Interaction techniques for flexible displays
The invention relates to a set of interaction techniques for obtaining input to a computer system based on methods and apparatus for detecting properties of the shape, location and orientation of flexible display surfaces, as determined through manual or gestural interactions of a user with said display surfaces. Such input may be used to alter graphical content and functionality displayed on said surfaces or some other display or computing system.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/788,405, filed on Mar. 30, 2006.
Each of the applications and patents cited in this text, as well as each document or reference cited in each of the applications and patents (including during the prosecution of each issued patent; “application cited documents”), and each of the U.S. and foreign applications or patents corresponding to and/or claiming priority from any of these applications and patents, and each of the documents cited or referenced in each of the application cited documents, are hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference. More generally, documents or references are cited in this text, either in a Reference List before the claims, or in the text itself; and, each of these documents or references (“herein-cited references”), as well as each document or reference cited in each of the herein-cited references (including any manufacturer's specifications, instructions, etc.), is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference. Documents incorporated by reference into this text may be employed in the practice of the invention.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to input and interaction techniques associated with flexible display devices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In recent years, considerable progress has been made towards the development of thin and flexible displays. U.S. Pat. No. 6,639,578 cites a process for creating an electronically addressable display that includes multiple printing operations, similar to a multi-color process in conventional screen printing. Likewise, U.S. Pat. Application No. 2006/0007368 cite a display device assembly comprising a flexible display device being rollable around an axis. A range of flexible electronic devices based on these technologies, including full color, high-resolution flexible OLED displays with a thickness of 0.2 mm are being introduced to the market (14). The goal of such efforts is to develop displays that resemble the superior handling, contrast and flexibility of real paper.
As part of this invention we devised an apparatus for tracking interaction techniques for flexible displays that uses a projection apparatus that projects images generated by a computer onto real paper, of which the shape is subsequently measured using a computer vision device. Deformation of the shape of the paper display is then used to manipulate in real time said images and/or associated computer functions displayed on said display. It should be noted that the category of displays to which this invention pertains is very different from the type of rigid-surface LCD displays cited in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,567,068 or 6,573,883 which can be rotated around their respective axes but not deformed.
Prior art, which include bendable interfaces such as ShapeTape (1) and Gummi (20) demonstrates the value of incorporating the deformation of computing objects for use as input for computer processes. However, in this patent, we propose methods for interacting with flexible displays that rely on deformations of the surface structure of the display itself. While this extends work performed by Schwesig et al (17), which proposed a credit card sized computer that uses physical deformation of the device for browsing of visual information, it should be noted that said device did not incorporate a flexible material, and did not use deformation of the display. Instead, it relied on the use of touch sensors mounted on a rigid LCD-style display body.
The use of projection to simulate computer devices on three dimensional objects is also cited in prior art. SmartSkin (18) is an interactive surface that is sensitive to human finger gestures. With SmartSkin, the user can manipulate the contents of a digital back-projection desk using manual interaction. Similarly, Rekimoto's Pick and Drop (16) is a system that lets users drag and drop digital data among different computers by projection onto a physical object. In Ishii's Tangible User Interface (TUI) paradigm (5), interaction with projected digital information is provided through physical manipulation of real-world objects. In all of such systems, the input device is not the actual display itself, or the display is not on the actual input device. With DataTiles (17), Rekimoto et. al. proposed the use of plastic surfaces as widgets that with touch-sensitive control properties for manipulating data projected onto other plastic surfaces. Here, the display surfaces are again two-dimensional and rigid body.
In DigitalDesk (24), a physical desk is augmented with electronic input and display. A computer controlled camera and projector are positioned above the desk. Image processing is used to determine which page a user is pointing at. Object character recognition transfers content between real paper and electronic documents projected on the desk. Wellner demonstrates the use of his system with a calculator that blurs the boundaries between the digital and physical world by taking a printed number and transferring it into an electronic calculator. Interactive Paper (11) provides a framework for three prototypes. Ariel (11) merges the use of engineering drawings with electronic information by projecting digital drawings on real paper laid out on a planar surface. In Video Mosaic (11), a paper storyboard is used to edit video segments. Users annotate and organize video clips by spreading augmented paper over a large tabletop. Cameleon (11) simulates the use of paper flight strips by air traffic controllers, merging them with the digital world. Users interact with a tablet and touch sensitive screen to annotate and obtain data from the flight strips. Paper Augmented Digital Documents (3) are digital documents that are modified on a computer screen or on paper. Digital copies of a document are maintained in a central database and if needed, printed to paper using IR transparent ink. This is used to track annotations to documents using a special pen.
Insight Lab (9) is an immersive environment that seamlessly supports collaboration and creation of design requirement documents. Paper documents and whiteboards allow group members to sketch, annotate, and share work. The system uses bar code scanners to maintain the link between paper, whiteboard printouts, and digital information.
Xlibris (19) uses a tablet display and paper-like interface to include the affordances of paper while reading. Users can read a scanned image of a page and annotate it with digital ink. Annotations are captured and used to organize information. Scrolling has been removed from the system: pages are turned using a pressure sensor on the tablet. Users can also examine a thumbnail overview to select pages. Pages can be navigated by locating similar annotations across multiple documents. Fishkin et al. (2) describe embodied user interfaces that allow users to use physical gestures like page turning, card flipping, and pen annotation for interacting with documents. The system uses physical sensors to recognize these gestures. Due to space limitations we limit our review: other systems exist that link the digital and physical world through paper. Examples include Freestyle (10), Designers' Outpost (8), Collaborage (12), and Xax (6). One feature common to prior work in this area is the restriction of the use of physical paper to a flat surface. Many project onto or sense interaction in a coordinate system based on a rigid 2D surface only. In our system, by contrast, we use as many of the three dimensional affordances of flexible displays as possible.
