Title:
Character information providing system and method and character doll
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
isclosed is a character information providing system. A response unit provides a guide message to a transmission request terminal, receives a transfer request, and outputs an information providing message corresponding to the transfer request. A message storage unit receives an information providing message to be transmitted to a character doll from the response unit and temporarily stores the same. A first server receives the information providing message and transmits the same to the recipient character doll. A second server installs a program for converting the text message of the transfer request into voice data based on a predetermined conversion reference data, and provides the information providing message including the converted voice data to the first server. In this instance, the response unit comprises the second server and a voice combination data storage unit.



Inventors:
Kim, Deok-woo (Seoul, KR)
Byun, Tae-uk (Seoul, KR)
Cho, Young-guk (Seoul, KR)
Jeon, Dae-young (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
10/332934
Publication Date:
03/18/2004
Filing Date:
08/22/2003
Assignee:
KIM DEOK-WOO
BYUN TAE-UK
CHO YOUNG-GUK
JEON DAE-YOUNG
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06Q50/00; A63F9/24; G06Q10/00; H04B7/26; H04M1/00; H04M3/42; H04M11/00; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
THOMASSON, MEAGAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Marshall Gerstein & Borun (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A character information-providing system connected to a transmission requester's terminal through a communication network, for receiving a transmission request selected from one of voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion, and a combination thereof from the transmission requester's terminal, and transmitting an information service message corresponding to the transmission request to a receiver's character doll so that the character doll performs an operation corresponding to the information service message, comprising: a responder for providing a guide message to the transmission requester's terminal, receiving the transmission request, and outputting an information service message corresponding to the transmission request; a message storage unit for receiving the information service message from the responder to be transmitted to the character doll, and temporarily storing the same; and a first server for receiving the information service message and transmitting it to the receiver's character doll, and the responder comprising: a second server for mounting a program for converting a text message included in the transmission request into voice data on the basis of predetermined conversion reference data, and providing the information service message including the converted voice data to the first server; and a voice composition data storage unit for storing the conversion reference data.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the communication network includes the Internet, and the transmission requester's terminal is a personal computer (PC) accessible to the second server through the Internet.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the communication network includes wire and wireless telephone networks, and the responder comprises a computer telephony system for receiving the transmission request through the communication network, converting, a voice message included in the transmission request into voice data, and providing the information service message including the converted voice data to the first server.

4. A character doll having a predetermined character form, receiving an information service message selected from one of voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion, and a combination thereof through a mobile phone, and performing an operation corresponding to the information service message, comprising: an interface including a data port connector to be interfaced with the mobile phone; a controller for controlling motion of respective components of the character doll; a first memory for storing a plurality of programs of the controller; a second memory for temporarily storing the information service message; a digital/analog converter for converting voice data included in the information service message into analog voice signals; a speaker for outputting the analog voice signals; a power supply for supplying power to the character doll; and an input unit for adjusting operation of the controller.

5. The character doll of claim 4, wherein the character doll further comprises a charging terminal, electrically connected to the power supply, for charging the mobile phone's battery.

6. The character doll of claim 4 or 5, wherein the character doll is a combination of a plurality of parts some of which can be relatively moved with respect to other parts, and it further comprises an operation driver for driving at least some of the parts to represent motion corresponding to motion data included in the information service message.

7. The character doll of claim 6, wherein the character doll's body and face are separable.

8. The character doll of claim 4 or 5, wherein the character doll further comprises a display connected to the controller, for displaying images corresponding to image data included in the information service message.

9. The character doll of claim 8, wherein the character doll's body and face are separable.

10. The character doll of claim 8, wherein the character doll is a combination of a plurality of parts some of which can be relatively moved with respect to other parts, and it further comprises an operation driver for driving at least some of the parts to represent motions corresponding to motion data included in the information service message.

11. The character doll of claim 4, 5 or 10, wherein the character doll's body and face are separable.

12. A character information-providing method for providing a character doll with a service message configured with one of a character-related voice, image, motion, and a combination thereof according to a service request input through a communication network so that the character doll performs an operation corresponding to the service message, comprising: receiving the service request through the communication network; composing the voice corresponding to a text message included in the service request, and generating a service message including the composed voice data; and transmitting the service message to the character doll so that the character doll may perform an operation selected from among voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion representation and a combination thereof, in accordance with the service message.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. (a) Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to an information-providing method and system using a character doll, and an adequate character doll thereof. More specifically, the present invention relates to a transmission service method and system for transmitting voice messages, image data or motion information to predetermined persons, and a character doll for reproducing received data by a receiver so as to reproduce voice messages, restore image data or continuously move.

