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Publication numberUS20020163798 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/099,477
Publication dateNov 7, 2002
Filing dateMar 14, 2002
Priority dateMar 16, 2001
Publication number099477, 10099477, US 2002/0163798 A1, US 2002/163798 A1, US 20020163798 A1, US 20020163798A1, US 2002163798 A1, US 2002163798A1, US-A1-20020163798, US-A1-2002163798, US2002/0163798A1, US2002/163798A1, US20020163798 A1, US20020163798A1, US2002163798 A1, US2002163798A1
InventorsJames Richards
Original AssigneeRichards James F.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminated writing assembly
US 20020163798 A1
Abstract
An illuminated writing assembly of the present invention includes: a writing surface comprised of a material selected from the group consisting of a transparent and a translucent material; a light source that is configured to be mounted on the writing surface; a power source and a switch configured to actuate the power source.
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Claims(24)
What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:
1. An illuminated writing assembly, comprising:
(a) a writing surface comprised of a material selected from the group consisting of a transparent and a translucent material;
(b) means mounted within the writing surface for providing illumination; and
(c) means for providing power to the means for providing illumination.
2. An assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the means for providing illumination comprises a light source, and the means for providing power to the means for providing illumination is selected from the group consisting of (i) a battery and (ii) an electrical cord configured to be coupled to a source of electrical power.
3. An assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein the means for providing power to the means for providing illumination comprises (i) an electrical cord; and (ii) an adaptor electrically coupled to the electrical cord such that it the adaptor can be coupled to a car battery.
4. A writing assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein the writing surface comprises an aperture in at least one edge thereof to receive at least a portion of the light source.
5. A writing assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein the light source comprises one of: (i) a bulb and (ii) a light emitting diode..
6. A writing assembly as recited in claim 2, further comprising a housing mounted on the writing surface, wherein the light source is mounted between the housing and the writing surface.
7. A writing assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein at least one of the sides of the writing surface is painted.
8. A writing assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein at least one of the sides of the writing surface has a light color.
9. A writing assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein at least one of the sides of the writing surface has a dark color.
10. An assembly as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for selectively enabling the means for providing power to provide power to the means for providing illumination.
11. An illuminated writing assembly, comprising:
(a) a sheet comprising a transparent or translucent material;
(b) a light source coupled to the sheet;
(c) means for providing power to the light source; and
(d) a housing mounted on the sheet such that light from the light source illuminates the sheet, wherein light emanates from at least one face of the sheet.
12. An illuminated writing assembly as recited in claim 11, wherein the transparent or translucent sheet is plexi-glass.
13. An illuminated writing assembly as recited in claim 11, further comprising a switch configured to selectively actuate the means for providing power.
14. An assembly as recited in claim 11, wherein the light source is enclosed within the sheet such that when actuated the light source emits illumination as a light to the sheet to cause writing on the sheet to be visible in a darkened environment.
15. An assembly as recited in claim 11, wherein the housing comprises a cap.
16. A writing assembly adapted to be illuminated, the writing assembly comprising:
a sheet having a plurality of surfaces, wherein at least one aperture is formed in at least one of the surfaces, the writing surface being comprised of a material selected from the group consisting of a transparent and a translucent material;
a housing mounted on the sheet and adapted to conceal the at least one aperture;
a light source configured to be disposed within the at least one aperture;
means for providing electrical power to the light source; and
a switch configured to selectively actuate the means for providing power.
17. The writing apparatus as recited in claim 16, wherein the housing comprises a clip for securing a sheet in frictional engagement with the housing.
18. The writing apparatus as recited in claim 16, wherein at least two apertures are formed in the sheet.
19. The writing apparatus as recited in claim 16, wherein the light source comprises a light bulb having a color selected from the group consisting of red, green and yellow colors.
20. The assembly as recited in claim 16, wherein the writing surface comprises a front surface and a back surface, wherein the back surface comprises a layer of light color and a subsequent layer of dark color such that the dark color is on the exterior of the writing surface.
21. The assembly as recited in claim 16, wherein the writing surface comprises a plurality of sides, wherein all but the front side comprises a layer of light color and a subsequent layer of dark color such that the dark color is on the exterior of the writing surface.
22. An assembly for providing an illuminated writing surface, the assembly comprising:
a writing surface comprising at least one aperture disposed therethrough;
a housing configured to couple with the writing surface such that the writing surface is selectively removable from the housing;
a light source configured to be disposed within the at least one aperture; and
a power source coupled to the light source, the power source being selectively actuated by a switch.
23. An assembly as recited in claim 22, further comprising a writing instrument.
24. An assembly as recited in claim 22, wherein the illumination is a colored illumination.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This non-provisional patent application claims priority to the U.S. Provisional Patent Application filed on Mar. 16, 2001, entitled “Illuminated Writing Pad,” serial No. 60/276,412, inventor James F. Richards, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. The Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a writing surface that may be selectively illuminated by a user.

