(19)
(11)EP 2 656 783 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 11849977.1

(22)Date of filing:  19.12.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 5/0245(2006.01)
G06F 3/041(2006.01)
A63F 13/00(2014.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2011/007087
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/086175 (28.06.2012 Gazette  2012/26)

(54)

SIGNAL PROCESSING DEVICE, TOUCH PANEL UNIT, INFORMATION PROCESSING DEVICE, AND SIGNAL PROCESSING METHOD

SIGNALVERARBEITUNGSVORRICHTUNG, BERÜHRUNGSBILDSCHIRMEINHEIT, INFORMATIONSVERARBEITUNGSVORRICHTUNG UND SIGNALVERARBEITUNGSVERFAHREN

DISPOSITIF DE TRAITEMENT DE SIGNAUX, UNITÉ D'ÉCRAN TACTILE, DISPOSITIF DE TRAITEMENT D'INFORMATIONS, ET PROCÉDÉ DE TRAITEMENT DE SIGNAUX


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 22.12.2010 JP 2010286240

(43)Date of publication of application:
30.10.2013 Bulletin 2013/44

(73)Proprietor: Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.
Tokyo 108-0075 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • HIRATA, Shinichi
    Tokyo 108-0075 (JP)

(74)Representative: Müller Hoffmann & Partner 
Patentanwälte mbB St.-Martin-Strasse 58
81541 München
81541 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 2 323 022
JP-A- 2005 095 581
JP-A- 2006 304 264
JP-A- 2010 035 560
US-A1- 2003 036 685
US-A1- 2008 158 180
JP-A- 2003 331 268
JP-A- 2005 505 065
JP-A- 2009 282 634
JP-A- 2010 231 399
US-A1- 2007 257 890
US-A1- 2011 009 193
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to an apparatus and a method for processing a signal detected in a touch panel.

    [0002] Interface devices including touch panels and touch pads, to which inputs can be made when a person directly touches the display screen of the device using a finger, are widely used in personal computers, various mobile devices, cellular phones, and the likes. Also, there have been recently developed devices that can acquire attribute information on a touch point besides the coordinates thereof, such as the strength (pressure) of the touch and the direction of the finger.

    [0003] Patent document 1 discloses a portable image display apparatus provided with display screens on both the front and rear surfaces.

    [0004] [patent document 1] Japanese Patent Application Laid-open No. 2010-26064.

    [0005] Users can use the touch panel or the touch pad to enter a variety of information through user operation on the screen. However, devices capable of acknowledging input of biological information of human beings have not been available. Measurement of the pulsation as biological information requires equipment exclusively used for that purpose such as a pulse monitor provided with a pulse sensor for measuring the pulse by using the property of hemoglobin in the bloodstream to absorb infrared light and so requires high cost.
    US 2007/0 257 890 A1 discloses a capacitive multipoint touch surface controller registering the position and magnitude of touches on an input surface and transmitting the registered information to a host computer.
    US 2008/0 158 180 A1 discloses a sensor panel device that can generate and use a stimulus signal having multiple different waveforms for detecting events on or near the sensor panel.

    [0006] The present invention addresses the problem and a purpose thereof is to provide a technology capable of acquiring information related to the pulse by using a touch panel.

    [0007] The above-mentioned problem is solved by the subject-matter of the independent claims.
    In order to address the problem, a signal processing device according to one embodiment of the present invention comprises: a sampling unit configured to acquire a sample data series of a signal indicating a touch state quantity detected in a touch panel; an analysis unit configured to determine a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain; and a peak detection unit configured to detect a peak in a frequency band of a pulse in the frequency spectral distribution, and to find a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine the pulse.

    [0008] Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a touch panel. The touch panel unit comprises: a touch panel; and a touch panel controller configured to detect a position of a touch point on the touch panel and a touch state quantity and to output the position and the quantity as a signal. The touch panel controller includes: a sampling unit configured to acquire a sample data series of a signal indicating the touch state quantity; an analysis unit configured to determine a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain; and a peak detection unit configured to detect a peak in a frequency band of a pulse in a frequency spectral distribution, and to find a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine the pulse.

    [0009] Still another embodiment of the present invention relates to an information processing device. The device comprises: a touch panel unit including a touch panel and a touch panel controller configured to detect a position of a touch point on the touch panel and a touch state quantity and to output the position and the quantity as a signal; a signal processing unit configured to subject an output signal from the touch panel controller to signal processing; a main processor configured to run an application; and a display controller configured to control data that should be displayed on a display device provided in the touch panel. The signal processing unit includes: a sampling unit configured to acquire a sample data series of a signal indicating a touch state quantity detected in a touch panel; an analysis unit configured to determine a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain; and a peak detection unit configured to detect a peak in a frequency band of a pulse in the frequency spectral distribution, and to find a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine the pulse.

    [0010] Yet another embodiment of the present invention relates to a signal processing method. The method comprises: acquiring a sample data series of a signal indicating a touch state quantity detected in a touch panel; determining a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain; and detecting a peak in a frequency band of a pulse in the frequency spectral distribution, and finding a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine the pulse.

