblanked portion of the raster to remain illuminated between successive sweeps of raster lines, and each sweep refreshes the illumination level where the CRT is unblanked. The raster sweep is sufficiently rapid and the raster sweep lines spaced closely enough so that the appearance of the CRT display to the eye is of a cohesive symbol, without time variation of CRT beam intensity on any portion of the face of the CRT. Therefore, as has often been pointed out in the literature, the appearance of symbols on a CRT display employing a raster is accomplished by a method analogous to repeatedly painting a picture with horizontal strokes of the brush.

Control over the time at which blanking and unblanking must occur with respect to the generation of the raster in order to generate a desired pattern requires identification of each individual horizontal trace, as well as the instantaneous position along the trace. In digitally controlled CRT displays known to the art, this information has been provided by two separate counters. A first counter relates to counting each horizontal trace of the raster, and is incremented after each horizontal trace, and reset after the bottom raster line is traced. The other counter identifies distinct resolvable positions along each of the horizontal traces. This is accomplished by incrementing the second counter on a periodic basis during the trace of each raster line, and resetting this counter at the termination of each line sweep. The counter must be adequate to uniquely identify as many positions along the sweep as is required to achieve the desired resolution: that is, if many elements must be resolvable horizontally, then a larger capacity counter, and a higher frequency of incrementing this counter, are required; for fewer resolvable elements, a smaller counter and a lower incrementing frequency may be used.

The span of the teachings of the prior art cover a wide variety of types of digital symbol generators. The incentive to create many types of digital symbol generators was, and still is, prompted by the multiplicity of purpose and usage of these devices. That is to say, a symbol generator which may have features of economy and utility in one application may have no utility in a great many other applications.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is the provision of simplified digital symbol generators.

According to the invention, in a raster swept cathode ray tube display, where a sequence of horizontal raster lines are associated with a sequence of raster line identification numbers and upon which it is desired to display a segment of a symbol, a vertical location of said segment upon said display is completely described by a pair of dimension numbers, one dimension number being equal to the raster line identification number of the topmost line of said segment, and the other being equal to the raster line identification number of the line below said segment. For any raster line having an identification number forming a part of said segment, the subtraction of the greatest dimension number from the raster line identification number is a negative number and a subtraction of the least dimension number from the raster line identif cation number is either zero or a positive number. Performing a similar pair of subtractions for any other raster line produces differences which are either both negative, both positive or zero and positive. A single negative result in a pair of subtractions signals that the raster line having the identification number for which the subtractions were performed forms a part of the segment.

The present invention may be economically constructed using a read only memory and medium scale integrated semiconductor components, and is simpler and more reliable than other symbol generators known to the prior art.

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent in the light of the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying drawmg.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a simplified pictorial view of the face of a cathode ray tube displaying a symbol comprised of a single segment;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a logic flow diagram of the operation of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of a preferred embodiment of the invention for displaying two symbols.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT For illustrative purposes, and in order to enable the teaching of the principles of the invention without unduly complicating the details thereof, the exemplary embodiment disclosed herein includes a raster swept display comprised of 32 raster lines upon which a single symbol is displayed.

The invention hereinafter described relates to apparatus for predicting whether a horizontal raster line about to be swept is included in a symbol at its desired location on a CRT. Separate means are required for horizontally defining and locating the symbol.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a CRT 40 is illustrated with raster line identification numbers at the vertical displacement where each raster line may appear. A symbol consisting of a single segment 42 is shown located upon the CRT 40. As explained hereinafter, the vertical location of the segment 42 on the CRT 40 is completely described by the raster line identification numbers of the topmost raster line where the segment 42 is displayed (line 10) and the raster line immediately below the segment 42 (line 14). These numbers, critical to describing the segment 42 and its location, are hereinafter referred to as dimension numbers. The information needed for storage of a segment 42 displayed upon the CRT 40 at the position shown in FIG. 1 are the dimension numbers 10 and 14.

In order to predict whether a raster line about to be swept is included in the segment 42, two arithmetic operations must be performed. The polarities of the signs resulting therefrom are interpreted to determine whether the CRT 40 will be unblanked during the raster line sweep. Specifically, each arithmetic operation is the subtraction of one of the dimension numbers from the raster line identification number of the next raster line to be swept, and one arithmetic operation for each dimension number must be performed for prediction purposes. The arithmetic operations required by this embodiment are indicated by the following equations:

where R the raster line identification number of raster line to be swept D the top (or least) dimension numbers For the segment 42 in the position illustrated in FIG. 1: D1:

D the lower (or greatest) dimension number For the segment 42 in the position illustrated in FIG. 1: D 14 and F and F the results of respective arithmetic operations.

