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US20040003136A1 - Terminal and method for efficient use and identification of peripherals - Google Patents

Terminal and method for efficient use and identification of peripherals Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040003136A1
US20040003136A1 US10185995 US18599502A US2004003136A1 US 20040003136 A1 US20040003136 A1 US 20040003136A1 US 10185995 US10185995 US 10185995 US 18599502 A US18599502 A US 18599502A US 2004003136 A1 US2004003136 A1 US 2004003136A1
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Prior art keywords
terminal
use
parameter
characterizing
peripheral
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10185995
Inventor
Mark Murawski
Ryan Zoschg
James Logan
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Vocollect Inc
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Vocollect Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details of data-processing equipment not covered by groups G06F3/00 - G06F13/00, e.g. cooling, packaging or power supply specially adapted for computer application
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/163Wearable computers, e.g. on a belt

Abstract

A communication system comprises a terminal configured for being able to communicate with a computer and to operate according to at least one operational parameter. A peripheral device for use with the terminal has a use characterizing parameter associated therewith. The terminal is operable for reading the use characterizing parameter from the peripheral device when the device is coupled to the terminal. The terminal is further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates generally to computer terminals and peripherals and more specifically to wearable, mobile and/or portable computer terminals and peripherals.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Wearable, mobile and/or portable computer terminals are used for a wide variety of tasks. Such terminals allow workers using them to have mobility, while providing the worker with desirable computing and data-processing functions. Furthermore, various terminals provide a communication link to a larger, more centralized computer system. Such terminals are being implemented for an ever-increasing number of tasks.
  • [0003]
    One illustrative example of a specific use for a wearable/mobile/portable terminal is inventory management. Computerized inventory management systems are used in inventory-driven industries for various tasks, such as food and retail product distribution, manufacturing, and quality control. An overall integrated management system involves a combination of a central computer system for tracking and management, and the people who use and interface with the computer system in the form of order fillers, pickers and other workers. The workers handle the manual aspects of the integrated system.
  • [0004]
    To provide an interface between the central computer system and the workers, wearable/mobile computers or terminals are used by the workers as they complete their numerous tasks. Such wearable terminals, for example, pull information directly from the central system and translate the information into voice or text commands for the workers. Through wireless RF networks, the commands to and responses from the workers are communicated between the system and the terminals. To communicate in a voice-driven system, for example, the worker wears a headset which is coupled to his wearable terminal. Through the headset, the workers are able to receive voice instructions, ask questions, report the progress of their tasks, and report working conditions, such as inventory shortages, for example. Using such terminals, the work is done virtually hands-free without equipment to juggle or paperwork to carry around.
  • [0005]
    In addition to headsets, other peripherals are often coupled to the terminals depending upon the tasks to be performed. For example, bar code readers and other scanners may be utilized alone or in combination with a headset to communicate back and forth with the system.
  • [0006]
    An illustrative example of a job through a system utilizing wearable and/or portable terminals having voice capabilities may involve initially welcoming the worker to the system and defining a particular task or order, for example, a load to be filled for a certain truck to depart from a warehouse. The worker may then answer with a particular area (e.g., freezer) that they will be working in for that order. The system then vocally directs the worker to a particular aisle and bin to pick a particular quantity of an item. The worker then vocally confirms their location and the amount of items that are picked. The system may then direct them to a loading dock or bay for a particular truck to receive the order. As may be appreciated, various different scenarios might be played out through a system using a wearable terminal and attached peripherals.
  • [0007]
    In its operation, a wearable terminal utilizes operational software which controls how it performs for the worker or user and how it interfaces with the central system. Such terminal software often has a large set of parameters and features which must be controlled on a per-user basis. Those parameters include, for example, voice templates, volume preferences, text-to-text speech preferences, etc. Therefore, each worker who is to wear and use a particular terminal will have to traverse through a series of sometimes complex and cumbersome menu options to select the desired user configuration. Such an exercise is usually error prone and is certainly time consuming and therefore inefficient. Furthermore, when the terminal is used by another worker on a different shift, it will be configured for that worker and will then have to be re-configured for the original worker, assuming that they even get their original terminal back for use.
  • [0008]
    At many sites, the workers are required to maintain their own headsets, and possibly any other personal peripherals. This is done for several reasons. One of those reasons is to encourage careful use and maintenance of the hardware and peripherals by assigning individual responsibility to the worker. Another reason, particularly in the case of the headset, is to promote sanitary hygiene practices.
