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Computing device and method for selecting display regions responsive to non-discrete directional input actions and intelligent content analysis

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Computing device and method for selecting display regions responsive to non-discrete directional input actions and intelligent content analysis


A computing device includes a display surface, a human interface feature, and processing resources. The human interface features enables a user of the computing device to enter a non-discrete directional input action. The processing resources execute to: (i) provide content on the display surface; (ii) detect the user performing the input action; (ii) determine a vector from the input action; and (iv) select a region of the display surface based on the vector.

Inventors: Matias DUARTE, Daniel Shiplacoff, Gregory Simon, Renchi Raju
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120317522 - Class: 715863 (USPTO) - 12/13/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Gesture-based

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120317522, Computing device and method for selecting display regions responsive to non-discrete directional input actions and intelligent content analysis.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/347,873, filed Dec. 31, 2008, entitled “COMPUTING DEVICE AND METHOD FOR SELECTING DISPLAY REGIONS RESPONSIVE TO NON-DISCRETE DIRECTIONAL INPUT ACTIONS AND INTELLIGENT CONTENT ANALYSIS”, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosed embodiments relate to display interfaces for computing devices. More particularly, the disclosed embodiments relate to a computing device and method for selecting display regions responsive to non-discrete input actions and/or intelligent content analysis.

BACKGROUND

Computing devices, particularly handheld and portable devices, have evolved to include numerous types of human interface features. Among them, devices now incorporate touch-sensitive displays and sensors in order to enhance the human interaction with the device. Examples of sensors include accelerometers and proximity sensors, which detect information as to movement or where a computing device is being held.

Increasingly, devices are smaller and more intelligent. Thus, while the display size is limited, what can be shown on the relatively small display screens is increasingly more sophisticated. For example, mobile computing devices can routinely display web content, videos, and live television content from one display.

In addition to smaller size and increased processing, computing devices also enable more kinds of user input and actions. For example, gesture input is a type of input that is enabled on mobile computing devices that incorporate touch sensitive display screens. Other devices exist that can detect movement by the user, such as through the motion of arms or the hand.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a simplified block diagram architecture for enabling features for intelligent scrolling or navigation of display objects on a computing device, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 illustrates methods for using non-discrete input actions to select displayed content for re-display, according to embodiments.

FIG. 3A through FIG. 3C illustrates the transformation of a non-discrete directional input action of the user into a vector.

FIG. 4A and FIG. 4B illustrates a user-interface panel on which an embodiment for selecting portions thereof, in response to a non-discrete directional input action, is implemented.

FIG. 5 illustrates another user-interface panel on which another embodiment for selecting a display object in response to a directional input action is implemented.

FIG. 6 illustrates still another user-interface panel on which another embodiment for selecting a display object in response to a directional input action is implemented.

FIG. 7 illustrates a method for re-displaying a region of a display that incorporates selectable data items in excess of a designated criteria, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 8A and FIG. 8B represent user interface panels that are an implementation of an embodiment depicted in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 illustrates a hardware diagram for a computing device that is configured to implement one or more embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments described herein enhance a user\'s ability to scroll or navigate displayed content on a computing device through use of non-discrete input from a user. In particular, one or more embodiments use logic or intelligence to enhance a user\'s ability to use non-discrete directional input actions to make selections of displayed content. As described, embodiments enhance the user\'s interaction with the computing device, by enabling selection of content in response to non-discrete input actions of the user.

Embodiments described herein include a computing device having a display surface, a human interface feature, and processing resources. The human interface features enables a user of the computing device to enter a non-discrete directional input action. The processing resources execute to: (i) provide content on the display surface; (ii) detect the action the user performs; (ii) determine a vector from the input action; and (iv) select a region of the display surface based on the vector.

In another embodiment, a computing device includes a display region and processing resources that are configured to present content on the display surface, including a plurality of selectable data items on a sub region of the display surface. The processing resources are further configured to analyze at least a portion of a content on display that includes the plurality of selectable data items to determine a spacing between at least some of the plurality of data items. Responsive to determining that the spacing between the selectable data items is less than a pre-determined threshold, the processing resources execute to re-display at least a portion the content to enhance the user\'s ability to select a desired data item and not inadvertently select an undesired data item. For example, content containing closely packed links on a touch-sensitive display surface may be re-displayed to zoom in on the links, thus making the links distinguishable to the user for touch selection.

One or more embodiments described herein provide that methods, techniques and actions performed by a computing device are performed programmatically, or as a computer-implemented method. Programmatically means through the use of code, or computer-executable instructions. A programmatically performed step may or may not be automatic.

One or more embodiments described herein may be implemented using modules. A module may include a program, a subroutine, a portion of a program, or a software component or a hardware component capable of performing one or more stated tasks or functions. As used herein, a module can exist on a hardware component independently of other modules, or a module can be a shared element or process of other modules, programs or machines.