Relevant to the interpretation of the results of a pair of arithmetic operations, there are three distinct regions on the CRT 40 which are hereinafter examined; these are, the raster lines above the segment 42, the raster lines below the segment 42 and the raster lines including the segment 42. It is obvious that at the raster lines above the segment 42 the raster line identification numbers are all smaller than either of the dimension numbers. Therefore, in this region of the display, the results of a pair of arithmetic operations are a pair of negative numbers. At all of the raster lines below the segment 42, neither of the dimension numbers are ever greater than a raster line identification number so that the result of each operation is a positive number or zero. Finally, for the raster lines having identification numbers where portions of the segment 42 are displayed, the arithmetic operations wherein the least dimension number is used always results in a number greater than or equal to zero (zero only occurs at the topmost raster line of the segment 42) and the results therefore have a positive sign. However, when the greatest dimension number is used, the results of the operations are always negative numbers. Therefore, two arithmetic operations providing only a single negative sign determine that the raster line is included in the segment 42.

Although the present invention is described with respect to the display of a symbol of only one segment 42, it should be understood that when a symbol consists of n vertically disjunctive segments, 2n arithmetic operations are required prior to the sweep of each raster line and when these operations produce an odd number of negative results, then and only then, does the raster line to be swept comprise a portion of the symbol. The reason for this is that for a raster line which is not included in any of the segments of the symbol, each pair of arithmetic operations for each segment will contribute either two positive numbers or two negative numbers; it is only when the raster line about to be swept is included in a segment that one pair of the n pairs of arithmetic operations produces a single nega tive sign thereby causing the total number of negative signs to be an odd number.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a schematic block diagram of an exemplary embodiment of the invention is illustrated. The operation of the invention illustrated therein can best be understood by viewing FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 3, a logic flow diagram of the operation of the exemplary embodiment. The segment 42 is stored in the read only memory 44 in the form of reference dimension numbers. In this example, the reference dimension numbers are chosen so that they are the largest possible dimension numbers consistent with a position of the segment 42 on the CRT 40. By so doing, dimension numbers representative of any other position on the CRT 40 are obtained by subtracting a locater number from the referenced dimension numbers. The locater number is never added to the reference dimension numbers since any of the resulting dimension numbers which would thereby be obtained would relate to locations off of the CRT 40, for at least a portion of the segment 42. The reference dimension numbers in the example are thirty-three and twentynine and are representative of the segment 42 on the CRT 40 wherein the bottom line of the segment 42 coincides with the bottom raster line (raster line identification number thirty-two) on the CRT 40. A digital computer means 46 is similar to many of the assembly language programmed computers well known to the art and commonly used in cooperation with digital symbol generators and provides, on a plurality of signal lines 48, signals representative of a memory location in the read only memory 44 where all of the reference dimension numbers of a symbol are located. The read only memory 44 provides, on a plurality of signal lines 50, signals representative of these reference dimension numbers. A ring counter 52 and a multiplexer 54 sequentially select and provide on a plurali ty of signal lines 55, each of the reference dimension numbers so that the locater number can be subtracted from them. The ring counter 52 has as many different states as the maximum number of reference dimension numbers used to represent any single symbol stored in the read only memory 44. That is to say, n (an even number) ring counter states are required when the maximum number of reference dimension numbers used to represent any symbol is equal to n. The state of the ring counter 52 is changed 11 times in response to n timing pulses generated during a horizontal retrace time interval by an AND gate 56 connected to a source of timing pulses provided by the digital computer means 46 on a signal line 58. The pulse repetition rate of the timing pulses on the signal line 58 is such that exactly n pulses are generated during the retrace time interval. The other input of the AND gate 56 is connected to a horizontal retrace time signal provided by the digital computer means 46 on a signal line 60. The gated output of the AND gate 56, therefore, provides on a signal line 62, n pulses during each horizontal retrace time interval, and each of a plurality of output signal lines 64 of the ring counter 52 are thereby sequentially brought to a logical one level once during each horizontal retrace interval. The signals on the signal lines 64 cause the multiplexer to sequentially provide, on a plurality of signal lines 65, signals representative of each of the reference dimension numbers provided by the read only memory 44 on the plurality of signal lines 50. It should be understood that for symbols containing less than n reference dimension numbers, the multiplexer 54 transmits, on the signal lines 65, the number zero at a time when the ring counter state is not providing access to a reference dimension number of the addressed symbol. Since zero always represents a location off of the CRT 40 (whether or not a non-zero locater number is subtracted from it), and since the number of zeros thereby provided must be even (each segment contains two dimension numbers), they cannot contribute to an odd number of negative results of arithmetic operations. The subtraction of the locater number from the reference dimension number represented by signals on the plurality of signal lines 65 is performed by a D subtractor 66. The locater number is represented by signals provided by the digital computer means 46 on a plurality of signal lines 67.

