|Publication number||US20050180146 A1|
|Application number||US 11/098,678|
|Publication date||18 Aug 2005|
|Filing date||4 Apr 2005|
|Priority date||13 Jan 2003|
|Also published as||CN1751208A, EP1597513A2, EP1597513A4, US6874909, US20040136189, US20080165527, WO2004063625A2, WO2004063625A3|
|Publication number||098678, 11098678, US 2005/0180146 A1, US 2005/180146 A1, US 20050180146 A1, US 20050180146A1, US 2005180146 A1, US 2005180146A1, US-A1-20050180146, US-A1-2005180146, US2005/0180146A1, US2005/180146A1, US20050180146 A1, US20050180146A1, US2005180146 A1, US2005180146A1|
|Original Assignee||Vanderschuit Carl R.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (32), Referenced by (3), Classifications (20)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending application Ser. No. 10/341,239, filed Jan. 13, 2003, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to light sources and more particularly to illumination apparatus that provide mood lighting or atmospheric-enhancing illumination, such as visually pleasing light effects and patterns.
Illumination devices, such as lava lamps, have been used for many years to provide atmospheric-enhancing illumination or mood lighting. Even today, there still exists a continuing demand and need for illumination devices that provide visually-pleasing illumination effects and light patterns.
In addition, jewelry, hair ornaments, and other accessory items are being provided with light sources, such as light-emitting diodes, that draw attention to the accessory item and its user. However, the inventor has recognized that these light sources are typically positioned to emit light outwardly from the accessory item without illuminating the accessory item itself, which would provide a more stimulating and pleasing visual effect.
According to one aspect of the invention, an illumination apparatus includes a housing having an outer perimeter and at least one opening having a periphery. The illumination apparatus also includes at least one light source and at least one light-altering device. The light source is adjacent one of the periphery and the outer perimeter. The light-altering device is adjacent the other one of the periphery and the outer perimeter, for receiving and altering light from the light source. The illumination apparatus can be positioned relative to another component such that at least a portion of the another component is within the opening.
According to another aspect of the invention, an illumination apparatus includes a housing configured in a generally annular shape having a central opening. The illumination apparatus also includes at least one light source, and at least one light-altering device having a surface having a plurality of facets. The light-altering device is positioned relative to the housing and the light source for receiving and altering light from the light source. The illumination apparatus can be positioned relative to another component such that at least a portion of the another component is within the opening.
In another aspect, the invention provides method of using an illumination apparatus having at least one opening, at least one light source, and at least one light-altering device positioned relative to the housing and the light source for receiving and altering light from the light source. In one embodiment, the method generally includes positioning the illumination apparatus relative to another component such that at least a portion of the another component is within the opening.
Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples below, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
The present invention will be more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding features throughout the drawings.
The following description of various embodiments is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its applications, or uses.
In the exemplary embodiment shown in
A wide range of materials may be used for the housing 12 including, but not limited to, acrylics, glasses, plastics, among others. The surfaces of the housing 12 may be transparent, translucent, opaque, reflective, or a combination thereof. In the exemplary embodiment shown in
To allow ready access to the light source 14, the light-altering device 18 and/or the interior of the housing 12, the illumination apparatus 10 further includes a readily removable base assembly 30. The base assembly 30 may be attached to the housing 12 using a suitable fastening system or method (e.g., an interference fit, adhesives, threaded members, resilient ribs, among others). By way of example only, the housing 12 includes an open end 31 sized to be received over and supported by the base assembly 30. Several inwardly extending resilient knobs or protuberances (not shown) are positioned on the housing side surfaces 26 adjacent the open end 31. When the housing 12 is fitted over the base assembly 30, the knobs engage the base assembly 30 to create an interference or friction fit between the housing 12 and the base assembly 30. Alternatively, the base assembly 30 and housing 12 can be formed as a single unit.
Depending on the particular application in which the illumination apparatus 10 is to be used, the illumination apparatus 10 may be configured for placement upon a horizontal support surface, such as a tabletop or desktop. Alternatively, the illumination apparatus 10 can be configured to be mounted on a wall, retrofitted to (e.g., mounted and electrically connected to) an existing wall or ceiling junction box, or attached to a surface of a mobile platform, such as an automobile.
The base assembly 30 further includes a power source 32 switchably connected to the light source 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the power source 32 comprises batteries 36 and an AC adapter port 37 to allow the illumination apparatus 10 to receive power through an electrical cord connected with a standard wall outlet. It should be noted, however, that the power source 32 contemplates any suitable means of providing energy to the light source 14 including, but not limited to, renewable batteries, rechargeable batteries, disposable batteries, and other suitable power sources that may be either external or internal to the illumination apparatus 10. If rechargeable, the power source may be rechargeable by solar, magnetic, electrical, and chemical means, and the like or any combination thereof. Accordingly, the power source mechanism should not be limited to the power source mechanisms described and shown herein.
