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Publication numberUS20040187184 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/403,185
Publication dateSep 30, 2004
Filing dateMar 27, 2003
Priority dateMar 27, 2003
Publication number10403185, 403185, US 2004/0187184 A1, US 2004/187184 A1, US 20040187184 A1, US 20040187184A1, US 2004187184 A1, US 2004187184A1, US-A1-20040187184, US-A1-2004187184, US2004/0187184A1, US2004/187184A1, US20040187184 A1, US20040187184A1, US2004187184 A1, US2004187184A1
InventorsAaron Rubin, Alexandre Tumlinson
Original AssigneeRubin Aaron Cole, Tumlinson Alexandre Rex
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparel articles including flexible personal device and information displays
US 20040187184 A1
Abstract
Apparel articles including flexible personal device and information displays provide a system and method for displaying text and graphical output of personal devices to the wearer of the apparel article or another person interacting with a personal device of the wearer. The apparel includes a display having enhanced flexibility that is visible in low ambient light conditions without requiring the use of a back-light. Hats, shirts and other apparel articles provide displays for programming by other persons via a wireless network interface and for displaying information such as Internet messages and pages, temperature, exercise data, stock quotes, computer monitor displays and other information to the wearer of the apparel. Control inputs of personal devices are also incorporated in the apparel via a touch-screen aligned with the display or other discrete controls integrated within the apparel.
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Claims(25)
What is claimed is:
1. An article of apparel, comprising:
an apparel body of a form for wearing by a person or animal;
a flexible multipixel display array mounted on the apparel body for providing a visual display;
a driver circuit coupled to said display array for providing electronic signals controlling said visual display;
a processor coupled to said driver circuit for programming said electronic signals; and
at least one personal device coupled to said processor for providing an input to processor for providing said display programming in response to an output of said personal device.
2. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said flexible display array is a light-emitting diode (LED) display.
3. The article of apparel of claim 2, wherein said flexible display array is an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display.
4. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said flexible display array is arranged in a position for viewing by a wearer of said article of apparel, whereby said wearer can conveniently view an output of said personal device.
5. The article of apparel of claim 4, further comprising controls mounted on said apparel body and coupled to said processor for controlling said personal device, whereby said wearer may interact with said personal device and said visual display.
6. The article of apparel of claim 5, wherein said controls comprise a touch-screen integrated with said flexible display array.
7. The article of apparel of claim 5, wherein said controls comprise switches mounted adjacent to said flexible display array.
8. The article of apparel of claim 4, wherein said apparel body is a shoe, and wherein said flexible display array is positioned on a top of said shoe near the toe whereby said flexible display array is visible to said wearer.
9. The article of apparel of claim 4, wherein said apparel body is an article of clothing including a sleeve for covering an arm of said wearer and wherein said visual display is provided on an arm of said wearer for viewing by said wearer.
10. The article 6f apparel of claim 4, wherein said apparel body is an article of clothing including a pant leg for covering a leg of said wearer and wherein said visual display is provided on a top of the leg of said wearer for viewing by said wearer.
11. The article of apparel of claim 4, wherein said apparel body is an article of clothing including a front shirt tail and wherein said visual display is provided on an outer surface of the shirt tail of said wearer for viewing by said wearer when said front shirt tail is not tucked into another article of clothing.
12. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said visual display is generated in conformity with broadcast information received by said personal device.
13. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said visual display is generated in conformity with information received by said personal device in response to a poll by said personal device.
14. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said flexible display array comprises all of an exterior of said article of apparel, whereby said flexible display array forms said apparel body, and wherein said visual display is provided on at least a portion of said flexible display.
15. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said personal device is a communications device for receiving a communication from a person other than the wearer, and wherein said visual display is programmed in response to a receipt of said communication, whereby said visual display is programmed to reflect an output of said communication.
16. The article of apparel of claim 1, wherein said communications device is a device for receiving e-mail from said person other than the wearer and wherein said visual display is programmed to display at least a portion of said e-mail.
17. An article of apparel, comprising:
an apparel body of a form for wearing by a person or animal;
a personal device; and
means for providing a display of an information output of said personal device on a surface of said article of apparel.
18. A method for displaying text, graphics, color or light on a person or animal, comprising:
attaching a flexible multipixel array display to an apparel body;
receiving an output of a personal device; and
programming a state of pixels within said multipixel array display to generate a visual display in response to said output of said personal device and in conformity with information provided from said personal device.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein said attaching attaches a light-emitting diode (LED) display.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein said attaching attaches an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display to said apparel body.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein said attaching attaches said multipixel array display in a location and orientation for view by a wearer of said apparel body, whereby said wearer may conveniently view said output of said personal device.
22. The method of claim 18, further comprising receiving broadcast information, and wherein said programming programs said pixels to generate said visual display in conformity with said received broadcast information.
23. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
sending a polling request from said personal device; and
receiving response information in response to said polling request, and wherein said programming programs said pixels to generate said visual display in conformity with said received response information.
24. The method of claim 18, wherein said multipixel array display forms all of an exterior of said apparel body, whereby said attaching is performed implicitly.
25. The method of claim 18, further comprising receiving a communication from a person other than a wearer of said apparel body, and wherein said programming is performed in conformity with said received communication, whereby another person may view a result of said receiving on said visual display.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to articles of clothing or accessories and more specifically to apparel including one or more flexible electronic displays.

