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Apparatus and method for electronic device for information services (Assignee -- Viscorp)

Source: MicroPatent

Abstract: An electronic device and method for accessing remote electronic facilities and displaying associated information on a conventional television set. The electronic device self-configures itself upon power-up or reset by initiating a data call to a configuring facility. Information related to available facilities and programming, autonomous mail checking is downloaded to the electronic device. The electronic device displays a menu including several user selectable facilities on the display for a user. The user chooses one of the options from the menu by use of a remote keypad control, similar to a conventional television remote control. The options available include printing, electronic mail and other news and information services. Interfacing the electronic device with a stylus-type pointing device permits sketching and drawing on the television, including superposition of images on captured television images. Captured images of graphics or text are optionally stored or forwarded to a user through a mail facility accessed through operation of the system. The captured images may subsequently be sent via facsimile transmission to other facsimile machines or receivers. The electronic device includes a speaker phone capability for providing audio information received over telephones to the television speaker. A microphone on the electronic device permits two-way communication. A menu item, selectable by the remote keypad, activates this option. The television speaker use permits access to audiotext and voice mail as well.

Ex Claim Text: In a data communication system having a host computer coupled to a data communications medium and an electronic device coupled to said data communications medium, a method for providing access at said electronic device to a plurality of facilities, said method comprising the steps of: calling to said electronic device said host computer from said electronic device through said data communications medium, to establish a first data communication link between said electronic device and said host computer via said data communications medium; transferring configuration data from said host computer to said electronic device via said first data communication link; thereafter breaking said first data communication link; assembling from said configuration data a menu listing a plurality of titles identifying said plurality of facilities; thereafter displaying said menu on a television coupled to said electronic device; thereafter accepting, at a remote keypad, an operator input specifying a selected one of said plurality of facilities; transmitting, from said remote keypad to an IR detector coupled to said electronic device, an infrared signal responsive to said operator input; detecting said infrared signal at said IR detector; thereafter calling said selected one of said plurality of facilities from said electronic device via said data communications medium, thereby establishing a second data communication link between said electronic device and said selected facility via said data communications medium; and thereafter connecting said electronic device to said selected facility via said second data communication link.

Assignee: Viscorp
Patent Number: 5561709
Issue Date: 1996 10 01
Inventor(s): Remillard, Roger
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