WO1994028529A1 - Personalized audio gift - Google Patents

Personalized audio gift Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1994028529A1
WO1994028529A1 PCT/US1994/005742 US9405742W WO9428529A1 WO 1994028529 A1 WO1994028529 A1 WO 1994028529A1 US 9405742 W US9405742 W US 9405742W WO 9428529 A1 WO9428529 A1 WO 9428529A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
picture
assembly
message
frame
switch
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1994/005742
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Steven D. Dushane
Howard B. Rosen
Original Assignee
Dushane Steven D
Rosen Howard B
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G1/00Mirrors; Picture frames or the like, e.g. provided with heating, lighting or ventilating means
    • A47G1/06Picture frames
    • A47G1/0616Ornamental frames, e.g. with illumination, speakers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G1/00Mirrors; Picture frames or the like, e.g. provided with heating, lighting or ventilating means
    • A47G1/14Photograph stands
    • A47G1/142Supporting legs or feet
    • A47G1/143Pivotable legs
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F1/00Cardboard or like show-cards of foldable or flexible material
    • G09F1/10Supports or holders for show-cards
    • G09F1/12Frames therefor

Abstract

An audio digital integrated circuit (28), together with a microphone (24), loudspeaker (18), and battery (26), comprise an audio recording and playback unit (16) which is incorporated into a personalized gift to permit simultaneous enjoyment of both the gift and a personalized audio message recorded thereon. The gift may include a framed picture (14) or photograph (14) with the audio unit (16) being mounted in the frame (12) and having a playback switch (22) easily accesible for actuation by the recipient of the gift. A record switch (20) is included on the audio unit (16) and recessed to prevent unintentional erasure of the recorded message. Alternatively, the audio unit (16) and playback switch (22) may be mounted on a separate picture holder (34) independent of the frame (12). The audio unit (16) may further be incorporated into a festive or decorative holder (48) representative of a special occasion, with the holder (48) being mounted or secured to a personalized gift closely associated with the festive holder (48).

Description

PERSONALIZED AUDIO GIFT

RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 08/067,678.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a personalized gift wherein the originator of the gift records a message and then combines it with a personalized gift, and the recipient plays back the recorded message.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Talking greeting cards are well known, and one such greeting card is shown in T. Kondo, U.S. Patent No. 4,791,741, issued December 20, 1988. However, the greeting cards of the type disclosed in the above patent are of limited usefulness, and do not satisfy the need for a substantial personalized gift which is easy to use, and foolproof in its use to receive the personalized audio message by the intended recipient of the gift.

Other talking greeting cards require the originator to pre-record a single, non-modifiable message that cannot later be modified when desired. As shown in E. B. Johnson et al., U.S. Patent No. 5,063,698, a separate message encoding device and procedure is required to record and load the desired message into the greeting card circuitry. After the message is recorded, the separate encoding device is detached from the greeting card circuitry, thus making it impossible to modify an existing message or record new messages.

Greeting cards, similar to those described above, which incorporate electronic circuitry to generate auditory messages and the like have become so common-place that the emotional response of the recipient is not significantly enhanced. Moreover, greeting cards are inherently limited to a single theme which, in turn, severely limits the context of the originator's message. There is, therefore, a significant need for a substantial personalized audio gift that significantly enhances the emotional impact of the originator's personal message being conveyed to the recipient. There is a further need for a personalized audio gift wherein the means for providing an audio personalized message transforms a generic gift into a meaningful personalized gift.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a picture frame is provided with a photograph of the originator of the gift, or of some picture or scene having a special meaning for the originator and the recipient of the gift. In addition, a digital audio recording and playback unit is provided with a record switch being hidden or recessed, and a playback switch being prominent and evident. Alternatively, the playback may be initiated by voice activation. In addition, the picture frame may be provided with a supplemental support, such as a fold out member, for holding the picture upright when in use.