In the exemplary embodiment of
The light source 14 in the exemplary embodiment 10 comprises a plurality of variously colored light-emitting diodes positioned adjacent an end portion 29 of the light-altering device 18. Alternatively, any suitable light source may be employed including but not limited to fiber optics, halogen, incandescent, laser, fluorescent, magnetic, and the like.
The operation of the light source 14 and the actuator system (i.e., motor 34 and turntable 38) are controlled by a controller in accordance with user input. In one embodiment, the controller includes an integrated circuit/circuit board assembly 40 (i.e., a integrated circuit board mounted on a circuit board) and a switch 42. The switch 42, for example, may allow the user to select from a plurality of predetermined rotational speeds for the turntable 38. Or for example, the switch 42 may allow the user to select from among various display modes for the light source 14. Such display modes may include an off mode, a mode during which the light-emitting diodes blink in a predetermined sequence, and a mode during which the light-emitting diodes pulsate to sounds. The sounds may be produced by the apparatus 10 itself (e.g., via a speaker built-in to the apparatus 10) or a source external to the apparatus 10 (e.g., ambient sounds).
In the illustrated embodiment, the switch 42 comprises a push button switch disposed on a bottom portion 44 of the base assembly 30. However, and depending on the application in which the illumination apparatus 10 will be used, the switch 42 may comprise any one of a wide range of other suitable switch means. For example, the switch 42 may be provided on a cord extending from the base assembly 30. Or for example, the controller may be configured for use with an infrared remote control. In a further embodiment, the switch 42 may be disposed adjacent a lower portion of a flexible surface of the housing 12 such that application of pressure to the flexible surface causes the switch 42 to change setting.
The light-altering device 18 will now be described in more detail. As shown in
The light-altering device 18 in the exemplary embodiment of
The light-altering device 18 can have a variety of shapes. In the illustrated embodiment, the light-altering device 18 is shaped in a substantially similar manner as the housing 12 (e.g., cube-shaped as in
The illumination apparatus 10 may further include one or more indicia positioned to receive the light 16 from the light source 14 and/or to receive the altered light 28 from the light-altering device 18. The indicia may be at least partially opaque, translucent, or a combination thereof such that the light 16 and/or the altered light 28 produces a silhouette of the indicia that is displayed to a user. The indicia may include any of a wide range of symbols, characters, shapes, words, logos, combinations thereof, etc.
Depending on the particular placement of the indicia, the illumination apparatus 10 may display the silhouette within the housing 12 and/or on a surface external to the housing 12, such as the support surface 50. In exemplary embodiments, the indicia is disposed on an interior surface of the housing 12, suspended within the hollow interior of the housing 12, and/or disposed on an external surface of the light-altering device 18.
As shown in
In the illustrated embodiment, the light source 114 comprises a plurality of light-emitting diodes positioned adjacent the end portion 129 of the light-altering device 118, which includes a plurality of facets 146. The light-altering device 118 is disposed at a centrally located position within the housing 112. The light source 115 comprises an incandescent light disposed at least partially within a hollow interior or cavity 147 defined by the light-altering device 118.
In the exemplary embodiment shown in
With further reference to
To further enhance the illumination effect provided by the apparatus 410, the housing surface 424 opposed the support surface 450 is opaque. The housing surface 424 also defines an opening 425 through which an end portion 427 of the light-altering device 418 extends. In addition, the light source 414 may further include optional light-emitting diodes 414′ positioned adjacent the other end portion 429 of the light-altering device 418.
As before with the apparatus 10 shown in
The operation of the light-emitting diodes 414, 41′ and the actuator system may be controlled by a controller in accordance with user input similar to the manner described for the first embodiment 10. For example, the controller may allow the user to choose to have the various light-emitting diodes 414 and 414′ blink, activate/deactivate at different times, or to pulsate in accordance with sound from a source external and/or internal to the apparatus 410.
