Title:
INTERACTION OF VIDEO PROJECTION AND EFFECTS LIGHTING WITH BOWLING SCORING SYSTEM AND METHODS OF USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interactive bowling system using scoring systems and/or other computer infrastructures which interact with visual and/or audio effects within the bowling center. The system includes a management system having stored therein instructions to provide special effects associated with one or more events to one or more special effects components. Upon an occurrence of an event, the management system: determines that the occurrence of the event is associated with one or more special effects; and provides the instructions to the one or more special effects components to effectuate the special effects associated with the one or more events



Inventors:
Vaioli, Roberto (Ozzano dell'emilia, IT)
Namala, Samuel R. (Mechanicsville, VA, US)
Baraldi, Massimo (Bologna, IT)
Kovach, Frank G. (Glen Allen, VA, US)
Parisi, Tommaso (Bologna, IT)
Wilbar, Kelly J. (Coconut Creek, FL, US)
Pennington, Neil S. (Richmond, VA, US)
Application Number:
13/902349
Publication Date:
12/05/2013
Filing Date:
05/24/2013
Assignee:
QUBICA EUROPE S.P.A. (Bologna, IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/54
International Classes:
A63D5/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roberts Calderon Safran & Cole, P.C. (McLean, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system, comprising: a management system having stored therein instructions to provide special effects associated with one or more events to one or more special effects components, wherein, upon an occurrence of an event, the management system: determines that the occurrence of the event is associated with one or more special effects; and provides the instructions to the one or more special effects components to effectuate the special effects associated with the one or more events.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the one or more special effects components provide special effects comprising at least one of video projection, multi-colored lighting, laser effects, audio effects, and fog/haze.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the one or more special effects components provide the special effects within a bowling center.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the management system is a centralized management system of a bowling center that centrally controls bowling activities within the bowling center and is configured to associate a detected or determined event with the one or more special effects.

5. The system of claim 4, further comprising a scoring system which interacts with the centralized management system.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the scoring system provides game information to the centralized management system, which includes at least one bowling event which is determined by the centralized management system to be an event associated with the one or more special effects.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the scoring system is configured to permit a bowler to enter one or more programmed triggering events and associated special effects, which are provided to the centralized management system.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a detection system which interacts with the management system.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the detection system is configured to detect movement of an object or a person, and provide detected movement to the management system, which associates the detected movement with the one or more events.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the management system instructs the one or more special effects components to change special effects due to motion of a bowling ball or bowler.

11. The system of claim 1, wherein the one or more special effects components is a sound system which is integrated with the management system to create specific sounds in response to ball motion, bowler motion, or scoring events on a bowling lane.

12. The system of claim 1 is integrated to a network advertising server and system and is configured to display advertising messages and videos onto the bowling lane, approach, wall, or masking unit.

13. A system, comprising: one or more special effects components configured to provide special effects in response to an occurrence of one or more events that occurred in a bowling center; and a management system programmed to: store one or more predefined events and associated special effects in a storage device; upon an occurrence of a detected event, make a determination that the detected event is one of the predefined events; and when it is determined that the detected event is one of the predefined events, provide instructions to the one or more special effects components to perform at least one of the predefined special effects associate with the detected event.

14. The system of claim 13, further comprising a scoring system configured to provide at least one of: provide data associated with the bowling game to the management system; and provide an interface for a bowler to define the one or more predefined events and associated special effects and sending the defined one or more predefined events and associated special effects to the management system.

15. A method, comprising: detecting an event at a bowling center; associating the event with special effects; and providing instructions to one or more special effects components in the bowling center to perform the special effects associated with the event.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the special effects includes at least one of video projection, multi-colored lighting, laser effects, audio effects, and fog/haze.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the event is determined by a scoring system and provided to a management system for providing the instructions.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the associating of the event with the special effects is predefined by a user at the scoring system.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein interaction with the management system is through a handheld mobile device.

20. The method of claim 15, further comprising a computer program product comprising a computer usable storage medium having readable program code embodied in the storage medium the computer program product includes at least one component operable to perform at least the associating and the providing steps of claim 15.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to bowling systems and, more particularly, to interactive bowling systems using scoring systems and/or other computer infrastructures which interact with visual and/or audio effects within the bowling center.

