WO2003067375A2 - Assembly, system and method for generating a data list - Google Patents

Assembly, system and method for generating a data list Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2003067375A2
WO2003067375A2 PCT/US2003/003178 US0303178W WO03067375A2 WO 2003067375 A2 WO2003067375 A2 WO 2003067375A2 US 0303178 W US0303178 W US 0303178W WO 03067375 A2 WO03067375 A2 WO 03067375A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
bar code
data
electronic device
intelligent electronic
server
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2003/003178
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2003067375A9 (en
WO2003067375A3 (en
Inventor
Kaoru Watanabe
Masato Namiki
Keiji Amo
Fumiko Takahashi
Mayuko Fujikawa
Roger Lakhani
Frank M. Chapman
James R. Alexander
Original Assignee
Wina Kabushiki Kaisha
Ntt Data Corporation
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
Priority to US60/354,543 priority Critical
Priority to US35454202P priority
Priority to US35460602P priority
Priority to US35474402P priority
Priority to US35460902P priority
Priority to US35454302P priority
Priority to US35454502P priority
Priority to US60/354,545 priority
Priority to US60/354,744 priority
Priority to US60/354,609 priority
Priority to US60/354,606 priority
Priority to US60/354,542 priority
Priority to US60/360,264 priority
Priority to US36026402P priority
Application filed by Wina Kabushiki Kaisha, Ntt Data Corporation filed Critical Wina Kabushiki Kaisha
Publication of WO2003067375A2 publication Critical patent/WO2003067375A2/en
Publication of WO2003067375A3 publication Critical patent/WO2003067375A3/en
Publication of WO2003067375A9 publication Critical patent/WO2003067375A9/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F7/00Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus
    • G07F7/02Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus by keys or other credit registering devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K17/00Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations
    • G06K17/0022Methods or arrangements for effecting co-operative working between equipments covered by two or more of the preceding main groups, e.g. automatic card files incorporating conveying and reading operations arrangements or provisious for transferring data to distant stations, e.g. from a sensing device
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/30Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices
    • G06Q20/34Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using cards, e.g. integrated circuit [IC] cards or magnetic cards
    • G06Q20/341Active cards, i.e. cards including their own processing means, e.g. including an IC or chip
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/30Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices
    • G06Q20/34Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using cards, e.g. integrated circuit [IC] cards or magnetic cards
    • G06Q20/343Cards including a counter
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F7/00Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus
    • G07F7/08Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus by coded identity card or credit card or other personal identification means
    • G07F7/0873Details of the card reader
    • G07F7/088Details of the card reader the card reader being part of the point of sale [POS] terminal or electronic cash register [ECR] itself
    • G07F7/0886Details of the card reader the card reader being part of the point of sale [POS] terminal or electronic cash register [ECR] itself the card reader being portable for interacting with a POS or ECR in realizing a payment transaction
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F7/00Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus
    • G07F7/08Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus by coded identity card or credit card or other personal identification means
    • G07F7/10Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus by coded identity card or credit card or other personal identification means together with a coded signal, e.g. in the form of personal identification information, like personal identification number [PIN] or biometric data
    • G07F7/1008Active credit-cards provided with means to personalise their use, e.g. with PIN-introduction/comparison system

Abstract

An assembly, system, and method for data entry using bar codes (12). In a system including an apparatus having a reader (10) and display (14) that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server (36), and a network connecting said apparatus to the server (36). The invention includes receiving all user input to the apparatus as a result of the user scanning at least one bar code (12) from the group having application bar codes conveying application data, data bar codes conveying data instruction navigation bar codes (20) conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes (22) conveying control instructions, sending the data instruction from the apparatus to the server (36) via the network, sending presentation instructions (46) from the server (36) to the apparatus via the network, inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus, inputting control instructions to the apparatus, and sending control instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network. The data are shopping data, link data, market research data, bill payment data, travel scheduling data, on line banking data, inventory management data, or sales force automation data.

Description

DESCRIPTION

TITLE OF THE INVENTION

ASSEMBLY, SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR GENERATING A DATA LIST

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/354,542; 60/354,543; 60/354,545; 60/354,606; 60/354,609; 60/354,744, all filed February 6, 2002; and 60/360,264, filed February 28, 2002; the disclosures of which applications are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to a system and a method for data entry, in particular, the building of shopping and similar data lists, and in particular, the invention relates to the using of bar codes to initiate client applications; navigate through client applications, to read bar codes of desired items or services; to read bar codes of customer identification and account information and create customer-related and product-related datasets and communicate with remote servers via intelligent electronic devices, such as cellular telephones. In particular, the invention relates to order entry and shopping interfaces which take advantage of bar code input to directly select desired items, either from a catalog or by selecling the item itself, and to navigate and control an order entry application with the purpose of building a confirmed order using an intelligent electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, and linking with remote servers such as by wireless telephone links or via a network, such as a global communications network or a telephone network. The present invention also relates to systems and methods for billing and paying bills using bar codes to read and interpret bar codes for banking such as on checks and for billing statements. The invention relates to a method and software for paying bills which takes advantage of bar code input to directly select a bank account, a charge card number and a bill to pay either from a crib sheet or from a bill itself. The invention enables the user to navigate and control bill paying and banking applications.

The present invention also relates generally to an assembly for bar code scanning usable with one or more intelligent electronic devices. In particular, the invention relates to a method and system for enabling a user to read and scan bar codes and symbols, connect to a global communications network or telephone network, and ultimately to a remote server using an intelligent electronic device, such as a cellular telephone.

The present invention also relates generally to bar code scanning systems usable with intelligent electronic devices and in particular to a method and apparatus for enabling a user to read and scan bar codes and symbols, connect to the Internet or a remote server using an intelligent electronic device, such as a cellular telephone.

BACKGROUND ART

Various optical readers and scanning systems have been developed for reading bar code symbols appearing on a label or the surface of articles. The bar code symbol itself can be a coded pattern comprising a series of bars of various widths spaced apart from one another by bound spaces of various widths, the bars and spaces having different light- reflecting characteristics. The readers and scanning systems electro-optically transform the graphic pattern, such as a series of bars into electrical signals, which are decoded into alphanumerical characters intended to be descriptive of the article or some characteristic of it. Such characters typically are represented in digital form and utilized as an input to a data processing system for applications in point-of-sale processing, inventory control and other applications. Scanning systems of this general type have been disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patent Nos. 4,251,798; 4,360,798; 4,369,361; 4,387,297; 4,409,470 and 4,460,120, the disclosures of which patents are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

In background art bar code scanning applications, the bar code is simply input to the application screen. The bar code can also be transmitted to a server as a one-shot message, or it can be transmitted and looked up against a product description.

Intelligent electronic devices such as cellular telephones have rarely been used to upload bar code data from a bar code scanner to a telephone network. Typically, bar code scanners, which are remotely held, have rarely used cellular networks to connect to a remote server on the global communications network or to an intranet, yet these may be the best network connections to use. A need exists for bar code scanning systems which can connect a bar code scanner to a cellular telephone or similar intelligent electronic device, connect the intelligent electronic device to existing cellular telephone networks and upload bar code data for further processing by a remote server, and then send a message back to the cellular telephone user.

The background art is characterized by U.S. Patents Nos. 4,091,270; 4,550,247; 4,608,487; 4,654,482; 4,734,858; 4,825,058; 4,947,028; 5,003,472; 5,047,614; 5,324,922; 5,424,524; 5,465,291; 6,081,261; 6,058,304;

6,134,548; 6,170,746; 6,314,457; 6,384,744; 6,438,527; and 6,448,979; the disclosures of which patents are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

Musch et al. in U.S. Patent No. 4,091,270 disclose an electronic calculator with optical input means. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used to enter data and individual commands or complete programs into a stand-alone calculator.

Winter et al. in U.S. Patent No.4,550, 247 disclose an optical scanning reader system for loading computers. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used to enter complete programs into a stand-alone computer. The bar codes representing the programs are scanned, stored and transmitted to the computer.

Awane et al. in U.S. Patent No.4,608,487 disclose an input unit for an automatic vending machine. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used to input operational orders and settings information into a vending machine.

DeAngelis in U.S. Patent No. 4,654,482 discloses a home merchandise ordering telecommunications terminal. This invention is limited in that only merchandise bar codes are used to order merchandise over a telephone network. A plug-in cartridge or integral electronic component is used to supply user recognition data and accumulate selected merchandise bar codes and switches and buttons are used to effect a desired transaction.

Schlafly in U.S. Patent No. 4,734,858 discloses a data terminal and system for placing an order. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are scanned and accumulated by the data terminal. Use of a keyboard is necessary to authenticate the transaction and transmit the stored data.

Poland in U.S. Patent No. 4,825,058 discloses a bar code reader configuration and control system. This invention is limited in that only command bar codes are scanned to configure and control a bar code reader.

Gorog in U.S. Patent No. 4,947,028 discloses an automated order and payment system. This invention is limited in that only data (company and product/service) bar codes are used to place orders on an order computer terminal that are stored and transmitted as order packets to a central computer system. An alpha-numerical keypad or voice recognition system is used to initiate the ordering process and to validate each order. Perrill et al. in U.S. Patent No. 5,003,472 disclose an apparatus for order entry in a restaurant. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used to input orders and user commands into a portable terminal for transmission to a host computer.

Bianco in U.S. Patent No. 5,047,614 discloses a method and apparatus for computer-aided shopping. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are scanned into the memory of a portable bar code scanner. The memory is then read by a store terminal either directly or over a telephone line via a modem.

Robert in U.S. Patent No. 5,324,922 discloses an apparatus and method for managing transactions. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used and in that the command management software program and the commend execution software program are stored locally in the transaction terminal. Moreover, a keyboard is used to enter quantity data and data communication with a host computer is limited to packets containing only data. Home shopping, bill payment and polling applications are envisioned.

Ruppert et al. in U.S. Patent No. 5,424,524 disclose a personal scanner/computer for local display of shopping lists and scanning of bar codes in aid of shoppers. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are scanned. Other data are input by means of a touch screen or keyboard.

Barrus et al. in U.S. Patent No. 5,465,291 disclose an apparatus for ordering from remote locations. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are converted to dual tone multiple frequency tones before the tones are transmitted over a telephone line to a receiving device.

Callaghan et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6,058,304 disclose a data entry system. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are scanned with a hand-held unit and transmitted over a cellular telephone network to a remote processing center. Scanning of particular commands causes downloading of information from the remote processing center. Moreover, at least one manually operable switch is relied upon (two are preferred) for scrolling of the display of the hand-held unit.

Gottsman et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6, 134,548 disclose a system for advanced mobile bargain shopping. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are used to initiate queries and to retrieve and display web pages.

Brook et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6,170,746 disclose a system and method for tracking drugs in a hospital. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are used. A keypad or keyboard is used to enter alpha-numeric information into the system.

Schena et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6,314,457 disclose a method for managing printed medium activated revenue sharing domain name system schemas. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used. A voice-activated system, keypad or keyboard is used to obtain user input. Philyaw et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6,384,744 disclose a method and system for date transmission from an optical sensor. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes and command bar codes are used, e.g., to direct a user to a destination site. Encryption of data packets is envisioned.

Powar in U.S. Patent No. 6,438,527 discloses a method and apparatus for paying bills electronically using machine reader information from an invoice. This invention is limited in that only data bar codes are involved. Additional information is entered via a keypad.

Schena et al. in U.S. Patent No. 6,448,979 discloses a system for printed-media-activated, interactive communication of multimedia information. This invention is limited in that only command bar codes are used to retrieve multimedia content.

The background art is also characterized by commercial devices. Recently, Media Portal Japan of Tokyo, Japan, disclosed scanners that can be connected to a mobile phone or personal digital assistant (WWW domain mediaportaljapan.co.jp/shiyou.html). In some of the devices, the scanner is connected to the mobile phone via a cable.

In others, the scanner is clipped directly to the phone. In some embodiments, scanning of a bar code automatically causes the mobile phone to access a website. In others, scanned bar code data is pushed to the mobile phone display.

Others have the ability to scan special programming bar codes and/or control bar codes. The devices are limited in that no compression or encoding of data is provided, sending bulk data is not supported, multiple modes of operation are not supported, and complex applications such as shopping and bill payment are not supported.

In August 2002, Digicode Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, disclosed a bar code scanner that can be attached to a mobile telephone, a laptop computer or a personal digital assistant (WWW domain digicode.co.jp). The Digicode product comprises a low-cost scanner that is attached by a cable to a portable mobile device. The intelligence of the product is primarily incorporated into the bar code scanner itself. The device is limited in that "jump keys" must be used to cause the cell phone to access pre-programmed mobile websites. Moreover, the device does not perform any data compression or encoding, does not operate in multiple modes, does not support shopping or bill payment applications and does not have the capability to send bulk data.

Recently, AirClic of the United States, disclosed a cable for attaching a scanner to a mobile phone or a personal digital assistant (WWW domain airclic.com devices/airclicker_on_a_string.html). The AirClic Mobile Information Platform (MIP) is an open, Web-based platform that facilitates development and worldwide deployment of mobile services, ranging from sales force automation and field service tracking, to customer loyalty and retail services. How the cable works has not been disclosed. What is needed is a method and system that can control and navigate an entire application. What is also needed is a method and system that allows for multiple bar codes to be sent to the intelligent electronic device and be processed in one step. Also needed is a method and system that allows a user to navigate and control an entire billing system with the bar codes, including the generation of reports. Moreover, a need exists for a method of bill payment and billing using crib sheets and bar codes. Such a method and system would allow for multiple bar codes and multiple payment functions to be quickly processed, sent to an intelligent electronic device and processed in one step. The present invention meets those needs.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates a system and method for building shopping lists and other data lists using bar code scanners in conjunction with intelligent electronic devices and remote servers, comprising: using a reader to read and interpret a bar code that initiates a client application; using the reader to read and interpret a bar code for a desired item; using the reader to scan quantity bar codes, navigation bar codes and control bar codes and to cache the bar codes forming a cached dataset, add reader information and transmit the cached data set with reader information to an intelligent electronic device which can then cache at least one data package and build a message from the cached dataset; using the intelligent electronic device to transmit the message via a network, such as a cellular telephone network or a global communications network, to a remote server; using the remote server to access a database for information related to the message; using the remote server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; and using the intelligent electronic device for processing the response message to form a presentation.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention relates to a system for order entry comprising: a reader having a memory to read and interpret a plurality of bar codes including a bar code to initiate a client application, a bar code for at least one desired item, quantity bar codes, navigation bar codes, control (command) bar codes, and cache the bar codes forming a cached data set, add reader information and transmit the cached dataset by means of a communication protocol; an intelligent electronic device for receiving the transmitted cached dataset and forming data packages, the device being adapted to build a message from the cached data packages and to transmit the message via a network to a server by means of a network protocol; a server for receiving the message, forming a request and transmitting the request by means of a database access protocol; a database for receiving the request and forming a database response message and transmitting the database response message; wherein the server receives the database response message, formulates a server response message and sends the server response message to the intelligent electronic device using the network protocol; and wherein the intelligent electronic device processes and presents the response message.

In the most preferred embodiment, the reader is a portable handheld laser scanning device. In another embodiment, the reader is a wireless bar code scanner. The reader can also be a bar code scanner. Preferably, the scanner is a scanner appropriate for extracting information from the code being read. Preferably, he reader is an image scanning device. In preferred embodiments, for example, 2D barcodes are scanned using a camera to image the barcode and then extract the barcode information by performing image processing on the scanned image. In a preferred embodiment, the system comprises a cellular telephone of the type available in Japan which includes a built-in camera and which has the ability to image and read 1 D and 2D barcodes.

Preferably, the database of the invention is a relational database, an extensible mark-up database or an object database. Preferably, the intelligent electronic device is a desktop personal computer (PC), a personal digital assistant (PDA), a notebook computer, a mobile telephone, an intelligent electronic device capable of connecting to a network, a set top box, a cable model, a game box or a combination thereof.

In preferred embodiments, the bar code is a one-dimension (ID) bar code, a two-dimension (2D) bar code, an RFID tag, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, a two dimensional matrix block and a one dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, an etched sequence of bars, any type of code or tag that contains numeric or other information that can be scanned or read, or a combination thereof. In preferred embodiments, it is contemplated that the bar code could be a transmitted by an electromagnetic signal.

The intelligence that is preferably incorporated into the smart cable can also be integrated into the scanner and/or the mobile phone. In some embodiments, there may be no "cable" per se.

In preferred shopping and bill payment applications, payments may be rendered automatically by scanning bar codes. In some embodiments, the user can scan a bar code on the back of his credit or debit card and thus automatically effect a payment. Bill payment refers to paying generic bills, bank payment/transactions, credit card payments, etc. The scanned bar codes can be located on a crib sheet, on a check, on a credit card, on a debit card, or on a special ID card or membership card. Payment applications can be stand alone applications or integrated into another application (e.g., a shopping application can have a payment screen prompting the user to scan a bar code on his credit card or debit card, and then process this information to close out the purchase. Payment processes may involve a connection with a payment center, such as a credit card center, a bank, etc. for authentication, validation, and clearing the payment.

Preferably, the invention relates to a method for shopping by a user comprising: scanning a control bar code to initiate shopping; scanning a bar code corresponding to the user's membership information; entering a password; scanning a desired item bar code; scanning a quantity bar code; repeating the previous two steps for as many items as desired; scanning a control bar code corresponding to a check out command; reviewing a preorder verification list; scanning a control bar code corresponding to a submit order command; viewing a confirmation screen which indicates the order has been received, provides a bonus point total and an estimated delivery date; and scanning a control bar code corresponding to an end application command.

Additionally, in preferred embodiments, it is contemplated that just prior to ending an application, any one or more of the following verifications can be performed: an order information, an order history, a news, an account balance, and/or a combination thereof. Preferably, the method further comprises an order information step that comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to an order information command; and viewing the resulting information. Preferably, the method further comprises an order history step that comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to order history information command and viewing the resulting information. Preferably, the method further comprises a news step that comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to a news command and viewing the resulting information. Preferably, the method further comprises an account balances step that comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to an account balance command and viewing the resulting information.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention contemplates a system and method for performing billing and bill payment using a bar code scanner in conjunction with an intelligent electronic device. This method comprises: using a reader to read and interpret a bar code on a bill; using a reader to read a crib sheet having a customer account, bank information, a customer's charge card information; using bar codes to input to a system instructions on bill payment information by date, amount and source of funds; caching the bar codes selected to form a cached dataset; adding reader information to the cached dataset and transmitting the cached data set with reader information to an intelligent electronic device. The intelligent electronic device is then used to cache the dataset and build a message from the cached dataset about the bill. Next, the message is transmitted via a network to a server for bill payment. The server is used to access a database for information related to the message. The server receives a response from the database, forms a response message and transmits the response message to the intelligent electronic device. The intelligent electronic device then processes the response message forming a presentation concerning payment of the bill for a user.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention relates to a system for order entry comprising: a reader to read and interpret a plurality of bar codes including a bar code to initiate a client application, a bar code for at least one bill item, quantity bar codes, navigation bar codes, control bar codes, and caching the bar codes forming a cached data set and wherein the reader is adapted to add reader information and transmit the cached data via a communication protocol for transmitting the reader cached data; an intelligent electronic device for receiving the transmitted reader cached data and forming datasets, the device being adapted to build a message from the cached datasets and transmit the message via a network to a server via a network protocol; a server for receiving the message, forming a request and transmitting the request; a database for receiving the request and forming a response message and transmitting the response message via a database access protocol; wherein the server receives the database response message, formulates a server response message and sends the server response message to the intelligent electronic device using the network protocol; and wherein the intelligent electronic device processes and presents the response message.

In the most preferred embodiment, the reader is a portable handheld laser scanning device. In another embodiment, the reader is a wireless bar code scanner. The database of the invention can either be a relational database, an extensible mark-up database or an object database. The intelligent electronic device is a desktop PC, a PDA, a notebook, a mobile telephone, an intelligent electronic device capable of connecting to a network, a set top box, a cable model, a game box or combinations thereof. The reader can be a bar code scanner. The bar code can be: a 1 D bar code, a 2D bar code, a printed patterns, a matrix of colored blocks, a two dimensional matrix blocks and one dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, an etched sequence of bars or combinations thereof. It is contemplated that the bar code could be a transmitted electromagnetic signal. Preferably, the invention relates to a method for paying bills comprising: scanning a control bar code to initiate bill payment; scanning a bar code corresponding to a bank; scanning a bar code corresponding to an account ID; entering a password; scanning one or more bill item codes; optionally scanning a payment quantity bar code; reviewing an initial confirmation screen; scanning a control bar code corresponding to pay bill; viewing a final confirmation screen which indicates the transaction details; and scanning a control bar code corresponding to end application. In preferred embodiments, it is contemplated that just prior to ending an application, any one or more of the following verifications can be performed: account information, payment history, news, and combinations thereof.

