Apple is going to lose, big time. They will be exposed as the biggest rip-offs ever in the tech arena.
This was filed in 1997
"BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates generally to digital systems and more particularly to digital systems that are adapted to use by children two years old and older. One aspect of such a digital system is a graphical user interface that requires neither typing skills nor fine visual-motor coordination.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Ever since interactive computer systems became available in the 1960's, they have been used to educate and entertain children. Entire industries dedicated to interactive games and educational software have arisen and the Internet has literally made the whole world available to a child with access to a personal computer that is connected to the Internet. Educational uses of the computer have ranged from employing it as a page turner and exercise checking machine through using the fact that it can be programmed to teach analytical thinking and problem solving skills. For an example of the last kind of application, see Seymour Papert, Mindstorms, Basic Books, 1980.
Until now, the computer as used for the education or entertainment of children has had the same basic form as the computer as used in the workplace: the display sits on a desk and has a vertically-mounted screen and input to the computer has been by way of a keyboard and a pointing device such as a mouse that sit on the desk with the display. The graphical user interfaces have generally been based on at least two out of three assumptions: the user can type, the user can read, and the user has the fine motor coordination necessary to manipulate the buttons, sliders, and icons typical of modern graphical user interfaces.
The orientation of the screen, the input devices, and the graphical user interfaces together render a standard computer unusable by children of pre-school age. Such children are too short to see the display or reach the keyboard and mouse, they cannot read, they cannot type, and even if they could reach the keyboard and mouse, they do not have the fine motor coordination necessary to use the graphical user interface. Moreover, a standard computer is not child-safe: it has an exposed power cord and other cords connecting components such as the keyboard and mouse to the CPU.
What is needed if small children are to be able to take care of the educational and entertainment opportunities offered by the computer is a digital device which has been rendered child-safe and which has a user interface that permits direct manipulation of objects in the display and requires neither literacy nor typing skills nor fine motor coordination. It is an object of the present invention to provide such a digital device.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The child-friendly digital system of the invention differs both in its physical aspect and in its graphical user interface from standard digital systems. In its physical aspect, the child-friendly computer system is contained in a toddler-proof case that rests on the and has a touch-sensitive screen that is within easy reach of a toddler. Images are displayed on the touch-sensitive screen and the child-friendly digital system responds to touches on the display by altering the display. Other features of the physical aspect include an upward-facing display, sensors for sensing the presence of the child and motion above the display, a microphone for receiving voice inputs, and a loudspeaker. The child-friendly digital system has not cords or other appendages. In one embodiment, the digital system is portable; in another, it is a fixed unit.
The graphical user interface for the child-friendly digital system is based on manipulating an image on the touch-sensitive screen by touching the image directly. If an image is movable, touching the screen at the image selects the image for moving; moving the touched point within a selected image causes the image to move with the touched point, thus permitting the image to be dragged. An image that has been selected for moving may also be caused to move to another location by touching a point elsewhere on the screen. The touch causes the selected image to move to the selected point. If the screen is touched at two or more points simultaneously, the image moves to a point between the touched points. If the image is dragged at a speed above a threshold velocity, the image is “thrown away from” the display and may be automatically replaced by another image. Depending on the direction in which the image is dragged, the image may be replaced by one of the same kind or one of a different kind. If an image is tapped twice in short succession, with the finger remaining down after the second tap, the image is selected for modification. Moving the finger on the screen when an object has been selected for modification causes the object to change size in directions that depend on the direction of motion of the finger on the screen. The actions permitted by the graphical user interface are used to implement activities including shape sorting, puzzle assembly, hide-and-go-seek, and what might be called a digital picture book.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the arts to which the invention pertains upon perusing the following Detailed Description and Drawing, wherein:"