News Column

Patent Application Titled "Gaming Social Communication" Published Online

September 11, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Block, Rory L. (Washoe Valley, NV); Greenberg, Jacob C. (Elgin, IL); Hamlin, Vernon W. (Lisle, IL); Lasseter, Laurie E. (Woodridge, IL); Sylla, Craig J. (Round Lake, IL); Trego, Mark K. (Chicago, IL), filed on April 23, 2014, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is WMS Gaming, Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Wagering game machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines depends on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing wagering game machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for wagering game machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In some embodiments, a method comprises analyzing video footage of one or more casino floor objects, wherein the video footage includes any one or more of live video data and recorded video data; determining metadata related to any of the casino floor objects; generating an overlay object for each of the casino floor objects for which metadata is available; creating a video casino floor map by superimposing the overlay objects over the video footage of the casino floor objects; detecting a selection of one of the overlay objects on the video casino floor map; and presenting metadata for a casino floor object associated with the selected overlay object.

"In some embodiments, determining metadata related to any of the casino floor objects includes collecting metadata related to one or more of the identity of the casino floor objects, operational status of the casino floor objects, history of the casino floor objects, and characteristics of the casino floor objects.

"In some embodiments, generating an overlay object comprises creating a dynamic, selectable image that highlights a casino object for which metadata is available.

"In some embodiments, superimposing the overlay objects over the video footage includes: generating a computerized grid scaled to a casino floor layout; determining locations of the casino floor objects on the casino floor; placing, for the casino objects, object location identifiers on the computerized grid, wherein the object locations identifiers correlate with the locations of the casino objects on the casino floor; associating the video footage with the computerized grid so that video images of the casino floor objects coincide with the object location identifiers on the computerized grid; and positioning the overlay objects to coincide with the object location identifiers corresponding to casino floor objects for which metadata is available.

"In some embodiments, presenting metadata for the selected overlay object comprises displaying the metadata in a pop-up image on the video casino floor map, wherein the pop-up image is connected to the single overlay object.

"In some embodiments, one or more machine-readable media having instructions stored thereon, which when executed by a set of one or more processors causes the set of one or more processors to perform operations that comprises capturing an image of a casino floor object; determining a location of the casino floor object in relation to a casino floor landscape surrounding the casino floor object; generating a virtual object depicting the casino floor object; generating a virtual casino floor landscape representing the casino floor landscape; positioning the virtual object in the virtual casino floor landscape approximating the location of the casino floor object on the casino floor landscape, resulting in a virtual casino floor layout map; and presenting the virtual casino floor layout map.

"In some embodiments, generating a virtual object depicting the casino floor object includes: determining, from the image, an object shape and one or more visible characteristics of the casino floor object; generating a geometric virtual skeleton, shaped like the object shape; generating one or more virtual textures having a similar appearance to the one or more visible characteristics; and applying the one or more virtual textures onto the geometric virtual skeleton.

"In some embodiments, generating a virtual object depicting the casino floor object comprises utilizing a stored image referenced by a player account setting, wherein the stored image represents an identifier of a social contact associated with the player account.

"In some embodiments, the machine-readable media further comprises recording a plurality of additional images of the casino floor object over a continuous period of time to a capture activities performed by the casino object; and animating the virtual object based on the activities performed by the casino floor object.

"In some embodiments, the machine-readable media further comprises determining metadata related to any one or more of the identity, operational status, history, and characteristics of the casino floor object; generating an overlay object related to the casino floor object for which the metadata is available; positioning the overlay object in the virtual casino floor map in connection with the virtual object; detecting a selection of the overlay object on the virtual casino floor map; and presenting the metadata in connection with the virtual object.

"In some embodiments, generating the overlay object comprises creating a dynamic, selectable image that highlights the virtual object.

"In some embodiments, presenting metadata for the casino floor object comprises displaying the metadata in a pop-up image on the virtual casino floor map, wherein the pop-up image is connected to the overlay object.

"In some embodiments, a system, comprises a casino floor monitoring device includes, a detection unit configured to record perceptible characteristics possessed by casino floor objects; and a communication unit configured to broadcast any one or more of live video and recorded video of the perceptible characteristics; a monitoring server includes, a floor monitoring unit configured to receive the recording from the floor monitoring device, a floor layout manager configured to generate a computerized casino floor layout, and overlay recorded casino objects on the computerized casino floor layout, and a monitoring processor configured to superimpose overlay objects onto the computerized casino floor layout that convey metadata about the casino floor objects.

"In some embodiments, the monitoring processor is configured to generate one or more hotspot images that highlight recorded casino objects for which metadata is available, and superimpose the one or more hotspots on the computerized casino floor layout over the recorded casino objects for which the metadata is available.

"In some embodiments, the monitoring processor is configured to generate virtual objects that are similar in shape and appearance to the recorded casino objects, and control the rendering, texturing, positioning, actions, and appearances of the virtual objects on the computerized casino floor layout.

"In some embodiments, the system further comprises an identification unit configured to collect or calculate metadata, wherein the metadata is related to any one or more of the identity, operational status, history, and characteristics of the casino floor objects.

"In some embodiments, the system further comprises an account server configured to control a player account with player preferences regarding how the computerized casino floor layout is presented: a wagering game server configured to access the player preferences from the account server and convey the player preferences to any one of the monitoring server and a mobile wagering game machine, and the mobile wagering game machine configured to present the casino floor maps according to the player preferences.

