Patent: To Liven Up Your Presentation

Patent: To Liven Up Your Presentation | dal_ftw_txbz, Yoram Solomon, Plano, Robert Finis Anderson III, Frisco, Hongjun Li, Gregory Brian Kalush, Colleyville, 8217997, interactive display system

Yoram Solomon of Plano, Robert Finis Anderson III of Frisco, Hongjun Li of Plano and Gregory Brian Kalush of Colleyville recently received U.S. Patent 8,217,997 for “Interactive Display System.”

Texas Business Patent of the Day:  You’re probably overfamiliar with presentations where speakers will laser pointers point at Powerpoints and the like.  Now, four Texans have devised a way for speakers to interact and manipulate the displays you see into, hopefully, something more interesting.

Yoram Solomon of Plano, Robert Finis Anderson III of Frisco, Hongjun Li of Plano and Gregory Brian Kalush of Colleyville recently received U.S. Patent 8,217,997 for “Interactive Display System.”

The four Texans applied for the patent last year on February 10, 2011.

The patent assignee is Interphase Corporation of Plano, Texas.  

This invention is in the field of interactive display systems, according to the patent documents. Embodiments of this invention are more specifically directed to such display systems, and methods of operating the same, in which the user interacts with displayed content using a remote hand-held device. 

The ability of a speaker to communicate a message to an audience is generally enhanced by the use of visual information, in combination with the spoken word. In the modern era, the use of computers and associated display systems to generate and display visual information to audiences has become commonplace, for example by way of applications such as the Powerpoint presentation software program available from Microsoft Corporation.

For large audiences, such as in an auditorium environment, the display system is generally a projection system (either front or rear projection). For smaller audiences such as in a conference room or classroom environment, flat-panel (e.g., liquid crystal) displays have become popular, especially as the cost of these displays has fallen over recent years. New display technologies, such as small projectors (pico-projectors), which do not require a special screen and thus are even more readily deployed, are now reaching the market. For presentations to very small audiences (e.g., one or two people), the graphics display of a laptop computer may suffice to present the visual information. In any case, the combination of increasing computer power and better and larger displays, all at less cost, has increased the use of computer-based presentation systems, in a wide array of contexts (e.g., business, educational, legal, entertainment). 

A typical computer-based presentation involves the speaker standing remotely from the display system, so as not to block the audience's view of the visual information. Often, the speaker will use a pointer, such as a laser pointer or even a simple wooden or metal pointer, to non-interactively point to the visual information on the display.

In this type of presentation, however, the speaker is essentially limited to the visual information contained within the presentation as generated, typically as displayed in a sequential manner such as from one slide to the next, in a given order. 

However, because the visual presentation is computer-generated and computer-controlled, an interactive presentation can be carried out. Such an interactive presentation involves selection of visual content of particular importance to a specific audience, annotation or illustration of the visual information by the speaker during the presentation, and invocation of effects such as zooming, selecting links to information elsewhere in the presentation (or online), moving display elements from one display location to another, and the like. This interactivity greatly enhances the presentation, making it more interesting and engaging to the audience. 

In conventional display systems used before an audience, however, the speaker must generally be seated at the computer itself in order to interactively control the displayed presentation content by operating the computer. This limitation can detract from the presentation, especially in the large audience context. 

The ability of a speaker to interact, from a distance, with displayed visual content, is therefore desirable. More specifically, a hand-held device that a remotely-positioned operator could use to point to, and interact with, the displayed visual information is therefore desirable. Of course, in order for such a device to function interactively, the computer-based display system must discern the location on the display that the device is pointing to, in order to comprehend the operator command. 

As known in the art, conventional "light pens" provide hand-held interaction with a display at a distance. In these devices, the pointed-to position on a cathode-ray-tube display (CRT) is detected by sensing the time at which the pointed-to pixel location on the display is refreshed by the CRT electron gun. This sensed time is correlated with the raster-scanning sequence of the CRT display, to determine the screen location at which the light pen sensor is aimed. Of course, this light pen sensing technology is limited to CRT displays, because of its dependence on sensing the raster-scan timing. 

By way of further background, interactive projector systems of the digital micro-mirror device type are known. In these systems, a separate high-speed modulated light source, or alternatively an color wheel segment, is used to project positioning information at the display that are invisible to human viewers but detectable to an camera. These systems are of course limited to digital micromirror-based modulator projection display systems, and typically require additional projection subsystems (including an additional modulator) to operate with reasonable performance. 

As a result, the four Texans invented an interactive display system including a wireless pointing device including a camera or other video capture system. The pointing device captures images displayed by the computer, including one or more human-imperceptible positioning targets. The positioning targets are presented as patterned modulation of the intensity such as variation in pixel intensity in a display frame of the visual payload, followed by the opposite modulation in a successive frame. At least two captured image frames are subtracted from one another to recover the positioning target in the captured visual data and to remove the displayed image payload. The location, size, and orientation of the recovered positioning target identify the aiming point of the remote pointing device relative to the display. Another embodiment uses temporal sequencing of positioning targets (either human-perceptible or human-imperceptible) to position the pointing device.