WO2001076265A1 - System for communicating audio play control signals to hearing-impaired players - Google Patents

System for communicating audio play control signals to hearing-impaired players Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001076265A1
WO2001076265A1 PCT/US2001/007565 US0107565W WO0176265A1 WO 2001076265 A1 WO2001076265 A1 WO 2001076265A1 US 0107565 W US0107565 W US 0107565W WO 0176265 A1 WO0176265 A1 WO 0176265A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
signals
participants
plurality
general
method
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2001/007565
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French (fr)
Inventor
Margaret F. Winter
Michael Paul Marsal
Original Assignee
Winter Margaret F
Michael Paul Marsal
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.)
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B1/00Details of transmission systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04B3/00 - H04B13/00; Details of transmission systems not characterised by the medium used for transmission
    • H04B1/38Transceivers, i.e. devices in which transmitter and receiver form a structural unit and in which at least one part is used for functions of transmitting and receiving
    • H04B1/3827Portable transceivers
    • H04B1/385Transceivers carried on the body, e.g. in helmets
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B1/00Details of transmission systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04B3/00 - H04B13/00; Details of transmission systems not characterised by the medium used for transmission
    • H04B1/38Transceivers, i.e. devices in which transmitter and receiver form a structural unit and in which at least one part is used for functions of transmitting and receiving
    • H04B1/3827Portable transceivers
    • H04B1/385Transceivers carried on the body, e.g. in helmets
    • H04B2001/3866Transceivers carried on the body, e.g. in helmets carried on the head

Abstract

A method of communicating audio command signals to one or more participants in an activity controlled by audio command signals. The participants, who for various reasons are unable to perceive the audio commands, are remotely alerted to these commands with the use of apparatus (10) mounted on the body and/or the head covering of the participant. The commands are communicated by transmitting signals to all the participants or to individual or groups of participants. The signals are received by the receiving apparatus mounted on the body and/or the head covering of each participant and the participant is alerted to the command by various means (14) comprising blinking of light emitting diodes (20, 22) and/or tactile stimulation. Additionally, in games like ice hockey where an object is used to which attention must be paid, a transmitter may be positioned in such object and enabled to transmit directional coordinates to the participants.

Description

SYSTEM FOR COMMUNICATING AUDIO PLAY CONTROL SIGNALS TO

HEARING-IMPAIRED PLAYERS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention This invention relates to enabling hearing-impaired persons to participate in team sporting and other activities and more specifically to communicating audio play control signals to hearing-impaired players.

Description of the Background of the Invention

People with disabilities and many others who are physically-challenged run into many problems and disadvantages not encountered by those who are fully able. Even the smallest deviation from the norm, for example, being left-handed creates difficulties because the commonest of everyday tools, e.g., doors and windows handles, windup watches, are designed for the able, right-handed majority. Many amenities, which are now being taken for granted have been implemented to help the disabled. These amenities include access ramps for wheel chairs mandated for all government institutions, kneeling buses and special wheelchair access on buses that allow more disabled to participate in the regular flow of life. Moreover, sidewalk ramp ingress/digress areas are now common in most municipalities. With regard to the vision-impaired, seeing-eye dogs assist the blind in getting to their destinations. Braille signs, such as those next to elevator floor selection-buttons, allow further mobility, and books in Braille as well as books on tape allow the vision-impaired to lead better lives by minimizing the constraints wrought by the disability.

Various electronic instruments and devices offer special help to the hearing- impaired, these instruments help those with this disability to enjoy the amenities and necessities of the modern life enjoyed by the rest of the population. These instruments include special telephones with light ringers, Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) terminals to conduct telephone conversations, etc. Computers, especially those connected to the Internet, have more than any other device interconnected the hearing- impaired into the general population, by allowing participation in chat room conversations and other on-line sharing of information. Much more, however, remains to be done.

A special segment of the hearing-impaired community that is needlessly left out on the sidelines are children. Hearing-impaired children, as well as adults, who are otherwise able to play and participate in sporting activities, are not able to do so because of their inability to hear audio commands issued by referees and/or by coaches. Therefore, what is needed is a way to help hearing-impaired athletes coordinate their activities during play-times where such activities for the hearing-able are presently coordinated by audio signals such as the spoken word and/or various sound-making devices, such as whistles and sirens. Moreover, any such signal sent to coordinate player activity should be able to reach approximately 100 yards, the length of a football field.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to enable deaf and hearing-impaired athletes to play ice hockey. This invention will enable these players to know when to stop play and when to change lines. Without the present invention, the hearing impaired athletes, due to their disability are unable to fully participate in organized sports activities with the hearing able players.