[0004] 2. The Prior State of the Art

[0005] Individuals have traditionally used a variety of surfaces for writing thereon. One such writing surface includes slate, which is a fine-grained rock formed by the metamorphosis of clay, shale, etc. Slate is generally a dull, dark bluish gray rock that when in contact with a light colored limestone allows the limestone to appear on the slate. As such, slate has been used, in combination with limestone, as a writing surface.

[0006] The concept used by the combination of slate and limestone is commonly used today and is referred to as a chalkboard or blackboard. A chalkboard is a surface, commonly green in color, which allows chalk to appear thereon. Furthermore, once used to write on the chalkboard, the chalk can be removed from the chalkboard in order to allow additional writing thereon.

[0007] More recently, “whiteboards” have been employed as writing surfaces. A whiteboard is typically a plastic surface, often white in color, which may be written thereon by marker pens. The marker pens may be wiped off of the whiteboard to allow additional writing thereon.

[0008] Other examples of writing surfaces include paper, which is often manufactured as a pad of paper or alternatively as individual sheets. A variety of writing instruments may be employed to write or draw on the paper.

[0009] While the traditional writing surfaces have proven to be useful in writing thereon, each requires the room or environment where the writing surface is employed to be illuminated. In other words, when a chalkboard, a whiteboard, or a paper is employed, the room or environment is typically lit by natural or electric lights to enable the writing on the surface to be visible. In a room or location that is dim or dark, the writing on the surface is often not visible.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention relates to a writing surface that may be selectively illuminated by a user. More specifically, the present invention is directed to a writing assembly having a smooth surface for writing thereon and at least one light source that may be selectively actuated by a user to provide lighting with respect to the smooth surface, to cause the writing on the surface to be visible.

[0011] Implementation of the present invention includes a transparent or translucent surface and at least one light source. The light source, when actuated, provides lighting to the surface. Therefore, when a user writes with, for example, an erasable marker on the transparent surface, the lighting of the light source enables the writing to been seen in a dim or dark location.

[0012] In one implementation, the light source is electrically coupled to a power source, such as an electrical cord coupled to a cigarette lighter adapter that can be electrically coupled to a battery of a vehicle. A user may then selectively illuminate the writing surface by triggering a switch. Other power sources may be utilized for providing the power to illuminate the one or more light sources, such as one or more batteries or an electrical cord that couples to a wall mounted outlet. Each of these power sources (e.g., electrical cord and battery) are examples of means for providing electrical power to the one or more light sources.

[0013] The present invention is useful in a variety of settings. By way of example, police officers, workers, and/or other individuals who desire to write on a writing surface after dusk may utilize the illuminated writing surface of the present invention to see what is being written on the surface or what has already been written the surface due to the lighting provided by the present invention.

[0014] Additional features and advantages of the present invention will be set forth in the description that follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention. The features and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. These and other features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] In order that the manner in which the above recited and other advantages and features of the invention are obtained, a more particular description of the present invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that the drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0016]FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of a writing surface of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0018]FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the writing surface of FIG. 2;

[0019]FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0020]FIG. 5 illustrates an alternate writing assembly of the present invention mounted on the dashboard of the a vehicle;

[0021]FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of the writing assembly of FIG. 5;

[0022]FIG. 7 illustrates an exploded view of the alternative embodiment of FIG. 5;

[0023]FIG. 8A illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 8B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the alternative embodiment of FIG. 8A;

[0025]FIG. 9A illustrates still another alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

[0026]FIG. 9B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the alternative embodiment of FIG. 9A, the phantom lines showing the selective coupling of a housing to a writing surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] The present invention extends to a writing surface that may be selectively illuminated by a user. More specifically, the present invention is directed to a writing assembly having a smooth surface for writing thereon and at least one light source that may be selectively actuated by a user to provide lighting with respect to the smooth surface, to cause the writing on the surface to be visible.