The completion of an arithmetic operation is represented by subtracting the output of the D subtractor 66 (one of the dimension numbers representing the segment 42 in its currently desired location) from a raster line identification number of the raster line about to be swept. The raster line identification number of the raster line about to be swept is represented by signals provided by the digital computer means on a plurality of signal lines 68.

An S subtractor 70 subtracts the output of the D subtractor 66 from the raster line identification number and generates a signal on a line 72 which is at a logical one level when the difference of the numbers represented by inputs to the S subtractor 70 is negative.

The line 72 is connected to the J and K inputs of a decision memory flip-flop 74 where the results of the arithmetic operations (two, in this example) are interpreted prior to the sweep of each raster line. A 1 output of the flip-flop 74 is connected to an input of a video gate 76. The output of the video gate 76 provides an unblanking signal to the CRT 40; hence the flip-flop 74 must assume the set state, to provide a signal at its 1 output, in order to unblank the CRT 40. Prior to responding to the results of any of the arithmetic operations, the flip-flop 74 is precleared by an end of line pulse provided by the digital computer 46 on a line 77. An arithmetic operation is interpreted by the flip-flop 74 upon receiving at its clock input a pulse generated at the output of the AND gate 56 on the line 62. An arithmetic operation causing a negative sign (logical one at the J and K inputs of the flip-flop 74) causes the flip-flop 74 to reverse its state, whereas a positive sign (logical zero) causes it to remain unchanged. For the two arithmetic operations in the example that must be completed after an end of line pulse and prior to a raster line sweep, there are three possible sets of results; these are, the two arithmetic operations resulting in successive positive signs, the two operations resulting in successive negative signs and the two operations resulting in successive unlike signs. Arithmetic operations resulting in successive positive signs permit the flip-flop 74 to remain in a cleared state after each operation since the J and K inputs are at logical zero at the time that the pulses on the line 62 occur. Operations resulting in successive negative signs cause the flip-flop 74 to reverse its state at the occurrence of each pulse on the line 62 since the negative sign is associated with a logical one level at the J and K inputs; the two reversals of state cause the flip-flop 74 to end up in its initially assumed cleared state. It is only when the two arithmetic operations produce unlike signs that the flip-flop 74 ends up in the set state. Therefore, at the completion of two arithmetic operations thus interpreted, the flip-flop 74 having assumed the set state is indicative that one of the two operations has produced a negative sign and the CRT 40 is to be unblanked during the following raste sweep. A horizontal unblanking signal provided by the computer means 46 on a line 78 to an input of the video gate 76 enables unblanking of the CRT 40 at discrete portions of a raster line sweep, thereby horizontally defining and locating the symbol upon the CRT 40. Thus, signals on lines 48 selecting the symbol from the read only memory 44, signals on line 47 associated with the locater number, and the horizontal unblanking signal on line 78 completely define the symbol and its position on the CRT 40.

A delay element 80 is connected between the output of the AND gate 56 and the ring counter 52 so that the change in state of the ring counter 52 takes place a short time interval after the interpretation of the results of an arithmetic operation, thereby avoiding ambiguity at a time that change of the reference dimension number, represented by a change of the signals on the signal lines 65, takes place.

It should be understood that in certain applications of the invention, the locater number may be added to the raster line identification number instead of subtracted from the reference dimension number. That alternative is an arithmetic equivalent to the arithmetic operation hereinbefore described. It should also be understood that the flip-flop 74 may be preset instead of precleared and the clear output instead of the set output connected to the input of the video gate 76.

