WO1998053567A1 - Controllable toy operative with audio player - Google Patents

Controllable toy operative with audio player

Info

Publication number
WO1998053567A1
WO1998053567A1 PCT/IL1998/000225 IL9800225W WO1998053567A1 WO 1998053567 A1 WO1998053567 A1 WO 1998053567A1 IL 9800225 W IL9800225 W IL 9800225W WO 1998053567 A1 WO1998053567 A1 WO 1998053567A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
toy
computer
fig
audio
radio
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IL1998/000225
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Oz Gabai
Jacob Gabai
Nimrod Sandlerman
Original Assignee
Creator Ltd.
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

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H3/00Dolls
    • A63H3/28Arrangements of sound-producing means in dolls; Means in dolls for producing sounds
    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10LSPEECH ANALYSIS OR SYNTHESIS; SPEECH RECOGNITION; SPEECH OR VOICE PROCESSING; SPEECH OR AUDIO CODING OR DECODING
    • G10L15/00Speech recognition
    • G10L15/26Speech to text systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/26Devices for signalling identity of wanted subscriber
    • H04M1/27Devices whereby a plurality of signals may be stored simultaneously
    • H04M1/271Devices whereby a plurality of signals may be stored simultaneously controlled by voice recognition

Abstract

A controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player, the system including a controllable toy (120), and an audio entertainment analyzer (130) operative to analyze an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined audio entertainment elements and to command the controllable toy (120) to perfom at least one action according to the predetermined audio entertainment elements at a time corresponding to a time at which the audio entertainment elements are played by the household audio entertainment player.

Description

CONTROLLABLE TOY OPERATIVE WITH AUDIO PLAYER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to apparatus and methods for toy control.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Computer-controlled toys are known.

U.S. Patent 5, 191,615 to Aldava describes movable and audible toys spaced apart

from a television screen with program synchronized audio and control data to interact with the

program viewer in relationship to the television program. A sampling keyboard-based encoder for

kinetic device actuating signals is coupled via an audio mixer to an audiovisual programming

source and television transmitter carrying an audio based kinetic and audio signal complex. At a

remote location, coded audio and kinetic device signals along with audiovisual programming is

received and the audiovisual programming content is displayed for viewing and listening. Stereo

soundband based program audio signals are decoded and separated from the stereo sound band

based device audio and kinetic signals. The device audio and kinetic signals are retransmitted to a

spaced apart toy causing the device to be audible and move in synchronization with the spaced

apart audiovisual programming. A single band low powered FM transmitter carries the audio kinetic signal complex in proximity yet spaced apart from a receiver coupled to an audio cassette

configured magnetic head transducer disposed in the kinetic device to communicate audio and

kinetic information to a device speaker and motors to cause the device to move and be audible.

Also well known in the art are toys which are remotely controlled by wireless communication and which are not used in conjunction with a computer system. Typically, such toys include vehicles whose motion is controlled by a human user via a remote control device.

US Patent 4,712,184 to Haugerud describes a computer controlled educational

toy, the construction of which teaches the user computer terminology and programming and robotic technology. Haugerud describes computer control of a toy via a wired connection,

wherein the user of the computer typically writes a simple program to control movement of a robot.

US Patent 4,840,602 to Rose describes a talking doll responsive to an external signal, in which the doll has a vocabulary stored in digital data in a memory which may be

accessed to cause a speech synthesizer in the doll to simulate speech.

US Patent 5,021,878 to Lang describes an animated character system with real¬

time control.

US Patent 5,142,803 to Lang describes an animated character system with realtime control.

US Patent 5,195,920 to Collier describes a radio controlled toy vehicle which

generates realistic sound effects on board the vehicle. Communications with a remote computer

allows an operator to modify and add new sound effects.

US Patent 5,270,480 to Hikawa describes a toy acting in response to a MLDI signal, wherein an instrument-playing toy performs simulated instrument playing movements.

US Patent 5,289,273 to Lang describes a system for remotely controlling an

animated character. The system uses radio signals to transfer audio, video and other control

signals to the animated character to provide speech, hearing vision and movement in real-time.

US Patent 5,388,493 describes a system for a housing for a vertical dual keyboard MLDI wireless controller for accordionists. The system may be used with either a conventional MIDI cable connection or by a wireless MLDI transmission system.

German Patent DE 3009-040 to Neuhierl describes a device for adding the capability to transmit sound from a remote control to a controlled model vehicle. The sound is

generated by means of a microphone or a tape recorder and transmitted to the controlled model vehicle by means of radio communications. The model vehicle is equipped with a speaker that emits the received sounds.

The disclosures of all publications mentioned in the specification and of the

publications cited therein are hereby incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention seeks to provide improved apparatus and methods for

controlling toys by means of a television or radio.

There is thus provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present

invention a controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment

player, the system including a controllable toy, and an audio entertainment signal analyzer

operative to analyze an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined

audio entertainment elements and to command the controllable toy to perform at least one action according to the predetermined audio entertainment elements at a time corresponding to a time at

which the audio entertainment elements are played by the household audio entertainment player. Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

toy system includes a household audio entertainment player such as an audio cassette player or a VCR and/or a household entertainment broadcast receiver such as a television set or a radio set.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the audio entertainment signal analyzer is operative to receive an acoustical representation of the audio entertainment signal from the audio entertainment player.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the audio entertainment player and the audio entertainment signal analyzer each receive an electronic representation of the audio entertainment signal from an electronic audio entertainment source.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

audio entertainment signal analyzer is integrally formed with the controllable toy.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the audio entertainment signal analyzer includes a computer, such as a personal computer, in electronic communication with the controllable toy.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

electronic communication includes wired electronic communication or wireless electronic

communication.

Also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present

invention is a computerized toy system including a toy, a computer having a sound card, a

computer-radio interface associated with the sound card of the computer via at least one audio

channels, and a toy control device associated with the toy and providing radio communication

with the computer-radio interface, wherein at least one of the computer-radio interface and the

computer are operative to transmit audio signals and digital commands through the sound card, via the at least one audio channels to the other one of the computer-radio interface and the

computer and wherein the other one of the computer-radio interface and the computer is

operative to receive the audio signals and the digital commands from the at least one audio

channels. Additionally provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention is a controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio entertainment signal from a remote radio transmitter, the system including a controllable toy, and a radio signal receiver operative to receive a toy control

signal from a remote radio transmitter which transmits the toy control signal and a corresponding audio entertainment signal, and to command the controllable toy to perform at least one action

according to the toy control signal.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

radio signal receiver is integrally formed with the controllable toy. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the radio signal receiver is integrally formed with a computer which is in electronic communication with the controllable toy.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

electronic communication includes wired electronic communication.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the electronic communication includes wireless electronic communication.

Also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present

invention is a telephone communication toy including a toy including a microphone and a loudspeaker, a computer in electronic communication with the toy and including a speech

recognizer, a telephone number database accessible by the speech recognizer and including at

least one destination paired with at least one telephone number, and an automatic dialling device

operative to generate a telephone connection with the destination, using a corresponding telephone number accessed from the telephone number database by the speech recognizer. Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the controllable toy is integrally formed with the household audio entertainment player.

Also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present

invention is a toy control method operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player, the method including providing a controllable toy, and analyzing an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined audio entertainment elements and commanding the controllable toy to perform at least one action according to the predetermined audio entertainment elements at a time corresponding to a time at which the audio entertainment

elements are played by the household audio entertainment player.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

system also includes a remote radio transmitter broadcasting an audio entertainment signal and a corresponding toy control signal.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the household audio entertainment player is integrally formed with the controllable toy.

Also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present

invention is a computerized toy control method including providing a toy, a computer having a

sound card, a computer-radio interface associated with the sound card of the computer via at least one audio channels and a toy control device associated with the toy and providing radio

communication with the computer-radio interface, and transmitting audio signals and digital

commands through the sound card, from one of the computer-radio interface and the computer

via the at least one audio channels to the other one of the computer-radio interface and the computer.

Additionally provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention is a toy control method operative to control a controllable toy in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio entertainment signal from a

remote radio transmitter, the method including broadcasting a toy control signal and a

corresponding audio entertainment signal, playing the audio entertainment signal at a location

remote from the radio transmitter, and commanding the controllable toy to perform at least one action according to the toy control signal, at a location remote from the radio transmitter.

Further provided in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the

present invention is a telephone communication method including providing a toy including a microphone and a loudspeaker, a computer in electronic communication with the toy and

including a speech recognizer and a telephone number database accessible by the speech recognizer, and generating a telephone connection with a destination, using a telephone number

accessed from the telephone number database by the speech recognizer.

There is additionally provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention a wireless computer controlled toy system including a computer system

operative to transmit a first transmission via a first wireless transmitter and at least one toy

including a first wireless receiver, the toy receiving the first transmission via the first wireless

receiver and operative to carry out at least one action based on the first transmission.

The computer system may include a computer game. The toy may include a

plurality of toys, and the at least one action may include a plurality of actions.

The first transmission may include a digital signal. The first transmission includes

an analog signal and the analog signal may include sound.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the computer system includes a computer having a MIDI port and wherein the computer may be

operative to transmit the digital signal by way of the MLDI port. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the sound includes music, a pre-recorded sound and/or speech. The speech may include recorded speech and synthesized speech.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the at least one toy has a plurality of states including at least a sleep state and an awake state, and the

first transmission includes a state transition command, and the at least one action includes

transitioning between the sleep state and the awake state.

A sleep state may typically include a state in which the toy consumes a reduced amount of energy and/or in which the toy is largely inactive, while an awake state is typically a state of normal operation.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the first transmission includes a control command chosen from a plurality of available control

commands based, at least in part, on a result of operation of the computer game.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the computer system includes a plurality of computers.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the first transmission includes computer identification data and the second transmission includes

computer identification data.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the at least one toy is operative to transmit a second transmission via a second wireless transmitter and the computer system is operative to receive the second transmission via a second wireless receiver.

Moreover in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

system includes at least one input device and the second transmission includes a status of the at least one input device.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention the at least one toy includes at least a first toy and a second toy, and wherein the first toy is operative to transmit a toy-to-toy transmission to the second toy via the second wireless transmitter, and

wherein the second toy is operative to carry out at least one action based on the toy-to-toy transmission.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention operation of the computer system is controlled, at least in part, by the second transmission.

Moreover in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

computer system includes a computer game, and wherein operation of the game is controlled, at

least in part, by the second transmission.

The second transmission may include a digital signal and/or an analog signal. Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the computer system has a plurality of states including at least a sleep state and an awake state,

and the second transmission include a state transition command, and the computer is operative,

upon receiving the second transmission, to transition between the sleep state and the awake state.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention at

least one toy includes sound input apparatus, and the second transmission includes a sound signal

which represents a sound input via the sound input apparatus. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the computer system is also operative to perform at least one of the following actions: manipulate

the sound signal; and play the sound signal.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the sound includes speech, and the computer system is operative to perform a speech recognition operation on the speech.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the second transmission includes toy identification data, and the computer system is operative to identify the at least one toy based, at least in part, on the toy identification data.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the first transmission includes toy identification data. The computer system may adapt a mode of operation thereof based, at least in part, on the toy identification data.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one action may include movement of the toy, movement of a part of the toy and/or an

output of a sound. The sound may be transmitted using a MLDI protocol.

