Browse Prior Art Database

Store Label System with Wireless Communications

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000106607D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-21
Document File: 5 page(s) / 234K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Powell, KE: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a system for operating a number of display units from a single computer system by means of aisle controllers connected by a cable to the computer system. Each aisle controller is in turn connected to an infrared (IR) transponder unit, which in turn provides a wireless link to each display unit. Each display unit may be, for example, a small liquid crystal display (LCD) indicating the price of a particular item in a retail store.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 28% of the total text.

Store Label System with Wireless Communications

      Disclosed is a system for operating a number of display units
from a single computer system by means of aisle controllers connected
by a cable to the computer system.  Each aisle controller is in turn
connected to an infrared (IR) transponder unit, which in turn
provides a wireless link to each display unit.  Each display unit may
be, for example, a small liquid crystal display (LCD) indicating the
price of a particular item in a retail store.

      The basic system, shown in Fig. 1, is controlled by a system
unit 10, which may be a dedicated personal computer system, a store
controller, or a manager's work station.  A data base within system
unit 10, or accessible to system unit 10, contains the necessary item
and price data, which is used to maintain correspondence between the
shelf prices displayed by the various display units 12 throughout the
store and the prices charged at cash registers.

      The output of system unit 10 is connected to aisle controllers
14 by means of a cable 15, with an  ability to select a desired aisle
number by means of the associated controller 14.  Each controller 14
is electrically connected to an IR transponder 16, which provides the
ability to transmit, by means of an infrared signal, the desired data
to a selected display unit 12 for updating information displayed on
the screen.  Each aisle controller 14, and each display unit 12, has
a unique address, together with an ability to acknowledge the receipt
of data.

      Communication between system unit 10 and each aisle controller
14 is through parallel port 18 of the system unit, with the
controller 14 emulating a printer.  Cable 15 between the system unit
10 and aisle controller 14 includes eight parallel data lines, a
strobe line, an acknowledge line, a busy line, and a ground line.
Parallel data and strobe signals are presented to aisle controller
14, which responds with the necessary busy and acknowledge signals if
all operations are executed correctly.

      If an aisle controller 14, an IR transponder 16, or a display
unit 12 encounters an error, the aisle controller 14 does not send
the acknowledge signal to system unit 10.  A retry is executed under
software control, being repeated a predetermined number of times
before an error condition is reported at the manager's work station.

      A single eight-bit code, for example, identifies each aisle
controller 14, acting as the start code for operation of the aisle
controller.  This code is followed by the display identifier and by
the desired data to be placed in the selected display 12.  An
operation is terminated by an eight-bit stop code.

      The number of bits used to identify the aisle controller 14 can
easily be increased, if desired, to allow use of the system with a
larger number of aisle controllers.

      Fig. 2 is a block diagram of the logic within each aisle
controller 14, within an as...