1. Smartscore is a pocket sized device which stores viewer responses electronically. The time of response
is also automatically stored to prevent cheating.
2. Smartscore provides the ultimate in operating simplicity. In one version, the
player does nothing other than select answers using the familiar
technique of marking boxes on a printed form using a pen or pencil. In another version, players simply speak their answers into a tiny recorder.
There are no buttons or switches. The player does not even need
to switch the device on. The possibility of error is therefore
almost nil, and players will not be frightened off by the technology.
3. Smartscore is ideal for viewer participation in TV or radio
game shows and could also be used in promotional competitions,
games of chance, audience response research, at live sporting
events and in any situation which calls for high volume audience
4. Smartscore can be manufactured for less than $10, placing it
well within everyone's reach.
5. Smartscore requires no installation, so an unlimited number
of people can participate immediately the hardware is available.
6. The technology is independent of the television standard, electricity
supply, or language used in any country, so that the same Smartscore
hardware can be applied anywhere in the world.
7. Smartscore does not require Internet, cable or radio transmission and therefore does not require a frequency allocation from the communications
8. Smartscore is patented in the United States. The patent was filed in 1988, putting Smartscore ahead of the pack and offering the patent owners great commercial leverage.
Smartscore is a hand-held device which uses smartcard technology
to provide a means for gathering data from a large number of people
at the same time. About the size of a pocket calculator, Smartscore
has been designed to be easy to use by everyone.
In one version, the "user
interface" consists of an ordinary piece of paper which the
user marks with a pen in the familiar manner. The paper is located
on the surface of the Smartscore so that as penstrokes are made,
the selection made is registered by a touch-sensitive membrane
and stored in solid-state memory. The time at which each response
was made is also stored.
In another version, the player simply speaks the answers into a tiny device which records their answer along with a time-stamp that can subsequently be used for verification.
Smartscore is ideal for applications such as TV game shows, enabling
the viewing audience to compete for prizes. The stored responses
along with the timing information can be downloaded from the Smartscore
to verify that the player did not cheat.
Smartscore is also ideal for many applications in market research
and audience research. In these applications Smartscore enables
large scale and very detailed audience studies to be conducted
economically. The ability to store the timing of responses makes
it possible to analyse audience reaction on a second-to-second
The use of a paper overlay to define the input choices means that
new applications can be implemented simply by devising new overlays. These overlays themselves present tremendous marketing opportunities.
This unique input scheme also provides very low cost hard copy
for players' reference, as well as a tamper-proof electronic record
2.1 INTERACTIVE T.V. SHOWS
In the search for new opportunities to tap the potential of the
millions of passive television viewers, interactive television
is universally recognised as the key to future development. Interactive
television allows viewers to respond to what they see, permitting
them for the first time to participate in game shows, sporting
programs or other programs.
A number of interactive television systems are currently being
trialed, primarily intended for use with gameshows. These systems,
like their predecessors, rely on complex technology for relaying
viewer responses back to the broadcast station, resulting in high
costs for providers and consumers. They are also limited because
they are capable of accessing only a tiny fraction of the viewing
Smartscore overcomes these serious limitations, allowing servicing
of millions of viewers from day one if required, with much lower
establishment costs and per-user costs than any other system.
Smartscore applies the principle of "distributed intelligence"
whereby each player's score is recorded in an individual device
rather than attempting to transmit all the data to a central point
One of the main innovations which enables Smartscore to compete
with expensive 2-way interactive systems is its ability to verify
that viewer responses are made at the time of the broadcast, to
prevent cheating. This makes it ideal for gameshow applications.
2.2 SCORING AND VERIFICATION
Depending on the rules of the game, players can assess their own
scores, and, if only they think they have scored well, do they need to have their results verified. Verification can take many forms. The simplest method might be to return the Smartscore to specified central locations for verification. At these places, a simple interface to a computer connected to the Internet allows a central computer to interrogate the Smartscore to confirm that the winning answers were recorded correctly and at the time the show
was broadcast. In this way, large numbers of players can be assessed
inexpensively. Verification stations can also be the point of
sale of the Smartscores. Alternatively, verification can be done from home, via Internet or telephone.
2.3 PROGRAM FORMATS
Smartscore can be easily adapted to an infinite range of games
of skill or chance. Using printed cards to record responses
offers great scope for novel and varied concepts. For example,
a sponsor's product can be highlighted by the card, the player's
objective being to identify various features of the product. In
the case of the card shown in the photo at the top of this page,
the competition might be to mark the location of various tourist
destinations by writing numbers in the boxes as clues are given
by the presenter.
Another exciting possibility is the use of Smartscore with live
sporting broadcasts. In this case, viewers can predict play, such
as which player will score the next goal, or how many wickets
a bowler will take in the next over.
With the co-operation of producers, Smartscore game cards could
be devised with questions based on the plot of a soap opera, requiring
the player to predict the outcome of the drama as it unfolds.
