|Publication number||USRE42973 E1|
|Application number||US 11/452,186|
|Publication date||Nov 29, 2011|
|Priority date||Feb 13, 1996|
|Also published as||US6750902|
|Publication number||11452186, 452186, US RE42973 E1, US RE42973E1, US-E1-RE42973, USRE42973 E1, USRE42973E1|
|Inventors||Eran Steinberg, Yury Prilutsky|
|Original Assignee||Scenera Technologies, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (143), Non-Patent Citations (15), Referenced by (2), Classifications (108), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a Reissue Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/467,747, filed Dec. 12, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of the following U.S. Patent. application Ser. No.: 09/105,594 filed Jun. 26, 1998 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,628,325; Ser. No. 09/353,915 filed Jul. 15, 1999; now U.S. Pat. No. 6,433,818, Ser. No. 09/187,706 filed Nov. 6, 1998; Ser. No. 09/211,992 filed Dec. 14, 1998; Ser. No. 09/313,131 filed May 17, 1999; Ser. No. 09/335,219 filed Jun. 17, 1999; Ser. No. 09/105,593 filed Jun. 26, 1998; and Ser. No. 08/896,711 filed Jul. 18, 1997, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 08/601,368 filed Feb. 13, 1996; and Ser. No. 09/232,055 filed Jan. 15, 1999 (now U.S. Pat. No. 5,862,218), which is a CIP of Ser. No. 08/627,441 filed Apr. 4, 1996.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to digital still and video cameras and communication systems, and more particularly to a communication device providing a communication interface between a digital camera and a network system.
2. Brief Description of the Prior Art
Portable digital cameras are generally treated as PC peripheral devices. With conventional digital cameras, a user takes pictures until the camera memory/disk is filled and then downloads the digital image data to a PC. The camera needs to be either connected to the PC, for example through a cable, or a removable storage device such as a PCMCIA card must be manually transferred from the camera to the PC. The need to regularly make a direct, physical connection to a PC reduces the portable nature of digital cameras. In addition, downloading images to a PC is a local operation. In order to move images into the internet, the user must apply another set of commands on the local PC. Such a system is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,475,441 by Parulski et al. Cameras are also incorporated into integrated systems for displaying an image, such as a visual surveillance system in a retail store. U.S. Pat. No. 5,444,483 by Maeda discloses a system including a digital camera with processing circuitry for display on a television screen.
Another limitation of conventional digital cameras is that there is no direct way to identify an image once it is loaded onto the PC. Additional information must be added manually, such as operator name, account number, camera of origin, etc. Also, there is no way of securing the images to assure that an operator does not alter them once loaded into a PC, or that the images will not be viewed by an unauthorized person as part of the transmission of the images from the PC to a remote location.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus to serve as an interface for enabling a user of a portable still and or video digital camera to send image data directly from the camera to a communication network for transmission and downloading to a remote network location or remote computer.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus enabling a user of a conventional digital camera designed to only download directly to a PC, to send camera data directly from the camera to a communication network for transmission and downloading to a remote network location or remote computer.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that performs operations to secure the camera data against unauthorized use during transmission through an insecure communications network, and storage in an otherwise unsecure remote destination.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for downloading image data from a variety of digital cameras to a remote computer through a selected communication network by means of an interface selected from a group, including but not limited to a modem, an ethernet adapter, a router, a hub, or infrared and other wireless connection.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that can receive and encrypt and/or mark image data from a camera and transmit the encrypted/marked -data to a remote computer.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that can receive image data from a camera and transmit the data to a remote computer along with additional annotation data including but not limited to time and date, user information, location information, and camera information.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for connecting a digital camera output to a remote computer, the apparatus being responsive to a Smart Card to program the apparatus and the camera, and to allow an authorized user to operate the apparatus.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for use with a digital camera, that can control the camera by means of programming, or in response to information/direction from a remote computerized destination.
It is another objective of the present invention to provide an apparatus for use with:a digital camera, that can be programmed by a PC using the same interface on the apparatus that would later be used to communicate with the camera.
It is a still further objective of the present invention to provide a still and or video digital camera capable of downloading image data to a remote computer through a selected communication network by means of an interface selected from the group including but not limited to a modem, an ethernet adapter, a router, a hub, or infrared or other wireless connection.
It is another objective of the present invention to provide a digital camera, and a device for use with a digital camera, that automatically performs operations dependent on camera or device programming, or in response to information/direction from a remote computerized destination.
