US20120022924A1 - Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token - Google Patents

Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120022924A1
US20120022924A1 US12/904,032 US90403210A US2012022924A1 US 20120022924 A1 US20120022924 A1 US 20120022924A1 US 90403210 A US90403210 A US 90403210A US 2012022924 A1 US2012022924 A1 US 2012022924A1
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Prior art keywords
video
token
marker
stored value
camera
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Abandoned
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US12/904,032
Inventor
Nicole Runnels
Madeline Wong
Nathan Clark
Andrew Harper
Mackenzie Squires
Randy Lee Bradshaw
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Home Depot Product Authority LLC
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Home Depot USA Inc
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Priority to US12/549,618 priority Critical patent/US8645220B2/en
Application filed by Home Depot USA Inc filed Critical Home Depot USA Inc
Priority to US12/904,032 priority patent/US20120022924A1/en
Assigned to HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC. reassignment HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: RUNNELS, NICOLE, WONG, MADELINE, BRADSHAW, RANDY LEE, CLARK, NATHAN, HARPER, ANDREW, SQUIRES, MACKENZIE
Publication of US20120022924A1 publication Critical patent/US20120022924A1/en
Assigned to HOMER TLC, INC. reassignment HOMER TLC, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC.
Assigned to HOMER TLC, LLC reassignment HOMER TLC, LLC CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HOMER TLC, INC.
Assigned to HOME DEPOT PRODUCT AUTHORITY, LLC reassignment HOME DEPOT PRODUCT AUTHORITY, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HOMER TLC, LLC
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/011Arrangements for interaction with the human body, e.g. for user immersion in virtual reality
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/03Arrangements for converting the position or the displacement of a member into a coded form
    • G06F3/0304Detection arrangements using opto-electronic means
    • G06F3/0325Detection arrangements using opto-electronic means using a plurality of light emitters or reflectors or a plurality of detectors forming a reference frame from which to derive the orientation of the object, e.g. by triangulation or on the basis of reference deformation in the picked up image
    • 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
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • 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
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement
    • 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
    • G06Q30/0641Shopping interfaces

Abstract

A method and system for creating an augmented reality experience with video in connection with a stored value token comprises augmented reality software which can be loaded on a general purpose computer. The augmented reality software may monitor camera signals in order to detect a marker on a stored value token. The augmented reality software tracks the position of this marker relative to camera. The augmented reality software can display video that is projected on the image captured by the camera and adjacent to the image of the marker. The software may also display an object that is projected on the image after the video is displayed. The projected object can have three dimensions as it is projected on a two-dimensional display. In another exemplary embodiment, an electronic-token can be created and which is associated with customized video and without any augmented reality components.

Description

    STATEMENT REGARDING RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/549,618, filed on Aug. 28, 2009, entitled, “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR CREATING AN AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCE IN CONNECTION WITH A STORED VALUE TOKEN”, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention generally relates to stored value tokens and computers. More particularly, the invention relates to creating a personalized experience with a computer and video in connection with a stored value token.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Stored value tokens that include, but are not limited to, gift cards and electronic gift (e-gift) cards, are often purchased such that the intended recipient of the gift card may use the value associated with the gift card to purchase one or more consumer products. When an intended recipient receives a gift card, the recipient may not have an immediate idea of what consumer product that he or she may want to purchase with the gift card.
  • In other instances, depending upon the value associated with a gift card, the gift card recipient may be able to purchase a number of consumer products with the gift card. With this ability to purchase many different consumer products with the gift card, the gift card recipient may not be able to decide on which consumer product should be purchased with the gift card.
  • In addition to these problems, another problem with gift cards is that they lack the flair or impact that a traditional gift may have on a person. In other words, most gift recipients become excited when they receive a package that is gift wrapped. The ability to hold an object in a person's hand and not know what the object is because it is hidden by gift wrapping can be exciting for a gift recipient.
  • Meanwhile, an individual may not be very enthusiastic when receiving a gift card. Gift cards can be uninteresting relative to a traditional package type gift. Also, many gift cards provide their exact value with a writing or label that is provided on the card. This identification of the exact value for a gift card may detract from the impact that a gift card may have on a recipient since there are no unknowns with respect to the gift.
  • Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a method and system that can suggest consumer goods which may be purchased with a gift card. Further, there is a need in the art for a method and system that can add flare or excitement to a gift card experience from the perspective of the gift card recipient.
  • SUMMARY
  • A method and system for creating a personalized experience with video are described. The method may include capturing streaming video images with a camera coupled to a client device, and displaying the streaming video images on a display device which is coupled to the client device. The method may further include scanning the video images for a marker present on a stored value token, and determining a position of the marker relative to the camera from the video images. If the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, then a video may be displayed adjacent to the marker in the streaming video images.
  • According to another embodiment, a method and system for creating a personalized experience may include receiving a value to associate with a stored value token and searching a database for one of products and services that are sold close to the value. Next, at least one of a product and a service may be matched which is sold close to the value of the stored value token. Next, a record comprising the token identifier and a graphical item representing one of the product and service that is found during matching may be created. A request to initiate the augmented reality experience may be received, and in response to the request, data comprising augmented reality information including a video file, and the record comprising the graphical item may be created. The data can then be sent over a computer network.
  • According to another embodiment, a computer system for creating a personalized experience on a display device may include a processing unit; a memory storage device; a display device coupled to the processing unit for displaying data; and a program module for providing instructions to the processing unit. The processing unit is responsive to the instructions of the program module and is operable for capturing streaming video images with a camera and displaying the streaming video images on the display device. The processing unit may further scan the video images for a marker present on a stored value token and determine a position of the marker relative to the camera from the video images. If the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, then the processor may display a video associated with the stored value token.
  • According to another embodiment, a method for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value account includes receiving a token identifier from a communications network associated with a physical token and retrieving a customized video associated with the token identifier. The customized video is then sent without any augmented reality components over a communications network.
  • In another embodiment, a method for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with an e-token includes receiving a selection of one or more options on-line associated with an e-token and receiving a denomination of value to associate with the e-token. Next, a video to associate with the e-token may be received and then, a hypertext link associated with the video is then received. Next, the video without any augmented reality components is sent over a communications network in response to receiving the hypertext link.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a functional block diagram of a computer system for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 1B is a functional block diagram of a computer system for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value electronic token (e-token) according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects a real world scene comprising a stored value token without any augmentation according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 3A is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects the real world scene comprising the stored value token of FIG. 2 with a customized video according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 3B is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects the real world scene comprising the stored value token of FIG. 2 with a customized video according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 3C is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects the real world scene comprising the stored value token of FIG. 2 with an augmented reality object added to the scene according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 3D is an exemplary computer display of a user interface for an electronic mail message identifying a purchased e-token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 3E is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects a customized video without any augmented reality components according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 4 is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects the real world scene comprising the stored value token of FIG. 2 with a modification to the augmented reality object according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 5 is an exemplary computer display of the user interface of FIGS. 2-4 in addition to another user interface which provides an on-line shopping database according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 is an exemplary computer display of a user interface which projects the real world scene comprising stored value token of FIG. 2 but with a further modification to the augmented reality object according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram of a computer that can be used in the system for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 8A is a functional block diagram illustrating a group of files which may be assembled by the web server for sending to a client device equipped with an Internet or web browser according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 8B is a functional block diagram illustrating a software architecture for a client device executing an augmented reality and video player/recorder that supports customized video from a stored value token purchaser according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a first side view of an exemplary stored value token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 10A is a second side view of the exemplary stored value token of FIG. 9 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 10B is a second side view of the exemplary stored value token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIGS. 11A-11F are exemplary markers that can be used on stored value tokens according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 12 illustrates various exemplary embodiments of the machine-readable code for the stored value token according to the invention.
  • FIG. 13 illustrates a magnetic stripe for the machine-readable code according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • FIGS. 14A-14D are logic flow diagrams highlighting various steps of methods for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value token according to exemplary embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 15 is a logic flow diagram highlighting various steps of a sub-method of FIG. 14A for receiving and managing customized video in connection with a stored value token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • A method and system for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value token comprises augmented reality software which can be loaded on a general purpose computer. This augmented reality software can be downloaded from an external source, such as the Internet. The augmented reality software may monitor signals generated from a camera which is coupled to the same computer that is executing the augmented reality software. The augmented reality software monitors the camera signals in order to detect a marker on a stored value token. The augmented reality software tracks the position of this marker relative to the camera. The augmented reality software can produce an object which is projected on the image captured by the camera. The projected object is also positioned adjacent to the image of the marker that is captured by the camera.
  • As the stored value token having the marker is moved in front of the camera, the marker in the image captured by the camera also moves. The augmented reality software tracks the movement of the marker within the image and positions the object adjacent to the marker in the image. When the marker is physically manipulated in a predetermined manner, such as when positioning the marker so that a normal of a geometric planar surface containing the marker is at approximately ninety degrees relative to a geometric plane defined by the plane of view produced by the camera, the augmented reality software changes a property of the object.
  • As a non-limiting example, when the image of the stored value token containing a marker is captured by the camera, the augmented reality software and/or a video player/recorder module can initially open and play a customized video file that may be provided by the purchaser of the stored value token. Alternatively, if a user does not want to add his or her own customized video, an operator of the system may provide a pre-recorded videos that are selected by the user.
  • After the customized video has been played by the token recipient, the augmented reality software may then produce a three-dimensional box such that the box appears to have three dimensions as it is projected on a two-dimensional display. Specifically, when the marker is oriented such that a normal of a geometric plane defined by the marker is at an approximate ninety degree angle relative to a geometric plane defined by the view of the camera, the augmented reality software can produce a three-dimensional box.
  • When the marker is removed from view or can no longer be detected by the camera and then reintroduced into the view of the camera, the augmented reality software or video player/recorder module may stop playing the video and then the software or module may place a graphical item representing a consumer product or service within a two-dimensional box.
  • The graphical item can be selected from one or more product or service images that are directly related to the value associated with the stored valued token. That is, only products or services that can be purchased based on the value of the stored value token will have graphical items displayed within the two-dimensional box that is positioned adjacent to the stored value token. However, images of other products or services which are priced significantly above the value associated with the stored value token could be presented so that the token user could be prompted with the opportunity to add more value to the account associated with the stored value token.