[0003] 2. (b) Description of the Related Art

[0004] As electronic communication techniques have developed, various types of communication services have been created. In particular, a digital mobile communication system represented by a cellular communication system removes limits of frequency resources so that more users may receive voice and data communication services any time and anywhere, and it will also provide image services in connection with the next generation mobile communication, that is, the IMT-2000, soon to be commercialized.

[0005] The cellular or PCS terminals sold in and out of Korea are categorized as flip, folder and slide types, but they have almost similar forms, and there are no character terminals that have greatly distinctive designs such as entertainers, animals or lovers up to now. Recently, telephone covers having a bear doll or other character forms have been sold, but they temporarily surround the telephone housings to protect the telephones and improve their outer appearances, they are not unified into a single body with the telephones, and the characters are not integrated with the telephones and are not used for creating additional value.

[0006] That is, the conventional terminals have a merit of performing communication without restrictions of time and space, but in another viewpoint, they only provide conventional services using the communication's instantaneous and bidirectional characteristics, and cannot create greater additional value in connection with the characters.

[0007] To reinforce functions of the cellular communication system, most cellular mobile communication service providers provide various additional services as well as a voice post office box service at an exchange level. The voice post office box service enables a sender to record the sender's own, voice when a receiver's receipt terminal cannot receive calls. Therefore, most messages recorded through the voice post office box (POB) service are the senders, voice messages.

[0008] Also, the conventional voice POB service requires bi-directional communication terminals for accessing the POB and checking the received message states and contents in the like manner of the cellular terminals or wire telephones, and voice message or image receipt-only character terminals for receiving and reproducing messages stored in the POB, messages stored in the service provider's system, or messages selected from an image pool are not provided up to now. Further, since the user must perform a telephone access and check the corresponding message in the conventional voice POB service, if the user forgets to or concentrates on other tasks because the user is very busy, the user frequently fails to check the message stored in the POB at an appropriate time, only to hear it later.

[0009] The conventional character dolls are related to the corresponding characters only in their appearances, and do not provide voice messages or image data connected with the characters. Even when some dolls can slightly move, and the user can select the dolls' motion, it is impossible to download such motion via the network and connect it with various kinds of information.

[0010] These characters only provide the doll possessors with the conventional doll value, and not greater additional values by applying other marketing management methods to the doll possessors.

[0011] To solve this, the applicant of the present invention previously filed a Korean patent application No. 10-2000-0007400 entitled “Character Information Providing Method and System Using Character Terminal, and Adequate Character Terminal Thereof.” The system according to the previously filed patent application includes various messages, image data or motion pools in a server, and voice messages, images or motions selected by the character terminal possessor or a third person are transmitted to the receiver character terminal so that the terminal reproduces the messages or the images.

[0012] However, in implementing the above-noted patent application, service providers need to have a vast database of character voices so as to satisfy the users of a character information service. Also, a message sender can select one of messages stored in the server or transmit a message generated by the message transmitter, but the message sender cannot randomly input a desired message, by using a keypad of a computer connected to a mobile phone or an Internet-accessed computer, to transmit a voice message corresponding to the text message to a receiver. In addition, the message receiver must buy a terminal that fits a-wireless link subsystem (e.g.; a wireless call method or the FM-MARC method); which may increase the message receiver's economic burden.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] It is an object of the present invention to provide a character information-providing system and method for providing various data, image data and/or motion pools for combining messages to a server, transmitting a voice message, an image or a motion selected by a character doll possessor or a third person to a receiver character doll so that a terminal may reproduce the message, the image or the motion.

[0014] It is another object of the present invention to convert a text message transmitted by a character doll possessor or a third person into a voice message and transmit the voice message to the terminal.

[0015] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a character doll for receiving a message selected by a character doll possessor or a third person, voice message data corresponding to image data, image data and/or motion information, and message reproduction time data, reproducing the message and images at the reproduction time or performing related motions.