In Illuminating Digital Clay (15), Piper et al. proposed the use of a laser scanner to determine the deformation of a clay mass. This deformation was in turn used to alter images projected upon the clay mass through a projection apparatus. The techniques presented in this patent are different in a number of ways. Firstly, our display unit is completely flexible, can be duplicated to work in unison with other displays of the same type and move freely in three-dimensional space. They can be folded 180 degrees around any axis or sub-axes, and as such completely implement the functionality of two-sided flexible displays. Secondly, rather than determining the overall shape of the object as a point cloud, our input techniques rely on determining the 3D location of specific marker points on the display. We subsequently determine the shape of the display by approximating a Bezier curve with control points that coincide with these marker locations, providing superior resolution. Thirdly, unlike Piper (15), we propose specific interaction techniques based on the 3D manipulation and folding of the display unit. The advantages of regular paper over the windowed display units used in standard desktop computing are manifold (21). In the Myth of the Paperless Office (21) Sellen analyzes the use of physical paper. She proposed a set of design principles for incorporating affordances of paper documents in the design of digital devices, such as 1) Support for Flexible Navigation, 2) Cross Document Use, 3) Annotation While Reading and 4) Interweaving of Reading and Writing.
Documents presented on paper can be moved in and out of work contexts with much greater ease than with current displays. Unlike GUI windows or rigid LCD displays, paper can be folded, rotated and stacked along many degrees of freedom (7). It can be annotated, navigated and shared using extremely simple gestural interaction techniques. Paper allows for greater flexibility in the way information is represented and stored, with a richer set of input techniques than currently possible with desktop displays. Conversely, display systems currently support properties unavailable in physical paper, such as easy distribution, archiving, querying and updating of documents. By merging the digital world of computing with the physical world of flexible displays we increase value of both technologies.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a set of interaction techniques for obtaining input to a computer system based on methods and apparatus for detecting properties of the shape, location and orientation of flexible display surfaces, as determined through manual or gestural interactions of a user with said display surfaces. Such input may be used to alter graphical content and functionality displayed on said surfaces or some other display or computing system.
One aspect of the invention is a set of interaction techniques for manipulating graphical content and functionality displayed on flexible displays based on methods for detecting the shape, location and orientation of said displays in 3 dimensions and along 6 degrees of freedom, as determined through manual or gestural interaction by a user with said display.
Another aspect of the invention is a capture and projection system, used to simulate or otherwise implement a flexible display. Projecting computer graphics onto physical flexible materials allows for a seamless integration between images and multiple 3D surfaces of any shape or form, one that measures and corrects for 3D skew in real time.
Another aspect of the invention is the measurement of the deformation, orientation and/or location of flexible display surfaces, for the purpose of using said shape as input to the computer system associated with said display. In one embodiment of the invention, a Vicon Motion Capturing System (23) or equivalent computer vision system is used to measure the location in three dimensional space of retro-reflective markers affixed to or embedded within the surface of the flexible display unit. In another embodiment, movement is tracked through wireless accelerometers embedded into the flexible display surface in lieu of said retro-reflective markers, or deformations are tracked through some fiber optics embedded in the display surface.
One embodiment of the invention is the application of said interaction techniques to flexible displays that resemble paper. In another embodiment, the interaction techniques are applied to any form of polymer or organic light emitting diode-based electronic flexible display technology.
Another embodiment of the invention is the application of said interaction techniques to flexible displays that mimic or otherwise behave as materials other than paper, including but not limited to textiles whether or not worn on the human body, three-dimensional objects, liquids and the likes.
In another embodiment, interaction techniques apply to projection on the skin of live or dead human bodies, the shape of which is sensed via computer vision or embedded accelerometer devices.
Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention pertains. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described below. All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are expressly incorporated by reference in their entirety. In cases of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control.
In addition, materials, methods, and examples described herein are illustrative only and are not intended to be limiting.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from and are encompassed by the following detailed description and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The following Detailed Description, given by way of example, but not intended to limit the invention to specific embodiments described, may be understood in conjunction with the accompanying Figures, incorporated herein by reference, in which:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
“Flexible Display” or “Flexible Display Surface” means any display surface made of any material, including, but not limited to displays constituted by projection and including, but not limited to real and electronic paper known in the art, based on Organic Light Emitting Devices or other forms of thin, thin-film or e-ink based technologies such as, e.g., described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,639,578, cardboard, Liquid Crystal Diode(s), Light Emitting Diode(s), Stacked Organic, Transparent Organic or Polymer Light Emitting Device(s) or Diode(s), Optical Fibre(s), Styrofoam, Plastic(s), Epoxy Resin, Textiles, E-textiles, or clothing, skin or body elements of a human or other organism, living or dead, Carbon-based materials, or any other three-dimensional object or model, including but not limited to architectural models, and product packaging. Within the scope of this application, the term is can be interpreted interchangeably as paper, document or paper window, but will not be limited to such interpretation.
