Search International and National Patent Collections
Some content of this application is unavailable at the moment.
If this situation persists, please contact us atFeedback&Contact
1. (WO1997015240) VOICE COMMAND AND CONTROL MEDICAL CARE SYSTEM
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

- 23 -

What Is Claimed Is
1. A voice controlled medical care system comprising:
a medical care device to be controlled in accordance with commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands being selected from the group consisting of one of a number of different command words, a command phrase comprising a plurality of said command words, and a mixed phrase comprising at least one of said command words and at least one non-command word;
a microphone for transducing said spoken commands and generating corresponding audio output signals; and
a processor comprising a first port connected to said microphone for receiving said audio output signals, said processor being programmable to substantially continuously monitor said first port for said audio output signals, to process said audio output signals to identify said command words therein, and to generate corresponding control signals for transmission to said medical care device.

2. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said processor comprises at least one port selected from the group consisting of a serial port and a parallel port, and said medical care device is connected to said processor via said port to receive said control signals .

3. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said processor is operable to generate said control signals in a signal type selected from the group consisting of an electrical signal, an infrared signal, an ultrasonic signal, a radio frequency signal, and an electromagnetic signal.

- 24 -

4. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said medical care device comprises at least one controllable device selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device, and further comprising an interface circuit connected to said processor and said medical care device for operating said controllable device in accordance with said control signals .

5. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 4, wherein at least one of said processor and said interface circuit is operable to generate said control signals in a signal type selected from the group consisting of an electrical signal, an infrared signal, an ultrasonic signal, a radio frequency signal, and an electromagnetic signal.

6. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said spoken commands each comprise identification of said medical care device followed by a function of said medical care device that is being requested by said operator.

7. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said medical care device is an active surgical instrument, said processor being programmable to generate said control signals to control said surgical instrument during a surgical procedure.

8. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said medical care device is selected from the group consisting of a laser, an environmental control system, a surgical tool, an imaging device, a microscope, - 25 - patient prosthetic device, a patient mobilization device, and a patient monitoring device .

9. A voice controlled medical care system comprising:
a medical care device to be controlled in accordance with commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands comprising at least one of a number of different command words, said medical care device having a plurality of controllable devices selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device and being configured to operate in a plurality of functional modes by controlling selected ones of said controllable devices;
a microphone for transducing said spoken commands and generating corresponding audio output signals; and
a processor connected to said microphone for receiving said audio output signals, said processor being programmable to process said audio output signals to identify said command words therein, and to generate corresponding control signals for transmission to said medical care device, said control signals comprising data to configure said medical care device to perform an operation selected from the group consisting of changing from one to another one of said plurality of modes, and changing the setting of at least one of said plurality of controllable devices, as requested by said operator in said spoken commands .

10. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said processor is programmed to change settings of selected ones of said plurality of controllable devices and to restrict said operator from changing settings on other ones of said plurality of controllable - 26 - devices , depending on which of a particular one of said plurality of modes has been selected.

11. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 10, further comprising at least one output device selected from the group consisting of a display device and a speaker, said processor being programmable to operate said at least one output device to indicate when said operator is restricted from changing settings on different ones of said plurality of controllable devices.

12. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said processor is programmable to increase and decrease the settings of said plurality of controllable devices in increments .

13. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 12, wherein a characteristic of said control signals selected from the group consisting of duration, magnitude and number of said control signals corresponds to the amount the settings of said plurality of controllable devices are incremented and decremented.

14. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 12, wherein at least one of said plurality of controllable devices is nonlinear, said processor having stored data relating a characteristic of said control signals selected from the group consisting of duration, magnitude and number of said control signals to different settings of said nonlinear controllable device.

15. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 9 , wherein said processor is programmable to - 27 - continuously increase and decrease the settings of said plurality of controllable devices .

16. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 15, wherein a characteristic of said control signals selected from the group consisting of duration, magnitude and number of said control signals corresponds to the amount the settings of said plurality of controllable devices are incremented and decremented.

17. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 15, wherein at least one of said plurality of controllable devices is nonlinear, said processor having stored data relating a characteristic of said control signals selected from the group consisting of duration, magnitude, and number of said control signals to different settings of said nonlinear controllable device.

18. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said processor is programmable to change the settings of said plurality of controllable, devices from a current value to a value specified in said command words .

19. A voice controlled medical care system comprising:
a medical care device to be controlled in accordance with commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands comprising at least one of a number of different command words, said medical care device having a plurality of controllable devices selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device;
a microphone for transducing said spoken commands and generating corresponding audio output signals ;
a processor connected to said microphone for receiving said audio output signals, said processor being - 28 - programmable to process said audio output signals to identify said command words therein, and to generate corresponding control signals for transmission to said medical care device, said control signals comprising data to change the settings of said plurality of controllable devices as requested by said operator in said spoken commands ; and
a speaker connected to said processor;
wherein said spoken commands comprise a status query relating to a selected one of said plurality of controllable devices, said processor being programmable to identify said status query and to provide status data relating to said selected controllable device to said operator via said speaker.

20. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 19 , wherein said processor generates messages comprising said status data using a method selected from the group consisting of playing pre-recorded messages, and synthesizing voice messages using synthesized speech program code.

21. A voice controlled medical care system comprising:
a medical care device to be controlled in accordance with commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands comprising at least one of a number of different command words, said medical care device having a plurality of controllable devices selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device;
a microphone for transducing said spoken commands and generating corresponding audio output signals;
a processor connected to said microphone for receiving said audio output signals, said processor being programmable to process said audio output signals to - 29 - identify said command words therein, and to generate corresponding control signals for transmission to said medical care device, said control signals comprising data to change the settings of said plurality of controllable devices as requested by said operator in said spoken commands ; and
a speaker connected to said processor;
wherein said processor is programmable to provide a confirmation request to change the settings of said plurality of controllable devices as requested by said operator in said spoken commands to said operator via said speaker, and to suspend transmission of said corresponding control signals to said medical care device until said operator provides an acknowledgement command signal via said microphone and said processor identifies said acknowledgement command signal .

22. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 21, wherein said processor generates said confirmation request using a method selected from the group consisting of playing pre-recorded messages, and synthesizing voice messages using synthesized speech program code .

23. A voice controlled medical care system comprising:
at least one surgical tool to be controlled in accordance with commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands comprising at least one of a number of different command words, said surgical tool having a plurality of controllable devices selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device;
a microphone for transducing said spoken commands and generating corresponding audio output signals; and - 30 - a processor connected to said microphone for receiving said audio output signals, said processor being programmable in accordance with program code to process said audio output signals to identify said command words therein, and to generate corresponding control signals for transmission to said surgical tool, said control signals comprising data to change the setting of at least one of said plurality of controllable devices as requested by said operator in said spoken commands, said program code comprising a plurality of files corresponding, respectively, to a plurality of modes for operating said surgical tool, said plurality of files each comprising lists of selected ones of said command words which are valid for said surgical tool when operating in a corresponding one of said plurality of modes, said processor being programmable to use one of said plurality of files corresponding to the present one of said plurality of modes in which said surgical instrument is operating to identify said command words in said audio output signals.

24. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 23, wherein said processor is programmable to access said plurality of files in accordance with a logical sequence set forth in said program code, said logical sequence corresponding to a particular surgical procedure using said surgical tool.

25. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 23, wherein said plurality of files each comprise data allowing said operator to change settings of selected ones of said plurality of controllable devices and to restrict said operator from changing settings of other ones of said plurality of controllable devices, depending on - 31 - which of a particular one of said plurality of modes has been selected.

26. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 23 , wherein said plurality of files each comprise data allowing said operator to go to selected ones of said plurality of modes, while restricting said operator from changing to certain other ones of said plurality of modes , depending on the particular one of said plurality of modes in which said surgical tool is operating.

27. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 23, further comprising a plurality of surgical tools, wherein said program code comprises at least one file for each of said plurality of surgical tools, said file comprising a list of selected ones of said command words which are valid for said surgical tool when said surgical tool is in use.

28. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 27, wherein said processor is programmable to use said file corresponding to an active one of said plurality of surgical tools to identify said command words in said audio output signals .