[0016] In one aspect of the present invention, a character information providing system connected to a transmission requester's terminal through a communication network, for receiving a transmission request of one selected from voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion, and a combination thereof from the transmission requesters, terminal, and transmitting an information service message corresponding to the transmission request to a receiver's character doll so that the character doll performs an operation corresponding to the information service message, comprises: a responder for providing a guide message to the transmission requester's terminal, receiving the transmission request, and outputting an information service message corresponding to the transmission request; a message storage unit for receiving the information service message from the responder to be transmitted to the character doll, and temporarily storing the same; and a first server for receiving the information service message and transmitting it to the receiver's character doll, and the responder comprises: a second server for mounting a program for converting a text message included in the transmission request into voice data on the basis of predetermined conversion reference data, and providing the information service message including the converted voice data to the first server; and a voice composition data storage unit for storing the conversion reference data.

[0017] In another aspect of the present invention, a character doll having a predetermined character form, receiving an information service message of one selected from voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion, and a combination thereof through a mobile phone, and performing an operation corresponding to the information service message, comprises: an interface including a data port connector to be interfaced with the mobile phone; a controller for controlling motion of respective components of the character doll; a first memory for storing a plurality of programs of the controller; a second memory for temporarily storing the information service message; a digital/analog converter for converting voice data included in the information service message into analog voice signals; a speaker for outputting the analog voice signals; a power supply for supplying the power to the character doll; and an input unit for adjusting the operation of the controller.

[0018] In still another aspect of the present invention, a character information-providing method for providing a character doll with a service message configured with one of a character-related voice, image, motion, and a combination thereof according to a service request input through a communication network so that the character doll performs an operation corresponding to the service message, comprises: receiving the service request through the communication network; composing the voice corresponding to a text message included in the service request, and generating a service message including the composed voice data; and transmitting the service message to the character doll so that the character doll may perform an operation selected from among voice reproduction, image reproduction, motion representation, and a combination thereof, in accordance with the service message.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate an embodiment of the invention, and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention:

[0020] FIG. 1 shows a character information-providing system according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0021] FIGS. 2 and 3 show a preferred embodiment of the character doll of FIG. 2;

[0022] FIG. 4 shows a detailed block diagram of the character doll of FIGS. 2 and 3;

[0023] FIG. 5 shows a character information-providing system according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0024] FIGS. 6 and 7 show a preferred embodiment of the character doll of FIG. 5;

[0025] FIG. 8 shows a detailed block diagram of the character doll of FIGS. 6 and 7;

[0026] FIG. 9 shows a character information-providing system according to a third preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

[0027] FIGS. 10 and 11 show a preferred embodiment of the character doll of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0028] In the following detailed description, only the preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by the inventor(s) of carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not restrictive.

[0029] FIG. 1 shows a character information-providing system according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. The system receives text messages from a personal computer (PC) 10 connected to the Internet, a wire telephone or a mobile phone, converts the text messages into voice message data and transmits them to a character doll 200 so that the character doll 200 may reproduce voices corresponding to the voice data. Also, the system receives voice messages from the PC 10, a wire telephone 20 or a mobile phone 30 or 32, and transmits the voice messages to the character doll 200 so that the character doll 200 may reproduce them. Further, the system enables a message transmission requester to select one of message pools possessed by the system, instead of the message transmission requester's using the PC 10, the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 30 and 32 to directly provide the text message or the voice message.

[0030] Instead of enabling the message transmission requester to transmit a text message or a voice message, or selecting a message category, the system enables transmission of images through the PC 10, or selects one of the-images stored in an image server. In this case, the image input or selected by the transmission requester is displayed on a display of the character doll 200. Further, the system can receive a motion presentation request that enables the character doll to represent motion from the message transmission requester, instead of or together with the message transmission requester's inputting or selecting a voice message or an image. In response to the motion representation request, the system transmits a motion representation request order to the character doll 200 together with or instead of the voice or image data so that the motion of the character doll 200 is represented.

