US20100280918A1 - Distributed personal automation and shopping method, apparatus, and process - Google Patents

Distributed personal automation and shopping method, apparatus, and process Download PDF

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US20100280918A1
US20100280918A1 US12/835,595 US83559510A US2010280918A1 US 20100280918 A1 US20100280918 A1 US 20100280918A1 US 83559510 A US83559510 A US 83559510A US 2010280918 A1 US2010280918 A1 US 2010280918A1
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buyer
product
products
list
seller
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Bruce Balent
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III Holdings 3 LLC
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Bruce Balent
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Priority to US10/315,905 priority patent/US7797204B2/en
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Priority to US12/835,595 priority patent/US20100280918A1/en
Publication of US20100280918A1 publication Critical patent/US20100280918A1/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/0601Electronic shopping
    • G06Q30/0633Lists, e.g. purchase orders, compilation or processing
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K19/00Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings
    • G06K19/06Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings characterised by the kind of the digital marking, e.g. shape, nature, code
    • G06K2019/06215Aspects not covered by other subgroups
    • G06K2019/06234Aspects not covered by other subgroups miniature-code

Abstract

A business method utilizing a system comprising one or more distributed computers, application software, off-the-shelf peripheral components including a data entry (KDE) device without a keyboard or a mouse, business processes, human and KDE device readable data, related information on removable data storage media or available from external databases, and existing communications systems for speeding and improving: 1) personal or business automation, efficiency and productivity, goal attainment; 2) improving, speeding and automating the person-computer interface; 3) selection, acquisition, and tracking usage of items acquired from an existing supply chain; 4) marketing items and retaining customers buying the products, controlling their usage, and disseminating information about the products.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The following application is a Divisional Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/315,905 based on Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/339,166 filed on Dec. 8, 2001
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
  • Not Applicable.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is a personal automation and shopping system which relates to methods and information systems (including hardware, software, communications and peripherals) for automating or improving personal or business productivity, efficiency and goal attainment, and buying and selling of goods and services. The present invention integrates, simplifies and democratizes methods, apparatus, and processes from a variety of other related and independent fields, including, but not limited to: barcodes and other machine readable symbologies or identifying means, barcode scanners and other KDED's (a keyless, mouseless data entry device); inventory control; business processes, human behavior as it relates to the adoption. The present invention improves the integration, ease of use, flexibility, speed, and accuracy of the hardware, software and processes for selecting an item, product or service (hereafter called “item” or “items”), acquiring items, controlling items on hand, using items, and the resulting product usage data from manufacture through final usage.
  • DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART
  • Prior to present invention consumers and business bought commodities at local retailers. Commonly the buyer prepared a handwritten list before shopping for such items, particularly consumables like groceries, office supplies, building supplies, auto parts, gardening supplies, etc.
  • Previously, there was little prior art related to the present invention. Prior art was limited to industry and retail inventory control and ordering systems operating on point-of-sale systems, larger computerized systems, and a very limited number of portable barcode scanners. Keyless data entry was limited to optical character recognition and barcodes. Barcode printing was very limited capabilities were limited and required specialized knowledge and hardware. Automation and distributed processing was limited to low power personal computers and office automation applications. Intercomputer communications were limited to dedicated or leased phone lines or analog modems dialing into the public switched telephone network (PTSN) or plain old telephone service (POTS).
  • During the building and testing of dPASS, I observed that various required supporting systems and incorporated subcomponents were unavailable, technically inadequate, and unreliable and hence didn't satisfactorily solve myriad and complex problem of dPASS. The prior art was not flexible, adaptable, user acceptability, and easy to use. The prior art which was technically satisfactory for some applications, was too expensive for a stand alone product, distributed solution, or networked solution. None of the prior art solved the underlying problems. The prior art is not commercially acceptable to users.
  • Recently, consumers have begun to buy products from online retailers using these suppliers' automated or semi-automated buying or replenishment systems. None of these prior attempts to automate the buying process embody all the features, capabilities, integration, and flexibility of the present invention
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,026,376, issued on Feb. 15, 2000, to John A. Kenney, discloses an interactive electronic shopping system and method which creates a virtual shopping facility from an actual shopping facility, such as a grocery store, store, restaurant or office. A shopper at a computer or other suitable display device can move through the virtual shopping facility and see replicas of what would be seen in moving through the actual shopping facility. While this method enables a customer to shop from home, its use is limited as it requires a high bandwidth connection to the Internet and the use of a computer or web based equipment. Additionally, Kenney requires a person to be located near a computer or area where they have access to the Internet and doesn't allow for the ease of spontaneous, task driven ordering one might expect in a kitchen, which is often far away from the computer and display device. The Kenney system depends on specific vendors and requires the participation of retailers. Kenney also requires a substantial investment in equipment and transfer of large amounts of data between the vendor and the consumer across the Internet or other communications network. Kenney doesn't enable a user to create or add to their shopping list electronically without a real-time connection to a PC or the internet.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,483,472 issued on Jan. 9, 1996, to Anthony J. Overman, discloses a portable electronic food shopper which is related to a portable electronic list device with calculator functions. It's a menu-driven, shopping list device with price comparison functions and a customized list retained in device memory. The invention is distinguishable, in that it is not a portable electronic list device.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,610, issued on Dec. 14, 1999, to Theresa Talbott et al., discloses a store specific shopping system method including a map/shopping list bearing written identifications of articles arranged in a pictorial representation corresponding to their display locations in a store. Talbott doesn't allow users to create a shopping list at home, and is controlled by the retailer rather than the consumer.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,821,513, issued on Oct. 13, 1998, to Timothy O'Hagan et. al. discloses a shopping cart mounted portable data collection device with a tethered dataform reader. O'Hagan is a retail consumer product data collection and information system. The instant invention is distinguishable, in that the user is able to create a shopping list at home.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,884,281, issued on Mar. 16, 1999, to Samuel Bernard Smith et. al., discloses a means for creating an electronic grocery list. Smith stores, displays and prints grocery list items. Smith discloses a computer which stores names of grocery items according to broad classifications. Smith can be used independently or in connection with a printer or via an internet connection for electronic shopping. The instant invention is distinguishable, in that it is not a computer.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,123,259, issued on Sep. 26, 2000, to Nobuo Ogasawara, discloses an electronic shopping system including customer relocation recognition. Ogasawara's shopping system aids customers by saving time and money while shopping. Through the use of a hand-held or mounted terminal the system gives consumers directions on where to locate an item in a particular store based on the customer's current location in the store. Additionally, the device displays suggestions on promotional items that the customer may need to replenish. Ogasawara is provided by a specific retailer and primarily benefits the retailer's interests. Additionally, the hardware costs are substantial and limit the product to commercial not home use. Like other inventions, Ogasawara ties users to specific retailers and doesn't allow creation of a shopping list at home, independent of the retailer's involvement.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,246,998 B1, issued on Jun. 12, 2001, to Kunihiko, discloses a system and method for home grocery shopping including item categorization for efficient delivery and pick up. Kunihiko is another variation of the increasingly popular internet based home shopping system. Kunihiko discloses software which is able to characterize purchased items according to weights and measures, environmental storage and nutritional content such that a customer is able to make effective purchase decisions and is able to prepare appropriate space and environment for receiving the goods. Kunihiko satisfies the needs of a consumer seeking home delivery of products and also assists the transportation company in regards to loading and shipping requirements. However, Kunihiko is internet based and is therefore limited in its functions as listed in the previous internet based home shopping systems. Kunihiko is also limited in its usefulness and convenience as Kunihiko is dependent on an active Internet connection
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,249,773 B1 to Allard et al (2001) Electronic Commerce With Shopping List Builder is a client/server tool that manages an individualized selection of product offerings, referred to as a “shopping list”. Allard comprises several components, which enable consumers to peruse voluminous inventories and simplifies repetitive purchase of consumable and perishable items and computer operating tasks associated with electronic shopping. Although Allard handles large inventories well, it is limited in its use. A computer and a local area network (LAN) or Internet connection is required Allard is not a stand-alone product that can be easily accessed in any location. Allard is designed primarily to improve the efficiency of the home shopper as she browses through various shopping sites on the Internet. Allard is also limited in that it requires a tremendous amount of manual inputting on the part of the user. In contrast to the present invention which automates the selection process thus greatly reducing input errors and allows for spontaneous decision making. The present invention is distinguishable, in that it is a device that allows users to create their own shopping lists electronically, that does not require a connection to the internet and it allows data input by a bar code reader device.
  • None of the prior art inventions, disclose the instant invention claimed. The shortcomings in the prior art may result from the inventors' failure to fully and accurately identify all the shopping problems to be solved. The prior art primarily solves the problems of retailers and/or manufacturers with minimal understanding or solution of the consumer's problems. The present invention solves the problem from the consumer's perspective and is intended to solve most of the consumers' problems with product selection, shopping, and inventory management. These unaddressed problems include:
  • Flexibility: Consumers identify, select, and shop for consumables in a variety of ways, and consumers use a variety of methods from one shopping event until the next. All of the prior art requires that consumers and businesses dramatically change the way they select, shop for, buy, sell or distribute groceries or other consumables. The prior art lacks the ability to be used in a variety of ways. The prior art inventions require a revolutionary or dramatic change method as opposed to the preferred evolutionary change in the way a users currently accomplishes the task, and the prior art doesn't enable users to identify, select and shop for consumables in whatever fashion is most natural or effective at any given time.
  • Incremental Adoptability: Consumers and business often want to implement a new system at a very rudimentarily level, at minimal cost before committing their entire operation to the new system. The prior art ignores the problem and requires users to adopt their entire invention or system in an “all-or-nothing” approach. The prior art is deficient because it lacks the ability to progressively provide more capabilities, personal productivity, and shopping automation at incremental expenditures of time and money. The prior art is deficient in reducing resistance to buying and using their systems.
  • Selection at Point Of Consumption: While some prior art permits selection at the point of consumption, they fail to address the preceding problems. The prior art is limited in that they do not provide selection without a wired or wireless connection to some other device, computer system or network.
  • Vendor and Time Independence, and Privacy: Most consumers want to maintain more privacy than afforded by the prior art and the freedom to shop at any store they want and at whatever time they want. Consumers like the personal freedom and real-time independence from vendors provided by software loaded and running on their PC. The PC and locally stored software provides people with the privacy, freedom, and flexibility they prefer. None of the prior art adequately solves these problems.
