Anthony M. Fadell
Seung C Sohn
Blakely, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman LLP
Apparatuses and methods to sense proximity and to detect light. In one embodiment, an apparatus includes an emitter of electromagnetic radiation and a detector of electromagnetic radiation; the detector is configured to detect electromagnetic radiation from the emitter when the apparatus is configured to sense proximity, and the emitter is disabled at least temporarily to allow the detector to detect electromagnetic radiation from a source other than the emitter, such as ambient light. In one implementation of this embodiment, the ambient light is measured by measuring infrared wavelengths. Other apparatuses and methods and data processing systems and machine readable media are also described.
This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/241,839, filed Sep. 30, 2005 titled PROXIMITY DETECTOR IN HANDHELD DEVICE and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/240,788, titled PROXIMITY DETECTOR IN HANDHELD DEVICE which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
This invention relates to the field of portable devices and, in particular, to systems and methods for sensing or determining user activities and responding to the user's activities.
Portable devices, such as cell phones, are becoming increasingly common. These portable devices have grown more complex over time, incorporating many features including, for example, MP3 player capabilities, web browsing capabilities, capabilities of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and the like.
Some of these portable devices may include multiple sensors which are used to detect the environment or context associated with these portable devices. For example, U.S. patent application publication no. 2005/0219228 describes a device which includes many sensors, including a proximity sensor and a light sensor. The outputs from the sensors are processed to determine a device context. The light sensor detects ambient light levels and the proximity sensor detects a proximity to an object, such as a user's ear or face. In this case, there are two separate sensors which require two openings in the housing of the device. This is shown in
The various apparatuses and methods described herein relate to an apparatus which senses proximity and detects light, such as ambient light, and to systems, such as data processing systems, which use an apparatus which senses proximity and also detects light, such as ambient light.
According to one embodiment of the inventions, an apparatus, which both senses proximity and detects light, includes an emitter of electromagnetic radiation and a detector of electromagnetic radiation. The detector is configured to detect electromagnetic radiation, such as infrared (IR) light, emitted from the emitter when the apparatus is configured to sense proximity. The emitter may be disabled at least temporarily to allow the detector to detect electromagnetic radiation from a source other than the emitter. In this case, the emitter may be disabled by turning power off for the emitter or by closing a shutter on the emitter to block radiation from being emitted to the environment or by other implementations which prevent the emitter's radiation from being detected by the detector. In an alternative implementation, rather than disabling the emitter, the output from the detector may be processed, using known signal processing algorithms, to subtract the effect of the radiation detected from the emitter in order to produce a resultant signal which represents the radiation from sources other than the emitter. This may involve measuring proximity first to determine an amplitude and phase of a known signal from the emitter (e.g. a square wave signal with a known frequency and pulse width) and then subtracting this known signal from a detected signal from the detector. Alternatively, if the emitter has sufficiently long on and off pulses during its square wave signal, the detector may be configured to measure ambient light during one or more of the off pulses without having to turn off the emitter.
According to another embodiment of the inventions, a data processing system includes a proximity sensor to sense a proximity and to detect electromagnetic radiation when the proximity sensor is not sensing proximity. The proximity sensor includes an emitter of electromagnetic radiation (e.g. IR light) and a detector of electromagnetic radiation from the emitter when the sensor is sensing proximity. The data processing system also may include at least one of a display or an input device and also may include at least one processor which is coupled to the proximity sensor and which is configured to determine, based at least upon data from the proximity sensor, whether to modify a state (e.g. a setting) of the data processing system. The data from the proximity sensor may include data relating to proximity and data relating to ambient light measurements or other light measurements. The processor may modify the state of the data processing system automatically in response to a user activity, relative to the system, as indicated by the data from the proximity sensor, including both proximity data and ambient light data.
According to another embodiment of the inventions, a method of operating a proximity sensor, which provides light sensor capabilities, includes emitting light from an emitter of the proximity sensor, detecting, through a detector of the proximity sensor, light from the emitter, and sensing light, from a source other than the emitter, at the detector. The detector is configured, in a proximity sensing mode, to detect light from the emitter to determine proximity. The detector may sense light from a source other than the emitter by having the emitter disabled or by having its output signal processed to remove the effect of light from the emitter.