Referring now to
As shown in
In the exemplary embodiment shown in
The illumination apparatus 710 includes a plurality of light-emitting diodes 714 and a light-altering device 718. The light-altering device 718 is positioned relative to the housing 712 and the light-emitting diodes 714 for receiving and altering the light 716 from the light-emitting diodes 714 such that the altered light 728 illuminates at least a portion of the housing 712. Thus, illuminating the accessory item. During operation, the light-altering device 718 refracts, reflects, diffracts, and/or disperses the light 716 (e.g., direction of travel, wavelength, color, phase, etc.) such that the altered light 728 illuminates the portion of the housing 712 with mood-enhancing light patterns and effects. Alternatively, the light-altering device and the housing may be integrally formed as a single component, with the light-altering device comprising an internal faceted surface of the housing.
In the illustrated embodiment, the power source 732 comprises a watch battery. In addition, a rear surface 756 of the base assembly 730 is provided with a suitable adhesive 711 that allows the illumination apparatus 710 to be used as a sticker. The illumination apparatus 710 further includes a controller, such as an integrated circuit/circuit board assembly 740 and a switch 742. The switch 742 allows the user to select from among a plurality of operating modes for the illumination apparatus 710. Alternatively, the controller may include a touch-sensitive switch that when touched by a user activates the illumination apparatus.
In the particular illustrated embodiments of
In alternative embodiments, however, the housing and/or the opening can include other suitable shapes, such as octagonal, hexagonal, ovular, alphanumeric characters, u-shaped, c-shaped, names, logos, etc. Accordingly, embodiments of the invention should not be limited to only circular or rectangular shaped housings and openings.
In addition, the housing and the opening need not be the same shape. Further, the size and shape of the housing and opening therethrough can vary depending, for example, on the particular application and size and shape of the component (or portion thereof) that will ultimately be positioned within the opening. By way of example only, an illumination apparatus of the present invention can be used with recessed ceiling lighting fixtures or cans (
A wide range of materials may be used for any one of the housings 812, 912, 1012, 1112, 1212, 1312 including, but not limited to, acrylics, glasses, plastics, combinations thereof, among others. In addition, the housing surfaces may be transparent, translucent, opaque, reflective, partially light-transmissive, or combinations thereof. For example, one or more housing surfaces can be translucent or frosted to diffuse or soften light.
A wide range of materials can be used for any one of the light-altering devices 818, 918, 1018, 1118, 1218, 1318 including polished acrylic materials, glasses, plastics, crystals, transparent materials, translucent materials, reflective materials, combinations thereof, among others. In the illustrated embodiments of
In the embodiments 810 and 1110 shown in respectively in
In the embodiments 910 and 1210 shown respectively in
In the embodiments 1010 and 1310 shown respectively in
The fixture 60 includes a socket 62 for receiving a light bulb 64, such as halogen light bulb, incandescent bulb, or other light bulb type. The light bulb 64 can be engaged to the socket 62 before, while, or after the illumination apparatus 810, 910, 1010 is attached the lip 58. At least a portion of the light bulb 64 will be positioned within the opening 819, 919, 1019 of the illumination apparatus. The housing 812, 912, 1012 of the illumination apparatus can be configured (e.g., shaped and sized) for any of a wide range of lighting fixtures and light bulbs. By way of example, the housing can be sized such that it is larger, smaller, or about equal to the size of the lip 58.
In the illustrated embodiments of
Various embodiments include an illumination apparatus configured for use as a wall faceplate, for example, for an electrical outlet (
The particular number of openings (i.e., one or more) and their shape and size can depend, for example, on the particular requirements for the wall faceplate. For example, another embodiment includes an illumination apparatus configured for use as a light switch faceplate. In this particular embodiment, the illumination apparatus includes a generally rectangular housing with only one rectangular opening therethrough.
In some implementations, an illumination apparatus of the present invention may take the place of an existing faceplate. Alternatively, an illumination apparatus of the present invention may be instead be positioned over and attached to the existing faceplate. As yet another example, an illumination apparatus of the present invention may be positioned generally around an existing faceplate such that a peripheral edge of the faceplate is received within an opening defined by the housing of the illumination apparatus.
As another exemplary use, any one of the various embodiments of the present invention can be positioned within a speaker box. In which case, the illumination apparatus can produce light that illuminates for illuminating (e.g., backlighting) a front panel of the speaker box.
In various embodiments of the invention, an illumination apparatus can be configured such that it is substantially fluid-tight or waterproof for underwater use. In such embodiments, a waterproof illumination apparatus may be positioned within (e.g., thrown into the water, attached to the pool bottom, side surface, or ladder, etc.) in order to provide a pleasing light pattern or effect. In one implementation, a waterproof illumination apparatus is positioned and attached to an existing lighting fixture in the swimming pool. In another implementation, one or more waterproof illumination apparatus can be used for recreational purposes in which the waterproof illumination apparatus are thrown into the pool for later retrieval by a swimmer. In one embodiment, a waterproof illumination apparatus is negatively buoyant such that the apparatus sinks. In another embodiment, a waterproof illumination apparatus is positively buoyant such that the apparatus floats. In yet another embodiment, a waterproof illumination apparatus has a buoyancy such that the apparatus is suspended between a top surface of the water and the bottom of the pool.
