|United States Patent
,   et al.
June 22, 1993
Subliminal device having manual adjustment of perception level of
A method and apparatus for presenting subliminal visual and/or audio
messages which allows user verification of message content and presence,
as well as proper adjustment of message obviousness while accounting for
ambient conditions and user sensitivities is disclosed. This method and
apparatus also presents synchronized reinforced sensory input of
subliminal messages. This is performed by simultaneously overlaying images
received from a VCR over a plurality of television signals. This apparatus
directs overlay images over RF television signals having both audio and
Backus; Alan L. (Beverly Hills, CA);
Popeil; Ronald (Beverly Hills, CA);
Walsh; Casey (Medford, OR);
Lawson; Jerry (Santa Clara, CA)
Popeil Industries, Inc. (Beverly Hills, CA)
August 14, 1990|
|Current U.S. Class:
||348/563; 348/687; 434/236; 434/307R |
|Field of Search:
U.S. Patent Documents
|3060795||Oct., 1962||Corrigan et al.
|4616261||Oct., 1986||Crawford et al.
|4777529||Oct., 1988||Schultz et al.
Primary Examiner: Groody; James J.
Assistant Examiner: Powell; Mark R.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Keck, Mahin & Cate
Parent Case Text
This application is a continuation in part of co-pending application U.S.
patent Ser. No. 252,667, Filed Oct. 3, 1988 and titled APPARATUS FOR
GENERATING SUPERIMPOSED TELEVISION IMAGES, now abandoned.
1. Apparatus for presenting reinforced sensory subliminal messages,
means for receiving a first visual signal and a first audio signal from a
stored source, with said first visual and said first audio signals being
in synchronization with each other,
means for adjusting said first visual signal to a subliminal level,
means for adjusting said first audio signal to a subliminal level,
means for receiving a second visual signal,
means for combining said first visual signal with said second visual signal
such that said first visual signal is subliminal and said second visual
signal is supraliminal,
means for delivering said combined first and second visual signals to a
means for outputting said first audio signal.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a source means for storing
a first visual signal and a first audio signal in synchronization with
each other, and said means for receiving is coupled to and receives from
the source means the synchronized said first visual signal and said first
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said source means is a player of
recorded video media.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a stored first visual
signal and audio signal in synchronization stored in said source means,
said first video signal and said first audio signal both carrying
behavorial modification messages.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said behavorial modification messages
are self-help messages.
6. Apparatus comprising:
means for receiving a first visual signal containing self help messages,
means for receiving a second visual signal,
means for combining said first and said second visual signal,
visual presentation means for visually presenting a visual signal,
means for delivering said combined first and second visual signals to said
visual presentation means,
control means, controllable by the viewer of said combined first and second
visual signals, for infinitely adjusting said first visual signal
containing said self help messages from being clearly visible on the
visual presentation means to subliminal on the visual presentation means,
for adjusting for user sensitivities, and verifying the presence of,
visual subliminal signals.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein said second visual signal is a
8. Apparatus of claim 7, further comprising:
means for receiving an audio signal carrying self help messages,
means for outputting said audio signal,
second control means, controllable by the listener of said self help
messages, for infinitely adjusting said audio signal from a level of said
self help messages being clearly audible to a level of said self help
messages being subliminal, for adjusting to user sensitivities, and
verifying the presence of audio subliminal messages.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 further comprising recorded media means
containing said self help messages and said means for receiving said audio
signal being coupled to said recorded media means to receive said audio
10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said recorded media means also
contains said first visual signals in the form of television signals.
11. A apparatus for presenting subliminal self help messages, comprising:
first receiver means for receiving one or more television signals from a
source for one or more television signals, said first receiver means
including first connection means mounted on the housing for connecting
with a source of one or more television signals and first circuit means
mounted in said housing coupled to said first connection means for
receiving the television signals from the first connection means,
second receiver means for receiving a video signal containing self help
messages from a source of a video signal containing self help messages,
said second receiver means including second connection means mounted on
the housing for connecting with a video signal containing self help
messages, and second circuit means mounted on the housing coupled to said
second connection means for receiving the video signal from said second
combining means mounted on said housing for combining said video signal
containing self help messages with said one or more television signals,
means mounted on the housing for outputting said combined video and
television signals to a television display means for presentation to a
control means manually controllable by the viewer mounted on the housing
for controlling said video signal containing self help messages to a
subliminal level as presented on the television display means.
