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Patent Analysis of

INVISIBLE CONTROL

Updated Time 15 March 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US20140223381A1

Application Number

US13/201823

Application Date

23 May 2011

Publication Date

07 August 2014

Current Assignee

MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY LICENSING, LLC

Original Assignee (Applicant)

HUANG, XUEDONG,CHEN, ZHENG,ZHANG, ZHIMIN,SUN, JIAN-TAO,BAI, PENG

International Classification

G06F3/01,G06F3/0484,G06F3/0487

Cooperative Classification

G06F3/017,G06F3/04842,G06F3/0487,G06F3/03547,G06F3/0485

Inventor

HUANG, XUEDONG,CHEN, ZHENG,ZHANG, ZHIMIN,SUN, JIAN-TAO,BAI, PENG,NI, XIAOCHUAN,ESPOSITO, MARIO

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

INVISIBLE CONTROL INVISIBLE CONTROL INVISIBLE CONTROL
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Abstract

An invisible control may be implemented in a client device or in an application of the client device. A user may activate the invisible control by applying a gesture on a predetermined region of the client device or the application. In response to receiving the user gesture, a predetermined action associated with the invisible control may be activated. The predetermined action may be applied to the application or some or all of the content associated with the application. An Application Programming Interface may further be provided to allow the user, an application vendor or a content provider to customize the invisible control or operating modes associated with activation of the invisible control.

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Claims

1. One or more computer-readable media configured with computer-executable instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising: displaying content on a display of a computing device; detecting a gesture at a border of the display of the computing device; in response to detecting the gesture at the border of the display, changing from a current mode of operation of the computing device to a second mode of operation different from the current mode of operation, the second mode of operation being usable to perform a search; detecting, on the display of the computing device, a second gesture from the user with regard to the content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second gesture identifying subject matter to be searched; and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second gesture.

2. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 1, wherein the content on the display of the computing device includes an object, the acts further comprising: enabling interaction with the object in the current mode of operation; and disabling at least some interaction with the object in the second mode of operation.

3. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 1, wherein detecting the gesture comprises detecting a user input in proximity to an invisible button defined around at least a portion of the border of the display of the computing device.

4. A computing device comprising: a display for displaying content; one or more processors;memory, communicatively coupled to the one or more processors, storing instructions that, when executed by the one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising: providing an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a border of the display of the computing device; detecting a gesture activating the invisible control; in response to activation of the invisible control, changing a current operating mode of the computing device to a new operating mode.

5. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising determining a location of the border of the display at which the gesture is detected, wherein the new operating mode to which the current operating mode is changed, is based on the location of the border of the display at which the gesture is detected.

6. The computing device as recited in claim 5, wherein determining the location of the border of the display comprises determining a side of the border of the display at which the gesture is detected, and the new operating mode is chosen based at least in part on the determined side of the border of the display.

7. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising, after changing to the new operating mode: receiving a second gesture from the user with regard to content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second gesture identifying subject matter to be searched; and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second gesture.

8. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising, after changing to the new operating mode: receiving a plurality of selection gestures to select a plurality of disjoint objects displayed in the display; and performing an operation based on the plurality of disjoint objects.

9. The computing device as recited in claim 8, wherein the plurality of disjoint objects comprise a region of text, an image, audio and/or video.

10. The computing device as recited in claim 4, wherein the current operating mode is based on an application being accessed at the time the invisible control is activated.

11. The computing device as recited in claim 10, wherein the new operating mode comprises a search mode.

12. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising displaying a search box in response to changing to the second operating mode.

13. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising: interpreting the gesture; and selecting the new operating mode from among a plurality of predetermined operating modes based on the interpretation of the gesture.

14. A method comprising: under control of a computing device configured with executable instructions: providing an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a display of the computing device; detecting a gesture at the portion of the display of the computing device, the gesture activating the invisible control; and in response to activation of the invisible control, disabling an object displayed on the display of the computing device from moving or resizing.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising disabling one or more hyperlinks, radio buttons, and/or interactive fields of the object displayed on the display of the computing device in response to activation of the invisible control.

16. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising, in response to activation of the invisible control, displaying one or more predetermined actions that are applicable to the object or data associated with the object.

17. The method as recited in claim 16, further comprising: receiving a selection of an action from among the one or more predetermined actions; and applying the selected action to the object or data associated with the object.

18. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising: interpreting the gesture; and selecting the new operating mode from among a plurality of predetermined operating modes based on the interpretation of the gesture.

19. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising, in response to activation of the invisible control, enabling a predetermined action applicable to the object or data associated with the object based on a location of the portion of the display at which the gesture is received.

20. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising, in response to activation of the invisible control, enabling a predetermined action applicable to the object or data associated with the object, the predetermined action being predefined by a developer of the object or a provider of data associated with the object.

21. The method as recited in claim 20, wherein the object comprises a web browser application and the provider of data comprises a website serving content of a web page that is currently displayed in the web browser application.

22. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising indicating activation of the invisible button to the user by: displaying a visible indicator along the border of the display; illuminating at least a portion of the border; changing a color of an icon on the display; illuminating an icon on the display; changing a color of a frame associated with the object; illuminating a frame associated with the object; and/or playing a predetermined audio signal.

23. One or more computer-readable media configured with computer-executable instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising: displaying content on a display of a computing device; receiving input activating a control of the computing device; andin response to receiving the input: changing from a current mode of operation of the computing device to a second mode of operation different from the current mode of operation; and disabling an object displayed on the display of the computing device from moving or resizing.

24. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, wherein the input comprises: a selection gesture of an invisible soft button control on the display of the computing device; a selection gesture of a visible soft button control on the display of the computing device; a selection gesture of a transparent soft button control on the display of the computing device; a selection gesture of a translucent soft button control on the display of the computing device; a selection gesture of a physical button of the computing device; a selection gesture of a capacitive or touch sensitive interface of the computing device; and/or a voice control input to activate the control.

25. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the acts further comprising disabling one or more hyperlinks, radio buttons, and/or interactive fields of the object displayed on the display of the computing device in response to activation of the control.

26. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the second mode of operation being usable to perform a search, and the acts further comprising: receiving a second input from the user with regard to the content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second input identifying subject matter to be searched; and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second input.

27. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the second input comprising a gesture, a voice input, or a text input.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. One or more computer-readable media configured with computer-executable instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising:
    • displaying content on a display of a computing device
    • detecting a gesture at a border of the display of the computing device
    • in response to detecting the gesture at the border of the display, changing from a current mode of operation of the computing device to a second mode of operation different from the current mode of operation, the second mode of operation being usable to perform a search
    • detecting, on the display of the computing device, a second gesture from the user with regard to the content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second gesture identifying subject matter to be searched
    • and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second gesture.
    • 2. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 1, wherein
      • the content on the display of the computing device includes an object, the acts further comprising:
    • 3. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 1, wherein
      • detecting the gesture comprises
  • 4
    4. A computing device comprising:
    • a display for displaying content
    • one or more processors
    • memory, communicatively coupled to the one or more processors, storing instructions that, when executed by the one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising: providing an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a border of the display of the computing device
    • detecting a gesture activating the invisible control
    • in response to activation of the invisible control, changing a current operating mode of the computing device to a new operating mode.
    • 5. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising
      • determining a location of the border of the display at which the gesture is detected, wherein the new operating mode to which the current operating mode is changed, is based on the location of the border of the display at which the gesture is detected.
    • 7. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising,
      • after changing to the new operating mode: receiving a second gesture from the user with regard to content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second gesture identifying subject matter to be searched
      • and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second gesture.
    • 8. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising,
      • after changing to the new operating mode: receiving a plurality of selection gestures to select a plurality of disjoint objects displayed in the display
      • and performing an operation based on the plurality of disjoint objects.
    • 10. The computing device as recited in claim 4, wherein
      • the current operating mode is based on an application being accessed at the time the invisible control is activated.
    • 12. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising
      • displaying a search box in response to changing to the second operating mode.
    • 13. The computing device as recited in claim 4, further comprising:
      • interpreting the gesture
      • and selecting the new operating mode from among a plurality of predetermined operating modes based on the interpretation of the gesture.
  • 14
    14. A method comprising:
    • under control of a computing device configured with executable instructions: providing an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a display of the computing device
    • detecting a gesture at the portion of the display of the computing device, the gesture activating the invisible control
    • and in response to activation of the invisible control, disabling an object displayed on the display of the computing device from moving or resizing.
    • 15. The method of claim 14, further comprising
      • disabling one or more hyperlinks, radio buttons, and/or interactive fields of the object displayed on the display of the computing device in response to activation of the invisible control.
    • 16. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising,
      • in response to activation of the invisible control, displaying one or more predetermined actions that are applicable to the object or data associated with the object.
    • 18. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising:
      • interpreting the gesture
      • and selecting the new operating mode from among a plurality of predetermined operating modes based on the interpretation of the gesture.
    • 19. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising,
      • in response to activation of the invisible control, enabling a predetermined action applicable to the object or data associated with the object based on a location of the portion of the display at which the gesture is received.
    • 20. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising,
      • in response to activation of the invisible control, enabling a predetermined action applicable to the object or data associated with the object, the predetermined action being predefined by a developer of the object or a provider of data associated with the object.
    • 22. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising
      • indicating activation of the invisible button to the user by: displaying a visible indicator along the border of the display
      • illuminating at least a portion of the border
      • changing a color of an icon on the display
      • illuminating an icon on the display
      • changing a color of a frame associated with the object
      • illuminating a frame associated with the object
      • and/or playing a predetermined audio signal.
  • 23
    23. One or more computer-readable media configured with computer-executable instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, configure the one or more processors to perform acts comprising:
    • displaying content on a display of a computing device
    • receiving input activating a control of the computing device
    • andin response to receiving the input: changing from a current mode of operation of the computing device to a second mode of operation different from the current mode of operation
    • and disabling an object displayed on the display of the computing device from moving or resizing.
    • 24. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, wherein
      • the input comprises:
    • 25. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the acts further comprising
      • disabling one or more hyperlinks, radio buttons, and/or interactive fields of the object displayed on the display of the computing device in response to activation of the control.
    • 26. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the second mode of operation being usable to perform a search, and the acts further comprising:
      • receiving a second input from the user with regard to the content displayed on the display of the computing device, the second input identifying subject matter to be searched
      • and automatically causing a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter in response to completion of the second input.
    • 27. The one or more computer-readable media of claim 23, the second input comprising
      • a gesture, a voice input, or a text input.
See all 4 independent claims

Description

BACKGROUND

Mobile devices have many uses, from consuming content (e.g., textual and video content) to performing a variety of tasks (e.g., performing a search, composing email, etc.). However, the small form factors of most mobile devices provide limited screen real estate for displaying content. In the case of touch screen devices, screen real estate is even more limited since the content must share the screen with controls for interacting with the content. For example, in order to facilitate navigation and use of a mobile application, the mobile application typically includes controls, such as buttons and menus that allow the user to navigate and manipulate content displayed in the mobile application. However, these controls occupy space that could otherwise be used for displaying content of the mobile application.

Also due to the small display size of the mobile device, users may find it difficult to perform tasks using the mobile device and/or navigate between multiple mobile applications. For example, if a user reads a movie review on a web site and wants to rent the movie, the user may need to navigate to a movie rental website or open a movie rental application and type in the name of the movie. Alternatively, if the user is using a movie rental application and desires to perform a search related to a movie, the user may have to open a web browser and input a search query. These scenarios are time-consuming, and may require the user to go back and forth between multiple web browsers and/or applications to look for information about the movie.

SUMMARY

This summary introduces simplified concepts of a control usable to alter an operating mode of a client device, which is further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended for use in limiting the scope of the claimed subject matter.

This application describes techniques of altering an operating mode of a client device. In one embodiment, a client device may provide an invisible control disposed around at least a portion of a border of a display of the client device. The invisible control may comprise, for example, a soft button that is not visible to a user. A user may perform a selection gesture relative to at least portion of the border of the display of the client device to activate the invisible control. Activation of the invisible control may alter an operating mode of the client device or an application of the client device. Other types of visible and invisible controls and activation techniques are also described herein.

For example, in response to receiving the selection gesture, the client device may change a current mode of operation associated with the client device to a new mode of operation (e.g., from a browsing mode to a search mode). When switching from the current mode to the new mode of operation, the client device may disable at least some interaction with an object that is displayed in the display of the client device. Upon receipt of a subsequent gesture applied on the disabled object and/or data associated with the disabled object, the client device may apply a predetermined action according to the new operating mode. For example, a gesture that in the browsing mode would have panned or zoomed, in the search mode may be used to identify subject matter to be searched.

In some embodiments, the client device may activate different modes of operation depending on a position of the border of the display to which the selection gesture is directed. Additionally or alternatively, different gestures may be used to activate different modes of operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The detailed description is set forth with reference to the accompanying figures. In the figures, the left-most digit(s) of a reference number identifies the figure in which the reference number first appears. The use of the same reference numbers in different figures indicates similar or identical items.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example environment including an example invisible control system of a client device.