  • The augmented reality software can be linked to other software components that can produce images of other products that are related to the product displayed in the three-dimensional box. The images of the other products may contain hypertext links so that when they are selected, then additional information or details may be presented on a display for a selected product.
  • According to another embodiment, an e-token may be created and a customized video may also be created and associated with this e-token. The e-token may be sent over a communications network to an intended recipient. The intended recipient may download the customized video once the e-token is received from the communications network.
  • Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals denote like elements, FIG. 1A is a functional block diagram of a computer system 102A for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value token 101 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The stored value token 101 can take on various forms of a financial instrument card. For example, the stored value token 101 can comprise at least one of a gift card, credit card, an atm or debit card, and other financial instrument cards.
  • The computer system 102A can comprise a web server 100E which can be coupled to a network 173 that can comprise a wide area network (“WAN”), a local area network (“LAN”), the Internet, or a combination of networks. The web server 100E can be coupled to a product/service database 179. The product/service database 179 can store various records related to products and/or services which may be available for purchase with a stored value token 101.
  • The web server 100E can comprise any type of computer server. For example, the web server 100E can comprise a Linux based operating system and can process pages processed by the Ruby on Rails framework. Ruby on Rails is written and ran under libraries written in the Ruby API. The Ruby on Rails framework is served requesting using the Apache Webserver. The Ruby on Rails Framework provides an ORM library. The database 179 can comprise a MySQL server. Exemplary server application specifications, include, but are not limited to the following: RedHat Enterprise Linux 5; Apache 2.2; Ruby 1.8; and Ruby On Rails 2.3.5 Other hardware and software for the web server 100E and the product/service database 179, other than those described, are not beyond the scope of the invention.
  • The computer system 102A may also comprise other servers for supporting customized video such as a media server 100B, a transcode server 100C, and a server array 100D. The media server 100B may comprise a computer running video file software, such as flash media server, as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. The media server 100B may receive and support uploaded video signals from a video recorder, such as a web camera (“webcam”) coupled to a computer 100A. The media server 100B may receive and store uploaded video signals in a standard video file format, such as, but not limited to, the flash video (.flv) file format which is a container file format used to deliver video over the Internet using Adobe Flash Player versions 6-10, as of this writing. However, other file formats are within the scope of the invention.
  • The transcode server 100C may comprise a server which transcodes or converts one standard video file format into another standard video file format. The transcode server 100C typically converts any received video file format into either the flash video (.flv) file format or the QuickTime File Format having the file extension dot MOV (.mov). The flash video format may be used for playing video files by a stored value token recipient while the QuickTime file format may be used so that the stored value token recipient may download and store customized video associated with a particular stored value token, as will be described in more detail below. Other video file formats besides .mov and .flv are included within the scope of the invention.
  • The server array 100D may comprise one or more server computers that are designed to support large memory intensive files, such as customized video files associated with the stored value token provided by a gift card purchaser. Server arrays provided by the vendor Amazon.com may be utilized as the server array 100D. However, other server arrays may be utilized without departing from the scope of the invention.
  • While not illustrated, the functionality of all of the servers 100B-E may be combined into a single computer server as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. The servers 100B-E may be coupled to the network 173. Through the network 173, the servers 100B-E can communicate with various different client devices 100A. Each client device 100A can run or execute web browsing software in order to access the web server 100E and its various applications, such as a product catalog and a downloadable augmented reality and video player /recorder module 160A. The client devices 100A can take on many different forms such as desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld devices such as personal digital assistance (“PDAs”), in addition to other smart devices such as cellular telephones. Any device which can access the network 173 can be a client computer device 100A according to the computer system 102A. The client devices 100A can be coupled to the network 173 by various types of communication links 193. These communication links 193 can comprise wired as well as wireless links. The communication links 193 allow each of the client devices 100A to establish virtual links 196 with the web server 100E.
  • Each client device 100A preferably comprises a display 147 and a camera 175. The camera 175 can capture a real world scene 115 that includes a user 110 holding a stored value token 101. The real world scene 115 can be displayed on the display device 147.
  • The display 147 can comprise any type of display device such as a liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, and a cathode ray tube (CRT) display. The camera 175 can comprise a video camera such as a webcam. The camera 175 can be a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera or a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) camera. The camera 175 can provide a VGA-resolution at a frame rate of at least thirty frames per second. The camera 175 can also produce video in multi-megapixel resolutions, and it can run at high frame rates on the order of 320×240 video at one-hundred twenty frames per second. However, other frame rates higher or lower than those disclosed for the camera 175 are within the scope of the invention. Similarly, other resolutions higher or lower than those disclosed for the camera 175 are within the scope of the invention.
  • The client device 100A can execute or run an augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A comprises a multimedia platform that can be part of a plug-in for an Internet web browser. According to one exemplary embodiment, a multimedia platform is currently distributed under the Adobe brand Flash Player. A plug-in is sold currently under the name Adobe brand Flash Player. The multimedia platform can manipulate vector and raster graphics, and can support bidirectional streaming audio and video. The multimedia platform may contain a scripting language known, as of this writing, as Action Script. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A typically comprises files formatted in the “SWF” format, traditionally called “ShockWave Flash” movies, “Flash movies” or “Flash games and usually have a .swf file extension.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may be an object of a web page, “played” in a Flash Player, or incorporated into a projector, a self-executing Flash movie (with the .exe extension in MICROSOFT Windows or .hqx for APPLE Macintosh). Flash Video files, as of this writing, have a .flv file extension and are either used from within .swf files or played through a fly-aware player, such as (VLC), or QuickTime and Windows Media Player with external codecs added.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may be created and programmed in an integrated development environment (IDE) that is built on a multi-language software development platform, like those currently sold and that utilize the Eclipse platform, such as Flex Builder 3 which has been recently renamed to Adobe brand flash builder 4. Further details of the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, including an exemplary architecture for the software, are illustrated in FIG. 8B and will be discussed in further detail below.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A is designed to work with the camera 175, the display 147, and the stored value token 101 having a marker 105 in order to produce live video on the display 147. In addition, computer generated animation and computer generated video provided by a video player/recorder module 160A may be superimposed on the live video signals that are being sent to the display 147. Specifically, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A monitors signals from the camera 175 in order to detect the marker 105 which is present on the stored value token 101. Once the marker 105 is detected by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A tracks the position of this marker 105 relative to the camera 175.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may play back video such as video 203 of FIGS. 3A-3B and/or it can produce an object 207 (FIG. 3C) which is projected on the image captured by the camera 175. The video 203 and/or object 207 can be positioned adjacent to the image of the marker 105 that is captured by the camera 175. As the stored value token 101 is moved in front of the camera 175, the marker 105 in the image captured by the camera 175 also moves. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A tracks the movement of the marker 105 within the image and positions the object 207 adjacent to the marker 105 in the image. Based on certain movements of the marker 105, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can play video 203 and it may produce the object 207 or a graphical item 405 that is positioned adjacent to the marker 105 of the stored value token 101. Further details of this augmented reality experience produced by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A are illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 6 and are discussed in further detail below.
  • FIG. 1B is a functional block diagram of a computer system for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value electronic token (e-token) according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. This exemplary embodiment is very similar to the embodiment described above in connection with FIG. 1A. Therefore, only the differences between these two exemplary embodiments will be described below.
  • In this exemplary embodiment, the client device 100A is a first client device. The system 102B of FIG. 1B further comprises a second client device 100F that allows a user to purchase an electronic token (e-token), such as an electronic gift card. The second client device 100F may include a web browser 163 that allows the user to select an e-token for purchase. The web browser 163 works in conjunction with a server module 164 of the server 100E that displays and provides options for the e-token that may be purchased by the user of the second client device 102F.
  • The second client device 100F may also comprise a camera 175 so that the user of the second client device 100F may record a customized video intended for a recipient of the e-token, such as the user of the first client device 100A. In this exemplary embodiment, the first client device 100A may only comprise a video module 160B for displaying the customized video recorded by the e-token purchaser.
  • The display 147 of the first client device 100A may project the customized video that was recorded by the e-token purchaser. According to this exemplary embodiment, there are no augmented reality components. The recipient of the e-token operating the first client device 100A has the ability to review and save the customized video that was recorded by the e-token purchaser. Further details of this exemplary embodiment which does not have any augmented reality components but has customized video will be described below in connection with FIGS. 3D, 3E, and 14D.
  • FIG. 2 is an exemplary computer display 200A of a graphical user interface which projects a real world scene 115A comprising a stored value token 101 without any augmentation or projected images according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The real world scene 115A is a moving video image produced by the camera 175. The scene 115A captured by the camera 175 in the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 comprises a user 110, which is a person, and the token 101 being held by the user 110.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A will search the entire image within the display 200A for the marker 105A which is positioned on the stored value token 101. According to the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the stored value token 101 comprises a gift card having a rectangular shape. The computer system 102 is not limited to cards with rectangular shapes. The computer system 102 may have tokens 101 with other shapes, such as, but not limited to, square, circular, pentagonal, elliptical, octagonal, and other shapes. The invention is also not limited to the token 101 illustrated in FIG. 2. Other tokens 101 which are not necessarily cards are included within the scope of the invention. The token 101 can comprise any type of object which may be able to support or bear a marker 105A that is tracked by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A. Further details of the exemplary token 101 illustrated in FIG. 2 are illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 and are discussed in further detail below.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A searches for the marker 105A within the image projected on the display 200A in addition to determining the orientation of the marker 105A relative to the camera 175. In other words, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can track the X and Y-axis coordinates of the marker 105A within the image shown on display 200A, as well as the Z-axis coordinate of the marker 105A. According to the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the Z coordinate can be determined based on the shape of the marker 105A being captured by the camera 175.
