|Publication number||USRE43931 E1|
|Application number||US 11/078,916|
|Publication date||15 Jan 2013|
|Filing date||11 Mar 2005|
|Priority date||30 Dec 1997|
|Also published as||US8812059, US20130143626, US20140362018|
|Publication number||078916, 11078916, US RE43931 E1, US RE43931E1, US-E1-RE43931, USRE43931 E1, USRE43931E1|
|Inventors||John Joseph Hayes, Jr., Curtis Wayne Thornton|
|Original Assignee||Ericsson Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (85), Non-Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (3), Classifications (15), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation application of Application Ser. No. 09/001,173, filed Dec. 30, 1997 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,131,047.
The present invention relates to radiotelephones and methods of operation thereof, and more particularly, to apparatus and methods for providing user input to radiotelephones.
Radiotelephone terminals typically include a radio transceiver integrated with a user interface mechanism within a handheld case. The user interface typically includes a plurality of keys similar to those provided. on conventional wireline telephones, as well as additional function keys for controlling functions associated with radiotelephone operations. The keys provide a means for entering commands, telephone numbers or other data for processing by the radiotelephone. A display may be used to display information a user has entered at the keys, e.g., telephone numbers, menu selections, and the like, as well as to display messages or other information received from a radiotelephone system with which the radiotelephone is communicating. The display may also be used to display information stored in memory located in the radiotelephone.
Commonly, the display is configured to display one or more graphical objects, e.g. a list of commands in a command menu or a list of telephone numbers that are stored in the radiotelephone memory that the user may select for communication. The graphical objects may be selectively displayed, for example, by displaying a selected number of entries in a list of telephone numbers or command options. The list may be “scrolled” in response to a user input to allow a large list to be displayed on a small display.
In some conventional radiotelephones, control of the scrolling of graphical objects on the display may be controlled by one or more keys, the operation of which may be similar to the “arrow” keys provided on computer keyboard. Other keys may be provided to invoke particular selections. In other conventional radiotelephone designs, a wheel-like input device may be mounted on the radiotelephone case that may be turned by a user to effect scrolling of graphical objects on the display. The wheel device may also be configured to select items on the display in response to user application of radial pressure to the wheel.
Each of these conventional techniques for control of a radiotelephone display has its limitations. Keys for scrolling and invoking display selections may be awkward to use, and may consume valuable space on the keypad of the radiotelephone. A wheeled input device may provide faster and more intuitive scrolling control, but such a device may take up an inordinate amount of space and require moving parts which may be more prone to failure. Accordingly, there is a need for improved input devices for radiotelephones.
In light of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide radiotelephones and methods of operation thereof which provide reliable, intuitive and efficient display control.
This and other objects, features and advantages are provided according to the present invention by radiotelephones and methods of operation thereof in which control of a radiotelephone's display and/or radiotelephone communications transceiver is effected using a contact-sensitive transducer such as a resistive or capacitive touch strip mounted on the radiotelephone. The contact-sensitive transducer produces an output signal that characterizes contact, e.g., contact of an object such as a user's finger, with a surface of the transducer. The output signal may be processed by a controller to control display of information on the display and to initiate actions associated with displayed items. For example, the contact-sensitive transducer may be used to control display of graphical objects such as rows or columns on the display, and initiation of functions associated with the graphical objects. Preferably, the contact-sensitive transducer comprises an elongate strip and produces an output signal that characterizes contact with the strip along its elongate axis. In one embodiment, two of such elongate strips are mounted on respective sides of the radiotelephone. In another embodiment, an elongate strip is mounted on a front face of the radiotelephone.
Using a contact-sensitive transducer to control a radiotelephone offers several advantages. Because a contact-sensitive transducer may be configured to have a thin profile, the transducer may be mounted at a surface of the radiotelephone without taking up an inordinate amount of valuable space. Because characteristic types of contact with the transducer can be detected, such as swiping motions or taps, the transducer may be used to perform display movements such as scrolling or cursor movement, as well as for selection of items displayed on the display. In addition, because a contact-sensitive transducer may be fabricated without moving parts, reliability may be improved.
In particular, according to an aspect of the present invention, a radiotelephone includes a frame. The frame supports a radiotelephone communications transceiver and a display. A contact-sensitive transducer such as a resistive transducer, a capacitive transducer or a semiconductive transducer, is supported by the frame, e.g., mounted at a surface of a housing, and produces an output signal that characterizes contact along a contact-sensitive surface of the contact-sensitive transducer. A controller is responsive to the output signal and operatively associated with the display and the radiotelephone communications transceiver, and controls at least one of the display and the radiotelephone communications transceiver according to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer.
In an embodiment of the present invention, the controller is configured to selectively display an image, e.g., a graphical object such as a row of alphanumeric characters, on the display responsive to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer. The controller may include means for displaying of a plurality of graphical objects on the display, and means, responsive to the contact sensitive transducer, for identifying one of the displayed plurality of graphical objects based on the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer.