BACKGROUND

Bowling is a very popular sport for both recreational bowlers and league bowlers. For recreational bowlers, it is a leisure activity which can be played at most any time of the day and throughout the year, regardless of weather. The game of bowling game has also become very popular for families as well as adults of all ages.

Bowling has many different games including, for example, ten-pin, nine-pin, candlepin, duckpin and five-pin bowling. Today, the sport of bowling is enjoyed throughout the world.

SUMMARY

In an aspect of the invention, a system comprises a management system having stored therein instructions to provide special effects associated with one or more events to one or more special effects components. Upon an occurrence of an event, the management system: determines that the occurrence of the event is associated with one or more special effects; and provides the instructions to the one or more special effects components to effectuate the special effects associated with the one or more events.

In another aspect of the invention, a system comprises one or more special effects components configured to provide special effects in response to an occurrence of one or more events that occurred in a bowling center. The system further comprises a management system programmed to: store one or more predefined events and associated special effects in a storage device; upon an occurrence of a detected event, make a determination that the detected event is one of the predefined events; and when it is determined that the detected event is one of the predefined events, provide instructions to the one or more special effects components to perform at least one of the predefined special effects associate with the detected event.

In an additional aspect of the invention, a method comprises: detecting an event at a bowling center; associating the event with special effects; and providing instructions to one or more special effects components in the bowling center to perform the special effects associated with the event.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described in the detailed description which follows, in reference to the noted plurality of drawings by way of non-limiting examples of exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows a representative bowling center in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a representative bowling scoring and management system which implements aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a representative computer infrastructure, which can be representative of a bowling scoring and/or management system; and

FIG. 4 shows another representative bowling center in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention relates to bowling systems and, more particularly, to interactive bowling systems comprising scoring systems and/or other computer infrastructures of the bowling center which interacts with and/or manages special effects within the bowling center. In embodiments, the interactive bowling systems can be triggered by, for example, bowling events. These bowling events can be, for example, a strike or a sequence of strikes, gutter balls, a high score, e.g., perfect score, over 200, etc., or any combination thereof amongst other triggering events, occurring on any lane or combination of lanes or within, generally, the bowling center. Advantageously, the events can be triggered automatically using, for example, an existing scoring system (scoring console) or other detection systems, using a central management system.

Special effects can be, for example, any entertainment related effect that enhances the bowling game experience. These special effects can include video projection, multi-colored lighting, laser effects, audio effects, and/or fog/haze effects, which may or may not contain cameras or sensors for interactivity with the bowler and/or the bowling ball. It should be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, though, that these special effects noted herein are merely illustrative examples, and that other effects, whether they are visual, audio or tactile, are contemplated by the present invention.

In embodiments, the present invention contemplates interacting special effects with a bowling scoring and management system. In this way, the bowling scoring and/or management system of a bowling center can control and/or manage the special effects to be delivered within the bowling center, in order to behave with some meaningful interaction based on information available to a bowling scoring system, for example. This information can be, illustratively, detection of a person or bowling ball at a certain location within the bowling center, e.g., crossing over a foul line, scoring events such as a strike, gutter ball, etc.

Thus, the present invention contemplates an interactive system comprising special effects used in bowling centers, managed by a bowling scoring and/or management system. This allows the special effects content to respond to the scoring games and events occurring on the bowling lane (and that are known and managed usually by the scoring system) and within the bowling center. The result is that the bowling scoring and management system can drive and also affect the special effects content (either with or without a camera/detection device for interactivity with the bowler and/or bowling ball).

Referring to FIG. 1, in embodiments, the present invention utilizes a video projection system 10 to display special effects onto bowling center surfaces. Bowling center surfaces can be, for example, floors 15, walls 25, ceilings, masking units 35, bowling pins 45, bowling lanes 55, and bowler approaches 65 in the bowling center, amongst other surfaces. It should be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, though, that these bowling center surfaces are merely illustrative examples, and that projecting special effects on any surface within the bowling center are contemplated by the present invention such as, for example, any surface of any system that is used in the bowling center.