[0031] In addition, the image message can be input from the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 32. In the case of transmitting the image message through the wire telephone, it is desirable that the wire telephone 20 is a videophone having an image transmission function or a telephone that can receive image signals from an external camera. Also, in the case of transmitting image messages through the mobile phone 32, it is desirable that the mobile phone 32 is a telephone having a pickup-device function such as an IMT-2000 terminal or a PDA. Also, the image message can be transmitted through the mobile phone 32 by providing the image signals to the mobile phone 32 from an external camera or a computer.

[0032] In a subsequent preferred embodiment, the character doll 200 is implemented by transforming a portable charger. That is, after the mobile phone is mounted to the character doll 200, the character doll charges the mobile phone and concurrently receives voice or image data and/or motion data from the information-providing system through the mobile phone, and performs a corresponding operation in response to the received data.

[0033] Referring to FIG. 1, the information-providing system comprises a host subsystem 100 and a wireless link repeating subsystem 120. The host subsystem 100 comprises an Internet server 102, a voice composition database 104, a message library database 105, a computer telephony system (CTS) 106, a transmission server 108 and a message storage database 110. Also, the wireless link repeating subsystem 120 comprises a plurality of base stations that respectively include a mobile exchange and a mobile phone service center (MSC) 122, and a plurality of antennas 124 and 126. The wireless link repeating subsystem 120 is interfaced to the host subsystem 100 from the MSC 122 directly or through a short message service center (not illustrated) or another node.

[0034] In the host subsystem 100, the Internet server 102 includes a plurality of web documents, and a program for converting text messages into voice data. This conversion program or algorithm may be one of existing programs or algorithms or an algorithm to be adopted later, and no further detailed description on the programs or algorithms will be provided since they are not main features of the present invention.

[0035] When accessed by a message senders PC 10, the host subsystem 100 provides the web documents to the PC 10 so that the sender may select or input a voice message or music, input image data to be transmitted to a receiver according to the sender's selection, or select a predetermined motion to be played by the receiver's character doll. In the present invention, a method for a sender to input or select a message using the sender's PC 10 is categorized as 1) to input a text message, 2) to select one of messages stored in a server and 3) to directly transmit a voice message through a microphone connected to the sender's PC 10. In addition, the web documents provided by the host subsystem 100 include a mobile phone number of the message receiver, and a window for selecting or inputting a message reproducing time, and accordingly, the sender can input or select these data.

[0036] The voice composition database 104 stores data needed for the Internet server 102 to convert the text messages input by the sender into voice data. For example, the data include basic voice data previously sampled and stored for each syllable, and voice features for each character doll. In particular, it is desirable that the voice features have a conversion function format defined by frequency region. The message library database 105 stores a message library selectable by the sender. It is desirable that the message library is respectively provided for each character doll regarding all or a portion of the character dolls.

[0037] When the sender inputs a text message, the Internet server 102, refers to the data stored in the voice composition database 104 and converts the text message into voice data. In the preferred embodiment, the Internet server 102 converts each syllable of the text message into the basic voice data, and uses a voice feature function according to the receiver's character doll to transform the basic voice data. The Internet server 102 transmits the transformed voice data to the transmission server 108 so that the transmission server 108 may store the receiver's telephone number, reproduction time and voice data in the message storage database 110. When the sender selects one of messages stored in the Internet server 102, the Internet server 102 transmits the message selected by the sender to the transmission server 108. If the sender inputs a voice message through a microphone connected to the sender's PC 10, the voice message is converted into the voice message data by the PC 10 and transmitted to the Internet server 102. The Internet server 102 transmits the data to the transmission server 108.

[0038] In the present invention, two methods for inputting or selecting a message to be transmitted to the receiver, or selecting a motion order of the character doll by the sender are further provided in addition to the above-noted three methods that use the PC 10. One of them is to use either the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 30 and input a text message in response to a guide message provided by the system. The other one is to use either the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 32 and input a voice message in response to a guide message provided by the system.

[0039] The CTS 106 can be accessed to the message transmission requester's wire telephone 20 through the public switched telephone network. (PSTN). When a call is received from the wire telephone 20 of the message transmission requester, the CTS 106 provides a constant guide message so that the requester may record a message to be transmitted according to the guide message and input the receiver's mobile phone number and a message reproduction time. The CTS 106 converts the voice message provided by the wire telephone 20 into digital data, and provides the transmission server 108 with the voice data, the receiver's mobile phone number and a message reproduction time so that these data are stored in the message storage database 110.

