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Title:
ADAPTABLE AUDIO/VISUAL IMMERSION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/024303
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a system for providing adaptable audio/visual immersion in one or more zones or regions, the system comprising in at least some of the zones: (i) none or a number N1 of a first category of devices that are configured to affect a person's auditory perception of the surroundings in which he is situated by radiation of sound energy into the surroundings; (ii) none or a number N2 of a second category of devices configured to reproduce video or pictures that affect a person's visual perception of the surroundings in which he is situated; (iii) none or a number N3 of a third category of devices that is configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings; and (iv) a control system and user interface configured to control the devices belonging to said categories. The user interface is provided with a user-operable control member, such that the user by means of this control- member can adjust parameter settings of the sound radiating devices and adjust parameter settings of the devices configured to reproduce video or pictures and adjust parameter settings of the devices that is configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings. According to the invention, the audio/visual immersion in one or more of the zones or regions can be adapted by the user via the user interface by adjusting said control member, without the user having to adjust the individual parameter settings of the devices of the first, second and third category. The user-operable control member can be configured to control the parameter settings of the devices belonging to the different categories simultaneously, such that all relevant parameter settings of the devices belonging to the different categories are adjusted by the user simultaneously, when the user operates the user- operable control member. The invention also relates to a corresponding method.

Inventors:
HANSEN, Brian Bjørn (Krunderupparken 140, Naur, Holstebro, DK-7500, DK)
HEMMINGSEN, Morten Nogra (Nøddehegnet 14, Struer, DK-7600, DK)
CLARKE, Lyle Bruce (Bakken 3, Lunderskov, DK-6640, DK)
Application Number:
DK2017/000013
Publication Date:
February 08, 2018
Filing Date:
July 28, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BANG & OLUFSEN A/S (Peter Bangs Vej 15, Struer, DK-7600, DK)
International Classes:
H04N21/436; H04N21/422; H04N21/41
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEINRICH, Søren Gert (SGW Patent IVS, Hybenhaven 7, Espergaerde, DK-3060, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A system for providing adaptable audio/visual immersion in one or more zones or regions, the system comprising in at least some of said zones:

- none or a number Ni of a first category of devices or means that are configured to affect a person's auditory perception of the surroundings in which he is situated by radiation of sound energy into said surroundings;

- none or a number N2 of a second category of devices or means configured to reproduce video or pictures that affect a person's visual perception of the surroundings in which he is situated;

- none or a number N3 of a third category of devices or means that is configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings;

- a control system and user interface configured to control said devices or means belonging to said categories;

wherein the user interface is provided with a user-operable control member, such that the user by means of this control-member can adjust parameter settings of said sound radiating devices or means and adjust parameter settings of said devices or means configured to reproduce video or pictures and adjust parameter settings of said devices or means that is configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings;

whereby the audio/visual immersion in one or more of said zones or regions can be adapted by the user via the user interface by adjusting said control member, without the user having to adjust the parameter settings of said devices or means of said first, second and third category.

2. A system according to claim 1 , wherein said user-operable control member is configured to control said parameter settings of said devices or means belonging to said categories simultaneously, such that all relevant parameter settings of said devices or means belonging to said categories are adjusted by the user simultaneously, when the user operates the user- operable control member.

3. A system according to claim 1 or 2 comprising one or more controllers configured to control said devices or means based on information provided to the one or more controllers from one or more of said user interfaces.

4. A system according to claim, 2 or 3, wherein said first category comprises one or more loudspeakers (6, 7).

5. A system according to claim 1 , 2, 3 or 4, wherein said second category comprises one or more video monitors, TV sets, or video projectors (10) with corresponding screens.

6. A system according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said third category comprises one or more lamps (8) or other lighting means, one or more blinds, shutters, shades or Venetian blinds (9) and means or systems that can control or modify the acoustic characteristics of a room such as absorbing panels in walls and/or ceiling that are configured to be remotely controllable.

7. A system according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said user interface (12) comprises user-operable means configured to control said auditory perception and/or said visual perception and/or a combination of said auditory and visual perception either continuously on stepwise.

8. A system according to any of the preceding claims comprising one or more controllers (14) configured to receive control information from said one or more user interfaces and to control said devices or means of said first, second and third category based on the received control information provided by the one or more user interfaces.