More specifically, in embodiments, the special effects may include a video projector system 10 which includes, for example, one or more video projector units configured to project video content onto a masking unit 35 at the end of the bowling lanes that is suitable to receive this content, as well as projecting content onto the bowling lane 55 or approach area 65, or any other surface on the bowling center to add video content and/or effect to the bowling center environment. In embodiments, the special effects may include a video projection system 10 that incorporates a camera or other detection device (see, e.g., FIG. 4) to identify people and objects that cross onto the video projection surface area or other locations within the bowling center, and which enables the systems of the present invention, e.g., bowling scoring and management system 100, to react and change the image (or other special effect) being displayed by the video projection system 10 according to the motion of the person or object/objects in the video projection display area or other events.

In further implementations, the present invention can implement the use of multi-color lighting fixtures 30, e.g., LED lighting, above the bowling lanes in which the multi-color lighting fixtures, e.g., LED lighting, project lighting effects onto the lane surface (or other surfaces), changing the color appearance of the lane surface (or other surface of the bowling center) and creating a visual effect on the bowling lanes (or other surface of the bowling center), any of which can be controlled by a scoring system and/or centralized management system. The special effects can also include sound and other effects such as fog machines, rotating lights, mirrored effects, etc., all of which are represented by reference numeral 10 or reference numeral 30.

As shown in FIG. 2, in embodiments, the bowling center includes a bowling scoring and management system 100. The bowling scoring and management system 100 comprises, for example, the following features.

Lane Score Computer

The lane-score-computer (also referred to as the scoring system) 200 is a computerized system that manages games on a lane, or a multiple lanes, as should be known to those of skill in the art. The scoring system 200 is discussed in more detail with reference to FIG. 3. In embodiments, the example described herein assumes one pair of lanes; although other configurations are also contemplated by the present invention. In embodiments, the scoring system 200 includes a main CPU that is connected to:

    • i. A local monitor (typically overhead display monitor above the lane). This monitor will display bowling information including, for example, bowling scores and other bowling related information including messages, etc., to the bowler;
    • ii. I/O devices to interface with the pinspotting machines;
    • iii. I/O devices to collect information regarding when a ball is thrown, how many pins have fallen, if a foul has been detected, and other information available on the lane about the ball that was bowled; and
    • iv. I/O console device (keypad, LCD, or similar) to allow the scoring system to interact locally on the lane with the bowlers.

In embodiments, the I/O console device includes, for example, a keypad, e.g., touch screen, capable of receiving inputs from a bowler or other user. For example, the bowler can enter the names of each bowler, as well as other pertinent information. In embodiments, the I/O console device will also allow the bowler or other user to enter triggering events and associated special effects, in order to trigger the programmed special effects. For example, the bowler can enter a command requiring lights to flash when a bowler has a strike or a gutter ball, or the bowler passes over the foul line or any combinations thereof, as further described herein.

Centralized Management System

The centralized management system 300 is a computerized system comprising one or more computers located at the counters and back office of the bowling center. The centralized management system 300 is discussed in detail with reference to FIG. 3.

In embodiments, for example, the centralized management system 300 communicates with the scoring system 200. The centralized management system 300 allows the manager/employees of the bowling center to manage the customers (bowlers) from check-in to check-out. One of the many functions performed by the management system 300 is to send the necessary information to set up the scoring system 200, which then takes care of the game being bowled on the lane. At the end of the game, the centralized management system 300 collects the necessary information from the scoring system 200 in order to manage the game scores, rankings, payments, etc.

In embodiments, the centralized management system 300 can control/manage any of the features of the present invention as described with regard to FIGS. 2 and 3. More specifically, a user can enter any combination of triggering events and associated special effects into the centralized management system 300. Upon the occurrence of the triggering event(s), the centralized management system 300 will then instruct the projection system 10, for example, to provide the programmed special effects.

In additional embodiments, the triggering event can be provided by a bowler, by inputting a desired triggering event or combination of triggering events into the scoring system 200. The bowler can also enter a desired special effect from a list of preprogrammed special effects. The scoring system 200 will, in turn, provide the programmed triggering events and programmed special effects to the centralized management system 300. Upon the occurrence of the triggering event, which may be determined and/or monitored by the scoring system 200, e.g., a strike on a specific lane, the scoring system 200 will notify the centralized management system 300 of such triggering event, in which scenario, the centralized management system 300 will instruct the projection system 10, for example, to provide the associated programmed special effects.