12. The combination of an apparatus as claimed in claim 11, further
comprising a video tape recorder containing recorded video media coupled
thereto wherein the recorded video media constitutes the source of the
video signal containing self help messages.
13. A method for presenting reinforced sensory subliminal messages,
comprising the steps of:
receiving a first visual signal and a first audio signal from a stored
source, with said first visual and said first audio signals being in
synchronization with each other,
adjusting said first visual signal to a subliminal level,
adjusting said first audio signal to a subliminal level,
receiving a second visual signal,
combining said first visual signal with said second visual signal such that
said first visual signal is subliminal and said second visual signal is
delivering said combined first and second visual signals to a display
outputting said first audio signal.
14. A method for adjusting for user sensitivities, and verifying the
presence of, visual subliminal signals, comprising the steps of:
receiving a first visual signal containing self help messages,
receiving a second visual signal,
combining said first and said second visual signal,
delivering said combined first and second visual signals to a visual
adjusting said first visual signal containing said self help messages from
being clearly visible on the visual presentation device to subliminal on
the visual presentation device.
15. The method of claim 14, further comprising the steps of:
receiving an audio signal carrying self help messages,
outputting said audio signal,
adjusting said audio signal from a level of said self help messages being
clearly audible to a level of said self help messages being subliminal for
adjusting to user sensitivities, and verifying the presence of audio
FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention relates to apparatus and methods of producing
subliminal signals. More particularly, the present invention relates to
apparatus and methods of causing visual and/or audio subliminal signals to
be produced. More particularly still, the present invention relates to
apparatus and methods causing the production of subliminal visual and/or
audio signals which may influence an individual's behavior.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Many apparatus are in the market place today which purport to influence
individuals' behavior through use of signals presented below the level of
the individual's conscious awareness. Among uses for these subliminal
message presentation devices, they are well accepted as a form of
selfhelp. Applications for such device include: loosing weight, stopping
smoking, developing better study habits, etc.
Such devices are found in several forms. One of the most common of these
forms is audio cassette tapes with music or natural sounds, such as waves
or wind, masking verbal audio suggestions. Individuals play these tapes in
their stereos or portable tape players, generally while working, resting
or conducting other activities.
Another common form of subliminal device found in the market today is
subliminal video cassette tapes. Such tapes generally show relaxing
scenes; such as a beach at sunset or a pine forest in the mountains, while
presenting sound tracks of music or natural sounds. Subliminal messages
may be present in the visual and-or the audio portion of such tapes. These
tapes require the individual to watch a television set to get the tapes'
Many problems are presented by these subliminal devices. First, there is no
way an individual may verify if any subliminal messages are being
presented by such devices. By definition, the messages presented are at
levels which are not readily detectable.
Continuing, there is no way an individual may positively verify what
subliminal messages he or she is receiving. This is a major drawback
because an individual must trust the manufacturer to place correct and
positive subliminal messages on the tape. Some of these devices supply
scripts and-or recordings of what they claim has been subliminally
recorded. But there is no proof that these are accurate.
Next, there is no way an individual may adjust the level at which such
subliminal messages are presented. These devices have their subliminal
messages recorded at a fixed level of obviousness relative to their visual
and/or audio masking signals. An individual has no means to alter this
Next, there is no way an individual may adjust the level of the subliminal
signal to account for local environmental conditions. As an example, a
subliminal audio tape being played in a quiet room may have its messages
presented at an acceptable level of obviousness, but the same tape played
in a noisy room may have its messages drowned out and reduced to a level
which has no influence whatsoever, even on an individual's subconscious.
Next, there is no way an individual may adjust the level of the subliminal
signal to account for the individual's own levels of perceptions and
awareness. Some individuals are keenly aware of low level visual and/or
audio signals while others take little or no notice of the same signals.
But current devices have no means for an individual to adjust subliminal
signals to account for their own sensitivities.