9. A system according to claim 8, wherein said one or more controllers (14) receive said control information via an IP router (13) and control said devices or means of the first, second and third category via said IP router (13).

10. A system according to claim 9, wherein said user-operable control member is provided in a user interface that is configured to communicate with said means for communicating with said user-operable control member.

1 1 . A system according to claim 10, wherein said user-operable control member in provided in a dedicated user interface.

12. A system according to claim 10, wherein said user-operable control member is provided in a wireless communication unit, such as a mobile wireless communication device, that is configured to be able to communicate wirelessly with the system.

13. A system according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said user interface is a wireless communication device such as a mobile phone or the like that is configured to communicate with the system according to the first aspect of the invention.

14. A system according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said control member is configured as a wheel that can be rotated, such that the degree audio/visual immersion can be varied from a minimum value to a maximum value by rotating the wheel.

15. A system according to any of the preceding claims 1 to 13, wherein the control member is configured as a sliding control, such that the degree audio/visual immersion can be varied from a minimum value to a maximum value by sliding the control member.

16. A system according to any of the preceding claims 1 to 13, wherein the control member is an icon or similar graphic means provided on a wireless communications unit.

17. A system according to any of the preceding claims 1 to 13, wherein the control member is a gesture motion detected by a gesture capture device.

18. A method for providing adaptable audio/visual immersion in one or more zones or regions, the method comprising:

- providing one or more user-operable control element(s), which user-operable control element(s) is(are) configured to control physical parameters of physical entities (such as loudspeakers, TV-sets, video projectors, screens, lightning means, surface covering means, such as shutters and blinds, and other devices, apparatuses and means, the settings of which affects a person's overall audio/visual perception), wherein the user- controllable control element(s) is/are provided with a user-operable control member that is configured to control said physical parameters;

- providing said physical entities in one or more zones or regions;

- a user, by means of said user-operable control member, controlling (choosing and/or adjusting) said physical entities; whereby the user can adapt said audio/visual immersion in said one or more zones or regions by operating said user-operable control member.

19. A method according to claim 18, wherein said user-operable control member is configured to vary said audio/visual immersion either continuously on stepwise.

19. A method according to claim 17 or 18, comprising:

- providing a system according to any of the preceding claims 1 to 8;

- using said system to adapt said audio/visual immersion in said one or more zones or regions, wherein said system is comprises means for communicating with said user-operable control element.

20. A method according to claim 19, wherein said user-operable control member is provided in a user interface that is configured to communicate with said means for communicating with said user-operable control element.

21 . A method according to claim 19, wherein said user-operable control member in provided in a dedicated user interface.

22. A method according to claim 1 9, wherein said user-operable control member is provided in a wireless communication unit, such as a mobile wireless communication device, that is configured to be able to communicate wirelessly with the system.

Description:
ADAPTABLE AUDIO/VISUAL IMMERSION

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the field of immersion, specifically to audio/visual immersion and more specifically to systems and methods configured to create and change audio/visual immersion according to specific desires of one or more persons situated in a variety of given surroundings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The term "immersion" is for instance within the field of virtual reality used to characterize a person's experience of being present in a scene, i.e. experiencing the total perception that the person would experience, if he was actually present in the corresponding real physical scene. The total perception may at least conceptually be regarded as the combination of at least an auditory perception, a visual perception and other perceptual contributions, such as tactile and thermal perceptual contributions.

It would be desirable to have access to systems and methods by means of which the immersion as perceived by one or more persons situated in given surroundings could be at least to some extent be created and modified and thereby adapted to for instance changing requirements in different situations in a simple and intuitive way without the need for knowledge about the individual perceptual contributions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above and further objects and advantages are obtained by the device and method according to the present invention.

