Title:
METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLING A REMOTE CONTROLLED VEHICLE USING TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method (700) and system (100) for remotely controlling a remote controlled vehicle (150) can include a wireless transceiver (154), at least one impact sensor (158, 160, 162, 164, 166 or 168) on the remote-controlled vehicle, and a processor (156) or processor (106) in a remote controller (102) operatively coupled to at least one impact sensor and the wireless transceiver. The processor can be programmed to sense (702) impacts to at least a portion of the remote-controlled vehicle, modify (704) operation of the remote-controlled vehicle in response to the at least one impact sensed, and transmit (706) information to a remote controller with respect to the at least one impact sensed. The system can further include another wireless transceiver (104) in the remote controller for controlling the remote-controlled vehicle and receiving communication from or originating from the remote-controlled vehicle or another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle.



Inventors:
Smith, Sybren D. (PLANTATION, FL, US)
Bozzone, Stephen O. (LAUDERHILL, FL, US)
Hayes, David J. (LAKE WORTH, FL, US)
Mock, Von A. (BOYNTON BEACH, FL, US)
Schultz, Charles P. (NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/424189
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/14/2006
Assignee:
MOTOROLA, INC. (SCHAUMBURG, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H30/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
RADA, ALEX P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Akerman, Senterfitt (P.O. BOX 3188, WEST PALM BEACH, FL, 33402-3188, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of controlling a remote-controlled vehicle, comprising the steps of: sensing impacts to portions of the remote-controlled vehicle; selectively modifying operation of the remote-controlled vehicle based on the impact to the portions of the remote-controlled vehicle; and providing feedback relating to the impacts to a remote controller.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of selectively modifying is based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the number of hits required for modifying an operation of the remote-controlled vehicle is different for different portions of the remote-controlled vehicle.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the effect of impacts continues for a duration of a contest or a session and is re-enabled or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session or by using a purchased or downloaded digital asset to provide a partial or a full repair.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of presenting an indication of the impact to the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of presenting comprises modifying lights, a temperature, an odor, light emitting diodes, a display, a vibrating device, or a sound generating device on a remote controller or the remote-controlled vehicle.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of presenting an indication of the impact given to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of transferring digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another as a result of a competition.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of presenting an indication of imparting an impact to a predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

10. A remote controlled vehicle system, comprising: a wireless transceiver in a remote-controlled vehicle; at least one impact sensor on the remote-controlled vehicle; and a processor operatively coupled to the at least one impact sensor and the wireless transceiver, wherein the processor is programmed to: sense impacts to at least a portion of the remote-controlled vehicle using the at least one impact sensor; modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle in response to the at least one impact sensed; and transmit information to a remote controller with respect to the at least one impact sensed.

11. The remote-controlled vehicle system of claim 10, wherein the system further comprises another wireless transceiver in the remote controller for controlling the remote-controlled vehicle and receiving communication from or originating from the remote-controlled vehicle or another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle.

12. The remote-controlled vehicle system of claim 10, wherein the processor is further programmed to modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle.

13. The remote-controlled vehicle system of claim 10, wherein the processor is further programmed to continue the effect of impacts on the remote-controlled vehicle for a duration of a contest or a session and re-enable or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session.

14. The remote-controlled vehicle system of claim 10, wherein the system further comprises a presentation device among a light, a temperature, an odor, a light emitting diode, a display, a vibrating device, or a sound generating device wherein the processor is further programmed to present an indication of the impact on the presentation device.

15. The remote-controlled vehicle system of claim 10, wherein the processor is further programmed to present an indication of an impact given to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

16. A remote controller for a remote-controlled vehicle having at least one impact sensor, comprising: a wireless transceiver; a presentation device; and a processor coupled to the wireless transceiver and the presentation device, wherein the processor is programmed to: control the remote-controlled vehicle; and present on the presentation device a representation of an impact sensed at the at least one impact sensor.

17. The remote controller of claim 16, wherein the presentation device is a light, a temperature, an odor, a light emitting diode, a display, a vibrating device or a sound generating device.

18. The remote controller of claim 16, wherein the processor is further programmed to enable the transfer of digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another as a result of a competition.