These devices also compel individuals to listen to and/or watch the same
masking signals every time the device is used. A water fall scene or a
passage of music may seem pleasing on its first playing, but after several
repetitions, an individual may not wish to continue using the device.
OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
In view of the foregoing drawbacks and deficiencies of the prior art, it is
an object of the present invention to present properly adjusted subliminal
signals which may be masked by a variety of supraliminal signals.
Readers will find further objects and advantages of the present invention
from a consideration of the ensuing description and the accompanying
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The preset invention provides means for an individual to manually adjust,
from supraliminal to subliminal levels, the level of obviousness of
subliminal signals he or she is receiving. An embodiment using the present
invention comprises: means to receive signals to be presented
subliminally; means to mix such signals with supraliminally presented
signals; and means that the individual receiving the subliminal signals
may use to smoothly and infinitely adjust such subliminal signals' level
of obviousness from supraliminal to subliminal.
The present invention allows individuals to verify the presence and content
of subliminal signals they are receiving by providing the individuals with
means to smoothly and infinitely adjust the signals from supraliminal to
subliminal levels of obviousness.
The present invention allows individuals to smoothly adjust the obviousness
of subliminal signals they are receiving to account for local
environmental conditions and/or individual levels of perception and
The present invention eliminates the necessity to repetitiously review
supraliminal masking signals by providing means to mix its subliminal
signals with a variety of supraliminal masking signals.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of a device built in accordance with the
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of apparatus utilizing the present invention
showing interconnections. It is to be noted that the apparatus 20 is not
shown in proportion to scale.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary setup utilizing the present
FIG. 4 is a block diagram of apparatus built in accordance with the present
FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram of apparatus built in accordance with the
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIGS. 2 through 5, the apparatus 20:
accepts input 25 from a source for one or more television signals such as a
television cable or antenna 24
sends output 32 to a VCR 28 "RF in" jack 34
accepts input 36 from a VCR 28 "video out" jack 38
accepts input 40 from a VCR 28 "audio out" jack 42
accepts input 44 from a VCR 28 "RF out" jack 46
and sends output 48 to a television 50 antenna or cable input 54.
The apparatus 20 has two modes of operation, those of normal and subliminal
operation. A switch 56, shown in FIG. 1, controls which mode the apparatus
is in. An indicator D3 58 proximate to the switch 56 glows when the
apparatus 20 is in subliminal operating mode.
In normal mode, the television 50 and VCR 28 operate as if the apparatus
was not present. That is, a tape placed in the VCR will play or record in
conventional fashion, and the television 50 will display the VCR output or
tuned television signals as if the apparatus 20 was not present.
In subliminal mode, the apparatus selectively altars portions of all
television signals emanating from the television cable or antenna 24 and
going to the television 50. The particular alterations in the circuit
specified cause an intermittent partial or complete attenuation of all
television signals emanating from the television cable or antenna 24.
Other alterations are also feasible such as intermittently: amplifying,
phase shifting, etc., the television signals. These alterations of the
television signals cause subliminal messages to appear on the video
monitor coexistent with the video signals appearing during normal
Referring to FIG. 4, a device constructed in accordance with one embodiment
of the present invention comprises seven components, including a voltage
regulator 10, an audio amplifier 12, a video threshold convertor 14, RF
protection 16, an RF amplifier/buffer 18, a switchable RF attenuator 19,
and a normal/subliminal selector switch 17. The voltage regulator 10
receives a 9 volt DC input from a standard plug-in wall transformer which
output which provides an input voltage to the RF amplifier/buffer 18, the
switchable RF attenuator 19, the video threshold converter 14 and the
audio amplifier 12. The RF protection circuit 16 receives an RF signal
from a cable or antenna. If the apparatus is in the non-operational mode,
the RF signal is passed directly as an RF input to the VCR. If the
apparatus is in the operational mode, the RF signal from the cable or
antenna is passed through the circuit in order of RF protection circuit
16, the RF amplifier/buffer 18, the switchable RF attenuator 19, the
normal/subliminal selector switch 17 and to the RF input of a television.
