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Patent Issued for Information Display Device, Integrated Circuit for Display Control, Display Control Program, and Display Control Method

August 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Nakanishi, Koji (Osaka, JP); Yamada, Kazunori (Hyogo, JP), filed on November 4, 2010, was published online on August 12, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8803915 is Panasonic Intellectual Property Corporation of America (Torrance, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to information display devices for superimposing information for display on time-sequentially taken images and display the information, and more particularly to a technique that can suppress an adverse effect to a display screen when a reception condition of transmission from an information source is unstable and thereby improve readability.

"Patent Literature 1 discloses an imaging device which transmits information by means of optical space transmission, and thereby presents information relating to commercial products, exhibits, and the like such that the information is superimposed on taken images and displayed. According to Patent Literature 1, an information source which is provided together with store shelves for commercial products lined at a store front, an advertising board on the street, or the like, transmits presentation information that suits the commercial products or the advertising board by changing brightness. Meanwhile, an imaging device time-sequentially takes images, extracts presentation information for each image region based on change in brightness of the image region, and superimposes the extracted presentation information on the taken images and display the presentation information. Accordingly, relationship between a target for presentation information and the presentation information can be clarified, thereby preventing the information from being conveyed erroneously.

"At this time, in the imaging device of Patent Literature 1, when a great number of light sources for transmitting presentation information exist within a viewing angle and extracted information exceeds an allowable amount, readability can be deteriorated significantly. Thus, in such a case, special consideration and the like needs to be given to selection of information and display style.

"Patent Literature 2 discloses an information display device that can solve such problems. According to Patent Literature 2, based on data representing a size and a shape of an information source and an area on an image, a distance to the information source is calculated, and in accordance with the calculated distance, a size of a speech bubble and a character size are adjusted, thereby improving readability."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In Patent Literature 2, it is supposed that information can be obtained always accurately from all of the information sources within the viewing angle. However, in an actual imaging condition, there may be a case where a reception condition of transmission from an information source among the information sources is unstable, and information can be obtained only intermittently because of passing-by pedestrians, trains, automobiles, and the like. Patent Literature 2 does not consider any measure against such a situation. Specifically, in a case where a reception condition of transmission from an information source is unstable and information from the information source is superimposed on taken images and displayed by the information display device of Patent Literature 2, information blinks on and off as states of display and non-display of the information are alternately repeated, which makes the information difficult to be viewed. There is also a case where, when states of display and non-display of the information are alternately repeated and a display region of the information is comparatively large, a display size, a written position and the like of other information are changed at times of switching between the display states. In such a case, readability can be deteriorated significantly.

"Therefore, an objective of the present invention is to provide an information display device, an integrated circuit for display control, a display control program, and a display control method which transmits information by means of optical space transmission and thereby superimposes information on taken images and displays the information and which can, even when a reception condition of transmission from an information source among information sources is unstable, suppress an adverse effect to a display screen due to the information source, thereby improving readability.

"The present invention is directed to an information display device, an integrated circuit for display control, a display control program, and a display control method. In order to achieve the above objective, the information display device of the present invention is an information display device for superimposing information for display on time-sequentially taken images and display the information on a display device, including an imaging section, an information processing section, and a display control section. The imaging section time-sequentially takes images. The information processing section extracts, from one or a plurality of regions whose brightness changes with time in the images taken by the imaging section, communication information containing information for display of each region based on change in brightness of the region; and generates stability information representing a degree of stability of a communication state of the communication information. The display control section superimposes the information for display contained in the communication information of each region extracted by the information processing section on the images taken by the imaging section, in a mode determined in accordance with the corresponding stability information generated by the information processing section, and displays the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device.

