News Column

Patent Issued for Method and Apparatus for Configuring Electronic Devices to Perform Selectable Predefined Functions Using Device Drivers

June 26, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- Nokia Corporation (Espoo, FI) has been issued patent number 8751721, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Scales, James (Hurst, GB); Bullard, Varley (Hants, GB); Syrjala, Petri (Tampere, FI).

This patent was filed on December 11, 2008 and was published online on June 10, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "A Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard has been developed which allows up to 127 peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, keyboards, modems, cameras and storage devices to be attached to a host, usually a personal computer (PC), through a 4-wire bus. These devices can be connected to the PC either directly or via hubs which provide additional connections. USB has the advantage that connection of different types of devices becomes standardised. Furthermore, a device can be connected while the PC is switched on and while other devices are in use. USB supports user data rates of up to 8 Mbit/s for each device which is suitable for low to medium data rate applications. An overview of USB may be found in 'USB Hardware & Software' by J. Garney et si (Anna Books, 1998) [ISBN 0-929392-3-X] and a current version of the USB specification is available at www.uab.org or from USB-IF Administration, 5440 SW Westgate Drive, Suite 217, Portland, Oreg. 97221 USA.

"A device is connected to a USB port provided by the PC or a hub. Once physically connected to the device, the PC controls attachment and configuration of the device. To achieve this, the PC is installed with a USB driver which is usually provided by the PC's operating system. The PC is also installed with a device driver to control the device once it is attached and configured so that application software on the PC can use the device. The device driver is often provided by the operating system although for unusual devices, a user may need to install a specific device driver using installation disks.

"Devices fall into two main categories, namely hubs and functions. Hubs provide additional attachment points to the USB. Functions extend the capabilities of the computer. Most devices which axe not a hub, such as a mouse, implement a single function. Some devices, such as a monitor having in-built speakers, implement multiple functions and have an embedded hub. Such a device is known as a compound device and appears to the PC as a hub with a collection of individual, non-removable functions.

"The USB standard was originally designed to accommodate simple peripheral devices which fulfil a single function. When a single function device, such as a mouse, is plugged into a PC for the first time, the USB driver detects, identifies and configures the device and the operating system automatically assigns a device driver, which in the case of a mouse is a mouse driver. Alternatively, a user may install and/or assign a specific device driver. When a compound device is plugged in for the first time the same process of detection, identification and configuration is carried out for each respective function so that all the functions of the compound device are available to the PC.

"However, a problem arises if a device implements multiple disconnectable functions. Such a device appears to the PC as a single function device. When the device is plugged into the PC for the first time, the operating system assigns a device driver according to this function. Once assigned, the device is tied to the device driver so that whenever the device is disconnected from the PC and then reconnected, the same device driver is assigned to the device. This abrogates the multifunctionality of the device.

"The present invention seeks to help overcome this problem."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of configuring first and second electronic devices, said second device being able to perform a plurality of predefined functions, the method comprising receiving, at said second device, preference information relating to one of said plurality of functions of said second device, providing said first device with information relating to said one function and providing, at said first device, an interface for interfacing with said one function so as to allow said first device to use said one function.

"The first device may be a Universal Serial Bus host, such as a personal computer and the second device may be a Universal Serial Bus device, such as a mobile telephone handset.

"The method may further comprise connecting said first and second devices together by a bus for transmitting signals and exchanging configuration signals between said first and second devices through said bus for establishing addressable communication between said first and second devices. The exchange of configuration signals may include said provision of information relating to said one function. The provision of information may comprise sending a message from said second device to said first device. The provision of information may include providing data identifying said one function.

"The method may comprise said first device requesting information from said second device.

"The provision of said interface may comprise assigning a device driver and may comprise executing a computer program.

"According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of using data processor for communication with an electronic device, the method comprising receiving first information relating to a first function of said device, providing a first interface for interfacing with said first function so as to allow said data processor to use said first function, receiving second information relating to a second function of said device and providing a second interface for interfacing with said second function so as to allow said data processor to use said second function in preference to said first function.

"According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of configuring an electronic device for communication with data processor, the method comprising receiving preference information relating to one of a plurality of predefined function of said device and providing information relating to a first function to said data processor. The method may further comprise allowing said data processor to use said one function.

"According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer code for a data processor configured for communication with an electronic device, to make said data processor receive preference information relating to a first function of said device, provide a first interface for interfacing with said first function so as to allow said data processor to use said function, receive second information relating to a second function of said device and provide a second interface for interfacing with said second function so as to allow said data processor to use said second function in preference to said first function.

"According to a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer code for an electronic device able to perform a plurality of predefined functions and configured for communication with a data processor, to make said device receive information relating to one of said plurality of functions and provide information relating to said function to said data processor. The program may further make said device allow said data processor to use said one function.

"According to a sixth aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus comprising first and second electronic devices, said second device being able to perform a plurality of functions, said apparatus including an input for receiving preference information relating to one of said plurality of functions of said second device, a link for providing to said first device information relating to said one function and a controller for providing an interface for interfacing with said one function so as to allow said first device to use said one function.

"The first device may be Universal Serial Bus host, such as a personal computer and the second device may be a Universal Serial Bus device, such as a mobile telephone handset.

"According to a seventh aspect of the present invention there is provided an electronic device which is able to perform a plurality of function comprising an input for receiving preference information relating to one of said plurality of functions and an output for providing to another device information relating to said one function. The device may further comprise a link for allowing said other device to use said one function. The device may be a mobile telephone handset.

"According to an eighth aspect of the present invention there is provided a Universal Serial Bus device able to perform a plurality of predefined functions comprising an input for receiving preference information relating to one of said plurality of functions and output for providing to a host information relating to said one function. The device may further comprise a link for allowing said host to use said to use said one function. The device may be a mobile telephone handset."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Scales, James; Bullard, Varley; Syrjala, Petri. Method and Apparatus for Configuring Electronic Devices to Perform Selectable Predefined Functions Using Device Drivers. U.S. Patent Number 8751721, filed December 11, 2008, and published online on June 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8751721.PN.&OS=PN/8751721RS=PN/8751721

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Nokia Corporation.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


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Source: Computer Weekly News


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