    [0011] Optional combinations of the aforementioned constituting elements, and implementations of the invention in the form of methods, apparatuses, systems, computer programs, data structures, and recording mediums may also be practiced as additional modes of the present invention.

    [ADVANTAGE OF THE PRESENT INVENTION]



    [0012] According to the present invention, information related to the pulse can be acquired efficiently, by using a touch panel.

    [0013] 

    Fig. 1 is a configuration diagram of an information processor according to an embodiment;

    Fig. 2 shows functional features of the signal processing unit of Fig. 1;

    Fig. 3 shows how the finger touches the touch panel;

    Fig. 4 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal detected when a certain position on the touch panel is directly touched by the finger;

    Fig. 5 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A detected when another position on the touch panel is indirectly touched by the finger;

    Fig. 6 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal detected when a touch panel of an alternative specification is touched by the finger;

    Figs. 7A-7C illustrate display screens that guide the user to touch the touch panel;

    Fig. 8 shows an example where the user's pulse is measured on a game screen; and

    Fig. 9 illustrates a method of measuring the user's pulse in a mobile game device.



    [0014] Fig. 1 is a configuration diagram of an information processor 100 according to an embodiment. Part of or all of the functional configurations in the information processor 100 shown in Fig. 1 may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination thereof provided in a personal computer, a game device, a mobile device, or a mobile terminal, for example.

    [0015] The information processor 100 comprises a touch panel unit 140, a signal processing unit 150, a main processor 160, a memory 170, a display control unit 180, and a display 190.

    [0016] The touch panel 140 includes a touch panel 110 and a touch panel controller 130 connected to the touch panel 110 by a flexible substrate 120.

    [0017] The touch panel 110 is an input device capable of sensing, using various methods, a point (position) of contact (hereinafter, "touch point (position)") by a finger or the like and parameters such as electrostatic capacitance or electric resistance indicating the contact state at the touch point (position) (hereinafter, referred to as "touch state quantity"). The touch panel 110 is mounted on the display 190, which may be a liquid crystal display or an organic EL (electroluminescence) display, for example. This allows a user viewing the screen of the display 190 to provide an input for control on the screen by directly touching the touch panel 110 with a finger.

    [0018] The touch panel 110 is a capacitive type touch panel, for example. The touch panel controller 130 measures an amount of variation in electrostatic capacitance at respective points on the touch panel 110 so as to detect a position of a touch point and an electrostatic capacitance value at the touch point. When a human finger touches the touch panel 110, the pulsation causes the electrostatic capacitance to vary. This is because very small movement of the finger coordinated with the pulsation and variation in the bloodstream affect the electrostatic capacitance of the touch point. This can be taken advantage of to measure the pulse of the user touching the touch panel 110.

    [0019] In order to measure the pulse according to the embodiment, the touch panel unit 140 should meet the following conditions.
    1. (1) The unit is capable of scanning touch points at a sampling frequency of 20 Hz or more.
      Since the pulse of a human being is generally accommodated with a range of 50-200 [pulses/minute], the frequency of the pulse signal would be 0.5 Hz-2 Hz. Generally, the sampling frequency required for measurement is twice or larger than the frequency of the target of measurement. For high-precision measurement, the sampling frequency of 5-10 times the frequency of the target is necessary. Therefore, assuming the sampling frequency of 10 times that of the target, the maximum sampling frequency necessary will be 2×10=20 Hz. This value is implemented in an ordinary capacitive touch panel relatively easily and is not particularly an excessive requirement for performance.
    2. (2) Time series variation (amplitude) in electrostatic capacitance for each touch point can be acquired.
      Time series variation in electrostatic capacitance is time series variation in the difference between an electrostatic measurement occurring when the touch panel is touched and an electrostatic measurement occurring when the touch panel is not touched.
    3. (3) Preferably, the adaptive gain control can be temporarily suspended.


    [0020] Some capacitive touch panels are designed to adopt adaptive gain control or automatic gain control for adjusting the touch sensitivity adaptively and automatically so as to maintain the output constant by adjusting the sensitivity. This is useful to implement touch panel sensing that is stable in the event of variation in environmental noise. Conversely, variation in the touch sensitivity results in the signal amplitude becoming discontinuous before and after a change in the sensitivity, producing unstable measurements of time series variation of electrostatic capacitance for the purpose of measuring the pulse. It is therefore preferable to fix the touch sensitivity while the pulse is being measured. It should be reminded that adaptive gain control will not be a problem in applications that permit occasional unstable measurements resulting from a change in touch sensitivity. Sensitivity adjustment that is not so frequent may not require suspension of adaptive gain control.

    [0021] The description above assumes the touch panel 110 of capacitive type. The touch panel need not necessarily be of capacitive type. Touch panels of any type capable of acquiring measurements of some quantity in the form of time series data according to the pulse of a finger can be used. For example, a high-sensitivity pressure-sensitive touch panel with high pressure resolution can be used. An optical touch panel can also be used capable of high-resolution acquisition of the intensity of near infrared reflection or absorption by hemoglobin including in the bloodstream of the finger. The touch panel 110 may be of any type not given as examples above so long as it is capable of sensing the touch state quantity that varies according to the pulsation in the form of some physical quantity.