Redemption System

Integrated with the centralized management system 300 and/or the scoring system 200 is a redemption device 500. The redemption device can deliver virtual tickets and/or tokens as images projected onto the lane surface.

Representative Computer Infrastructure

FIG. 3 shows a representative computer infrastructure, which can be representative of a bowling scoring and/or management system of the present invention. Illustratively, the computer infrastructure can be representative of either the scoring system 200 or centralized management system 300. To this extent, the computer infrastructure includes a server or other computing system 12 that can perform the processes described herein. In particular, the server 12 includes a computing device 14. The server 12 and/or computing device 14 can communicate over any communication link such as an intranet, LAN, WAN, Internet, etc. For example, the scoring system 200 can communicate with the centralized management system 300 using an intranet, LAN, WAN, Internet, etc. The computing device 14 can be resident on a network infrastructure or computing device of a third party service provider.

The computing device 14 also includes a processor 20, memory 22A, an I/O interface 24, and a bus 26. In addition, the computing device includes random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), and an operating system (O/S). The computing device 14 is in communication with the external I/O device/resource 28 and the storage system 22B. The I/O device 28 can comprise any device that enables an individual to interact with the computing device 14 (e.g., user interface) or any device that enables the computing device 14 to communicate with one or more other computing devices using any type of communications link. The external I/O device/resource 28 may be for example, a handheld device, PDA, handset, keyboard etc.

In general, the processor 20 executes computer program code (e.g., program control 44), which can be stored in the memory 22A and/or storage system 22B. The program control 44 provides the processes described herein. The program control 44 can be implemented as one or more program code stored in memory 22A as separate or combined modules. Additionally, the program control 44 may be implemented as separate dedicated processors or a single or several processors to provide the function of these tools. While executing the computer program code, the processor 20 can read and/or write data to/from memory 22A, storage system 22B, and/or I/O interface 24. The bus 26 provides a communications link between each of the components in the computing device 14.

As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the present invention may be embodied as a system, method or computer program product. Accordingly, aspects of the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.) or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects. Furthermore, aspects of the present invention may take the form of a computer program product embodied in one or more computer readable medium(s) having computer readable program code embodied thereon. Any combination of one or more computer readable medium(s) may be utilized. The computer readable medium may be a computer readable signal medium or a computer readable storage medium. A computer readable storage medium may be, for example, but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, or device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. More specific examples (a non-exhaustive list) of the computer readable storage medium would include the following: an electrical connection having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a hard disk, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), an optical fiber, a portable compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM), an optical storage device, a magnetic storage device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. In the context of this document, a computer readable storage medium may be any tangible medium that can contain, or store a program for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.

According to aspects of the present invention, the scoring system and/or a management system manages special effects content based on a certain triggering event. More specifically, in embodiments, the special effects devices (e.g., component 10 of FIG. 1) can be provided near the lanes or in other sections of the bowling center. The special effects devices can be managed directly by the centralized management system 300 through direct commands sent on a standard or proprietary protocol (serial communication, Ethernet, DMX). They can also be managed by a dedicated service separated from the centralized management system 300, intended for example as a dedicated server machine, running a specific software which receives inputs from the centralized management system 300 and translates these inputs into commands for each special effect device connected to it, also in this case using a defined communication protocol running for example on a standard network connection, or using a proprietary protocol such as DMX.

The centralized management system 300 can be an independent centralized computerized system able to know the specific “modality” of the bowling center at every moment. For example, the centralized management system 300 always “knows” the state of each lane such as open/close, how many bowlers are playing, which kind of game they are playing, if there are children using bumpers, if the lane is in open play or in League mode, and so on. The state of each lane can be set up manually by the front desk operator, manually directly by the bowlers on the lane through the bowler consoles of the scoring system 200 or automatically through a bowling modes feature.

In embodiments, “bowling modes” refers to a feature of the centralized management system 300 that allows a user to define and program on a predefined schedule a set of parameters related to each lane's status, such as the type of game (open play, league, tournament), status of optional accessories (bumpers, glow-in-the-dark lighting), availability of specific games, background grids or video animations on the lanes. This allows for a complete and automated customization of the bowling environment throughout the center and throughout the day. As an example, the bowling center can be set to automatically switch to glow-in-the-dark lighting at a certain time on certain days of the week, e.g., every Friday starting from 10 PM or every Wednesday at 4 PM certain lanes are set for open play with children which are set to display only animations and games targeted to children.

