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Title:
INPUT INTERFACE WITH MULTI-AXIAL INTERACTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/136297
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An input interface device having multi-axial functionality combining rotary, push, and joystick functions into a single interface. The interface also has an output screen integral to the device that provides visual feedback of the user interaction with the interface.

Inventors:
RAO, Rashmi (3360 Pine Court, West Bloomfield, MI, 48324, US)
HARRIS, Daren (4507 E Carriage Way, Gilbert, AZ, 85297, US)
YEDLAPATI, Sreedhar (52523 Aspen Drive, South Lyon, MI, 48178, US)
PARK, Jung-Hoon (2101 Ho 1210 Dong Hanyang Apartment, 25 Sanbon-ro 432beon-gi, Gunpo-si Gyeonggi-do, Gyeonggi-do, KR)
Application Number:
US2019/012411
Publication Date:
July 11, 2019
Filing Date:
January 04, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HARMAN INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED (400 Atlantic Street, 15th FloorStamford, CT, 06901, US)
International Classes:
G06F3/01; G06F3/02; G06F3/03
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017087872A12017-05-26
Foreign References:
US20160378131A12016-12-29
US7671851B12010-03-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUNETTI, Angela, M. (Angela M. Brunetti, PLLC3233 Lake Forest Dr, Sterling Heights MI, 48314, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An input interface device comprising:

a knob movable in up to seven directions;

a display on a surface of the knob; and

a processor in communication with the display, the processor generates and executes instructions to display content in response to movement of the knob.

2. The input interface device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising:

at least one encoder to provide positional data associated with movement of the knob; and the processor generates and executes instructions to modify the content being displayed based cm the positional data associated with the movement of the knob to maintain the content being displayed in a predetermined orientation.

3. The input interface device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the display on a surface of fete knob is maintained in a fixed position relative to a portion of the knob that moves with at least one encoder.

4. An input interface device comprising:

a housing;

a base having an opening and positioned inside the housing, the housing is rotatable about the base;

an outer ring having a recess for receiving a display that is in communication with a processor, the outer ring has a fixed orientation to the base and remains stationary relative to any rotation of the housing.

5. The input interface device as claimed in claim 4, further comprising:

a female inner housing resting on the base and attached to the outer ring for maintaining the outer ring in a fixed position relative to any movement of the housing;

a pair of optical sensors fastened to the female inner housing and in cooperation with the outer ring, the pair of optical sensors sense rotational movement of the housing and provide the processor with positional data for the housing; a male inner base resting on an inner diameter of the outer ring and having a gap in between, the male inner base is rotatably attached to the female inner housing;

a cage resting in the gap between the outer ring and the male inner base; and

a switch positioned between the outer ring «id the base for sensing push/pull movement of the housing.

6. The input interface device as claimed in claim 5, wherein the processor is in communication with the display and the pair of optical sensors and, based on positional data from the pair of optical sensors, the processor generates and executes instructions for the display to display content that is relevant to the positional data of the housing.

7. The input interface device as claimed in claim 5, further comprising;

a first slide inner frame attached to a bottom surface of the female inner housing having slots to accommodate limited movement of the housing in left to right directions;

a slide outer frame in cooperation with a bottom surface of the first slide inner frame; and a cage positioned between the slide inner frame and the slide outer frame.

8. The input interface device as claimed in claim 7, further comprising;

a second pair of sensors positioned opposite each other in respective slots in a surface of the housing, the second pair of sensors detect movement of the housing in left-to-right directions and provide positional data for the housing to the processor; and

the processor generates and executes instructions for the display to display content that is relevant to the positional data of the housing and the left-to-right positional data of the housing.

9. The input interface device as claimed in claim 7, further comprising:

a second slide inner frame attached to a bottom surface of the slide outer frame, the second slide inner frame having slots to accommodate limited movement of the housing in front and back directions; and

a cage positioned between a bottom surface of the second slide inner frame and the base.

10. The input interface device as claimed in claim 9, further comprising; a second pair of sensors positioned opposite each other in respective slots in a surface of the housing, the second pair of sensors detect movement of the housing in left-to-right directions «id provide positional data for the housing to the processor,

a third pah of sensors positioned opposite each other on an exterior surface of the housing that are capable of detecting movement of the housing in front-to-back directions and provide positional data for the housing to the processor; and

the processor generates and executes instructions for the display to display content that is relevant to the positional data of the housing, the left-to-right positional data of the housing, and the ftont-to-back positional data of the housing.