The video threshold convertor 14 receives a video output signal from a VCR
and generates an output signal to the switchable RF attenuator 19. The
normal/subliminal selector switch 17 receives an RF signal from a VCR. As
suggested by the designation "normal/subliminal" the output signal from
the VCR may be a subliminal visual and/or audio signal such as a self help
message that does not produce a conscious sensation or perception in the
viewer. If the apparatus is in the non-operational state, normal mode, the
RF signal to the television is the output from the switchable RF
attenuator 19. The audio amplifier 12 receives an audio signal from a VCR
and generates an audio output.
Referring to FIG. 5, the voltage regulator 10 of FIG. 4 is represented in
principal part by the capacitors C1 and C2, the resistor R7, the LED D3
and the integrated circuit U1. The input to the voltage regulator 10 is a
9 volt DC 100 milliamp signal from a standard plug-in wall transformer
connected to the power jack J7. The capacitor C1 is used to filter the
rectified DC voltage presented at power jack J7. The integrated circuit U1
is a standard linear integrated circuit implemented to regulate the
unstable DC voltage presented by C1 to a definable 6 volts DC. The
capacitor C2 is used to assist U1 by acting as an energy storage device,
thus providing energy when an instantaneous high current event takes
place. The LED D3 is used as a visual annunciator to signify that the
device is both powered up and operating in the composite image generating
mode. The resistor R7 is used to regulate the current through (and thus
the brightness of) the LED D3. The voltage regulator output is represented
by VCC and is a stable six volt DC signal.
The optional audio amplifier 12 of FIG. 4 is represented in principal part
by the resistor R13, the variable resistor R9, the capacitor C10, the
integrated circuit U2 and the speaker SP1. The input to the audio
amplifier is an audio output signal from a VCR or the like. The resistor
R13 is used to limit the AC voltage presented to the audio amplifier U2.
This limits the maximum volume setting to a level within the
specifications of U2. The variable resistor R9 is used to control the AC
voltage presented to the audio amplifier U2. This is the audio message
volume control which smoothly or infinitely controls the volume of the
audio message. The integrated circuit U2 is implemented as an audio
amplifier. In the present embodiment, U2 is a low voltage audio power
amplifier available from National Semiconductor Corporation, bearing the
designation LM386. The LM386 is an eight pin power amplifier for use in
low voltage applications. In the present application, pins 2, 3, 4, 5, and
6 are utilized as shown in FIG. 2 such that U2 provides a maximum usable
power output of 250 milliwatts at 8 ohms.
Video signals from the VCR are received by the jack J1 and delivered to the
video threshold convertor 14. Intermittent alterations occur as determined
by these video signals emanating from the video out jack 38 on the VCR 28.
These signals enter the apparatus through a jack J1, 36 of FIG. 2, and are
thresholded by the video thresholding circuit 14 which strips the video
signals of their synchronization pulses and thresholds them into binary
on/off signals. As the name video thresholding circuit implies, both
processes of normal and subliminal operation are accomplished
simultaneously by creating an "on" signal when the incoming video signal
is above a predetermined threshold level, and by creating an "off" signal
at all other times.
The video threshold convertor is represented in principal part by the
capacitors C8 and C11, the resistors R8, R12 and R15, the variable
resistor R11 and the integrated circuit U3. The input to the video
threshold convertor is a video signal from a VCR or the like provided at
the jack J1. The resistor R8 provides DC termination of the composite
video signal presented at J1. The capacitor C11 is used to AC couple the
standard video signal presented at J1 with the signal required by the
voltage comparator U3. That is, the capacitor C11 removes the DC component
from the J1 video signal. The variable resistor R11 is used to set the DC
bias point of the negative input of the voltage comparator U3. This
variable resistor may be replaced by two fixed resistors once an optimum
setting (ratio) is determined. The resistors R12 and R15 are used to set
the DC bias point of the positive input of the voltage comparator U3. The
capacitor C8 is used as an energy storage device providing the voltage
comparator U3 with the instantaneous current required during switching.
