WO2011004317A1 - User interface for a household appliance and method for supplying information to a user of a household appliance - Google Patents

User interface for a household appliance and method for supplying information to a user of a household appliance Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2011004317A1
WO2011004317A1 PCT/IB2010/053081 IB2010053081W WO2011004317A1 WO 2011004317 A1 WO2011004317 A1 WO 2011004317A1 IB 2010053081 W IB2010053081 W IB 2010053081W WO 2011004317 A1 WO2011004317 A1 WO 2011004317A1
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
time
user
household appliance
user interface
time interval
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2010/053081
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Monica Milani
Original Assignee
Indesit Company S.P.A.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24COTHER DOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES; DETAILS OF DOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F24C7/00Stoves or ranges heated by electrical energy
    • F24C7/08Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • F24C7/082Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices on ranges, e.g. control panels, illumination
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F2210/00Interfaces, e.g. connections between different parts of the general control system
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F2216/00Display arrangements

Abstract

The present invention relates to a user interface for a household appliance, in particular an oven or a washing machine, comprising a control panel (3) equipped with a display (33) and capable of communicating with a control unit of the household appliance, so as lo receive the user's commands and visualize information on said display (33). The interface is adapted to visualize on said display (33) a graphic indicator with which a time interval is associated which is dependent on the time parameter being represented by said graphic indicator.

Description

USER INTERFACE FOR A HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE AND METHOD FOR SUPPLYING INFORMATION TO A USER OF A HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a user interface for a household appliance according to the preamble of claim 1.

The invention also relates to a corresponding method for supplying information to a user of said household appliance.

Modern household appliances tend to perform more and more complex functions which require dialogue between the machine and the user both in the setup stage and in operation.

To this end, those household appliances which provide these functions, such as ovens or washing machines, are equipped with a user interface, typically consisting of a control panel, that allows information to be exchanged between the user and the household appliance.

Through the control panel, the user sets the various functions and can obtain information, e.g. by means of LED indicators, about the operating step of the appliance, so that the user can know which wash cycle is being executed by a washing machine, or the user of an oven can know when cooking is over thanks to a timer and a buzzer.

As the number of functions provided by a household appliance increases, the control panel tends to become more and more complex to use along with the household appliance itself; although effective, the user interfaces currently fitted to household appliances do not appear to be sufficiently intuitive, or vice versa they cannot ensure a proper monitoring of the operating state of the appliance.

hi particular, this problem is especially felt whenever a function of the household appliance must be programmed, such as a cooking cycle of an oven or a wash cycle of a washing machine.

In those household appliances equipped with electronic control units and digital control panels, this task may actually be quite difficult.

It is the object of the present invention to provide a user interface for a household appliance which makes the household appliance easier and more intuitive to use.

In particular, it is the object of the present invention to simplify the steps required for programming a cooking cycle (in particular a delayed start cycle) of an oven.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a user interface which allows the user to easily monitor the operating state of the household appliance.

These and other objects of the present invention are achieved through a user interface and a method incorporating the features set out in the appended claims, which are intended as an integral part of the present description.

The present invention is based on the idea of using a graphic indicator with which a different time interval is associated depending on the time parameter associated with said indicator.

Preferably, the indicator has a predetermined length with which said time interval is associated.

Such a graphic indicator may have, for example, a bar-like shape and may be used in an oven in a manner such that a 24h time interval is associated with the bar when setting the start time and the end time of a cooking cycle, and that a time interval equal to the preset duration of that cycle is associated with the bar when the cooking is in progress.

Using such a bar makes the oven easier and more intuitive to use.

In particular, with reference to the oven example, during the cooking cycle the time bar allows the user to easily know, without having to look at the watch, whether the food is only half-cooked or almost ready, by simply taking a look at the bar.

When programming the cooking cycle, the very same bar allows the user to intuitively set the cycle start time and end time, since he/she will associate the movement of an indicator along the bar with a later end of the cooking cycle.

