WO2014018730A1 - System and method for generating custimized articles of manufacture - Google Patents

System and method for generating custimized articles of manufacture Download PDF

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WO2014018730A1
WO2014018730A1 PCT/US2013/052004 US2013052004W WO2014018730A1 WO 2014018730 A1 WO2014018730 A1 WO 2014018730A1 US 2013052004 W US2013052004 W US 2013052004W WO 2014018730 A1 WO2014018730 A1 WO 2014018730A1
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final product
animal
virtual
system
virtual animal
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PCT/US2013/052004
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French (fr)
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Kirk E. Watkins
Kyler P. WATKINS
Kian M. WATKINS
Dave SIRACUSA
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Ev-Re-Thing Llc
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    • 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
    • G06Q50/00Systems or methods specially adapted for specific business sectors, e.g. utilities or tourism
    • G06Q50/04Manufacturing
    • 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
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/0601Electronic shopping
    • G06Q30/0621Item configuration or customization
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02PCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
    • Y02P90/00Enabling technologies with a potential contribution to greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions mitigation
    • Y02P90/30Computing systems specially adapted for manufacturing

Abstract

A system includes a non-transient machine readable storage medium and a processor in signal communication with the non-transient machine readable storage medium. The processor is configured to cause a plurality of images of objects to be displayed to a user, receive at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects, receive at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more objects are to be included in a final product, and generate a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one constraint stored in the non-transient machine readable storage medium.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR GENERATING CUSTOMIZED ARTICLES OF

MANUFACTURE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No.

61/675,580, filed July 25, 2012, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF DISCLOSURE

[0002] The disclosed systems and methods relate to custom and dynamic manufacturing processes.

BACKGROUND

[0003] May consumers like the ability to customize consumer products or articles of manufacture, such as hats, shirts, suits, toys, etc. However, producing customized objects is typically a costly endeavor for a manufacturer, so these costs are passed onto the consumer resulting in high prices for custom objects.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 A illustrates one example of a network-based system for designing and fabricating a customized article of manufacture in accordance with some embodiments.

[0005] FIG. IB is one example of a block diagram of the functional components of a

CAMD system in accordance with network-based system for designing and fabricating a customized article of manufacture illustrated in FIG. 1 A.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the functional components of one example of a mobile device and/or computer in accordance with some embodiments.

[0007] FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of one example of a method of designing a customized article of manufacture in accordance with some embodiments.

[0008] FIGS. 4A-4C are examples of morphing or cross-breeding animals to generate a graphical representation of a customized article of manufacture in accordance with some embodiments. [0009] FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of one example of a method of fabricating a customized article of manufacture in accordance with some embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0010] This description of the exemplary embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

[0011] The disclosed systems and methods enable the creation of unique customizable toys, collectables, or other articles of manufacture. Some embodiments of the following disclosure describe the article of manufacture or object as being an animal toy such that individuals are able to create a custom plush toy or collectable online, which can include a blend or morphing of one or more species of animals. For example, as an individual adjusts one or more settings, he or she can control the percentage of the species that will be part of the toy or collectable, and immediately see a fully-morphed rendering of their new biological species. Utilizing a unique system a pattern is generated that can be used as a design template for cutting, sewing, and trimming the fabric, sculpting a medium, 3D printing, or other step of manufacturing a customized article of manufacture. In some embodiments, the pattern is custom printed on a fabric printer, similar to an architect's printer, and is cut and sewn specific to the creation's background. As described in greater detail below, the system is an Internet- or network-based system in which orders are created and processed. One of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the systems and methods disclosed herein can be used to create articles of manufacture beyond animal toys. For example, the disclosed systems and methods can be used to create articles of manufacture including, but not limited to, shirts, shoes, ties, luggage, and toys, such as toy cars, to list but only a few possible applications for the disclosed systems and methods.

[0012] The Internet is a worldwide system of computer networks - a network of networks in which a user at one computer or other device connected to the network can obtain information from any other computer and communicate with users of other computers or devices. The most widely used part of the Internet is the World Wide Web (often-abbreviated "WWW" or called "the Web").

[0013] One feature of the Web is its use of hypertext, which is a method of cross- referencing. In most Web sites, certain words or phrases appear in text of a different color than the surrounding text. This text is often also underlined. Sometimes, there are hot spots, such as buttons, images, or portions of images that are "clickable." Clicking on hypertext or a hot spot causes the downloading of another web page via a protocol such as hypertext transport protocol (HTTP). Using the Web provides access to millions of pages of information. Web "surfing" is done with a Web browser such as, for example, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. The appearance of a particular website may vary slightly depending on the particular browser used. Versions of browsers have "plug-ins," which provide animation, virtual reality, sound, and music. Interpreted programs (e.g., applets) may be run within the browser.

[0014] FIG. 1A shows a system in which a plurality of wireless devices 100-1 and 100-2

(collectively "wireless devices 100" or "mobile devices 100") are connected via network 10 to one or more computer system networks 60, one or more social networks 70, and to Custom Article of Manufacture Design ("CAMD") system 20. In some embodiments, network 10 is a wide area network ("WAN"), a local area network ("LAN"), personal area network ("PAN"), or the like. In one embodiment, network 10 is the Internet and mobile devices 100 are online.

"Online" may mean connecting to or accessing source data or information from a location remote from other devices or networks coupled to Internet 10.