19. The remote controller of claim 16, wherein the processor is further programmed to present an indication of imparting an impact to a predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

20. The remote controller of claim 16, wherein the remote controller is a portion of a cellular phone, two-way radio, palm computer, handheld game console or media player with wireless capability.

Description:

FIELD

This invention relates generally to communication systems, and more particularly to a remote controlling system and method using two-way communication.

BACKGROUND

Currently, all games that are played with remote-controlled (RC) toys are up to the imagination of the users. With only simple one-way communications, there is no real way to automatically “keep score” or simulate real race events. Additionally, there are no “penalties” that can be kept track of in the case of wrecks, collisions, impacts, or lost races.

SUMMARY

Embodiments in accordance with the present invention can provide a remote-controlled two-way communication system that can simulate or represent some of the impacts occurring on the remote-controlled device on a remote controller (and/or the remote-controlled device).

In a first embodiment of the present invention, a method of controlling a remote-controlled vehicle can include the steps of sensing impacts to portions of the remote-controlled vehicle, selectively modifying operation of the remote-controlled vehicle based on the impact to the portions of the remote-controlled vehicle, and providing feedback relating to the impacts to a remote controller. The remote-controlled vehicle can have its operation selectively modified based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle. Note, the number of hits required for modifying an operation of the remote-controlled vehicle can be different for different portions of the remote-controlled vehicle. Also note that the effect of impacts continues for a duration of a contest or a session and is re-enabled or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session. The method can also include the step of presenting an indication of the impact to the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller. Presenting can involve modifying lights, light emitting diodes, a display, a temperature, an odor, a vibrating device, or a sound generating device on a remote controller or the remote-controlled vehicle. The method can also present an indication of the impact given or imparted to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller and in one particular embodiment, the method can present an indication of imparting an impact to a “sweet spot” or predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller. The method can also include transferring digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another or access to operate another player's vehicle as a result of a competition.

In a second embodiment of the present invention, a remote controlled vehicle system can include a wireless transceiver in a remote-controlled vehicle, at least one impact sensor on the remote-controlled vehicle, and a processor operatively coupled to the at least one impact sensor and the wireless transceiver. The processor can be programmed to sense impacts to at least a portion of the remote-controlled vehicle using the at least one impact sensor, modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle in response to the at least one impact sensed, and transmit information to a remote controller with respect to the at least one impact sensed. The system can further include another wireless transceiver in the remote controller for controlling the remote-controlled vehicle and receiving communication from or originating from the remote-controlled vehicle or another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle. The processor can also be programmed to modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle or to continue the effect of impacts on the remote-controlled vehicle for a duration of a contest or a session and re-enable or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session. The system can further include a presentation device such as a light, a light emitting diode, a display, a temperature, an odor, a vibrating device, or a sound generating device where the processor is further programmed to present an indication of the impact on the presentation device. As discussed above, the processor or presentation device can also be programmed to present an indication of an impact given to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

In a third embodiment of the present invention, a remote controller for a remote-controlled vehicle having at least one impact sensor can include a wireless transceiver, a presentation device, and a processor coupled to the wireless transceiver and the presentation device. The processor can be programmed to control the remote-controlled vehicle and present on the presentation device a representation of an impact sensed at the at least one impact sensor. The presentation device can be light, a light emitting diode, a display, a vibrating device or a sound generating device and the remote controller can be part of a cellular phone or two-way radio. The processor in the remote controller can further be programmed to enable the transfer of digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another as a result of a competition or to present an indication of imparting an impact to a “sweet spot” or predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller or grant control of a vehicle via a digital code, radio frequency setting or password.

The terms “a” or “an,” as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term “plurality,” as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term “another,” as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms “including” and/or “having,” as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language). The term “coupled,” as used herein, is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically.

The terms “program,” “software application,” and the like as used herein, are defined as a sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system. A program, computer program, or software application may include a subroutine, a function, a procedure, an object method, an object implementation, an executable application, an applet, a servlet, a source code, an object code, a shared library/dynamic load library and/or other sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system. The “processor” as described herein can be any suitable component or combination of components, including any suitable hardware or software, that are capable of executing the processes described in relation to the inventive arrangements.

