|Publication number||USRE39830 E1|
|Application number||US 10/988,446|
|Publication date||Sep 11, 2007|
|Filing date||Nov 12, 2004|
|Priority date||Sep 28, 1999|
|Also published as||US6480191|
|Publication number||10988446, 988446, US RE39830 E1, US RE39830E1, US-E1-RE39830, USRE39830 E1, USRE39830E1|
|Original Assignee||Ricoh Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (27), Classifications (31), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention relates to the field of authoring of electronic information; more specifically, this invention relates to a method and apparatus for recording and playback of multidimensional walkthrough narratives.
It has been asserted that a large percentage of a typical person's day is spent communicating with others through various mechanisms including oral and written media. Further, there is often a tradeoff between rich, oral communication media and less rich, written communication media. While oral media enable negotiation, clarification, explanation and exchange of subjective views, written media enable the exchange of large amounts of accurate, objective or numeric data.
This dichotomous relationship between oral and written communication similarly exists within the electronic realm. Simple textual email messages, although easy to author, typically do not allow rich, expressive communication as may sometimes be required. On the other hand, tools for creating richer, more expressive messages, such as multimedia presentation software, are too complex and time consuming for casual or day-to-day use. Furthermore, multimedia presentation software typically is not designed to be used as an communication tool. Multimedia “documents” produced using this software tend to present information to an audience, rather than allow user interaction and self-guided learning.
Therefore, what is needed is a method for creating a simple and effective multimedia authoring tool that overcomes the limitations found within the prior art.
A method and apparatus for creating and/or playing back walthrough narratives is described. In one embodiment, the method includes generating a multidimensional representation of electronic documents within a three-dimensional environment, recording a narrative of the multidimensional representation, and storing the multidimensional representation and the narrative to allow playback in at least one of multiple modes.
The invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements.
A method and apparatus for generating visual representations is described. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the invention can be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to avoid obscuring the invention.
Reference in the specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
Some portions of the detailed descriptions that follow are presented in terms of algorithms and symbolic representations of operations on data bits within a computer memory. These algorithmic descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. An algorithm is here, and generally, conceived to be a self-consistent sequence of steps leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated. It has proven convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.
It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussion, it is appreciated that throughout the description, discussions utilizing terms such as “processing” or “computing” or “calculating” or “determining” or “displaying” or the like, refer to the action and processes of a computer system, or similar electronic computing device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the computer system's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer system memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.
The present invention also relates to apparatus for performing the operations herein. This apparatus may be specially constructed for the required purposes, or it may comprise a general purpose computer selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computer. Such a computer program may be stored in a computer readable storage medium, such as, but is not limited to, any type of disk including floppy disks, optical disks, CD-ROMs, and magnetic-optical disks, read-only memories (ROMs), random access memories (RAMs), EPROMs, EEPROMs, magnetic or optical cards, or any type of media suitable for storing electronic instructions, and each coupled to a computer system bus.
The algorithms and displays presented herein are not inherently related to any particular computer or other apparatus. Various general purpose systems may be used with programs in accordance with the teachings herein, or it may prove convenient to construct more specialized apparatus to perform the required method steps. The required structure for a variety of these systems will appear from the description below. In addition, the present invention is not described with reference to any particular programming language. It will be appreciated that a variety of programming languages may be used to implement the teachings of the invention as described herein.
Control unit 150 may comprise an arithmetic logic unit, a microprocessor, a general purpose computer, a personal digital assistant or some other information appliance equipped to provide electronic display signals to display device 100. In one embodiment, control unit 150 comprises a general purpose computer having a graphical user interface, which may be generated by, for example, WINDOWS® or JAVA® based operating systems. In one embodiment, electronic documents 110, 120, 130, and 140 are generated by one or more application programs executed by control unit 150 including, without limitation, word processing applications, electronic mail applications, spreadsheet applications, and web browser applications. In one embodiment, the operating system and/or one or more application programs executed by control unit 150 provide “drag-and-drop” functionality where each electronic document, such as electronic documents 110, 120, 130, and 140, may be encapsulated as a separate data object.
Referring still to
Processor 102 processes data signals and may comprise various computing architectures including a complex instruction set computer (CISC) architecture, a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, or an architecture implementing a combination of instruction sets. Although only a single processor is shown in
Main memory 104 may store instructions and/or data that may be executed by processor 102. The instructions and/or data may comprise code for performing any and/or all of the techniques described herein. Main memory 104 may be a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) device, a static random access memory (SRAM) device, or some other memory device known in the art.