In various embodiments of the invention, an illumination apparatus can include a light-altering device that is an integral portion of the housing such that the light-altering device and the housing are monolithically formed as a single component. For example, one embodiment includes a housing having one or more internal faceted surfaces forming the light-altering device.
In any of the various embodiments illustrated in
In various embodiments of the invention, an illumination apparatus can include one or more indicia that are highlighted (e.g., illuminated, backlit, etc.) by light from a light source. This indicia can include a wide range of graphic images, graphic elements, graphic images, designs, artwork, distinctive marks, identifying symbols, company logos, company contact information, text, alphanumeric characters, advertisements, trademarks, trade names, service marks, sports teams insignias, names, monograms, photographs, among others.
Various embodiments include a light-altering material having indicia configured to receive light from the light source such that the light produces a representation of the indicia onto a surface external to and adjacent the illumination apparatus. In one particular embodiment, an illumination apparatus includes LEDs that are positioned about one-fourth inch from a bottom surface of the illumination apparatus. The LEDs are positioned to direct light at a generally downward angle towards indicia provided (e.g., etched, marked onto, etc.) onto a light-altering material (e.g., acetate, etc.). The indicia can be distorted such the indicia appears clear and undistorted when projected onto the support surface. By way of example only, the light-altering material 818, 1018 in
In any of the various embodiments illustrated in
In various embodiments of the invention, an illumination apparatus may include a controller for controlling operation of the light source(s) in accordance with user input to provide such features as blinking, strobing and/or color changes. The controller can include an integrated circuit/printed circuit assembly (e.g., integrated circuits in a printed circuit assembly) and at least one switch. The switch may, for example, allow the user to select from among various display modes for the light sources, such as an off-light mode, an on-light mode, a mode in which each of the light sources simultaneously emit steady or non-flashing light, a mode in which the light sources emit light intermittently, a mode in which the various light sources illuminate or blink at different times in accordance with a predetermined sequence or order, a mode in which the light sources emit light that phases between or blends colors, a mode in which the light sources emit light randomly, a mode in which the light sources pulsate to sounds, and/or a mode combining one or more of the foregoing. Such sounds may be produced by the illumination apparatus itself (e.g., via a speaker built-in to the illumination apparatus) or a source external to the illumination apparatus (e.g., ambient sounds). In some embodiments, sounds can cause synchronized pulsation of the light sources of two or more different illumination apparatus, thus providing a pleasing light pattern or effect.
The controller can also include a plurality of switches each of which can be used to control the operation of an individual light source or group of light sources. For example, the controller may include a first switch for activating and deactivating LEDs that emit white light, and a second switch for activating and deactivating the LEDs that emit blue light.
Additionally, an illumination apparatus of the present invention can include a push-button switch for switchably connecting the light source to the power source. The switch can be positioned within the illumination apparatus and be coupled to an externally flexible surface portion of the illumination apparatus such that application of external pressure upon the externally flexible surface portion activates the switch, thereby causing operation of the light source. The external pressure may, for example, be applied by the user squeezing the illumination apparatus at the externally flexible surface portion. The switch may also allow the user to cycle through various display modes or select a particular color for the light by successively squeezing the illumination apparatus at about the externally flexible surface portion. Additionally, the switch may also allow the user to dim or brighten the intensity of the light, for example, by holding down the switch with continuously applied pressure to the illumination apparatus at about the externally flexible surface portion.
Alternatively, an illumination apparatus can include other suitable switching means. For example, the switch may be provided on a cord extending from an illumination apparatus. Or for example, an illumination apparatus may include a controller configured for use with an infrared remote control. As yet another example, an illumination apparatus can include electrical terminals for switchably connecting the light source to the power source. For example, the electrical terminals can be located such that a user's hand upon grasping the item completes the circuit for power delivery to the light source from the power source.
The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses. Thus, variations that do not depart from the substance of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.
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|International Classification||F21S10/02, A61N5/06, F21S8/00, G09F13/04, F21V33/00, G09F13/14|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S362/812, Y10S362/806, G09F13/0409, A61N5/0618, F21Y2101/02, F21W2121/00, F21V33/0028, F21S10/06, G09F13/14|
|European Classification||F21S10/06, G09F13/14, F21V33/00A4B, G09F13/04C|