[0040] In addition, the CTS 106 can be accessed to the message transmission requester's mobile phone 32 through the wireless link repeating subsystem 120. When a call is received from the mobile phone 32 of the message transmission requester, the CTS 106 provides a constant guide message so that the requester may record a voice message or transmit a text message according to the guide message. In this instance, it is desirable for the requester to concurrently input the receiver's mobile phone number and a message reproduction time. The CTS 106 converts the voice message provided by the mobile phone 32 into digital data, and provides the transmission server 108 with the voice data, the receiver's mobile phone number and a message reproduction time so that these data are stored in the message storage database 110. The text message from the mobile phone 30 is transmitted to the Internet server 102 to be converted into digital voice data and stored in the message storage database 110.

[0041] The transmission server 108 receives the receiver's telephone number, reproduction time data, voice data, image data or motion data from the Internet server 102 or the CTS 106, and stores the received data in the message storage database 110. When the mobile phone is accessed to the character doll, the transmission server 108 transmits the voice data, image data or motion data to the receiver's telephone through the wireless link repeating subsystem 120 so that the receiver's character doll 200 may reproduce voices or images respectively corresponding to the voice data or the image data or represent motions at the reproduction time.

[0042] FIGS. 2 and 3 show an appearance of the character doll 200 of the first preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 1.

[0043] The character doll 200 includes a head, a body, arms, legs and feet. Here, the head components such as the head, eyes, nose, mouth and glasses, the body, the arms, the legs and the feet are separable and exchangeable. In particular, the character doll 200 as shown in FIG. 3 can be implemented as a charger of a mobile phone to function as the charger of the mobile phone. Two slots for mounting a mobile phone 300 and an extra battery 310 and charging them are formed on the rear portion of the character doll 200. On the inner bottom portion of the slot for mounting the mobile phone 300 are provided a first charging terminal 203, and a connector 206 connectable to a data port connector 304 of the mobile phone 300. On the inner bottom portion of the slot for mounting the extra battery 310 is provided a second charging terminal 204.

[0044] A substrate 216 for processing signals is provided to the inner part of the character doll 200, and a display 212 for displaying the images is provided on the front portion of the head or the body. Also, a speaker 218 for reproducing sound is provided to the inner part or the outer circumference of the head or the body. A power plug 230 for supplying power to the character doll 200 is provided in connection with the rear portion of the character doll.

[0045] When the mobile phone 300 is installed in the slot to charge it, the data port connector 206 of the character doll 200 can be inserted into and combined with the data port connector 304 of the mobile phone 300. Under this state, the character doll 200 notifies the host subsystem 100 through the wireless link repeating subsystem 120 that the character doll 200 can receive messages through the mobile phone 300. Accordingly, the transmission server 108 checks whether transmission request data are stored with respect to the mobile phone's subscriber number or a terminal ID, and when the voice or image data of the corresponding mobile phone terminal 300 or the motion data are found, the transmission server 108 transmits these data and the reproduction time data to the mobile phone 300 of the character doll's possessor. The data transmitted to the mobile phone 300 are transmitted to the character doll 200 through the connectors 304 and 206. In another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the user of the mobile phone 300 can call the host subsystem 100 to download the data.

[0046] In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, data transmission between the base station 126 of the wireless link repeating subsystem 120 and the mobile phone 300 can be executed through the short message service (SMS). That is, the data transmitted to the character doll from the base station 126 are transmitted to the mobile phone 300 through a paging channel of a CDMA-type cellular communication system, and then transmitted to the character doll 200. The data transmitted to the base station 126 from the character doll 200 are transmitted to the mobile phone 300, and then transmitted to the base station 126 through an access channel. However, if there is a large amount of transmission data, the data transmitted and received between the base station 126 and the mobile phone 300 can be transmitted through a traffic channel.

[0047] FIG. 4 shows a, detailed block diagram of the character doll 200 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The character doll 200 comprises a power supply 202; first and second charging terminals 203 and 204; a data port connector 206; a signal processor 208; first and second memories 210 and 212; a display 216 interfaced with the signal processor 208 through an input/output interface 214; a plurality of buttons 218 interfaced with the signal processor 208 through the input/output interface 214; a digital/analog converter 220; a speaker 222; an actuator 224; and a motion driver 226.