Other apparatuses, data processing systems, methods and machine readable media are also described.
The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements.
Various embodiments and aspects of the inventions will be described with reference to details discussed below, and the accompanying drawings will illustrate the various embodiments. The following description and drawings are illustrative of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention. Numerous specific details are described to provide a through understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. However, in certain instances, well-known or conventional details are not described in order to provide a concise discussion of embodiments of the present inventions.
Some portions of the detailed descriptions which follow are presented in terms of algorithms which include operations on data stored within a computer memory. An algorithm is generally a self-consistent sequence of operations leading to a desired result. The operations typically require or involve physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated. It has proven convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.
It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussion, it is appreciated that throughout the description, discussions utilizing terms such as processing or computing or calculating or determining or displaying or the like, can refer to the action and processes of a data processing system, or similar electronic device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the system's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the system's memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.
The present invention can relate to an apparatus for performing one or more of the operations described herein. This apparatus may be specially constructed for the required purposes, or it may comprise a general purpose computer selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computer. Such a computer program may be stored in a machine (e.g. computer) readable storage medium, such as, but is not limited to, any type of disk including floppy disks, optical disks, CD-ROMs, and magnetic-optical disks, read-only memories (ROMs), random access memories (RAMs), erasable programmable ROMs (EPROMs), electrically erasable programmable ROMs (EEPROMs), magnetic or optical cards, or any type of media suitable for storing electronic instructions, and each coupled to a bus.
A machine-readable medium includes any mechanism for storing or transmitting information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a computer). For example, a machine-readable medium includes read only memory ( ROM ); random access memory ( RAM ); magnetic disk storage media; optical storage media; flash memory devices; electrical, optical, acoustical or other form of propagated signals (e.g., carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.); etc.
At least certain embodiments of the present inventions include one or more sensors to monitor user activity. At least certain embodiments of the present inventions also include automatically changing a state of the portable device based on user activity, such as, for example, automatically activating or deactivating a backlight of a display device of the portable device or setting an input device of the portable device to a particular state, based on certain predetermined user activities.
At least certain embodiments of the inventions may be part of a digital media player, such as a portable music and/or video media player, which may include a media processing system to present the media, a storage device to store the media and may further include a radio frequency (RF) transceiver (e.g., an RF transceiver for a cellular telephone) coupled with an antenna system and the media processing system. In certain embodiments, media stored on a remote storage device may be transmitted to the media player through the RF transceiver. The media may be, for example, one or more of music or other audio, still pictures, or motion pictures.
The portable media player may include a media selection device, such as a click wheel input device on an iPod or iPod Nano media player from Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., a touch screen input device, pushbutton device, movable pointing input device or other input device. The media selection device may be used to select the media stored on the storage device and/or the remote storage device. The portable media player may, in at least certain embodiments, include a display device which is coupled to the media processing system to display titles or other indicators of media being selected through the input device and being presented, either through a speaker or earphone(s), or on the display device, or on both display device and a speaker or earphone(s). Examples of a portable media player are described in published U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 2003/0095096 and 2004/0224638, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.
Embodiments of the inventions described herein may be part of other types of data processing systems, such as, for example, entertainment systems or personal digital assistants (PDAs), or general purpose computer systems, or special purpose computer systems, or an embedded device within another device, or cellular telephones which do not include media players, or devices which combine aspects or functions of these devices (e.g., a media player, such as an iPod , combined with a PDA, an entertainment system, and a cellular telephone in one portable device).
The display device 34 is shown positioned at an upper portion of the housing 32, and the input device 36 is shown positioned at a lower portion of the housing 32. The antenna 42 is shown extending from the housing 32 at an upper portion of the housing 32. The speaker 38 is also shown at an upper portion of the housing 32 above the display device 34. The microphone 40 is shown at a lower portion of the housing 32, below the input device 36. It will be appreciated that the speaker 38 and microphone 40 can be positioned at any location on the housing, but are typically positioned in accordance with a user's ear and mouth, respectively. The proximity sensor 44 is shown at or near the speaker 38 and at least partially within the housing 32. The accelerometer 46 is shown at a lower portion of the housing 32 and within the housing 32. It will be appreciated that the particular locations of the above-described features may vary in alternative embodiments.