    [0022] The signal processing unit 150 acquires time series data for electrostatic capacitance at the touch point detected by the touch panel controller 130 and determines the pulse of the touching user by subjecting the data to signal processing, reading and writing data in the memory 170.

    [0023] The main processor 160 uses the pulse data determined by the signal processing unit 150 and runs an application such as a game. For example, the main processor 160 adjusts a game parameter in accordance with the value of the measured pulse, displays an index related to the pulse while the game is being run, or notifies the user of the index.

    [0024] The display control unit 180 displays a game screen or an output screen for an application on the display 190. The display control unit 180 also displays, on the display 190, a guide for guiding the user to a position on the touch panel 110 that should be touched by the user, or displays, on the display 190, a guide for guiding the user to continue to touch the touch panel 110 until a time necessary for measurement of pulse elapses.

    [0025] Fig. 2 shows functional features of the signal processing unit 150. The signal processing unit 150 includes a low-pass filter (LPF) 10, a sampling unit 20, a window function processing unit 30, a discrete Fourier transform (DFT) unit 40, a frequency spectrum analysis unit 50, and a peak detection unit 60.

    [0026] The touch panel controller 130 outputs, as touch point data, coordinates (X, Y) of n touch points and the amplitude A of electrostatic capacitance, along with a time T of measurement. The signal processing unit 150 acquires the following time series data. In the case of a multitouch panel capable of sensing multiple touch points at a time, n≥2. In the case of a touch panel only capable of sensing a single point, n=1.
    T=t0, (X1, Y1, A1), (X2, Y2, A2), ..., (Xn, Yn, An)
    T=t1, (X1, Y1, A1), (X2, Y2, A2), ..., (Xn, Yn, An)
    T=t2, (X1, Y1, A1), (X2, Y2, A2), ..., (Xn, Yn, An) ...


    [0027] To highlight the first touch point, the time series data for the amplitude of electrostatic capacitance is obtained as time series discrete sampling data A1(t)={A1 (t0), A1(t1), A1(t2), ...}. The sampling rate f2 is obtained as fs=1/(t1-t0)=1/(t2-t1)= ... Generally, the time of measurement includes a jitter so that an average value between individual time differences may be used to compute the sampling rate.

    [0028] The aforementioned time series data for the amplitude of electrostatic capacitance includes information other than the pulse of the human being. For example, the data includes power supply noise and environmental noise. In particular, a touch panel is generally designed with a sampling rate of 30 Hz or more for the purpose of defining a high resolution of time series variation in touch point coordinates. In other words, the data will include frequency components higher than the frequency band 0.5-2 Hz of the pulse.

    [0029] Thus, the low pass filter 10 filters the amplitude signal A(t) of electrostatic capacitance by a low pass filter for removing frequencies other than that of the pulse and, in particular, removing high frequencies. A 10-tap low pass filter is used and the cut-off frequency fc is defined such that fc=4 Hz, in consideration of the frequency band of the pulse. The characteristic of the low pass filter is preferably tuned in consideration of the frequency characteristic obtained from the touch panel 110 and the noise environment.

    [0030] For the purpose of frequency spectral analysis, the sampling unit 20 then retrieves a sample data series from the data series for the electrostatic capacitance signal subjected to low pass filtering. The number of samples is preferably a power of 2 so that the samples can be subject to discrete Fourier transform computation later. It will be assumed that 512 samples are retrieved. The larger the number of samples, the higher the precision and the larger the volume of computation. 512-1024 samples will be suitable. Given that the touch panel 110 samples the signal at a rate of 60 samples a second, a data acquisition period of about 8 seconds should be provided to retrieve 512 samples.

    [0031] The window function processing unit 30 applies a window function to the sample data series for precise frequency analysis. It will be assumed here that precision of the frequency spectrum is given high weight so that a Hamming window is used. Other window functions may be used to adapt to the characteristic of the output data from the touch panel 110.

    [0032] The discrete Fourier transform unit 40 applies discrete Fourier transform (DFT) to the sample data series processed by the window function, transforming the sample data into the frequency domain data. The frequency spectrum analysis unit 50 determines a frequency spectral distribution based on the sample data transformed into the frequency domain data.

    [0033] The peak detection unit 60 detects a peak corresponding to the pulse in the spectral distribution obtained by the frequency spectral analysis unit 50. If a peak in the frequency band corresponding to 0.5 Hz - 2 Hz is larger than the other peaks and is a clear monomodal peak, the peak should be identified as the pulse. The peak detection unit 60 finds the frequency of the peak so as to determine the pulse P [pulses/minute] .

    [0034] Fig. 3 shows how the finger touches the touch panel 110. When a finger 112 directly touches a certain position (X1, Y1) on the touch panel 110, an electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A1 is detected. When a finger 114 touches another position (X2, Y2) on the touch panel 110 via a coin 116, an electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A2 is detected.

    [0035] Fig. 4 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A1 detected when the position (X1, Y1) on the touch panel 110 is directly touched by the finger 112 as shown in Fig. 3.