Immersion is a perceptual quantity that among others depends on a number of physical stimuli that a person is subjected to when present in a given environment. Such physical stimuli comprise auditory and visual stimuli and possibly also tactile, thermal and other physical stimuli. A system that is configured to create and vary the perceived degree of immersion must be provided with means that are able to create and modify auditory, visual and possibly also l other physical stimuli. In a practical setup, such a system may comprise for instance a number of loudspeakers (with suitable amplifiers and other signal processing means) and a number of visual means (such as TV sets and/or projectors with suitable screens) being able to show pictures and video presentations. As the visual appearance of the surroundings may also influence the sense of immersion, a practical setup may also comprise means for altering the appearance of the surroundings, such as different lightning means (lamps, projectors) and means for variably covering for instance windows and other boundaries in the space in which immersion is experienced. Such means could for instance comprise shutters, Venetian blinds etc. that preferably can be adjusted via the system.

All of the various physical entities that are contributing to the sense of immersion are characterized by individual physical parameters, the settings of which can be varied within certain limits as required. For instance, the magnitude of sound energy emitted by a loudspeaker in the setup as well as the frequency characteristics of the emitted sound may be varied. Also, the number and placement of such loudspeakers may be varied as well as the signal processing schemes for each loudspeaker. The total system used to create and vary the degree of immersion is thus characterized by a number of adjustable physical parameters that a user has to be able to choose and vary in a meaningful manner in order to create the desired immersion or to vary it. In case the system comprises a large number of physical entities that may even be located in different locations for instance within a building, the task of choosing the right combination of physical parameter settings in order to obtain a desired immersion and to vary it in a desired manner becomes almost impossible and the result obtained will in many cases depend more or less on chance.

Combined use of the above-mentioned various physical entities (devices or means) give rise to a person's total audio/visual perception of the surroundings. This total perception is in the following referred to as a person's "immersion". The "degree of immersion" is regarded as being determined and determinable (i.e. controllable or adaptable) by proper control of the above-mentioned devices for instance by means of a suitable user interface.

According to the present invention, this problem is solved by providing a system and method according to the first and second aspect of the present invention, respectively. A system according to the invention that provides adaptable audio/visual immersion comprises (at least) the following technical features:

(1 ) A first category of sound radiating devices or means that affect a person's auditory perception of the surroundings in which he is situated.

(2) A second category of devices or means configured to reproduce video or pictures that affect a person's visual perception of the surroundings in which he is situated.

(3) A third category of devices or means that affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings.

Non-limiting examples of the first category of devices or means are loudspeakers in various configurations, such as stereophonic or surround sound configurations.

Non-limiting examples of the second category of devices or means are video monitors or TV sets of various dimensions or video projectors with an associated screen.

Non-limiting examples of the third category of devices or means are lamps or other lighting means in various configurations, of which the intensity, radiation pattern and the color of the radiated light can be controlled. The third category also comprises shades, blinds, shutters or Venetian blinds that can be remote controlled. The third category further comprises means or systems that can control or modify the acoustic characteristics of a room such as absorbing panels in walls and/or ceiling that are configured to be remotely controllable.

It is understood that the above examples are non-limiting and that a person skilled in the art may conceive of other devices and means that are relevant within the context of the present invention. The use of all such devices and means within the context of the invention are regarded to fall within the scope of the present invention.

An example of a control system and user interface that can be used according to the invention to provide the necessary control of the different devices or means in the surroundings (loudspeakers, DVD-players, TV sets, light sources, shades or Venetian blinds, etc.) is the BeoLink Gateway ® that can be configured to monitor the degree of immersion, so-called "Atmospheres", in different rooms and localities and to control the devices or means that are provided in the different rooms or localities in response to desired settings or changes of the Atmosphere in the different rooms or localities.

The user interface is the part of the system that a person has immediate access to and which comprises a user-operable control member (a dial, a slide control, an icon, etc.) which the user can operate to change and adjust the performance of the system. In some embodiments, the user interface may comprise the - or part of - the control system that actually controls the parameters of the carious physical entities that make up the system, but this control system - or a part of it - the interpret the adjustment of the user-operable control member may alternatively be implemented outside the user interface as separate or integrated part of the entire system. The control system also contains the necessary software and parameter tables (to be described in the detailed description of the invention).

The user interface used according to the invention can either be a physically separate unit or its functionalities can be integrated in the various units in the system.

A user interface that can be used in the present invention is in the following alternatively referred to as an "atmosphere controller".

In an embodiment of the invention, the BeoLink Gateway ® monitors the "Atmosphere controllers" for each zone or region and then sends out the predefined commands to the devices that are part of the system and thereby modifies the atmosphere in a specific zone or region, or expand the same or a similar atmosphere to another zone or region, as the users move up and down the scale of the atmosphere.

