Sony Patent | Head Mounted Display, Mobile Information Terminal, Image Processing Apparatus, Display Control Program, Display Control Method, And Display System

Patent: Head Mounted Display, Mobile Information Terminal, Image Processing Apparatus, Display Control Program, Display Control Method, And Display System

Publication Number: 20190310703

Publication Date: 20191010

Applicants: Sony

Abstract

Methods and apparatus provide for: acquiring data for, and generating, images based on: (i) input operations received from a hand-held input device, and (ii) at least one of a position and attitude of the input device; and displaying the images on a display device disposed on an inner surface of a head-mounted display worn by the user on the head.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/517,316, accorded a filing date of Apr. 6, 2017 (allowed), which is a National Phase Application of PCT/JP2015/079276, filed Oct. 16, 2015, which is an international application claiming priority to JP 2014-215565, filed Oct. 22, 2014, the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates to display control techniques. More particularly, the invention relates to a head-mounted display, a display control program, a display control method, and a display system.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] It has been general practice to wear on the head a head-mounted display connected to a game machine and to play games by operating typically a controller while watching a screen displayed on the head-mounted display. With an ordinary stationary display connected to the game machine, the user’s field of view extends outside the display screen. This tends to prevent the user from concentrating on the display screen or from experiencing an immersive sense of the game. By contrast, wearing the head-mounted display allows the user to watch nothing but the image displayed on the screen of the head-mounted display. This enhances the sense of immersion in a visual world and boosts the entertaining nature of the game being played.

SUMMARY

Technical Problem

[0004] The inventors have come to recognize a need for more user-friendly input techniques that allow a wider demographic of users to enjoy games using the head-mounted display.

Solution to Problem

[0005] In solving the above problem and according to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a head-mounted display wearable on the head of a user. The head-mounted display includes: a display device configured to be disposed on an inner surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head; an input device configured to be disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head, the input device being able to detect contact with or proximity of a body part of the user; and a display controlling unit configured to acquire data of an image generated on the basis of input information indicative of the input device detecting the contact with or the proximity of the body part of the user, the display controlling unit further causing the display device to display the acquired image data.

[0006] According to another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a display control method including: a step of causing an acquiring unit to acquire data of an image generated based on input information indicative of an input device detecting contact with or proximity of a body part of a user wearing a head-mounted display on the head, the input device being disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display; and a step of causing a display controlling unit to display the image data acquired by the acquiring unit on a display device disposed on an inner surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head.

[0007] According to a further embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a display system including: a head-mounted display configured to be wearable on the head of a user; and an image processing apparatus configured to generate an image to be displayed on the head-mounted display. The head-mounted display includes: a display device configured to be disposed on an inner surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head; an input device configured to be disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head, the input device being able to detect contact with or proximity of a body part of the user; and a display controlling unit configured to acquire from the image processing apparatus data of an image generated based on input information indicative of the input device detecting the contact with or the proximity of the body part of the user, the display controlling unit further causing the display device to display the acquired image data. The image processing apparatus includes an image generating unit configured to acquire the input information and generate the image data based on the input information.

[0008] According to an even further embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a head-mounted display wearable on the head of a user. The head-mounted display includes: a display device configured to be disposed on an inner surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head; and a display controlling unit configured to acquire data of an image generated based on input information indicative of an input device detecting contact with or proximity of a body part of the user wearing the head-mounted display on the head, the input device being disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display, the display controlling unit further causing the display device to display the acquired image data.

[0009] According to a still further embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a mobile information terminal portable by a user. The mobile information terminal includes: an input device configured to be able to detect contact with or proximity of a body part of the user; and a communication section configured to transmit input information indicative of the input device detecting the contact with or the proximity of the body part of the user wearing a head-mounted display on the head, the mobile information terminal being disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head, to an apparatus generating an image to be displayed on the head-mounted display based on the input information.

[0010] According to a yet further embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an image processing apparatus including: a receiving unit configured to receive input information indicative of an input device detecting contact with or proximity of a body part of a user wearing a head-mounted display on the head, the input device being disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display; a generating unit configured to generate data of an image based on the input information received by the receiving unit, the image being destined to be displayed on a display device disposed on an inner surface of the head-mounted display worn by the user on the head; and a transmitting unit configured to transmit to the head-mounted display the image data generated by the generating unit.

[0011] Where other combinations of the above-outlined composing elements or the above expressions of the present invention are converted between different forms such as a method, a device, and a system, they still constitute effective embodiment of this invention.

Advantageous Effect of Invention

[0012] The present invention enhances the user-friendliness of the head-mounted display.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is a schematic view showing the usage environment of a game system according to an embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 2 is an external view of a head-mounted display according to the embodiment.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a functional block diagram of a game device.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a functional block diagram of the head-mounted display.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a functional block diagram of a control section of the head-mounted display.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a functional block diagram of a mobile information terminal.

[0019] FIG. 7 is a schematic view showing a typical image displayed on a display device of the head-mounted display.