The term “Paper Window” refers to one embodiment of a flexible display surface implemented by tracking the shape, orientation and location of a sheet of paper, projecting back and image onto said sheet of paper using a projection system, such that it constitutes a flexible electronic display. Within the scope of this application, the term is may be interpreted as interchangeable with flexible display, flexible display surface or document, but the terms flexible display, document and flexible display surface shall not be limited to such interpretation.
The term “document” is synonymous for Flexible Display or Flexible Display Surface.
“Marker” refers to a device that is affixed to a specific location on a flexible display surface for the purpose of tracking the position or orientation of said location on said surface. Said marker may consist of a small half-sphere made of material that reflects light in the infrared spectrum for the purpose of tracking location with an infrared computer vision camera. Said marker may also consist of an accelerometer that reports to a computer system for the purpose of computing the location of said marker, or any other type of location tracking system known in the art. A similar term used in this context is “point.”
“Fold” is synonymous with “Bend,” wherein folding is interpreted to typically be limited to a horizontal or vertical axis of the surface, whereas Bends can occur along any axis (2). Folding does not necessary lead to a crease.
Position and shape of flexible displays can be adjusted for various tasks: these displays can be spread about the desk, organized in stacks, or held close for a detailed view. Direct manipulation takes place with the paper display itself: by selecting and pointing using the fingers, or with a digital pen. The grammar of the interaction styles provided by this invention follows that of natural manipulation of paper and other flexible materials that hold information.
Hold. Users can hold a flexible display with one or two hands during use. The currently held display is the active document (
Flip or Turn.
In another embodiment, the flexible display is flipped around the y axis, such that the right hand side of the display is folded up, then over to the left. This may cause content to scroll to the right, revealing information to the right of what is currently on display. The opposite gesture, folding the left side of the display up then over to the right, may cause content to scroll to the left, revealing information to the left of what is currently on display. In the embodiment of multi-page documents, flipping gestures around the y-axis may be used by the application to navigate to the prior or next page of said document, pending the directionality of the gesture. In the embodiment of a web browser, said gesture may be used to navigate to the previous or next page of the browsing history, pending the directionality of the gesture.
Fold. Note that wherever the term “Fold” is used it can be substituted for the term “Bend” and vice versa, wherein folding is interpreted to typically be limited to a horizontal or vertical axes of the surface. Where folding a flexible display around either or both its horizontal or vertical axis, either in sequence or simultaneously, serves as a means of input to the software that alters the image content of the document, or affects associated computing functionality (see
Half fold. Where partly folding a flexible display on one side or corner of the Document causes a scroll, or the next or previous page in the associated file content to be displayed (
Semi-permanent fold. Where the act of folding a flexible display around either its horizontal or vertical axis, or both, in such way that it remains in a semi-permanent folded state after release, serves as input to a computing system. In a non-limiting example, folding causes any contents associated with flexible displays to be digitally archived. In another non-limiting example, the unfolding of the flexible display causes any contents associated with said flexible display to be un-archived and displayed on said flexible display. In another non-limiting example, said flexible display would reduce its power consumption upon a semi-permanent fold, increasing power consumption upon unfold (
Roll. Where the act of changing the shape of a flexible display such that said shape transitions from planar to cylindrical or vice versa serves as input to a computing system. In a non-limiting example, this causes any contents associated with the flexible display to be digitally archived upon a transition from planar to cylindrical shape (rolling up), and to be un-archived and displayed onto said flexible display upon a transition from cylindrical to planar shape (unrolling). In another non-limiting example, rolling up a display causes it to turn off, while unrolling a display causes it to turn on, or display content (
Bend. Where bending a flexible display around any axes serves as input to a computing system. Bend may produce some visible or invisible fold line (2) that may be used to select information on said display, for example, to determine a column of data properties in a spreadsheet that should be used for sorting. In another non-limiting example, a bending action causes graphical information to be transformed such that it follows the curvature of the flexible display, either in two or three dimensions. The release of a bending action causes the contents associated with the flexible display to be returned to its original shape. Alternatively, deformations obtained through bending may become permanent upon release of the bending action. (See
Rub. The rubbing gesture allows users to transfer content between two or more flexible displays, or between a flexible display and a computing peripheral (see
Staple. Like a physical staple linking a set of pages, two or more flexible displays may be placed together such that one impacts the second with a detectable force that is over a set threshold (see
Point. Users can point at the content of a paper window using their fingers or a digital pen (see
Two-handed Pointing: Two-handed pointing allows users to select disjoint items on a single flexible display, or across multiple flexible displays that are collocated (see
We designed a number of techniques for accomplishing basic tasks using our gesture set, according to the following non-limiting examples:
Activate. In GUIs, the active document is selected for editing by clicking on its corresponding window. If only one window is associated with one flexible display, the hold gesture can be used to activate that window, making it the window that receives input operations. The flexible display remains active until another flexible display is picked up and held by the user. Although this technique seems quite natural, it may be problematic when using an input device such as the keyboard. For example, a user may be reading from one flexible display while typing in another flexible display. To address this concern, users can bind their keyboard to the active window using a key.