Briefly, a preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a communication device for interconnecting a digital camera to a communication network for downloading data to a remote computer. The device has a network communication port for establishing communication with a network via a pre-defined protocol and communication mode, and has a camera communication port such as a serial, parallel, SCSI, USB or Irda-port that imitates the back end application of a PC, for connection to a digital camera for sending and receiving data to and from the camera. The camera communication port is also used for input of programming and setup data to the communication device from a PC. The device can be programmed to operate on the data directly, such as in the case of data for storage or operational direction, and/or direct the data to the camera. The device may also have a Smart card socket into which a user can insert a card to input data, such as user and camera I.D., user authorization, image marking, camera operational parameters, remote computer/destination address, etc. The device can be programmed to perform encryption, authentication, watermarking and fingerprinting procedures, as well as structuring the data for transmission over a particular network, and to automatically perform operations, such as at specific times or in response to data input.
An advantage of the present invention is that a digital camera user can download image camera data to a remote computer or network site and therefore avoid the concern of the need to connect the camera or its removable device to a local computer in order to perform such operation.
Another advantage of the present invention is that it gives the camera user the capability of automatically securing the camera data, for example by encrypting or marking the data prior to sending it over a communication system and downloading it to a computer.
Another advantage of the present invention is that it adds functionality to cameras that are not designed specifically to perform the task of connection to a remote network.
A further advantage of the present invention is that it provides an apparatus with a connection to a camera that is programmable for customized operations.
Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides an apparatus that enables a user to send data from a digital camera through a network to a plurality of destinations of a variety of types, such as network printers and remote archives.
Referring now to
The use of the communication device 10 involves first programming it as required. Programming is accomplished through use of a PC 14 connected to port 20 and/or through data entry from the Smart card 36 through the port 34 and/or from a remote computer at destination 18 by way of the network 16. Examples of programming options will be given in the following detailed description. Generally, the device 10 can be programmed to send instructions and data to the camera and to perform operations on data received from the camera, and to send data to the specified remote destination 18 by way of the network 16. Typical uses of the Smart card are for entry of additional data such as a user I.D., camera ID, an address or phone number of the remote destination/network site 18, operational instructions to the camera 12 and communication device 10, etc.
The primary function of the communication device 10 is to perform the necessary operations required to receive data from the camera 12 and then to send the data to the remote destination 18 by way of a selected communication media indicated by network 16. Other operations/functions will be described in the following specification.
The input 20 of the device 10 imitates the back end application of a PC, thus becoming transparent to the camera that operates as if it is communicating to a PC. The communication device 10 establishes communication with a network 16 via a predefined protocol and communication mode. The device 10 receives image data and other information data from a camera 12, and secures the data and structures it according to the required protocol, performs any other programmed operations, and then sends the data through the network for transmission to a destination device 18, such as a computer, printer, server, phone switch, etc., placing the data in assigned locations as defined by the device ID or commands. Communication between the device 10 and the destination device can be bi-directional, i.e. a destination device host 18 can download information to the communication device 10 as well as receive information. Any and all types of media are included in the spirit of the present invention. Particular embodiments of the communication device 10 include the functions of one or more devices including a telephone modem, ethernet adapter, a router, hub, etc. The device 10 can also be configured to transmit through a wireless communication link, such as satellite communication, etc. Signals include infrared, or any RF frequency such as UHF, VHF, or microwave.
In wireless communication between the device 10 and destination 18, line 32 is replaced with a wireless connect inn between the device 10 and the network 16, as indicated by antenna/emitter 40 on the communication device 10 and transceiver 42 connected to the network 16.
Because the device 10 is programmable, there is significant flexibility in its use. For example, device 10 can be programmed to perform functions automatically, for example to receive instruction from a destination device/host computer 16 to direct the camera to take a picture at a particular time of day, or every hour and/or to download images or upload information at a specific time from the camera. The device 10 can be programmed by a destination device 18 to operate a camera “off-line”. After uploading the instruction to the device 10, the communication can be terminated. The device 10 can keep the instructions and send them to the camera appropriately.
In another example, the device 10 can be programmed to automatically connect to the network 16 when the camera image data storage is full, or partially full, and then to download the image data and subsequently disconnect from the network 16. Upon completion of downloading and receiving a confirmation from the destination 18, the device 10 can continue by deleting the image data from the camera.
The communication device 10, or camera if it is programmable, can also be loaded with information to accompany an image, and this information can be included, for example, in an image header. Examples of valuable information may include an account number and a camera ID. The device 10 can be programmed to automatically include this information with image data downloaded to a destination. Such identification avoids confusion as to the source of the image.
The communication device is designed with selected features permanently programmed. An alternate embodiment of the present invention includes permanent programming to allow downloading of data only to a specific destination. Such fixed programming helps avoid theft of the device or camera for a different use. In general, it is a specific feature of the present invention to provide a device with permanent programming for any specific purpose.
