FreshPatents.com Logo
stats FreshPatents Stats
1 views for this patent on FreshPatents.com
2013: 1 views
Updated: November 16 2014
newTOP 200 Companies filing patents this week


    Free Services  

  • MONITOR KEYWORDS
  • Enter keywords & we'll notify you when a new patent matches your request (weekly update).

  • ORGANIZER
  • Save & organize patents so you can view them later.

  • RSS rss
  • Create custom RSS feeds. Track keywords without receiving email.

  • ARCHIVE
  • View the last few months of your Keyword emails.

  • COMPANY DIRECTORY
  • Patents sorted by company.

Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents

Modifications of audio communications in an online environment

last patentdownload pdfdownload imgimage previewnext patent


20120314886 patent thumbnailZoom

Modifications of audio communications in an online environment


A system and method to modify audio communications in an online environment and, in particular, to modifying audio communications using one or more parameters. The system includes a module configured to detect one or more parameters applicable to an incoming audio communication and a weighing engine configured to weigh the one or more parameters and obtain a weighted volume. The system further includes a module configured to transmit the weighted volume to a user participating in a virtual universe. The method determines whether one or more parameters apply to an incoming communication, weighs the incoming communication based on the one or more parameters to determine a weighted volume of the incoming communication, and transmits the incoming communication to a user at the weighted volume.

Browse recent International Business Machines Corporation patents - Armonk, NY, US
Inventors: Jeffrey D. Amsterdam, Rick A. Hamilton, II, Brian M. O'Connell, Clifford A. Pickover, Keith R. Walker
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120314886 - Class: 381107 (USPTO) - 12/13/12 - Class 381 
Electrical Audio Signal Processing Systems And Devices > Including Amplitude Or Volume Control >Automatic

view organizer monitor keywords


The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120314886, Modifications of audio communications in an online environment.

last patentpdficondownload pdfimage previewnext patent

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a divisional application of copending application Ser. No. 12/211,435 filed on Sep. 16, 2008, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention generally relates to a system and method to modify audio communications in an online environment and, in particular, to modifying audio communications using one or more parameters.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A virtual universe (VU) is an interactive simulated environment accessed by multiple users through an online interface. Users inhabit and interact in the VU via avatars, which are a user\'s representation of himself or herself. These representations can be in the form of a three-dimensional model, a two-dimensional icon, a text construct, a user screen name, etc. Although there are many different types of VUs, there are several features many VUs generally have in common. These features include, for example, Shared Space: the VU allows many users to participate at once; Graphical User Interface: the VU depicts space visually, ranging in style from 2D “cartoon” imagery to more immersive 3D environments; Immediacy: interaction takes place in real time; Interactivity: the VU allows users to alter, develop, build, or submit customized content; Persistence: the VU\'s existence continues regardless of whether individual users are logged in; and Socialization/Community: the VU allows and encourages the formation of social groups such as teams, guilds, clubs, cliques, housemates, neighborhoods, etc.

As VUs become more complex and processing power, memory storage, and bandwidth increase, the number of ways in which users can communicate with one another in a VU has increased. For example, instead of relying on textual conversations, users can now audibly speak with one another while participating within a VU. This is particularly convenient during business meetings, lectures, and social gatherings within a VU.

As VUs increase in popularity the number of residents in a virtual location at any given time has increased. Understandably, this increase has resulted in an increase in audio communications. Currently these audio communications are being transmitted within VU regions at the same volume regardless of the source of the communication, how far the audio source is from the user, how many users are speaking at one time, etc. As such, an audio source ten feet away from a user may be heard at the same volume as an audio source two feet away from a user.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect of the invention, a system comprises a module configured to detect one or more parameters applicable to an incoming audio communication and a weighing engine configured to weigh the one or more parameters and obtain a weighted volume. The system also comprises a module configured to transmit the weighted volume to a user participating in a virtual universe.

In another aspect of the invention, the method comprises determining whether one or more parameters apply to an incoming communication, weighing the incoming communication based on the one or more parameters to determine a weighted volume of the incoming communication, and transmitting the incoming communication to a user at the weighted volume.