The account information step comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to account information, and viewing the resulting information. The payment history information step comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to payment history and viewing the resulting information. The news step comprises: scanning a control code corresponding to news and viewing the resulting information.

Another embodiment of the invention provides a bar code scanning assembly, which is connectable to cellular telephones or other intelligent electronic devices and uses cellular networks to upload bar code data to a remote server and receives a response from the remote server on the cellular telephone display or on the display of the intelligent electronic device. More specifically, a preferred embodiment of the invention is an assembly for acquiring data with a bar code scanner and communicating the data to a remote server having an intelligent electronic device having a display that is adapted to display at least one page having embedded information, and to communicate with the remote server comprising: a bar code scanner; a smart cable connecting the intelligent electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, and the bar code scanner. The smart cable comprises a multi-mode system having a plurality of predetermined cable modes; an intelligent electronic device connector; a microprocessor; a memory; an intelligent electronic device communication interface; a scanner connector; a scanner interface; and cable software.

Preferably, the cable software includes a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is operative to provide a communications interface, retrieve bar codes from the scanner, and retrieve scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module that is operative to identify bar codes by type, transmit bar codes to another module of the software, store bar codes, adds digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent electronic device communications module that is operative to establish communication with the intelligent electronic device using an intelligent electronic device communications protocol, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module that is operative to build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module and transmit the message to the intelligent electronic device communications module.

Preferably, the multi-mode system component operates in a link mode, wherein the smart cable sends link data to the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, and the cable software activates a send feature on the intelligent electronic device causing the intelligent electronic device to establish a communication link to a remote server using a transmission protocol to transmit link data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server translates link data to a website URL and transmits a redirect message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device displays the website; in an application mode, wherein the smart cable sends application data to the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, the cable software activates a send feature on the intelligent electronic device to establish a communication link to a remote server using the transmission protocol to transmit application data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server processes the application data and provides a response message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device displays a presentation; and in a direct mode, wherein the smart cable transmits bar code data to the display of the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications module.

It is accordingly an object of this embodiment of the present invention to enable a user to scan bar codes for product numbers, for navigation commands, and/or for operation codes, store the scanned data in a memory, and upload the scanned data to a cellular telephone or other intelligent electronic device in a manner that enables fast, accurate bar code acquisition and thereby shortens the time needed for requesting information or ordering products or obtaining other data.

Another preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server, the method comprising: scanning a bar code with a scanner; retrieving the bar code from the scanner using the smart cable; processing the bar code using smart cable software to form data; sending the data to the intelligent electronic device; establishing a communications link between the intelligent electronic device and the remote server; transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server; receiving a response from the remote server; and presenting the response on the intelligent electronic device. Preferably, the smart cable is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes and comprises an intelligent electronic device connector; a microprocessor; a memory; an intelligent electronic device communication interface; a scanner connector; a scanner interface; and cable software. Preferably, the cable software comprises a scanner communications module that provides a communications interface, retrieves bar codes from the scanner, and retrieves a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module that identifies bar codes by type, transmits bar codes to another module of the software, stores bar codes, adds digits to bar codes, truncates digits of bar codes, and converts bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent electronic device communications module that establishes communication with the intelligent electronic device, receives intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, formats values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmits formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module that builds a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmits the message to the intelligent electronic device communications module.

This embodiment of the invention further provides a method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server for shopping and for verifying and accumulating shopping point data, the method comprising: scanning a bar code with a scanner, retrieving the bar code from the scanner, processing the bar code using smart cable software forming data, sending the data to the intelligent electronic device, establishing a communications link between the intelligent electronic device and the remote server, transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server, receiving a response from the remote server, and presenting the response on the intelligent electronic device. Preferably, the smart cable is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes and comprises an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent electronic device communication interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software. Preferably, the cable software comprises a scanner communications module, wherein the module provides a communications interface, retrieves bar codes from the scanner, and retrieves a scanner serial number from the scanner, a bar code processing module, wherein the module identifies bar codes by type, transmits bar codes to another module of the software, stores bar codes, adds digits to bar codes, truncates digits of bar codes, and converts bar codes to other values based on a conversion table, an intelligent electronic device communications module, wherein the module establishes communication with the intelligent electronic device, receives intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, formats values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmits formatted values to the intelligent electronic device, a message generation module, wherein the module builds a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmits the message to the intelligent electronic device communications module.

Various embodiments for the invention are also contemplated. For example, it is contemplated that the bar code scanner is hand held. It is also contemplated that the bar code scanner can be tethered or untethered from the smart cable. It is also contemplated that the smart cable can be a single connector that contains the entire functionality and features of the said smart cable and which facilitates direct connection of the scanner to the intelligent electronic device. It is also contemplated that the functionality and features of the smart cable can be integrated into the scanner or the intelligent electronic device, or a combination thereof.

In preferred embodiments, the invention also contemplates a method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device such as a cellular telephone, a smart cable, a bar code scanner and a remote server, comprising: scanning a bar code with a bar code scanner; retrieving the bar code from the bar code scanner; processing the bar code using smart cable software forming data; sending data to the intelligent electronic device; establishing a communications link between the intelligent electronic device and a remote server; transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server; receiving a response from the remote server; and presenting the response to a user via the intelligent electronic device.

Preferred embodiments of the invention also contemplate an alternative method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner and a remote server. This method comprises: scanning a bar code with a bar code scanner; retrieving the bar code from the bar code scanner; processing the bar code using smart cable software forming data; sending data to the intelligent electronic device; using a browser interface in the intelligent electronic device to create a link with a remote server; and transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to

I I the remote server; receiving a response from the remote server; and presenting the response to a user via the intelligent electronic device.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention is a method for data entry using bar codes comprising: using a reader to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates an application; using the reader to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the reader to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache at least some of the bar codes to form a cached dataset, add reader information and transmit the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from the cached data package; transmitting the request message via a network to a first server; using the first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using the first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; and using the intelligent electronic device to process the response message and form a presentation. Preferably, the request message and the response message are transmitted via a network selected from the group: a global communications network (e.g., the Internet), a local area network (LAN), a fiber optics network, a wireless network, a telephone network, an intranet and combinations thereof. Preferably, adding reader information includes adding a member of the group comprising: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom- programmed information installed on the reader, and combinations thereof. Preferably, adding custom-programmed information comprises adding sponsor identification (e.g., information about the sponsor of a communication).

In another preferred embodiment, the above method further comprises: using the first server (e.g., a web server) to communicate with a second server (e.g., another web server). In yet another preferred embodiment, the method further comprises: using the first server to communicate with a plurality of databases (e.g., relational or object databases) to access information related to the request message. Preferably, building the request message comprises building the request message from a portion of the cached dataset.

In another preferred embodiment, the above method further comprises: using a crib sheet (e.g., media such as a card, pamphlet, leaflet, sheet of paper, or TV screen) containing a member of the group comprising: a plurality of control bar codes, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of application codes, and combinations thereof (e.g., a combination may contain two or more members of the group). Preferably, the method further comprises: using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising a plurality of quantity (data) bar codes, and a plurality of product (data) bar codes. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of control bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising: a send bar code, a start accumulation of bar codes bar code, an end accumulation of bar codes bar code, a submit bar code, a select bar code, an unselect bar code, an OK bar code, a delete an item bar code, a clear bar code, a clear all bar code, a delete all bar code, a log in bar code, a log out bar code, a cancel bar code, an end application bar code, a news bar code, a help bar code, and combinations thereof. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of navigation bar codes (e.g., bar codes that are operative to display to a user a different portion of a page of content or a different page of content or to move a cursor on a screen) comprise using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising: a scroll up bar code, a scroll down bar code, a page up bar code, a page down bar code, a go to top of list bar code, a go to bottom of list bar code, a move to the next screen bar code, a move to the previous screen bar code, and combinations thereof. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of quantity bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code. Preferably, the above method further comprises: scanning a user information bar code which causes the application to retrieve a user membership number, a user account balance, user payment information, a user name, a user address, a user telephone number, a user fax number, a user password, or combinations thereof. Preferably, reading and interpreting each bar code comprises reading and interpreting a member of the group comprising: a ID (one-dimensional) bar code, a 2D (two-dimensional) bar code, a two dimensional matrix block, a one-dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, an etched sequence of bars and combinations thereof. In alternative embodiments, the group comprises any type of code, tag or strip that contains numeric or other information that can be scanned, read or imaged.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a scanner and a display, a server and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: using the scanner to read a first bar code indicating that an item is to be added to the data list; using the scanner to read a second bar code indicating that an associated item quantity is to be added to the data list; using the scanner to read a third bar code that causes the apparatus to produce content containing the indication of the item and the indication of its associated item quantity and to send a request message comprising the content to the server via the network; transmitting a response message from the server to the apparatus that causes the apparatus to output to the user via the display a request that the user confirm the content of the first message; using the scanner to read a fourth bar code that causes the display to navigate to a portion of a screen displaying at least one command; using the scanner to read a fifth bar code that indicates selection of a displayed command, causing the apparatus to send a confirmation message to the server, the confirmation message indicating whether the user has confirmed the content of the request message (e.g., scanned an order bar code or an OK bar code); and if the user has confirmed the content of the request message, generating a data list containing the content.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a processor, an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to (or is integral with) the apparatus, a server, and a network connecting the intelligent electronic device to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading (e.g., scanning with a scanner or imaging with a camera incorporated into a cellular telephone) an application code bar code, the receipt of the application code signal causing the processor to run an application; receiving a first signal indicative of the reader reading a first bar code, the receipt of the first signal indicating a selection of a desired item and causing the processor to generate item selection data; receiving a second signal indicative of the reader reading a second bar code, the receipt of the second signal indicating a quantity of a desired item and causing the processor to generate item selection data; receiving a third signal indicative of the reader reading a third bar code, the receipt of the third signal causing the processor to form a cached dataset containing reader information, item selection data and item quantity data and to transmit the dataset to the intelligent electronic device; in response to the receipt of dataset by the intelligent electronic device, formation of a data package by the intelligent electronic device and incorporation of the data package into a request message and transmission of the request message via the network to the server; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, accession of a database by the server to obtain information related to the request message, receipt of a response from the database and formation of a response message which is transmitted via the network to the intelligent electronic device; in response to receipt of the response message by the intelligent electronic device, processing of the response message to form a presentation of a data list on a first screen on the display; receiving a fourth signal indicative of the reader reading a fourth bar code, the receipt of the fourth signal causing the display to navigate to a second screen (or portion of the page displayed on the first screen), the second screen (or portion of the page displayed on the first screen) containing a command; and receiving a fifth signal indicative of the reader reading a fifth bar code, the receipt of the fifth signal indicating confirmation of the data list by the user.

17. In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a processor (e.g., a scanner/smart cable combination), an intelligent electronic device (e.g., a cellular telephone or personal digital assistant) having a display and being connected to the apparatus (e.g., by a smart cable), a server (e.g., a web server), and a network connecting the intelligent electronic device to the server (e.g., a cellular telephone/Internet combination), yet another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading an application code bar code, the receipt of the application code signal causing the processor to place the apparatus in an application mode and to cause the intelligent electronic device to send the application code to the server via the network using the GET method or the POST method; receiving a first signal indicative of the reader reading a first bar code, the receipt of the first signal indicating a selection of a desired item (e.g., an item desired by a shopper) and causing the processor to generate item selection data and receiving a second signal indicative of the reader reading a second bar code, the receipt of the second signal indicating a quantity of a desired item (e.g., one or more) and causing the processor to generate item selection data; repeating the receiving a first signal step and the receiving a second signal step until no more items are desired by the user; receiving a third signal indicative of the reader reading a third bar code, the receipt of the third signal causing the processor to form a cached dataset containing reader information, item selection data and item quantity data and to transmit the dataset to the intelligent electronic device; in response to the receipt of dataset by the intelligent electronic device, formation of a data package by the intelligent electronic device and incorporation of the data package into a request message and transmission of the request message via the network to the server using the POST method or the GET method; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, accessing of a database by the server to obtain information related to the request message, receipt of a response from the database and formation of a response message which is transmitted via the network to the intelligent electronic device; in response to receipt of the response message by the intelligent electronic device, processing of the response message to form a presentation of a data list on a first screen on the display; receiving a fourth signal indicative of the reader reading a fourth bar code, the receipt of the fourth signal causing the display to navigate (e.g., move) to a second screen, the second screen containing a command; and receiving a fifth signal indicative of the reader reading a fifth bar code, the receipt of the fifth signal indicating confirmation of the data list by the user. In another preferred embodiment, the invention is a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising: an apparatus having a reader and a processor; an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to the apparatus; a server; and a network connecting the intelligent electronic device to the server, wherein the system is operated in accordance with a method disclosed herein. In yet another preferred embodiment, the invention is a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising: an assembly having a reader and a processor; an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to the assembly; a server; and a network connecting the intelligent electronic device to the server, wherein the system is operated in accordance with a method disclosed herein.

In a further preferred embodiment, the invention is a system for order entry comprising: a reader for reading and interpreting a plurality of bar codes including a bar code to initiate an application (e.g., a software program), a bar code for a desired item, a bar code for a quantity of the desired item, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of control bar codes, caching at least some of the bar codes and adding reader information to form a cached dataset, and transmitting the cached dataset; an intelligent electronic device for receiving the cached dataset and forming a data package, the intelligent electronic device being adapted to build a request message from the data package; a network for use in transmitting the request message; a first server for receiving the request message, forming a request and transmitting the request; a database for receiving the request and forming a response and transmitting the response; and wherein the first server is adapted to receive the database response, formulate a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device using the network; and wherein the intelligent electronic device is adapted to process the response message and present its contents to the user, the content being adapted to cue a user to use the reader to read and interpret at least one of the navigation bar codes and at least one of the control bar codes. Preferably, the reader comprises a portable handheld laser scanning device. In preferred embodiments, the reader comprises a camera (e.g., a camera of the type incorporated into cellular telephones). Preferably, the reader is a wireless bar code scanner. Preferably, the first server communicates with a plurality of databases to access information related to the request message. In other preferred embodiments, the first server is adapted to communicate with a second server to access a second database to obtain information related to the request message.

In another preferred embodiment, the invention is the above system further comprising a crib sheet that provides (e.g., has printed or displayed on it) a member of the group comprising: the plurality of control bar codes, the plurality of navigation bar codes, the quantity bar code, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the plurality of control bar codes comprise those disclosed herein. Preferably, the plurality of navigation bar codes comprise those disclosed herein. In preferred embodiments, the quantity bar code is a quantity code disclosed herein. Preferably, the information related to the response comprises a member of the group comprising: product information, customer information, order information, order history information, delivery information, news, and combinations thereof. Preferably the product information comprises a member of the group comprising: product pricing, product quantity, a description of the product, availability of the product, product ingredients, product discount information, product coupons, product promotional information, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the customer information comprises a member of the group comprising: membership information, customer account balance, customer prior order information, shopping bonus points, customer payment information, a customer name, a customer address, a customer telephone number, a customer identification number, a customer fax number, a customer password, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the order information comprises: a product description, a product quantity, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, a computed tax on the computed subtotal, a computed order total, shopping bonus points, a preorder verification table, pre-order identification, order identification, estimated delivery date, delivery status, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the delivery information comprises: order information relative to a specific date and time and customer information relative to a specific date and time. Preferably, the order history information comprises: compiled order information. Preferably, the pre order verification table comprises: a product description, a product quantity, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, a computed tax on the computed subtotal, a computed total, shopping bonus points, and combinations thereof. In preferred embodiments, the database is selected from the group comprising: a relational database, an extensible mark-up database, an object database and combinations thereof. Preferably, the intelligent electronic device comprises a desktop PC, a PDA, a notebook computer, a mobile telephone, an intelligent electronic device capable of connecting to a network, a set top box, a cable model, a game box, or combinations thereof. Preferably, the reader is a scanner. Preferably, the reader comprises a camera. Preferably, the bar code is a member of the group: a ID bar code, a 2D bar code, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, a two dimensional matrix of blocks and a one dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, an etched sequence of bars and combinations thereof. Preferably, the bar code is transmitted by an electromagnetic signal. In preferred embodiments of the above system, the network comprises a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a global communications network, a local area network, a cable network, a telephone network, a wireless network, a fiber optic network, or a combination of thereof.

In another preferred embodiment, the invention is a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising: an apparatus comprising a scanner, a processor and a display; a server; and a network connecting the apparatus and the server; wherein the scanner is adapted to read bar codes and to transmit associated signals to the processor; wherein the processor is adapted to send a selection message to the server via the network upon receipt of a first signal from the scanner associated with the selection of an item, to cause the display to output a first portion of a screen requesting confirmation of the selection message in response to a request message from the server, and to cause the display to output (e.g., move to) a second portion of the screen upon receipt of a second signal from the scanner associated with the reading of a navigation bar code, the second portion of the screen containing (e.g., one or more) displayed commands; and wherein the server is adapted to generate a data list in response to a confirmation message from the apparatus upon receipt of a third signal from the scanner associated with the reading of a command bar code.

In a further preferred embodiment, the invention is a method for generating a data list for a user, the method comprising: providing access to a system having a reader disclosed herein to the user; using the reader to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates an application; using the reader to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the reader to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache (e.g., in a memory) at least some of the bar codes to form a cached dataset, add reader information and transmit the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from the cached data package; transmitting the request message via the network to a first server; using the first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using the first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; and using the intelligent electronic device to process the response message and form a presentation.

In another preferred embodiment, the invention is a method for generating a data list for a user, the method comprising: providing access to system having an apparatus disclosed herein to the user; using the apparatus to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates the application; using the apparatus to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the apparatus to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache at least some of the bar codes and build a request message; transmitting the request message via the network to the server; using the server to access a database for information related to the request message; using the server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the apparatus; and using the apparatus to process the response message and form a presentation.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: a step for receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading an application bar code, the receipt of the application code signal causing the processor to run an application; a step for receiving a desired item signal indicative of the reader reading a desired item code, the receipt of the desired item signal causing the processor to place item selection data in the memory; a step for receiving a quantity signal indicative of the reader reading a quantity code, the receipt of the quantity signal causing the processor to place item quantity data in the memory; a step for receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send code, the receipt of the send signal causing the processor to send the desired item data and the quantity data in a request message to the server; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, a step for processing of the request message to form a response message that causes the processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on the display; a step for receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation code, the receipt of the navigation signal causing the display to navigate to a second screen, the second screen containing a command; and a step for receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of the command signal indicating confirmation of the data list by the user. Preferably, the method further comprises: after the receiving an application code step, a step for receiving a start shopping code signal indicative of the reader reading a start shopping bar code, the receipt of the start shopping code signal causing the processor to wait for input of a membership identifier and a password.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application signal indicative of the reader reading an application bar code, the receipt of the application signal causing the processor to run an application; receiving a data signal indicative of the reader reading a data bar code, the receipt of the data signal causing the processor to place data in the memory; receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send bar code, the receipt of the send signal causing the processor to send the data in a request message to the server; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, processing of the request message to form a response message that causes the processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on the display; receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation bar code, the receipt of the navigation signal causing the display to navigate to a second screen, the second screen containing a command; and receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of the command signal indicating confirmation of the data list by the user.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving a data signal indicative of the reader reading a data bar code, the receipt of the data signal causing the processor to place data in the memory; receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send bar code, the receipt of the send code signal causing the processor to send the data in a request message to the server; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, processing of the request message to form a response message that causes the processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on the display; receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation bar code, the receipt of the navigation signal causing the display to navigate to a second screen, the second screen containing a command; and receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of the command signal indicating confirmation of the data list by the user.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: a step for receiving all user input to the apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group comprising: data bar codes conveying data instructions (e.g., desired item and quantity of desired item data instructions), navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; a step for sending the data instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; a step for sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; a step for inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus; a step for inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and a step for sending control instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to generate the data list.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for shopping comprising: scanning an application bar code with a reader to initiate a shopping application; scanning a customer information bar code corresponding to a user's membership information; entering a password (e.g., by scanning a password bar code, by entering the password via a keyboard or with another input device); scanning a desired item bar code associated with a desired item to produce desired item data; scanning a quantity bar code for the desired item to produce quantity data; repeating the scanning a desired item bar code step and the scanning a quantity bar code step for as many items as desired; scanning a first control bar code corresponding to a check out command; reviewing a preorder verification list; scanning a second control bar code corresponding to a submit order command which builds an order by combining reader information with a cached dataset comprising the desired item data and the quantity data; transmitting the order over a network to a remote server; viewing a confirmation screen which provides a response from the remote server and which indicates that the order has been received by the remote server, wherein the screen presents a bonus point total and an estimated delivery date for the order; and scanning a bar code to end the shopping application. Preferably, the method further comprises: after the transmitting the order step, viewing a payment screen which displays a request for payment from the server; and scanning a fourth control bar code corresponding to a submit payment command that effects a payment for the order via a charge to a credit card or debit card. In alternative embodiments, the fourth control bar code is placed (e.g., printed) on a special ID card or a membership card. Preferably, the viewing the payment screen step and the scanning a fourth control bar code step occur before the viewing a confirmation screen step. Preferably, the scanning steps are accomplished by camera imaging (e.g., using a camera of the type that is incorporated into some cellular telephones in Japan). Preferably, prior to ending the application, any one or more of the following verifications is performed: verifying order information, verifying order history, verifying news, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the verifying order information step comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to an order information command; and viewing the resulting order information. Preferably the verifying order history step comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to order history information; and viewing the resulting order history information. Preferably, the verifying news step comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to news about the product; and viewing the resulting news about the product. Preferably, the entering a password step comprises entering a password via a keyboard (e.g, on a personal computer).