This represents an enormous opportunity to capitalize on the large
viewership and exceptional viewer loyalty of soap opera followers.
The game would offer an appealing mix of chance and skill, since
the better the player's knowledge of the soap opera, the better
the chance of winning.
Similar competitions can be devised to accompany "reality" TV programs. For example, viewers can attempt to predict who will be the next player voted off the island.
One of Smartscores many exciting possibilities is that games can be devised and executed without the broadcaster's involvement, as no equipment or special programming is required at their end.
Allowing viewers to compete for prizes raises a number of security
issues. In particular, if a show is pre-recorded in front of a
studio audience, members of the audience would know the questions
and answers in advance of the quiz going to air. A similar problem
occurs if the same program is broadcast in different regions at
different times, since it would be easy for someone to communicate
the questions and answers from the region of the first broadcast
to the region of the later broadcast.
These problems are common to all interactive television systems,
and can be solved by producing the "home player" part
of the quiz as a separate segment. This segment is recorded without
an audience, and different sets of questions are used in each
region where the program is to be aired at a different time. This
can be achieved simply by treating the home player segment in
the same way as a commercial, being played at the beginning of
Considerable attention has been given to the electronic design
of Smartscore to ensure that players cannot cheat by tampering
with the device. The key feature which prevents tampering is the
technique used for time-keeping within the Smartscore. This aspect
of the technology, which is also patented, provides
a timing mechanism which does not need any setting, either for
long-term accuracy or to set the time or date initially. This
means that there are no controls to tamper with, eliminating the
possibility of fraud, and greatly simplifying manufacture, sale
and use of Smartscore.
3.0 NOT ONLY FOR TELEVISION
Smartscore applications are not limited to television, nor to
home play; they can also be used "live"; by spectators
at live sporting events, participants in shopping center promotions,
or even movie audiences.
The concept is also ideally suited for use with radio. In fact,
the lower cost of program production might be an advantage. Coupling
interactive entertainment to radio programming offers exciting
possibilities for building audiences and attracting sponsors,
not to mention the considerable profit potential of Smartscore
sales and play fees.
3.1 GAMES OF CHANCE
Smartscore will also find application in a variety of games where
the timing of player selections forms part of the game. For example,
Smartscore could be used to allow spectators to guess the outcome
of a game up to a short time before the start. The portability
and low cost of the device means that each member of a huge audience
can play without the bottlenecks that occur using conventional
Games can be devised which maximise excitement by letting the
player make their selections while an event is going on. For example,
players could play Roulette, placing bets while the wheel is spinning.
In some applications, it may be desirable for the Smartscore to
be a use-once device. For example, the choices could be permanently
printed onto the smartcard, with the intention that it be used
only for one game or series of games. Alternatively, player selections
could be made by scratching off conductive ink printed onto the
device, opening up the possibility of "interactive scratch
3.1 AUDIENCE RESEARCH
As well as unlimited application to games of chance or skill,
Smartscore can be used for a variety of data-gathering uses. For
example, Smartscore can be used to record the response of audiences
to program or advertising content. Each member of the audience
is invited to express their reaction by marking appropriately-printed
cards. The data can then be analysed to reveal audience reaction
on a second-by-second basis.
Because Smartscore is so inexpensive, easily distributed and easily
operated, it enables use of much larger sample sizes for research.
As the data is captured electronically as well as on hard copy,
computer analysis of vast numbers of respondents is easy.
The convenience and low cost of Smartscore means that it is now
cost-effective to conduct very specialised large-scale surveys
and obtain very detailed data.
Thanks to the extreme flexibility of the system it is also possible
to incorporate elements of fun or reward into market or audience
research, resulting in higher participation rates and more accurate
4. LICENSING OPPORTUNITY
Trilateral Technology is the proprietor of Smartscore technology and
applications. We wish to license this property, including the
technology, know-how, and trade mark and patent applications on
an exclusive basis. It is envisaged that the licensee will develop
a number of Smartscore applications and sub-license to a range
of broadcasters or other users around the world. The licensee
would also develop hardware appropriate to the applications and
either carry out manufacture themselves or subcontract as desired.
The licensee will receive revenue from a variety of sources, depending
on how it chooses to exploit the technology. Possible sources
of fees paid to the licensee include:-
- Broadcasters - for exclusive use in a given territory,
- Sponsors - for use of the game-card as a promotional medium,
- Program producers - for incorporation of Smartscore in a game
show or other format.
- Sale of Smartscores - assuming the marketing strategy provides
for a profit on hardware sales.
- Licence fees for other applications, such as market research.
We would also consider offers to purchase the patent outright.
Trilateral Technology owns the following issued patent relating to Smartscore:
United States: 5,453,015 and 6,135,777
Click here to view (right-click for download) a copy of the US patent 5,453,015 in pdf form.