    [0036] The top graph of Fig. 4 shows an original waveform 200 of the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A1. The horizontal axis represents time (in units of seconds). The middle graph of Fig. 4 shows a signal 210 produced by filtering the original waveform 200 of the electrostatic capacitance signal A1 by using a low pass filter so as to remove high-frequency components. The bottom graph of Fig. 4 shows a frequency spectrum 220 produced by transforming the signal 210 subjected to low pass filtering into the frequency domain signal. The horizontal axis represents frequency (in units of Hz). In the frequency band 0.5 Hz - 2 Hz of the pulse, one peak is found. The frequency of the peak is converted into the pulse of 72 pulses/minute.

    [0037] Thus, when the touch panel 110 is directly touched by the finger 112, the electrostatic capacitance signal detected at the touch point includes frequency components corresponding to the pulse. By removing high-frequency components from the electrostatic capacitance signal and subjecting the signal to frequency spectral analysis, the frequency spectrum corresponding to the pulse can be identified. The frequency spectral distribution includes multiple peaks. However, because it is known that the frequency band of the human pulse is accommodated within the range of 5 - 2 Hz, the frequency spectrum of the pulse can be isolated. Even if a spectrum induced by another factor (e.g. noise) is mixed in the frequency band of the pulse, the frequency spectrum of the pulse can be isolated if the frequency spectrum of the pulse is sufficiently larger.

    [0038] Fig. 5 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A2 detected when the other position (X2, Y2) on the touch panel 110 is indirectly touched by the finger 114 as shown in Fig. 3.

    [0039] The top graph of Fig. 5 shows an original waveform 204 of the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal A2. The middle graph of Fig. 5 shows a signal 214 produced by filtering the original waveform 204 of the electrostatic capacitance signal A2 by using a low pass filter so as to remove high-frequency components. The bottom graph of Fig. 5 shows a frequency spectrum 224 produced by transforming the signal 214 subjected to low pass filtering into the frequency domain signal. No sharp peaks are observed in the frequency spectrum 224, including the frequency band 0.5-2 Hz of the pulse. By sandwiching the coin 116 between the touch panel 110 and the finger 114, the pulse does not induce a change in the electrostatic capacitance and so is not detected. A similar situation results when the touch panel 110 is touched by a stylus compatible with touch panels of capacitive type. Therefore, distinction can be made as to whether the touch panel 110 is being touched by a human finger or by something else.

    [0040] There is a need to make distinction as to whether the touch panel 110 is touched by a human finger or something else, or whether the user is wearing anything on his/her finger, for the purpose authentication etc. In such a case, whether the touch panel is being touched by a human finger can be determined by detecting whether a pulse is detected in the signal waveform detected from the touch panel 110.

    [0041] Fig. 6 illustrates signal processing on the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal detected when a capacitive touch panel of an alternative specification is touched by the finger. Different touch panels may employ different methods for signal acquisition and signal processing even if all of them are of capacitive type. Conditions such as S/N ratio of a detection signal may also differ, resulting in different signal waveforms.

    [0042] The top graph of Fig. 6 shows an original waveform 202 of the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal. The middle graph of Fig. 6 shows a signal 212 produced by filtering the original waveform 202 of the electrostatic capacitance signal A1 by using a low pass filter so as to remove high-frequency components. The bottom graph of Fig. 6 shows a frequency spectrum 222 produced by transforming the signal 212 subjected to low pass filtering into the frequency domain signal. In the frequency band 0.5 Hz - 2 Hz of the pulse, one peak is found. The frequency of the peak is converted into the pulse of 98 pulses/minute. Thus, difference in the types of touch panels may result in large difference in the waveform of the electrostatic capacitance signal detected. Nevertheless, peaks corresponding to pulses show up in the frequency spectral distribution unmistakably so that the pulse can be measured.

    [0043] As described above, the use of the touch panel unit 140 enables measurement of the user's pulse while the user is touching the touch panel 110 with a finger. A description will now be given of the user interface for guiding the user to touch the touch panel 110 to measure the pulse, and applications that use the user's pulse thus measured.

    [0044] Figs. 7A-7C illustrate display screens that guide the user to touch the touch panel 110. In order to measure the user's pulse, it is necessary to cause the user to touch the touch panel 110 for a duration of time necessary to acquire the number of samples required for measurement.

    [0045] As shown in Fig. 7A, a character on the touch panel 110 (strictly speaking, on the screen of the display 190 located below the touch panel 110) points to an area 118 bounded by a dotted line, saying "Touch here!" so as to guide the user to touch the area.

    [0046] As the guided user touches the area 118 with a finger 115 as shown in Fig. 7B, the character says "Keep pressing!", prompting the user to continue to touch the area 118. When a predetermined period of time for measurement (e.g. 5-8 seconds) elapses, the character changes the facial expression and says "OK, it is finished!!" as shown in Fig. 7C, and the user removes the finger 115 from the touch panel 110.

    [0047] While the user's finger 115 remains touching the touch panel 110, the signal processing unit 150 subjects the value of electrostatic capacitance amplitude for the touch point obtained from the touch panel 140 to spectral analysis so as to measure the user's pulse. In this way, the user can have his or her pulse measured without being aware of the process.

    [0048] The pulse can be measured at any position on the touch panel 110. For more precise sensing, however, the location of touch by the finger may be restricted. In this case, the area 118 of Figs. 7A-7C bounded by the dotted line may be displayed at a position where high-precision sensing is possible so that the user is guided to the position that should be touched by the finger.