Data storage device 107 stores data and instructions for processor 102 and may comprise one or more devices including a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a CD-ROM device, a DVD-ROM device, a DVD-RAM device, a DVD-RW device, a flash memory device, or some other mass storage device known in the art.
System bus 101 represents a shared bus for communicating information and data throughout control unit 150. System bus 101 may represent one or more buses including an industry standard architecture (ISA) bus, a peripheral component interconnet (PCI) bus, a universal serial bus (USB), or some other bus known in the art to provide similar functionality.
Additional components coupled to control unit 150 through system bus 101 include display device 100, keyboard 122, cursor control device 123, network controller 124 and audio device 125. Display device 100 represents any device equipped to display electronic images and data as described herein. Display device 100 may be a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), or any other similarly equipped display device, screen, or monitor. Keyboard 122 represents an alphanumeric input device coupled to control unit 150 to communicate information and command selections to processor 102. Cursor control 123 represents a user input device equipped to communicate positional data as well as command selections to processor 102. Cursor control 123 may include a mouse, a trackball, a stylus, a pen, cursor direction keys, or other mechanism to cause movement of a cursor. Network controller 124 links control unit 150 to a network that may include multiple processing systems. The network of processing systems may comprise a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN) (e.g., the Internet), and/or any other interconnected data path across which multiple devices may communicate.
Audio device 125 is coupled to system bus 101 and is equipped to receive audio input and transmit audio output. Audio input may be received through various devices including a microphone within audio device 125 and network controller 124. Similarly, audio output may originate from various devices including processor 102 and network controller 124. In one embodiment, audio device 125 is a general purpose, audio add-in/expansion card designed for use within a general purpose computer system. Optionally, audio device 125 may contain one or more analog-to-digital or digital-to-analog converters, and/or one or more digital signal processors to facilitate audio processing.
It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that control unit 150 may include more or less components than those shown in
In accordance with one embodiment, one can record a variable-length audio narration that may optionally describe one or more electronic documents or images displayed upon a display device. In one embodiment, by indicating a position on a display screen through clicking, pointing, or touching the display screen, audio recording is initiated and a dynamically adjustable audio gauge is displayed. The audio gauge increases in size in proportion to the amount of audio recorded while the audio gauge is active. Audio recording may cease when the audio level drops below a predetermined threshold or may cease in response to specific user input. In one embodiment, for each additional positional stimulus received, a new audio gauge is generated and the previous audio gauge ceases to be adjusted, thereby becoming inactive.
The term “positional stimulus,” as referred to herein, represents an input which can simultaneously indicate an electronic location on the display screen with an instant in time tracked by the control unit. Various input sources may generate a positional stimulus including, without limitation, a computer mouse, a trackball, a stylus or pen, and cursor control keys. Similarly, a touch screen is capable of both generating and detecting a positional stimulus. In one embodiment, positional stimuli are detected by control unit 150, whereas in another embodiment, positional stimuli are detected by display device 100.
In an exemplary embodiment, once a positional stimulus occurs, such as a “click” of a mouse or a “touch” on a touch screen, an audio gauge is generated on display device 100 at the location indicated by the positional stimulus. At substantially the same time as the audio gauge is generated, control unit 150, or a similarly equipped device coupled to control unit 150, begins to record audio input. In one embodiment, the size of the audio gauge displayed is dynamically adjusted so as to proportionally indicate the amount of audio recorded by control unit 150, or the similarly equipped device coupled to control unit 150. Audio may be recorded by control unit 150 through audio device 125 or similar audio hardware (or software), and the audio may be stored within data storage device 107 or a similarly equipped audio storage device. In one embodiment, control unit 150 initiates audio recording in response to detecting a positional stimulus, whereas in an alternative embodiment, control unit 150 automatically initiates audio recording upon detecting audio input above a predetermined threshold level. In another embodiment, a set of on-screen or physical buttons are used to control recording. Buttons for audio control are well-known and include “Record”, “Play”, “Stop”, “Pause”, “Fast Forward”, “Rewind”. Similarly, audio recording may automatically be terminated upon the audio level dropping below a predetermined threshold or upon control unit 150 detecting a predetermined duration of silence where there is no audio input.