Other embodiments, when configured in accordance with the inventive arrangements disclosed herein, can include a system for performing and a machine readable storage for causing a machine to perform the various processes and methods disclosed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a remote-controlled vehicle system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a remote controller depicting a remote-controlled vehicle's simulated tachometer in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a remote controller depicting a remote-controlled vehicle's simulated fuel consumption in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of a remote controller depicting a remote-controlled vehicle's simulated turbo operation in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of a remote controller depicting a remote-controlled vehicle's simulated bomb effects in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of a remote controller depicting a remote-controlled vehicle's simulated tuning diagnostics in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a method of controlling a remote-controlled vehicle in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of embodiments of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.

Referring to FIG. 1, a remote controlled vehicle system 100 can include a wireless transceiver 154 (having antenna 152) in a remote-controlled vehicle 150, at least one impact sensor (158, 160, 162, 164, 166 or 168) on the remote-controlled vehicle 150, and a processor 156 (or 106 in a remote controller 102) operatively coupled to the at least one impact sensor and the wireless transceiver. The processor 156 (or 106) can be programmed to sense impacts to at least a portion of the remote-controlled vehicle 150 using the at least one impact sensor, modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle in response to the at least one impact sensed, and transmit information to a remote controller with respect to the at least one impact sensed. The system can further include another wireless transceiver 104 (having antenna 120) in the remote controller 102 for controlling the remote-controlled vehicle 150 and receiving communication from or originating from the remote-controlled vehicle 150 or another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle 150. The processor (106 or 156) can also be programmed to modify operation of the remote-controlled vehicle 150 based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle or to continue the effect of impacts on the remote-controlled vehicle 150 for a duration of a contest or a session and re-enable or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session. The system 100 can further include a presentation device such as a light, a temperature gauge, an odor emitter, a light emitting diode 116, a display 118, a vibrating device 112, or a sound generating device 114 where the processor 106 is further programmed to present an indication of the impact on the presentation device. As discussed above, the processor 106 or presentation device can also be programmed to present an indication of an impact given to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle 150 on the remote controller 102.

The processor 106 can be programmed to control the remote-controlled vehicle 150 and present on the presentation device a representation of an impact sensed at the at least one impact sensor. The presentation device can be part of a cellular phone or two-way radio or palm computer, handheld game console or media player with wireless capability. The processor 106 in the remote controller can further be programmed using a digital rights management module 108 and memory 110 to enable the transfer of digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another as a result of a competition or to present an indication of imparting an impact to a “sweet spot” or predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller.

Embodiments herein can include a software application, or game, that is used in conjunction with 2-way remote-controlled (RC) controllers and vehicles (toys) as similarly described above. In one embodiment, a “Demolition Derby” can serve as an illustrative example, but any such similar application can be used such as a NASCAR-style race, a simulated battle with toy military vehicles, a drag race, or a maneuvering skills challenge. With reference to FIG. 1 again, a demolition derby type game can include bumpers, sensors, and/or g-force sensors. Depending on a profile, it can make each car able to withstand a certain number of hits before being disabled. Some hits to a particular area can cause more damage than others. For example, a front bumper impact corresponding to sensor 160 can be considered “more damaging” than a rear bumper impact to sensor 168. Too many hits to the right side or right side sensors 166 or 164 can cause the vehicle to lose the ability to turn right or cause other impairments.

