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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
WEARABLE ELECTRONIC NOTIFICATION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/062895
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A wearable electronic device (100) detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the wearable electronic device comprising - an alarm unit (120) configured to generate an alarm, - a notification system (110) configured for notifying a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at the alarm unit, - a display (130) having a sensing system for detecting covering of the display, wherein the notification system is further configured for - receiving sensor data from the sensing system, - detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and - terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display.

Inventors:
BUIL VINCENTIUS PAULUS (NL)
VAN DE SLUIS BARTEL MARINUS (NL)
GEURTS LUCAS JACOBUS FRANCISCUS (NL)
Application Number:
EP2014/072471
Publication Date:
May 07, 2015
Filing Date:
October 21, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KONINKL PHILIPS NV (NL)
International Classes:
G04G11/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COOPS, Peter et al. (High Tech Campus 5, AE Eindhoven, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Examples of wearable electronic devices, methods for a wearable electronic device, computer programs, and computer readable media are defined in the following numbered clauses:

1. A wearable electronic device (100) detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the wearable electronic device comprising

an alarm unit (120) configured to generate an alarm,

a notification system (110) configured for notifying a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at the alarm unit,

a display (130) having a sensing system for detecting covering of the display, wherein the notification system is further configured for

receiving sensor data from the sensing system,

detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display

2. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, wherein the display is a touch display, the notification system is further configured for

showing an information screen on the display regarding the notification together with generating the alarm, the information screen comprising a snooze region, the display being configured to detect a finger touch in the snooze region, and

terminating the alarm upon detecting either one of covering of the display and a touch in the snooze region.

3. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, wherein the display and sensing system are a touch display, and wherein the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display from the sensor data by

calculating a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display,

covering of the display being detected if the measure for the area exceeds a covering threshold.

4. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, wherein

the display has a first edge and an opposite second edge, the display extending between the first and second edge, the sensing system comprises a touch-sensitive first sensor at the first edge of the display and a touch-sensitive second sensor at the second edge of the display,

the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display by detecting touch at the first and second sensor simultaneously.

5. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 4, wherein the first and second sensor are configured to measure electric conductance between the first and second sensor.

6. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, wherein the sensing system comprises an optical sensor, wherein the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display from the sensor data by

calculating a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor

covering of the display being detected if the measure for a decrease in the amount of light exceeds an optical covering threshold.

7. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 6, wherein the notification system is configured to determine a skin color from the sensor data, detecting coverage additionally detects that the determined skin color is in a skin color range.

8. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 7, comprising a calibration system for setting the skin color range on the basis of the hand of the wearer.

9. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 6 or 7, wherein the device comprises a light source, the optical sensor and light source being arrange so that the optical sensor detects light of the light source reflected of a hand covering the display.

10. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, the notification system is configured to cancel or snooze a notification, wherein

- the notification is snoozed upon detecting covering of the display from the sensor data after an alarm.

11. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 10 comprising a tilt sensor, the notification is canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle.

12. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 10 comprising a tilt sensor and a gaze detector

the notification is canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle and a gaze of the wearer at the display.

13. A wearable electronic device as in Clause 1, wherein the wearable electronic device is a watch adapted for wearing at a wrist of the wearer.

14. A method for a wearable electronic device detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the method comprising

notifying a wearer of the device by generating a tactile and/or audible alarm at an alarm unit,

receiving sensor data from a sensing system for detecting covering of a display, detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and

- terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display

15. A computer program comprising computer program code means adapted to perform all the steps of Clause 14 when the computer program is run on a computer. 16. A computer program as in clause 15 embodied on a computer readable medium. CLAIMS:

1. A wearable electronic device (100) detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the wearable electronic device comprising

an alarm unit (120) configured to generate an alarm,

a notification system (110) configured for notifying a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at the alarm unit,

a display (130) having a sensing system for detecting covering of the display, wherein the notification system is further configured for

receiving sensor data from the sensing system,

detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display, wherein the display and sensing system are a touch display, and wherein the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display from the sensor data by

calculating a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display,

covering of the display being detected if the measure for the area exceeds a first covering threshold.

2. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 1, wherein

the notification system (110) is configured to classify the display in a covered or an uncovered state, the covered state being detected if the measure for the area exceeds the first covering threshold, and the uncovered state is detected if the measure for the area is less than a second covering threshold,

the notification system (110) is configured to detect a transition from uncovered to a covered state, covering of the display being detected if in addition a transition from uncovered to a covered state is detected.

3. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 2, wherein detecting a transition from uncovered to a covered state requires that the uncovered state is followed by the covered state within a predetermined covering time limit.

4. A wearable electronic device as in any one of Claims 1-3 comprising a motion sensor configured to detect the impact of a hand covering the display, the notification system 100 being configured to require the combination of detecting a covered state and detecting an impact of the covering action with the motion sensor.

5. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 1, wherein the display is a touch display, the notification system is further configured for

showing an information screen on the display regarding the notification together with generating the alarm, the information screen comprising a snooze region, the display being configured to detect a finger touch in the snooze region, and

terminating the alarm upon detecting either one of covering of the display and a touch in the snooze region. 6. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 1, wherein the sensing system comprises an optical sensor, wherein the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display also from the sensor data by

calculating a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor

- covering of the display being detected if the measure for a decrease in the amount of light exceeds an optical covering threshold.

7. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 6, wherein the notification system is configured to determine a skin color from the sensor data, detecting coverage additionally detects that the determined skin color is in a skin color range.

8. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 7, comprising a calibration system for setting the skin color range on the basis of the hand of the wearer. 9. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 6 or 7, wherein the device comprises a light source, the optical sensor and light source being arrange so that the optical sensor detects light of the light source reflected of a hand covering the display.

10. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 1, the notification system is configured to cancel or snooze a notification, wherein

the notification is snoozed upon detecting covering of the display from the sensor data after an alarm.

11. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 10 comprising a tilt sensor,

the notification is canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle. 12. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 10 comprising a tilt sensor and a gaze detector

the notification is canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle and a gaze of the wearer at the display. 13. A wearable electronic device as in Claim 1, wherein the wearable electronic device is a watch adapted for wearing at a wrist of the wearer.

14. A method for a wearable electronic device detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the method comprising

- notifying a wearer of the device by generating a tactile and/or audible alarm at an alarm unit,

receiving sensor data from a sensing system for detecting covering of a display, the display and sensing system are a touch display,

detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and

- terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display

calculating a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display,

covering of the display being detected if the measure for the area exceeds a first covering threshold.

15. A computer program comprising computer program code means adapted to perform all the steps of Claim 14 when the computer program is run on a computer.

16. A computer program as claimed in claim 15 embodied on a computer readable medium.

Description:
Wearable electronic notification system

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a wearable electronic device.

BACKGROUND

In today's world we get bombarded by notifications: SMS, appointments, incoming calls, tweets, news alerts, medication reminders, etc. Typically, an alarm of some kind is generated to alert a user that a notification is waiting for him. Depending on circumstances you may cause you to follow up a notification in a different way. However, current solutions demand you to think beforehand how and for what you would like to be notified and how. An easy way of dealing with notifications is desirable.

For example, on the iPhone (IOS 6.1), a user can manage notifications by deciding per application if notifications are to be shown in (1) alerts on the lock screen, (2) as banners in the notification centre, or (3) as badges on the application icons. The user can separately decide if and what sound notifications should be given, and what vibration patterns if any in the sound settings.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that many notifications are given for which some action by the user is required. Wearable electronics have been proposed as a solution to the notification problem. For example, smart watches are entering the market, which are connected to your smartphone. They can display notifications from your phone, which means that you do not need to take the phone out of your pocket.

Nevertheless, there remains a desire to deal with notification in a more effective way.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It would be advantageous to have an improved system for notification.

A wearable electronic device is provided configured for detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device. The wearable electronic device comprises an alarm unit, a notification system and a display. The alarm unit is configured to generate an alarm. The notification system is configured to notify a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at the alarm unit. The display has a sensing system for detecting covering of the display. The notification system is further configured for receiving sensor data from the sensing system, detecting covering of the display from the sensor data, and terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display.

Terminating a command by covering a display is well suited for a wearable electronic device. Since the user is wearing the device he already knows the approximate location of the device. To cover the device he does not need to look at the device.

Accordingly, a device is provided in which a user can terminate an alarm fast and with little cognitive effort. In response, to detecting covering of the display from the sensor data after an alarm the notification may be snoozed by the notification system.

In an embodiment, the display is a touch display, the notification system is further configured for showing an information screen on the display regarding the notification together with generating the alarm, the information screen comprising a snooze region, the display being configured to detect a finger touch in the snooze region, and terminating the alarm upon detecting either one of covering the display and a touch in the snooze region.

In this way the user has two different avenues for terminating an alarm: a low focus (covering) and a high- focus one (tapping). In the first he has little options for interacting with the device, it has however the advantage that he does not need divert his attention from what he is doing at the moment. In the latter option, he can read the notification and may opt to use other ways to interact with the device. A tap is a touch in a region without touching any part outside the region optionally a tap may also require that the touch has a duration that is less than a tapping time period. Regions are also referred to as areas.

In an embodiment, the display and sensing system are a touch display. The notification system is configured to detect covering of the display from the sensor data by calculating a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display, covering of the display is detected if the measure for the area exceeds a covering threshold.

Calculating a coverage measure is an effective way to establish that a coverage gesture was made. The touch sensitive device may be a multi-touch sensitive device, wherein the sensing system is configured to detect multiple concurrent touches across the display.

In an embodiment, the sensing system comprises a touch-sensitive first sensor and a touch-sensitive second sensor, the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display by detecting touch at the first and second sensor simultaneously. For example, the touch sensors may be resistive, capacitive, sensors or the like. The display may have a first edge and an opposite second edge, the display extending between the first and second edge, the touch-sensitive first sensor being located at the first edge of the display and the touch-sensitive second sensor at the second edge of the display. Using separate sensors for hand coverage is a good alternative to using, say, the touch screen. However, these systems may also be combined, e.g., detecting coverage both at the first and second sensors and a certain coverage of the display. The latter may be determined by coverage area or optical systems, e.g. a camera (see below). This reduces false positives. False positives are especially problematic for watches or jewelry that are easily covered by clothing. A possible choice is to configure the first and second sensor to measure electric conductance between the first and second sensor.

