Orig. Patent for "remote" setting of Automatic Volume Level incl. ambient noise mic
Granted as Distinct Patent IP area:
“Remote” Automatic Volume Control” IP with integrated Ambient sound monitoring
Technology Description Brief:
The US patent 5778077 revolves around the concept of a “remote (wireless) electronic device” which is able to control the volume of a second electronic device, so that a desired audio volume, which is able to be pre-set/chosen by the user (to remain at a constant preferred volume level (of clarity), without irritating (higher and lower) volume fluctuations.
An important additional capability integrated into the patented device, is that of combining sensed information of ambient audio levels, using its built-in microphone(s), with that of the monitored volume signal directly from the secondary electronic device, to more effectively achieve the optimum desired user-set level of volume.
Essentially, the patent refers to four main elements that include a receiver, a transmitter, a microphone, and a controller, that are integrally connected as a system, having as one of it’s objectives to be the controlling of volume.
Note: These elements, existing in several of the claims in our patent, are present in Smart Phone devices with the “Automatic Volume Control/Adjustment” feature and wireless headset devices with built-in “Automatic Volume Control” (or “Automatic Volume Adjustment”).
Our patent refers, in the example description/illustration, to a remote device controlling the volume of a television set (as the second device), using ‘infrared’ to wirelessly communicate from one device to another, whereas the present-day choice means-of-wireless-communication may be Bluetooth or another…
Typical uses would be where this technology would be built into a universal remote control (or as a separate wireless remote box associated with a remote control and a second ‘controlled’ electronic device) used for TV sets, computers, stereos, etc. Other uses are as a built in feature to a computer chip or any electronic device that ‘acts’ in a remote manner controlling another electronic device.
This technology enables a company to create a feature advantage in the profitable USA TV/accessory market, by building this technology into a ‘chip’ that can be easy integrated into any universal remote control or TV-specific remote allowing the user to set their ‘perfect volume level’.
A very timely and dramatic marketing benefit of this technology as a differentiating feature, capturing a large niche segment, would involve targeting the enormous and growing “Baby Boomer” buying segment. This fast-growing retirement-age and over populous, hears at a dramatically reduced level (natural, age-related decrease), and are unable to hear low volume sound/talk in movies and TV shows, and overwhelmed by excessive bursts of overly loud volume (including commercials). This technology could create a significant advantage with substantial profit results.
System-in-a-chip semiconductor companies could also find adding this differentiating feature could provide a significant advantage as a sales tool in the ultra-competitive TV/computer/Home Entertainment etc markets.
The intended wide technological scope is documented in the following sections from the patent stating:
“...it is understood that the embodiments shown in the drawings and described above are merely for illustrative purposes and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law, including the Doctrine of Equivalents.”
“These and other features, objects and benefits of the invention will be recognized by those who practice the invention and by those skilled in the art, from reading the following specifications and claims together with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.”
Modern advances such as commonly used “Spread Spectrum Technology” were not in use when this patent was registered in the mid nineties. Connectivity methods have indeed changed, however, the basic concepts to reach the given objective are still valid and protected in this patent.
Instead of coding systems unique to each different device (in the past), now, connectivity in the digital realm permits complex chunks of transmitted multi-function data in ‘all-instruction-sets’ (including manufacturer information, and device model ‘levels and capacities’).
Attempting to be as clear as possible, the example used in the patent, describes the ‘remote patented technology’ as a separate unit from the ‘remote control’…
This remote control, in the patent’s example, functions in alliance with the ‘remote patented technology unit’, to “[adjust] the volume of a remotely controlled audio device (in the patent’s example: a TV set)”...
Example: “An automatic volume adjusting device [the patented technology unit] for adjusting the volume of a remotely [in the patent example: a handheld-wireless TV remote control] controlled audio device [in the patent example: a TV].”
Understanding the patent’s ‘example description’ wording compared to a modern example:
If one imagines an equivalent (more modern example) where the automatic volume adjusting technology, this time, exists in the form of a simple “chip function (with the same previous microphone function)” within the remote control device—thereby making transmission and receiving from the remote control to the patented technology unit, in this example, a simpler internal function, with the only ‘external’ transmission and receiving necessary being between the remote control device and the “remotely controlled audio device”.
The remote quality that is unique and was successfully registered/granted under patent 5778077, is the same functioning, whether the remote control for description purposes is separate from the patented technology device, or combined as part of the same device.
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