[0048] The power supply 202 rectifies the AC power supplied through the power plug 230 and adjusts its level to provide it to the respective components of the character doll including the signal processor 208, and further provides the same to a charging port 302 of the mobile phone 300 and a charging port 312 of the extra battery 310 through the first and second charging terminals 203 and 204 so as to charge the batteries. The data port connector 206 receives data through the data port connector 304 of the mobile phone 300 and transmits them to the signal processor 208. It is desirable that the mobile phone terminal 300 for receiving the character doll information service of the present invention has a program for distinguishing data to be transmitted to the character doll 200 among the received short messages. These data are distinguished by detecting a data stream that starts with a predetermined symbol (such as “**”) and ends with another symbol (such as “##”). The mobile phone terminal 300 transmits a data receipt available state through a short message when the character doll 200 is installed.

[0049] The first, memory 210 stores a program for driving the signal processor 208 and basic data, and it is desirable to implement the first memory using a non-volatile memory such as an EEPROM. The second memory 212 stores voice or image data and motion data received through the mobile phone terminal 300, and reproduction time data. It is desirable to implement the second memory using a flash memory. The buttons 218 enable implementation of convenient functions such as a function of setting motion on/off modes when the character doll 200 is not connected to the mobile phone 300, and another function of changing the data for setting the character information service of the character doll.

[0050] The signal processor 208 periodically compares the reproduction time included in the stored data with the current time. (Here, a time generation unit is omitted because it is a general block, and if needed, the current time can be calculated by receiving a predetermined time from the mobile phone and using software clock signals.) If the established time is identical with the current time, the signal processor 208 reads data set by the current time from the data stored in the second memory 212 and outputs them. If the data to be reproduced are voice data, the signal processor 208 provides the data to the digital/analog converter 220 to reproduce voices though the speaker 222. If the data to be reproduced are image data, the signal processor 208 provides the data to the display 216 through the input/output interface 214 to reproduce the images. If the data to be reproduced are motion data, the signal processor 208 controls the actuator 224 according to the motion data, and controls corresponding blocks to represent motions. Here, the actuator 224 for representing the motions can be provided to the arms, legs, neck or back.

[0051] Next, referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, a service provided by the character information-providing system of FIG. 1 will be described.

[0052] As described above, the message transmission requester inputs or selects a message to be transmitted, according to one of at least five methods including (1) inputting a text message using the PC 10 after being connected to the Internet, (2) selecting one of messages stored in the server using the PC 10 after connected to the Internet, (3) transmitting a voice message through a microphone connected to the PC 10 after being connected to the Internet, (4) inputting a text message according to the guide message provided by the system using the mobile phone 30, and (5) inputting a voice message according to the guide message provided by the system using the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 32. In this instance, the sender additionally inputs or selects the message receiver's mobile phone number and message reproduction time.

[0053] Further to the first method of inputting a text message using the PC 10, for example, the message transmission requester transmits a message of “Good night. Dream of me!” to the Internet server 102 through a key input of the PC 10. In this instance, the Internet server 102 enables the message transmission requester to select information on a character that looks like a hero of the character doll possessed by the receiver. When receiving the text message, the Internet server 102 refers to a conversion table stored in the voice composition database 104 and the voice feature data of the character doll of the corresponding message receiver, and composes a voice message from the text message. The Internet server 102 transmits the composed voice message data, the receiver's telephone number and the reproduction time data to the transmission server 108 so that the transmission server 108 may store these data in the message storage database 110.

[0054] As to the second method for the message transmission requester to select one of the messages stored in the server, the Internet server 102 provides a list of the messages stored in the message library database 105 to the message transmission requester's PC 10 so that the message transmission requester may select one of these messages. When the message transmission requester selects one of them, the Internet server 102 reads a corresponding message stored in the message library database 105, and transmits the read message, the receiver's telephone number and the reproduction time data to the transmission server 108 so that the transmission server 108 may store these data in the message storage database 110.

[0055] Regarding the third method for the message transmission requester to transmit a voice message through the microphone connected to the PC 10, the voice message is encoded in, the, PC 10 and transmitted to the Internet server 102. The Internet server 102 transmits the received voice data to the transmission server 108 so that the voice data may be stored in the message storage database 110.