[0020] FIG. 8 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0021] FIG. 9 is a schematic view showing a touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0022] FIG. 10 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0023] FIG. 11 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0024] FIG. 12 is a schematic view showing another touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0025] FIG. 13 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0026] FIG. 14 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0027] FIG. 15 is a schematic view showing another touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0028] FIG. 16 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0029] FIG. 17 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0030] FIG. 18 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0031] FIG. 19 is a schematic view showing another touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0032] FIG. 20 is a schematic view showing another touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0033] FIG. 21 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0034] FIG. 22 is a schematic view showing another touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0035] FIG. 23 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0036] FIG. 24 is a schematic view showing a typical image displayed on the touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0037] FIG. 25 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0038] FIG. 26 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0039] FIG. 27 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the touch panel of the mobile information terminal.

[0040] FIG. 28 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0041] FIG. 29 is a schematic view showing the corresponding relation between a display area on the display device of the head-mounted display on one hand and input areas of the touch panel and touch pads on the other hand.

[0042] FIG. 30 is a schematic view showing another typical image displayed on the display device of the head-mounted display.

[0043] FIG. 31 is a sequence diagram showing the steps constituting a display control method according to the embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT

[0044] A display system that uses a head-mounted display (HMD) is described below. The head-mounted display is worn by the user on the head in a manner covering the user’s both eyes to let the user visually enjoy static or moving images displayed on a display screen set up in front of the user’s eyes. While the object to be displayed on the head-mounted display may be contents such as movies and television programs, the head-mounted display embodying the present invention will be explained below as a display device that displays game images.

[0045] FIG. 1 shows the usage environment of a game system 1 according to an embodiment. The game system 1 includes a game device 10 that executes game programs, an input device 20 that inputs the user’s instructions to the game device 10, an imaging device 14 that captures images of a real space around the user, and a head-mounted display 100 that displays game images generated by the game device 10.

[0046] In this embodiment, an input apparatus for receiving touch input from the user is disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display 100 worn by the user. If a game operable only by input through this input apparatus is to be executed, the input device 20 is not needed. When wearing the head-mounted display 100, the user is unable to visually recognize the surroundings. This makes it difficult for the user, after wearing the head-mounted display 100, to look for input equipment such as the input device 20. Furthermore, the input equipment like the input device 20 being brandished can hit against obstacles in the surroundings. By contrast, this embodiment may let only the input apparatus capable of receiving touch input receive relevant input. There is thus no need to wield or look for the input device 20. As will be discussed later, the user can perform operations intuitively through an input interface that utilizes touch input. What is offered here is a user-friendly input interface that can be used easily by users not familiar with games.

[0047] When playing a game that receives operating instructions from both the above-mentioned input apparatus and the input device 20, the user may operate the input device 20 while holding it by right hand and perform input by left hand to the input apparatus disposed on an outer surface of the head-mounted display 100, as shown in FIG. 1, for example.

[0048] The game device 10 executes a game program based on the instructions input either to the input device 20 or to the input apparatus disposed on the outer surface of the head-mounted display 100. In so doing, the game device 10 generates an image signal representing the result of processing the game program and transmits the generated image signal to the head-mounted display 100.

[0049] Upon receipt of the image signal generated by the game device 10, the head-mounted display 100 displays a game image. The head-mounted display 100 also transmits to the game device 10 information about the touch input made by the user to the input apparatus disposed on the outer surface of the head-mounted display 100. The head-mounted display 100 may be connected by a cable to the game device 10. Alternatively, the head-mounted display 100 may be connected to the game device 10 wirelessly via a wireless local area network (LAN).

[0050] The game image may also be output to a display device 12. The display device 12 may be a television set having a display and speakers or a computer display, for example.

[0051] The input device 20 has the function of transmitting to the game device 10 the instructions input by the user. In this embodiment, the input device 20 is configured to be a wireless controller capable of wirelessly communicating with the game device 10. Wireless connection may be established between the input device 20 and the game device 10 using the Bluetooth (registered trademark) protocol. The input device 20 is not limited to a wireless controller. Alternatively, the input device 20 may be a wired controller connected by a cable to the game device 10.

[0052] The input device 20 is driven by battery power and has multiple buttons for giving operating instructions to make the game progress. When the user operates the buttons of the input device 20, corresponding operating instructions are transmitted wirelessly to the game device 10.

[0053] The imaging device 14 is a video camera made up of a charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensor or a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor, for example. The imaging device 14 captures images of the real space at predetermined intervals to generate a frame image per interval. The imaging device 14 is connected to the game device 10 via a universal serial bus (USB) or via some other suitable interface. The game device 10 uses the images captured by the imaging device 14 to determine the positions and attitudes of the input device 20 and head-mounted display 100. Alternatively, the imaging device 14 may be a ranging camera or a stereo camera capable of measuring distances. In this case, the imaging device 14 obtains the distance from the imaging device 14 to the input device 20 or to the head-mounted display 100, for example.

