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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention pertains to a voice-recognition camera which operates upon recognizing a voice input. With the advancement of voice-recognition technology, a camera that performs specific operations upon recognizing an input voice or a key word (vocal instruction/command) registered in advance has been under consideration. The user of such a camera can release the shutter by simply telling the camera, "Release." The user does not have to worry about a blurred picture due to movement of the camera caused by the manual releas- 15 ing action also, the user can remotely control the camera.
The conventional voice-recognition camera, however, has problems: first, the camera has no means for a user to check whether his/her voice is registered or 20 recognized by the camera. Consequently, the user cannot determine if the cause of failures, such as a register error or a malfunction of the camera upon voice input is in the voice-recognition system or camera mechanism. There is presently no solution to this problem so far; 25 second, the vocal instructions for this type of camera are registered conventionally by a recognition circuit system in the register mode according to the sequence determined by the circuit system. For example, multiple switches are installed on the camera; the first switch is 30 for registering an instruction voice for release operation (for example, "release"); the second switch is for registering an instruction voice for self-timer operation (for example, "self-timer"), and so forth.
However, under the conventional registration sys- 35 tem, the user must understand the corresponding relations between individual input switches and camera operations, and it makes the voice registration system complicated. This often causes erroneous registration, for example, by depressing the switch for the self-timer when the switch for the release operation should be depressed instead. Moreover, changing a registered instruction voice is similarly complicated.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 45
The basic concept of this invention should be a camera without the aforementioned problems. The present invention aims to provide a camera with a means of display to indicate registration or recognition of a vocal 50 instruction, in order to solve the aforementioned first problem of function recognition of the vocal operation means.
Another object of this invention is to provide the camera with the simpler configuration for voice regis- 55 tration in relation to the aforementioned second problem. In the present invention, an embodiment, which enables the camera to register a vocal instruction to operate the camera by depressing an actual operation switch of the same camera function in the register 60 mode, is possible.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the circuit configuration of a first embodiment of the voice-recognition camera 65 according to the present invention,
FIG. 2 is an enlarged diagram showing the camera display section,
FIGS. 3(A) and (B) are mounting diagrams of a voice input microphone.
FIGS. 4(A) and (B) are mounting diagrams of a voice input microphone for a camera with a zoom lens,
FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the circuit configuration of a second embodiment of the voice-recognition camera according to this invention, and
FIG. 6 is a flowchart explaining the operation of above embodiment in the recognition mode.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the circuit configuration of an embodiment of the voice-recognition camera according to the present invention.
In FIG. 1, numeral 1 indicates a voice-input microphone to be mounted on the back cover of a camera; numeral 2 indicates an amplifier which amplifies inputted aural signals; numeral 3 indicates a voice-recognition circuit which judges whether inputted aural signals match the registered vocal commands; and if yes, it outputs signals according to the vocal commands; numeral 4 indicates a microcomputer which controls individual sections of a camera according to the output signals from voice-recognition circuit 3; numeral 5 indicates a photometric circuit which measures the brightness of a subject by using photodiode 6; numeral 7 indicates the shutter control circuit which turns magnet 8 on or off for controlling the shutter speed; numeral 9 indicates the automatic focusing circuit which checks the focal point of the photographing lens and moves it to a focusing position; numeral 10 indicates a drive circuit for controlling film feeder motor 11.
Concerning camera operation switches, numerals 12 and 13 respectively indicate switch Si and S2; if the release button is lightly depressed for one stage, switch Si (12) is turned on, and if the release button is further depressed, both switches Si (12) and Si (13) are turned on. In the photographing sequence of the camera, if switch Si (12) is turned on, the intensity of light and range are measured in sequence and if switch S2 (13) is turned on, the lens and shutter are driven and the film is wound up. Numeral 14 indicates the self-timer operating switch; and numeral 15 indicates the rewind switch.
Numeral 16 is the vocal instruction register switch, which consists of matrix switches and connects to voice-recognition circuit 3. Register switch 16 comprises a switch for registering vocal instructions for setting photographic modes and a switch for registering vocal instructions for setting up photographic conditions under individual photographic modes. The former comprises switch E (16a) which registers vocal instructions for correcting exposure, switch M (16b) which registers vocal instructions for multiple exposure, and switch I (16c) which registers vocal instructions for interval exposure; the latter comprises "+" switch 16c? which registers the vocal instruction for setting an overexposure in the exposure correction mode, "—" switch 16d which registers the vocal instruction for setting an under-exposure, and numeral switch 16/which registers the vocal instruction for setting the compensation for an iris diaphragm, the number of frames for multiple exposure, and the interval time for interval exposure.