FIG. 2 illustrates the example invisible control system of FIG. 1 in more detail.

FIGS. 3A-D illustrate example gestures of initiating or actuating an invisible control of the example invisible control system.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example of activating an invisible control mode from among a plurality of invisible control modes using the example invisible control system.

FIG. 5 illustrates another example of initiating or actuating an invisible control mode from among a plurality of invisible control using the example invisible control system.

FIG. 6 illustrates example indicators that can be used to inform the user that the invisible control has been activated.

FIGS. 7A-C and FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate example use scenarios of using an invisible control of the example invisible control system.

FIG. 9 illustrates an example method of interacting with the example invisible control system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Overview

As noted above, developers of mobile applications often are forced to strike a compromise between providing useful controls (e.g., navigation controls such as a back button, specialized controls such as a search button, etc.) and providing more space for displaying content on a display of a mobile device. On the one hand, providing more controls facilitates greater functionality (e.g., navigation and manipulation of content that is displayed on the mobile device). On the other hand, the more the controls that are provided in the mobile application, the less space is available to present content. Furthermore, including multiple different controls may clutter the user interface making interaction with the user interface confusing or complicated for a user.

For example, a user may use an application (such as a web browser) of his/her mobile device to view visual content (e.g., information about a movie from a movie review website). While viewing the visual content, the user may want to obtain additional information (e.g., a location having the movie available for rental). However, the content provider of the visual content (i.e., the website in this example), may not include any additional information that is of interest to the user. In that case, the user would need to open another application (e.g., a movie rental application) or another instance of a web browser to find the additional information (e.g., to locate a movie rental site). Given the small display size and small keyboard of his/her mobile device however, the user may find it cumbersome to perform this search using his/her mobile device.

This application describes a system including an invisible control, which is invisible in the sense that it is not explicitly present or displayed as a control such as a button, an icon, a menu or the like to a user. Rather, the invisible control is a soft button (i.e., a software generated button presented on a display screen) hidden in a predetermined region of a display of a client device and/or an application of the client device, and can be activated in response to detecting or receiving a predefined gesture on the predetermined region. Because the invisible control is invisible, it does not take up any screen real estate, thereby maximizing an amount of content that can be displayed on the display of the client device.

Activation of the invisible control may change an operating mode of the client device and/or application. For example, activation of the invisible control may change from a browsing operation mode in which a particular gesture causes displayed content to pan or scroll, to a search operation mode in which the same or similar gesture is used to identify subject matter for which to search. In another example, activation of the invisible control may change from an image viewing operation mode in which a particular gesture causes panning, scrolling, or zooming to view an image, to an image editing operation mode in which the same or similar gesture causes selection or editing of the image. These are just two examples of how operation modes can be changed upon activation of an invisible control. While other examples are given below, these are also merely illustrative and an invisible control can be used to change between any two or more operation modes. In some examples, the invisible control may function similar to a control, alt, or function key on a keyboard to change an operation of an input from a first mode to another mode.

In some examples, the invisible control may be activated by detection of a gesture in relation a predetermined region of a display of a client device, and deactivated when the gesture is removed (a so called push-on-lift-off embodiment). In other examples, the invisible control may be activated by detection of a gesture in a predetermined region of a display of a client device, and deactivated by detection of a second instance of the gesture (a so called push-on-push-off embodiment).

In some examples, activation of the invisible control may cause a menu, list, table, or other selection interface to be presented. The selection interface may include multiple different actions or operation modes from which the user may select a desired action or operation mode. In another example, selection of the invisible control may cause an interface to presented which cycles through multiple different actions or operation modes over time (e.g., every half second, or every second). In yet another example, activation of the invisible control using different gestures (e.g., pressing and holding, tapping, swiping, rotating, etc.) and/or gestures in different locations on the display (e.g., different edges, a center, etc.) may initiated different actions or operation modes. In all of these examples, activation of the invisible control may allow the user to select from among multiple different operation modes.

The invisible control described herein may be used from within any application of a client device. By way of example and not limitation, the application may include, but is not limited to, an operating system (e.g., Window Mobile®, Android®, iOS®, etc.) of the client device, a software program (such as a web browser application, a search application, a video player application, a music player application, an email client, a calendar application, a word processing application, a spreadsheet application, a photo viewing and/or editing application, a game, etc.), etc. To facilitate application of the invisible control from within any application, an Application Programming Interface may be provided to developers (e.g., as part of a software development kit), so that developers can develop applications that are able to make use of the invisible control.

In some embodiments, the user may want to manipulate or interact with the application or data (for example, content displayed in the application and/or metadata such as historical user data in one or more past sessions, etc.) associated with the application using the invisible control. In one embodiment, the user may do so by applying a selection gesture on a predetermined region of the client device or the application. By way of example and not limitation, the predetermined region may include, but is not limited to, all or part of a border or edge of a display of the client device, all or a portion of a border or edge of a window frame bounding the application, one or more corners of the display of the client device, one or more corners of a window frame bounding the application, a center of the display of the client device, a center of a window frame bounding the application, etc.

In one embodiment, the selection gesture may include, for example, using a pointing device, such as a mouse, a stylus or a finger, etc., to press and hold the predetermined region of the client device or the application, tap the predetermined region of the client device or the application a predetermined number of times within a predetermined time period (e.g., two times within one second), swipe up or down, swipe up and down in quick succession along the predetermined region of the client device or the application, move along the predetermined region of the client device or the application in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. However, these gestures are merely illustrative, and any other desired gesture may be used to activate the invisible control. For example, in some embodiments, the search gesture may include a motion of a body or a part of the body of the user such as a finger, a hand, head, and/or an arm. The client device may detect the body motion through a camera, other image capture device or any motion detection component of the client device. A motion of the user may be interpreted to be a selection gesture and, when performed toward or in relation to a region of the invisible control, may activate the invisible control to change a mode of operation of the client device. Moreover, in the case of a client device with a touch screen display, the gestures may include single touch gestures (using a single pointing device) or multi-touch gestures (using multiple pointing devices or points of content). Any of the gestures described herein in terms of a touch screen may also be translated and applied in the context of a body motion detected by a motion detection component.

In response to receiving or detecting the selection gesture, the client device may activate the invisible control and/or a predetermined action associated with the invisible control. The predetermined action may include, but is not limited to, an operation that is applicable on the application or the content of the application. By way of example and not limitation, the predetermined action may include disabling interaction with the application or the content of the application, changing a current mode of operation of the application to a new mode of operation, performing one or more operations on the application and/or the content of the application, etc.