Select. Items on a flexible display can be selected through a one-handed or two-handed pointing gesture. A user opens an item on a page for detailed inspection by pointing at it, and tapping it twice. Two-handed pointing allows parallel use of the hands to select disjoint items on a page. For example, sets of icons can be grouped quickly by placing one finger on the first icon in the set and then tapping one or more icons with the index finger of the other hand. Typically, flexible displays are placed on a flat surface when performing this gesture. Two-handed pointing can also be used to select items using rubber banding techniques. With this technique, any items within the rubber band, bounded by the location of the two finger tips, are selected upon release. Alternatively, objects on a screen can be selected as those located on a foldline or double foldline (2) produced by bends (see
Copy & Paste. In GUIs, copying and pasting of information is typically performed using four discrete steps: (1) specifying the source, (2) issuing the copy, (3) specifying the destination of the paste and (4) issuing the paste. In flexible displays, these actions can be merged into simple rubbing gestures:
Transfer to flexible display. Computer windows can be transferred to a flexible display by rubbing a blank flexible display onto the computer screen. The window content is transferred to the flexible display upon peeling the flexible display off the computer screen. The process is reversed when transferring a document displayed on a flexible display back to the computer screen.
Copy Between Displays. Users can copy content from one flexible display to the next. This is achieved by placing a flexible display on top of a blank display. The content of the source page is transferred by rubbing it onto the blank display. If prior selections exist on the source page, only highlighted items are transferred. Scroll. Users can scroll through content of a flexible display in discrete units, or pages. Scrolling action is initiated by half-folding, or folding then flipping the flexible displays around its horizontal or vertical axis with a flip or fold gesture. In a non-limiting example, this causes the next page in the associated content to be displayed on the back side of the flexible display. Users can scroll back by reversing the flip.
Browse. Flips or folds around the horizontal or vertical axis may also be used to specify back and forward actions that are application specific. For example, when browsing the web, a left flip may cause the previous page to be loaded. To return to the current page, users would issue a right flip. The use of spatially orthogonal flips allows users to scroll and navigate a document independently.
Views. The staple gesture can be used to generate parallel copies of a document on multiple flexible displays. Users can open a new view into the same document space by issuing a staple gesture impacting a blank display with a source display. This, for example, allows users to edit disjoint parts of the document simultaneously using two separate flexible displays. Alternatively, users can display multiple pages in a document simultaneously by placing a blank flexible display beside a source flexible display, thus enlarging the view according to the collocate gesture. Rubbing across both displays causes the system to display the next page of the source document onto the blank flexible display that is beside it.
Resize/Scale. Documents projected on a flexible display can be scaled using one of two techniques. Firstly, the content of a display can be zoomed within the document. Secondly, users can transfer the source material to a flexible display with a larger size. This is achieved by rubbing the source display onto a larger display. Upon transfer, the content automatically resizes to fit the larger format.
Share. Collocated users often share information by emailing or printing out documents. We implemented two ways of sharing: slave and copy. When slaving a document, a user issues a stapling gesture to clone the source onto a blank display. In the second technique, the source is copied to a blank display using the rubbing gesture, then handed to the group member.
Open. Users can use flexible displays, or other objects, including computer peripherals such as scanners and copiers as digital stationary. Stationary pages are blank flexible displays that only display a set of application icons. Users can open a new document on the flexible display by tapping an application icon. Users may retrieve content from a scanner or email appliance by rubbing it onto said scanner or appliance. Users may also put the display or associated computing resources in a state of reduced energy use through a roll or semi-permanent fold gesture, where said condition is reversed upon unrolling or unfolding said display.
Save. A document is saved by performing the rubbing gesture on a single flexible display, typically while it is placed on a surface.
Close. Content displayed on a flexible display may be closed by transferring its contents to a desktop computer using a rubbing gesture. Content may be erased by crumbling or shaking the flexible display.
Apparatus of the Invention
In one embodiment of the invention, a real piece of flexible, curved or three-dimensional material, such as a cardboard model, piece of paper, textile or human skin may be tracked using computer vision, modeled, texture mapped and then projected back upon the object. Alternatively, the computer vision methods may simply be used to track the shape, orientation and location of a flexible display that does not require the projection component. This in effect implements a projected two-sided flexible display surface that follows the movement, shape and curves of any object in six degrees of freedom. An overview of the elements required for such embodiment of the flexible display (1) is provided in
In one embodiment, the computer vision component uses a Vicon (23) tracker or equivalent computer vision system that can capture three dimensional motion data of retro-reflective markers mounted on the material. Our setup consists of 12 cameras (4) that surround the user's work environment, capturing three dimensional movement of all retro-reflective markers (3) within a workspace of 20′×10′ (see
In this embodiment, an initial process of modeling the flexible display is required before obtaining the marker data. First, a Range of Motion (ROM) trial is captured that describes typical movements of the flexible display through the environment. This data is used to reconstruct a three dimensional model that represents the flexible display. Vicon software calibrates the ROM trial to the model and uses it to understand the movements of the flexible display material during a real-time capture, effectively mapping each marker dot on the surface to a corresponding location on the model of the flexible display in memory. To obtain marker data, we modified sample code that is available as part of Vicon's Real Time Development Kit (23).