The display device 34 may be, for example, a liquid crystal display (LCD) which does not include the ability to accept inputs or a touch input screen which also includes an LCD. The input device 36 may include, for example, buttons, switches, dials, sliders, keys or keypad, navigation pad, touch pad, touch screen, and the like.
Any well-known speaker, microphone and antenna can be used for speaker 38, microphone 40 and antenna 42, respectively.
The proximity sensor 44 may detect location (e.g. at least one of X, Y, Z), direction of motion, speed, etc. of objects relative to the wireless device 30. A location of an object relative to the wireless device can be represented as a distance in at least certain embodiments. The proximity sensor may generate location or movement data or both, which may be used to determine the location of objects relative to the portable device 30 and/or proximity sensor 44. An example of a proximity sensor is shown in
In addition, a processing device (not shown) is coupled to the proximity sensor(s) 44. The processing device may be used to determine the location of objects relative to the portable device 30 or proximity sensor 44 or both based on the location and/or movement data provided by the proximity sensor 44. The proximity sensor may continuously or periodically monitor the object location. The proximity sensor may also be able to determine the type of object it is detecting.
Additional information about proximity sensors can be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/241,839, titled PROXIMITY DETECTOR IN HANDHELD DEVICE, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/240,788, titled PROXIMITY DETECTOR IN HANDHELD DEVICE; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/165,958, titled METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR REMOTELY DETECTING PRESENCE, filed Jun. 23, 2005; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,583,676, titled PROXIMITY/TOUCH DETECTOR AND CALIBRATION CIRCUIT, issued Jun. 24, 2003, all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
According to one embodiment, the accelerometer 46 is able to detect a movement including an acceleration or de-acceleration of the wireless device. The accelerometer 46 may generate movement data for multiple dimensions, which may be used to determine a direction of movement of the wireless device. For example, the accelerometer 46 may generate X, Y and Z axis acceleration information when the accelerometer 46 detects that the portable device is moved. In one embodiment, the accelerometer 46 may be implemented as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,520,013, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Alternatively, the accelerometer 46 may be a KGF01 accelerometer from Kionix or an ADXL311 accelerometer from Analog Devices or other accelerometers which are known in the art.
In addition, a processing device (not shown) is coupled to the accelerometer(s) 46. The processing device may be used to calculate a direction of movement, also referred to as a movement vector of the wireless device 30. The movement vector may be determined according to one or more predetermined formulas based on the movement data (e.g., movement in X, Y and Z) provided by accelerometer 46. The processing device may be integrated with the accelerometer 46 or integrated with other components, such as, for example, a chipset of a microprocessor, of the portable device.
The accelerometer 46 may continuously or periodically monitor the movement of the portable device. As a result, an orientation of the portable device prior to the movement and after the movement may be determined based on the movement data provided by the accelerometer attached to the portable device.
Additional information about accelerometers can be found in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/986,730, filed Nov. 12, 2004, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The data acquired from the proximity sensor 44 and the accelerometer 46 can be combined together, or used alone, to gather information about the user's activities. The data from the proximity sensor 44, the accelerometer 46 or both can be used, for example, to activate/deactivate a display backlight, initiate commands, make selections, control scrolling or other movement in a display, control input device settings, or to make other changes to one or more settings of the device.
In one embodiment, the display/input device 54 may include a multi-point touch input screen in addition to being a display, such as an LCD. In one embodiment, the multi-point touch screen is a capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches (e.g., blobs on the display from a user's face or multiple fingers concurrently touching or nearly touching the display) or near touches (e.g., blobs on the display) that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches. Additional information about multi-point input touch screens can be found in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/840,862, filed May 6, 2004 (see published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 20060097991), which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. A multi-point input touch screen may also be referred to as a multi-touch input panel.
A processing device (not shown) may be coupled to the display/input device 54. The processing device may be used to calculate touches on the touch panel. The display/input device 54 can use the detected touch (e.g., blob or blobs from a user's face) data to, for example, identify the location of certain objects and to also identify the type of object touching (or nearly touching) the display/input device 54.