The inventive device cannot use infrared transmissions. Infrared transmitters and receivers require a clear, unobstructed path between the transmitter and the receiver, which may never occur in a sporting activity such as a hockey game. Radio frequency receivers, on the other hand, such as those used in remote car entry and ignition start-up, are able to transmit and receive signals even where no clear and unobstructed path exists..

The present invention is a method of communicating audio command signals to one or more participants in an activity controlled by audio command signals. The participants, who for various reasons are unable to perceive the audio commands, are remotely alerted to these commands with the use of an apparatus mounted on the body and/or the head covering of the participant. The commands are communicated by transmitting signals to all the participants or to individual or groups of participants. The signals are received by the receiving apparatus mounted on the body and/or the head- covering of each participant and the participant is alerted to the command by various methods comprising blinking of light-emitting diodes and/or administering tactile stimulation, e.g., a mild electric shock.

The transmission of the signal may be achieved by pressing a transmission activation button on a device designed for transmitting a general signal. Such device may take shape of a starter pistol or a whistle, such as those used in most sporting games. In a starter pistol, the signal transmission may be initiated by pulling a trigger. In a whistle the signal transmission may be initiated by the force of wind against a sensor inside the whistle. In both situations the signal transmission may be initiated by a sound-detecting sensor inside these devices. Moreover, in games like ice hockey where an object is used to which attention must be paid, a transmitter may be positioned in such object and enabled to transmit directional coordinates to the participants. Furthermore, coded signals may be sent to individual participants or to groups of such participants to command them to perform a particular, predetermined task or to limit a possibility of undesirable interference by signaled individuals with the play.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The foregoing objects and advantages of the present invention may be more readily understood by one skilled in the art with reference being had to the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like elements are designated by identical reference numerals throughout the several views, and in which:

Figure 1 is a diagram, showing the head-covering used with the present invention with the receiving component mounted thereon.

Figure 2 is a diagram, showing the head-covering used with the present invention and with the receiving component mounted on a torso of a player. Figures 3a - 3c are diagrams, showing signal transmitting components of the present invention.

Figure 4 is a diagram, showing the headpiece used with the present invention with the signaling component mounted thereon. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE

INVENTION

The present invention provides a system and a method for enabling hearing impaired players, both youths and adults, to participate in sporting and other activities that require perception of commands presently communicated by voice and/or sound. In the preferred embodiment the present invention is utilized to enable hearing-impaired players to play hockey. In this embodiment, as shown in Figure 1, the invention comprises a helmet 10, which has a signal receiving device 12, a signaling device 14, and separate signal transmitting devices 16, 24 and 32 shown in Figures 3a-3c. The signaling mechanism used may be any mechanism that is able to transmit and to receive signals over long distances, e.g., 100 to 250 yards and where the signal is not prevented from reaching its destination by various obstructions. Radio Frequency (RF) Devices such as these used for keyless entry in cars may be utilized. One example of such device is described in the U.S. Patent No. 4,763,121. The receiving unit utilize in the preferred embodiment of the present invention receives four different signals from a keypad, interprets them, and performs different actions based on signals received.

Transmission of radio signal in the present invention may be achieved by numerous means including but not limited to a fixed transmission tower, hand held battery powered transmitter, whistle mounted transmitter, computer system controlled transmitter, etc. The signal transmission may be achieved using one or more radio frequencies.

Signals may be received by a single or multiple receivers capable of receiving analog, digital or both analog and digital signals. Each signal received is interpreted by the receivers as the command for turning on a visual or tactile indicator or other alert to the players. The visual signals displayed to the viewer by light bulbs, light emitting diodes (LED) individually or by groups of LED's arranged in patterns, e.g., arrows, as well as to spell out any alpha numeric sequence, and projections, e.g., words on a plastic hockey face mask. All signals and visual images received are perceived only by the receiving individual. All lights may be covered in such a fashion that they may only be seen by the receiver of the signal and not by third parties.