According to another embodiment, the controller comprises means, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, for determining a position of contact along the axis of the contact-sensitive transducer. Means are also provided, responsive to the means for determining a position of contact, for selectively displaying a graphical object based on the determined position of contact to thereby identify the graphical object, e.g., by highlighting one of a plurality of displayed graphical objects or by displaying a cursor that indicates one of a plurality of displayed graphical objects.
In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the controller is configured to cause the display or the radiotelephone communications transceiver to perform a plurality of actions. An action of the plurality of actions may be associated with an identified graphical object, and the controller may further comprise means, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, for initiating the action associated with the identified graphical object. The means for initiating an action may include means, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, for detecting a momentary contact with the transducer. Means may be provided, responsive to the means for detecting a momentary contact, for initiating the action associated with the identified graphical object. The means for initiating an action may include means for initiating the action in response to detection of a predetermined number of momentary contacts occurring within a predetermined time interval.
According to another embodiment of the present invention, the controller includes means, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, for scrolling displayed rows along an axis of the display based on the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer. The means for scrolling may include means, responsive to the output signal of contact-sensitive transducer, for detecting moving contact with the contact-sensitive transducer along the axis of the contact-sensitive transducer, and means, responsive to the means for detecting moving contact, for scrolling displayed rows along the axis of the display based on the detected movement.
In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the controller has a first mode wherein the controller is responsive to contact with the contact-sensitive transducer and a second mode wherein the controller is unresponsive to contact with the contact-sensitive transducer. The radiotelephone further comprises means for placing the controller in one of the first mode or the second mode in response to an input from a user.
Another embodiment according to the present invention includes a power supply electrically connected to the contact-sensitive transducer. The controller comprises a first control circuit, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, which controls the radiotelephone communications transceiver and the display according to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer, and a second control circuit, responsive to the contact-sensitive transducer, which controls power transfer from the power supply to the first control circuit according to the output signal from the contact-sensitive transducer. The first control circuit may include a microcontroller, and the second control circuit may control power transfer from the power supply to the microcontroller according to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer.
In another embodiment according to the present invention, the radiotelephone frame includes a housing and the contact-sensitive transducer comprises an elongate contact-sensitive strip mounted at a surface of the housing. The housing may have a front face and an adjoining first side, the display may be mounted at the front face, and the elongate contact-sensitive strip may be mounted at the first side adjoining the front face. A second contact-sensitive strip may be mounted at a second side of the radiotelephone housing, adjoining the front face and opposite the first side. According to another embodiment, a contact-sensitive transducer may be mounted at the front face of the housing.
According to method aspects of the present invention, user input is provided to a radiotelephone using a contact-sensitive transducer that produces an output signal that characterizes contact of an object on a contact-sensitive surface of the contact-sensitive transducer. At least one of a radiotelephone communications transceiver and a display of the radiotelephone may be controlled according to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer. An image may be selectively displayed on the radiotelephone display according to the output signal of the contact-sensitive transducer. Improved user interfaces for radiotelephones are thereby provided.
The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which embodiments of the invention are shown. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. In the drawings, like numbers refer to like elements throughout. It will be understood that when a first object, e.g., a contact-sensitive transducer strip, is referred to as mounted “at” a surface of a second object, e.g., a housing or the like, the first object may be mounted directly on the surface of the second object, on a structural element or frame underlying the surface of the second object which allows a surface of the first object accessible through an opening in the surface of the second object, and the like.
Referring now to
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a wide variety of apparatus other than the illustrated embodiment of
The flowchart illustration of
In particular, three equations are applicable to the measurements described with respect to
These equations may be solved for RL
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that similar operations may be performed to determine a position of contact with the right contact strip 150a. It will also be understood that by application of appropriate control signals to the multiplexers 420a, 420b, either one of the transducers 150a, 150b may be disconnected from the capacitor C, effectively preventing input from the disconnected transducer.
When either of the right or the left strips 150a, 150b is pressed such that a voltage is produced sufficient to overcome the drop across the associated diode D1, D2 and the input activation voltage of the power switch 620, the power switch 620 closes and applies the battery voltage Vbat to the regulator 630. Power is thus provided to the microcontroller 410. The microcontroller may then latch the power switch 620 into a sustained “on” state by driving a third diode D3 and by applying control signals to the switches 610a-610d to connect the nodes Rc, Lc, R1, L1 the appropriate multiplexers as illustrated in
The conceptual illustrations of
In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed typical embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8812059 *||20 Nov 2012||19 Aug 2014||Ericsson, Inc.||Radiotelephones having contact-sensitive user interfaces and methods of operating same|
|US20130143626 *||20 Nov 2012||6 Jun 2013||Ericsson Inc.||Radiotelephones having contact-sensitive user interfaces and methods of operating same|
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|U.S. Classification||455/566, 455/550.1, 379/428.01, 345/173, 455/575.1|
|Cooperative Classification||H04M1/72583, G06F3/0236, H04M2250/22, H04M1/0202, G06F2203/0339, G06F3/03547, H04M1/0266, G06F3/043, G06F3/0485|
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