In one embodiment, audio gauge 232 is displayed overlayed upon electronic document 130 and includes start indicator 234 and stop indicator 236. Start indicator 234 marks the location at which an initial positional stimulus for audio gauge 232 was detected and stop indicator 236 marks the location at which audio gauge 232 ceased while being dynamically adjusted. In one embodiment, audio gauges cease being dynamically adjusted as a result of audio input ceasing or falling below a minimum threshold level. Since, in
Audio recorded according to the methods described herein may be played back or replayed in any of a number of ways. In one embodiment, recorded audio is replayed when control unit 150 detects a positional stimulus indicating a location on, or substantially close to, the start indicator of the associated audio gauge. In another embodiment, recorded audio is replayed when control unit 150 detects a positional stimulus indicating a location on, or substantially close to, any part of the associated audio gauge or electronic document or when the user presses a button as described above.
Audio gauges may also include a replay progress indicator such as progress puck 233. In one embodiment, as recorded audio is replayed, progress puck 233 moves along audio gauge 232 so as to indicate both the amount of recorded audio replayed as well as the amount of recorded audio remaining to be replayed. In
Reference markers may also be utilized to enhance understanding of recorded audio content.
In an exemplary embodiment, reference markers 232 and 234 are generated on display device 100 while audio is being recorded by control unit 150. Recall that according to one embodiment, audio is recorded and an audio gauge 242 generated in response to the system (either control unit 150 or display device 100) detecting a positional stimulus. As audio continues to be recorded, the size of the corresponding audio gauge 242 is proportionally adjusted so as to reflect the amount of audio recorded. In one embodiment, if the system detects an additional positional stimulus indicating a location on or substantially close to an electronic document while audio gauge 242 is being adjusted (e.g., audio is being recorded), the system generates a reference marker connecting the end-point of audio gauge 242 to that location indicated on the electronic document. In the case of audio gauge 242, reference marker 232 is initiated by a positional stimulus detected at time T1, whereas reference marker 234 is initiated by a positional stimulus detected at a later time T2. In one embodiment, during replay of the recorded audio, reference marker 232 is displayed upon display device 100 when the recorded audio reaches time T1 and reference marker 234 is displayed upon display device 100 when the recorded audio reaches time T2.
The location on an electronic document to which a reference marker is graphically connected may be represented by (x,y) coordinates in the case where an electronic document represents an image, or the location may be represented by a single coordinate in the case where an electronic document represents a linear document. Examples of linear documents may include a plain text document, a hypertext markup language (HTML) document, or some other markup language-based document including extensible markup language (XML) documents.
In one embodiment, if during audio recording the system detects an additional positional stimulus that is not located on or substantially close to an electronic document, control unit 150 generates an additional audio gauge rather than a reference marker. The additional audio gauge may be generated in a manner similar to the first audio gauge described above. In one embodiment, control unit 150 graphically connects multiple audio gauges in the order in which they were generated. Upon audio replay, control unit 150 may sequentially replay the recorded audio in the chronological order that the audio was recorded. In one embodiment, one or more progress indicators may be utilized to display the amount of audio played with respect to each audio gauge. In another embodiment, a single progress indicator that sequentially travels from one audio gauge to another corresponding to the order of audio replay may be used.
In one embodiment, objects such as audio gauges, reference markers, electronic document thumbnails and icons may be repositioned individually or as a group, anywhere on display device 100 using conventional “drag” operations.
In another embodiment, neither the audio gauges nor the reference markers are displayed as recording occurs. However, a datafile is created that includes locations of the referenced documents and timestamps for when the references occurred. Details on such a data file are described in more detail below.
In one embodiment, the user speaking is recorded along with their “deictic” gestures (e.g., references to objects). In one embodiment, an interface includes a number of objects are displayed on the screen. In such a case, recording begins either when the user presses a “record” button or when the system detects the start of speech through its microphone. Whenever a user touches an object's graphical representation on a touchscreen, a time-stamped event is recorded. Recording ends either when the user presses a “stop” button or when the system detects end of speech. When playing back this message, the system plays the audio, and at the appropriate times displays the referred-to objects.
In one embodiment, the system allows the user to record an audio narrative and make references to digital photographs uploaded from a camera simply by touching them on a touchscreen. The resulting presentation is stored using the multimedia description languages SMIL and RealPix, allowing for playback using the widely distributed RealPlayer. A simple extension allows the user to refer to points or regions within objects by monitoring the locations “touched” more precisely. On playback, such gestures can become highlighting strokes overlaid on images or documents.
A multimedia chronicle is a particular type of audio narrative that includes a singular narration thread and one or more references to various types of electronic documents. Multiple sub-chronicles, each containing a singular narration thread, may be combined to form a larger multimedia chronicle. Within a multimedia chronicle it is possible for one or more persons to describe various types of electronic documents including, for example, but not limited to, a Web page with hyperlinks, a slide show containing audio narration, a text document containing text annotations, a scanned document image, a word processor document a presentation, etc. The references may refer to the contents of the entire electronic document or to a specific area within the electronic document. A linear ordering of sub-chronicles may also be specified allowing them to be played back in a default order.
