Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3725602 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 3, 1973
Filing dateDec 28, 1970
Priority dateDec 28, 1970
Publication numberUS 3725602 A, US 3725602A, US-A-3725602, US3725602 A, US3725602A
InventorsHoffman C
Original AssigneeBell Telephone Labor Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Machine control by acoustic energy
US 3725602 A
Machine control is effected by the application of voiced commands or other acoustic energy to a transducer to coincide in time with one of a plurality of indicia being displayed sequentially by a clock-driven indicator. The encoded electrical output achieved thereby is utilized to actuate machine control switching apparatus such as a telephone dial and switchhook. Initiating forces other than acoustic, for example the manual closing of a single switch encoded in terms of time and duration of operation, may alternatively be employed in combination with the clock-driven indicator.
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Hoffman Apr. 3, 1973 541 MACHINE CONTROL BY ACOUSTIC 5 1959 Lehman ..179/1 vc 3,573,785 4 1971 Miller ..340 324 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS l,178,302 1/1970 Great Britain ..273 13s A Primary Examinerl(athleen H. Claffy Assistant Examiner-Thomas DAmico Attorney-R. J. Guenther and Edwin B. Cave [5 7] ABSTRACT 9 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures COUNTER CONTROL GATE DECADE COUNTER LAMP DECODER/DRIVERU ENERGY [75] Inventor: Clifford James Hoffman, Oceanport,

[73] Assignee: Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated, Murray Hill, NJ.

[22] Filed: Dec. 28, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 101,817

[52] US. Cl. ..179/90 R, 179}! VC, 179/1 HF, 179/90 K [51] Int. Cl ..H04m 1/26 [58] .Field of Search ..l79/l HP, 1 SA, 1 SB, 90 R, 179/] VC; 273/138 A; 235/92 ST; 340/324 R, 148, 309.4, 30915; ZOO/61.01; 325/22 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,700,546 1/1955 Glassen ..273/l38 A 3,536,836 10/1970 Pfeiffer ....l79/l VC 3,612,766 10/1971 Ferguson ..l79/1 HF 2,881,892 4/1959 Ylinen .273/138 A TELEPHONE [SET T 1 I05 R 1 FULL ii ticil REE Ti F TER SPEAKERPHONE CONTROL UNIT MULTI- FREQUENCY w GENERATOR R2 1 I6 SUPERVISION W CIRCUIT 7 R1 117 1 MACHINE CONTROL BY ACOUSTIC ENERGY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1 Field of the Invention This invention relates to systems and machines, including telephone sets, that are operatively responsive to acoustic power.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the area of machine control, the use of mechanical translation of voiced commands to effect machine operation is an attractive but elusive goal of long standing. Viewed from the standpoint of pure theory, machine translation of the human voice into written speech or other corresponding mechanical indicia would appear to be well within the reach of the powerful tools provided by modern computers and related electronic technology. Early steps toward machine.

translation of voiced speech are illustrated by U.S. Pat. No. 2,195,081, issued Mar. 26, 1940, where H. W. Dudley discloses a sound printing mechanism. By an essentially electromechanical system, voiced speech is translated into electrical signals that are used for the actuation of keys that type out corresponding phonetic symbols. On first consideration, further translation of such symbols into machine commands would appear to be a relatively simple undertaking. This conclusion, however, overlooks the awesome complexities of human speech, including, for example, countless variations among individuals in terms of dialect, accent, pronunciation and speech quality. Nevertheless, additional progress in the field of machine speech translation has been made and currently available systems have the capability of converting a dozen or two different voiced orders into electrical machine control signals. Such systems are unduly complex, however,

and their high cost makes them unsuitable for widespread or general purpose use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A broad object of the invention is to reduce the cost and complexity of acoustically responsive machine control systems, including systems for the acoustic operation of telephone sets.

The stated object and additional objects are achieved in accordance with the principles of the invention by the translation of uniquely coded bursts of acoustic energy into electrical, switch-actuating signals. The coding of the acoustic bursts is carried out in terms of either inception time or duration or both, and it is this coding which enables the operator to give commands of considerable complexity, even though the'capability realized falls far short of machine translation of speech in its strictest sense. I

In accordance with one feature of the invention, acoustic-responsive switching means are employed in combination with a coding aid in the form of a visual, clock-driven, numerical display that sequentially indicates digit-designated time slots. By applying acoustic power, either by voicing the particular digit or by generating any suitable acoustic energy burst to coincide with the time slot of the visually designated digit, a numerically identifiable command is registered so that a corresponding machine control can be actuated. In this manner an otherwise conventional telephone dial can be made to generate electrical dial signals in response to voiced digits.

0 preclude inadvertent operation should the special code group occur as part of a telephone number.

An acoustically operated telephone set in accordance with the invention provides an extra dimension of utility in telephone set operation since complete hands-free, across-the-room operation is an extremely convenient capability. In the case of many physically handicapped people, however, acoustic operation becomes a matter of necessity if telephone service is to be made reasonably available to them.