In one embodiment, the predetermined action associated with the invisible control may be predefined or preprogrammed by a developer of the application, a content provider that serves content of the application, and/or the user of the client device. Additionally or alternatively, the application may provide a user interface for the user to select an action from a set of predetermined actions.

While many of the embodiments herein describe an invisible soft button control that is hidden from view of a user, in other embodiments other types of controls may be used to change an operation mode of the client device and/or to disable objects of the client device. For example, in some embodiments, the control may take the form of a physical button disposed on the client device (e.g., a dedicated search button or operation mode change button, a capacitive or other touch sensor disposed in or on the client device (e.g., around at least a portion of a border of a housing or bezel of the client device), a visible soft button control displayed somewhere on the display of the client device, a voice activated control (e.g., “enter search mode” or “change operation mode”), or the like. In one specific embodiment, the control may comprise a transparent or translucent soft button, such that the content is still viewable through the control, but the outline of the control is visible to the user on the display. Any of the techniques described herein as applied to an “invisible control” may also be applied to any of these other types of visible and invisible controls. For the sake of brevity, this application does not describe specific examples using each of these different types of controls.

The techniques described herein allow an application to provide a control that does not occupy display space (or occupies limited display space in the case of a visible soft button control), thus freeing up more space for displaying content that is of interest to the user. Furthermore, the techniques allow a developer and/or content provider to customize controls and/or associated functions for the user to interact with or manipulate content to be served in an application of a client device.

Exemplary Architecture

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary environment 100 usable to implement an invisible control system. The environment 100 includes a user 102, a client device 104 and an invisible control system 106 usable to implement an invisible control 107. The invisible control 107 is shown here as a broken line around the border of the display screen of the client device 104 for illustration purposes only. In practice, the invisible control 107 would not be visible to the user and may be disposed around the entire border (as shown), a portion of the border (e.g., one or more edges of the display screen), or at another location on the display screen.

The client device 104 may be implemented as any of a variety of conventional computing devices including, for example, a personal computer, a notebook or portable computer, a handheld device, a netbook, an Internet appliance, a portable reading device, an electronic book reader device, a tablet or slate computer, a television, a set-top box, a game console, a mobile device (e.g., a mobile phone, a personal digital assistant, a smart phone, etc.), a media player, etc. or a combination thereof. The invisible control system 106 described herein may be particularly useful for client devices having limited screen sizes, such as mobile devices. However, the invisible control system 106 is not limited to mobile devices and may be used with any client device. For example, the client device 104 may be a gaming device with a camera or other motion detection interface such as an Xbox® gaming console configured with a Kinect™ motion detection system, both available from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond Wash. The client device 104 may receive and interpret images or signals to determine what motion the user 102 is performing. The invisible control system 106 may interpret motions in proximity to or directed toward a predetermined invisible control as being a selection gesture to activate the invisible control to perform an action or change an operation mode of the client device (e.g., trigger a search and/or define a scope of the search). In some examples, such as the mobile device shown in FIG. 1, the client device may have an integral display, while in other examples, such as the gaming console example, the client device may employ an external display (e.g., a television or projector). As used in this application, both integral and external displays are considered to be displays of the client device.

In one embodiment, the client device 104 may include one or more processors 108 coupled to memory 110. The memory 110 may include one or more applications 112 (e.g., an operating system, a web browser application, a search application, a video player application, a music player application, an email client, a calendar application, a word processing application, a spreadsheet application, a photo viewing and/or editing application, a game, etc.) and other program data 114. In some embodiments, the client device 104 may further include one or more wired and/or wireless network interfaces 116 and input/output interfaces 118. The one or more processors 108 may be configured to execute instructions received from the network interface 116, received from the input/output interface 118, and/or stored in the memory 110.

The memory 110 may include computer-readable media in the form of volatile memory, such as Random Access Memory (RAM) and/or non-volatile memory, such as read only memory (ROM) or flash RAM. The memory 110 is an example of computer-readable media. Computer-readable media includes at least two types of computer-readable media, namely computer storage media and communications media.

Computer storage media includes volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, phase change memory (PRAM), static random-access memory (SRAM), dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), other types of random-access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), flash memory or other memory technology, compact disk read-only memory (CD-ROM), digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other non-transmission medium that can be used to store information for access by a computing device.

In contrast, communication media may embody computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal, such as a carrier wave, or other transmission mechanism. As defined herein, computer storage media does not include communication media.

In some embodiments, the environment 100 may further include a network 120, one or more websites 122, and/or one or more search engines 124. The network 120 may be a wireless or a wired network, or a combination thereof. The network 120 may be a collection of individual networks interconnected with each other and functioning as a single large network (e.g., the Internet or an intranet). Examples of such individual networks include, but are not limited to, Personal Area Networks (PANs), Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), and Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). Further, the individual networks may be wireless or wired networks, or a combination thereof.

In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may be integrated with the client device 104. By way of example and not limitation, some or all of the invisible control system 106 may be included in the client device 104, for example, as software and/or hardware installed in the client device 104. In other embodiments, the client device 104 and the invisible control system 106 may be separate systems. For example, the invisible system 106 may be installed on a computing device (not shown) separate from the client device 104 and perform one or more functions on the client device 104 through the network 118, for example.

FIG. 2 shows the invisible control system 106 in more detail. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may include program modules 202 and program data 204. The program module 202 and the program data 204 may be stored, for example, in the memory 110 of the client device 104.

Generally, the user 102 may use the client device 104 or the application 112 of the client device 104 to consume content. The content may include text, images, video, and/or audio. In one embodiment, the client device 104 and/or the application 112 may include one or more invisible controls that are operable and/or manageable by the invisible control system 106.

By way of example and not limitation, the user 102 may apply a selection gesture on a predetermined region of the client device 104 and/or the application 112 to activate invisible control 107. In one embodiment, the predetermined region may include, but is not limited to, all or part of a border or an edge of a display of the client device 104, or all or part of a border or an edge of a window frame bounding the application 112. Generally, the predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112 may be free of any visible control such as a button, icon, graphic, menu or the like that is visibly displayed to the user.

In some embodiments, prior to detecting or receiving the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may not provide any indication to the user 102 that an invisible control is present for activation. However, in other embodiments, prior to detecting or receiving the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may provide an indication to the user 102 that an invisible control is present for activation or actuation. For example, the invisible control system 106 may provide an indication to the user 102 by presenting a tutorial when the user first uses the device, by periodically providing hints or suggestions, by briefly showing a visual representation of the invisible button (e.g., at startup of an application and/or periodically thereafter), etc.

Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may include a display module 206 to provide an indication to the user 102 in response to detecting activation of the invisible control 107. That is, once a user activates the invisible control 107, the display module 206 may illuminate an icon or otherwise indicate to a user that the invisible control 107 is activated. The display module 206 may keep the indication hidden or invisible to the user 102 if no selection gesture is detected and/or after the selection gesture is removed from the predetermined region, for example.

Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may include a lookup module 208. The lookup module 208 may provide a lookup means (for example, a lookup table, a lookup list, a menu, a bubble, a callout, etc.) describing the one or more invisible buttons that are provided by the invisible control system 106 (e.g., one or more invisible buttons that are specific to the client device 104 and/or the application 112) to the user 102. Prior to applying the selection gesture on the predetermined region, the user 102 may be allowed to determine the one or more invisible buttons that are provided by the invisible control system 106 through the lookup module 208.

In some embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may provide a plurality of invisible controls to the user 102, for example, on a same position and/or a same edge of the display of the client device 104 or the window frame of the application 112. In one embodiment, more than one invisible controls can be provided on the same position or the same edge of the display of the client device 104 and/or the window frame of the application 112 (i.e., on the same predetermined region of the client device 104 and/or the application 112). In that case, the invisible control system 106 may present a menu of invisible controls from which the user 102 can select.

Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may cycle through the plurality of invisible controls and present each invisible control to the user 102 cyclically. By way of example and not limitation, in response to receiving a selection gesture from the user 102, the invisible control system 106 may present a next invisible control of the plurality of invisible controls for a predetermined time interval (e.g., a half second, one second, etc.), before cycling to a next invisible control, until the user 102 selects a desired invisible control or until the user 102 removes his/her selection gesture from the predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112.

Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may present a different invisible control of the plurality of invisible controls in response to detecting that the user 102 moves his/her pointing device or finger along the predetermined region (e.g., along an edge or a border of the display of the client device 104 or the application 112).

In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may present the plurality of invisible controls one by one in a descending order of frequency of use of invisible controls that are specific to the application 112 or the client device 104 in one or more past sessions or in a current session. In some embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may present the plurality of invisible controls one by one in a descending order of recency of use of invisible controls that are specific to the application 112 or the client device 104. In other embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may allow the user 102 to customize an order of presentation of the plurality of invisible controls by providing, for example, an interface, for the user 102 to define one or more favorite invisible controls (that are specific to the application 112 or the client device 104) that need to be presented as the earliest invisible controls.

In one embodiment, in response to detecting the selection gesture on the predetermined region (e.g., the border or edge of the display of the client device 104), the display module 206 may provide information about any invisible control that may be activated or actuated to the user 102. For example, in response to detecting or receiving the selection gesture, an acknowledgement module 210 of the invisible control system 106 may provide an acknowledgement to the user 102 that the user 102 has activated an invisible control. The acknowledgement may include, for example, displaying a visible indicator (such as a visible line, border, etc.) on the predetermined region, changing a color of the predetermined region, changing a color of a graphic (such as an icon, a button, etc.) associated with the object, illuminating a graphic associated with the object, changing a color of a frame associated with the object, and/or playing a predetermined audio signal, etc.

The invisible system 106 may further include a determination module 212 to determine a location or side of the predetermined region (for example, which edge of the border of the display of the client device 104 or which edge of the border of the window frame bounding the application 112) at which the selection gesture is detected.

In one embodiment, in response to determining a location or side of the predetermined region at which the selection gesture is detected, the determination module 212 may further determine a predetermined action to be taken based on the determined location or side of the predetermined region. The determination module 212 may notify an activation module 214 to activate the predetermined action and/or prepare for further input or gesture from the user 102. In some embodiments, different locations or sides of the predetermined regions may be associated with different predetermined actions. In other embodiments, some locations or sides of the predetermined regions may be associated with a same predetermined action. In other embodiments, some locations or sides of the predetermined regions may be associated with a same predetermined action but with different magnitudes (such as fast forwarding, slow forwarding, normal playing a video, for example).

By way of example and not limitation, the predetermined action may include disabling interaction with the object displayed on the client device 104. The one or more predetermined interactions may include, but are not limited to, moving/panning, resizing, zooming in or out of the displayed object, etc. In some embodiments, the interactions may also include disabling hyperlinks, radio buttons, and interactive fields in the object. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may continue to disable the displayed object until the selection gesture (e.g., pressing and holding) is released.

Additionally or alternatively, the predetermined action may include changing a current mode of operation (e.g., a reading mode) associated with the client device 104 or the object to a new mode of operation (e.g., a search mode).

Additionally or alternatively, the predetermined action may include, but is not limited to, an operation that is applicable on the client device 104 or data associated with the client device 104 (including content displayed in the display of the client device 104 and/or metadata associated with the client device 104, etc.). Additionally or alternatively, the predetermined action may include an operation that is applicable on an object displayed on the client device 104 and data associated with the displayed object. The displayed object may include, for example, the application 112 that is in an active view shortly prior to detecting or receiving the selection gesture. For example, the predetermined action may include performing one or more operations on data (such as content and/or metadata, etc.) associated with the client device 104, and/or the data (such as content and/or metadata) associated with the object.

In an event that a predetermined action is to be activated, the action activation module 214 may activate the predetermined action based on the determined location or side of the predetermined region. Similar to the foregoing description, different locations or sides of the predetermined regions may be associated with different predetermined actions, a same predetermined action, or a same predetermined action but with different magnitudes. The predetermined action may include the operations described above in the foregoing description.

In some embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may further detect or receive one or more subsequent gestures from the user 102. In one embodiment, the user 102 may apply the one or more subsequent gestures on the displayed object or the data associated with the displayed object. By way of example and not limitation, the user 102 may select one or more disjoint or discrete portions of the data associated with the displayed object. In one specific embodiment, selection of the invisible control may initiate a search operation mode and the subsequent gestures may identify (e.g., encircle, partially encircle, overlap, touch, point to, etc.) subject matter for which a user desires to perform a search.

In response to detecting or receiving the one or more subsequent gestures, the action activation module 214 may actuate the predetermined action (which has been activated in response to receiving or detecting the selection gesture) based on the one or more subsequent gestures. In the case of the search operation mode, upon receipt of the second or subsequent gesture(s), the activation module 214 may automatically initiate a search based on the subject matter identified by the second or subsequent gestures.

The invisible control system 106 may further include a definition module 216. The definition module 216 may provide allow the invisible control system 106 to recognize different gestures corresponding to different invisible controls. The gestures may be predefined (e.g., by device manufacturer, an application developer, a content provider, etc.) or may be user defined. In some embodiments, the definition module 216 may provide an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows the user 102, the application vendor of the application 112 and/or the content provider that provides content to be served in the application 112, etc., to develop and customize an invisible control that can be supported by the invisible control system 106. Additionally or alternatively, the definition module 216 may provide predefined invisible controls or invisible control definitions that can be adopted or selected by the user 102, the application 112 and/or the content of the application 112.

