Title:
Action seating
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Action seating receives a wireless signal from source equipment and integrated control and generation of motion. The wireless signal is derived from audio and/or visual presentations including music, television, movies, training systems, video games, and the like. The wireless signal may be provided using an Infra Red (IR) link, Radio Frequency (RF) link, or signal superimposed on home power wiring to transmit a signal from the source equipment to the action seating. The integrated control may control, for example, absolute or relative levels of motion. In one embodiment, a concealable control panel deploys from an armrest, which control panel may include a display providing control parameter information.



Inventors:
Lee, Noel (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
10/655487
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
09/03/2003
Assignee:
MONSTER, LLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/4.62, 297/29
International Classes:
A47C7/72; (IPC1-7): A47D1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PAUL, DISLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LaRiviere, Grubman & Payne, LLP (P.O. Box 3140, Monterey, CA, 93942, US)
Claims:
1. A system for providing motion to seating, comprising: at least one seating; a receiver for receiving a wireless signal and generating an input signal; a signal processor for converting the input signal into at least one transducer signal; and at least one transducer for receiving the at least one transducer signal and providing motion to the seating, which motion is responsive to the transducer signal.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the transducer signal comprises at least one low level transducer signal and at least one high level transducer signal, and wherein the system further includes at least one amplifier for amplifying the low level transducer signal to generate the high level transducer signal.

3. The system of claim 1 further including a control center for controlling parameters of the motion generated by the transducers.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein the control center includes at least one control panel with at least one control.

5. The system of claim 3 wherein the control center includes controls for adjusting at least one level of the transducer signal.

6. The system of claim 5 wherein the controls are further adapted to independently adjust at least two frequency bands in the transducer signal.

7. The system of claim 3 wherein the control center includes at least one display for displaying information regarding the control of the parameters.

8. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is an Infra Red (IR) signal.

9. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is a Radio Frequency (RF) signal.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is a carrier by home power wiring.

11. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is associated with a movie.

12. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is associated with music.

13. The system of claim 1 wherein the wireless signal is associated with a game.

14. The system of claim 1 including a transmitter for receiving a source signal from at least one member of a group consisting of a television, a stereo, an audio amplifier, an audio/video amplifier, and a game set, converting the source signal into the wireless signal, and transmitting the wireless signal to the receiver.

15. Seating for providing a sensation of motion to accompany audio and/or visual entertainment, comprising: a transmitter for converting a signal indicative of the sensation of motion into a wireless signal and transmitting the wireless signal; a receiver for receiving the wireless signal and for converting the wireless signal into at least one low level transducer signal; at least one amplifier for converting the low level transducer signal into a high level transducer signal; and a transducer for converting the high level transducer signal into motion of the seating.

16. A method for providing a sensation of motion, comprising: receiving a wireless signal; processing the wireless signal to generate at least one transducer signal; and powering at least one transducer with the transducer signal, wherein the at least one transducer mechanically cooperates with a seating surface.

17. The method of claim 16 further including transmitting the wireless signal from an audio system.

18. The method of claim 16 further including transmitting the wireless signal from an audio-video system

19. The method of claim 16 further including transmitting the wireless signal from a game system

20. The method of claim 16 further including adjusting the frequency coloring of the transducer signal.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a system for providing a sense of motion and more particularly to seating including transducers for generating seating motion, and a wireless link to a signal source.

BACKGROUND ART

Many enhancements to the audio and audio visual entertainment experience have become available in recent years. Dolby Surround Sound provides five or more independent sound tracks to create a theater like experience for home movie viewing. The Stereo Retrieval System (SRS) developed by Arnold Klayman takes advantage to psycho-acoustic effects to create an impression of fuller three dimensional sound for a listener based on the manner in which the human brain interprets sound. Additionally, sub-woofer channels may be provided to create high power, low frequency signals which are both heard, and felt, thereby enhancing the entertainment experience.

Some efforts have been made to integrate transducers directly into seating to provide a more direct low frequency motion experience. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,314,403 issued May 24, 1994 for “Apparatus for the enhancement of the enjoyment of the extremely low frequency component of music, ” teaches a motion device for enhancing enjoyment of electronically reproduced music. The '403 patent describes a chair with liquid-filled bladders coupled to transducers such as electromagnetic driver assemblies responsive to audio-frequency electrical signals. Other devices such as the Bass Shaker made by AURA Sound, 2335 Alaska Ave, El Segundo, Calif. 90245 or the Buttkicker® shacker, made by The Guitammer Company Inc., Post Office Box 82, Westerville, Ohio 43086, are adapted to mount on existing seating to reproduce the “feeling” of many natural and man-made sounds, such as earthquakes, thunderstorms, rocket launches, waves, explosions, tornadoes, volcanoes, dinosaurs, sound effects, all styles of music, and the like.