The scoring system 200, on the other hand, refers to the equipment related to the lanes, including a scoring CPU, a bowler console for interaction with bowlers, an monitor where scoring information is displayed (or other video content managed by the scoring system 100), an interface with the pinspotter equipment and a device for detecting the pin count and the speed of the ball. The scoring system 200 is responsible for storing a set of data related to the bowler (name, handicap, left-right handed) and for detecting and processing all game-related events on the lane (e.g., each bowler's scoring, how many frames have been played, etc.). In embodiments, the scoring system 200 is connected and integrated with the centralized management system 300, in a way such that data are continuously exchanged between these components. As an example, the centralized management system 300 instructs the scoring system 200 by sending the information on what kind of games can be played or what are the bowlers' names, and the scoring system sends to the centralized management system 300 information related to the events happening on the lanes, such as the scoring of each bowler, how many strikes are done by a bowler or on a lane, etc. These events can then be used to trigger a special effect.

In embodiments, the centralized management system 300 can use the inputs coming from the scoring system 200 to trigger the command for specific special effects, directly after a specific event happens (e.g., every time anyone in the center scores a strike, a flashing word “Strike!” is projected on the masking units, or a predefined light pattern is projected on the lanes by ceiling-mounted RGB LED lights). To extend this feature, the present invention can be combined with the bowling modes to set a number of predefined commands that the centralized management system 300 can send to any of the special effects devices according to the state of the lanes and the events happening on each lane, sent in real time from the scoring system 200.

In embodiments, the interaction between the centralized management system 300 and specific ongoing “events” determines the special effects as multi-colored lighting, laser effects, audio effects, fog, etc. Events may include the following examples, amongst others as described throughout the present disclosure.

    • Individual game events or a combination of events happening on one or more lanes, e.g., one strike, a series of strikes, a certain score, etc., may trigger a special effect. In this example, the scoring system 200 detects these events and sends this information to the centralized management system 300 that, cross referencing the input with the “modality” of the center in that moment if bowling modes is active, generates some specific special effects.
    • The system administrator (center proprietor, manager, or reception/front desk operator) can send some specific inputs to the centralized management system 300 through any terminal belonging to the centralized management system 300 (such as front desk reception terminals). In this example, the system administrator can communicate that all the customers on a specific lane are children. At this point, the centralized management system 300, using this specific data, will know exactly which specific special effects to generate. These effects can be for a specific or combination of lanes. By way of example, if there are three strikes on three different lanes, the centralized management system 300 can trigger a fog effect on the lanes or a special lighting effect on the whole center.
    • The game players (bowlers) can send specific input directly to the scoring system 200 through the lane bowler console in order to provide a triggering event and special effect. For example, a player can choose that a certain color is projected on the lane after an occurrence of an event. In this example, the scoring system 200 will send this input to the centralized management system 300 that, cross referencing this information with the specific “modality” of the center in that moment, if active, will send a command to a projector mounted on the lane to project a chosen color or image on the lane.

Accordingly, in embodiments, the centralized management system 300, in addition to being the system that generates the “modality” of the bowling center, can also be the “collector” of all inputs that are obtained by the scoring system 200, by the system administrator and/or by game players (again through the Scoring System). Once collected, and depending on the specific combination, the centralized management system 300 can determine which specific special effects to generate on one lane, multiple lanes, at other locations within the bowling center and any combination thereof.

Representative Bowling Center

FIG. 4 shows another representative bowling center in accordance with aspects of the present invention. More specifically, FIG. 4 shows several components and interactions amongst the components in the bowling center. For example, FIG. 4 shows a front desk 400 and back office 410, either of which may store any combination of the components of the centralized management system 300. For example, in embodiments, the monitor and input devices of the centralized management system 300 may reside at the front desk 400; whereas, the servers for the centralized management system 300 may reside in the back office 410.

Further, in the bowling center representation of FIG. 4, the scoring system 200 is shown to be paired with two lanes each, 200a, 200b. As shown, the scoring system 200 includes an input component, e.g., keypad 200c, and a monitor 200d.