    [0049] In the examples of Figs. 7A-7C, the character displayed on the screen prompts the user to press the touch panel 110 for a certain duration of time. The user may be informed that the pulse is being measured with a flash of an indicator.

    [0050] Fig. 8 shows an example where the user's pulse is measured on a game screen. An air hockey game is displayed on the display screen of the touch panel 110. The first user controls his or her mallet 124 with a finger 111 to hit a disc 122. The second user controls his or her mallet 126 with a filter 113 to hit the disc 122.

    [0051] The first and second users touch the touch panel 110 with the fingers 111 and 113 while controlling the mallets 124 and 126, respectively. The touch point is moved, but the fingers 111 and 113 continue to touch the touch panel 110 for a certain period of time. Therefore, time series data including touch position coordinates and electrostatic capacitance amplitude is obtained as follows for the first user, if the touch panel 110 is compatible with multitouch operation.
    T=t1, (X1, Y1, A1)
    T=t2, (X2, Y2, A2)
    T=t3, (X3, Y3, A3)
    ...  
    T=tn, (Xn, Yn, An)


    [0052] Time series data A1={A1(t1), A2(t2), A3(t3), ..., An(tn)} for electrostatic capacitance amplitude for the first user is obtained at varying touch positions. Similarly, time series data B1={B1(t1), B2(t2), B3(t3), ..., Bn(tn)} for electrostatic capacitance amplitude for the second user is obtained at varying touch positions.

    [0053] The touch panel unit 140 compatible with multitouch operation outputs the time series data A1 for electrostatic capacitance amplitude for the first user and the time series data B1 for electrostatic capacitance amplitude for the second user at the same time. The signal processing unit 150 can distinguish between them according to the difference in touch position. The first and second users of the air hockey game touch the touch panel 110 in their own courts shown on the display screen and do not touch the touch panel 110 in the opponent's court. Therefore, the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal for the first user and the electrostatic capacitance amplitude signal for the second user can be distinguished by determining which court the touch position coordinates (X, Y) belong.

    [0054] Measurements of the pulses of the first and second users may be used in the game application to display the users' tension as shown in Fig. 8. In this example, the pulse of the first user is increased with the advancement of the game so that a high value "tension 80" is displayed in the first user's court. Meanwhile, the pulse of the second user is not increased so that a low value "tension 30" is displayed in the second user's court.

    [0055] The parameter of the game application may be changed depending on the measured pulse. For example, the value of a parameter indicating excitation of a game character may be increased with an increase of the pulse. Alternatively or additionally, the value of a parameter related to the offensive power or physical power of the game character may be decreased with an increase of the pulse. Alternatively or additionally, when the user's pulse is increased, the value indicating the character's tension may be increased and the character in the game may be shown stressed. In the case of a racing game, the speed of the vehicle may be varied depending on the pulse. Time-dependent variation in the pulse may be reflected in the development of the game. Further, as the pulse is increased, the speed of advancement of the game may be increased, the tempo of the music used in the game may be increased, or the number may be changed.

    [0056] Thus, the result of measuring the pulse can be used in the presentation of a game application. In this case, the precision of measurements of the pulse is not of serious concern.

    [0057] In the example described above, there is no need to cause the user to touch the touch panel 110 knowingly in order to measure the pulse. The pulse is measured and used in the game in a manner unknown to the user, while the user is playing the game by touching the touch panel 110. Therefore, the user is not stressed at all. Further, with the touch panel 110 compatible with multitouch operation, the pulse of multiple users can be measured and used in a multiuser game.

    [0058] A single user may use multiple fingers in a multitouch operation on the touch panel 110, or multiple users may perform a multitouch operation. Distinction between these is also possible. If the sampling unit 20 acquires multiple time series data for electrostatic capacitance amplitude in response to a multitouch operation as described above, and if the multitouch operation is by multiple users, the peak detection unit 60 generally detects multiple peaks in the frequency band of the pulse, obtaining multiple different pulse values. In contrast, if the multitouch operation is by a single user, only one peak should be detected in the frequency band of the pulse and only one pulse value should be obtained. Generally, the pulse value differs from one user to another. Therefore, if a multitouch operation is detected, and if substantially the same pulse values are detected, the main processor 160 can assume that a single user performed a multitouch operation except in cases where the pulse values of multiple users happen to match. Conversely, if different pulse values are detected concurrently, it can be assumed that multiple users performed a multitouch operation.

    [0059] Fig. 9 illustrates a method of measuring the user's pulse in a mobile game device 400. As the user grips the mobile game device 400, the thumb of the user touches the liquid crystal display of the mobile game device 400. The user's pulse may be measured in accordance with variation in the electrostatic capacitance detected by the touch panel unit in this location of grip 410.

    [0060] In the case of the mobile game device 400 with a touch pad or a touch panel provided with a touch sensor on both the front and rear surfaces, a finger other than the thumb must be touching the touch sensor on the rear surface so that the pulse may be detected by the touch sensor on the rear surface. According to this method, the finger remains touching the touch sensor on the rear surface even while the thumb is not touching the front touch panel so long as the user is gripping the mobile game device 400. Therefore, more stable and continuous measurement of the pulse is possible.