In another preferred embodiment, the above method further comprises: viewing the desired item information prior to ending the shopping application. Preferably, the transmitting step comprises transmitting the order over a network that is selected from the group: a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, and combinations thereof. In preferred embodiments, the combining reader information operation includes combining with the cached dataset a member of the group: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom-programmed information installed on the reader, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the method further comprises: using the remote server to communicate with a second server. Preferably, the method further comprises: using the remote server to communicate with a plurality of databases to access information related to the message. Preferably, the combining operation includes combining reader information with a portion of the cached dataset. Preferably, the scanning a desired item bar code step involves scanning a desired item bar code in a product catalog.

In another preferred embodiment, the above method further comprises: scanning a crib sheet to input a member of the group comprising the first control bar code, the second control bar code and other control bar codes, a navigation bar code, the application bar code and combinations thereof. Preferably, the method further comprises: scanning the crib sheet to input a member of the group comprising the quantity bar code, the customer information bar code, and a product information bar code. Preferably, the above method further comprises scanning another control bar code that is a member of the control bar code group disclosed herein. Preferably, the method further comprises: scanning a navigation bar code that is a member of the navigation bar code group disclosed herein. Preferably, the method further comprises: scanning an application code that is selected from the group comprising: a grocery shopping application bar code, a clothing shopping application bar code, a travel services shopping application bar code, a department store shopping application bar code, an online retail shopping application bar code, market research application bar code, and a mail order catalog shopping application bar code.

Preferably, the quantity bar code is a code that corresponds to a member of the group comprising: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code. Preferably, providing the response comprises providing a member of the group comprising: product information, customer information, order information, order history information, delivery information, news and combinations thereof. Preferably, providing the product information comprises providing a member of the group: product pricing, product quantity, a description of the product, availability of the product, product ingredients, product discount information, product coupons, product promotional information and combinations thereof. Preferably, providing the customer information comprises providing a member of the customer information group disclosed herein. Preferably providing the order information comprises providing a member of the order information group disclosed herein. Preferably, providing the delivery information comprises providing a list of orders to be delivered and a specific date and time when the orders will be delivered. Preferably, providing the order history information comprises providing compiled order information. Preferably, reviewing the pre- order verification list comprises reviewing product descriptions, product quantities, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, computed tax on the computed subtotal, a computed total, and shopping bonus points. Preferably, each of the bar codes is a member of the bar code group disclosed herein.

In a system for placing an order for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for placing the order, the method comprising: receiving all user input to the apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group comprising: data bar codes conveying order instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the order instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus; inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and sending control instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to place the order. Preferably, the method further comprises: after the inputting the navigation instructions step, viewing a payment screen which provides (e.g., displays) a request for payment from the server; and scanning a submit payment control bar code (or magnetic strip) corresponding to a submit payment command that affects a payment for the order via a credit card or debit card command (e.g., which effects a charge to the card). Preferably, the viewing the payment screen step and the scanning a submit payment bar code step occur before the sending control instructions step. Preferably, the scanning is accomplished by camera imaging. Preferably, the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network before the sending the order instructions step is performed. Preferably, the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network after the order is generated. Preferably, the system further comprises an intelligent electronic device and the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via the intelligent electronic device.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for paying bills (e.g., demands for payment for a supplied or to be supplied product or service) using bar codes comprising: using a reader to read and interpret an application bar code that initiates a bill payment application; using the reader to read and interpret a bill item bar code; using the reader to scan payment quantity bar codes (e.g., payment amount digit bar codes), navigation bar codes and control bar codes and caching at least some of the bar codes forming a cached dataset, add reader information and transmitting the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from the cached data package; transmitting the request message via a network to a first server; using the first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using the first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to process the response message and form a presentation.

Preferably, transmitting the request message and the response message via a network involves transmitting the request message and the response message via one or more of the networks disclosed herein or a future network type. Preferably, adding reader information includes adding a member of the group comprising: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom-programmed information installed on the reader, and combinations thereof. Preferably, adding custom-programmed information comprises adding sponsor identification. Preferably, the method further comprises: using the first server to communicate with a second server. Preferably, the method further comprises: using the first server to communicate with a plurality of databases to access information related to the request message. Preferably building the request message comprises building the request message from a portion of the cached dataset. Preferably, the method further comprises: using a crib sheet containing a member of the group comprising: a plurality of control bar codes, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of application codes and combinations thereof. Preferably, the method further comprises: using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising a plurality of quantity bar codes, and a plurality of product bar codes. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of control bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising one or more of the control bar codes disclosed herein. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of navigation bar codes comprise using a crib sheet comprising one or more of the navigation bar codes disclosed herein. Preferably, using a crib sheet containing a plurality of quantity bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group comprising: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code. Alternatively, the crib sheet can contain quantity bar codes that are digits that are scanned to input a quantity. Preferably, the method further comprises: scanning a user information bar code which causes the application to retrieve the user account information disclosed herein. Preferably, reading and interpreting each the bar code comprises reading and interpreting a member of the bar code group disclosed herein.

In a system for paying a bill for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for paying a bill (e.g., an invoice), the method comprising: receiving all user input to the apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group comprising: data bar codes conveying payment instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the payment instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus; inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and sending control instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to pay the bill. Preferably, the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and before the sending the payment instructions step the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network. Preferably, the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network after the bill is paid. Preferably, the system further comprises an intelligent electronic device and the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via (e.g., through) the intelligent electronic device that is connected to the network. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, or combinations thereof.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is an assembly to acquire data with a bar code scanner and communicate the data to a remote server comprising: an intelligent electronic device having a display and adapted to display at least one page having embedded information, and to communicate with the remote server; a bar code scanner; a smart cable connecting the intelligent electronic device and the bar code scanner, wherein the smart cable is operable in a plurality of modes, the smart cable comprising: an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent electronic device communications interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software stored in said memory; and wherein the cable software comprises: a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is operative to provide a communications interface, retrieve bar codes from the scanner, and retrieve a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module is operative to: identify bar codes by type, transmit bar codes to another module of the cable software, store bar codes, add digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent electronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent electronic device communications module is operative to: establish communication with the intelligent electronic device using an intelligent electronic device communications protocol, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module, wherein the message generation module is operative to build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmit the message to the intelligent electronic device communications module; and wherein the plurality of modes comprise: a link mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send link data to the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, the cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent electronic device causing the intelligent electronic device to establish a communications link to the remote server using a transmission protocol to transmit link data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to translate link data to a website (or web page) uniform resource locator and transmit a redirect message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device is adapted to display the website (or web page); an application mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send application data to the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, the cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent electronic device to establish a communication link to a remote server using the transmission protocol to transmit application data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to process the application data and provide a response message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device is adapted to display a presentation; and a direct mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to transmit bar code data to the display of the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol.

Preferably, the cable software further comprises a telephone model recognition module, wherein the telephone recognition module is operative to: communicate with the intelligent electronic device communication module to identify the intelligent electronic device model, compare the intelligent electronic device model so identified to a set of preset values, and, if there is a match, generate a telephone type, and transmit the telephone type to other modules of the cable software. Preferably, the cable software further comprises an error processing module, wherein the error processing module is operative to: receive internal error codes from other modules; build an error message related to the internal error codes; and transmit the error message to the message generation module. Preferably, the cable software further comprises a data encoding module, wherein the data encoding module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: encoding bar code data; encoding the message from the message generation module; and encoding the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof. Preferably, the cable software further comprises a data encryption module, wherein the data encryption module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: encrypting bar code data; encrypting the message from the message generation module; and encrypting the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.

Preferably, the cable software further comprises a cable mode control module, wherein the cable mode control module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: monitoring the mode of communication between the smart cable and the intelligent electronic device; changing the mode of the smart cable based on the connection of the smart cable to the intelligent electronic device; monitoring the mode of the bar code processing module as it stores bar codes; changing the mode of the bar code processing module; monitoring the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; changing the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; monitoring the mode of the message generation module; and changing the mode of the message generation module. Preferably, the cable software further comprises a code accumulation module, wherein the code accumulation module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: accumulating a list of bar codes in the memory; and transmitting the list of bar codes to the bar code processing module. Preferably, the code accumulation module is also adapted to compare bar codes and discard identical bar codes.

In preferred embodiments, the assembly of the invention further comprises a power supply. Preferably, the communications interface is a serial communications interface. Preferably, the scanner communications module is also operative to refrieve information from the scanner other than bar codes and the scanner serial number. Preferably, the cable software further comprises a power management module, wherein the power management module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: monitoring the status of the power supply; generating a message if the voltage exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit, if the current exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit, or combinations of these. Preferably, the smart cable has a smart cable communications protocol, the scanner has a scanner communications protocol, and the intelligent electronic device has an intelligent electronic device communications protocol and the cable software further comprises a protocol conversion module, wherein the protocol conversion module is adapted to perform at least one of the step comprising: converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the intelligent electronic device communications protocol; and converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the scanner communications protocol. Preferably, the smart cable further comprises a mode switch disposed on the intelligent electronic device connector. Preferably, the smart cable further comprises a voltage converter and regulator, wherein the voltage converter and regulator is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and voltage of the bar code scanner to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; performing voltage conversion between voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the intelligent electronic device to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; and regulating the power supply of the smart cable.

In preferred embodiments, the cable software further comprises a data compression module, wherein the data compression module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: compressing bar code data; compressing the message from the message generation module; compressing the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof. Preferably, the bar code scanner is not tethered to the smart cable. Preferably, the intelligent electronic device is a personal digital assistant, a game control interface, a set top box, or a cellular telephone. Preferably, the cellular telephone is a telephone that is adapted for use in Japan (e.g., one that comprises a camera that can read and interpret bar codes). Preferably, the intelligent electronic device communicates to the remote server using a wireless communication network, a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, a fiber optic network, an intranet, a cable network or a telephone network. Preferably, the link data comprise: uniform resource locator information plus a member of the group comprising: bar code information, a serial number of the intelligent electronic device, a serial number of a scanner, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the application data comprise at least one member of the group comprising: uniform resource locator information, bar code information, a serial number of the intelligent electronic device, a serial number of the scanner, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the presentation comprises application data that are entered into a text entry field of at least one page displayed by the intelligent elecfronic device containing embedded information, and wherein the embedded information is uniform resource locator information. Preferably, the bar code information comprises a string of processed bar code data having at least one delimiter character. Preferably, the bar code data transmitted in the direct mode comprise unprocessed bar code data. Preferably, the transmission protocol further comprises the methods: the GET method, the POST method, and combinations thereof.

In preferred embodiment, the cable software implements a complete end-to-end (e.g., full transaction) data entry (e.g., shopping or bill payment) application. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other software architectures could be used to produce the useful results disclosed herein.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for acquiring data with a bar code scanner and communicating the data to a remote server, the method comprising: making an assembly disclosed herein available to a user; receiving all user input to the intelligent electronic device as a result of the user scanning with a scanner at least one bar code selected from the group comprising: data bar codes conveying data instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the data instructions from an intelligent elecfronic device to the remote server via a network; sending presentation instructions from the remote server to the intelligent electronic device via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the intelligent electronic device; inputting control instructions to the intelligent elecfronic device; and sending control instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to acquire the data. Preferably, the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network before the sending the data instructions step is performed. Preferably, the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network after the data are acquired. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a network disclosed herein or a future network type. Preferably, the data are selected from the group comprising: shopping data, link data, market research data, bill payment data, travel scheduling data, on line banking data, inventory management data, and sales force automation data.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server, comprising: scanning a bar code with a scanner; retrieving the bar code from the scanner; processing the bar code using smart cable software forming data; sending the data to the intelligent electronic device; establishing a communications link between the intelligent elecfronic device and the remote server; transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server; receiving a response from the remote server; and presenting the response on the intelligent electronic device; wherein the smart cable is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes and comprises: an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent electronic device communications interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software; and wherein the cable software comprises the modules disclosed herein. Preferably, the data comprise shopping data, shopping point data, market research data, comprise bill payment data, on line banking data, inventory management data, sales force automation data, codes from printed matter that contain a link to an on line content source, and/or travel scheduling and/or related travel information data.

Yet another preferred embodiment of the invention is a system for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server, the system comprising: means for scanning a bar code with a scanner; means for retrieving the bar code from the scanner; means for processing the bar code using smart cable software to form data; means for sending the data to the intelligent electronic device; means for using a browser interface in the intelligent electronic device to create a link with the remote server; means for transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server; means for receiving a response from the remote server; and means for presenting the response on the intelligent electronic device; wherein the smart cable is operable in a plurality of cable modes and comprises: an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent electronic device communication interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software; and wherein the cable software comprises the modules disclosed herein.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a smart cable for an intelligent elecfronic device having a display and adapted to display at least one page having embedded information, the smart cable being adapted to operate in a plurality of modes and comprising: an intelligent elecfronic device connector; a microprocessor; a memory; an intelligent elecfronic device communication interface; a scanner connector; a scanner interface; and cable software; wherein the cable software comprises the modules disclosed herein; and wherein the plurality of modes comprise: a link mode; an application mode; and a direct mode.

In preferred embodiments, the smart cable of the invention further comprises a power supply. Preferably, the communications interface is a serial communications interface. Preferably, the scanner communications module is also operative to retrieve information from the scanner other than bar codes and the scanner serial number. Preferably, the smart cable further comprises a mode switch disposed on the intelligent elecfronic device connector. Preferably, the smart cable further comprises a voltage converter and regulator, wherein the voltage converter and regulator is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the bar code scanner to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the intelligent electronic device to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; and regulating the power supply of the smart cable. Preferably, the intelligent elecfronic device is a personal digital assistant, a game control interface, a set top box, or a cellular telephone. Preferably, the intelligent electronic device is a cellular telephone that is adapted for use in Japan (e.g., one that is compatible with the cellular telephone networks extant in Japan). A further preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for acquiring data with a bar code scanner and communicating the data to a remote server, the method comprising: connecting a smart cable disclosed herein to the intelligent electronic device and to the scanner; receiving all user input to the intelligent electronic device as a result of a user scanning with the scanner at least one bar code selected from the group comprising: data bar codes conveying data instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions, including payment instructions; sending the data instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the remote server to the intelligent elecfronic device via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the intelligent electronic device; inputting control instructions to the intelligent elecfronic device; and sending control instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to acquire the data. Preferably, the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to initiate application flow before the sending the data instructions step is performed. Preferably, the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network after the data are acquired. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant. Preferably, the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, or combinations thereof.

In a system for generating a data list for a user, the system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting the apparatus to the server, another preferred embodiment of the invention is a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving all user input to the apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one application bar code conveying application instructions, at least one data bar code conveying data instructions, at least one navigation bar code conveying navigation instructions and at least one control bar code conveying control instructions; encoding the data instructions; sending the encoded data instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; processing the navigation instructions within the apparatus; processing control instructions within the apparatus; and sending the confrol instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to generate the data list. Preferably, the encoding step further comprises: separating the at least one data bar code into pairs of bar code digits; and mapping each pair of bar code digits to an encoded character to form the encoded data instructions. Preferably, the at least one data bar code is in the form of an original standard code, the original standard code comprising an original code identifier part, a company code part, and a company specific code part, each of the parts being represented by one or more bar code digits. Preferably, the at least one application bar code is in the form of an original application code, the original application code comprising an original code identifier part, an application code identifier part, a company code part, an application ID part, and an application control code part, each of the parts being represented by one or more bar code digits. Preferably, the application ID part is encoded with the number of the application associated with the company referenced by the company code part and the application control part is encoded with information that is recognized by the apparatus and causes it to change modes, with information about the display, and with information about how the apparatus is to send and store instructions. Preferably, the data are selected from the group comprising: shopping data, link data, market research data, bill payment data, travel scheduling data, on line banking data, inventory management data, and sales force automation data. Preferably, scanning a bar code on a credit card or debit card is operative to convey payment instructions. Preferably, sending the data instructions step includes sending data input as a result of the scanning of a plurality of data bar codes. Preferably, the bar code scanner has a serial number and the sending the data instructions step includes sending time data and scanner serial number data. Preferably, the scanning of the at least one application bar code is operative to cause the apparatus to execute a software application. Preferably, scanning with the reader comprises scanning bar codes on a crib sheet.

Further aspects of the invention will become apparent from consideration of the drawings and the ensuing description of preferred embodiments of the invention. A person skilled in the art will realize that other embodiments of the invention are possible and that the details of the invention can be modified in a number of respects, all without departing from the concept. Thus, the following drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The features of the invention will be better understood by reference to the accompanying drawings which illustrate presently preferred embodiments of the invention. In the drawings:

Fig. 1 is a schematic block diagram providing an overview of a preferred embodiment of the inventive system. Fig. 2 is a schematic block diagram illustrating the servers and databases as used within the scope of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 3 is a schematic block diagram of the intelligent electronic device of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 4a is a schematic illustration of an example crib sheet used with a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 4b is a schematic illustration of an example product catalog used with a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 4c is a schematic illustration of an example of a bill used with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 5 is a schematic illustration of another example crib sheet as used with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 6 is a schematic illustration of yet another example crib sheet showing the navigation codes usable within the scope of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 7 is a schematic illustration of yet another example crib sheet showing control or command codes usable within the scope of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 8 is a schematic illustration of an example initial order entry screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 9 is a schematic illustration of an example order check out screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 10 is a schematic illustration of an example order confirmation screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 11 is a schematic illustration of an example delivery information screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 12 is a schematic illustration of an example order history screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 13 is a schematic illustration of an example product information screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 14 is a schematic illustration of an example customer information screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 15 is a schematic flow diagram that shows the first few steps of a preferred embodiment of the inventive method using a mobile telephone. Fig. 16 is a schematic flow diagram that shows subsequent steps of a preferred embodiment of the method which follow the steps of Fig. 15.

Fig. 17 is a schematic flow diagram showing a preferred embodiment of the method for generating an order and placing the order using a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 18 is a schematic block diagram providing an overview of another preferred embodiment of the inventive system.

Fig. 19 is a schematic illustration of another crib sheet as used with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 20 is a schematic illustration of a select bank screen used with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 21 is a schematic illustration of a login screen used with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 22 is a schematic illustration of an example initial confirmation screen for use with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 23 is a schematic illustration of an example of a final confirmation screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 24 is a schematic illusfration of an example payment history screen of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 25 is a schematic illustration of an example customer information screen usable within the scope of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 26 is a schematic flow diagram showing a method of paying a bill using a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 27 is a schematic block diagram of a preferred embodiment of the inventive assembly. Fig. 28 is a schematic block diagram illustrating the operation of a preferred embodiment of the smart cable of

Fig. 27.

Fig. 29 is a schematic block diagram of the components of a preferred embodiment of the cable software. Fig. 30 is an illustration of a preferred embodiment of the construction of the URL and data string using delimiter characters.

Fig. 31 is an illustration of an example of pairing the bar code digits and mapping them to an encoded character of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 32 is an illustration of the component parts of an original standard code definition of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 33 is an illustration of the assignment of digits to an original standard code definition of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 34 is an illustration of the component parts of an original application code definition of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 35 is an illustration of the original application code of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 36 is a schematic flow diagram for the main process flow of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 37 is a schematic flow diagram is for the Application Mode process flow of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 38 is a schematic flow diagram for the Link Mode process flow of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 39 is a schematic flow diagram for the Application Mode process flow of the cable software of another preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 40 is a schematic flow diagram for the send process flow of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 41 is a schematic flow diagram for the state processing process flow of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 42 is a schematic flow diagram for the multiple bar code processing process of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 43 is a schematic flow diagram for the error processing process of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 44 is a schematic flow diagram is for the bar code data processing process of the cable software of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Fig. 45 is a table of error processing options.

