Patents Represented by Attorney, Agent or Law Firm James R. Riegel
  • Patent number: 6469692
    Abstract: A low-cost force feedback interface device for providing low cost force feedback for enhancing interactions and manipulations in a graphical environment provided by a computer. One embodiment provides a mouse movable in a planar workspace and providing output sensor signals representative of that movement. Mouse button movement is detected to send command signals to the host computer, and an actuator coupled to the button applies an output force in the degree of freedom of the button. In a different embodiment, a force feedback pointing device includes a cylindrical member that may be rotated about an axis and translated along that axis to provide sensor signals to control a position of a graphical object such as a cursor. A command sensor detects motion of the cylindrical member perpendicular to the translation, such as when the cylindrical member is pressed down by the user. An actuator applies an output force in the perpendicular degree of freedom of the cylindrical member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventor: Louis B. Rosenberg
  • Patent number: 6448977
    Abstract: A low-cost haptic feedback device that provides spatially-based sensations such as textures in correlation with a displayed graphical environment. The device includes a housing, a sensor device, and an actuator for applying a force to the user. A local processor reports relative sensor data to the host processor and receives force information from the host processor. The host force information causes a texture sensation to be output by the actuator, the texture sensation providing forces to the user at least approximately spatially correlated with predefined locations in the graphical environment as determined by a local processor. In some embodiments, the local processor can model a position of the cursor while the cursor interacts with the texture field, where the modeled position is used for determining the force output to the user, and the force information from the host can include a gating command to activate or deactivate the texture sensation when the cursor enters or exits the texture field.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Adam C. Braun, Louis B. Rosenberg, Kenneth M. Martin
  • Patent number: 6429846
    Abstract: A haptic feedback planar touch control used to provide input to a computer. A touch input device includes a planar touch surface that inputs a position signal to a processor of the computer based on a location of user contact on the touch surface. The computer can position a cursor in a displayed graphical environment based at least in part on the position signal, or perform a different function. At least one actuator is also coupled to the touch input device and outputs a force to provide a haptic sensation to the user contacting the touch surface. The touch input device can be a touchpad separate from the computer's display screen, or can be a touch screen. Output haptic sensations on the touch input device can include pulses, vibrations, and spatial textures. The touch input device can include multiple different regions to control different computer functions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, James R. Riegel
  • Patent number: 6424333
    Abstract: A man-machine interface which provides tactile feedback to various sensing body parts is disclosed. The device employs one or more vibrotactile units, where each unit comprises a mass and a mass-moving actuator. As the mass is accelerated by the mass-moving actuator, the entire vibrotactile unit vibrates. Thus, the vibrotactile unit transmits a vibratory stimulus to the sensing body part to which it is affixed. The vibrotactile unit may be used in conjunction with a spatial placement sensing device which measures the spatial placement of a measured body part. A computing device uses the spatial placement of the measured body part to determine the desired vibratory stimulus to be provided by the vibrotactile unit. In this manner, the computing device may control the level of vibratory feedback perceived by the corresponding sensing body part in response to the motion of the measured body part. The sensing body part and the measured body part may be separate or the same body part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Mark R. Tremblay, Mark H. Yim
  • Patent number: 6424356
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for commanding force effects using suites or categories to allow an application program higher level control over force sensations output by a force feedback interface device. An application program associates a force suite with one or more individual force effects and the suite association is provided to a library available to the application program on the host computer, such as an Application Programming Interface (API). A set of rules is also provided to the library, the rules determining how to apply the force effects in the suite based on a status of the application program. The application program commands at least one force effect in the suite and reports the status of the application program to the library, where the library applies the rules based on the reported status to cause a force sensation based on the commanded force effect to be output by a force feedback interface device coupled to the host computer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Dean C. Chang, Jeffrey R. Mallett
  • Patent number: 6411276
    Abstract: A hybrid haptic feedback system in which a host computer and haptic feedback device share processing loads to various degrees in the output of haptic sensations, and features for efficient output of haptic sensations in such a system. A haptic feedback interface device in communication with a host computer includes a device microcontroller outputting force values to the actuator to control output forces. In various embodiments, the microcontroller can determine force values for one type of force effect while receiving force values computed by the host computer for a different type of force effect. For example, the microcontroller can determine closed loop effect values and receive computed open loop effect values from the host; or the microcontroller can determine high frequency open loop effect values and receive low frequency open loop effect values from the host. Various features allow the host to efficiently stream computed force values to the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 25, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Adam C. Braun, Kenneth M. Martin, Louis B. Rosenberg
  • Patent number: 6408253
