Title:
Wireless game controller with integrated audio system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wireless computer game controller with integrated audio system that sends and receives audio signal via integrated circuitry provided in the controller. The wireless interface (transmitter/receiver) establishes a communication link to facilitate the transmission of both command signals and audio/video signals between the controller and computer device to thereby provide two-way interaction with the stand-alone computer device within a single accessory device. The controller circuitry also incorporates a speaker or headphone jack to deliver audio stimulation. In the preferred embodiment, the controller sends an audio signal to an ear piece where the ear piece includes a separate microphone to transmit audio to a separate receiver or a third party.



Inventors:
Hussaini, Saied (Miami, FL, US)
Iacovelli, Marc (Miami, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/369875
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/08/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, STEVEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERENATO & WHITE, LLC (BETHESDA, MD, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A video game controller for interaction with a stand-alone computer gaming system, said controller comprising: a hand held body having a plurality of operation members logistically positioned for manipulation by a user, transmitter/receiver circuitry integrated into said hand held body for sending and receiving wireless control signals to and from a game console; audio circuitry capable of sending an audio signal to at least one speaker.

2. The controller recited in claim 1, further comprising an audio port adapted to communicate with a headset that connects with said controller via said audio port, said headset comprising said at least one speaker.

3. The controller recited in claim 1, wherein said audio signal comprises a primary audio signal transmitted by said game controller to a primary audio system.

4. The controller recited in claim 3, wherein said audio signal comprises a secondary audio signal different than said primary audio signal transmitted by said game controller to said main audio system.

5. The controller recited in claim 1, further comprising a microphone incorporated into said headset.

6. The controller recited in claim 5, wherein said microphone transmits player communication between players.

7. The controller recited in claim 6, wherein said microphone transmits said player communication between players through said game console.

8. The controller recited in claim 6, wherein said microphone transmits said player communication between players without sending any audio signal through said game console.

9. The controller recited in claim 6, wherein said microphone transmits said player communication directly to other players sending any audio signal through said game console.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 60/659,106, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the invention

The present invention relates to video game controllers and more specifically to a wireless controller with integrated audio system for providing an interactive video game.

2. Description of the Related Art

Computer video games are well known in the art. Such devices range from small hand held all-in-one units, to larger stand-alone units which interact with stand alone controllers and stand alone video display devices. Small hand held devices are very portable. However, the graphics and sophistication game play are substantially inferior to stand alone units due limited processing power and associated peripherals. For more sophisticated play, stand alone computer units provide tremendous processing power and work with associated peripheral devices, such as a remote controller and television display in an attempt to bring the player a more dramatic gaming experience to that of hand held devices.

FIG. 1 depicts such a conventional stand-alone computer video gaming device. A central stand-alone console contains all the essential processing components to run a computer game. A controller is connected to communicate operation control commands from a user. A separate display is connected to the gaming deice to display interactive video gaming images. As previously mentioned, this conventional arrangement is well known in the art.

With the tremendous commercial success of stand alone computer gaming systems, and entire peripheral market has emerged ranging from advanced video controllers, joysticks, steering wheel devices for racing games, multi-tap controllers, vibrating controllers, video stands, audio systems and the like. Programmable controllers are also available which allow a user to customize the operation of control buttons and to even store and retrieved such customized arrangements.

Furthermore, wireless controllers are becoming increasingly more popular. However, these wireless controllers are limited in their audio capabilities.

Current wired controllers include a memory card port capable of receiving a memory card shaped audio unit that plugs into the memory port, whereby a head/microphone system connects into the memory card shaped unit via an audio plug. These prior art retro-fit systems are not integrated into the controller circuitry and require additional components in the form of the memory card shaped unit with an audio jack.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a wireless computer game controller with integrated audio system that sends and receives audio signal via integrated circuitry provided in the controller. The wireless interface (transmitter/receiver) establishes a communication link to facilitate the transmission of both command signals and audio/video signals between the controller and computer device to thereby provide two-way interaction with the stand-alone computer device within a single accessory device. The controller circuitry also incorporates a speaker or headphone jack to deliver audio stimulation. In the preferred embodiment, the controller sends an audio signal to an ear piece where the ear piece includes a separate microphone to transmit audio to a separate receiver or a third party.

The video game controller, which interacts with a stand-alone computer gaming system, comprises a hand held body having a plurality of operation members logistically positioned for manipulation by a user; transmitter/receiver circuitry integrated into the hand held body for sending and receiving wireless control signals to and from a game controller; and audio circuitry capable of sending an audio signal to at least one speaker.

The controller includes an audio port adapted to communicate with a headset that connects with said controller via the audio port, and the audio signal may be the primary audio signal coming from the television and/or game console or the audio signal may be secondary audio, for example, a different audio signal sent directly from another player's headset/microphone. In this case, players may communicate directly with each other via the headset assembly.

This invention provides an integrated wireless controller circuitry where audio is sent by the controller to an ear piece, where the audio signal not necessarily the same audio that is coming from the television. An audio signal is also transmitted from a microphone electrically connected to the controller that permits that player to communicate and talk to other players independently of the game console.