[0003] 2. Background of the Invention

[0004] Clothing articles on which distinctive graphics and text appear are for sale by clothing retailers as well as organizations having a promotional or advertising interest in the graphics or text being displayed. Static printed apparel is well known (e.g., printed t-shirts) and are found highly desirable by both consumers and promoters.

[0005] In the recent past, electronic display technology has improved to yield increasingly low-cost, low power and small graphical and textual displays, such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. While such displays may be used to provide changeable graphical and textual matter to an apparel article via attachment of an LCD, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,912,653, in actuality, an LCD cannot be packaged to yield a degree of flexibility that would prevent damage to the display while providing comfort and flexibility of movement to the wearer. Further, LCD technology typically requires back-lighting to be visible under a wide variation of lighting conditions.

[0006] U.S. patent application US2002/0167483A1 describes OLED apparel articles generally as an improvement over the above-referenced patent. However, the above-referenced patent (as well as other existing patents and publications) is directed toward a display for promoting or otherwise presenting graphics and animations to persons other than the wearer. Typically this type of apparel display serves as a“substitute” or improvement over the printed designs described above. While such displays are useful for providing eye-catching and visible displays for advertising or for calling attention to the wearer, it would be desirable to provide further functionality within such apparel. It would further be desirable to provide functionality that serves the wearer of the apparel other than the functionality described above, which only serves the wearer in relation to other persons viewing the displays. It would also be desirable to provide functional interaction between apparel and other persons.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The above objectives of providing an article of apparel having an electronic display providing functionality that serves the wearer and/or wearer interactivity with other persons is provided in apparel articles incorporating a flexible display comprising a personal device display. The display may be an output of a personal device such as a wristwatch, Internet or other network appliance, cellular telephone, exercise and environmental monitors, personal computers, video games, music players and other personal devices. The display is generally oriented for convenient viewing by the wearer, but may also include displays oriented for viewing by other persons while programmed with the graphical and/or textual output of a personal device where the input to the personal device is provided by one or more other persons.

[0008] The apparel articles incorporate a flexible light-emitting diode display forming a graphical pixel matrix for display of graphics and/or text. The light-emitting diode display radiates light, eliminating any need for back-lighting and providing a flexible display enhancing flexibility of movement and comfort to the wearer.

[0009] The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular, description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010]FIGS. 1A and 1B are pictorial diagrams depicting apparel articles in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

[0011]FIG. 2 is a pictorial diagram depicting an apparel article in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 3 is an electronic block diagram depicting circuits of an apparel article in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013] The present invention provides various interactive and display improvements to articles of apparel including flexible displays. The improvements include personal device information displays integrated within the article of apparel. Such displays may include cellular telephone and other personal communication device displays such as pager, e-mail, personal digital assistant (PDA) displays, personal computer displays and the like. Generally, the display differs from prior art displays not necessarily in format or structure, but in programming, in that the display is programmed in an orientation for convenient viewing by the wearer of the article of apparel, rather than for viewing by others. Personal devices as defined in the context of the present application include all of the above-listed devices and other devices that present information to a person (the wearer) on a multi-pixel display. One embodiment of the invention in exception to the wearer orientation of the present invention is a novel use of a flexible display integrated in an article of apparel and a novel method and system for operating an article of apparel, whereby another person may view a response to a communication received from the other person on the flexible display of the wearer.