In an embodiment, the first edge is an upper edge and the second edge a lower edge of the display. This orientation is suitable for watches. In an embodiment, the first edge is a left edge and the second edge a right edge of the display. This orientation is suitable for pendants. In both examples, the orientation of the sensors conforms to the natural orientation of the hand. Upper, lower, left and right are with respect with the natural reading direction of the display.

In an embodiment, the sensing system comprises an optical sensor, wherein the notification system is configured to detect covering of the display from the sensor data by calculating a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor, covering of the display being detected if the measure for a decrease in the amount of light exceeds an optical covering threshold. The optical sensor may be shared with other purposes, e.g., in the form of a camera to record images or video, for gaze detection, or for sensing ambient light to automatically adjust display brightness. An optical sensor may also be used to detect coverage, when the hand covers the optical sensor the amount of sensed light decreases. To ensure a more robust detection multiple optical sensors may be used. For example, coverage may be detected if a predetermined number of the multiple optical sensors detect light reduction, say at least 2 or 3.

The optical sensor may be a camera, but in an embodiment the sensor is not a camera but only measures the average illumination surrounding the sensor. The optical sensor may be a photodiode.

Optical sensors are particularly sensitive to false positives due to clothing. This can be reduced further when the notification system is configured to determine a skin color from the sensor data, detecting coverage additionally detects that the determined skin color is in a skin color range. The skin color range may be configured, say, during

manufacture; however the accuracy may be increased by incorporating a calibration system for setting the skin color range on the basis of the hand of the wearer. Accuracy may be even further increased by incorporating in the device a light source, the optical sensor and light source being arrange so that the optical sensor detects light of the light source reflected of a hand covering the display, a light source may be used with or without determining skin color.

The device may comprise other interfaces. For example, the device may comprise a system for gaze detection and/or a tilt sensor. For example, in an embodiment, the notification is canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle and/or detecting a gaze of the wearer at the display. This means that a user can quickly terminate a command without the need to look at the device. On the other hand by turning the display towards him and looking at the display, the notification may be canceled. Note that neither option requires the user to place a focused touch on the display.

In an embodiment, detecting covering of the display from the sensor data comprises detecting from the sensor data a transition from an uncovered state of the display to a covered state of the display. In an embodiment, the notification system is configured to classify the display in at least in a covered or an uncovered state, and configured to detect a transition from uncovered to covered by classifying the display first in the uncovered state followed by the covered state.

In an embodiment, the wearable device comprises a motion sensor configured to detect the impact of a hand covering the display. The notification system is configured to terminate the alarm upon detecting covering of the display and detecting the impact of the covering action with the motion sensor.

Detecting a transition from uncovered to covered has an advantage if for some reason the user already covers the display at the moment a notification is received.

Detecting of covering may be more accurate by including a optical sensor in addition to computing a calculating a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display. For example, detecting covering may require detecting a transition and in addition calculating a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor.

In an embodiment, the wearable electronic device comprises a motion sensor and a gaze detector, the notification system is configured to cancel the notification upon - detecting a motion gesture with the motion sensor within a first time interval from the start of the alarm,

- (optionally) detecting that motion is less than a motion threshold for at least a steady time interval, and

- detecting a gaze with the gaze detector within a second time interval from detecting the motion gesture.

Such a canceling notification system has independent merit. For example, a wearable electronic device is provided, the wearable electronic device comprising an alarm unit configured to generate an alarm, a notification system configured for notifying a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at the alarm unit,

the wearable electronic device comprising a motion sensor and a gaze detector, the notification system is configured to cancel the notification upon detecting a motion gesture with the motion sensor within a first time interval from the start of the alarm, optionally detecting that motion is less than a motion threshold for at least a steady time interval, and detecting a gaze with the gaze detector within a second time interval from detecting the motion gesture.

In an embodiment, the wearable electronic device is a watch adapted for wearing at a wrist of the wearer. In an embodiment, the wearable electronic device is a pendant arranged for wearing at a necklace at a neck of the wearer.

An aspect of the invention concerns a method for a wearable electronic device detecting covering with a hand of a wearer of the device, the method comprising

A method according to the invention may be implemented on a computer as a computer implemented method, or in dedicated hardware, or in a combination of both.

Executable code for a method according to the invention may be stored on a computer program product. Examples of computer program products include memory devices, optical storage devices, integrated circuits, servers, online software, etc. Preferably, the computer program product comprises non-transitory program code means stored on a computer readable medium for performing a method according to the invention when said program product is executed on a computer.

In a preferred embodiment, the computer program comprises computer program code means adapted to perform all the steps of a method according to the invention when the computer program is run on a computer. Preferably, the computer program is embodied on a computer readable medium. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects of the invention are apparent from and will be elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter. In the drawings,

Fig. 1 is a block diagram of a wearable device,

Fig. 2a is a side-view of a watch,

Fig. 2b is a top- view of the watch,

Fig. 2c is an alternative top-view of the watch,

Fig. 2d is a front-view of covering the watch,

Fig. 2e is a front-view of a pendant,

Fig. 2f is a schematic screenshot of a display

Fig. 3a is a side-view of detecting gaze and tilt,

Fig. 3b is a view of detecting gaze and tilt,

Fig. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a method 400 of detecting coverage by a hand, Fig. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method 500 of handling notifications, Fig. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a method 600 of detecting coverage by a hand.