[0028] In the disclosure, reference is made to a light source that provides lighting for the writing surface. In the disclosure and in the claims, the term “light source” refers to any component or device that is capable of emitting light, such as, for example, an incandescent light bulb, a fluorescent light bulb, other light bulbs, a light emitting diode (“LED”), and/or other light sources, each of which is an example of a means for providing illumination.

[0029] While the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 includes a generally rectangular writing surface, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the writing surface may comprise a variety of different sizes and/or shapes. Furthermore, while the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 includes two light sources that are configured to be in electric communication with a car battery through the use of an electrical cord and an adaptor, those skilled in the art will appreciate that a variety of different means for providing electrical power may be utilized in the present invention, including, for example, an electrical cord which may be mounted in a wall socket, a portable source such as one or more batteries, and/or others. Also, embodiments of the present invention embrace one light source or more than two light sources to provide the lighting. Furthermore, those skilled in the art will appreciate that a variety of different components may be utilized to implement the features of the present invention.

[0030] With reference to FIG. 1, an illuminated writing assembly 10 is illustrated that comprises a writing surface 12 and a cap 14. Writing surface 12 comprises a transparent or semi-transparent material, such as plexi-glass, glass, plastic, or other materials. In the illustrated embodiment, writing surface 12 is plexi-glass. In one embodiment, cap 14 comprises a non-conductive vacuum formed material, such as plastic. Rubber may also be employed for cap 14. Cap 14 is an example of a housing that is mounted on writing surface 12.

[0031] With reference to FIG. 2, writing surface 12 comprises a front face 15, a bottom edge 16, a top edge 17, a first side edge 18, a second side edge 20, and a back face 22, as further illustrated in FIG. 3. By way of example, in one embodiment, the dimensions of the writing surface 12 are about {fraction (5/2)} inches tall, by about 4 inches wide, by about inch thick. Furthermore, writing surface 12 may comprise a clear laser cut plexi-glass material. In one embodiment, the comers of the writing surface are rounded.

[0032] In the illustrated embodiment, edges 16,17,18, 20 and/or back face 22 are first colored a light color (e.g., through painting, staining, or the use of a colored material), such as white, to reflect illumination out of front face 15. Furthermore, edges 16, 17, 18, 20 and/or back face 22 can then subsequently be colored a dark color (e.g., through painting, staining, or the use of a colored material), such as black to enhance the effect. The black color also prevents light from radiating from anywhere but the front face 15, thereby maintaining a focused direction of light and allowing the back portion of the assembly to remain more dark (e.g., within a car wherein a dark environment may be preferred except at the front portion of the writing surface).

[0033]FIG. 2 demonstrates a cutaway portion of edge 20 of one embodiment, featuring layers of transparent or translucent material 35, a colored layer 36, such as a white paint, and a second colored layer 38, such as black paint. In one embodiment, the entire portion of edges 16, 17, 18, 20 and back face 22 are first painted white, then painted black to thereby reflect illumination out of front face 15. In addition, cap 14 may comprise a black material, such as black vacuum formed PVC plastic.

[0034] Front face 15 is left unpainted so as to reflect illumination thereout. Therefore, in one embodiment, the white paint is visible through the remaining clear face 15 and the black paint is visible from the edges and back face covering the white paint on the outside.

[0035] Referring to FIG. 4, and as explained above, writing assembly 10 comprises a cap, which houses an electric circuit comprising a switch 24 and one or more light sources 32. The switch is made accessible to a user by aperture 25. In one embodiment, switch 24 is a three way switch (e.g., green/off/red). The switch 24 selectively enables the power source to thereby provide power to the light source.

[0036] Also, in the illustrated embodiment, apertures 31 a and 31 b are provided in top edge 17 to respectively house light sources 32 a and 32 b. Apertures 31 a-b may be drilled through edge 17, so that the one or more light sources 32 (e.g., bulbs and/or light emitting diodes) can be placed into respective apertures 31 a-b. Light source 32 a may be a green emitting bulb and/or diode, for example, while light source 32 b may be a red emitting bulb and/or diode, for example. In one embodiment, apertures 31 a-b are drilled after edge 17 is painted such that there is no remaining paint in apertures 31 which might block illumination. The light sources may be electrically coupled to a switch 24 that is electrically coupled to a power source. Thus, when actuated, light emits out from the front face 15 of the writing surface. In one embodiment, painted edges 16, 17, 18, 20 and face 22 do not allow substantially any light to emit outwards. In one embodiment, the light sources may only require a small amount of power, such as 12 volts, for example.