"In some embodiments, an apparatus, comprises a casino floor monitoring unit configured to receive a captured image of casino objects on a casino floor; and a monitoring processor configured to generate a computerized image of a casino floor layout, generate computerized objects similar in appearance to the casino objects, and animate the computerized objects based on activities performed by the casino objects.

"In some embodiments, the monitoring processor is configured to generate overlay objects indicating metadata available about the casino objects, and superimpose the overlay objects onto the computerized image of the casino floor layout.

"In some embodiments, the monitoring processor is further configured to present any one or more of money transactions on a casino floor, a need for security assistance, potential mischievous behavior, special casino guests, jack-pot winners, security hazards, staffing needs, malfunctioning machines, casino traffic-patterns, player history, social contacts, avatars belonging to social contacts, chat boxes, search boxes, available wagering game machines, openings in a wagering game, invitations to a wagering game, available casino staff, and detailed imagery of casino patrons.

"In some embodiments, the apparatus further comprises a device configured to present the computerized image of a casino floor layout and the computerized objects, wherein the device comprises any one or more of a kiosk, a mobile wagering game machine, a cell phone, a computer monitor, and a touch-screen sensitive monitor capable of responding to finger stroke patterns.

"In some embodiments, a casino monitoring computer device, comprises means for monitoring visible characteristics possessed by, and signals generated by, physical objects on a casino floor, resulting in captured data; means for processing the captured data to generate calculated data regarding activities performed by, or qualities exhibited by, the physical objects; means for obtaining collected data pertaining to any one or more of the identity, operational status, and historical activity of the physical objects; and means for generating a single multimedia presentation comprising the captured data, the calculated data, and the collected data.

"In some embodiments, the captured data comprises any one or more of facial characteristics, clothing characteristics, wagering game behavior, financial transactions, sounds, heat, luminosity, radio signals, live video data, and recorded video data.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring computer device further comprises means for recording the single multimedia presentation, and means for presenting any portion of the single multimedia presentation for a specific time period in the past.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring computer device further comprises means for automatically reacting to information presented in the single multimedia presentation comprising any one or more of signaling a casino staff member of a potential problem in the casino, controlling casino floor lighting based on captured populations of casino patrons, controlling back-lighting on wagering game machines based on captured wagering game activity, signaling when a casino patron has hit a jackpot, signaling unusual or potentially criminal activity by patrons or casino staff, and signaling security personnel of potential hazards.

"In some embodiments, a method comprises determining one or more biometric identifiers of a person in a casino; comparing the one or more biometric identifiers to stored identifying information; identifying the person based on the stored identifying information; and presenting an electronic valet on a casino display device to assist the person within the casino.

"In some embodiments, the electronic valet is a character in a long-standing bonus game.

"In some embodiments, the electronic valet is an avatar stored in a player account.

"In some embodiments, the one or more biometric identifiers include one or more of a picture of a person on an identification card, a person's facial features, a fingerprint, a radio frequency identifier, a gait, an eye color, a hair color, a retinal image, and a voice pattern.

"In some embodiments, presenting an electronic valet further includes receiving a request from the person to show private information, requesting an additional biometric identifier, detecting the additional biometric identifier, verifying the validity of the additional biometric identifier, and presenting the private information on the casino display device.

"In some embodiments, the method further comprises recognizing facial expressions made by the person; detecting the person's mood based on the facial expressions; and providing assistance, via the electronic valet, based on the detected mood.

"In some embodiments, an wagering game machine, comprises a biometric scanning device configured to take up-close reference measurements of one or more unique biometric characteristics of a person on a casino floor; and a casino monitoring module configured to record the reference measurements, compare the reference measurements to one or more stored records containing pre-stored biometric measurements, identify the person from the one or more stored records, and personalize functionality of the wagering game machine based on the person's identity.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring module is further configured to scan a picture of the person, and determine the location of the person on a casino floor.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring module is further configured to receive a command from the person, refer to a casino user account for the person, determine that the casino user account has rights to perform the command, and perform the command.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring module is further configured to detect a language of a person's voice, and cause wagering game options to appear in the detected language.

"In some embodiments, the casino monitoring module is further configured to detect an avatar character associated with an account for the person, and present an interactive animation of the avatar character on the wagering game machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

"Embodiments are illustrated in the Figures of the accompanying drawings in which:

"FIG. 1 is an illustration of generating a real-time video casino floor map 123, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 2 is an illustration of generating a virtual casino floor map 223, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 3 is an illustration of a casino monitoring system architecture 300, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 4 is a flow diagram 400 illustrating generating a real-time video casino floor map, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 5 is a flow diagram 500 illustrating generating a virtual casino floor map, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 6 is an illustration of additional casino floor map utilities, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 7 is an illustration of an account based casino monitoring system 700, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 8 is an illustration of a wagering game machine architecture 800, according to some embodiments;

"FIG. 9 is an illustration of a mobile wagering game machine 900, according to some embodiments; and

"FIG. 10 is an illustration of a wagering game machine 1000, according to some embodiments."

For more information, see this patent application: Block, Rory L.; Greenberg, Jacob C.; Hamlin, Vernon W.; Lasseter, Laurie E.; Sylla, Craig J.; Trego, Mark K. Gaming Social Communication. Filed April 23, 2014 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=2363&p=48&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: WMS Gaming, WMS Gaming Inc.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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