FIG. 4 further shows the projection system 10, which can comprise lighting and other special effects as described herein. A tracking camera 415 is also provided, for example, overhead of the bowling lanes 200a, 200b. The tracking camera (system) 415 can be positioned at other locations of the bowling center and preferably has an overview of the bowling center, including the lanes 200a, 200b, the approach area 65 and foul line 65a, pit area 70 and masking unit 35, etc. In embodiments, the tracking camera (system) 415 can be a laser or other motion detection system that is positioned at the foul line 65a, to determine whether a bowler has stepped over the foul line during a bowling event.

In additional embodiments, the tracking system 415 can track movement of objects, e.g., bowling pins, bowling balls, etc., as well as bowlers, and provide such information to the centralized management system 300. The centralized management system 300 can use this information to determine if such event is a triggering event for a special effect, and, if so, then instruct the special effects component(s) to provide the associated special effects, e.g., lighting, fog, or other interactions. By way of example, the tracking camera (system) 415 can determine that a person is in the approach area 65 and, if another person on the adjacent lane is bowling, instruct the special effects component, e.g., projector, to project an image or word(s) on the approach requesting that the bowler wait unit the other bowling in the adjacent lane has released the bowling ball. A pit area 70 can include special effect equipment such as pit lighting 420 under the masking unit 35.

A plurality of overhead monitors 425 can also be provided in the bowling center. In embodiments, much like the other visual effects components of the present invention, these overhead monitors 425 can provide visual effects upon a triggering event, as controlled by the centralized management system 300. For example, the visual effects can be animations or other effects.

The bowling center of FIG. 4 also includes other bowling related components such as a ball return system 430. In embodiments, the visual effects can be provided on any surface of the bowling center, including the ball return system 430.

Additional Examples and Embodiments of the Invention

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, in operation, a video signal can be delivered to the video projector system 10 such as a movie, TV channel, but also contemplated by the present invention is a computer-processed video content received from the centralized management system 300. The video source can be managed by a computerized system (the centralized management system 300) so that each video projector of multiple projectors could display video and/or other effects in accordance with aspects of the present invention. For example, each video projector can display a different portion of the original video signal so that the combination of the video projectors generates a bigger picture. This is referred to as a matrix video wall (i.e., a 3×3 display matrix can display a single video into an area 9 times larger than the single projector). Inside a bowling center this technique can be used on the video mask to display a single and very large picture, movie across all lanes in the bowling center, or an advertising banner moving/scrolling across all lanes in a bowling center (for example from lanes 1 to lane 30).

Further, in operation, the video projection system 10 can be an array of video projectors interspersed throughout the bowling center, e.g., over the bowling centers. This array of video projectors can use a camera device (or other detection device) (e.g., tracking camera 415) to identify people and objects that cross onto the video projection surface area and enable the system to react and change the image being displayed by the projectors according to the motion of the person or object/objects in the video projection display area. In embodiments, the array of video projectors is managed by the centralized management system 300. Many kinds of lighting fixtures can also be controlled by the centralized management system 300 to create lighting effects and “mood” within the bowling center. These lighting fixtures can be multi-color lighting fixtures, e.g., LED lighting, above the bowling lanes in which the multi-color lighting fixtures, e.g., LED lighting, project lighting effects onto the lane surface, changing the color appearance of the lane surface and creating a nice visual effect on the bowling lanes, any of which are managed by the centralized management system 300.

Accordingly, in embodiments, the present invention provides interaction of the projection and lighting effect systems used in bowling centers with the bowling scoring and management system 100 to allow the video content, audio and lighting content delivered by these systems to respond to many different events, including scoring games and events occurring on the bowling lane (and that are known and managed usually by the scoring system). The result is that the bowling scoring and management system 100 can drive and also affect the video content delivered by the video projector system 10 (either with or without a camera/detection device for interactivity with the bowler and/or bowling ball) and/or effect lighting systems in the bowling center.

This integration and interaction can be achieved in many different ways because projection, audio and lighting systems can be provided with computerized control and standardized interfaces (i.e., the computerized system controlling the video projector is a computer and thus the computer software running on it can get input by the bowling scoring system through Ethernet). For example, the effects lighting control system may be a DMX controller that can be set up to interact with the bowling scoring and management system trough a DMX connection.