Exemplary Use Scenarios

FIGS. 3A-D illustrate example gestures that can be used for initiating or actuating an invisible control of the invisible control system 106. For example, FIG. 3A illustrates that the user 102 may touch, tap, or touch and hold 302 an edge or a border of the display of the client device 104 to activate an invisible control of the invisible control system 106. As discussed above, the invisible control may be activated according to a so called push-on-lift-off embodiment in which the invisible control is only activated while touch or other input is maintained. Or, the invisible control may be activated according to a so called push-on-push-off embodiment in which the invisible control is turned on by a first gesture and is turned off by a second instance of the same or different gesture.

Alternatively, the user 102 may activate an invisible control of the invisible control system 106 by swiping up or down (or swiping left or right) 304 along an edge or a border of the display of the client device 104 as shown in FIG. 3B. In some embodiments, the user 102 may activate an invisible control of the invisible control system 106 by alternately swiping up and down (or left and right) 306 in quick succession along an edge or a border of the display of the client device 104 as shown in FIG. 3C. In other embodiments as shown in FIG. 3D, the user 102 may activate an invisible control of the invisible control system 106 by moving 308 along a border of the display of the client device 104 in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Although a finger is described to be used to initiate or actuate an invisible control of the invisible control system 106, any pointing device such as a stylus, a mouse, etc., may additionally or alternatively be used to initiate or actuate the invisible control of the invisible control system 106 on the client device 104. Also, while single input gestures are illustrated, multi-touch gestures using multiple points of contact or input may also be used.

FIG. 4 illustrates a first example of selecting an invisible control from a plurality of available invisible controls of the invisible control system 106. By way of example and not limitation, the user 102 may perform a selection gesture by touching 402 on a predetermined region (e.g., a certain location on an edge 404 of a display 406 as shown in FIG. 4) of the client device 104 for a predetermined period of time (e.g., a half second, one second, etc.). In response to receiving the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may present a representation (e.g., a callout, a balloon, etc.) of an invisible control, such as Invisible Control A 408, that may be activate upon selection. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may present the representation of the invisible control (such as Invisible Control A 408) based on the position on the edge 404 that the selection gesture is received. Thereafter, the user 102 may select the invisible control by clicking on the representation of the invisible control, removing the finger (or the pointing device if used) from the edge 404 of the display 406, or the like.

In some embodiments, the user 102 may choose not to select Invisible Control A 408, and may move 412 his/her finger (or a pointing device if used) to a new position on the edge 404 of the display 406 of the client device 106. In response to receiving the user gesture in the new position, the invisible control system 106 may present a new representation or indication of a new invisible control, such as Invisible Control B 410 for the user 102 to select based on the new position on the edge 404 of the display 406 of the client device 104. As the user 102 moves along the edge 404 of the display 406 of the client device 104, the invisible control system 106 may present representations of one or more other invisible controls for the user 102 to select based on the location or position of the finger (or the pointing device if used) of the user 102.

FIG. 5 illustrates a second example of selecting an invisible control from a plurality of invisible controls of the invisible control system 106. In this example, the user 102 may press and hold on a predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112 and the invisible control system 106 may present a plurality of invisible controls in a cyclical manner. The user 102 may press and hold 502 on an edge 504 of a display 506 of the client device 104. In response to receiving this gesture from the user 102, the invisible control system 106 may present an acknowledgement or indication that an invisible control (such as Invisible Control 1) may be activate upon user selection. The invisible control system 106 may present this acknowledgement or indication immediately or after a predetermined period of time.

In some embodiments, if the user 102 does not select the invisible control, the invisible control system 106 may cycle through invisible controls one after another (e.g., Invisible Control 1, followed by Invisible Control 2, followed by Invisible Control 3, and so forth) after a predetermined time interval (e.g., a half second, one second, etc.). The invisible control system 106 may continue to present subsequent invisible controls (e.g., any number of invisible control modes up to N) cyclically until the user 102 selects an invisible control or the user 102 removes his/her finger (or a pointing device if used) from the edge 504 of the display 506 of the client device 104. The various invisible controls may correspond to any desired operation modes or actions. For example, Invisible Control 1 may correspond to keyboard operations when a “Ctrl” button is depressed, Invisible Control 2 may correspond to operations when an “Alt” button is depressed, and Invisible Control 3 may correspond to operations when a “Function” button is depressed. In another example, Invisible Control 1 may correspond to operations for browsing content, Invisible Control 2 may correspond to operations for searching content, and Invisible Control 3 may correspond to operations for editing content.

FIG. 6, FIGS. 7A-C and FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate various use scenarios possible using an invisible control. The use scenarios are described with reference to the example environment 100 of FIG. 1 for convenience. However, the use scenarios are not limited to use with the example environment 100 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 illustrates an example in which the user 102 activates an invisible control of the invisible control system 106 on the client device 104. The client device 104 may present content on the display of the client device 104. The presented content may include text, images, graphics such as an icon representing an application, a search box, a representation of audio and/or video content, and the like. In some embodiments, the user 102 may be using an application (such as the application 112) of the client device 104.

The user 102 may apply a selection gesture 602 (as described in the foregoing description) on an edge 604 of a display 606 of the client device 104 as shown in FIG. 6. In response to detecting the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may provide an acknowledgement to the user 102 that an invisible control of the invisible control system 106 is activated. For example, the invisible control system 106 may present a visible line 608, along the edge of the display on which the selection gesture is applied. Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may change a color of a window frame 610 of the application, a color of a graphic 612 (such as a button or icon) displayed in the application, display a border 614 bounding the content of the application, illuminate or “glow” an icon or a field 616, and/or play 618 a predetermined audio signal. In one specific embodiment, activation of the invisible control activates a search operation mode, in which a user may circle, highlight, or otherwise indicate subject matter for which to search. In this embodiment, activation of the invisible control may also cause a search box, such as search box 616, to be displayed for entry of a textual search query. In this embodiment, the search box 616 may serve the additional purpose of notifying the user that the invisible control is activated.