The receiving device 12 may be mounted on the helmet 10 in a manner as to minimize the impact of a fall on the wearer of the helmet 10. Wires leading from the receiving device 12 to the signaling device 14 may be mounted out of view beneath padding of the helmet 10. An on/off switch for the receiving device 12 may be included and placed on the exterior of the receiving device 12. The signaling device 14 may be mounted in such a manner as to be in clear view of the wearer of the helmet 10. Alternatively, as shown in Figure 2, the receiving device 12 may be mounted on the torso of a player or wearer of the helmet 10. The receiving device 12 may be slipped into a sewn-in pocket in the clothing, such as a waistband shown. The pocket and the receiving device 12 are placed in the location least likely to be hit or on which the person is least likely to land in case of a fall. Wires 13 leading from the receiving device 12 to the signaling device 14 may be provided with ample slack at the neckline for movement.

As shown in Figures 3a-3c, the invention further comprises a general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a), which in the preferred embodiment takes the form of a whistle. The general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a) may be provided with a transmission activation button 28 (Figure 3 a). In its simple operation, when the whistle or general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a) is blown, a signal is transmitted to the receiving device 12 (Figure 1). The transmitting function may be initiated by the force of wind against a sensor inside the general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a), by pressing the transmission activation button 28 (Figure 3 a) at the same time as the whistle or general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a) is blown, or by the audio sensor initiating a transmission as the whistle or general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a) is sounded. The receiving device 12 (Figure 1) receives this signal transmitted by the general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a) and forwards it to the signaling device 14 (Figure 1). As shown in Figure 4, the signaling device 14 (Figure 1) activates one or more white or colored LEDs 20, 22, which are positioned in the view field 18 of the player 11. The same LEDs 20, 22 may be activated or deactivated by a signal transmitted by a targeted transmitting device 24 (Figure 3b) when its set and reset buttons 26 (Figure 3b) are pressed. Alternatively, LEDs 20, 22 may be flashed in response to transmissions from the transmitting devices 16, 24 and 32 (Figures 3a-3c). The preferred embodiment of this invention utilizes LEDs, however it should be obvious to those skilled in the art that any device capable of attracting individual's attention other then by audio means may be used.

To better explain how the preferred embodiment of the inventive system works please consider the following. Two teams of hockey players are on the ice. Members of both teams use the helmets of the inventive system. To initiate play the referee will blow the whistle or general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a) and throws in the puck to start the game. As mentioned above the general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a) may be activated to transmit a signal by pressing a button 28 (Figure 3 a), by the force of wind against a sensor inside the general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3a), or by the sound perceived by a sound sensor on the general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a).

The signal transmitted by the referee's whistle or general transmitting device 16 (Figure 3 a) is transmitted over frequencies received by all the inventive devices 10 used by players of both teams. The signal is received by the receiving device 12 (Figure 1) and forwarded via wires 13 (Figure 2) to the signaling device 14 (Figure 1), where one of the LEDs 20, 22 or a combination of LED 20, 22 is flashed or turned on indicating that the referee's command has been sent. In a hockey game if a whistle is blown during play it indicates "Stop Play," if the whistle is blown during a break in play it indicates "Start Play." To indicate "Stop Play," or "Start Play" one of the LEDs 20, 22 or a combination of LED 20, 22 will be temporarily blinked or turned on. These general "Start Play" and "Stop Play" signals may be sent by all referees on the ice as well as any mechanism that is used to sound the end of the game. Moreover, signals to players may be transmitted by the general transmitting device 32 (Figure 3 c) positioned inside a hockey puck used during the play. This general transmitting device 32 (Figure 3c) may act as a beacon to indicate its location. The signal transmitted may indicate to players where the hockey puck 30 (Figure 3c) is in relationship to the player, i.e., in the front, back, left, or right. These signals may be transmitted to the receiving device 10, decoded and forwarded to the signaling device 14 to activate particular LEDs pre-determined to indicate direction.

This transmitting device 32 (Figure 3c) may work as follows: it would frequently and intermittently send a signal to a series of transmitters embedded in the boards of the hockey rink and encircling it. The hockey puck's 30 (Figure 3 c) location on the ice may be continually identified by these embedded transmitters. That identified information may be forwarded to a computing device such as a computer or some other type of digital or analog control processor, which would then determine the location of the hockey puck 30 (Figure 3 c) by friangulation and transmit an appropriate signal from a stationary transmitter. That signal may be sent to targeted players such as the goalie and/or the offensive/defensive players requiring separate signals which may illuminate particular LEDs 20, 22 or light patterns that would be understood by the players as identifying the location of the hockey puck 30 (Figure 3). This feature of the present invention would be of particular value to goalies, who in the absence of the sense of hearing may be unable to quickly determine on what side of the rink a puck is located especially if the game continues behind the goal.