There is also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention a game system including a computer system operative to control a computer

game and having a display operative to display at least one display object, and at least one toy in wireless communication with the computer system, the computer game including a plurality of

game objects, and the plurality of game objects includes the at least one display object and the at

least one toy.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the at

least one toy is operative to transmit toy identification data to the computer system, and the

computer system is operative to adapt a mode of operation of the computer game based, at least

in part, on the toy identification data.

The computer system may include a plurality of computers.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the first transmission includes computer identification data and the second transmission includes

computer identification data. There is also provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present

invention a data transmission apparatus including first wireless apparatus including musical instrument data interface (MLDI) apparatus operative to receive and transmit MLDI data between

a first wireless and a first MLDI device and second wireless apparatus including MLDI apparatus operative to receive and transmit MLDI data between a second wireless and a second MLDI device, the first wireless apparatus is operative to transmit MLDI data including data received

from the first MLDI device to the second wireless apparatus, and to transmit MLDI data including

data received from the second wireless apparatus to the first MLDI device, and the second

wireless apparatus is operative to transmit MLDI data including data received from the second

MLDI device to the first wireless apparatus, and to transmit MLDI data including data received

from the first wireless apparatus to the second MLDI device.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the

second wireless apparatus includes a plurality of wirelesses each respectively associated with one of the plurality of MLDI devices, and each of the second plurality of wirelesses is operative to transmit MLDI data including data received from the associated MLDI device to the first wireless

apparatus, and to transmit MLDI data including data received from the first wireless apparatus to

the associated MLDI device.

The first MLDI device may include a computer, while the second MLDI device may

include a toy.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the first wireless apparatus also includes analog interface apparatus operative to receive and

transmit analog signals between the first wireless and a first analog device, and the second

wireless apparatus also includes analog interface apparatus operative to receive and transmit analog signals between the second wireless and a second analog device, and the first wireless apparatus is also operative to transmit analog signals including signals received from the first analog device to the second wireless apparatus, and to transmit analog signal including signals

received from the second wireless apparatus to the first analog device, and the second wireless

apparatus is also operative to transmit analog signals including signals received from the second

analog device to the first wireless apparatus, and to transmit analog signals including data

received from the first wireless apparatus to the second analog device.

There is also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention a method for generating control instructions for a computer controlled toy system, the method includes selecting a toy, selecting at least one command from among a

plurality of commands associated with the toy, and generating control instructions for the toy

including the at least one command.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the step of selecting at least one command includes choosing a command, and specifying at least one control parameter associated with the chosen command.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one control parameter includes at least one condition depending on a result of a

previous command.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention at least one of the steps of selecting a toy and the step of selecting at least one command includes utilizing a graphical user interface.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the previous command includes a previous command associated with a second toy.

Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one control parameter includes an execution condition controlling execution of the command.

The execution condition may include a time at which to perform the command and/or a time at which to cease performing the command. The execution condition may also

include a status of the toy. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one control parameter includes a command modifier modifying execution of the command.

Still further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one control parameter includes a condition dependent on a future event. Additionally in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention

the at least one command includes a command to cancel a previous command.

There is also provided for in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the

present invention a signal transmission apparatus for use in conjunction with a computer, the apparatus including wireless transmission apparatus; and signal processing apparatus including at

least one of the following analog/digital sound conversion apparatus operative to convert analog

sound signals to digital sound signals, to convert digital sound signals to analog sound signals,

and to transmit the signals between the computer and a sound device using the wireless

transmission apparatus; a peripheral control interface operative to transmit control signals

between the computer and a peripheral device using the wireless transmission apparatus; and a MLDI interface operative to transmit MLDI signals between the computer and a MLDI device

using the wireless transmission apparatus.

There is also provided in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the

present invention a computer system including a computer, and a sound card operatively attached

to the computer and having a MLDI connector and at least one analog connector, wherein the computer is operative to transmit digital signals by means of the MLDI connector and to transmit analog signals by means of the at least one analog connector.

Further in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention the computer is also operative to receive digital signals by means of the MLDI connector and to receive analog signals by means of the at least one analog connector.

It is also noted that throughout the specification and claims the term "radio" includes all forms of "wireless" communication.

Methods and apparatus useful in implementing computer-controlled devices

operated via remote control are described in Applicant/assignee's PCT Application No. PCT/TL96/00157.

BRLEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention will be understood and appreciated from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

Figs. 1 - 32C illustrate a toy system for use in conjunction with a computer system wherein:

Fig. 1 A is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram illustration of a computer control system including a toy, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of

the present invention; Fig. IB is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram illustration a preferred

implementation of the toy 122 of Fig. IA;

Fig. 1 C is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram illustration of a computer control

system including a toy, constructed and operative in accordance with an alternative preferred

embodiment of the present invention; Figs. 2 A - 2C are simplified pictorial illustrations of a portion of the system of Fig. lA in use;

Fig. 3 is a simplified block diagram of a preferred implementation of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. 1 A;

Fig. 4 is a more detailed block diagram of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig.

3;

Figs. 5 A - 5D taken together comprise a schematic diagram of the apparatus of Fig. 4;

Fig. 5E is an schematic diagram of an alternative implementation of the apparatus of Fig. 5D;

Fig. 6 is a simplified block diagram of a preferred implementation of the toy control device 130 of Fig. IA;

Figs. 7A - 7F, taken together with either Fig. 5D or Fig. 5E, comprise a schematic diagram of the apparatus of Fig. 6;

Fig. 8 A is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for receiving

radio signals, executing commands comprised therein, and sending radio signals, within the toy

control device 130 of Fig. IA;

Figs. 8B - 8T, taken together, comprise a simplified flowchart illustration of a

preferred implementation of the method of Fig. 8 A; Fig. 9A is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for receiving

MLDI signals, receiving radio signals, executing commands comprised therein, sending radio

signals, and sending MLDI signals, within the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA;

Figs. 9B - 9N, taken together with Figs. 8D - 8M, comprise a simplified flowchart

illustration of a preferred implementation of the method of Fig. 9A; Figs. 10A - IOC are simplified pictorial illustrations of a signal transmitted between the computer radio interface 110 and the toy control device 130 of Fig. IA;

Fig. 11 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for generating control instructions for the apparatus of Fig. 1 A;

Figs. 12A - 12C are pictorial illustrations of a preferred implementation of a

graphical user interface implementation of the method of Fig. 11;

Fig. 13 is a block diagram of a first sub-unit of a multi-port multi-channel implementation of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA, which sub-unit resides within computer 100 of Fig. IA;

Fig. 14 is a block diagram of a second sub-unit of a multi-port multi-channel

implementation of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA, which sub-unit complements the

apparatus of Fig. 13 and resides exteriorly to computer 100 of Fig. IA;

Figs. 15A - 15E, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of

the toy control device of Fig. 6, suitable for the multi-channel implementation of Figs. 13 and 14;

Fig. 16 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method by which a

computer selects a control channel pair in anticipation of a toy becoming available and starts a

game-defining communication over the control channel each time both a toy and a transceiver of the computer radio interface are available;

Fig. 17 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for implementing

the "select control channel pair" step of Fig. 16;

Fig. 18A is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for

implementing the "select information communication channel pair" step of Fig. 16;

Fig. 18B is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing

the "locate computer" step of Fig. 18A; Fig. 19 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method of operation of the toy control device 130;

Fig. 20 is a simplified illustration of a remote game server in association with a wireless computer controlled toy system which may include a network computer; Fig. 21 is a simplified flowchart illustration of the operation of the computer or of

the network computer of Fig. 20, when operating in conjunction with the remote server;

Fig. 22 is a simplified flowchart illustration of the operation of the remote game

server of Fig. 20;

Fig. 23 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a wireless computer controlled toy system including a proximity detection subsystem operative to detect proximity

between the toy and the computer;

Figs. 24A - 24E, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of a multi-channel implementation of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. 3 which is similar to the

detailed electronic schematic diagrams of Figs. 5 A - 5D except for being multi-channel, therefore

capable of supporting full duplex applications, rather than single-channel;

Figs. 25A - 25F, taken together, form a detailed schematic illustration of a

computer radio interface which connects to a serial port of a computer rather than to the sound

board of the computer;

Figs. 26A - 26D, taken together, form a detailed schematic illustration of a

computer radio interface which connects to a parallel port of a computer rather than to the sound

board of the computer.;

Figs. 27A - 27J are preferred flowchart illustrations of a preferred radio coding

technique which is an alternative to the radio coding technique described above with reference to

Figs. 8E, 8G - 8M and 10A - C; Figs. 28A - 28K, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of the multi-port multi-channel computer radio interface sub-unit of Fig. 13;

Figs. 29A - 291, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of the multi-port multi-channel computer radio interface sub-unit of Fig. 14; Fig. 30 is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram illustration of a computer control

system including a toy, constructed and operative in accordance with a further preferred

embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 31 is a block diagram is a simplified block diagram illustrating the combination of the computer radio interface and the toy control device as used in the embodiment of Fig. 30; and

Figs. 32A, 32B and 32C taken together form a simplified block diagram of the EPLD chip of Fig. 28H; and

Figs. 33 - 54 illustrates embodiments of the toy system of Figs. 1 - 32C, in which a

computer-controlled toy system controls toys by means of a television or radio, wherein:

Fig. 33 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy sensing audio

information from a television set viewed by a user, wherein the toy transmits this information

wirelessly to a computer and receiving from the computer commands responsive to the audio

information, and wherein the source of the audio-visual information provided by the television set

is a conventional television broadcast; Fig. 34 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy sensing audio information from a radio, transmitting this information wirelessly to a computer and receiving

from the computer commands responsive to the audio information.

Fig. 35 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy including a radio

receiver receiving radio entertainment broadcast information, transmitting this information wirelessly to a computer and receiving from the computer commands responsive to the radio entertainment broadcast information;

Fig. 36 is a semi-pictorial semi -block diagram illustration of a toy and a computer including a radio receiver operative to receive radio entertainment broadcast information and to simultaneously transmit to the toy the radio entertainment broadcast information and computer

commands responsive to the radio entertainment broadcast information.