The data acquired from the proximity sensor 62 and the display/input device 54 can be combined to gather information about the user's activities as described herein. The data from the proximity sensor 62 and the display/input device 54 can be used to change one or more settings of the portable device 50, such as, for example, change an illumination setting of the display/input device 54.
In one embodiment, as shown in
In at least certain embodiments, the portable device 70 may contain components which provide one or more of the functions of a wireless communication device such as a cellular telephone, a media player, an entertainment system, a PDA, or other types of devices described herein. In one implementation of an embodiment, the portable device 70 may be a cellular telephone integrated with a media player which plays MP3 files, such as MP3 music files.
Each of the devices shown in
Wireless device 100 may include an antenna system 101. Wireless device 100 may also include a digital and/or analog radio frequency (RF) transceiver 102, coupled to the antenna system 101, to transmit and/or receive voice, digital data and/or media signals through antenna system 101.
Wireless device 100 may also include a digital processing system 103 to control the digital RF transceiver and to manage the voice, digital data and/or media signals. Digital processing system 103 may be a general purpose processing device, such as a microprocessor or controller for example. Digital processing system 103 may also be a special purpose processing device, such as an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), FPGA (field-programmable gate array) or DSP (digital signal processor). Digital processing system 103 may also include other devices, as are known in the art, to interface with other components of wireless device 100. For example, digital processing system 103 may include analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters to interface with other components of wireless device 100. Digital processing system 103 may include a media processing system 109, which may also include a general purpose or special purpose processing device to manage media, such as files of audio data.
Wireless device 100 may also include a storage device 104, coupled to the digital processing system, to store data and/or operating programs for the wireless device 100. Storage device 104 may be, for example, any type of solid-state or magnetic memory device.
Wireless device 100 may also include one or more input devices 105, coupled to the digital processing system 103, to accept user inputs (e.g., telephone numbers, names, addresses, media selections, etc.) Input device 105 maybe, for example, one or more of a keypad, a touchpad, a touch screen, a pointing device in combination with a display device or similar input device.
Wireless device 100 may also include at least one display device 106, coupled to the digital processing system 103, to display information such as messages, telephone call information, contact information, pictures, movies and/or titles or other indicators of media being selected via the input device 105. Display device 106 may be, for example, an LCD display device. In one embodiment, display device 106 and input device 105 may be integrated together in the same device (e.g., a touch screen LCD such as a multi-touch input panel which is integrated with a display device, such as an LCD display device). Examples of a touch input panel and a display integrated together are shown in U.S. published application No. 20060097991. The display device 106 may include a backlight 106a to illuminate the display device 106 under certain circumstances. It will be appreciated that the wireless device 100 may include multiple displays.
Wireless device 100 may also include a battery 107 to supply operating power to components of the system including digital RF transceiver 102, digital processing system 103, storage device 104, input device 105, microphone 105A, audio transducer 108, media processing system 109, sensor(s) 110, and display device 106. Battery 107 may be, for example, a rechargeable or non-rechargeable lithium or nickel metal hydride battery.
Wireless device 100 may also include audio transducers 108, which may include one or more speakers, and at least one microphone 105A.
Wireless device 100 may also include one or more sensors 110 coupled to the digital processing system 103. The sensor(s) 110 may include, for example, one or more of a proximity sensor, accelerometer, touch input panel, ambient light sensor, ambient noise sensor, temperature sensor, gyroscope, a hinge detector, a position determination device, an orientation determination device, a motion sensor, a sound sensor, a radio frequency electromagnetic wave sensor, and other types of sensors and combinations thereof. Based on the data acquired by the sensor(s) 110, various responses may be performed automatically by the digital processing system, such as, for example, activating or deactivating the backlight 106a, changing a setting of the input device 105 (e.g. switching between processing or not processing, as an intentional user input, any input data from an input device), and other responses and combinations thereof.
In one embodiment, digital RF transceiver 102, digital processing system 103 and/or storage device 104 may include one or more integrated circuits disposed on a printed circuit board (PCB).