  • [0009]
    There is thus a need to improve the efficiency of the workers who utilize wearable and/or portable terminals to interface with a central system. Specifically, it is desirable to reduce the errors and time associated with configuring terminal equipment for a worker. It is also desirable to further improve the management, tracking and maintenance of such terminal equipment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with a general description of the invention given above and the detailed description given below, serve to explain the invention.
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a worker using a terminal and peripherals in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a system incorporating the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0014]
    Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown, in use, a portable and/or wearable terminal or computer 10 and peripheral device 16 which incorporates an embodiment of the present invention. The portable terminal may be a wearable device, which may be worn by a worker 11, such as on a belt 14 as shown. This allows hands-free use of the terminal. Of course, the terminal might also be manually carried or otherwise transported. The use of the term “terminal” herein is not limited and may include any computer, device, machine, or system which is used to perform a specific task, and which is used in conjunction with one or more peripheral devices.
  • [0015]
    In one exemplary and illustrative use, such portable computer devices or wearable terminals 10 may be used in inventory management and warehouse environments where workers and other users of the terminal are required to: retrieve various items within the warehouse to fill an order, restock shelves, and generally manage and move inventory. Of course, other uses of the terminal, peripherals and invention described herein are contemplated, and the invention is not limited to inventory management systems. The portable terminal 10 permits the worker 11 to communicate with one or more central computers (see FIG. 3) which are part of a larger inventory management system for sending and receiving information regarding the activities and tasks to be performed by the worker. The central computer 90 or computers may run one or more system software packages for inventory and warehouse management.
  • [0016]
    To provide communication between terminal 10 and a central computer 90 or computers, generally one or more peripheral devices or peripherals, such as a headset 16, are coupled to terminal 10. Headset 16 is coupled to the terminal by a cord 18. The headset 16 is worn on the head of the worker 11 with the cord out of the way and allows hands-free operation and movement through a warehouse or other facility.
  • [0017]
    Alternatively, other peripherals might be used with the terminal 10, but are not specifically shown in FIG. 1. For example, a bar code reader might be utilized as well as some other scanner device or a printer. Also, when new workers are acclimated to the system, an audio training device might be assigned to the new worker and utilized with the terminal. Various other suitable devices might also be utilized for providing an interface between the worker 11, the terminal 10, the central computer 90, and the inventory and products being moved and managed. Therefore, the present invention and its applicability is not limited only to a headset or the peripherals described and noted herein and may be used with other peripherals. One suitable terminal for incorporating the invention is the Talkman® product available from Vocollect of Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • [0018]
    As noted above, it may be desirable to assign one or more peripherals to a specific worker to be maintained and kept by that worker, for various reasons, such as personal responsibility and hygiene, to name a few. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an Use characterizing parameter is associated with one or more peripherals and coupled to the terminal, and the use characterizing parameter for a peripheral is read by the terminal. Based upon the use characterizing parameter, the terminal associates one or more operational parameters with the use characterizing parameter for the peripheral and the terminal configures itself and operates according to those parameters. That is, the peripheral automatically or otherwise determines how the terminal is configured to operate. As further discussed herein below, the use characterizing parameter might be associated with a chip included in the peripheral, such as in headset 16. Upon reading the code from the chip, the terminal, in one example, configures itself so that it operates in the desired way for the worker who owns and/or uses the specific peripheral or who is associated with that use characterizing code or parameter. The use characterizing parameter may be associated with a specific worker or a group of workers, for example. This occurs automatically upon coupling the peripheral with the terminal 10 in one embodiment and, therefore, reduces the error and time associated with the worker specifically and manually or otherwise configuring the terminal every time it is used. In that way, it improves the efficiency of the worker and helps to improve upon the management and maintenance of equipment used in warehouse and inventory management tasks.
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one exemplary embodiment utilizing the invention. Specifically, the terminal 10 for communicating with a system, such as an inventory management system, or any other system with which a worker might need to communicate, comprises a processor circuit or processor 40 for controlling the operation of the terminal. As may be appreciated by a person of ordinary skill in the art, such processors operate according to an operating system, which is a software-implemented series of instructions. The processor may also run one or more application programs. In one embodiment of the invention, a processor, such as an Intel SA-1110, might be utilized as the main processor and coupled to a suitable companion circuit or companion chip 42 by appropriate lines 44. One suitable companion circuit might be an SA-1111, also available from Intel. The processor 40, and any companion circuit, are coupled to appropriate memory, such as flash memory 46 and random access memory (SDRAM) 48. For example, a 128 Megabit Strataflash memory component might be utilized for flash memory 46 while one or more 128 Megabit SDRAM chips might be utilized for the random access memory 48. The processor and companion chip 40, 42, are coupled to the memory 46, 48 through appropriate busses, such as 32 bit parallel address bus 50 and data bus 52.