[0015] CAMD system 20 includes a processing unit 24 coupled to one or more data storage units 26-1, 26-2 (collectively referred to as "data storage units 26"). The processing unit 24 provides front-end graphical user interfaces ("GUIs"), e.g., prospective registered and registered GUI or interface 28, fabricator user GUI or portal 30, and back-end or administrative GUI or portal 32 (e.g., manager(s) for overall CAMD system 20) to a remote computer 54 or to local computer 34. The GUIs can take the form of, for example, a webpage that is displayed using a browser program local to remote computers 54 or to one or more local computers 34. It is understood that the CAMD system 20 may be implemented on one or more computers, servers, or other devices. For example, CAMD system 20 may include one or more servers programmed or partitioned based on permitted access to data stored in data storage units 26. Front-and back-end GUIs 28, 30, 32 may be portal pages that include various content retrieved from the one or more data storage devices 26. As used herein, "portal" is not limited to general- purpose Internet portals, such as YAHOO! or GOOGLE but also includes GUIs that are of interest to specific, limited audiences and that provide the party access to a plurality of different kinds of related or unrelated information, links and tools as described below. "Webpage" and "website" may be used interchangeably herein. One or more fabrication devices 36, such as a fabrication facility, a 2D fabric printer, a 3D printer, sewing machine, or other device or facility, is communicatively coupled to or part of CAMD system 20 and is used to print 2D patterns, 3D templates, or otherwise fabricate a custom article of manufacture as described in greater detail below.

[0016] Remote computers 64 may be part of a computer system network 60 and gain access to network 10 through an Internet service provider ("ISP") 62. Mobile devices 100 may gain access to network 10 through a wireless cellular communication network, a WAN hotspot, or through a wired or wireless connection with a computer as will be understood by one skilled in the art. Subscribers or commercial users may use remote computers 64 to gain access to CAMD system 20 and/or to social network 70.

[0017] Social Network 70 may include a server or hub 72 to which a plurality of users gain access using terminals 64, such as a computer. Terminals 64 may be directly connected to network 10 or be connected through a gateway 72, which may be a processing device coupled to one or more data storage units 74.

[0018] In one embodiment, mobile devices 100 includes any mobile device capable of transmitting and receiving wireless signals. Examples of mobile instruments include, but are not limited to, mobile or cellular phones, personal digital assistants ("PDAs"), laptop computers, tablet computers, music players, and e-readers, to name a few possible devices.

[0019] FIG. IB is a block diagram illustrating additional functional components of

CAMD system 20 in accordance with some embodiments. The functional components, which can be implemented as engines or modules, are illustrated as being part of one or more processors 24. However, some or all of these components can be implemented in other ways as will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. For example, some of the functional components can be omitted depending on the implementation of the CAMD system 20 as will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0020] Content Management System 38

[0021] In some embodiments, content management system 38 includes parameters associated with animal ontology. For example, in embodiments in which CAMD system 20 is used to generate customized animal toys, content management system 38 communicates with non-transient machine readable storage mediums 26-1 and/or 26-2, which stores animal-based content such as common names for animals, scientific names for animals, habitat information concerning an animal, culture details concerning an animal (e.g., animal moves in packs or alone), how animals communicate, physical characteristics (e.g., coat type, gender, diet, and body part shape), personality information, a scientific name ("SN"), and virtual DNA. Thus, content management system 38 manages the storage of content in databases with respect to a template animal (e.g., pre-stored animals) and created or morphed animals, which can have a virtual DNA. In some embodiments, content management engine 38 includes a set of rules that are leveraged by morphing engine 44 as described in greater detail below.

[0022] Design System 40

[0023] The content is managed/leveraged by the Design System 40. In some

embodiments, design system 40 allows an artist to create, edit, and visualize content. For example, an artist can test inter-animal breeding by leveraging the Morphing Engine 44, which is described below. Depending on the results of a morphing, an artist may alter the rules defined in the content management engine 38 to better represent default morphing behavior. Thus, an artist using design system 40 can define/design animals within a conventional scientific taxonomy for storage in database and managed by content management system 38.

[0024] In some embodiments, an artist defines the visual aspects of the animal by defining body parts and/or portions of body parts with each body part and/or portions of body parts including one or more attributes. Examples of attributes include, but are not limited to, a 3D representation of the body part and/or portion of a body part and a texture and/or morphing rules, which include constraints and registration points for assembly. Constraint rules identify acceptable body and/or body part transformations while still being able to recognize significant attribute of the animal body part or portion of a body part. Registration points enable binding of one body part or portion of a body part to another body part or portion of a body part. Some attributes include a weighting-factor that describes the relative importance of an attribute. In some embodiments, weighting factors are considered variable attributes with a default bias. Other variables include age and its affect to the body part as it ages. Custom attributes can be stored in a database managed by content management system 38 and able to be leveraged by other systems of CAMD system 20. For example, the media engine 44, which is described in greater detail below, can store and/or utilize attributes relevant to assembly.

