Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 64)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on September 12, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 4,569,026:  TV Movies that talk back.

 TVtalkback

What is claimed is:

1. A video apparatus for simulating a voice conversation between a human viewer of the apparatus and a talking video character, the apparatus comprising:

first means for controlling reading of video frames from a record carrier means to provide a first video frame sequence associated with a plurality of alternative second video frame sequences, wherein the video frames include representations of the talking character;
second means for controlling reading of video frames from a record carrier means to provide access to at least one of said alternative second video frame sequences before the end of said first video frame sequence;
means for generating audio representations of voice sounds during said video frame sequences to provide one side of the simulated voice conversation;
means for communicating to said human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of alternative words corresponding to said alternative second video frame sequences and for eliciting from said viewer a spoken response that includes one of the alternative words, thereby selecting a second video frame sequence;
voice recognition means for analyzing said spoken response and determining therefrom which selected second video frame sequence corresponds to said spoken response; and
means for switching at the end of said first video frame sequence between the video frames from said first reading means to the video frames from said second reading means to provide said selected second video frame sequence accompanied by voice sounds corresponding to said selected second video frame sequence, thereby simulating a voice conversation between the talking character and the human viewer.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the apparatus is part of a video game unit.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising record carrier means in the form of a disc-shaped body having an information bearing structure arranged in concentric tracks.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said disc-shaped body is a video disc.

5. A video apparatus for simulating a voice conversation between a human viewer of the apparatus and a talking video character, the apparatus comprising:

first means for controlling reading of video frames from a record carrier means to provide a first video frame sequence;
second means for controlling reading of video frames from a record carrier means to provide access to a second video frame sequence before the end of said first video frame sequence;
means for switching at the end of said first video frame sequence between the video frames from said first reading means to the video frames from said second reading means;
means for controlling displaying of said first and second video frame sequences to include a simulated image of said video character, said first video frame sequence being accompanied by corresponding first voice sounds, thereby providing one side of a simulated voice conversation;
means for communicating to said human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of alternative words corresponding to a plurality of alternative second voice sounds, and for eliciting from said viewer a spoken response that includes one of the alternative words;
voice recognition means for analyzing said spoken response and determining therefrom which of said alternative words most resembles said spoken response, thereby selecting corresponding second voice sounds; and
means for controlling generation of said selected second voice sounds during said second video frame sequence, thereby simulating a voice conversation between the video character and the human viewer.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the apparatus is part of a video game unit.

7. A video apparatus for storing digital representations of a simulated voice conversation between a human and a talking video character the apparatus comprising:

a disc-shaped body storing a plurality of video frames arranged in concentric tracks, each track having a digital address on the disc; and
a semiconductor memory chip storing a schedule of said digital addresses corresponding to to the sequence in which said video frames are to be read from said disc.

8. An animated cartoon video game apparatus comprising:

a video disc recording of video frame sequences having branching scenes showing an animated cartoon character encountering a situation requiring a choice of one action from a plurality of alternative actions suggested by the branching scene, each alternative action being performed by the animated cartoon character in corresponding video frame sequences recorded on the video recording;
a video disc reader;
a video display;
control means for enabling said video disc reader to read any selected video frame sequence from said video disc recording and for enabling display of a selected video frame sequence on said video display;
push-button means operated by a human game player for selecting one of said alternative actions during a branching scene;
control means for enabling switching action by said push-button means during a predetermined time interval while said video disc reader is reading a video frame sequence having a branching scene being displayed on said video display; and
means responsive to timely pressing of said push-button means by the game player or failure of timely pressing during said time interval and for selectively switching said video disc reader to read from said disc recording the video frame sequence showing said animated cartoon character performing the action selected by said human player.

9. The video game apparatus of claim 8 further comprising:

means for storing numbers representing the starting and ending times for predetermined time intervals within which said switching action may be enabled; and
means for periodically changing the stored numbers by fixed amounts to establish the beginning and ending of the time interval within which said switching action may occur.

10. A method of simulating a personalized voice conversation between a talking video character and a human viewer of the video character, comprising the steps of:

storing digital representations of the name of said human viewer;
displaying a first video frame sequence associated with a plurality of second video frame sequences and accompanied by first voice sounds, the video frame sequences including picture representations of a talking video character;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of verbal expressions to elicit a spoken response which resembles one of said verbal expressions each said verbal expression corresponding to a second video frame sequence in said plurality thereof;
analyzing said spoken response electronically to determine which selected verbal expression in said plurality thereof resembles said spoken response;
displaying the second video frame sequence corresponding to said selected verbal expression accompanied by second voice sounds; and
generating as a third voice sound the name of said human viewer as a function of said digital representations during said first or second video frame sequence, thereby personalizing a simulated voice conversation between the human and the talking video character.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein said video character is displayed as an animated cartoon.

13. The method of claim 10 wherein said video character is displayed as a moving image of a screen actor.

14. The method of claim 10 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as voice sounds.

15. The method of claim 10 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as displayed words.

16. A method of simulating a personalized voice conversation between a talking video character and a human viewer of the video character comprising the steps of:

storing digital representations of the name of said human viewer;
displaying a first video frame sequence including picture representations of a talking video character accompanied by a first voice sound associated with a plurality of second voice sounds;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of verbal expressions to elicit a spoken response which resembles one of said verbal expressions, each said verbal expression corresponding to a second voice sound in said plurality thereof;
analyzing said spoken response electronically to determine which selected verbal expression in said plurality thereof resembles said spoken response;
displaying said first video frame sequence again as a second video frame sequence, thereby repeating said talking video character;
presenting the second voice sound corresponding to said selected verbal expression; and
generating as a third voice sound the name of said human viewer as a function of said digital representations during said first or second video frame sequence, thereby personalizing a simulated voice conversation between the human and the talking video character.