The following reference numerals are used to indicate the parts and environment of the invention on the drawings:

10 reader, scanner 12 bar code

13 communications link

14 desired item a first bill item b second bill item desired item bar code a first bill item bar code b second bill item bar code quantity bar codes navigation bar codes control bar codes cached datasets reader information intelligent electronic device, device data package request message network server, first server, remote server database, first database information database request, first database request first database response second database response response message second database request presentation menu reader serial number, scanner serial number first response screen a top of update quantities screen software version number confirmation screen, second response screen a bottom of update quantities screen custom programmed information third response screen sponsor identification second server second database product catalog bill first crib sheet second crib sheet send bar code, send bar code data third crib sheet start accumulation of bar codes bar code end accumulation of bar codes bar code submit order bar code select bar code unselect bar code

OK bar code delete item bar code clear bar code clear all bar code delete all bar code log in bar code log out bar code cancel bar code go to bar code application bar code, enter shopping site bar code end application bar code scroll up bar code scroll down bar code page up bar code page down bar code go to top of list bar code go to bottom of list bar code move to next screen bar code move to previous screen bar code client application shopping site, shopping application start shopping list bar code shopping screen, initial order screen end shopping list bar code order history bar code order history screen 116 news bar code

117 news menu item

118 help bar code

119 help menu item 120 delivery information bar code

122 specific numerical quantity bar codes

124 range of numerical quantity bar codes

125 order history menu item

126 product information 127 product picture

128 customer information

129 delivery information menu item

130 start shopping list menu item 132 order history information 134 delivery information bar code

135 delivery information screen

136 product pricing information 138 product quantity information

140 descriptions of products, product descriptions 142 availability of the product information, product availability information

144 product ingredients

146 product discount information

148 product coupons

150 product promotional information 152 membership information bar code

153 product information screen

154 customer account balances bar code 156 customer prior order information 158 customer information screen 160 customer payment information

162 customer name

164 customer address

166 customer telephone number

168 customer identification number 170 customer fax number 172 customer password

174 computed subtotal

176 computed tax

178 computed order total 180 shopping bonus points bar code

181 computed shopping bonus points

182 preorder verification list, check out screen 184 pre-order identification number

186 order identification number 188 estimated delivery date

190 delivery status information

200 communication protocol

202 network protocol

204 database access protocol, first database access protocol 205 second database access protocol

206 individual product subtotals

209 bill payment application, start bill paying application

210 pay bill bar code

212 exit bill paying application bar code 222 bank bar codes

224 payment amounts bar codes

234 bill information bar code

252 account information

254 customer account information bar code 260 fourth crib sheet

280 payment history bar code

300 check out

301 select bank screen

302 order confirmation screen 302a customer appreciation screen

303 selected bank name

304 log in screen

306 initial confirmation screen

308 bill details 310 bank details

312 transaction number 314 final confirmation screen

316 transaction details

318 payment history information

320 account information screen 322 payment history screen

324 OK button

325 customer account ID

326 Cancel button

354 customer account information menu option 380 payment history menu option

382 date bill was paid information

384 amount paid

386 to whom each payment was made

400 orders 402 dates orders were placed

404 date order delivered

410 scan membership ID step, scan or enter password step

412 scan item bar code and quantity bar code step

414 verify shopping list completion step 416 scan send data bar code or submit order bar code step

422 verify membership ID and password step

426 retrieve information step

430 display order list step, request confirmation step

432 confirm order step 434 display order confirmation step

444 edit order list step

446 send edited list to server step

450 scan application start bar code step

452 display application start screen step 454 scan bank bar code step

456 scan account ID bar code step, scan or enter password step

458 scan send data or submit bar code step

460 send data to intelligent electronic device step

462 send message to server step 464 authenticate account ID and password step

466 verify authentication step

468 scan bill bar code step

470 send bill data to intelligent electronic device step 472 send message to server step

474 retrieve bill information step

476 send response message step

478 display bill payment information step, ask for confirmation step 480 verify confirmation step

482 send payment data step

484 display confirmation step

486 scan application end bar code step

490 send error message step 492 display error message step

494 return to start screen step

510 assembly

514 smart cable, cable, smart apparatus

520 intelligent electronic device connector 521 mode switch

522 power supply

523 voltage converter and regulator

524 microprocessor 526 internal memory 527 external memory

528 intelligent elecfronic device communication interface

530 scanner connector

532 scanner interface

534 cable software 536 scanner communication module

538 bar code processing module

540 intelligent electronic device communication module

542 message generation module

544 telephone model recognition module 546 error processing module

548 data encoding module

550 data encryption module

551 data compression module

552 cable mode control module 554 code accumulation module

556 power management module

558 protocol conversion module 568 link mode message string 570 URL

572 appended data string

578a first delimiter character

578b second delimiter character 578c third delimiter character

578d fourth delimiter character

580a first processed bar code data

580b second processed bar code data

580c third processed bar code data 582 bar code data

584a first individual bar code digit

584b second individual bar code digit

584c third individual bar code digit

584d fourth individual bar code digit 584e fifth individual bar code digit

584f sixth individual bar code digit

584g seventh individual bar code digit

584h eighth individual bar code digit

584i ninth individual bar code digit 584j tenth individual bar code digit

584k eleventh individual bar code digit

5841 twelfth individual bar code digit

584m thirteenth individual bar code digit

584n fourteenth individual bar code digit 584o fifteenth individual bar code digit

584p sixteenth individual bar code digit

584q seventeenth individual bar code digit

584s eighteenth individual bar code digit

584t nineteenth individual bar code digit 584u twentieth individual bar code digit

584v twenty-first individual bar code digit

584x twenty-second individual bar code digit

586a first encoded character

586b second encoded character 588 encoded bar code data

589 original standard code

590 original code identifier part 592 company code part 594 company specific code part

620 recognize telephone model step

622 initialize system step

624 verify direct mode setting step 626 set mode step

628 go to application mode step

630 flow A step

632 mode selection step

634 link mode process step 636 application mode process step

638 end flow A step

640 flow B step

642 scan bar code step

644 get bar code data step 646 push data to browser step

648 end flow B step

650 end main flow step

660 go to URL step

662 send URL request step 664 clear send buffer step

666 set application mode state step

668 return to main flow step

670 get link mode URL step

671 wait step 672 save scanner serial number step

674 clear send buffer step

675 send data to server via GET method step

676 start flow C step

677 link mode return step 678 read one bar code step

679 save application code step

680 verify application code step

682 escape character processing step

683 send application code via GET method step 684 add to send buffer step

685 put cable in application mode step

686 end flow C step

687 set cable step 690 verify number of bar codes step

692 multiple bar codes step

693 end send process step

694 application mode process return step 698 state processing step

702 send data via POST method step

703 end send process step

710 verify application flag step

712 check received code step 714 go to link mode step

715 end application mode step

716 process bar code data step

718 add bar code data to send buffer step

722 return from state processing step 724 check application start code step

726 check application end code step

729 set application state flag to accumulate mode-accumulating step

730 check send mode step 740 flow D step 742 verify state flag is stand-by step

744 end flow D step

746 check state flag is send mode-accumulating step

748 check state flag is accumulate mode-accumulating step

750 return from multiple bar codes processing step 752 check for application end bar code step

754 check for application start code step

756 check state flag step

760 put error code in send buffer step

762 put cable in link mode step 770 verify data type step

772 process escape sequences step

774 return "( " plus processed data step

776 return from bar code data processing step

778 return ")" plus processed data step 780 encoding of third to fourteenth digits step

782 return "w" plus encoded data step

784 encoding step

786 return "z" plus encoded data step 790 code conversion step 792 encode converted code step 794 return "y" plus encoded data step 800-850 error processing table cells

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is a system and method for building a product list that is faster, more accurate and less expensive than those that involve the use of traditional keyboard and other known code- entry techniques by using a bar code scanner (reader) and an intelligent elecfronic device, such as a cellular telephone. In this embodiment, the system and method involves a user's using a reader, such as a bar code reader, to read and interpret a bar code that initiates a client application, such as a shopping application. Then, using the reader, the user simply scans a bar code for a desired item, such as a bracelet, a book, an article of clothing, or simply scans a bar code on an advertisement or catalog for a service, such as a window washing service or a car detailing service. Next, the user scans a "quantity" bar code, such as quantity " 1 " or a range of quantities, such as " 1 - 10 items."

Various other command codes or navigational codes are preferably used to place the scanned product or service data in the proper fields of the client application. Typical navigational codes preferably include up arrow, down arrow, scroll page up, and scroll page down. Various control or command bar codes, such as end application can be scanned and used to place the shopping order, as well as to fransmit or cancel the order, among other steps. These command codes and navigational codes are preferably displayed on printed "crib sheets" which can also include customer information and membership information printed on the sheets in a bar code format for scanning. Additionally, catalogs that contain product bar codes, or separate product or service crib sheets, are created and used with the invention.

Crib sheets, a preferred feature of the invention, render the invention easy, fast and accurate to use. Using the crib sheets and the product bar codes, scanned bar codes are cached in the reader as data sets. The reader adds reader information about the reading unit to the message and then transmits the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device. Preferred intelligent elecfronic devices include laptop computers, PDA's and wireless telephones. Preferably the intelligent electronic device caches a dataset or a group of datasets from the reader and builds a message using the cached dataset or a plurality of data sets. The message is then transmitted via a network to a server. The network can be an intranet, a local area network (LAN), a cellular telephone network, a global communications network, a cable network, a telephone network, a wireless network, a fiber optic network or a combination of such networks.

In an alternative embodiment, the server is used to access yet another database for information related to the message, such as additional product information, or additional quantity information or product availability information. A response is formulated and transmitted from the database and then transmitted to the server in the form of a response message. The response message is then transferred to the intelligent electronic device which reformats the information so that the information can be read by the user on the display of the intelligent electronic device. One strength of preferred embodiments of the invention is that a generic product list can be put together by simply scanning bar codes on products or by scanning bar codes in a product/service catalog. The user does not have to search for products. The user can enter a desired item at the moment he/she has it in front of him/her or when he/she is viewing the product in a catalog. Unlike on-line shopping interfaces, in which the user has to first find the product and then select it, the current invention allows the user to select products by scanning a bar code from a physical sample or from a printed catalog listing the products. Since print catalogs, newspaper inserts and flyers are and will continue to be a primary means for attracting consumers to products, preferred embodiments of the invention are designed to allow users to immediately shop from print sources using bar codes without having to go to a store or search for the product on line.

Besides generating specific product and/or service lists, the invention can be used to generate a generic product list which can be used over and over by a customer. Special navigation bar codes and control bar codes are preferred features of the invention, enabling the user to build a list by simply scanning bar codes. In preferred embodiments, the user has no need to manipulate a keyboard or mouse with the invention. The invention is easily usable by people who are not adept with computers (e.g., the elderly, children, or disabled). The user builds a list by simply scanning bar codes, which can save time, because the user does not have to search for and find each product. The invention builds a shopping list by scanning codes, which is more accurate than conventional order-entry techniques.

In preferred embodiments, the invention can be used to build a shopping list by scanning bar codes in a shopping catalog. This method is less expensive, faster and more accurate than conventional methods of catalog shopping. In conventional catalog shopping methods, orders have to be relayed via a fax order form or by telephone.

It is contemplated that a primary market for preferred embodiments of the invention is for use with mobile devices, such as cellular telephones and PDA's. The novel method of inputting items via bar codes allows a whole new capability of mobile telephones that otherwise would either not exist or would be too cumbersome to be viable. The invention permits data entry from a PDA without use of a stylus or keyboard. It permits PDA's and mobile telephones to be used as a means for sending large quantities of information in one step. This produces enormous benefits in time and cost, because PDA and mobile telephone devices can have relatively slow access speeds to the Internet, and service charges are often based on amount of data sent and received.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a bar code scanner that can cache bar code data sets, allowing the user to input and accumulate a series of bar codes corresponding to items/services, as well as actions/control commands/navigation commands, and then send these bar codes to an intelligent electronic device or server in one step. The method provides faster data transfer.

The present invention, in an alternative embodiment, comprises a bar code scanner that is not tethered to an intelligent electronic device. The user can scan codes in this untethered fashion, and then can transmit the scanned data by tethering the scanner to the intelligent electronic device. This untethered mode of scanning allows the user to conveniently scan products in a catalog, around the house, around an office or shop, or anywhere that is remote from the intelligent electronic device.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention can operate in a tethered environment. In this case, the bar code data can be cached in the bar code reader and/or in the intelligent elecfronic device before being transmitted to the server. In still another embodiment, the invention is contemplated as a "server-less" system. In this embodiment, the entire system is run from a single intelligent elecfronic device such as a desktop PC. In this case, the server and database functions are housed in the desktop PC. In yet another embodiment, the intelligent electronic device is the server and functions within the scope of the invention. The bar code scanner can be a separate physical device that is connected to the intelligent electronic device via a cable (wired) or in a wireless fashion. The scanner (reader) can also be directly "clipped on" to the intelligent elecfronic device via a connector built into the reader. The bar code reader /canner can also be embedded in the intelligent electronic device (e.g., be part of the internals of a PDA or mobile telephone).

A typical user for the current invention is an everyday consumer who needs to build an order or shopping list, and/or an office worker who needs to build inventory lists or order supplies. Other types of users and uses can be envisioned by those skilled in the art.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention is as a front-end order entry system for an existing shopping system. In this embodiment, the invention facilitates the building of a confirmed order, which is then transmitted to the existing shopping system for order fulfillment.

The crib sheets mentioned above are a more preferred part of the preferred embodiment of the invention. To use bar codes, one needs printed material. In a preferred embodiment, the crib sheet is a printed version of a clickable menu comprising a plurality of bar codes. It can be a printed sheet of generally available products at a defined store, or it can be a shopper's preferred product list. Instead of clicking on menu choices or actions as in a typical software application, the current invention gives the user the ability to scan bar codes on the crib sheet, thereby selecting menu items and actions. A crib sheet containing control bar codes and navigation codes can also be integrated into a shopping catalog.

Although "bar codes" and "scanners" are used in preferred embodiments of the invention, the invention can be used with a variety of types of codes and reading methods. Preferred codes include: ID bar codes; 2D bar codes as defined by industry standards; 2D printable codes that are machine readable; and printable codes with color that are machine readable. Preferred reading methods include: contact bar code scanning; laser scanning; imaging via a black- and-white or color CCD or CMOS camera sensor; and imaging via other camera or imaging technologies.

Referring now to Fig. 1, an overview of a preferred embodiment of the invention is presented showing a crib sheet and shopping catalog with bar codes. Fig. 1 shows reader 10 which a user can use for reading desired item bar code 16 in product catalog 58 or other bar code on crib sheet 60. Reader 10 preferably contains reader serial number 48, software version 50 and custom programmed information 52, and has sponsor identification 54 disposed on reader 10.

This information is transmitted with the bar code information from reader 10 using communication protocol 200. Intelligent elecfronic device 28 receives this information and forms request message 32. Request message 32 is transmitted via network protocol 202 to server 36. Server 36 communicates to database 38 via database access protocol 204 and makes a request to database 38 for information. Database 38 responds with information 40 which is communicated to server 36. Server 36 formulates response message 44, which is then communicated to intelligent electronic device 28 for forming presentation 46 which can be viewed by the user, such as a customer on his/her cellular telephone, PDA, or laptop computer. Network 34 of Fig. 1 can be a global communications network, a local area network, an intranet, a wireless network or any other type of network.

Fig. 2 shows another preferred embodiment of the invention presented in Fig. 1. In this embodiment, request message 32 is received by first server 36 via network protocol 202. First server 36 communicates with second server 56 via network protocol 59. In addition, first server 36 communicates first database request 41 to first database 38 via database access protocol 204, and also communicates to second server 56 to access additional information relative to message 32 from second database 57. Message 32 can be formulated from all of the datasets received from intelligent elecfronic device 28, or from only a portion of the datasets from intelligent electronic device 28. Second server 56 communicates second database request 45 to second database 57 via second database access protocol 205. Second database 57 responds to second server 56 using second database response 43. First, database response message 42 flows from first database 38 to first server 36. First server 36 returns response message 44 via network protocol 202.

Fig. 3 presents a preferred embodiment of intelligent electronic device 28, which comprises presentation 46 as well as transferred reader information 26 and cached datasets 24 from reader 1 which are processed to form data package 30. Request message 32 emanates from intelligent elecfronic device 28 and the server (not shown) provides response message 44 to intelligent electronic device 28. Network 34 is shown connecting intelligent elecfronic device 28 to the server (not show). Network 34 can be a global communications network, a local area network, an intranet or similar network, a wireless network or any other kind of network.

In a prefeσed embodiment of the invention, a user can utilize reader 10 to scan product catalog 58 containing one or more bar codes 16 to obtain desired item bar codes. Preferred embodiments of the invention also contemplate scanning one or more crib sheets 60 containing bar codes 12 to input control bar codes, navigation bar codes, and quantity bar codes and or combinations of these, when using the client application, such as a shopping application. Fig. 4a shows crib sheet 60 containing a collection of quantity bar codes 18, a collection of navigation bar codes 20, and a collection of confrol bar codes 22. Fig. 4b shows product catalog 58, which can be used by a typical consumer to buy desired item 14, having desired item bar code 16.

Fig. 5 illustrates control bar codes on another crib sheet 60. Application bar code 89 is scanned to enter shopping site 109 in this embodiment. Membership bar code 152 represents the customer's identification number. Start shopping list bar code 1 10 and end shopping list bar code 1 12 are on crib sheet 60. Request customer account balance bar code 154 is also provided as is delivery information bar code 134. Bar codes indicating a range of numerical quantities 124 and bar codes 122 for specific numeric quantities are provided on sheet 60, as well as codes which provide commands to find shopping bonus points 180, find news 1 16 and other like items. In other preferred embodiments, control/command bar codes correspond to menu selections, such as help, etc.

Typical navigation bar codes usable in preferred embodiments of the invention are as follows: scroll up, scroll down, page up, page down, go to top of list, go to bottom of list, move to the next screen, and move to the previous screen, and combinations of these. Fig. 6 shows second crib sheet 61 which presents navigation bar codes. Crib sheet 61 has scroll up bar code 92, scroll down bar code 94, page up bar code 96, page down bar code 98, go to top of list bar code 100, go to bottom of list bar code 102, move to next screen bar code 104, and move to previous screen bar code 106.

Typical control bar codes usable in the invention include send data, start application, start accumulation of bar codes, end accumulation of bar codes, submit order, select, unselect, select OK, delete an item, clear, clear all, delete all, log in, log out, cancel, go to, end application, check out, start shopping list, end shopping list, and combinations thereof. Fig. 7 presents third crib sheet 63 showing various control bar codes which are also referred to herein as commands or command bar codes. Send bar code 62, start accumulation of bar codes bar code 64, end accumulation of bar codes bar code 66, submit order bar code 68, select bar code 69, unselect bar code 70, select OK bar code 72, delete item bar code 74, clear bar code 76, clear all bar code 78, delete all bar code 80, log in bar code 82, log out bar code 84, cancel bar code 86, go to bar code 88, and end application bar code 90 are typical usable commands in preferred embodiments of the invention.

Preferred client applications are as follows: a grocery shopping application, a clothing shopping application, a travel services shopping application, a department store shopping application, an on-line retail shopping application, a mail order catalog shopping application, an online banking application, a travel booking application, and a sales force automation application. Fig. 8 provides a schematic view of example shopping screen 1 1 1 usable in a preferred embodiment of the invention. Initial order screen 11 1 includes menu items and information, including enter shopping site menu item 109 (shown in Fig. 5 as well), start shopping list menu item 130, delivery information menu item 129, order history menu item 125, news menu item 1 17, help menu item 119, descriptions of products 140, customer information 128, customer name 162, customer identification number 168, product pricing information 136, product quantity information 138, and individual product subtotals 206.

Fig. 9 shows example check-out screen 182 which includes customer identification number 168, customer name 162, preorder identification number 184, product descriptions 140, product quantity information 138, product pricing 136, computed subtotal 174, computed tax 176 on the computed subtotal, computed order total 178, computed shopping bonus points 181 (which are the total shopping bonus points for the entire order) and individual product subtotals 206.

Fig. 10 shows example order confirmation screen 302 usable within the scope of the invention. Order confirmation screen 302 preferably includes order identification number 186 and estimated delivery date 188.