As described, the principles of the invention may be turned to account advantageously by employing acoustic energy to effect encoded signals for machine operation and control. Within the scope of the invention, however, energy sources other than acoustic may be employed successfully in combination with a clockdriven sequentially display of visual indicia. Moreover, the clock-driven indicia may be in the form of an audio display rather than visual.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a telephone set embodiment of the features of the invention; and

FIG. 2 is a partial function block diagram of the telephone set of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION In FIG. 1 the telephone set 101 is illustrated by a separate block, although it is to be understood that all of the blocks shown, including the telephone set, may

readily be incorporated together on a single chassis as the microphone 103. The threshold control unit 104 allows the user to adjust the output of the speakerphone unit 102 to a satisfactory level. After full-wave rectification by the rectifier 105, a low-pass filter 106 allows itiates operation of a recognition timer circuit 108.

The adjustable clock 110 produces conventional clock pulses at a preselected rate which are applied both to the recognition timer 108 and, via a counter control gate 109, to a decade counter 111. The recognition timer 108 performs the function of receiving the output from the threshold detector 107 and by its output to the counter control gate 109 blocks the transmission of further clock pulses to a decade counter 1 1 1. As a result, the decade counter 111 is prevented from advancing to its next counting position. A succeeding input to the decade counter 111 is not applied until the recognitiontimer 108 ispermitted to time out. The decade counter 111 is a simple 4-bit binary counter which counts up through repetitive cycles from through 9.

A lamp decoder-driver circuit 112 translates the binary coded decimal output of the counter 111 to a oneout-of-lO code which, in turn, is employed to operate a lamp display unit 113. As shown, the lamp display 113 consists of a circle array of illuminable digits 0 through 9 and when in operation, each digit is lighted sequentially in ascending numerical order for some preselected period such as a half second for example. lnsofar as the lamp display 113 is concerned, the effect of an acoustic input to the microphone 103 is to delay the progressive digit lighting action so that the number illuminated at the time of the acoustic input remains illuminated for some extended period, such as an extra half second for example. Additionally, and at the same time, an output from the recognition timer 108 is employed to light a recognition lamp 114 to provide supplementary visual feedback so that it is made evident to the user from the simultaneous lighting of the recognition lamp 114 and the prolonged lighting of one of the display numerals of the lamp display unit 113 that the digit so designated has been registered and is to be converted into a dialing or supervision signal.

The two-out-of-seven decoder 118 receives the one- 0ut-of-l0 code from the lamp decoder-driver circuit 1 12 and converts that signal to the standard two-out-ofseven multifrequency dialing code which is then utilized during the dialing mode to energize the multifrequency dial signal generator 116 by way of gate 115. The supervision circuit 117 continuously registers or keeps track of the mode or operational condition of the set. When the set is in the dialing mode a timed enabling signal is applied from the supervision circuit to the gate 115. Additionally, the supervision circuit 1 17 operates a relay R2 and its associated contacts R so that the microphone 103 is disabled during dial signal generation. As a result, interference by unwanted acoustic inputs is prevented.

The particular acoustic input which may be employed to effect dialing is a matter of choice for the user. One method which has proved effective is to voice the digit desired at the time of or immediately before the time that the digit is illuminated on the lamp display unit 113. However, a snapping of the fingers, a clapping of the hands or virtually any burst of acoustic energy may be used in lieu of voicing.

The time I required to dial N digits in a system in accordance with the invention may be expressed as t N, n,)T if all digit sequences are equally probable. In this expression, ST is the average time required to reach each digit; n, is the number of additional clock periods used for feedback each time a digit is registered and hence, the minimum mean time required to register a random digit is then (5 n,)T. It has been determined that most people can easily register digits with a clock period of 0.5 to 0.6 seconds (n; is normally set equal to one). Accordingly, the minimum time required to dial a seven-digit telephone number is approximately 21 to 25 seconds. Experienced users, however, can register digits successivelywith a clock period as short as 0.3 seconds which gives a seven-digit dialing time of approximately 13 seconds.

Control of the on/off-hook function, in accordance with the invention, is accomplished by a simple detector (not specifically shown) which forms a part of the supervision circuit 117. The detector senses a selected sequence of digits, typically three digits, irrespective of the time relation between the digits. When the set is onhook, entry of the code takes it off-hook through the operation of relay R1 and its associated contacts. During the dialing mode the code detector is inactivated in order to prevent inadvertent switchhook operation during dialing in the event that-the on/off-hook code happens to occur as a part of a dialed telephone number. Entry into the conversation mode is detected by the supervision circuit 117 in response to any signal that exceeds a preselected duration and the code detector is reactivated thereby. It has been found that a 3-2-1 code for on/off-hook use is particularly effective.

The probability of random occurrences of three speech or noise inputs isolated in time in the same way as these digits is negligibly small. it has also been found, however, that a l-3-5 code has desirable talk-off properties (resistance to spurious signals) and offers the additional advantage of a significant reduction in code entry time over the 3-2-1 code.