    [0061] As described above, according to the information processor of the embodiment, the user's pulse can be measured easily by using a touch panel, and the pulse can be used as an input to an application or fed back to the user. This improves the functionality of the device as a human interface device. By allowing an input of the pulse as biological information, interaction between the user and the application is facilitated, feasibility of applications related to exercise or health management is improved, and sense of presence is provided to applications like games.

    [0062] Described above is an explanation based on an exemplary embodiment. The embodiment is intended to be illustrative only. The scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims.

    [0063] In the above description, the signal processing unit 150 acquires a signal indicating a touch state quantity output from the touch panel controller 130 and subjects the signal to signal processing so as to determine the pulse by frequency spectral analysis. The functionality of the signal processing unit 150 may be implemented inside the touch panel controller 130 as a dedicated circuit or a dedicated program. The pulse occurs only once per a second or so. Therefore, signal processing need not meet severe real time requirements. The circuit or the program need only perform one operation per a second. Therefore, the processing capability of the touch panel controller 130 connected to the touch panel 110 via the flexible substrate 120 is sufficient to address the need.

    [0064] Legend: 10 low pass filter, 20 sampling unit, 30 window function processing unit, 40 discrete Fourier transform unit, 50 frequency spectral analysis unit, 60 peak detection unit, 100 information processor, 110 touch panel, 120 flexible substrate, 130 touch panel controller, 140 touch panel unit, 150 signal processing unit, 160 main processor, 170 memory, 180 display controller, 190 display.

    [0065] The present invention is applicable to devices and methods for processing a signal detected in a touch panel.


    Claims

    1. An information processing device comprising:

    a touch panel unit (140) including a touch panel (110) and a touch panel controller (130) configured to detect a position of a touch point touched by a user on the touch panel and amplitude of electrostatic capacitance at the touch point, and to output the position and time series data for the amplitude of electrostatic capacitance as an output signal;

    a signal processing unit (150) configured to subject the output signal from the touch panel controller (130) to signal processing;

    a main processor (160) configured to run a game application; and

    a display controller (180) configured to control data that should be displayed on a display device provided in the touch panel (110),

    wherein the signal processing unit (150) includes:

    a sampling unit (20) configured to acquire a sample data series from the time series data for the amplitude of electrostatic capacitance;

    an analysis unit (50) configured to determine a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain; and

    a peak detection unit (60) configured to detect a peak in a frequency band of a general pulse of a human being in the frequency spectral distribution, and to find a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine a pulse of the user,

    wherein the main processor (160) is configured to adjust a parameter of the game application in accordance with the determined pulse.


     
    2. The information processing device according to claim 1,
    wherein the display controller (180) is configured to display, on a screen of the display device, a guide for guiding the user to a position on the touch panel that should be touched.
     
    3. The information processing device according to claim 1 or claim 2,
    wherein the display controller (180) is configured to display a guide for guiding the user to continue to touch the touch panel until a necessary period of time elapses for the determination of the pulse.
     
    4. The information processing device according to claim 1,
    wherein the signal processing unit (150) is configured to determine the pulse of the user by subjecting the time series data for the amplitude of electrostatic capacitance detected while the user continues to touch the touch panel during a predetermined period of time in order to provide user input.
     
    5. The information processing device according to one of claims 1 through 4,
    wherein, the main processor is configured to determine that the touch panel is not touched by a human finger if the peak detection unit (60) does not detect a peak in a frequency band of the general pulse.
     
    6. The information processing device according to one of claims 1 through 5,
    wherein the touch panel unit (140) being compatible with a multitouch operation and the sampling unit (20) is configured to acquire a plurality of sample data series in response to a multitouch operation;
    wherein the main processor (160) is configured to determine that the multitouch operation is by a plurality of users if the peak detection unit (60) detects a plurality of peaks in the frequency band of the general pulse and obtains a plurality of different pulse values, and
    wherein the main processor (160) is configured to determine that the multitouch operation is by a single user if the peak detection unit (60) detects substantially one peak in the frequency band of the general pulse and obtains one pulse value.
     
    7. A signal processing method comprising:

    acquiring a position and a sample data series of a signal from time series data for amplitude of electrostatic capacitance at a touch point detected in a touch panel (110);

    controlling data that should be displayed on a display device provided in the touch panel;

    determining a frequency spectral distribution by transforming the sample data series into a frequency domain;

    detecting a peak in a frequency band of a general pulse of a human being in the frequency spectral distribution, and finding a frequency of the detected peak so as to determine a pulse of a user; and

    provide a command to a main processor (160) to adjust a parameter of a game application in accordance with the determined pulse.


     
    8. A computer program having instructions that when executed cause a computing device according to claim 1 to perform a method according to claim 7.
     