Fig. 1 1 shows delivery information 134 on example delivery information screen 135. Delivery information screen 135 contains delivery status information 190, which may be compiled data, or historical data, as well as current data. Preferably, list of orders 400 is presented. The dates orders were placed 402 are also shown. Order identification number 186 also appears, as well as customer name 162, customer identification number 168 and computed order total 178.

Fig. 12 shows example order history screen 115 for a particular customer in another preferred embodiment of the invention. Order history screen 1 15 includes each order identification number 186, dates orders were placed 402, each computed order total 178, customer name 162 and each customer identification number 168. Each date order delivered 404 is another field on screen 1 15, as is customer prior order information 156.

Fig. 13 shows another example presentation 46 on intelligent electronic device 28. Presentation 46 comprises extended product information screen 153 which includes product picture 127, product information 126, availability of product information 142, product ingredients 144, product discount information 146, product coupons 148, and product promotional information 150.

Fig. 14 shows example customer information screen 158 in a preferred embodiment of the invention. Customer information screen 158 includes customer name 162, customer address 164, customer telephone number 166, customer identification number 168, customer fax number 170, and customer password 172. Customer information screen 158 may include customer payment information 160, such as the customer's credit card number and its expiration date.

Fig. 15 shows a preferred screen flow for a mobile telephone when using a preferred embodiment of the invention. Application bar code 89 is scanned with a reader (not shown) and the scanned data are communicated to intelligent electronic device 28. The selected software application (program) presents presentation 46 to the user of intelligent electronic device 28. Shopping application menu 47 is provided to the user in a subsequent screen. Crib sheet 60 is scanned to input customer identification number 168 and customer password 172, then bar code 110 is scanned to start the shopping list. Desired item barcode 16 is scanned, then product quantity bar code 138 is scanned. Product selection and quantity steps can be repeated, then send bar code 62 is scanned to send the dataset to intelligent electronic device 28.

Fig. 16 shows preferred additional screen flows or steps which follow the steps shown in Fig. 15. After intelligent electronic device 28 of Fig. 15 receives the order, intelligent electronic device 28 sends the order to the server (not shown) which processes the request and sends response message to device 28 which makes another presentation based on the response which is first response screen 49. Presentation 46 is shown with multiple screens: orders selected by the user can be confirmed on second response screen 51, third response screen 53 reveals purchase totals, purchase points and the amount of the order, and on screen 53 the user can request order initiation or cancellation of the order. The response screens have editing features which enable a user to change the item quantities. Additional response screens 49a and 51a can also be used to confirm the final order list. Order confirmation screen 302 and customer appreciation screen 302a then appear to verify the order to the user.

Referring to Fig. 17, a schematic flow diagram is presented for the process for building a shopping list and sending an order according to a preferred embodiment of the invention. Preferably, the process begins with the user's scanning of the application bar code with reader or scanner 10 in optional scan application bar code step 450. When the application begins, the application start screen is displayed on the display of intelligent elecfronic device 28 in display application start screen step 452. A membership ID and a password are input in scan account ID bar code step and scan or enter (e.g., via a keyboard) password step 410. An item bar code and a quantity barcode are scanned in step 412. The user determines whether he/she is finished shopping in verify shopping list completion step 414. If the user is not finished, step 412 is repeated.

If the user is finished, the send data or submit order bar code is scanned in step 416 and the scanned data are sent to intelligent electronic device 28 in step 460 in response to the user's scanning a "send data" or "submit" bar code in scan send data or submit bar code step 458. In send message to server step 462, intelligent electronic device 28 sends the data to server 36. In step 422, server 36 accesses database 38 to authenticate the membership ID and password. If the membership ID and password are verified in verify authentication step 466, server 36 then accesses database 38 in retrieve item information step 426 and sends a response message to intelligent electronic device 28 in send response message step 476.

Intelligent elecfronic device 28 displays order information and asks the user for confirmation in step 430. If the user confirms bill payment, in confirm order step 432, intelligent electronic device 28 displays the confirmation, transaction number and reference information in display order confirmation step 434. The user ends the process by optionally scanning the application end code in scan application end bar code step 486.

If, in step 466, the membership ID and password are not authenticated, server 36 sends an error message to intelligent electronic device 28 in step 490. Intelligent electronic device 28 then displays the error message in step 492 and returns to the start screen (displayed in step 452) in step 494. If the order is not confirmed in step 480, intelligent elecfronic device 28 allows the user to edit the order list in step 444 and the edited list is sent to server 36 in step 446.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method for paying bills that is faster, more accurate and less expensive than traditional keyboard and other conventional code-entry techniques. The method involves using a reader to read and interpret a bar code that initiates a bill payment application. Using the reader, a user scans a bar code for a bill that he desires to pay, such as an electric bill. Next, the user scans funding bar codes and account bar codes which correspond to the location of funds or credit which is to be used to pay the bill.

Navigational bar codes can be used, such as up arrow, down arrow, scroll page up, scroll page down, as well as confrol or command bar codes. An end application bar code can be used with this bill payment method, as well as control codes for "transmit" or "cancel" with regard to the execution of a funds transfer to pay the bill. All these bar codes can be displayed on printed crib sheets, such as an account crib sheet, a navigational crib sheet and a command crib sheet provided with the application to the user. Crib sheets, a preferred feature of the invention, make this billing and bill payment system easy, fast and accurate to use. Using the crib sheets, scanned bar codes are cached in a reader as datasets. The reader adds "reader" information about the reader unit to the datasets to form a message and then transmits the message to an intelligent electronic device.

Preferred intelligent electronic devices within the scope of the invention include laptops, PDA's and wireless telephones. Preferably, the intelligent electronic device can cache at least one dataset, or a group of datasets, from the reader and build a message using that cached dataset or plurality of cached datasets. The message is then transmitted, via a network, to a server. The network can be a global communications network, a local area network or any other type of network.

Preferably, the server can access other databases to obtain information related to the message, such as additional billing information, interest rates, and information on billing cycles. A response is formulated to the message and transmitted from the database to the server in the form of a response message. The response message is then transferred to the intelligent electronic device, which reformats the information so that the information can be read on the display of the intelligent electronic device by a user.

A strength of preferred embodiments of the invention is that bills can be paid or queued for payment by a user simply by scanning a bar code. Unlike on-line banking user interfaces, wherein the user has to first find an account, then enter the account number to be funded, the invention disclosed herein allows the user to select bills to be paid or accounts to be debited simply and in one step by scanning a bar code on a crib sheet.

Special navigation bar codes and control bar codes enable the user to pay bills easily by simply scanning bar codes. The user has no need to manipulate a keyboard or mouse with his/her hands. For this reason, the invention is particularly usable by people who are not adept with computers or for the elderly with arthritis or disabled persons.

This system is contemplated to be usable with mobile devices such as cellular telephones or PDA's. The method of the invention for inputting bar codes allows a whole new application for mobile telephones that otherwise would either not exist or would be too cumbersome to be viable. The invention permits data entry from a PDA without a stylus or keyboard. It permits PDAs and other mobile devices to send large quantities of information in only one step. This produces enormous benefits in time and cost savings. It also provides a valuable means for achieving independence and control.

Referring now to Fig. 18, an overview of a preferred embodiment of the invention is presented showing crib sheet 60 and bill 59 with bar codes printed thereon. Fig. 18 shows reader 10 for reading bar code 12 on bill 59 and on a crib sheet 60. Reader 10 contains reader serial number 48, software version 50, custom programmed information 52, and sponsor identification 54. This information is transmitted with the bar code information from reader 10 using communication protocol 200. Intelligent electronic device 28 receives this information and forms request message 32. Request message 32 is transmitted via network protocol 202 to server 36. Server 36 communicates via database access protocol 204 and makes a request to database 38 for information. Database 38 responds with information 40 and transmits it via access protocol 204 to server 36. Server 36 formulates response message 44, which is then communicated to the intelligent electronic device 28 via network protocol 202. Intelligent electronic device 28 forms a presentation 46 which can be viewed by a user, such as a customer viewing the display on his/her cellular telephone, PDA, or laptop computer. Network 34 is preferably a global communications network, a local area network, an intranet, a wireless network or a combination thereof. Fig. 2, which was described earlier, shows another preferred embodiment of the invention of Fig. 18.

This embodiment of the invention contemplates that a user can pay a bill or check containing one or more bar codes. The invention also contemplates that one or more crib sheets can be used with bar codes to provide control bar codes, navigation bar codes, and quantity bar codes and combinations of these while using the disclosed bill payment application. Fig. 4a shows crib sheet 60 having quantity bar codes 18, navigation bar codes 20, and control bar codes 22. Fig.4c shows bill 58, having bill items 14a and 14b and bill item bar codes 16a and 16b.

Fig. 19 presents fourth crib sheet 260, which contains application bar code 89 which can be used to initiate bill payment application 209. Bar code 252 represents a customer account ID number. Pay bill bar code 210 and exit bill paying application bar code 112 are on crib sheet 260. Request bill information bar code 234 is also provided. Request customer account information bar code 254 and payment history bar code 280 are shown. Bar codes for a specific numeric quantity for payment 224 are provided on crib sheet 260 as well as bar codes to select a bank 222, find news ' 116, and other like items. Preferred navigation codes and command codes usable in the invention are those described previously.

Fig. 20 provides a schematic illustration of an example initial screen in the bill payment application of a preferred embodiment of the invention. This screen is select bank screen 301 which appears after the user selects the bill payment application 209 and pay bill menu option 310. Screen 301 also includes account information menu option 354, payment history menu option 380, news menu option 1 17, help menu option 119, selected bank name 303, OK button 324 and Cancel button 326.

Fig. 21 shows example log in screen 304 which appears after a bank is selected. Screen 304 includes an entry field for account ID 353 and password 356.

Fig. 22 shows example initial confirmation screen 306 which appears after the bill item codes have been scanned. Screen 306 includes customer name 162, bill details 308 and bank details 310.

Fig. 23 shows example final confirmation screen 314 in a preferred embodiment of the invention. Screen 314 shows transaction number 312 and transaction details 317.

Fig. 24 shows example payment history screen 322. Screen 322 includes customer name 162 and customer account ID 325. Screen 322 also includes payment history information 318 such as date bill was paid information 182, each transaction number 312, each amount paid 384, and to whom each payment was made 386. Fig. 25 shows example account information screen 320 in a preferred embodiment of the invention. Screen 320 includes customer name 162, customer address 164, customer telephone number 166, customer fax number 170, customer account ID 325, customer password 172, and customer current balance 360.

Referring to Fig. 26, a schematic flow diagram is presented for the process of bill paying according to a preferred embodiment of the invention. Preferably, the process begins with the user's scanning of the application bar code with reader or scanner 10 in optional scan application bar code step 450. When the application begins, the application start screen is displayed on the display of intelligent electronic device 28 in display application start screen step 452. A bank code is scanned in scan bank code step 454 and an account ID and a password are input in scan account ID bar code step and scan or enter (e.g., via a keyboard) password step 456. The scanned data are sent to intelligent electronic device 28 in step 460 in response to the user's scanning a "send data" or "submit" bar code in scan send date or submit bar code step 458.

In send message to server step 462, intelligent electronic device 28 sends the data to server 36. In step 464, server 36 accesses database 38 to authenticate the account ID and password. If the account ID and password are verified in verify authentication step 466, the user is allowed to scan bill codes with reader or scanner 10 in scan bill codes step 468 which are sent to intelligent electronic device 28 in send bill data to intelligent elecfronic device step 470. Intelligent electronic device 28 then sends the data to server 36 in send message to server step 472.

Server 36 then accesses database 38 in retrieve bill information step 474 and sends a response message to intelligent electronic device 28 in send response message step 476. Intelligent electronic device 28 displays bill payment information and asks the user for confirmation in step 478. If the user confirms bill payment in verify confirmation step 480, intelligent electronic device 28 sends the payment data to server 36 in step 482 and waits for server 36 to respond. In response to a message from server 36, intelligent electronic device 28 displays the confirmation, transaction number and reference information in display confirmation step 484. The user ends the process by optionally scanning the application end code in scan application end bar code step 486.

If, in step 466, the account ID and password are not authenticated, server 36 sends an error message to intelligent electronic device 28 in step 490. Intelligent electronic device 28 then displays the error message in step 492 and returns to the start screen (displayed in step 452) in step 494. Similarly, if bill payment is not confirmed in step 480, intelligent electronic device returns to the start screen in step 494.

Another preferred embodiment of the invention is a multi-mode smart cable for connecting a scanner to an intelligent electronic device having a display and adapted to display at least one page of content having embedded information. Fig. 27 shows assembly 510 for acquiring data, which assembly comprises bar code scanner 10, smart cable 514 and cellular telephone or other similar intelligent electronic device 28. Assembly 510 is shown with a communications link 13 which is used to transmit data acquired by bar code scanner 10 to remote server 36. Preferably, smart cable 514 is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes and comprises an intelligent elecfronic device connector; a microprocessor; memory; an intelligent electronic device communication interface; a scanner connector; a scanner interface; and cable software.

In a more preferred embodiment, bar code scanner 10 is a device which communicates with smart cable 514, such as a scanner available from Symbol Technologies (Holtsville, New York, WWW domain symbol.com), known as Model CS-1504 Consumer Memory Scanner. Other hand held bar code scanners are considered usable with this invention including pen readers, such as those available from AIMEX of Japan. Bar code scanner or reader 10 is preferably light in weight and easy to use. Readers or scanners are both contemplated as usable with this system. It should be noted that the disclosed system for scanning and the disclosed smart cable can be used to scan one or more bar codes prior to processing the bar code information.

In a preferred embodiment, the cellular telephone can be one of a variety of intelligent electronic devices 28. It is envisioned that intelligent electronic device 28 can be a PDA, including palm type computers, a set top box, or a game confrol interface. It is particularly contemplated that cellular telephones, which are designed for use in Japan, are more preferred.

In a preferred embodiment, it is contemplated that a cellular telephone communicates via a cellular telephone network to a global communications network. If other electronic devices are used, then these devices could be connected to other wireless communication networks, or directly to the global communications network, or to a fiber optic network, or to an intranet, a cable television network or even to a conventional telephone network.

The smart cable software has a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module: provides a communications interface; retrieves bar codes from scanner 10; and retrieves scanner serial number from scanner 10. The cable software also has a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module identifies bar codes by type; transmits bar codes to another module of the software; stores bar codes; adds digits to bar codes; truncates digits of bar codes; and converts bar codes to other values based on a conversion table.

The cable software also has an intelligent electronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent device communications module: establishes communication with intelligent electronic device 28 using an intelligent electronic device communications protocol; receives intelligent electronic device model information from intelligent electronic device 28; formats values from the bar code processing module for transmission to intelligent electronic device 28; and transmits formatted values to intelligent electronic device 28.

A message generation module is part of the cable software as well. The message generation module builds a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module and transmits the message to intelligent electronic device communications module. Assembly 510 is operable in a link mode, wherein smart cable 514 sends link data to intelligent elecfronic device 28 using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, said cable software activates a send feature on the intelligent electronic device causing intelligent electronic device 28 to establish a communication link to remote server 36 using a transmission protocol to transmit link data to remote server 36, and wherein remote server 36 translates link data to a website URL and transmits a redirect message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent elecfronic device displays the website.

Another mode of operation of assembly 510 is the application mode, wherein smart cable 514 sends application data to intelligent electronic device 28 using the intelligent elecfronic device communications protocol, the cable software activates a send feature on intelligent electronic device 28 to establish a communication link to remote server 36 using the transmission protocol to transmit application data to remote server 36, and wherein remote server 36 processes the application data and provides a response message to intelligent electronic device 28, and intelligent elecfronic device 28 displays a presentation. Another mode of assembly 510 is the direct mode, wherein smart cable 514 transmits bar code data to the display of intelligent electronic device 28 using the intelligent elecfronic device communications protocol.

Fig. 28 is a schematic block diagram illustrating the preferred operation of the smart cable of Fig. 27. In Fig. 28, smart cable 514 is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes. In addition, smart cable 514 in a preferred embodiment has a number of components which are wired or soldered onto a printed circuit board (PCB) and contained within a casing. A mode switch is disposed on the casing for ease of use by a user. In an alternative embodiment, all or some of the components of smart cable 514 are implemented on a chip.

In the embodiment of Fig. 28, smart cable 14 comprises intelligent elecfronic device connector 520 that is connected to intelligent electronic device communication interface 528 and intelligent electronic device 28 (e.g., a cellular telephone). Intelligent electronic device interface 528 additionally connects to power supply 522, voltage converter and regulator 523 and microprocessor 524. Preferably, power supply 522 provides current and voltage to the components on the PCB which include intelligent electronic device interface 528, voltage converter and regulator 523, external memory 527, microprocessor 524, mode switch 521 and scanner interface 532.

Microprocessor 524 contains internal memory 526 which is situated within microprocessor 524 and connects to external memory 527 which is situated external to the microprocessor 24. In addition, microprocessor 524 connects to power supply 522, intelligent electronic device communication interface 528, scanner interface 532, and mode switch

521. Preferably, external memory 527 contains cable software 534. Scanner interface 532 is connected to power supply

522, microprocessor 524, voltage converter and regulator 523 and scanner connector 530. Scanner connector 530 is preferably connected to bar code scanner 10.

Memory 526, 527 can be programmable and can be separate or disposed within microprocessor 524. Cable software 534 is disposed in memory 526, 527. Voltage converter and regulator 523 performs voltage conversion between the power supply 522 and the voltage of bar code scanner 10 to make the voltage compatible between units and to enhance communication. It also performs voltage conversion between power supply 522 and the voltage of intelligent electronic device 28 to make the voltage compatible between the units and to enhance communication. In addition, voltage converter and regulator 523 regulates the power supply of smart cable 514.

Fig. 29 shows the components of a preferred embodiment of cable software 534. In the most preferred embodiment, cable software 534 comprises scanner communication module 536 which connects protocol conversion module 558, error processing module 546, and bar code processing module 538. Bar code processing module 538 connects to data encoding module 548, data encryption module 550 and data compression module 551, message generation module 542, cable mode confrol module 552, code accumulation module 554, and error processing module 546.

Cable mode confrol module 552 connects to error processing module 546, code accumulation module 554, and message generation module 542. Code accumulation module 554 also connects to error processing module 546.

Error processing module 546 connects to message generation module 542, intelligent elecfronic device communications module 540, telephone model recognition module 544, protocol conversion module 558, power management module 556, data encoding module 548, data encryption module 550, and data compression module 551.

Protocol conversion module 558 also connects to intelligent electronic device communications module 40.

Telephone model recognition module 544 also connects to message generation module 542. Message generation module 542 also connects to intelligent elecfronic device communications module 540.

Scanner communications module 536 provides a communications interface to bar code scanner 10, retrieves bar codes from bar code scanner 10, and retrieves scanner serial numbers and other information from scanner 10. In a preferred embodiment, the communications interface to bar code scanner 10 is a serial communications interface.

Bar code processing module 538 identifies bar codes by type, transmits bar codes to another module of cable software 514, stores bar codes, adds digits to bar codes, truncates digits of bar codes and converts bar codes to other values based on a conversion table.

Intelligent electronic device communications module 540 establishes communication with intelligent elecfronic device 28; receives intelligent electronic device model information from intelligent electronic device 28; formats data from message generation module 542 for transmission to intelligent elecfronic device 28; and fransmits formatted data to intelligent electronic device 28.

Message generation module 542 builds a message using bar code data from bar code processing module 538 and transmits the message to intelligent electronic device communications module 540. Telephone model recognition module 544 communicates with intelligent electronic device communication module 540 to identify a model of intelligent electronic device 28, compare the intelligent electronic device model identified to a set of preset values and, if there is a match, generates a telephone type and fransmits the telephone type to other modules.

Error processing module 546 receives internal error codes from other modules; builds a message related to the error codes; and transmits the message to message generation module 542. Data encoding module 548 is adapted to perform one of the steps comprising: encoding the bar code data; encoding the message string generated by message generation module 542; and/or encoding bar code scanner serial numbers or combinations of these steps.

Data encryption module 550 is adapted to perform one of the steps comprising: encrypting bar code data; encrypting the message string generated by the message generation module 542; and/or encrypting bar code scanner serial numbers or combinations of these steps. Data compression module 551 can be optionally incorporated into the disclosed invention. Data compression module 51 is preferably adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: compressing bar code data; compressing the message string generated by the message generation module; and compressing the bar code scanner serial number; and possible combinations of these steps.