During operation, the light from the emitter 122 hits an object and scatters when the object is present above the window 126. The light from the emitter may be emitted in square wave pulses which have a known frequency, thereby allowing the detector 124 to distinguish between ambient light and light from emitter 122 which is reflected by an object, such as the user's head or ear or a material in a user's pocket, back to the detector 124. At least a portion of the scattered light is reflected towards the detector 124. The increase in light intensity is detected by the detector 124, and this is interpreted by a processing system (not shown in
In one embodiment, the emitter 122 and detector 124 are disposed within the housing of a portable device, as described above with reference to
A proximity sensor in one embodiment of the inventions includes the ability to both sense proximity and detect electromagnetic radiation, such as light, from a source other than the emitter of the proximity sensor. One implementation of this embodiment may use an emitter of IR light and a detector of IR light to both sense proximity (when detecting IR light from the emitter) and to detect IR light from sources other than the emitter. The use of IR light for both the emitter and the detector of the proximity sensor may be advantageous because IR light is substantially present in most sources of ambient light (such as sunshine, incandescent lamps, LED light sources, candles, and to some extent, even fluorescent lamps). Thus, the detector can detect ambient IR light, which will generally represent, in most environments, ambient light levels at wavelengths other than IR, and use the ambient IR light level to effectively and reasonably accurately represent ambient light levels at wavelengths other than IR.
A method of operating a proximity sensor which includes the ability to both sense proximity and detect light is shown in
It will be appreciated that at least some of the sensors which are used with embodiments of the inventions may determine or provide data which represents an analog value. In other words, the data represents a value which can be any one of a set of possible values which can vary continuously or substantially continuously, rather than being discrete values which have quantum, discrete jumps from one value to the next value. Further, the value represented by the data may not be predetermined. For example, in the case of a distance measured by a proximity sensor, the distance is not predetermined, unlike values of keys on a keypad which represent a predetermined value. For example, a proximity sensor may determine or provide data that represents a distance which can vary continuously or nearly continuously in an analog fashion; in the case of such a proximity sensor, the distance may correspond to the intensity of reflected light which originated from the emitter of the proximity sensor. A temperature sensor may determine or provide data that represents a temperature, which is an analog value. A light sensor, such as an ambient light sensor, may determine or provide data that represents a light intensity which is an analog value. A motion sensor, such as an accelerometer, may determine or provide data which represents a measurement of motion (e.g. velocity or acceleration or both). A gyroscope may determine or provide data which represents a measurement of orientation (e.g. amount of pitch or yaw or roll). A sound sensor may determine or provide data which represents a measurement of sound intensity. For other types of sensors, the data determined or provided by the sensor may represent an analog value.
Exemplary inputs of
Exemplary actions of
AI logic of
In certain embodiments, the AI process may perform traditional methods of pattern recognition on the sensor data. For example, the rate of change of the distance between the device and the user's ear may have a pattern (e.g. revealing a deceleration as the user moves the device closer to their ear), and this pattern in the rate of change of distance may be detected by a pattern matching algorithm. The phrase artificial intelligence is used throughout to mean that a conclusion (whether explicit or implicit) can be drawn from data available from one or more sensors about a mode of usage by the user of the device. This conclusion may or my not be expressed in the device (e.g., the user is talking on the phone ) but it will be mapped to specific actions or settings for the device that would be appropriate if the user was using the device in that way. For example, a telephone may be pre-programmed such that whenever it detects (1) a voice being spoken into the microphone, (2) that the phone is connected to a network, and (3) the proximity sensor is active, then the screen backlight will be dimmed. Such pre-programming may involve simple logic (e.g. simple combinatorial logic), but would nonetheless be within the scope of artificial intelligence as used herein. While learning, statistical analysis, iteration, and other complex aspects of AI can be used with the present invention, they are not required for the basic artificial intelligence contemplated. Likewise, the word analyze does not imply sophisticated statistical or other analysis, but may involve observation of only a single threshold or datum.
The AI processing, in at least certain embodiments, may be performed by a processor or processing system, such as digital processing system 103, which is coupled to the one or more sensors that provide the data which form the inputs to the AI process. It will be appreciated that an AI process may be part of one or more of the methods shown in FIGS. 10 and 11A-11F.
In at least certain embodiments, the device, which operates according to any of those methods, may have at least one input device (e.g. a keypad or keyboard or touch input panel) which is designed to receive intentional user inputs (e.g. which specify a specific user entry) in addition to one or more sensors which are distinct and separate from the at least one input device and which sensors are not designed to receive intentional user inputs. In fact, a user may not even be aware of the presence of the one or more sensors on the device.