As said, each flexible display surface within the workspace is augmented with IR reflective markers, accelerometers and/or optic fibres that allow shape, deformation, orientation and location of said surface to be computed. In the embodiment of a paper sheet, or paper-shaped flexible display surface, the markers are affixed to form an eight point grid (see
Applications that provide content to the flexible displays run on an associated computer. In cases where the flexible display surface consists of a polymer flexible display capable of displaying data without projection, application windows are simply transferred and displayed on said display. In the case of a projected flexible display, application windows are first rendered off-screen into the OpenGL graphics engine. The graphics engine performs real-time screen captures, and maps a computer image to the three dimensional OpenGL model of the display surface. The digital projector then projects an inverse camera view back onto the flexible display surface. Back projecting the transformed OpenGL model automatically corrects for any skew caused by the shape of the flexible display surface, effective synchronizing the two. The graphics engine similarly models fingers and pens in the environment, posting this information to the off-screen window for processing as cursor movements. Alternatively, input from pens, fingers or other input devices can be obtained through other methods known in the art. In this non-limiting example, fingers (6) of the user (7) are tracked by augmenting them with 3 IR reflective markers (3). Sensors are placed evenly from the tip of the finger up to the base knuckle. Pens are tracked similarly throughout the environment. The intersection of a finger or pen with a flexible display surface is calculated using planar geometry. When the pen or finger is sufficiently close, its tip is projected onto the plane of the flexible display surface. The position of the tip is then related to the length and width of the display. The x and y position of the point on the display (1) is calculated using simple trigonometry. When the pen or finger touches the display, the input device is engaged.
In the embodiment of a projected flexible display, computer images or windows are rendered onto the paper by a digital projector (5) positioned above the workspace. The projector is placed such that it allows a clear line of sight with the flexible display surface between zero and forty-five degrees of visual angle. Using one projector introduces a set of tradeoffs. For example, positioning the projector close to the scene improves the image quality but reduces the overall usable space, and vice versa. Alternatively a set of multiple projectors can be used to render onto the flexible display surface as it travels throughout the environment of the user.
Initially, a calibration procedure is required to pair the physical position of the flexible display surface and the digital output of the projector. This is accomplished by adjusting the position, rotation, and size of the projector output until it matches the dimensions of the physical display surface.
In the following section, the term “marker” is interchangeable with the term “accelerometer”. Understanding the physical motion of paper and other materials in the system requires a combination of approaches. For gestures such as stapling, it is relatively easy to recognize when two flexible displays are rapidly moved towards each other. However, flipping requires knowledge of a flexible display surface's prior state. To recognize this event, the z location of markers at the top and bottom of the page is tracked. During a vertical or horizontal half-rotation, the relative location on the z dimension is exchanged between markers. The movement of the markers is compared to their previous position to determine the direction of the flip, fold or bend.
To detect more advanced gestures, like rubbing, marker data is recorded over multiple trials and then isolated in the data. Once located, the gesture is normalized and is used to calculate a distance vector for each component of the fingertip's movement. The system uses this distance vector to establish a confidence value. If this value passes a predetermined threshold the system recognizes the gesture, and if such gesture occurs near the display surface, a rubbing event is issued to the application.
There are many usage scenarios that would benefit from the functionality provided by the invention. One such non-limiting example is the selection of photos for printout from a digital photo database containing raw footage. Our design was inspired by the use of contact sheets by professional photographers. Users can compose a photo collage using two flexible displays, selecting a photo on one overview display and then rubbing it onto the second display with a rubbing gesture. This scenario shows the use of flexible display input as a focus and context technique, with one display providing a thumbnail overview of the database, and the other display offering a more detailed view.
Users can select thumbnails by pointing at the source page, or by selecting rows through producing a foldline with a bend gesture. By crossing two fold lines, a single photo or object may be selected. Thumbnails that appear rotated can be turned using a simple pivoting action of the index finger. After selection, thumbnails are transferred to the destination page through a rubbing gesture. After the copy, thumbnails may resize to fit the destination page. When done, the content of the destination flexible display can be printed by performing a rubbing gesture onto a printer. The printer location is tracked similarly to that of the flexible display, and is known to the system. Gestures supported by the invention can also be used to edit photos prior to selection. For example, photos are cropped by selecting part of the image with a two-handed gesture, and then rubbing the selection onto a destination flexible display. Photos can be enlarged by rubbing them onto a larger flexible display.
Flexible Cardboard Game
In this non-limiting embodiment, the invention is used to implement a computer game that displays its graphic animations onto physical game board pieces. Said pieces may consist of cardboard that is tracked and projected upon using the apparatus described in this invention, or electronic paper, LCD, e-ink, OLED or other forms of thin, or thin-film displays. The well-known board game Settlers of Catan consists of a game board design in which hexagonal pieces with printed functionality can be placed differently in each game, allowing for a game board that is different each game. Each hexagonal piece, or hex, represents a raw material or good that can be used to build roads or settlements, which is the purpose of the game. In this application, each hex is replaced by a flexible display of the same shape, the position and orientation of which is tracked through the hexes such that a board is formed. A computer algorithm then renders the functionality onto each flexible display hex. This is done through a computer algorithm that calculates and randomizes the board design each time, but within and according to the rules of the game. The graphics on the hexes is animated with computer graphics that track and represent the state of the game. All physical objects in the game are tracked by the apparatus of our invention and can potentially be used as display surfaces. For example, when a user rolls a die, the outcome of said roll is known to the game. Alternatively, the system may roll the die for the user, representing the outcome on a cube-shaped flexible display that represents the cast die. In the game, the number provided by said die indicates the hex that is to produce goods for the users. As an example of an animation presented on a hex during this state of the game, when the hex indicates woodland, a lumberjack may be animated to walk onto the hex to cut a tree, thus providing the wood resource to a user. Similarly, city and road objects may be animated with wagons and humans after they are placed onto the hex board elements. Hex elements that represent ports or seas may be animated with ships that move goods from port to port. Animations may trigger behavior in the game, making the game more challenging. For example, a city or port may explode, requiring the user to take action, such as rebuild the city or port. Or a resource may be depleted, which is represented by a woodland hex slowly turning into a meadow hex, and a meadow hex slowly turning into a desert hex that is unproductive. Climate may be simulated, allowing users to play the game under different seasonal circumstances, thus affecting their constraints. For example, during winters, ports may not be in use. This invention allows the functionality of pc-based or online computer games known in the art, such as Simcity, The Sims, World of Warcraft, or Everquest to be merged with that of physical board game elements.