For register switches, switch F (16g) registers the vocal instruction for focus lock; switch ST (16A) registers the vocal instruction for the self-timer, and switch R (161) registers the vocal instruction for rewinding film. Voice-recognition circuit 3 enters the voice regis
Numeral 17 indicates the display operation (drive) circuit which drives display section 18 according to the output from voice-recognition circuit 3 or microcom- 25 puter 4.
Display section 18 is installed, for example, on the upper part of the camera for easy recognition of its indication. It is configured with a device such as liquid crystal display as shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 2 shows that numeral 18a indicates the "ES" part of the display which functions if a vocal instruction for exposure compensation is registered by the voicerecognition circuit-during the register mode, or recognized by the circuit during the recognition mode; numeral lib indicates the "ME" part of the display which functions if a vocal instruction for the multiple exposure is registered or recognized; numeral 18c indicates the "IT" part of the display which functions if a vocal instruction for the interval exposure is registered or 40 recognized; numeral lSd indicates the numeral display part which indicates numbers if a vocal instruction for a numeral is registered or recognized; numerals 18e, 18f, and 18g indicate the time display parts which indicate the time if respective vocal instruction for an interval 45 time is recognized; these time display parts indicate from left to right: hours, minutes, and seconds.
Numeral 18A indicates the display part for overexposure mode which functions if a vocal instruction for overexposure setting is registered or recognized; and 50 numeral 18* indicates the display the underexposure mode which functions if a vocal instruction for underexposure setting is registered or recognized.
Numeral 181 indicates the Si mode display part which functions if a vocal instruction for focus lock is registered or recognized; numeral 18m indicates the S2 mode display part which functions together with Si mode display part 181 if a vocal instruction for shutter operation is registered or recognized.
Numeral I871 indicates the self-timer mode display part which functions if a vocal instruction for self-timer operation is registered or recognized; and numeral 18p indicates the rewind mode display part which functions if a vocal instruction for rewind operation is registered or recognized.
Moreover, numeral display part lSd indicates photographic conditions for special photographing and the number of photographed frames of the film in the cam
era. The registration by vocal instructions will be explained by quoting the case of a special photographing.
If switch E (16a) is turned on, "ES" part of the display 18a starts blinking.
If a command "Exposure" is inputted, voice-recognition circuit 3 registers it as the vocal instruction to activate the exposure compensation mode. Once it is registered, "ES" part of the display 18a stops blinking and remains; it stops its indication if switch E (16a) is turned off thereafter. Then, if switch M (16b) is turned on, "ME" part of the display lSb starts blinking. If a command "Multiple Exposure" is inputted, it is registered as the instruction voice for setting the multiple exposure mode.
Once it is registered, "ME" part of the display 186 stops blinking and remains; it stops its indication if switch M (16ft) is turned off thereafter. Similarly from there onward, the vocal instructions (see the aforementioned table) are registered in correspondence with the individual switches that configure register switch 16. During the registration, "IT" part of the display 18c, numeral display part 18d, overexposure mode and underexposure mode display parts 18A and 18k all blink, remain and stop their indications similarly to "ES" part of the display 18a and "ME" part of the display 186. In addition to those display parts, Si mode display part 181 and S2 mode display part 18m, self-timer mode display part I8/1 and rewind mode display part 18p also operate in the same way. By these indications, the user can recognize that individual vocal instructions have been registered.
The recognition mode operation will now be explained. For the operation of special modes, a vocal instruction is inputted through microphone 1 to set up a photographing mode and its conditions.
Supposing now that an underexposure photograph is to be taken by setting the diaphragm two stops under, the photographing mode is first set up by inputting a vocal instruction "Exposure" through microphone 1. If the instruction "Exposure" is recognized, "ES" part of the display 18a indicates the confirmation that recognition has been made by the camera. Voice-recognition circuit 3, upon recognizing the mode, enters the state for recognizing photographing condition, and if a vocal instruction "Under" is then entered, underexposure mode display part 18k indicates that the instruction "Under" has been recognized. Then, a vocal instruction "Two" is entered through microphone 1.
If voice-recognition circuit 3 recognizes the instruction "Two", numeral display part 18d displays "2". This completes the setting of the photography mode and condition, and voice-recognition circuit 3 outputs signals corresponding to the set mode and condition to microcomputer 4, which controls individual sections of the camera to take a photograph with an underexposure effect, once it has been started.
The same procedures apply to the multiple exposure mode: "ME" part of the display 18b functions if a vocal instruction "Multiple Exposure" is "entered through microphone 1; if "Zero" and "Eight" are entered in succession, numeral display 18a" displays "08"; and voice-recognition circuit 3 recognizes that a multiple exposure of eight frames is instructed.
For the interval exposure mode, if a vocal instruction "Interval" is entered, the "IT" part of the display 18c indicates for the confirmation that the system is now in the interval exposure mode. The voice-recognition circuit 3, is in a standby state for inputting interval time
instructions, and if "Zero", "One", "Five", "Zero", "Zero" are entered in succession, the hour display part lie displays "01", the minute display part 18/displays "15", and the second display part 18g displays "00", for the confirmation that an interval time of one hour and fifteen minutes has been recognized. If "Zero" and "Three" are entered for setting the number of frames to be photographed, the numeral display part 18a*displays "03". The result of recognition by the voice-recognition circuit 3 is turned out to the microcomputer 4, which controls the individual sections of the camera accordingly, and the camera repeats photographing operations for three frames with the interval time of one hour and fifteen minutes.
The other displays function in the same way. In other words, if a vocal instruction "Focus Lock" is recognized, Si mode display part 181 functions, and if a vocal instruction "Release" is recognized, both Si mode display part 181 and S2 mode display part 18m function. . Moreover, if vocal instructions "Self-Timer" and "Rewind" are recognized, self-timer mode display part 18n and rewind mode display part 18p function respectively.
Each of the aforementioned display parts are turned off with the completion of camera operation.
In the aforementioned embodiment of this invention, voice-recognition circuit 3 has registration and recognition modes as its operation modes; it is possible to add a checking mode to the operation modes.- If a camera is used after it has not been used for a long time, the user may wish to check if the camera recognizes a registered vocal instruction, or if a certain vocal instruction is already registered in it. For such a case, the voicerecognition circuit should be set to the checking mode; the camera may not operate even if an vocal instruction is inputted, but display 18 should display the result of 35 recognition accordingly.
FIG. 3(A) shows the installation position of microphones to a^voice-recognition camera in which first voice input microphone 20 is installed to the lower section of the back cover of the camera. Microphone 20 40 may be installed at the bottom section of the camera or elsewhere from where it can easily catch the user's vocal instructions while he/she views a subject through finder 22.
Moreover, to catch a vocal instruction from the front 45 of the camera (e.g. group photographing), second microphone 23 is installed in front of the camera as shown in FIG. 3(B). Switch 24 interchanges first microphone 20 to second microphone 23 and vice versa. However, if the camera is in register mode or voice registration is enforced by the register switch 25, the registration is accomplished with first microphone 20 while second microphone 23 is turned off.
For second microphone 23, a type which has a forward directivity corresponding to the photographing 55 angle is used. That is, microphone 23 receives a voice input only if the vocal instruction is made within the photographic angle of field.
For a camera with a zooming function, microphone directivity may be changed according to the zooming position of lens.
For example, as FIG. 4(A) shows, microphone 27, which can move in the direction of the optical axis of the camera lens, is installed inside of microphone hole 26a on main camera body 26.
Microphone 27 is connected to zoom lens 28 by lever 29. As FIG. 4(B) shows, if zoom lens 28 zooms forward, microphone 27 moves to the reverse direction, that is
the direction to the bottom of microphone hole 26a. This narrows down the directivity of microphone 27, and makes it adjustable to the change of the photographic angle of field. As thus far described, this invention has solved the first problem by displaying the registration or recognition of vocal instructions; therefore, this invention offers the following advantages: It is possible to check the pperating state of the voice-recognition means, thus prevent erroneous registrations of vocal instructions, and allow the user to determine whether the voice-recognition system or the camera mechanism is the problem, when a camera fails to operate in response to a vocal instruction.
The embodiment of the present invention, in which the camera operating switches which are also configured to serve as input switches for registration, will be explained. In this way, switch operations are simplified to achieve the second aim of this invention.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the circuit configuration of the second embodiment of a voice-recognition camera according to this invention. In FIG. 5, the parts numbered identically to those in FIG. 1 have identical functions.
In this embodiment, one of the terminals of camera operating switches 12 to 15 is grounded while the other terminal is connected via a diode to microcomputer 4 and input terminals Io to I3 of voice-recognition circuit 3.
Switch 160 changes the recognition mode to registration mode and viceversa; one of the terminals is connected to voice-recognition circuit 3. If mode switch 160 is on, the camera system is in a registration mode and if it is a off, the system is in recognition mode.
The operation of the present embodiment is described below.
To register a vocal instruction, while mode switch 160 is turned on, a switch for a desired operation selected from switches 12 to 15 is to be operated, so that the vocal instruction is inputted through microphone 1. Voice-recognition circuit 3 turns out a signal to the SO terminal of microcomputer 4 to make the computer inoperable; according to the signal received from mode switch 160 and a selected operating switch, the circuit registers a voice input as a vocal instruction to activate the same function as the camera function which is also started by the aforementioned switch. The following table outlines the signal levels of input terminals Io to I3 of voice-recognition circuit 3 and gives examples of the vocal instructions when individual operating switches 12 to 15 are turned on.