29. A method of controlling a medical care system, comprising the steps of:
receiving audio signals corresponding to commands spoken by an operator, said spoken commands being selected from the group consisting of one of a number of different command words, a command phrase comprising a plurality of said command words, and a mixed phrase comprising at least one of said command words and at least one non-command word;

- 32 - identifying said command words in said audio signals ; and
controlling a medical care device in accordance with said command words .

30. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said controlling step comprises the step of generating a control signal for transmission to said medical care device, said control signal selected from the group consisting of an electrical signal, an infrared signal, an ultrasonic signal, a radio frequency signal, and an electromagnetic signal.

31. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said medical care device comprises a plurality of controllable devices selected from the group consisting of a variable input device and a variable output device and is configured to operate in a plurality of functional modes by controlling selected ones of said plurality of controllable devices, and said controlling step comprises the step of generating data to configure said medical care device to perform an operation selected from the group consisting of changing from one to another one of said plurality of modes , and changing the setting of at least one of said plurality of controllable devices, as requested by said operator in said spoken commands.

32. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 31, wherein said controlling step further comprises the step of restricting said operator from changing the setting of selected ones of said plurality of controllable devices, depending on the particular one of - 33 - said plurality of modes in which said medical care device is operating.

33. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 31, wherein said controlling step comprises the steps of increasing and decreasing the setting of a selected one of said plurality of controllable devices in increments in accordance with said spoken commands .

34. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 31, wherein said controlling step comprises the steps of increasing and decreasing the setting of a selected one of said plurality of controllable devices continuously in accordance with said spoken command .

35. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 31, wherein at least one of said plurality of controllable devices is nonlinear, said controlling step comprising the steps of:
defining a relationship between different settings of said nonlinear controllable device and a characteristic of said control signals selected from the group consisting of duration, magnitude, and number of said control signals;
storing data relating to said relationship; and
accessing said data to operate said nonlinear controllable device in accordance with said spoken commands .

36. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 31, wherein said controlling step further comprises the step of restricting said operator from changing to certain other ones of said plurality of modes, - 34 - depending on the particular one of said plurality of modes in which said medical care device is operating.

37. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said spoken commands comprise a status query command, said controlling step comprising the step of generating a message reporting a condition of said medical care device in accordance with said status query command.

38. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 37, wherein said generating step comprises the step of retrieving prerecorded messages from a memory device using a processor.

39. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 37, wherein said generating step comprises the step of creating synthesized messages using a speech synthesizer.

40. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said identifying step further comprises the step of generating a confirmation message .

41. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 40, wherein said identifying step further comprises the steps of :
suspending said controlling step;
receiving additional ones of said audio signals;
determining if said spoken commands corresponding to said additional ones of said audio signals comprise an acknowledgment command;

- 35 - commencing said controlling step if said acknowledgement is identified in said spoken words and is affirmative; and
canceling said controlling step if said acknowledgement is identified in said spoken words and is negative.

42. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 41, wherein said identifying step further comprises the step of canceling said controlling step if said acknowledgement is not received.

43. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said medical care device is a surgical tool, and said identifying step comprises the step of accessing a file corresponding to said surgical tool, said file comprising a list of valid commands for operating said surgical tool.

44. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said medical care device is a surgical tool, and said identifying step comprises the step of accessing a plurality of files corresponding to said surgical tool, said files corresponding, respectively, to different modes of operating said surgical tool, each of said files comprising a list of valid commands for operating said surgical tool in said corresponding mode , said list of valid commands restricting access to selected ones of said plurality of files while an active one of said plurality of files is accessed in accordance with a logical sequence for performing a surgical procedure using said surgical tool .

36 —

45. A method of controlling a medical care system as claimed in claim 29, wherein said medical device comprises a plurality of surgical tools, and said identifying step comprises the step of accessing a file selected from a plurality of files corresponding, respectively, to a plurality of surgical tools, said selected file comprising a list of selected ones of said command words which are valid for a selected one of said plurality of surgical tools when said selected surgical tool is in use .

46. A voice controlled medical care system as claimed in claim 45, wherein said identifying step further comprises the step of using said file corresponding to said selected surgical tool to identify said command words in said audio output signals.