The atmosphere controller can according to the principles of the invention take a user (perceptually) from one scene, slowly or forcefully, gliding into another. From the user's tablet PC or a remote controller, mobile phone, or wall mounted remote controller, a desired atmosphere can be activated, deactivated or adjusted, depending on each remote's capabilities.

By using the atmosphere controller, the user can for instance change volume and turn on or off a TV with one control movement. Each atmosphere controller can scale either continuously or stepwise between two extremes of "atmosphere" or "mood". In an embodiment of an atmosphere controller that can be used in the present invention, the scaling can take place by turning/rotating a control wheel, whereby the atmosphere can change gradually from easy listening, while carrying out a conversation with only soft sound emerging from the loudspeakers, to a full immersive music experience comprising corresponding lighting settings and accompanying video.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for providing adaptable audio/visual immersion in one or more zones or regions, the system comprising in at least some of said zones:

- none or a number Ni of a first category of sound radiating devices or means that are configured to affect a person's auditory perception of the surroundings in which he is situated by radiation of sound energy into said surroundings;

- none or a number N2 of a second category of devices or means configured to reproduce video or pictures that affect a person's visual perception of the surroundings in which he is situated;

- none or a number N3 of a third category of devices or means that is configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings;

- a control system and a user interface configured to control said devices or means belonging to said categories;

wherein the user interface is provided with a user-operable control-member, such that the user by means of this control-member can adjust the parameter settings of said sound radiating devices or means and adjust the parameter settings of said devices or means configured to reproduce video or pictures and adjust said devices or means configured to affect other perceptually pertinent characteristics of the surroundings;

whereby the audio/visual immersion in one or more of said zones or regions can be adapted by the user via a user interface by adjusting said control-member, without the user having to individually adjust the parameter settings of said devices or means of said first, second and third category.

According to the first aspect of the invention, it becomes possible for a user by means of a simple control unit or user interface (or optionally a plurality of such control units or user interfaces distributed over several rooms or locations) to adjust (for instance increase or decrease) a given chosen "atmosphere", such that a plurality of physical entities (for instance sound, picture/video, curtain, shutter, Venetian blind, lightning, etc.) can be changed simultaneously from one set of adjustments, i.e. from one "atmosphere", (optionally via intermediate set of adjustments) to another set of adjustments, i.e. to another "atmosphere".

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the user-operable control member is configured to control said parameter settings of said devices or means belonging to said categories simultaneously, such that all relevant parameter settings of said devices or means belonging to said categories are adjusted by the user simultaneously, when the user operates the user-operable control member.

In an embodiment of the first aspect of the invention, the values of the parameters corresponding to the different sets of adjustments are pre-programmed for the different "atmosphere" adjustments.

As an example, according to the first aspect of the invention, adjusting an "atmosphere" - and not a single physical parameter - makes it possible that for instance the light at a given location is varied much more than the sound level at that location, when an "atmosphere dial" on the user interface is adjusted (for instance by turning the "atmosphere dial") o that one physical parameter value is increased while another physical parameter value is reduced. Thus, for instance, an operator or service technician can design the "atmospheres" that can be created by the system according to the first aspect of the invention by choosing which physical parameters can be varied and how much variation is allowed as a function of the adjustment of the atmosphere dial carried out by the user via his control unit or user interface.

The "atmosphere" can be a given type of experience, which can be adjusted up or down (increased or reduced), but it can also be an experience that can be extended or confined spatially for instance from having a local spatial extension (for instance confined to a single room or location in a room) to a more extended spatial extension (for instance covering more rooms or many different locations in a room) simple by manipulating a single control member provided in a user interface.

Thus, according to the first aspect of the invention (as well as the second aspect of the invention), "ATMOSPHERE" can be regarded as the independent variable, and when this independent variable is varied, the adjustments of the various physical parameters of the devices or means of the different categories mentioned above follows (in a manner that can be, and preferably is, predefined by the person setting up the system) the variation of the independent parameter "ATMOSPHERE"

Consequently, by applying the principles of the present invention, a user does not have to worry about any physical settings, and what perceptual consequences they will have, but can concentrate on choosing and modifying the only parameter that is really important for him, i.e. the degree of immersion, determined by the perceptual parameter "ATMOSPHERE".