[0037] Cap 14 may selectively slide down over the top of the writing surface 12 (e.g., approximately to approximately 1 inch, for example) with the switch housed therein. Cap 14 may serve to cover the light sources, wires, and switch, and to create a finished appearance to writing assembly 10. Cap 14 may be constructed of a soft or hard elastomeric material. In one embodiment, cap 14 is constructed of a soft polyvinyl material. In another embodiment, cap 14 is constructed of a hardened plastic material. In another embodiment, cap 14 is constructed of an elastomeric material, such as rubber.

[0038] As provided above, writing assembly 10 comprises a switch 24 that selectively enables the power source to provide power to one or more light sources 32. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, switch 24 is electrically coupled to a power source in the form of an electrical cord 29 having an adapter 30 (e.g. a vehicle cigarette lighter adapter) electrically coupled thereto, the electrical cord 29 and adaptor 30 collectively serving as an example of a means for providing electrical power to the one or more light sources 32 a-b. Other power sources may include one or more portable batteries and/or an electrical cord configured to be coupled to an electric socket, each of which are also examples of means for providing electrical power to the one or more light sources 32 a-b.

[0039] Optionally, a writing instrument may be coupled (e.g., removably coupled) to the writing assembly 10 by a connector such as a two-part connector, e.g, a VELCRO connector comprising (i) a first VELCRO tab 26 a, which is mounted on writing surface 12; and (ii) a second corresponding VELCRO tab 26 b, which is mounted on a writing instrument, such as an erasable marker pen 27.

[0040] As mentioned, the plurality of light sources 32 are electrically coupled to the power source through switch 24, which can be a variety of different switches such as a toggle switch, a sliding switch, an electric switch, etc. When a user actuates switch 24, the electrical circuit is closed to cause one or more of the plurality of light sources 32 to emit illumination inside of container 11. In one embodiment, the illumination is colored. Therefore, by way of example, when switch 24 is triggered to a first position, one of the light sources 32 (e.g. light source 32 a) is actuated to emit a first colored illumination within container 11, such as a green illumination. When the switch 24 is subsequently triggered to a second position, both light sources 32 are deactuated so that no illumination is emitted by the light sources 32 in container 11. When switch 24 is triggered to a third position, another of the second light sources 32 (e.g. light source 32 b) is actuated to emit a second colored illumination, such as a red illumination. When one or more of the light sources emit illumination, the illumination fills transparent or translucent writing surface 12 and is emitted from writing surface 16 to provide a lighting and thus enable a user to view the writing on writing surface 16.

[0041] One of the various colors of light sources 32 (e.g. green and/or red) may be preferred by the user to view the writing on writing surface 12, especially due to the color of the writing on writing surface 16. In other words, one illumination color may cause the writing on writing surface 16 to be more visible than another illumination color.

[0042] Switch 24 is an example of a means for selectively enabling the power source to illuminate the light source. Furthermore, cap 14 is utilized as a cover over light sources 32 to prevent light from being shown directly into the face of the user from one or more of the light sources 32. For example, in one embodiment, cap 14 covers over the writing surface 12 until reaching the dotted reference line 34 shown in FIG. 4 to thereby prevent light from being emitted laterally out of face 15 above the dotted line 34.

[0043] While the illustrated embodiment provides two light sources 32 a and 32 b, those skilled in the art will appreciate that one light source or more than two light sources may be used. Also, the light sources may be placed in a variety of different locations. Furthermore, illumination colors other that red and green, such as white, etc., may be used.

[0044] While FIGS. 1-4 and the corresponding disclosure provide an embodiment of the present invention, illustrated as writing assembly 10, a variety of embodiments of illuminated writing assemblies having the features of the present invention are available. By way of example, embodiments of the present invention embrace different sizes, thickness, light combinations and power sources, and different ways to mount the assembly 10.