FIGS. 7A-C illustrate an example in which the user 102 is using an application (e.g., a web browser application of the application 112) of the client device 104 and wants to perform a search based on some or all of the content displayed in the application 112. The content may include, but is not limited to, text, images, and representations of video and/or audio content. In this example, the user 102 may activate the invisible control by applying a selection gesture 702 on a predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112 (for example, on an edge 704 of the display 706 of the client device 104). Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control may be activated by voice control (e.g., “change operation mode,”“search mode,”“perform action A,” or the like). In other embodiments, instead of an invisible control, a visible control may be used to change an operation mode or perform a predefined action. Examples of visible controls include, without limitation, physical buttons of the client device, capacitive or other touch sensitive controls (e.g., disposed around a border of a housing or bezel of the client device), and/or soft buttons or icons displayed on the display of the client device. In the example of FIG. 7A, a visible control button could be added to the browser (e.g., next to the home or print icons in the ribbon) or the “Live Search” box could function as a visible control that, when selected by the user, causes the client device to enter a search mode.

In response to receiving the selection gesture or voice command, the invisible control system 106 may disable or freeze interaction with some or all of content displayed in the display of the client device 104. For example, the invisible control system may prevent the object from panning, scrolling, and/or zooming. Additionally or alternatively, in response to receiving the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may disable or freeze interaction with the application 112 and/or corresponding content served in the application 112. Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may disable one or more hyperlinks, radio buttons, and/or interactive fields of some or all of the content displayed in the display of the client device 104.

Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may change a current mode of operation (e.g., a mode that allows the user 102 to move, resize and/or zoom, etc.) to a new mode of operation (e.g., a search mode) configured to allow the user to identify content to be searched. For example, in the search mode, the user may be allowed to circle, highlight, overlap, or otherwise gesture to identify subject matter to be searched. The user may also be allowed to enter a textual query in a search box and/or enter a voice query via a microphone of the client device.

In some embodiments, the user 102 may further input one or more subsequent gestures (for example, gestures 708 and 710) to select one or more objects (e.g., 712 and 714) displayed in the display 706 of the client device 104 as shown in FIG. 7B. While the subsequent gestures are shown being made by a separate hand of the user in this figure, in other instances the subsequent gestures may be made by the same hand as that activating the invisible control. The user 102 may apply these one or more subsequent gestures to identify subject matter to be searched. By way of example and not limitation, the one or more selected objects may include, but are not limited to, some or all of the content served in the application 112. This selected content may include, but is not limited to, text, an image, or a representation of video and/audio content. Furthermore, the one or more selected objects may include discrete objects that are separate and disjoint with each other. In one embodiment, the one or more subsequent gestures may include, but are not limited to, bounding or substantially bounding the one or more selected objects. Other examples of gestures may include drawing a gesture that intersects or overlaps subject matter to be searched, highlighting subject matter to be searched, drawing a checkmark or letter, or any other gesture that identifies subject matter to be searched.

In response to receiving the one or more subsequent gestures, the invisible control system 106 may apply the predetermined action based on the one or more selected objects. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may formulate a search query based on the one or more selected objects (e.g., the identified subject matter). Additionally, the invisible control system 106 may further formulate the search query based on context associated with the one or more selected objects and/or the application 112.

In one embodiment, the context associated with the one or more selected objects and/or the application 112 may include, but is not limited to, content proximate to the one or more selected objects, a paragraph having a portion thereof within the one or more selected objects, a sentence having a portion thereof within the one or more selected objects, an image having a portion thereof within the one or more selected objects, a representation of an audio recording having a portion thereof within the one or more selected objects, and/or a video having a portion thereof within the one or more selected objects. The context may additionally or alternatively include information related to the application 112 that displays the one or more selected objects, location data of the client device 104, and/or metadata associated with the one or more selected objects. Before any location data or other personally identifiable data of the user 102 is captured or transmitted to a search application or engine, the user 102 may be prompted whether he/she wants to share such information.

In one embodiment, in response to completion of the one or more subsequent gestures, the invisible control system 106 and/or the client device 104 may automatically cause a search to be performed based at least in part on the identified subject matter. In another embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may present the formulated search query to the user 102 and allow the user 102 to edit, modify and/or confirm the formulated search query. In response to receiving a confirmed search query from the user 102, the invisible control system 106 may perform the search based on the confirmed search query.

In some embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may submit the formulated search query to a local search application or a remote search engine (such as the one or more search engines 124). The invisible control system 106 may receive search results from the local search engine or the remote search engine, and present the search results to the user 102.

In one embodiment, in response to receiving the search results, the invisible control system 106 may present the search results in a floating window 716 overlaid on the original content served in the application 112 as shown in FIG. 7C. In another embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may present the search results in a floating window 716 that may be partly transparent (e.g., 40%, 50%, 60% transparency) and overlaid on the original content of the application 112. In some embodiments, the invisible control system 106 may present a summary of the search results, such as headings of the search results, to the user 102 but may expand a search result in response to receiving a selection of the search result (e.g., touching a heading of the search result) by the user 102.

Additionally or alternatively, if multiple objects are selected, the invisible control system 106 may compare the one or more selected objects and present a comparison result to the user 102.

FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate an example of using the invisible control system 106 to maximize space for presenting content of an application. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may be used by an application (such as the application 112) to hide some or all of (standard and/or specialized) controls included in the application. The client device 104 may therefore dedicate most or all of its display space to display content of the application 112, while using little or no space to display the controls (such as menu, graphics, buttons, icons, etc.) of the application. If the user 102 wants to use certain controls of the application 112, the user 102 may bring the hidden controls up for display by applying a selection gesture on a predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112 as described in the foregoing description, and select a desired control for use thereafter.

In one example, the client device 104 may use an entire display area of a client device to display content of the application 112. That is, the client device 104 may hide any control (e.g., a menu, a graphics, an icon, a button, a slider bar, a scroll bar and/or an information bar, etc.) of the application 112. In other embodiments, the client device 104 may hide any portion of the application 112 other than the area corresponding to the content of the application 112.

In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may further provide a specification for an application vendor of the application 112 to link those controls, slider bar, information bar, etc., to one or more invisible controls operable and/or manageable by the invisible control system 106. For example, the invisible control system 106 may define a specification or schema in Extensible Markup Language (XML). The application vendor of the application 112 may follow the specification or schema, and link any controls of the application 112 to one or more invisible controls provided by the invisible control system 106. Similar to the foregoing embodiments, the user 102 may activate an invisible control by performing a selection gesture on a predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112.

FIG. 8A illustrates an example of a web browser application using the invisible control system 106. No visible controls such as for navigating and manipulating content of the web browser application or for interacting with the web browser application are displayed on display 802 of the client device 104. When the user 102 wants to navigate or manipulate the content of the web browser application, the user 102 may apply a selection gesture 804 on an edge 806 of the display 802 of the client device 104 as described in the foregoing description to view or activate one or more invisible controls of the invisible control system 106.