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the system comprises one or more controllers configured to control said devices or means based on information provided to the one or more controllers from one or more of said user interfaces.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the first category comprises one or more loudspeakers.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the second category comprises one or more video monitors, TV sets, or video projectors with corresponding screens.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the third category comprises one or more lamps or other lighting means, one or more blinds, shutters, shades or Venetian blinds and means or systems that can control or modify the acoustic characteristics of a room such as absorbing panels in walls and/or ceiling that are configured to be remotely controllable.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the user interface comprises a user-operable control member (such as a dial, a slider, an icon, etc.) configured to control the auditory perception and/or the visual perception and/or a combination of the auditory and visual perception either continuously on stepwise.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the one or more controllers are configured to receive control information from said one or more user interfaces and to control said devices or means of said first, second and third category based on the received control information provided by the one or more user interfaces.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, said user interface is a wireless communication device such as a mobile phone or the like that is configured to communicate with the system according to the first aspect of the invention. In an embodiment of the first aspect, the control member is configured as a wheel that can be rotated, such that the degree of audio/visual immersion can be varied from a minimum value to a maximum value by rotating the wheel.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the control member is configured as a sliding control, such that the degree of audio/visual immersion can be varied from a minimum value to a maximum value by sliding the control member.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the control member is an icon or similar graphic means provided on a wireless communications unit. In an embodiment of the first aspect, the control member is configured as a gesture detection means, such that the degree of audio/visual immersion can be varied from a minimum value to a maximum value by gesturing a rotation gesture.

In an embodiment of the first aspect, the one or more controllers receive said control information via an IP router and control said devices or means of the first, second and third category via said IP router.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a method for providing adaptable audio/visual immersion in one or more zones or regions, the method comprising:

- providing one or more user-operable control element(s), which user-operable control element is configured to control physical parameters of physical entities (such as loudspeakers, TV-sets, video projectors, screens, lightning means, surface covering means, such as shutters and blinds, and other devices, apparatuses and means, the settings of which affects a person's overall audio/visual perception), wherein the user- controllable control element(s) is/are provided with a user-operable control member that is configured to control said physical parameters;

- providing said physical entities in one or more zones or regions;

- a user, by means of the user-operable control member, controlling (choosing and/or adjusting) the physical entities; whereby the user can adapt the audio/visual immersion in the one or more zones or regions by operating the user-operable control member. According to the second aspect, the user is not controlling individual physical parameters, but the whole set of physical parameters as a function of the independent variable "atmosphere", and such that each physical parameter may follow a different dependency function of the independent variable.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the user-operable control member is configured to vary the audio/visual immersion either continuously on stepwise.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the method comprises:

- providing a system according to the first aspect of the invention;

- using the system to adapt the audio/visual immersion in the one or more zones or regions, wherein the system comprises means for communicating with the user-operable control element.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the user-operable control member is provided in a user interface that is configured to communicate with said means for communicating with said user-operable control element.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the user-operable control member is provided in a dedicated user interface.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the user-operable control member is provided in a wireless communication unit, such as a mobile wireless communication device, that is configured to be able to communicate wirelessly with the system.

In an embodiment of the second aspect, the user-operable control member is a pre-determined gesture motion detected by a gesture detection device such as a camera that is configured to be able to detect the user doing the gesture motion and communicate wirelessly with the system.

In an embodiment of the second aspect the user interface comprises user-operable means configured to control said auditory perception and/or said visual perception and/or a combination of said auditory and visual perception either continuously or stepwise. In an embodiment of the second aspect, the method comprises control of said devices or means by means of one or more controllers configured to receive control information from said one or more user interfaces and to control said devices or means of said first, second and third category based on the received control information provided by the one or more user interfaces.

