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’ ’ ’ ’ 715/835 3 4’5 /4 40 473’ See a lication ?le for Com 1ete sear’ch histo ’ pp p ry' 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 U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS 4,079,366 A 3/1978 Wong 4,174,807 A 4,206,872 A 4,224,615 A 11/1979 Smith et a1. 6/1980 Levine 9/1980 PenZ 4,264,034 A 4,296,334 A 4/1981 Hyltin et a1. 10/1981 Wong et a1. interface objects in the preferred language. In some embodi ments, control algorithms are loaded into memory. 13 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets 200 910 a. % | | “ammonia/e15‘ 73 F I . 920 a 1 0:60 6:00 z 12:00 1 18:00 1 24:00 TlME 915 I 915 915 US 7,320,110 B2 Page 2 US. 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' X‘ Central Processing <—>Heat'_ngl Unit /1 Memo FY l / 400 7 User Interface Object(s) / 600 initial Interface Object(s) ' 9501‘ Coollng I Network Interface r / 500 Control Algorithm(s) U.S. Patent Jan. 15, 2008 Sheet 2 0f 2 Figure 2 The time is: 8:54 pm. RM H Mr 8 The temperature is: 73 F mmwm . mm mum6 n7 8e 1! qmzuwptm Wm mm.m 0 DIS w mm 10,. “W m mm“ 50o0 915 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.