FIG. 8B illustrates an example of presenting a menu of invisible controls in response to receiving a selection gesture from the user 102. In response to receiving the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may present a menu 808 of invisible controls to the user 102 for selection. The menu 808 may be a menu including text describing functions of the invisible controls, and/or a menu including graphics representing functions of the invisible controls, etc. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may present a different menu of invisible controls to the user 102 if the user 102 applies the selection gesture on a different edge.

Exemplary Methods

FIG. 9 is a flow chart depicting an example method 900 of interacting with the example invisible control system 106. The method of FIG. 9 may, but need not, be implemented in the environment of FIG. 1 and using the system of FIG. 2. For ease of explanation, method 900 is described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. However, the method 900 may alternatively be implemented in other environments and/or using other systems.

Method 900 is described in the general context of computer-executable instructions. Generally, computer-executable instructions can include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, procedures, modules, functions, and the like that perform particular functions or implement particular abstract data types. The methods can also be practiced in a distributed computing environment where functions are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communication network. In a distributed computing environment, computer-executable instructions may be located in local and/or remote computer storage media, including memory storage devices.

The exemplary methods are illustrated as a collection of blocks in a logical flow graph representing a sequence of operations that can be implemented in hardware, software, firmware, or a combination thereof. The order in which the methods are described is not intended to be construed as a limitation, and any number of the described method blocks can be combined in any order to implement the method, or alternate methods. Additionally, individual blocks may be omitted from the method without departing from the spirit and scope of the subject matter described herein. In the context of software, the blocks represent computer instructions that, when executed by one or more processors, perform the recited operations.

Referring back to FIG. 9, at block 902, the invisible control system 106 may receive a selection gesture on a predetermined region of the client device 104 or the application 112. The selection gesture may include, but is not limited to, using a pointing device to press and hold on the predetermined region, tap the predetermined region for a predetermined number of times within a predetermined time period, swipe up or down along the predetermined region, swiping up and down in quick succession along the predetermined region, rotating along the predetermined region in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, etc. In one embodiment, the predetermined region may include, for example, a border or an edge of the client device 104, or a border or an edge of a window frame bounding the application 112.

At block 904, in response to receiving or detecting the selection gesture, the invisible control system 106 may determine a location or side of the predetermined region at which the selection gesture is received or detected. In one embodiment, each location of side of the predetermined region may be associated with a predetermined action that is different from predetermined actions associated with other locations or sides of the predetermined regions. In another embodiment, the predetermined action associated with a location or side of the predetermined region may be the same as some other locations or sides of the predetermined region with different or same magnitude.

At block 906, in response to determining that the invisible control system 106 needs to actuate a predetermined action, the invisible control system 106 actuates the predetermined action based on the determined location or side of the predetermined region. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may actuate or apply the predetermined action on an object displayed in the client device 104 or data associated with the object. The object may include, but is not limited to, some or all of the content displayed by the client device 104, the application 112 or some or all of the content that is served in the application 112 that is in an active view when the selection gesture is received. The data associated with the object may include, but is not limited to, content displayed in the object, metadata such as historical data associated with the object, etc.

At block 908, in response to determining that the invisible control system 106 needs to activate a predetermined operation mode, the invisible control system 106 activates the predetermined operation mode based on the determined location or side of the predetermined region. After activating the predetermined operation mode, the invisible control system 106 may wait to receive further input or gestures from the user 102.

At block 910, the invisible control system 106 may receive or detect a subsequent gesture from the user 102. In one embodiment, the invisible control system 106 may receive the subsequent gesture that is applied on the object displayed in the display of the client device 104 or the data associated with the object.

At block 912, in response to receiving or detecting the subsequent gesture, the invisible control system 106 may apply the predetermined action (which has been activated in response to receiving or detecting the selection gesture) on the object and/or the data associated with the object. The data associated with the object may include, for example, content displayed in the object and/or metadata associated with the object, etc.

Optionally, the invisible control system 106 may further provide an indication to indicate to the user 102 that an invisible control is activated. Additionally or alternatively, the invisible control system 106 may provide an acknowledgement to the user 102 in response to receiving or detecting the selection gesture and/or the subsequent gesture from the user 102.

Any of the acts of any of the methods described herein may be implemented at least partially by a processor or other electronic device based on instructions stored on one or more computer-readable media. By way of example and not limitation, any of the acts of any of the methods described herein may be implemented under control of one or more processors configured with executable instructions that may be stored on one or more computer-readable media such as one or more computer storage media.

CONCLUSION

Although the invention has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as exemplary forms of implementing the invention.

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Patent Valuation

34.0/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

It shows from an IP point of view how many competitors are active and innovations are made in the different technical fields of the company. On a company level, the market attractiveness is often also an indicator of how diversified a company is. Here we look into the commercial relevance of the market.

50.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

It shows the sizes of the market that is covered with the IP and in how many countries the IP guarantees protection. It reflects a market size that is potentially addressable with the invented technology/formulation with a legal protection which also includes a freedom to operate. Here we look into the size of the impacted market.

65.02/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

83.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

21.93/100 Score

Legal Score

It shows the legal strength of IP in terms of its degree of protecting effect. Here we look into claim scope, claim breadth, claim quality, stability and priority.

Citation

Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
System, device, and method for conveying information using a rapid serial presentation technique ERSVP INC. 29 August 2006 15 March 2007
Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control APPLE INC. 23 June 2006 26 October 2006
MOBILE TERMINAL WITH A PLURALITY OF INPUT UNITS LG ELECTRONICS INC 27 October 2006 31 May 2007
HEADWORN LISTENING DEVICE AND METHOD WESTERN GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY 06 March 2007 27 September 2007
APPARATUS AND METHODS OF DISPLAYING A ROUNDISH-SHAPED MENU HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD. 03 August 2006 05 April 2007
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface with a Dynamic Gesture Disambiguation Threshold APPLE INC. 31 March 2011 26 July 2012
Mechanism to reduce accidental clicks on online content GOOGLE LLC 17 March 2016 09 October 2018
CAUSING DISPLAY OF A THREE DIMENSIONAL GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE NOKIA TECHNOLOGIES OY 25 April 2012 31 October 2013
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OPERATING ADDITIONAL FUNCTION IN MOBILE DEVICE SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. 19 June 2013 09 January 2014
PRESENTATION OF TABULAR INFORMATION BLACKBERRY LIMITED 20 June 2012 20 December 2012
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PatSnap Solutions

PatSnap solutions are used by R&D teams, legal and IP professionals, those in business intelligence and strategic planning roles and by research staff at academic institutions globally.

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