Each narration thread may contain one or more references to various electronic documents. For example, narration thread 321 contains one reference to each of electronic documents 324, 328 and 332, for a total of three references. Narration thread 342, however, contains only a single reference to single electronic document 346. Each audio clip within a narration thread may contain any number of references to any number of electronic documents, or no references at all. For example, audio clip 322 contains a single reference to electronic document 324, audio clip 326 contains one reference to electronic document 328 and one reference to electronic document 332, and audio clip 330 does not contain any references.
Each reference may either indicate an entire electronic document, as shown by reference point 323, or optionally indicate a specific area within an electronic document, as shown by reference points 327. The coordinates representing such reference points may have different interpretations depending upon the type of electronic document they are referencing. For example, if the electronic document is an image, coordinates of the reference point may be absolute pixel coordinates. If the document is a web page, however, coordinates of the reference point may be a character position within an HTML file. In the case of a document stored as a series of page images, for instance, a scanned document, the reference point may be a page number plus (x,y) coordinates. Alternatively, if a document is represented by a layout language, such as Postscript or PDF (Portable Document Format), the coordinate can be a character position within the file. Then, upon rendering (during playback), this can be translated to a position on the screen.
The multimedia chronicle described above with respect to
Electronic mail (email) software usually provides an option by which an original email message may be included in a reply. Typically an email reply can be interspersed among the lines of the original message, or it can be appended or prepended to the original message as a single block. Multimedia chronicles may similarly be transferred over a network using a variety of readily available email applications known in the art.
Additionally, audio gauges 410 and 420 are shown connected together by connector 415 which indicates that the two audio clips represented by audio gauges 410 and 420 are chronologically adjacent (420 was recorded subsequent to 410). The connection may only indicate chronological ordering. However, a user can place gauges anywhere on the display. In one embodiment, audio clips recorded by the same user are considered to be related. In one embodiment the face image of the user who recorded the audio is displayed beside the corresponding audio gauge(s). In
Once the multimedia chronicle illustrated by
Upon receipt of the email containing the XML URL, user “B” may have several viewing options. In one embodiment, upon accessing the URL containing the XML representation, the XML representation is parsed to create and play the message if user “B” has an appropriate application to view the XML representation. In another embodiment, where user “B” does not have an appropriate application to view the XML representation, the message may alternatively be displayed as a standard HTML-based web page. That is, the XML representation containing individual URLs pointing to one or more electronic documents and audio clips is displayed as a list of individual hyperlinks rather than a chronicle. In yet another embodiment, the message may be translated into a synchronized multimedia integration language (SMIL) formatted file as specified by the World-Wide Web (WWW) consortium. Using a “viewer” such as RealPlayer G2 from Real Networks, Inc., user “B” may view the SMIL message as a slideshow in which the audio clips and corresponding electronic documents, and references are simultaneously presented in an order, such as the order in which they were recorded.
Access to the received multimedia chronicle message may optionally be limited by access control functions. In one embodiment, a user may only retrieve the message if he or she is the sender or named recipient. In another embodiment, users may be required to authenticate themselves with, for example, a user name and/or password prior to accessing the message.
Once user “B” receives the message, user “B” may reply by adding additional electronic documents and audio clips (represented by audio gauges).
Once user “B” enters a response to the message or multimedia chronicle received from user “A”, user “B” may send the replay back to user “A” or to some other user or group of users. Assuming the replay is sent back to user “A”, in one embodiment, user “A” first hears the additions made to user “A's” message by user “B”. That is, upon receipt, user “A” hears the recorded audio represented by audio gauge 430.
In one embodiment, a multimedia chronicle message may be displayed with separate user's additions or replies being selectively viewable.
A method and apparatus for recording and playback of multidimensional walkthrough narratives is disclosed. A three dimensional modeling language is used to automatically create a three-dimensional environment using pre-existing electronic documents. Thus, the objects are 3D objects. In one embodiment, they are shown on a 2D display such as display device 100. In another embodiment, a 3D display (e.g., head-mounted glasses) can be used.
A first user, or author, may navigate throughout the three-dimensional environment while simultaneously recording the path taken and any accompanying audio input. In one of two playback modes, a second user can be shown a “walkthrough” of the three-dimensional scene corresponding to the path taken by the author. In the other playback mode, a second user is free to navigate the three-dimensional world while the author's path is displayed.
