EchoStar / Dish Network Partner Savant Eyes Virtual Room Home Automation Solution

TV viewers would control home automation functions with a virtual room interface that would reflect changes in lighting controls, inventors at EchoStar / Dish Network partner Savant Systems said in a patent issued Tuesday.

“Each virtual room may include a substantially photo-realistic depiction of the boundaries of the physical room (or portion of the physics cal room), for example, of the walls, ceiling, floor, etc. that define the room; may show at least a portion of furnishings present in the physical room (or portion of the physical room), for example, sofas, chairs, beds, wall-hangings, etc. that are present in the physical room; and may show devices, for example, light fixtures, under control (either directly or indirectly) of the programmable multimedia controller that are present within the physical room (or portion of the physical room),” Savant, which teamed up with EchoStar’s Sage by Hughes home automation at the CEDIA Expo in September, wrote in the patent.

Abstract: In one embodiment, a virtual room-based user interface includes one or more virtual rooms. Each virtual room is rendered from one or more images captured of a corresponding physical room of a structure, and includes depictions of one or more light fixtures within the physical room, one or more furnishings within the physical room and one or more boundaries of the physical room. A user selects a particular depiction of a particular light fixture within a particular virtual room. In response, a state of the particular light fixture within the corresponding physical room is changed. Also, appearance of the particular virtual room is updated such that the depiction of the particular light fixture shows the particular light fixture with the changed state and the depictions of the one or more boundaries or the one or more furnishings show lighting effects resulting from the changed state.

Patent Application

Claims:

  1. A method comprising: displaying, on a display screen of a mobile device, a virtual room-based user interface, the virtual room-based user interface including one or more virtual rooms, each virtual room rendered from one or more images captured of a corresponding physical room of a structure, and including depictions of one or more light fixtures within the physical room, one or more furnishings within the physical room and one or more boundaries of the physical room; receiving on the mobile device a user’s selection of a particular depiction of a particular light fixture within a particular virtual room; and in response to the selection of the particular depiction of the particular light fixture, causing a state of the particular light fixture within the corresponding physical room to be changed, and updating appearance of the particular virtual room in the virtual room-based user interface, such that the depiction of the particular light fixture shows the particular light fixture with the changed state, and the depictions of the one or more boundaries or the one or more furnishings show lighting effects resulting from the changed state of the particular light fixture.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the lighting effects include reflections or shadows resulting from the changed state of the particular light fixture.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the state of the particular light fixture is changed by turning the particular light fixture on or off.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the state of the particular light fixture is changed by dimming or brightening the particular light fixture.
  1. The method of claim 1 wherein the virtual room-based user interface includes one or more additional virtual rooms, each additional virtual room rendered from one or more images captured of a corresponding outdoor space and including depictions of one or more light fixtures within the outdoor space.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the display screen of the mobile device is a touch-screen display, and the receiving comprises: receiving on the touch-screen display of the mobile device a user’s touch about the particular depiction of the particular light fixture within the particular virtual room.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: obtaining for each virtual room a first number of images captured of the corresponding physical room of the structure; and rendering each virtual room in a second number of states, wherein the second number for a given virtual room is greater than the first number for the given physical room.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein the depictions of one or more light fixtures within the physical room, the one or more furnishings within the physical room and the one or more boundaries of the physical room are substantially photo-realistic depictions.
  1. A system comprising: a mobile device including a display screen and an interface for receiving user selections, the mobile device configured to display one or more virtual rooms on the display screen, each virtual room rendered from one or more images captured of a corresponding physical space, and including depictions of one or more light fixtures within the physical space, one or more furnishings within the physical space, and one or more boundaries of the physical space; a controller in communication with the mobile device and operable to control the one or more light fixtures within each physical space, the controller configured to, in response to a user’s selection of a particular depiction of a particular light fixture on the mobile device, change a state of the particular light fixture within the corresponding physical space, wherein the mobile device is further configured to update appearance of the particular virtual room when the state of the particular light fixture within the physical space is changed, such that the depiction of the particular light fixture shows the particular light fixture with the changed state and the depictions of the one or more boundaries or the one or more furnishings show lighting effects resulting from the changed state of the particular light fixture.
  1. The system of claim 9, wherein the lighting effects include reflections or shadows resulting from the changed state of the particular light fixture.
  1. The system of claim 9, wherein the state of the particular light fixture is changed by turning the particular light fixture on or off.
  1. The system of claim 9, wherein the state of the particular light fixture is changed by dimming or brightening the particular light fixture.
  1. The system of claim 9, wherein the corresponding physical space is an outdoor space.
  1. A non-transitory computer readable medium having software encoded thereon, the software, when executed, operable to: cause display of a virtual room-based user interface, the virtual room-based user interface including one or more virtual rooms, each virtual room rendered from one or more images captured of a corresponding physical space, and including depictions of one or more devices within the physical space, one or more furnishings within the physical space and one or more boundaries of the physical space; and in response to a user’s selection of a particular depiction of a particular device, cause a state of the particular device within the corresponding physical space to be changed, and update appearance of the particular virtual room in the virtual room-based user interface, such that the depiction of the particular device shows the particular device with the changed state and the depictions of the one or more furnishings within the physical space or the one or more boundaries of the physical space show effects resulting from the changed state of the particular device.
  1. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the one or more devices include one or more light fixtures, the selection of a particular depiction of a particular device is a selection of a particular depiction of a particular light fixture, the state is an illumination state of the particular light fixture, and the effects are reflections or shadows caused by the particular light fixture.
  1. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the one or more devices include one or more audio/video (A/V) devices and the selection of a particular depiction of a particular device is a selection of a particular depiction of a particular A/V device.
  1. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the display of the virtual room-based user interface is on a mobile device, and the user’s selection is received on the mobile device.
  1. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the display of the virtual room-based user interface is on a control unit coupled to a controller, and the user’s selection is received on the control unit.
  1. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the display of the virtual room-based user interface is on a television, and the user’s selection is received on a remote control unit.
  2. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the depictions of one or more devices within the physical space, the one or more furnishings within the physical space and the one or more boundaries of the physical space