"Preferably, the display control section receives display setting from a user, which indicates as to whether the information for display contained in the communication information corresponding to a region in an unstable communication state should be displayed or should not be displayed on the display device and stores the display setting, and when the stored display setting indicates that the information for display should not be displayed, the display control section superimposes the information for display contained in the communication information which is determined to be in a stable communication state based on the stability information on the images taken by the imaging section and displays the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device, and discards the communication information which is determined to be in an unstable communication state, while when the stored display setting indicates that the information for display should be displayed, the display control section stores the information for display contained in the communication information which is determined to be in an unstable communication state based on the stability information, and superimposes the stored information for display on the images taken by the imaging section and display the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device continuously while the communication information is determined to be in an unstable communication state.

"Preferably, the information processing section: counts, with respect to each region, a number of errors representing a number of times the communication information has failed to be extracted and a number of times of status change representing a number of times a status in which the communication information can be extracted has switched to/from a state in which the communication information cannot be extracted during the most recent predetermined interval; determines, when both of conditions that the number of errors is greater than or equal to a defined number N and that the number of times of status change is greater than or equal to a defined number M are satisfied, that the communication information is in an unstable communication state; and determines, when either condition is not satisfied, that the communication information is in a stable communication state.

"Preferably, the information processing section: counts, with respect to each region, an error rate representing a rate at which the communication information has failed to be extracted and a number of times of status change representing a number of times a status in which the communication information can be extracted has switched to/from a state in which the communication information cannot be extracted during the most recent predetermined interval; determines, when both of conditions that the error rate is greater than or equal to a defined number L and that the number of times of status change is greater than or equal to a defined number M are satisfied, that the communication information is in an unstable communication state; and determines, when either condition is not satisfied, that the communication information is in a stable communication state.

"Preferably, the information processing section calculates an average brightness of each of the respective regions and excludes those regions with respect to which the average brightness is less than a predetermined value from processing targets.

"Preferably, the display control section superimposes the information for display contained in the communication information which is determined to be in a stable communication state based on the stability information on the images taken by the imaging section and displays the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device, and discards the communication information which is determined to be in an unstable communication state.

"Preferably, the display control section stores the information for display contained in the communication information which is determined to be in an unstable communication state based on the stability information, and superimposes the stored information for display on the images taken by the imaging section and display the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device continuously while the communication information is determined to be in an unstable communication state.

"Preferably, the display control section, when a communication state is determined to be unstable based on testability information, substantially reduces an occupation area for superimposing the information for display on the images so as to be smaller than an occupation area when the communication state is determined to be stable.

"Preferably, the display control section, at a time of substantially reducing the occupation area, reduces an amount of information, reduces a character to be displayed in size, reduces a mark to be displayed in size, reduces a speech bubble in size, changes an order of superimposing the speech bubble so as to be superimposed at a lower level, or increases the transmissivity of the speech bubble.

"Preferably, the display control section, at a time of substantially reducing the occupation area, further changes a color of the character to be displayed, changes a color of the mark to be displayed, or changes a color of the speech bubble.

"Preferably, the communication information of each region extracted by the information processing section includes a plurality of pieces of the information for display, and each piece of the information for display are associated with priorities, respectively, and the display control section determines priority of each of the respective regions based on the stability information, and displays the information for display corresponding to the determined priority on the display device.

"Preferably, the information processing section, at a time of extracting the communication information, determines, with respect to each of the respective regions, whether at least one of a condition that brightness is less than a defined value and a condition that an error rate is greater than a defined value are satisfied, and causes the stability information of each of those regions which satisfy at least one of the conditions to indicate that a communication state is unstable.

"Preferably, the display control section superimposes the information for display of each region in association with an image of the region in the images taken by the imaging section.

"Preferably, the information processing section, when there is a plurality of light sources, in the images taken by the imaging section, which outputs the same information, process the plurality of light sources as a single region.

"Preferably, the information processing section, in the single region in which the plurality of light sources output the same information, at a time of extracting the communication information, calculates an error rate based on a number of light sources whose communication information has failed to be extracted, determines whether the error rate is greater than a defined value, and causes the stability information of the region with respect to which the error rate has been determined to be greater than the defined value to indicate that a communication state is unstable.

