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1. WO2020108776 - APPARATUS FOR GENERATING COMPUTER-READABLE INSTRUCTIONS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

Apparatus for generating computer readable instructions

This invention concerns an apparatus for generating computer-readable instructions as defined in claim 1.

Animations of lighting devices are becoming increasingly important in the development of motor vehicles. For example, headlights, indicators, brake lights and other lighting devices can be controlled in such a way that certain animations are displayed, for ex ample when the vehicle is unlocked or locked. Even during normal vehicle operation, a turn signal or a brake light with a specific animation may light up.

It is known that computer-readable instructions for such animations are stored in a memory of a controller for the lighting device so that they can be executed if neces sary. However, the storage space is limited so that only a limited number of anima tions can be stored.

In the state of the art, the animations are first created using a computer with a virtual object. Animations are created by describing the state of the lighting device at a dis crete step in time. The lighting device comprises several light sources. The state of the lighting device at a discrete step in time is described by a vector containing an illumi nation value for each of the light sources. The illumination value describes the bright ness of the corresponding light source. If the user is satisfied with the animations, the computer-readable instructions for a controller of the corresponding lighting device of the motor vehicle are generated. The lighting device comprises several light sources. The instructions define a time sequence in which the light sources are switched on and off.

It is an object of the present invention to create an apparatus with which computer-readable instructions can be generated more easily. In addition, a system with such an apparatus and a method for simpler generation of computer-readable instructions shall be created.

This object is solved by an apparatus according to claim 1 , a system according to claim 8 and a procedure according to claim 10. Embodiments of the invention are specified in the dependent claims.

The apparatus comprises a memory means, a processing means, an input means and a display means. In the context of this description, a memory means is understood in particular as a computer-readable memory means. Data can be permanently stored digitally in the memory means. Permanent storage means in particular that the data remain stored even if the storage medium is de-energized for several minutes. For the purposes of this description, processing means shall mean in particular a means adapted to process computer-readable instructions. For example, it could be a digital processor. In the context of this description, an input means is a means by which in puts can be made on a computer. A computer mouse and/or keyboard, for example, can be part of the input means. In the context of this description, a display means is understood to be a means which is adapted to visually display digital data. For exam ple, it could comprise a computer monitor.

Second computer-readable instructions are permanently stored on the memory means. The second computer-readable instructions are adapted cause the processing means to display a virtual object on the display means. The virtual object comprises several illumination sources. For example, the virtual object may be a virtual lighting device of a motor vehicle, such as a headlamp or indicator. The illumination sources can each be displayed on the display means in a switched-on and a switched-off state. In the switched-on state, the brightness of the illumination sources ca be varied. It is possible that the processing means is also caused by the second computer-read able instructions to vary the brightness of the illumination sources. It is also possible that the processing means is caused by the second computer-readable instructions to switch the illumination sources to certain colors.

The processing means is also adapted to receive animation data via the input means. The animation data includes information about an order or a sequence in which the il lumination sources are to be displayed when switched on and off. If the brightness of the illumination sources can be varied, the animation data may also comprise infor mation about the brightness of the illumination sources. If the color of the illumination sources can be varied, the animation data may also comprise information about the color of the illumination sources. Thus, by means of different switching orders of the illumination sources, animations can be displayed on the virtual object.

The second computer-readable instructions are also adapted to cause the processing means to automatically generate the first computer-readable instructions using the in formation from the animation data. Automatic generation means in particular that the first computer-readable instructions are generated automatically by the processing means without the user having to input these instructions via the input means. The in formation from the animation data is sufficient for the processing means to generate the first computer-readable instructions. The user does not need to input any further information.

The first computer-readable instructions are adapted to cause a controller to switch light sources of a real object on and off using the information from the animation data. The number and arrangement of the light sources correspond approximately to the number and arrangement of the illumination sources of the virtual object. In the con text of this description, the term "approximate" is understood in particular to mean that a deviation in the number and/or arrangement is only possible to such an extent that an overall impression is retained. In particular, it is also possible that the number and arrangement of the light sources correspond exactly to the number and arrangement of the illumination sources.

It is possible that the light sources’ brightness and/or color can be varied, when the light sources are switched on. If this is the case, the first computer-readable instruc tions may be adapted to cause the controller to control the light sources’ brightness and/or color.

The real object can in particular correspond to the virtual object. This means that it looks the same from the outside. In particular, it is possible that the real object is a lighting device of a motor vehicle, such as a headlamp, indicator or brake light.