    Abstract: Method and system for checking and verifying the positions of components on an object such as a circuit board using a position tracking device. A component of the object, positioned at a particular location on the object, is selected by the user using the position tracking device. Reference information about a correct component positioned at the location of the selected component is displayed or otherwise provided, and the displayed reference information is compared with the selected component to determine if the selected component is of the correct type and value. In one embodiment, the selecting is accomplished by moving a probe tip of a probe apparatus within a predetermined distance of the selected component and activating a control, such as a button. The user can initiate a verify signal or a failure signal depending on whether the selected component matches the reference information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2002
    Assignee: MicroScribe, LLC
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, James R. Riegel
  • Patent number: 6400352
    Abstract: A force feedback interface device includes improvements in a mechanical linkage and drive mechanism. The force feedback device is coupled to a host computer and includes a user manipulatable object graspable by a user, at least one actuator that outputs a force on the user object, and a sensor for sensing motion of the user object. A linkage mechanism provides the user object with degrees of freedom and includes five members rotatably coupled to each other. The linkage mechanism supports the bearings of the device with protrusions rotatably coupled to central members of the linkage. The drive mechanism is preferably a belt drive that includes an idler positioned adjacent to a drive pulley and which impedes radial displacement of a belt away from the drive pulley, and thus impedes losing positive engagement of the belt, without preloading the belt. The idler can be a passive idler that does not contact the belt during operation and/or an active idler that continuously contacts the belt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Ryan D. Bruneau, Kenneth M. Martin, Louis B. Rosenberg, David F. Moore, Bruce M. Schena
  • Patent number: 6396232
    Abstract: A haptic pointing device includes a plurality of rigid, elongated proximal members, each connected to a separate rigid, elongated distal member through an articulating joint. The other end of each proximal member is coupled to an actuator such as a motor, causing that member to swing within a separate plane perpendicular to the shaft of the motor in response to a control signal. An end-effector is interconnected to the second end of each distal member through an articulating joint, such that as the actuators move the proximal members, the end-effector moves in space. In a preferred embodiment, the device includes at least three proximal members and three distal members, and the end-effector is coupled to a user-graspable element such as a stylus which retains a preferred orientation in space as the members are driven by the actuators.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2002
    Assignee: Cybernet Haptic Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Douglas Haanpaa, Gary Siebert, Terry Cussen, Kirk Fifer, Mike Dinsmore, Charles J. Jacobus
  • Patent number: 6380925
    Abstract: A mechanism for providing selective engagement of spring members to a user manipulatable object in a force feedback interface device. A moveable member included in a force feedback mechanism is moveable in a degree of freedom to transmit forces to the user manipulatable object, such as a joystick handle. A spring member can be selectively coupled and decoupled between a grounded member and the moveable member. The spring member provides a spring force on the moveable member that biases the joystick handle to a desired position, such as the center of the degree of freedom. A dynamic calibration procedure reduces inaccuracies when sensing the position of the user manipulandum by only reading new range limits when the actuator is not outputting a force in the direction of that limit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Kenneth M. Martin, Michael D. Levin, Adam C. Braun
  • Patent number: 6374255
    Abstract: Methods are presented for authoring geometrical databases which incorporate touch or haptic feedback. In particular, a database of geometrical elements incorporates attributes necessary to support haptic interactions such as stiffness, hardness, friction, and so forth. Users may instantiate objects designed through CAD/CAM environments or attach haptic or touch attributes to subcomponents such as surfaces or solid sub-objects. The resulting haptic/visual databases or world-describing models can then be viewed and touched using a haptic browser or other appropriate user interface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Thomas M. Peurach, Todd Yocum, Douglas Haanpaa, Charles J. Jacobus
  • Patent number: 6366272
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for providing force feedback to a user operating a human/computer interface device and interacting with a computer-generated simulation. In one aspect, a computer-implemented method simulates the interaction of simulated objects displayed to a user who controls one of the simulated objects manipulating a physical object of an interface device. The position of the simulated object, as provided within the simulation and as displayed, is mapped directly to the physical position of the user object. This mapping is broken under conditions that are effective to provide force feedback to the user which imparts a physical sensation corresponding to the interaction of the simulated objects. In another aspect, a ball simulated ball object interacts with a user-controlled simulated object in a simulation to allow the user to utilize a wide range of physical skill and dexterity in interacting with the simulation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, Scott B. Brave
  • Patent number: 6366273
    Abstract: A force feedback cursor control interface for use with a computer that provides locative data to a computer for tracking a user manipulatable physical object and provides feedback to the user through output forces. The physical object is movable in multiple degrees of freedom and is tracked by sensors for sensing the location and/or orientation of the object. A multi-processor system architecture is disclosed wherein the host computer is interfaced with a device microprocessor which is responsive to the output of the sensors and provides the host computer with information derived from the sensors. The host computer runs an application program and provides images on a display, where the program responds to the provided sensor information and force feedback is correlated with the displayed images via force feedback commands from the host computer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corp.