[0025] Morphing Engine 42

[0026] The Morphing Engine 42 is responsible for combining (e.g., cross-breeding) two or more animals to create a new or user-defined customized animal. For example, attributes from each animal are used and a user is provided with the ability to weight certain attributes such that some attributes are weighted more heavily than other attributes. In some embodiments, attribute weighting-factors behave analogously to dominant/recessive genes allowing some attributes to be more dominant when morphed, while others may end up being suppressed. For example, an adult male lion combined with a zebra could result in a prominent head/mane, larger body, longer legs with a black and white striped coat depending on weighting factors. Variable attributes exposed through the user interface (e.g., a GUI 28) allows the designer to promote or demote attributes to obtain desired results. Examples of commercially available morphing software can be found at, for example, http://morphing-software-review.toptenreviews.com and http ://www.morpheusso ftware.net/.

[0027] Morphine engine 42 advantageously enables the creation of an article of manufacture that is a blend of baseline objects. Using the creation of a customized animal toy as an example, the output of morphing engine 42, in some embodiments, is more than an assemblage of body parts from each of the selected animals, but is a representation of crossbreeding the various animals together. However, as described above, a user can have the ability to select certain attributes that he or she would like to have more prominently displayed in the final rendering.

[0028] Media Engine 44

[0029] Media engine 44 generates drawings in response to device instructions and human readable instructions to make final assembly of a customized article of manufacture, such as a stuffed animal, as seamless as possible. In some embodiments, the output of media engine 44 includes fabrication instructions for fabricating a customized article of manufacture, such as a stuffed animal, based on the results of the morphing engine 42. Media engine 44 includes rules, which can be stored as a Media Definition, that define what is and is not possible. In some embodiments, these rules are stored in a database and are managed by content management system 38. In some embodiments, an artist and material and design subject matter personnel or experts work together to refine design and media rules to make the fabrication process as automated as possible. As noted above, media engine 44 includes one or Media Definitions for different types of fabrication devices 36. For example, Media Definitions can be provided for a fabric printer, a 3D printer, a CNC machine, sewing machine, or other fabrication device 36. An embedded visualizer subsystem can render designs and patterns in 2D or 3D.

[0030] Workflow Engine 46

[0031] In some embodiments, the workflow engine 46 is responsible for the order process from order placement to final shipping. For example, in some embodiments workflow engine 46, dispatches an order received via portal 28 to the media engine 44, which results in fabrication instructions being generated and sent to an available fabricator 36. Preferably, workflow engine 46 integrates with all applicable systems and devices used to design, fabricate, and ship a customized article of manufacture regardless of locale (e.g., local or remote).

[0032] Given the complexity of dynamic manufacturing, workflow engine 46 can be leveraged to assist with the logistics to continuously monitor and improve the manufacturing process as described in greater detail below. Increased efficiency helps to reduce costs, increase productivity, and quality.

[0033] Dispatching System 48

[0034] The fabricators 34 leverage dispatching system 48, which integrates with the workflow engine 46. In some embodiments, dispatching system 48 is responsible for transmitting multiple orders and/or instructions to fabrication facility 34, optimizing an order to reduce cost, and expediting the fabrication process. Dispatching system 48 makes decisions based on human instruction, device criteria, and device statistics. Issues that arise during fabrication, which may delay delivery or reduce consumer confidence based on timeliness or quality control issues, are automatically escalated to appropriate staff based on workflow defined service level agreements. Top or critical issues are designated to be reviewed regularly, and if correctable, the process is continuously enhanced to reduce future issues. [0035] In some embodiments, correction identified by or received by dispatching system

48 is propagated to the content management system 38, design engine 40, media engine 44, and their respective rules can be adjusted immediately or in batch to eliminate/mitigate future problems. Integration with fabricators 34 is done in a consistent manner using an Application Programming Interface ("API"), understanding connectivity and power of the fabricators locale may not be not be typical of US standards of 99.99999% uptime.

[0036] Splicer Engine 50

[0037] In some embodiments, a virtual splicer engine 50 is provided and is accessible through portal 28 (FIG. 1 A). For example, the splicer engine 50 provides a colorful and interactive environment allowing the consumer to act as a designer so they may create all-together new animals (or other objects of manufacture such as other custom toys, suits, etc.) and see the results immediately. In one exemplary implementation, splicer engine 50 is presented via web-site as a flash application, or as a portable application for a mobile device 100. A consumer may override default weighting-factors or other variable attributes such that they are able to enhance certain features over others. In some embodiments, a visualizer enables the consumer to see their custom creation (e.g., a morphed animal) virtually fabricated in fabric, wood, plastic, metal, or other suitable material. In some embodiments, splicer engine 50 can be thought of as a DNA splicer in which engine 50 splices and/or blends together certain attributes of an object. For example, splicer engine 50 can generate a new name for an animal as well as identify certain physical and emotional characteristics of the animal when two or more animals are morphed together.

[0038] In some embodiments, splicer engine 50 provide users access to a catalog of templates from which the custom article of manufacture is to be modeled, e.g., existing animals or other baseline objects stored by CAMD system 20, provided by the content management system 38. For example, users are provided with the ability to select one or more objects (e.g., animals, cars, etc.) and view attributes of the object. In some embodiments, portal 28 displays on display 106 fixed attributes in rich text boxes and variable attributes with an associated check box(es), radio button(s), list box(es), drop down list(s), slider(s) or other graphical interface enabling users to select certain attributes. Variable attributes allow the user to modify attributes from each respective template object.