Cable mode control module 552 monitors the mode of communication between smart cable 514 and intelligent electronic device 28; changes the mode of smart cable 514 based on the connection of smart cable 514 to intelligent elecfronic device 28; monitors the mode of the bar code processing module as it stores bar codes; changes the mode of the bar code processing module; monitors the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; changes the mode of intelligent electronic device communications module 540; monitors the mode of message generation module 542; and changes the mode of message generation module 542.

Code accumulation module 554 accumulates a list of bar codes in memory 526 and transmits the list of bar codes to bar code processing module 538. Code accumulation module 554 can further compare bar codes and discard identical bar codes. Power management module 556 monitors the status of power supply 522. Preferably, module 556 generates a message if the voltage exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit, if the current exceeds or drops beneath a preset limit or combinations of these occurrences.

In addition, it should be noted that smart cable 514 has a smart cable communications protocol, scanner 10 has a scanner communications protocol, and intelligent electronic device 28 has an intelligent electronic device communications protocol. The invention further comprises, in cable software 534, protocol conversion module 558, wherein the module converts between the smart cable communications protocol and the intelligent electronic device communications protocol; and converts between the smart cable communications protocol and the scanner communications protocol.

In a preferred embodiment, smart cable 514 operates in a plurality of modes. Three preferred modes for the smart cable 514 include link mode, application mode and direct mode. In the link mode, a command is used to send a predetermined URL with data using keypad emulation to intelligent electronic device 28 wherein the data comprises a bar code and a scanner serial number. In this mode, a send feature on the cellular telephone is activated, creating a communication link to remote server 36. The transmission protocol is used to transmit data from the cellular telephone to remote server 36. Remote server 36 translates the data into a website URL and transmits a redirect message to the cellular telephone. The cellular telephone then displays the website data.

The application mode causes smart cable 514 to send data into a text entry field of a browser of intelligent electronic device 28 or cellular telephone, causing the data to be transmitted to remote server 36 using a "GET" or "POST" method or another protocol. Remote server 36 receives the data, processes the data and provides a response message to cellular telephone or intelligent electronic device 28, and cellular telephone or intelligent electronic device 28 displays the response which is a presentation in the browser. The direct mode involves smart cable 514 transmitting data to the display of cellular telephone or intelligent electronic device 28 using keypad emulation.

In a preferred embodiment, link data consists of: URL information plus bar code information, or serial number data of intelligent elecfronic device 28, or serial number data of scanner 10, or combinations of these. Also in a preferred embodiment, the application data can be URL information, bar code information, serial number data for intelligent electronic device 28, serial number data of scanner 10, and combinations of these.

In a more preferred embodiment it is contemplated that application data is entered into a text entry field of the at least one page of content having embedded information displayed by intelligent electronic device 28, and the embedded information is URL information. As used herein, bar code information is defined to be a string of processed bar code data having at least one delimiter character. Bar code data of said direct mode comprises unprocessed bar code data.

It is contemplated that special delimiter characters are used to identify or separate the different parts of the data in the message sent to intelligent electronic device 28. Fig. 30 shows a preferred embodiment of link mode message string 568 sent to intelligent electronic device 28. Message string 568 consists of a plurality of characters. These characters comprise URL 570 with an appended data string 572. Appended data string 572 consists of a scanner serial number 48 and at least one processed bar code data 580a, 580b, and 580c. Scanner serial number 48 and processed bar code data 580a, 580b and 580c are prefixed by delimiter characters 578a, 578b, 578c and 578d. By analyzing the delimiter characters, it is possible to parse the individual data elements of appended data string 572, and to discern information about the data following the delimiter characters.

It is contemplated that the appended data string 572 will incorporate several different delimiter characters in a preferred embodiment. The delimiter characters indicate that the data following the delimiter character are of a particular type, such as a scanner serial number, encoded data, compressed data, encrypted data, an original code, or a special application code. Fig. 31 shows the process of encoding bar code data 582. In this example, the individual bar code digits 584a, 584b, 584c and 584d of bar code data 582 are paired up, and each pair is mapped to an encoded character. Specifically, bar code digits 584a and 584b are mapped to encoded character 586a. Bar code digits 584c and 584d are mapped to encoded character 586b, forming the encoded bar code data 588. The sequence can be repeated as needed. When used with numerical bar code data 582, this particular encoding scheme has the additional benefit of compressing the size of bar code data 582, resulting in the ability to send more data to intelligent electronic device 28 and further to remote server 36.

The invention contemplates the use of an original code with smart cable 514. Fig. 32 shows the component parts of a preferred form of the code created for this invention. This preferred form is termed original standard code 589 herein for ease of understanding of the invention. In Fig. 32, original standard code 589 consists of original code identifier part 590, company code part 592 and a company specific code part 594.

Fig. 33 shows that each of these parts can be represented by one or more bar code digits. More specifically, original code identifier part 590 preferably consists of at least one bar code digit, with two shown here as 584a and 584b. Company code part 592 preferably also consists of at least one bar code digit and, in this embodiment, is shown as digits 584c, 584d, 584e and 584f. Company-specific code part 594 preferably comprises at least one bar code digit as well and, in this embodiment, consists of eight digits: 584g, 584h, 584i, 584j, 584k, 5841, 584m and 584n. Original code identifier part 590 preferably consists of a pre-determined sequence of bar code digits that uniquely identify the code as an original code.

Fig. 34 shows the component parts of another preferred form of an original code, referred to herein as original application code 596. Original application code 596 preferably consists of original code identifier part 590, application code identifier part 598, company code part 592, application ID part 600, and application control code part 602.

Fig. 35 shows that the parts of the original code can be represented by one or more bar code digits. More specifically, the original code identifier part 90 preferably consists of at least one bar code digit, with two being shown here as 584a and 584b. Application code identifier part 598 preferably also consists of at least one bar code digit. In this embodiment, three are shown as digits 584o, 584p, and 584q. Company code part 592 can also consist of at least one bar code digit. In this embodiment, four are shown, 584f, 584g, 584h and 584i. Application ID part 600 identifies the number of the application associated with the company referenced by the company code. Application control part 602 is preferably encoded with specific information that is recognized by the smart cable software and causes the cable software to change modes. Application ID part 600 preferably comprises at least one code digit as well. In this embodiment it consists of three digits, 584s, 584t and 584u. Preferably, application control code part 602 also comprises at least one code digit. In this embodiment, two are shown, 584v and 584x. Application control code part 602 is preferably encoded with information about a browser display on intelligent electronic device 28, such as the number and size of text entry fields. Application control code part 602 is preferably also encoded with information about how smart cable 514 should send and store bar code data.

Referring to Fig. 36, a schematic flow diagram is presented for the main process flow of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. Preferably, the process starts when smart cable 514 is connected to intelligent electronic device 28 (e.g., a mobile telephone). The model of the mobile telephone is recognized by smart cable 514 in recognize telephone model step 620 and the system is initialized in initialize system step 622.

The system verifies whether the Direct Mode flag is set in the system EEPROM (memory) in verify direct mode setting step 624. If the Direct Mode flag is determined not to be set, the mode is set in set mode step 626. In this step, if the mode button is pressed while connecting smart cable 514 to intelligent electronic device 28, the system is directed to initialize in the Application Mode in go to application mode step 628. Otherwise, the system is directed to initialize in the Link Mode.

If the system is directed to initialize in the Application Mode in step 628, Flow A is initiated in step 630. In Flow A, mode switching can occur in the loop beginning at step 632. If the Link Mode is chosen, the Link Mode process is initiated in link mode process step 634. If the Application Mode is chosen, the Application Mode process in initiated in step 636. Flow A ends at step 638 and the process ends at step 650.

If the Direct Mode flag is determined to be set in step 624, Flow B process is initiated in step 640. In this sequence of steps, the user can scan a bar code in scan bar code step 642. In step 644, bar code data is obtained from reader or scanner 10 and is pushed into a browser for display by intelligent electronic device 28 in step 646. Flow B ends at step 648.

Referring to Fig. 37, a schematic flow diagram is presented for the Application Mode process flow of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed if the Application Mode is chosen at step 626 or step 636 of the process illustrated in Fig. 36. In this process, the system is directed to send data to the Application Mode URL stored in the EEPROM (memory) of smart cable 514. At step 662, a URL request is sent to server 36 and then, at step 66, the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared. The Application Mode state is set to stand-by in step 666 and the system returns to the main flow in step 668.

Referring to Fig. 38, a schematic flow diagram is presented for the Link Mode process flow of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed if the Link Mode is chosen at step 626 or step 634 of the process illustrated in Fig. 36. In this process, in wait step 671, the system waits if there is no data from reader or scanner 10. In step 672, the system saves the scanner serial number and, in step 674, the send buffer is cleared. In step 676, when bar code data is present, Flow C is initiated and one bar code is read in step 678. The system determines whether the one bar code is an application code in verify application code step 680. If the one bar code is not an application code, escape character processing is initiated in step 682. In this step, escape characters are placed in front of any bar code characters which are also used as delimiter characters. In step 684, an ")" plus processed data are added to the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28. Preferably, when multiple bar codes are present, only those that fit within send buffer limits are sent and the rest are discarded. Flow C ends at step 686.

In step 670, the Link Mode URL is obtained from the EEPROM (memory) of smart cable 514. The data are sent to server 36 via the GET method in step 675. The system returns to the main process in step 677.

In step 680, if the one bar code is not an application code, the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 674. In step 679, a ")" plus the application code is saved in memory and any data that is not an application code is discarded. In step 670, the Link Mode URL is obtained from the EEPROM (memory) of smart cable 514. The application code is sent to server 36 via the GET method in step 683. In this step, the Link Mode URL plus "?dt+" plus "(" plus the scanner serial number plus the data are sent. Smart cable 514 is placed in the Application Mode in step 685 and the Application Mode state flag is set to the "Send Mode-Start" or "Accumulate Mode-Start" in step 687. The system returns to the main process in step 677.

Referring to Fig. 39, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the Application Mode process flow of cable software 534 for another preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed if the Application Mode is chosen at step 626 or step 636 of the process illustrated in Fig. 36. In this process, in wait step 671 , the system waits if there is no data from reader or scanner 10. In step 672, the system saves the scanner serial number.

The number of bar codes is determined by the user in step 690. If multiple bar codes exist, multiple bar codes step 692 (as described in Fig. 42) is performed and the system returns to the main process in step 694. If only one bar code exists, it is scanned in step 696 and state processing is performed in step 698. and the system returns to the main process in step 694. In preferred embodiments, Application Mode state flags include the following: (1) Stand-by, (2) Send Mode-Start, (3) Send Mode-Accumulating, (4) Accumulate Mode-Start and (5) Accumulate Mode-Accumulating.

Referring to Fig. 40, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the send process flow of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. In step 702, data (e.g., the scanner serial number and other data) are sent by intelligent electronic device 28 to server 36 via the POST method. In step 674, the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared and at step 693 the send process is ended.

Referring to Fig. 41, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the "state processing" process flow of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed at step 696 of the process illustrated in Fig. 39. In this process, the Application Mode flag is determined at verify application flag step 710. If the Application Mode flag is determined to be "Stand-by" in step 710, the system checks the received bar code and error processing occurs (as illustrated in cells 800-850 of the table in Fig. 45) in step 712. If the received bar code is an application end code, smart cable 514 is placed in the Link Mode in step 714 and the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. In step 716, the bar code data is processed in accordance with the process presented in Fig. 44. The bar code data are then added to the send buffer in step 718 and are sent to server 36 via the POST method in step 702. Next, the system sets the Application Mode flag to "Send Mode-Start" or "Accumulate Mode-Start" depending on the application code control digits in step 687. In step 722, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

If the Application Mode flag is determined to be "Send Mode-Start" in step 710, the system checks the received bar code and error processing occurs (as illustrated in the table in Fig. 45) in step 712. If the received bar code is an application end code, smart cable 514 is placed in the Link Mode in step 714. If the received bar code is an application start code, the Application Mode flag is set to "Send Mode- Accumulating" 714 and the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. In step 716, the bar code data is processed in accordance with the process presented in Fig. 44. The bar code data are then added to the send buffer in step 718 and are sent to server 36 via the POST method in step 702. In step 722, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

If the Application Mode flag is determined to be "Send Mode-Accumulating" in step 710, the system checks the received bar code and error processing occurs (as illustrated in the table in Fig. 45) in step 712. If the received bar code is an application end code, the send process described in Fig. 40 is carried out, the Application Mode state flag is set to "Send Mode-Start" and steps 716 and 718 are not carried out. Otherwise, steps 716 and 718 are carried out. In step 722, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

If the Application Mode flag is determined to be "Accumulate Mode-Start" in step 710, the system checks the received bar code and error processing occurs (as illustrated in the table in Fig. 45) in step 712. If the received bar code is an application end code, smart cable 514 is placed in the Link Mode in step 714. In step 729, the Application Mode state flag is set to "Accumulate Mode-Accumulating" and the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. In step 716, the bar code data is processed in accordance with the process presented in Fig. 44. The bar code data are then added to the send buffer in step 718. In step 722, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

If the Application Mode flag is determined to be "Accumulate Mode-Accumulating" in step 710, the system checks the received bar code and error processing occurs (as illustrated in the table in Fig. 45) in step 712. If the received bar code is an application end code, the send process described in Fig. 40 is carried out, the Application Mode state flag is set to "Accumulate Mode- Accumulating" and steps 716 and 718 are not carried out. Otherwise, steps 716 and 718 are carried out. In step 722, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

Referring to Fig. 42, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the multiple bar code processing process of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed at step 692 of the process illustrated in Fig. 39. While unread bar codes exist (as determined by the user), Flow D is carried out in step 740. In step 696, the user uses reader or scanner 10 to read one bar code. In step 742, the system determines whether the Application Mode state flag is set at "Stand-by" or not.

If the Application Mode state flag is determined in step 742 to be set at "Stand-by," step 714 and subsequent steps are performed. If the received bar code is an application end code, smart cable 514 is placed in the Link Mode in step 714. If the received bar code is not an application start code, the Application Mode is ended in step 715 and the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. Next, the system sets the Application Mode flag to "Send Mode-Start" or "Accumulate Mode-Start" depending on the application code control digits in step 687. The bar code data are then added to the send buffer in step 718. Flow D ends at step 744.

The bar code data are then sent to server 36 via the POST method in step 702, and the send buffer of intelligent elecfronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. In step 746, the system checks whether the Application Mode state flag is set to "Send Mode- Accumulating" and, if so, it is set to "Send Mode-Start." In step 746, the system checks whether the Application Mode state flag is set to "Accumulate Mode- Accumulating" and, if so, it is set to "Accumulate Mode-Start." In step 750, the system is returned to the process shown on Fig. 39.

If the Application Mode state flag is determined in step 742 not to be set at "Stand-by," step 752 and subsequent steps are performed. If the received bar code is an application end code, an application end error (03) is sent and the Application Mode is ended in step 754. If the received bar code is an application start code, an application end error (02) is sent and the Application Mode is ended in step 754. In step 756, the system checks whether the Application Mode state flag is set to "Accumulate Start," "Accumulate End" or "Send" and, if so, subsequent steps are ignored and Flow D is continued at step 744. If not, steps 716 and 718 are carried out before step 744 is carried out.

Referring to Fig. 43, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the error processing process of cable software

534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed at step 712 of the process illustrated in Fig. 41. In this process, the send buffer of intelligent electronic device 28 is cleared in step 664. In step 760, all bar code data read from the scanner are cleared and a ")" plus an encoded error code are placed in the send buffer. The scanner serial number and the data are then sent to server 36 via the POST method in step 702. Smart cable 514 is placed in the Link Mode in step 762 and the process ends.

Referring to Fig. 44, a schematic flow diagram is presented of the bar code data processing process of cable software 534 for a preferred embodiment of the invention. This process is performed at step 716 of the process illustrated in Figs. 41 and 43. In this process, the bar code data type are verified in step 770.

If the bar code data type is a scanner serial number, escape sequence processing is carried out in step 772. In escape sequence processing, the escape character "_" is appended before bar code characters that are also used as delimiter characters, i.e., "(", "_", "w", "y", and "z"). In step 774, a "(" plus processed data are returned. At step 776, the process returns.

If the bar code data type is an alpha-numeric code, escape sequence processing is carried out in step 772. In step 778, a ")" plus processed data are returned. At step 776, the process returns.

If the bar code data type is original code, encoding of the third to fourteenth digits is carried out in step 780. In step 782, a "w" plus encoded data are returned. At step 776, the process returns.

If the bar code data type is numeric code only (excluding original code), encoding is carried out in step 784. In step 786, a "w" plus encoded data are returned. At step 776, the process returns.

If the bar code data type is a quantity, OK or Cancel code, code conversion is carried out in step 790. In step 792, the converted code is encoded and, in step 792, a "y" plus encoded data are returned. At step 776, the process returns.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, smart cable or smart apparatus 514 has two modes of storing and transmitting data. The first mode causes cable 514 to store all scanned bar code data until a special send code is scanned. When the send code is received, cable 514 sends all accumulated bar code data to intelligent electronic device 28. Another mode causes cable 514 to immediately send to intelligent electronic device 28 any bar code data scanned by scanner 10. In this mode, data can be accumulated before being sent to intelligent electronic device 28 by scanning special codes associated with start accumulation and end accumulation. All bar code data scanned between the Start and End Accumulation codes are stored in cable memory 526,527. When the End Accumulation code is scanned, cable 514 processes and sends the accumulated codes to intelligent electronic device 28 and causes the data to be transmitted to server 36.

In this embodiment, cable 514 is able to recognize the send code, start accumulation code, and end accumulation code. Cable 514 is able to recognize a special end application code which causes cable 514 to send a message to intelligent electronic device 28 to reset the display of intelligent electronic device 28. Upon receiving the end application code, cable 514 switches to Link Mode. It should be noted that bar code processing module 538 can process a variety of codes including, but not limited to, application codes, control or command codes and navigation codes.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

It is contemplated that the invention disclosed herein can be used for shopping for products and or services with bar codes and for verifying and accumulating shopping point data. It can be used to scan bar codes, or other codes on print matter, to link to websites or other online content sources. It can also be used for doing market research data, bill payment, travel scheduling and related travel activity, online banking, inventory management, and sales force automation.