[0056] In the fourth method for the message transmission requester to input a text message using the mobile phone 30, the text message is transmitted to the Internet server 102 from the MSC 122. In the like manner of receiving the text message from the PC 10, the Internet server 102 composes the voice message from the text message, and provides the composed voice message data to the transmission server 108 so that the voice data may be stored in the message storage database 110.

[0057] In the fifth method for the message transmission requester to input a voice message using the wire telephone 20 or the mobile phone 32, the message transmission requester directly inputs the requester's own voice, and inputs the data needed for representing the images or the motions and data of the reproduction time in an order instructed by the system. The input message and the data are transmitted to the CTS 106 through the PSTN or the MSC 122. In this instance, the CTS 106 converts the voice message into corresponding voice message data and transmits them to the transmission server 108. Accordingly, the transmission server 108 stores the voice data in the message storage database 110.

[0058] As described, in the above five input methods, together with or instead of inputting or selecting a voice message or inputting a text message, the transmission requester can select one of images stored in the server 102 or directly input an image so that the compressed and encoded image data may be transmitted to the server 102. Also, the transmission requester can select a motion representation request so that the character doll 200 may represent predetermined motions. In this case, the data representing the image data or motion contents are stored in the message storage database 110 through the transmission server 108.

[0059] When transmitting an image message through the wire telephone 20, the image message is stored in the message storage database 110 through the Internet server 102 or the CTS 106. Further, when transmitting the image message through the mobile phone 32, the image message is stored in the message storage database 110 through the Internet server 102 or the CTS 106.

[0060] In the preferred embodiment, when the transmission server 108 determines that the receiver's character doll can receive the respective voice data, image data or motion data stored in the message storage database 110, the transmission server 108 immediately transmits the corresponding data to the receiver's mobile phone 300. In this case it is desirable that the transmitted data include the reproduction time data. The character doll 200 reproduces voices or images or represents motions at the reproduction time. In the other preferred embodiment, when the reproduction time starts, the transmission server 108 can transmit voice data, image data or motion data to the receiver's mobile phone 300 through the wireless link repeating subsystem 120 in this case, the receiver's character doll 200 immediately reproduces voices or images corresponding to the voice data or the image data or represents the motions at the receipt of the data.

[0061] FIG. 5 shows a character information-providing system according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0062] The preferred embodiment of FIG. 5 has similarities with that of FIG. 1. However, in the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1, the character doll 200 that receives information from the system has a function of a charger, and in the preferred embodiment of FIG. 5, the character doll 400 is separated from the charger, and includes a battery within the character doll or receives the power from the mobile phone 500. The character doll 400 is accessed to the receiver's mobile phone 500 through a data communication cable 510, and transmits and receives data to/from the information-providing system through the mobile phone 500. In this instance, the data communication cable 510 is connected between the data port connectors of the character doll 400 and the mobile phone 500.

[0063] In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 5, since the character doll 400 can be portable, the doll possessor can more effectively receive the character information service. In particular, in the system of FIG. 5, since the character doll 400 is connected to the mobile phone 500 through a data port, the character doll 400 or the mobile phone 500 notifies the transmission server 108 that the character doll is capable of receiving service information, and addition, the transmission server 108 can actively notify the character doll possessor of a message arrival signal through the mobile phone 500. When receiving the message arrival signal, the user immediately connects the character doll 400 with the mobile phone 500 so that the arrived message may be reproduced, restored or represented.

[0064] FIGS. 6 and 7 show an outer appearance of the character doll 400 of FIG. 5. The illustrated character doll 400 has similarities with that of FIGS. 2 and 3 when viewing it from its front. However, since a slot for charging is not needed, its side form is much simpler compared to that of FIGS. 2 and 3, and accordingly, the user can carry it just like a portable doll.

[0065] Referring to FIG. 8, the character doll 400 does not require a power circuit for rectifying the AC power and adjusting its level, and it includes a battery 402 that functions as an operating power supply. In addition, the character doll 400 does not require a circuit for charging the mobile phone or the extra battery. However, a data port connector 206 accessed to the connector 504 of the mobile phone 500 through the data communication cable 510 is still required. Since other features of the character doll 400 as shown in FIG. 8 are similar to those of FIG. 4, no further corresponding description will be provided.