Although existing devices have provided some degree of enhanced motion experience, they have failed to provide an integrated system. Such existing devices require running wires from an audio source to the device. In many cases, it is inconvenient or unattractive to run such wiring. Also, the lack of an integrated control for such devices results in degraded ergonomics and detracts from the appeal to a user. What is therefore needed is an integrated wireless action seating providing motion to accompany the audio or audio visual entertainment experience.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The present invention addresses the above and other needs by providing action seating receiving a wireless signal from source equipment. In response to the wireless signal, the action seating generates motion associated with audio and/or visual presentations including music, television, movies, training systems, video games, and the like. The wireless signal may be provided over an Infra Red (IR) link, Radio Frequency (RF) link, or signal superimposed on home power wiring, to transmit a signal from the source equipment to the action seating. The action seating may further include an integrated control for controlling, for example, levels of motion. In one embodiment, a concealable control panel deploys from an armrest, which control panel may include a display providing control parameter values.

In one embodiment, the action seating of the present invention includes at least one seating, a receiver for receiving a wireless signal and generating an input signal, a signal processor for converting the input signal into at least one transducer signal, and at least one transducer for receiving the at least one transducer signal and providing motion to the seating responsive to the transducer signal. A preferable range of frequencies for the motion of the seating is between 5 Hz and 400 Hz, and the signal processor may include electrical circuits to filter (e.g., band pass filtering) the input signal to obtain the preferred frequency range. The signal processor may further color the transducer signal to emphasize a portion of the frequency range, for example a lower portion of the frequency range may receive greater emphasis than a higher portion of the frequency range. The action seating may further include one or more amplifiers for amplifying a low level transducer signal to generate a high level transducer signal for powering the transducer(s). Such amplifiers are generally know as power amplifiers. The action seating may also include a control center having a control panel and at least one control for controlling motion parameters, for example, the level of the motion created by the transducer(s). The control center may further include a display for displaying control parameter information, or alternatively or selectively, displaying various motion parameters such as the spectral content of the transducer signal(s). The wireless signal may be provided to the action seating over an Infra Red (IR) link, a Radio Frequency (RF) link, or by transmitting the wireless signal over home power wiring. A transmitter may be adapted for receiving a source signal originating from at least one member of a group consisting of a television, a stereo, an audio amplifier, an audio/video amplifier, a game set, and the like, converting the source signal into a wireless signal, and transmitting the wireless signal to the receiver. The source signal may further be extracted from a power amplifier speaker level output. Such action seating may provide motion to a listen and/or viewer to enhance an entertainment experience, or to a game player to enhance the game playing experience. The present invention may also provide a more realistic training experience. The present invention advantageously provides a wireless link between a source and the action seating, thereby eliminating cumbersome and visually displeasing cables, and provides an integrated control panel to eliminate the unattractive appearance of add-on controls.

The present invention further includes a method for providing a sensation of motion, comprising wirelessly receiving a wireless signal, processing the wireless signal to generate at least one transducer signal, and powering at least one transducer with the transducer signal, wherein the at least one transducer mechanically cooperates with a seating surface. The present invention may include deriving the wireless signal from an audio system, an audio-video system, a game system, or the like. The present invention may further include adjusting the spectral content, using for example a graphic equalizer, of the transducer signal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 shows an overview of action seating in wireless cooperation with a source device;

FIG. 2 depicts components of an entertainment system including the action seating;

FIG. 3 depicts components of a game system including the action seating;

FIG. 4A shows a couch suitable for action seating;

FIG. 4B shows the couch suitable for action seating, with a control center deployed from an armrest of the couch by rotating the control panel out of the arm rest;

FIG. 4C shows the couch suitable for action seating, with a control center in the armrest of the couch, accessed by rotating an armrest cover;

FIG. 5 depicts the control center, which includes a cup holder, a control panel with controls and a display, and a remote control holder;

FIG. 6 shows an example wherein the display presents a graphic equalizer;

FIG. 7 shows a second example wherein the display represents the level of motion and the levels of speakers;

FIG. 8A depicts a method for providing action seating in cooperation with an audio or video device; and

FIG. 8B depicts a method for providing action seating in cooperation with a game device.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding components throughout the several views of the drawings.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The following description is of the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.