In a preferred embodiment, the time scale associated with the graphic indicator may be different according to the parameter to be set and/or displayed.

For example, still with reference to an oven, when programming a cooking cycle a 6h time interval is associated with the graphic indicator (e.g. the bar) if the user wants to set the cycle start and end times, whereas a narrower interval (e.g. 2h) is associated with the indicator if the user wants to set the cycle duration. The use of a different time scale ensures a more intuitive visualization of the time parameter being set by the user, thus making the oven easier to use.

In a preferred and advantageous embodiment which improves intuitiveness when programming the household appliance, the user sets a time parameter of the program of interest (e.g. the duration of a wash program or a cooking cycle) by incrementing a reference datum, hi this case, advantageously, the time interval associated with the graphic indicator changes as the datum is incremented.

In particular, the time interval changes after the user has continued to increment the reference datum for a predetermined time, or after the datum has reached a predetermined value.

The dynamic change of the time interval provides optimal visualization of the time parameter of interest, thus improving the exchange of information between the user and the household appliance and making the latter simpler and more intuitive to use.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description and from the annexed drawings, which are supplied by way of non-limiting example, wherein:

- Fig. 1 shows an oven equipped with a user interface according to the present invention;

- Fig. 2 shows a flow chart of a method for programming the oven of Fig. 1 ;

- Figs. 3, 4a, 4b and 5 show the control panel of the oven of Fig. 1 in different operating situations.

- Fig. 6 shows a graphic indicator of the user interface according to the present invention. Fig. 1 is a front view of an oven 1.

The oven 1 includes, as known, a door 2 adapted to close the cooking muffle and a control panel 3, which in the example of Fig. 1 is a digital one.

The control panel 3 comprises a plurality of buttons 31 and knobs 32 through which the user can set the various functions of the oven, e.g. the type of cooking.

The oven 1 is also equipped with a control unit (not shown) operationally connected to the control panel 3 to receive the user's commands and visualize information on the display

33.

Thus, the control panel is the man-machine interface by means of which the user can exchange information with (i.e. send commands to and receive information from) the oven.

Among the various functions that the user can set, there is also the possibility of setting a cooking program, e.g. of the delayed start type.

For this purpose, the oven is provided with a (hardware or software) timer which starts at a time set by the user and controls the duration of the cooking cycle selected by the user.

In order to set the time, the user presses an appropriate button or, alternatively, selects an item from a menu displayed on the display 33.

When said button is pressed or said menu item is selected, an oven programming algorithm is started which includes the steps shown in Fig. 2.

hi step 101, the user sets the type of cooking.

At this level, the user preferably selects a cooking program from a list of predefined programs stored in a memory area of the household appliance.

For example, the user may select the "ventilated" program, wherein the inside of the muffle is heated by means of a resistor arranged in the proximity of a fan.

Subsequently, in step 102 the user sets the duration of the cooking cycle, e.g. Ih.

Finally (step 103), the user sets the cooking end time, e.g. 20.30.

Once this latter parameter has been entered, the timer of the oven will be set and the oven will start the programmed cooking cycle at the appropriate time, i.e. at 19:30 in the above example.

By directly setting the cooking end time and the duration of the cooking cycle instead of setting the delay with which the cooking program will be started, programming the oven turns out to be a simpler task.

In addition, in order to allow the oven to be programmed in an even simpler and more intuitive manner, when programming the oven a time bar is displayed with which a time interval is associated which varies depending on the parameter to be set.

As will be better described below with reference to Figs. 3 to 5, a time interval (defined by a start time and an end time) is associated with this graphic indicator as a function of the time parameter associated therewith.

In particular, said time interval depends on the inherent nature of the time parameter or on the value thereof, and can be changed dynamically.

Figs. 3 and 4 show those elements which are displayed during the aforementioned steps

102 and 103.

In Fig. 3, the display 33 visualizes a bar 300 with which a first time interval is associated, e.g. having a length of 6 h and a start time corresponding to the current time.