[0014] The present invention provides a display of information provided from the personal communication devices mentioned above, but also contemplates personal devices that are sensor devices such as exercise monitors and temperature sensors as well as completely contained devices such as timers, stopwatches and wristwatches and personal computing devices. Apparel as contemplated by the embodiments of the present invention include accessories such as wallets, purses, gym bags, luggage, belts as well as general clothing-type apparel such as shirts, shoes, jackets, pants, skirts, dresses and the like. The flexible display and associated control circuits may be made detachable so that transfer between various articles of clothing may be accomplished. An adhesive-backed display or VELCRO-attached display may be provided.

[0015] Referring now to FIG. 1A, a wallet 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is depicted. Wallet body 11 forms an“apparel body” on which a flexible light-emitting diode (LED) multi-pixel matrix display 13 is mounted. A visual display 15 is presented that can display video, text, static graphics, flashing lights, as well as any other lighted form that may be programmed to turn on pixels in LED display 13 in response to personal device information. For example, a cellular telephone display or e-mail content display may be provided on LED display 13 in response to a received network communication.

[0016] LED display 13 is generally an organic LED display forming a transparent plastic flexible membrane with the organic diode elements embedded therein. No back-lighting is required, as the LED elements generate radiated light as opposed to LCD elements that have been used in prior clothing article displays. Apparel in accordance with embodiments of the present invention are generally for wear by persons, but the techniques of the present invention may be applied to other clothing articles such as dog sweaters, horse cowls, and so forth generally in embodiments where the personal device information is provided by a person other than the animal wearer for view by the person.

[0017] Referring now to FIG. 1B, a shirt 10A in accordance with another embodiment of the invention is depicted. An apparel body 11A provides the bulk of the apparel item (shirt 10A) on which flexible multipixel LED display 13A is mounted for generating a visual display 15A, but in one embodiment, display 13A forms all of the exterior of the entire apparel item, so that an apparel body may not be required at all. Such apparel is suitable for use in full camouflage or partial camouflage clothing that may be programmed for various environments. A second display 13B is shown incorporated on a sleeve of shirt 10A, and the generated visual display is generated in an orientation easily readable to the wearer, as opposed to display 13A which is more likely visible to and generally oriented for display to another person. In the illustrative depiction, display 13B is implementing the function of a watch showing time 3:00.

[0018] Buttons 16, provided for controlling displays 13A and 13B, may be incorporated as graphics and/or text on 13B with sensors located at corresponding locations under the display or with a programmed response to a touch-screen matrix set to areas corresponding to button icons 16 or may be provided as discrete buttons such as membrane switches as shown.

[0019] Display 13A is illustrated as a display responsive to a wireless network interface. The present invention contemplates the use of a wireless network interface for providing weather information, stock quote information, video and animated data, and so forth for viewing by the wearer of the article of apparel. However, in the illustration, a graphical text display responsive to incoming e-mails is shown where the display text of a person's name (or other text) may be inserted in response to a received Internet e-mail transmission to an address associated with display 13A. Thus the present invention provides a personal device-responsive communication for viewing by the sender of a communication, as well as others.

[0020] Electronic displays 13A and 13B may share common driver circuits and a processor programming displays 13A and 13B may select a particular one of the displays for activation, or displays 13A and 13B may be multiplexed to reduce the amount of driver circuitry required. Driver circuit including internal personal devices 14A is shown incorporated in the lining of shirt 10A and may include a battery power source. Alternatively, or for providing a battery power source ancillary to driver circuit 14A, a belt or waistband clipped electronics pack 14B including internal personal devices may be connected to shirt 10A. Controls may be further incorporated on pack 14B for controlling programming of visual display 15A and programming of display 13B and an external connector may be provided on electronics pack 14B and/or driver circuit 14A for interface to a personal device (including sensors) providing input for controlling displays 13A and 13B.

[0021] Referring now to FIG. 2, a shoe 20 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention is depicted. The body of shoe 21 provides a structure for attaching a flexible multi-pixel LED display 23. Display 23 is shown oriented for viewing by a wearer of shoe 20 and visual display 25 provided thereon is displaying the current temperature (+70) in response to a sensor coupled to driver electronics 24.