    9. A non-transitory computer-readable recording medium comprising the computer program product according to claim 8.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung, die Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Berührbildschirmeinheit (140), die einen Berührbildschirm (110) und eine Berührbildschirmsteuerung (130) aufweist, die ausgelegt ist zum Detektieren eines Berührpunkts, der von einem Benutzer auf dem Berührbildschirm berührt wird, und einer Amplitude von elektrostatischer Kapazität an dem Berührpunkt, und zum Ausgeben der Position und von Zeitreihendaten für die Amplitude von elektrostatischer Kapazität als ein Ausgabesignal;

    eine Signalverarbeitungseinheit (150), die dafür ausgelegt ist, das Ausgabesignal von der Berührbildschirmsteuerung (130) einer Signalverarbeitung zu unterziehen;

    einen Hauptprozessor (160), der dafür ausgelegt ist, eine Spielanwendung laufen zu lassen; und

    eine Anzeigesteuerung (180), die ausgelegt ist zum Steuern von Daten, die auf einer in dem Berührbildschirm (110) bereitgestellten Anzeigevorrichtung angezeigt werden sollten,

    wobei die Signalverarbeitungseinheit (150) Folgendes beinhaltet:

    eine Abtasteinheit (20), die ausgelegt ist zum Erfassen einer Abtastdatenreihe aus den Zeitreihendaten für die Amplitude von elektrostatischer Kapazität;

    eine Analyseeinheit (50), die ausgelegt ist zum Bestimmen einer spektralen Frequenzverteilung durch Transformieren der Abtastdatenreihe in den Frequenzbereich; und

    eine Spitzendetektionseinheit (60), die ausgelegt ist zum Detektieren einer Spitze in einem Frequenzband eines allgemeinen Pulses eines menschlichen Wesens in der spektralen Frequenzverteilung und zum Auffinden einer Frequenz der detektierten Spitze, um somit einen Puls des Benutzers zu bestimmen,

    wobei der Hauptprozessor (160) dafür ausgelegt ist, einen Parameter der Spielanwendung gemäß dem bestimmten Puls anzupassen.


     
    2. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Anzeigesteuerung (180) dafür ausgelegt ist, auf einem Bildschirm der Anzeigevorrichtung einen Führer zum Führen des Benutzers zu einer Position auf dem Berührbildschirm, die berührt werden sollte, anzuzeigen.
     
    3. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2,
    wobei die Anzeigesteuerung (180) dafür ausgelegt ist, einen Führer zum Anleiten des Benutzers, mit dem Berühren des Berührbildschirms weiterzumachen, bis eine zum Bestimmen des Pulses nötige Periode vergangen ist, anzuzeigen.
     
    4. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,
    wobei die Signalverarbeitungseinheit (150) dafür ausgelegt ist, den Puls des Benutzers zu bestimmen, durch Behandlung der Zeitreihendaten für die Amplitude von elektrostatischer Kapazität, die detektiert werden, solange der Benutzer während eines vorbestimmten Zeitraums weiter den Berührbildschirm berührt, um eine Benutzereingabe zu liefern.
     
    5. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4,
    wobei der Hauptprozessor ausgelegt ist zum Bestimmen, dass der Berührbildschirm nicht von einem menschlichen Finger berührt wird, wenn die Spitzendetektionseinheit (60) keine Spitze in einem Frequenzband des allgemeinen Pulses detektiert.
     
    6. Informationsverarbeitungsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5,
    wobei die Berührbildschirmeinheit (140) mit einer Multitouchoperation bzw. Simultanberührungsoperation kompatibel ist und die Abtasteinheit (20) ausgelegt ist zum Erfassen mehrerer Abtastdatenreihen als Reaktion auf eine Multitouchoperation;
    wobei der Hauptprozessor (160) ausgelegt ist zum Bestimmen, dass die Multitouchoperation von mehreren Benutzern vorgenommen wird, wenn die Spitzendetektionseinheit (60) mehrere Spitzen in dem Frequenzband des allgemeinen Pulses detektiert und mehrere verschiedene Pulswerte erhält, und
    wobei der Hauptprozessor (160) ausgelegt ist zum Bestimmen, dass die Multitouchoperation von einem einzigen Benutzer vorgenommen wird, wenn die Spitzendetektionseinheit (60) im Wesentlichen eine Spitze in dem Frequenzband des allgemeinen Pulses detektiert und einen Pulswert erhält.
     
    7. Signalverarbeitungsverfahren, das Folgendes umfasst:

    Erfassen einer Position und einer Abtastdatenreihe eines Signals aus Zeitreihendaten für die Amplitude von elektrostatischer Kapazität an einem Berührpunkt, der in einem Berührbildschirm (110) detektiert wird;

    Steuern von Daten, die auf einer in dem Berührbildschirm bereitgestellten Anzeigevorrichtung angezeigt werden sollten;

    Bestimmen einer spektralen Frequenzverteilung durch Transformieren der Abtastdatenreihe in den Frequenzbereich; und

    Detektieren einer Spitze in einem Frequenzband eines allgemeinen Pulses eines menschlichen Wesens in der spektralen Frequenzverteilung und Auffinden einer Frequenz der detektierten Spitze, um somit einen Puls eines Benutzers zu bestimmen; und

    Liefern eines Befehls an einen Hauptprozessor (160) zum Anpassen eines Parameters einer Spielanwendung gemäß dem bestimmten Puls.