From a broader aspect, instead of the personalized gift being a photograph, the personalized gift may be a specially selected floral arrangement or a birthday cake, for example, with a personalized message written thereon. The recording and playback unit may be mounted on a suitable rigid member, other than a photograph frame, which may, for example, be either heart shaped, or have some other special message or festive indicia thereon, such as "Happy Anniversary" or "Happy Birthday". The rigid holder may further be provided with an elongated support member which may have a pointed end, and extend down into a floral arrangement, a birthday cake, or any other appropriate personalized gift. Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description, and from the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a personalized audio gift illustrating the principles of the invention, including a picture frame and a photograph of the originator of the gift;

FIG. 2 shows an audio recording and playback unit of the present invention mounted on the back of a picture frame;

FIG. 3 is a detailed electrical schematic illustrating a preferred embodiment of an audio recording and playback unit;

FIG. 4 is a showing of an embodiment of the invention having a separate, detachable picture holder suitable for supporting a picture within a conventional picture frame; FIG. 5 is a side view of a picture frame and a picture holder incorporating an audio recording and playback unit;

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the present invention incorporated into a floral arrangement gift; and FIG. 7 is a showing of an embodiment of the invention incorporating an audio recording and playback unit in a holder displaying a special occasion greeting and having an elongated support suitable for mounting in a floral arrangement, cake, or other personalized gift.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to the figures, and more particularly to FIG. 1, a picture assembly 10 is shown having a frame 12 and displaying a photograph 14 of the originator of the gift. A transparent panel 15 or window, typically made of glass or translucent plastic, may be included to cover and protect the underlying photograph 14. It should be noted paintings, sketches, and other pictorial and graphical scenes having a special meaning for the originator and recipient of the gift may be displayed in picture assembly 10 without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention. Playback switch 22, preferably located along the top or side faces of picture frame 12, is prominently situated and easily accessible for actuation by the recipient of the gift. Upon depressing playback switch 22, a pre-recorded personalized message, such as "HI GRANDMA, WE HAD A REALLY GREAT TIME AT YOUR HOUSE ON OUR VACATION . . .", is broadcasted to the recipient of the gift. In one embodiment, the personalized message is recorded by the same individual whose photograph is displayed in picture assembly 10. Thus, the emotional response of the recipient of the gift is greatly enhanced by simultaneously viewing the photograph and listening to the personalized message recorded by the originator of the gift.

Personalized messages are recorded on, and played back from, an audio recording and playback unit 16 which may be mounted to the back of picture frame 12. Audio recording and playback unit 16 includes a playback switch 22 which is mounted on the picture frame 12 and conveniently located for easy actuation. Preferably, playback switch 22 has a shape conforming to the contour of the picture frame surface 22, and which may include a plurality of ridges that form a high-friction surface. It is noted that the placement, shape, and orientation of playback switch 22 may differ from that depicted in FIG. 2 to accommodate picture frames of varying configurations, and, therefore, the configuration of playback switch 22 is not limited to the configuration as pictured herein. Moreover, playback switch 22 may be replaced with a voice activated playback switch of a type known in the electrical arts.

Audio recording and playback unit 16 further comprises loudspeaker 18, microphone 24, and record switch 20, all of which are encased within housing 23. Battery compartment 25 includes a cover which may be removed to install and/or replace a battery which powers the audio recording and playback unit 16. Playback switch 22 is connected to audio recording and playback unit 16 through playback switch line 21. Playback line 21 may be increased or decreased in length to accommodate the specific positioning of playback switch 22 relative to audio recording and playback unit 16. A series of slits in housing 23 allows the personal message previously recorded in audio recording and playback unit 16 to be broadcasted through the housing 23 via loudspeaker 18 mounted behind the housing slits.

Microphone 24 is mounted inside housing 23, and may also be positioned behind the slits provided in housing 23. Alternatively, microphone 24 may be located external to housing 23 and recessed in picture frame 12 to permit easy recording of a personalized message by the originator.

