US 20020117593 A1
In a support device for supporting mobile telephones, including a base with a support plate disposed on the base and having a top surface with a recess receiving a permanent magnet, at least one of the base and the support plate consists at least partially of a transparent material and light emitting elements are disposed within the base or the support plate for emitting light through the transparent material when a call is received, or a call is placed, by a telephone disposed on the support device.
1. A support device for supporting mobile telephones, comprising: a base, a support plate disposed on said base and having a top surface with at least one recess formed therein, a permanent magnet tightly received in said at least one recess, at least one of said base and said support plate consisting at least partially of a transparent material, and light emitting elements disposed within one of said base and said support plate for emitting light through said transparent material when a phone call is received by a telephone disposed on said support device.
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 The invention relates to a support device for mobile telephones, which support device includes a support plate with a permanent magnet enclosed therein for holding the mobile telephone on the support device.
 Such a support device is known for example from Applicant's U.S. Pat. No. 6,076,790. The support device described therein is very suitable for supporting cellular telephones and has found good acceptance in the market place. The reason herefor is that it is very easy and convenient to place a mobile telephone onto this support device or to remove the telephone therefrom.
 In the meantime also support devices for mobile telephones with clamping side walls on opposite sides have become known wherein light emitting diodes are provided in the side walls. The light emitting diodes are connected to an electronic circuit, which energizes the light emitting diodes when a call is received. In this way, an incoming call received by the telephone disposed on the support device is signaled also optically by the support device.
 Furthermore, support devices for mobile telephones have become known which have the shape of a hand or a foot and which also include light emitting diodes (LEDs).
 All the LEDs-including support devices for telephones however have the disadvantage that the LEDs are disposed in openings of the support device and project therefrom or are at least exposed so as to make them visible. As a result, the LEDs are relatively unprotected and therefore easily subject to damage.
 It is therefore the object of the present invention to provide a support device for telephones with signaling elements which are so arranged that they are protected from ambient influences and from being damaged but that they are still able to provide an optical signal indicating an incoming call in such a way that the optical signal is easily noticeable.
 In a support device for supporting mobile telephones, including a base with a support plate disposed thereon and having a top surface with a recess receiving a permanent magnet, at least one of the base and the support plate consist at least partially of a transparent material and light emitting elements are disposed within the base or the support plate for emitting light through the transparent material when a call is received or a call is placed by a telephone disposed on the support device.
 Since the support device consists at least partially of a transparent material the light emitting elements may be disposed within the support device, that is, they can be completely surrounded by the walls of the support device thereby protecting the light emitting elements from being damaged by external influences. The light emitting elements may advantageously be completely encapsulated so that they are not even subjected to dust and dirt.
 It is particularly advantageous if the support plate is provided with a web portion which extends essentially normal to the telephone support surface of the support plate and which consists at least partially of a transparent material and within which the light emitting elements are disposed. In this way, the lighting up of the light emitting elements is particularly well noticeable so that an incoming call generates a high degree of attention. Also, the arrangement is visually attractive in that the light emitting elements are normally hidden from view that is they are invisible and are only noticeable when lit to indicate an incoming call.
 It is particularly advantageous if the light emitting elements or light emitting diodes (LED). LEDs are, on one hand, relatively inexpensive and, on the other hand, they are relatively insensitive to shocks so that the support device is highly reliable. It is also quite advantageous if several LEDs are arranged in side-by-side relationship whereby the lighting of the support devices is intensified so that an incoming call is more clearly signaled. Instead of being arranged in side-by-side relationship the LEDs may of course also be arranged in other configurations. They may be arranged for example in a circular, a triangular or a star-shaped pattern.
 An embodiment of the invention wherein the LEDs are arranged on a circuit board from which the connecting wires for the LEDs extend about at a right angle has been found to be particularly advantageous for use with a telephone holder provided with an upstanding web into which the connecting wires with the LEDs extend. The circuit board may then simply be supported within the support plate whereas the LEDs are disposed in the upstanding web. However, the wires may also extend from the circuit board in the same plane, that is the wires with the LEDs may extend parallel to the circuit board. In this way, the LEDs can be arranged in a simple manner closely adjacent one of the ends of the support device support plate.
 In another specific embodiment of the invention, the support plate is provided with a slide-resistant surface layer. With the slide resistant layer, the support of the object on the support device is improved in an advantageous manner. The magnet in the support plate pulls the object into firm engagement with the surface layer. And the larger the force is with which the object is pulled toward the support plate, the higher are the friction forces between the support plate and the object so that the object is immovably held on the support plate.
 Preferably, the slide resistant surface layer consists of an elastic material whereby the engagement between the support plate and the object disposed thereon is still further improved. With the magnetic forces acting on the object, the object is pulled somewhat into the resilient surface layer, thereby forming in the resilient surface layer a recess in which the object is received. As a result, an edge is formed around the object which prevents displacement of the object on the support plate. A fine-pore foam rubber foam pad has been found to form a particularly good resilient surface layer.
