The patent's inventor is Pantfoerder,
This patent was filed on
From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Many types of input devices are presently available for performing operations in a computing system, such as buttons or keys, mice, trackballs, touch panels, joysticks, touch screens and the like. Touch screens, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular because of their ease and versatility of operation as well as their declining price. Touch screens can include a touch sensor panel, which can be a clear panel with a touch-sensitive surface. The touch sensor panel can be positioned in front of a display screen so that the touch-sensitive surface covers the viewable area of the display screen. Touch screens can allow a user to make selections and move a cursor by simply touching the display screen via a finger or stylus. In general, the touch screen can recognize the touch and position of the touch on the display screen, and the computing system can interpret the touch and thereafter perform an action based on the touch event.
"Because touch screens can reduce or eliminate the need for physical keypads or buttons, the touch screens themselves can often be made larger in comparison to the overall size of the device. These larger touch screens have enabled even small devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile telephones, digital audio/video players, and the like to provide a wider variety of content than previously possible, including video, graphics, Internet access, photos, and the like. The convenience of today's handheld portable devices combined with their ever-increasing multi-media functionality has made such devices seemingly ubiquitous, with users carrying them everywhere, in purses or clipped to belts. To a dedicated user, these personal devices can be as indispensable as a wallet. To that end, users may place these personal devices within arms reach wherever they go, including vehicles, movie theaters, and the like.
"Because personal devices tend to have small batteries, power savings is critical. A large display illuminated to full brightness will exhaust a battery in no time, and thus power saving functions such as sleep modes are common in personal devices. For example, the display of a mobile telephone may be dimmed or go dark altogether until a call is received, or the screen of a PDA may go blank until the user activates a function or a communication such as an e-mail or text message is received. However, if one of these personal devices is in a sleep mode in a dark environment and the display is suddenly illuminated due to a received call or other communication, a nearby user who happens to be looking at the device or is instinctively drawn to looking at the display when it illuminates can suffer temporary vision impairment. Because the user's pupils have opened up in the dark environment, the sudden flash of light can cause short-term blindness or at least impaired vision. This temporary impaired vision can range from a mere annoyance to a life-threatening situation if the user is driving a motor vehicle."
Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "A luminescence shock avoidance algorithm can be employed to selectively limit the brightness level of a display device when the display device is activated in a dark environment to prevent the temporary vision impairment that can occur when a display device is activated in a dark environment. The algorithm receives the state of the display (e.g. on or in standby mode), and can optionally receive an ambient lighting value from an ambient light sensor and a user-selectable manual brightness adjustment setting to determine whether luminescence shock avoidance should even be triggered, and if it is triggered, how much should the brightness level of the display be limited.
"When a display device is in a standby, sleep or powered-down mode to save battery power, the display is at a zero brightness level. When the display is automatically activated, such as when a telephone call is received, the display can turn on to a brightness level determined by the ambient light level detected by the ambient light sensor. If the device is in a car being driven at night, for example, then when a call or other triggering activity is detected, the display brightness level may instantly jump from zero to some predetermined level. Because the user's eyes are likely to be already adjusted to the darkness of the car, the sudden change in display brightness level from can cause luminescence shock and temporary vision impairment, which can be dangerous to the operator of the car, especially if the driver takes a glance at the newly illuminated display.
"To avoid luminescence shock, if the display device is off and a call or other triggering activity is detected, the ambient light sensor will turn on and detect a certain ambient light level. In one embodiment, if the detected ambient light level is greater than or equal to a threshold value, then the display device will turn on at a brightness level according to the current display brightness setting. In other words, if the ambient light level is greater than or equal to threshold value, the display will turn on from a zero brightness level to the level defined by the appropriate brightness function as determined by the current display brightness setting. Because the threshold value is chosen such that no luminescence shock is expected for ambient light levels above the threshold value, no adjustment is made to the display brightness level when the display turns on.
"However, if the detected ambient light level is below the threshold value, luminescence shock may occur, so the display device will turn on from a zero brightness level to an initially reduced brightness level as compared to what would normally be expected if the brightness function appropriate for the current display brightness level was followed. In other words, the display will initially turn on to a brightness level less than the appropriate brightness function as determined by the current display brightness setting. This dimmer than usual brightness level is intended to avoid luminescence shock. After some short time period has passed, giving the user's eyes time to adjust, the brightness level can be gradually or instantly increased to the level determined by the appropriate brightness function, which should be closer to ideal for sufficient visibility at the current ambient light level.
"In other embodiments, a threshold is not used, and therefore regardless of the detected ambient light level, the display will initially turn on to a brightness level less than the appropriate brightness function as determined by the current display brightness setting. Optionally, as above, after some short time period has passed, the brightness level can be gradually or instantly increased to the level determined by the appropriate brightness function.
"If the display device is already on and a call or other triggering activity is detected, there will be no change to the display brightness, regardless of the current light level. In other words, the luminescence shock avoidance algorithm can be employed only when the display device is initially off.
"The reduced brightness value may be implemented in a number of different ways. If the detected ambient light level is below a threshold, the reduced display brightness value may be a fixed value, regardless of the current display brightness settings. After some short time period has passed, the brightness level can be gradually or instantly increased to the level determined by the brightness function appropriate for the current display brightness settings. Alternatively, the reduced display brightness value can be a fixed value that is dependent on the current display brightness settings. In another embodiment, the reduced display brightness value is dependent only on the detected ambient light level, regardless of the current display brightness settings. In still other embodiments, the reduced display brightness value is dependent both on the detected ambient light level and the current display brightness settings.
"Even in embodiments without an ambient light sensor, and therefore no detected ambient light level, luminescence shock can be avoided. When a telephone call or other triggering activity is detected, the display may initially come on with a reduced brightness value as compared to normal levels. After some short time period has passed, the brightness level can be gradually or instantly increased to normal levels.
"In other embodiments, the wavelength of light from the display can be shifted to further reduce luminescence shock. If ambient light levels below a certain threshold are detected when a telephone call or other activity is detected and the display is turned on, the color of the display can be temporarily gamma-shifted into the red region, either alone or in combination with reduced display brightness levels as described above. By gamma-shifting the display towards red light, the brightness of the display will tend to cause the user's pupils to constrict less, so that when the user looks up again at a dark road, for example, the user's vision impairment is reduced. If gamma-shifting is applied in combination with reduced display brightness levels, the display brightness levels may not need to be reduced as much."
For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Pantfoerder,
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