"Preferably, the display control section determines, in the single region in which the plurality of light sources output the same information, at a time of extracting the communication information, a position at which the information for display is superimposed based only on positions of those light sources with respect to which a failure rate of extracting the communication information is less than a defined value.

"In order to achieve the above objective, the integrated circuit for display control of the present invention is an integrated circuit used for an information display device for superimposing information for display on images time-sequentially taken by an imaging section and displaying the information for display superimposed on the images on a display device, including circuitry functioning as an information processing section, and a display control section. The information processing section extracts, from one or a plurality of regions whose brightness changes with time in the images taken by the imaging section, communication information containing information for display of each region based on change in brightness of the region; and generates stability information representing a degree of stability of a communication state of the communication information. The display control section superimposes the information for display contained in the communication information of each region extracted by the information processing section on the images taken by the imaging section, in a mode determined in accordance with the corresponding stability information generated by the information processing section, and displays the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device.

"In order to achieve the above objective, the display control program of the present invention is executed by an information display device for superimposing information for display on time-sequentially taken images and displaying the information for display superimposed on the images on a display device, the program causing the information display device to execute an imaging step, an information processing step, and a display control step. The imaging step is a step of time-sequentially taking images. The information processing step is a step of extracting, from one or a plurality of regions whose brightness changes with time in the images taken in the imaging step, communication information containing information for display of each region based on change in brightness of the region; and generating stability information representing a degree of stability of a communication state of the communication information. The display control step is a step of superimposing the information for display contained in the communication information of each region extracted by the information processing section on the images taken in the imaging step, in a mode determined in accordance with the corresponding stability information generated in the information processing step, and displaying the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device.

"In order to achieve the above objective, the display control method of the present invention is an information display method for superimposing information for display on time-sequentially taken images and displaying the information for display superimposed on the images on a display device, including an imaging step, an information processing step, and a display control step. The imaging step is a step of time-sequentially taking images. The information processing step is a step of extracting, from one or a plurality of regions whose brightness changes with time in the images taken in the imaging step, communication information containing information for display of each region based on change in brightness of the region; and generating stability information representing a degree of stability of a communication state of the communication information. The display control step is a step of superimposing the information for display contained in the communication information of each region extracted by the information processing section on the images taken in the imaging step, in a mode determined in accordance with the corresponding stability information generated in the information processing step, and displaying the information for display superimposed on the images on the display device.

"As described above, according to the present invention, information for display of each region can be superimposed on taken images and displayed on an external display device in a mode determined in accordance with stability of a reception condition of the region. According to the features of the present invention, information for display that corresponds to a region in an unstable reception condition is stored so that the stored information for display can be continuously displayed on a display device, or the information that corresponds to the region in an unstable reception condition can be discarded, and thereby the information for display can be prevented from being intermittently hidden, resulting in improved readability.

"Further, according to the features of the present invention, an occupation area of the information that corresponds to the region in a unstable reception condition, which is intermittently hidden can be substantially reduced and displayed so as to be less prominent and less represented, and thus even if the information which is less represented is intermittently hidden, readability can be prevented from being deteriorated significantly and can be improved significantly.

"Further, according to the features of the present invention, information that corresponds to a region with low visibility can be displayed so as to be less prominent, and the information can be superimposed on images in accordance with how clear the information source comes out on the images, in an appropriate display style for the information without causing discomfort."

For additional information on this patent, see: Nakanishi, Koji; Yamada, Kazunori. Information Display Device, Integrated Circuit for Display Control, Display Control Program, and Display Control Method. U.S. Patent Number 8803915, filed November 4, 2010, and published online on August 12, 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=8803915.PN.&OS=PN/8803915RS=PN/8803915

Keywords for this news article include: Advertising, Panasonic Intellectual Property Corporation of America.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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