  • [0020]
    To provide wireless communication between the wearable terminal 10 and central computer 90, the terminal 10 also utilizes a PC card slot 54, so as to provide a wireless ethernet connection, such as an IEEE 802.11 wireless standard. RF communication cards 56 from various vendors might be coupled with the PCMCIA slot 54 to provide communication between terminal 10 and the central computer 90, depending on the hardware required for the wireless RF connection.
  • [0021]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a peripheral coupled to terminal 10 might be a headset 16 which provides hands-free voice communication between the worker 11 and the central computer of a warehouse management system. To that end, digital information has to be converted to an audio format, and vice versa, to provide the communication between the system and a worker. For example, in a typical system, the terminal 10 would receive digital instructions from the central computer 90 and will convert those instructions to audio to be heard by a worker 11. The worker 11 will then reply, in a spoken language, and the audio reply will be converted to a useable digital format to be transferred back to the central computer of the system for use in tracking inventory and order filling. It will be appreciated that herein, reference is made to a central computer 90 of a system (see FIG. 3). However, a system might utilize various different computers, and the present invention is not limited to a specific system or computer with which a terminal 10 incorporating the invention may be utilized.
  • [0022]
    For conversion between digital and analog audio, a CODEC 60 is utilized, and is coupled through an appropriate serial interface 62 to one or both of the processors 40, 42. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the audio CODEC 60 is coupled through serial interface 62 to the companion processor 42. One suitable audio circuit, for example, might be a UDA 1341 audio CODEC available from Philips.
  • [0023]
    Referring to FIG. 2, a peripheral, such as a headset 64, is coupled with the audio CODEC 60 for providing audio input/output, e.g., to the terminal from the worker, and to the worker from the terminal. Other peripherals, such as a bar code reader 66, a scanner 68, a training device 70 or a printer 71 might be coupled to an appropriate serial interface of the terminal 10, and specifically to a serial interface 73 of processor 40. The various peripherals provide a data collecting and communicating interface between the terminal 10, the worker 11, the computer 90 and the overall environment and inventory. That is, the terminal 10 may collect inventory, stocking, and order filling information through a headset, bar code or scanner, and may also provide instructions through those various peripherals and/or through a printer. The training device 70 might be utilized with a new worker to coach them through training the terminal and the system with their voice commands.
  • [0024]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a peripheral 64, 66, 68, 70, 71 has a defined use characterizing parameter associated therewith to be read by the terminal circuitry, such as processors 40, 42, and utilized to define the operation of the terminal 10. Specifically, the processors 40, 42 control the operation of the terminal, such as through the execution of the operating system and application programs. The operating system software and application software utilized by the terminal, such as application/operating software stored in the processor memory or in separate memory 46, 48, is utilized to define various operational parameters for the terminal. For example, the volume on the terminal may be adjusted up or down to help the worker 11 communicate, such as in a noisy environment. Furthermore, voice templates may be utilized for each specific user. Voice templates provide a fingerprint of the user's voice to be recognized by the terminal. Still further, text-to-speech preferences may be an operational parameter for the terminal for providing the necessary terminal settings which address the pitch, speed, gender, etc. of the voice commands through the terminal. Still other operational parameters for the terminal and for specific peripherals are defined by the terminal and may be implemented and adjusted by a worker.
  • [0025]
    As noted above, such operational parameters for configuring the terminal may be associated with a menu through which a worker will progress. Generally, the terminal will include input/output devices, such as buttons, screens, cursors, readouts, etc., for allowing a worker to access a menu and program their specific terminal for the desirable settings and operational parameters which they would like to use. Traditionally, a worker has had to progress through a series of complex and cumbersome menu options to select the proper configuration and operational parameters. Such manual manipulation is error prone and time consuming.
  • [0026]
    As used herein, the term “operational parameters” is used to refer to the various different configurations, settings, parameters, menus, preferences, selections, etc. under which or by which the terminal may operate. Certain of the operational parameters may be those traditionally selectable by a worker through menus. However, other such operational parameters which might be associated with a use characterizing parameter of the invention, might be only selectable upon use of a certain peripheral.