11. A method for maintaining content being displayed on a display of an input interface device in a predetermined configuration, the input interface device having a knob movable in up to seven directions, a display on a surface of the knob, at least one encoder and a processor in communication with the display and at least one encoder, a modular bearing housing that receives the knob, display and at least one encoder, the method comprising the steps of:

sensing a rotary motion of the input interface device;

communicating the sensed motion to the processor,

generating and executing instructions at the processor, based on the sensed motion, to adjust display settings to maintain the content being displayed at the input interface in a predetermined configuration.

12. The method as claimed in claim 11 , further comprising the steps of:

sensing a left-to-right motion of the input interface device;

communicating the sensed motion to the processor,

generating «id executing instructions to the processor based on the sensed motion.

13. The method a claimed in claim 12 further comprising the steps of

sensing a front-to-back motion of the input interface device;

communicating the sensed motion to the processor;

generating and executing instructions to the processor based on the seised motion.

Description:
INPUT INTERFACE WITH MULTI-AXIAL INTERACTION

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to US provisional patent application serial no. 62/613,702, filed January 4, 2018 entitled“Input Interface with Multi-axial Interaction”, attorney docket 012-PXX0162USV the entire contents are herein incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The inventive subject matter is directed to a user interface in a display environment

BACKGROUND

[0003] As surfaces and screens inside a vehicle become digitized, it becomes important to define ideal interaction modalities to interact with the surfaces and screens in such a manner so as to keep them simple and intuitive, particularly for a driver of a vehicle that is attempting to perform tasks within a vehicle while operating the vehicle. For example, adjusting the radio, climate control, etc. A“rotary first" approach ensures all primary tasks may be completed while a driver’s hands remain on the steering wheel and minimizes cursor-based interaction to navigate a menu structure and active areas of the display.

SUMMARY

[0004] In one or more embodiments, the input interface device provides user interaction and allows for multi-axial functionality in multiple ways combining rotary, push, and joystick functions into a single interface. The interface also has an output screen integral to the device that provides visual feedback of the user interaction with the interface.

[0005] In one or more embodiments, the display is decoupled from the knob, which is presented as a housing and separate from an outer ring for the display and an outer base, so that the display remains in a fixed position relative to any movement of the housing. The housing moves the input interlace device in three, five or seven directions yet has structure to hold the display fixed in place while rotational and push-pull movement of the housing takes place. Because the display remains stationary, the content being displayed also remains stationary. The input interface device dictates the degree of movement for three, five and seven directions of movement. [0006] In one or more embodiments, a processor may determine display settings that must be made in order to adjust the content being displayed on the display so that it stays in a default orientation even while the user interface input device, including the display, is pushed, pulled, rotated around and translated off axis from left-right and front-back. In one or more embodiments, movement of the user interface input device may be unrestricted, and a processor adjusts the content on the display to remain in a default orientation with respect to the axis, yet the user interface input device is rotating about the axis and may be moving off-axis. The movements of the user interface device may be detected and measured by any one or more of the sensors. Sensors that detect movement of the device provide input to the processor that has the capability adjust settings at the display to maintain the content being displayed in a default orientation.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of an input inter&ce device in a vehicle environment;

[0008] FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the input interface device having a display;

[0009] FIG.2B is an exploded view of the input interface device;

[0010] FIG. 2C is a cut-away view of the input interface device;

[0011] FIG. 3A is a perspective view of an input interface device having movement in three directions;

[0012] FIG. 3B is a cut-away view of the input interlace of FIG. 3A;

[0013] FIG. 3C is an exploded view of the input interlace device of FIG. 3A;

[0014] FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the input interface device having movement in five directions;

[0015] FIG. 4B is a cut-away view of the input interface device of FIG. 4A;

[0016] FIG.4C is an exploded view of the device shown in FIG. 4A; [0017] FIG. 5 A is a perspective view of the input interface device having movement in seven directions;

[0018] FIG. 5B is a cut-away view of the input interface device of FIG. 5 A;

[0019] FIG. 5C is an exploded view of the device shown in FIG. 5A;

[0020] FIG. 6 is a flow diagram.

[0021] Elements and steps in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been rendered according to any particular sequence. For example, steps that may be performed concurrently or in different order are illustrated in the figures to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the inventive subject matter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] White various aspects of the inventive subject matter are described with reference to a particular illustrative embodiment, the inventive subject matter is not limited to such embodiments, and additional modifications, applications, and embodiments may be implemented without departing from the inventive subject matter, hi the figures, like reference numbers will be used to illustrate the same components. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the various components set forth herein may be altered without varying from the scope of the inventive subject matter.