In another aspect of the invention, a computer program product comprising a computer usable medium having readable program code embodied in the medium is provided. The computer program product includes at least one component to: determine an initial volume of an incoming communication; apply one or more parameters to the incoming communication, whereby the one or more parameters are configured to change the initial volume; determine a final volume based on the application of the one or more parameters; and transmit the incoming communication at the final volume.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a method for deploying an application for modifying audio communications, comprises providing a computer infrastructure being operable to: determine an initial volume of an incoming communication; determine a final volume of the incoming communication by adjusting the initial volume according to one or more factors, which are configured to be customized by a virtual universe or a user; and transmit the final volume to the user.

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 an illustrative environment for implementing the steps in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of an exemplary process in accordance with aspects of the invention;

FIG. 3 shows a flow chart of an exemplary process in accordance with aspects of the invention;

FIG. 4 shows an exemplary proximity curve in accordance with aspects of the invention; and

FIG. 5 shows an illustrative example using a proximity curve in accordance with aspects of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a system and method to modify audio communications in an online environment and, in particular, to modifying audio communications using one or more parameters. More specifically, the present invention allows a user or a VU to set parameters, which can be used to modify incoming audio communications. For example, a parameter can be set to modify incoming communications from a specific audio source and/or incoming communications from an audio source that is part of a VU or user defined group. Parameters may also be set to modify audio communications if the audio source is using an inventory item that is designed to modify an audio source\'s audio communications.

It should be understood by those skilled in the art that an audio source may comprise humans that are speaking, singing, humming, making noise in the background, playing music, etc. Additionally, an audio source may also comprise non-humans, such as automated system messages and/or communications from objects containing an audio component. For example, an object could be a virtual coffee house\'s public announcement system, which is configured to stream music to patrons. A user can select this music as their background music wherever they are in the VU.

Additional parameters may be used to modify an audio source\'s audio communications. For example, an audio source\'s communication may be modified to be louder or softer if the audio source is making a declaration or an alert is being communicated. An audio source\'s communication may also be modified based on how many audio sources are currently speaking and whether the audio source is interrupting a preexisting communication. Further embodiments may modify an audio source\'s communications based on how proximate the audio source is to the user. Embodiments may also set parameters to designate what audio channels should be used to transmit the communication to the user.

The user and/or a VU can assign a weight to one or more of the parameters. The weights are representative of the importance of each parameter and can be combined to determine a weighted volume of the audio communication. This weighted volume can be transmitted to a user. By utilizing one or more parameters and determining a weighted volume users can now customize incoming communications within a VU.

System Environment

FIG. 1 shows an illustrative environment 10 for managing the processes in accordance with the invention. To this extent, the environment 10 includes a server 12 that can perform the processes described herein. In particular, the server 12 includes a computing device 14, which may be in the form of a VU server system. The computing device 14 comprises a Management System 30, which may be embodied as a VU and stored in memory 22A. The Management System 30 is configured to make computing device 14 modify an audio communication. The audio modification can be performed in part by detecting one or more parameters that may be applicable to the audio modification, via a detection module 32, and transmitting a weighted volume to a user 16 via a transmission module 34. Pluggable acoustic modules 36 may also be used by the computing device 14 to modify audio communications.

The computing device 14 may further comprise a weighing engine 40, which is configured to weigh one or more parameters or inputs to obtain a weighted volume. The weighted volume is representative of how loudly an incoming communication is transmitted to a user 16 via an input/output (I/O) device/resource 28.

The computing device 14 also includes a processor 20, the memory 22A, an I/O interface 24, and a bus 26. The memory 22A can include local memory employed during actual execution of program code, bulk storage, and cache memories which provide temporary storage of at least some program code in order to reduce the number of times code must be retrieved from bulk storage during execution.

The computing device 14 is in further communication with the external I/O device/resource 28 and the storage system 22B. For example, the I/O device 28 can comprise any device that enables an individual to interact with the computing device 14 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 keyboards, displays, pointing devices, microphones, headsets, etc.

In general, the processor 20 executes computer program code, which is stored in the memory 22A and/or storage system 22B. While executing 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 program code executes the processes of the invention. The bus 26 provides a communications link between each of the components in the computing device 14.

The computing device 14 can comprise any general purpose computing article of manufacture capable of executing computer program code installed thereon (e.g., a personal computer, server, handheld device, etc.). However, it is understood that the computing device 14 is only representative of various possible equivalent computing devices that may perform the processes described herein. To this extent, in embodiments, the functionality provided by the computing device 14 can be implemented by a computing article of manufacture that includes any combination of general and/or specific purpose hardware and/or computer program code. In each embodiment, the program code and hardware can be created using standard programming and engineering techniques, respectively.