[0054] In the game system 1 of this embodiment, the input device 20 has a light emitter configured to emit light in multiple colors. During the game, the light emitter emitting light in the color designated by the game device 10 is captured by the imaging device 14. The imaging device 14 generates a frame image by capturing the input device 20 and supplies the generated image to the game device 10. The game device 10 acquires the frame image, and obtains position information about the light emitter in the real space on the basis of the position and size of a light emitter image in the acquired frame image. The game device 10 handles the position information as a game operating instruction and has it reflected in the processing of the game by controlling the movement of a player character, for example. The game device 10 of this embodiment has the function of processing game applications using not only the input operations performed on the buttons of the input device 20 but also the position information from the captured light emitter image.

[0055] The input device 20 further includes an acceleration sensor and a gyro sensor. Detected values of the sensors are transmitted to the game device 10 at predetermined intervals. The game device 10 obtains the sensor-detected values to acquire attitude information about the input device 20 in the real space. The game device 10 handles the attitude information as a game operating instruction and has it reflected in the processing of the game.

[0056] FIG. 2 is an external view of the head-mounted display 100 according to the embodiment. The head-mounted display 100 includes a body section 110, a head contacting section 120, touch pads 140, and a terminal mounting section 150.

[0057] A position sensor such as a global positioning system (GPS) incorporated in or externally attached to the head-mounted display 100 permits measurement of user position information. An attitude sensor incorporated in or externally attached to the head-mounted display 100 enables measurement of attitude information such as the orientation and inclination of the user’s head wearing the head-mounted display 100.

[0058] The body section 110 includes a display, a position information acquisition sensor, an attitude sensor, and a communication device. The head contacting section 120 includes biological information acquisition sensors capable of measuring the user’s biological information such as body temperature, pulse rate, blood components, perspiration, electroencephalography, and cerebral blood flow.

[0059] Outer surfaces of the head-mounted display 100 are equipped with an input apparatus for receiving touch input from the user. The input apparatus may be touch pads that do not double as a display apparatus and are attached beforehand to the head-mounted display 100. Alternatively, the input apparatus may double as a display apparatus. As another alternative, an external apparatus such as a smartphone having a touch pad or a touch panel serving as an input apparatus may be connected detachably to the head-mounted display 100. In this embodiment, the touch pads 140 are disposed on the upper and side surfaces of the body section 110. A mobile information terminal 200 is connected detachably to the terminal mounting section 150 disposed at the front of the body section 110.

[0060] The touch pad 140 disposed on the side surface may be operated by a suitable system such as the matrix switch system, resistive film system, surface acoustic wave system, infrared ray system, electromagnetic induction system, or electrostatic capacitance system. Alternatively, the touch pad 140 may be a contact type touch pad that detects input when the pad surface is touched by the user’s fingertips, for example. As another alternative, the touch pad 140 may be a non-contact type touch pad that may sense input when the pad surface is approached by the user’s fingertips, for example. The touch pad 140 may also be equipped with a touch-sensitive sensor that may detect pressing force on the pad surface. The touch pad 140 may be configured to calculate the strength of the input based on the planar dimension, voltage value, and electrostatic capacitance of a touched pad area, for example. The touch pad 140 outputs the coordinates of the position at which the input is detected.

[0061] A frontal region of the head-mounted display 100 is provided with the terminal mounting section 150 for detachably mounting the mobile information terminal 200, on which the user’s mobile information terminal 200 may be detachably mounted. When the mobile information terminal 200 is mounted, it functions as an input apparatus. A display device of the mobile information terminal 200 may display images generated by the head-mounted display 100 or information about the head-mounted display 100.

[0062] The head-mounted display 100 may be further equipped with a camera for capturing the user’s eyes. The camera incorporated in the head-mounted display 100 may detect the user’s line of sight, pupil movements, and blinks, for example.

[0063] While this embodiment is described in conjunction with the head-mounted display 100, the display control method of the embodiment is not limited to the head-mounted display 100 in a narrowly defined sense. The display control method is also applicable to glasses, a glass type display, a glass type camera, headphones, a headset (headphones equipped with a microphone), earphones, earrings, an ear-hanging camera, a hat, a camera-equipped hat, or a hairband, each worn by the user.

[0064] FIG. 3 is a functional block diagram of the game device 10. The game device 10 includes a communication section 302, a control section 310, and a data holding section 360. The control section 310 includes an input information receiving unit 311, an input position adjusting unit 312, an HMD image data generating unit 313, an HMD image data transmitting unit 314, a touch panel display information generating unit 315, a touch panel display information transmitting unit 316, an HMD display information receiving unit 317, a captured image analyzing unit 318, and a game controlling unit 319.

[0065] The communication section 302 controls communications between the head-mounted display 100, mobile information terminal 200, input device 20, imaging device 14, and display device 12, for example. The data holding section 360 holds the program data of the games to be executed by the game device 10 as well as various data for use by game programs.

[0066] The input information receiving unit 311 receives from the head-mounted display 100 and from the mobile information terminal 200 the information input by the user’s touch to the head-mounted display 100 and the mobile information terminal 200. The input information receiving unit 311 further receives from the head-mounted display 100 the information about the position and attitude of the head-mounted display 100. When the input device 20 is used, the input information receiving unit 311 receives from the input device 20 the information typically about the button operations performed on and accepted by the input device 20.

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