With the preferred embodiment of this invention, the wireless controller includes an audio jack to provide an electrical connection to a headset; a mute button ; and a volume control switch.

These and other benefits of the present invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art from the attached drawings and associated description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration showing an overview of an interactive computer graphics system.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a controller according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the controller of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a rear view of the controller of FIG. 2 taken in the view III-III.

FIG. 5 is a schematic showing an exemplary headset and microphone system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows an example of an interactive computer graphics system 50. System 50 can be used to play interactive video games with interesting stereo sound. It can also be used for a variety of other applications.

In this example, system 50 is capable of processing, interactively in real time, a signal in response to real time inputs from wireless handheld controllers 52a, 52b or other input devices received by a wireless adaptor 68. The wireless adaptor 68 provides the capability of sending and receiving wireless control signals between the game console 54 and the controllers 52a, 52b

To play a video game or other application using system 50, the user first connects a main unit or game console 54 to a television set or other video display device 56 or other display device by connecting a cable 58 between the two. Game console 54 produces both video signals and audio signals for controlling the video display device 56. The video signals are what controls the images displayed on the television screen 59, and the audio signals are played back as sound through television stereo loudspeakers 61L, 61R.

The user also needs to connect game console 54 to a power source. This power source may be a conventional AC adapter (not shown) that plugs into a standard home electrical wall socket and converts the house current into a lower DC voltage signal suitable for powering the game console 54. Batteries could be used in other implementations.

The users typically use hand controllers 52a, 52b to control main unit 54. Controls (e.g., button, levers, joysticks, etc.) 60a, 60b can be used, for example, to specify the direction (up or down, left or right, closer or further away) that a character displayed on television 56 should move. Controls 60a, 60b also provide input for other applications (e.g., menu selection, pointer/cursor control, etc.). Controllers 52a, 52b can take a variety of forms. In this example, controllers 52a, 52b shown each include controls 60a, 60b such as joysticks, push buttons and/or directional switches. Typically, such controllers 52a, 52b may be connected to game console 54 by cables or wirelessly via electromagnetic (e.g., radio or infrared) waves.

To play an application such as a game, the user selects an appropriate storage medium 62 (e.g., CD, DVD, etc.) storing the video game or other application he or she wants to play, and inserts that storage medium into a slot 64 in game console 54. Storage medium 62 may, for example, be a specially encoded and/or encrypted optical and/or magnetic disk that stores commands for graphics and audio processor 114 and/or instructions controlling main processor 110 to develop such commands. The user may operate a power switch 66 to turn on game console 54 and cause the main unit to begin running the video game or other application based on the software stored in the storage medium 62. The user may operate controllers 52 to provide inputs to game console 54. For example, operating a control 60a, 60b may cause the game or other application to start. Moving other controls 60a, 60b can cause animated characters to move in different directions or change the user's point of view. Depending upon the particular software stored within the storage medium 62, the various controls 60a, 60b on the controller 52a, and 52b can perform different functions at different times.

FIG. 2 depicts a video game controller 52 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The hand held controller 52 ergonomically formed and communicates using wireless signals with the adaptor 68 connected to the game console 54. The hand held controller 52 includes a plurality of operating members for manipulation of the users hand to facilitate interaction with game play. These operating members are generally known to those of skill in the art; however, this invention requires additional unique control and operating members including an audio jack 70 into which a headset 80 is plugged; a mute button 74 to mute the volume/audio signal; and a volume control 76, for example, in the form of a dial or switch to selectively set the volume of the audio signal.

As known in the art, the controller may be the programmable type, include a vibratory (e.g., rumble) member for heightened game play as well as lighted buttons etc. In this case, a vibration switch 79 is provided to control the vibration/rumble function.

The video game controller 52, which interacts with a stand-alone computer gaming system, comprises a hand held body having a plurality of operation members logistically positioned for manipulation by a user; transmitter/receiver circuitry integrated into the hand held controller 52 for sending and receiving wireless control signals to and from a game console 54 via a wireless adaptor 68; and audio circuitry capable of sending an audio signal to at least one speaker; e.g., a headset 80 as shown in FIG. 5.

The controller 52 includes an audio port 70 adapted to communicate with a headset 80 that connects with the controller 52 via the audio port 70, and the audio signal may be the primary audio signal coming from the television 56 and/or game console 54 or the audio signal may be secondary audio, for example, a different audio signal sent directly from another player's headset/microphone 80. In this case, players may communicate directly with each other via the headset assembly 80 to enhance the game experience and player camaraderie.

This invention provides an integrated wireless controller circuitry where audio is sent by the controller to an ear piece 82, where the audio signal not necessarily the same audio that is coming from the television. An audio signal is also transmitted from a microphone 84 electrically connected to the controller 52 that permits that player to communicate and talk to other players independently of the game console 54.

While the foregoing invention has been shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those possessing skill in the art that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, although this invention primarily relates to a wireless controller, it is also possible to use a communication cable to facilitate communication with a stand-alone computer gaming device. The communication cable may be employed when the batteries for the wireless aspect of the controller are being recharged and the communication cable may be used to transmit both control signals and power to and from the controller.