[0022] In addition to the locations described above as examples, a visual display in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention may be provided in other locations on an apparel body. For example; the top of the leg or knee of a pair of pants, dress, skirt or other leg-covering article of apparel may have a display mounted thereon for providing a convenient location for viewing by the wearer. Additionally, the display may be mounted on a front shirt tail, providing a means for hiding the visual display when the shirt tail is tucked in and wherein the visual display may be oriented upside-down for viewing then the shirt tail is flipped up toward the viewer. Other“flap” type articles of apparel or additions to articles of apparel may be provided, for example on the front of a shirt or blouse, so that the user may“flip-up” a visual display that is oriented for viewing by the wearer when such“flap” is flipped so as to face the user.

[0023] Referring now to FIG. 3, driver circuits 30 suitable for use within apparel articles 10, 10A and 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention are shown in a block diagram. Displays 31 and 31A which are affixed to an apparel article, are coupled to a set of matrix drivers 32. Displays 31 and 31A may each comprise a further plurality of electronic displays all connected to matrix driver 32 and may be individually selectable via matrix drivers 32. Matrix drivers 32 are coupled to processor 33 for receiving information corresponding to text, graphics and colors displayed on display 31 and processor is coupled to a memory 34 for storing program instructions for execution by processor 33 and data corresponding to graphical images, text and colors for display on display 31.

[0024] A wireless network node 39A, which may be an Internet node, is coupled to processor 33 to provide receipt of wireless communications and information such as web page viewing, time, weather and stock information as well as interactivity via e-mail, pager and the like as described above. Other information types receivable and displayable include maps and navigation direction information, movie theatre times, traffic information, newswire information and home appliance status and control information. In general, any type of broadcast information (unsolicited transmissions) or polled information (solicited transmissions) that are suitable for visual display output may be decoded and displayed. The information may be provided by any wireless mechanism compatible with the broadcasting or poll-response mechanism employed in the broadcasting or responding system, such as radio-frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) transmission/reception.

[0025] Sensor/switch input interface 36 is coupled to processor 33 and may be coupled to exercise data sensors (such as heart rate monitors), switches or buttons mounted on the apparel (such as buttons 16) or electronics housing for control of display 31 or connected to temperature sensors, etc. Sensor/switch input interface 36 also couples any provided touch-screens integrated with displays 31 and 31A. Internal personal devices and sensors 37 are coupled to processor 33 for providing information for programming displays 31 and 31A. External devices and sensors 40 may be coupled to processor 33 via an interface connector 35A. Power for displays 31 and driver circuit 30 may be provided by a battery, and solar cells or kinetic electrical devices may be used to either re-charge the battery, or may be used in some embodiments for providing all of the power source.

[0026] While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form, and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
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US7299034Jun 21, 2005Nov 20, 2007Lawrence KatesSystem and method for wearable electronics
US7310830Mar 24, 2006Dec 25, 2007Joseph KuharcikMethod of messaging
US7441348Sep 8, 2004Oct 28, 2008Andrew Curran DawsonLeisure shoe
US7478569 *Dec 2, 2005Jan 20, 2009The Boeing CompanyNon-destructive inspection system with flexible display and associated method
US7571495Nov 10, 2005Aug 11, 2009The Billboard Clothing Company, LlcBillboard garment
US7787240Feb 23, 2007Aug 31, 2010Dudley SwainDisplay system in article of clothing
US8056266Jul 27, 2007Nov 15, 2011Andrew Curran DawsonPant-leg-covers for modified footwear, conventional footwear, and other foot-receiving apparatuses
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Classifications
U.S. Classification2/69
International ClassificationA43B23/24, G09F21/02, G09F27/00, A41D27/08, A45C15/00, G06F3/147
Cooperative ClassificationG06F3/147, G09F21/02, A45C15/00, A43B3/0005, A43B3/0078, G09F27/00, A41D27/085, A43B23/24
European ClassificationA43B3/00E, A43B3/00S80, A45C15/00, A41D27/08B, A43B23/24, G06F3/147, G09F21/02, G09F27/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 27, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: AAA DOODADS, L.L.C., ARIZONA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RUBIN, AARON COLE;TUMLINSON, ALEXANDRE REX;REEL/FRAME:013928/0607;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030321 TO 20030323