[0039] Virtual Habitat Engine 52 [0040] Portal 28 (FIG. 1 A) also provides a user with access to a virtual habitat engine 52, which enables a user the ability to view his/her custom animal in a rendered habitat. In some embodiments, for example, the habitat is defined using information contained in the content management system 38 and associated databases to provide a virtual world suitable for the morphed animal. The habitat also presents a family and friend social interactive features allowing animals to interact with other animals.

[0041] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of one example of an architecture of mobile device 100 and/or computer 34, 64. As shown in FIG. 2, mobile device 100 includes one or more processors, such as processor(s) 102. Processor(s) 102 may be any central processing unit ("CPU"), microprocessor, micro-controller, or computational device or circuit for executing instructions. Processor(s) are connected to a communication infrastructure 104 (e.g., a communications bus, cross-over bar, or network). Various software embodiments are described in terms of this exemplary mobile device 100. After reading this description, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art how to implement the method using mobile devices 100 that include other systems or architectures. One of ordinary skill in the art will understand that computers 34, 54 may have a similar architecture as that of mobile devices 100.

[0042] Mobile device 100 includes a display 106 that displays graphics, video, text, and other data received from the communication infrastructure 104 (or from a frame buffer not shown) to a user (e.g., a subscriber, commercial user, back-end user, or other user). Examples of such displays 106 include, but are not limited to, LCD screens, OLED display, capacitive touch screen, and a plasma display, to name a few possible displays. Mobile instrument 100 also includes a main memory 108, such as a random access ("RAM") memory, and may also include a secondary memory 110. Secondary memory 110 may include a more persistent memory such as, for example, a hard disk drive ("HDD") 112 and/or removable storage drive ("RSD") 114, representing a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, solid state drive ("SDD"), or the like. In some embodiments, removable storage drive 114 reads from and/or writes to a removable storage unit ("RSU") 116 in a manner that is understood by one skilled in the art. Removable storage unit 116 represents a magnetic tape, optical disk, or the like, which may be read by and written to by removable storage drive 114. As will be understood by one skilled in the art, the removable storage unit 116 may include a tangible and non-transient machine readable storage medium having stored therein computer software and/or data. [0043] In some embodiments, secondary memory 110 may include other devices for allowing computer programs or other instructions to be loaded into mobile device 100. Such devices may include, for example, a removable storage unit ("RSU") 118 and a corresponding interface ("RSI") 120. Examples of such units 118 interfaces 120 may include a removable memory chip (such as an erasable programmable read only memory ("EPROM")) programmable read only memory ("PROM")), secure digital ("SD") card and associated socket, and other removable storage units 118 and interfaces 120, which allow software and data to be transferred from the removable storage unit 118 to mobile device 100.

[0044] Mobile device 100 may also include a speaker 122, an oscillator 123, a camera

124, a light emitting diode ("LED") 125, a microphone 126, an input device 128, and a global positioning system ("GPS") module 130. Examples of input device 128 include, but are not limited to, a keyboard, buttons, a trackball, or any other interface or device through a user may input data. In some embodiment, input device 128 and display 106 are integrated into the same device. For example, display 106 and input device 128 may be touchscreen through which a user uses a finger, pen, or stylus to input data into mobile instrument 100.

[0045] Mobile device 100 also include one or more communication interfaces 130, which allows software and data to be transferred between mobile device 100 and external devices such as, for example, another mobile device 100, a computer, and other devices that may be locally or remotely connected to mobile device 100. Examples of the one or more communication interfaces 130 may include, but are not limited to, a modem, a network interface (such as an Ethernet card or wireless card), a communications port, a Personal Computer Memory Card International Association ("PCMCIA") slot and card, one or more Personal Component

Interconnect ("PCI") Express slot and cards, or any combination thereof. The one or more communication interfaces 130 may also include a wireless interface configured for short range communication, such as near field communication ("NFC"), Bluetooth, or other interface for communication via another wireless communication protocol. One skilled in the art will understand that computers 34, 64 and portions of social network 70 and CAMD system 20 may include some or all components of mobile device 100 and/or additional components not illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0046] Software and data transferred via the one or more communications interfaces 132 are in the form of signals, which may be electronic, electromagnetic, optical, or other signals capable of being received by communications interfaces 132. These signals are provided to communications interface 132 via a communications path or channel. The channel may be implemented using wire or cable, fiber optics, a telephone line, a cellular link, a radio frequency ("RF") link, or other communication channels.

[0047] In this document, the terms "non-transient computer program medium" and "non- transient computer readable medium" refer to media such as removable storage units 116, 118, or a hard disk installed in hard disk drive 112. These computer program products provide software to mobile device 100. Computer programs (also referred to as "computer control logic") may be stored in main memory 108 and/or secondary memory 110. Computer programs may also be received via the one or more communications interfaces 132. Such computer programs, when executed by a processor(s) 102, enable the mobile device 100 to perform the features of the method discussed herein.

[0048] In an embodiment where the method is implemented using software, the software may be stored in a computer program product and loaded into mobile device 100 using removable storage drive 114, hard drive 112, and/or communications interface 132. The software, when executed by a processor(s) 102, causes the processor(s) 102 to perform the functions of the method described herein. In another embodiment, the method is implemented primarily in hardware using, for example, hardware components such as application specific integrated circuits ("ASICs"). Implementation of the hardware state machine so as to perform the functions described herein will be understood by persons skilled in the art. In yet another embodiment, the method is implemented using a combination of both hardware and software.