[0023] Any one or more of the servers, receivers, or devices described herein include computer executable instructions that may be compiled or interpreted from computer programs created using a variety of programming languages and/or technologies. In general, a processor (such as a microprocessor) receives instructions, for example from a memory, a computer-readable medium, or the like, and executes the instructions. A processing unit includes a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium capable of executing instructions of a software program. The computer readable storage medium may be, but is not limited to, an electronic storage device, a magnetic storage device, an optical storage device, an electromagnetic storage device, a semiconductor storage device, or any suitable combination thereof. Any one or more the devices herein may rely on firmware, which may require updates from time to time to ensure compatibility with operating systems, improvements «id additional functionality, security updates or the like. Connecting and networking servers, receivers or devices may include, but are not limited to, SATA, Wi-Fi, lightning, Ethernet, UFS, 5G, etc.. One or more servers, receivers, or devices may operate using a dedicated operating system, multiple software programs and/or platforms for interfaces such as graphics, audio, wireless networking, enabling applications, integrating hardware of vehicle components, systems, and external devices such as smart phones, tablets, and other systems to name just a few.

[0024] The example described herein is directed to an interior cabin of an automotive vehicle having an instrument panel, with which users may internet. The instrument panel may include a plurality of display screens accessible to the users for controlling various vehicle systems such as an infotainment system, an audio system, an instrument cluster, a climate control system, and other vehicle systems such as seats, doors, windows, trunk, vehicle states related to drive systems such as four-wheel drive mode and cruise control to name some examples. The user interacts with various vehicle systems in order to power on-off and adjust the various vehicle systems.

[0025] The vehicle may include one or more sensors inside and outside of the vehicle for monitoring the vehicle, the users and/or the environment. For example, one or more pressure sensors, microphones, accelerometers, and cameras. Further, the vehicle may include a communication link, or other sensor, for detecting and connecting to a mobile device such as a cellular phone, a tablet, a computer, a portable media player or other mobile computing device including «nail wearable devices. The communication link may be wired by way of, for example, a Universal Serial Bus (USB), a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), a High-Definition Multi-media interface (HDMI), and Ethernet. The communication link may be wireless, for example, Bluetooth, WiFi, WiFi Direct Near-Field Communication, cellular connectivity, etc. and configured to provide two-way communication between the mobile device and the in-vehicle computing system.

[0026] One or more applications may be operable cm a mobile device or on an in-vehicle system for providing content to a display within the vehicle. For example music playlists, contacts, calendars, location information, weather information, GPS or navigation route information, a user profile that may include preferences such as climate settings, seat settings, music volume settings, display configuration settings, other vehicle settings such as steering wheel controls, cruise control, headlight controls, pedal settings, etc. for various vehicle systems. [0027] A user interacts with one or more applications by way of an input interface. In one or more embodiments, the input interface device provides user interaction and allows for multi-axial functionality in multiple ways combining rotary, push, and joystick functions into a single interface. The interface also has an output screen integral to the device that provides visual feedback of the user interaction with the interface.

[0028] The input interface device may be positioned within a vehicle. For example, the input interface device may be positioned on a dashboard, or instrument panel, of the vehicle. In the dashboard, the input interface device may be positioned in the center stack. The input interface device may be connected to one or more additional display and/or one or more additional systems. For example, the input interface device may be connected to a navigation system. The navigation system may include a display for navigational content, such as outputting a navigational route. The display on the input interface device may replicate the navigational content either in whole or in part, such as a compass heading.

[0029] The input interface device may be positioned in a mid-center location of the vehicle. The input interface device may be positioned on a seat of the vehicle or adjacent to a seat of the vehicle. The input interface device may be positioned elsewhere in the vehicle, such as in a roof of the vehicle.

[0030] The input interface device may be designed to blend in with a trim element of the vehicle. This may include adjusting the color of the input interface device and/or emitted pattern of the input interface device to match that of the trim element. The trim element may surround the input interface device or may be laid over the input interface device. For example, the input interface device may raise up from a rest position to an active position. In the rest position, the display may be flush with the trim element. The display, via the processor, may adjust the content to match the surrounding trim element, such as for color, pattern, etc. Alternatively, the input interface device may have a material laid over the display. The material may be the same as for the trim element. At rest, the material will therefore match the trim element When active, though, the display may shine content through the display. The input interface device may therefore be designed to seamlessly flow with the trim of the vehicle, as least when at rest. [0043] The input interface device may be connected to a camera of a vehicle, such as a rear back-up camera. An image from the camera may be projected through the display of the input interface device.

[0032] Features of the input interface with multi-axial functionality and output screen include, but are not limited to: integration of output screen and multi-axial functionality on the input interface; output screen allows for contextual information and change in function using a single input interface; output screen in combination with multi-axis functionality to allow for at least seven distinct axis functionality; locking mechanisms for encoders; touch «table output screen; proximity detection for outer surface of input mechanism; visual cue of proximity detection upon approach; a variety of material for finish of output screen that allows for light to come through such as leather, wood or metal; video processing algorithm and dithering to create a visually appealing appearance; ambient illumination that may be personalized and/or altered; cameras on exterior of the vehicle may capture surroundings for display on output screen of input interface.