17. A method of simulating a voice conversation between an animated video picture and a human viewer of the picture, comprising the steps of:

displaying as a first video frame sequence a simulated image of a talking face;
presenting during said first video frame sequence a plurality of voice sounds suggesting a choice between a chase and a fight, so as to elicit a spoken response corresponding to either a chase or a fight;
displaying as a second video frame sequence a simulated image of a chase or a fight depending on said spoken response; and
presenting voice sounds corresponding to said chase or fight during said second video frame sequence thereby simulating a voice conversation between the human and the talking face.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

19. A method of simulating a voice conversation between an animated video picture and a human viewer of the picture, comprising the steps of:

displaying as a first video frame sequence a simulated image of a talking face;
presenting during said first video frame sequence a plurality of voice sounds suggesting a choice between at least two alternative paths, so as to elicit a spoken response corresponding to one path among the alternative paths;
displaying as a second video frame sequence a simulated image of said talking face selecting one path among said alternative paths depending on said spoken response; and
presenting voice sounds corresponding to said one selected path during said second video frame sequence, thereby simulating a voice conversation between the human and the talking face.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

21. A method of simulating a voice conversation between a talking face in a video picture and a human viewer of the picture, comprising the steps of:

displaying a plurality of video frames as a first video frame sequence including a talking face accompanied by first voice sounds;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of prompting words to elicit a spoken response which resembles one of the prompting words, said prompting words corresponding to alternative second voice sounds;
analyzing said spoken response electronically to determine which selected prompting word in said plurality thereof resembles said spoken response, thereby selecting the corresponding second voice sound;
displaying said video frames again as a second video frame sequence, thereby repeating said talking face; and
presenting said selected second voice sound with said second video frame sequence, thereby simulating a voice conversation between the talking face and the viewer.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

23. A method of simulating a personalized voice conversation between a talking video character and a human viewer of the video character, comprising the steps of:

storing digital representations of the name of said human viewer;
displaying a first video frame sequence associated with a plurality of second video frame sequences and accompanied by first voice sounds, the video frame sequences including picture representations of a talking video character;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a first plurality of verbal expressions, each verbal expression corresponding to a second video frame sequence in said plurality thereof;
receiving from said viewer a response signal corresponding to a selected verbal expression in said plurality of verbal expressions;
displaying the second video frame sequence corresponding to said selected verbal expression accompanied by second voice sounds; and
synthesizing as a third voice sound the name of said human viewer as a function of said digital representations during said first or second video frame sequence, thereby personalizing a simulated voice conversation between the human and the talking video character.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

25. The method of claim 23 wherein said video character is displayed as an animated cartoon.

26. The method of claim 23 wherein said video character is displayed as a moving image of a screen actor.

27. The method of claim 23 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as voice sounds.

28. The method of claim 23 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as displayed words.

29. A method of simulating a personalized voice conversation between a talking video character and a human viewer of the video character, comprising the steps of:

storing digital representations of the name of said human viewer;
displaying a first video frame sequence including picture representations of a talking video character accompanied by a first voice sound associated with a plurality of second voice sounds;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a first plurality of verbal expressions each verbal expression corresponding to a second voice sound in said plurality thereof;
receiving from said viewer a response signal corresponding to a selected verbal expression in said plurality of verbal expressions;
displaying said first video frame sequence again as a second video frame sequence, thereby repeating said talking video character;
presenting the second voice sound corresponding to said selected verbal expression; and
synthesizing as a third voice sound the name of said human viwer as a function of said digital representations during said first or second video frame sequence, thereby personalizing a simulated voice conversation between the human and the talking video character.

30. The method of claim 29 wherein said simulated voice conversation is part of a video game.

31. The method of claim 29 wherein said video character is displayed as an animated cartoon.

32. The method of claim 29 wherein said video character is displayed as a moving image of a screen actor.

33. The method of claim 29 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as voice sounds.

34. The method of claim 29 wherein said verbal expressions are communicated to the human viewer as displayed words.

35. A method of simulating a voice conversation between a talking face in a video picture and a human viewer of the picture, comprising the steps of:

displaying a plurality of video frames as a first video frame sequence including a talking face accompanied by first voice sounds;
communicating to the human viewer during said first video frame sequence a plurality of prompting words corresponding to alternative second voice sounds;
receiving from said viewer a response signal corresponding to a selected prompting word in said plurality thereof, thereby selecting the corresponding second voice sound;
displaying said video frames again as a second video frame sequence, thereby repeating said talking face; and
presenting said selected second voice sound with said second video frame sequence, thereby simulating a voice conversation between the talking face and the viewer.

36. A video game method for controlling display of video frames from a video recording having a plurality of tracks, comprising the steps of:

displaying as a first video frame sequence an animated cartoon character encountering a situation requiring a choice of one action from a plurality of alternative actions suggested by the first video frame sequence, each alternative action being performed by the animated cartoon character recorded on the video recording as a corresponding second video frame sequence;
receiving from a human player a signal specifying a selected action in said plurality thereof, thereby selecting the corresponding second video frame sequence;
jumping to the video recording track containing the first video frame of said selected second video frame sequence; and
displaying said selected second video frame sequence, thereby showing the animated cartoon character performing the action selected by said human player.

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