  • [0027]
    In one aspect of the present invention, the peripherals include defined use characterizing parameters which may be read or otherwise determined by one or more of the processor components 40, 42, when a peripheral is coupled to the terminal. In one embodiment, such a determination of the use characterizing parameter is made automatically upon coupling the peripheral to the terminal. Alternatively, a worker might be prompted to initiate such a determination when the peripheral and terminal are coupled. The processor or other terminal circuitry is further operable for associating a desired operational parameter, or multiple operational parameters, with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral and then configuring the terminal to operate according to those associated operational parameters. That is, the processor circuits 40, 42 will configure the terminal with the desired settings, configurations and other operational parameters that are desired by or associated with the worker by the coupling of a peripheral to the terminal. In that sense, the use characterizing parameter is associated with the user and the user's preferences or the specific preferences that might be assigned to the user. In a general sense, the use characterizing parameter is associated with user criteria. As discussed below, such user criteria may be defined by or associated with a specific user, a group of users or an area of a facility, for example. Therefore, whenever a user couples his peripheral to terminal 10, that terminal will reconfigure itself so that it operates according to the way that the specific user desires or according to the way that the terminal should be configured based on other user criteria, as discussed below. Subsequently, if another worker utilizes the same terminal and plugs a specific peripheral into the terminal, the terminal will again reconfigure itself based upon the use characterizing parameters and user criteria defined by the specific peripheral coupled thereto. As such, the present invention avoids the cumbersome and time consuming task of requiring each new user to manually travel through the complex menu options to configure the terminal as desired. Rather, based upon an initial configuration and associated operational parameters that are stored and associated with respect to an use characterizing parameter, the desired configuration is achieved automatically by coupling a peripheral with the terminal.
  • [0028]
    In one embodiment of the invention, as discussed herein, a use characterizing parameter for a peripheral is associated with user criteria for a specific worker or user. In that way, upon reading the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral, the terminal is configured based upon that specific user's criteria and personal preferences. Alternatively, the terminal might be configured, not according to a specific user's criteria or personal preferences, but according to associated user criteria selected by the system. That is, all the peripherals for a group of users which may be working in a certain area or section of a facility may require that the terminals be configured generally with the same user criteria for the group and with the associated desired operational parameters, but not necessarily the operational parameters and criteria desired by an individual user. In that way, parameters might be associated with the criteria for a group of users rather than individuals. The group might be defined by various user criteria, such as their location and job within a warehouse facility.
  • [0029]
    Alternatively, a peripheral might not be assigned to one or more individual users, but rather might be associated with a particular area in the warehouse or some other particular criteria. That is, the user criteria is location specific. When a terminal is utilized with such a peripheral and the terminal reads the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral, the terminal will be configured for that specific facility area or for the specific user criteria associated with the use characterizing parameter. Therefore, the use characterizing parameter aspect of the present invention might be associated with user criteria for an individual worker and their individual preferences, a group of workers and their individual or selective preferences for the group, or some other group or subset criteria, such that the terminals will be readily and/or automatically configured when specific peripherals having use characterizing parameters are coupled thereto.
  • [0030]
    In one embodiment of the invention, the use characterizing parameter for a peripheral is defined by a device or component, such as a chip. Upon coupling the peripheral to the terminal, the processor or processors 40, 42 read the individual code of the chip, which defines its use characterizing parameter. One or more operational parameters are associated with that specific peripheral code and associated use characterizing parameter and the user criteria associated with the use characterizing parameter. The association of the operation parameter with the use characterizing parameter may be achieved in various different ways. For example, utilizing the use characterizing parameter which is received or read from the peripheral, a look-up table might provide the desired operational parameters for reconfiguring the terminal according to user criteria. As such, the terminal may have stored in memory the operational parameters associated with a number of use characterizing parameters and specific peripherals corresponding to the workers who might use the terminal. To that end, when the terminal is originally configured with a peripheral plugged into or coupled with the terminal, the original parameters might be saved and stored based on the use characterizing parameter, and thereby associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral. Alternatively, the operational parameters might be stored in one or more central computers associated with the system, and may be downloaded to the terminal upon the terminal communicating with those computers. In that way, the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral is read by the terminal and is passed through the terminal to the system computers wherein the desired configuration or operational parameters are retrieved that are associated with that use characterizing parameter.
  • [0031]
    Referring again to FIG. 2, a headset 64 is shown having a characterizing or configuring chip or component 74 therein. Dedicated lines 75 couple the chip to processor 42 so that the code of the headset 64 (i.e., use characterizing parameter) may be read. When the headset 64, and particularly the cord 18 associated with the headset, is coupled to terminal 10, the processor 42 reads the use characterizing code or parameter associated with the headset. Based upon the use characterizing parameter, the processor circuits 40, 42 progress through the selectable features of the system for configuring the terminal into the configuration associated with the use characterizing parameters, such as that desired by the particular worker who owns the headset 64 or other peripheral, for example. The various operational parameters associated with the use characterizing parameter might be retrieved from memory 46, 48 or other memory.