[0033] FIG. 1 is a partial view of a vehicle interior 100 having an instrument panel 102 with a display 104 and an input interface device 106 in communication with the display 104. The input interface device 106 Ls shown as a knob device that Ls able to move in a number of directions and is in communication with a controller (not shown) having a processor and a non-transitory computer- readable medium capable of storing and executing instructions (also not shown in FIG. 1). The input interface device 106 also includes a display 108 on a top surface or forming a top surface of the input interface device 106. In practice this display 108 may blend in with its surroundings, «nit a pattern, color, etc. to blend in with its surroundings when the input interface device is at rest and become visible when active. The display 108 on the input interface device 106, when active, may replicate content being displayed on the full display 104, such as navigational content either in whole or in part. The display 108 on the input interface device 106 may also display its own content, separate from or related to the content displayed on the foil display 104. In one or more embodiments the content that is befog displayed on the input interface device display 108 remains in a fixed orientation no matter what direction the input interface device 106 is moved to by a user. For example, if a user rotates the input interface device 106, the content being displayed on the display 108 associated with the input interface device 106 remains in a fixed position. The movement of the input interface device 106 does not cause the content being displayed to move along with the input interface device 106, even though the input interface device display 10S itself is physically being moved as the input interface device 106 is being moved.

[0034] FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a multi-axial input interface device 200 having a display 204 and is movable in up to seven directions. The input interface device 200 has a mechanism, such as a knob, 202 that may rotated, be pushed, pulled, moved up, moved down, moved left, and moved right by a user. The knob 202 includes a display 204. The display 204 may be on a top surface of the knob 202. Alternatively, it may form a top surface of the knob 202. At rest, the knob 202 and the display 204 are coaxially aligned on an axis. As a user moves the knob, content displayed on the knob is updated to reflect inputs coming from the user through movement of the knob. For example, in an infotainment example, the knob 202 may be turned to adjust a volume. As the knob is rotated, the content displayed on the display 204 may be updated to reflect the volume adjustment.

[0035] FIG. 2B is an exploded view of the multi-axial input interface device 200 shown in FIG. 2A. FIG. 2C is a cut-away view of the input interlace device 200 shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The display 204 is shown as a liquid crystal display (LCD) and is set in a ring 206. A printed circuit board component 208 has processing capability and communicates content to be displayed at the display 204. It should be noted that while a surface LCD 204 set in a ring 206 is shown, other configurations for the display are also possible and are known to those skilled in the art. A first encoder 210, such as a rotary encoder, provides an output, such as a digital output, that is representati ve of an angular position or motion of the knob around 360 degrees.

[0036] A second encoder 212 provides translational function for the knob 202 in a left-right, front-back slide motion similar to a joystick controller. The second encoder 212 provides an output, such as a digital output, that is representative of a left/right and/or front/back position of the encoder.

[0037] Ball rollers 214 facilitate sliding movement for a joystick slide plate 222 associated with the second encoder 212. The ball rollers 214 are received in a top housing 216 that has an opening to receive a slide plate 218. The slide plate 218 also mechanically communicates with the rotary encoder 210. A main printed circuit board (pcb) 220 is connected between the slide plate 218 and a slide plate 222. A connecting wire 225 connects the display pcb 208 with the main pcb 220. Each pcb has a processor for processing capability. [0038] The assembly of the input interface device 200 is set in a bottom housing 224. The knob mechanism may also have a switch 226 for push/pull function of the input interface device 200. FIG. 2B shows a rubber mat type switch 226 for facilitating the push/pull function.

[0039] The first encoder 210 provides rotational positional data as well as communicates inputs to a processor associated with a main printed circuit board 220. The second encoder 212 output is also representative of user selection or command for various vehicle systems. For example, as a user moves the knob 202 to actuate the encoders, an output that is representative of user selection or command for various vehicle systems is provided. The PCB’s 220 and 208 process the selections, initiate the vehicle system as indicated by the user's selection, and update content as needed at the display 204.

[0040] In operation the input interface device may be pushed and/or pulled vertically along the axis. The input interface device may slide up and/or down laterally from the axis. The input interface device may slide left and/or right laterally from the axis, similar to a joystick-based motion. The input interface device may also rotate about the axis with 360°of fieedom.

