"Conventional graphical user interfaces also allow users to search for information that meets specified parameters. For example, Windows Explorer allows users to search for particular file names, file attributes (e.g., type, modification date), or the contents of a file (e.g., words contained therein). However, such search mechanisms require users to generate queries to retrieve relevant information, that is, to know that they are looking for something in particular at a given time. Further, a set of information objects retrieved by a query are not organized to facilitate navigation by a user based on logical relationships between the content of the objects.
"Conventional techniques for rendering graphics include mipmapping. Mipmaps are pre-calculated, optimized collections of bitmap images. Bitmap images in a mipmap are different resolution versions of a single underlying image or texture map. When a user zooms in to a graphic, increasingly higher resolution ones of the images are displayed; as the user zooms out, increasingly lower resolution ones of the images are displayed. In mipmapping, the low resolution images are simply downconverted versions of one or more of the high resolution images. Thus, at best, mipmapping changes the pixel resolution of a displayed image based on a current zoom level. Conventional mipmapping techniques are unable to present different content, different types of information objects, and/or information objects from different sources in response to a current zoom level."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A cellular user interface provides a cellular environment (also known as a world or cellularized environment) for accessing various types of content from multiple information objects (also known as content sources or data sources) via cells arranged geometrically in the cellular environment. The cellular environment provides for spatial arrangement or spatial configuration of cells in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space. The cellular environment has various environment attributes such as the number and arrangement of cells in the cellular environment. Each cell has cell attributes such as the geometric properties of the cell and the form, type, or source of visual representations of information displayed by the cell.
"Navigation of the cellular environment is supported, including panning over the cellular environment and zooming in or out of the cellular environment to arrive at a particular zoom state. Navigation of a cellular environment by panning or zooming can change the environment attributes of the cellular environment, such as the number of cells or the arrangement of the cells. Navigation of a cellular environment can also change the attributes of one or more of the cells.
"Navigation of the cellular environment can be performed in response to user input. Alternatively, navigation, including changing the orientation and/or zoom state of a cellular environment, can occur in response to external events such as a change in the content of an underlying information object. The change in content, can be, for example a change in a website, a database, or a data feed (e.g., a stock feed, news feed, RSS feed, or the like). By facilitating navigation functions such as panning and zooming, one embodiment of the present invention enables a user to focus on the content of a particular information object while maintaining a sense of context in the cellular environment.
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