It should be noted that items which have the same reference numbers in different Figures, have the same structural features and the same functions, or are the same signals. Where the function and/or structure of such an item has been explained, there is no necessity for repeated explanation thereof in the detailed description.

List of Reference Numerals in figures 1-3:

100 a wearable electronic device

110 a notification system

120 an alarm unit

125 a communication unit

130 a display

140 a sensing system

150 a computer

200 a watch

210 a housing

215 a wristband

220 a display

222 a notification area

224 a snooze area

226 a cancel area

230 a camera

232 a gaze direction

242 a motion tracker

243 a tilt

244 a vibrator and/or speaker

252, 254 a sensor

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail one or more specific embodiments, with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as exemplary of the principles of the invention and not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments shown and described.

Figure 1 illustrates in a block diagram a possible architecture for a wearable electronic device 100. Wearable electronic devices may be affixed to a body part or clothing of a user. For example, wearable device 100 may comprise means for affixing the wearable device 100 to the user, e.g., a clip, a band, a string, a glue suitable for affixing the device to human skin, and the like (the means are not shown in figure 1). Wearable device 100 is configured to detect covering with a hand of a wearer of the device. The inventors found that this gesture is well suited for a wearable electronic notification device since it requires only a minimal focus of the user. In this manner the user can terminate an alarm with a minimum of attention. Since the device is worn he will typically not need to look at the device, to aim his hand for the gesture.

Wearable device 100 may support additional means for user interaction, e.g., tapping with a finger on a display. This allows a choice between a quick, unfocussed gesture and a more deliberate interaction. We will refer to covering the display with the hand of the user as a 'mute gesture'. In particular the mute gesture does not require to depress and any surface, e.g., a button. In fact, the sensing system may even be so configured that direct touch is not required, only a close proximity, say within a proximity threshold, say of 1mm.

Wearable device 100 comprises an alarm unit 120 configured to generate an alarm. The alarm may be visual, tactile and/or audible. The mute gesture is especially well suited to tactile and/or audible alarms. In that case, the user is aware of an alarm without looking at the device, and he can mute the device also without looking at the device with a mute gesture. This is not possible when using a focused tap at a display.

Wearable device 100 comprises a display 130 having a sensing system 140 for detecting covering of the display. Sensing system 140 is configured to make the sensing available as sensor data to notification system 110. Various embodiments differ in their choice of display and/or sensing systems as will explained below.

Wearable device 100 comprises a notification system 110 configured for notifying a wearer of the device by generating an alarm at alarm unit 120. Notification system 110 is configured to receive sensor data from the sensing system, to detect covering of the display from the sensor data, and terminate the alarm upon detecting covering of the display.

Notifications may be static notifications, e.g., stored in an electronic diary or dynamic notifications, e.g., incoming communications, such as messages and phone calls. Notification system 110 may be configured only for static notifications, only for dynamic notifications or both. In an embodiment, this aspect may be configured by a user. Using only static notification has the advantage that wearable device 100 does not need a permanent wireless data connection.

Notification system 110 may comprise a memory for storing a notification list of static notifications for delivering to the wearer. For example, the list may comprise a list of scheduled time points (representing a point in time to some granularity, e.g., seconds) and a corresponding notification, e.g., a diary appointment. When a time point listed in the notification list is reached notification system 110 executes a corresponding alarm action including generating an alarm. The type of alarm may be configurable. Preferably, the alarm includes a non-visual component, e.g., touch or sound. Notification system 110 may add a notification to the notification list; For example, a new diary appointment may be added. In case a dynamic notification fails to be delivered, e.g., a user does not respond to an incoming communication, notification system 110 may add a static notification to the list for a time in the future.

The notification system may be configured to cancel or snooze a notification. For example, notification system 110 may snooze a notification upon detecting covering of the display from the sensor data during an alarm. For example, notification system 110 may be configured with a snooze period. If notification system 110 detects a mute gesture within a snooze period starting at the start of an alarm, the corresponding notification is snoozed.

Interestingly, notification system 110 may also be configured with an alarm period. The alarm is only generated during the alarm period. The snooze period and alarm period may be chosen equal, in which case alarms may be snooze with a snooze gesture while the alarm is being generated. Interestingly, the snooze period may also be longer than the alarm period. This allows the user to wait for a discrete moment to indicate to notification system 110 that he needs the alarm snoozed. For example, the snooze period may be 1 minute longer than the alarm period. In this case the alarm may be made quite brief, say 3 seconds or less.

When an alarm is snoozed the notification corresponding to the alarm is postponed or a new corresponding snoozed notification is inserted into the list for a later time point.

An alarm may also be canceled, for this purpose a different interaction with wearable device 100 is proposed. For example, to cancel an alarm a user may tap the display in a particular region, denoted a cancel region. A canceled alarm may be removed from the list or flagged as canceled.

In an embodiment, wearable device 100 comprises a communication unit; the communication unit is configured for wireless communication with a computer 150 remote from wearable device 100. Notification system 110 may receive updates to its notification list, and/or receive dynamic notifications through communication unit 125. Wearable device 100 may also receive all notifications in this manner, this saves storage and processing capacity at notification system 110. Computer 150 may be a mobile phone, running notification software, e.g., as described above. Communication unit 125 may be a communication device

configured for one or more of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, wireless USB, and the like.

Display 130 may range from a single light, e.g. a color LED, to a high resolution full color display. In an embodiment, the display is configured for showing an information screen on the display regarding the notification together with generating the alarm. For example, the display may show a text message for reminding the user what the notification is about. However, for some form factors, a display of this resolution is not always desired, e.g., for bracelets or pendants, here one or more multi-colored lights, say leds, may be used to indicate a notification. For example, different colors may indicate the type of notification, say static versus dynamic; For example, a first color may indicate an incoming communication, a second color may indicate an appointment.

Sensing system and display may be combined when display 130 is a touch- sensitive display; a 'touch display' for short. Notification system 110 may be configured to terminate the alarm upon detecting covering of the display. For example, notification system 110 may be configured to calculate a measure for the area of the touch display in which touch is sensed by the touch display. Notification system 110 may then be configured with a covering threshold, so that covering of the display is detected if the measure for the area exceeds a covering threshold. For example, the covering threshold may be 50% of the area of the display. Interestingly, for it does not matter which 50% is touched. This differs from traditional tapping interfaces in which a specific area must be touched. This feature helps to reduce the aiming needed for terminating an alarm.

A display that has a sensing system that provides sufficient sensor data to compute a covering area may be a multi-touch display. However, also some single-touch touch screen technologies can be used to detect hand coverage; for example, so-called optical touch-screens, in which two or more image sensors are placed around the edges, say the corners of the screen. Alternative to computing area, notification system 110 may also detect a touch-pattern representative of hand coverage.

A touch display may also be used as an additional input means, to supplement the mute gesture. For example, the information screen may comprise a snooze region, the display being configured to detect a finger touch in the snooze region. Notification system 110 is further configured for terminating the alarm upon detecting either one of covering of the display and a touch, i.e. a 'tap', in the snooze region. In addition to the snooze region the information screen may also comprise a cancel region. Notification system 110 is configured to cancel the alarm upon detecting a touch in the cancel region.

Typically, the device 100 comprise a microprocessor (not shown) which executes appropriate software stored at device 100; for example, that software may have been downloaded and/or stored in a corresponding memory, e.g., a volatile memory such as RAM or a non- volatile memory such as Flash (not shown). The device 150 may also be equipped with microprocessors and memories (not shown). Alternatively, the device 100 may, wholly or partially, be implemented in programmable logic, e.g., as field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

The electronic device may be formed in a number of ways. Examples include watches that may be affixed to a wrist using a wristband; a pendant that may be affixed to the neck of a user using a necklace. A necklace may be a chain or a string, and the like. The wearable electronic device may be an ear device, e.g. having a clip for affixing to an ear, or a pin for inserting into a piercing, such as an ear piercing. Wearable device 100 may be a bracelet or a ring. Wearable device 100 may be a smart phone peripheral. Wearable device 100 may also be a smart phone, e.g., including mobile phone communication means.

Wearable device 100 may be an activity tracker, sleep monitor, sport or coaching watch, and so on. Wearable device 100 may be worn on an arm, wrist, finger etc.

Figures 2a and 2b show a watch 200 configured as device 100 adapted for wearing at a wrist of the wearer. Watch 200 comprises a housing 210 and a wristband 215. Watch 200 comprises a touch-sensitive display 220 and a vibrator and/or speaker 244.

Vibrator and/or speaker 244 is well suited for use as alarm unit 120 possibly in addition or together with display 220. Watch 200 may have an optional camera 230 for gaze detection and/or a motion tracker 242 for tilt detection. These features are explained more fully below.

Figure 2c shows another version of a wearable electronic device 200. The shown device may be part of watch as in figure 2a and 2b. But may also be affixed to the upper arm, say for jogging, or worn as a pendant on a necklace. The shown device comprises a display 220 and side sensors 252 and 254. Also this embodiment may include an optional sensor 230, such as a camera. The display has an upper edge, shown at the top of display 220, and an opposite lower edge, shown at the bottom of display 220. In figure 2c, the display extends between the upper and lower edge. Watch 200 has at least one upper sensor 252 located at the upper edge and at least one lower sensor located at the lower edge. The upper and lower sensors are touch sensitive. Notification system 110 is configured to detect covering of the display by detecting touch at the upper and lower sensor simultaneously. For example, in case of a watch, the sensors may be placed at on the rim of the watch surface. By detecting touch at sensors 252 and 254 simultaneously, the hand must extend across the display. For example, notification system 110 could require that the touch is detected at a predetermined number of upper and a predetermined number of lower sensors, say at least two or three of each. This makes the touch detection less sensitive to spurious touch detection. For example, the upper and lower sensors may be arranged in a bar along, e.g., the upper and lower edge of the display.

