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Patent Analysis of

Visual feedback for code readers

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10152622

Application Number

US14/936008

Application Date

09 November 2015

Publication Date

11 December 2018

Current Assignee

HAND HELD PRODUCTS, INC.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

HAND HELD PRODUCTS, INC.

International Classification

G06K7/10,G06K19/06

Cooperative Classification

G06K7/10861,G06K2207/1011,G06K2019/06262,G06K2007/10524

Inventor

SAILORS, JEFFREY,DAVIS, BRETT

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10152622 Visual feedback code readers 1 US10152622 Visual feedback code readers 2 US10152622 Visual feedback code readers 3
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Abstract

A system and method for providing visual feedback to facilitate multi-code (e.g., barcode) reading (i.e., scanning) is presented. The visual feedback will project a read status for each code scanned. The visual feedback for a particular code will be projected onto that code. For example, an “X” projected onto a code would indicated that this code was not read and needed to be scanned again. This visual feedback minimizes the number of codes that need to be rescanned in the case of a read error.

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Claims

1. A multi-code reading system with visual feedback, the system comprising:

an imager for capturing a digital image of a code set in a field of view, the code set comprising a plurality of physical codes; a projector for projecting onto at least one physical code of the plurality of physical codes a visual feedback indicator selected from a set of visual feedback indicators; a memory for storing the digital image, the set of visual feedback indicators, and a code-reading program; anda processor communicatively coupled to the imager, the projector, and the memory, wherein the processor is configured by the code-reading program to:

(i) retrieve the digital image from the memory,(ii) detect the codes within the digital image,(iii) read each detected code,(iv) for the at least one physical code, select a visual feedback indicator from the set of visual feedback indicators, the selection being based on the code's reading results,(v) project onto the at least one physical code the code's selected visual feedback indicator; and(vi) project a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.

2. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the code set comprises multiple codes of the same symbology.

3. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the code set comprises multiple codes of mixed symbologies.

4. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the set of visual feedback indicators comprises a box with edges corresponding to a code.

5. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the set of visual feedback indicators comprises an “X” to cover a code.

6. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the set of visual feedback indicators comprises a box with edges corresponding to a code and an “X” to cover a code, wherein (i) the box is projected onto codes that were read correctly, (ii) the “X” is projected onto codes that were read incorrectly, and (iii) nothing is projected onto codes that were not detected.

7. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the projector comprises a light emitting diode (LED).

8. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the projector comprises a laser.

9. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein the code set comprises barcodes.

10. A method for providing visual feedback regarding a multi-code scan using an imaging barcode scanner, the method comprising:

capturing a digital image of a field of view with the imaging barcode scanner, the field of view comprising a set of codes for reading; detecting the codes within the digital image; reading each code; determining a code status for each code, the code status having (i) a positive status if the code was read and (ii) a negative status if an attempt to read the code failed; and projecting visual feedback into the field of view, the visual feedback projected onto the set of codes that are printed on or affixed to a target, wherein the visual feedback comprises: (i) positive feedback messages projected onto codes having a positive status; (ii) negative feedback messages projected onto codes having a negative status; and (iii) a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.

11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the set of codes comprises a two-dimensional barcode.

12. The method according to claim 10, wherein the set of codes comprises a linear barcode.

13. The method according to claim 10, wherein the positive feedback messages each comprise a box with edges corresponding to a code.

14. The method according to claim 10, wherein the negative feedback messages each comprise an “X” to cover a code.

15. The method according to claim 10, wherein the visual feedback only comprises the box with edges corresponding to the field of view and the positive or negative feedback messages for detected codes within the digital image.

16. The method according to claim 15, wherein the positive feedback messages or the negative feedback messages are partially contained within the box corresponding to the field of view.

17. The method according to claim 10, wherein the imaging barcode scanner comprises a light emitting diode (LED) for projecting the feedback.

18. The method according to claim 10, wherein the imaging barcode scanner comprises a laser for projecting the feedback.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A multi-code reading system with visual feedback, the system comprising:
    • an imager for capturing a digital image of a code set in a field of view, the code set comprising a plurality of physical codes
    • a projector for projecting onto at least one physical code of the plurality of physical codes a visual feedback indicator selected from a set of visual feedback indicators
    • a memory for storing the digital image, the set of visual feedback indicators, and a code-reading program
    • anda processor communicatively coupled to the imager, the projector, and the memory, wherein the processor is configured by the code-reading program to: (i) retrieve the digital image from the memory,(ii) detect the codes within the digital image,(iii) read each detected code,(iv) for the at least one physical code, select a visual feedback indicator from the set of visual feedback indicators, the selection being based on the code's reading results,(v) project onto the at least one physical code the code's selected visual feedback indicator
    • and(vi) project a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.
    • 2. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the code set comprises
    • 3. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the code set comprises
    • 4. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the set of visual feedback indicators comprises
    • 5. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the set of visual feedback indicators comprises
    • 6. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the set of visual feedback indicators comprises
    • 7. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the projector comprises
    • 8. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the projector comprises
    • 9. The multi-code reading system according to claim 1, wherein
      • the code set comprises
  • 10
    10. A method for providing visual feedback regarding a multi-code scan using an imaging barcode scanner, the method comprising:
    • capturing a digital image of a field of view with the imaging barcode scanner, the field of view comprising a set of codes for reading
    • detecting the codes within the digital image
    • reading each code
    • determining a code status for each code, the code status having (i) a positive status if the code was read and (ii) a negative status if an attempt to read the code failed
    • and projecting visual feedback into the field of view, the visual feedback projected onto the set of codes that are printed on or affixed to a target, wherein the visual feedback comprises: (i) positive feedback messages projected onto codes having a positive status
    • (ii) negative feedback messages projected onto codes having a negative status
    • and (iii) a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.
    • 11. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the set of codes comprises
    • 12. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the set of codes comprises
    • 13. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the positive feedback messages each comprise
    • 14. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the negative feedback messages each comprise
    • 15. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the visual feedback only comprises
    • 17. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the imaging barcode scanner comprises
    • 18. The method according to claim 10, wherein
      • the imaging barcode scanner comprises
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Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to barcode (i.e., code) readers (i.e., scanners) and, more specifically, to a code reader that, when triggered, reads multiple codes on a target (e.g., shipping label) automatically, and projects visual feedback regarding the read status for each code onto the target.

BACKGROUND

Some code readers are capable of reading (i.e., scanning) multiple codes (e.g., barcodes) in a single scan. These code readers, known as “multi-code readers,” are used to enhance productivity, but may be hindered when a code-read error occurs. Errors may occur in barcode code scanning (e.g., due a damaged barcode), and when multi-code scanning, a user may not easily know which codes have been read and which codes have been missed and/or skipped. When one code in a multi-code scan is missed, the user must resort to scanning each code individually. In this scenario, productivity is lost and the user may become aggravated.

Therefore, a need exists for a multi-code scanner with visual feedback to indicate the read status for each code. This visual feedback will help a user understand which codes have been read and which codes (if any) have been missed and/or skipped. This feedback could allow a user to zoom in on the missed/skipped codes and re-scan, thereby eliminating the need to re-scan each code individually.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, in one aspect, the present invention embraces a multiple code reading system with visual feedback. The system includes an imager for capturing a digital image of a code set in a field of view. The code set includes a plurality of codes. The system also includes a projector for projecting a feedback image selected from a set of feedback images. The system further includes a memory for storing the digital image, the set of feedback images, and a code-reading program. The code-reading program configures a processor that is communicatively coupled to the imager, the projector, and the memory to (i) retrieve the digital image from the memory, (ii) detect the codes within the digital image, (iii) read each detected code, (iv) select a feedback image from the set of feedback images for each code, the selection base on the code's reading results, and (v) project onto each code the code's particularly selected feedback image.

In an exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the code set includes multiple codes of the same symbology.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the code set includes multiple codes of mixed symbologies.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the set of feedback images includes a box with edges corresponding to a code.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the set of feedback images includes an “X” to cover a code.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the set of feedback images includes a box with edges corresponding to a code and an “X” to cover a code, wherein (i) the box is projected onto codes that were read correctly, (ii) the “X” is projected onto codes that were read incorrectly, and (iii) nothing is projected onto codes that were not detected.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the set of feedback images includes a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the projector includes a light emitting diode (LED).

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the projector includes a laser.

In another exemplary embodiment of the multiple code reading system with visual feedback, the code set includes barcodes.

In another aspect, the present invention embraces a method for providing visual feedback regarding a multi-code scan using an imaging barcode scanner. The method includes the step of capturing a digital image of a field of view with the imaging barcode scanner. The field of view includes a set of codes for reading, and the method includes the step of detecting the codes within the digital image. The method further includes the steps of reading each code, and determining a code status for each code. The code status has a positive status if the code was read and a negative status if an attempt to read the code failed. Finally, the method includes the step projecting visual feedback into the field of view. The visual feedback includes positive feedback messages projected onto codes having a positive status and negative feedback messages projected onto codes having a negative status.

In an exemplary embodiment of the method, the set of codes includes a two-dimensional barcode.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the set of codes includes a linear barcode.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the positive feedback messages include a box with edges corresponding to a code.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the negative feedback messages include an “X” to cover a code.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the visual feedback includes a box with edges corresponding to the field of view.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the visual feedback only comprises the box with edges corresponding to the field of view and the positive or negative feedback message for detected codes within the digital image.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the positive feedback messages or the negative feedback messages are partially contained within the box corresponding to the field of view.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the imaging barcode scanning includes a light emitting diode (LED) for projecting the feedback.

In another exemplary embodiment of the method, the imaging barcode scanner includes a laser for projecting the feedback.

The foregoing illustrative summary, as well as other exemplary objectives and/or advantages of the invention, and the manner in which the same are accomplished, are further explained within the following detailed description and its accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 graphically depicts an exemplary shipping label having an exemplary set of codes for reading.

FIG. 2 graphically depicts an exemplary set of codes overlaid with visual feedback.

FIG. 3 depicts a block diagram of an exemplary multi-code reading system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 depicts a flow chart of a method for providing visual feedback according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention embraces a system and method for providing visual feedback to facilitate multi-code (e.g., barcode) reading (i.e., scanning).

Codes, such as barcodes (e.g., linear barcodes, two dimension barcodes) have found use in a wide variety of applications (e.g., shipping). Increasingly multiple codes are affixed to the same item to convey information pertinent to different users and/or pertinent at different times (e.g., different stages of the shipping process). Often multiple barcodes are arranged in a cluster (i.e., set) so that scanning each barcode becomes easier. The code set may include multiple codes of the same symbology (e.g., all codes are linear barcodes) or may include multiple codes of mixed symbologies (e.g., some codes are linear barcodes and some codes are two-dimensional barcodes).

Imaging barcode scanners (e.g., handheld scanner) may be configured to read multiple codes in a single scan (i.e., a single pull of a trigger on a hand-held scanner). The configuration of these multi-code readers may include a setup file stored in memory that provides information (e.g., number of codes, each code symbology, etc.) regarding the scan to facilitate each code being read. The imaging scanner may take an image of a field of view with an imaging subsystem. The image may be stored in scanner's memory and processed using algorithms running on a processor in order to locate, identify, and read each barcode in the image. In this way, the multi-code reader may enhance productivity. Trouble arises, however, when one or more of the barcodes in the set is not scanned properly.

Successful code reading requires good print quality of the code and good image quality of the code image. Image quality is typically the same for all codes in a set but may be affected by inhomogeneous illumination or shadows on a portion of the code set. Various factors affect a code's print quality (e.g., ink supply, ink smear, unwanted marks, etc.). Scan errors may be difficult to understand and not immediately obvious.

In some cases a multi-code scan may result in one or more barcodes of a set (i.e., cluster) having an unsuccessful scan. Without feedback, a failed multi-code scan may require either rescanning all the codes in the set or, in a worst case, scanning each code of the set individually.

Imaging barcode scanners may have a visual display to show the field of view. In some cases, feedback regarding the scan results may also be displayed using the graphical user interface (i.e., GUI). The present invention, however, embraces a system/method for generating feedback regarding the results of a multi-code scan in a more intuitive and ergonomic way. Specifically, the feedback regarding a multi-code scan may be projected using a projector integrated with the imaging scanner. The projected feedback is adaptable and is adjusted so that each code in a code set may have a corresponding feedback message projected onto it. This feedback message may provide information regarding each barcode scan that is spatially aligned with the code set and on the item that a user is already looking at. The information in this feedback may allow a user to identify a damaged code (i.e., indicium) and rescan or take another corrective action (e.g., manually entering in some data).

An exemplary shipping label having a set of codes (i.e., code set) for reading with an imaging barcode scanner is shown in FIG. 1. The shipping label 1 includes several codes of the same symbology (i.e., linear barcodes) 2,3,4,5 for scanning during the shipping process. An imaging barcode scanner configured for multi-code scanning may read these codes with one scan as long as they are contained within the scanner's field of view. In this exemplary code set, one barcode suffers from printing errors. The misprinted barcode 3 may be scanned unsuccessfully.

After a scan has been triggered, a digital image of the shipping label is captured by the imaging barcode scanner. The codes in the image are detected and read using a processor integrated with the imaging scanner or communicatively coupled to the imaging scanner via a data communications link. After reading the codes, the processor running algorithms assigns each code a status based on the results of the reading. A positive status is assigned to a code if the code is successfully read, while a negative status is assigned to a code if the code is read unsuccessfully (i.e., read error). The processor configures a projection subsystem in the imaging scanner to project visual feedback into the scanner's field of view. Exemplary codes 2,3,4,5 on the shipping label 1 overlaid with projected visual feedback 6,7,8,9,10 regarding the read status for each code are shown in FIG. 2. The visual feedback for barcodes that are successfully read will be positive feedback, while the visual feedback for the unsuccessfully read barcodes will be negative feedback. As shown in FIG. 2, both positive and negative feedback images (i.e., messages) are projected onto the shipping label 1 simultaneously. The positive feedback in this exemplary embodiment is a box to surround the code. Boxes 7,9,10 (i.e., a positive feedback message) are projected over barcodes without printing errors 2,4,5, while an “X” (i.e., a negative feedback message) 8 is projected onto the barcode with printing errors 3. The positive and negative feedback may be embodied in a multitude of ways. While the feedback should imply the positive or negative message, it is not limited to a particular shape and/or form (i.e., text or graphic).

The feedback shown in FIG. 2 further includes a projected image of a large box 6. This large box 6 represents the imaging scanner's field of view. This feedback may provide spatial context and facilitate an understanding of the scan results/feedback. For example, if a code is within the large box 6 and has neither positive or negative feedback overlaid, then a user could assume that this particular code was skipped or missed.

An exemplary block diagram of a multi-code reading system with visual feedback is shown in FIG. 3. To scan the multi-code reading system 15 may be positioned with a target 11 in its field of view 12 (or vice versa). To read the codes and provide visual feedback, the multi-code reading system 15 utilizes a variety of subcomponents/subsystems.

A projection subsystem projects feedback images onto codes that are printed on (or affixed to) the target 11. The projection subsystem includes a projector 17. The projector 17 includes a light source to generate and radiate light. The light source may be a laser diode (LD) or a light emitting diode (LED). The light source generates light radiation in a portion of the visible (VIS) spectrum. The projector 17 may also include a light modulator to create feedback images. The light modulator may be reflective (e.g., digital light processing MEMS device) or transmissive (e.g., liquid crystal spatial light modulator). A projection lens (or lens group) 16 is placed in front of the projector 17 to focus the light into a projection field of view 13 and focuses the projected light onto the target. The projection lens 16 may be fixed or variable (e.g., auto) focus.

An imaging subsystem captures images of items located into the imaging field of view 14. To accomplish this, the imaging subsystem may use an imaging lens 20 to render a real image of the imaging field of view 14 onto an image sensor 21. This imaging field of view 14 overlaps (at least partially) with the projection field of view 13. The image sensor 21 may be a charge coupled device (i.e., CCD) or a sensor using complementary metal oxide semiconductor (i.e., CMOS) technology. The image sensor 21 includes a plurality of pixels that sample the real image and convert the real-image intensity into an electronic signal.

A digital signal processor (i.e., DSP) 23 may be included to convert the electronic signals from the image sensor 21 into a digital image and/or control the projector to create the feedback projections.

A processor 18 is communicatively coupled to the projection subsystem and imaging subsystem (e.g., coupled to the DSP controlling the projection and imaging subsystems). The processor 18 may be embodied in a variety of ways, such as (but not limited to) one or more controllers, a digital signal processor (DSP), an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a programmable gate array (PGA), and/or a programmable logic controller (PLC).

The processor 18 is typically configured by software (e.g., a code-reading program) stored in memory 24 (e.g., read only memory (ROM), flash memory, random access memory (RAM), and/or a hard-drive). The software, when executed by the processor 18 configures the multi-code reading system to (i) retrieve a digital image from the memory 24, (ii) detect codes within the digital image, (iii) read each detected code, (iv) select (for each code) a feedback image from a set of feedback images (stored in memory) based each code's reading results, and (v) project the selected feedback images onto the appropriate codes.

The multi-code reading system 15 may also include a user interface 25 to transmit information to a user and receive input from a user (e.g., trigger a scan). The user interface 25 may include interface elements (e.g., touch buttons, touch screen, trigger switch, etc.).

The multi-code reading system 15 may also include a communication subsystem 19 for transmitting and receiving information to/from a separate computing device and/or storage device. This communication subsystem may be wired or wireless and may enable communication with a variety of protocols (e.g., IEEE 802.11, including WI-FI®, BLUETOOTH®, CDMA, TDMA, or GSM).

The subsystem/components in the multi-code reading system 15 are electrically connected via couplers (e.g., wires or fibers), buses, and control lines to form an interconnection system 26. The interconnection system 26 may include power buses or lines, data buses, instruction buses, address buses, etc., which allow operation of the subsystems/components and interaction there between.

A flow chart of a method for providing visual feedback regarding a multi-code scan using an imaging barcode scanner is shown in FIG. 4.

The method begins with capturing a digital image of a set of codes (e.g., linear barcodes, two-dimensional barcodes, etc.) in a field of view with an imaging barcode scanner 30. The imaging barcode scanner may be a single purposed device (e.g., handheld scanner), a mode of operation in a multipurpose device (e.g., mobile computing device), or a part of a larger system (e.g., point of sale system).

The digital image is processed to detect codes within the image 31. Next, a code is read 32 using code reading algorithms commonly used in the art. If an error is detected, (e.g., using error correction data encoded into the code) then the code is assigned a negative status 35. If the code is read successfully, however, it is assigned a positive status 34. The steps of reading a code and assigning the code a status are repeated for each code until there are no unread codes and all codes have been assigned a status 36.

The method concludes by projecting positive feedback messages (e.g., a box surrounding a barcode) onto codes having a positive status 37, and projecting negative feedback messages onto codes having a negative status 38.

Thus, the present invention embraces a system/method to provide visual feedback (e.g., indicia reading status information) to a user. The feedback may be created using the indicia reader's highlight beam projector to highlight indicia and convey information. This information is displayed on the target (i.e., object) instead of on a display and is, therefore, intuitive and convenient.

* * *

To supplement the present disclosure, this application incorporates entirely by reference the following commonly assigned patents, patent application publications, and patent applications:

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* * *

In the specification and/or figures, typical embodiments of the invention have been disclosed. The present invention is not limited to such exemplary embodiments. The use of the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items. The figures are schematic representations and so are not necessarily drawn to scale. Unless otherwise noted, specific terms have been used in a generic and descriptive sense and not for purposes of limitation.

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Citation

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