[0049] The user registration and design process is now described with respect to FIG. 3, which is a flow diagram of one example of a registration and design method 300 in accordance with some embodiments. As will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, some or all of the disclosed steps can be performed.

[0050] At block 302, a user registers with or logs onto CAMD system 20. In some embodiments, for example, a user registers with CAMD system 20 by accessing portal 28 via Internet 10 and entering in a username, such as an email address, and a password. Other demographic information, such as age, gender, residential address, nationality, etc., can be collected by CAMD system 20. In some embodiments, a user can logon using a previously setup login name for the CAMD system 20 or for another website. For example, a user could provide Facebook, Google, or Yahoo! login credentials to login and/or register with CAMD system 20. Such integration can be implemented by CAMD system 20 interfacing, for example, with the API of social networking network 70. In some embodiments, additional information concerning the user can be accessed and/or retrieved from social networking network 70 as will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0051] At block 304, a user selects two or more objects to morph together or to create a new customized article of manufacture or a pre-defined article of manufacture. For example, once the user has gained access to portal 28, the user is presented with a menu enabling the user to access previously created articles of manufacture (e.g., animal toys), if any, or to customize a new article of manufacture. In some embodiments, the user selection is made via portal 28 by selecting an image and/or name of an object presented to the user in a GUI on display 106. The user facilitates a selection of the object(s) using an input device 128, which triggers a signal to CAMD system 20 identifying the selected object(s).

[0052] At block 306, a user inputs object weightings. For example, with the object(s) selected, a user selects the percentage each selected object that should be represented in the final morphed, e.g., customized, object. In some embodiments, the user can select particular features of the selected objects that they would like represented in the final customized object. For example, using the example of creating a customized animal toy, a user can identify that the customized animal should include 35% Zebra, 30%> lion, 20%> Cheetah, and 15% Sheep such that 100% of the animal is identified as set forth in Table 1 below.

Figure imgf000014_0001

[0053] In some embodiments, for example, a user can identify that he or she would like certain features of objects to be emphasized more than others. Again using the customized animal toy as an example, a user can request a first animal's head to be more pronounced in the final morphed animal and that a second animal's legs and/or feet should be more pronounced in the final morphed animal. However, in some embodiments, morphing engine 42 and splicer 50 generate a morphed animal taking only the weighting percentages into account. In some embodiments, a user can select random weightings such that CAMD system 20 randomly assigns animal weightings.

[0054] At block 308, a custom object is generated based on the input information received from the user. For example, morphing engine 42 generates a morphed animal

(assuming a user selects two or more animals) based on the selected animal inputs and the weightings identified by a user.

[0055] At block 310, a new name, such as an SN, and attributes are generated for morphed object. For example, in some embodiments, splicer 50 creates a virtual DNA for the morphed animal by taking the virtual DNA for each animal and generating a new virtual DNA based on the inputs. The virtual DNA along with other data concerning the morphed

(customized) object is stored in a database by content management engine 38 and associated with a profile of the user that requested the morphed (customized) object be created. In some embodiments, splicer 50 generates new attributes that are unique to the customized object and stores these attributes such that they are associated with a profile of the customized article of manufacture. As will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, these custom attributes can collectively define a virtual DNA of the custom object.

[0056] At block 312, the morphed/customized object is displayed to the user via portal

28. For example, in embodiments when CAMD system 20 is implemented to generated customized morphed toys, such as a stuffed animal, a rendering of the morphed animal is displayed on display 106 (FIG. 2) via portal 28 (FIG. 1A). FIGS. 4A-4C illustrate examples of morphed animals generated from a group of four primary animals. Although four primary animals are shown, fewer or more animals can be used to generate a morphed animal. As shown in FIGS. 4A-4C, the resulting animals include features of each of the template animals on which the morphed animal is based.

[0057] At block 314, a suitable habitat for the morphed animal is generated. As described above, the virtual habitat engine 52 creates a virtual habitat representing an

environment that is suitable for the morphed animal. For example if a jungle-based carnivorous animal is morphed with a domesticated herbivore and the user decides to promote the domesticated attributes the resultant morphed animal will have a friendlier disposition and will live a suitable environment.

[0058] At block 316, the morphed animal in the virtual habitat is displayed to a user through portal 28. For example, the morphed animal can be displayed by itself in its virtual environment as generated by virtual habitat engine 52. In some embodiments, the morphed animal is displayed with other animals, including other morphed animals generated by other users having compatible attributes, in real time. For example, users contemporaneously logged into the CAMD system 20 can view his/her morphed animal (or multiple animals) in the virtual habitat that is shared by or compatible with morphed animals generated by other users and/or template (e.g., existing animals such as a lion, tiger, etc.). In some embodiments, a user can post a picture of his or her morphed animal to social networking network 70 via the interface of CAMD system 20 and the API of network 70.

[0059] User portal 28 also provides registered users to "parent" and/or create offspring based on their morphed animal. For example, friends and family members can request to parent a morphed animal such that they have the ability to view the morphed animal in its virtual habitat. Users can also enable their custom morphed animal mate with one or more other animals such as, for example, another customized morphed animal created by another user. The resulting offspring would have two (or more) "parents." In some embodiments, CAMD system 20 includes parental controls providing users, such as parents, with the ability to control and/or lock down the ability of animals to be cross-bred with other animals.

