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Browse Prior Art Database

Automated Labeling System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000120897D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-02
Document File: 6 page(s) / 220K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Mayes, GW: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Described is an automated labeling system designed for retail stores, such as a supermarket. The system uses an electronic display to take the place of shelf price cards posted at each item of merchandise. The system provides a means of keeping shelf prices current and in sync with the stores computer and cash register scanning system.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 47% of the total text.

Automated Labeling System

      Described is an automated labeling system designed for
retail stores, such as a supermarket.  The system uses an electronic
display to take the place of shelf price cards posted at each item of
merchandise.  The system provides a means of keeping shelf prices
current and in sync with the stores computer and cash register
scanning system.

      The block diagram as shown in Fig. 1 shows the automated
labeling system whereby the store's computer, or a dedicated
computer, feeds information to the aisle controllers and then to the
display devices.  Data and control signals for the electronic shelf
labels are routed from the computer in a bit parallel, character
serial mode from a parallel port of the computer to the aisle
controllers.  The controllers then route the signals to the
electronic shelf label displays.  The signals pass through the
controller to the displays in a serial manner and the signal path
returns to the controller after circulating through all of the
displays in an aisle loop.

      The aisle controller and the displays operate on a first-in
first- out (FIFO) basis.  When the start character, which activated
the controller, has completed the loop of aisle displays and is
returned to the controller, the data loading of all displays in the
aisle is considered complete. The start character also identifies the
aisle controller to be activated since all aisle controllers are in
series.

      Fig. 2 shows how the computer is connected to the aisle
controllers. Only twelve wires are used in the interconnection;
eleven signal lines and a ground line.  The timing diagram depicts
the handshaking routine between the two devices.  A normal parallel
port operation is used in which the data and strobe signals are
presented to the aisle controller and the controller returns a busy
signal followed by an acknowledgement (ACK) if data is received.
After processing, the controller will drop the busy signal line to
indicate it is ready to accept the next character.  This operation is
depicted twice in the timing chart.  The computer and the aisle
controllers communicate in a similar manner as a printer, or like
device, would be used in interconnected systems.

      Fig. 3 shows a block diagram of the aisle controller. When data
is presented at the eight line bus DATA IN line, the data is applied
to input A of eight-bit comparator COMP 1.  Input B of COMP 1 is fed
from an eight-bit switch (BIT SW) which contains a selected control
character.  When this character is detected on the DATA IN line, COMP
1's A=B output becomes active and activates the set input of
flip-flop unit RUN FF, turning it ON.  Q output of RUN FF provides
enable inputs to BUSY SS unit and to the aisle LOOP DRV and removes
the enable condition from the BIDIRECTIONAL DRV.  At this point, the
BIDIRECTIONAL DRV presents an open circuit and all aisle controllers
that reside down line from this controller are isola...