[0066] FIG. 9 shows another preferred, embodiment of the character information-providing system. The system according to the present preferred embodiment is similar to that of FIG. 5, and the form of the character doll 600 and an access method of the character doll 600 and the mobile phone are different. Accordingly, a system configuration and operation by a manager is identical with that of FIG. 5, and hence, no corresponding description will be provided.

[0067] FIGS. 10 and 11 show an example of the character doll 600 applied to the system of FIG. 9. The character doll 600 has a function of a mobile phone case. That is, the character doll 600 can function as a case of a mobile phone 650, and in order for the character doll 600 to implement the character information service according to the present invention, the character doll 600 is connected to the mobile phone 650 through the data port connectors 606 and 654 within the doll. Here, the mobile phone 650 can be combined with or separated from the character doll 600. Also, the character doll 600 can be combined with the mobile phone 650 when receiving data. In addition, while being separated from the mobile phone 650, the character doll 600 can provide the character information service by using the data received and stored before the separation of the character doll 600. Since the circuit configuration of the character doll 600 of FIGS. 10 and 11 is similar to that of FIG. 8, no further description will be provided.

[0068] The above description is provided mainly focused on the voice message, but the messages that can be transmitted by the system of the present invention can further be music, the sender's own voice, voices combined with music and the sender's own voice for advertisements or fan club management, and image motion, information. In the subsequent description and claims, the ‘voice message’ includes the voice messages, music and songs. Also, the ‘message’ includes the voice message, image message, motion representation message and combinations thereof.

[0069] In the receiver character doll according to the present invention, the messages can be reproduced once, or periodically for each time interval. In the case of onetime reproduction, the reproduction time can be a time just after the terminal receives voice message information data, or a time reserved by the sender. When the sender selects a one-time reproduction or a periodical reservation reproduction to request a message transmission, the host immediately transmits corresponding message information data including reservation time information to the receiver character doll, and the message is reproduced immediately or after the receiver character doll stands by until the reserved time, but it is also possible that the host stores the message information data until the reservation time and then transmits them to the receiver character doll to reproduce the same immediately or at an established time.

[0070] In the above description, a single sender transmits the message to a single receiver, but the present invention can also be applied to a message-casting format for a single sender to transmit the message to a plurality of receivers. These exemplified embodiments can be applied such that a group that can be a character or the character publicizes itself, transmits new songs to publicize them or manages fans.

[0071] In the preferred embodiment for implementing the character information service using the character doll according to the present invention, the character doll can be separately configured with a head, a body or legs so that the outer appearance of the doll can be configured with these.

[0072] Also, when the sender sequentially selects some kinds of motions that belong to a basic motion pool, the motions of the character doll's configuration parts according to the present invention can be represented according to a motion sequence.

[0073] Further, in the execution of the character information service using the character doll according to the present invention, when location information related to a mobile phone is extracted (by using conventional methods or the global positioning system (GPS) method) and transmitted to the sender, other additional values (e.g., providing a child's position to its parents when the child has a character doll) can be obviously created.

[0074] Since a skilled person can easily implement the above-described modified embodiments on the basis of the descriptions of the preferred embodiments, no corresponding detailed description will be provided. In addition, the skilled person can understand that operations of the obvious components such as a clock signal generator or operators (e.g., of eyes, ears and a mouth) of the character doll are omitted and these obvious components can be easily implemented.

[0075] While this invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

[0076] As described, the possessor of the character doll that has an appearance of a famous star or an animal character, and a terminal, can receive voice/song messages recorded by the corresponding character's voice, images or motion data according to the present invention. A third person or the character doll possessor can request a transmission of the voice message, songs or motion data, and the transmitted message can be reproduced once or periodically for each time interval.

[0077] In particular, the character dolls according to the present invention can be sold as character products for managing a fan club since they have friendly appearances to satisfy the character doll possessors. Also, emotional communication between friends, lovers, or parents and children can be obtained though the transmission of the voice/song messages, images or motion data, which are difficult to accomplish through the bi-directional voice communication. In addition, the appearances of the characters can be fully assorted in order for the character users (e.g.; lovers or a father and a son) to select appropriate characters.