  • [0032]
    Similarly, a bar code reader 66 also includes a chip 76 which defines the use characterizing parameter for that peripheral. Upon coupling the peripheral, through a serial interface 62, 73 to one of the processors 40, 42, the use characterizing parameter is read by the processor(s), and the processor(s) are further operable for associating one or more operational parameters with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral. Generally, the operational parameters for configuration of the terminal for the bar code reader will be different from the operational parameters for configuration of the terminal for the headset. That is, the terminal 10 handles multiple different sets of operational parameters and will select them based upon the peripheral which is coupled thereto. Different peripherals have different operational parameters or sets of operational parameters. For example, a bar code reader 66, which does not generally interface between the central computer and the worker with voice commands, will not require configuration of voice parameters as would a headset 64.
  • [0033]
    Other peripherals may be utilized, and the present invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments disclosed herein. For example, a scanner 68 includes a chip 78 which defines its use characterizing parameter. Upon coupling the scanner to processor 40 through a serial interface 73, the use characterizing parameter is determined and associated with one or more operational parameters for the scanner 68. Likewise, a training device 70 with a chip 80 is coupled to the processor 40 which reads the chip 80 for the training device 70 and adjusts the configuration of the terminal and its operation accordingly. Still further, a printer 71 with chip 81 might also be coupled to processor 40. In that way, the present invention may handle multiple peripherals at one time and can provide the desired operational parameters and operational configuration for each of those peripherals without requiring the worker to slowly go through each available menu for a peripheral. This results in significant time savings and eliminates errors associated with such programming. A worker will not usually require that all available peripherals be associated with the terminal at once.
  • [0034]
    In another aspect of the present invention, the various peripherals and their location may be tracked based upon the use characterizing parameter associated with each of the peripherals. Referring to FIG. 3, each of the various terminals 80, 82 and 84 interface with one or more central computers 90, such as through wireless communication signals 88. Associated with the terminals might be various peripherals P1, P2, P3. Upon coupling one or more of the peripherals to a terminal 80-84, the specific use characterizing parameter associated with the peripheral may be forwarded to central computer 86. The central computer 86 is then operable for tracking the existence and use of the peripheral within the system, and its specific location as associated with a terminal 80-84. The central computer 86 may then provide inventory control for the peripherals, such as for maintenance purposes, to reduce theft, and for efficient use of the peripheral resources. For example, one worker may have a bar code reader, but may be located in a particular area of the warehouse that may be filling an order which does not require a bar code reader. In that way, the central computer might be utilized to direct another worker to the location of the bar code reader if they need it. Alternatively, the central computer might be utilized to communicate to the worker who has the bar code reader that someone else needs it. As discussed herein, the term use characterizing parameter is utilized to generally designate the identification information provided by a chip or other component and associated with a specific peripheral. In the present invention, the name of a worker might be associated with a terminal they are using. Therefore the worker is associated with the various peripherals coupled to the terminal based on the use characterizing parameters read by the terminal and transferred to the central computer. In that way, the use characterizing parameters of the various peripherals might be utilized to instruct the workers, by name, to pass peripherals back and forth to each other, as they are needed.
  • [0035]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, power sources such as batteries also have specific use characterizing parameters which are read by the terminal, specifically a terminal processor circuits 40, 42. The operational parameters of the terminal associated with power may then be configured as desired for the specific battery plugged into the terminal and associated with the use characterizing parameter that is read. That is, whenever a specific battery is attached to the terminal, the operational software of the terminal may automatically adjust. In one embodiment, it is anticipated that the association of operational parameters with an use characterizing parameter will occur automatically upon coupling a peripheral with a terminal. However, as a further step, it might be required that the worker actually requests such reconfiguration based upon one or more simple inputs. That is, the new configuration would not occur automatically.
  • [0036]
    With respect to battery performance and battery management, the operational software of the terminal or the central computer could track a history of battery performance for each battery which is used with the terminal. The terminal software could adapt its voltage/time characteristic curve for detecting a low battery situation in order to notify the worker that a new battery will be required. Furthermore, utilizing the use characterizing parameter associated with a battery, further operational characteristics, rather than just low battery voltage monitoring, may be achieved. For example, in one embodiment, the software will monitor the life of a battery between its fully charged state and the low battery state. As batteries deteriorate, one symptom is that they do not hold a sufficient charge as long and thus are depleted more rapidly (shorter life). With the present invention, such an occurrence may be detected so that a battery (defined by its use characterizing parameter) may be taken completely out of circulation and disposed of, rather than having it go through additional wasteful re-charge cycles. Again, as noted above with respect to FIG. 3, not only might the terminal notify a worker wearing the specific terminal, but also central computer 90 might receive such information as well so that all the batteries used within the system might be monitored for replacement and re-charging.