The action seating 10 of the present invention may be used in cooperation with various source equipment, for example, a television 14 as shown in FIG. 1, to provide an enhanced experience to a viewer. A first wireless signal 12a carries a wireless signal between the television 14 and the action seating 10, thereby eliminating the need to run cumbersome and visually displeasing cables.

A diagram of an example of the components of the action seating 10 in cooperation with source equipment comprising an audio-video system 1a, is shown in FIG. 2. The audio-video system 11a comprises an audio-video receiver 16, speakers 36a and 36b, a sub-woofer 20, a monitor or television 40 and a transmitter 24. The audio-video receiver 16 processes signals from, for example, a television antenna, a cable, video tapes, DVD disks, and the like, and provides speaker signals 38a and 38b to the speakers 36a and 36b, a sub-woofer signal 18 to the sub-woofer 20, video signals 42 to the monitor 40, and a source signal 22 to the transmitter 24. The video signals may be in the form of video S signals, component video signals, or the like. The transmitter 24 may alternatively receive the sub-woofer signal 18, or some other signal available from the audio-video receiver 16. Also, the audio-video receiver 16 may be replaced by one or more components, for example, a pre-amplifier, and power amplifier, in which case, the source signal 22 may originate in the pre-amplifier, a CD player, a DVD player, or the like. The source signal 22 may also be obtained from speaker level signals, using a line output converter, a signal level attenuator, or the like. Further, an action seating 10 receiving a signal derived from any component of the source equipment is intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

Continuing with FIG. 2, the transmitter 24 transmits the first wireless signal 12a to a receiver/signal processor 26, which receiver/signal processor 26 is in electrical cooperation with the action seating 10. The receiver/signal processor 26 may be a single device, or the receiving function and signal processing function may be allocated to two or more separate devices. The receiver/signal processor 26 receives and processes the first wireless signal 12a to generate a first low level transducer signal 28a and a second low level transducer signal 28b (e.g., line level signals). A first amplifier 27a and second amplifier 27b receive the signals 28a and 28b and generate a first high level transduce signal 29a and a second high level transducer signal 29b respectively, which signals 29a and 29b are similar to speaker level signals. The signals 29a and 29b are provided to the first transducer 30a and second transducer 30b respectively. The transducers 30a and 30b are mechanically connected by a first actuator 32a and a second actuator 32b to the first cushion 34a and the second cushion 34b respectively, and convert the signals 29a and 29b into mechanical energy, causing motion of the cushions 34a and 34b.

The number of transducers included in the action seating may vary based on the size of the action seating, and on the amount of motion to be provided, and an action seating with any number of transducers is intended to come within the scope of the present invention. The number of low level signals, amplifiers, and high level transducer signals may also vary. For example, a single low level transducer signal may be provided to one or more amplifiers, and the high level transducer signal output by one or more amplifiers may be provided to one or more transducers. Further, different magnitudes of signals may be provided to transducers connected to substantially horizontal and substantially vertical cushions, and other magnitudes of signals may be provided in side cushions. The transducers may be connected to cushions by dedicated mechanical actuators, be mechanically attached to the frame supporting the cushions, be directly attached to the cushions, or be inside the cushions. An action seating with any of the above mentioned combinations is intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

The signal processing performed by the receiver/signal processor 26 to generate the signals 28a and 28b may be controlled by a control center 46 through a control signal 47. Such control may include the level of motion (i.e., power provided to the transducers), relative levels of power to different transducers, spectral content of power signals provided to different transducers (i.e., a graphic equalizer), or any other control signal.

The transmitter 24 is preferably an RF transmitter. RF transmitters are known in the art, such as the TERK LF-20S Wireless Stereo Audio and Color Video Transmitter System manufactured by TERK Technologies; 63 Mall Drive Commack N.Y., and the JENSEN JV-2400 Wireless Audio/Video Signal Sender manufactured by Jensen Electronics. Such RF transmitters may be used to wirelessly transmit signals from source equipment to the action seating, or the electrical components of such transmitters, or equivalent circuits, may be incorporated in the action seating.