Furthermore, one or more embodiments described herein may be implemented through the use of instructions that are executable by one or more processors. These instructions may be carried on a computer-readable medium. Machines shown in figures below provide examples of processing resources and computer-readable mediums on which instructions for implementing embodiments of the invention can be carried and/or executed. In particular, the numerous machines shown with embodiments of the invention include processor(s) and various forms of memory for holding data and instructions. Examples of computer-readable mediums include permanent memory storage devices, such as hard drives on personal computers or servers. Other examples of computer storage mediums include portable storage units, such as CD or DVD units, flash memory (such as carried on many cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)), and magnetic memory. Computers, terminals, network enabled devices (e.g. mobile devices such as cell phones) are all examples of machines and devices that utilize processors, memory, and instructions stored on computer-readable mediums.

System Architecture

FIG. 1 illustrates a simplified block diagram architecture for enabling features for intelligent scrolling or navigation of display objects on a computing device, according to an embodiment. In an embodiment, a system 100 is implemented on a computing device and includes one or more modules or components that operate to provide a selector 110, a human interface component 104, a presentation component 120, and an interface 128 to an application 136 from which content is generated for display. As described with an embodiment of FIG. 9, system 100 may be implemented on various kinds of devices, including wireless messaging and telephony devices, or wireless/cellular mufti-function devices. System 100 may also be implemented across multiple types of devices. Accordingly, the system 100 may be implemented on the computing device 900 (FIG. 9) running application 136 to generate content on a display of the device. In an embodiment shown by FIG. 1, the application 136 corresponds to a web browser, and the content generated on the display device is web content. However, application 136 may correspond to other kinds of applications, so that other forms of content may be presented for use by system 100. For example, the application 136 may correspond to a mapping application (e.g. GOOGLE EARTH, or map typically displayed with GPS), PDF viewer, Image viewer, or a document display application.

The human interface component 104 may take various forms. In embodiment, the human interface component 104 is provided by touch sensors that are incorporated into a display assembly 920 of the computing device 900 (FIG. 9). The touch sensors detect finger motions or gestures that correspond to a non-discrete input actions 125. However, other devices or types of interfaces may be used to detect such directional input actions. As provided below, non-discrete actions may correspond to acts of the user that require sampling or similar processing in order to be interpreted or processed by a computer. Such acts may be distinguishable from, for example, button presses or actions that actuate switches, as button and switches are discrete input mechanism, and require no sampling to be understood by a computer. The human interface component 104 may further include or use logic (e.g. such as provided by integrated circuits, or by CPU) to calculate the vector 123 from the directional input action 125. Vector 123 may provide a linearized version of the input that enables the directional action 125 of the user to be extrapolated to a region of on a display surface of the computing device 900 (see FIG. 9).

In an embodiment, the interface 128 provides content display information 127 to the selector 110. In an embodiment in which the application 136 is a web browser, the content display information 127 corresponds to document object model (DOM) information, which identifies, for example, the presence and relative position of various display objects and items of content on a given web page or resource. Various other forms of content display information 127 may be used, particularly for other types of applications.

Selector 110 uses the vector 123 to navigate or scroll what is presented on the display. In particular, an embodiment provides that selector 110 uses the vector 123 to navigate or scroll to a display object or region of content that is currently being displayed on a display surface of the computing device. In particular, modules of system 100 process the action 125 to determine the vector 123, and then use the vector 123 to make content selection 121. The content selection 121 may correspond to (i) a region of content on display, or (ii) a display object or set of objects that appear as part of the content on display. For the content selection 121, the presentation component 120 performs an act to redisplay the content selection 121.

In one embodiment, the selector 110 processes the input action 125 by using the vector 123 to extrapolate, from a current position of focus on displayed content, to a new position. The vector 123 specifies a direction of the extrapolation, as well as optionally a magnitude of how far to extend the linear extrapolation. The magnitude may be determined from velocity of the input action 125 (e.g. a finger swipe) or force/acceleration of such movement or action. Thus, the vector 123 may carry directional information, and magnitude information (e.g. force, velocity of combination thereof).

In an embodiment, selector 110 identifies a sub region of content on display from vector 123. The sub region may correspond to, for example, a quadrant or section of a screen display, such as the top portion of a rendered web page. As an alternative or addition, selector 110 identifies a display object that is to be re-displayed based on the vector 123. Examples of display objects include images, text blocks, or links.

In determining the display object or sub region that is to be re-displayed, an embodiment provides that the selector 110 enables a display process of the computing device to navigate or scroll from one region of focus for the content on display to the selected region or display object. The existing region of focus may be identified by, for example, from default (e.g. start from center of display region), from the location of a pointer or navigation device, or from the previous location of a selected display object or region (as determined from, for example, previous vector input determination). Thus, for example, in response to determining vector 123, the selector 110 may cause the processing resources of the device to traverse its focus of display from a portion of a web page to a display object that is existing on the web page.