  • [0037]
    In another aspect of the present invention, it may be desirable to configure the operational parameters and the software terminal based upon a system selected preference, rather than that desired by a particular worker. That is, it may be desirable for consistency within the system to insure that, for certain peripherals, each of the terminals will operate the same. The present invention, utilizing an use characterizing parameter associated with each peripheral, such as through a chip or other component, will allow the central computer 86 to control the various terminals 80, 82 and 84 as they are configured based upon the system user preference or criteria, rather than a specific user preference or criteria.
  • [0038]
    Although exemplary embodiments are discussed with a single code, a peripheral might include multiple use characterizing codes which are used to define multiple use characterizing parameters. Such multiple parameters could then be used for accessing or implementing multiple sets of operational parameters. Therefore, the present invention may be tailored to provide the desired associate of one or more sets of operational parameters with a specific peripheral to configure the terminal.
  • [0039]
    Therefore, the present invention improves the efficiency of the workers and their interface with a central system and reduces the error and time associated with configuring specific terminal equipment for a worker, based upon the peripherals used by that worker. Furthermore, the management, tracking and maintenance of equipment, such as peripherals, within a system is improved. And still further, consistency throughout the system may be improved.
  • [0040]
    While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of the various embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not intended to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and methods and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the scope or spirit of Applicant's general inventive concept.

Claims (72)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A terminal comprising:
    a processor for controlling the operation of the terminal;
    the processor operable for reading a use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device coupled to the terminal and further operable for associating an operational parameter for the terminal with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  2. 2. The terminal of claim 1 wherein operational parameters for the terminal are stored in memory, the processor further operable for accessing the memory according to the use characterizing parameter.
  3. 3. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the operational parameters are in a menu, the processor operable for accessing the menu based upon the use characterizing parameter.
  4. 4. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the operational parameters include at least one from the group of voice templates, volume preferences, and text-to-speech preferences.
  5. 5. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the terminal is configured for coupling with at least one peripheral device from the group of a headset, a bar code reader, an audio training device, a scanner and a printer.
  6. 6. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the processor is operable for automatically reading the use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device upon coupling the peripheral device to the terminal.
  7. 7. The terminal of claim 1 further comprising a battery with an associated use characterizing parameter, the processor operable for reading the battery use characterizing parameter and maintaining statistics for the battery which are associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  8. 8. The terminal of claim 7 wherein the terminal has power operational parameters, the processor operable for adapting at least one power operational parameter based upon the battery use characterizing parameter.
  9. 9. The terminal of claim 8 wherein the processor is operable for automatically adapting the power operational parameter upon reading the battery use characterizing parameter.
  10. 10. The terminal of claim 1 wherein said terminal is configured for coupling with multiple different peripheral devices having different use characterizing parameters, the terminal being configurable to operate with multiple operational parameters associated with the peripheral device use characterizing parameters.
  11. 11. The terminal of claim 1 wherein the processor is operable for reading multiple use characterizing parameters from a peripheral device coupled to the terminal and further operable for associating multiple operational parameters with the multiple use characterizing parameters of the peripheral device.
  12. 12. A terminal for communicating with a computer, comprising:
    circuitry for controlling the operation of the terminal, the circuitry operable for reading a use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device coupled to the terminal and further operable for configuring the terminal to operate according to at least one operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  13. 13. The terminal of claim 12 wherein the operational parameter for the terminal is stored in memory which is accessed according to the use characterizing parameter.
  14. 14. The terminal of claim 12 wherein the operational parameters include at least one from the group of voice templates, volume preferences, and text-to-speech preferences.
  15. 15. The terminal of claim 12 wherein the circuitry is operable for automatically reading the use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device upon coupling the peripheral device to the terminal.
  16. 16. The terminal of claim 12 wherein said terminal is configured for coupling with multiple different peripheral devices having different use characterizing parameters, the terminal being configurable to operate with multiple operational parameters associated with the peripheral device use characterizing parameters.
  17. 17. The terminal of claim 12 wherein the circuitry is operable for reading multiple use characterizing parameters from a peripheral device coupled to the terminal and further operable for associating multiple operational parameters with the multiple use characterizing parameters of the peripheral device.
