|Publication number||USRE41702 E1|
|Application number||US 11/429,634|
|Publication date||Sep 14, 2010|
|Filing date||May 5, 2006|
|Priority date||Jul 25, 2000|
|Also published as||US6735453|
|Publication number||11429634, 429634, US RE41702 E1, US RE41702E1, US-E1-RE41702, USRE41702 E1, USRE41702E1|
|Inventors||James F. Bobisuthi, Lawrence Gollbach, Robert Bernardi, Steven F. Burson|
|Original Assignee||Plantronics, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (28), Classifications (20), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
A. Technical Field
The present invention relates generally to the field of communications, and more particularly, to an audio system that allows for automatic and manual switching between the use of a headset and the use of a desktop audio system.
B. Background of the Invention
Headsets are commonly used with audio systems to provide the user with a convenient and private way to hear the audio output. These audio systems are found in various applications such as computer multimedia systems, telecommunications devices, stereo systems, televisions and other similar systems with audio output. Conventionally, in order to switch between the use of a headset and the use of an alternate audio system, the user had to perform a number of manual steps.
Specific to telecommunications, a headset adapter is used to electrically interface the headset to the telephone system. Once the headset is connected to the telephone system through the adapter, the user has the choice of placing or responding to a telephone call with the traditional handset or with the headset. Use of the headset, however, typically requires the user to perform various manual steps making headset use difficult and less appealing. For instance, the user may be required to place the headset on the head and manually activate one or more switches on the adapter or telephone in order to route the telephone signals through the adapter so as to place or respond to a telephone call. These steps are significantly more time consuming and complicated than simply picking up a telephone handset. As a result, while headset use may be preferred by those users who are consistently using the telephone, such as switchboard operators and receptionists, many casual users still prefer using a handset over using a headset.
Headsets can also be used to interface with computer audio systems. However, like the use of headsets with telephones, the user must perform a number of manual steps in order to switch between using the headset and using the alternate audio system. Specifically, the use of a headset with a desktop computer requires the user to manually connect the headset cables to the computer system. The level of difficulty entailed in making this connection depends on the type of computer system to which the user is connecting the headset. For instance, in the most common configuration, the computer system will have speakers that do not have connections for either the headphone cable or the microphone cable of the headset. In order to use the headset, the user would have to disconnect the speakers from a sound card installed in the computer and connect the headset to the sound card. Since the connections for the sound card are typically in the back of the computer, this disconnecting and connecting is extremely inconvenient. This is especially so because the two connections in the sound card for the headset, one for the headphone and one for the microphone, are not easily distinguished from each other. The user would thus, have to take special care not to confuse the two connections.
In the second most common configuration, the computer system will have speakers that have a headphone connection but do not have a microphone connection. In this case, the user may have to split the dual cable of the headset in order to connect the headset receiver cable into the headphone connection that is located in the desktop speaker, and the headset microphone cable into the sound card that is located in the back of the computer. Changing between the headset and the desktop speakers will be significantly easier in this case since the headphone connection may be located in the front of the computer. However, changing from the headset microphone to a desktop microphone will create the same problems for the user as outlined above with the speaker without connections.
In another, less common configuration, the computer system will have speakers with both headphone and microphone connections. In this case, disconnection of the headset would be relatively easy since the connections in the speaker are readily accessible and the user would simply have to unplug the headset cables. Connection of the headset, however, would still require extra care so as to avoid confusing the two connections even if the connections are located in front of the computer. In any event, the user must still manually and repeatedly plug and unplug the headset cables in order to use the headset.
Furthermore, in all of the above scenarios, the configuration does not provide for convenient storage of the headset. The user is left to store the headset on the desktop, on a stand, or in a manner of his or her own devise. This lack of storage for the headset also inhibits the use of a headset by making it more inconvenient to switch between the use of a headset and the use of an alternate audio system.
Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a system that facilitates quick, convenient switching between the use of a headset and the use of an alternate audio system for various electronic audio devices. Furthermore, it is desirable to provide storage for the headset when it is not in use.
The present invention overcomes the foregoing shortcomings by providing a headset storage device for an audio system that allows for convenient automatic or manual switching between the use of a headset and the use of an audio system's speaker. Generally, when a headset is stored on the headset storage device, the audio system automatically switches to the use of an alternate audio system, such as a telephone handset or a set of speakers for a computer. When the user removes the, headset from storage, the headset is automatically activated and the user can interface with the system through the headset. In one embodiment, the user can override this automatic switching with a manual override device. The manual override device allows the user to force the system to activate either the headset or the desktop speakers regardless of whether the headset is stored on the headset storage device. Thus, for instance, the user could interface with the desktop audio system even though the headset is not in storage.
In one embodiment, a headset storage device includes a headset cradle, a switch, and a manual override device. The cradle is arranged to respond to the presence or absence of a headset by respectively activating or deactivating the switch. The switch controls an interface of the headset to the audio system. When deactivated, in the absence of the headset (i.e., the user has put the headset on) the switch couples the headset to the audio system. When activated by the presence of the headset (i.e., the user has stored the headset,) the switch uncouples the headset, thereby allowing use of the speakers of the system, the telephone handset, or the like. A manual override device toggles the switch between its active and inactive positions regardless of whether the headset is present or absent in the headset cradle.
In another embodiment, the headset storage device is incorporated into a desktop speaker such that the earpieces of the headphones rest on either side of the speaker. The switch is located on a side of the speaker, about where the earphone rest. In this case, the headset activates the switch with pressure of the headphones on the switch.