The selection determination 121 is used by the presentation component 120 to re-display the existing content with alteration and/or focus on the selected sub region or display content (as determined by selector 110). In an embodiment, the presentation component 120 enhances the portion of the displayed content where the selected sub region or display object is provided. The enhancement may take the form of enlarging the selected portion. As an alternative or addition, the enhancement may include, for example, highlighting, backlighting or brightening the displayed content at the selected portion, altering the granularity or focus at that portion, centering the selected content, and/or presenting the selected sub portion in focus.

The presentation component 120 may interface with the application and/or other display component directly or indirectly. In one implementation, the presentation component 120 sends data 131 for generating enhanced display of the selected sub region or display object to the interface 128 of the application 136. For example, when application 136 corresponds to a web browser, the presentation component 120 sends the presentation data 131 to its interface 128. The interface 128 may then re-display the selected sub region or display object in place of an existing portion of the content already on display. For example, the selected content may be enlarged to overlay other content on the display screen. Alternatively, the presentation component 120 may communicate the presentation data 131 directly to the application, or to another application that creates a display content to overlay or substitute the content already on display.

In an embodiment, system 100 includes a feedback component 140 which signals a haptic and/or audible feedback 129 to an output mechanism 142, to coincide with presentation component 120 re-displaying or otherwise presenting the selected content. In an embodiment in which selector 110 identifies a display object, the presentation component 120 may traverse to the selected object immediately, so as to snap to and re-display the selected object. To enhance the snap effect, feedback component 140 synchronizes or otherwise times the feedback signal 129 to coincide with selection and re-display of the selected display object. In other embodiments, the mechanism 140 and its feedback signal 129 may be configured to trigger with the act of re-displaying a region of content on display (rather than a selected object, or enhancing the snap effect). The output mechanism 142 may correspond to a component that produces a vibration or movement when receiving signal 129. As a variant, the output mechanism 142 may produce an audible sound to simulate a physical effect, such as a ‘tick’ or ‘click’ sound. The output mechanism 142 may be integrated with the display, or with a device surface that touches or otherwise interacts with the user. For example, the output mechanism 140 may be integrated with the display surface that receives the user\'s finger when the user makes a gesture input. As a variant, the output mechanism 140 may be integrated into the shell of a computing device that is held by the user, on which the system 100 is implemented on.

Methodology

FIG. 2 illustrates methods for using non-discrete input actions to select displayed content for re-display, according to embodiments. Embodiments such as described with FIG. 2 may be implemented using components such as described with FIG. 1, or hardware elements such as described with FIG. 9. Accordingly, any reference made to elements described with FIG. 1 or FIG. 9 is intended to illustrate suitable elements or components for performing a step or sub-step being described.

In step 210, input is received in the form of a non-discrete input action. The non-discrete input action may correspond to a free-form action of the user, such as a movement of a finger (i.e. placed in contact with a surface) or limb, that is distinguishable from discrete input actions such as button presses or user-manipulated switches. In one embodiment, the non-discrete input action is detected in analog form. Sampling may be used to processes the input.

According to an embodiment, the non-discrete input action may be analyzed to infer a directional intent of a user. Such an input action may be referred to as being directional. The input action may be received by the human interface component 104. The interface component 104 may correspond to a combination of sensors and logic (e.g. in form of integrated circuits) that can monitor, for example, certain types of user activities. On the surface of the display, for example, the sensors may be positioned to detect contact by human skin, and further detect information about the position of the skin in contact at a given instance or over time. Another form of input may incorporate use of an optical sensor, which can be used to detect, for example, movement of a finger or object over a region of the computing device. Other sensors may include accelerometers, which can be placed on a wand or other device to report the position of the wand as the user waives it around. Numerous other implementations for how the non-discrete input action may be implemented also exist. For example, a roller ball input mechanism (or sometimes called a track ball) may carry non-discrete input, in form of magnitude and/or direction. Even switched input mechanism may be structured to detect and use information that relates to magnitude of the action. The detection of magnitude may be by way of detecting an associated non-discrete action or characteristic with, for example, a switch event.

Optional sub-steps 212-218 illustrate various kinds of non-discrete input actions that may correspond to directional input for use with one or more embodiments. In sub-step 212, the input action may correspond to a gesture input, made by the user\'s finger or user-directed object (e.g. stylus or pen) interacting with an interface component of the computing device. The interface component may correspond to, for example, a touchpad or touch screen of a computing device. Sub-step 214 provides that the non-discrete directional action may correspond to a movement by the user. For example, the user may move a hand or limb or head. The interface component may correspond to sensors incorporated into a device used by the user in moving the limb or other body part. For example, a combination of accelerometers and/or position sensors may be used to enable the device to move a wand. Sensor information from the wand may be received on the computing device and then interpreted into a gesture or movement input.