     
    8. Computerprogramm, das Anweisungen aufweist, die, wenn sie ausgeführt werden, eine Rechenvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 zum Durchführen eines Verfahrens nach Anspruch 7 veranlassen.
     
    9. Nichttransitorisches computerlesbares Aufzeichnungsmedium, das ein Computerprogrammprodukt nach Anspruch 8 umfasst.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de traitement d'informations, comprenant :

    une unité panneau tactile (140) comprenant un panneau tactile (110) et un contrôleur de panneau tactile (130) configuré pour détecter une position d'un point tactile touché par un utilisateur sur le panneau tactile et une amplitude de capacité électrostatique au niveau du point tactile, et pour émettre en tant que signal de sortie les données de position et de série temporelle pour l'amplitude de capacité électrostatique ;

    une unité de traitement de signal (150) configurée pour soumettre le signal de sortie du contrôleur de panneau tactile (130) à un traitement de signal ;

    un processeur principal (160) configuré pour exécuter une application de jeu ; et

    un contrôleur d'affichage (180) configuré pour contrôler des données qui doivent être affichées sur un dispositif d'affichage situé dans le panneau tactile (110),

    l'unité de traitement de signal (150) comprenant :

    une unité d'échantillonnage (20) configurée pour acquérir une série de données d'échantillon à partir des données de série temporelle pour l'amplitude de capacité électrostatique ;

    une unité d'analyse (50) configurée pour déterminer une distribution spectrale en fréquence en transformant la série de données d'échantillon en un domaine fréquentiel ; et

    une unité de détection de pic (60) configurée pour détecter un pic, dans une bande de fréquences d'une impulsion générale d'un pouls général d'un humain, qui est dans la distribution spectrale en fréquence, et pour rechercher une fréquence du pic détecté de manière à déterminer un pouls de l'utilisateur,

    le processeur principal (160) étant configuré pour régler un paramètre de l'application de jeu selon le pouls déterminé.


     
    2. Dispositif de traitement d'informations selon la revendication 1,
    dans lequel le contrôleur d'affichage (180) est configuré pour afficher, sur un écran du dispositif d'affichage, un guide pour guider l'utilisateur vers une position, sur le panneau tactile, qui doit être touchée.
     
    3. Dispositif de traitement d'informations selon la revendication 1 ou 2,
    dans lequel le contrôleur d'affichage (180) est configuré pour afficher un guide pour guider l'utilisateur pour continuer de toucher le panneau tactile jusqu'à ce qu'une période de temps nécessaire s'écoule pour la détermination du pouls.
     
    4. Dispositif de traitement d'informations selon la revendication 1,
    l'unité de traitement de signal (150) étant configurée pour déterminer le pouls de l'utilisateur en soumettant les données de série temporelle pour l'amplitude de capacité électrostatique détectée pendant que l'utilisateur continue de toucher le panneau tactile pendant une période de temps prédéterminée afin de fournir une entrée d'utilisateur.
     
    5. Dispositif de traitement d'informations selon l'une des revendications 1 à 4,
    dans lequel le processeur principal est configuré pour déterminer que le panneau tactile n'est pas touché par un doigt humain si l'unité de détection de pic (60) ne détecte pas de pic dans une bande de fréquences du pouls général.
     
    6. Dispositif de traitement d'informations selon l'une des revendications 1 à 5,
    dans lequel l'unité panneau tactile (140) est compatible avec une opération multipoint et l'unité d'échantillonnage (20) est configurée pour acquérir une pluralité de séries de données d'échantillon en réponse à une opération multipoint ;
    dans lequel le processeur principal (160) est configuré pour déterminer que l'opération multipoint est effectuée par une pluralité d'utilisateurs si l'unité de détection de pic (60) détecte une pluralité de pics dans la bande de fréquences du pouls général et obtient une pluralité de valeurs de pouls différentes, et
    dans lequel le processeur principal (160) est configuré pour déterminer que l'opération multipoint est effectuée par un unique utilisateur si l'unité de détection de pic (60) détecte sensiblement un pic dans la bande de fréquences du pouls général et obtient une valeur de pouls.
     
    7. Procédé de traitement de signal, comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    acquérir une position et une série de données d'échantillon d'un signal à partir de données de série temporelle pour une amplitude de capacité électrostatique au niveau d'un point tactile détecté sur un panneau tactile (110) ;

    contrôler des données qui doivent être affichées sur un dispositif d'affichage situé dans le panneau tactile ;

    déterminer une distribution spectrale en fréquence en transformant la série de données d'échantillon en un domaine fréquentiel ;

    détecter un pic, dans une bande de fréquences d'une impulsion générale d'un pouls général d'un humain, qui est dans la distribution spectrale en fréquence, et rechercher une fréquence du pic détecté de manière à déterminer un pouls d'un utilisateur ; et

    fournir une commande à un processeur principal (160) pour régler un paramètre d'une application de jeu selon le pouls déterminé.


     
    8. Programme informatique ayant des instructions qui, lorsqu'elles sont exécutées, amènent un dispositif informatique selon la revendication 1 à réaliser un procédé selon la revendication 7.
     
    9. Support d'enregistrement non temporaire et lisible par ordinateur, comprenant le produit de programme informatique selon la revendication 8.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description