[0045] An alternative embodiment of the writing assembly of the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 5-8. FIG. 5 depicts a writing assembly 100 mounted to the dashboard 110 of a vehicle. Writing assembly 100 is mounted so as to facilitate easy reach of the writing pen 27. As shown in FIG. 5, writing assembly 100 is mounted upright. Alternatively, writing assembly 100 may be mounted so as to be more ergonomically aligned with the user by mounting the writing assembly horizontally. Writing assembly 100 is mounted to the dash of a vehicle via a bracket 112. Bracket 112 has a mounting surface 113. Mounting surface 113 is attached to dashboard 110 by a set of screw bolts 114. However, it will be appreciated that bracket 112 may be attached to dashboard 110 by a variety of structures such as adhesive, VELCRO, rivets, welding, and the like. Writing assembly 100 includes a power source comprising (i) electrical cord 29 a and (ii) adaptor 116. In one embodiment, adaptor 116 (e.g. vehicle cigarette lighter adapter) allows the light source to be in electrical communication with the battery of the vehicle.

[0046] Turning now to FIG. 6, writing assembly 100 is shown having a writing surface 118 and a cap 120. Cap 120 is another example of a housing of the present invention. Writing surface 118 comprises a transparent or semi-transparent material, such as plexi-glass, glass, plastic, or other materials. With reference to FIG. 7, writing surface 118 comprises a front face 122, a bottom edge 124, a top edge 126, a first side edge 128, a second side edge 130, and a back face 132. As discussed above, in one embodiment, edges 124, 126, 128, 130 and/or back face 132 are first colored a light color (e.g., through painting, staining, or the use of a colored material), such as white, to reflect illumination out of front face 122. Furthermore, edges 124, 126, 128, 130 and/or back face 132 can then subsequently be colored a dark color (e.g., through painting, staining, or the use of a colored material), such as black to enhance the effect.

[0047] Referring to FIG. 7, writing surface 118 has an aperture 134 disposed through side 130. Aperture 134 is shown extending partially through writing surface 118. Alternatively, aperture 134 may extend completely through writing surface 118. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that more than one aperture may be formed in writing surface 118 or that the apertures may be formed in any surface of the writing surface 118. Aperture 134 is configured to receive a light source 136. As discussed above, light source 136 may be a variety of suitable structures such as a small light bulb or a light emitting diode. In one embodiment, light source 136 is electrically coupled to a switch 138 which is also electrically coupled to cord 29 a. Switch 138 may be a two-way switch or, alternatively, a three way switch (e.g., green/off/red). Thus, when the power source is actuated via switch 138, light emits out from the front face 122 of the writing surface 118. In one embodiment, painted edges 124, 126, 128, 130 and/or back face 132 do not allow substantially any light to emit therethrough, forcing the light to be reflected through front face 122.

[0048] Cap 120, is configured to receive a portion of writing surface 118 therein. Thus, cap 120 may selectively slide down over the top of the writing surface 118 (e.g., approximately to approximately 1 inch, for example) with the aperture 134 and light source 136 housed therein. As shown in FIG. 5 and 6, cap 120 acts to substantially conceal aperture 134 and light source 136. Advantageously, cap 120 is utilized as a cover over light source 136 to prevent light from being shown directly into the face of the user. Cap 14 thus serves to create a finished appearance to writing assembly 100. In one embodiment, cap 120 comprises an elastomeric material such as a soft or hard plastic or rubber. In one embodiment, cap 120 is constructed of a soft polyvinyl. In another embodiment, cap 120 is constructed of a harder plastic.

[0049] As shown in FIG. 6, a writing instrument may be coupled (e.g., removably) to the writing assembly by a connector, such as a two-part connector, e.g. a VELCRO connector comprising (i) a first VELCRO tab 26 a, which is mounted on writing surface 12; and (ii) a second corresponding VELCRO tab 26 b, which is mounted on a writing instrument, such as an erasable marker pen 27.

[0050] In one embodiment, the illumination provided by light source 136 is colored. For example, actuation of switch 134 may produce a green illumination. In one embodiment, green illumination is preferred because it is similar to the color of the lights found on a typical dashboard 110. Thus, a green illumination reduces distractions as a user is driving or, for example, when a police officer is policing his route in the evening. When one or more of the light sources emit illumination, the illumination fills transparent or translucent writing surface 118 and is emitted through front face 122 to provide a lighting and thus enable a user to view the writing on writing surface 118.

[0051] In one embodiment, writing assembly 100 is removably attached to bracket 112, e.g., through two-part connector, so that the writing assembly 100 can be used in the car or removed and carried with the user. In FIG. 7, a VELCRO tab 140 is attached to back face 132 of writing assembly 100 and a corresponding VELCRO tab 142 is attached to the front of bracket 112. Thus, writing assembly 100 can be easily attached and removed from bracket 112. It will be appreciated that other ways may be employed to attach writing assembly 100 to bracket 112 such as magnets, adhesive, welding, and the like.