  • In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the marker 105A appears to have a square shape in the image created by the camera 175 and projected within the display 200A. However, when the token 101 is tilted in space, such as in the Z-axis direction, this action causes the image of the marker 105A to change from a square shape to a rhomboid shape. Similar to the discussion of the token 101 noted above, the marker 105A is not limited to square shapes. Other shapes for the marker 105A include, but are not limited to, circular, cylindrical, triangular, parallelogram, star, pentagonal, octagonal, and other geometrical shapes.
  • When the condition in which the square shape of the marker 105A is detected by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, such as illustrated in FIG. 2, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can play video 203A of FIGS. 3A-3B and/or it may project an object 207 into the scene 115B shown on the display 200D as illustrated in FIG. 3C.
  • FIG. 3A, is an exemplary computer display 200B of a user interface which projects the real world scene 115B comprising the stored value token 101 of FIG. 2 with a video 203A projected into the scene 115B and onto the stored value token 101 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The video 203 may comprise customized video recorded by the purchaser of the stored value token 101. The video 203 may also comprise one or more recorded advertisements produced by a merchant associated with the stored value token 101. Alternatively, or in addition to the recorded advertisements, a merchant may also provide a list of pre-recorded videos that may be selected by the purchaser of the stored value token 101. Content other than customized video and advertisements are included within the scope of the invention.
  • As will be described in further detail below, the video 203 being played back may be repositioned or moved to follow or track movement of the stored value token 101. This means, that when the stored value token 101 is moved across the scene 115B of FIG. 3B by the user 110, the video 203 may be projected into the image of the stored value token 101 at its new location within the scene 115B. Alternatively, the video 203 may remain stationary in a fixed location within scene 115B while the stored value token 101 is moved within the scene 115B, such as a user of the token 101 moving the token 101 across the scene 115B and the video 203 stays at a single location within the scene 115.
  • In FIG. 3A, the video 203A comprises a customized video in which the purchaser of the token 101 has recorded a video in which the purchaser has stated the following which may be heard as part of the audio portion of the video 203A: “Happy Birthday! I bought you this gift card so . . . . ” While in this exemplary embodiment, a human figure is depicted in the customized video 203A, the invention is not limited to such types of customized video. The purchaser of the stored value token 101 may record anything in his or her customized video intended for the bearer of the stored value token 101. This means that the purchaser could choose to not record any audio and only show video images and vice versa. The customized video may comprise pre-recorded video made by the purchaser (or any other person) that the purchaser wishes to associate with the stored value token 101. In other words, the purchaser may associate pre-recorded audio and/or video that was not originally intended for association with the stored value token 101. As noted previously, in addition to the customized video segment recorded by the purchaser, the merchant associated with the stored value token 101 may also include pre-recorded audio and/or video to further describe products or services offered by the merchant as well as products or services offered by other merchants.
  • A user interface 213 for the video 203A may also be provided. This video user interface 213 may comprise any one or a combination of typical video controls such as a play back button, a pause button, a rewind button, a fast-forward button, a stop button, and the like.
  • FIG. 3B is an exemplary computer display 200B of a user interface which projects the real world scene 115B comprising the stored value token 101 of FIG. 2 with a video 203A projected into the scene 115B according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 3B, the purchaser of the token 101 continues the dialog started in FIG. 3A and states the following which may be heard as part of the audio portion of the video 203A: “so you can go and purchase what you like . . . .”
  • FIG. 3C is an exemplary computer display 200C of a user interface which projects the real world scene 115B comprising the stored value token 101 of FIG. 2 with an augmented reality object 207 projected into the scene 115B according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The object 207 can comprise a gift crate that has been illustrated with perspective such that the object 207 appears to have three dimensions within the two-dimensional display 200C. The object 207 may further comprise human-readable media 209, such as a brand name or source for the stored value token 101.
  • The object 207 can be made to spin or rotate about an axis such as the Y-axis illustrated in FIG. 3 or the object 207 can remain stationary. The rotation of the object 207 can be made dependent upon a detection of movement of the token 101 generated by the user 110. For example, if the user 110 shakes the token 101 quickly, in a back and forth motion while causing the marker to continue to project a rhomboid shape, then this condition can trigger the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A to rotate the object 207 about the Y-axis in the image of the display 200C.
  • The object 207 is not limited to the gift crate illustrated in FIG. 3C. Any one of a number of objects 207 can be projected into the scene 115B without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, instead of the gift crate, the object 207 can comprise an object with perspective such as an actual physical gift or a service which could be purchased with the value associated with the token 101. Exemplary gifts could include those from many different types or classes of consumer goods or services, such as, but not limited to, dry goods, household items including hardware, wearing apparel, furniture, furnishings, appliances, and electronics; and services like HVAC services, carpentry services, roofing services, plumbing services, and the like.
  • FIG. 3D is an exemplary computer display of a user interface 200D for an electronic mail message 222 identifying a purchased e-token according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. This user interface 200D generally corresponds with the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1B and described above. As noted previously, according to this exemplary embodiment, the user of a client device 100F may select an electronic token (e-token) for purchase and for sending to the recipient via electronic mail (e-mail). However, other forms of communication mediums are well within the scope of the invention, such as, but not limited to, simple message system (SMS) communications also known as text messaging, pages, instant messaging, and other like communication mediums.
  • According to the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3D, the electronic message 222 selected by the purchaser of the e-token using his or her client device 100F may provide a customized message that further includes machine-readable media 1010A, such as a bar-code. The machine-readable media 1010A may be used by the recipient of the e-token to purchase goods and/or services. The recipient may print-out the machine-readable media 1010A or the recipient may key-in the human-readable numbers represented by the machine-readable media 1010A that are usually presented adjacent to or just below the machine-readable media 1010A.
  • The electronic message 222 may further comprise a hypertext link 225 that allows the recipient to access a video server such as the media server 100B or server array 100D. Media server or server array 100D may store the customized video 203A prepared by the a e-token purchaser, as described above.
  • FIG. 3E is an exemplary computer display of a user interface 200E which projects a customized video 203A without any augmented reality components according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. This exemplary embodiment generally corresponds with the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 1B, 3D, and 14D. As noted previously, according to this exemplary embodiment after the e-token recipient selects the hypertext link 225 of FIG. 3D, the media server 100B or server array 100D is accessed through this hypertext link and the customized video 203A is downloaded to the video module 160B of the client device 100A as illustrated in FIG. 1B. Once the customized video 203A is downloaded on the client device 100A, it can be viewed by the recipient by selecting the play option 213 on the user interface 200E.
  • As noted previously, the client devices 100A can take on many different forms such as desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld devices such as personal digital assistance (“PDAs”), in addition to other smart devices such as cellular telephones. Any device which can access the network 173 can be a client computer device 100A according to the computer system 102B.
  • FIG. 4 is an exemplary computer display of a user interface 200F which the real world scene 115C comprising the stored value token 101 of FIG. 2 with a modification to the augmented reality object 207 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 4, the object 207A has been modified such that it contains a graphical item 405A representing an exemplary consumer good or service which can be purchased based on the specific value associated with or assigned to the stored valued token 101.
  • In FIG. 4, the exemplary graphical item 405A comprises an image of a consumer goods, such as a drill. However, other hardware as well as other classes of consumer goods are within the scope of the invention. Further, in addition to goods, the graphical item 405A may represent any number of services that can be purchased, such as HVAC services, carpentry services, roofing services, plumbing services, and the like. Meanwhile, other classes of consumer goods include, but are not limited to, dry goods, household items—including hardware, wearing apparel, furniture, furnishings, appliances, and electronics. While the exemplary graphical item 405A comprising a consumer good is illustrated with having only two dimensions, it is possible for the invention to support images with perspective, like the three-dimensional gift crate 207, as illustrated in FIG. 3C described above.
  • In FIG. 4, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A detected a change in the status or condition of the marker 105B. Specifically, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A detected that the marker 105B was removed from view of the camera 175 and then reintroduced into the view of the camera 175 as a result of a change in location of the stored value token 101. In other words, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A has detected that the marker 105B has been removed and then re-introduced into the view of the camera 175. The marker 105B in FIG. 4 has a square shape which indicates that a geometric normal defined by the plane of the square shape is perpendicular to the geometric plane defined by image captured by the camera 175 and projected in the rectangular display 200F Stated differently, the geometric plane of the square shape defined by the marker 105B is parallel to the geometric plane defined by the rectangular display 200F.
  • When this condition was detected a second or subsequent time by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A modified the augmented reality object 207 so that it is rendered as a two-dimensional object and so that it would contain a graphical item 405A representing a consumer good or service which could be purchased with the value associated with the gift token 101. The system 102 is designed to display only goods and services within a price range associated with the value assigned to a particular stored value token 101 capture in the real world scene 115C.
  • According to one exemplary embodiment, the graphical item 405A comprising a consumer good or service contained within the object 207 can be continuously displayed until the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A detects one or more conditions. As noted previously, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can follow or track the movement of the marker 105B which is present on the stored value token 101. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can constantly generate the object 207 adjacent to the marker 105B as the marker 105B moves through space by the user 110.
  • FIG. 5 is an exemplary computer display of the user interface 200B-200C of FIGS. 3A-3C in addition to another user interface 500 which provides an on-line shopping database according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 5, the first user interface 200F is positioned within a larger second user interface 500. The second user interface 500 may be designed such that it provides more information about the graphical item 405A1 comprising a consumer good or service contained within the object 207. For example, the second user interface 500 may further comprise a first window 510 that provides human-readable media such as text descriptions, enlarged photos 405A2 of the good or service, costs, and specifications of the exemplary consumer good or service that is represented by the graphical item 405A1 contained within the object 207.
  • The user interface 500 may further comprise a second window 520 that lists images of other graphical items 405B-D that represent related consumer goods or services, or past viewed goods and services, or both, that may be purchased with the value associated with the token 101. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the other consumer goods or services represented by the graphical items 405B-D can comprise different models or types of the consumer good or service represented by the graphical item 405A1 contained within the object 207. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5, each of the consumer goods or services can comprise different models and/or manufacturers of drills.
