Comcast Scores Patent for Next-Gen Remote

Comcast won a U.S. patent on Tuesday for a touch-screen remote control that is designed to sit horizontally on a charging station.

tom-loretan
Tom Loretan

Comcast SVP and Executive Creative Director Tom Loretan is named as inventor on the patent for the next-generation remote control.

Abstract: A handheld remote control device may have an angled directional control pad having a planar orientation that is askew from a front face control surface of the remote control device. The angled directional control pad may include a rear portion on the rear of the remote control device, which may be angled as well. The rear portion of the directional control pad may include an inductive charging circuit for charging a battery of the remote control device, and may be configured to mate with a charging base.

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Claims: 

1. An apparatus, comprising: a front face arranged in a first plane; a directional control pad in the front face, wherein the directional control pad has up, down, left and right directional input locations arranged, in a resting state, in a second plane at an offset angle with respect to the first plane; and a directional pad base portion that protrudes from a rear surface of the apparatus.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein in a left or right side view of the apparatus, a first portion of the directional control pad having the up directional input location is obscured from view, while a second portion of the directional control pad having the down directional input location is visible.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a first portion of the directional control pad having the up directional input location is recessed in a rearward direction into the front face, while a second portion of the directional control pad having the down directional input location protrudes in a frontward direction from the front face.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the offset angle is 20 degrees.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the directional pad base portion protrudes from the rear surface of the apparatus at the offset angle.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the directional pad base portion comprises a first end underneath the up directional input location of the directional control pad, and a second end underneath the down directional input location of the directional control pad, and wherein the first end protrudes from the rear surface of the apparatus, while the second end is recessed into the rear surface of the apparatus.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein in a front view of the apparatus, a center of gravity of the apparatus lies underneath the directional control pad.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, further comprising an inductive battery charging circuit in the directional pad base portion.

9. A system comprising the apparatus of claim 8, and a charging base having an upper surface configured to mate with the directional pad base portion.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the upper surface of the charging base is arranged such that when the apparatus is placed on the charging base, the first plane rests at a tilted angle with respect to a surface on which the charging base rests.

11. The apparatus of claim 8, further comprising a magnetic lock in the directional pad base portion, configured to secure the apparatus against a charging base.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the offset angle is a user-adjustable offset angle.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the front face comprises a touch-sensitive display.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the front face extends between opposite edges of the apparatus.

15. A device, comprising: a housing having front, rear, top, bottom, left and right sides; a planar front surface having a plurality of user interface elements; and a directional control pad in the planar front surface, wherein, in a resting state, a plane formed by upmost, bottommost, rightmost and leftmost portions of a front input surface of the directional control pad is tilted with respect to the planar front surface, and wherein a downmost direction portion of the front input surface of the directional control pad protrudes from the planar front surface, and wherein an upmost direction portion of the front input surface of the directional control pad is recessed into the planar front surface.

16. The device of claim 15, wherein a rear portion of the directional control pad protrudes from a rear surface of the device.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the rear portion of the directional control pad protrudes from the rear surface of the device at an angle equal to an angle with which the plane is tilted with respect to the planar front surface.

18. The device of claim 15, wherein the directional control pad has a disk shape, and is visible from both front and rear views of the remote control device.

19. The device of claim 15, wherein at least a portion of the planar front surface extends between opposite edges of the device.

20. A device, comprising: a housing having a top and a bottom; a touch-sensitive display located at a top end of the housing; and a disk-shaped directional control pad located below the touch-sensitive display, having a front portion that is tilted by at least twenty (20) degrees with respect to a plane of the touch-sensitive display; and a disk-shaped rear portion corresponding to the directional control pad, wherein the rear portion is tilted by at least twenty (20) degrees with respect to a plane of a rear surface of the device.

21. The device of claim 20, wherein the front and rear portions of the directional control pad are parallel, and wherein the plane of the touch-sensitive display and the plane of the rear surface of the device are parallel.