|Publication number||USRE42929 E1|
|Application number||US 10/214,299|
|Publication date||Nov 15, 2011|
|Filing date||Aug 7, 2002|
|Priority date||Aug 5, 1999|
|Also published as||CA2311609A1, CA2311609C, DE60021967D1, EP1074956A1, EP1074956B1, US6117010|
|Publication number||10214299, 214299, US RE42929 E1, US RE42929E1, US-E1-RE42929, USRE42929 E1, USRE42929E1|
|Inventors||Stephen A. Canterbury, Timothy C. Loose|
|Original Assignee||Wms Gaming Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (42), Non-Patent Citations (7), Classifications (7), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to gaming devices, and more particularly, to a configuration which reduces the wiring within the gaming device and increases the overall speed of the gaming device.
The button assemblies 15 on the button panel 14 are electrically connected to a game control unit (not shown) inside the belly of the slot machine by a plurality of electrical wires 22. A player may press various ones of the button assemblies 15 to cause the game control unit to perform various functions, such as cash out, select pay lines, display the pay table on the video display 18, enter a wager, and spin the reels. Each button assembly 15 typically includes a variety of elements, such as a button, an actuator, a switch, and a light source. The actuator, switch, and light source are generally positioned beneath the button. The actuator is coupled to the button and disposed to actuate the switch in response to pressing the button. The light source is positioned to illuminate the button.
The game control unit monitors the button assemblies 15 to determine whether the buttons have been actuated. In addition, the game control unit debounces the switches and refreshes the light sources in the button assembly. The game control unit also determines the outcome of the slot machine and controls the video display. Because the game control unit must perform a number of functions nearly simultaneously, the speed at which the game control unit performs these functions is limited.
The process for manufacturing the slot machine in
One drawback is that when the button panel 14 is mounted to the door 12, there is a significant possibility that one of the electrical wires 22 will be pinched between the button panel 14 and the door 12. Another drawback is that the wire side of the button assemblies 15 will become buried within the cluster of electrical wires 22 that are left under the button panel 14 (
A cost-effective button panel assembly that facilitates future modifications is the subject of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/351,776 (hereinafter “application”), filed Jul. 12, 1999, assigned to the assignee of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference. The 776 application discloses an embodiment wherein a printed circuit board is mounted to the door of a game control unit. The inclusion of the printed circuit board solves many of the drawbacks outlined above; however, a plurality of wires remain within the gaming device connecting the button assemblies to the game control unit.
Accordingly, there is a need for a new design within the gaming device that overcomes the aforementioned shortcomings.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a gaming device comprises a game control unit, a printed circuit board and an input/output microcontroller. The printed circuit board carries a plurality of light sources and a plurality of switches switchable between an actuated condition and a non-actuated condition. The input/output microcontroller is mounted to the printed circuit board. Because the microcontroller performs many of the functions conventionally performed by the game control unit, the game control unit processes data quicker, thus increasing the speed of the overall game. The microcontroller is connected to the game control unit by a serial link, thus reducing the wiring between the printed circuit board and the game control unit. The input/output microcontroller is coupled to the switches to inform the game control unit of the condition of each of the switches. The microcontroller is coupled to the light sources to turn the light sources on and off.
The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment, or every aspect of the present invention. This is the purpose of the figures and detailed description which follow.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, a specific embodiment thereof has been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the particular form described, but, on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
Each actuator assembly includes a lens 50, an actuator 52, a compression spring 54, a bezel 56, an optional plastic spacer 57, and a plastic nut 58. When the button panel assembly 45 is assembled, the compression spring 54 is contained within the bezel 56 between a lower shelf formed by the bezel 56 and an upper square portion of the actuator 52. In the illustrated embodiment, the actuator 52 includes the upper square portion and three arms extending downward from the upper square portion. It is contemplated, however, that the actuator 52 may have various other forms, so long as the actuator 52 is capable of actuating the switch 64. When the button panel assembly 45 is assembled, the lens 50 is secured to the upper square portion of the actuator 52 and extends upward above the bezel 56. The lens 50 contains a printed label describing the function of the associated button and is the portion of the button pressed by a player to cause the gaming device 28 to perform that function. The lens 50 also serves to diffuse light emitted by a light source 60, which is one of the components of the switch assembly 60,62,64 connected to the printed circuit board 48. The bezel 56 is inserted into a corresponding aperture formed by the button panel 46 and is secured to the button panel 46 by the nut 58, which is threadably engaged to a threaded outer surface of the bezel 56 below the spacer 57. The spacer 57 may be located immediately beneath the button panel 46, as shown, or may alternatively be located immediately above the button panel 46 to raise the button further above the button panel 46. To retain the actuator 52 within the actuator assembly 50,52,54,56,58 and thereby prevent removal thereof, the lowermost ends of the respective arms of the actuator 52 are turned outward such that these ends abut a lowermost surface of the bezel 56 when the lens 50 has not been pressed.
