News Column

"Computer Peripheral Display and Communication Device Providing an Adjunct 3d User Interface" in Patent Application Approval Process

June 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Tan, Min-Liang (Singapore, SG); Wilson, John (San Francisco, CA); Hahn, Patrick (San Francisco, CA), filed on April 13, 2011, was made available online on May 29, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Electronic games have become increasingly popular in recent decades. Certain types of electronic games have demonstrated particularly strong market growth over time, such as Internet-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. MMO games generally involve interactive online environments or platforms (commonly referred to as virtual or online 'worlds') that hundreds, or even thousands, of users can access simultaneously. MMO games enable gamers to cooperate and/or compete with each other on a large-scale basis, typically in real time or near real time. One example of a well-known MMO game is World of Warcraft.RTM. (Blizzard Entertainment, Irvine, Calif.).

"A given MMO game participant, player, gamer, or user is typically represented by an avatar or game character within an interactive online environment. A user navigates within a virtual environment by issuing or generating particular types of commands corresponding to avatar movement. By moving the avatar within or through the virtual environment, the user is able to explore the virtual environment. A user can interact with other gamers and/or non-player characters (NPCs) by interacting with corresponding avatars or characters within the virtual environment, for instance, through cooperating, competing, or fighting. A user can also interact with other gamers using predetermined messaging functions, which cause inter-user communications, such as messages, to be displayed on a display screen.

"Game-related graphical information (e.g., scenes within a particular game environment, and interactions between character avatars in such scenes), game details (e.g., avatar and/or NPC status or attributes, or virtual environment maps), and user-to-user messages are displayed on a user's display screen during game play. The increasing complexity and graphical details of many games and the sheer amount of information that can be generated corresponding to user interaction with an interactive online environment or 'world' results in an increasing quantity of information being displayed on the user's display screen during game play. In addition, the increasing number of gamers participating in a particular MMO game at any given time, coupled with the increasing number of options and/or opportunities for interaction between the gamers' avatars and/or NPCs, often results in an overload, or an excess amount, of information being provided to a user's display screen.

"Display screens can thus become undesirably cluttered or confusing, and portions of a display screen can become visually distracting, as a result of the increasing amount of game related data or information that can be displayed or provided to the user. Unfortunately, the size of a typical computer display screen is commonly inadequate for efficiently or effectively accommodating or presenting all of the required or desired data or information that a user may find useful during game play. Accordingly, improved systems, devices, methods, and/or techniques are needed for presenting game-related information to the user.

"Three-dimensional (3D) displays or quasi-3D displays are becoming increasingly popular for enhancing a user's gaming experience. Multiple types of three-dimensional displays or holographic displays can be used for displaying game-related information. However, the application or use of 3D displays has been associated with several limitations, problems, and/or disadvantages. These include a large amount of data that is commonly associated with, or required for, transmitting/receiving 3D images, and a relatively high level of complexity in the actual implementation of 3D displays, which can adversely impact gaming system performance and/or cost.

"A need exists for modified, and/or improved systems, devices, methods, and/or techniques for communicating information to gamers during game play. Additionally, a need exists for improved devices and techniques, such as simplified or more efficient 3D information display devices and techniques, which can enhance a user's gaming experiences."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, a process is directed to providing a user with a visual environment corresponding to an application program by way of a computing or electronic system or device having a processing unit, a memory; a primary display device configured to provide a primary visual interface; and an adjunct communication device configured to provide an adjunct visual interface, the adjunct communication device separate from the primary display device. Such a process includes detecting an adjunct content event corresponding to adjunct visual content associated with an aspect of the application program; and selectively transferring one of an adjunct content notification and adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device in response to an adjunct content event, wherein the adjunct content event corresponds to one of an application program installation sequence, an occurrence of an application program event, an indication of user proficiency in interacting with the application program, a communication session with a remote system, and a predefined visual sequence that includes one of video data and animation data that is automatically selected for presentation to the user during one of application program installation and application program execution.

"The foregoing process can further include retrieving adjunct visual content from at least one of a cloud computing system, a remote server, a remote database, and a local media repository; and presenting adjunct visual content using the adjunct communication device. In some embodiments, the transfer of adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device includes performing a direct memory access (DMA) transfer of adjunct visual content from a computing system to a display apparatus of the adjunct communication device.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure can further include generating primary visual content on an ongoing basis during application program execution, the primary visual content corresponding to a current application program execution state; and outputting primary visual content to the primary display device. The primary visual content provides a main source of visual information for user interaction with the application program. In various embodiments, outputting primary visual content to the primary display device on an ongoing basis occurs in a substantially uninterrupted manner during the transfer of adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure can also include presenting first adjunct visual content using the adjunct communication device; and avoiding the presentation of the first adjunct visual content by the primary display device. Such presentation of the first adjunct visual content by the adjunct communication device rather than the primary display device can increase an extent to which the primary display device presents primary visual content by increasing at least one of an amount of visual information and an amount of visual detail presented by the primary display device.