Similarly, the server 12 is only illustrative of various types of computer infrastructures for implementing the invention. For example, in embodiments, the server 12 comprises two or more computing devices (e.g., a server cluster) that communicate over any type of communications link, such as a network, a shared memory, or the like, to perform the process described herein. Further, while performing the processes described herein, one or more computing devices on the server 12 can communicate with one or more other computing devices external to the server 12 using any type of communications link. The communications link can comprise any combination of wired and/or wireless links; any combination of one or more types of networks (e.g., the Internet, a wide area network, a local area network, a virtual private network, etc.); and/or utilize any combination of transmission techniques and protocols.

In embodiments, the invention provides a business method that performs the steps of the invention on a subscription, advertising, and/or fee basis. That is, a service provider, such as a Solution Integrator, could offer to perform the processes described herein. In this case, the service provider can create, maintain, deploy, support, etc., the computer infrastructure that performs the process steps of the invention for one or more customers. In return, the service provider can receive payment from the customer(s) under a subscription and/or fee agreement and/or the service provider can receive payment from the sale of advertising content to one or more third parties.

Exemplary Implementation of the System

FIGS. 2 and 3 are flow charts implementing steps of the invention, which may be implemented in the environment of FIG. 1. FIGS. 2 and 3 may equally represent a high-level block diagram of the invention. The steps of FIGS. 2 and 3 may be implemented and executed from either a server, in a client server relationship, or they may run on a user workstation (which can be generally represented in FIG. 1) with operative information conveyed to the user workstation to allow information to be presented to a user during content breakpoints. Additionally, the invention can take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment or an embodiment containing both hardware and software elements.

In an embodiment, the invention is implemented in software, which includes but is not limited to firmware, resident software, microcode, etc. Furthermore, the invention can take the form of a computer program product accessible from a computer-usable or computer-readable medium providing program code for use by or in connection with a computer or any instruction execution system. The software and/or computer program product can be implemented in the environment of FIG. 1, as should be understood and capable of implementation by those of skill in the art. For the purposes of this description, a computer-usable or computer readable medium can be any apparatus that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device. The medium can be an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system (or apparatus or device) or a propagation medium. Examples of a computer-readable medium include a semiconductor or solid state memory, magnetic tape, a removable computer diskette, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), a rigid magnetic disk and an optical disk. Current examples of optical disks include compact disk-read only memory (CD-ROM), compact disk-read/write (CD-R/W) and DVD.



Download full PDF for full patent description/claims.

Advertise on FreshPatents.com - Rates & Info


You can also Monitor Keywords and Search for tracking patents relating to this Modifications of audio communications in an online environment patent application.
###
monitor keywords



Keyword Monitor How KEYWORD MONITOR works... a FREE service from FreshPatents
1. Sign up (takes 30 seconds). 2. Fill in the keywords to be monitored.
3. Each week you receive an email with patent applications related to your keywords.  
Start now! - Receive info on patent apps like Modifications of audio communications in an online environment or other areas of interest.
###


Previous Patent Application:
Signal processing using spatial filter
Next Patent Application:
Vibration unit of speaker
Industry Class:
Electrical audio signal processing systems and devices
Thank you for viewing the Modifications of audio communications in an online environment patent info.
- - - Apple patents, Boeing patents, Google patents, IBM patents, Jabil patents, Coca Cola patents, Motorola patents

Results in 0.63333 seconds


Other interesting Freshpatents.com categories:
Qualcomm , Schering-Plough , Schlumberger , Texas Instruments ,

###

Data source: patent applications published in the public domain by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Information published here is for research/educational purposes only. FreshPatents is not affiliated with the USPTO, assignee companies, inventors, law firms or other assignees. Patent applications, documents and images may contain trademarks of the respective companies/authors. FreshPatents is not responsible for the accuracy, validity or otherwise contents of these public document patent application filings. When possible a complete PDF is provided, however, in some cases the presented document/images is an abstract or sampling of the full patent application for display purposes. FreshPatents.com Terms/Support
-g2-0.2363
     SHARE
  
           


stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120314886 A1
Publish Date
12/13/2012
Document #
13588186
File Date
08/17/2012
USPTO Class
381107
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
03G3/00
Drawings
6



Follow us on Twitter
twitter icon@FreshPatents