Examples of the interaction that are achieved by linking these devices to the bowling scoring and management systems include, amongst others and in no particular order of importance, the following features.

(i) Extend any graphic, environment, or scoring data available within the bowling and scoring management system 100 to the bowling lane, approach and masking unit or other surfaces.

(ii) Allow bowlers to use the scoring consoles or a mobile device to choose content to be projected onto the bowling lane, approach, and masking unit or other surfaces. For example, there can be games within the scoring system that allow users to choose images or animations and project them on the lane surface (i.e. the bowling lane can look like grass, ice, a road, plasma, a night sky with stars, etc.).

(iii) Allow bowlers to create their own content through the scoring consoles or a mobile device and project it onto the lane (e.g., by using different patterns, brushes and stamps, etc. available kids can create their own picture on the lane, as if they were painting the lane).

(iv) Project a welcome screen onto the approach to welcome bowlers just arriving to the lane or other surfaces.

(v) Any graphic, environment, or scoring data available within the bowling and scoring management system can be sent to the bowling lane, approach area and masking unit or other surfaces.

(vi) Integrate with the redemption device 500 to deliver virtual tickets and/or tokens as images projected onto the lane surface.

(vii) Project any advertising messages and images originating from the scoring and management system onto the bowling lane, approach, and masking unit.

(viii) Project a topographic image representing the oil pattern onto the bowling lane.

(ix) Project a safety warning message or image onto the lane to warn bowlers not to cross the foul line and respect the bowling center rules.

(x) Project a foul video clip animation as soon as the scoring system detects that the foul detector unit has been tripped by someone crossing the foul line.

(xi) Extend any game managed by the scoring system to the Bowling Center Surfaces, e.g., lane surface, so the competition between lanes can be visualized on the lane surface, through a histogram starting from the end of the lane and growing towards the approach area. At every ball thrown the corresponding histogram bar grows. The first lane whose bar reaches the approach area wins.

(xii) Extend any game managed by the scoring system to the Bowling Center Surfaces, e.g., lane surface, displaying the scene on the lane surface, all across the bowling center. (i.e., a train image enters on lane 1 and moves across all adjacent lanes, going back and forth several times, getting closer to the approach with every time. When the train stops, all doors open and from one of the train cars a “You Won!” banner is displayed).

(xiii) Display scoring information directly on the lane or other bowling center surfaces, in addition to or instead of those shown on the monitors. For example:

    • Display nicknames, pictures and other data about the bowler on the lane and/or masking unit;
    • Display the score made with the latest ball thrown (i.e. “7” or “strike”) onto the lane and/or masking unit;
    • Celebrate remarkable scoring achievements with specific animations on the lane and/or masking unit (i.e. “three strikes in a row”);
    • Show bowler standings and recap data on the lanes and/or masking unit; and/or
    • Display an histogram on the lane, one bar per bowler with name and current score, to show intuitively how the match is proceeding and who's leading and following.

(xiv) Allow bowlers to use the scoring consoles to create content images (avatar) that will follow the ball path down the lane.

(xv) Integrate with a sound system to create specific sounds that react to the ball motion and/or graphical images. For example, a gutter ball is accompanied by a sound effect.

(xvi) Integrate a spare finder projected onto the bowling lane to show bowlers where to throw the ball using arrows on the lane (extension of the spare finder in the scoring system).

(xvii) Project the ball path onto the lane to help bowlers learn and improve their performance (e.g., use a different color for first and second ball, colored stripes displayed at specific positions on the lane, with the ball that has to pass in between).

(xviii) Keep the history of the ball paths and project them onto the lane to show how consistent the bowler is in their bowling patterns.

(xix) Improve safety in the bowling center by using the system to identify everything that does not look like a bowling ball that crosses the foul line onto the lane and warn bowlers by projecting visual and sonic alerts and stopping the pinspotting machine is the shape gets too close.

The descriptions of the various embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration, but are not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the embodiments disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the described embodiments. The terminology used herein was chosen to best explain the principles of the embodiments, the practical application or technical improvement over technologies found in the marketplace, or to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the embodiments disclosed herein.