"An adjunct content event can correspond to visual content for essentially immediate presentation or deferred presentation to the user. In various embodiments, adjunct visual content can include a set of predefined visual sequences, wherein each predefined visual sequence within the set of predefined visual sequences corresponds to a predetermined type of application program outcome corresponding to user interaction with the application program.

"In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, a communication session with a remote system can correspond to communication of one of a pre-recorded message and a request for a live audio and/or visual chat session. A pre-recorded message can correspond to one of a message from a remote user associated with the remote system, an application program upgrade, and an add-on to the application program.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure can also include receiving a communication from a remote system; generating an adjunct communication notification in response to the communication received from the remote system; and presenting adjunct visual content using the adjunct communication device while the computing system is in an online mode in which network communication can occur, or an offline mode in which network communication does not occur. Generating an adjunct communication notification can include changing a display state of a graphical element displayed by one of the primary display device and a display-enabled user input apparatus that is separate from the adjunct communication device.

"An adjunct communication device can include an illumination apparatus, and a process according to an aspect of the disclosure can include changing an illumination state of the illumination apparatus in a manner that corresponds to an adjunct content event, such as by selectively generating optical signals in a manner that provides an indication of one of an occurrence of a predetermined application program event and a level of user proficiency in interacting with the application program.

"An adjunct communication device can also include a set of adjunct input devices. For instance, a set of adjunct input devices can include a set of sensors configured to detect at least one of user proximity, user presence, user motion, and user gestures in a spatial region proximate to the adjunct communication device. An adjunct content event can correspond to a signal generated by an adjunct input device within the set of adjunct input devices.

"In some embodiments, an application program includes an electronic game, for instance, a single player or interactive electronic game corresponding to at least one of a strategy game, a tactical game, an adventure game, a visual novel, an interactive movie, an action-adventure game, a role playing game, a navigation game, a combat game, a first person game, a third person game, a vehicular game, an educational game, a training game, a simulation game, a maze game, a puzzle game, a trivia game, a board game, a card game, a gambling game, a music game, a dance game, a sports game, an exercise game, and a party game. In certain embodiments, the application program corresponds to an MMO game.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure can include determining whether a first predetermined type of application program outcome within a set of predetermined types of application program outcomes has occurred during application program execution; and transferring a first predefined visual sequence within the set of predefined visual sequences to the adjunct communication device in response to occurrence of the first predetermined type of application program outcome. For instance, the first predetermined type of application program outcome can correspond to an electronic game event, outcome, condition, scenario, or situation, which can correspond to one of a user transition to a next game level, user interaction with a non-player character, user interaction with a remote user, or another type of electronic game event.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure can also include generating an adjunct communication device configuration interface that includes a set of graphical controls responsive to user input for selectively defining types of visual information as adjunct visual content to be transferred to the adjunct communication device. Such a process can further include determining at least one of an amount of visual information and an amount of visual detail within primary visual content presented to the user based upon user input directed to the adjunct communication device configuration interface.

"A process in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure can include avoiding the transfer of adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device in the absence of an initialization process by which the computing system recognizes the adjunct communication device, and can further include outputting adjunct visual content to the primary display device rather than transferring adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device in the absence of such an initialization process.

"In response to an initial detection of a coupling that enables signal communication between the processing unit and the adjunct communication device, a process in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure can include performing a set of adjunct communication device initialization operations that includes automatically transferring adjunct communication device firmware from the memory to the adjunct communication device. In several embodiments, adjunct communication initialization operations can occur in association with a peripheral device enumeration process.