Another alternate embodiment includes fixed programming to automatically request and receive a camera ID from the destination device 18, and/or smart card 36 when connected to either of these. The camera ID is then included along with image data. A still further embodiment includes permanent programming to read and increment a counter and assign a unique number to each image received. In this way each image has associated with it a unique number, and the ID of the camera that secured the image. The programming for these functions will be understood by those skilled in the art, and is not shown. The required clock, counter, ROM and other necessary circuit components are illustrated in block form in
Other embodiments of the communication device 10 include the incorporation of visual 48 and sound 50 indicators to inform a user concerning operations that need to be accomplished. These can function either off or on line. For example, the alarm/sound indicator 50 can be programmed to sound, and/or the visual indicator can light if the device 10 is programmed to connect the camera to the network at a specific time and there is no connection. The indicators can also give notice when the image storage has reached a certain level. A visual display 52 is optional for presentation of useful information such as the remaining number of images to be sent to a destination 18, the remaining time required for transmission, notice of connection to a camera 12, and notice of connection to a destination 18. Internally, the device 10 includes a counter to maintain the image count for display as discussed above, and may optionally also include a clock for use in indicating the date and time of receiving an image on the display 52.
An alternate construction 54 of a device that is functionally similar to device 10 is shown in
The communication devices described in this disclosure can be connected to a camera by any of a variety of port types. This is illustrated in
As discussed above, the communication device of the present invention provides downloading of camera images onto computerized systems in an automated manner. The communication device is programmed to include information about the camera, the remote computer and intervening network and the corresponding method of transporting the information.
In addition to these more general features of the communication device, numerous programming and operational options are included in the spirit of the present invention, examples of which are given in the lists of
In the same way, information regarding the identity by the particular communication device, and other information can be programmed into the device. Examples include a unique communication device ID, the date and time maintained by a built-in clock, the number of images stored and/or downloaded, and the numbers retained on a consecutive image counter in the communication device. These features are also listed in
The communication device is also programmed with information concerning the destination 18, which normally will be a remote PC, but could be some other apparatus such as a video monitor or a printer, etc. This type of information is listed under “Device Information Re Destination” in
Requiring a user password avoids the possibility that an unauthorized person will alter data. Phone number and IP address data can also be loaded into the communication device, and are listed under “Operational Information for Devices and/or Camera” in
The communication device programming also includes instructions that are then sent by the communication device to the camera, examples of which are listed in
The purpose of the communication device is to receive information from the camera and then to store it, or modify it, and/or add to it according to the program and data, and send the required data to the network. Examples of data received from the camera are listed in
It is noted in
The specific items listed in
The embodiments of the present invention illustrated above are preferred embodiments. The communication device is particularly useful in these forms in that it allows existing digital cameras that do not have the functionality to connect to a network, to be connected to any of a variety of communication networks for transmission of image data and receiving instructions. Existing digital cameras do not have to be modified to function with the communication device of the present invention because an interconnection is made through an existing camera port using the existing protocol.
An alternate embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in
Other applications include “escrow” security transmissions where images “first data” are sent to a first location 206, and other information “second data” is automatically sent to a second location/recipient 208. In the case of secured images, an authenticated image can be sent to a first location such as 206 and an image signature and/or authentication data can be sent to a second location 208. Similarly, encrypted or watermarked data can be sent to a first location, and original data to a second location.
In the case where the camera cannot provide both the first and second data, the second data can be prepared by the communication device, as illustrated in
As referred to in the above description, the device of the present invention performs operations in an automated manner. Novel methods of operation of the communication device and/or integrated camera device will now be described in greater detail.
The communication devices described above, used in a system, for example the system described in
The method and apparatus of the present invention in automatic operation has great utility when a plurality of communication devices, either as separate devices or integrated with a camera, are in service and attempts are made to download image data. Image data requires a large memory, and downloading from a number of communication devices is time consuming. Networks encountering such a load of image data can easily be overloaded, requiring either large increases in network band width, or a method of organizing the downloading in an automated manner. Such automation is a particularly useful feature of an embodiment of the present invention and is illustrated in
Various ways of automating the transfer of image data from the cameras to the destination will be understood by those skilled in the art of automation after reading the description of the invention. A preferred embodiment involves programming the devices 220, 222, and 224 to automatically “re-dial” for a hook-up with the destination when a busy signal is received. The destination simply accepts a first call and ignores subsequent calls until the processing of the first call is complete. An alternate method includes the destination storing the numbers of the calling communication devices in the order received, and then notifying the next device in line when the destination is ready for accepting the next download. This approach has an advantage over the re-dialing approach in guaranteeing each device its priority.
Referring now to
The example of
Once image data is loaded, the communication device can respond to programming to perform any of a variety of operations as discussed above, such as encrypting, creating authentication data and relegating selected data for subsequent transmission to one or more destinations. This is indicated simply as block 238.