[0060] The lineage of the offspring and parent, as well as the virtual DNA and other associated information concerning the morphed animals, is maintained by CAMD system 20 and is associated with the user profiles of the registered users. Via portal 28, each registered user can access his/her customized animals and view and/or access the offspring of any morphed animals. Thus, in this manner, CAMD system 20 tracks the ancestry of each morphed animal created using system 20 such as, for example, by content management system 38. As described above, these animals are a genetic combination and simply just not pieces or parts of animals put together.

[0061] As briefly noted above, a user can select to have a custom plush toy, sculptured toy, and/or other article of manufacture created based on the morphed object generated by CAMD system 20. FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of one example of a manufacturing process in accordance with some embodiments.

[0062] At block 502, a request to have an animal is received by CAMD system 20. In some embodiments, the request is received from a registered user that presses a "button," such as a "buy," "purchase," or "add to cart" button, displayed to the user in a GUI via portal 28 presented to the user on display 106.

[0063] At block 504, system receives additional commercial transaction details. For example, The "buy" button displayed to the user in the GUI links the user to a ecommerce portal of the CAMD system 20 where the user can select the quantity of the customized object/article of manufacture he or she would like to have fabricated, delivery instructions (e.g., overnight, ground, carrier, etc.), payment methods, other personalization (e.g., embroidery of name), and other transaction information. The information entered by the user is captured by CAMD system 20 and stored in a database maintained by content management system 38.

[0064] At block 506, workflow engine 46 generates a workflow for fabricating the order placed by the user and received by CAMD system 20. In some embodiments, the workflow includes an estimated timeline for fabrication, which can be accessed by the user that placed the order, and is based on current fabrication data. For example, workflow engine 46 can schedule time on a fabricator 34 for fabricating a 2D and/or 3D template (e.g., a pattern and/or model) of the customized object/article of manufacture.

[0065] Advantageously, workflow engine 46 integrates with the other engines and modules of CAMD system 20 such that workflow engine 46 is provided with real-time availability and scheduling data for creating a custom article of manufacture. Thus, for example, workflow engine 46 can, in cooperating with dispatch system 48, request media engine 44 to generate fabrication instructions for a customized animal. The fabrication instructions generated by media engine 44 can be for a particular fabrication device 34 based on stored Media

Definitions. Additionally, these fabrication instructions can include a digital representation of a 2D or 3D pattern for fabricating the customized animal based on the virtual DNA for the animal or object.

[0066] At block 508, the fabrication instructions are received by a fabrication device 34 and/or by an internal user, who can gain access to the instruction via internal portal 30. In addition to machine fabrication instruction noted above, additional fabrication instructions can be provided for assembling (e.g., sewing, stitching, etc.) the animal once fabric templates are created. In some embodiments, the fabrication instructions are sent to fabrication device(s) 34 by workflow engine 46 and/or dispatching engine 48.

[0067] At block 510, fabrication updates are received by CAMD system 20. For example, workflow engine 46 may receive updates from fabrication devices 34 and/or from internal users who enter updates into portal 30. These fabrication updates identify changes in the fabrication status of the customized morphed animal. For example, an update can identify that a 2D pattern has been printed or otherwise prepared, that the animal has been sewn or stuffed, an error has been identified due to machine error, or any other status update related to the fabrication or manufacture of a customized animal.

[0068] In some embodiments, fabrication updates generate a change in a version of a customized article of manufacture being fabricated. For example, CAMD system 20 is configured to employ version control to provide fabrication consistency. Versions of objects, such as animal toys, can be identified through the use of a "born on date" or "birth date." Artists, design and material experts are provided with the ability to make concurrent changes deemed necessary in order to continuously improve the fabrication process. In some embodiments, this may change the overall appearance of a previously fabricated object. In the example of creating a customized animal, change of animal over time can be treated as virtual evolution. In some embodiments, CAMD system 20 allows a customer or user to visualize the evolution for previously fabricated objects by leveraging the version control feature of the content

management system 38. For example, if at any point a morphed animal during its virtual evolution negatively affects production efficiency, that particular variant shall be deemed extinct and, in some embodiments, may not be fabricated again.

[0069] At block 512, a finalized customized object (e.g., a final product) is reviewed by a quality control department. The results of the review are entered into CAMD system 20 by an internal user accessing portal 30. In response, workflow engine 46 updates the status and coordinates with dispatching engine 48 to request the fabricated, customized object (i.e., final product) to be shipped, and content management system 38 records the results of the quality control review such that the results are associated with the version of the final product.

[0070] At block 514, the final product is shipped. As noted above, workflow engine 46 coordinates the shipping with dispatching engine 48 to ship the final product, which in some embodiments is a fabricated custom animal toy. The storage of shipping information, e.g., tracking number, date of shipment, expected delivery date, etc., is managed by content management system 38 and can be accessed by a user through portal 28.

[0071] At block 516, delivery confirmation information is received by CAMD system 20.

For example, CAMD system 20 receives an electronic notice from the shipping carrier identifying that the final product, i.e., a fabricated custom animal, has been delivered. In some embodiments, CAMD system 20 receives an electronic copy of a signature of the user confirming that the final product has been received.

[0072] In some embodiments, a method includes displaying a plurality of images of objects to a user, receiving at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects, receiving at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more displayed objects are to be included in a final product, and generating a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one stored constraint.