In the case where the remote controller 102 is a two-way radio or cellular phone (or palm computer, handheld game console or media player with wireless capability), the controller's display 118 can show damage status. The phone or controller device can play different audio via speaker 114 with each crash (different sounds for different degrees of damage). The damage impacted to the car can be outwardly visible on the user's handset as well as the car by including vibrations coming through the phone's (or any controller's) handset. This can be accomplished through LED lighting (116 or 165) and sound on the handset or car. For example, different color phases visible through the housing of the controller 102 or the remote controlled vehicle 150 can indicate a degree of damage where, for example, green can indicate no damage, yellow—minor, orange—limited functionality, and red—no functionality. Similar techniques can also apply to a car or other apparatus serving as the remote controlled device. Additionally, the system 100 and remote controlled vehicle 150 can also apply the concept of a sweet spot analogous to hitting a baseball squarely with the bat or a tennis ball in the near middle of the racket. When a vehicle imparts a significant impact on another vehicle, the issuer of the impact can receive an indication of the damage imparted. This can be accomplished through different sound types for a given degree of damage asserted or different vibration frequencies or different lighting effects. Note, the types or location(s) of damage or “hits” can be accumulated or tracked in a memory (at the remote controlled vehicle or the remote controller or even a remote server) and the vehicle or remote controller can be made to simulate the experience of such accumulated damage as discussed above. Damage can also be carried forward into subsequent rounds or matches until a “repair” is applied. The repair can be achieved by using “points” awarded for in-game achievements (e.g. victories, best lap time, etc.), or for special items that are “picked up” or awarded during game play, or by the purchase or download of digital asset “repair” items such as a wrench, hammer or other tool which can then be used (consumed) in order to affect repair to the vehicle.

In a competition, phones or two-way radios can communicate with each other to keep score and control a game (e.g. disabled cars aren't re-enabled until someone wins). Winners of a competition can “WIN” at least one object from each of the competitor's handsets or remote control apparatus. For example, a ringtone, wallpaper, image or token is transferred from all a loser's handset that competed in the demolition derby. A digital certificate along with the ringtone or other media can be transferred to the new owner using for example the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) digital rights management scheme. Alternatively, a transfer of a token having a monetary value that can be utilized to purchase digital content at a later date can be used. As noted above, the remote controller 102 can utilize a digital rights management module 108 and memory 110 to enable such controlled access to proprietary information and content.

Referring to FIG. 2, the remote controller in the form of a phone 100 can include a display 118 that can simulate shifting. As an acceleration button is held, “rotations per minute” (RPMs) increase. A light (e.g. a keypad backlight scheme) or icon cues can indicate to driver when to shift. Shifting can reduce RPMs, starting a new shift cycle where failure to shift may cause effects like a rough engine (with a phone vibration activated) or a blown engine (where the vehicle loses power). Failure to shift appropriately can also cause overheating and device temperature increase (with reduced performance and hissing sound) as well as poor fuel economy. Further with respect to shifting, a maximum speed can be set for each gear where for example first gear can have a maximum speed of 20% of an overall maximum speed, second gear can have a maximum speed of 50% of an overall maximum speed, and third gear can have a maximum speed of 80% of an overall maximum speed. A fourth gear can top out at 100% of the overall maximum speed and Turbo can provide an additional 20% over an overall maximum speed.

Referring to FIG. 3, the remote controller in the form of the phone 100 can simulate fuel consumption. As the remote controlled vehicle or car moves, virtual fuel decreases. The rate of decrease can be based on gear (e.g. RPM) and speed. Again, lights (e.g. keypad) or icon cues indicate to the driver when fuel is low. The remote controlled vehicle can be made to coast when it is “virtually” out of fuel. When stopped, the remote controlled vehicle's fuel supply can increase gradually (“as in a pitstop”). Initial fuel amount can be based on battery strength or other phone parameter(s) such as purchased or downloaded virtual fuel cans.

Referring to FIG. 4, the remote controller in the form of the phone 100 can simulate a turbo boost function that provides the remote controlled vehicle with extra speed or power. Under normal operation, car speed may be limited by pulsing the motor “on” signal. With Turbo activated, the motor can run at full “on” for a period of time. The turbo function can be “unlocked” by some achievement, such as perfectly time shifting 5 times in a row or maintaining ideal fuel economy for 60 seconds, or matching a particular keypad sequence which is lit up during the race. Once unlocked, the turbo function can be indicated on phone display 118 and/or lights (e.g. light up keypad key that will activate Turbo) can provide a similar indication.