The invention may be adopted for use in displaying a plurality of symbols simultaneously upon the CRT 40, as shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, the timing pulses on signal line 62 are generated at a rate which produces 2n pulses during the time interval between two end of line pulses. During the first n timing pulses after the end of line pulse, signals representing the completion of all arithmetic operations for a first symbol are generated and during the second n timing pulses, signals representing the completion of all arithmetic operations for a second symbol are generated. The results of the interpretation of the arithmetic operations are transferred from decision memory flip-flops 74, 82 to a D flip-flop 84 when the end of line pulse occurs. The output of the D flip-flop 84 is brought to a logical one level if either or both of the symbols are comprised of the next raster line to be swept. It should be understood that the completion and the interpretation of arithmetic operations takes place during an entire raster sweep and retrace time in this embodiment.

The D flip-flop 84 is a shift register stage which transfers to an output signal line 86 the logical level that had been on a signal line 88 immediately prior to an end of line pulse being provided to its clock input on the line 76. An OR gate 90 causes the signal line 88 to assume a logical one level when either or both of the flip-flops 74, 82 generate a logical one at their set outputs at the time that the end of line pulse occurs.

During a time interval that the first n timing pulses occur, a second ring counter 91 provides, on a signal line 92, a logical one to an input of an AND gate 94 enabling timing pulses on the signal line 62 to be transmitted to the clock input of the flip-flop 74 and thereby permitting the flip-flop 74 to reverse its state in response to a logical one output from the S subtractor 70. The occurrence of the nth timing pulse causes the second ring counter 91 to change its state so that a logical zero is provided to the signal line 92, thereby inhibiting the timing pulses to the clock input of the flipflop 74 so as to prevent it from reversing its state. A logical one is applied by a signal line 96 to one input of an AND gate 98 enabling the flip-flop 82 to reverse its state in response to a logical one output from the S subtractor 70. Similarly, during the first n timing pulses, logical zero is provided by the second ring counter 91 to the AND gate 98.

invention has been shown and described with respect to the preferred embodiments thereof, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes and omissions in the form and detail thereofmay be made therein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention.

Having thus described a typical embodiment of my invention, that which I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. In a digital symbol generator including a cathode ray tube display apparatus and means for defining the vertical dimension of an area in which symbols may be generated, the improvement comprising:

first means for providing first signal representations identifying each one of a sequence of vertically spaced horizontal raster lines, and including means for generating a plurality of second signal representations identifying the limits of a range including one or more vertically spaced raster lines included in a symbol to be displayed upon said cathode ray tube in said vertical range;

sign signal generating means, connected to said first means, for generating a plurality of sign signal pairs, each pair corresponding to one of said first signal representations, one sign signal in each pair being representative of the sign of the difference between a number represented by said first signal representation and a number represented by a first one of said second signal representations, and the other sign signal in each pair representative of the sign of the difference between said first signal representation number and a number represented by another one of said second signal representations; and

means connected to said sign signal generating means for comparing each of said pairs of sign signals and generating a signal for enabling unblanking of said cathode ray tube in response to unlike signs in any of said pairs.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3109166 *Oct 26, 1959Oct 29, 1963Columbia Broadcasting Syst IncCharacter generator apparatus
US3396377 *Jun 29, 1964Aug 6, 1968Gen ElectricDisplay data processor
US3406387 *Jan 25, 1965Oct 15, 1968Bailey Meter CoChronological trend recorder with updated memory and crt display
US3426344 *Mar 23, 1966Feb 4, 1969Rca CorpCharacter generator for simultaneous display of separate character patterns on a plurality of display devices
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3906480 *Feb 23, 1973Sep 16, 1975IbmDigital television display system employing coded vector graphics
US4112422 *Dec 13, 1976Sep 5, 1978Atari, Inc.Method and apparatus for generating moving objects on a video display screen
US4131883 *Jan 13, 1977Dec 26, 1978Asea AktiebolagCharacter generator
US4419662 *May 4, 1981Dec 6, 1983Zenith Radio CorporationCharacter generator with latched outputs
US5142273 *Sep 20, 1990Aug 25, 1992Ampex CorporationSystem for generating color blended video signal
Classifications
U.S. Classification345/10, 345/20
International ClassificationG09G5/42
Cooperative ClassificationG09G5/42
European ClassificationG09G5/42