The communication device can be programmed to send the relegated data at certain times. This programming is symbolically indicated by block 240, and at the programmed time the device checks the output port 30 (
Once the communication device determines that the destination is ready, the data is transmitted as indicated by blocks 250, 252 and 254. Block 250 also indicates an option indicating programming of the communication device to include a unique ID with the transmitted data to connect the data to a specific location, i.e. database, within the destination. The purpose of
Block 258 of
Once connection is established between the destination and the communication device, the destination can send instructions to the communication device as indicated by block 262. As with block 260, this action by the destination can be self initiated or in response to an instruction received from the communication device to send data. The data is then received by the destination (block 264) and processed (block 266). The communication device can be either separate from the camera or integrated with it.
Upon receiving data from the communication device (block 264), the destination can automatically process the data according to specific programmed objectives (block 266). A number of possibilities are included in
In summary of the automatic features of the invention, the destination, for example a server, can call the communication device to notify it of a particular time to send data to a server, for example based on local and remote network load, server processing load, server storage capacity, fulfillment (printing), system load, and other factors. As explained above, there may be querying/handshaking between the communication device and the server to determine if there are sufficient images to send, i.e. to determine the space available in the image storage memory of the communication device or camera-device. Alternatively, the communication device can query the destination to initiate the sending of data.
Another automatic feature of the present invention is the automatic inclusion of prescribed information along with image data, such information including for example, a unique ID, date, time, etc.
This disclosure incorporates by reference the disclosures of the following U.S. patent application Ser. No.: 09/353,915 filed Jul. 15, 1999; Ser. No. 09/187,706 filed Nov. 6, 1998; Ser. No. 09/211,992 filed Dec. 14; 1998; Ser. No. 09/313,131 filed May 17, 1999; Ser. No. 09/335,219 filed Jun. 17, 1999; Ser. No. 09/105,593 filed Jun. 26, 1998; ser. No. 08/896,711 filed Jul. 18, 1997, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 08/601,368 filed Feb. 13, 1996; and Ser. No. 09/232,055 filed Jan. 15, 1999 (now U.S. Pat. No. 5,862,218), which is a CIP of Ser. No. 08/627,441 filed Apr. 4, 1996. Closely related to the information included with an image is a phone number or network IP received by the device or camera for automatic dialing to a destination. The communication device can also automatically receive images and related information by querying the destination at preprogrammed times/intervals. Another automatic feature includes automatic downloading based on priority when some users have priority over others.
Although the present invention has been described above in terms of a specific embodiment, it is anticipated that alterations and modifications thereof will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is therefore intended that the following claims be interpreted as covering all such alterations and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||348/211.3, 348/207.1|
|International Classification||H04N5/232, H04N5/225, G06F1/00, H04N1/21, H04N1/34, G09C3/00, H04N1/00, G06F12/14, G06F21/00, H04N5/77, H04L12/58, G06T1/00, H04N1/32, H04N5/907, H04N7/18, H04N5/775, H04N5/765, G07C9/00, G03B7/091, H04N1/44, H04N7/16, H04N7/173, H04N7/167|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N2201/0049, H04N5/23203, H04N1/2158, H04N1/00925, G06F21/85, H04N2201/3235, H04N1/4413, H04N1/00965, H04N7/167, H04N1/0097, H04N7/185, H04N1/34, H04N1/32122, G03B7/091, H04N1/00281, H04N1/00214, H04N7/17318, H04N1/00307, H04N1/32101, H04N1/32144, H04N2201/0051, H04N2201/0074, G06F12/1408, H04N2201/3233, G03B2217/244, H04N5/765, G03B2217/243, H04N5/77, H04N2201/0062, H04N5/907, H04N1/00344, H04N2201/0084, H04N2201/3236, H04N2201/3274, H04N2101/00, H04N1/00312, H04N2201/0015, H04N5/232, H04N1/32128, H04N2201/0034, H04N1/2112, H04N5/772, H04N7/165, H04N1/4486, H04N1/00204, H04N5/775, H04N21/4117, H04N21/4143, H04N21/8153, H04N21/44231, H04N21/43637, H04N21/835, H04N21/4223|
|European Classification||H04N5/765, H04N5/232, H04N1/00C23, H04N1/00C3, H04N1/21B3, H04N5/77, H04N21/61D4, G03B7/091, H04N1/44S2, H04N21/2389B, H04N1/32C15D, H04N1/44A2, H04N21/8358, H04N5/232C, H04N1/32C, H04N21/81C, H04N5/77B, H04N1/32C19, H04N7/18D2, H04N7/173B2, H04N7/167, H04N21/258U3, H04N7/16E3, H04N1/00C3G3, G06F21/85, H04N1/00V2, H04N1/00W1, H04N1/00C7F, H04N1/00W3, H04N1/21B7|
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