This capacitor should be located as near to the voltage comparator U3 as
is physically possible. The integrated circuit U3 is an 8 pin voltage
comparator whose internal output transistor switches on in the event that
the DC level-shifted composite video signal presented to its negative
input becomes greater than the static DC voltage presented to its positive
input. In the present embodiment, U3 is a voltage comparator available
from National Semiconductor Corporation, bearing the designation LM311. As
shown in FIG. 2, pins 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8 are employed. The output of U3
is provided at pin 7. As hereinafter discussed, this output is adjusted to
eliminate the standard television synchronization pulses from the VCR
video signal as well as low luminance background noise. The video
threshold converter output at pin 7 of the comparator U3 provides an RF
attenuation signal to the switchable RF attenuator.
The thresholded binary on/off signals are then sent to a switchable RF
attenuator 19 which attenuates the RF television signal(s) passing from
the television cable or antenna 24 to the television 50 when an "on"
signal is received from the video threshold circuit. The apparatus'
circuit is configured so that when the video signal from jack 38 enters
jack J1 36 of the video threshold convertor 14 the signal carries a
section of a video image which is white or near white when displayed on a
television or video monitor, an "on" signal representing the video signal
is above the threshold level is sent to the switchable RF attenuator 19.
The switchable RF attenuator 19 is represented in principal part by the
capacitor C7, the resistors R6, R10 and R17, the variable resistor R14 and
the diodes D1 and D2. The resistor R6 is used to cause the RF signal(s)
presented by the RF amplifier/buffer to center around the regulated 6 volt
power signal. The diodes D1 and D2 are used to reduce the effective AC
resistance of this signal path by an adjustable amount. Reducing the AC
resistance causes a determinable RF attenuation.
The RF television signal(s) passing from the television cable or antenna 24
is inputted into the device through a jack J3, 25 to FIG. 2, which
connects to the switchable RF attenuator 19 through an RF protection
circuit 16 and an RF amplifier-buffer 18. The RF protection circuit is
represented in principal part by the capacitors C3 and C4, the resistor
R16 and the diodes D4 and D5. The resistor R16 is used to drain any
possible parasitic DC voltage build-up that may occur on standard RF
signal sources, such as an antenna. The capacitor C3 is used to AC couple
the standard RF signal presented to J3. The diodes D4 and D5 are used to
limit the voltage presented by C3 to a 1 volt swing. This will act as
overload protection to the circuits involved with the standard RF signal
presented to J3. In the present embodiment, the diodes D4 and D5 are high
conductance ultra fast switching diodes available from Fairchild, a
Schlumberger Company, bearing the designation 1N914. The capacitor C4 is
used to AC couple the signal presented by the RF protection circuit to the
signal required by the RF amplifier/buffer.
The RF amplifier/buffer is represented in principal part by the capacitors
C5, C6 and C9, the resistors R1, R2, R3, R4 and R5 and the transistor Q1.
The resistors R1, R2, R3, R4 and R5 are used to DC bias the transistor Q1
to act as a gain stabilized DC amplifier. In the present embodiment, Q1 is
an overlay, double-diffused, gold-doped, silicon epitaxial NPN device
available from National Semiconductor Company, bearing the designation
2N3904. The capacitor C5 is used to reduce the effective AC emitter
resistance. The resistor C9 is used as an energy storage device providing
the RF amplifier/buffer with greater power supply noise immunity. This
capacitor should be placed as near to the transistor Q1 as is physically
possible. The capacitor C6 is used to AC couple the signal presented by
the RF amplifier/buffer to the signal required by the switchable RF
attenuator. The signal is then attenuated when the switchable RF
attenuator 20 receives an "on" signal from the video threshold converter
14. After this selective attenuation, the RF television signal(s) are sent
through a jack J6, 48 of FIG. 2, to the cable or antenna input 54 of a
The switchable RF attenuator 19 has a video level control R14, represented
as a variable resistor, which controls the amount of attenuation the RF
television signal(s) passing from the television cable or antenna 24 to
the television 50 receive when an "on" signal is sent to the switchable RF
attenuator 19. This video level control R14 is able to be manually
adjusted to smoothly or infinitely control attenuation of the RF
television signal(s) from low or no attenuation to high or full
attenuation. A pluarality of these televisions signals are capable of
being attenuated simultaneously.