By automatically generating the first computer-readable instructions using the infor mation from the animation data, the first computer-readable instructions can contain information about an order or a sequence in which the light sources are to be switched on and off and if their brightness is to be changed. Since the first computer-readable instructions are generated automatically, their generation is much easier than when a user has to input the instructions manually.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the processing means may be adapted to receive object information and to use the object information for displaying the virtual object on the display means. The object information can, for example, be part of data of a CAD program, where CAD stands for "Computer Aided Design". The reception of the object information can be triggered by the input means.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the processing means may be adapted to determine the number and arrangement of the illumination sources from the object information. If the virtual object corresponds to a real object, the illumination source can look like light-emitting diodes. The workload is reduced by the automatic determi nation of the number and arrangement of the illumination sources. A user does not have to manually define the number and arrangement of illumination sources for the virtual object.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the information in the animation data can include information about a movement of an animation object in at least one spa tial dimension in a virtual coordinate system. It should be noted that the virtual coordi nate system does not necessarily have to be displayed on the display means. It is mainly used to define the movement of the animation object. The use of information about the movement of the animation object is advantageous in order to reduce the

amount of memory required, in particular for storing the first computer-readable in structions. For example, an animation can be described by a uniform, accelerated and/or decelerated movement of the animation object with relatively little data. The il lumination sources or light sources that lie within the animation object are switched on. Additionally, their brightness may be varied based on the animation data. The illumina tion sources or light sources that lie outside the animation object are switched off.

More memory is needed to describe the same animation with individual on and off in structions for each individual illumination source or light source. In a very simple case, the animation object may for example comprise a geometrical object like a rectangle, a triangle or a circle. In a more complicated case, the animation object may comprise several geometrical objects. It is also possible, that the animation object comprises one or more images and/or videos. It is even possible that the animation object com prises information about one or several color(s) of the animation object.

The animation data may also comprise information pre-defined pixel data, an anima tion of pre-defined pixel data and/or a live pixel data stream. In these cases, the ani mation displayed by the illumination sources and/or light sources can contain these data. The live pixel data stream may for example comprise video data recorded at the same time as the light sources are switched on and off.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the processing means may be adapted to display the movement of the animation object on the display means by switching the illumination sources to the switched-on and to the switched-off state respectively. Additionally, their brightness and/or color may be varied. In this way it is possible to show a user directly how the animation looks like. The user can then decide whether he wants to implement this animation on a real object. If an implementation is to take place, the first computer-readable instructions are automatically generated.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the apparatus may comprise a central computer and several peripheral computers. The central computer is connected to the peripheral computers via a network connection. The memory means and the pro-

cessing means are components of the central computer. The input means and the dis play means are components of one of the peripheral computers. This embodiment is advantageous because the second computer-readable instructions do not have to be stored on each of the peripheral computers. If the second computer-readable instruc tions are to be changed, this can be done on the central computer. It is not necessary to make changes to each of the peripheral computers in order to make the changed second computer-readable instructions available to as many users as possible.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the real object can be part of a motor vehicle. Also, in this embodiment, the virtual object and the real object can correspond to each other. For example, the real object may be a lighting device of a motor vehicle. The virtual object can represent this lighting device virtually. In automotive engineer ing, animations are particularly frequently used on lighting devices. At the same time, the storage space available in the controllers of the lighting devices is very limited. Therefore, the use of the apparatus to generate computer readable instructions in re lation to a lighting device of a motor vehicle is particularly advantageous.

The system referred to in Claim 8 comprises an apparatus according to an embodi ment of the invention, the controller and the real object.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the processing means may be adapted to transmit the first computer-readable instructions to the controller. The controller may be adapted to permanently store and execute the first computer-readable instructions. When executing the first computer-readable instructions, the controller is caused to switch the light sources of the real object on and off using the information from the ani mation data. Additionally, the controller may vary their brightness and/or color. The number and arrangement of the light sources can approximately correspond to the number and arrangement of the illumination sources. In particular, it is also possible that the number and arrangement of the light sources correspond exactly to the num ber and arrangement of the illumination sources.

According to the method of claim 10, a virtual object is displayed on a display means. The virtual object comprises several illumination sources, each of which can be dis played in a switched-on and a switched-off state. It is also possible that the illumina tion sources’ brightness and/or color can be varied. Animation data, for example trig gered by an input means, is received. The animation data includes information about an order or a sequence in which the illumination sources are to be displayed when switched on and off. Optionally, the animation data can also comprise information about the illumination sources’ brightness and/or color. For example, the information in the animation data can include information about the motion of a animation object in at least one spatial dimension in a virtual coordinate system.