Each switch assembly 60,62,64 includes a light source 60, a socket 62 and a switch 64. Because the socket 62 and the switch 64 are soldered to the printed circuit board 48, these components are depicted in the drawings as already being attached to the printed circuit board 48. When the printed circuit board assembly 47 is assembled, the light source 60 is secured within the socket 62 which, in turn, is secured to the printed circuit board 48. Although the light source 60 is shown connected to the printed circuit board 48 by a socket 62, the light source 60 may be connected directly to the printed circuit board 48. The light source may be a lamp, a light-emitting diode, or another suitable source of light. The upper square portion of the actuator 52 forms an aperture to allow light from the light source 60 within the socket 62 to pass therethrough and illuminate the lens 50. The switch 64 is secured to the printed circuit board 48 at a location adjacent to the socket 62 and beneath one of the arms of the actuator 52. Although the switch 64 is illustrated as a “pancake-type” mechanical switch, it is contemplated that the switch 64 may take various other forms, such as a proximity switch or an optical switch.
The printed circuit board 48 carries the plurality of switches 64 and the plurality of light sources 60. The switches 64 are switchable between an actuated condition and a non-actuated condition. The microcontroller 66 is coupled to the switches 64 by a logic circuit 72. The logic circuit 72 interacts with the I/O microcontroller 66, determines which switches 64 are in the actuated condition, and sends the information to the I/O microcontroller 66, which, in turn, informs the game control unit 68 of the condition of each of the switches 64. The I/O microcontroller 66 is coupled to the light sources 60 by a drive circuit 74. Although shown as a separate entity, the drive circuit 74 may also be part of the microcontroller 66. The microcontroller 66 determines which light sources 60 should be on, and in turn signals the drive circuit 74 to illuminate the respective light sources 60. The logic circuit 72 and the drive circuit 74 are mounted on the printed circuit board 48.
The I/O microcontroller 66 performs many of the functions conventionally performed by the game control unit 68. For example, the I/O microcontroller 66 continuously scans each of the switches 64 to determine whether each switch 64 is in the actuated or non-actuated condition. In addition, the I/O microcontroller 66 debounces each switch 64 to filter the transient noise from the switching signal before it reaches steady state. Finally, the microcontroller 66 continuously refreshes the light sources 60 via the drive circuit 74 to make it appear, to the naked eye, as though the light sources 60 are always illuminated. When the game control unit 68 needs to determine the configuration and function of the switches 64, rather than scanning each of the switches 64, it merely acquires this information from the I/O microcontroller 66, thus simplifying game setup. The printed circuit board 48 may include a plurality of jumpers or dip switches (not shown) for identifying the printed circuit board configuration and functions to the microcontroller 66. Further, under the direction of the game control unit 68, the I/O microcontroller 66 performs diagnostic tests on the printed circuit board 48 to assist in troubleshooting and ensure proper operation during start-up.
The game control unit 68 is the main controller of the gaming device 28. Accordingly, the game control unit 68 determines the outcome of the gaming device 28, and, thus, ultimately controls the video display 34. The inclusion of the I/O microcontroller 66 removes the need for the game control unit 68 to perform the aforementioned functions now performed by the microcontroller 66, thereby allowing the game control unit 68 to process data quicker and increase the speed of the overall game.