 The placement of the object on the support surface can be facilitated by the provision on the support plate of two webs extending along adjoining side edges of the support plate. The two side edges form an angle into which the object to be supported by the support device can be placed. With the angled side walls provided thereby the object such as a mobile telephone can be properly placed onto the support device without observing the device. This is particularly advantageous if the device is installed in an automobile. The driver can then place the object or the telephone properly onto the support device without taking his eyes from the road.
 It is also possible to provide side walls at two opposite edges of the support plate. It is advantageous if at least one of these side walls is slideably supported such that the distance between the two side walls is adjustable. However, since the engagement force for holding the object on the support plate is generated by the magnets, the side walls do not need to provide a clamping force. The side walls can be arranged at such a distance from each other that the object can be placed therebetween with sufficient clearance. The slideable side wall can be held in a given position by grooved engagement structures or by screws.
 In a further embodiment of the invention, the web extending along one end of the support plate includes an interruption. The interruption forms an opening which makes it possible to place onto the support device objects which are provided with a connecting cable, for example with a power supply cord or an antenna cable as used in connection with a mobile telephone.
 It is advantageous if the support device includes a mounting element by way of which it can be mounted on a support structure. The mounting element may be for example a hinge-type mounting bracket as it is known from German GM 29 707 123.8 or from U.S. Pat. No. 5,740,995. The mounting element includes angled locking fingers, which extend into correspondingly formed openings in the bottom wall of the base of the support device. The support device can then be easily connected to the mounting element.
 The mounting element may further be a structure as it is known for example from D 391 266, which includes essentially the same connecting structure. It may further comprise a support arm as it is known from U.S. Pat. No. 6,032,910. Furthermore, the mounting element could be a self-adhesive foil disposed at the bottom wall of the base of the support device.
 Further features and advantages of the device according to the invention will become apparent from the following description thereof on the basis of the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a top view of the support device according to the invention having lighting elements at one side of the device,
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the support device,
FIG. 3 is a side view of the support device,
FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the support device as shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 5 is a top view showing lighting elements arranged at the upper end of the support device, and FIG. 6 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the device as shown in FIG. 5.
 As apparent from the figures, a support device according to the invention includes a base 1 on which a support plate 2 is disposed. The support plate 2 includes at least one recess in which a cylindrical permanent magnet is disposed. In the arrangement as shown in the figures two adjacent recesses with permanent magnets 3 and 3′ are provided. The upper surface of the permanent magnets 3, 3′ is disposed in the same plane as the top surface of the support plate 2. A resilient fine-pored rubber foam pad 4 is disposed on top of the support plate 2 and the magnets 3, 3′ so as to provide a slide-resistant support surface 4. As shown, the slide resistant rubber foam pad completely covers the support plate 2 and provides a resiliently cushioned support area for a telephone. However, the rubber foam pad 4 may have cut-outs in the area of the magnets and the magnets may extend slightly beyond the top surface of the support plate and into the cut-outs so that they can come into direct contact with the mobile telephone disposed on the rubber foam pad when the pad is somewhat compressed by the telephone placed thereon. In this way, the telephone can be directly and more firmly held by the magnets 3, 3′.
 The base 1 as well as the support plate 2 are oblong in shape. A web-like side wall 5 extends at a longitudinal edge of the oblong support plate in a plane normal to the support plate surface. The web-like side wall 5 extends around one corner to join a web-like end wall 6 provided with an interruption 7.
 The base 1 as well as the support plate 2 and also the web-like side and end walls 5 and 6 consist of a transparent plastic material. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) 8 are disposed within the longitudinal side wall 5. The LEDs 8 have connecting wires 8′ with which they are directly connected to a circuit board 9, which includes an electric power source and an electronic control circuit for energizing the LEDs when a phone call is received or also when a phone call is placed. The connecting wires extend essentially at a right angle to the board 9. The circuit board 9 is mounted on the support plate 2. As shown particularly in FIGS. 5 and 6, the circuit board 9 may also be arranged at a longitudinal end of the base 1. In this case, the support wires 8′ for the LEDs 8 extend in the plane of the circuit board 9 so that the LEDs are disposed at an end that is at the tip of the base 1 or the support plate 2.
 The circuit board may also include a sound emitting element providing a sound signal when a call is received by a telephone disposed on the support device.
 The base 1 includes a bottom wall 10 with a flat center area 11 for supporting the support device. Openings 12 are provided in the flat center area 11 for mounting the support device on various support structures by way of a mounting arrangement as disclosed in the inventors U.S. Pat. No. 5,740,995.
 Alternatively, a self-adhesive layer may be provided on the flat area 11 for directly mounting the support device on a support surface.