Fig. 37 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy, a television

monitor and a computer including a TV receiver operative to receive television entertainment broadcast information and to transmit to the toy computer commands responsive to the television

entertainment broadcast information;

Fig. 38 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of toy apparatus

functioning as a PDA (personal digital assistant);

Fig. 39A is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred mode of operation for

the apparatus of Fig. 38 allowing a call to be placed;

Fig. 39B is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred mode of operation for

the apparatus of Fig. 38 for handling an entering call;

Fig. 40 is a simplified diagram of the interface between the computer radio interface of Fig. 33 and a soundboard of the computer of Fig. 1;

Fig. 41 is a simplified block diagram of a preferred implementation of the computer radio interface of Fig. 1;

Fig. 42 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method allowing one of

the computer radio interface and the computer to receive commands over the audio channel,

rather than over the MLDI channel, from the other one of the computer radio interface and the computer; Fig. 43 is a diagram of analog and digital representations and respectively of the following signals: SYNC, SQ, zero-valued bit and one-valued bit;

Fig. 44 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy sensing audio information from a television viewed by a user, wherein the toy transmits this information wirelessly to a computer and receiving from the computer commands responsive to the audio information, and wherein the source of the audio-visual information provided by the television is a

VCR rather than a conventional television broadcast as in Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 45 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy, a television

monitor and a computer including a TV receiver operative to receive audio-visual entertainment

information from a VCR and to transmit to the toy computer commands responsive to the audio visual entertainment broadcast information;

Fig. 46 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy connected by

wire to a computer, and a conventional audio entertainment provision system providing audio

entertainment information which is presented to the user and which is used by the computer to

operate the toy in coordination with the presentation of the audio entertainment information;

Figs. 47A - 47E, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of a

preferred implementation of the apparatus of Fig. 41;

Fig. 48 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a controllable toy

system comprising a controllable toy and a radio signal receiver operative to receive an audio entertainment signal and a corresponding toy control signal from a remote radio transmitter;

Fig. 49 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a modification of Fig.

48 in which the radio signal receiver is integrally formed with the controllable toy;

Fig. 50 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method by which the computer analyzes an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined audio entertainment elements and to command the toy to perform at least one action having a predetermined association with the recognized predetermined audio entertainment elements;

Fig. 51 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing the TV/radio program coordination step of the method of Fig. 50; Fig. 52 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing the conformance checking step of the method of Fig. 50 in order to synchronize the toy's activities

with a broadcast program;

Fig. 53 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing the "command toy..." step of the method of Fig. 50 in which the toy is activated in synchronization with the broadcast program; and

Fig. 54 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram of a controllable toy system

operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio

entertainment signal from a remote radio transmitter, the system comprising a controllable toy and

a radio signal receiver, integrally formed with the computer and communicating with the toy by means of a wire.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference is now made to Fig. 1 A which is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram

illustration of a computer control system including a toy, constructed and operative in accordance

with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The system of Fig. IA comprises a computer 100, which may be any suitable computer such as, for example, an LBM-compatible personal computer. The computer 100 is equipped with a screen 105. The computer 100 is

preferably equipped with a sound card such as, for example, a Sound Blaster Pro card commercially available from Creative Labs, Inc., 1901 McCarthy Boulevard, Milpitas CA 95035 or from Creative Technology Ltd., 67 Ayer Rajah Crescent #03-18, Singapore, 0513; a hard disk; and, optionally, a CD-ROM drive.

The computer 100 is equipped with a computer radio interface 110 operative to transmit signals via wireless transmission based on commands received from the computer 100

and, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, also to receive signals transmitted

elsewhere via wireless transmission and to deliver the signals to the computer 100. Typically, commands transmitted from the computer 100 to the computer radio interface 110 are transmitted

via both analog signals and digital signals, with the digital signals typically being transmitted by way of a MLDI port. Transmission of the analog and digital signals is described below with reference to Fig. 3.

The transmitted signal may be an analog signal or a digital signal. The received

signal may also be an analog signal or a digital signal. Each signal typically comprises a message. A preferred implementation of the computer radio interface 110 is described below with reference to Fig. 3.

The system of Fig. IA also comprises one or more toys 120. The system of Fig.

IA comprises a plurality of toys, namely three toys 122, 124, and 126 but it is appreciated that,

alternatively, either one toy only or a large plurality of toys may be used.

Reference is now additionally made to Fig. IB, which is a partly pictorial, partly

block diagram illustration of the toy 122 of Fig. IA. Each toy 120 comprises a power source 125, such as a battery or a connection to line power. Each toy 120 also comprises a toy control device 130, operative to receive a wireless

signal transmitted by the computer 100 and to cause each toy 120 to perform an action based on

the received signal. The received signal may be, as explained above, an analog signal or a digital

signal. A preferred implementation of the toy control device 130 is described below with reference to Fig. 6.

Each toy 120 preferably comprises a plurality of input devices 140 and output devices 150, as seen in Fig. IB. The input devices 140 may comprise, for example on or more of

the following: a microphone 141; a microswitch sensor 142; a touch sensor (not shown in Fig. IB); a light sensor (not shown in Fig. IB); a movement sensor 143, which may be, for example, a tilt sensor or an acceleration sensor. Appropriate commercially available input devices include the following: position sensors available from Hamlin Inc., 612 East Lake Street, Lake Mills, WI

53551, USA; motion and vibration sensors available from Comus International, 263 Hillside Avenue, Nutley, New Jersey 07110, USA; temperature, shock, and magnetic sensors available

from Murata Electronics Ltd., Hampshire, England; and switches available from C & K

Components Inc., 15 Riverdale Avenue, Newton, MA 02058-1082, USA or from Micro Switch

Inc., a division of Honeywell, USA. The output devices 150 may comprise, for example, one or more of the following: a speaker 151; a light 152; a solenoid 153 which may be operative to move a portion of the toy; a motor, such as a stepping motor, operative to move a portion of the toy or

all of the toy (not shown in Fig. IB). Appropriate commercially available output devices include

the following: DC motors available from Alkatel (dunkermotoren), Postfach 1240, D-7823,

Bonndorf/Schwarzald, Germany; stepping motors and miniature motors available from Haydon Switch and Instruments, Inc. (HSI), 1500 Meriden Road, Waterbury, CT, USA; and DC

solenoids available from Communications Instruments, Inc., P.O. Box 520, Fairview, North Carolina 28730, USA.

Examples of actions which the toy may perform include the following: move a

portion of the toy; move the entire toy; or produce a sound, which may comprise one or more of

the following: a recorded sound, a synthesized sound, music including recorded music or

synthesized music, speech including recorded speech or synthesized speech. The received signal may comprise a condition governing the action as, for example, the duration of the action, or the number of repetitions of the action.

Typically, the portion of the received signal comprising a message comprising a command to perform a specific action as, for example, to produce a sound with a given duration,

comprises a digital signal. The portion of the received signal comprising a sound, for example,

typically comprises an analog signal. Alternatively, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the portion of the received signal comprising a sound, including music, may comprise a digital signal, typically a signal comprising MLDI data.

The action the toy may perform also includes reacting to signals transmitted by

another toy, such as, for example, playing sound that the other toy is monitoring and transmitting.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the toy control device 130 is also operative to transmit a signal intended for the computer 100, to be received by the computer radio interface 110. In this embodiment, the computer radio interface 110 is preferably also

operative to poll the toy control device 130, that is, transmit a signal comprising a request that the toy control device 130 transmit a signal to the computer radio interface 110. It is appreciated that

polling is particularly preferred in the case where there are a plurality of toys having a plurality of

toy control devices 130.

The signal transmitted by the toy control device 130 may comprise one or more of

the following: sound, typically sound captured by a microphone input device 141; status of sensor input devices 140 as, for example, light sensors or micro switch; an indication of low power in the

power source 125; or information identifying the toy.

It is appreciated that a sound signal transmitted by the device 130 may also include

speech. The computer system is operative to perform a speech recognition operation on the

speech signals. Appropriate commercially available software for speech recognition is available from companies such as: Stylus Innovation Inc., One Kendall Square, Building 300, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; A&G Graphics Interface, USA, Telephone No. (617) 492-0120, Telefax No. (617) 427-3625; "Dragon Dictate For Windows", available from Dragon Systems Inc., 320 Nevada Street, MA. 02160, USA, and "SDK" available from Lernout & Hausple Speech

Products, Sint-Krispijnstraat 7, 8900 Leper, Belgium.

The signal from the radio control interface 110 may also comprise, for example,

one or more of the following: a request to ignore input from one or more input devices 140; a request to activate one or more input devices 140 or to stop ignoring input from one or more

input devices 140; a request to report the status of one or more input devices 140; a request to

store data received from one or more input devices 140, typically by latching a transition in the

state of one or more input devices 140, until a future time when another signal from the radio control interface 110 requests the toy control device 130 to transmit a signal comprising the stored data received from the one or more input devices 140; or a request to transmit analog data, typically comprising sound, typically for a specified period of time.

Typically, all signals transmitted in both directions between the computer radio

interface 110 and the toy control device 130 include information identifying the toy.

Reference is now made to Fig. IC, which is a partly pictorial, partly block diagram

illustration of a computer control system including a toy, constructed and operative in accordance with an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention. The system of Fig. IC comprises two computers 100. It is appreciated that, in general, a plurality of computers 100 may be used. In the implementation of Fig. IC, all signals transmitted in both directions between the

computer radio interface 110 and the toy control device 130 typically include information

identifying the computer. The operation of the system of Fig. IA is now briefly described. Typically, the computer 100 runs software comprising a computer game, typically a game including at least one animated character. Alternatively, the software may comprise educational software or any other interactive software including at least one animated object. As used herein, the term "animated

object" includes any object which may be depicted on the computer screen 105 and which interacts with the user of the computer via input to and output from the computer. An animated

object may be any object depicted on the screen such as, for example: a doll; an action figure; a toy, such as, for example, an activity toy, a vehicle, or a ride-on vehicle; a drawing board or

sketch board; or a household object such as, for example, a clock, a lamp, a chamber pot, or an item of furniture.

Reference is now additionally made to Figs 2 A - 2C, which depict a portion of the system of Fig. IA in use. The apparatus of Fig. 2 A comprises the computer screen 105 of Fig. 1 A. On the computer screen are depicted animated objects 160 and 165.

Fig. 2B depicts the situation after the toy 122 has been brought into range of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA, typically into the same room therewith. Preferably, the

toy 122 corresponds to the animated object 160. For example, in Fig. 2B the toy 122 and the

animated object 160, shown in Fig. 2 A, are both a teddy bear. The apparatus of Fig. 2B comprises

the computer screen 105, on which is depicted the animated object 165. The apparatus of Fig. 2B

also comprises the toy 122. The computer 100, having received a message via the computer radio interface 110, from the toy 122, no longer displays the animated object 160 corresponding to the toy 122. The functions of the animated object 160 are now performed through the toy 122, under

control of the computer 100 through the computer radio interface 110 and the toy control device

130. Fig. 2C depicts the situation after the toy 126 has also been brought into range of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA, typically into the same room therewith. Preferably,

the toy 126 corresponds to the animated object 165. For example, in Fig. 2C the toy 126 and the animated object 165, shown in Figs. 2 A and 2B, are both a clock. The apparatus of Fig. 2C comprises the computer screen 105, on which no animated objects are depicted.

The apparatus of Fig. 2C also comprises the toy 126. The computer 100, having

received a message via the computer radio interface 1 10 from the toy 126, no longer displays the animated object 165 corresponding to the toy 126. The functions of the animated object 165 are

now performed through the toy 126, under control of the computer 100 through the computer

radio interface 110 and the toy control device 130.