According to the aspects of the invention it is thus possible for a user by simple means to determine or alter both auditory and visual aspects or "atmosphere" of a scene as well as other pertinent aspects of the appearance of the scene that affect the "atmosphere" perceived by persons in the scene. Also, the spatial extension of areas in which a specific "atmosphere" is created can be varied for example extended from a relatively confined area to a larger area as exemplified in the detailed description of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further benefits and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after reading the detailed description of non-limiting exemplary embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein :

Figure 1 shows an example embodiment of a system according to the invention used to provide adaptable audio-visual immersion in a house comprising a living room, a lounge, a patio and a home cinema;

Figure 2(a) shows an example of settings of parameters affecting the audio-visual atmosphere at the different locations shown in figure 1 ;

Figure 2(b) shows an example of settings of parameters relating to a home cinema; and

Figure 3(a) and 3(b) show an example of use of the present invention where (a) an atmosphere is created in a first zone in a room and (b) subsequently expanded to an extended zone with both music and light spreading across the entire room.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the following a detailed description of an example embodiment of the invention is given. It is, however understood that the principles of the invention could be embodied in other ways.

With reference to figure 1 there is shown an embodiment of a system according to the present invention. In this embodiment the system covers four different rooms or zones in a house, but it is understood that the system could also be used in numerous other settings for instance in an office building, a hotel, a ship, an airplane, a train or any other settings comprising different localities where controllable audio-visual experiences are desired.

An example of a controller or user interface that can be used according to the invention to provide the necessary control of the different functional units (loudspeakers, DVD-players, TV sets, light sources, shades or Venetian blinds, etc.) is the BeoLink Gateway ® that can be configured to monitor "Atmosphere controllers" in different rooms and localities and to control the functional units that are provided in the different rooms or localities in response to desired settings or changes of the Atmosphere in the different rooms or localities. The BeoLink Gateway ® is provided with a control member in the form of a wheel, whereby the atmosphere or degree of audio/visual immersion can be varied by rotating the wheel.

This wheel is only a non-limiting example of a control member that can be used to vary the atmosphere or degree of audio/visual immersion according to the present invention. Alternatively, for instance a sliding control member may be used, or the control member may not be a physical member at all, but an icon or other graphical means on for instance a wireless communication unit or a gesture motion detected by a gesture detection unit.

The controller used according to the invention can either be a physically separate unit, such as the BeoLink Gateway ® or its functionalities can be integrated in the various units in the system.

The BeoLink Gateway® monitors the "Atmosphere controllers" for each zone and then sends out the predefined commands to the devices that are part of the atmosphere and thereby modifying the atmosphere in the zone or expand the same atmosphere to another zone, as the users increases or decreases the setting of the atmosphere control member. The setup shown in figure 1 comprises the four zones: a living room 1 , a lounge 2, a patio 3 and a home cinema 4. In the living room 1 there is installed a pair of loudspeakers 6 and a TV set 10. In the living room 1 there is provided a pair of loudspeakers 6 that may for instance render a stereophonic signal provided by a TV set 10. One or more lamps 8 (only one is shown in the figure) comprising control means that allow each lamp to be controlled from the central controller 14 is also installed in the listening room 1. Furthermore, the windows of the living room 1 is provided with shades or Venetian blinds 9 that are also provided with control/actuator means that allow the central controller 14 to control the degree of coverage of the shades 9 and/or possibly the tilt of the slats of a Venetian blind. Furthermore, the living room 1 is provided with a user interface 12, such as the above-mentioned atmosphere controller that allows a user to adjust the audio-visual atmosphere of the listening room. An example of a user interface that can be used according to the present invention is the BeoSound Essence ® consisting of two separate components: A circular remote control available in two versions: for hanging on the wall or placing wherever you need it in the room, and a discreet hideaway box. The few control members on the atmosphere controller are configured in such a manner that it renders the control of the atmosphere simple and intuitively obvious for the user.

The lounge 2 in figure 1 is provided with devices 6, 8, 9 that could be similar to the corresponding devices in the living room 1 . The TV set 10 in the living room is in the lounge replaced by a DVD/Blu-ray player or a similar device. The lounge area is also provided with an atmosphere controller 12.

In the patio area 3 there are no blinds or shutters, but otherwise the devices in the patio area 3 are in this embodiment of the invention similar to the devices in the lounge area 2. Of course, the patio area may alternatively be provided with other devices that contribute to the atmosphere created in the patio area.

