Patents Assigned to VPL Research Inc.
  • Patent number: 5798739
    Abstract: A head-coupled display device for use in presenting electronically generated visual images to a viewer. The device includes a headpiece worn by a viewer, and an image display screen mounted in the headpiece for presenting electronically generated images. A fresnel lens is positioned adjacent the screen for focusing images from the screen at a selected position for viewing as a virtual image. The lens has a set of concentric converging rings whose surface curvatures act to minimize rectilinear distortion of the virtual images perceived by the viewer over the entire field of view of the image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: VPL Research Inc.
    Inventor: Michael A. Teitel
  • Patent number: 5684943
    Abstract: A computer receives animated images together with a real world image. The computer then superimposes the animated images onto the real world image. The result is a combined animated/real image which forms the virtual world. The combined image is capable of moving as the user's head moves. Thus, complicated virtual worlds may be created without the programming complexity which would result if the entire image were animated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 4, 1997
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur Abraham, John Owen Bumgarner
  • Patent number: 5587936
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for creating sounds in a virtual world. The system provides signal processing capabilities to convert monaural sounds to fully spacialized sound sources. A user of the system wearing a pair of stereo headphones perceives live, computer generated, or recorded sounds as coming from specific locations in space, just a listener does in the real world.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 24, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: David A. Levitt, Marc Degroot, Jaron Z. Lanier
  • Patent number: 5588104
    Abstract: A computer display displays a data flow network as a plurality of interconnected units. An interactive program allows the appearance of the plurality of interconnected units to be changed. The data flow network then is automatically altered to correspond with the visual changes. The interconnected units of the data flow network represent inputs, functions and outputs of the data flow network. Inputs represent control signals to manipulate the data flow network, functions modify the value of inputs according to the type of the function unit and outputs represent the x, y or z value of a point in a three-dimensional coordinate system of the virtual world.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 4, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 24, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Jaron Z. Lanier, Ann Lasko-Harvill, Chuck L. Blanchard, Joe L. Sparks
  • Patent number: 5588139
    Abstract: A computer model of a virtual environment is continuously modified by input from various participants. The virtual environment is displayed to the participants using sensory displays such as head-mounted visual and auditory displays which travel with the wearer and track the position and orientation of the wearer's head in space. Participants can look at each other within the virtual environment and see virtual body images of the other participants in a manner similar to the way that people in a physical environment see each other. Each participant can also look at his or her own virtual body in exactly the same manner that a person in a physical environment can look at his or her own real body. The participants may work on a common task together and view the results of each other's actions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 24, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Jaron Z. Lanier, Jean-Jacques G. Grimaud, Young L. Harvill, Ann Lasko-Harvill, Chuck L. Blanchard, Mark L. Oberman, Michael A. Teitel
  • Patent number: 5559995
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for creating virtual worlds wherein a user may begin with a database containing a limited pictorial representation of a desired virtual world and then edit the database to specify the remaining data needed to create the actual virtual world. In one embodiment of the present invention, a database containing a limited pictorial representation of a virtual world is communicated to a receiving unit, and a grouping unit collects various descriptions of the pictorial representation into selected groups. An attribute assigning unit then assigns attributes to the groups. The attributes may include group hierarchy, constraints of motion, color, texture or other features. The modified database is then communicated to a data coupling unit which couples real world data to the groups. Finally, a rendering unit renders the virtual world which looks and functions according to the specified attributes and the real world data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 1992
    Date of Patent: September 24, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Dan D. Browning, Ethan D. Joffe, Jaron Z. Lanier
  • Patent number: 5546530