In Fig. 2 A, the user interacts with the animated objects 160 and 165 on the

computer screen, typically using conventional methods. In Fig. 2B the user also interacts with the toy 122, and in Fig. 2C typically with the toys 122 and 126, instead of interacting with the

animated objects 160 and 165 respectively. It is appreciated that the user may interact with the

toys 122 and 126 by moving the toys or parts of the toys; by speaking to the toys; by responding

to movement of the toys which movement occurs in response to a signal received from the computer 100; by responding to a sound produced by the toys, which sound is produced in response to a signal received from the computer 100 and which may comprise music, speech, or

another sound; or otherwise.

Reference is now made to Fig. 3 which is a simplified block diagram of a preferred

embodiment of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA. The apparatus of Fig. 3 comprises the computer radio interface 110. The apparatus of Fig. 3 also comprises a sound card 190, as

described above with reference to Fig. IA. In Fig. 3, the connections between the computer radio interface 110 and the sound card 190 are shown. The computer radio interface 110 comprises a DC unit 200 which is fed with power through a MLDI interface 210 from a sound card MLDI interface 194, and the following

interfaces: a MLDI interface 210 which connects to the sound card MLDI interface 194; an audio interface 220 which connects to an audio interface 192 of the sound card 190; and a secondary

audio interface 230 which preferably connects to a stereo sound system for producing high quality sound under control of software running on the computer 100 (not shown).

The apparatus of Fig. 3 also comprises an antenna 240, which is operative to send

and receive signals between the computer radio interface 110 and one or more toy control devices 130.

Fig. 4 is a more detailed block diagram of the computer radio interface 1 10 of Fig.

3. The apparatus of Fig. 4 comprises the DC unit 200, the MLDI interface 210, the audio interface

220, and the secondary audio interface 230. The apparatus of Fig. 4 also comprises a multiplexer

240, a micro controller 250, a radio transceiver 260, a connection unit 270 connecting the radio

transceiver 260 to the micro controller 250, and a comparator 280. Reference is now made to Figs. 5 A - 5D, which taken together comprise a

schematic diagram of the apparatus of Fig. 4.

The following is a preferred parts list for the apparatus of Figs. 5A - 5C:

1. Kl Relay Dept, Idee, 1213 Elco Drive, Sunnyvale, Calif. 94089-2211, USA.

2. Ul 8751 microcontroller, Intel Corporation, San Tomas 4, 2700 San Tomas

Expressway, 2nd Floor, Santa Clara 95051, CA USA.

3. U2 CXO - 12MHZ (crystal oscillator),Raltron, 2315 N.W. 107th Avenue,

Miami Florida 33172, USA.

4. U4 MC33174, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA., Tel. No. (602) 897-5056. 5. Diodes 1N914, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602)897-5056.

6. Transistors 2N2222 and MPSA14, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No.(602)897-5056.

The following is a preferred parts list for the apparatus of Fig. 5D:

1. Ul SLLRAX-418-A UHF radio telemetry receive module, Ginsburg Electronic

GmbH, Am Moosfeld 85, D-81829, Munchen, Germany.

Alternatively, Ul of Fig. 5D may be replaced by:

Ul 433.92MHz Receive Module Part No. 0927, available from CEL SALES LTD., Cel House, Unit 2, Block 6, Shenstone Trading Estate, Bromsgrove, Halesowen, West Midlands B36 3XB, UK.

2. U2 TXM-418-A low power UHF radio telemetry transmit module, Ginsburg Electronic GmbH, Am Moosfeld 85, D-1829, Munchen, Germany.

Alternatively, U2 of Fig. 5D may be replaced by:

U2 433.92 SLL FM Transmitter Module Part No, 5229, available from CEL

SALES LTD., Cel House, Unit 2, Block 6, Shenstone Trading Estate, Bromsgrove, Halesowen,

West Midlands B36 3XB UK.

Reference is now additionally made to Fig. 5E, which is a schematic diagram of an alternative implementation of the apparatus of Fig. 5D. The following is a preferred parts list for

the apparatus of Fig. 5E: 1. Ul BLM-418-F low power UHF data transceiver module, Ginsburg Electronic

GmbH, Am Moosfeld 85, D-81829, Munchen, Germany.

Alternate 1. Ul S20043 spread spectrum full duplex transceiver, AMI

Semiconductors - American Microsystems, Inc., Idaho, USA. Alternate 1. Ul SDT-300 synthesized transceiver, Circuit Design, Inc.,

Japan.

Alternatively, Ul may be replaced by:

Ul RY3GB021 RF 900Mhz units, available from SHARP ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS GROUP, 5700 Northwest, Pacific Rim Boulevard #20, Camas, Washington, USA.

Ul RY3GB100 RF Units For DECT, available from SHARP ELECTRONIC

COMPONENTS GROUP 5700 Northwest, Pacific Rim Boulevard #20, Camas, Washington, USA.

In the parts list for Fig. 5E, one of item 1 or either of the alternate items 1 may be used for Ul.

It is appreciated that the appropriate changes will have to be made to all the circuit boards for alternate embodiments of the apparatus.

The apparatus of Fig. 5E has similar functionality to the apparatus of Fig. 5D, but

has higher bit rate transmission and reception capacity and is, for example, preferred when MLDI

data is transmitted and received.

Figs. 5A - 5E are self-explanatory with regard to the above parts lists.

Reference is now made to Fig. 6 which is a simplified block diagram of a preferred

embodiment of the toy control device 130 of Fig. IA. The apparatus of Fig. 6 comprises a radio

transceiver 260, similar to the radio transceiver 260 of Fig. 4. The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a microcontroller 250 similar to the microcontroller 250 of Fig. 4.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a digital input/output interface (digital I/O interface) 290, which is operative to provide an interface between the microcontroller 250 and a

plurality of input and output devices which may be connected thereto such as, for example, four input device and four output devices. A preferred implementation of the digital I/O interface 290

is described in more detail below with reference to Fig. 7A - 7F.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises an analog input/output interface (analog I/O interface) 300 operatively connected to the radio transceiver 260, and operative to receive signals therefrom and to send signals thereto.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a multiplexer 305 which is operative, in

response to a signal from the microcontroller 250, to provide output to the analog I/O interface

300 only when analog signals are being transmitted by the radio transceiver 260, and to pass input

from the analog I/O interface 300 only when such input is desired. The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises input devices 140 and output devices 150.

In Fig. 6, the input devices 140 comprise, by way of example, a tilt switch operatively connected

to the digital I/O interface 290, and a microphone operatively connected to the analog I/O

interface 300. It is appreciated that a wide variety of input devices 140 may be used.

In Fig. 6, the output devices 150 comprise, by way of example, a DC motor

operatively connected to the digital I/O interface 290, and a speaker operatively connected to the

analog I/O interface 300. It is appreciated that a wide variety of output devices 150 may be used.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a DC control 310, a preferred implementation of which is described in more detail below with reference to Figs. 7A - 7F.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a comparator 280, similar to the comparator 280 of Fig. 4.

The apparatus of Fig. 6 also comprises a power source 125, shown in Fig. 6 by way of example as batteries, operative to provide electrical power to the apparatus of Fig. 6 via the DC control 310. Reference is now made to Figs. 7A - 7F which, taken together with either Fig. 5D or 5E, comprise a schematic diagram of the toy control device of Fig. 6. If the schematics of Fig.

5E is employed to implement the computer radio interface of Fig. 4, using RY3GB021 as Ul of

Fig. 5E, then the same schematics of Fig. 5E are preferably employed to implement the toy control device of Fig. 6 except that RY3GH021 is used to implement Ul rather than RY3GB021.

The following is a preferred parts list for the apparatus of Figs. 7 A - 7F:

1. Ul 8751 microcontroller, Intel Corporation, San Tomas 4, 2700 San Tomas Expressway, 2nd Floor, Santa Clara 95051, CA USA.

2. U2 LM78L05, National Semiconductor, 2900 Semiconductor Drive, Santa Clara, CA. 95052, USA.

3. U3 CXO - 12MHz (crystal oscillator), Raltron, 2315 N.W. 107th Avenue, Miami, FL. 33172, USA.

4. U4 MC33174, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602) 897-5056.

5. U5 MC34119, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602) 897-5056.

6. U6 4066, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602) 897-5056.

7. Diode 1N914, 1N4005, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602) 897-5056.

8. Transistor 2N2222, 2N3906, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No. (602) 897-5056.

9. Transistors 2N2907 and MPSA14, Motorola, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Tel. No.

(602) 897-5056.

Figs. 7A - 7F are self-explanatory with reference to the above parts list.

As stated above with reference to Fig. IA, the signals transmitted between the

computer radio interface 110 and the toy control device 130 may be either analog signals or digital signals. It the case of digital signals, the digital signals preferably comprise a plurality of predefined messages, known to both the computer 100 and to the toy control device 130.

Each message sent by the computer radio interface 110 to the toy control device

130 comprises an indication of the intended recipient of the message. Each message sent by the

toy control device 130 to the computer radio interface 110 comprises an indication of the sender

of the message.

In the embodiment of Fig. IC described above, messages also comprise the following:

each message sent by the computer radio interface 110 to the toy control device

130 comprises an indication of the sender of the message; and

each message sent by the toy control device 130 to the computer radio interface 110 comprises an indication of the intended recipient of the message. A preferred set of predefined messages is as follows:

COMMAND STRUCTURE

CO

C CD CO COMMANDS LIST

H

H From the Computer to the Toy control device. C H co m A. OUTPUT COMMANDS co x m m SET IO TO DATA

H c r m ro σ>

Set Toy control device output pin to a digital level D. P: Computer address 00-03 H

A: unit address - 00-FF H

IO: i/o number - 00-03 H

D: Data- 00-01 H

Example

1. 01000005000103010000 set io 3 to "1"

2. 01000005000103000000 set io 3 to "0"

CHANCE IO IOK TIME

oy contiol device output pin to D I i a peπod offline and then return to pievious stale

OO Computer addiess (JO 03 unit address - 00-FF i/o number - 00-03 time- 00-IT Data- 00-01

ro σ>

1 01000005000203050000 sel io 3 lo "1" for 5 seconds

H..NIMH COMMANDS

SEND STATUS OF SENSORS

CO

C 09 (0

H

H

C H πi send the Toy contiol device status of all sensois - cn x 1' Coniputei addi ss 00- J 11 m unit address - 00-FF II c ι- example: m

M cn I 01000005010000000000 send cuiient status of sensors

SENSORS SCAN MODE ON

O c

CD O

H Start scanning the Toy contiol device sensois, and if one ol them is closed (piessed lo '0'), send back an ack

G

Cυinputei a diess 00-03 11 0

171

CO unit address - 00-FF II

X tn example

3 c 01000005010100000000 scan mode of sensois ON m ro cn

SENSORS SCAN MODE ON ONCE

O c

CD O Slait scanning the Toy contiol device sensoi s, and if one of ihem is closed (pressed to '0'), send back an ack, H then disable scanning the sensors CO