Many variations of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art. Some variations incorporate a scanner that can read any type of scannable code that can contain numeric or other information. Other variations include incorporation of intelligence that would otherwise be incorporated into the smart cable or smart apparatus into the scanner or into the mobile telephone. Other variations do not call for a cable but rather call for the scanner to be clipped onto the mobile telephone. Yet other variations call for systems that are capable of rendering any kind of payment, e.g., by scanning a bar code on a crib sheet, check, credit card, debit card or membership card. Further variations include payment applications that are stand alone or integrated into other applications. Other variations include the step of connecting to a payment center, such as a credit card center or a bank for authentication, validation and/or clearing of the payment. All such variations are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1. A method for data entry using bar codes comprising: using a reader to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates an application; using said reader to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the reader to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache at least some of said bar codes to form a cached dataset, add reader information and fransmit the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from said cached data package; transmitting the request message via a network to a first server; using said first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using said first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and fransmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; and using the intelligent elecfronic device to process the response message and form a presentation.
2. The method of claim 1 , wherein said request message and said response message are transmitted via a network selected from the group: a global communications network, a local area network, a fiber optics network, a wireless network, a telephone network, an intranet and combinations thereof.
3. The method of claim 1 , wherein adding reader information includes adding a member of the group consisting of: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom-programmed information installed on said reader, and combinations thereof.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein adding custom-programmed information comprises adding sponsor identification.
5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: using said first server to communicate with a second server.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: using said first server to communicate with a plurality of databases to access information related to the request message.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein building said request message comprises building said request message from a portion of said cached dataset.
8. The method of claim 1 , further comprising: using a crib sheet containing a member of the group consisting of: a plurality of control bar codes, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of application codes and combinations thereof.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising: using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of a plurality of quantity bar codes, and a plurality of product bar codes.
10. The method of claim 8 wherein using a crib sheet containing a plurality of control bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a send bar code, a start accumulation of bar codes bar code, an end accumulation of bar codes bar code, a submit bar code, a select bar code, an unselect bar code, an OK bar code, a delete an item bar code, a clear bar code, a clear all bar code, a delete all bar code, a log in bar code, a log out bar code, a cancel bar code, an end application bar code, a news bar code, a help bar code and combinations thereof.
1 1. The method of claim 8, wherein using a crib sheet containing a plurality of navigation bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a scroll up bar code, a scroll down bar code, a page up bar code, a page down bar code, a go to top of list bar code, a go to bottom of list bar code, a move to the next screen bar code, a move to the previous screen bar code, and combinations thereof.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein using a crib sheet containing a plurality of quantity bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising: scanning a user information bar code which causes the application to retrieve a user membership number, a user account balance, user payment information, a user name, a user address, a user telephone number, a user fax number, a user password, or combinations thereof.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein reading and interpreting each said bar code comprises reading and interpreting a member of the group consisting of: a 1 D bar code, a 2D bar code, a two dimensional matrix block, a one-dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, an etched sequence of bars and combinations thereof.
15. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a scanner and a display, a server and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: using the scanner to read a first bar code indicating that an item is to be added to the data list; using the scanner to read a second bar code indicating that an associated item quantity is to be added to the data list; using the scanner to read a third bar code that causes the apparatus to produce content containing the indication of the item and the indication of its associated item quantity and to send a request message comprising the content to the server via the network; transmitting a response message from the server to the apparatus that causes the apparatus to output to the user via the display a request that the user confirm the content of the first message; using the scanner to read a fourth bar code that causes the display to navigate to a portion of a screen displaying commands; using the scanner to read a fifth bar code that indicates selection of a displayed command, causing the apparatus to send a confirmation message to the server, said third message indicating whether the user has confirmed the content of the first message; and if the user has confirmed the content of the request message, generating a data list containing said content.
16. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a processor, an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to said apparatus, a server, and a network connecting said intelligent electronic device to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading an application code bar code, the receipt of said application code signal causing said processor to run an application; receiving a first signal indicative of the reader reading a first bar code, the receipt of said first signal indicating a selection of a desired item and causing said processor to generate item selection data; receiving a second signal indicative of the reader reading a second bar code, the receipt of said second signal indicating a quantity of a desired item and causing said processor to generate item selection data; receiving a third signal indicative of the reader reading a third bar code, the receipt of said third signal causing said processor to form a cached dataset containing reader information, item selection data and item quantity data and to transmit the dataset to the intelligent electronic device; in response to the receipt of dataset by the intelligent electronic device, formation of a data package by the intelligent electronic device and incorporation of said data package into a request message and transmission of the request message via the network to the server; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, accession of a database by the server to obtain information related to the request message, receipt of a response from the database and formation of a response message which is transmitted via the network to the intelligent electronic device; in response to receipt of the response message by the intelligent elecfronic device, processing of the response message to form a presentation of a data list on a first screen on said display; receiving a fourth signal indicative of the reader reading a fourth bar code, the receipt of said fourth signal causing said display to navigate to a second screen, said second screen containing a command; and receiving a fifth signal indicative of the reader reading a fifth bar code, the receipt of said fifth signal indicating confirmation of said data list by said user.
17. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a processor, an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to said apparatus, a server, and a network connecting said intelligent electronic device to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading an application code bar code, the receipt of said application code signal causing said processor to place the apparatus in an application mode and to cause said intelligent elecfronic device to send the application code to the server via said network using the GET method; receiving a first signal indicative of the reader reading a first bar code, the receipt of said first signal indicating a selection of a desired item and causing said processor to generate item selection data and receiving a second signal indicative of the reader reading a second bar code, the receipt of said second signal indicating a quantity of a desired item and causing said processor to generate item selection data; repeating the receiving a first signal step and the receiving a second signal step until no more items are desired by the user; receiving a third signal indicative of the reader reading a third bar code, the receipt of said third signal causing said processor to form a cached dataset containing reader information, item selection data and item quantity data and to transmit the dataset to the intelligent electronic device; in response to the receipt of dataset by the intelligent electronic device, formation of a data package by the intelligent electronic device and incorporation of said data package into a request message and transmission of the request message via the network to the server using the POST method; in response to receipt of the request message by the server, accessing of a database by the server to obtain information related to the request message, receipt of a response from the database and formation of a response message which is transmitted via the network to the intelligent elecfronic device; in response to receipt of the response message by the intelligent electronic device, processing of the response message to form a presentation of a data list on a first screen on said display; receiving a fourth signal indicative of the reader reading a fourth bar code, the receipt of said fourth signal causing said display to navigate to a second screen, said second screen containing a command; and receiving a fifth signal indicative of the reader reading a fifth bar code, the receipt of said fifth signal indicating confirmation of said data list by said user.
18. A system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising: an apparatus having a reader and a processor; an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to said apparatus; a server; and a network connecting said intelligent electronic device to said server, wherein said system is operated in accordance with the method of claim 15.
19. A system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising: an assembly having a reader and a processor; an intelligent electronic device having a display and being connected to said assembly; a server; and a network connecting said intelligent electronic device to said server, wherein said system is operated in accordance with the method of claim 16.
20. A system for order entry comprising: a reader for reading and interpreting a plurality of bar codes including a bar code to initiate an application, a bar code for a desired item, a bar code for a quantity of the desired item, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of control bar codes, caching said bar codes and adding reader information to form a cached dataset, and fransmitting the cached dataset; an intelligent electronic device for receiving said cached dataset and forming a data package, said intelligent elecfronic device being adapted to build a request message from said data package; a network for use in transmitting said request message; a first server for receiving said request message, forming a request and transmitting the request; a database for receiving said request and forming a response and transmitting said response; and wherein said first server is adapted to receive the database response, formulate a response message and fransmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device using said network; and wherein said intelligent electronic device is adapted to process said response message and present its contents to said user, said content being adapted to cue a user to use the reader to read and interpret at least one of said navigation bar codes and at least one of said control bar codes.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein said reader comprises a portable handheld laser scanning device.
22. The system of claim 20 wherein said reader comprises a camera.
23. The system of claim 20, wherein said reader is a wireless bar code scanner.
24. The system of claim 20, wherein said first server communicates with a plurality of databases to access information related to the request message.
25. The system of claim 20, wherein said first server is adapted to communicate with a second server to access a second database to obtain information related to the request message.
26. The system of claim 20, further comprising a crib sheet that provides a member of the group comprising: said plurality of control bar codes, said plurality of navigation bar codes, said quantity bar code, and combinations thereof.
27. The system of claim 26 wherein said plurality of control bar codes comprise a member of the group consisting of: a send bar code, a start accumulation of bar code bar code, an end accumulation of bar codes bar code, a submit bar code, a select bar code, an unselect bar code, an OK bar code, a delete an item bar code, a clear bar code, a clear all bar code, a delete all bar code, a log in bar code, a log out bar code, a cancel bar code, an end application bar code, a news bar code, a help bar code, and combinations thereof.
28. The system of claim 26, wherein said plurality of navigation bar codes comprise a member of the group consisting of: a scroll up bar code, a scroll down bar code, a page up bar code, a page down bar code, a go to top of list bar code, a go to bottom of list bar code, a move to the next screen bar code, a move to the previous screen bar code, and combinations thereof.
29. The system of claim 26, wherein said quantity bar code is a code that corresponds to a member of the group consisting of: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code.
30. The system of claim 25, wherein said information related to the response comprises a member of the group consisting of: product information, customer information, order information, order history information, delivery information, news, and combinations thereof.
31. The system of claim 30 wherein said product information comprises a member of the group consisting of: product pricing, product quantity, a description of the product, availability of the product, product ingredients, product discount information, product coupons, product promotional information, and combinations thereof.
32. The system of claim 30 wherein said customer information comprises a member of the group consisting of: membership information, customer account balance, customer prior order information, shopping bonus points, customer payment information, a customer name, a customer address, a customer telephone number, a customer identification number, a customer fax number, a customer password, and combinations thereof.
33. The system of claim 30 wherein said order information comprises: a product description, a product quantity, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, a computed tax on said computed subtotal, a computed order total, shopping bonus points, a preorder verification table, pre-order identification, order identification, estimated delivery date, delivery status, and combinations thereof.
34. The system of claim 30 wherein said delivery information comprises: order information relative to a specific date and time and customer information relative to a specific date and time.
35. The system of claim 30 wherein said order history information comprises: compiled order information.
36. The system of claim 30 wherein said pre order verification table comprises: a product description, a product quantity, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, a computed tax on said computed subtotal, a computed total, shopping bonus points, and combinations thereof.
37. The system of claim 30 wherein said database is selected from the group consisting of: a relational database, an extensible mark-up database, an object database and combinations thereof.
38. The system of claim 30 wherein said intelligent electronic device comprises a desktop PC, a PDA, a notebook, a mobile telephone, an intelligent electronic device capable of connecting to a network, a set top box, a cable model, a game box or combinations thereof.
39. The system of claim 20 wherein said reader is a scanner.
40. The system of claim 20 wherein said reader or said intelligent electronic device comprises a camera.
41. The system of claim 20 wherein said bar code is a member of the group: a ID bar code, a 2D bar code, a printed pattern, a mafrix of colored blocks, a two dimensional matrix of blocks and a one dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, an etched sequence of bars and combinations thereof.
42. The system of claim 30 wherein said bar code is transmitted by an electromagnetic signal.
43. The system of claim 30, wherein said network comprises a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a global communications network, a local area network, a cable network, a telephone network, a wireless network, a fiber optic network, or a combination of thereof.
44. A system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising: an apparatus comprising a scanner, a processor and a display; a server; and a network connecting said apparatus and said server; wherein said scanner is adapted to read bar codes and to fransmit associated signals to said processor; wherein said processor is adapted to send a selection message to said server via said network upon receipt of a first signal from said scanner associated with the selection of an item, to cause said display to output a first portion of a screen requesting confirmation of said selection message in response to a request message from said server, and to cause said display to output a second portion of the screen upon receipt of a second signal from said scanner associated with the reading of a navigation bar code, said second portion of the screen containing displayed commands; and wherein said server is adapted to generate a data list in response to a confirmation message from said apparatus upon receipt of a third signal from said scanner associated with the reading of a command bar code.
45. A method for generating a data list for a user, said method comprising: providing access to the system of claim 20 to the user; using the reader to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates the application; using the reader to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the reader to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache said bar codes to form a cached dataset, add reader information and transmit the cached dataset with reader information to the intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from said cached data package; transmitting the request message via the network to the first server; using said first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using said first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent electronic device; and using the intelligent elecfronic device to process the response message and form a presentation.
46. A method for generating a data list for a user, said method comprising: providing access to the system of claim 44 to the user; using the apparatus to read and interpret a first bar code that initiates the application; using the apparatus to read and interpret a second bar code that indicates selection of a desired item; using the apparatus to scan a quantity bar code, a navigation bar code and a control bar code, cache at least some of said bar codes and build a request message; transmitting the request message via the network to the server; using said server to access a database for information related to the request message; using said server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the apparatus; and using the apparatus to process the response message and form a presentation.
47. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: a step for receiving an application code signal indicative of the reader reading an application bar code, the receipt of said application code signal causing said processor to run an application; a step for receiving a desired item signal indicative of the reader reading a desired item code, the receipt of said desired item signal causing said processor to place item selection data in said memory; a step for receiving a quantity signal indicative of the reader reading a quantity code, the receipt of said quantity signal causing said processor to place item quantity data in said memory; a step for receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send code, the receipt of said send signal causing said processor to send said desired item data and said quantity data in a request message to said server; in response to receipt of the request message by said server, a step for processing of the request message to form a response message that causes said processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on said display; a step for receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation code, the receipt of said navigation signal causing said display to navigate to a second screen, said second screen containing a command; and a step for receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of said command signal indicating confirmation of said data list by said user.
48. The method of claim 46 further comprising: after said receiving an application code step, a step for receiving a start shopping code signal indicative of the reader reading a start shopping bar code, the receipt of said start shopping code signal causing said processor to wait for input of a membership identifier and a password.
49. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving an application signal indicative of the reader reading an application bar code, the receipt of said application signal causing said processor to run an application; receiving a data signal indicative of the reader reading a data bar code, the receipt of said data signal causing said processor to place data in said memory; receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send bar code, the receipt of said send signal causing said processor to send said data in a request message to said server; in response to receipt of the request message by said server, processing of the request message to form a response message that causes said processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on said display; receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation bar code, the receipt of said navigation signal causing said display to navigate to a second screen, said second screen containing a command; and receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of said command signal indicating confirmation of said data list by said user.
50. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader, a memory, a processor, and a display, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving a data signal indicative of the reader reading a data bar code, the receipt of said data signal causing said processor to place data in said memory; receiving a send signal indicative of the reader reading a send bar code, the receipt of said send code signal causing said processor to send said data in a request message to said server; in response to receipt of the request message by said server, processing of the request message to form a response message that causes said processor to place a presentation of a data list on a first screen on said display; receiving a navigation signal indicative of the reader reading a navigation bar code, the receipt of said navigation signal causing said display to navigate to a second screen, said second screen containing a command; and receiving a command signal indicative of the reader reading a command bar code, the receipt of said command signal indicating confirmation of said data list by said user.
51. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: a step for receiving all user input to said apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group consisting of: data bar codes conveying data instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; a step for sending the data instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; a step for sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; a step for inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus; a step for inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and a step for sending control instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to generate the data list.
52. A method for shopping comprising: scanning an application bar code with a reader to initiate a shopping application; scanning a customer information bar code corresponding to a user's membership information; entering a password; scanning a desired item bar code associated with a desired item to produce desired item data; scanning a quantity bar code for the desired item to produce quantity data; repeating the scanning a desired item bar code step and the scanning a quantity bar code step for as many items as desired; scanning a first confrol bar code corresponding to a check out command; reviewing a preorder verification list; scanning a second control bar code corresponding to a submit order command which builds an order by combining reader information with a cached dataset comprising the desired item data and the quantity data; transmitting the order over a network to a remote server; viewing a confirmation screen which provides a response from the remote server and which indicates that the order has been received by the remote server, wherein said screen presents a bonus point total and an estimated delivery date for said order; and scanning a bar code to end the shopping application.
53. The method of claim 52 further comprising: after the transmitting the order step, viewing a payment screen which dispalys a request for payment from the server; and scanning a fourth confrol bar code corresponding to a submit payment command that effects a payment for the order via a charge to a credit card or debit card.
54. The method of claim 53 wherein the viewing the payment screen step and the scanning a fourth confrol bar code step occur before the viewing a confirmation screen step.
55. The method of claim 52 wherein the scanning steps are accomplished by camera imaging.
56. The method of claim 52 wherein prior to ending the application, any one or more of the following verifications is performed: verifying order information, verifying order history, verifying news, and combinations thereof.
57. The method of claim 56 wherein said verifying order information step comprises: scanning a confrol bar code corresponding to an order information command; and viewing the resulting order information.
58. The method of claim 56 wherein said verifying order history step comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to order history information; and viewing the resulting order history information.
59. The method of claim 56 wherein said verifying news step comprises: scanning a control bar code corresponding to news about the product; and viewing the resulting news about the product.
60. The method of claim 52 wherein said entering a password step comprises entering a password via a keyboard on a personal computer.
61. The method of claim 52 further comprising: viewing the desired item information prior to ending the shopping application.
62. The method of claim 52 wherein said transmitting step comprises transmitting the order over a network that is selected from the group: a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, and combinations thereof.
63. The method of claim 52 wherein the combining reader information operation includes combining with the cached dataset a member of the group: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom-programmed information installed on said reader, and combinations thereof.
64. The method of claim 52 further comprising: using said remote server to communicate with a second server.
65. The method of claim 52 further comprising: using said remote server to communicate with a plurality of databases to access information related to the message.
66. The method of claim 52 wherein said combining operation includes combining reader information with a portion of said cached dataset.
67. The method of claim 52 wherein the scanning a desired item bar code step involves scanning a desired item bar code in a product catalog.
68. The method of claim 52 further comprising: scanning a crib sheet to input a member of the group comprising said first control bar code, said second control bar code and other control bar codes, a navigation bar code, said application bar code and combinations thereof.
69. The method of claim 68 further comprising: scanning said crib sheet to input a member of the group comprising said quantity bar code, said customer information bar code, and a product information bar code.
70. The method of claim 68 further comprising: scanning another control bar code that is a member of the group consisting of: a send bar code, a start accumulation of bar codes bar code, an end accumulation of bar codes bar code, a submit bar code, a select bar code, an unselect bar code, an OK bar code, a delete an item bar code, a clear bar code, a clear all bar code, a delete all bar code, a log in bar code, a log out bar code, a cancel bar code, an end application bar code, a news bar code, a help bar code and combinations thereof.
71. The method of claim 68 further comprising: scanning a navigation bar code that is a member of the group consisting of: a scroll up bar code, a scroll down bar code, a page up bar code, a page down bar code, a go to top of list bar code, a go to bottom of list bar code, a move to the next screen bar code, a move to the previous screen bar code, and combinations thereof.
72. The method of claim 68 further comprising scanning an application code that is selected from the group consisting of: a grocery shopping application bar code, a clothing shopping application bar code, a travel services shopping application bar code, a department store shopping application bar code, an online retail shopping application bar code, market research application bar code, and a mail order catalog shopping application bar code.
73. The method of claim 69 wherein said quantity bar code is a code that corresponds to a member of the group consisting of: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code.
74. The method of claim 52 wherein providing said response comprises providing a member of the group consisting of: product information, customer information, order information, order history information, delivery information, news, and combinations thereof.
75. The method of claim 74 wherein providing said product information comprises providing a member of the group: product pricing, product quantity, a description of the product, availability of the product, product ingredients, product discount information, product coupons, product promotional information and combinations thereof.
76. The method of claim 74, wherein providing said customer information comprises providing a member of the group consisting of: membership information, customer account balance information, customer prior order information, customer shopping bonus points, customer payment information, customer name, customer address, customer telephone number, customer identification number, customer fax number, customer password, and combinations thereof.
77. The method of claim 75, wherein providing said order information comprises providing a member of the group consisting of: product descriptions, product quantities, product pricings, product availabilities, a computed subtotal, a computed tax on said computed subtotal, and a computed order total, shopping bonus points, an order identification number, an estimated delivery date, delivery status and combinations thereof.
78. The method of claim 75 wherein providing said delivery information comprises providing a list of orders to be delivered and a specific date and time when the orders will be delivered.
79. The method of claim 75 wherein providing said order history information comprises providing compiled order information.
80. The method of claim 52 wherein reviewing said pre-order verification list comprises reviewing product descriptions, product quantities, product pricing, product availability, a computed subtotal, computed tax on said computed subtotal, a computed total, and shopping bonus points.
81. The method of claim 52 wherein each of said bar codes is a member of the group consisting of: a ID bar code, a 2D bar code, a two dimensional matrix block, a one dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial representation, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, and an etched sequence of bars or combinations thereof.
82. In a system for placing an order for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for placing the order, the method comprising: receiving all user input to said apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group consisting of: data bar codes conveying order instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the order instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the apparatus; inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and sending confrol instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to place the order.
83. The method of claim 82 further comprising: after the inputting the navigation instructions step, viewing a payment screen which provides a request for payment from the server; and scanning a submit payment control bar code corresponding to a submit payment command that effects a payment for the order via a credit card or debit card command.
84. The method of claim 83 wherein the viewing the payment screen step and the scanning a submit payment bar code step occur before the sending control instructions step.
85. The method of claim 83 wherein the scanning is accomplished by camera imaging.
86. The method of claim 82 wherein the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network before the sending the order instructions step is performed.
87. The method of claim 86 wherein the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network after the order is generated.
88. The method of claim 82 wherein the system further comprises an intelligent electronic device and the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via the intelligent electronic device.
90. A method for paying bills using bar codes comprising: using a reader to read and interpret an application bar code that initiates a bill payment application; using said reader to read and interpret a bill item bar code; using the reader to scan payment quantity bar codes, navigation bar codes and control bar codes and caching at least some of said bar codes forming a cached dataset, add reader information and transmitting the cached dataset with reader information to an intelligent electronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to cache at least one data package and build a request message from said cached data package; transmitting the request message via a network to a first server; using said first server to access a database for information related to the request message; using said first server to receive a response from the database, form a response message and transmit the response message to the intelligent elecfronic device; using the intelligent electronic device to process said response message and form a presentation.
90. The method of claim 89 wherein transmitting the request message and the response message via a network involves transmitting the request message and the response message via a network that is selected from the group consisting of: a global communications network, a local area network, a fiber optics network, a wireless network, a telephone network, an intranet and combinations thereof.