If the display 33 is a liquid crystal display (LCD), the bar 300 is preferably provided by lighting up pixels so as to obtain a line or a rectangular shape or any other bidimensional shape having at least one fixed-length side.

Of course, the length of the time interval associated with the bar 300 during this oven programming stage may change from the value of 6h stated in the aforementioned example; in fact, it may even be as long as 24h in order to also take into account those very long cooking cycles required by some countries' traditional recipes.

When the user sets the duration of the cooking cycle, e.g. by turning a knob or by directly entering the desired value, the time bar 300 becomes coloured.

hi this step, preferably, the beginning of the bar is associated with the current time (e.g.

18:00) and the end of the coloured bar is associated with a cooking end time and a duration indication.

For example, if it is 18:00 and a Ih duration has been set, the indication 1 h will appear under the bar and the indication 19:00 will appear at the end of the bar.

The increment of the coloured portion within the bar 300 gives the user a very intuitive and simple indication about the duration of the cooking cycle and about when the program will end if started immediately.

In Fig. 4a, on the other hand, the display 33 visualizes a bar 300 with which a second time interval is associated whose length may be equal to or different from that of the first time interval.

In a preferred embodiment shown in Fig. 4a, the time interval associated with the bar 300 when setting the cooking end time has a predetermined time length (e.g. 6h) which is kept fixed, whereas the interval start and end times are translated as a function of the cooking end time entered by the user.

The time interval associated with the bar 300 thus changes depending on the datum entered by the user.

For example, if it is 18:00, the time interval initially associated with the bar 300 ranges from 18:00 to 24:00, and has therefore a length of 6h.

The cooking end time is set by incrementing a clock through a "forward" button or a knob.

If the user wants to enter a cooking end time that falls outside said interval (e.g. 7:00 on the next day), then the time interval associated with the bar 300 will be translated, i.e. it will keep the same time length (6h in the above example) but the interval start and end times will change. For example, the new time interval will end at 7:00 and begin at 1 :00. In the example of Fig. 4b, a different (preferably longer) time interval is associated with the bar 300 compared to the one associated with the bar 300 when setting the duration of the cooking cycle (step 102).

For example, in this embodiment a 24h time interval can be associated with the bar 300 starting from the current time measured by the oven.

In other words, in the example of Fig. 4b a different time scale is associated with the bar 300 compared to the one associated with the same graphic indicator when setting up the cooking cycle.

The use of a time scale that allows the bar 300 to be associated with a longer interval than the one used in step 102 is advantageous because it provides a simplified and more intuitive control of the household appliance during the various programming steps.

The delay with which a user may want to program the start of the cooking program may even be as long as 24 hours, whereas the duration of the cooking programs normally used by an oven is typically 1 or 2 hours, with the exception of a few special cases.

If the same time scale were used for both steps 102 and 103, then the one which allows to represent the longer interval (24h in the above example) should be used, but such a time scale would turn out to be uncomfortable and subject to programming mistakes, since a one-hour time interval (corresponding to the duration of a typical cooking program) would be represented by a very small segment of the bar 300, so that the user might easily make a mistake and select longer durations than necessary.

Advantageously, therefore, said second time scale used in step 103 is suitable for representing a longer interval than the one associated with the bar 300 in step 102.

In addition, when setting the cooking end time the coloured portion of the bar 300 corresponds to a segment having a length equal to the duration of the cooking cycle set in step 102 and ending at the cooking end time set in step 103.

Fig. 5 shows the display 33 during the actual cooking stage.

The bar 300 is associated with a time interval having a duration corresponding to the duration of the cooking cycle previously set by the user in step 102.

As a matter of fact, the time scale associated with the bar 300 changes as well, and is chosen in such a way as to allow the user to get an intuitive indication of the passing of time and of the elapsed fraction of the cooking time.

Thus, the user gets a quite accurate idea of the cooking state of the foods in the oven without even having to check the time.