3D Flexible Display Objects
In this non-limiting embodiment, the invention is used to provide display on any three dimensional object, such that it allows animation or graphics rendering on said three dimensional object. For example, the invention may be used to implement a rapid prototyping environment for the design of electronic appliance user interfaces, such as, for example, but not limited to, the Apple iPod. One element of such embodiment is a three dimensional model of the appliance, made out of card board, Styrofoam, or the like, and either tracked and projected upon using the apparatus of this invention or coated with electronic paper, LCD, e-ink, OLED or other forms of thin, or thin-film displays, such that the shapes and curvatures of the appliance are followed. Another flexible display apparatus described in this invention. Rather than setting up the board according to the rules of the game, users need just lay out the flexible display surface acts as a palette on which user interface elements such as displays and dials are displayed. These user interface elements can be selected and picked up by the user by tapping its corresponding location on the palette display. Subsequent tapping on the appliance model places the selected user interface element onto the appliance's flexible display surface. User interface elements may be connected or associated with each other using a pen or finger gesture on the surface of the model. For example, a dial user interface element may be connected to a movie user interface element on the model, such that said dial, when activated, causes a scroll through said movie. After organizing elements on the surface, subsequent tapping of the user onto the model may actuate functionality of the appliance, for example, a play button may cause the device to produce sound or play a video on its movie user interface element. This allows designers to easily experiment with various interaction styles and layout of interaction elements such as buttons and menus on the appliance design prior to manufacturing. In another embodiment, the above model is a three-dimensional architectural model that represents some building design. Here, each element of the architectural model consists of a flexible display surface. For example, one flexible display surface may be shaped as a wall element, while another flexible display surface may be shaped as a roof element that are physically placed together to form the larger architectural model. Another flexible display surface acts as a palette on which the user can select colors and materials. These can be pasted onto the flexible display elements of the architectural model using any of the discussed interaction techniques. Once pasted, said elements of the architectural model reflect and simulate materials or colors to be used in construction of the real building. As per Example 2, the flexible display architectural model can be animated such that living or physical conditions such as seasons or wear and tear can be simulated. In another embodiment, the flexible display model represents a product packaging. Here, the palette containing various graphical elements that can be placed on the product packaging, for example, to determine the positioning of typographical elements on the product. By extension of this example, product packaging may itself contain or consist of one or multiple flexible display surfaces, such that the product packaging can be animated or used to reflect some computer functionality, including but not limited to online content, messages, RSS feeds, animations, TV shows, newscasts, games and the like. As a non-limiting example, users may tap the surface of a soft drink or food container with an embedded flexible display surface to play a commercial advertisement or TV show on said container, or to check electronic messages. Users may rotate the container to scroll through content on its display, or use a rub gesture to scroll through content. In another embodiment, the product packaging is itself used as a pointing device, that allows users to control a remote computer system.
Flexible Textile Display
In this non-limiting example the flexible display surface consists of electronic textile displays such as but not limited to OLED textile displays known in the art, or white textiles that are tracked and projected upon using the apparatus of this invention. These textile displays may be worn by a human, and may contain interactive elements such as buttons, as per Example 3. In one embodiment of said flexible display fabric, the textile is worn by a human and the display is used by a fashion designer to rapidly prototype the look of various textures, colors or patterns of fabric on the design, in order to select said print for a dress or garment made out of real fabric. In another embodiment, said textures on said flexible textile displays are permanently worn by the user and constitute the garment. Here, said flexible display garment may display messages that are sent to said garment through electronic means by other users, or that represent advertisements and the like.
In another embodiment, the flexible textile display is worn by a patient in a hospital, and displays charts and images showing vital statistics, including but not limited to x-ray, ct-scan, or MRI images of said patient. Doctors may interact with user interface elements displayed on said flexible textile display through any of the interaction techniques of this invention and any technique know in prior art. This includes tapping on buttons or menus displayed on said display to select different vital statistics of said patient. In an operating theatre, the flexible textile display is draped on a patient in surgery to show models or images including but not limited to x-ray, ct-scan, MRI or video images of elements inside the patients body to aid surgeons in, for example, pinhole surgery and minimally invasive operations. Images of various regions in the patient's body may be selected by moving the display to that region.
Flexible Human Display
Alternatively, images of vital statistics, x-rays, ct-scans, MRIs, video images and the likes may be projected directly onto a patient to aid or otherwise guide surgery. Here, the human skin itself functions as a display through projection onto said skin, and through tracking the movement and shape of said skin by the apparatus of invention. Such images may contain user interface elements that can be interacted with by a user through techniques of this invention, and those known in the art. For example, tapping a body element may bring up a picture of the most recent x-ray of that element for display, or may be used as a form of input to a computer system.