91. The method of claim 89 wherein adding reader information includes adding a member of the group consisting of: a reader serial number, a software version number, custom-programmed information installed on said reader and combinations thereof.
92. The method of claim 91 wherein adding custom-programmed information comprises adding sponsor identification.
93. The method of claim 89 further comprising: using said first server to communicate with a second server.
94. The method of claim 89 further comprising: using said first server to communicate with a plurality of databases to access information related to the request message.
95. The method of claim 89, wherein building said request message comprises building said request message from a portion of said cached dataset.
96. The method of claim 89 further comprising: using a crib sheet containing a member of the group consisting of: a plurality of confrol bar codes, a plurality of navigation bar codes, a plurality of application codes and combinations thereof.
97. The method of claim 89 further comprising: using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of a plurality of quantity bar codes, and a plurality of product bar codes.
98. The method of claim 96 wherein using a crib sheet containing a plurality of control bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a send bar code, a start accumulation of bar code bar code, an end accumulation of bar codes bar code, a submit bar code, a select bar code, an unselect bar code, an OK bar code, a delete an item bar code, a clear bar code, a clear all bar code, a delete all bar code, a log in bar code, a log out bar code, a cancel bar code, an end application bar code, a news bar code, a help bar code and combinations thereof.
99. The method of claim 96 wherein using a crib sheet containing a plurality of navigation bar codes comprise using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a scroll up bar code, a scroll down bar code, a page up bar code, a page down bar code, a go to top of list bar code, a go to bottom of list bar code, a move to the next screen bar code, a move to the previous screen bar code, and combinations thereof.
!00. The method of claim 97 wherein uc'ng a crib sheet containing a plurality of quantity bar codes comprises using a crib sheet comprising a member of the group consisting of: a specific numerical quantity bar code and a range of numerical quantities bar code.
101. The method of claim 89 further comprising: scanning a user information bar code which causes the application to retrieve user account information, a user identification number, a user account balance, user transaction information, user payment information, a user name, a user address, a user telephone number, a user fax number, a user password, or combinations thereof.
102. The method of claim 89 wherein reading and interpreting each said bar code comprises reading and interpreting a member of the group consisting of: a 1 D bar code, a 2D bar code, a two dimensional matrix block, a one-dimensional sequence of bars, a pictorial represe; ration, a printed pattern, a matrix of colored blocks, an etched sequence of bars and combir .tions thereof.
103. In a system for paying a bill for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server _ metl.od for paying a bill, the method comprising: receiving all user .nput to said apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one bar code selected from the group consisting of: data bar codes conveying payment instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the payment instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; inputting navigation instr ctions to the apparatus; inputting control instructions to the apparatus; and sending control insfructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to pay the bill.
104. The method of claim 103 wherein the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and before the sending the payment instructions step the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the apparatus to the s rver via the network.
105. The method of claim 104 wherein the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network after the bill is paid.
106. The method of claim 103 wherein the system further comprises an intelligent electronic device and the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via the intelligent electronic device that is connected to the network.
107. The method of claim 106 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant.
108. The method of claim 103 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, or combinations thereof.
109. An assembly to acquire data with a bar code scanner and communicate the data to a remote server comprising: an intelligent electronic device having a display and adapted to display at least one page having embedded information, and to communicate with the remote server; a bar code scanner; a smart cable connecting said intelligent electronic device and said bar code scanner, wherein said smart cable is operable in a plurality of modes, said smart cable comprising: an intelligent elecfronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent elecfronic device communication interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software stored in said memory; and wherein said cable software comprises: a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is operative to provide a communications interface, retrieve bar codes from the scanner, and retrieve a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module is operative to: identify bar codes by type, fransmit bar codes to another module of the cable software, store bar codes, add digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent elecfronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent electronic device communications module is operative to: establish communication with the intelligent elecfronic device using an intelligent electronic device communications protocol, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module, wherein the message generation module is operative to build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmit the message to the intelligent elecfronic device communications module; and wherein said plurality of modes comprise: a link mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send link data to the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, said cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent electronic device causing the intelligent electronic device to establish a communications link to the remote server using a transmission protocol to transmit link data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to translate link data to a website uniform resource locator and transmit a redirect message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent elecfronic device is adapted to display the website; an application mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send application data to the intelligent electronic device using said intelligent electronic device communications protocol, said cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent electronic device to establish a communication link to a remote server using said transmission protocol to transmit application data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to process the application data and provide a response message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device is adapted to display a presentation; and a direct mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to transmit bar code data to the display of the intelligent elecfronic device using the intelligent elecfronic device communications protocol.
110. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a telephone model recognition module, wherein the telephone recognition module is operative to communicate with the intelligent elecfronic device communication module to identify the intelligent electronic device model, compare the intelligent elecfronic device model so identified to a set of preset values, and, if there is a match, generate a telephone type, and transmit the telephone type to other modules of the cable software.
1 1 1. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises an error processing module, wherein said error processing module is operative to: receive internal error codes from other modules; build an error message related to the internal error codes; and transmit the error message to the message generation module.
1 12. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a data encoding module, wherein the data encoding module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: encoding bar code data; encoding the message from the message generation module; and encoding the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
1 13. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a data encryption module, wherein the data encryption module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: encrypting bar code data; encrypting the message from the message generation module; and encrypting the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
114. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a cable mode control module, wherein the cable mode control module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: monitoring the mode of communication between the smart cable and the intelligent electronic device; changing the mode of the smart cable based on the connection of the smart cable to the intelligent elecfronic device; monitoring the mode of the bar code processing module as it stores bar codes; changing the mode of the bar code processing module; monitoring the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; changing the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; monitoring the mode of the message generation module; and changing the mode of the message generation module.
115. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a code accumulation module, wherein the code accumulation module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: accumulating a list of bar codes in the memory; and transmitting the list of bar codes to the bar code processing module.
116. The assembly of claim 1 15, wherein the code accumulation module is also adapted to compare bar codes and discard identical bar codes.
117. The assembly of claim 109, further comprising a power supply.
118. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the communications interface is a serial communications interface.
119. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said scanner communications module is also operative to retrieve information from said scanner other than bar codes and the scanner serial number.
120. The assembly of claim 1 17, wherein the cable software further comprises a power management module, wherein the power management module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: monitoring the status of the power supply; generating a message if the voltage exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit, if the current exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit; or combinations of these.
121. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the smart cable has a smart cable communications protocol, the scanner has a scanner communications protocol, and the intelligent electronic device has an intelligent elecfronic device communications protocol and the cable software further comprises a protocol conversion module, wherein the protocol conversion module is adapted to perform at least one of the step comprising: converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the intelligent elecfronic device communications protocol; and converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the scanner communications protocol.
122. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the smart cable further comprises a mode switch disposed on the intelligent electronic device connector.
123. The assembly of claim 1 17, wherein the smart cable further comprises a voltage converter and regulator, wherein the voltage converter and regulator is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and voltage of the bar code scanner to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; performing voltage conversion between voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the intelligent electronic device to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; and regulating the power supply of the smart cable.
124. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the cable software further comprises a data compression module, wherein the data compression module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: compressing bar code data; compressing the message from the message generation module; compressing the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
125. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the bar code scanner is not tethered to the smart cable.
126. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the intelligent electronic device is a personal digital assistant, a game confrol interface, a set top box, or a cellular telephone.
127. The assembly of claim 126, wherein the cellular telephone is a telephone that is adapted for use in Japan.
128. The assembly of claim 109, wherein the intelligent electronic device communicates to the remote server using a wireless communication network, a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, a fiber optic network, an intranet, a cable network or a telephone network.
129. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said link data comprise: uniform resource locator information plus a member of the group comprising: bar code information, a serial number of the intelligent electronic device, a serial number of a scanner, and combinations thereof.
130. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said application data comprise at least one member of the group comprising: uniform resource locator information, bar code information, a serial number of the intelligent electronic device, a serial number of the scanner, and combinations thereof.
131. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said presentation comprises application data that are entered into a text entry field of at least one page displayed by the intelligent electronic device containing embedded information, and wherein said embedded information is uniform resource locator information.
132. The assembly of claim 130, wherein said bar code information comprises a string of processed bar code data having at least one delimiter character.
133. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said bar code data transmitted in said direct mode comprise unprocessed bar code data.
134. The assembly of claim 109, wherein said fransmission protocol further comprises the methods: the GET method, the POST method, and combinations thereof.
135. A method for acquiring data with a bar code scanner and communicating the data to a remote server, the method comprising: making the assembly of claim 109 available to a user; receiving all user input to said intelligent electronic device as a result of the user scanning with the scanner at least one bar code selected from the group consisting of: data bar codes conveying data instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions; sending the data instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the remote server to the intelligent electronic device via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the intelligent elecfronic device; inputting control instructions to the intelligent electronic device; and sending confrol instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to acquire the data.
136. The method of claim 135 wherein the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network before the sending the data instructions step is performed.
137. The method of claim 136 wherein the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network after the data are acquired.
138. The method of claim 135 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant.
139. The method of claim 135 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an intranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, or combinations thereof.
140. The method of claim 135 wherein the data are selected from the group consisting of: shopping data, link data, market research data, bill payment data, travel scheduling data, on line banking data, inventory management data, and sales force automation data.
141. A method for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server, comprising: scanning a bar code with a scanner; retrieving the bar code from the scanner; processing the bar code using smart cable software forming data; sending the data to the intelligent electronic device; establishing a communications link between the intelligent elecfronic device and the remote server; transmitting the data from the intelligent elecfronic device to the remote server; receiving a response from the remote server; and presenting the response on the intelligent elecfronic device; wherein said smart cable is operable in a plurality of predetermined cable modes and comprises: an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent electronic device communications interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software; and wherein said cable software comprises: a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is adapted to: provide a communications interface, refrieve bar codes from the scanner, and retrieve a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module is adapted to: identify bar codes by type, transmit bar codes to another module of the software, store bar codes, add digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent elecfronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent electronic device communications module is adapted to: establish communication with the intelligent electronic device, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent elecfronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent elecfronic device; a message generation module, wherein the message generation module is adapted to: build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmit the message to intelligent electronic device communications module.
142. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise shopping data.
143. The method of claim 141 wherein the response comprises shopping point data.
144. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise market research data.
145. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise bill payment data.
146. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise on line banking data.
147. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise inventory management data.
148. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise sales force automation data.
149. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise codes from printed matter that contain a link to an on line content source.
150. The method of claim 141 wherein the data comprise travel scheduling and related travel information data.
151. A system for data acquisition with an intelligent electronic device, a smart cable, a scanner, and a remote server, said system comprising: means for scanning a bar code with a scanner; means for retrieving the bar code from the scanner; means for processing the bar code using smart cable software to form data; means for sending the data to the intelligent elecfronic device; means for using a browser interface in the intelligent electronic device to create a link with the remote server; means for transmitting the data from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server; means for receiving a response from the remote server; and means for presenting the response on the intelligent elecfronic device; wherein said smart cable is operable in a plurality of cable modes and comprises: an intelligent electronic device connector, a microprocessor, a memory, an intelligent elecfronic device communication interface, a scanner connector, a scanner interface, and cable software; and wherein said cable software comprises: a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is adapted to: provide a communications interface; retrieve bar codes from the scanner, and refrieve a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module is adapted to: identify bar codes by type, transmit bar codes to another module of the software, store bar codes, add digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent electronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent electronic device communications module is adapted to: establish communication with the intelligent electronic device, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent electronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module, wherein the message generation module is adapted to: build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmit the message to the intelligent electronic device communications module.
152. A smart cable for an intelligent electronic device having a display and adapted to display at least one page having embedded information, said smart cable being adapted to operate in a plurality of modes and comprising: an intelligent electronic device connector; a microprocessor; a memory; an intelligent electronic device communications interface; a scanner connector; a scanner interface; and cable software; wherein said cable software comprises: a scanner communications module, wherein the scanner communications module is adapted to: provide a communications interface, retrieve bar codes from the scanner, and retrieve a scanner serial number from the scanner; a bar code processing module, wherein the bar code processing module is adapted to: identify bar codes by type, transmit bar codes to another module of the software, store bar codes, add digits to bar codes, truncate digits of bar codes, and convert bar codes to other values based on a conversion table; an intelligent electronic device communications module, wherein the intelligent device communications module is adapted to: establish communication with the intelligent electronic device, receive intelligent electronic device model information from the intelligent electronic device, format values from the bar code processing module for transmission to the intelligent elecfronic device, and transmit formatted values to the intelligent electronic device; a message generation module, wherein the message generation module is adapted to: build a message using bar code data from the bar code processing module, and transmit the message to intelligent elecfronic device communications module; and wherein said plurality of modes comprise: a link mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send link data to the intelligent elecfronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol, said cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent elecfronic device causing the intelligent electronic device to establish a communications link to a remote server using a transmission protocol to fransmit link data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to translate link data to a website uniform resource locator and transmit a redirect message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device is adapted to display the website; an application mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to send application data to the intelligent electronic device using said intelligent electronic device communications protocol, said cable software is adapted to activate a send feature on the intelligent electronic device to establish a communication link to a remote server using said transmission protocol to transmit application data to the remote server, and wherein the remote server is adapted to process the application data and provide a response message to the intelligent electronic device, and the intelligent electronic device is adapted to display a presentation; and a direct mode, wherein the smart cable is adapted to transmit bar code data to the display of the intelligent electronic device using the intelligent electronic device communications protocol.
153. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a telephone model recognition module, wherein the telephone recognition module is adapted to: communicate with the intelligent electronic device communication module to identify the intelligent electronic device model; compare the intelligent electronic device model so identified to a set of preset values, and, if there is a match, generate a telephone type; and transmit the telephone type to other modules of the cable software.
154. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises an error processing module, wherein said error processing module is adapted to: receive internal error codes from other modules; build an error message related to the internal error codes; and transmit the error message to the message generation module.
155. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a data encoding module, wherein the data encoding module is adapted to perform steps comprising: encoding bar code data; encoding the message from the message generation module; encoding the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
156. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a data encryption module, wherein the encryption module is adapted to perform steps comprising: encrypting bar code data; encrypting the message from the message generation module; encrypting the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
157. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a cable mode confrol module, wherein the cable mode confrol module is adapted to perform steps comprising: monitoring the mode of communication between the smart cable and the intelligent electronic device; changing the mode of the smart cable based on the connection of the smart cable to the intelligent elecfronic device; monitoring the mode of the bar code processing module as it stores bar codes; changing the mode of the bar code processing module; monitoring the mode of the intelligent electronic device communications module; changing the mode of the intelligent elecfronic device communications module; monitoring the mode of the message generation module; and changing the mode of the message generation module.
158. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a code accumulation module, wherein the code accumulation module is adapted to perform steps comprising: accumulating a list of bar codes in the memory; and transmitting the list of bar codes to the bar code processing module.
159. The smart cable of claim 158, wherein the code accumulation module is further adapted to perform the step: comparing bar codes and discarding identical bar codes.
160. The smart cable of claim 152, further comprising a power supply.
161. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said communications interface is a serial communications interface.
1 2. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said scanner communications module is also operative to retrieve information from said scanner other than bar codes and the scanner serial number.
163. The smart cable of claim 160, wherein the cable software further comprises a power management module, wherein the power management module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: monitoring the status of the power supply; generating a message: if the voltage exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit, if the current exceeds or drops beneath a pre-set limit; or combinations of these.
164. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the smart cable has a smart cable communications protocol, the scanner has a scanner communications protocol, and the intelligent electronic device has an intelligent electronic device communications protocol and the cable software further comprises a protocol conversion module, wherein the protocol conversion module is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the intelligent electronic device communications protocol; and converting between the smart cable communications protocol and the scanner communications protocol.
165. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the smart cable further comprises a mode switch disposed on the intelligent electronic device connector.
166. The smart cable of claim 160, wherein the smart cable further comprises a voltage converter and regulator, wherein the voltage converter and regulator is adapted to perform at least one of the steps comprising: performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the bar code scanner to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; performing voltage conversion between the voltage of the power supply and the voltage of the intelligent electronic device to make the voltages compatible and enhance communication; and regulating the power supply of the smart cable.
167. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the cable software further comprises a data compression module, wherein the data compression module is adapted to perform one of the steps comprising: compressing bar code data; compressing the message from the message generation module; and compressing the bar code scanner serial number; and combinations thereof.
168. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein the intelligent electronic device is a personal digital assistant, a game confrol interface, a set top box, or a cellular telephone.
169. The smart cable of claim 168, wherein the intelligent electronic device is a cellular telephone that is adapted for use in Japan.
170. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said link data comprise: uniform resource locator information plus a member of the group comprising: bar code information, serial number data of the intelligent electronic device, serial number of a scanner, and combinations thereof.
171. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said application data comprise: at least one member of the group comprising: uniform resource locator information, bar code information, serial number data for the intelligent electronic device, serial number of a scanner, and combinations thereof.
172. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said presentation comprises application data that is entered into a text entry field of at least one page displayed by the intelligent elecfronic device containing embedded information, and wherein
■ said embedded information is uniform resource locator information.
173. The smart cable of claim 171, wherein said bar code information comprises a string of processed bar code data having at least one delimiter character.
174. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said bar code data transmitted in direct mode comprises unprocessed bar code data.
175. The smart cable of claim 152, wherein said transmission protocol further comprises the methods: the GET method, the POST method, and combinations thereof.
176. A method for acquiring data with a bar code scanner and communicating the data to a remote server, the method comprising: connecting the smart cable of claim 152 to the intelligent electronic device and to the scanner; receiving all user input to said intelligent electronic device as a result of a user scanning with the scanner at least one bar code selected from the group consisting of: data bar codes conveying data instructions, navigation bar codes conveying navigation instructions and control bar codes conveying control instructions, including payment instructions; sending the data instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the remote server to the intelligent electronic device via the network; inputting navigation instructions to the intelligent electronic device; inputting control instructions to the intelligent elecfronic device; and sending control instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to acquire the data.
177. The method of claim 176 wherein the group also consists of application bar codes conveying application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network to initiate application flow before the sending the data instructions step is performed.
178. The method of claim 177 wherein the group also consists of end application bar codes conveying end application instructions and the method further comprises: sending the end application instructions from the intelligent electronic device to the remote server via the network after the data are acquired.
179. The method of claim 176 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant.
180. The method of claim 176 wherein the sending steps further comprise sending the instructions to and from the server via a global communications network, a cellular telephone network, an infranet, a local area network, a fiber optic network, or combinations thereof.
181. In a system for generating a data list for a user, said system comprising an apparatus having a reader and a display that is receptive to presentation instructions, a server, and a network connecting said apparatus to said server, a method for generating the data list, the method comprising: receiving all user input to said apparatus as a result of the user scanning with the reader at least one application bar code conveying application instructions, at least one data bar code conveying data instructions, at least one navigation bar code conveying navigation instructions and at least one control bar code conveying control instructions; encoding the data instructions; sending the encoded data instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network; sending presentation instructions from the server to the apparatus via the network; processing the navigation instructions within the apparatus; processing control instructions within the apparatus; and sending the confrol instructions from the apparatus to the server via the network to generate the data list.
182. The method of claim 181 wherein the encoding step further comprises: separating the at least one data bar code into pairs of bar code digits; and mapping each pair of bar code digits to an encoded character to form the encoded data instructions.
183. The method of claim 181 wherein the at least one data bar code is in the form of an original standard code, said original standard code comprising an original code identifier part, a company code part, and a company specific code part, each of the parts being represented by one or more bar code digits.
184. The method of claim 181 wherein the at least one application bar code is in the form of an original application code, said original application code comprising an original code identifier part, an application code identifier part, a company code part, an application ID part, and an application confrol code part, each of the parts being represented by one or more bar code digits.
185. The method of claim 184 wherein the application ID part is encoded with the number of the application associated with the company referenced by the company code part and the application control part is encoded with information that is recognized by the apparatus and causes it to change modes, with information about the display, and with information about how the apparatus is to send and store instructions.
186. The method of claim 181 wherein the data are selected from the group consisting of: shopping data, link data, market research data, bill payment data, travel scheduling data, on line banking data, inventory management data, and sales force automation data.
187. The method of claim 181 wherein scanning a bar code on a credit card or debit card is operative to convey payment instructions.
188. The method of claim 181 wherein sending the data instructions step includes sending data input as a result of the scanning of a plurality of data bar codes.
189. The method of claim 181 wherein the bar code scanner has a serial number and the sending the data instructions step includes sending time data and scanner serial number data.
190. The method of claim 181 wherein the scanning of the at least one application bar code is operative to cause the apparatus to execute a software application.
191. The method of claim 181 wherein scanning with the reader comprises scanning bar codes on a crib sheet.
PCT/US2003/003178 2002-02-06 2003-01-31 Assembly, system and method for generating a data list WO2003067375A2 (en)

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US35460602P true 2002-02-06 2002-02-06
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US35454302P true 2002-02-06 2002-02-06
US35454502P true 2002-02-06 2002-02-06
US60/354,545 2002-02-06
US60/354,744 2002-02-06
US60/354,609 2002-02-06
US60/354,606 2002-02-06
US60/354,542 2002-02-06
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US60/360,264 2002-02-28

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