Common control of an electronic multi-pod conferencing system

  • US 7,864,937 B2
  • Filed: 06/02/2004
  • Issued: 01/04/2011
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/02/2004
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A method of controlling a multi-pod conferencing system for local conference participants to communicate with remote conference participants where the conferencing system and the local conference participants are in the same room, comprising:

  • providing a plurality of pods to local conference participants wherein an individual pod connects to one or more of said plurality of pods through a data communication means for communicating data and audio data to and from another said individual pod, said individual pods further comprise pod processor means for providing communication and interpretation facilities for data and commands and for providing audio processing for various pod functions, wherein said pod processor means couples to an input device and a display, said input device receives command input from the local conference participant, and said display provides visual indicators of the operational status to the local conference participant;

    wherein said individual pod further comprises microphone gating means for determining the best microphone of a plurality of physical microphones and or a plurality of virtual microphones to gate on or off and pod gating means for determining the best individual pod to gate on or off;

    providing a base unit that couples to said plurality of pods through said data communication means for communicating data and audio data to and from said plurality of pods, said base unit further couples to a carrier medium that communicates audio data from the local conference participants to and from the remote conference participants, said base unit further comprises base controller means for providing control and computation facilities for various base functions, said base controller means couples to a converting means for converting audio data between said carrier medium and said data communication means;

    receiving command input at an individual pod from the local conference participant;

    updating said display at said individual pod in response to said command input;

    distributing said command input through said data communication means to other said plurality of pods and said base controller, said plurality of pods and said base controller interpret said command input and change their operational state if necessary in response to said command input; and

    wherein said plurality of pods, said base unit, and the local conference participants are in the same room.

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