[0041] At test, the display and the input interface device ate coaxially aligned on an axis. When the interface input device knob (or housing) is moved, the display may move off axis and translate with the motion of the knob, which may cause an unsettling experience for a user looking at the display. A user would likely notice the display moving with the knob, creating a visual of the content being displayed on the interface input device display not being where it is expected to be. If the display is not fixed and is allowed to move off axis the user experience may become unsettling, because the content being displayed is not where the user expects it to be. The eye of a user would likely notice the content being display moving with the display, which would likely be unsettling. It could cause the user to focus on the movement of the display and content thereon, as opposed to concentrating on other actions, such as the original reason for moving the input interface device in the first place. To avoid a potentially unsettling user experience, in one or more embodiments of the inventive subject matter, the display portion of the interface input is fixed on an axis and the nondisplay portion of the interface input may move off-axis.

[0042] In one or more embodiments shown in FIGS. 3A-5C, the display is decoupled from the knob, any encoders, and associated movements of the housing and the encoders. The knob is presented as a housing that is movable in up to seven directions, yet movement of the housing is isolated from an outer ring which houses the display. The configuration of the outer ring with mi outer base keeps the display in a fixed position with respect to any movement of the housing. The housing may be moved in three, five or seven directions yet contains cooperating structure to hold the display fixed in place while rotational and push-pull movement of the housing takes place. Because the display remains stationary, the content being displayed also remains stationary. The input interface device dictates the degree of movement for three, five and seven directions of movement while keeping the display stationary.

[0043] In FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C an input interlace device capable of three directions of movement is shown. In a perspective view shown in FIG. 3 A, the input interface device 300 has an outer ring 302 that is designed to receive the display (not shown), such as having a recess for the display to set in. The outer ring 302 remains in a fixed position relative to a housing 304 and therefore, remains relatively still with respect to any rotational and front-to-back or left-to-right movement of the housing 304, so that physical movement of the display is not affected when the housing 304 is manipulated.

[0044] FIG. 3B is a cut away view of one or more embodiments of the input interlace device 300 which allows the device to move in three directions, namely 360 degrees of rotational movement, push and pull, as shown by the arrows in FIG. 3B while keeping the display stationary. A pair of optical sensors 310 detect movement and provide information necessary for a processor 311 to generate and execute instructions to adjust the content being displayed at the display of the input interlace device. The optical sensors 310 communicate with a processor 311. For example, they may be mounted to a printed circuit board having a processor 311.

[0045] FIG. 3C is an exploded view of the input interface device 300. An outer base 306 is inside the housing 304 and has an opening to recei ve an encoder (not shown). The housing 304 is in contact with the encoder and is the mechanism that allows a user to move the housing as desired to make selections and/or user inputs. Any movement of the housing 304 may be detected, by optical sensors 310 and communicated to a processor on a main PCB (not shown) or a processor associated with one or more relevant vehicle systems. The instructions may also cause the processor to change the content being displayed at the display as a result of the user selections. [00463 Spacers 308 allow for some play in any movement of the housing and the components inside the housing. For example, the spacers may provide slight movement up and down as a user pushes on the input interface device. The spacers 308 are also used to tune a“feel” of the housing as a user moves the housing to make selections. The spacers may also be adjusted to accommodate multiple configurations of input interface device 300. The spacers 308 offset a mounting distance between the outer base 306 and a female inner base 314. Fasteners 312 attach the female inner base 314 to the spacers 308. The spacers 308 rest on the outer base 306.

[0047] A male inner housing 318 rests in a center of the outer ring 302, such as an inner diameter of the outer ring 302. A cage 320 rests circumferentially between the outer ring 302 and the male inner housing 318. The cage is free to move about in a gap between the male inner housing 318 and the outer ring 302. Using fasteners 316, the male inner housing cooperates with the female inner base 314. The fasteners attach to the female inner base, yet the male inner base is able to freely swivel about the fasteners 316 within the outer ring 302 to accommodate movement of an encoder (not shown) that would be used in an application of the input interface device 300.

[0048] The outer ring 302 has a structure that cooperates, in a snap or tab lock mechanism, with the female inner base to hold it in place. The outer ring 302 cooperates with the optical sensors 310 in such a manner that it is held in place and remains stationary while the housing 304 is rotated about the outer ring 302.

[0049] In operation, as the housing 304 is rotated by a user, the outer ring 302, outer base 306, optical sensors 310, and female inner base 314 remain stationary and do not rotate with the housing 304. The male inner housing 318 and the cage 320 may rotate with action of an encoder being operated by movement of the housing 304. The optical sensors 310 detect rotational movement of the housing 304. Upon detecting movement, the optical sensors 310 provide signal data to the processor 311 to indicate any instructions that may alter vehicle systems in response to the movements of the housing 304. The processor may determine, communicate and/or receive instructions for changes to display settings that may be needed or changes to the content being displayed at the display (not shown). [0050] In one or more embodiments, a switch may be positioned between the outer ring and the base for sensing push/pull movement of the housing. The switch is not shown in FIG. 3C, but could be similar to the mat type switch 226 that is shown in FIG. 2C.