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, Bernard G. Jackson
  • Patent number: 6353427
    Abstract: A force feedback interface and method including an actuator in a non-primary axis or degree of freedom. The force feedback interface device is connected to a host computer that implements a host application program or graphical environment. The interface device includes a user manipulatable object, a sensor for detecting movement of the user object, and an actuator to apply output forces to the user object. The actuator outputs a linear force on the user object in non-primary linear axis or degree of freedom that is not used to control a graphical object or entity implemented by the host computer, and movement in the non-primary degree of freedom is preferably not sensed by sensors. The axis extends through the user object, and there are preferably no other actuators in the device, thus allowing the force feedback device to be very cost effective. Force sensations such as a jolt, vibration, a constant force, and a texture force can be output on the user object with the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventor: Louis B. Rosenberg
  • Patent number: 6353850
    Abstract: Force feedback is provided to a user of a client computer receiving information such as a web page over a network such as the World Wide Web from a server machine. The client machine has a force feedback interface device through which the user experiences physical force feedback. The web page may include force feedback information to provide authored force effects. Force feedback is correlated to web page objects by a force feedback program running on the client and based on input information from the interface device, the web page objects, and the force feedback information. Generic force effects can also be provided, which are applied uniformly at the client machine to all web page objects of a particular type as defined by user preferences at the client machine. A web page authoring interface is also described that includes the ability to add force sensations to a web page. The user may assign force effects to web page objects and immediately feel how the web page will feel to an end user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Evan F. Wies, Dean C. Chang, Louis B. Rosenberg, Sian W. Tan, Jeffrey R. Mallett
  • Patent number: 6348911
    Abstract: A force feedback interface device including safety features. The interface device includes a sensor that senses the position of a user manipulatable object in a degree of freedom and provides a sensor signal indicating the position of the user manipulatable object to a host computer. An actuator of the device applies a force to the user manipulatable object in the degree of freedom. A safety switch of the interface device disables the actuator when the user is not using the interface device and enables the actuator when the user is using the device. A device is included in the interface device to execute a force ramping process when the safety switch enables the actuator, the force ramping process causing the force to be produced at a reduced magnitude and slowly increased to a desired magnitude over a period of time to avoid an abrupt application of initial force.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, Adam C. Braun, Bruce M. Schena
  • Patent number: 6343349
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for efficient management of memory in a force feedback system including a host computer and a force feedback device. A representation of device memory is maintained on the host computer to allow the host computer knowledge and control over storage and force effects in the device memory. A host cache for force effects is provided to allow almost unlimited numbers of force effects to be created for the device, where any force effects not able to fit in device memory are stored in the host cache.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Adam C. Braun, Jonathan L. Beamer, Dean C. Chang
  • Patent number: 6342880
    Abstract: A force feedback interface including a haptic accelerator that relieves the computational burden associated with force feedback generation from a force feedback processor. The force feedback processor is preferably a device microprocessor included in the interface device and separate from a controlling host computer for determining forces to be output. The haptic accelerator quickly determines velocity and/or acceleration information describing motion of a user manipulatable object from raw position data received from sensors of the interface device and representing the position of the user object. The velocity and/or acceleration data is used by the force feedback processor in the determination of forces to be output on the user object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Louis B. Rosenberg, Christopher J. Hasser, Bruce M. Schena, Mike D. Levin
  • Patent number: 6323837
    Abstract: An apparatus for interfacing the movement of a shaft with a computer includes a support, a gimbal mechanism having two degrees of freedom, and three electromechanical transducers. When a shaft is engaged with the gimbal mechanism, it can move with three degrees of freedom in a spherical coordinate space, where each degree of freedom is sensed by one of the three transducers. A fourth transducer can be used to sense rotation of the shaft around an axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventor: Louis B. Rosenberg
  • Patent number: RE37528
    Abstract: A pen-based direct-drive manipulator enables precision manipulation and force display of a control point within three degrees of freedom. The control point exhibits substantially no backlash, very low friction and very low inertia making it useful as a force display. The manipulator also has a very high force generation bandwidth allowing high frequency force components to be displayed. A parallel actuator structure controls motion over two degrees of freedom in a horizontal plane. The parallel structure is a redundant structure including three chains in parallel coupled at the control point. The redundant structure provides a uniform force capability throughout the manipulator workspace. A pair of rotational actuators rotate the parallel structure about an axis to approximate a linear motion along a third axis. The rotational actuators provide a third degree of freedom for the control point. Motion about the third axis is substantially decouple from motion about the horizontal plane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2002
    Assignee: Immersion Corporation
    Inventors: Blake Hannaford, Pietro Buttolo