Sub-step 216 provides that the non-discrete input action corresponds to eye movement by the user. The user\'s eye movements may be monitored using, for example, an eye scanner/detector. In one implementation, the user\'s eye is tracked to interpret gesture-like input. The user may direct his vision to an area of the displayed content, or a region of the display screen, in order to have his eye movement registered as a directional input action.

Still further, optional sub-step 218 provides that the non-discrete input action corresponds to a voice command and/or inflection. The user may speak certain words that indicate direction (e.g. ‘up’ ‘north’ north east’ ‘30 degrees from center’ etc.). Inflection may also be used to indicate magnitude. The interface components of the computing device may correspond to a microphone, which uses speech recognition logic to convert the spoken words into directional input. To detect inflection, the microphone may analyze the volume, as compared to a baseline (e.g. the user\'s normal speech patter, background noise etc.) to determine whether the command was spoken loudly or softly, possibly in terms of relative degrees.

In step 220, a vector is determined from the user\'s non-discrete input action (e.g. input action 125 is used to generate vector 123). The vector is a linearization of the non-discrete input. As such, the vector carries information that corresponds to direction. Optionally, sub-step 222 provides that the vector is generated to carry information that includes an indication of magnitude in the directional action of the user (as may be detected by the human interface component 104). Such magnitude may be determined using, for example, sensor or other components that measure characteristics such as speed or force in gesture/movement, or inflection in voice commands.

In step 230, the vector is used to select a region of content that is on or for display. The vector may be used to extrapolate or determine a portion of the content based on an existing assumed position or origin of the vector. This position may correspond to, for example, the user\'s prior selection of content, the position of a pointer device or feature (e.g. hover or focus on a specific content item, mouse pointer (or equivalent position)), or a default point of origin (e.g. center of display, hover on specific content etc.) Sub-step 232 describes one implementation in which the selected region corresponds to a sub region of existing content under display, or otherwise prepared for display. The sub region may be selected as a panel, indiscriminately of, for example, the boundaries of specific content items within the panel. For example, content may be displayed in form of a map or a rendered web page. In response to the user\'s gesture input, the selector 110 selects a quadrant or other section of the map, which may or may not be off-display at that instance (portion of the map that is not in view on the boundaries of the display). In the case of a map, a geographic region or granularity represented on the map content may be selected, such as a square mile or city block. Still further, the selected region may carry characteristics that delineate the region from other portions of the surrounding content. For example, the selected region may be part of a structured set of data that is distinguishable from displayed data in surrounding regions.

In a variant to sub-step 232, sub-step 234 provides that a display object is selected from the vector. An example of a display object is an image, text block or other entry. Rather than select, for example, a section of a panel or rendered content by section, analysis is performed to identify a specific content item. In one embodiment, the content on display is a web page or other web content. The selector 110 identifies display objects (e.g. text block, image) on the web page using, for example, DOM information. In other implementations, other forms of content analysis may be used to detect other content items. For example, in a document, the insertion and position of a graphic or media is readily detectable. Shade or color analysis may also be performed to detect presence of an image. The interface component 128 may interface with the browser or the web page, for example, to provide the DOM information to the selector 110.

In a variation in which the display object is selected, the manner in which the selection is made may be performed as follows. As part of sub-step 234, the boundaries of the selected display object are identified in a sub-step 235. Such boundaries may be identified from, for example, (i) DOM information (when the content being displayed is a web page) or its equivalent (for other forms of rendered content), (ii) image analysis, such as discovery of an image file or detection of change in shading or color, (iii) grid/map information.

Once the selected content is determined, step 240 provides that an action is performed to the selected content. If the content is already being displayed, this action may correspond to re-displaying the content with alteration, such as with magnification (sub step 242), colorization alteration, enhancement, or delineation from the remainder of the content (use color or other visual effect to present the remainder of the content as background).

In an implementation in which the selected content is a display object, an embodiment provides that in sub step 244, the selected display object is snapped to and then re-displayed. The snap refers to a graphical user interface sensation in which the selected display object is selected as a whole for the user. In one implementation, the snap is performed so that no objects or display surface between the origin and the selected object are selected, but rather the selected display object is placed in a pre-selected or re-displayed state automatically. The re-display of the selected display object may be in the form of an enlargement or other augmentation/alteration such as described above.

Still further, the snap may be performed to determine a boundary of edge of content that is deemed structured and apart from other content (but indicated by the vector of the action). Such content may be grabbed and aligned on the display. Alignment may include, for example, presenting all of the bounded on the display, centering the bounded content, or just re-positioning it in the presentation.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120317522 A1
Publish Date
12/13/2012
Document #
13587248
File Date
08/16/2012
USPTO Class
715863
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/033
Drawings
7



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