Providing a serial link 70 between the I/O microcontroller 66 and the game control unit 68 reduces the amount of wiring between the button panel assembly 44 and the game control unit 68. This reduces the cost to manufacture the gaming device 28, improves the reliability of the gaming device 28, and facilitates future modifications to the button panel assembly 44. Examples of suitable microcontrollers for the present invention are Cypress Universal Serial Bus microcontrollers, manufactured by Cypress Semiconductor Corp., and C541U Family Multipurpose Microcontroller with On-Chip USB Module, manufactured by Siemens AG. ST Microelectronics also manufactures suitable microcontrollers for the present invention.
While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4648063||Oct 30, 1978||Mar 3, 1987||Phillips Petroleum Company||Programming a peripheral computer|
|US4652998||Jan 4, 1984||Mar 24, 1987||Bally Manufacturing Corporation||Video gaming system with pool prize structures|
|US5074559||Apr 2, 1990||Dec 24, 1991||Kabushiki Kaisha Universal||Slot machine|
|US5169147||Sep 30, 1991||Dec 8, 1992||Takasago Electric Industry, Co., Ltd.||Stop-control device of rotary gaming machine|
|US5342047 *||Apr 8, 1992||Aug 30, 1994||Bally Gaming International, Inc.||Touch screen video gaming machine|
|US5379382||Apr 21, 1992||Jan 3, 1995||Pilkington Micro-Electronics Limited||Uni and bi-directional signal transfer modes in peripheral controller and method of operating same|
|US5443880 *||Aug 11, 1992||Aug 22, 1995||Wike; Curtis J.||Pocket-containing towel or blanket|
|US5519669 *||Aug 19, 1993||May 21, 1996||At&T Corp.||Acoustically monitored site surveillance and security system for ATM machines and other facilities|
|US5643086||Jun 29, 1995||Jul 1, 1997||Silicon Gaming, Inc.||Electronic casino gaming apparatus with improved play capacity, authentication and security|
|US5695188 *||Dec 22, 1995||Dec 9, 1997||Universal Sales Co., Ltd.||Gaming machine generating distinct sounds for each symbol|
|US5704835 *||Dec 13, 1995||Jan 6, 1998||Infinity Group, Inc.||Electronic second spin slot machine|
|US5708838||Sep 8, 1995||Jan 13, 1998||Iq Systems, Inc.||Distributed processing systems having a host processor and at least one object oriented processor|
|US5738583 *||Feb 2, 1996||Apr 14, 1998||Motorola, Inc.||Interactive wireless gaming system|
|US5745160 *||Aug 29, 1996||Apr 28, 1998||Hitachi, Ltd.||Video conversation/monitoring system having a remote monitoring function|
|US5761647||May 24, 1996||Jun 2, 1998||Harrah's Operating Company, Inc.||National customer recognition system and method|
|US5785595||Sep 21, 1995||Jul 28, 1998||Atronic Casino Technology Distribution Gmbh||Method for the determination of stop positions of rotating reel bodies of a game display device of a gambling machine|
|US5800268 *||Oct 20, 1995||Sep 1, 1998||Molnick; Melvin||Method of participating in a live casino game from a remote location|
|US5839957||Sep 30, 1996||Nov 24, 1998||Casino Data Systems||Stepping motor driven reel mechanism having an encoder means integrally formed on the motor: apparatus and method|
|US5938196||May 7, 1997||Aug 17, 1999||Universal De Desarrollos Electronicos, S.A.||Reel type slot machine with physical mapping to control the win odds|
|US5938529||Mar 17, 1997||Aug 17, 1999||Unislot, Inc.||Reel type slot machine having stepper motor monitoring system|
|US5951397 *||Jul 24, 1992||Sep 14, 1999||International Game Technology||Gaming machine and method using touch screen|
|US5958020||Oct 29, 1997||Sep 28, 1999||Vlsi Technology, Inc.||Real time event determination in a universal serial bus system|
|US5959596 *||Jun 24, 1993||Sep 28, 1999||Nintendo Co., Ltd.||Airline-based video game and communications system|
|US5978920||Sep 4, 1997||Nov 2, 1999||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.||Computer system having a function for intercepting lewd/violent programs and method for controlling access of such lewd/violent programs|