A diagram of an example of the components of the action seating 10 in cooperation with source equipment comprising a game system 11b, is shown in FIG. 3. The game system may include a game console 44 which may be any one of a number of commercially available game consoles. The game console 44 may be connected to a television or monitor 60 by a television signal 62. The transmitter 24 receives the source signal 22 from the game console 44, and transmits the wireless signal 12a to the receiver/signal processor 26. In addition to providing motion, the action seating 10 may also provide a video game control function using a game controller 45 providing a first game controller signal 43a to the control center 46, which signal 43a is forwarded to the receiver/signal processor 26. The receiver/signal processor 26 may then generate a second wireless signal 12b which is sent to the transmitter 24. The transmitter 24 may then generate a second game controller signal 43b, which signal 43b is sent to the game console 44, wherein the signal 43b is functionally equivalent to the signal 43a, but is not necessarily identical. The wireless signal 12b eliminates the need for cables running between the action seating 10 and the game console 44, thereby eliminating cumbersome and visually displeasing cables between the game player and game console 44. The wireless signal 12b may alternatively contain control information for audio or video entertainment.

An exemplar action seating embodied in an action couch 10a is shown in FIG. 4A. The action couch 10a may include a control center 46 deployed from the side of a first armrest 64a as shown in FIG. 4B, or the action couch 10a may include a control center 46 accessed by rotating an armrest cover 66 of a second armrest 64b as shown in FIG. 4C. Various other embodiments of hidden or visible control centers may be utilized with the action seating 10, and these various embodiments are intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

An exemplar control center 46 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5. The control center 46 includes a cup holder 48, the control panel 50 including controls 52 and display 54, and a remote control holder 56. The control center 46 may further include receptacles 58 for video game controls or the like. Various combinations of controls, displays, holders, and receptacles may be incorporated in the control center 46, and these variations are contemplated by the present invention. For example, the control center 46 may include a joy stick for adjusting a sound field, and the display may cooperate with the joy stick to depict the changes being made.

An example of a the display 54 presenting the results of graphic equalization or frequency coloring is shown in FIG. 6. Such graphic equalization or frequency coloring may be directed by the controls 52 (FIG. 5), and may shape the frequencies of the signals provided to the transducers 30a and 30b (FIGS. 2 and 3). Such equalization may occur, for example in the amplifiers 27a or 27b (FIGS. 2 and 3), in a second signal processor integrated into the action seating, or in a signal processor element of the system 11a or 11b (FIGS. 2 and 3). The signals may be frequency colored to, for example, emphasize low frequencies, to achieve a desired experience. The lowest frequencies provided to the transducers may preferably be emphasized to have one to ten times greater power than the highest frequencies, and more preferably emphasized to be three to seven ten times greater power than the highest frequencies. Further, a multiplicity of frequency coloring profiles may be stored and selectable for re-use at a later date. The display 54 may further display relative levels of emphasis of motion of the action seating and speaker levels, as shown in FIG. 7.

An example of a method according to the present invention is described in FIG. 8A. A source signal is obtained from source equipment at block 70. A wireless signal is generated from the source signal, and the wireless signal is wirelessly transmitted to an action seating at block 72. The signal is received by the action seating at block 74. A transducer signal is generated from the wireless signal at block 76. And lastly, a transducer is actuated by the transducer signal in block 78. The method may also include obtaining the source signal from audio equipment, audio-video equipment, or a game system. The method may further comprise adjusting the spectral content of the transducer signal.

A second method according to the present invention, and practiced in cooperation with the first method, is described in FIG. 8B. A control signal is obtained from a video game control at block 80. The control signal is converted to a second wireless signal and wirelessly transmitted at block 82. The second wireless signal is received at the source equipment at block 84. The second wireless signal is converted back to the control signal at block 86. And lastly, the control signal is provided to a game console at block 88. The second method may similarly be exercised to control various functions of the source equipment using controls electrically connected to the action seating.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention set forth in the claims.

Information as herein shown and described in detail is fully capable of attaining the above-described object of the invention, the present preferred embodiment of the invention, and is, thus, representative of the subject matter which is broadly contemplated by the present invention. The scope of the present invention fully encompasses other embodiments which may become obvious to those skilled in the art, and is to be limited, accordingly, by nothing other than the appended claims, wherein reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more.” All structural and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described preferred embodiment and additional embodiments that are known to those of ordinary skill in the art are hereby expressly incorporated by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims.

Moreover, no requirement exists for a device or method to address each and every problem sought to be resolved by the present invention, for such to be encompassed by the present claims. Furthermore, no element, component, or method step in the present disclosure is intended to be dedicated to the public regardless of whether the element, component, or method step is explicitly recited in the claims. However, one skilled in the art should recognize that various changes and modifications in form and material details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventiveness as set forth in the appended claims. No claim herein is to be construed under the provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 112, sixth paragraph, unless the element is expressly recited using the phrase “means for.”