[0051] In FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C an input interface device having five directions of movement is shown. In a perspective view shown in FIG. 4 A, the input interface device 400 has an outer ring 402 that is designed to receive the display (not shown). The outer ring 402 remains in a fixed position relative to a housing 404 and therefore, remains relatively still with respect to any rotational and front-to-back or left-to-right movement of the housing 404, so that physical movement of the display is not affected when the housing 404 is manipulated.

[0052] FIG. 4B is a cut away view of one or more embodiments of the input interface device 400 which allows the device to move in five directions, namely 360 degrees of rotational movement, push, pull, left and right as shown by the arrows in FIG. 4B. Optical sensors 410 detect movement of the device and provide information necessary for a processor to generate and execute instructions that will adjust display settings as necessary to maintain a fixed orientation of the content being displayed at the display of the input interface device regardless of the rotational, push, and pull movement of the input interface device. A printed circuit board having a processor 411a is in communication with the optical sensors 410 and the main printed circuit board (not shown).

[0053] FIG. 4C is an exploded view of the input interface device 400. An outer base 406 is inside the housing 404 and has an opening to receive an encoder (not shown). The housing 404 is in contact with the encoder (not shown) and is the mechanism that allows a user to move the housing 404 as desired and make selections and/or user inputs. Any movement of the housing 404 may be detected, as by optical sensors 410 and communicated to a processor on the main PCB (not shown), where instructions are communicated to and from any relevant vehicle system. The instructions may also cause the processor to change the content being displayed at the display as a result of the user selections.

[0054] Spacers 408 allow for some play in any movement of the housing and the components inside the housing. For example, the spacers may provide slight movement up and down as a user pushes the input interface device. The spacers 408 are also used to tune a“feel" of the housing as a user moves the housing to make selections. The spacers 408 offset a mounting distance between an outer base 406 a female inner base 414. Fasteners 412 attach the female inner base 414 to the spacers 408. The spacers 408 rest on the outer base 406.

[0055] A male inner housing 418 rests in a center of fee outer ring 402 and a cage 420 tests circumferentially between the outer ring 402 and the male inner housing 418. The cage is free to move about in a space between the male inner housing 418 and fee outer ring 402. Using fasteners 416, fee male inner housing 418 cooperates wife tire female inner base 314. The fasteners 416 attach to the female inner base, yet fee male inner base is able to freely swivel about the fasteners 316 wifein the outer ring 302 to accommodate movement of an encoder (not shown) that would be used in application of the input interface device 400. The housing 404 rotates freely around fee outer ring 402 without causing any rotational movement of the outer ring 402. The optical sensors 410 detect rotational movement of the housing 404 and communicate movement to the processor 411a.

[0056] The outer ring 402 has structure that cooperates, in a snap or tab lock mechanism, with the female inner base 414 to hold it in place. The outer ring 402 also cooperates with the optical sensors 410 in such a manner that it remains stationary while the housing 404 is rotated about the outer ring 402.

[0057] In operation, as fee housing 404 is rotated by a user, the outer ring 402, outer base 406, optical sensors 410, and female inner base 414 remain stationary and do not rotate wife the housing 404. The male inner housing 418 and fee cage 420 may rotate wife action of an encoder being operated by movement of the housing 404. The optical sensors 410 detect rotational movement of fee housing 404. Upon detecting movement, the optical sensors 410 provide signal data to the processor 411a to indicate any instructions feat may alter vehicle systems in response to fee movements of fee housing 404. The processor may determine and communicate changes that may need to be made to fee content being displayed at the display (not shown) or to display settings associated with fee display.

[0058] In cooperation wife the female inner base 414, fee input interface device 400 also has a slide outer frame 422, a first slide cage 424a, and first slide inner frame 426a to allow limited movement and spring back movement of the housing 404 in left and right directions. The first slide inner frame 426a attaches to a bottom surface of fee female inner base 414. A pair of sensors 428a and 428b are retained in the housing 404 by slots 430. The sensors 428a and 428b detect when the housing 404 moves to the left or to the right The sensors 428a and 428b are mounted on printed circuit board that also includes a processor 41 lb.

[0059] Any movement of the housing 404 in a left-to-right direction is detected by the sensors 428a. 428b. The input interface device 400 moves in five directions, rotational, push, pull, left and right while the display remains fixed with the outer ring 402. The first slide inner frame 426a has slots 432 that align with a location of the sensors 428a and 428b. Therefore, as the housing 404 moves from left to right, the movement is detected by the sensors 428a and 428b. The first slide cage 424a is free to slide about in a space between the slider outer frame 422 and the first slide inner frame 426a.