[0052] Referring to FIGS. 8A and 8B, cap 120 a may include a clip 150 such that a sheet 156 (e.g., a sheet of paper) is secured to writing assembly 100. As shown in FIG. 8A, the user may desire to place a sheet 156 of paper on the writing surface 118 to use the writing surface as a hard surface. For example, the user may want to place a map on the writing surface to make notations or simply to be able to secure the map while the user is driving.

[0053]FIG. 8A shows that sheet 156 is secured under clip 150. FIG. 8B shows clip 150 in additional detail. Clip 150 may has a first end 152 and a second end 154. As shown in FIG. 8B, first end 152 of clip 150 is formed integrally with the body portion 121 of cap 120 a. Body portion 121 mounts onto sheet 118. Optionally, the housing of the present invention comprises a clip that is mechanically coupled to the cap body. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8B, clip 150 is resilient such that the clip 150 is biased toward the body 221 of cap 120 a and rests closely against the body 221 of cap 120 a. Thus, when a thin sheet 156 is placed between the clip 150 and cap body 221, the thin sheet is held in frictional engagement. Thin sheet 156 may be opaque or transparent. As shown in FIG. 8A, VELCRO tab 26 a may be located on clip 50 to keep the writing surface 118 free from obstructions. In another embodiment, clip 150 is a standard metal clip which is attached to a cap such as cap 120 of FIG. 5 through adhesive, riveting, or other mechanical devices. Cap 120 a is thus another example of a housing of the present invention.

[0054]FIGS. 9A and 9B depict an alternative power source and an alternative housing which allow the user to have an interchangeable writing surface. As shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B, writing assembly 200 has a writing surface 202 and a housing 204 that is selectively mounted onto writing surface 202. Writing surface 202 is configured similar to that discussed above with respect to writing assemblies 10 and 100. Thus, one or more side of the writing surface may have a light-colored layer and a subsequent dark-colored layer. As shown in FIG. 9B, an aperture 206 is formed in a top edge 208 of writing surface 202. A light source 210 can be disposed within aperture 206. Light source 210 is connected by wires to a battery 212. Battery 212 is electrically coupled via wires to the light source 210 and a switch 213.

[0055] As shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B, housing 204 selectively houses writing surface 202. Housing 204 has a front surface 214, a back surface 216, a top edge 218, a bottom edge 220, a first side edge 222, and a second side edge 224. Housing 204 comprises an aperture 224 formed in front surface 214 which is configured to receive writing surface 202 therethrough. Housing 204 also houses battery 212 and switch 213. Preferably, access to the battery is provided through a door 226 on the back surface 216 or top edge 218 of housing 204.

[0056] Referring to FIG. 9B, writing surface 202 can be selectively inserted and removed from housing 204. Such insertion and removal is depicted in the phantom lines of FIG. 9B. In one embodiment, at least the bottom portion of housing 204 is constructed from a soft elastomeric material (e.g., rubber or plastic) to facilitate removal or insertion of writing surface 202 therefrom. For example, the bottom portion of housing 204 could be constructed of a polyvinyl material. The top portion of housing 204 can be made from a hardened elastomeric materials (e.g., rubber or plastic) so as to house the battery 212. Advantageously, when light source 210 needs to be replaced, writing surface 202 can be easily removed, displacing light source 210 from aperture 206. Similarly, battery 212 (e.g., a AAA battery) can be easily replaced through door 226. It will be appreciated that such a configuration allows the user to transport writing assembly 200 easily. Writing assembly 200 may also be mounted to a bracket for placement in the car or in a residence.

[0057] Thus, the present invention relates to a writing surface that may be selectively illuminated by a user. More specifically, the present invention is directed to a writing assembly having a smooth surface for writing thereon and at least one light source that may be selectively actuated by a user to provide lighting, with respect to the smooth surface, to cause the writing on the surface to be visible. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7543951 *Apr 30, 2007Jun 9, 2009Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions, Inc.Methods and apparatus for providing a luminous writing surface
US7655348 *Feb 14, 2005Feb 2, 2010Panasonic CorporationChip-type battery
US8072738 *May 13, 2008Dec 6, 2011Whirlpool CorporationWriting surface with removable portable electronic device
Classifications
U.S. Classification362/98
International ClassificationB60N3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60N3/002
European ClassificationB60N3/00B3