Cubes 510, 515 and 520 are depicted in
In one embodiment, a two-dimensional reduced-size “thumbnail” image is created and superimposed upon a three-dimensionally rendered figure such as cubes 510, 515 and 520. In such a manner, a two-dimensional image can be converted into a three-dimensional representation of that image. In one embodiment, cubes 510, 515 and 520 are defined through extended markup language (XML). In another embodiment, a three-dimensional modeling language such as VRML, 3DML, and X3D may be used.
As each three-dimensional figure is generated, it is displayed within the three-dimensional environment. In one embodiment, each three-dimensional figure is randomly placed or displayed within the three-dimensional environment as it is generated. In another embodiment, each three-dimensional figure is displayed with respect to other preexisting three-dimensional figures according to a placement scheme. In one embodiment, placement schemes are based upon characteristics of the electronic documents contained within the three-dimensional figures. Examples of placement schemes include, without limitation, time of creation, content, and media type. In yet another embodiment, the three-dimensional figures are displayed at a pre-determined fixed distance from one another. By displaying the three-dimensional figures according to various placement schemes, it is possible for an author to group or cluster certain types of information together to help guide user understanding. In one embodiment, the user, or one who navigates the three-dimensional environment after creation, is able to rearrange the three-dimensional figures according to their own organizational preference.
Once the three-dimensional environment is created, it may be navigated by a user. In one embodiment, navigation is possible through the use of a readily available “player” application including a virtual reality modeling language (VRML) viewer such as Cosmo Player available from Silicon Graphics, Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., or a three dimensional modeling language (3DML) viewer such as Flatland Rover available from Flatland Online Inc., of San Francisco, Calif. In one embodiment, a special class of user, called an author, is able to navigate through the three-dimensional environment while the author's virtual movements are recorded. The term “recording” as used herein is meant to describe the process of retaining navigational and audio input as generated by a user with respect to the three-dimensional environment.
In an exemplary embodiment, an author navigates through a three-dimensional environment while a processing device, such as processor 102, causes the author's movements to be recorded. Any audio narrated by the author while navigating is also recorded, thus creating a walkthrough. In one embodiment, as the audio is recorded, it is segmented so as to divide the audio into multiple audio clips of varying duration according to a segmenting scheme. The audio may be recorded as described above. Thus, in one embodiment, a 2D multimedia chronicle is created and viewed as a 3D walkthrough, and vice-versa. Similarly, in another embodiment, video content may be recorded and segmented in lieu of audio. As the author navigates toward a three-dimensional figure, the electronic document superimposed upon the figure appears larger to the author. By approaching the figure, the author may take a closer look at the figure or electronic document contained thereon. If so equipped, the player application may also provide the author the opportunity to view the electronic document in a separate, full-screen display, in another part of the display, or in a dedicated portion of the display overlaying the walkthrough.
In one embodiment, each proximity indicator is associated with an audio or a video segment that presumably relates to the three-dimensional figure bounded by the proximity indicator. In one embodiment, multiple three-dimensional figures may exist within a single proximity indicator, and in another embodiment, multiple proximity indicators may bound a single three-dimensional figure.
A user of the three-dimensional multimedia narrative described herein can choose whether to pursue playback of the recorded three-dimensional walkthrough in passive or active modes.
According to one embodiment, in a passive mode, the playback is movie-like in that the user is shown a three-dimensional walkthrough corresponding to the path taken by the author when the walkthrough was recorded. In one embodiment, audio narration that was recorded by the author is also played while in a passive mode. As documents are passed in a passive mode, the viewing user can also view the source of the documents in a separate window or viewing application.
In an active playback mode, the user is free to navigate the three-dimensional environment without being limited by the author's previously taken path. According to one embodiment of the present invention, while in active mode, the author's path remains visible as the user navigates through the three-dimensional environment. In yet another embodiment, segmented audio recorded by the author is played as the user approaches a related three-dimensional figure. Referring once again to
In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.
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|U.S. Classification||345/419, 715/835, 709/217, 345/629, 705/5, 463/1, 463/9, 715/723, 709/204, 715/234, 345/473, 715/205, 715/748|
|International Classification||G06Q10/10, G10L13/04, G06F3/01, G06F3/033, G06T17/00, G10L13/00, G06F3/048, G06F17/30|
|Cooperative Classification||G06T17/00, G06F17/30056, G06F3/0481, G06F3/04815, G06Q10/10|
|European Classification||G06Q10/10, G06F17/30E4P1, G06F3/0481, G06F3/0481E, G06T17/00|
|May 10, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|May 12, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12