Additional information about user activities and/or gestures that can be monitored in accordance with embodiments of the present invention are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/903,964, titled GESTURES FOR TOUCH SENSITIVE INPUT DEVICES, filed Jul. 30, 2004, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/038,590, titled MODE-BASED GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES FOR TOUCH SENSITIVE INPUT DEVICES, filed Jan. 18, 2005, all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
The method 200 may be performed by any one of the devices shown in
The method of
A mode of the device may be used in order to determine whether to or how to adjust a setting of the device. The mode of the device may include any one of a variety of modes or conditions, such as speakerphone mode or non-speakerphone mode, battery powered mode or not battery powered mode, call waiting mode or not call waiting mode, an alert mode in which the device may make a sound, such as the sound of an alarm, etc. The data relating to user activity (e.g. data from one or more sensors, such as a proximity sensor and/or a touch input panel, which is capable of detecting blobs from a face) is analyzed relative to the mode of the device and the analysis attempts to determine whether to adjust a setting of the device. One or more device settings may be adjusted based on the sensed user activity and the device mode. For example, the device may automatically switch from speakerphone mode to non-speakerphone mode when proximity data, and optionally other data (e.g. data from a motion sensor and an ambient light sensor) indicate the user has placed the device, which in this case may be a telephone, next to the user's ear. In this example, the device has automatically switched from speakerphone mode to non-speakerphone mode without any intentional input from the user which indicates that the switch should occur. Another method involves adjusting an alert or alarm volume depending on whether or not the device is near to the user's ear. In this example, if the data relating to user activity indicates that the device is adjacent to the user's ear and if the mode of the device is set such that alarms or alerts will cause the device to make a sound, then the device will automatically change the volume level for an alert or an alarm from a first level to a second level which is not as loud as the first level.
It will be appreciated that a method which uses a display timer, such as those known in the art, may be used in addition to at least certain embodiments of the inventions which adjust illumination settings. For example, in the embodiment shown in
The phrase proximity sensor is used throughout to mean a sensor, such as a capacitive, temperature, inductive, infrared or other variety of sensor, which is capable of detecting whether an object is present within a certain distance of the sensor. A primary object of this detecting may be the head of the user (or any other object that would present viewing of the display screen).
Any of the embodiments of the inventions may include one or more user interface controls which allow a user to override a result caused by one or more sensors. For example, a control, such as a button, may be pressed by the user to cause the display to return to full power after a proximity sensor has caused the display to enter a reduced power consumption state. In another example, the user interface control may be a sensor (or group of sensors), such as an accelerometer, which detects a user interaction with the device (e.g. shaking the device), and the user interaction has been set up to cause an overriding of a state caused by one or more sensors.
Certain embodiments of the inventions may employ one or more light sensors which provide data relating to light, which data is analyzed to determine whether or not to adjust one or more settings of a device, such as wireless device 100. Ambient light level data may be provided by an ambient light sensor which indicates the level of light intensity surrounding that sensor. Ambient light differential data may be obtained from two or more ambient light sensors which are disposed at different positions on the device. For example, one ambient light sensor may be on one side of the device, and another ambient light sensor may be on another side of the device. A different in the light intensity levels may be determined by comparing the data from these two ambient light sensors on two different sides or surfaces of the device. There are a variety of possible uses of a light sensor. A light sensor may be used with a proximity sensor to determine when a device is placed in a pocket to cause the device to be set in vibrate mode only or vibrate mode with audible ringing. In another example, in response to a light sensor determining that the ambient light is very low, and optionally in response to a user having set the device to visibly light up to show an incoming call when the ambient light is very low, the device may automatically be put in a light ring mode when it is dark so that instead of an audible ring from the device, the display flashes visibly (e.g. by repeatedly turning on and off the backlight) to indicate an incoming call. Another exemplary use of a light sensor involves using it as an alarm indicating that a dark room (or environment) has become brighter (e.g. the sun has risen or a door to a darkened room is opened to let light into the room). A light sensor may also be used to cause a device to automatically act as a source of light (e.g. as a flashlight, in effect) upon sensing a low ambient light level.
In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will be evident that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense.