Multiple language user interface for thermal comfort controller

US007320110B2
(12)
United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Shah
(45) Date of Patent:
(54)
MULTIPLE LANGUAGE USER INTERFACE
FOR THERMAL COMFORT CONTROLLER
(75)
Inventor:
4,298,946 A
4,308,991 A
4,314,665 A
Dipak J. Shah, Eden Prairie, MN (US)
Notice:
*Jan. 15, 2008
11/1981 Hartsell et a1.
V1982 Peinetti et 31,
2/1982
(73) Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.,
Morr1stoWn, NJ (US)
(*)
US 7,320,110 B2
L
'
evme
(Continued)
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S.C. 154(b) by 930 days.
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
DE
3334117
4/1985
This patent is subject to a terminal dis
claimer.
(Continued)
(21) Appl. No.: 10/453,563
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
(22) Filed:
Jun. 3, 2003
Blister Pack Insert from a Ritetemp 8082 Touch Screen Thermostat
(65)
Prior Publication Data
US 2003/0206196 A1
Product, 2 Pages, 2002
Nov. 6, 2003
(Continued)
Related US. Application Data
(63)
Primary Examiner%a0 (Kevin) Nguyen
Continuation of application No. 09/706,077, ?led on
(57)
ABSTRACT
Nov. 3, 2000, noW Pat. No. 6,621,507.
(51)
5/00
G06F 13/00
(2006 01)
(2006.01)
'
A multiple language user interface system for a thermal
comfort controller. The user interface system has a central
(52)
U 5 Cl
(58)
Fi'el'd 0
715/764 715/808
(56)
715/706 839 866
784E788’
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’ 715/835 3 4’5 /4 40 473’
See a lication ?le for Com 1ete sear’ch histo ’
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References Cited
processing unit coupled to a memory, a language selector
’715/771
and a touch sensitive display unit. The memory can store at
least one user interface object and at least one control
algorithm. In some embodiments, the user interface system
also has a network interface for connecting to the Internet or
other network. In some embodiments, the ?rst time the user
interface system is powered-up after installation, a ?rst set
of user interface objects are displayed on the display unit and
the user selects a preferred language. Once a preferred
language is chosen, user interface objects can be loaded into
the memory and the display unit Will display the user
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13 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
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U.S. Patent
Jan. 15, 2008
Sheet 1 012
US 7,320,110 B2
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U.S. Patent
Jan. 15, 2008
Sheet 2 0f 2
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US 7,320,110 B2
US 7,320,110 B2
1
2
MULTIPLE LANGUAGE USER INTERFACE
FOR THERMAL COMFORT CONTROLLER
preferred language. In this Way, the controls, labels, etc. that
are presented to the user on the display unit are in the user’s
preferred language. In one embodiment, When the comfort
controller is ?rst poWered-up after installation, the user may
be asked to select the preferred language and then the user
interface objects may be loaded. In some embodiments, the
This application is a continuation of prior US. application
Ser. No. 09/706,077 ?led Nov. 3, 2000, now US. Pat. No.
6,621,507.
user interface objects are loaded from the Internet. Control
algorithms may also be loaded so that the user can choose
from one that is suited for the user’s climate and personal
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
preferences.
The present invention relates to thermostats and other
thermal comfort controllers and particularly to a multiple
language user interface for such thermal comfort controllers.
Current thermal comfort controllers, or thermostats, have
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
a limited user interface Which typically includes a number of
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a user interface system for
data input buttons and a small display. Hereinafter, the term
a thermal comfort controller, in accordance With the present
invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective vieW of the user interface system
in an embodiment With a stylus, in accordance With the
thermostat Will be used to reference a general comfort
control device and is not to be limiting in any Way. For
example, in addition to traditional thermostats, the present
present invention.
such control device could be a humidistat or used for venting
control. As is Well knoWn, thermostats often have setback
capabilities Which involves a programmed temperature
schedule. For example, a temperature schedule could be
programmed so that in the Winter months, a house is Warmed
to 72 degrees automatically at 6:00 am. When the family
20
aWakes, cools to 60 degrees during the day While the family
25
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is a multiple language user inter
Throughout the draWings, an attempt has been made to label
corresponding elements With the same reference numbers.
The reference numbers include:
is at Work and at school, re-Warms to 72 degrees at 4:00 pm.
and then cools a ?nal time to 60 degrees after 11:00 p.m.,
While the family is sleeping. Such a schedule of loWer
temperatures during off-peak hours saves energy costs.
A schedule of set back temperatures is one example of a
control algorithm that can be used by the comfort controller.
Of course, such control algorithms Will be different for
different climates. The control algorithms also vary based on
personal preferences. Some people like their homes Warmer
in the Winter than other people do.
Programmable comfort controllers have been trouble
30
Reference Number
35
some in the past because users often do not understand hoW
to correctly program the controllers. For people Whose ?rst
language is not English, or for people travelling to a foreign
country and staying in a hotel or other housing, program
40
ming comfort controllers can be even more dif?cult because
the buttons, controls, and displays on the controllers are
usually labeled With English Words.
What is needed in the art is a user interface for a
thermostat in Which the temperature schedule is more easily
programmed. To make the programming easier, users should
be able to choose a preferred language and then vieW the
sWitches, etc. on the comfort controller in the chosen pre
ferred language. In addition, to make programming and
using the controllers easier, different control algorithms
face system for a thermostat or other comfort controller.
100
200
300
400
500
600
Description
Central Processing Unit
Display Unit
Memory
User Interface Object(s)
Control Algorithm(s)
Initial Interface Object(s)
700
Stylus
800
Conduits to HeatingCooling Devices, Thermo
905
910
915
920
950
stat, etc.
Additional Controls
Other Data
Buttons
Labels
Network Interface
45
Referring to the draWings, FIG. 1 is a block diagram of
one embodiment of the user interface system for a comfort
controller. The user interface system includes a central
50
processing unit 100. This central processing unit 100 is
coupled to a display unit 200, a netWork interface 950, and
a memory 300. The display unit 200 has a touch-sensitive
screen Which alloWs the user to input data Without the need
should be available to the user to choose from. The different
control algorithms might be programmed during manufac
turing, or loaded over the Internet or other netWork after
for a keyboard or mouse. The memory 300 can store one or
more user interface objects 400 and one or more control
installation.
55
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
algorithms 500. In some embodiments, the memory 300 can
also store one or more initial interface objects 600. The user
interface system also has conduits 800 to the heating/cooling
This invention can be regarded as a multiple language
user interface system for thermal comfort controllers. The
user interface system includes a central processing unit, a
devices or thermostats thereof so that user interface system
can communicate With the thermostat or other comfort
60
input, and a language selector. Some embodiments also
include a netWork interface. The memory can store at least
friendly data input mechanism. The display unit 200 may be
one control algorithm and at least one user interface object.
The language selector is used to choose a preferred lan
controller.
The display unit 200 includes a graphical display/touch
sensitive screen. This con?guration provides for very ?ex
ible graphical display of information along With a very user
memory, a display With a touch-sensitive screen used for
65
very similar to the touch screen display used in a hand-held
guage. Once a preferred language is chosen, the display unit
personal digital assistant (“PDA”), such as a Palm brand
uses the user interface objects in the memory that match the
PDA manufactured by 3Com, a Jomada brand PDA manu
US 7,320,110 B2
3
4
factured by Hewlett Packard, etc. Of course the graphical
initial interface objects, and user interface objects accessible
user interface system could also be manufactured to be
integrated with a thermostat itself. In such an embodiment,
port, radio-frequency port or other communication method.
from memory which can be transferred by a cable, infra-red
a touch-sensitive LCD display is coupled with the thermo
Of course, because memory is now so economical some
stat’s existing central processing unit and RAM.
embodiments of the current invention are shipped from the
The control algorithms 500 are programmed or selected
by the user. One such control algorithm 500 would be a
set-point schedule containing a list of times associated to a
list of temperatures. The thermal controller sets-up or sets
back the temperature according to such a set-point schedule.
manufacturer with the initial interface objects and many
language versions of the user interface objects 400 already
stored in memory 300. If enough languages are stored in
memory 300, the network interface 950 is not necessary.
For example, a set-point schedule could be con?gured to
adjust the temperature to 60 degrees at 6:00 a.m., then to 67
one that does not already have user interface objects 400 in
memory 300.
Likewise, some embodiments are shipped with control
algorithms 500 already stored in memory. The user can pick
and choose from these algorithms or can choose to down
Otherwise, it is only necessary if the preferred language is
degrees at 6:30 a.m., and up to 73 degrees at 8:00 a.m., etc.
FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of one possible embodi
ment of the user interface system with a stylus 700. In FIG.
2, the user interface system has been installed as an integral
load updated or additional control algorithms 500 via the
network interface 950.
element of the thermostat wall unit. The display unit 200 of
the user interface system displays the graphical representa
The graphical representations, controls and other data that
tion of the set-point temperature schedule. These graphical
representations are presented as a graph in which one axis
denotes time and the other axis denotes temperatures. The
graph is labeled 920. Other data 910 is also displayed,
including the time and temperature. Of course, other data
could also be displayed, such as the current date, day of the
week, indoor and/or outdoor relative humidity, etc.
The display unit 200 can also be con?gured with addi
tional controls 905, which could, for example, switch the
display between Fahrenheit and Celsius for the temperature,
between standard and military time, and between showing a
single day’s schedule versus showing a week’s schedule.
are displayed on display unit 200 are managed by a com
20
25
puter program stored in memory 300. The computer pro
gram could be written in any computer language. Possible
computer languages to use include C, Java, and V1sual
Basic.
There are many ways in which the user interface system
can work with the thermal comfort controller. The user
interface system would probably be integrated into a thermal
comfort control system and installed on a wall much like
The additional controls 905 are labeled. In FIG. 2, there is
current programmable thermostats. However, if the user
interface system is con?gured on a hand-held PDA, the
user-interface could communicate with the thermal comfort
controller via the PDA’s infra-red sensor. Or, the PDA could
a control to review the schedules, one to program new
be synchronized with a personal computer and the personal
schedules, and one to manually control the heating or
cooling of the house. In addition to the additional controls
mal comfort controller. Or, the PDA could use a cellular/
905 programmed and displayed on display unit 200, physi
30
computer could set the appropriate instructions to the ther
35
There is also an additional control 905 in FIG. 2 which
allows the user to select a preferred language. Once a
preferred language is chosen, the display unit uses user
interface objects 400 in the memory to correctly display all
of the textual information in the preferred language. For
example, in FIG. 2, if a language other than English was
chosen, the additional controls 905, the display information
910, and the labels 920 would be redisplayed in the chosen
language. This makes the comfort controller easier to use by
someone for whom English is not his or her ?rst language.
In one embodiment of the invention, the comfort control
ler would be installed without any user interface objects,
initial interface objects, or control algorithms stored in
memory. When ?rst powered-up after installation, the com
fort controller is programmed to load the initial interface
objects 600 via the network interface 950. For example, the
comfort controller could retrieve the initial interface objects
relevant data.
From the foregoing detailed description, it will be evident
40
invention be considered as within the scope thereof.
45
carried by the comfort controller installer. The installer’s
PDA or computer can have libraries of control algorithms,
What is claimed is:
1. A user interface system for a programmable comfort
controller, comprising:
a central processing unit;
a memory capable of storing at least one user interface
object and at least one control algorithm, the memory
50
coupled to the central processing unit;
a display unit coupled to the central processing unit, for
displaying the user interface objects and for allowing a
user to program the control algorithms; and
a language selector which allows a preferred language of
55
a user to be selected, so that the display unit can display
the user interface objects that are in the preferred
language.
60
the preferred language is chosen, the proper user interface
objects 400 are then downloaded. In another embodiment,
the comfort controller can be connected via the network
interface 950 to a PDA, laptop computer, or similar device
that there are a number of changes, adaptations and modi
?cations of the present invention which come within the
province of those skilled in the art. However, it is intended
that all such variations not departing from the spirit of the
600 from a web page on the Internet. Or the comfort
controller’s network interface 950 could include a modem
connected to a phone line. In such an embodiment, the initial
interface objects 600 can be downloaded as ?les. The initial
interface objects 600 are presented on the display unit 200
and request the user to choose a preferred language. Once
mobile phone feature to telephone the controller (i.e., ther
mostat, personal computer, etc.) to exchange pertinent and
cal buttons 915 of the thermostat could be programmed to be
used for working with the user interface system as well. This
is similar to the operation of a PDA.
2. The user interface system of claim 1, further compris
ing a network interface for connecting to a network, the
network interface coupled to the central processing unit.
3. The user interface system of claim 1, further compris
ing at least one initial interface object, stored in the memory,
the initial interface objects used by the language selector in
allowing the preferred language to be selected.
65
4. The user interface system of claim 2, wherein the
network interface connects the user interface system to the
Internet.
US 7,320,110 B2
6
5
5. The user interface system of claim 2, Wherein the
loading at least one user interface object into the memory,
network interface connects the user interface system to a
for use by the display unit in displaying user interface
telephony netWork.
objects that are in the preferred language.
6. The user interface system of claim 2, Wherein the
10. The method for programming a thermal comfort
netWork interface connects the user interface system to a
controller from claim 9, further comprising loading at least
cellular telephony netWork.
one control algorithm into the memory.
11. The method for programming a thermal comfort
7. The user interface system of claim 2, Wherein the
netWork interface uses infra-red coupling to connect the user
controller from claim 9, Wherein the step of loading at least
one initial interface object is initiated When the thermal
interface system to the netWork.
8. The user interface system of claim 2, Wherein the
netWork interface uses radio frequency coupling to connect
the user interface system to the netWork.
9. A method for programming a thermal comfort control
ler With a user interface system having a central processing
unit, a memory capable of storing at least one user interface
object and at least one control algorithm, a display unit for
displaying the user interface objects and for alloWing a user
to program the control algorithms, and a language selector
comfort controller is ?rst poWered-up after being installed.
12. The method for programming a thermal comfort
controller from claim 9, Wherein the step of loading at least
one user interface object into the memory accesses the
Internet.
13. An interactive display unit, comprising:
a central processing unit;
a memory capable of storing at least one user interface
object and at least one control algorithm, the memory
Which alloWs a preferred language of a user to be selected so
that the display unit can display the user interface objects
that are in the preferred language, Wherein the memory, the
language selector and the display unit are coupled to the
20
user to program the control algorithms; and
central processing unit, the method comprising:
a language selector Which alloWs a preferred language of
loading at least one initial interface object into the
memory, for use by the language selector;
displaying the initial interface objects to request the user
to choose a language;
selecting a preferred language With the language selector;
and
coupled to the central processing unit;
a display unit coupled to the central processing unit, for
displaying the user interface objects and for alloWing a
25
a user to be selected, so that the display unit can display
the user interface objects that are in the preferred
language.