[0060] When the optical sensors 410 detect rotational movement and the sensors 428a, 428b detect left-to-right movement they provide signal data to the processor 41 la, 411b that is communicated to the main printed circuit board (not shown) «id used to determine changes that need to be made to the content being displayed and/or vehicle systems associated with the content being displayed and the user selections determined by the movement of the input interlace device.

[0061] In FIGS. 5 A, 5B and 5C an input interface device having seven directions of movement is shown. In a perspective view shown in FIG. 5A, the input interface device 500 has an outer ring 502 that is designed to receive the display (not shown). The outer ring 502 remains in a fixed position relative to a housing 504 and therefore, remains relatively still with respect to any rotational and front-to-back or left-to-right movement of the housing 504, so dial physical movement of the display is not affected when the housing 504 is manipulated.

[0062] FIG. 5B is a cut away view of one or more embodiments of the input interface device 500 which allows the device to move in seven directions, namely 360 degrees of rotational movement, push, pull, left, right, front and back as shown by the arrows in FIG. 5B. Optical sensors 510 detect movement of the device and provide information necessary for a processor to generate and execute instructions that will adjust display settings as necessary to maintain a fixed orientation of the content being displayed at the display of the input interface device regardless of the rotational, push, and pull movement of the input interlace device. A printed circuit board having a processor 511a is in communication with the optical sensors 510 and the main printed circuit board (not shown). [0063] FIG. 5C is an exploded view of the input interface device 500. An outer base 506 is inside the housing 504 and has an opening to receive an encoder (not shown), the housing 504 «id cooperates with the encoders (not shown) to perform user selections through movement of the housing 504. Any movement of the housing 504 is detected, as by optical sensors 510 and communicated to a processor on the main PCB (not shown), where instructions ate communicated to and from any relevant vehicle system. The instructions may also cause the processor to change the content being displayed at the display as a result of the user selections.

[0064] Spacers, not shown in FIG. 5C, but may be incotporated for purposes described previously with reference to FIGS. 3C and 4C. A male inner housings 18 rests in a center of the outer ring 502 and a cage 520 rests circumferentially between the outer ring 502 and the male inner housing 518. The cage is free to move about in a space between the male inner housing 518 and the outer ring 502. Using fasteners 516, the male inner housing cooperates with the female inner base 514. The fasteners 516 attach to the female inner base 514, yet the male inner base is able to freely swivel about the fasteners 516 within the outer ring 502 to accommodate movement of an encoder (not shown) dial would be used in an application of the input interface device 500. The housing 504 rotates freely around the outer ring 502 without causing any rotational movement of the outer ring 501. The optical sensors 510 detect rotational movement of the housing 504 and communicate movement to the processor 51 la.

[0065] The outer ring 402 has structure that cooperates, in a snap or tab lock mechanism, with the female inner base 514 to hold it in place. The outer ring 502 also cooperates with the optical sensors 510 in such a manner that it remains stationary while the housing 504 is rotated about the outer ring 502.

[0066] In operation, the housing 504 is rotated by a user, the outer ring 502, outer base 506, optical sensors 510 and the female inner base remain stationary and do not rotate with the housing 504. The optical sensors 510 detect rotational movement of the housing 404. Upon detecting movement, the optical sensors 510 provide signal data to the processor 511a to indicate any instructions that may alter vehicle systems in response to the movements of the housing 504. The processor may determine and communicate changes that may need to be made to the content being displayed at the display (not shown) or to display settings associated with the display. [0067] In cooperation with the female inner base 514, the input interface device 500 also has a slide outer frame 522, a first slide cage 524a, «id first slide inner frame 426a to allow limited movement and spring back movement of the housing 504 in left and right directions without affecting the outer ring 502. The first slide inner frame 526a attaches to a bottom surface of the female inner base 514. A pair of sensors 528a and 528b are retained in the housing 504 by slots 530. The sensors 528a and 528b detect when the housing 504 moves to the left or to the right. The sensors 528a and 528b are mounted cm printed circuit board that also includes a processor 51 lb.

[0068] Any movement of the housing 504 iti a left-to-right direction is detected by the sensors 528a, 528b. The input interface device 500 moves in five directions, rotational, push, puli, left and right while the display remains fixed with the outer ring 502. The first slide inner frame 526a has slots 532 that align with a location of the sensors 528a and 528b. Therefore, as the housing 504 moves from left to right, the movement is detected by the sensors 528a and 528b. The first slide cage 524a is free to slide about in a space between the slider outer frame 522 and the first slide inner frame 526a.