Sensors 252 and 254 may be configured to measure electric conductance between the upper and lower sensor. For example, the sensors may measure a decrease in electric resistance caused by contact of both sensors with human skin. When there is no contact the sensors may measure the electric resistance of air, which will decrease noticeably when a hand makes contact between them.

The sensors may also be capacitive touch sensors. Hand covering would then be determined if both touch sensors are touched by the hand simultaneously. Capacitive touch sensors may be tuned to react to a short proximity, e.g., by changing the surface area of an electrode in the sensor. In this way the sensors can be triggered when the hand is almost touching the sensors. In this way coverage could even be detected if the user wears gloves.

As also shown in figure 2c, the sensing system may comprise an optical sensor 230. Notification system 110 is configured to calculate a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor. Notification system 110 then detects covering of the display if the measure for a decrease in the amount of light exceeds an optical covering threshold. The optical sensor may be for example, a camera, photo resistor, photodiode, or infra-red light sensor. The system is well suited to place the optical sensor behind the display. However, multiple optical sensors may also be placed along the edges, e.g., as is done for touch sensors 252 and 254. The optical sensor may also be used for gaze detection as explained below.

To reduce false positives, e.g., covering the display by a sleeve or other piece of clothing, notification system 110 may be configured to determine a skin color from the sensor data, e.g., an average color of the image. Notification system 110 then additionally detects that the determined skin color is in a skin color range.

The system may be configured by default with a fairly large skin color range. This range would include all or almost all colors that could be skin color. However, the system could be improved by calibrating notification system 110 with the skin color of the actual user. For example, the skin color could be the average skin color in a test image taken by the optical sensor. The range may be obtained from the average skin color in the test image by selecting a range comprising said average skin color. This function may be performed by a calibration system which may be part of notification system 110.

Applications using skin color preferably use a color sensitive optical sensor, which may be a color camera. The color camera may also be used to take pictures with wearable device 100, to place a video call, and the like. Instead of a camera a photosensitive cell may be used.

Wearable device 100 may comprise a light source. The optical sensor and light source are arranged in wearable device 100 so that the optical sensor detects light of the light source reflected of a hand covering the display. For example, light source and camera may be placed next to each other. The light of the light source need not be visible to the human eye, but does need to be visible to the optical sensor. For example, the light may be infrared instead of visible light.

Figure 2d shows a user covering a wearable electronic device like the one shown in figures 2a or 2c by a hand to terminate an alarm, and possibly snooze the

notification. Note that the user does not need to look at the watch, but simply grabs her wrist.

Figure 2e shows a wearable electronic device in the form of a pendant worn at a necklace around the neck. The display shown is a single multi-colored LED. The alarm may be generated by changing the color of the LED, and/or starting a vibrator and/or an audible device. Possibly, all three are used. When the user covers the display with her hand, the alarm terminates.

Figure 2f shows a screenshot of a display which may be used in any one of the wearable devices shown in figures 1, 2a-2e. Figure 2f shows a display 220 having a notification area 222. The notification may be used to display information concerning the alarm. In this case, the user is reminded he has an appointment with Bob at 12:00. Bob is just an example; the system may also be used to remind a user of other appointments, and the like.

Display 220 also shows an optional snooze area 224 and an optional cancel area 226. By touching (tapping) the display in snooze area 224, notification system 110 snoozes the notification. By touching (tapping) the display in cancel area 226, notification system 110 cancels the notification. Note that this means that in this way a user has two different ways to interact with the system. By covering the display with a hand, or by selecting an appropriate one of the snooze and cancel regions. Wearable device 100 may comprise a tilt sensor. The tilt detector may be a 2D or 3D orientation sensor. Notification system 110 uses tilt information received from the tilt sensor to detect a tilt of the device. Such a tilt may indicate that a user turns the device towards him to look at it. This in turn may be taken as an indication that the user has seen the notification. The notification does not need to be snoozed, but may instead be cancelled. The cancel decision may or may not include additional factors that signal delivery of the alarm. In case of a watch the tilt sensor measures tilt of the display over an axis running through the wrist of the user. In case of a left wearing user, the tilt is measured in a direction of turning to the right (from the perspective of the user), since in this way the display becomes more visible to the user. For example, tilt in the other direction may given a negative magnitude to signal tilt in the wrong direction. When notification system 110 detects a tilt of the device over a threshold angle, the notification may be canceled.

Other form factors of wearable device 100 may need appropriate definition of the tilt angle. For example, if wearable device 100 is a pendant having a tilt detector, then tilt of the display may be detected over an axis that runs parallel to the chest of the user. The system detects tilting of the device over this axis so that the user can see the front of the device.

Notification system 110 may be configured with a tilt period, tilt range, and minimum tilt time period so that notification is cancelled if, within the tilt period after start of an alarm, the device is positioned within the tilt range, for a minimum tilt time period.