The variable resistor R14 is used to determine the effective AC resistance
presented by D1 and D2 when the switchable RF attenuator is actively
attenuating. This is the video message intensity control 60. The resistor
R10 is used to limit the amount of attenuation attainable with the
switchable RF attenuator. This prevents high current switching activity
which could otherwise result in undesirable RF emissions. The capacitor C7
is used to AC couple the signal presented by the switchable RF attenuator
19 to the signal required by the RF receiver connected to the jack J6. The
resistor R17 is used in conjunction with R3 of the RF amplifier/buffer to
balance the RF signal presented to J3, by providing an effective AC
resistance of 75 ohms as presented by this device.
The normal/subliminal selector switch is represented in principal part by
the switch SW1. When SW1 is in the off state, no power is provided from J7
to the voltage regulator and an RF signal from a VCR or the like is
provided from the jack J5 to the jack J6 to provide an RF input to a
television or the like. When the switch SW1 is in the on position, power
is provided from the jack J7 to the voltage regulator and the jack J6 is
disconnected from the jack J5 and connected to the output of the
switchable RF attenuator.
The portions of the television signal(s) which have been attenuated on an
NTSC standard television system show up as lightened picture areas 64 on
the television image 68 tuned by the television 50.
Because all RF television signal(s) inputted into the television 50 have
been selectively attenuated in response to a video signal emanating from
the VCR 28 which is scanning at the same frequency as the RF television
signal(s) (30 frames per second in the case of NTSC standard), the
selective attenuation creates light picture areas 64 which resemble the
thresholded video signal emanating from the VCR 28. Thus in 1/30 of a
second the VCR 28 transmits through output 38 a single video frame 64 of
525 rasher lines (using NTSC as an example), which contains an overlay
image. A television signal carried by the television cable or antenna also
carries a single 525 rasterline video frame every 1/30 of a second. This
synchronization means one full VCR video frame occurs and overlays one
television cable or antenna video frame every 1/30 of a second.
These overlaid images are not, however, necessarily in register or
alignment with either the television screen 69 or the television images 68
displayed on it. This is because the television frames 64 being
transmitted by the VCR 28 do not necessarily start at the same time as the
television frames 68 emanating from the television cable or antenna 24
which are being displayed on the television 50, and because the apparatus
20 has no means for rectifying video image start times (i.e. no
synchronization pulse detection means, and no means to control timing of
the display of either the VCR 64 or cable or antenna 68 video images).
Because all television signals passing through the apparatus 20 are
intermittently attenuated, any channel tuned by the television 50 will
have an image overlay 64 resembling the thresholded video output 38 of the
It is to be noted that all signals passing from the television cable or
antenna 24 to the television 50 are attenuated including signals carrying
both audio and video programming. There is, however, little or no effect
on the audio portions of such signals because the duration of attenuation
is extremely short (generally less than 1/50,000 of a second).
The apparatus 20 also receives input through a jack J2, 40 of FIG. 2, from
the "audio out" jack 42 on the VCR 28. This signal is sent through an
audio amplifier 12 to a speaker SP1. A control, represented by a variable
resistor R9, permits smooth manual control of audio volume outputted by
the speaker SP1 from silent or near silent output levels to obviously
perceived output levels.
The sound emanating from the speaker SP1 is mixed in open air with other
ambient sounds including sounds which may be emanating from the television
It is important to note that all sounds emanating from the speaker SP1 are
inherently synchronized with the images 64 superimposed over television
programming. This is because both simultaneously originate from the same
prerecorded VCR tape 76. Thus once a video tape 76 has been recorded,
every sound recorded on its audio track corresponds with an image recorded
on its video track and vice versa.
The frames are not in exact aligment, the subliminal images may be
off-centered from the television screen. he apparatus 20 may compensate
for its inability to register or align its subliminal images 64 with the
television screen 69 by redundantly overlaying the same image many times.
As an example, the words "STOP SMOKING" may appear subliminally in four
screen locations for a single video frame. Seven video frames later the
same words may appear subliminally in five other screen locations. This
may be repeated for long durations. Thus alignment of the images is not
required for combining of the two signals to be displayed.