    Abstract: A distributed animation comprising a plurality of processors wherein each processor is responsible for rendering only a portion of the entire image. After the plurality of processors compute their respective images, the image data is communicated to a buffer. The buffer also receives image data from other sources. The buffer combines the image data from all sources into a single image frame which is then stored in a frame buffer. The buffer comprises a plurality of buffer elements, each buffer element being associated with a single graphics element (processor or video source). Each buffer element includes an input terminal for receiving pixel data from its corresponding graphics element, an output terminal for outputting pixel data, and a second input terminal for receiving pixel data from the output terminal of a previous buffer element. The pixel data typically includes a Z value which provides the depth location in the image of the object represented by that pixel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Jean-Jacques G. Grimaud, Jaron Z. Lanier, Arthur Abraham, Young Harvill
  • Patent number: 5521373
    Abstract: A radiation source directs radiation toward a radiation sensor in such a way that the intensity of radiation sensed by the radiation sensor alternates in a periodic manner as the radiation source moves radially relative to the radiation sensor. The radiation sensor generates either a "1" or a "0" depending upon whether the intensity of the radiation sensed by the radiation sensor is above or below a particular reference value. Thus, the angular position of the radiation source relative to the radiation sensor is indicated by an alternating series of "1"s and "0"s. A multi-bit binary value which indicates the absolute position of the radiation source relative to the radiation sensor can be generated. In this case, a band of radiation is directed toward the radiation sensor. The radiation band is separated into a plurality of portions, the intensity of each successive portion being twice the frequency of the preceding portion. Each portion of the radiation band impinges upon a corresponding sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 28, 1996
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Jaron Z. Lanier, Jean-Jacques G. Grimaud, Michael A. Teitel, Mark L. Oberman, Young L. Harvill
  • Patent number: 5097252
    Abstract: In one embodiment of the invention, a plurality of sensors are placed over the joints of a hand. Each motion sensor comprises an optical fiber disposed between a light source and a light sensor. An upper portion of the fiber is treated so that transmission loss of light being communicated through the optical fiber is increased only when the fiber bends in one direction. In another embodiment of the invention, a flexible tube is disposed in close proximity to a finger joint and bends in response to bending of the finger. A light source and light sensor are provided on opposite ends of the tube for continuously indicating the extent of bending of the tube. A wedge is disposed between the tube and the finger for setting the tube straight when the finger is hyperextended for eliminating the symmetry of the output signal which ordinarily would result from bending of the tube on opposite sides of the axis of movement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 26, 1989
    Date of Patent: March 17, 1992
    Assignee: VPL Research Inc.
    Inventors: Young L. Harvill, Thomas G. Zimmerman, Jean-Jacques G. Grimaud
  • Patent number: 4988981
    Abstract: Apparatus is disclosed for generating control signals for the manipulation of virtual objects in a computer system according to the gestures and positions of an operator's hand or other body part. The apparatus includes a glove worn on the hand which includes sensors for detecting the gestures of the hand, as well as hand position sensing means coupled to the glove and to the computer system for detecting the position of the hand with respect to the system. The computer system includes circuitry connected to receive the gesture signals and the hand position signals for generating control signals in response thereto. Typically, the control signals are used to manipulate a graphical representation of the operator's hand which is displayed on a monitor coupled to the computer system, and the graphical representations of the operator's hand manipulates virtual objects or tools also displayed by the computer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1989
    Date of Patent: January 29, 1991
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas G. Zimmerman, Jaron Z. Lanier
  • Patent number: 4937444
    Abstract: An optical flex sensor is provided and consists of a flexible tube having two ends, a reflective interior wall within the flexible tube and a light source placed within one end of the flexible tube and a photosensitive detector placed within the other end of the flexible tube to detect a combination of direct light rays and reflected rays when the flexible tube is bent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 1989
    Date of Patent: June 26, 1990
    Assignee: VPL Research, Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas G. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 4542291
    Abstract: An optical flex sensor is provided and consists of a flexible tube having two ends, a reflective interior wall within the flexible tube and a light source placed within one end of the flexible tube and a photosensitive detector placed within the other end of the flexible tube to detect a combination of direct light rays and reflected rays when the flexible tube is bent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1982
    Date of Patent: September 17, 1985
    Assignee: VPL Research Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas G. Zimmerman