  • The larger second user interface 500 can further comprise a purchase button or a shopping cart button 515. In this way, when the user 110 desires to purchase the consumer good 405A1 contained within the object 207, the user 110 can simply click on the shopping cart button 515. Other buttons as well as other configurations for the windows are within the scope of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 is an exemplary computer display of a user interface 200G which projects the real world scene 115 comprising the stored value token 101 of FIG. 2 with a different graphical item 405E representing a different consumer good or service relative to the consumer good or service represented by the graphical item 405A illustrated in FIG. 4. In this exemplary embodiment, the graphical item 405E represents a consumer good or service that can comprise a lawnmower or a lawn service. However, other consumer goods or services represented by the graphical item 405E are included with the scope of the invention. As noted above, other consumer goods include, but are not limited to, dry goods, household items including hardware, wearing apparel, furniture, furnishings, appliances, and electronics. Similarly, other services can include, but are not limited to, HVAC services, carpentry services, roofing services, plumbing services, and the like.
  • A different consumer good or service represented by the graphical item 405E in FIG. 6 can be displayed within the object 207 when one or more conditions are detected by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A. For example, when the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A detects lateral movement 505 of the stored value token 101 along the X-axis or Z-axis (See X-axis and Z-axis in FIG. 2), this condition can trigger the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A to change the consumer good or service represented by the graphical item 405 being displayed within the object 207. The invention is not limited to detecting this type of condition or movement. As noted previously, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may detect when the marker 105B is completely removed from view of the camera 175 and then reintroduced into the view of the camera 175.
  • Other conditions that may be detected by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can include, but are not limited to, detecting movement along the Y-axis and Z-axis, detecting input from the user 110 such as detecting movement of the screen pointer 409 or detecting certain keystrokes produced by the user 110. The changing of consumer goods or services represented by graphical items 405E displayed within the object 207 is also not limited to detecting any conditions. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can change the consumer goods or services represented by different graphical items 405E without detecting any conditions that are related to the movement of the marker 105B or based on input from the user 110. For example, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may randomly change the consumer goods or services represented by the graphical items 405 based on the passage of time tracked by a timer.
  • FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram of a client device 100A, for example, a computer, and that can be used in the system 102 for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token 101 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The exemplary operating environment for the system 102 includes a general-purpose computing device in the form of a conventional computer. Generally, the client device 100A includes a processing unit 121, a system memory 122, and a system bus 123 that couples various system components including the system memory 122 to the processing unit 121.
  • The system bus 123 may be any of several types of bus structures including a memory bus or memory controller, a peripheral bus, and a local bus using any of a variety of bus architectures. The system memory includes a read-only memory (ROM) 124 and a random access memory (RAM) 125. A basic input/output system (BIOS) 126, containing the basic routines that help to transfer information between elements within computer 120, such as during start-up, is stored in ROM 124.
  • The client device 100A, which may be a computer, can include a hard disk drive 127A for reading from and writing to a hard disk, not shown, a magnetic disk drive 128 for reading from or writing to a removable magnetic disk 129, and an optical disk drive 130 for reading from or writing to a removable optical disk 131 such as a CD-ROM or other optical media. Hard disk drive 127A, magnetic disk drive 128, and optical disk drive 130 are connected to system bus 123 by a hard disk drive interface 132, a floppy disk drive interface 133, and an optical disk drive interface 134, respectively.
  • Although the exemplary environment described herein employs hard disk 127A, removable magnetic disk 129, and removable optical disk 131, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other types of computer readable media which can store data that is accessible by a computer, such as magnetic cassettes, flash memory cards, digital video disks, Bernoulli cartridges, RAMs, ROMs, and the like, may also be used in the exemplary operating environment without departing from the scope of the invention. Such uses of other forms of computer readable media besides the hardware illustrated will be used in smaller client devices 100A such as in cellular phones and/or personal digital assistants (PDAs). The drives and their associated computer readable media illustrated in FIG. 7 provide nonvolatile storage of computer-executable instructions, data structures, program modules, and other data for computer or client device 100A.
  • A number of program modules may be stored on hard disk 127, magnetic disk 129, optical disk 131, ROM 124, or RAM 125, including an operating system 135, an augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, a web browser 163, and a local product/service database 166. Program modules include routines, sub-routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, etc., which perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. Aspects of the present invention may be implemented in the form of a downloadable, client-side, browser based augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A which is executed by the client device 100A in order to provide a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token 101.
  • A user 110 may enter commands and information into computer 100A through input devices, such as a keyboard 140 and a pointing device 142. Pointing devices may include a mouse, a trackball, and an electronic pen that can be used in conjunction with an electronic tablet. Other input devices (not shown) may include a microphone, joystick, game pad, satellite dish, scanner, or the like. These and other input devices are often connected to processing unit 121 through a serial port interface 146 that is coupled to the system bus 123, but may be connected by other interfaces, such as a parallel port, game port, a universal serial bus (USB), or the like.
  • The display 147 may also be connected to system bus 123 via an interface, such as a video adapter 148. As noted above, the display 147 can comprise any type of display devices such as a liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, and a cathode ray tube (CRT) display.
  • The camera 175 may also be connected to system bus 123 via an interface, such as an adapter 170. As noted previously, the camera 175 can comprise a video camera such as a webcam. The camera 175 can be a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera or a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) camera. In addition to the monitor 147 and camera 175, the client device 100A, comprising a computer, may include other peripheral output devices (not shown), such as speakers and printers.
  • The client device 100A, comprising a computer, may operate in a networked environment using logical connections to one or more remote computers, such as the web server 100E. A remote computer may be another personal computer, a server, a client, a router, a network PC, a peer device, or other common network node. While the web server 100E or a remote computer typically includes many or all of the elements described above relative to the client device 100A, only a memory storage device 127E has been illustrated in the Figure. The logical connections depicted in the Figure include a local area network (LAN) 173A and a wide area network (WAN) 173B. Such networking environments are commonplace in offices, enterprise-wide computer networks, intranets, and the Internet.
  • When used in a LAN networking environment, the client device 100A, comprising a computer, is often connected to the local area network 173A through a network interface or adapter 153. When used in a WAN networking environment, the client device 100A, comprising a computer, typically includes a modem 154 or other means for establishing communications over WAN 173B, such as the Internet. Modem 154, which may be internal or external, is connected to system bus 123 via serial port interface 146. In a networked environment, program modules depicted relative to the web server 100E, or portions thereof, may be stored in the remote memory storage device 127E. It will be appreciated that the network connections shown are exemplary and other means of establishing a communications link between the computers may be used.
  • Moreover, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention may be implemented in other computer system configurations, including hand-held devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor based or programmable consumer electronics, network personal computers, minicomputers, mainframe computers, and the like. The invention may also be practiced in distributed computing environments, where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.
  • FIG. 8A is a functional block diagram illustrating data 802 which may be assembled by the web server 100E, media server 100B, the transcode server 100C, and the server array 100D for sending to a client device 100A equipped with an Internet or web browser 163 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. First data 802A may include camera monitor data 803A, 3-D model generator data 806A, marker recognizer and tracker data 809A, screen pointer movement data 815A, and local product/service image data 166A, which forms the local product/service storage 166 of FIG. 7. Except for the local product image data 166A, the remaining data of first data 802A may comprise information that is used to modify and/or supplement existing libraries found in the multimedia player module that is present within the web browser 163. For example, the data 802 can modify and/or supplement the libraries of the software product currently distributed under the name of Adobe brand flash player. Second data 802B may comprise customized video 203 created by the purchaser of the stored value token 101.
  • The group of files 802A,B can be downloaded from the servers 100B-100E when the web browser 163 sends a request to initiate the augmented reality experience with the customized video 203. Usually, this request from the web browser 163 for initiating the augmented reality experience will include a token identifier from the stored value token 101 so that the web server 100E will locate and assemble the correct local product/service file 166A as well as finding the corresponding customized video 203 associated with the stored value token 101. Further details of the group of files 802 will be discussed in further detail below in connection with FIG. 8B.
  • FIG. 8B is a functional block diagram illustrating a software architecture for a client device 100A executing an augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. This software architecture is formed from the group 802 of files illustrated in FIG. 8A. The augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may comprise a camera signal monitoring module 803B, a 3-D model module 806B, a marker recognizer and tracker module 809B, a product/service local image data 166A, the screen pointer movement detector module 815B, and a video player/recorder module 825.
  • The camera signal monitoring module 803B is responsible for determining if the client device 100A has a camera 175. Once the camera signal monitoring module 803B determines that a camera 175 is present, the camera signal monitoring module 803B can track the video signals being generated by the camera 175. The camera signal monitoring module 803B can include a current off-the-shelf library present in software distributed under the name Adobe brand flash player. The name of the library, as of this writing, is the flash.media.video. Exemplary flash libraries include, but are not limited to, Papervision3D—for the three-dimensional environment, ASCollada—for three-dimensional objects, and FLARToolkit—for the augmented reality components. The camera signal monitoring module 803B can communicate with the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B and the screen pointer movement detector module 815B.
  • The marker recognizer and tracker module 809B is designed to identify the marker 105 and to track the marker 105 as it is moved throughout the view of the camera 175. Like the camera signal monitoring module 803B, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B can include current off-the-shelf libraries present in software distributed under the Adobe brand flash player. The name of the two libraries forming the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B, as of this writing, are the following: libspark.flartoolkit and flash.media.video. The marker recognizer and tracker module 809B can communicate with the camera signal monitoring module 803B, the 3-D model generator module 806B, and the video player/recorder module 825.
  • The 3-D model generator module 806B can generate the object 207 having perspective as illustrated in FIG. 3 discussed above. The 3-D model generator module 806B can position the object 207 adjacent to the marker 105 by using data provided by the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B. The 3-D model generator module 806B can also produce the object 207 without any perspective and enclosing or circumscribing the graphical item 405 (as illustrated in FIG. 4) that may represent a product and/or a service. The 3-D model generator module 806B can include current off-the-shelf libraries present in software distributed under the name Adobe brand flash player. The name of the four libraries forming the 3-D model generator module 806B, as of this writing, are flash.media.video; libspark.flartoolkit; ascollada; and papervision3d. The 3-D model generator module 806B can communicate with the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B and the product/service local storage 166A.