A fuller understanding of on/off-hook action may be had by referring to the mode or status diagram of FIG. 2. As indicated, it is the prevailing status of the system that determines what action is taken as a result of a digit being selected. Thus, for example, during the onhook mode, no action is taken as a result of a digit being registered unless it is part of the on/off-hook code. A complete on/off-hook code takes the set offhook, function F1, FIG. 2, and the user then waits for dial tone. Each digit selected thereafter results in a corresponding m-f dial signal being generated andapplied to the line.

Upon completion of a call (or sooner if the call is to be aborted because of an error, a busy signal or a no- I answer for example), the conversation mode-is entered by sensing a prolonged energy burst (0.6 seconds for example), indicated by function F2. This action reactivates the on/off-hook code detector and prevents further dial signals from being generated. Upon completion of the conversation, the on/off-hook code is used to return the set to the on-hook state, as shown by the function F3 of FIG. 2. The sequence described is repeated each time a call is placed.

Although the invention has been described in terms of an embodiment employing acoustic initiation of machine control orders, it is evident, as indicated above, that certain principles of the invention are equally applicable to arrangements in which other energy sources, including manual power, may be used to initiate machine control orders. For'example, a single switch, irrespective of how it is powered, may be operated in combination with a visual or audio indicator of sequentially displayed numerals in order to register number encoded orders in the manner taught by the principles of the invention.

It is to be understood that the embodiment described herein is merely illustrative of the principles of the invention. Various modifications thereto may be effected by persons skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

l. Acoustically operated machine control apparatus comprising, in combination,

first means for indicating sequentially each of a series of time intervals each corresponding to a respective preselected indicia, second means responsive to an acoustic energy burst for generating a corresponding electrical signal,

third means responsive to a substantially coincident combination between one of said intervals and said signal for generating an encoded signal corresponding to that one of said indicia indicated by said last named interval, and

utilization means uniquely and operatively responsive to each respective one of said encoded signal.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said utilization means comprises a telephone set dial and wherein said dial generates dial signals each corresponding to said last named output.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said first means comprises a clock pulse generator.

4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 3 wherein said third means comprises a visual indicator sequentially displaying by illumination each of the digits corresponding to a telephone set dial under the control of said clock pulse generator, and means responsive to one of said electrical signals for arresting the operation of said clock generator for some preselected period whereby visual feedback of the registration of one of said indicia is provided by the prolonged illumination of a corresponding one of said digits.

5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 wherein said utilization means further includes means for translating the output of said third means into dial switch actuating means.

6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including means responsive to the registration of a preselected code in terms of a particular combination of digits for placing said telephone in an on or off-hook condition depending on the particular operating mode of said telephone set.

7. An acoustically operated telephone set comprising, in combination,

a clock driven display of sequentially illuminated digits, each being normally illuminated for a preselected period,

means responsive to a burst of acousticenergy coinciding substantially in time with one of said periods for registering an electrical signal indicative of the digit thus designated,

means for translating each of said registered signals into a dial switch actuating signal, and

means for applying each of said actuating signals to operate a dial signal generator.

8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 7 including means responsive to the registration of a preselected combination of said digits rough the application of acoustic energy bursts for placing said set in an onhook or in an off-hook mode dependent upon the existing operational mode of said set. 1

9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 7 including additional visual feedback means indicative of the registration of one of said digits comprising a signal actuated by one of said bursts exceeding a preselected level, and means for prolonging the illuminated period of any of said digits registered.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2700546 *Feb 26, 1952Jan 25, 1955Jr Henry GlassenTarget with electrical indicator
US2881892 *Dec 4, 1956Apr 14, 1959Wicanders Korkfabriker AbGame apparatus
US2886758 *May 28, 1957May 12, 1959Collins Radio CoVoice-operated radio tuning system
US3536836 *Oct 25, 1968Oct 27, 1970Pfeiffer Erich AAcoustically actuated switch
US3573785 *Oct 23, 1967Apr 6, 1971Rca CorpStroboscopic display apparatus
US3612766 *Mar 16, 1970Oct 12, 1971Ferguson Billy GTelephone-actuating apparatus for invalid
GB1178302A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4027102 *Nov 25, 1975May 31, 1977Pioneer Electronic CorporationVoice versus pulsed tone signal discrimination circuit
US4281220 *Feb 15, 1980Jul 28, 1981Frailey George ETelephone dialing and answering device
US4462080 *Nov 27, 1981Jul 24, 1984Kearney & Trecker CorporationVoice actuated machine control
US4644107 *Oct 26, 1984Feb 17, 1987TtcVoice-controlled telephone using visual display
US4670864 *Feb 1, 1985Jun 2, 1987Braun AktiengesellschaftVoice interruptible alarm device
US5594784 *Apr 27, 1993Jan 14, 1997Southwestern Bell Technology Resources, Inc.Apparatus and method for transparent telephony utilizing speech-based signaling for initiating and handling calls
EP0452239A1 *Apr 10, 1991Oct 16, 1991France TelecomMultifunction control system with electroacoustic means for selecting available functions by an operator and means for validating the selection
U.S. Classification379/360, 367/197, 379/396, 379/395.1
International ClassificationH04M1/26
Cooperative ClassificationH04M1/26
European ClassificationH04M1/26