This is very important when we consider that some types of cooking require that, for example, essences or other products be added to the food in the middle of the cooking cycle.

hi order to improve this aspect of the interface, preferably the latter also displays the remaining time to the end of the cooking program.

In a preferred solution, when programming the oven a time parameter (e.g. cooking cycle duration or cooking end time) is entered by changing (in particular by incrementing) an initial datum.

For example, when the user sets the duration of the cooking cycle, he/she increases a value from 0 minutes until the desired duration is obtained (e.g. Ih); when setting the cooking end time, the user increments a clock starting from the current time.

This can be attained simply by turning the knob 32 on the control panel or by pressing one of the buttons 31 used for incrementing the parameter of interest.

In this case, the time interval associated with the bar 300 in steps 102 and 103 is variable depending on both the parameter being set by the user and the progressive value taken by such a parameter when entered by the user.

With reference to the example of Fig. 4a, it has been stated above that the interval may translate when setting the cooking end time. In a preferred embodiment, in addition or as an alternative to translating, the length of the interval (and therefore the time scale) associated with the bar may change as well.

For example, when setting the duration the time scale is initially set to a first value, e.g. 2 hours, so that the first increments being displayed are expressed in minutes.

As the value of the "cooking cycle duration" is incremented further, e.g. by pressing and holding the increment button, at a certain predetermined instant the time scale will become longer in order to allow for a more intuitive adjustment, e.g. it will switch from 2 to 6 hours.

Said predetermined instant may be reached, for example, after the initial datum has been incremented for a few seconds, or when a preset value of the parameter being entered is reached (e.g. 15 minutes if the time parameter is the duration of the cooking cycle).

The same measure may be adopted when setting the cooking end time, with the scale becoming longer as the cooking end time gets farther.

Although the present invention has been described so far with reference to the use of a time bar, it is clear that different types of graphic indicators may be used as well, e.g. having a circular or circular-sector shape, to be displayed when setting the timer.

As described above by referring to the time bar 300, such time indicators will be associated with different time scales depending on the parameter to be set, so as to facilitate the programming of the oven and make it a more intuitive task.

Fig. 6 shows a time indicator which may be used as an alternative to the bar 300, and which for this reason is designated by the same reference numeral.

The indicator of Fig. 6 is a circular sector having a length L, a portion of which is coloured as previously described for the bar 300. The indicator of Fig. 6 is shown in the same situation as that of the bar 300 of Fig. 3.

Likewise, different systems may be used for indicating the passing of time or the advance of time on the graphic time indicator (e.g. the bar 300).

For example, instead of colouring the bar as described above, the reference element 34 which intuitively shows the lengthening of the time parameter taken into account (e.g. the duration of the cooking cycle) may consist of a reference bar transversal to the bar 300, which moves towards the end of the time scale as the value of the time parameter entered by the user increases or as the time passes during the cooking cycle.

It is also apparent that the above-described steps 101 to 103 may be carried out in a different order without losing the advantages provided by the present invention.

If the cooking end time (step 103) is entered before the duration of the cooking cycle (step 102), then it is preferable to subject the entered data to a congruity check in order to avoid that the result of the entered data causes the cooking program to start at a time prior to the current time recorded by the oven.

Some of the steps 101 to 103 may be omitted when executed automatically by the household appliance; for example, if the cooking program selected in step 101 is an automatic program stored in a memory area of the oven (e.g. a program called "pizza"), then its duration will be selected automatically by the appliance, which will carry out the step 102 for the user.

Advantageously, even though the duration is chosen automatically by the oven, the graphic indicator will still show the selected duration in order to give the user an idea of the time required by the oven for completing the cooking program before deciding the cooking end time.

Finally, it is clear that the invention described herein leaves out of consideration the aesthetic appearance of the oven and of the control panel thereof; the graphic examples shown herein should therefore be considered to be merely indicative, since many other design solutions may be adopted by the man skilled in the art.