  • Speed and Rich Environment. Users expect things to happen quickly if not instantaneously, they want rich content that can be accessed in a variety of ways. In addition to the above, consumers prefer the fast, rich environment provided by Windows or the MAC, various methods of input (mouse, keyboard, voice, barcode reader, scanner, etc.), multimedia output (e.g. text, graphics, pictures, sound, video, printouts, removable media, and smell in the future), and its speed. The prior art fails to solve all these problems; some lack the speed, others the independence, some the rich input or output being limited by their small form factors, bandwidth or capabilities (e.g. a PDA, browser, web-enabled cellular phone, etc,)
  • Despite the consumer-centric approach, the present invention also solves retail and manufacturing problems and improves their portions of the supply chain. The present invention enhances and improves existing apparatus, processes and methods. The present invention keeps the freedom and flexibility of the existing, fairly efficient retail consumables market and day planner and its associated methods and enhances and augments them in an incrementally adoptable way. The present invention does not require new, expensive, monolithic systems to replace what isn't broken. instead the present invention offers evolutionary enhancements and behind-the-scenes system integration that transparent to users that are economical and easy to begin using, while maintaining all the advantages of the old: freedom of choice, flexibility, and adaption to existing methods.
  • GLOSSARY
    • (dPASS) Distributed Personal Automation and Shopping Method, Apparatus, and Process.
    • Data processor/Central Processing Unit (CPU) a general or special purposed containing means for input, output, data storage, and capable of specific or programmable data manipulation (e.g. computers from main frames to embedded microprocessors)
    • GSET goods, services, events and/or tasks; goods may also be called: products or items
    • KDED a keyless/mouseless data entry device which is a computers or peripheral device capable of: 1) capturing data encoded or stored in a machine readable symbology or device, or 2) receiving data input without use of a keyboard or mouse; however, some KDED's can keys or pointing devices as a secondary or auxiliary means of capturing or receiving data, and may have a display for user feedback, prompts, etc.;
    • Buyer refers to one or more people or companies buying goods or services and anyone using this dPASS invention;
    • Seller refers to people or companies selling or delivering good or services, or arranging for their sale or delivery;
    • Manufacturer (mfg) refers to people or companies that manufacture goods or provide services;
    • Data refers to unaltered data input to a data processor while ‘information’ generally refers to one or more pieces of data that have been operated on, manipulated on, or transformed in some way by a data processor, often to arrange data in ways more meaningful to humans or other data processors, or to synthesize such data in less, but more meaningful information for subsequent use by humans or other machines;
    • Quick-Scans™ Pairs of human readable names and KDED readable identifiers for either 1) frequently captured GSETs, or 2) GSETs lacking a KDED readable identifier;
    • Quick-Scan Card refer to some handy media containing Quick-Scans™;
    • Token The KDED readable portion of a GSET—token pair; by way of example, not by way of limitation, this token could be a barcode that uniquely identifies the manufacturer (mfg) of said GSET, a radio frequency identification tag (RFID), or a complex symbology or device which contains additional information such as the item's name, size, mfg, etc.
  • Objects and Advantages: In addition to the objects and advantages of being consumer centered described above, several objects and advantages of the present invention are listed below.
  • The present invention provides an “incrementally adoptable” system that integrates the buyer/consumer, retailer/vendor, and manufacturer (i.e. the segments) into a synergistic supply chain where each gains optimal benefit without unfairly taking advantage of the other segments. The consumer or business can begin by using the basic features for little cost, disruption to or change in current methods. Consumers and business have the option to buy or to begin using additional system capabilities as its benefits become more apparent and familiarity with the system grows.
  • The present invention provides greater buyer control of their interface with the supply chain.
  • The present invention provides an open supply chain where the consumer can more easily choose a seller, retailer or vendor from which to purchase products.
  • The present invention provides retailers the ability to offer the invention as a closed system and the consumer in return, is tied or at least rewarded for using the retailer providing the system.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention comprises of a computerized buying and supply chain management system which uses existing computer, peripheral, software, and communications technology along with new software, processes, and methods to create a modular, “incrementally adoptable” system. The present invention speeds and improves dissemination of product information, product selection, shopping list compilation and maintenance, product acquisition and delivery, inventory control and usage. The present invention can be used in a variety of markets, including but not limited to: consumable markets with wide selection of items and their periodic consumption and replacement and service industries providing a variety of selectable services which are requested on a periodic basis.
  • The present invention discloses a personal automation and shopping system which creates improvements for the transactions between the consumer or buyer, the retailer or service provider, and the manufacturer. All three user segments (consumer/buyer, retailer/vendor, and manufacturer) can incrementally adopt or add the various modules to their usage of the present invention. This incremental usage reduces the typical obstacles (i.e. cost, complexity, difficulty of use, change in habits, etc.) to adoption of new technology or systems. Unlike prior art, a core aspect of the present invention is that it enhances the way each user segment interfaces with the supply chain. For example, household consumers often create a handwritten list of groceries to be replaced as they are consumed; keeping the list on the refrigerator until shopping day. The present invention requires the consumer to make only a small, incremental change in this habit. The consumer is able to scan the product's Universal Product Code (“UPC”) barcode with a portable scanner, to add the product to their shopping list. The consumer then prints out the list before going to the store. The scanning process of the present invention is faster and more accurate than writing a generalized term for a specific product on the paper list (e.g. writing “cheese” on the list when what the consumer really wants is “Kraft, Cracker Barrel, Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 12 oz package”). Prior art consists of a method wherein the consumer must to go to another room, start the computer, log onto the internet, surf to a website, and then laboriously search for each item they want, wait while the text and graphics slowly download, and then finally add the product to their shopping cart. The prior art requires consumers to coordinate a specific time for home delivery, wait one or more days for the items to arrive, and pay for them by credit card. The present invention allows the consumer to shop as they always have without the constraints of a narrow delivery time.
  • The present invention has similar advantages for the retailer. Retailers can chose their level of participation from providing a file of the UPCs for the items they stock, to a complete, electronic receipt of orders and home delivery. This allows all user segments to use the present invention with little initial change in their existing habits or procedures and little expenditure of capital. As the user becomes familiar with the present invention they may use other features and capabilities of the present invention.
  • In summary this personal automation and shopping system provides: flexibility, a synergistic, integrated and balanced supply chain management system for all three chain user segments (i.e. buyer, seller and manufacturer), incremental adoptability of the personal automation and shopping system, and a variety of usage modes and features that adapt or blend well with the current methods used by the three user segments.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1—Overall Architecture As Data Flow Diagram (DFD) shows the overall architecture of the preferred embodiment of the present invention in use with a retail commodities supply chain like the grocery industry. However, this embodiment should not be construed to restrict this personal automation and shopping system in scope to only grocery shopping. This market and usage was chosen strictly for ease of illustration and description.
  • FIG. 2—KDE Device Preferred Embodiment shows the preferred embodiment of the keyboard-mouseless data entry (KDE) device, the Symbol CS-1504 Consumer Memory Scanner. This laser scanner captures most popular barcode symbologies. An alternative embodiment of the keyless data entry (KDE) device, KDED 1 b, the Videx Inc. LaserLite barcode scanner, to add a grocery product identifier (i.e. UPC) to the shopping list.
  • FIG. 3—KDE Device Used For Point-Of-Consumption Selection Via UPC barcode shows the preferred embodiment in use as a small, portable and disconnected device used in the kitchen to capture the identifier (i.e. the can's UPC barcode) of a product the Buyer 1 a wants to purchase.
  • FIG. 4—Alternate Embodiment: KDE Device, Videx LaserLite Scanner shows an alternate embodiment of the KDED 1 b. This figure shows a pistol-grip laser scanner.
  • FIG. 5—Alternate Embodiment: KDE Device {“cigarette pack” scanner} shows an alternate embodiment of the KDED 1 b in use as integrated display for user prompts and information and a keypad for augmenting or replacing scanned input
  • FIG. 6—Barcoded Catalog Of Groceries. FIG. 6 discloses a printed version of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k which lists groceries and their associated UPC barcode for fast selection anywhere via portable KDE device with each products' universal product code (UPC) encode in KDE device readable format as a UPC barcodes. Also shown is a prefix or suffix denoting the UPC was scanned from the printed catalog. If the product doesn't have a UPC code, there would be a dPASS specific identifier (UPC code in this example) for each generic product, item, task or event (iventask) for that market or usage.
  • FIG. 7—The preferred embodiment discloses a sample recipe page for the recipe or cookbook portion of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k.
  • FIG. 8—Application Title Screen shows opening screen for the preferred embodiment of the software portion of the dPASS shown here “Home Market Manager” or “HMM”) running on a Buyer's Computer 1 c or kiosk of Seller 1 f
  • FIG. 9—Wizard Window Of Software shows an initial dialog of the software which enabling user to select the amount of software assistance for each session's use of Home Market Manager™.
  • FIG. 10 thru FIG. 17 This preferred embodiment shows the KDE Device used with uploading completed lead Buyer 1 a uploading data stored in the KDED 1 b into Buyer' Computer 1 c or Seller 1 f's kiosk.
  • FIG. 18 thru FIG. 20—Alternate Embodiment KDE Device Upload Dialog shows an alternate dialog for Buyer 1 a to start the uploading barcodes or other product identifier data stored in an alternate embodiment of KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 19 shows the progress uploading barcodes from the alternate embodiment of KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 20 shows the dialog after the product data stored in the KDED 1 b has been uploaded into the Buyer's Computer 1 c.
  • FIG. 21 The preferred view shows the onscreen list in the main window of Home Market Manager and the shopping list that has just been uploaded from the KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 23—A view of the CD Catalog Window which shows the interface for browsing the electronic version of a grocery catalog of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k, retrieved from a CD-ROM, DVD, hard disk, or other media in a second window.
  • FIG. 22—A view of the addition of items through a UPC Progressive Search. The present view discloses the use of the present invention's feature “iventask” to add items to a list by searching for an iventask's Universal Product Code (UPC) into the UPC drop-down list.
  • FIG. 24—A view of the present inventions feature allowing the consumer to add a product to the shopping list by searching iventask's “Product Name drop-down list”, which searches the database of products until the correct UPC is found. Buyer would then press ENTER to add the highlighted item to their shopping below.
  • FIG. 25—A view of the present invention's feature, “IntelliFind Window For Searching All Categories” shows an alphabetical list of all iventasks on the locally stored CD, DVD, hard disk, or other locally stored catalog using the IntelliFind™ progressive, partial-word search window.
  • FIG. 26—A view of the present invention's feature “Progressive Partial-Name Search Using IntelliFind” shows Buyer 1 a searching for all iventasks containing the word “Chocolate”.
  • FIG. 27—A view of the present invention's feature “Shopping List For Brick-N-Mortar Store” shows the shopping list organized by aisle, side, and shelf along Buyer 1 a's preferred route through the store, along with barcodes to speed check-out or automate removal purchased items from stored shopping list.
  • FIG. 28—A view of the present invention's feature, “Compact Shopping List” shows an alternative, compact embodiment of the printed shopping list: 1) organized by generic categories, 2) without barcodes; and 3) to augment a list downloaded into the deluxe KDE device of FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 29 a—A view of the present invention's feature, “Shopping or Task List on Convertible Version of TabletPC” shows a TabletPC utilizing the desktop version of dPASS, which displays an interactive shopping or task list, or events while shopping.
  • FIG. 29 b—A view of the present invention's feature “Shopping or Task List on Slate Version of TabletPC” shows a TabletPC displaying an interactive shopping or task list, or events, electronic catalog, and interacting with the list or program via the stylus and handwriting recognition.
  • FIG. 30—A view of the present invention's feature “First Tab Of Order Form” shows a Buyer 1 a selecting a list to send to Seller 1 f, and indicating items they want to select and items they want Seller 1 f to provide.
  • FIG. 31 a—A view of the present invention's feature “Electronic Order Form with Pop-up Calendar” shows the second page of dialog for selecting pickup or delivery, delivery location, and date with a popup calendar.
  • FIG. 31 b—A view of the present invention's feature “Electronic Order Form” shows the second page of dialog after the pickup or delivery date and time are selected.
  • FIG. 32—A view of the present invention's feature “Electronic Order Form” shows the third page of dialog displaying the payment information.
  • FIG. 33—A view of the present invention's feature “Preparing Electronic Order” shows the progress of preparing the electronic order for sending from Buyer's Computer 1 c to Seller 1 f via the Communications Network 1 e.
  • FIG. 34—A view of the present invention's feature “Sending Electronic Order” shows progress of the next phase of the “Sending Order” dialog: sending electronic order to Seller 1 f.
  • FIG. 35—A view of the present invention's feature “Electronic Order Successfully Sent” shows final phase of the “Sending Order” dialog, providing Buyer 1 a with confirmation their order has been successfully received electronically by Seller 1 f.
  • FIG. 36 a—A view of the present invention's feature “Payment Portion Of Electronic Order” shows customer, billing, and delivery information for an electronic order. The information corresponds with the product pull list of FIG. 36 b below by the “Account Number”.
  • FIG. 36 b—A view of the present invention's feature, “Shopping List For Brick-N-Mortar Store” shows the pull list for the electronic order of FIG. 36 a above; these two parts are tied together by the “Account Number”.
  • FIG. 37—A view of the present invention's feature, Barcoded Restaurant Menu shows a restaurant menu with barcode identifiers for each meal, side-dish, dessert, drink, etc.
  • FIG. 38—A view of the present invention's feature Health Feedback Window shows the health feedback window for a family of four, with the husband's page selected.
  • FIG. 39—A view of the present invention's feature, KDED Readable Climbing Rope shows a typical piece of personal safety equipment, in use with tracking of usage and sun exposure.
  • FIG. 40—A view of the present invention's feature, Safety Quick-Scan Card shows an extract of another Quick-Scan Card™.
  • FIG. 41 a—Preferred Embodiment, Kitchen Quick Scans—showing example of a fictitious family's Quick Scans printed out for use in the kitchen—and .Quick Scan Card—shows an example of a Quick Scan Card printed out for a fictitious individual for he/she to carry with them.
  • REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS
    • 1 a Buyer
    • 1 b KDED (i.e. keyless-and-mouseless data entry device (e.g. barcode scanner, radio frequency tag reader, voice input system, etc.))
    • 1 c Buyer's Computer (e.g personal computer (PC): IBM® compatible PC, Apple®. PC, Linux PC, handheld computers, or other data processor)
    • 1 d Buyer's Input/Output Device (e.g. printer, personal digital assistant, etc.)
    • 1 e Communications Network (e.g. Internet, plain old telephone service network)
    • 1 f Seller (e.g. retailer, wholesaler, agent, or middleman)
    • 1 g Manufacturer (i.e. product makers or service providers)
    • 1 h Removable Media (for data storage, e.g. Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM), Digital Video Disc (DVD), solid state removable memory, etc.)
    • 1 i Other Data (i.e. other sources of data and information)
    • 1 j Seller's Kiosk (e.g. a touch-screen computer)
    • 1L Catalog & Cookbook (e.g. printed catalogs, cookbook recipe, home or craft project manual, etc.)
    • 1L Quick-Scans or Cards (on human readable media)
    • 2 a Scan Barcode button
    • 2 b Delete Barcode button
    • 2 c Communications Port (USB or Serial)
    • 3 a KDED I/O Barcode Scanner
    • 3 b Display
    • 3 c Integrated Scanner
    • 3 d Auxiliary Input Keypad
    • 4 a Pistol-grip Barcode Scanner
    • 4 b UPC Barcode
    • 5 a. Portable Barcode KDED
    • 5 b Package UPC Barcode
    • 6 a Product/Service Info
    • 6 b Product UPC Barcode, with catalog identifying prefix
    • 6 c Category Index
    • 6 d Subcategory or Group Name
    • 6 e Logo (of Home Market Manager or sponsoring Seller 1 f or Manufacturer 1 g)\
    • 7 a Ingredient Identifiers
    • 7 b Recipe Identifier, to add all ingredients
    • 10 a Progress Lights
    • 10 b Communications Status
    • 10 c More Info Button
    • 11 a Current Border
    • 14 a ProgBar
    • 16 a Instructions
    • 16 b Buttons
    • 17 a Instructions
    • 17 b Close Dialog Button
    • 17 c Restart Upload Button
    • 21 a Buy Now List
    • 21 b Button Bar
    • 21 c Navigating Buttons
    • 21 d Navigation Reference
    • 21 e Quantity Column
    • 21 f Spin Buttons
    • 21 g Product Column
    • 21 h Title Row
    • 21 i Date Line
    • 21 j Store Name
    • 22 a Catalog Name
    • 22 b Category Tabs
    • 22 c “Produce” Tab
    • 22 d Picture
    • 22 e Product Information
    • 22 f Specials
    • 22 g GSET List
    • 22 h Status Bar
    • 23 a UPC Lookup List
    • 23 b UPC Dropdown List Box
    • 23 c Search Result
    • 24 a Product Name Lookup List
    • 24 b Product Name Dropdown List Box
    • 24 c Product Search Result
    • 25 a IntelliFind™ Button
    • 25 b IntelliFind™ Window
    • 25 c Find Product Edit Box
    • 26 a Search Results List
    • 26 b Product Selection Indicator
    • 27 a 1 Product Pictures
    • 27 a 2 Not Bought Designator
    • 27 a 3 Store
    • 27 a 4 Aisle, Side, Shelf
    • 27 a 5 Coupon Flags
    • 27 a 6 List Barcode
    • 30 a Items-to-order
    • 30 b List Input Box
    • 30 c Instruction Panel
    • 30 d Page Tabs
    • 31 a 1 Dropdown Calendar
    • 31 a 2 Input Field
    • 31 b 1 Date/Time
    • 31 b 2 Pickup/Delivery Window
    • 32 a Radio Buttons
    • 32 b Credit Card Info
    • 36 a 1 Account Number
    • 38 a Menu Items
    • 38 b Identifier Prefix
    • 38 c Source ID
    • 38 d Vendor-item Identifier
    • 38 e Token
    • 39 a End Tag (exploded view)
    • 39 a Event
    • 39 b Quick-Scan Category
    • 39 c Event 39 a Identifier
    • 39 d Event Prefix
    • 39 e Identifier Source
    • 39 f Item Identifier (i.e. object of Event 39 a)
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Sequence Listing or Program
  • The computer program of the preferred embodiment of the distributed personal automation and shopping system (dPASS) preferably operates on an IBM-compatible PC running under Microsoft Windows 2000 [or a more recent version] The preferred computer program requires the Borland Database Engine version 5.0 be installed on the same PC. To install the computer program the user preferably copies all files to the PC's D: drive into the directories/folders indicated on a Compact Disk (CD). This preferred embodiment of the program is designed to communicate with the Symbol Technologies CS1504 Consumer Memory Scanner using the SmartUSB cable and W2 Kdrvr.zip driver dated Oct. 17, 2002.
  • The present invention is disclosed in a manner which describes each figure in the logical sequence going from mobile GSET selection anywhere, anytime, using the KDED 1 b; to additional selections on buyer's Computer 1 c; to outputting or transmitting this list; to getting the goods, receiving the service, attending the events, or accomplishing the tasks; and finally to updating the dPASS. Some dPASS operations may be presented along with component descriptions instead of in the “Operations” section of the preferred embodiment. The present invention as disclosed is shown as configured and used to improve grocery buying. However, use of this market to explain dPASS should not be construed to restrict the dPASS to only the grocery market or to shopping. The present invention is designed for use in a variety of markets, industries, and activities.
  • Buyer's Computer 1 c inputs and stores GSET data and information in various types of memory and files, including but not limited to lists, disk files and databases. The present invention allows for a variety of data structures, including but not limited to relational database types and structures comprising tables, fields, records, and indexes. The present invention is intended to accommodate or enable embodiment of various components of the personal automation and shopping system on a variety of computers, KDED 1 b, Buyer Input/Output Devices 1 d (e.g. personal digital assistants, scanner/terminals, etc.) and future technologies. The databases can be constructed and accessed by a variety of relational database management systems RDBMS's, and with a variety of structures, so long as the RDBMS, structure and relationships selected supports the various features, functions and capabilities of the personal automation and shopping system. The KDED 1 b may also have an integrated display to provide information to the user and/or a keypad for typing or punching in information that cannot be captured or augmenting information electronically captured by the KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 1—Overall Architecture as Data Flow Diagram (DFD) depicts the overall architecture of dPASS as a high level data flow diagram. The bubbles represent major components and the directional lines indicate the flow of data. However, the traditional listing of the data flowing between the modules on the DFD is omitted for clarity; it will be described later in the “Operations” section.
  • The present invention enables users or Buyers to add goods and services (also called “items”) they want to buy, tasks they want to accomplish, and events they must attend into a computerized database of GSETs. Manual and keyless-and-mouseless data entry devices (KDED 1 b are operated by the user as input devices. FIG. 2 depicts one such KDED 1 b capturing the barcode of an item to be purchased. The database can also store the Buyer's 1 a current inventory of good on hand, along with tasks and events. The software portion of the personal automation and shopping system control's Buyer's Computer 1 c to receive store, manipulate data, and output shopping lists, wish lists, service requests, task lists, events, and other information GSET related information in a variety of ways. The dPASS software can also send lists and other information to one or more of Buyer's Input/Output Devices 1 d, Other Data[sources] 1 i other buyer's, Sellers 1 f of goods and services, and Manufacturers 1 j of goods or providers of services. In the preferred embodiment these Buyer I/O Devices Id would include, but are not limited to: a color printer and a portable personal digital assistant (e.g. the Palm Pilot or Pocket PC) or an I/O enabled KDED such as depicted in FIG. 3. If a printer is the output device Id, it can also be used to print a variety of reports, updates or additions to the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k, charts, Quick-Scans 1L, etc.
  • FIG. 2, KDED Preferred Embodiment: Symbol CS1504 Consumer Memory Scanner shows the preferred embodiment for KDED 1 b, the key-fob sized, Symbol Technologies, CS-1504 Consumer Memory [laser] Scanner which captures all major barcode symbologies, storing several hundred with a date and time of each scan. The present invention also stores a unique scanner identifier. Button 2 a initiates the scan and storing the scanned barcode, date, and time of the scan; this—combined with the KDED's unique identifier—enables detailed analysis of user patterns. Button 2 b scans a barcode, but deletes any matching barcode in memory. Port 2 d accepts a cable for transferring stored data to Buyer's Computer 1 c or Seller's Kiosk 1 j.
  • FIG. 3, Additional Preferred Embodiment: I/O Capable KDED; shows an additional preferred embodiment of KDED 1 b, which includes downloadable programming, prompts, and messages for display on the scanner's LCD 3 b. These include: progressively showing the shopper each item on the list, prompting the shopper to scan each pulled item with the integrated scanner 3 c or additional items to denote a shopper's route through the store, confirming the correct item was pulled on Display 3 b, enabling input of the UPC for goods which are difficult to scan using Auxiliary Input Keypad 3 d, the number of packages of an item pulled or desired, and information for other purposes.
  • FIG. 4—Alternate Embodiment: KDED, Videx LaserLite Scanner shows an alternate embodiment of KDED 1 b, a Pistol-grip Barcode Scanner used to capture the UPC barcode 4 b for a bread mix, in the kitchen where Buyer 1 a has just consumed the product and is about to throw away the empty box. The consumer may then scan the empty UPC barcode which adds the item to buyer's shopping list for replacement. The present invention also captures which KDED was used, what time the selection was made, and where the selection was made from (i.e. off the item's UPC barcode on the box, from a coupon, advertising circular, or mailed catalog, the dPASS printed Catalog & Cookbook 1 k, or a recipe with a specific brand recommendation for that ingredient. The present embodiment provides the seller with extremely accurate information about buyer habits and behavior, which previously could only be imprecisely sampled and then extrapolated.
  • FIG. 5—KDED Used for Point-of-Consumption Selection Via UPC Barcode shows the preferred embodiment of KDED 1 b used to capture the UPC barcode on a product's package
  • FIG. 6—Preferred Embodiment: Bar-coded Catalog of Groceries FIG. 6 shows a Buyer 1 a using the dPASS printed product Catalog & Cookbook 1 k while watching her child play baseball. She can use the Category Index 6 c (e.g. “produce”) and Subcategory or Group Name 6 d (e.g. “vegetables”) to quickly find the section of the catalog she wants. Product/Service Info 6 a, including pictures, make it easy to select the right product or service. The Product UPC Barcode 6 b for each item enables product/service selection with KDED 1 b fast and nearly foolproof.
  • FIG. 7—Preferred Embodiment: Sample Recipe Page shows a sample page from the recipe portion of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k. The first four barcodes identify individual recommended ingredients for this recipe. The barcodes represent the UPC for each ingredient. The last barcode, prefixed with an “R” identifies all the recommended ingredients. The consumer is able to use one KDED 1 b to capture a single identifier to either add all ingredients to the shopping list or only those ingredients or suitable substitutes Buyer 1 a already has on hand. The preferred embodiment is the 3 of 9 Code.
  • FIG. 8—Preferred Embodiment: Application Title Screen shows the opening title screen for the dPASS application running on Buyer's Computer 1 c. This application can be used with or without the KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 9—Wizard Window Of Software: This module provides a dialog shown in FIG. 9 which offers the user one or more wizards to help new users utilize the dPASS application, lists and other commonly performed tasks. The preferred embodiment is presented here as a distributed grocery shopping system. The wizard listed helps a user create a shopping list from electronic product catalogs on Removable Media 1 h or Other Data 1 i accessed via Communications Network 1 e. The other radio buttons when selected configure the application for the usage described with minimal user action.
  • FIG. 10 thru FIG. 17—Preferred Embodiment KDE Device Uploading Dialogs. Assuming the user (i.e. Buyer 1 a) chose to upload the KDED 1 b, this module provides a dialog shown in FIG. 10 that would appear, and present almost all of the information or feedback on the modules processing to the user on a single dialog box versus a succession of cascading or nested dialogs. The single dialog method for the upload and routing of GSET identifiers stored in the KDED 1 b is logical and intuitive for users. The Progress Lites 10 a show the progress of the multistep upload and routing process with GREEN indicating a successfully completed step and RED indicating a problem or uncompleted step. Communications Status 10 b shows that the KDED 1 b communications cable is properly connected to and communicating with buyer's Computer 1 c. More Info Button 10 c expands the dialog to show more detailed information about the upload and routing.
  • FIG. 11 shows the next step of the upload enclosed by a Current Border 11 a, highlighted in yellow to prompt the user to plug the Bar Scanner embodiment of KDED 1 b into the communications cable.
  • FIG. 12 shows a view indicating that the highlight inside the Current Border 11 a has been removed and communication is established with the Bar Scanner embodiment of KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 13 shows the Current Border 11 a advanced to the next step: uploading data stored in the KDED 1 b to Buyer's Computer 1 c.
  • FIG. 14 shows the Current Border 11 a advanced to the next step: evaluating, routing, and processing the uploaded data. ProgBar 14 a shows the progress of this operation.
  • FIG. 15 shows the feature ProgBar 14 a and the text inside Current Border 11 a shows this step has been completed.
  • FIG. 16 shows the Current Border 11 a has been advanced to the next step and highlighted in yellow to tell the user their input is required. Instructions 16 a are provided, and the two Buttons 16 b are enabled to receive user's choice to delete the data stored in KDED 1 b.
  • FIG. 17 shows Current Border 11 a advanced to the next step and highlighted in yellow indicates when user input is required. Instructions 17 a are provided and the Close Dialog Button 17 b is bordered as the default user action. Restart Upload Button 17 c can be used to upload data from another KDED 1 b without having to close and reopen the dialog.
  • FIG. 18 thru FIG. 20—shows an alternate embodiment KDE Device Upload
  • Dialogs show an alternate, more simplified, embodiment of user feedback on the progress of uploading and routing of GSET identifiers stored in the KDED 1 b to buyer's computer 1 c. This module provides the dialogs shown in FIGS. 18-20 which are an alternate embodiment of the KDED 1 b upload procedure and informational dialogs.
  • FIG. 18 shows initial output from this module instructing the user how to begin the uploading of GSET identifiers from the KDED 1 b (in this case the Cyberpen™ KDED from Symbol Technologies) to the Buyer's Computer 1 c.
  • FIG. 19 shows the module's feedback to the user during the GSET identifier upload procedure.
  • FIG. 20 shows the modules feedback to the user after GSET identifiers have been successfully uploaded and routed.
  • FIG. 21—Preferred Embodiment, Onscreen List After KDE Device Upload shows the dPASS main window in the preferred software embodiment. FIG. 21 shows the Buy Now List 21 a which contains the products just uploaded from KDED 1 b in the previous figures The main module of the dPASS application provides the display output for the main window and responds to events generated by user interaction with standard Windows interface elements and dPASS specific elements like the speed buttons of Button Bar 21 b for fast mouse access to frequently used functions or the list Navigating Buttons 21 c used like VCR controls for the current list window, displayed in the Navigation Reference 21 d. 21 e Quantity Column provides a means of adjusting the quantity of each product desired with the keyboard or the mouse with Spin Buttons 21 f. In this embodiment only the white “Qty” can be edited directly on-screen. In other embodiments Buyer 1 a can type products directly into the Product Column 21 g. When the user clicks a particular column title in the Title Row 21 h, the list will sort by that column. Date Line 21 i is always the first line in the list and displays the date a list was created. Store Name 21 j can display either the name of the Seller 1 f sponsoring or providing dPASS to Buyer 1 a or the name of the store for which a list is organized. If an inventory of available products is provided for this store, only products available would be on the list with the remaining products displayed on another list.
  • FIG. 22—Preferred Embodiment, CD Catalog Window shows the main application window, with an electronic grocery version of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k copied from the Removable Media 1 h to the hard disk of Buyer's Computer 1 c. Catalog Name 22 a lists the name of the catalog, which can be the name of a sponsoring store—or a generic name like “Groceries” or “Southern California Groceries” for regionally adjusted catalogs of products. Category Tabs 22 b enable the user to find and change the category of good, services, events, or tasks (GSET) displayed with shortcut keys (i.e. <alt>+the underlined key (e.g. for “Produce” Tab 22 c)). The instantly available electronic catalog on the hard disk or Removable Media 1 h provides the opportunity—to display a large, high-quality Picture 22 d of each product or service provides new marketing space to Sellers 1 f and Manufacturers 1 j. Product Information 22 e displays nutritional information on food products for fast and easy reference buy Buyer 1 a. dPASS can also organize and display foods and recipes based on various nutrient criteria (e.g. low salt or low fat) via SQL queries, limiting display of products to a particular nutrient range, or by sorting on various nutrients.; DPASS runs on Buyer's Computer 1 c. For non-food products, this Product Information 22 e window or area can display other information meaningful for that particular product, such as the holding capacity of a particular concrete anchor. The Specials window 22 f can display Manufacturers 1 j or Seller 1 f specials provided on the electronic catalog or downloaded from Other Data 1 i via the Communications Network 1 e. GSET List 22 g displays an alphabetical listing of the goods or services in the category selected; for large categories GSET's can be grouped by brand or broken into meaningful subgroups. Manufacturers 1 j can have their goods or services displayed higher in the GSET List 22 g, and rows can be alternately highlighted to increase visual differentiation of lines while still using a smaller font to display the maximum number of products at a time. dPASS users can change these fonts using Windows to a larger size if desired. Status Bar 22 h can inform the user of the current activity and window. Other interface elements (e.g. menus, scroll bars, etc.) would conform to Window standards, or the standards of other computer platforms like MAC® for Linux®.
  • This version of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k can be updated periodically with changes good and services, new and updated layouts and inventory seller's in buyer's neighborhood, and specials. Updates are distributed on either Removable Media 1 h or via connections to the Communications Network 1 e (e.g. the Internet).
  • FIG. 23—Preferred Embodiment, Adding Items via UPC Progressive Search: shows Buyer 1 a adding a product to their shopping list utilizing the progressive search capabilities of the UPC Lookup List 23 a of the UPC Dropdown List Box 23 b. The Search Result 23 c highlights the best match to the UPC. Pressing <ENTER> (i.e.) when the product is highlighted will add the product to the list.
  • FIG. 24: Adding Items via Produce Name Progressive Search shows Buyer 1 a add a product to their shopping list utilizing the Product Name Lookup List 24 a of the Product Name Dropdown List Box 24 b. The Product Search Result 24 c highlights the current best match to the product name typed. Pressing <ENTER> (i.e.) when the right product is highlighted adds it to the list.
  • FIG. 25, IntelliFind Window for Searching All Categories shows the IntelliFind™ Button 25 a as a means to open the IntelliFind Window 25 b which lists all the products in the electronic catalog in alphabetical order by product name. The user types the product name or some portion of the name into Find Product Edit Box 25 c. As IntelliFind Window 25 b is a non-modal window it can be always available on-screen. The searches are conducted against a local database or Removable Media 1 h therefore they are significantly faster than a search done across a Communications Network 1 e on a remote server.
  • FIG. 27 a, List for Self-Shopping shows the preferred embodiment of the list used for self-shopping by Buyer 1 a at the physical store of Seller 1 f. The list is tailored for a particular Store 27 a 3, and is organized by aisle, side, shelf 27 a 4 for that store. If a layout for the store isn't available, the list can be organized by standard categories like “canned goods” and “produce” or alphabetically. Coupon Flags 27 a 5 remind the shopper they have a coupon for that product. Product Pictures 27 a 1 help the shopper identify the correct product. The List Barcode 27 a 6 is captured by the KDED 1 b after a product is pulled from the shelf for purchase. It is composed of the product's UPC code (or a dPASS assigned 12 digit code), a “B” prefix to denote that the product was bought, and a numeric prefix to indicate which list the product is on, so that the item can be removed from the list. Although the numeric value of the UPC portion of List Barcode 27 a 6 is the same as the product's UPC, the symbology used to display this value along with the two prefixes is different (in this case Code 3 of 9) to support the composite List Barcode 27 a 6 and to make it smaller. All List Barcodes 27 a 6 that haven't been lined through with a wide felt-tipped marker, shown by the line through a List Barcodes 27 a 6 as a Not Bought Designator 27 a 2; by hiding the List Barcodes 27 a 6 of products not bought. The shopping list can be used for clerk checkout or self-checkout if Seller 1 f chooses by scanning the exposed barcodes on the shopping list with seller's point-of-sale (POS) scanner. If seller's POS scanner can't read the List Barcode 27 a 6 symbology or extract the UPC from the composite List Barcode 27 a 6, the list can be printed with the prefix and UPC separated and the UPC printed in the standard UPC symbology readable by all UPC enabled POS scanners.
  • FIG. 30—Preferred Embodiment, First Tab Of Order Form indicates where Buyer 1 a can chose which Items-to-order 30 a for an in store pickup or home delivery. The List Input Box 30 b allows the user to select which shopping list to send to Seller 1 f. Instruction Panel 30 c provides user instructions while Page Tabs 30 d make completing and retaining the various steps of the electronic order intuitive and logical.
  • FIG. 31 a—Preferred Embodiment, Second Tab, and Electronic Order Form with Pop-up Calendar shows the Dropdown Calendar 31 a 1 of the Pickup or Delivery Date Input Field 31 a 2 displayed for intuitive and easy selection.
  • FIG. 31 b—Preferred Embodiment, Second Tab, Electronic Order Form shows the Date/Time 31 b 1 shows the date selected by Buyer 1 a and provides a place for him/her to request a pickup or delivery time. Pickup/Delivery Window 31 b 2 provides Buyer 1 a the window of time, as determined by the Seller If, when the order will be ready for pickup or delivered. An alternate embodiment would download available pickup and/or delivery times from Seller 1 f and present those to Buyer 1 a for selection.
  • FIG. 32—Preferred Embodiment, Third Tab, Electronic Order Form shows the last tab or step in the electronic ordering process. The two Radio Buttons 32 a enable Buyer 1 a to select their method of payment. An alternate embodiment would provide a radio button for “cash” if Seller 1 f wants to accept cash payments for deliveries, or if Buyer 1 a has selected to pickup their order, identifying them only by a dPASS generated order ID sent to Seller 1 f without the buyer's personal information; thereby allowing Buyer 1 a to pickup and pay anonymously. Buyer 1 a has the power and flexibility to determine the level of privacy important to Seller. The Credit Card Info group 32 b enables the Buyer 1 a to easily enter their credit card information, and designate whether to store their card information on their computer to speed future orders. An alternate embodiment for protecting buyers' privacy is to route all orders though a purchasing agent's website that filtered out buyers' personal information, paid with their credit card, and picking up or accepting delivery of the order on buyer's behalf.
  • FIG. 33—Preferred Embodiment, Preparing Electronic Order thru FIG. 35—Preferred Embodiment, Electronic Order Successfully Sent This module provides a dialog with user feedback on its process sending the order electronically to a participating Seller 1 f who offers pickup and/or home/office delivery. FIG. 33 shows the progress of preparing the order for the preconfigured Communications Network 1 e for this Seller 1 f.
  • FIG. 34 shows the progress of the actual order transmission, while FIG. 35 provides the final confirmation that the order was received properly or what problems were encountered.
  • FIG. 36 a—Preferred Embodiment, Payment Portion Of Electronic Order shows the preferred embodiment of the delivery and payment portion of the electronic order after Seller 1 f receives and prints the order. This portion of the order displays whether it's a pickup or delivery order, the date and time of the pickup/deliver, delivery address, Buyer 1 a information, and payment information. The order is connected to the Pull list portion in Fig by Account Number 36 a 1.
  • FIG. 36 b illustrates the Shopping List for a “Brick and Mortar” Store. The Shopping/Order list illustrates a preferred embodiment of a store pull list for an electronic order to be picked up or delivered. The product barcodes are printed in UPC symbology to make scanning the list for checkout function better with a greater variety of Point of Sale (POS) scanners. Account Number 36 a 1 on the pull list and payment portions of the order ties the two parts together. An alternate embodiment for the pull down list of FIG. 36 b is to download one or more lists into a industrial strength keypad/LCD augmented KDED 1 b to 1) several orders to be pulled at once and sorted into the right pickup/delivery box in the store aisle via KDED 1 b LCD prompts, 2) verify the right by scanning the barcode on the list and on the package, or the barcode on the package and comparing it to the UPCs of the shopping list downloaded into the KDED 1 b, and 3) verify the right delivery/pickup box by scanning the barcode on the container so the KDED 1 b can match the item to the container ID scanned off the list or stored in the KDED 1 b for that list, and 4) upload the lists of items pulled for each order into the POS system for quick checkout without specialized terminals or rescanning the individual packages.
  • An additional embodiment for this store mapping module is to determine the optimal geographical route between tasks or events. This would be accomplished by combining the task or event identifier with its physical location using its address; geographical coordinates, from a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, Thomas Guide page and grid coordinates or mapping information. Future travel to these same locations could be organized according to various criteria, such as: shortest travel distance, least travel time, ending nearest home.
  • FIG. 38 illustrates a bar coded Restaurant Menu reflecting the preferred embodiment for the tagged menu feature. Each item on the menu of participating restaurants has its own unique token such as a unique bar coded identifier. With more a more capable KDED 1 b and KDED 1 b readable token, the menu token 38 e could contain all the pertinent item information, such as: nutritional, reheating, and other information about said menu item. In the preferred embodiment the token 38 e is a Code 3 of 9 barcode with the Identifier Prefix 38 b indexing specific dPASS information for token routing or output to Buyer 1 a, the Source ID 38 c coded to indicate that this token came off a restaurant menu, and the Vendor-item Identifier 38 d translated from the vendor's UPC for that item or a dPASS assigned 12 numeral vendor and item ID. The various parts of the token are used to route the token to the right list after upload from the KDED 1 b, and to access information about said menu item stored on Buyer's Computer 1 c or on Other Data 1 i.
  • FIG. 39 shows a preferred embodiment with a Health Feedback Window which is part of the health module. After the nutritional information for restaurant menu items has been retrieved, DPASS adds that to the correct user's food consumption list on a previously captured user IDs from a Quick-Scan Card 1L or based on the unique KDED 1 b identifier and its assignment to a particular individual. The module combines restaurant consumption information for each individual with estimated home consumption based upon: 1) the values provided the Whenever request, dPASS then displays all stored health feedback to Buyer 1 a as depicted in FIG. 37—Preferred Embodiment, Health Feedback Window.
  • Operation of a Preferred Embodiment: The personal automation and shopping system (dPASS) also adds a unique barcode to each item on the shopping list to be purchased as in FIG. 36 b, enabling the consumer to check off each item bought in the store by scanning this barcode on the list using the KDED 1 b. The barcode printout can be scanned by Seller Ifs point-of-sale (POS) scanner; thereby enabling either self-checkout or faster clerked checkout, at significantly lower cost than a dedicated, special-purpose, self-checkout stations. Alternately, the KDED 1 b storing the barcodes of items taken off the shelf for purchase can be quickly downloaded to the retailers POS terminal for rapid to nearly instantaneous checkout. The listing or KDED 1 b would also contain data or a barcode uniquely identifying the shopper for payment purposes. Lining through as shown in 27 a 2, all barcodes on the list of items not pulled for purchase that are not pulled for purchase by using a wide felt marker would prevent the POS from scanning and charging Buyer 1 a for those items. The dPASS also includes both of these methods for updating the database on the Buyer's Computer 1 c with which items were and were not purchased. It can also update the stored lists base on a scanner and optical character recognition, if equipped.
  • The printout from the Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d may include a picture of the product, like at 27 a 1; thereby helping to ensure that the correct product, and not some closely related product, is bought as depicted in FIG. 27 a—Preferred Embodiment, List For Self-Shopping, object 27 a 1. The dPASS software can print out instructions or product names or descriptions in other languages if the person pulling items speaks the buyer's language as a second language (e.g. a non-English speaking employee does the shopping for an English speaking buyer, or vise versa).
  • The disclosed process includes typing in the name of a product, searching for a product, performing a progressive search by product name or universal product code (UPC) or stock keeping unit (SKU) via the Buyer's Computer 1 c, using the Keyless Data Entry (KDE) Device 2 to scan the UPC barcode on a product using portable, disconnected barcode reader such as the Symbol Technologies.®CS 1504 Consumer Memory Scanner, or using voice input and recognition via a microphone or portable recorder such as the Dragon Systems' Naturally Speaking® voice recognition software and their portable voice recorder. Items can be added to the database before shopping or placing an order with a vendor. Buyer 1 a can also easily add frequently used items by scanning the barcode associated with non-UPC items (e.g. fruits and vegetables, individual items sold by the box like pens, etc.) listed on a sheet or printout that can be attached to a wall or other surface or kept near the point of selection (e.g. stuck to the refrigerator door). The Home Market Manager application enables Buyer 1 a to select and configure what items are listed on the Quick Scan Card 1L and then print it out to Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d.
  • Consumers can add items from a printed Catalog & Cookbook 1 k using one of the keyless data entry (KDE) devices 2 listed or that may be developed in the future. This Catalog & Cookbook 1 k is part of the personal automation and shopping system, and items are organized in one or more ways, including, but not limited to: alphabetically, by category, by manufacturer, by retailer, by some product characteristic (e.g. “low fat” for groceries, “recycled” for printer paper, etc.) Each product includes at least its name and some unique, keyless data entry symbol/tag. The consumer adds products to the database from the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k by entering the product information manually—dataflow from 1 k to 1 c—or by acquiring the unique symbol/tag (e.g. barcode) identifying the product by one of the KDE devices 2 cited above. Depending on the mode of data entry, the product would immediately be added to the database or stored temporarily in a portable KDED 1 b for later transfer to the database stored on the Buyer's Computer 1 c. The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k could also include one or more additional product information, including but not limited to: unique characteristics as described above, cost, size, quantity, picture or other graphic, manufacturer, etc. The information could also be made available on some removable, computer readable, data storage device 1 h hereafter called “removable media”.
  • The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and Removable Media 1 h can be general listing all items for a particular market, or it could be tailored to some significant market segment. The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and removable media 1 h would normally be provided when the consumer acquires this personal automation and shopping system, or shortly thereafter so that the correct version of the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k for their locale, industry, etc. could be provided. The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and removable media 1 h could also be updated periodically to reflect changes in products carried or available. The update could occur by the personal automation and shopping system manufacturer, by retailers carrying the products in the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and removable media 1 h or by the manufacturers of the products sending out new catalogs 1 k and removable media 1 h to all registered users of the personal automation and shopping system, electronically via some Communications Network 1 e (e.g. the Internet, private electronic marketplace, etc.) with the Internet as the preferred embodiment of the Communications Network 1 e.
  • The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and removable media 1 b include a multimedia cookbook, how-to manual, or other appropriate guide for the market. The Catalog & Cookbook 1 k for the grocery supply chain includes a textual list of ingredients and instructions, one or more pictures with a single barcode or other symbology identifying that particular recipe or dish. The barcode is scanned by the KDED 1 b, or the number corresponding to the recipe's barcode or tag is added to the memory of the KDED 1 b using the device's keyless acquisition method. The software of the personal automation and shopping systems adds all the ingredients to the consumer's shopping list stored on the database on the consumer's Computer 1 c, [or the KDED adds only those items which the consumer doesn't have in their existing inventory].
  • The personal automation and shopping system software runs on the Buyer's Computer 1 c affects the download of stored product identifiers from the KDED 1 b, adds the items to the shopping list, and displays them on the Buyer's Computer 1 c screen for review and adjustment. Buyer's Computer 1 c performs many of data storage, manipulation, control and output functions of the personal automation and shopping system.
  • Other Data 1 i are external sources of information used by the personal automation and shopping system. Some examples of Other Data 1 i, but not limited to these examples, are informational databases and Internet sites of various companies, organizations, and government agencies. This Other Data 1 i when combined with product consumption information gathered by the personal automation and shopping system and stored on Buyer's Computer 1 c enable Buyer's Computer 1 c to generate more useful information for Buyer 1 a that allows Buyer 1 a to improve their operation, interaction with the supply chain being managed by the personal automation and shopping system, or better achieve their goals.
  • Refrigerators may be equipped with RFID tag readers and bar codes scanners; or other input devices so that when the consumer places a newly-purchased item in the refrigerator, the code, including the date and/or time, is entered into the Buyer's Computer. The expiration date on the product or an expiration date selected by the consumer is entered into the Buyer's Computer. Therefore, when the consumer is ready to use the product or to compile a particular recipe, he will know how fresh the product is. The process of discarding expired products in the refrigerator may be accomplished by e.g. making a list of expired products and/or a list of products which were purchased before a particular date.
  • Manufacturer 1 g can be any supplier of goods and services, including but not limited to: packaged goods manufacturers, office supply, building supply, auto repair, etc. Product information can be added to the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and the Removable Media 1 h by either the Manufacturer B, the Seller 1 f, or the company manufacturing and selling the present invention. The information can also be gleaned from third parties via Other Data 1 i, such as 1800SKUfinder (www.SKUfinder.com)
  • The present invention provides integrated ways for Manufacturer 1 g and Seller 1 f to manage the supply chain between them either directly (e.g. virtual private network, direct connection over leased data lines, etc.) or via the Communications Network 1 e using standard protocols (e.g. XML, SOAP, HTTPS, etc.) The integrated interaction includes exchanging information, included but not limited to: ordering, delivery confirmation, pricing, return authorization, warranty requests, manufacturer specials, etc.
  • The Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j serves several functions. The kiosk provides product location information within Seller 1 f's store, and allows Buyer 1 a to send their KDED 1 b to the store and download their KDED 1 b at the Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j. The kiosk contains a store-centric version of the Home Market Manager (HMM) application portion of the personal automation and shopping system. The kiosk has as similar look, feel, and functionality as the one running on Buyer's Computer 1 c. HMM, as used in the store or home, divides the list into a portion of the products to be pulled from the shelves or backroom stock by Seller 1 f and the remainder to be fetched manually by Buyer 1 a. Buyer 1 a is able to organize the fulfillment in the manner which is most effective. Fulfillment can be completed entirely by Seller 1 f; entirely by Buyer 1 a or a combination thereof. Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j interacts with Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d. Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j can be configured as a self checkout stand for Buyer 1 a.
  • The KDED 1 b can be used to build a layout for the store of any Seller. The layout information is stored in the KDED 1 b and downloaded to Buyer's Computer 1 c where it can be stored and manipulated. Buyer 1 a signifies that all following barcodes constitute a store's layout by first scanning a barcode of personal automation and shopping system used to indicate that all subsequent barcodes until the Layout End barcode constitute a store's layout in the order Buyer 1 a wants to navigate the store and the order in which product groups (e.g. canned peas followed by canned corn) will appear as Buyer 1 a navigates through the store in the specified order. Buyer 1 a is able to decide how detailed a store and product layout they want to construct by how many product group barcodes they scan while recording a store's aisle and shelf layout.
  • The software and database portions of the present invention store, manipulate, track, and present products, product information, shopping lists, payment information, store information, and other data and information relating to products bought or consumed. In the grocery market, such additional information might include, but not be limited to nutritional requirements and information, exercise information, multimedia cooking instruction, relative consumption rates or amounts for the various family members. The data could be combined with the above nutritional information and then provide feedback on each family members consumption of good and bad food products (e.g. servings of fruits and vegetables compared to fats and sugars) over time combined with weight and exercise information; thereby improving users' knowledge of their consumption patterns and the consequences their consumption patterns have on attainment of their long term goals (e.g. weight loss and health).
  • Seller 1 f can provide the personal automation and shopping system manufacturer with an extract of Seller 1 f's inventory for inclusion on the Removable Media 1 h at an interval of Seller's choosing; thereby allowing Buyer 1 a to customize their shopping list, both in content and in organization for the particular Seller 1 f. Seller If may install Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j to enable Buyer 1 a to download the KDED 1 b in the store, and manipulate the shopping list at the Kiosk. Seller 1 f can allow Buyer 1 a to send their shopping list to Seller 1 f electronically via Communications Network 1 e Buyer's Computer 1 c may retrieve information on product specials via the Communications Network 1 e directly from manufacturers 1 g and Other Data 1 i (e.g. coupon services, etc.) Seller may update Removable Media 1 b or contract with the personal automation and shopping system manufacturer for updates. The manufacturer may extract updated information directly from Seller 1 fs database system using standard query language calls or via custom applications extracting the updates via XML, SOAP or other Web Services. Seller 1 f can use the present invention to generate two-part pull or order lists for filling orders sent to Seller 1 f by Buyer's Computer 1 c via Communications Network 1 e.
  • FIG. 22 shows one embodiment of such a pull list. Additional embodiments can be created to suit the needs of Seller 1 f. One embodiment of present invention adds all the customer identifiable data in the first part of the pull list, controlled by Seller 1 f for privacy and security of Buyer 1 a's personal and financial information. The product information is contained in part two of the pull list, given to any stock person for fulfillment. The two parts are linked at payment and checkout time by the Customer Number.
  • The preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a portable barcode scanner and with readout for use in filling the order. The clerk scans the barcode for a product, finds the corresponding product on the shelf, retrieves the product, scans the products barcode, and the scanner is programmed to confirm visually with lights, readouts, sounds, or other means whether the clerk has fetch the product exactly matching the item on the pull list. An alternate embodiment of this feature would be to download the pull list into the portable scanner and to indicate each product in the order in which the aisles and shelves can most efficiently be navigated by the clerk. The clerk scans each product as they remove the product from the shelf, and the scanner confirms that the clerk added the correct product. The present invention has the ability to printout pictures of the product and text descriptions in the dominant or native language of the clerk, thereby reducing mistakes in product retrieval. The scanner used by the clerk to retrieve products stores the barcodes in memory when the product and pull list scans match for fast, accurate check out by downloading the list of UPC's pulled and the Customer Number for Buyer 1 a. Alternately, the clerk could hide or redact the UPC barcode on the pull list for any items not in stock and not retrieved for the customer. At checkout, the visible barcodes on the pull list would be scanned by Seller If's point of sale scanner in one continuous succession. As with the self-checkout systems in the prior art, two or three additional handlings of the retrieved products are eliminated. Seller 1 f may add the additional embodiment of the personal automation and shopping system for products retrieved by Buyer 1 a, again resulting in savings of time and handling.
  • Sellers 1 f may send product price information, specials, discounts, advertising, confirmation of order receipt, final cost of order, confirmation of delivery or pickup time, etc. to Buyer 1 a via the Communications Network 1 e and the Buyer's Computer 1 c. The information is presented to Buyer 1 a via Buyer's Computer 1 c or Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d. For example, FIG. 10 shows a “Club: 2 for 1” special in the yellow “specials” area of the Home Market Manager application catalog window. The Seller 1 f can organize multiple pull lists so one clerk can pull multiple orders during a single trip around the store. The pull list is sent electronically within Seller 1 f's facility to an automated fulfillment warehousing system which organizes delivery routes to minimize time and expense to Seller 1 f,
  • The Auxiliary Input Keypad 3 d enables dPASS and the KDED 1 b to automate other daily functions, including tracking mileage for tax purposes.
  • The present invention provides Buyer 1 a with flexibility in operating and using the personal automation and shopping system. Buyer 1 a can select all products to be bought directly from the PC during one or more executions of the Home Market Manager application. Buyer 1 a can also add products to the KDED 1 b as they are consumed during meal preparation as depicted in FIG. 3, KDED Used For Point-Of-Consumption Selection Via UPC barcode. The KDED 1 b can sit on the kitchen counter, or be carried by Buyer 1 a for immediate, disconnected use anytime and any place. Buyer 1 a can capture the UPC barcodes from products 3 b that need replenishing before they are depleted. Buyer 1 a can browse through and select from the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k. The present invention enables the consumer to easily browse FIG. 6, Bar coded Catalog Of Groceries, using Category tabs 6 c and Subcategory headings 6 d to quickly find the desired page, and then GSET names and pictures 6 a easily identify the desired GSET. The consumer captures the KDED 1 b readable identifier 6 b using the KDED 1 b. Alternately, the consumer can browse through the recipe/cookbook of Catalog & Cookbook 1 k, select a recipe as in FIG. 7, Sample Recipe Page, and either capture the KDED 1 b readable identifiers of individual ingredients 7 a that they need, or the Recipe Identifier 7 b, which will either 1) add all ingredients to the shopping list, or 2) only those ingredients not on hand, assuming Buyer 1 a has chosen to establish an ideal inventory. Buyer 1 a can plan an entire week's menu and prepare a shopping list quickly from the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k.
  • Buyer 1 a has the option of brining the KDED 1 b directly to Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j for download or downloading the KDED 1 b into Buyer's Computer 1 c (FIGS. 4-9). Buyer 1 a may adjust quantities on screen, either at Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j or Buyer's Computer 1 c by editing the quantity field directly (FIG. 9), by using the spinner buttons, or other Window standard methods. Buyer 1 a could then type in or perform a progressive search on a product name or UPC using the type-in/drop-down boxes show in FIG. 9.
  • Buyer 1 a can add additional products from the onscreen catalog and recipe database contained on the Removable Media 1 h by double-clicking or drag-and-drop methods. Buyer 1 a may use the present invention's IntelliFind™ window (FIG. 14) to quickly search for all products with a given name or alphanumeric string in the name, add the product to the shopping list from a progressively shorter list as Buyer 1 a refines their search criteria. If Seller 1 f uses personal automation and shopping system, Buyer 1 a can also retrieve special, updates, etc. from the Communications Network 1 e that can update the database of products stored on Buyer's Computer 1 c directly from Seller 1 f's database or from the website or database of the manufacturer.
  • Once Buyer 1 a has completed their shopping list, Buyer 1 a can save the list on the nonvolatile storage system of Buyer's Computer 1 c, or transmit the list electronically to Seller 1 f via Communications Network 1 e as depicted in FIGS. 16-21 t. FIG. 16 shows the dialog where the user can select which items they want Seller 1 f to pull and have ready for pickup, or that they want delivered The products not transmitted to Seller 1 f are printed or transmitted to Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d (FIG. 15) for use by Buyer 1 a while shopping for the remaining items at Seller's 1 f store. FIG. 17 shows the dialog tab where the Buyer 1 a provides Seller 1 f with the payment information. FIG. 18 shows the dialog tab where Buyer 1 a selects and provides pickup/delivery time and location.
  • If Buyer 1 a selected home delivery, the present invention allows Buyer to easily confirm receipt of the correct products by either downloading the pull list into scanner or PDA embodiment of Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d, scanning each product. The scanner or PDA would provide immediate confirmation of each product as correct or incorrect in a similar manner used in the Seller embodiment. The user may scan each product using the KDED 1 b, and download these barcodes or other symbologies/tags into Buyer's Computer 1 c to update the current shopping list with what was purchased and which items are carried forward to the next shopping list. Buyer 1 a can accomplish this in the store by scanning barcode printed on the shopping list for each item that they pull from the shelf and buy. A PDA embodiment of Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d receives the entire shopping list to guide the shopper in the most efficient or preferred route through the store, scan products before placing them in the shopping cart, downloading into Buyer's Computer 1 c to update the shopping list, and download all products into Seller's Input/Output Kiosk 1 j, if used as a checkout station, or POS terminal.
  • If Buyer's Computer 1 c is located in the kitchen, it can display the recipe for the meal being prepared, along with step by step multimedia cooking instructions. If Buyer's Computer 1 c is not in the kitchen, the audio portion of the instructions for the meal may be downloaded into a portable audio device or text and graphics to a PDA embodiment of Buyer's Input/Output Device Id for use in the kitchen.
  • FIG. 27 a shows the preferred embodiment of the shopping list for Buyer 1 a as it would apply to the grocery market. The barcodes preceding each product in FIG. 27 a are in the “3 of 9” format. The leading 3 digits of the barcode designate the date of the shopping list while the final 12 digits are the UPC for the product. The “B” is used to indicate that this barcode signifies the product was purchased, and should be removed from the shopping list stored in Buyer's Computer 1 c when the KDED 1 b is again downloaded into Buyer's Computer 1 c. The location is specified for each product according to its location within this participating grocery store. The “Coupon!” reminds Buyer 1 a that they have a discount coupon for this product. If Buyer 1 a has a color printer, this embodiment could also have another column displaying thumbnail pictures of the products.
  • The illustrations herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of personal automation and shopping system in any way to a particular market, Buyer 1 a segment or marketplace; personal automation and shopping system can be embodied and adapted to any market; Buyer 1 a, Seller 1 f, and Manufacturer 1 g; any country, etc.
  • Other operational aspects of the Home Market Manager application portion of the personal automation and shopping system not shown in the Figures include: The ability for Buyer 1 a to configure the application for their family (e.g. food preferences, dietary requirements, family composition, the ability to save favorite shopping lists for subsequent editing, usage, or merging with the current shopping list and type of Buyer's Input/Output Device, such as color printer, existence and type of personal digital assistant, etc.
  • Selection of the Seller 1 f shows where Buyer 1 a is able to send an order or use a shopping list, so Buyer 1 a can be organized for a particular Seller 1 f. The module which creates store specific shopping lists also enables Buyer 1 a to map the layout and capture the inventory of stores. The shopper captures a Quick-Scan 1L denoting the start of a shopping trip. As Buyer adds products to the cart, Buyer scans the identifier code on the shopping list, to denote the order in which shopping list items appears in the store. Buyer may capture the UPC or other identifier for products they might want to buy in the future or to record grocery categories that don't appear on the shopping list. Each new product ID increases the detail of the store map and buyer's route. Buyer 1 a uses Quick-Scans 1L to capture the order in which items like produce and meats appear along Buyer's route. When Buyer has finished shopping, Buyer 1 a captures “stop shopping” Quick-Scans 1L. When the file is uploaded, the router in the upload module recognizes the start and stop shopping codes so it knows that:
  • (1) Shopping list scans denote both purchases and route information. Information is sent to the inventory, store mapping and appropriate shopping list modules for further action;
    (2) Shopping list items which are not scanned indicate products which were not purchased, including items not in the store's inventory. Products are routed to the inventory module update and the shopping list module to be carried forward to the next shopping list; and
    (3) UPCs indicate more detailed inventory and route information routing this data to the mapping and inventory modules for processing and storage.
  • When Buyer 1 a selects a store for their next shopping trip, the inventory module and route modules recall the inventory and route for the selected store, create one or more shopping lists and arrange them according to buyer's preferred route for this store. The process automatically updates the inventory, store layout, and route information each time the buyer shops to reflect changes in store layout inventory and preferred routing. Store layouts and inventories are updated from Removable Media 1 i or Communications Network 1 e downloads provided by participating Sellers. Additional embodiments provide store layouts on-screen on Buyer's Computer 1 c so they can layout or update their route before going to the store.
  • The present invention is designed to create and maintain an ideal inventory and depleted from that inventory; thereby allowing the application to provide Buyer 1 a with suggestions of meals based on existing ingredient in Buyer's inventory.
  • The present invention stores purchase history information and provides Buyer 1 a with reminders of products that may be depleted or appear to be unintentionally left off the shopping list based. The present invention may a recommended product expiration date for purchase on the shopping list or Buyer Input/Output Device 1 d.
  • The present invention may display products from the product database stored on Buyer's Computer 1 c or available on Removable Media 1 h which conform to dietary or other Buyer 1 a selectable criteria (e.g. only low fat products or sugar free products) and may automatically divide products being downloaded from KDED 1 b into two shopping lists: one that meets these Buyer 1 a configurable criteria and those that do not.
  • The present invention may divide the shopping list into two lists, two parts, or a shopping list for Buyer 1 a and a pull list for Seller 1 f based on the selections made on the dialog shown in FIG. 16 or based on what products are available from Seller 1 f selected by Buyer 1 a for a shopping trip or order.
  • The present invention uses the KDE device to record the layout of a store belonging to a Seller 1 f. Buyer 1 a may record a store and shelf layout by first scanning a personal automation and shopping system barcode denoting that all subsequent barcodes or automated product identifiers that constitute the store and product layout in the order in which Buyer 1 a intends to navigate the store. When Buyer 1 a has recorded enough product barcodes to produce a store and product shelf layout to a level of detail they desire, Buyer 1 a may scan a personal automation and shopping system barcode denoting the end of store and product layout barcodes. Buyer downloads store layout information into Buyer's Computer 1 c which stores the store and product layout barcodes or automated identification symbol in the layout recorded. The software prompts Buyer 1 a to input the name and location of the store corresponding to the layout just downloaded and stored. The process can be intermixed with the scanning of other barcodes before or after the Start and Stop barcodes of the layout barcodes used for other purposes.
  • The present invention discloses the ability to input personal recipes manually to the database stored on Buyer's Computer 1 c or download other recipes from the Other Data 1 i via the Communications Network 1 e or Removable Media 1 h.
  • The personal automation and shopping system as disclosed in the present invention can automatically or on request substitute similar products for items not available in the store. The present invention may substitute more nutrient appropriate products based upon dietary guidelines stored in the database by Buyer 1 a.
  • The present invention provides a means of reminding the consumer of items not yet added to their shopping cart when the shopping list is downloaded to a PDA or similar Input/Output Device 1 d.
  • Additional Embodiments
  • The NylSun Tracker is a distributed dPASS system which works in cooperation with manufacturers 1 g to track the safe working life of personal safety equipment, such as climbing ropes and harnesses made of materials which deteriorate as they're exposed to the sun. Since the amount of deterioration increases as sun exposure accumulates, at some point, determined by the Manufacturer 1 g and/or safety organizations (e.g. OSHA), accumulated deterioration constitutes an unacceptable risk of equipment failure possibly resulting in bodily injury or death. At this point the safety equipment should be retired. Until now, determining the point at which the equipment will fail has been an educated estimate at best. NylSun Tracker makes determining the disposal time more empirical.
  • The NylSun Tracker™ is comprised of several cooperative elements or steps. Safety equipment Manufacturers 1 g would tag their ropes, harnesses, cords and other safety products, with a unique KDED 1 b readable identifier, such as a barcode. Buyers 1 a are provided with information on the maximum recommended amount of sun exposure for each tagged product. Manufacturers 1 g could distribute the information at the time of purchase. Manufacturers may maintain a dPASS accessible database of these identifiers. Buyers would log sun exposure for each tagged item into the NylSun Tracker™ application database via manual or KDED input. The NylSun Tracker™ application notifies Buyers 1 a when the equipment exceeds it's useful life and would input the data in the manufacturer's 1 g database 1 i or other database 1 i so that consumers who purchase second hand safety equipment would be alerted if the equipment was unsafe to use. The NylSun Tracker™ Database 1 i provides additional information such as recalls, safety bulletins, manufacture date, etc. The present embodiment may be enhanced with a Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled KDED or a separate GPS receiver.
  • An alternate embodiment comprises of a central server connected to Communications Network 1 e, and a KDED and/or GPS enabled mobile phone or other device connected to Communications Network 1 e, instead of Buyer's Computer 1 c.
  • Buyer 1 a loads safety equipment information into the NylSun Tracker application, records the equipment identifier, date, and time the safety equipment is removed from and returned to its lightproof/resistant container. The user may record or capture his/her location or latitude and any falls arrested by the equipment or chemical exposures using the Quick-Scan card of FIG. 39. Assuming a minor fall, Buyer 1 a would capture the Quick-Scan identifier 39 c for a minor fall 39 a. The information is transferred or input to the NylSun Tracker™ application with all KDED captured identifiers. The router module of the KDED upload module routes NylSun Tracker™ and safety identifiers to the appropriate list. After completion of the KDED 1 b upload NylSun Tracker™ evaluation module updates its records based on the new information. The module computes length of exposure from the removal/storage identifier time-stamps, time of day and year, any falls, the location and weather, if they were recorded, or Other Data 1 i, such as online weather reports. NylSun Tracker accumulates and tracks data, alerting Buyer 1 a and updating Seller 1 f, Manufacturer 1 g, and/or Other Data 1 i, such as a safety organization, when the equipment reaches the end of its safe life.
  • Additional Embodiment 2: SafetyTracker uses the same processes as NylSun Tracker™. The Safety Tracker varies in that the present embodiment pairs together the last two captures of other safety identifiers which are separated by least a predetermined interval of time or days. The present embodiment is used to track routine testing and maintenance for ordinary safety equipment such as fire extinguishers (i.e. checking the pressure and loosening the fire suppressant by shaking), tripping ground fault interrupters (GFI)'s and testing smoke alarms monthly, etc.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, Additional embodiments for the Keyless Data Entry (KDE) Device 2 include: Symbol Technology's CyberPen™ or scanner enabled Palm Pilot, Videx Inc's LaserLite, LaserLite Pro, or TimeWant II portable scanner; optical character recognition via a image scanner, camera, or optical device, or any other keyless data entry method. Additional embodiments such as the Videx LaserLite Pro and TimeWand II allow Buyer 1 a to type UPC's directly into the KDED 1 b via their embedded keypad. Keyless data entry devices contain a human readable display. Therefore they provide some functions of the Buyer's Input/Output Devices 1 d. Additional embodiments for the Buyer's Computer 1 c include Apple® Macintosh° PC's, Linux® PC's, Pocket PC's® Palm® personal digital assistants, or any other programmable, general or special purpose computing device.
  • Additional embodiments for the Buyer's Input/Output Devices 1 d include, but are not limited to: sensors for determining product consumption amounts (e.g. a weight sensitive placement and digital camera that sends the Buyer's Computer 1 c weight and images of each meal course {e.g. meat} added to a family members plate via a Communications Network 1 e), results of such consumption (e.g. a cholesterol sensor which sends a family member's periodic cholesterol levels to the Buyer's Computer 1 c via a Communications Network 1 e for correlation with the previous consumption amounts); thereby allowing the software portion of the personal automation and shopping system to provide feedback to Buyer 1 a via Buyer's Computer 1 c or Buyer's Input/Output Devices 1 d.
  • Additional embodiments of FIGS. 15, 22-25 enable the user to print characters in an optical character recognition (OCR) found for feedback into Buyer's Computer 1 c after delivery of the order or the shopping trip automating the process of removing products purchased from the shopping list and carrying forward remaining products.
  • The Quick Scan Card 1L can be embodied as bar coded menu items at participating restaurants enabling Buyer 1 a to use to the present invention track nutritional information for meals.
  • Referring to FIGS. 2-24, additional embodiments can include a running total for a shopping list once a particular Seller 1 f has been selected, a connection to Seller 1 f has been established across the Communications Network 1 e, and assuming the Seller 1 f chosen to provide the products on the current shopping list has chosen to use the modules of the personal automation and shopping system that provide Buyer 1 a with real time price information.
  • In additional embodiments of personal automation and shopping system like for the office supply market, Catalog & Cookbook 1 k might include publishing projects where scanning that projects barcode or other identifying symbology/tag would add all the office supply products to the shopping list, and any equipment that wasn't already identified to the personal automation and shopping system by Buyer 1 a as being available to Buyer 1 a, instead of recipes. Similarly, if personal automation and shopping system is embodied for the construction industry, the Catalog & Cookbook 1 k and the Removable Media 1 h might contain building projects and instructions instead of cooking recipes and instructions. One important and novel aspect of the present invention is flexibility, and adaptability to a wide variety of markets.
  • Additional embodiments of the present invention allow Seller 1 f to send Buyer 1 a suggestions on specials or other products Buyer 1 a might want given the items on the pull list. The preference for this additional embodiment would to allow an opt-in system (i.e. Buyer 1 a might accept this intrusive advertising for some sort of compensation or reward from Seller 1 f or manufacturer 1 g, such as a discounted or fully subsidized KDED 1 b or Buyer's Input/Output Device 1 d).
  • Additional embodiments of the present invention show the use of FIGS. 15-21 to schedule an outside vendor to complete the project or meal identified by Buyer 1 a using products selected by Buyer 1 a using the personal automation and shopping system.
  • Additional embodiments allow the Home Market Manager application running on Buyer's Computer 1 c to suggest which store can provide the greatest number of products on the current shopping list; provide products at the lowest price and the quickest delivery.
  • Buyer 1 a uses the additional embodiment of bar coded restaurant menu items by using a personal KDED 1 b, tied to a particular family member, or scanning the barcode for a family member followed by the barcode for the restaurant menu items they've ordered. When downloaded into Buyer's Computer 1 c information is retrieved using the corresponding nutritional data from the restaurant's website, the Removable Media 1 h, or the database on Buyer's Computer 1 c.
  • The personal automation and shopping system disclosed in the present invention can also be embodied in other ways such as a wish-list maker, (listing and sharing those products a person would like to receive as a gift. In the present embodiment, the personal automation and shopping system provides portable, hands-on selection of the item in the store. The present in invention is a significant improvement over some prior art which uses an isolated, stationary kiosk in the Seller 1 f's store or a picture on a website. Other features of the present invention, such as printing out a picture on the wish-list, are an improvement over other prior art using a portable barcode scanner, but printing a text listing of the item. Unlike the prior art embodied in this way. The present invention can easily be integrated with purchase and shipping methods.
  • FIG. 24 Instead of the shopping list using the code 3 of 9 barcode described under the preferred embodiment, it could have the normal UPC barcode for the product, enabling all the barcodes on the shopping list to be scanned at one time by Seller 1 f's POS scanner.
  • The advantages of the present invention “Distributed Personal Automation and Shopping Method, Apparatus, and Process”, are listed below.
  • The present invention provides the consumer with greater freedom and control of their shopping experience than the prior art or current methods and systems.
  • The present invention significantly reduces the time a consumer spends shopping. The time reduction ranges from 50% to than 90% depending upon the level of retailer participation. With no retailer participation, a consumer's shopping time can be reduced by 50%, because the personal automation and shopping system provides the shopper with a clearly printed list or PDA display organized by standard categories (e.g. dairy products, canned goods, etc.). With minimal retailer participation, shopping time can be reduced by 50% to 75%. With maximum retailer participation (i.e. home delivery), shopping time can be cut by 90% or more.
  • CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE
  • The present invention, can be used to save product selection time, shopping time, improve product selection and buying accuracy, increase customer loyalty and profits for sellers, repeat purchase and profits for manufacturers.
  • The present invention permits the non-shopping members of a group to more easily select the correct product or sample new products without having to go to a seller's location.
  • The present invention allows the various user segments of a supply chain to work together more easily and at lower cost by allowing each segment to incrementally or progressively adopt additional modules or functions of the personal automation and shopping system previously adopted modules prove their worth
  • The present invention enables information about product usage to more easily be integrated with other data to better enable each user segment of the supply chain to more easily, quickly and effectively attain its goals.
  • The present invention requires little data to be transmitted across the Communications Network 1 e; thereby saving time and communications bandwidth which allows Buyers 1 a to use the personal automation and shopping system with satisfactory speed and richness of the content, which is stored on the Removable Media 1 h or only downloaded once when products are added or changed.
  • The description above should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this personal automation and shopping system.
  • Thus the scope of the personal automation and shopping system should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by examples given.

Claims (7)

1. A personal automation and shopping method for a buyer placing an order from product inventory, each product bearing a unique code comprising the steps of:
selecting products desired for purchase by the buyer;
creating an order list of said selected products with said unique code;
capturing each unique code and entering said code in electronic memory;
retrieving each product on said list from said inventory;
comparing each retrieved product code with said product codes on the order list;
identifying product codes of retrieved products which do not match the product code on said order list;
identifying any omitted products from said order list which are not stored in said inventory and retrieving the omitted products;
eliminating said retrieved products which do not match the product codes on said order list;
locating and retrieving the products which do match the product code;
identifying products which are not available in said inventory;
creating a list of products which were not available in said inventory and providing the list of unavailable items to the buyer;
marshalling the retrieved products in one location for the buyer and;
transferring said retrieved products to the buyer's possession.
2. A personal automation and shopping method for a buyer placing an order and seller having a product inventory, each product bearing a unique code, said method comprising the steps of:
selecting products desired for purchase by the buyer, each product bearing a unique code;
storing said selected products with said code in the buyer's central processing unit (CPU) and/or electronic memory;
creating an order list of said selected products with said code;
transmitting said list electronically to the seller;
capturing each product code selected from said data base, catalog of products, or using the product having the unique code on a label or packaging and entering said code in the seller's electronic memory;
storing each retrieved product code in the seller's CPU and/or electronic memory;
retrieving each product on said list from the seller's inventory;
comparing each retrieved product code with said product codes on the order list;
identifying product codes of retrieved products which do not match the product code on said order list;
identifying products from said order list not available for sale and storing said code in the CPU and/or electronic memory;
eliminating said retrieved products which do not match the product code on said order list and locating the products which do match the product code;
identifying products which are not in seller's inventory;
creating an out-of-stock list of all of the products which were not in the seller's inventory and providing the out-of-stock list to the buyer and;
marshalling the retrieved products in one location;
3. The personal automation and shopping method of claim 1 wherein the step of transferring the retrieved products from the seller's possession to the buyer's possession includes:
designating a location and;
delivering said retrieved products to the buyer at the designated location.
4. The personal automation and shopping method of claim 1 for a buyer placing an order and seller having a product inventory, further comprising the steps of:
generating one or more sets of unique codes associated with one or more seller selected by the buyer to purchase each product;
matching the product codes of the products selected by the buyer with the buyer's preferred sellers for each product and;
generating a list of products for each seller to purchase at each seller selected by the buyer.
5. The personal automation and shopping method of claim 1 further including:
storing product information associated with each coded product;
manipulating said stored information to produce pre-determined information for the buyer and;
displaying said specified information to the buyer.
6. The personal automation and shopping method of claim 1 wherein the capturing step is accomplished by:
photographing said unique codes;
storing said photographs of said unique codes in buyer's CPU and electronic memory and;
converting said photographs of said unique codes into standardized unique codes associated with each of said products.
7. The personal automation and shopping method of claim 1 wherein the selecting step comprises:
searching the database for desired items by product class;
selecting the desired item by name of product class;
narrowing the selection by subtype where applicable;
selecting the subtype where applicable;
selecting the brand;
selecting the quantity.
US12/835,595 2001-12-08 2010-07-13 Distributed personal automation and shopping method, apparatus, and process Pending US20100280918A1 (en)

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