C -I tn Compute! addi ess 00-03 I I o x unit addiess - 00-FF I I m in

01 00 00 05 01 02 00 00 00 00 sum mode ol sensois ON once

31 c m to cn

SENSORS SCAN MODE OH-

CO c

00 CO

H Slop scanning the I oy contiol device sensois

H P Computer address 0003 11 C H A unit address - 00-FF 11 o m co x ample m m

01000005010300000000 scan mode ol sensois OFF'

31 c r m-

IO

C. AUDIO OUT COMMANDS

START AUDIO I ΛY

STOP AUDIO PLAY

O c

CO CO

H Slop playing an audio in a speakei of the Toy control device

Computer addiess O-OJ II m co A unit address - 00-FF H x m m 1 01 OO00O5020I 00000000 Stop audio-play

H

31

C ι m- io

S ART AUDIO AND IO PLAY Oli II I

co x m I' Computei addiess 0001 m

H A unit address - 00-FF

3 IO i/o number - 0-3 ( if IO>3 then don't set IO) c TO, 11/12 TIME 0O0-IT 11 (* 100ms) (TO-MMSB, T1=-MSB T0- FSB) r rπ id delay tune hefoi execute 0-F (lOOms)

I 010000050204802A0J 00 Stait audio-play and 10 tt 3 for 64 second

640=28011 delay befoie execution - 10*100ιns -I sec

010000050204802 A 1 ! 00 Start audio-play and IO // 3 for 64 second and set scan sensors on once mode delay befoie execution = 10* lOϋni Isec

I). AUDIO IN COMMANDS

1IUNSMIT MK FOR I IMF

Requests the Toy control device to Transmit mici phoiie audio lioin the Toy control device to the .'oinputei ladio interface and to the sound card of ,- the computei for lime T * x m m

H Computer address 00-03 II

30 A unit address - 00-FF II

C r- TI ,12 TIME 00-FF II (SEC) m t example

I 100000503000A 000000 stait mic mode foi 10 seconds

K. GENIKAI, TOY COMMANDS

COTO SI.KKI* MODE

O c

CO CO H

H C H m Requests the I'oy contiol device to go into powei save mode (sleep) co x m Computer addiess 0003 II m unit address - 00-FF II

30 c ι- 01000005040100000000 swiicli the 'I'oy control device into sleep mode m to σ>

OTO AWAKE MODE

c r- rπ to σ>

IOV RESET

CO c

CD CO

H Requests the loy conti l device to peifoim RI-SL I

C H I' Computei addiess 0003 II - m A unit address- 00-FF II co x m m I 0100000504 OF 00000000 I oy i esel

IOV USE NEW R CHANNELS

O c cα O Requests the I'oy contiol device to switch lo new RI liansmit and leceive channels c -.

H Computei addiess 0003 It O m A unit address- 00-FF H co

X CHI Tiansmit RF channel nuinbei O F II m m ( 112 Receive RF' Channel number O F II

H c 0100000504 OA 12000000 Swit-.li lo new RX and IX RF channels r m

IO at

Note ins command is available only with enhanced ladio modules (alternate Ul of Fig 5E ) or with the modules described if Fig 15A-15E and 24 A-

24E

I. TEI -KMI- RY lnfoπnation sent by the Toy control device, as an ACK to the command received fiom the Computer radio interface OK ACK

O c

CO O

H C H m o = x Send back an ACK about the command thai was lc- eivcd ol m m

-i P Computei addiess 00 03 I I

3 c A unit address - 00-FF I I ι- rπ cmd 1 ,2 Received command MSB ok ack 00-FF" 11 io cmd 3,4 Received command FSB ok ack 00-FF 11 σ> sen 1 ,2 Sensoi s 0-7 status 00-FF I I

01 60 00 05 OA 00 01 01 FF 00 OK ack loi 0101 command (sensois scan mode on command) status all sensors are not pi essed (Fl:) the computei ladio intei face nuinbei is 6

01 60 00 05 0 A 00 01 01 Fh 00 OK ack for 0101 command (sensors scan mode on command) status sensor tt 8 is pressed

vO

X)

D

Ε

o

(i. REQUESTS

Requests sent by the Foy contiol device, alter an event IOY IS AWAKE RE

O c

CD

H

C H m o x rπ Send a message to the Computei iadio inteiface if the I oy -onti l device goes fiom sleep mode to awake mode m H

3 I' Computei addiess 00-03 II c r A unit address - 00-FF II m cl,c2 status command AB II

01600005 OA 00 AB 00 FF 00 I'oy is awake message

I I. CΛU (Computer Kadio Interface)- commands

( 'ominauds that ai e sent only to the Computei πidio intei face SWITCH AUDIO OUT TO RADIO & TRANSMIT

c CO

CD CO H

H C H m o x m m <J1

H Requests the Computer radio intei face to switch audio out lioin the computer sound caid to the radio wireless transceiver and transmit. ro

P Computer addiess 00-03 I I

SWITCH AUDIO our ro JACK & STOP TRANSMIT

(0 c

CD (0 Requests the Computer ladio inteiface to suilch audio out horn the ladio RF wireless tiansceivei to the speakers jack and lo stop transmit c -I P Computer addiess 00-03 II m co x MUTE RADIO m m H c r rπ io

O)

Mute the radio tiansmit

Computer address 00-03 II

o cυ cυ X) ©

X ac cυ

CJ 15 cu x> α.

rr Q

15 υ o

XI sJ

cυ *-

_ r- a oo 15

1- — rr j oo i ^ ^ -C

"— !.-?.

' — cυ C J

~> - J o

I. CRI - ACK

ACK sent only to the Computer by the Computer ladio intei face, only after CRI commands ( RI C OMMAND ACK

CO C CD (Λ

H C H m cn x I is is an ACK foi a CRI command this ACK is sent to the computei by the computei -iadio-intei face, alter executing a command successfully m m

1' Computei addiess 00-03 11

31 c cmd 1 ,2 Received CRI command MSB ok ack 00-FF II

I" m cmd 3,4 Received CRI command LSB ok ack 00-FF II ro

01 60 00 00 01) 00 OC 01 00 00 OK ack foi OCO I CRI command (SWI TCH AUDIO OUT TO JACK) the computer l adio interface nuinbei is 6

01 60 00 00 01) 00 C Of 00 00 OK a k for OCOF CRI command (CRI reset) the computer ladio interface πumbei is 6 This ark is also sent on POWER DP RESET

Reference is now made to Fig 8A, which is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for receiving radio signals, executing commands comprised therein, and sending radio signals, within the toy control device 130 of Fig IA Typically, each message as described above compπses a command, which may include a command to process information also composed in the message The method of Fig. 8 A preferably compπses the following steps

A synchronization signal or preamble is detected (step 400) A header is detected (step 403)

A command contained in the signal is received (step 405)

The command contained in the signal is executed (step 410) Executing the command may be as descπbed above with reference to Fig IA

A signal comprising a command intended for the computer radio interface 110 is sent (step 420)

Reference is now made to Figs 8B - 8T which, taken together, comprise a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred implementation of the method of Fig 8A The method of Figs 8B - 8T is self-explanatory

Reference is now made to Fig 9 A, which is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for receiving MIDI signals, receiving radio signals, executing commands compπsed therein, sending radio signals, and sending MLDI signals, within the computer radio interface 110 of Fig IA Some of the steps of Fig 9 A are identical to steps of Fig 8A_ descπbed above Fig 9A also preferably compπses the following steps

A MIDI command is received from the computer 100 (step 430) The MIDI command may compπse a command intended to be transmitted to the toy control device 130, may compπse an audio in or audio out command, or may compπse a general command A MLDI command is sent to the computer 100 (step 440). The MIDI command may comprise a signal received from the toy control device 130, may comprise a response to a MLDI command previously received by the computer radio interface 110 from the computer 100, or may comprise a general command. The command contained in the MIDI command or in the received signal is executed (step 450). Executing the command may comprise, in the case of a received signal, reporting the command to the computer 100, whereupon the computer 100 may typically carry out any appropriate action under program control as, for example, changing a screen display or taking any other appropriate action in response to the received command. In the case of a MLDI command received from the computer 100, executing the command may comprise transmitting the command to the toy control device 130. Executing a MIDI command may also comprise switching audio output of the computer control device 110 between the secondary audio interface 230 and the radio transceiver 260. Normally the secondary audio interface 230 is directly connected to the audio interface 220 preserving the connection between the computer sound board and the peripheral audio devices such as speakers, microphone and stereo system.

Reference is now made to Figs. 9B - 9N, and additionally reference is made back to Figs. 8D - 8M, all of which, taken together, comprise a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred implementation of the method of Fig. 9 A. The method of Figs. 9B - 9M, taken together with Figs. 8D - 8M, is self-explanatory. Reference is now additionally made to Figs. 10A - 10C, which are simplified pictorial illustrations of a signal transmitted between the computer radio interface 110 and the toy control device 130 of Fig. IA. Fig. 10A comprises a synchronization preamble. The duration T_SYNC of the synchronization preamble is preferably 500 millisecond, being preferably substantially equally divided into on and off components. Fig. 10B comprises a signal representing a bit with value 0, while Fig. IOC comprises a signal representing a bit with value 1.

It is appreciated that Figs. 10B and IOC refer to the case where the apparatus of Fig. 5D is used. In the case of the apparatus of Fig. 5E, functionality corresponding to that depicted in Figs. 10B and IOC is provided within the apparatus of Fig. 5E.

Preferably, each bit is assigned a predetermined duration T, which is the same for every bit. A frequency modulated carrier is transmitted, using the method of frequency modulation keying as is well known in the art. An "off signal (typically less than 0.7 Volts) presented at termination 5 of U2 in Fig. 5D causes a transmission at a frequency below the median channel frequency. An "on" signal (typically over 2.3 Volts) presented at pin 5 of U2 in Fig. 5D causes a transmission at a frequency above the median frequency. These signals are received by the corresponding receiver Ul. Output signal from pin 6 of Ul is fed to the comparator 280 of Figs. 4 and 6 that is operative to determine whether the received signal is "off' or "on", respectively. It is also possible to use the comparator that is contained within Ul by connecting pin 7 of Ul of Fig. 5D, through pin 6 of the connector JI of Fig. 5D, pin 6 of connector JI of Fig. 5N through the jumper to pin 12 ofUl of Fig. 5A.

Preferably, receipt of an on signal or spike of duration less than 0.01 * T is ignored. Receipt of an on signal as shown in Fig. 10B, of duration between 0.01 * T and 0.40 * T is preferably taken to be a bit with value 0. Receipt of an on signal as shown in Fig. 10C, of duration greater than 0.40 * T is preferably taken to be a bit with value 1. Typically, T has a value of 1.0 millisecond.

Furthermore, after receipt of an on signal, the duration of the subsequent off signal is measured. The sum of the durations of the on signal and the off signal must be between 0.90 T and 1.10 T for the bit to be considered valid. Otherwise, the bit is considered invalid and is ignored.