  • The screen pointer movement detector module 815B can determine if the user 110 has moved a screen pointer 409 over the object 207 containing the graphical item 405 and/or if the graphical item 405 is selected. In response to detecting these conditions, the screen pointer movement detector module 815B may direct the web browser 163 to retrieve additional information about the graphical item 405 from the web server 100E. The screen pointer movement detector module 815B can include current off-the-shelf libraries present in software distributed under the Adobe brand flash player. The name of the library forming screen pointer movement detector module 815B, as of this writing, is the following: flash.net. A screen pointer movement detector module 815B can communicate with the camera signal monitoring module 803B and the web browser 163.
  • The video player/recorder module 825 may be responsible for playing back any customized video 203 that may have been recorded by the purchaser of the stored value token 101. The video player/recorder module 825 can include current off-the-shelf libraries present in software distributed under the Adobe brand flash player. The video player/recorder module 825 may play back customized video formatted in the flash video (.flv) file format, as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • The product/service local storage 166B may comprise a file that contains graphical items 405. These graphical items 405 may represent one or more products and/or services that were retrieved by the web server 100E as matching a value which is equal to or less than the value of the stored value token 101. The web browser 163 may provide links 821 for displaying products/services 405B-D that may be related to the graphical item 405 that can be contained within the object 207, as illustrated in FIG. 5. The web browser 163 may also be capable of downloading the customized video file 203 in a QuickTime File Format having the file extension dot MOV (.mov) according to an exemplary embodiment so that the customized video file 203 may be stored locally relative to the client device 100A. However, other video file formats for storing the customized video file 203 locally beyond the QuickTime file format are within the scope of the invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a first side view of an exemplary stored value token 101A according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The stored value token 101A may comprise a rectangular shape and can have a length L and a width W that generally correspond with the length and width of cards used in financial transactions. In other words, the length L and width W can be selected to correspond with standard sized financial cards like debit cards, integrated circuit (IC) cards, and credit cards as used in industry. The length L and width W can correspond with Format ID-1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) standard 7810. This means that the length L can comprise a magnitude of about eighty-five millimeters and the width W can comprise a magnitude of about fifty-four millimeters. Dimensions greater than or less than these exemplary magnitudes are within the scope of the invention.
  • As noted above, the inventive system 102 is not limited to tokens 101 comprising cards with rectangular shapes. The inventive system may have tokens 101 with other shapes, such as, but not limited to, square, circular, pentagonal, elliptical, octagonal, and other shapes. The invention is also not limited to the token 101 illustrated in FIGS. 9-10. Other tokens 101 which are not cards are included within the scope of the invention. The token 101 can comprise any type of object which may be able to support or bear a marker 105B1 that is tracked by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A.
  • The exemplary card token 101A illustrated in FIG. 9 can be made from one or more various materials. For example, the card token 101A may be made from materials such as, but not limited to, paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and other similar materials.
  • On a first side 901A, the card token 101A may comprise human-readable media 903 and machine-readable media 1010A. The human-readable media 903 may comprise a value 903A assigned to the card token 101A. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 9, the value 903A comprises fifty U.S. dollars. However, other magnitudes for the value 903A as well as other currencies may be used without departing from the scope of the invention. The human-readable media 903 may further comprise text 903B which can identify that the token 101A is a form of a financial instrument, such as a gift card. The text 903B can take on any form and can provide any type of information desired by the manufacturer or originator of the token 101A.
  • The marker 105B1 can comprise an outer square box 906A that encloses or circumscribes an inner member 909A. The inner member 909A in the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9 comprises dark text positioned on a white background. Specifically, the dark text may identify the source or originator of the token 101A. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9, the dark text comprises the phrase, “The Home Depot.” However, the inner member 909A is not limited to text and can comprise other elements in addition to or instead of the text. The other elements for the inner member 909A can include, but are not limited to, graphical characters, shapes, symbols, and other similar elements.
  • The inventors have discovered that a marker 105 which comprises a dark outer member 906A that encloses or circumscribes an inner dark member 909 that is positioned on a white surface is more readily detectable by the camera 175 compared to other markers 105 which have been tested by the inventors. The outer member 906 is not limited to a square box. Other shapes are possible and are within the scope of the invention. For example, other shapes include, but are not limited to, rectangular, circular, pentagonal, elliptical, octagonal, and other shapes. As noted previously, it is helpful to select a geometry for the shape of the marker 105 such that it is easy to detect the orientation of the marker 105 relative to the Z-axis, if that is a condition which will be monitored by the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A. Further details of various different markers 105 that can be employed are illustrated in FIGS. 11A through 11F and are discussed in further detail below.
  • The token 101A may further comprise machine-readable media 1010A which has been illustrated with dashed lines to denote that it is hidden from the view illustrated in FIG. 9. Further details of the machine-readable media 1010A are illustrated in FIG. 10 and discussed in further detail below.
  • FIG. 10A is a second side view of the exemplary stored value token 101A of FIG. 9 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. On this second side 901B of the stored value token 101A, both human-readable media 903 and machine-readable media 1010A can be present. However, it is within the scope of the invention for this second side 901B to display only machine-readable media 1010A. The human-readable media 903 on the second side 901B can comprise instructions 903C which can explain how to use the token 101A and how to access the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A.
  • In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 10A, the machine-readable media 1010A comprises a bar code. The token 101A is not limited to the machine-readable media 1010A illustrated in FIG. 10. The machine-readable media 1010A can comprise one or more different forms. For example, the machine-readable code 1010A can comprise a magnetic stripe, an integrated circuit chip, a radio-frequency antenna, and other similar machine-readable elements. Other machine-readable elements are illustrated in FIGS. 12-13 and are described in further detail below. The machine-readable media 1010A can communicate a code and/or the actual value of the token 101A to a reader so that the value associated with the token 101A can be ascertained by a computer, such as a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. A human-readable code 903D that corresponds with the machine-readable code 1010A may also be present beneath the machine-readable code 1010A.
  • The marker 105B1 has been illustrated with dashed lines on the second side 901B to denote that it is hidden from the view illustrated in FIG. 10A. Further details of the marker 105 are illustrated in FIG. 11 and discussed in further detail below.
  • The marker 105, the human-readable media 903, and machine-readable media 1010A may be formed from ink or other marking media. These elements can be directly applied to their respective sides 901 of the token 101A or they may be applied to a substrate that is attached to respective sides 901 of the token 101A with an adhesive.
  • FIG. 10B is a first side view of an exemplary stored value token 101B according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. In this exemplary embodiment, the marker 105C1 is centered according to a geometric center of the token 101B. The marker 105C is also made larger or bigger relative to the markers illustrated in FIGS. 9, 10A, and 11A-11F.
  • FIGS. 11A-11F are exemplary markers 105 that can be used on stored value tokens 101A according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. FIG. 11A illustrates an example of a marker 105B2 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses a graphical element 1105A and human-readable media 909B. The graphical element 1105A can comprise a rotated “L”-shaped member. The human-readable media 909B can comprise text, such as the phrase “BOBA.” However, other text can be used without departing from the scope of the invention.
  • It is noted that human-readable media, such as the human-readable media 909B of FIG. 11A may also be recognized by a machine if the media comprises text and if the machine reading the text is equipped with an optical character recognition system. While the outer member 906B and the inner members 909, 1105 of the various Figures have been illustrated with solid black colored ink, the inventive system may also employ the use of color if such color can assist with detection of the marker 105. Further, the position of the inner members 909, 1105 relative to the outer member 906B can be varied without departing from the scope of the invention.
  • FIG. 11B illustrates an example of a marker 105B3 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses a first and second graphical elements 1105B and 1105C. The first and second graphical elements 1105B and 1105C can comprise two circular shaped solid colored elements that are positioned within a whitespace or unfilled region contained within the outer member 906B. In this exemplary embodiment, the first graphical element 1105B may have a size which is smaller relative to the second graphical element 1105C.
  • FIG. 11C illustrates an example of a marker 105B4 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses two graphical elements 1105D1 and 1105D2. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 11C, the two graphical elements may be opposite shapes relative to each other. That is, the first graphical element 1105D1 may comprise a backwards “L”-shape while the second graphical element 1105D2 may comprise an “L”-shape.
  • FIG. 11D illustrates an example of a marker 105B5 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses a single graphical element 1105E. The single graphical element 1105E may comprise a traditional geometry, such as an “arrow”-shape. As noted above, the outer member 906B and the inner member 1105 may have colors other than the dark black color provided in the Figures. For example, the single graphical element 1105E may comprise a certain color such as the color red.
  • FIG. 11E illustrates an example of a marker 105B6 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses another single graphical element 1105F. The single graphical element 1105F may comprise a “P”-shaped solid element.
  • FIG. 11F illustrates an example of a marker 105B1 that comprises a square shaped outer member 906B which encloses human-readable media 909A. The human-readable media 909A can comprise text. As the previously, the human-readable media 909 may also be read by a machine if such a machine is equipped with an optical character recognition system. For the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIG. 11E, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may search for a certain shape of the human-readable media 909A without actually performing optical character recognition of the text. However, optical character recognition of the text can be within the scope of the invention. The exemplary text of FIG. 11F can also denote a source or an originator of the token 101A. The exemplary text in FIG. 11F comprises the phrase, “The Home Depot.”
  • FIG. 12 illustrates various exemplary embodiments of the machine-readable code 1010 for the stored value token 101 according to the invention. The machine-readable code 1010 can take on one or more different types of forms. For example, the machine-readable code 1010A can comprise a bar-code. The machine-readable code 1010B can comprise an RF antenna coupled to an integrated circuit or the RF antenna can be tuned to a particular unique frequency. Alternatively, the machine-readable code 1010C can comprise an integrated circuit (IC) such as an IC circuit for an IC card. The machine-readable code 1010 can take the form of any one or any combination of these exemplary codes 1010 illustrated in FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 13 illustrates a magnetic stripe for the machine-readable code 1010D according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The magnetic stripe machine-readable code 1010D can be positioned on the second side 901B (as illustrated) of the token 101, or on the first side 901A (not illustrated). In this view, the marker 105 is illustrated with dashed lines to signify that it is hidden with respect to this view.