In addition to signals sent by the general transmitting devices 16 and 32 (Figure 3 a and 3c) to all players, targeted signals may be sent to all players of just one team and to individual players of either team by the use of a targeted transmitting device 24 (Figure 3b). These targeted transmitting devices 24 (Figure 3b) may be used by coaches and team leaders to signal line changes, i.e., player substitutions during play, and even direct the players in specific actions. Presently such signals are communicated to players by shouting. The relay of the signal will take a route identical to these signals sent by the general transmitting devices 16 and 32 (Figure 3a and 3c) however it may be sent over frequencies allocated specifically to one team and/or specific players as well as over those frequencies allocated to transmissions to all players.

The transmitting devices 16, 24, and 32 (Figure 3a-3c) and the receiving device 12 (Figure 1) used in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, have the ability to transmit four unique signals that enable the signaling device 14 to activate the LEDs 20 and 22 as follows: 1. Slow blinking red LED.

2. Slow blinking green LED.

3. Rapid blinking red LED.

4. Rapid blinking green LED.

The present invention is not limited to the exemplary use of four signals or colors indicated and may be operational with the use of only one or a multiplicity of signals and colors. Protocols, i.e., a set of rules, defining what is meant by specific sequences of blinks, color coding, and placement, may be developed similar to Morse code or the hand signals communicated in baseball. The number of LEDs 20, 22 may be determined by such protocol. The fact that LEDs 20, 22 may be color-coded may work to limit their number required to communicate all commands. Furthermore, it is possible to use alternatives to LEDs. These alternatives may include tactile stimulation, e.g., a mild electric shock administered to the skin of the player by the signaling device 14, light crystal displays, or any other light emitting technology. Such light emitting technology may include combining light points into written words or symbols, using light projections to project words and symbols on various surfaces, e.g., a see through plastic hockey face shield.

The present invention may be utilized in other activities of hearing impaired as well as hearing able persons. These activities may include but are not limited to:

1. Sports, e.g., paintball, lacrosse, roller hockey, football, baseball, bicycle racing, auto racing, kayaking, skiing, skydiving, and any activity where the noise of the surroundings i.e., roars and boos of the crowd prevent audio communication.

2. Factory and construction sites where surrounding noise prevents audio communication.

3. Police activity, war games, and actual military activity requiring communication in complete silence, with minimal radio frequency broadcasting. Police and military units may be assigned different frequency codes to enable them to operate near each other without fear of miscommunication. The inventive system may also be used by ground forces, scuba divers and even pilots.

4. As backup to radio contact in space, to enable communication among astronauts working outside the spaceship and the crew inside. In any of the water and underwater sports a watertight seal to protect the inventive apparatus may be used.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with respect to illustrative and preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention that should be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