|US6003867||Oct 21, 1997||Dec 21, 1999||Unislot, Inc.||Reel type slot machine utilizing time-based random game result selection means|
|US6068552||Mar 31, 1998||May 30, 2000||Walker Digital, Llc||Gaming device and method of operation thereof|
|US6071190||May 21, 1997||Jun 6, 2000||Casino Data Systems||Gaming device security system: apparatus and method|
|US6088802||Jun 4, 1997||Jul 11, 2000||Spyrus, Inc.||Peripheral device with integrated security functionality|
|US6104815||Jan 9, 1998||Aug 15, 2000||Silicon Gaming, Inc.||Method and apparatus using geographical position and universal time determination means to provide authenticated, secure, on-line communication between remote gaming locations|
|US6106396||Jun 17, 1996||Aug 22, 2000||Silicon Gaming, Inc.||Electronic casino gaming system with improved play capacity, authentication and security|
|US6117010||Aug 5, 1999||Sep 12, 2000||Wms Gaming, Inc.||Gaming device with a serial connection|
|US6135887||Jun 1, 1998||Oct 24, 2000||International Game Technology||Peripheral device download method and apparatus|
|US6141805 *||Apr 14, 1998||Nov 7, 2000||Fisher-Cohen; Pamela||EZ nap|
|US6149522||Jun 29, 1998||Nov 21, 2000||Silicon Gaming - Nevada||Method of authenticating game data sets in an electronic casino gaming system|
|US6202235 *||May 13, 1999||Mar 20, 2001||Brenda C. Salhanick||Sitting pad|
|US6203430||Oct 1, 1998||Mar 20, 2001||Walker Digital, Llc||Electronic amusement device and method for enhanced slot machine play|
|US6251014||Oct 6, 1999||Jun 26, 2001||International Game Technology||Standard peripheral communication|
|US6276828 *||Jul 10, 2000||Aug 21, 2001||Tamara D. Otley||Beach towel/tote bag|
|US6394900||Jan 5, 2000||May 28, 2002||International Game Technology||Slot reel peripheral device with a peripheral controller therein|
|US6588840 *||Sep 12, 2000||Jul 8, 2003||Catherine Alberta Lombardo||Seat cushion for stadium seats|
|US6641484 *||Sep 21, 2001||Nov 4, 2003||Igt||Gaming machine including security data collection device|
|US6952845 *||Aug 1, 2003||Oct 11, 2005||Idea Nuova||Combined fabric wrap and carry bag|
|1||Applicants' Provided Prior Art shown in FIGS. 1-2 of current application.|
|2||Merriam-Webster's CollegiateŽ Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Tenth Edition (1993).|
|3||Merriam-Webster-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 10th Edition, 1993.|
|4||Merriam-Webster—Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 10th Edition, 1993.|
|5||The Superior Electric Company, advertisement for "Motion Control," Electronics Magazine, 1 page (Aug. 21, 1986).|
|6||The Superior Electric Company, Catalog DCM 1078-1 for "Slo-SynŽ DC Stepping Motors," 20 pages (1985).|
|7||The Superior Electric Company, Technical Paper 80 MB-1 for "Step Motor, Control And Load Interaction In A Step Motor System," 20 pages (1980).|
|International Classification||G07F17/32, A63F13/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3202, G07F17/32|
|European Classification||G07F17/32, G07F17/32C|
|Jul 3, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CANTERBURY, STEPHEN A.;LOOSE, TIMOTHY C.;REEL/FRAME:021196/0112
Effective date: 19990727
|Dec 18, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS COLLATERAL AGENT, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:SCIENTIFIC GAMES INTERNATIONAL, INC.;WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:031847/0110
Effective date: 20131018
|Dec 4, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, AS COLLATERA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:BALLY GAMING, INC;SCIENTIFIC GAMES INTERNATIONAL, INC;WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:034530/0318
Effective date: 20141121
|Jul 29, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0048
Effective date: 20150629