Realtime Data Gathering Card


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 participation.

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 licensing authorities.

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 basis.

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 of responses.


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 public.

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 immediately.

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.


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.


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 the break.


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.


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.


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 wagering systems.

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 lotteries".


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 results.


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:-

  1. Broadcasters - for exclusive use in a given territory,
  2. Sponsors - for use of the game-card as a promotional medium,
  3. Program producers - for incorporation of Smartscore in a game show or other format.
  4. Sale of Smartscores - assuming the marketing strategy provides for a profit on hardware sales.
  5. 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.