[0073] In some embodiments, a method includes receiving an order request for the final product, and generating a workflow for fabricating the final product.

[0074] In some embodiments, a method includes transmitting instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product to at least one fabrication facility. In some embodiments, the instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product include a two-dimensional pattern.

[0075] In some embodiments, a method includes receiving at least one of a status update of a fabrication process or a shipping confirmation.

[0076] In some embodiments, a method includes receiving a delivery confirmation for the final product.

[0077] In some embodiments, the displayed objects are animals, the final product is a toy, and a method includes generating a virtual habitat for a first virtual animal based on data stored in a non-transient machine readable storage medium. The first virtual animal has the attributes of the final product.

[0078] In some embodiments, a method includes receiving a request to mate the first virtual animal with at least a second virtual animal; generating a third virtual animal by virtually breeding the first virtual animal with the second virtual animal; and storing lineage information of the third virtual animal in a database.

[0079] In some embodiments, a system includes a non-transient machine readable storage medium and a processor in signal communication with the non-transient machine readable storage medium. The processor is configured to cause a plurality of images of objects to be displayed to a user, receive at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects, receive at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more displayed objects are to be included in a final product, and generate a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one constraint stored in the non-transient machine readable storage medium.

[0080] In some embodiments, a processor is configured to receive an order request for the final product, and generate a workflow for fabricating the final product.

[0081] In some embodiments, a processor is configured to cause instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product to be transmitted to at least one fabrication facility. In some embodiments, the instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product include a two-dimensional pattern.

[0082] In some embodiments, a processor is configured to receive at least one of a status update of a fabrication process or a shipping confirmation.

[0083] In some embodiments, a processor is configured to receive a delivery

confirmation for the final product.

[0084] In some embodiments, the displayed objects are animals, the final product is a toy, and a processor is configured to generate a virtual habitat for a first virtual animal based on data stored in the non-transient machine readable storage medium, the first virtual animal having the attributes of the final product.

[0085] In some embodiments, a processor is configured to receive a request to mate the first virtual animal with at least a second virtual animal, generate a third virtual animal by virtually breeding the first virtual animal with the second virtual animal, and store lineage information of the third virtual animal in a database.

[0086] In some embodiments, a computer implemented method includes displaying on a computer display a computer-generated display window depicting different animals being made available for computer-generated cross-breeding of their visible features into various combinations of cross-bred visible features of a computer-generated imaginary animal.

Anatomical data of the different animals is stored in a data storage memory. Each animal is associated with a scientific name that serves to categorize the anatomical data of the animal, and the anatomical data for each animal comprise text-based or voice-recognition-based descriptions of the visible features. The descriptions combine and convert into computer-generated visible features of the animal. The anatomical data for an individual one of the scientific names and converting the anatomical data for an individual one of the scientific names are combined into a computer-generated image of visible features for an individual one of the animals. Additionally or alternatively, various anatomical data for multiple scientific names are combined into one of various combinations for a cross-bred imaginary animal and converting the various anatomical data into a computer-generated image of visible features of the cross-bred imaginary animal.

[0087] In some embodiments, the computer-generated image of an individual one of the animals is generated. Additionally or alternatively, a cross-bred imaginary animal is generated as a flat representation of a three-dimensional form of a stuffed toy animal.

[0088] In some embodiments, the computer-generated image of an individual one of the animals is generated. Additionally or alternatively, a cross-bred imaginary animal is generated as a representation of a three-dimensional form of a sculptured toy animal.

[0089] In some embodiments, the computer-generated image of an individual one of the animals is generated. Additionally or alternatively, a cross-bred imaginary animal is generated as a visible computer-generated image on a display window on the computer display.

[0090] In some embodiments, the computer-generated image of an individual one of the animals is generated. Additionally or alternatively, a cross-bred imaginary animal is generated as a visible computer-generated image on the display window depicting different animals being made available for computer-generated cross-breeding of their visible features.

[0091] In some embodiments, the scientific names for animals are stored in a first database according to one or more species, subspecies, breeds or combinations thereof. The anatomical data of the different animals is stored in a second database wherein the anatomical data is categorized according to the scientific names of the different animals.

[0092] In some embodiments, a method includes retrieving, by way of a computer input device, the scientific names for said animals and the anatomical data of the different animals from Internet sources and storing the information in respective first and second databases. The scientific names for animals are stored in a first database according to one or more species, subspecies, breeds or combinations thereof. The anatomical data of the different animals are stored in a second database wherein the anatomical data is categorized according to the scientific names of the different animals.

[0093] In some embodiments, a computer-generated display window is provided in which different animals being made available for computer-generated cross-breeding of their visible features into various combinations of cross-bred visible features of a computer-generated imaginary animal are depicted. A first computer executable icon is provided for the scientific name accompanying each of the different animals, and a second computer executable icon is provided for a percentage of each of the different animals being made available for computer- generated cross-breeding of their visible features into various combinations. The computer- generated imaginary animal is stored in a database and displayed to a user.

[0094] In some embodiments, each icon for the scientific name comprises a graphical user interface selected by mouse click, touch, tap or swipe.

[0095] In some embodiments, each icon for the percentage comprises a table into which data entries are entered by auxiliary keyboard, mouse click, or by touch, tap or swipe of a graphical user interface selected by mouse click, touch, tap or swipe.