  • FIG. 14A is a logic flow diagram highlighting various steps of a method 1400 for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value token 101 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the functions described herein as they relate to either the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A or the servers 100A-E (or both) can comprise firmware code executing on a microcontroller, microprocessor, a DSP, or state machines implemented in application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), programmable logic, or other numerous forms without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
  • In other words, these steps illustrated in FIG. 14A, 14B, 14C, and 15 and any other logic flow diagrams of this disclosure may be provided as a computer program which may include a machine-readable medium having stored there on instructions which may be used to program a computer (or other electronic devices) to perform a process according to the invention. The machine-readable medium may include, but is not limited to, a floppy diskette, optical disk, CD-ROM, magneto-optical disks, ROMs, RAMs, EEPROMs, EEPROMs, magneto-optical cards, flash memory, or other type of medias/machine-readable mediums suitable for storing electronic instructions.
  • Further, certain steps in the processes or process flow described in this specification must naturally precede others for the invention to function as described. However, the invention is not limited to the order of the steps described if such order or sequence does not alter the functionality of the invention. That is, it is recognized that some steps may performed before, after, or parallel other steps without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. In some instances, certain steps can be deleted or not performed without departing from the invention.
  • Additionally, one of ordinary skill and programming would be able to write computer code or identify appropriate hardware or circuits to implement the disclosed invention without difficulty based on the flow charts and associated description in the application text, for example.
  • Therefore, disclosure of a particular set of program code instructions or detailed hardware devices is not considered necessary for an adequate understanding of how to make and use the invention. The inventive functionality of the claimed computer implemented processes will be explained in more detail in the following description and in conjunction with the Figures which may illustrate various process flows.
  • Referring now to FIG. 14A, step 1401 is the first step of the method 1400 and which instructions may be displayed on the display device 147 on how to activate the stored value token 101 for the augmented reality experience. As noted previously, the human-readable media 903C on a second side 901B of the stored value token 101 can comprise instructions on how to access an Internet website supported by the web server 100E. The Internet website can provide these instructions.
  • In step 1403, the web server 100E can receive a token identifier from the client device 100A in addition to a denomination of value to associate or assigned to the token 101. The token identifier may comprise the human-readable code 903D that is positioned adjacent to the machine-readable code 1010A as illustrated in FIG. 10. The web server 100E may allow the purchaser of the stored value token 101 to select various denominations of value at predetermined levels that can be deposited in a stored value account which is associated with the stored value token 101. For example, if US currency is used, a purchaser of the stored value token can select from a group of predetermined increments of value to associate with the stored value token 101 such as on the order of $25, $35, $50, and $100. However, other increments of value and other currencies, such as Euros, are within the scope of the invention.
  • In step 1406, the purchaser of the stored value token 101 can be prompted by the web server 100E to input personal information. For example, such personal information can include, but is not limited to, name, street address, zip code, phone number, etc. It is noted that step 1406 is optional.
  • Subsequently, in routine 1407, the purchaser of the stored value token 101 may create a customized video 203 or he/she may upload a pre-recorded video file from local storage on the client device 100A. Further details about routine 1407 will be described below in connection with FIG. 15.
  • Next, in step 1409, the personal information entered in step 1406, a time stamp, and the token identifier are stored in the products/services database 179. In step 1410, the web server 100E can create a database record that lists the value associated with the stored value token 101. In this step, the web server 100E may create a new user session cookie for the web browser 163 running on the client device 100A.
  • In step 1412, the web server 100E can search the product/services database 179 for one or more products/services that may have a value which is close to the selected denomination/value associated with the stored value token 101. This means that the web server 100E can search the database 179 for one or more products/services that are greater than, less than, or equal to the selected denomination/value associated with the stored value token 101. In step 1415, products/services matching the value condition for the search are identified by the web server 100E. As an alternative to steps 1412 and 1415, the purchaser of the stored value token 101 may provide a video with product and/or service recommendations.
  • Next, in step 1418, a listing of the identified products/services that match the value condition are associated with the token identifier and stored in the database 179. In this step 1418, graphical items that can comprise images, such as photographs, of products and items or icons that represent services associated with the matched products/services can be collected and stored in a record. This data collected in this step 1418 can be appended to the record created in step 1409.
  • In optional step 1421 illustrated with dashed lines, the purchaser of the stored value token 101 can forward the token 101 to an intended recipient. This step is optional because the purchaser of the stored value token 101 may decide to initiate the augmented reality experience prior to giving the stored value token 101 to another person.
  • In decision step 1422, the web browser 163 with the multimedia player module 825 may determine if the video received in routine 1407 was recently generated by the purchaser, such as using webcam 175 or if the purchaser uploaded pre-recorded video. If the result of decision step 1422 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1427. However, if the result of decision step 1422 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed to step 1423 in which the uploaded pre-recorded video file 203 is transferred to the server array 100D.
  • Next, in step 1424, the video file 203 is changed from a first file format to a second file format. For example, video files recorded in the dot w-m-v (.wmv)—windows media file format, motion pictures expert group fourth (MPEG-4) format, as well as others may be converted to the QuickTime video format as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • In step 1427, the web server 100E may receive the token identifier listed on the stored value token 101 from the client device 100A. There may be different websites set up for activating the stored value token 101 and using the stored value token 101 after it has been activated. The website providing the augmented reality data for the client device 100A after the token 101 has been activated may prompt the user to enter the token identifier as the first step in initiating the augmented reality experience. So step 1427 may constitute the request to initiate the augmented reality experience by prompting a user to key-in a token identifier. In step 1430, the web server 100E may retrieve the product/service file and customized video 203 associated with the token identifier from the product/service database 179.
  • Next, in step 1433, the web server 100E can assemble data 802 that contains the information for the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A. The data 802 may also include the product/service file(s) and customized video 203 that are associated with the token identifier of the stored value token 101. The data 802 may further include data for the camera monitor file 803A, data for the 3-D model generator file 806A, data for the marker recognizer and tracker file 809A, and data for the screen pointer movement file 815A. These files are discussed above and are illustrated in FIG. 8A.
  • In step 1436, the web server 100E sends the data 802 over the computer network 173 to the client device 100A. The client device 100A initializes the data 802 with a multimedia player module that is part of an Internet/web browser 163. After the initialization of the data 802 with the multimedia player module such that the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A is activated, in decision step 1439, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can determine if a video camera 175 is coupled to the client device 100A.
  • Specifically, in this decision step 1439, the camera signal monitoring module 803A of the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A will check to determine if a video camera 175 is coupled to the client device 100A. If the inquiry to decision step 1439 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1448. If the inquiry to decision step 1439 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed to step 1442.
  • In step 1442 product/service images can be shown on the display device 147 without any augmented reality experience. The web server 100E can also receive any selections of the products/services that may be displayed with the web browser 163. In step 1445 the process continues to step 1494 of FIG. 14B.
  • In step 1448, real world, live images can be captured with the camera 175 and may be shown on the display device 147. In step 1451, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can scan the images produced by the camera 175 for the marker 105 which is present on the stored value token 101. Specifically, in this step 1451, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B monitors the output of the camera signal monitoring module 803B for the marker 105.
  • In decision step 1454, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A determines if the marker 105 on the stored value token 101 has been detected. If the inquiry to decision step 1454 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed back to step 1451. If the inquiry to decision step 1454 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1457.
  • In step 1457, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A continuously tracks the location of the marker 105 within the images produced by the camera 175. In this step, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B constantly identifies the location of the marker 105 within the images relative to the camera 175.
  • In decision step 1460, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, and specifically the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B, determines if the marker 105 is at a first angle relative to the camera 175. In this decision step 1460, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B determines if the marker 105 has a square shape as illustrated in FIG. 3 and discussed above. As noted previously, when the marker 105 has a square shape this means that a geometric plane defined by the marker 105 is at an angle which is substantially equal to ninety degrees relative to a normal of a geometric plane defined by the X-axis and Y-axis of the display 200. Other methods or algorithms for determining the relative orientation of the marker 105, other than searching for specific shapes of the marker 105 which depend on the marker's orientation, are within the scope of the invention.
  • If the inquiry to decision step 1460 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed to step 1467 in which the process continues to decision step 1469 of FIG. 14C. If the inquiry to decision step 1460 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1461 in which the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A displays an option 213 on the user interface for playing the video 203 as illustrated in FIG. 3A. This option may comprise a “play button” or other like mechanisms for activating video on a display device. Next, in step 1462, a selection of the option 213 for playing the video 203 may be received. In step 1463, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A plays the video 203 that may comprise customized video from the purchaser of the stored value token 101.
  • In decision step 1464, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may display an option for allowing the user to download the video 203 locally relative to the client computer 100A. If the inquiry to decision step 1464 is positive, then the “YES” branch may be followed to step 1465 in which the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A retrieves a copy of the video 203 from the server array 100D that is in a format suitable for storage on the client computer 100A. The format according to one exemplary embodiment may comprise the QuickTime File Format having the file extension dot MOV (.mov), however, other file formats are well within the scope of the invention.
  • After the video 203 has been displayed and/or downloaded by the user, in step 1466, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A renders an object 207 with video 203A as illustrated in FIG. 3A. The object 207 provides the user 110 with the augmented reality experience in which the user 110 perceives the object 207 with video 203 shown on the two-dimensional display 200B.
  • From step 1466, the process continues to step 1467 takes the process to decision step 1469 of FIG. 14C. In decision step 1469, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A determines if the marker 105 on the stored value token 101 in the images captured by the camera 175 has been removed from the view of the camera 175 and then re-introduced into the view of the camera 175. Specifically, in this step, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B of the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A determines if the marker 105 having a square shape has been removed from the camera's view and then reintroduced into this view. Removal from the camera's view can include situations in which the token 101 is shaken quickly so that the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A cannot track the marker 105 because of the vigorous movement of the token 101 through space.
  • As an alternative exemplary embodiment, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A in step 1469 can determine if the marker 105 on the stored value token 101 in the images captured by the camera 175 is at a predetermined angle relative to the camera 175. In other words, in this step 1469, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B of the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can determine if the marker 105 has a rhomboid shape. In other words, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B determines if the geometric plane defined by the marker 105 is at an angle other than ninety-degrees relative to a normal of a geometric plane defined by the X-axis and Y-axis of the display 200. At such an angle, the marker 105 will likely have a rhomboid shape or non-square shape. A rhomboid shape of the marker 105 can indicate that the marker 105 is at angle other than ninety-degrees relative to the geometric normal defined by the display 200 or view of the camera 175. This means that the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A can invoke certain functions based on conditions (positions) of the marker 105 relative to the camera 175. The invention is not limited to triggering functions based on the angle of the marker 105 relative to the camera. Other conditions of the marker 105, besides angles, can be used to trigger functions or output for the augmented reality display.
  • If the inquiry to decision step 1469 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed to step 1472 in which the process returns to step 1460 of FIG. 14A. If the inquiry to decision step 1469 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1475 in which a graphical item 405 is retrieved from the product/service local storage 166A. This graphical item can comprise an image, such as a photograph of a product or a photograph or an icon that represents a service.
  • In step 1478, the object 207 may be displayed without any perspective or depth, such as a object 207 having only two dimensions, and such that the object 207 contains or circumscribes the graphical item 405 as illustrated in FIG. 4. In other words, the object 207 is changed such that it is not illustrated with perspective to show three dimensions in the two-dimensional display 200. As an alternative to the object 207 containing or circumscribing the graphical item 405, the object 207 may be completely removed and substituted with a graphical item 405 that may also have perspective (three-dimensions) similar to the object 207. All of this functionality can be performed by the 3-D model generator module 806B of FIG. 8B.
  • Next, in decision step 1481, it is determined if the marker 105 is at the second angle relative to the camera 175 (similar to the calculation in step 1469) and whether the marker 105 was shaken in a lateral manner. Specifically, the marker recognizer and tracker module 809B can determine whether the marker 105 was oscillated along the X-axis as illustrated in FIG. 6. If the inquiry to decision step 1481 is negative, then the new branch is followed to decision step 1490.
  • If the inquiry to decision step 1481 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1484 in which the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A, and specifically the 3-D model generator module 806B, retrieves the next graphical item 405 within the product/service local storage 166A that has a price which is equal to or less than the value of the stored value token 101.
  • In step 1487, the object 207 is again displayed without any perspective similar to step 1478. The object 207 is generated such that it is only displayed as a two-dimensional object and such that it contains or circumscribes the next graphical item 405, like FIG. 6, that represents at least one of a product and service which has a price equal to or less than the value of the stored value token 101. The 3-D model generator module 806B is responsible for rendering the object 207 and graphical item 405. As noted previously, as an alternative to displaying the object 207 containing the graphical item 405, the graphical item 405 could be displayed with perspective or with three dimensions while the object 207 is completely removed from the display 200.
  • Next, in decision step 1490, interaction with the augmented reality object 207 can be detected by the screen pointer movement detector module 815B of FIG. 8B. In this step, the screen pointer movement detector module 815B can determine if the user 110 has interacted with the object 207 with a screen pointer 409. In addition to monitoring screen input, the detector module 815B may also monitor other input, such as, but not limited to, keystrokes from a keyboard.
  • If the inquiry to decision step 1490 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed to decision step 1493. If the inquiry to decision step 1490 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1491 in which product/service information of related products or services 405B-D relative to the graphical item 405A1 currently displayed are retrieved with the web browser 163 and are displayed within regions or windows adjacent to the augmented reality display 200C as illustrated in FIG. 5. In step 1492, the related products or services 405B-D can be displayed as illustrated in FIG. 5.
  • In decision step 1493, the web server 100E can determine if any of the products or services has been selected for purchase by the user 110. It is also noted that at this point in the process, the user 110 could leave the on-line experience and go to a brick and mortar store in order to complete a purchase of the one or more products or services that were displayed during the augmented reality experience. In the on-line scenario, the web browser 100E can detect events such as, but not limited to, double-clicks or activation of a button 515 to determine if the user 110 desires to purchase a particular service or product on display. Button 515 can activate a hyperlink which takes the user to another web page.
  • If the inquiry to decision step 1493 is negative, then the “No” branch is followed back to step 1487. However, it is noted that the “No” branch in this step is not limited to returning to step 1487. The “No” branch in this step could take the process back to any other step, such as decision step 1460. If the inquiry to decision step 1493 is positive, then the “Yes” branch is followed to step 1494 in which the user 110 may be prompted to enter the token identifier associated with the stored value card 101 or if the user 110 at a terminal, the user 110 can scan the machine-readable code with a reader.
  • In step 1496, a value from the stored value account associated with the stored value token 101 can be retrieved in exchange for the one or more goods or services selected for purchase by the user 110. In optional step 1498, additional value may be received to add to the stored value account associated with the stored value token 101. The process 1400 then ends.
  • FIG. 14D is logic flow diagram highlighting various steps of a method 1400D for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value electronic token (e-token) according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. This exemplary embodiment generally corresponds with the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1B, 3D, and 3E described above.
  • The method 1400D is very similar to the method 1400A illustrated in FIG. 14A and described above. Therefore, only the differences between these two methods will be described below. Step 1402 is the first step of method 1400D in which a purchaser of an electronic token may select one or more options 164 from a website hosted by the web server 100E, as illustrated in FIG. 1B. These options 164 may comprise artwork, photographs, and other graphical items that may be selected by the purchaser of an e-token using a client device 100F. The options 164 may further include pre-set or predetermined messages, like “Happy Birthday,” or “Happy Anniversary,” or the like. The options 164 may also provide for customized messages such as the text of the electronic message 222 as illustrated in FIG. 3D.
  • Next, in step 1404 the web server 100E may receive a denomination of value to associate or assign to the selected e-token. Also in this step, the web server 100E can assign a token identifier. The token identifier may comprise the human-readable code 903B that is positioned adjacent to the machine-readable code 1010A as illustrated in FIGS. 10A and 10B. The web server 100E may allow the purchaser of the e-token to select various denominations of value at predetermined levels that can be deposited in a stored value account which is associated with the e-token. For example, if the US currency is used, a purchaser of the e-token can select from a group a predetermined increments of value to associate with the e-token such as on the order of $25, $35, $50, and $100. However, other increments of value in other currencies, such as Euros, are within the scope of the invention.
  • Steps 1406-1424 are similar to steps 1406-1424 of method 1400A of FIG. 14A. Therefore, further details of these similar steps will not be described. In step 1426, the server array 100D or the media server 100B may receive the universal resource locater (URL) or hypertext link 225 that is displayed in the electronic message 222 of FIG. 3D that is sent from the purchaser of the e-token to the recipient of the e-token.
  • The remaining steps 1430-1442 of method 1400D are similar to steps 1430-1442 of method 1400A of FIG. 14A. However, decision step 1439 of FIG. 14A has been omitted since the recipient client device 100A is not required to have a camera 175 as illustrated in FIG. 1B in order to play the customized video 203A. In step 1445, the process 1400D continues to step 1494 of FIG. 14C.
  • To summarize the method 1400D of FIG. 14D, a purchaser of an e-token may create a customized video 203A which is associated with an e-token that can be sent to the intended recipient over the communications network 173. The intended recipient may view the e-token and its associated customized video 203A with a client device 100A that is equipped with a video module 160B.
  • FIG. 15 is a logic flow diagram highlighting various steps of a sub-method 1407 of FIG. 14A for receiving and managing customized video 203 in connection with a stored value token 101 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.
  • In decision step 1501, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A determines if a pre-existing video file 203 exists. In other words, the purchaser of a stored value token 101 may be provided with the option to upload an existing video 203 that he or she wishes to associate with the stored value token 101 instead of recording a new customized video to be associated with the stored value token 101. The user may be provided with options displayed in a user interface when the purchaser of the stored value token 101 is activating the stored value token 101 on-line prior to the delivery to the token recipient.
  • If the result of decision step 1501 is negative, meaning that the purchaser of the stored value token 101 wishes to record a new video for association with the stored value token 101, then the “NO” branch is followed to step 1503 in which the user is prompted for recording video with a video recording unit, such as a camera 175 that is part of the client device 100A. If the result of decision step 1501 is positive, meaning that the purchaser of the stored value token 101 has pre-recorded video to upload to the servers 100B-E, then the “YES” branch is followed to step 1524 in which the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A verifies the type of file selected by the purchaser for uploading to the servers 100B-E.
  • In step 1503, a prompt may be displayed to the purchaser of the stored value token 101 in order to start recording of the customized video 203 that will be associated with the stored value token 101. In step 1505, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may display a list of file types available to be recorded by the purchaser of the stored value token 101 and it may receive the file type selected by the purchaser.
  • In step 1506, after receiving a command to record video such as a user selecting an option to use a camera 175 coupled to the client device 100A to record the video 203, the camera 175 may start recording video and start sending signals to the augmented reality module and video player/recorder module 160A. Specifically, the camera 175 may send signals to the camera signal monitoring module 803B as illustrated in FIG. 8B.
  • Next, in step 1509, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may transfer the recorded video data to the Internet/Web browser 163 which in turn transfers the video data to the media server 100B as illustrated in FIG. 8A. Next, in step 1512, the media server 100B may create containing the video data. In step 1515, the media server 100B may alert the Web server 100E of the filename which is treated by the media server 100B for storing the video data being recorded by the purchaser of the stored value token 101.
  • According to one exemplary embodiment, the length or recording time of the video 203 may be limited by the media server 100B. According to one exemplary embodiment, the length of the video 203 is limited to a time period comprising three minutes or less. However, other lengths are included within the scope of the invention and may be longer or shorter than the three-minute threshold described above. Further, the amount of time that the video 203 is stored by the system 102 may also be limited to a fixed or finite period of time. According to one exemplary embodiment, after a customized video 203 is displayed to the recipient of the stored value token 101, the time limit for playback can be set for a period of approximately 90 days. However, other time periods greater than or less than the exemplary period noted above are within the scope of the invention.
  • In step 1518, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may display one or more playback commands on a user interface and receive a selection of those one or more commands from the purchaser of the stored value token 101. If commands to playback the video 203 are received, then in step 1519, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may playback the video 203 on a display device similar to what is illustrated in FIGS. 3A-3B.