Origami Flexible Display
In this embodiment, several pieces of flexible display are affixed to one another through a cloth, polymer, metal, plastic or other form of flexible hinge such that the shape of the overall display can be folded in a variety of three dimensional shapes, such as those found in origami paper folding. Folding action may lead to changes on the display or trigger computer functionality. Geometric shapes of the overall display may trigger behaviors or computer functionality.
Flexible Input Device
In this embodiment, the flexible surface with markers is used as input to a computer system that displays on a standard display that is not said flexible surface, allowing use of said flexible surface and the gestures in this invention as an input device to a computing system.
The contents of all cited patents, patent applications, and publications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. While the invention has been described with respect to illustrative embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various changes may be made in the embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the described embodiments are to be considered merely exemplary and the invention is not to be limited thereby.
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1. A method for capturing location, orientation and shape of one or more flexible display surface(s) comprising the steps of:
- a) Determining the location in three dimensions of one or more Points within said flexible display surface(s);
- b) Calculating a three dimensional model of the shape, orientation and location of said flexible display surface(s);
- c) Clustering locations of Points and fitting curves through said measured locations of Points to determine the three dimensional model; and
- d) Optionally determining the relative locations of Points such that the state of the shape or deformation of said flexible display surface(s) can be recognized.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the flexible display surface is a three dimensional surface made of a material, selected from a group consisting of: paper, cardboard, paper-like materials, electronic paper, thin substrate displays, thin-film substrate displays, flexible substrate displays, liquid crystal devices, liquid crystal diodes, light emitting devices, light emitting diodes, organic light emitting devices, stacked organic light emitting devices, transparent organic light emitting devices, polymer light emitting devices, organic light emitting diodes, stacked organic light emitting diodes, transparent organic light emitting diodes, polymer light emitting diodes, optical fibres, styrofoam, plastics, epoxy resin, textiles, e-textiles, clothing, skin of a living or dead human or other organism, body of a living or dead human or other organism, carbon-based materials and any three-dimensional object or model.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein a Point is a light reflective marker, embedded or otherwise affixed to said flexible display surface, and where the device for capturing three-dimensional location is an active or passive computer vision system that comprises one or more cameras.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein a Point is an accelerometer embedded or otherwise affixed to said flexible display surface, and where acceleration of said accelerometer is used to calculate the three dimensional position or velocity of said Point.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein Points are inferred from properties of said flexible display surface, as extracted from a background by a computer vision algorithm using properties of said flexible display surface that include shape, color, image or brightness.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein deformation of said flexible display surface is determined by measuring the intensity of light passing through one or more optical fiber mounted along said flexible display surface.
7. A method for capturing the location in three dimensions of the finger(s) of one or multiple hands or some tool held by one or multiple hand(s) for the purpose of determining location of said finger(s) or said tool or said hand(s) within a flexible display surface, comprising the steps of:
- a) Measuring the location in three dimensions of one or more Point(s) located on said fingers or stylus; and
- b) Relating said location of said Points to a coordinate system defined by said flexible display surface so as to obtain a position relative to said coordinate system.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein a Point is a light reflective marker, embedded or otherwise affixed to said flexible display surface, and where the device for capturing three-dimensional location is an active or passive computer vision system that comprises one or more cameras.
9. The method of claim 8 where the marker is selected from a group consisting of: infrared reflective semisphere or sphere, infrared reflective pattern or object, sphere, semisphere or pattern reflecting specific color(s) in the visible light spectrum, and infrared reflective ink pattern.
10. The method of claim 7 wherein a Point is an accelerometer embedded or otherwise affixed to said flexible display surface, and where acceleration of said accelerometer is used to calculate the three dimensional position or velocity of said Point.
11. The method of claim 7 wherein the location of fingers or tools are sensed through other means known in the art, including but not limited to touch screen, capacitive sensors, electromagnetic field tracking or other forms of computer vision.
12. A method for projecting Image(s) onto a surface corrected for shape, orientation and location of said surface through a model obtained by methods of claim 1 and 2, onto said surface(s), using a series of projector(s) mounted such that they project upon the flexible display surface(s), and cover the space through which said flexible display surface(s) may move.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein the Image is a three dimensional model consisting of the shape and/or location and/or orientation of said surface, and wherein said three dimensional model is texture-mapped with a second Image selected from a group consisting of: the contents of a computer window, the contents of a computer file or document, any other static electronic image(s)., and any moving electronic images.
14. The method of claim 12 wherein the surface is a three dimensional surface made of a material selected from a group consisting of: paper, cardboard, paper-like materials, electronic paper, thin substrate displays, thin-film substrate displays, flexible substrate displays, liquid crystal devices, liquid crystal diodes, light emitting devices, light emitting diodes, organic light emitting devices, stacked organic light emitting devices, transparent organic light emitting devices, polymer light emitting devices, organic light emitting diodes, stacked organic light emitting diodes, transparent organic light emitting diodes, polymer light emitting diodes, optical fibres, styrofoam, plastics, epoxy resin, textiles, e-textiles, clothing, skin of a living or dead human or other organism, body of a living or dead human or other organism, carbon-based materials and any three-dimensional object or model.