As this exemplifies, repetition may be in the form of many identical
messages being presented at once, and/or many identical messages being
repeatedly presented sequentially. Such repetition compensates for any
information lost to the inability to register or align frames.
The apparatus 20 is placed where its user or users may reach its controls
60 77 and manually control the audio video signals. FIG. 3 shows an
example of a possible installation. Here the apparatus 20 is placed on the
VCR 28 by means of Velcro (tm) hook and loop fasteners (not shown) adhered
to the VCR 28 and bottom of the apparatus 20.
When a user wishes to use the television 50 and/or VCR 28 without image
and/or sound overlays, he or she simply turns the normal/subliminal switch
17 on the apparatus 20 to the normal or "off" position.
When visual and/or sound subliminal messages are desired, the switch 17 is
turned to its subliminal or "on" position.
The apparatus 20 may then be used for transmitting audio and/or visual
subliminal messages. As an example, visual and/or audio subliminal
messages may be overlaid on television programming received by the
television cable or antenna 24.
To accomplish this, as is shown in FIG. 3, a VCR tape 76 containing the
visual and/or audio messages, to be presented subliminally, would be
loaded 78 into the VCR 28. The apparatus' normal/subliminal switch 17
would be placed in the subliminal position, and the VCR 28 would be put in
play mode 80.
The user would then turn on and tune the television 50 and adjust 60 77 the
apparatus 20. To adjust 60 visual images overlaid by the apparatus 20, the
user would first turn the apparatus' 20 video control 60 to its fullest
attenuation setting creating white or very light overlay images 62 64. At
this setting, messages 64 presented even for durations as short as one
video frame would generally be clearly seen and read. Slow motion or
freeze framing the VCR 28 would help in seeing and/or in reading such
The user would then gradually turn the video control 60 thus reducing the
amount of attenuation and the obviousness of the overlaid images 64 until
the images 64 gradually became just imperceptible, and thus subliminal.
The user thus watches the overlaid image 64 gradually fade to subliminal
By following this procedure, a user may assure himself or herself that
visual subliminal messages are present and what their content is. This
procedure also insures that the overlaid images 64 are subliminal to the
apparatus' user or users regardless of ambient conditions and user
sensitivities, because the user himself or herself adjusts the subliminal
level under actual use conditions.
A similar procedure is used in adjusting the audio signals emanating from
the speaker 70 and mixing in open air with ambient sound including
possible sounds 82 from the television 50.
The apparatus' 20 audio control 77 is adjusted to a level where sounds
emanating from the speaker 70 may be clearly heard. The control 77 is then
slowly turned down just until such sounds may no longer be heard. This has
the same benefits of the apparatus' user being insured of the presence of
subliminal messages, knowing the contents of such messages, and being able
to adjust such subliminal messages' presentation levels accurately while
accounting for ambient conditions and user sensitivities.
It is to be noted that the apparatus 20 may produce audio and video 64
subliminal messages independently of one another. Thus a visual
supraliminal or subliminal signal may be presented by the apparatus 20
over a television image without the apparatus introducing audio signals.
This may be accomplished either by not recording an audio track on the VCR
tape 76 or by adjusting the apparatus' audio control 77 below effective
subliminal levels. The reverse is also true that the apparatus 20 may
produce supraliminal or subliminal audio signals without introducing
The apparatus also need not have the television 50 on in order to generate
audio subliminal messages.
The apparatus 20 can overlay both its visual 64 and/or its audio subliminal
messages over any viewed channel, even while channels are being changed.
Adjustment 60 77 of the apparatus is necessary only when there is a
substantial change in signal strength, ambient conditions, or type or
programming viewed (i.e. programming with loud sound tracks versus more
quiet programming or programming with light scenes versus dark scenes).