Reference is now made to Fig. 11, which is a simplified flowchart illustration of a method for generating control instructions for the apparatus of Fig. IN The method of Fig. 11 preferably includes the following steps:

A toy is selected (step 550). At least one command is selected, preferably from a plurality of commands associated with the selected toy (steps 560 - 580). Alternatively, a command may be entered by selecting, modifying, and creating a new binary command (step 585).

Typically, selecting a command in steps 560 - 580 may include choosing a command and specifying one or more control parameters associated with the command. A control parameter may include, for example, a condition depending on a result of a previous command, the previous command being associated either with the selected toy or with another toy. A control parameter may also include an execution condition governing execution of a command such as, for example: a condition stating that a specified output is to occur based on a status of the toy, that is, if and only if a specified input is received; a condition stating that the command is to be performed at a specified time; a condition stating that performance of the command is to cease at a specified time; a condition comprising a command modifier modifying execution of the command, such as, for example, to terminate execution of the command in a case where execution of the command continues over a period of time; a condition dependent on the occurrence of a future event; or another condition.

The command may comprise a command to cancel a previous command. The output of the method of Fig. 11 typically comprises one or more control instructions implementing the specified command, generated in step 590. Typically, the one or more control instructions are comprised in a command file. Typically, the command file is called from a driver program which typically determines which command is to be executed at a given point in time and then calls the command file associated with the given command.

Preferably, a user of the method of Fig. 11 performs steps 550 and 560 using a computer having a graphical user interface. Reference is now made to Figs. 12A - 12C, which are pictorial illustrations of a preferred embodiment of a graphical user interface implementation of the method of Fig. 11.

Fig. 12A comprises a toy selection area 600, comprising a plurality of toy selection icons 610, each depicting a toy. The user of the graphical user interface of Figs. 12A - 12C typically selects one of the toy selection icons 610, indicating that a command is to be specified for the selected toy.

Fig. 12A also typically comprises action buttons 620, typically comprising one or more of the following: a button allowing the user, typically an expert user, to enter a direct binary command implementing an advanced or particularly complex command not otherwise available through the graphical user interface of Figs. 12A - 12C; a button allowing the user to install a new toy, thus adding a new toy selection icon 610; and a button allowing the user to exit the graphical user interface of Figs. 12A - 12C.

Fig. 12B depicts a command generator screen typically displayed after the user has selected one of the toy selection icons 610 of Fig. 12 A. Fig. 12B comprises an animation area 630, preferably comprising a depiction of the selected toy selection icon 610, and a text area 635 comprising text describing the selected toy.

Fig. 12B also comprises a plurality of command category buttons 640, each of which allow the user to select a category of commands such as, for example: output commands; input commands; audio in commands; audio out commands; and general commands.

Fig. 12B also comprises a cancel button 645 to cancel command selection and return to the screen of Fig. 12 A.

Fig. 12C comprises a command selection area 650, allowing the user to specify a specific command. A wide variety of commands may be specified, and the commands shown in Fig. 12C are shown by way of example only.

Fig. 12C also comprises a file name area 655, in which the user may specify the name of the file which is to receive the generated control instructions. Fig. 12C also comprises a cancel button 645, similar to the cancel button 645 of Fig. 12B. Fig. 12C also comprises a make button 660. When the user actuates the make button 660, the control instruction generator of Fig. 11 generates control instructions implementing the chosen command for the chosen toy, and writes the control instructions to the specified file.

Fig. 12C also comprises a parameter selection area 665, in which the user may specify a parameter associated with the chosen command. The above-described embodiment of Fig. IC includes a description of a preferred set of predefined messages including a category termed "General commands". Other General Commands are defined by the following description:

MU TIPORT COMMANDS

AVAILABILITY INTERROGATION COMMAND

A computer transmits this command to verify that the radio channel is vacant. If another computer is already using this channel it will respond with the Availability Response Command. If no response is received within 250msec the channel is deemed vacant. P: Computer address 00-03 H

A: unit address - 00-FF II

AVAILABILITY RESPONSE COMMAND

A computer transmits this command in response to an Availability Interrogation Command to announce that the radio channel is in use. P: Computer address 00-03 H

C

A: unit address - 00-FF II

TOY AVAILABILITY COMMAND

O 3 O

A Toy transmits this command to declare its existence and receive in response a Channel Pair Selection Command designating the computer that will o control it and the radio channels to use. σ.

P: Computer address 00-03 II

A: unit address - 00-FF H

n >

CHANNEL PAIR SELECTION COMMAND

A computer transmits this command in response to a Toy Availability Command to inform the toy the radio channels to be used. P: Computer address 00-03 H

A: unit address - 00-FF H

CHI : Toy transmit channel 0- F H

CHI : Toy receive channel 0- F H -

In Figs. 13 and 14 there are illustrated block diagrams of multiport multi-channel implementation of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. IA. Fig. 13 illustrates the processing sub-unit of the computer interface that is implemented as an add-in board installed inside a PC. Fig. 14 is the RF transceiver which is a device external to the computer and connects to the processing subunit by means of a cable. In the present application of the RF unit there are 4 transceivers each capable of utilizing two radio channels simultaneously.

Referring briefly to Fig. 3, it is appreciated that, optionally, both sound and control commands may be transmitted via the M DI connector 210 rather than transmitting sound commands via the analog connector 220. It is additionally appreciated that the functions of the interfaces 210 and 220 between the computer radio interface 110 and the sound card 190 may, alternatively, be implemented as connections between the computer radio interface 1 10 to the serial and/or parallel ports of the computer 100, as shown in Figs. 25 A - 25F.

If it is desired to provide full duplex communication, each transceiver 260 which forms part of the computer radio interface 110 of Fig. 1 A preferably is operative to transmit on a first charmel pair and to receive on a different, second channel pair. The transceiver 260 (Fig. 4) which forms part of the toy control device 130 of Fig. IA preferably is operative to transmit on the second channel and to receive on the first channel.

Any suitable technology may be employed to define at least two channel pairs such as narrow band technology or spread spectrum technologies such as frequency hopping technology or direct sequence technology, as illustrated in Figs. 15A - 15E, showing a Multi- Channel Computer Radio Interface, and in Figs. 24A - 24E showing a Multi-Channel Toy Control Device.

Reference is now made to Fig. 16 which is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method of operation of a computer radio interface (CRI) 110 operative to service an individual computer 100 of Fig. IA without interfering with other computers or being interfered with by the other computers, each of which is similarly serviced by a similar CRI. Typically, the method of Fig. 16 is implemented in software on the computer 100 of Fig. IA.

The CRI includes a conventional radio transceiver (260 of Fig. 4) which may, for example, comprise an RY3 GB021 having 40 channels which are divided into 20 pairs of channels. Typically, 16 of the channel pairs are assigned to information communication and the remaining 4 channel pairs are designated as control channels.

In the method of Fig. 16, one of the 4 control channel pairs is selected by the radio interface (step 810) as described in detail below in Fig. 17. The selected control channel pair i is monitored by a first transceiver (step 820) to detect the appearance of a new toy which is signaled by arrival of a toy availability command from the new toy (step 816). When the new toy is detected, an information communication channel pair is selected (step 830) from among the 16 such channel pairs provided over which game program information will be transmitted to the new toy. A preferred method for implementing step 830 is illustrated in self-explanatory flowchart Fig. 18A. The "Locate Computer" command in Fig. 18A (step 1004) is illustrated in the flowchart of Fig. 18B.

The identity of the selected information communication channel pair, also termed herein a "channel pair selection command", is sent over the control channel pair to the new toy (step 840). A game program is then begun (step 850), using the selected information communication channel pair. The control channel pair is then free to receive and act upon a toy availability command received from another toy. Therefore, it is desirable to assign another transceiver to that control channel pair since the current transceiver is now being used to provide communication between the game and the toy. To assign a further transceiver to the now un-monitored control channel, the transceiver which was formerly monitoring that control channel is marked as busy in a transceiver availability table (step 852). The transceiver availability table is then scanned until an available transceiver, i.e. a transceiver which is not marked as busy, is identified (step 854). This transceiver is then assigned to the control channel i (step 858).

Fig. 17 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for implementing "select control channel pair" step 810 of Fig. 16. In Fig. 17, the four control channels are scanned. For each channel pair in which the noise level falls below a certain threshold (step 895), the computer sends an availability interrogation command (step 910) and waits for a predetermined time period, such as 250 ms, for a response (steps 930 and 940). If no other computer responds, i.e. sends back an "availability response command", then the channel pair is deemed vacant. If the channel pair is found to be occupied the next channel is scanned. If none of the four channel pairs are found to be vacant, a "no control charmel available" message is returned.

Fig. 19 is a self-explanatory flowchart illustration of a preferred method of operation of the toy control device 130 which is useful in conjunction with the "multi-channel" embodiment of Figs. 16 - 18B. i = 1, ..., 4 is an index of the control channels of the system. The toy control device sends a "toy availability command" (step 1160) which is a message advertising the toy's availability, on each control channel i in turn (steps 1140, 1150, 1210), until a control channel is reached which is being monitored by a computer. This becomes apparent when the computer responds (step 1180) by transmitting a "channel pair selection command" which is a message designating the information channel pair over which the toy control device may communicate with the game running on the computer. At this point (step 1 190), the toy control device may begin receiving and executing game commands which the computer transmits over the information channel pair designated in the control channel i. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a computer system is provided, in communication with a remote game server, as shown in Fig. 20. The remote game server 1250 is operative to serve to the computer 100 at least a portion of at least one toy- operating game, which operates one or more toys 1260. Optionally, an entire game may be downloaded from the remote game server 1250. However, alternatively, a new toy action script or new text files may be downloaded from the remote game server 1250 whereas the remaining components of a particular game may already be present in the memory of computer 100.

Downloading from the remote game server 1250 to the computer 100 may take

place either off-line, before the game begins, or on-line, in the course of the game. Alternatively, a first portion of the game may be received off-line whereas an additional portion of the game is received on-line.

The communication between the remote game server 1250 and the computer 100 may be based on any suitable technology such as but not limited to ISDN; X.25; Frame-Relay;

and Internet. An advantage of the embodiment of Fig. 20 is that a very simple computerized

device may be provided locally, i.e. adjacent to the toy, because all "intelligence" may be provided from a remote source. In particular, the computerized device may be less sophisticated than a

personal computer, may lack a display monitor of its own, and may, for example, comprise a network computer 1270. Fig. 21 is a simplified flowchart illustration of the operation of the computer 100 or of the network computer 1260 of Fig. 20, when operating in conjunction with the remote server 1250.

Fig. 22 is a simplified flowchart illustration of the operation of the remote game

server 1250 of Fig. 20. Fig. 23 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a wireless computer controlled toy system including a toy 1500 having a toy control device 1504, a computer 1510 communicating with the toy control device 1504 by means of a computer- radio interface 1514 and a proximity detection subsystem operative to detect proximity between the toy and the computer. The proximity detection subsystem may for example include a pair of ultrasound transducers 1520 and 1530 associated with the toy and computer respectively. The toy's ultrasound transducer 1520 typically broadcasts ultrasonic signals which the computer's ultrasound transducer 1530 detects if the computer and toy are within ultrasonic communication range, e.g. are in the same room. Figs. 24 A - 24E, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of a multi-channel implementation of the computer radio interface 1 10 of Fig. 3 which is similar to the detailed electronic schematic diagrams of Figs. 5 A - 5D except for being multi-channel, therefore capable of supporting full duplex applications, rather than single-channel.

Figs. 25 A - 25F, taken together, form a detailed schematic illustration of a computer radio interface which connects to a serial port of a computer rather than to the sound board of the computer.

Figs. 26A - 26D, taken together, form a detailed schematic illustration of a computer radio interface which connects to a parallel port of a computer rather than to the sound board of the computer. Figs. 27A - 27J are preferred self-explanatory flowchart illustrations of a preferred radio coding technique, based on the Manchester coding, which is an alternative to the radio coding technique described above with reference to Figs. 8E, 8G - 8M and 10A - C.

Figs. 28A - 28K, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of

the multi-port multi-channel computer radio interface sub-unit of Fig. 13. Figs. 29A - 291, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of the multi-port multi-channel computer radio interface sub-unit of Fig. 14.

Fig. 30 illustrates a further embodiment of the present invention which includes a combination of a Computer Radio Interface (CRI) and a Toy Control Device (TCD), 1610.

The combined unit 1610 controls a toy 1620 which is connected to the computer

100 by a device, such as a cable, and communicates with other toys, 120, by means such as radio communication, using the computer radio interface 110. The toy 1620 is operated in a similar manner as the toy device 120.

Fig 31 illustrates a simplified block diagram of the combined unit 1610. Figs. 32A, 32B and 32C taken together form a simplified schematic diagram of the

EP900 EPLD chip (U9) of Fig. 28H. The code to program the EPLD chip for this schematic diagram preferably uses the programming package "Max Plus II Ner. 6.2" available from Altera

Corporation, 3525 Monroe Street, Santa Clara, CA. 5051, USA.

Figs. 33 - 54, described hereinbelow, illustrate embodiments of the toy system of

Figs. 1 - 32C in which a computer-controlled toy system controls toys by means of a television or

radio.

Fig. 33 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy 2010 sensing audio information 2020 from a television 2030 viewed by a user, wherein one or more microphones 2034, typically mounted on the toy 2010, senses the audio information 2020 in acoustic form and transmits a digital representation 2040 of this information, wirelessly, to a

computer 2050. The toy then receives from the computer 2050 commands 2060 which are

responsive to the digital representation 2040 of the audio information 2020. Radio

communication is provided between the computer 2050 and the toy 2010 via a computer radio interface 2110, which is a hardware unit associated with the computer 2050 and a toy control device 2130 typically residing within the toy 2010. A preferred embodiment of the computer radio interface 2110 and of the toy control device 2130 are described in detail hereinabove with reference to Figs. 1 - 32C.

Fig. 34 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a modification of the apparatus of Fig. 33 which is similar to the apparatus of Fig. 33 except that the toy 2010 senses

audio information 2020 from a radio 2070 listened to by a user. The toy senses the audio

information 2020 in acoustic form and transmits a digital representation 2040 of this information,

wirelessly, to a computer 2050. The toy then receives from the computer 2050 commands 2060 which are responsive to the digital representation 2040 of the audio information 2020.

Alternatively, the radio may comprise an audio cassette player.

Fig. 35 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a modification of the apparatus of Fig. 34 which is generally similar thereto except that the toy control device 2130

receives the audio information in electronic form rather than in acoustic form. The electronic audio information is received from a radio receiver 2200 integrally formed with the toy, preferably

interiorly disposed therewithin. The toy, therefore, functions as a radio. The audio information in

acoustic form, whose reference numeral is 2020, is provided to the user by means of a speaker

2210. Typically, the apparatus of Fig. 33 also includes a similar speaker to allow the computer to

command the toy to emit vocalizations.

As shown in Fig. 35, the radio receiver 2200 receives radio entertainment broadcast information, transmits this information wirelessly to the computer 2050 and receives from the computer commands 2060 responsive to the radio entertainment broadcast information.

The apparatus of Fig. 35 is advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Fig. 34, in that the quality of reception is typically enhanced because the audio information transmitted by the

toy does not include acoustic noise generated by noise in the toy's environment. Fig. 36 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a modification of the

apparatus of Fig. 35 which is generally similar to the apparatus of Fig. 35 except that the audio information is received from a radio receiver 2220 connected to the computer rather than from a radio receiver residing in the toy 2010.

The apparatus of Fig. 36 is advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Figs. 34 and

35, in that the toy's batteries or other power supply last longer because the toy does not have to transmit the audio information.

Fig. 37 is a modification of the apparatus of Fig. 33 which is generally similar to the apparatus of Fig. 33 except that the audio information is received electronically from a TN

receiver 2230 connected to the computer rather than acoustically from a TN monitor.

The apparatus of Fig. 37 is advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Fig. 33, in that the toy's batteries or other power supply last longer because the toy does not have to transmit the audio information.

The apparatus of Fig. 37 is also advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Fig. 33,

in that the quality of reception is typically enhanced because the audio information transmitted by the toy does not include acoustic noise generated by noise in the toy's environment.

Fig. 38 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of toy apparatus

functioning as a PDA (personal digital assistant). The apparatus of Fig. 38 includes a computer

2050 such as a PC personal computer associated with a conventional telephony card 2250 or modem such as Dialog's D41 card, with a telephone jack 2260 and optionally with a telephone instrument 2270 enabling conventional telephone communication not involving the toy 2010.

The computer 2050 is in radio communication with a toy 2010 via a computer

radio interface 2110 and a toy control device 2130. Fig. 39 A is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred mode of operation for the apparatus of Fig. 38 allowing a call to be placed.

In normal operation, as shown in Fig. 39 A, a user's request to place a telephone call is heard by one or more microphones 2034 mounted on the toy 2010 and is wirelessly transmitted to the computer 2050. The computer 2050 identifies key words using conventional

speaker-dependent or speaker-independent speech recognition software such as products available from the following sources:

Stylus Innovation Inc., One Kendall Square, Building 300, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA;

A & G Graphics Interface, USA, at telephone number (617) 492 0120, telefax

(617) 427 3625;

"Dragon Dictate for Windows", marketed by Dragon Systems Inc., 320 Nevada Street, MA, 02160, USA; and

"SDK", commercially available from Lernout & Hausple Speech Products, Sint-

Krispijnstaat 7, 8900 Leper, Belgium.

The computer 2050 stores a list of telephone numbers each associated with a name

or other label such as "daddy". When one of the names or labels in the computer's memory is

recognized, together with a dial request (such as the word "call"), the computer is operative to

retrieve the telephone number corresponding to the name or label. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, names in the

computer's memory may be associated with more than one telephone number, each telephone

number being associated with a time interval. For example, a parent's telephone number may be associated with her work number during office hours, and with her portable telephone number

during her normal commuting hours. The retrieved telephone number is dialled. If the call is answered, a request for the target person is preferably played to the responding party. The call is connected to the toy's speaker and microphone which function as the mouthpiece and earpiece respectively of a

telephone instrument.

Preferably, the device is operative to disconnect the call automatically after a silence of a predetermined duration or if the responding party disconnects.

Fig. 39B is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred mode of operation for

the apparatus of Fig. 38 for handling an entering call.

Upon receipt of an entering call by telephony card 2250, the computer 2050

answers and prompts the caller to enter a password. The correct password is stored in the

memory of the computer. If the password entered is correct, the computer 2050 connects the call to the toy as above.

Fig. 40 is a simplified diagram of the interface between computer radio interface 2110 and soundboard 2190. The apparatus of Fig. 40 is a modification of the apparatus of Fig. 35

in which the MIDI connectors are omitted, such that the apparatus of Fig. 40 is useful in

conjunction with sound-boards or computers which lack MIDI connectors.

Fig. 41 is a simplified block diagram of a preferred implementation of computer radio interface 2110. Fig. 41 is a modification of the apparatus of Fig. 36 in which the MIDI

connectors are omitted, such that the apparatus of Fig. 41 is useful in conjunction with sound- boards or computers which lack MIDI connectors.

Fig. 42 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method allowing one of the computer radio interface 2110 and the computer 2050 to receive commands over the audio

channel, rather than over the MIDI channel, from the other one of the computer radio interface 2110 and the computer 2050. The method of Fig. 42 first detect whether arriving information is audio information and if so, detects whether the audio information is entertainment-type audio information or a command. This is preferably effected by detecting whether or not a command- characterizing preamble has been received. The command-characterizing preamble typically comprises SYNC followed by SQ signals as described in detail below with reference to Fig. 43.

Fig. 43 is a diagram of analog and digital representations 2300 and 2310 respectively of the following signals: SYNC, SQ, zero-valued bit and one- valued bit.

The frequencies and time durations of each of the above signals are as follows:

SIGNAL FREQUENCY TIME DURATION

SYNC 2KHz 0.5 msec

SQ 500 Hz 2 msec zero l KHz 1 msec one 666 Hz 1.5 msec

Fig. 44 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy sensing audio information from a television viewed by a user, wherein the toy transmits this information wirelessly to a computer and receiving from the computer commands responsive to the audio information, and wherein the source of the audio-visual information provided by the television is a NCR 2320 rather than a conventional television broadcast as in Fig. 33.

Fig. 45 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy, a television monitor and a computer including a TN receiver or television board 2230 operative to receive audio-visual entertainment information from a NCR 2320 and to transmit to the toy 2010 computer commands responsive to the audio visual entertainment information. In Fig. 45, the audio entertainment information is received electronically from the

VCR via the television board connected to the computer rather than acoustically from a TN monitor as in Fig. 44.

The apparatus of Fig. 45 is advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Fig. 44, in that the toy's batteries or other power supply last longer because the toy does not have to transmit

the audio component of the audio-visual entertainment information.

The apparatus of Fig. 45 is also advantageous, relative to the apparatus of Fig. 44, in that the quality of reception is typically enhanced because the audio information transmitted by

the toy does not include acoustic noise generated by noise in the toy's environment.

Fig. 46 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a toy 2010 connected

by a wire 2330 to a computer 2050, and a conventional audio entertainment provision system 2340 providing audio entertainment information. The entertainment provision system 2340, in the

illustrated embodiment comprises a television set 2030 associated with a NCR 2320. However, alternatively, the entertainment provision system may comprise any of the entertainment provision

systems shown and described above with reference to Figs. 33 - 45 and the source of the audio entertainment information may be either a broadcast or a local repository such as a cassette. The

audio entertainment information is presented to the user and is also used by the computer 2050 to

operate the toy 2010 in coordination with the presentation of the audio entertainment information.

Figs. 47A - 47E, taken together, form a detailed electronic schematic diagram of a

preferred implementation of the apparatus of Fig. 41.

Fig. 48 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a controllable toy system comprising a controllable toy 2010 and a radio signal receiver 2220 operative to receive an audio entertainment signal and a corresponding toy control signal from a remote radio transmitter.

Unlike the embodiment of Fig. 36, in which the radio broadcast may be a conventional broadcast including only an audio component, in the embodiment of Fig. 48, the radio broadcast includes

not only an audio component but also a toy control component. Typically, the radio broadcast comprises a stereo broadcast having two channels of which a first predetermined channel carries a mono audio component and the other channel carries the toy control component.

Fig. 49 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram illustration of a modification of Fig.

48 in which the radio signal receiver is integrally formed with the controllable toy.

Fig. 50 is a simplified self-explanatory flowchart illustration of a preferred method by which the computer analyzes an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined audio entertainment elements and to command the toy 2010 to perform at least one action having a predetermined association with the recognized predetermined audio

entertainment elements.

Fig. 51 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing

the TN/radio program coordination step of the method of Fig. 50. In the method of Fig. 51, a program may either be activated by the system itself (typically if the program is discovered by the system in its entertainment program time table) or alternatively may be activated by the user and

acted upon by the system if the system recognizes the program as an optional program to be

cooperated with only if activated by the user.

Fig. 52 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing the conformance checking step of the method of Fig. 50 in order to synchronize the toy's activities with a broadcast program. Preferably, the toy operates in accordance with a predetermined sequence of activities associated with a "keyword list" typically determined by a game programmer and stored on CDROM. The advantage of providing a keyword list is that the system

knows what keyword is next expected, thereby reducing synchronization errors. Typically, the system is constructed and operative such that if a keyword detected by the speech recognizer or audio analyzer is found not to be in conformance with the next keyword in the keyword list, the system considers that keyword to have been missed if the next

two keywords in the list are recognized in sequence in the broadcast program and considers the n'th detected keyword to have been a "false alarm" if the listed keyword is found to conform to

the (n+l)th detected keyword.

Fig. 53 is a simplified flowchart illustration of a preferred method for performing the "command toy..." step of the method of Fig. 50 in which the toy is activated in synchronization with the broadcast program.

Fig. 54 is a semi-pictorial semi-block diagram of a controllable toy system

operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio

entertainment signal from a remote radio transmitter, the system comprising a controllable toy and a radio signal receiver, integrally formed with the computer and communicating with the toy by

means of a wire. The radio signal receiver is operative to receive a toy control signal from a

remote radio transmitter which transmits a toy control signal and a corresponding audio

entertainment signal. The radio signal receiver also commands the controllable toy to perform at

least one action according to said toy control signal.

It is appreciated that the software components of the present invention may, if desired, be implemented in ROM (read-only memory) form. The software components may, generally, be implemented in hardware, if desired, using conventional techniques.

It is appreciated that various features of the invention which are, for clarity,

described in the contexts of separate embodiments may also be provided in combination in a

single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described

in the context of a single embodiment may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather, the scope of the present invention is defined only by the claims that follow which are:

Claims

CLAIMSWe claim:
1. A controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player, the system comprising: a controllable toy; and an audio entertainment signal analyzer operative to analyze an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin predetermined audio entertainment elements and to command said controllable toy to perform at least one action according to said predetermined audio entertainment elements at a time corresponding to a time at which said audio entertainment elements are played by the household audio entertainment player.
2. A computerized toy system according to claim 1 and also comprising a household audio entertainment player.
3. A computerized toy system according to claim 2 wherein said household audio entertainment player comprises a household entertainment broadcast receiver.
4. A computerized toy system according to claim 3 wherein said household entertainment broadcast receiver comprises a television set.
5. A computerized toy system according to claim 3 wherein said household entertainment broadcast receiver comprises a radio set.
6. A computerized toy system according to claim 3 wherein said household audio entertainment player comprises an audio cassette player.
7. A computerized toy system according to claim 6 wherein said household audio entertainment player comprises a NCR.
8. A system according to claim 1 wherein said audio entertainment signal analyzer is
operative to receive an acoustical representation of said audio entertainment signal from said audio entertainment player.
9. A system according to claim 2 wherein said audio entertainment player and said
audio entertainment signal analyzer each receive an electronic representation of said audio entertainment signal from an electronic audio entertainment source.
10. A system according to claim 1 wherein the audio entertainment signal analyzer is
integrally formed with the controllable toy.
11. A system according to claim 1 wherein the audio entertainment signal analyzer
comprises a computer in electronic communication with said controllable toy.
12. A system according to claim 11 wherein said electronic communication comprises
wired electronic communication.
13. A system according to claim 11 wherein said electronic communication comprises
wireless electronic communication.
14. A computerized toy system comprising:
a toy;
a computer having a sound card;
a computer-radio interface associated with the sound card of the computer via at least one audio channels; and a toy control device associated with the toy and providing radio communication
with the computer-radio interface;
wherein at least one of the computer-radio interface and the computer are operative to transmit audio signals and digital commands through said sound card, via said at least
one audio channels to the other one of said computer-radio interface and said computer and
wherein the other one of said computer-radio interface and said computer is operative to receive
said audio signals and said digital commands from said at least one audio channels.
15. A controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio entertainment signal from a remote radio transmitter, the
system comprising:
a controllable toy; and a radio signal receiver operative to receive a toy control signal from a remote radio transmitter which transmits said toy control signal and a corresponding audio entertainment
signal, and to command said controllable toy to perform at least one action according to said toy control signal.
16. A system according to claim 15 wherein said radio signal receiver is integrally formed with said controllable toy.
17. A system according to claim 15 wherein said radio signal receiver is integrally
formed with a computer which is in electronic communication with said controllable toy.
18. A system according to claim 17 wherein said electronic communication comprises wired electronic communication.
19. A system according to claim 17 wherein said electronic communication comprises
wireless electronic communication.
20. A telephone communication toy comprising:
a toy including a microphone and a loudspeaker; a computer in electronic communication with the toy and including a speech
recognizer; a telephone number database accessible by said speech recognizer and including at
least one destination paired with at least one telephone number; and an automatic dialling device operative to generate a telephone connection with said
destination, using a corresponding telephone number accessed from said telephone number
database by said speech recognizer.
21. A system according to claim 2 wherein said controllable toy is integrally formed with the household audio entertainment player.
22. A toy control method operative in conjunction with a household audio
entertainment player, the method comprising:
providing a controllable toy; and analyzing an audio entertainment signal so as to recognize therewithin
predetermined audio entertainment elements and commanding said controllable toy to perform at least one action according to said predetermined audio entertainment elements at a time
corresponding to a time at which said audio entertainment elements are played by the household
audio entertainment player.
23. A system according to claim 15 and also comprising a remote radio transmitter
broadcasting an audio entertainment signal and a corresponding toy control signal.
24. A system according to claim 15 and wherein said household audio entertainment
player is integrally formed with said controllable toy.
25. A computerized toy control method comprising: providing a toy, a computer having a sound card, a computer-radio interface
associated with the sound card of the computer via at least one audio channels and a toy control device associated with the toy and providing radio communication with the computer-radio
interface; and transmitting audio signals and digital commands through said sound card, from one of said computer-radio interface and said computer via said at least one audio channels to the other one of said computer-radio interface and said computer.
26. A toy control method operative to control a controllable toy in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player receiving an audio entertainment signal from a remote radio transmitter, the method comprising:
broadcasting a toy control signal and a corresponding audio entertainment signal;
playing said audio entertainment signal at a location remote from the radio transmitter; and
commanding said controllable toy to perform at least one action according to said toy control signal, at a location remote from the radio transmitter.
27. A telephone communication method comprising:
providing a toy including a microphone and a loudspeaker, a computer in
electronic communication with the toy and including a speech recognizer and a telephone number
database accessible by said speech recognizer; and generating a telephone connection with a destination, using a telephone number accessed from said telephone number database by said speech recognizer.
PCT/IL1998/000225 1997-05-19 1998-05-19 Controllable toy operative with audio player WO1998053567A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
IL12085697 1997-05-19
IL120856 1997-05-19
US09/062,547 1998-04-17
US09062547 US20020107591A1 (en) 1997-05-19 1998-04-17 "controllable toy system operative in conjunction with a household audio entertainment player"

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
CA 2290499 CA2290499A1 (en) 1997-05-19 1998-05-19 Controllable toy operative with audio player
EP19980920725 EP1010274A1 (en) 1997-05-19 1998-05-19 Controllable toy operative with audio player
JP55019698A JP2002511783A (en) 1997-05-19 1998-05-19 Controllable toy that works with the audio player

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1998053567A1 true true WO1998053567A1 (en) 1998-11-26

Family

ID=26323427

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/IL1998/000225 WO1998053567A1 (en) 1997-05-19 1998-05-19 Controllable toy operative with audio player

Country Status (5)

Country Link
EP (1) EP1010274A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2002511783A (en)
CN (1) CN1269932A (en)
CA (1) CA2290499A1 (en)
WO (1) WO1998053567A1 (en)

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GB2360171A (en) * 2000-03-01 2001-09-12 Hookham Miller Peter Ernest Interaction with a television system
EP1175929A2 (en) * 2000-07-26 2002-01-30 Deutsche Telekom AG Toy with link to an external database
US6773344B1 (en) 2000-03-16 2004-08-10 Creator Ltd. Methods and apparatus for integration of interactive toys with interactive television and cellular communication systems
WO2010054638A1 (en) * 2008-11-13 2010-05-20 Georg Austermann Arrangement for testing and training the sense of hearing, in particular spatial and directional hearing of persons, and for games, especially for children, the elderly, and disabled persons

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN101977291A (en) * 2010-11-10 2011-02-16 江苏惠通集团有限责任公司 RF4CE protocol-based multi-functional digital TV control system
US8647202B2 (en) 2010-12-16 2014-02-11 Microsoft Corporation Companion object customization

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US5108341A (en) * 1986-05-28 1992-04-28 View-Master Ideal Group, Inc. Toy which moves in synchronization with an audio source
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Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2360171A (en) * 2000-03-01 2001-09-12 Hookham Miller Peter Ernest Interaction with a television system
GB2360171B (en) * 2000-03-01 2004-05-05 Peter Ernest Hookham-Miller Interaction with a television system
US6773344B1 (en) 2000-03-16 2004-08-10 Creator Ltd. Methods and apparatus for integration of interactive toys with interactive television and cellular communication systems
EP1175929A2 (en) * 2000-07-26 2002-01-30 Deutsche Telekom AG Toy with link to an external database
EP1175929A3 (en) * 2000-07-26 2003-08-13 Funtel GmbH Toy with link to an external database
WO2010054638A1 (en) * 2008-11-13 2010-05-20 Georg Austermann Arrangement for testing and training the sense of hearing, in particular spatial and directional hearing of persons, and for games, especially for children, the elderly, and disabled persons

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
CA2290499A1 (en) 1998-11-26 application
JP2002511783A (en) 2002-04-16 application
EP1010274A1 (en) 2000-06-21 application
CN1269932A (en) 2000-10-11 application

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