For example, the oven may be fitted with a touch display, thus lacking the buttons 31 and the knob 32 of Fig. 1.

The invention described herein with reference to an oven is also applicable to user interfaces of any other household appliances where it is necessary to set and/or display a time parameter pertaining to the operation of the appliance itself.

By way of example, in a washing and/or washing/drying machine the same user interface described above may be used for setting a wash and/or drying cycle.

The bar 300 will thus show the wash program start and end times and the progress of the wash cycle.

Typically, in a washing machine the duration of the wash cycle will be selected automatically by the machine itself; therefore, in this case the above observation applies, according to which the step 102 of the previously described programming algorithm is executed directly by the.machine, not by the user.

Claims

1. User interface for a household appliance, in particular an oven or a washing machine, comprising a control panel (3) equipped with a display (33) and capable of communicating with a control unit of the household appliance, so as to receive the user's commands and visualize information on said display (33), characterized in that said control unit is adapted to visualize on said display (33) a graphic indicator with which a time interval is associated which is dependent on the time parameter being represented by said graphic indicator.
2. User interface according to claim 1, wherein said time interval changes as a function of the value of said time parameter.
3. User interface according to claim 2, wherein said time interval is defined by a start time and an end time of said interval, and wherein said start time and/or said end time change as a function of the value of said time parameter.
4. User interface according to claim 2 or 3, wherein the length of said time interval changes as a function of the value of said time parameter.
5. User interface according to claim 2, 3 or 4, wherein the user sets said at least one time parameter by increasing a value starting from a reference datum, and wherein said control unit reads said variable value of the time parameter while the user is entering it and dynamically changes said time interval accordingly.
6. User interface according to claim 5, wherein said time interval changes when said value has reached a predetermined value.
7. User interface according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the user of said household appliance can set a work program of said household appliance through said control panel, and wherein, during the execution of said work program, a time interval having the same length as the program set by the user is associated with said graphic indicator.
8. User interface according to claim 7, wherein, during the execution of said program, the time elapsed since the program was started is represented graphically on said graphic indicator.
9. User interface according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said graphic indicator has a predefined length with which said time interval is associated.
10. Household appliance, in particular an oven or a washing machine, characterized by comprising a user interface according to any of claims 1 to 8.
11. Method for supplying information about a household appliance to a user of said household appliance, wherein said information comprises at least one time parameter relating to a work program of said household appliance, and wherein said information is visualized on a display (33), the method being characterized in that a graphic indicator (300) is visualized on said display (33) and a time interval is associated with said graphic indicator (300) which is dependent on the time parameter represented by said graphic indicator.
PCT/IB2010/053081 2009-07-06 2010-07-05 User interface for a household appliance and method for supplying information to a user of a household appliance WO2011004317A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
ITTO20090507 2009-07-06
ITTO2009A000507 2009-07-06

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014071383A1 (en) * 2012-11-05 2014-05-08 Duke Manufacturing Co. Oven with various features, including boost heating and preheat status
EP2938160A4 (en) * 2012-12-20 2015-12-30 Panasonic Ip Man Co Ltd Cooker

Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0720077A2 (en) * 1994-12-29 1996-07-03 Perry Electric S.r.l. Programmable thermostat with graphical and numerical temperature display
US20080236563A1 (en) * 2007-03-30 2008-10-02 Bsh Bosch Und Siemens Hausgeraete Gmbh Household appliance

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0720077A2 (en) * 1994-12-29 1996-07-03 Perry Electric S.r.l. Programmable thermostat with graphical and numerical temperature display
US20080236563A1 (en) * 2007-03-30 2008-10-02 Bsh Bosch Und Siemens Hausgeraete Gmbh Household appliance

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
None

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014071383A1 (en) * 2012-11-05 2014-05-08 Duke Manufacturing Co. Oven with various features, including boost heating and preheat status
EP2938160A4 (en) * 2012-12-20 2015-12-30 Panasonic Ip Man Co Ltd Cooker

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