15. A method for providing input to a computer system that uses properties of shape, orientation and/or location of one or more flexible surface(s) associated with said computer system, or deformation of said properties, wherein said properties are selected from a group consisting of:
- a) Hold, wherein a single flexible surface is activated as a destination of computer commands, or activates associated computing commands, by holding it with one or two hands, and where said surface remains the active surface until another such surface is activated.
- b) Collocate, wherein collocating multiple flexible surfaces is used to create a larger flexible surface, which act serves as input to a computer system.
- c) Collate, wherein multiple flexible surfaces are organized by stacking them on top of one another, and where such organization is used as input to a computer system.
- d) Flip or Turn, wherein rotating a flexible surface around its horizontal or vertical axes such that one of the extremities of the surfaces is lifted up, then folded over, is used as input to a computer system.
- e) Fold, wherein folding a flexible surface around any of its axes serves as a means of input to a computer system.
- f) Part-fold, wherein partly folding a flexible surface on serves as input to a computer system.
- g) Semi-permanent fold, wherein the act or shape resulting from folding a flexible surface around any of its axes in such way that it remains in a folded state after release, serves as input to a computing system.
- h) Roll, wherein the act of changing the shape of a flexible surface such that said shape transitions from planar to cylindrical or vice versa serves as input to a computing system.
- i) Bend, wherein bending a flexible surface around any of its axes serves as input to a computing system.
- j) Rub, wherein providing a rubbing gesture in which the hand or finger or some tool is moved back and forth over a flexible surface is used as input to a computing system.
- k) Staple, wherein the act of impacting a first flexible surface with a second flexible surface serves as input to a computing system; and
- l) Pointing, wherein the location of such hand(s), tool or finger(s) serve as input to a computing system.
16. The method of claim 15 wherein property j is applied to a first flexible surface collated on top of a second flexible surface, and wherein said property causes the content of said first flexible surface to be copied or otherwise moved onto said second flexible display surface.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein said second flexible surface is a traditional or rigid computer display terminal, and wherein said content is moved from said second flexible surface to said first flexible surface if said first flexible surface does not display an image, or vice versa when said first flexible surface does display an image.
18. The method of claim 16 wherein said second flexible surface is any computing peripheral that has a processing action and corresponding software associated, and wherein content is moved from said first flexible surface to said computing peripheral for processing.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein said computing peripheral is a printer or network peripheral, and wherein said content is moved to said printer or network peripheral for printing, or to a remote location for printing or viewing on a computing system.
20. The method of claim 15 wherein said input to a computing system causes a command to execute on said computing system and wherein said command is selected from a group consisting of:
- a) Activate, wherein a file or computer content, image, selection, or window associated with or displaying on said flexible surface is selected for other commands, such as but not limited to editing commands.
- b) Zoom in or Enlarge, wherein an image or content of a file associated with said flexible surface is enlarged or zoomed in on.
- c) Zoom out or Reduce, wherein an image associated with said flexible surface is reduced or zoomed out of.
- d) Organize, wherein some property of file(s), digital information, text, images, or other computer content associated with or displaying on said flexible surface(s) is organized or sorted digitally in a way that matches properties of the physical organization of said flexible surface(s), such as, but not limited to, their physical order.
- e) Scroll, wherein an image or content of a file associated with said flexible surface is scrolled, such that a portion of said image, or content of said file is revealed that is currently not rendered, or that is contiguous to what is currently rendered on said flexible surface, or some other display.
- f) Page Down, wherein a section of the content of a file that is subsequent to the section of said content that is currently displayed on or associated with said flexible surface, or some other display, is navigated to such that it causes said subsequent section to render on said flexible surface or display.
- g) Page Up, wherein a section of the content of a file that precedes the section of said content that is currently displayed on or associated with said flexible surface, or some other display, is navigated to such that it causes said subsequent section to render on said flexible surface or display.
- h) Navigate, wherein an arbitrary section of the content of a file associated with the flexible surface, or some online content or hyperlink associated with said surface is navigated to such that it causes said content to render on said flexible surface or some other display.
- i) Page Back or Forward, wherein a section of the content of a file, or some online content, webpage or hyperlink that precedes or follows the content currently displayed or associated with the flexible surface, is navigated to such that it causes said content to render on said flexible surface or some other display.
- j) Open or Close, wherein some file or digital information associated with said flexible display is opened or closed, read into memory, or out to a permanent medium.
- k) Sleep or Wake, wherein said flexible display surface is de-activated, or activated from a state of reduced energy use.
- l) Deformation, wherein the shape of a three dimensional model associated with said flexible surface is deformed in such way that it follows the deformation of said flexible surface, in any dimension.
- m) Save, wherein the file associated with the flexible display is saved to a hard drive or other permanent medium.
- n) Move or Copy, wherein a section of the content of a file, or other digital information, or some selection thereof, currently associated with said flexible surface is transferred to another flexible surface or computing device.
- o) Duplicate, wherein the information or file associated with one flexible surface is made identical to that of a second flexible surface so as to clone or duplicate said information on said second flexible surface.
- p) Select, where items or images, or both, displayed within a flexible display surface are selected; and
- q) Stationary, wherein said flexible surface or some other display shows a set of icons indicating a set of computing applications, or potential functionality of said flexible surface or display and wherein said computing system refrains to context of interaction of said computing system to said application functionality, after selecting said icon of said application.
21. The method of claim 15 wherein the flexible surface is a flexible display or flexible display surface.
International Classification: G09G 5/00 (20060101);