  18. 18. A communication system comprising:
    a terminal configured for being able to communicate with a computer, the terminal configurable to operate according to at least one operational parameter;
    a peripheral device for use with the terminal, the peripheral device having an use characterizing parameter associated therewith;
    the terminal operable for reading the use characterizing parameter from the peripheral device when the device is coupled to the terminal;
    the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  19. 19. The system of claim 18 wherein the peripheral device has multiple use characterizing parameters associated therewith and the terminal is operable for reading multiple use characterizing parameters and further operable for configuring itself to operate according to multiple operational parameters associated with the multiple use characterizing parameters.
  20. 20. The system of claim 18 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a worker who is using the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the worker.
  21. 21. The system of claim 18 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a group of workers who may use the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the group.
  22. 22. The system of claim 18 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a task for which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the task.
  23. 23. The system of claim 18 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with an area of a facility in which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the area.
  24. 24. The system of claim 18 wherein the operational parameters are in a menu, the terminal operable for accessing the menu based upon the use characterizing parameter.
  25. 25. The system of claim 18 wherein the terminal is operable for configuring itself to operate according to operational parameters received from a computer.
  26. 26. An inventory management system comprising:
    a central computer operable to track inventory;
    at least one terminal configurable to operate according to at least one operational parameter, the terminal configured for communicating with the central computer;
    at least one peripheral device for use with the terminal;
    the terminal operable for reading an use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device coupled thereto and further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  27. 27. The system of claim 26 wherein operational parameters for the terminal are stored in memory in the terminal, the terminal further operable for accessing the memory according to the use characterizing parameter.
  28. 28. The system of claim 26 wherein operational parameters for the terminal are stored in memory in the central computer, the terminal further operable for obtaining an operational parameter from the memory according to the use characterizing parameter.
  29. 29. The system of claim 26 wherein the operational parameters are in a menu, the terminal operable for accessing the menu based upon the use characterizing parameter.
  30. 30. The system of claim 26 wherein the terminal is operable for configuring itself to operate according to operational parameters received from the central computer.
  31. 31. The system of claim 26 wherein the terminal is configured for coupling with at least one peripheral device from the group of a headset, a bar code reader, an audio training device and a scanner.
  32. 32. The system of claim 26 further comprising a removable power source couplable with the terminal to provide power thereto and having an use characterizing parameter associated therewith.
  33. 33. The system of claim 32 wherein the circuitry is operable for reading an use characterizing parameter from the power source when it is coupled to the terminal and further operable for configuring the terminal to operate according to at least one operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  34. 34. The system of claim 32 wherein the terminal maintains statistics for the power source which are associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  35. 35. The system of claim 32 wherein the terminal has power operational parameters, the circuitry operable for adapting at least one power operational parameter based upon the power source use characterizing parameter.
  36. 36. The system of claim 32 wherein the central computer is operable for maintaining statistics for the power source, the statistics being associated with the use characterizing parameter for the power source.
  37. 37. The system of claim 26 wherein the central computer is operable for tracking multiple peripheral devices based upon the use characterizing parameters associated with the peripheral devices.
  38. 38. A peripheral device for use with a terminal which communicates with a computer, the peripheral device comprising:
    a use characterizing parameter associated with the peripheral device;
    the use characterizing parameter being associated with at least one operation parameter of a terminal.
  39. 39. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the terminal has multiple use characterizing parameters associated therewith and the terminal is operable for reading multiple use characterizing parameters and further operable for configuring itself to operate according to multiple operational parameters associated with the multiple use characterizing parameters.
  40. 40. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria of a user who is using the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria.
  41. 41. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria of a group of users who may use the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the group.
  42. 42. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria of a task for which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the task.
  43. 43. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria of an area of a facility in which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the area.
  44. 44. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the operational parameters are in a menu, the terminal operable for accessing the menu based upon the use characterizing parameter.
  45. 45. The peripheral device of claim 38 wherein the terminal is operable for configuring itself to operate according to operational parameters received from a computer.
  46. 46. A terminal for communicating with a computer, comprising:
    circuitry for controlling the operation of the terminal;
    a removable power source couplable with the terminal to provide power thereto and having a use characterizing parameter associated therewith;
    the circuitry operable for reading a use characterizing parameter from the power source when it is coupled to the terminal and further operable for configuring the terminal to operate according to at least one operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  47. 47. The terminal of claim 46 wherein the terminal maintains statistics for the power source which are associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  48. 48. The terminal of claim 46 wherein the terminal has power operational parameters, the circuitry operable for adapting at least one power operational parameter based upon the power source use characterizing parameter.
