« 上一頁繼續 »
(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,549,142 B2
Thomas et al. (45) Date of Patent: Apr. 15,2003
(54) AUDIO ALERTS IN PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS
(75) Inventors: Andrew Thomas, Atherton, CA (US);
Stephen John Hinde, Bristol (GB);
Martin Sadler, Bristol (GB)
(73) Assignee: Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, CA (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/994,935
(22) Filed: Nov. 28, 2001
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2002/0067257 Al Jun. 6, 2002 (30) Foreign Application Priority Data
Dec. 1, 2000 (GB) 0029292
(51) Int. CI.7 G08B 21/00
(52) U.S. CI 340/691.1; 340/565; 340/384.1
(58) Field of Search 340/691.1, 540,
340/541, 552, 565, 517, 457, 573.1, 692, 384.1, 384.5, 384.7, 384.73; 704/270, 273
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,023,151 A 5/1977 Markham 340/692
4,544,920 A * 10/1985 Hamlin 340/565
4,912,457 A 3/1990 Ladd 340/286.01
5,365,214 A * 11/1994 Angott et al 340/328
5,493,692 A * 2/1996 Theimer et al 455/26.1
5,532,680 A * 7/1996 Ousbourne 340/567
5,786,760 A * 7/1998 Suzuki et al 340/541
6,307,475 Bl * 10/2001 Kelley 340/573.1
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
GB 2 215 104 9/1989
GR 2 270 585 3/1994
Mynatt, Elizabeth D., et al., "Designing Audio Aura," Xerox
Palo Alto Research Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.
Abstract of Japanese Patent Application No. JP9081176
"Message Information Arrangement Device".
Abstract of Japanese Patent Application No. JP8077462
"Operation State Notifying Device Using Sound".
* cited by examiner
Primary Examiner—Toan Pham
Audio alerts are provided in an environment, such as a house, concerning categorized events to be reported. Examples of the events are receipt of e-mails and voice mails. The presence of a person entering or leaving a space of the environment is detected and a processing system determines reportable event categories that have occurred. Each possible event category has a corresponding audio signature. The event categories signatures that have occurred are played either simultaneously or sequentially, within the hearing of the person detected.
18 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
AUDIO ALERTS IN PHYSICAL
FIELD OF THE INVENTION 5
The present invention relates to providing, in a physical environment, audio alerts in respect of categorised events to be reported.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 10
It is known to provide an audible alert at a user's PC of the receipt of new e-mail in the user's e-mailbox inbox. It is also known from JP 9081176 to automatically announce messages when a person enters a porch or a room. The advantage of such techniques is that the user is informed without having to look in any particular direction and without having specifically asked if a message has been received.
It is an object of the present invention to extend and 20 improve the usefulness of audio alerts.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of providing, in a physical environment, 25 audio alerts in respect of categorised events to be reported; the method involving the steps of:
(a) detecting a person crossing a boundary of a space of the environment;
(b) no later than immediately following the detection of 30 the person in step (a), determining what categories of events that are to be reported, have occurred;
(c) selecting from a set of predetermined audio signatures that each corresponds to a different possible category of event, the signature or signatures appropriate for the 35 event categories determined in step (b); and
(d) outputting, within the hearing of the person detected in step (a), the signatures selected in step (c).
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for providing, in a physical environment, audio alerts in respect of categorised events to be reported; the apparatus comprising:
a sensor arrangement for detecting a person crossing a
boundary of a space of the environment; a processing subsystem comprising:
first means operative, no later than immediately following the detection of a person crossing a boundary by the sensor arrangement, to determine what categories of events that are to be reported, have 50 occurred; and second means for selecting from a set of predetermined audio signatures that each corresponds to a different possible category of event, the signature or signatures appropriate for the event categories determined 55 by the first means; an audio output arrangement for outputting, within the hearing of the person detected by the sensor arrangement, the signatures selected by the second means of the processing subsystem either simulta- 60 neously or sequentially.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A method and system embodying the invention, for providing audio alerts, will now be described, by way of 65 non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagram, in plan view, of a house environment provided with the audio alert system; and
FIG. 2 is a table showing the relation between the identity of an activated sensor and the event categories reported for the environment of FIG. 1.
BEST MODE OF CARRYING OUT THE
FIG. 1 depicts a house 10 having five spaces 11 hereinafter referred to as rooms A to E. Room A is an entrance hall, rooms B and C are individually-occupied rooms, room D is a kitchen/utility room area, and room E is a lounge/study room. In each room A-E is a respective presence sensor 12A-12E for detecting when a person is present in the room and, in particular, when a person enters an empty room. The sensors 12 are, for example, infrared movement detectors as commonly used in intruder alarm systems.
The sensors 12A-12E are individually connected back to a home server system 13 by wire links or by radio links. The system is responsible for receiving activation signals from the sensors and taking appropriate action according to an alert program 50 run by the server system. In particular, the server system is operative to output appropriate audio alerts in respect of categories of events to be reported, these alerts being output via loudspeakers 14A-14E disposed in each room A-E respectively. The alerts can be output from the server system to all speakers or only to the speaker in the room where the sensor was activated. The speakers are connected to the server system by wireline or wireless connections.
The events to be reported are of a number of different types, namely:
receipt of e-mails in e-mail inboxes hosted on the server. These may be e-mails sent between occupants of the house over the house LAN 21 from individual PCs 23 and 24 in rooms B and C, or emails downloaded from a remote server by server 13 (this can be done periodically by the server under program control). LAN 21 although depicted as a cabled LAN could, of course, be a radio LAN. Receipt of an e-mail results in the alert program being notified.
receipt of voice mails in a home voice-mail system 17 either via the external connection to telephone 16 or from internal voice messaging terminals such as terminal 18 in room D. The voice-mail system is connected to the server system to enable the alert program to be informed of each voice mail as received.
individual reminder lists generated on PCs 23, 24 but stored on the server system 13 and readable by the alert program which it does at periodic intervals, scanning for reminders concerning overdue items or items due in the near future.
house status events such as low oil level in heating oil tank 27 (this is detected by sensor 28 connected back to the home server system 13) or out-of-paper status of printer 22 (this status is reported over LAN 21 to server system 13). These events are notified to the alert program.
The alert program 50 stores in store 51 a record of each reported event and its type. Also, for each event, an indication is made of the associated intended recipient (this is the addressee of e-mails and voice mails, and the author of reminder items; house status events can be considered as intended for all occupants).
The possible events are categorised according to the combination of event type and intended recipient. Thus, for