"In accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure, a system is configured for providing a user with a visual environment corresponding to an application program, the visual environment including a primary visual interface and an adjunct visual interface, the primary visual interface providing a main source of visual information for user interaction with the application program. The system includes a processing unit; a primary display device coupled to the processing unit; an adjunct communication device separate from the primary display device and couplable to the processing unit, the adjunct communication device including a display apparatus configured to output images having at least two dimensional characteristics; and a set of memories coupled to the processing unit, the set of memories storing program instructions including a portion of an application program configured to manage the generation of primary visual content and the transfer of the primary visual content to the primary display device in association with application program execution; and an adjunct communication manager configured to manage adjunct communication operations such as those described herein, including determining whether an adjunct content event has occurred; and selectively transferring one from the group of an adjunct content notification and adjunct visual content to the adjunct communication device in response to the occurrence of an adjunct content event, wherein the adjunct content event corresponds to one of an application program installation sequence, an occurrence of an application program event, an indication of a level of user proficiency in interacting with the application program, a communication session with a remote system, and a predefined visual sequence that includes one of video data and animation data that is automatically selected for presentation to the user during one of application program installation and application program execution. The system can further include at least one of a local adjunct information source and a remote adjunct information source from which adjunct visual content can be acquired or retrieved.

"In various embodiments, an adjunct communication device is configured to output images having one of quasi-3D and 3D characteristics; and a primary display device can be configured to output images having one of 2D, quasi-3D, and 3D characteristics.

"A visual environment in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure includes a set of user selectable graphical elements configured to control aspects of adjunct communication device operation in response to user input, and wherein at least one of the application program and the adjunct communication manager is configured to manage the visual presentation of the set of user selectable graphical elements. The set of memories can further store program instructions corresponding to an adjunct communication device configuration module for generating a configuration interface by which particular types of visual content can be selectively identified as adjunct visual content for presentation by the adjunct communication device in response to user input.

"In some embodiments, at least a portion of the application program and the adjunct communication manager are executed by a local computing system. In other embodiments, the adjunct communication manager is executed by a local computing system and at least a portion of the application program is executed by a remote computing system (e.g., an electronic game server, or an electronic gaming cloud) configured for network communication with the local computing system.

"In several embodiments, the adjunct communication device includes a Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller. The adjunct communication device can exclude a frame buffer for storing incoming adjunct visual content directed to the adjunct communication device.

"An adjunct communication device can include an illumination apparatus configured to output illumination signals corresponding to an adjunct content event. For instance, the illumination apparatus can be configured to output illumination signals that provide one of an indication of adjunct visual content available for user selection, an occurrence of a predetermined application program event, and an indication of a level of user proficiency in interacting with the application program.

"An adjunct communication device can additionally or alternatively include a set of adjunct input elements configured to detect one of user proximity, user presence, user motion, and user gestures in a spatial region proximate to the adjunct communication device.

"The system can include a first communication interface (e.g., a first USB interface) corresponding to the processing unit, and a second communication interface (e.g., as a second USB interface) corresponding to the adjunct communication device. The processing unit and the adjunct communication device can be selectively or selectably coupled by way of the first and second communication interfaces.

"An adjunct communication device in accordance with the present disclosure can be configured to retrieve adjunct communication device firmware in association with adjunct communication device initialization operations. Such initialization operations can be performed in association with a peripheral device enumeration process (e.g., a USB enumeration process).

"Certain embodiments of a system in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure include a display-enabled user input apparatus coupled to the processing unit, the display-enabled user input apparatus separate from the adjunct communication device and having a set of user selectable input elements configured to transmit optical signals corresponding to graphical images. A set of user selectable graphical elements configured for controlling aspects of adjunct communication device operation in response to user input can be displayable by at least one of the primary display device and the display-enabled user input apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"Embodiments of the disclosure are described hereinafter with reference to the following drawings, in which:

"FIG. 1A is a block diagram of a user interface architecture according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 1B is a block diagram of a user interface architecture according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 2A is an illustration of a primary display device and an adjunct communication device, as well as respective portions of a primary visual interface and an adjunct visual interface according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 2B is an illustration of a primary display device, an adjunct communication device, and a display-enabled user input apparatus, as well as respective portions of a primary visual interface, an adjunct visual interface, and an input device visual interface according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a computing system or computing device according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 4A is a schematic illustration of portions of an adjunct communication device according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 4B is a block diagram of an adjunct communication device according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 4C is a block diagram of an adjunct communication device according to another embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 5A is a schematic illustration of a representative adjunct communication device configuration interface according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 5B is a schematic illustration of a representative target application event occurrence and/or events per minute (EPM) configuration interface according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of an adjunct information presentation process according to an embodiment of the disclosure."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Tan, Min-Liang; Wilson, John; Hahn, Patrick. Computer Peripheral Display and Communication Device Providing an Adjunct 3d User Interface. Filed April 13, 2011 and posted May 29, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=237&p=5&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140522.PD.&OS=PD/20140522&RS=PD/20140522

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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