The apparatus' 20 inherent synchronization between its visual and audio
subliminal messages allows creation of subliminal programming which uses
sensory reinforcement to create a more powerful effect. The principal
behind this is the same as with supraliminal programming where, as an
example, modern motion pictures use coordinated sounds and images to
create more powerful and believable impressions than just having sounds or
As an example of such coordinated subliminal programming, a visual
subliminal image might contain the words "STOP SMOKING", while the
accompanying subliminal soundtrack might simultaneously say "stop
Another example might be subliminally showing an image of an unhappy face
with a cigarette in its mouth while simultaneously presenting subliminal
Yet another example would be subliminally showing several sequential visual
frames which animate to show a face coughing a cigarette out of its mouth
while synchronizing the animation with coughing sounds presented
The apparatus 20 has the ability to create visual subliminal images using
presentations of short duration and/or by fading the obviousness of the
images. Images as short as one field (1/60 of a second using NTSC
standard) may be created by recording an interlaced image with every other
raster line missing onto the VCR tape 76.
Any recorded VCR image, even moving or animated images or images presented
for long durations, may be presented subliminally using the apparatus 20
simply by adjusting the video control 60 as indicated above until the
image fades below conscious visibility.
The apparatus 20 allows the presentation of audio and/or video subliminal
messages while its user(s) is viewing a television program. Research has
shown that watching television may create a relaxed, suggestible state
similar to that found in hypnosis. Presenting subliminal messages in this
environment may be more effective than presenting such messages in other
The apparatus 20 is also unique in its ability to overlay images over a
plurality of RF television signals without demodulating their RF carriers.
The apparatus 20 may also overlay images over non-RF video signals as well
as over combinations of both RF and non-RF video signals carried by the
Uses for embodiments of the present invention include introducing
subliminal messages to individuals, as well as introducing subliminal
messages to groups of individuals.
As an example, a television set could be set up in a public area and an
embodiment of the present invention could be used to introduce subliminal
messages through it. Under such conditions audio and video adjustments
would be used to compensate for ambient conditions and would not take
account of individual sensitivities.
Such a setup could be used in schools to foster better study habits or
reduce drug usage, or in shopping malls or stores to reduce shoplifting,
Virtually any audio or visual messages may be subliminally presented by
embodiments of the present invention. This includes alone or in
combination: still and/or animated visual communications; momentary and/or
prolonged messages; positive and/or negative messages; written words
and/or graphic images; spoken words and/or other sounds; audio and visual
messages having the cadence of brain wave patterns such as alpha and theta
brain wave patterns; audio messages using music; messages with
synchronized audio and visual components; etc.
Examples of subliminal messages using graphics, animation and sounds other
than spoken words are given earlier. Theories behind changing behavior
through subliminal communications, as well as systems of messages thought
to be effective in subliminally changing behavior, are well known to those
knowledgeable in the art and thus are not discussed here.
What have been described are certain aspects of a device to present
subliminal information. It is understood that the foregoing description
and accompanying illustrations are merely exemplary and are in no way
intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by
the appended claims and their equivalents. Various changes and
modifications to the preferred embodiments will be apparent to those
skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications may include, but are
not limited to: selectively altering an RF signal in ways other than
attenuation in order to create an image such as selectively amplifying or
wave phase shifting the RF signal; using sources of video signals other
than a VCR such as a video disk player or other visual source means; using
a display device other than a conventional television such as a liquid
crystal or plasma display; using the apparatus for image combining other
than subliminal images such as for video games, computer overlays,
displaying channel time or other information etc.; using a source other
than a television cable or antenna to provide the supraliminal masking
television image such as a video game or computer image or another VCR or
a base band television image such as produced out of a second VCR "video
out" jack (note that the device may overlay images over television images
carried as base band, non-RF signals, as well as over those carried as RF
signals); implementing image synchronization means in the apparatus such
as a 15 khz receiver which could receive the television picture tube's RF
vertical sync pulse radiations and store and present its overlay images in
register with them; using control means other than knob controlled
potentiometers to smoothly control visual or audio overlay signals, such
as IR remote controls or other electronic controls; wiring the apparatus
between the television cable or antenna and the television in ways other
than indicated such as wiring the cable or antenna 24 to the VCR "RF in"
connector 34 and connecting the VCR "RF out" connector 46 to the apparatus
20 "RF in" connector 25, then connecting the apparatus' two center RF
connectors 32 40 and connecting the rest of the wires as indicated; etc.
Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the
spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly it is intended that all
such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims and
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