Claims

CLAIMSHaving thus described our invention, what we claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A method of communicating one or more commands to a plurality of participants by remotely alerting the one or more participants to the one or more commands, the method comprising the following steps: designating one or more particular sequences of signals to represent said one or more commands; communicating the one or more commands by transmitting a one or more of said sequences of signals to each of the plurality of participants, each of said one or more of sequences of signals comprising a plurality of first general signals used to communicate changes between a first state and a second state, and a plurality of targeted signals used to communicate a plurality of targeted commands to at least one group of participants; said one group of participants comprising one or more participants from the plurality of participants ; receiving said one or more of said sequences of signals; and alerting said each of the plurality of participants to said communicated one or more commands.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said one or more of said sequences of signals comprises a plurality of second general signals, said plurality of second general signals are used for communicating a location of an item at play.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said first general signals are transmitted by pressing a transmission activation button on a general transmitting device.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said first general signals are transmitted by activating a transmission activation sensor attached to a general transmitting device, said transmission activation sensor being activated by a force of wind.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said first general signals are transmitted by activating a transmission activation sensor attached to a general transmitting device, said transmission activation sensor being activated by a sound detector.
6. The method of claim 2, wherein said second general signals are transmitted by a general transmitting device continuously sending said plurality of second general signals.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein said receiving step is performed when a receiving device mounted on a body part the plurality of participants performs a step of accepting said one or more of said sequences of signals, said receiving device being mounted in a manner as to minimize an impact of a fall on said player, said receiving device having and on/off switch.
8. The method of claim 6, wherein said receiving step is performed when a receiving device mounted on a head-covering of the plurality of participants performs a step of accepting said one or more of said sequences of signals, said receiving device being mounted in a manner as to minimize an impact of a fall on said player, said receiving device having and on/off switch.
9. The method of claim 1, further comprising a step of forwarding said plurality of signals from a receiving device to a signaling device, said signaling device being mounted on a head-covering of the plurality of participants.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein said alerting step is performed by blinking one or more light emitting diodes, according to said designated one or more particular sequences of signals, said one or more light emitting diodes being positioned in the view field allowed by said head-covering of the plurality of participants.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein said alerting step is performed by turning on and off of said one or more light emitting diodes according to said designated one or more particular sequences of signals, said one or more light emitting diodes being positioned in the view field allowed by said head-covering of the plurality of participants.
12. An apparatus for communicating commands to one or more participants by remotely alerting the one or more participants, the method comprising: at least one first general transmitter for transmitting a plurality of signals to each of the one or more participants, said plurality of signals comprising a plurality of first general signals used to indicate changes between a first state and a second state; at least one targeted transmitter for transmitting said plurality of signals to the one or more participants, said plurality of signals further comprising a plurality of targeted signals used to communicate one or more commands to at least one group of said one or more participants; and at least one receiver for receiving said plurality of signals and alerting the one or more participants to said changes between a first state and a second state and one or more commands.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising at least one second general transmitter for transmitting a plurality of second general signals, said plurality of second general signals are used for indicating a location of an item at play.
14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said at least one first general transmitter is a whistle, said whistle transmitting said first signal when a sensor inside said whistle is activated by a force of wind.
15. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said at least one receiver is mounted on a body part of said one or more participants, said receiving device being mounted in a manner as to minimize an impact of a fall on said player, said receiving device having and on/off switch placed on its exterior.
16. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said at least one receiver is mounted on a head covering of said one or more participants, said receiving device being mounted in a manner as to minimize an impact of a fall on said player, said receiving device having and on/off switch.
17. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said alerting is performed by switching one or more light emitting diodes on and off, said one or more light emitting diodes being positioned in the view field of said one or more participant.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said alerting is performed according to a predetermined protocol.
19. A method of communicating information to a one or more participants, the information being coded to enable transmutation of the information by signals, the method comprising the following steps: transmitting a one or more command signals to each one or more participants, the one or more command signals comprising a plurality of first general signals used to indicate changes between a first state and a second state, and a plurality of targeted signals used to communicate a plurality of targeted commands to at least one group of participants; said one group of participants comprising one or more participants from the plurality of participants; receiving said one or more command signals; and making the information conveyed by said received one or more command signals known to said one or more participants.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the information conveyed to said one or more participants is kept private to said one or more participants.
PCT/US2001/007565 2000-04-03 2001-03-12 System for communicating audio play control signals to hearing-impaired players WO2001076265A1 (en)

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US09/542,023 2000-04-03

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6794989B2 (en) * 2001-06-25 2004-09-21 Kara Jean Naegely Sports signalling device for hearing impaired persons
GB2447265A (en) * 2007-03-05 2008-09-10 Chris Skelton A signalling system to assist hard-of-hearing sports people
GB2493042A (en) * 2011-07-18 2013-01-23 Leonard Maxwell An alerting system for hearing impaired sports participants

Citations (4)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4182171A (en) * 1978-04-03 1980-01-08 Looker Ivan L Navigation device for aircraft navigation
US4536739A (en) * 1981-06-15 1985-08-20 Mizuno Corporation Apparatus for communication of instructing information
US4885797A (en) * 1985-12-13 1989-12-05 Terence H. Leather Communication system
US5790085A (en) * 1994-10-19 1998-08-04 Raytheon Company Portable interactive heads-up weapons terminal

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4182171A (en) * 1978-04-03 1980-01-08 Looker Ivan L Navigation device for aircraft navigation
US4536739A (en) * 1981-06-15 1985-08-20 Mizuno Corporation Apparatus for communication of instructing information
US4885797A (en) * 1985-12-13 1989-12-05 Terence H. Leather Communication system
US5790085A (en) * 1994-10-19 1998-08-04 Raytheon Company Portable interactive heads-up weapons terminal

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6794989B2 (en) * 2001-06-25 2004-09-21 Kara Jean Naegely Sports signalling device for hearing impaired persons
GB2447265A (en) * 2007-03-05 2008-09-10 Chris Skelton A signalling system to assist hard-of-hearing sports people
GB2493042A (en) * 2011-07-18 2013-01-23 Leonard Maxwell An alerting system for hearing impaired sports participants
WO2013011259A1 (en) * 2011-07-18 2013-01-24 Leonard Maxwell Alerting system

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