Wearable device 100 may further comprise a gaze detector. A gaze detector may be a camera. The gaze detector detects that someone is looking a direction towards the display. Notification may be canceled upon detecting a gaze. Gaze detection may use eye- tracking abilities, e.g., a camera, or detection of line of sight between the device and user- worn glasses, e.g., via tunneled IR light. Gaze detection may be implemented as in

US2012/0300061 Al

Gaze detection is well suited to combine with tilt detection. For example, the notification may be canceled upon detecting a tilt of the device over a threshold angle and a gaze of the wearer at the display.

When both gaze and tilt detection is used, false positives may be reduced even further by detecting a sequence of events: First detect the tilt (e.g. as described above) and then detect gaze, e.g. using a camera. This avoids a situation wherein a notification is canceled, say, if first someone else's gaze is detected followed by an unintentional movement of the device. Especially in case of the pendant such a sequence of events is not unlikely, since the pendant is likely to attract attention from other people. By requiring that a gaze is detected after a tilt such false positive are reduced.

In an embodiment, a camera for gaze detection is turned on only when a tilt has been detected. This avoids the need to continuously run the camera, which drains battery power. In an embodiment, the device comprises both an optical sensor and a camera. The camera is used for gaze detection, and is turned off most of the time. The optical sensor is used for covering detection, which can be done with much less power consumption.

Figure 3a shows a gaze direction 232 and a tilt 243. Figure 3b shows detecting a user looking at the device in action.

In an embodiment, tilt detection is combined with gaze detection in order to make sure a person has really, with a high chance, seen the information. Notification system 110 first requires a specific motion gesture and then the detection of the specific eye movement, e.g., using gaze detection, also inside a predefined time window, to detect whether or not a person has really seen the notification, and then, say, cancel the notification. The first condition (CI), the correct gesture movement, may be detected through a motion sensor (say a 3D or 'XYZ' sensor). This gesture is such that it detects that the user rotates the display part of the device in such a way that it can be read by the user. For a watch this gesture is shown in figure 3b. When condition CI has been met, it may be required that the information is visible for the eyes for some time, i.e., kept in a steady position for the duration that is needed to see the information presented on the wrist device. So if the wrist device is kept in a steady enough position for say x ms, condition C2.1 is met. Through the camera is it next detected that the eyes are focused on the display; this is condition C2.2. Condition 2.1 and 2.2 are together referred to as condition C2. Optionally, the camera is not activated until the wrist device detects condition C 1. The period x ms may be chosen as 400 ms, other values are possible.

When both C 1 and C2 are met after each other within a certain predefined time window the certainty that the information is actually seen is high and an event can be generated that the notification has been seen.

Having both conditions CI and C2 combined, reduces the number of false alarms which can occur when working with either gaze detection or motion/gesture detection only. If CI is used to activate the camera and the gaze detection, the camera does not need to be on all the time for determining C2, which saves computing power and battery time.

In addition to a mute gesture detection and gaze/tilt detection, the device may be arrange with additional interface supplementing these; For example, a touch screen as described above, or one or more buttons. This has the advantage, that if— for some reason— the gesture or gaze detections work unreliably, the user still has an alternative for, say, snoozing and cancelling alarms.

In an embodiment of wearable electronic device 100, notification system 110 is configured so that detecting covering of the display from the sensor data includes detecting from the sensor data a transition from an uncovered state of the display to a covered state of the display.

In one way to embody this, notification system 110 is configured to classify the display in a covered or an uncovered state, possibly also including an ambiguous state. For example, notification system 110 may detect the uncovered state using opposite criteria as used for detecting the covered state.

For example, in an embodiment the uncovered state is detected if less than a covering threshold, say 50% of the area of the display is touched, whereas the covered state is detected if more than the covering threshold is touched.

For example, in an embodiment the uncovered state is detected if less than a first covering threshold, say 20%> of the area of the display is touched, whereas the covered state is detected if more than a second covering threshold is touched, say 50%>. Between the first and second covering threshold the covering state is ambiguous.

Notification system 110 detects a transition from uncovered to covered if it detects an uncovered state followed by a covered state, possibly within a predetermined covering time limit, say 1.5 seconds. The transition may be detected even if an ambiguous state intervenes between the covered and uncovered state.

In an embodiment, device 100 comprises a motion sensor configured to detect the impact of a hand covering the display. Notification system 100 is configured to require the combination of detecting a covered state and detecting an impact of the covering action with the motion sensor.

Detecting a transition from uncovered to covered has an advantage if for some reason the user already covers the display at the moment a notification is received. Detecting the transition avoids a situation in which an action is undertaken, say snoozing an alarm, without the user consciously making the decision to do so. For example, a user may be sitting with his arms crossed, fully touching the watch face. If a notification comes in at that moment, the alarm may be terminated instantaneous.

Following, a more specific 'smart' watch is described explaining various optional features in operation. Notifications, for which the user has decided that he would like to be alerted for them, are displayed on the screen of the smart watch together with a vibration signal (and optionally a sound signal, if desired). Now the system waits a certain time (for example 1 minute) for one of three reactions from the user:

No reaction at all

A mute gesture, executed by the user covering the watch face with his whole hand

Looking at the watch face to see the notification

If the user did not react at all, then the vibration signal will be repeated after 1 minute. If the user grabbed the watch face with his hand, then the notification remains active so he can see it on the screen at a more convenient time, but no further vibrations will be given. If the user looked and saw the notification, and took his arm away or started interacting with the watch, then the notification is taken away from the screen (and possibly off the list, say, in a notification centre). Also other means are foreseen, such as an eye-blink, or a quick shake of the arm- worm device to confirm that the notification has been seen by the user, and can be canceled.