[0069] A second slide cage 534a, and second slide inner frame 536a allow limited movement and spring back movement of the housing 504 in front and back directions without affecting the outer ring 502. A pair of sensors 528c and 528d are retained in the housing 504 by slots 538. The sensors 528c and 528d detect when Ae housing 504 moves to Ae front or to the back. The sensors 528c and 528d are mounted on printed circuit board that includes a processor 51 Ic.

[0070] Any movement of Ae housing 504 in a front-to-back direction is detected by the optical sensors 528c, 528d. The input interface device 500 is allowed to move in seven directions, rotational, push, pull, left, right, front and back while the outer ring 502 and the display remain fixed. The second slide inner frame 536a has slots 538 that align wiA a location of Ae sensors 528c and 528d. Therefore, as Ae housing 504 moves from front to back, Ae movement is detected by Ae optical sensors 528c and 528d.

[0071] When the optical sensors 510 detect rotational movement, Ae sensors 528a, 528b detect left-to-right movement, and Ae sensors 528c, 528d detect front-to-back movement Aey provide signal data to Ae processors 511a, 51 1b representative of the user’s selections. The user input is communicated to the main printed circuit board (not shown) and used to determine changes that need to be made to the content being displayed and/or vehicle systems associated with the content being displayed based on the movement of the input interface device.

[0072] Whoa the display forms a part of the input interface device, and the movement of the input interface device translates off-axis, the display itself also moves with the input interface device. Therefore, it becomes necessary to address an orientation of the content being displayed and maintaining a fixed orientation of the content being displayed, regardless of any off-axis movement of the input interface device. This is accomplished by implementing an input interface device that moves freely in three, five or seven directions while sensing the movement and generating instructions that maintain a default orientation for the content being displayed on the display of the input interface device.

[0073] In one or more embodiments, any one of the processors may determine display settings that must be made in order to adjust the content being displayed on the display so that it stays in a default orientation even while the user interlace input device, including the display, is pushed, pulled, rotated around and translated off axis from left-right and front-back. In one or more embodiments, movement of the user interface input device may be unrestricted, and a processor adjusts the content on the display to remain in a default orientation with respect to the axis, yet the user interface input device is rotating about the axis and may be moving off-axis. The movements of the user interface device may be detected and measured by any one or more of the sensors. Sensors that detect movement of the device provide input to the processor that has the capability adjust settings at the display to maintain the content being displayed in a default orientation.

[0074] FIG. 6 is a flow diagram showing a method for, when the display is moved off-axis, adjusting the content on the display to remain in the default configuration, or orientation. For example, if after attempting to restrict the movement of the display by way of the slide inner frames, there is a possibility that some lateral play between the display and the axis may exceed the [«redetermined threshold. Upon detecting a movement that exceeds the predetermined threshold, the processor may correct content such that it remains in the default orientation relative to the axis. The content may therefore be shifted such that it does not move with the input interface device and the display. For example, a predetermined threshold, for lateral play may be limited to under 5°. Ideally, no more than 1°. [0075] The method 600 begins with any one or more sensors detecting movement 602 of the input interface device housing. A comparison 604 of the detected movement is made to a predetermined threshold value. In the event the threshold is not exceeded, the optical sensors continue to monitor movement 606 of the input interlace device, hi the event the threshold is exceeded, the processor calculates new display settings 608 that are necessary in order to maintain the content being displayed at a predetermined configuration, or orientation. The processor communicates the new display settings 610 to the display.

[0076] In the foregoing specification, the inventive subject matter has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments. Various modifications and changes may be made, however, without departing from the scope of the inventive subject matter as set forth in the claims. The specification and figures are illustrative, rather than restrictive, and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the inventive subject matter. Accordingly, the scope of the inventive subject matter should be determined by the claims and their legal equivalents rather than by merely the examples described.

[0077] For example, the steps recited in any method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the specific order presented in the claims. The equations may be implemented with a filter to minimize effects of signal noises. Additionally, the components and/or elements recited in any apparatus claims may be assembled or otherwise operationally configured in a variety of permutations and are accordingly not limited to the specific configuration recited in the claims.

[0078] Benefits, other advantages and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to particular embodiments; however, any benefit, advantage, solution to problem or any element that may cause any particular benefit, advantage or solution to occur or to become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required or essential features or components of any or all the claims.

[0079] The terms“comprise",“comprises”,“comprising”,“having ",“including”,“includes” or any variation thereof, are intended to reference a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, composition or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements recited, but may also include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, composition or apparatus. Other combinations and/or modifications of the above-described structures, arrangements, applications, proportions, elements, materials or components used in the practice of the inventive subject matter, in addition to those not specifically recited, may be varied or otherwise particularly adapted to specific environments, manufacturing specifications, design parameters or other operating requirements without departing from the general principles of the same.