Our Patented Technology:
Our design invention, named I.C.O.N.S. (for Internationally Communicating Ornamental Notification System) is a series of carefully researched and designed pictogram phrasebooks that together constitute a non-verbal language. It is a method for people to easily communicate vital needs across language barriers and find their way anywhere in the world, using a simple but essential visual method based on universally recognizable icons.

The problem I.C.O.N.S. solves:
International travelers currently struggle to communicate and/or find their way when visiting a
country whose language they do not speak well or at all. Their only options currently are pricey, bulky, or complicated items such as dictionaries, GPS systems, smart phones, or hiring an interpreter. We offer an alternative that is simpler, more affordable, more versatile, and more environmentally friendly.

How I.C.O.N.S. solves this problem:
The present invention solves the above mentioned problem by providing a form of offline,
language-independent, country-independent, non-verbal communication system, using an object based phrasebook system that is ultimately cheaper, easier, more reliable and comfortable to use than the alternatives (ie dictionaries, translators, GPS, smart phones...).

How I.C.O.N.S. is different from anything that currently exists:
This invention is so easy to use, it can replace dictionaries, translators, smart phones, GPS systems and indeed even words, for its specific applications. Our invention can produce communication in a manner that is most efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly than the alternatives.

The Elements of the I.C.O.N.S. design:
There are or will be 14 situational phrasebooks, described elsewhere on this site, as such:

1. "Go Anywhere" Edition
2. "Outdoors" Edition
3. "Road Trip" Edition
4. "Eating out/Restaurant" Edition
5. "Health & Medical" Edition
6. "Ski/Winter Sports" Edition
7. "Business" Edition
8. "Bachelor" Edition
9. "Her Vacation" Edition
10. "Cruise ship" Edition
11. "Int'l Boating" Edition
12. "Tropical Vacation" Edition
13. "Exchange Student" Edition .
14. "Guided Tour" Edition

In addition, "destinational" phrasebooks are currently being developed for the top 150 city
destinations in the world, covering the main hotspots, monuments, iconic buildings and tourist
attractions for each.

For more information about the various editions, please go here.

Relationship Between the Elements:
A) Each phrasebook contains on average 15 symbols, which means that, at minimum, our "language" or communication system contains no less than 225 symbols (NOTE: the words "icons" and "symbols" are used interchangeably in this document and description).

B) in each phrasebook, multiple symbols are laid out in a carefully selected geometrical shape and organized as a pictogram which is optimized for its respective and specific purpose.

C) Common to all phrasebooks is generally a question mark being usually, but not always, centrally located in the design. Sometimes an exclamation point maybe used instead of, or in combination with, the question mark.

D) symbols used must (as much as possible) either meet or exceed ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) guidelines for visual acuity.

E) icons in our object driven phrasebooks must have substantial public acceptance.

F) icons in our object driven phrasebooks must have great visual equity.

G) icons in our object driven phrasebooks must have crisp legibility.

H) SIZE of icons used in our object driven phrasebooks is optimized for viewing at threshold during a face to face conversation with another person

I) LAYOUT of icons used in our object driven phrasebooks is optimized for viewing at threshold during a face to face conversation with another person.

J) choice of symbols in each phrasebook version is the result of a careful selection and research based on usefulness and recognition for each specific purpose.

K) placement of symbols in each phrasebook version is the result of research and testing to optimize ergonomics in pointing and facilitate accessibility to symbols based on need and priority.

L) Symbols used in phrasebooks must (as much as possible) be culture independent

M) Symbols used in phrasebooks must (as much as possible) be globally recognized

N) Symbols used in phrasebooks must (as much as possible) be internationally understood

O) Symbols used in phrasebooks must (as much as possible) make no use of letters or alphabet in order to be language independent

P) 4 criteria are used when reviewing a symbol for inclusion in our phrasebook are:

1. Identification: How easily recognizable is it?

2. Importance: Does it relate to a substantial enough need, one that is critical and relevant to the travel in question?

3. Conveyance: Does it carry a meaning that is difficult to, or cannot, be otherwise simply mimicked with hand gestures?

4. Probability: How vital is it to the traveler as compared to other symbol candidates given the
phrasebook's limited space?

More About ICONS:
The simplicity of use is what drives the strength, affordability and competitive edge this method has over other methods, such as a dictionary, GPS, or translator.

It is important to note that although this communication system uses symbols in phrasebooks that are meant to look familiar to the user, the process and method of this patent is independent from the specific and current graphical depiction of the symbols themselves.

For example, when we say we use a symbol for "telephone" in a particular phrasebook, we mean to integrate a drawing of a telephone, though the actual "telephone" drawing may look many different ways. The actual pictorial used at the time of publication can itself change from time to time. The graphic representation that is each icon does and will change and/or improve over time or when needed. Going back to the telephone example, it may start as the depiction of a rotary phone, but could also be a phone dial, an old monoblock cell phone, an open flip phone with short or long antenna, with a signal graphic or without, or it could be an iphone or smart phone, etc.

In fact it can look like anything we deem appropriate at the time and will evolve with technology, society, and context. We describe our process as integrating a symbol for a concept (as in a telephone), whatever it may look like at the time of application, and the process / method of this patent is independent from the specific shape of the icons.

Currently being developed is an iphone/ipad (and other smart device) app using our phrasebooks. For printing, the method used for this is ink based or laser, or whatever the prevailing printing method is at the time. The phrasebooks could also be stitched, rather than printed, when it come to physical goods.

Other Uses for ICONS:
On a smartphone or computer app, the icon would be displayed, and when selected would cause a voice to speak the word for the item the icon represents, in a pre-recorded voice or text-to-speech computer voice, in the language of device's current geographic location, as determined by GPS location, or, if no GPS capability is present or if it is turned off, in the language chosen by the user in the user interface of the application.


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