First computer-readable instructions are then generated automatically using the ani mation data. The first computer-readable instructions can also include information about the movement of the animation object. The first computer-readable instructions are adapted to cause a controller to switch light sources on and off in a real object with the light sources, wherein the controller uses the information from the animation data. Optionally, the first computer-readable instructions are adapted to case the controller to vary the light sources’ brightness and/or color. The number and arrangement of the light sources can approximately correspond to the number and arrangement of the illu mination sources. In particular, it is also possible that the number and arrangement of the light sources correspond exactly to the number and arrangement of the illumina tion sources.

The controller may, for example, be a controller for a lighting device of a motor vehi cle. The real object can be, for example, the lighting device. The virtual object can be a virtual representation of this lighting device.

Embodiments of the method may also have features disclosed in this description in re lation to the apparatus or the system.

The invention is explained in more detail below on the basis of the attached drawings.

Fig. 1 shows a schematic flowchart of a method according to an embodiment of the invention; and

Fig. 2 shows a schematic representation of an apparatus according to an embod iment of the invention.

The method begins in step 100 with the creation of object information that is used to display a virtual object on a display means in step 101. The virtual object may, for ex ample, be a virtual lighting device of a motor vehicle, such as a headlamp, brake light or indicator. The object information can include CAD data in particular. The virtual ob ject includes illumination sources. In step 101 , a user can define animation data that includes information about an order or a sequence in which the illumination sources are to be displayed when switched on and off. The animation data may also comprise information about the illumination sources’ brightness and/or color. The animation is displayed by the virtual object by switching the illumination sources on and off in a cer tain order and, optionally, by varying the illumination sources’ brightness and/or color.

The animation can, for example, be defined by the movement of an animation object in a virtual coordinate system. It can, for example, comprise a circle, a rectangle, a square, a triangle, which is moved in at least one dimension. The virtual coordinate system lies above, within or below the virtual object and the illumination sources within the virtual object are switched on. This is a very simple way to create an animation. In addition, less storage space is required because the movement of the animation ob ject can be described with relatively little data and there is no need to store individual instructions for each individual illumination source.

Once the user has created an animation that he wants to transfer to a real object, a real sample can be created in step 102. This may be, for example, a sample of a real lighting device of a motor vehicle. The sample looks optically like the virtual object. In particular, the sample has the same number and arrangement of light sources as the number and arrangement of illumination sources of the virtual object. The animation can be viewed on the sample in reality by the user.

In step 103, the user then decides whether to change the animation. If so, step 101 is executed again. If no changes are to be made, first computer-readable instructions are automatically generated in step 104. The first computer-readable instructions are adapted to cause a controller of a lighting device of a motor vehicle to switch the light sources of the lighting device on and off using the information from the animation data. Optionally, the first computer-readable instructions may also be adapted to cause the controller to vary the light sources’ brightness and/or color. When the first computer-readable instructions are executed by the controller, the animation is displayed by the lighting device. In this case, the lighting device is a real object that corresponds to the virtual object. The number and arrangement of the light sources of the real lighting de vice correspond to the number and arrangement of the illumination sources of the vir tual lighting device.

In step 105, the first computer-readable instructions are then transmitted to the con troller of the lighting device and permanently stored in the controller. The lighting de vice is then adapted to display the animation by switching the light sources on and off and, optionally, varying their brightness and/or color. It is particularly advantageous that the information from the animation data obtained in the first computer-readable in structions includes the movement of the animation object in the virtual coordinate sys tem. As already mentioned, this requires very little memory space to store various ani mations. Storage space is usually very limited in controllers of automotive lighting de vices.

The apparatus 200 comprises memory means 201 , processing means 202, input means 203 and display means 204. The memory means 201 is adapted to perma nently store second computer-readable instructions. Processing means 202 is adapted to execute these second computer-readable instructions. When these second computer-readable instructions are executed, the processing means 202 is caused to execute a method according to an embodiment of the invention. For example, pro cessing means 202 may comprise a processor of a computer.

Input means 203 may include, for example, a keyboard and/or a computer mouse. For example, the display means 204 may include a monitor. On the display means 204 the virtual object can be displayed to the user. With the input means 203 the user can generate the animation data and trigger the automatic generation of the first computer-readable instructions.

List of reference numerals

100 Creation of object information

101 Displaying a virtual object

102 Making a sample

103 Decision as to whether changes are to be made

104 Generation of first computer-readable instructions

105 T ransmission of first computer-readable instructions to a controller

200 Apparatus

201 Memory means

202 Processing means

203 Input means

204 Display means