  • In decision step 1521, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may prompt the purchaser on whether he or she wishes to re-record the video 203 that was captured by the camera 175. If the inquiry to decision step 1521 is positive, then the “YES” branch is followed back to step 1503. If the inquiry to decision step 1521 is negative, then the “NO” branch is followed back to step 1409 of FIG. 14A.
  • As noted previously, in step 1524, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may review the file type desired to be uploaded by the purchaser of the stored value token 101. If the file type is not recognized by the module 160A, then it may request the user to provide another file type as outlined in step 1527.
  • The augmented reality and video player/recorder 160A may be able to support various types of video file formats known as of this writing. Such video file formats include, but are not limited to, video files recorded in the dot w-m-v (.wmv)—windows media file format, the motion pictures expert group fourth (MPEG-4) format, the flash video dot f-l-v (.flv) format, as well as the QuickTime video format dot m-o-v (.mov) as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. Other video file formats not specifically mentioned are included within the scope of the invention.
  • In step 1530, if a supported video file type is provided, then the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may send the received file type to the Web server 100E. Next, in step 1533, if the video file type received is not in a preferred format such as in the flash media file format (.flv) or the QuickTime (.mov) video file format, then the Web server 100E may transfer the received file and issue a command to the transcode server 100C to change the received file format to the preferred video file format, such as (.flv) and (.mov).
  • After the received file has been changed to the preferred video file format, then the transcode server 100C may transfer the preferred video file format to the server array 100D for temporary storage of the customized video 203 for the predetermined length of time discussed above, which is triggered after the customized video 203 is viewed for the first time by the recipient of the stored value card 101.
  • In step 1542, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may prompt the user to play the converted video file for review. In step 1545, upon receiving a command from the user, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may playback the video 203 and display it on a display device similar to what is illustrated in FIG. 3A. Next, in decision step 1550, the augmented reality and video player/recorder module 160A may prompt the user to indicate if they wish to keep the uploaded video 203 to be associated with the stored value token 101 or if they wish to upload a different video than the one which was just converted. If the inquiry to decision step 1550 is negative, then the “NO” branch is followed back to step 1409 of FIG. 14A. If the inquiry to decision step 1550 is positive, then the “YES” branch is followed back to step 1524.
  • Alternative embodiments for the method 1400 and system 102 for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value token 101 will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains without departing from its spirit and scope.
  • For example, various aspects and/embodiments of the invention described above may be interchanged or combined with one another. For example, the e-token purchased in FIG. 1A may be associated with augmented reality elements such as those illustrated in FIG. 3C. Instead of the augmented reality/video module 160A searching a display for a marker 105 on a physical token 101, the module 160A may use of ordinary object such as a human hand or a human eye as the marker 105. This also means that steps 1401-1406, 1427 for method 1400A of FIG. 14A may be replaced by steps 1402-1406, 1426 for method 1400D of FIG. 14D.
  • Similarly, the physical token 101 may be associated with customized video 203A that may be played back without any association with augmented reality elements. That is, a token 101 of FIG. 1A that is purchased may also be associated with only a video 203A and not any augmented reality elements, such as the exemplary embodiment having only video 203A illustrated in FIG. 3E. This means that steps 1402-1406, 1426 of FIG. 14D for method 1400D may be replaced with steps 1401-1406, 1427 of FIG. 1400A of FIG. 14A for method 1400A.
  • Thus, although this invention has been described in exemplary form with a certain degree of particularity, it should be understood that the present disclosure is made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts or steps may be resorted to without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.

Claims (35)

1. A method for creating an augmented reality experience comprising:
capturing streaming video images with a camera coupled to a client device;
displaying the streaming video images on a display device which is coupled to the client device;
scanning the video images for a marker present on a stored value token;
determining a position of the marker relative to the camera from the video images; and
if the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, then displaying a video adjacent to the marker in the streaming video images.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating and displaying an object having perspective adjacent to the marker in the streaming video images if the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, wherein the predetermined position is a first position and the object is a first object, wherein when the marker is in a second position, then generating and displaying a second object that contains a graphical item, the second object not having perspective.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising transmitting a token identifier associated with a stored value token over a computer network.
4. The method of claim 2, wherein the video comprises one of an advertisement associated with a merchant of the stored value token and a customized video recorded by a purchaser of the stored value token.
5. The method of claim 1, further comprising determining if the marker has been removed from a view of the camera.
6. The method of claim 2, wherein the graphical item is a first graphical item and wherein if the camera detects the marker leaving a view of the camera and then being re-introduced into the view, then displaying the object adjacent to the marker and with the object containing a second graphical item different from the first graphical item.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising determining if a screen pointer has interacted with the object.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein if the screen pointer has interacted with the object, then displaying additional information about the graphical item contained within the object.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the additional information comprises one of text and an image related to the graphical item.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising determining if the graphical item has been selected for purchase.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein if the graphical item has been selected for purchase, then retrieving value from stored value account in exchange for purchase of the selected graphical item.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving additional value to add to a stored value account associated with the stored value token.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising if the marker is removed and then reintroduced into a view of the camera, then generating and displaying the object adjacent to the marker and containing a graphical item that is associated with a price that is close to a value associated with the stored value token.
14. A method for creating an augmented reality experience comprising:
receiving a value to associate with a stored value token;
searching a database for one of products and services that are sold close to the value;
matching at least one of a product and a service which is sold close to the value;
creating a record comprising a token identifier and a graphical item representing one of the product and service that is found during matching;
receiving a request to initiate the augmented reality experience;
in response to the request, preparing data comprising augmented reality information including a video file, and the record comprising the graphical item; and
sending the data over a computer network.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein preparing data comprising augmented reality information further comprises preparing a video file for playback on a display device.
16. The method of claim 15, further comprising preparing data for generating an object with perspective on a display device, wherein the object comprises a storage container.
17. The method of claim 14, wherein creating the record comprising the graphical item further includes retrieving an image that represents at least one of a product and a service.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the image comprises a digital photograph of at least one of a product and a scene representing a service.
19. The method of claim 14, wherein receiving a request to initiate the augmented reality experience further comprises receiving the token identifier associated with a stored value token.
20. A computer system for creating an augmented reality experience on a display device, comprising:
a processing unit;
a memory storage device;
a display device coupled to the processing unit for displaying data; and
a program module for providing instructions to the processing unit, the processing unit responsive to the instructions of the program module, operable for:
capturing streaming video images with a camera;
displaying the streaming video images on the display device;
scanning the video images for a marker present on a stored value token;
determining a position of the marker relative to the camera from the video image; and
if the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, then displaying a video associated with the stored value token.
21. The computer system of claim 20, wherein the stored value token comprises one of a gift card, credit card, an atm card, and a debit card.
22. The computer system of claim 20, wherein the marker on the stored value token comprises a first graphical member and a second graphical member, the second graphical member being circumscribed by the first graphical member.
23. The computer system of claim 20, wherein the stored value token comprises machine-readable media.
24. The computer system of claim 20, further comprising generating and displaying an object adjacent to the marker and containing a graphical item that is associated with a price that is close to a value associated with the stored value token if the marker is in a predetermined position relative to the camera, wherein the object comprises a three-dimensional container.
25. The computer system of claim 24, wherein the container contains one or more decorations suggesting a gift context for the stored value token.
26. The computer system of claim 24, wherein the graphical item comprises one of an image and an icon representing at least one of a product and a service that is associated with a price which is one of less than and equal to a value associated with the stored value token.
27. The computer system of claim 20, wherein the system further comprises an instruction for determining if the marker has been removed and reintroduced into a view of the camera, and if the marker been reintroduced into the view, then generating and displaying an object having perspective adjacent to the marker.
28. A method for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with a stored value account, comprising:
receiving a token identifier from a communications network associated with a physical token;
retrieving a customized video associated with the token identifier; and
sending the customized video over a communications network.
29. The method of claim 28, wherein the token comprises one of a gift card, credit card, an atm card, and a debit card.
30. The method of claim 28, wherein the token identifier is positioned adjacent to machine-readable media.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein the machine-readable media comprises a bar code.
32. A method for creating a personalized experience with customized video in connection with an e-token, comprising:
receiving a selection of one or more options on-line associated with an e-token;
receiving a denomination of value to associate with the e-token;
receiving a video to associate with the e-token;
receiving a hypertext link associated with the video; and
sending the video over a communications network in response to receiving the hypertext link.
33. The method of claim 32, further comprising receiving personal information about a purchaser of the e-token.
34. The method of claim 32, wherein the receiving video to associate with the e-token further comprises receiving one of video created with a web-cam and pre-existing video stored on a tangible storage medium.
35. The method of claim 32, wherein the e-token comprises machine-readable media.
US12/904,032 2009-08-28 2010-10-13 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token Abandoned US20120022924A1 (en)

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US12/549,618 US8645220B2 (en) 2009-08-28 2009-08-28 Method and system for creating an augmented reality experience in connection with a stored value token
US12/904,032 US20120022924A1 (en) 2009-08-28 2010-10-13 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US12/904,032 US20120022924A1 (en) 2009-08-28 2010-10-13 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token
MX2013004166A MX347053B (en) 2010-10-13 2011-10-12 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token.
PCT/US2011/055928 WO2012051271A2 (en) 2010-10-13 2011-10-12 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token
CN201711270824.0A CN107943297A (en) 2010-10-13 2011-10-12 With the method and system with the relevant video creation individualized experience of Stored Value token
CA2814656A CA2814656A1 (en) 2010-10-13 2011-10-12 Method and system for creating a personalized experience with video in connection with a stored value token
CN201180058755.1A CN103503013B (en) 2010-10-13 2011-10-12 With the method and system of the video creation individualized experience related to Stored Value token
US15/590,539 US20170308156A1 (en) 2009-08-28 2017-05-09 Method and system for creating a personalized experience in connection with a stored value token

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CN103503013B (en) 2017-12-29
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MX347053B (en) 2017-04-10
US20170308156A1 (en) 2017-10-26

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