A notification will be marked as delivered when the user has turned his wrist and looked at it on the watch (and deleted from the notification center). A notification will be parked in the notification center when the user has covered the watch with his full hand (terminating the alarm). A notification will be repeated with acoustic/tactile alerts if the user did not react with any of the above, if repeating is still meaningful

The display and/or its backlight does not need to stay on all the time, but may be switched on as soon as the user looks at the watch face. Detection of the mute gesture can be done through a touch screen on the watch, through extra touch sensors integrated in the bevel or the strap of the watch, or by light sensors/camera detecting a sudden difference in light level.

Instead of muting the current notification via the mute gesture, one could also mute all forthcoming notifications for a certain time period. Possibly this time period could be synced to the end time of the current appointment in an agenda. Looking at the display may be detected through a combination of tilt and gaze detection as described above. The notification centre may be part of a remote computer or of a notification system.

Below a number of flow charts are described. They may be used with the embodiments shown in the figures and/or the text above.

Figure 4 is a flow chart illustrating a method 400 of detecting coverage by a hand. Step 410 comprises notifying a wearer of the device by generating a tactile and/or audible alarm at an alarm unit. Step 420 comprises receiving sensor data from a sensing system for detecting covering of a display. Step 430 comprises detecting covering of the display from the sensor data. Step 440 comprises terminating the alarm upon detecting covering of the display.

Figure 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method 500 of handling notifications.

Method 500 is an example of a way in which notification delivery may be handled. In step 510 a notification is triggered. For example, a time point associated with a static notification is triggered, or a dynamic notification is received. In step 520 an alarm is generated, in this case a vibrator is started and a notification message is displayed on the display. In step 530, it is detected if the user looked at the notification or performed a mute gesture within a predetermined time period. If no response of the user was detected, the method continues in step 570.

In step 570 it is determined if a repeat of the notification is still useful, and if so, the message is snoozed, say by a fixed amount of time, say 10 minutes, or until 5 minutes before the next appointment, etc. If it is not useful to repeat the notification, the notification is canceled. For example, if a meeting appointment has passed a notification does not need to be repeated anymore.

In step 540 it is determined if the user looked at the screen, if so the method continues at step 550. In step 550 the notification is canceled. For example, notification system 110 may wait until the user moves his arm away again, or starts to interact with the watch in some other way, before removing the notification information from the screen.

In step 560, the alarm is terminated, but the notification message may be kept on the screen for a time period.

Figure 6 is a flow chart illustrating a method 600 of detecting coverage by a hand. Step 610 comprises receiving sensor data from an optical sensor for detecting covering of a display. Step 620 comprises calculating a measure for a decrease in the amount of light sensed in the optical sensor. Step 630 comprises determining a skin color from the sensor data. Steps 620 and 630 may be performed in parallel or sequentially. Step 640 comprises detecting coverage by a hand if light decrease exceeds a threshold and skin color is in a skin color range. Step 650 comprises terminating an alarm upon detecting covering of the display.

Many different ways of executing the method are possible, as will be apparent to a person skilled in the art. For example, the order of the steps can be varied or some steps may be executed in parallel. Moreover, in between steps other method steps may be inserted. The inserted steps may represent refinements of the method such as described herein, or may be unrelated to the method. Moreover, a given step may not have finished completely before a next step is started.

A method according to the invention may be executed using software, which comprises instructions for causing a processor system to perform method 400, 500 or 600. Software may only include those steps taken by a particular sub-entity of the system. The software may be stored in a suitable storage medium, such as a hard disk, a floppy, a memory etc. The software may be sent as a signal along a wire, or wireless, or using a data network, e.g., the Internet. The software may be made available for download and/or for remote usage on a server. A method according to the invention may be executed using a bit stream arranged to configure programmable logic, e.g., a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), to perform a method according to the invention.

It will be appreciated that the invention also extends to computer programs, particularly computer programs on or in a carrier, adapted for putting the invention into practice. The program may be in the form of source code, object code, a code intermediate source and object code such as partially compiled form, or in any other form suitable for use in the implementation of the method according to the invention. An embodiment relating to a computer program product comprises computer executable instructions corresponding to each of the processing steps of at least one of the methods set forth. These instructions may be subdivided into subroutines and/or be stored in one or more files that may be linked statically or dynamically. Another embodiment relating to a computer program product comprises computer executable instructions corresponding to each of the means of at least one of the systems and/or products set forth.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention, and that those skilled in the art will be able to design many alternative embodiments.

In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. Use of the verb "comprise" and its conjugations does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those stated in a claim. The article "a" or "an" preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. The invention may be implemented by means of hardware comprising several distinct elements, and by means of a suitably programmed computer. In the device claim enumerating several means, several of these means may be embodied by one and the same item of hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.