No assignee for this patent application has been made.
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention relates to a display screen with push buttons.
"Various ways of accepting user input for electronic devices, including gaming machines, have been devised. One common input device is a push-button. The push-button generally has a plunger which may be depressed to activate an electrical switch. These buttons are generally permanently labeled, such as with printing, so as to be easily identified by a user. However, a significant problem with buttons is that they are generally single function. In particular, a separate button must be provided for each function or input. If there are many functions or inputs, this requires many buttons. In addition, once a particular device is configured with buttons, it is difficult to change the configuration of the device, since the number of buttons required and/or their labeling will generally no longer be accurate. Thus, devices which utilize buttons must generally be custom-configured. As one example, a gaming machine could be configured to execute game software to present different games. However, those different games may require different inputs. For example, a 'slot' game might include 'spin' buttons, while a 'poker' game might require 'hold/draw' buttons. As such, two different machines must be produced, each with separate numbers of differently labeled buttons.
"As an alternative to buttons, some devices utilize touch screens that can display information as well as collect user input. A substantial problem with touch screens, however, is that users often find them difficult to use. First, because touch screens appear similar to non-touch screens, a user may first not even be aware that input is to be provided to a device via the screen. Even so, touch screens lack tactile feedback. Thus, a user may touch an area of the screen and be unsure whether the input was received. This may cause the user to re-touch the screen or believe that the screen is not a touch screen.
"An improved input configuration is desired."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The invention is an interactive display and electronically labeled push-buttons, comprising a combination of one or more buttons and a display.
"In one embodiment, the interactive display comprises a display screen configured to display various information, preferably including one or more button labels and one or more buttons associated with the display screen. In a preferred embodiment, input to or activation of the buttons is determined passively, such as by a RF board located at an opposing side of the display screen from the button(s), the board configured to transmit and receive radio frequency signals, and an interface configured to provide a data connection to an electronic device. In this embodiment, the one or more buttons comprise one or more RF transponders. The RF transponders transmit, to the RF board, button state information based on one or more button states of the one or more buttons.
"In a preferred embodiment, the buttons are associated with the electronic display so that information displayed by the display is displayed in association with the buttons. Preferably, the buttons include at least one transparent portion which allows the one or more labels or other information displayed by the electronic display to be visible there through.
"Preferably, the buttons are push-type buttons which provide tactile feedback of their actuation. In one or more embodiments, the one or more buttons may comprise a plunger comprising a user engageable portion and one or more magnets, and a casing configured to surround the plunger. The casing may comprise one or more Hall effect sensors configured to detect the one or more button states of the one or more buttons. It is noted that the plunger, the casing, or both may be transparent, and that the one or more buttons may be removably attached.
"The RF transponders may be configured in various ways. For example, the one or more RF transponders may be configured such that they are powered by the radio frequency signals transmitted by the RF board. In addition, the one or more RF transponders may be configured to transmit button identification information or button authentication information.
"It is contemplated that one or more other buttons powered by the radio frequency signals transmitted by the RF board may be provided as well. These one or more other buttons may be attached to the electronic device (rather than the display screen) and configured to transmit button state information to the RF board.
"One or more opaque overlays may be located above the display screen and be configured to at least partially surround the one or more buttons. The overlay may screen from view one or more portions of the display, such as those portions with which a button is not associated.
"Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an RF board according to an embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a display screen and RF board according to an embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention having a touch screen.
"FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a button according to an embodiment of the invention.
"FIGS. 6A-6B are cross section side views of a button in different states according to an embodiment of the invention.
"FIGS. 7A-B are perspective views of the various embodiment of the invention installed in electronic devices."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Dimitrov, Dimityr; Spasov, George. Electronic Display with Push Buttons. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Patents.
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