Generally, the present invention relates to a headset storage device that detects the presence of a stored headset and upon this detection, automatically switches an audio connection from the headset to an alternate audio system. In the absence of a stored headset, the device automatically switches the audio connection back from the alternate audio system to the headset. The alternate audio system can be a desktop speaker set and microphone for a desktop computer, a telephone system, a stereo system or any other similar system with audio output. In addition to this automatic switching, the storage device also provides a manual override. The manual override allows the user to force the connection to either the headset or the alternate audio system regardless of whether a stored headset is detected.
The headset cradle 300 is generally an L-shape. The cradle hook 308 is at the end of the upper, horizontal arm 307 of the headset cradle 300. The vertical arm 309 is coupled to the end of the horizontal arm 307 opposite from the cradle hook 308. Located where the horizontal arm 307 and vertical arm 309 meet, is the horizontal pivot axle 310, which allows for rotation of the headset cradle 300 as shown by arrows 314. The follower 312 is at the end of the vertical portion of the headset cradle 300 and sits in the well 316 of the manual override device 362 to control movement of the headset cradle 300. The manual override device 302 is generally a rectangular shape. The well 316 is a cavity located in the center of the manual override device 302. The raised portion 313 is located on the front face of the manual override device 302 and is of the size and shape that a user could manually grip the raised portion 313 to manipulate the manual override device 302. The activation button 318 is located on the front face of the switch 304 and has two positions, one activated and one deactivated.
The switch 304 is located behind the vertical arm 309 of the headset cradle 300 such that vertical movement of the headset cradle 300 will press or release the activation button 318 to activate or deactivate it, respectively. A spring 322 is disposed between the switch 304 and the activation button 318 for bringing the arm 309 away from the switch 304. The housing component 306 supports the headset cradle 300, manual override device 302 and switch 304. The cradle hook 308, the raised portion 313 of the manual override device 302, and the system connections 320 are external to the housing 306 for user accessibility.
Storage of the headset 106 on the cradle hook 308 results in downward movement of the n horizontal arm 307 of the headset cradle 300 in response to the weight of the headset 106. This movement causes the headset cradle 300 to pivot about the horizontal pivot axle 310 such that the vertical arm 309 of the headset cradle 300 presses the activation button 318 and activates the switch 304. When the headset 106 is removed from storage to be used, the horizontal arm 307 of the headset cradle 300 is allowed to return to its horizontal state. The vertical arm 309 of the headset cradle 300 thus, returns to its vertical state, contact with the activation button 318 of the switch 304 is lost and the switch 304 is deactivated. The end result is that when the headset 106 is stored on the cradle hook 308, the alternate audio system is automatically connected to the computer sound card, telephone handset or the like, and when the headset 106 is in use, the headset speakers and microphone are automatically connected.
In cases where the user wants to avoid these automatic connections, or if a headset 106 is too lightweight to cause the headset cradle 300 to move, the invention allows for manual switching between the alternate audio system and the headset 106. The user can accomplish manual switching through manipulation of the manual override device 302.
As can be seen from this view, the well 316 is made up of three portions: an auto portion 400, a headset portion 402, and a speaker portion 404. The auto portion 400 of the well 316 is between the headset portion 402 and the speaker portion 404 and is large enough to allow for forward and backward movement of the follower 312 within the well 316 in response to a stored headset 106. The headset portion 402 of the well 316 is of a size and position that prevents backward movement of the follower 312 such that the activation button 318 of the switch 304 cannot be pressed by the headset cradle 300. Similarly, the speaker portion 404 of the well 316 is of a size and position that prevents forward movement of the follower 312 such that the headset cradle 300 is forced to press the activation button 318 of the switch 304. By moving the manual override device 302 from side to side among these three positions, the user can affect whether the system 100, 200 maintains a connection to the alternate audio system or to the headset 106. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the shape and size of the well and the portions within the well may be varied in response to different shapes and configurations of the cradle and switch.
The manual override device 302 is depicted in the auto position in
If the headset cradle 300 is placed into one of the horizontal portions 402, 404 of the Z-shaped opening 802, then its vertical movement will be restricted. As depicted in
The switch 304 has two states 1118, 1120: one when the activation button 318 is released, as shown in
In the second state 1120 of the switch 304, the activation button 318 is pressed and the audio signal is sent by the external microphone 110 and received by the external speakers 108. The audio signal is transmitted through the microphone 110 to the switch 304 and then to the sound card 1102. The audio signal generated at the sound card 1102 is transmitted to the switch 304 and then to the speakers 108.
The switch 304 has two states 1118, 1120: one when the activation button 318 is released, as shown in
In the second state 1120 of the switch 304, the activation button 318 is pressed and the audio signal is sent and received by the handset 206. The audio signal is transmitted through the handset microphone 1128 to the switch 304 and then to the telephone body 204. An audio signal that is generated at the telephone body 204 is transmitted to the switch 304 and then to the handset receiver 1130. An optional set of contacts is shown that connects a logic signal or power source to a mechanical handset lifter in the first state of switch 304. These contacts provide automatic off hook control of the telephone when the headset is lifted from its holder.
Although the invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, other embodiments are possible. Therefore, the scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred embodiments contained herein. For instance, it should be understood that the combination of which headset cradle is used with which manual override device varies widely. The manual override device 302 of
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|U.S. Classification||455/575.2, 379/430, 455/550.1, 379/447, 379/428.02, 455/569.1, 379/442, 455/74.1, 455/575.1, 455/462, 379/424|
|International Classification||H04M1/05, H04M1/60, H04M1/654, H04M1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||H04M1/05, H04M1/08, H04M1/6033, H04M1/6545|
|Dec 26, 2011||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Mar 27, 2012||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7
|Mar 27, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8