[0096] In some embodiments, an imaginary name is provided in association with a computer-generated imaginary animal and is stored in a database.

[0097] In some embodiments, an imaginary name is provided in association with a computer-generated imaginary animal and is stored in a database.

[0098] In some embodiments, a computer implemented method includes applying graphical images of different animals onto respective substrates, and dividing each of the substrates having a corresponding graphical image thereon into multiple pieces. The multiple pieces have interlocking shapes for interlocking with one another while the multiple pieces are positioned in an arrangement that depict the graphical image. The pieces of one said substrates being interchangeable with the pieces of another said substrates to change the animals depicted by both said substrates into respective cross-bred imaginary animals.

[0099] The present invention can be embodied in the form of methods and apparatus for practicing those methods. The present invention can also be embodied in the form of program code embodied in tangible media, such as floppy diskettes, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, Blu-ray disks, hard drives, or any other machine-readable storage medium, wherein, when the program code is loaded into and executed by a machine, such as a computer, the machine becomes an apparatus for practicing the invention. The present invention can also be embodied in the form of program code, for example, whether stored in a storage medium, loaded into and/or executed by a machine, or transmitted over some transmission medium, such as over electrical wiring or cabling, through fiber optics, or via electromagnetic radiation, wherein, when the program code is loaded into and executed by a machine, such as a computer, the machine becomes an apparatus for practicing the invention. When implemented on a general-purpose processor, the program code segments combine with the processor to provide a unique device that operates analogously to specific logic circuits.

[00100] Although the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, it is not limited thereto. Rather, the appended claims should be construed broadly, to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and range of equivalents of the invention.

Claims

What is claimed is: 1. A method, comprising:
displaying a plurality of images of objects to a user;
receiving at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects;
receiving at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more displayed objects are to be included in a final product;
generating a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one stored constraint; and
storing data associated with the final product in a non-transient machine readable storage medium.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
receiving an order request for the final product; and
generating a workflow for fabricating the final product.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising transmitting instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product to at least one fabrication facility.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product include a two-dimensional pattern.
5. The method of claim 2, further comprising receiving at least one of a status update of a fabrication process or a shipping confirmation.
6. The method of claim 2, further comprising receiving a delivery confirmation for the final product.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the displayed objects are animals and the final product is a toy, the method further comprising:
generating a virtual habitat for a first virtual animal based on data stored in a non- transient machine readable storage medium,
wherein the first virtual animal has the attributes of the final product.
8. The method of claim 7, further comprising: receiving a request to mate the first virtual animal with at least a second virtual animal; generating a third virtual animal by virtually breeding the first virtual animal with the second virtual animal; and
storing lineage information of the third virtual animal in a database.
9. A system, comprising:
a non-transient machine readable storage medium; and
a processor in signal communication with the non-transient machine readable storage medium, the processor configured to
cause a plurality of images of objects to be displayed to a user;
receive at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects;
receive at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more displayed objects are to be included in a final product; and
generate a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one constraint stored in the non-transient machine readable storage medium.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein the processor is configured to
receive an order request for the final product; and
generate a workflow for fabricating the final product.
11. The system of claim 10, wherein the processor is configured to cause instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product to be transmitted to at least one fabrication facility.
12. The system of claim 11 , wherein the instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product include a two-dimensional pattern.
13. The system of claim 10, wherein the processor is configured to receive at least one of a status update of a fabrication process or a shipping confirmation.
14. The system of claim 10, wherein the processor is configured to receive a delivery confirmation for the final product.
15. The system of claim 9, wherein the displayed objects are animals, the final product is a toy, and the processor is configured to
generate a virtual habitat for a first virtual animal based on data stored in the non- transient machine readable storage medium, the first virtual animal having the attributes of the final product.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein the processor is configured to
receive a request to mate the first virtual animal with at least a second virtual animal; generate a third virtual animal by virtually breeding the first virtual animal with the second virtual animal; and
store lineage information of the third virtual animal in a database.
17. A non-transient machine readable storage medium encoded with program code, wherein when the program code is executed by a processor, the processor performs a method, the method comprising
displaying a plurality of images of objects to a user;
receiving at least one first input from a user identifying a selection of one or more of the displayed objects;
receiving at least one second input identifying a percentage of the one or more displayed objects are to be included in a final product; and
generating a graphical representation of the final product based on the at least one second input and at least one stored constraint.
18. The non-transient machine readable storage medium of claim 17, wherein the method includes:
receiving an order request for the final product; and
generating a workflow for fabricating the final product.
19. The non-transient machine readable storage medium of claim 18, wherein the method includes transmitting instructions for fabricating at least a portion of the final product to at least one fabrication facility.
20. The non-transient machine readable storage medium of claim 17, wherein the displayed objects are animals, the final product is a toy, and the method includes generating a virtual habitat for a first virtual animal based on data stored in a non- transient machine readable storage medium,
wherein the first virtual animal has the attributes of the final product.
21. The non-transient machine readable storage medium of claim 20, wherein the method includes
receiving a request to mate the first virtual animal with at least a second virtual animal; generating a third virtual animal by virtually breeding the first virtual animal with the second virtual animal; and
storing lineage information of the third virtual animal in a database.
PCT/US2013/052004 2012-07-25 2013-07-25 System and method for generating custimized articles of manufacture WO2014018730A1 (en)

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