Recording of a personalized message is initiated by actuation of record switch 20 which is shown being recessed in housing 23. Access to record switch 20 by the recipient of the audio gift is purposely made difficult to avoid unintentional deletion of the previously recorded personalized message. In one embodiment of the present invention, the originator of the personalized message must use an additional implement, such as a pen, pencil, or other narrow instrument, to activate record switch 20. In another embodiment, record switch 20 is hidden or covered to prevent the recipient from accidentally activating the record mode. In some circumstances, a first recorded message may not have conveyed the sentiment intended by the originator of the message. Purposeful actuation of record switch 20 permits the originator to re-record the personalized message. To record a new message, the originator need only depress and hold record switch 20 and speak into microphone 24 which automatically replaces the previously recorded message with the new personalized message.

The recipient of an audio picture assembly 10 may also desire to share the audio gift with other family members or friends. Prior to sending the audio gift to others, the recipient may wish to record his or her own personalized message that conveys some sentiment regarding the photograph which can later be played back by subsequent recipients. Unlike the prior art audio greeting cards, as discussed above, which require a separate message encoding device to load the message into the audio card circuitry, an advantageous feature of the present invention permits the recipient of the audio gift to record a new message without the need of a detachable encoding device. The recipient may record the desired personal message simply by activating record switch 20 in the same manner as the originator of the gift.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the depicted embodiment illustrates an important aspect of the present invention not addressed by prior art talking greeting cards. Talking greeting cards typically convey a single sentiment or festive message which necessarily limits the context of the originator's message to the theme or motif of the card. The present invention, in contrast, provides the originator the opportunity to select any desired picture, photograph, or other graphical representation to be displayed in picture assembly 10, thereby permitting the originator to convey any desired sentiment to the recipient of the audio gift.

In FIG. 4, there is shown an embodiment of the present invention wherein the audio recording and playback unit 16 is incorporated into a picture holder or support 34 which is independent and detachable with respect to the picture frame 12, with the unit 16 forming the back panel of the assembly, and being secured to the picture frame 12 by the bendable sheet metal elements 35 which are secured to the frame. This embodiment is particularly well-suited for use with conventional picture and photograph frame assemblies having a removable picture holder and a separate frame. Thus, the conventional picture holder of a packaged picture holder and frame set may easily be substituted with the separate audio picture holder or support 34 of the present invention to provide personalized message recording artd playback capability as described herein. Further shown in FIG. 4 are record switch 20, playback switch 22, loudspeaker 18, and microphone 24, all of which are included within housing 23. Housing 23 is shown mounted on a removable picture holder 34. Housing 23 may be detachable from picture holder 34 and may include arrangements for mounting to picture holders 34 of varying sizes and dimensions. In a preferred embodiment, housing 23 and picture holder 34 form a single, integral picture support structure of molded plastic with the audio recording and playback unit 16 and playback and record switches 22 and 20 being incorporated therein. In Fig. 4, the picture frame 12 has rectangular exterior dimensions of about 6 inches by 8 inches, and the entire assembly including the full rearward extent of the back panel 16 and the fold out member 32 is just under 2 inches. Accordingly the thickness of the unit is equal to or less than a one- fourth the maximum dimension of the rectangular dimensions of the assembly.

Fold-out member 32 may be affixed to housing 23 or removable picture holder 34 to provide upright support for picture assembly 10 when it is desirable to display photograph 14 in an upright configuration. Fold-out member 32 may include a hinge 38 which allows fold-out member 32 to swing between an extended position and a flush position for displaying the photograph 14 either on a horizontal surface or a vertical mounting surface, such as a wall. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the removable picture holder 34 and housing 23 of the present invention is shown detachably mounted in a conventional picture frame 12 for upright display. Fold-out member 32 is shown in its extended position being connected with housing 23 at hinge 38. As previously discussed, playback switch 22 is prominently displayed in a protruding configuration with respect to housing 23 as to be easily identifiable and accessible to the recipient of the personalized message. Record switch 20 (not shown) is recessed in housing 23 to reduce occurrences of unintentional erasure of the pre¬ recorded personalized message.

An alternative embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 6 wherein the personalized gift comprises a floral arrangement 40 and a heart shaped audio unit holder 42. In contrast to conventional talking greeting cards, which are physically separate from the gift given by the originator, audio unit 16 incorporated in the heart shaped audio unit holder 42 becomes an integral component of the personalized gift. For example, the generic floral arrangement 40 is provided with a heart shaped audio unit holder 42, on which an audio recording and playback unit 16 is housed, which transforms the generic floral arrangement into a Valentine's bouquet. The prominently displayed playback switch 22 may then be activated by the recipient of the audio gift to play back a pre-recorded personalized message, such as "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY . . ." or other similar message. In this regard, the audio unit of the present invention becomes an intimate and integral component of the personalized gift and transforms what might otherwise be a generic gift into a meaningful personalized gift.

Numerous symbolic and other festive configurations of the audio unit holder come within the scope of the present invention. One such configuration, as shown in FIG. 7, comprises a substantially rectangular audio unit holder 48 on which the audio recording and playback unit 16 is mounted or encapsulated. Playback switch 22 is prominently situated for easy actuation by the recipient of the personalized gift. Record switch 20 is preferably mounted inconspicuously on the audio unit holder 48. Personalized or other festive messages and indicia, such as "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY", or "HAPPY BIRTHDAY", for example, may further decorate audio unit holder 48. An elongated support member 50, connected to and extending from audio unit holder 48, may include a pointed end for insertion into a birthday cake, a floral arrangement, or other appropriate personalized gift. Other fastening, securing, or anchoring means may be employed to affix audio unit holder 48 to the personalized gift.

A detailed schematic of the electronics comprising the audio recording and playback unit 16 is provided in FIG. 3. The audio recording and playback integrated circuit 28 (hereinafter the "audio IC") provides a means for recording, storing, and playing back the originator's personalized message. The remaining significant components comprising audio recording and playback unit 16 include playback switch 22, record switch 20, microphone 24, speaker 18, MOSFET transistor 30, and battery 26.

When the originator activates the record mode by depressing record switch 20, the microphone 24 picks up the audio message, which may include music or other non- vocal sounds, and transmits the signal to audio IC 28 through audio input pin P-17. Audio IC 28 then converts the analog audio signal to a digital signal, and stores the digital signal information in the memory of audio IC 28. In a preferred embodiment, the memory of audio IC 28 has the capacity to store up to 16 seconds of continuous audio information. When the playback mode is invoked, audio IC 28 retrieves the digitized audio information stored in memory, converts it from digital to analog, amplifies and then outputs the analog signal to speaker 18 where it is broadcasted to the recipient of the audio gift.

Audio recording and playback IC 28 is a single integrated circuit, commonly referred to as a chip, which is capable of performing the necessary tasks of recording, storing, and playing back audio messages. A suitable chip for this application is model ISD1016, manufactured by Information Storage Devices. Model ISD1016 employs a preferred digital memory technology termed EEPROM memory (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only-Memory) for storing an audio message of up to 16 seconds in duration. Audio IC 28, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, is a 28-pin chip which may be packaged in a dual-in-line package (DIP) configuration or a surface mount configuration. In a preferred embodiment, a surface mount design is employed wherein audio IC 28, together with the other components comprising audio recording and playback unit 16, may be mounted on both sides of the printed circuit board which can substantially reduce the size of the audio playback and recording unit 16. Surface mounted components are typically soldered to contact pads on the surface of the printed circuit board without requiring any through-holes. The smaller component sizes, lack of through-holes, and capability of mounting components on both sides of the printed circuit board increase the board packing density, making this technology particularly attractive for applications requiring relatively small packaging configurations.

As further illustrated in FIG. 3, battery 26 provides the required power for audio recording and playback unit 16, and is preferably a conventional 9-volt standard alkaline cell. Battery 26 may be contained within a separate battery compartment for easy installation and/or replacement. Zener diode Zl, with its cathode connected to battery 26, operates as a voltage regulator which provides an essentially constant load voltage independent of variations in load current or supply voltage. Taking into consideration a voltage drop of 3.3 volts across zener diode Zl, approximately 5.7 volts of regulated voltage is provided along power bus 27 for the audio recording and playback unit 16 circuitry. Capacitor C5, connected to the anode of zener diode Zl, provides noise filtering of the supplied power.

Turning now to the operation of the audio recording and playback unit 16, recording of a personalized message by the originator is accomplished by activating record switch 20 and simultaneously speaking into microphone 24. Record switch 20 is preferably a touch activated push button switch, often referred to in the art as a "TACT" switch, which is shown coupled to the record mode pin P-18 of audio IC 28 through capacitor Cll. To record a personalized message, the originator depresses record switch 20 and continues to hold record switch 20 in this activated position for the duration of the message. In a preferred embodiment, the maximum duration of a recorded audio message is 16 seconds. Upon completing the recording of the personalized message, the originator simply removes pressure from record switch 20 which deactivates record switch 20 and terminates the recording sequence. Should the originator's message exceed 16 seconds, audio IC 28 automatically ceases recording and switches out of the record mode. When it is desirable to record a subsequent personalized message, the originator simply depresses record switch 20 which once again initiates the recording sequence. A previously stored message is automatically erased upon actuation of record switch 20 and prior to the recording of a subsequent personalized message.

Microphone 24 is coupled to the audio input pin 17 of audio IC 28 through coupling capacitor CIO. DC biasing of microphone 24 is provided by resistors R6 and R7, together with filtering capacitor C8. Preferably, microphone 24 is an electret microphone, which is a capacitance type microphone well known by those skilled in the art. Automatic gain control is provided by the RC network comprising R9 and C3 coupled to pin P-19 of audio IC 28. Analog to digital conversion of the input analog message signal is accomplished internally in audio IC 28. The digitized message is then stored in the memory of audio chip 28. Storing of the digitized audio message is facilitated by non-volatile EEPROM memory contained within audio IC 28. Thus, the personalized message stored in the EEPROM memory of audio IC 28 is not destroyed or lost when power is removed from audio IC 28, typically associated with the replacement of a weakened battery 26.

When it is desirable to play back the originator's personalized message, the recipient of the audio gift simply depresses and then releases playback switch 22. Typically, playback switch 22 must be depressed for at least one second to initiate the playback sequence. The recipient of the audio gift may replay the personalized message as often as desired by simply depressing playback switch 22 which causes the pre-recorded message to be broadcasted through speaker 18. Speaker 18 includes two leads, one of which is connected to audio output pin P-14, with the other line being connected to audio output pin P-15 of audio IC 28. Speaker 18 is preferably mounted in housing 23 behind a series of slits or perforations provided in housing 23.

Referring now in greater detail to the means for powering audio IC 28, power is supplied to audio IC 28 through power pin P-28 which is connected to power bus 27. Power-down pin P-27 is internally interconnected with power pin P-28 in such a way as to regulate the current being delivered to audio IC 28 through power pin P-28. When power-down pin P-27 is at a low potential (low being defined as substantially equivalent to ground) , power pin P-28 is enabled thereby permitting current to flow through power pin P-18 and thus activating audio IC 28 to perform the desired operation. When power-down pin P-27 is at a high potential (high being defined as substantially equivalent to the power bus 27 potential, typically 5.7 volts) , power pin P-28 is disabled thereby inhibiting current flow through power pin P-28. By appropriately controlling the voltage applied to power-down pin P-27, supply current through power pin P-28 can be regulated, thereby obviating the need for a separate ON/OFF type power switch.

Power-down pin P-27 remains at a high potential when the audio recording and playback unit 16 is not in use, thus disabling power pin P-28 and conserving battery 26 reserves. When the originator of the personal message activates record switch 20, a low potential is developed at power-down pin P-27, thus enabling power pin P-28, and activating audio IC 28 to record and store the p rsonalized message being input through microphone 24. Upon completing the message or exceeding the maximum message length of 16 seconds, a high potential is restored at power-down pin P-27 thereby disabling power pin P-28 and terminating the record sequence.

A similar method of powering audio IC 28 is involved with respect to the activation of the playback mode. When the recipient of the audio gift desires to play back the pre-recorded personalized message stored in audio IC 28, playback switch 22 is depressed which causes MOSFET transistor 30 to conduct current through the transistor's drain and source, the source being tied to ground. A low potential is thus developed at power-down pin P-27 thereby enabling power pin P-28 to deliver current to audio IC 28. After broadcasting the audio personalized message through speaker 18, or after the maximum message limit of 16 seconds is reached, audio IC 28 generates a 30 milli-second pulse which is transmitted through the "end of message" pin P-25 and fed back to the gate of MOSFET transistor 30, thereby switching the MOSFET transistor 30 from a conducting state to a non-conducting state. With MOSFET transistor 30 in a non-conducting state, a high potential is restored to power-down pin P-27 which disables power pin P-28 and terminates the playback sequence.

It will, of course, be understood that various modifications and additions can be made to the preferred embodiments of the present invention discussed above without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention. Thus, by way of example and not of limitation, audio IC 28 may have a memory capacity that can store more than 16 seconds of audio information. The particular configuration of the audio recording and playback unit 16 may be different from that illustrated in the figures, and may be adapted to conform to the particular configuration of the personalized gift. Record switch 20 need not be recessed, but may instead be hidden or covered in some manner. Microphone 24 and speaker 18 may be included within a single transducer device capable of performing both functions, rather than comprising independent devices. Moreover, personalized gifts other than those described above may be adapted to incorporate or support audio recording and playback unit 16. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is not be limited by the particular embodiments discussed and illustrated above.

Claims

CLAIMSWHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
Claim 1. A personalized talking picture assembly comprising: a picture frame, said frame having a removable back, a transparent front window; a removable photograph; fasteners removably holding said back onto said transparent front window and thereby removably holding said photograph in the frame behind the window; a digital audio recording and playback unit mounted on the back of said frame, said voice recording and playback unit including a microphone for receiving a personalized message and a loudspeaker for audio output of said personalized message, said digital audio recording and playback unit including an electronically erasable programmable read-only memory; a hidden or recessed record switch on said picture assembly for actuation to record a personal message on said voice recording and playback unit; a prominent playback switch configured to be a more accessible switch than said record switch for actuating said voice recording and playback unit to permit a user to listen to the stored personal message; and said assembly including a personalized message corresponding to said photograph; whereby a person may place a special personal image in said frame, record a personal message, and deliver the picture assembly to a recipient who may then listen to the message while viewing the image, and record a new personal message if desired.
Claim 2. An assembly as defined in Claim 1, wherein said picture frame is substantially rectangular, and the overall thickness of the assembly is less than one-fourth the maximum dimension of the rectangular picture frame.
Claim 3. A personalized talking picture assembly comprising: a picture frame, said frame having a removable back panel, a transparent front window; a removable picture; means for removably holding said back panel onto said front window to removably mount said picture in the frame behind the window; a digital audio recording and playback unit mounted in said back panel, said voice recording and playback unit including a microphone for receiving a personalized message and a loudspeaker for audio output of said personalized message; said digital audio recording and playback unit comprising an integrated circuit; a hidden or recessed record switch on said picture assembly for actuation to record a personal message on said voice recording and playback unit; a prominent playback switch configured to be a more accessible switch than said record switch for actuating said voice recording and playback unit to permit a user to listen to the stored personal message; and said assembly including a personalized message corresponding to said picture; whereby a person may place a special personal picture in said frame, record a personal message, and deliver the picture assembly to a recipient who may then listen to the message while viewing the image, and record a new personal message if desired.
Claim 4. An assembly as defined in Claim 3, wherein said digital audio recording and playback unit comprises non-volatile memory to store said personalized message.
Claim 5. An assembly as defined in Claim 4, wherein said non-volatile memory comprises Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory.
Claim 6. An assembly as defined in Claim 1, further comprising a battery connected to said digital audio recording and playback unit, said battery automatically providing power to said digital audio recording and playback unit by actuation of said record switch or said playback switch.
Claim 7. An assembly as defined in Claim 3, further including means for holding said frame substantially upright for easy viewing of said image and for convenient access to said playback switch.
Claim 8. An assembly as defined in Claim 3, wherein said picture frame is substantially rectangular, and the overall thickness of the assembly is less than one-fourth the maximum dimension of the rectangular picture frame.
Claim 9. An assembly as defined in Claim 7, wherein said picture frame assembly is substantially flat and suitable for transporting through the mail.
Claim 10. A personalized talking picture frame assembly comprising: a picture frame having a back; a picture support adapted for matingly contacting the back of said picture frame and removably holding a picture between said picture support and said picture frame; a digital audio recording and playback unit mounted to said picture support; a microphone mounted on said picture support; a record switch mounted on said picture support; a playback switch mounted on said picture support; and a speaker mounted on said picture support; whereby a personalized message may be recorded and stored in said digital audio recording and playback unit and subsequently played back when desired by a recipient of said personalized talking picture frame assembly.
Claim 11. An assembly as defined in Claim 10, wherein said digital audio recording and playback unit comprises non-volatile memory for permanently storing said personalized message.
Claim 12. An assembly as defined in Claim 10, further comprising a battery connected to said digital audio recording and playback unit, said battery automatically providing power to said digital audio recording and playback unit by actuation of said record switch or said playback switch.
Claim 13. An assembly as defined in Claim 10, wherein said digital audio recording and playback unit comprises an integrated circuit.
Claim 14. An assembly as defined in Claim 10, further comprising a support member being hingedly connected to said picture support, said support member being detachable with respect to said picture support and adapted to support said picture frame assembly in either a portrait or landscape orientation.
Claim 15. An assembly as defined in Claim 10, wherein said picture frame assembly is substantially flat and suitable for transporting through the mail.
PCT/US1994/005742 1993-05-26 1994-05-20 Personalized audio gift WO1994028529A1 (en)

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US6767893 true 1993-05-26 1993-05-26
US067,678 1993-05-26

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5533290A (en) * 1993-11-29 1996-07-09 Lee; Tong Y. Picture frame with sound producing means
EP0827018A1 (en) * 1996-08-29 1998-03-04 Eastman Kodak Company Image-audio print, method of making and player for using the same
GB2321218A (en) * 1997-01-21 1998-07-22 Barrie Lennox Gentle Greetings card with sound recording and playback
US6439457B1 (en) 2000-04-14 2002-08-27 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Method and system for personalized message storage and retrieval

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US1001403A (en) * 1911-02-28 1911-08-22 Harry H Hipwell Display-frame.
US3857191A (en) * 1971-02-08 1974-12-31 Talkies Usa Inc Visual-audio device
US4541188A (en) * 1983-02-04 1985-09-17 Talkies International Corp. Reflective audio assembly and picture
US4791741A (en) * 1987-01-19 1988-12-20 Torio Electronics Co., Ltd. Card with built-in record/playback capability

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1001403A (en) * 1911-02-28 1911-08-22 Harry H Hipwell Display-frame.
US3857191A (en) * 1971-02-08 1974-12-31 Talkies Usa Inc Visual-audio device
US4541188A (en) * 1983-02-04 1985-09-17 Talkies International Corp. Reflective audio assembly and picture
US4791741A (en) * 1987-01-19 1988-12-20 Torio Electronics Co., Ltd. Card with built-in record/playback capability

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5533290A (en) * 1993-11-29 1996-07-09 Lee; Tong Y. Picture frame with sound producing means
EP0827018A1 (en) * 1996-08-29 1998-03-04 Eastman Kodak Company Image-audio print, method of making and player for using the same
US5878292A (en) * 1996-08-29 1999-03-02 Eastman Kodak Company Image-audio print, method of making and player for using
GB2321218A (en) * 1997-01-21 1998-07-22 Barrie Lennox Gentle Greetings card with sound recording and playback
US6439457B1 (en) 2000-04-14 2002-08-27 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Method and system for personalized message storage and retrieval

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