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United States Patent
Danieli et al.
US005977951A [ii] Patent Number:  Date of Patent:
 SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SUBSTITUTING AN ANIMATED CHARACTER WHEN A REMOTE CONTROL PHYSICAL CHARACTER IS UNAVAILABLE
 Inventors: Damon Vincent Danieli, Bellevue;
Kenneth Ray Robertson, Redmond;
Timothy Edward Wood, Seattle, all of
 Assignee: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond,
An educational computer system includes a computer, a display device, a remote control character, and a wireless modem for communication between the computer and the remote control character. The remote control character can move and speak in response to signals from the computer, thereby allowing the remote control character to interact with the user and with characters displayed on the display device. When a program is run, the computer determines whether the remote control character is available. If it is not, the computer substitutes an animated character that is displayed on the display device. The computer periodically checks for the remote control characters while displaying the animated character. If the remote control character becomes available, the animated character is discontinued and the computer begins sending voice and movement information to the remote control character. Similarly, if the remote control character becomes unavailable while the program is running, the program will automatically revert to the animated character and the program will continue.
16 Claims, 6 Drawing Sheets