  49. 49. The terminal of claim 46 wherein the circuitry is operable for automatically adapting the power operational parameter upon reading the power source use characterizing parameter.
  50. 50. A method for configuring a terminal for use with a computer comprising:
    providing a terminal which communicates with a computer;
    coupling a peripheral device with the terminal, the peripheral device having a use characterizing parameter associated therewith;
    reading the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device with the terminal; and
    configuring the terminal to operate according to at least one operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  51. 51. The method of claim 50 further comprising accessing the operational parameter from memory of the terminal according to the use characterizing parameter.
  52. 52. The method of claim 50 further comprising automatically reading the use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device upon coupling the peripheral device to the terminal.
  53. 53. The method of claim 50 further comprising coupling a battery with the terminal, the battery having an use characterizing parameter associated therewith; and
    reading the use characterizing parameter of the battery with the terminal and configuring the terminal to operate according to at least one operational parameter associated with the use characterizing parameter of the battery.
  54. 54. The method of claim 53 further comprising maintaining statistics for the battery which are associated with the use characterizing parameter.
  55. 55. The method of claim 53 wherein the terminal has power operational parameters, the processor operable for adapting at least one power operational parameter based upon the battery use characterizing parameter.
  56. 56. The method of claim 50 further comprising accessing, with the terminal, the operational parameter from memory of the computer according to the use characterizing parameter.
  57. 57. The method of claim 50 further comprising configuring the terminal to operate according to an operational parameter received by the terminal from the central computer.
  58. 58. The method of claim 50 wherein the peripheral device has multiple use characterizing parameters associated therewith and further comprising reading the multiple use characterizing parameters of the peripheral device with the terminal, and configuring the terminal to operate according to multiple operational parameters associated with the multiple use characterizing parameters.
  59. 59. The method of claim 50 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a worker who is using the peripheral device, and further comprising reading the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device with the terminal; and
    configuring the terminal to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the worker.
  60. 60. The method of claim 50 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated user criteria for a group of workers who may use the peripheral device, and further comprising configuring the terminal to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the group.
  61. 61. The method of claim 50 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria for a task for which the peripheral device will be used, and further comprising configuring the terminal to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the task.
  62. 62. The method of claim 50 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with user criteria for an area of a facility in which the peripheral device will be used, and further comprising configuring the terminal to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the area.
  63. 63. A method for tracking peripheral devices used with terminals, the method comprising:
    providing a computer which communicates with a plurality of mobile terminals;
    upon the coupling of a peripheral device with at least one of the mobile terminals, reading a use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device with the terminal; and
    accumulating information regarding the peripheral device with the computer based upon the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  64. 64. The method of claim 63 wherein the peripheral device includes a battery, and further comprising accumulating information regarding use of the battery based upon a use characterizing parameter of the battery.
  65. 65. A wearable, mobile and/or portable terminal comprising:
    a processor for controlling the operation of the terminal, the terminal being configurable to operate according to at least one operational parameter;
    the processor operable for reading a use characterizing parameter from a peripheral device coupled to the terminal and further operable for associating an operational parameter with the use characterizing parameter of the peripheral device.
  66. 66. The terminal of claim 65 wherein operational parameters for the terminal are stored in memory, the processor further operable for accessing the memory according to the use characterizing parameter.
  67. 67. The terminal of claim 65 wherein the terminal is configured for coupling with at least one peripheral device from the group of a headset, a bar code reader, an audio training device, a scanner and a printer.
  68. 68. A peripheral device for use with a wearable, mobile and/or portable terminal, the peripheral device comprising:
    a use characterizing parameter associated with the peripheral device.
  69. 69. The peripheral device of claim 68 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a user who is using the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria.
  70. 70. The peripheral device of claim 68 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a group of users who may use the peripheral device, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the group.
  71. 71. The peripheral device of claim 68 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with a task for which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the task.
  72. 72. The peripheral device of claim 68 wherein the use characterizing parameter of a peripheral device is associated with an area of a facility in which the peripheral device will be used, the terminal further operable for configuring itself to operate according to an operational parameter associated with the user criteria of the area.
US10185995 2002-06-27 2002-06-27 Terminal and method for efficient use and identification of peripherals Abandoned US20040003136A1 (en)

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US10669070 US7734361B2 (en) 2002-06-27 2003-09-23 Terminal and method for efficient use and identification of peripherals having audio lines
US12785130 US8612032B2 (en) 2002-06-27 2010-05-21 Terminal and method for efficient use and identification of peripherals having audio lines

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US7734361B2 (en) 2010-06-08 grant
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