The building shown in figure 1 further comprises a home cinema room 4 that in the shown embodiment of the invention comprises a surround sound setup comprising the loudspeakers 6 and 7 and a video monitor or TV set 10. The home cinema room 4 is also provided with suitable lamps 8 and shutters 9 or similar devices.

The building shown in figure 1 further comprises a technical room 5 that comprises the necessary controller(s) 14 and an IP router 13 configured for communication with the respective atmosphere controllers 12. Connecting signal and control lines are further provided between the controller(s) 14 and the different devices in the various rooms and outside areas of the house. Such signal and control lines can be either provided as physical cables or as wireless connections etc. that can communicate via the IP router 13. Many different setups would be possible and would all fall within the scope of the present invention.

With reference to figure 2(a) and 2(b) there are shown illustrative examples of control settings of parameters affecting the audio-visual immersion at the different locations shown in figure 1 .

With reference to figure 2(a) there is shown an illustrative example of parameter settings when the immersion is extended spatially from covering only a confined region to covering a more extended region.

At an atmosphere setting of 0 to 30, only the LIVING ROOM 1 is active and only the sound, lights and shades in the living room 1 are affected. Specifically, the sound setting is increased from 0 to 30 when the atmosphere setting is increased from 0 to 30, while simultaneously the light setting is reduced from 100% to 75% and the shades remain open.

At atmosphere settings from 30 to 60, the LOUNGE 2 becomes included in the adjustments of the settings. At atmosphere settings from 60 to 90, the PATIO 3 is also included in the adjustments of the settings.

At atmosphere settings from 90 to 100, the settings in all three locations (LIVING ROOM 1 , LOUNGE 2, PATIO 3) are affected, although in different manners depending on the preprogramming of the system.

Thus, in the table shown in figure 2(a) there is shown the settings of the SOUND, 17, the LIGHTS, 18 and the SHADES, 19 as a function of the setting of the ATMOSPHERE, 16, which is the independent variable of the system, and which, as described, can be adjusted from a user operable control member on a suitable user interface. The controller 14 (see figure 1 ) runs appropriate signal processing and, choice of signal routing, etc. that controls the individual physical entities in the system as a function of the adjustment of the ATMOSPHERE.

Columns 16 through 19 show settings of parameters in a living room area, a lounge area and a patio area, respectively, for instance as shown in figure 1 . Column 16 shows atmosphere settings ranging on a scale from zero to 100. Four such settings are shown, i.e. atmosphere in the ranges 0 to 30, 30 to 60, 60 to 90 and 90 to 100, respectively. The three columns commonly designated by 17 show chosen sound volume settings for the three respective areas, the three columns commonly designated by 18 show light intensity settings for the respective areas and the two columns commonly designated by 19 show shade settings for the living room and the lounge, respectively.

With reference to figure 2(b) there is shown an illustrative example of parameter settings when the system and method of the invention is used in a home cinema setup.

Columns 20 through 23 show settings of parameters in a home cinema area, for instance as shown in figure 1 . Column 20 shows atmosphere settings ranging on a scale from zero to 100. Four such settings are shown, i.e. atmosphere in the ranges 0 to 30, 30 to 60, 60 to 90 and 90 to 100, respectively. The two columns commonly designated by 21 show sound intensity and number of active loudspeakers in the respective areas, column 22 shows light intensity settings and column 23 shows shade settings.

With reference to figure 3, there is shown another example of an application of a system according to the invention on board a ship, only a portion of which is shown in figure 3. An area of the shown portion of the ship comprises a relatively confined sub-area 26 for instance provided with a dining table and a larger area 27 to which for instance persons participating in a party or meeting will spread after the dinner or meeting for relaxing and possibly listening to music or watching a movie. The area of the ship is further provided with a control device 25 such as the above-mentioned atmosphere controller and using this device 25 it is possible to adapt the atmosphere from an audio/visual atmosphere that is suitable for the confined space 26 to an atmosphere that is suitable for the larger space 27.

It is understood that similar applications to that shown in figure 3 could be adapted to other scenarios as for instance in an airplane, a train, a bus, a car, a hotel, an airport or a railway station.

Thus, although the present invention has been illustrated by means of specific embodiments hereof, it is understood that a person skilled in the art may conceive other embodiments and that all such embodiments will fall within the scope of the invention as defined by the claims.