Referring to FIG. 5, a bomb throwing or a disabling function that simulates the throwing of bombs at an opponent can for example identify an opponent on phone “contacts” list and throw a virtual “bomb”. A bombed player can hear a virtual explosion from their phone or feel additional temperature or an odor. A bombed player's vehicle can also downshift and run rough accompanied by a “shuddering” vibration phone effect to simulate such damage. The remote controlled vehicle can be made to run rough by erratic pulsing or other type of throttle control. Conversely, players can activate shields to protect from bombs. Collecting bombs and shields can be done similar to the manner described for the turbo function including accomplishments, purchases or downloads. Various forms of bombs could be used to affect different vehicle functions such as hindering steering (oil spill), blanking out instruments (lightning), or poor fuel economy (windstorm). A vehicle can be targeted for specific damage such as a right front tire where the targeted function would be affected (right turn steering).

In a rally mode, remote controlled vehicles as racers can compete as two-player teams. One player can drive and the other can control shields and bombs for example. Both players' phones can reflect the effects of bombing. A non-driving player can also use “repair” effects to restore car operation. Repair can require for example successful completion of a puzzle or skill game on the non-driving handset. Teammates can also switch roles or the game itself can force teammates to switch roles after a certain elapsed amount of time or miles.

Referring to FIG. 6, the remote controller in the form of the phone 100 can simulate a tune up or vehicle diagnostic function. A user can use a graphical user interface (GUI) to access tuning parameters such as turning sensitivity, acceleration curves, and shift points. The user can also save different tuning sets and assign audio to each gear and effect. The user can also tie settings to manufacturer recommendations and real-life race car driver settings. Players can also optionally show and exchange settings with other phones.

Referring to FIG. 7, a flow chart illustrating a method 700 of controlling a remote-controlled vehicle can include the step 702 of sensing impacts to portions of the remote-controlled vehicle, selectively modifying operation of the remote-controlled vehicle based on the impact to the portions of the remote-controlled vehicle at step 704, and providing feedback relating to the impacts to a remote controller at step 706. The remote-controlled vehicle can have its operation selectively modified based on a number of impacts to a specified portion of the remote-controlled vehicle. Note, the number of hits required for modifying an operation of the remote-controlled vehicle can be different for different portions of the remote-controlled vehicle. Also note that the effect of impacts can continue for a duration of a contest or a session and re-enable or reset at a conclusion of the contest or the session at step 708. The method 700 can also include the step 710 of presenting an indication of the impact to the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller. Presenting can involve modifying lights, an odor, a temperature, light emitting diodes, a display, a vibrating device, or a sound generating device on a remote controller or the remote-controlled vehicle. The method 700 can also optionally present at step 712 an indication of the impact given or imparted to another remote-controlled vehicle in competition with the remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller and in one particular embodiment, the method 700 can present an indication of imparting an impact to a “sweet spot” or predetermined portion of another remote-controlled vehicle on a remote controller. Sweet spots can be determined for each competition in one embodiment by designating one or more impact sensors on a vehicle as being a sweet spot. Collisions to a sweet spot sensor can be recorded and weighed differently with regards to damage calculations and accumulations. As noted above, the types or location(s) of damage or “hits” can be accumulated or tracked in a memory (at the remote controlled vehicle or the remote controller or even a remote server) and the vehicle or remote controller can be made to simulate the experience of such accumulated damage as discussed above. The method 700 can also include transferring digital rights management media items from one remote controller to another as a result of a competition or granting control of a vehicle via a digital code, radio frequency setting or password at step 714.

In light of the foregoing description, it should be recognized that embodiments in accordance with the present invention can be realized in hardware, software, or a combination of hardware and software. A network or system according to the present invention can be realized in a centralized fashion in one computer system or processor, or in a distributed fashion where different elements are spread across several interconnected computer systems or processors (such as a microprocessor and a DSP). Any kind of computer system, or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the functions described herein, is suited. A typical combination of hardware and software could be a general purpose computer system with a computer program that, when being loaded and executed, controls the computer system such that it carries out the functions described herein. Further note that the method 700 can be practiced with more or less than the number of steps shown. Moreover, the method 700 is not limited to the order in which the steps are listed in the method 700.

In light of the foregoing description, it should also be recognized that embodiments in accordance with the present invention can be realized in numerous configurations contemplated to be within the scope and spirit of the claims. Additionally, the description above is intended by way of example only and is not intended to limit the present invention in any way, except as set forth in the following claims.