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Publication numberUS20060035684 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/918,034
Publication dateFeb 16, 2006
Filing dateAug 12, 2004
Priority dateAug 12, 2004
Publication number10918034, 918034, US 2006/0035684 A1, US 2006/035684 A1, US 20060035684 A1, US 20060035684A1, US 2006035684 A1, US 2006035684A1, US-A1-20060035684, US-A1-2006035684, US2006/0035684A1, US2006/035684A1, US20060035684 A1, US20060035684A1, US2006035684 A1, US2006035684A1
InventorsChang Guo
Original AssigneeGuo Chang H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Two-way audio communication device and method of manufacturing
US 20060035684 A1
Abstract
A two-way audio communication device includes a housing (190) with passageways (491, 492). Electronics (310) are located in the housing. The device has a retractable speaker or earpiece (220) and a retractable microphone (410). A spool (340) is adjacent to the housing. Electrical wires (420) electrically couple the retractable microphone to the electronics, and the electrical wires are retractable through the passageways and onto the spool.
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Claims(24)
1. A two-way audio communication device comprising:
a housing having a first passageway;
electronics in the housing;
a retractable speaker;
a retractable microphone;
a spool adjacent to the housing; and
electrical wires electrically coupling the retractable microphone to the electronics, retractable through the first passageway, and retractable onto the spool.
2. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 wherein the electronics detect when the retractable speaker and the retractable microphone are extended.
3. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 further comprising:
a second microphone;
and a second speaker.
4. The two-way audio communication device in claim 3 wherein the electronics permit a simultaneous use of the retractable microphone and the second microphone; and
wherein the electronics permit a simultaneous use of the retractable speaker and the second speaker.
5. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 wherein the housing further comprises a cavity to hold the retractable speaker in its retracted state.
6. The two-way audio communication device in claim 5 further comprising an elastic band coupled to the housing and located across the cavity to hold the retractable speaker in the cavity.
7. The two-way audio communication device in claim 5 further comprising a tab located at an edge of the cavity and extended at least partially across the cavity to hold the retractable speaker in the cavity.
8. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 further comprising an antenna having a second passageway wherein the electrical wires are retractable through the second passageway.
9. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 wherein the retractable microphone comprises a flexible housing.
10. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 wherein the retractable microphone is retractable into the first passageway of the housing.
11. The two-way audio communication device in claim 1 having a release mechanism comprising:
a button comprising:
a head exterior to the housing; and
a body extending into the housing and having a hole through which the electrical wires pass,
wherein the housing further comprises a second passageway located at an opposite side of the release mechanism from the first passageway;
wherein the button is moveable perpendicular between a wire-engaging position and a wire-releasing position;
wherein the button in its wire-releasing position aligns the hole in the body of the button with the first and second passageways; and
wherein the button in its wire-engaging position misaligns the hole in the body of the button with the first and second passageways.
12. A cellular telephone comprising:
a housing having a front surface, a back surface with a cradle and a recess, a first side surface, and a second side surface;
electronics in the housing;
a removable cover over the recess;
a keypad at the front surface;
a digital display at the front surface;
a speaker at the front surface;
a first microphone at the front surface;
an antenna towards the first side surface;
an earpiece at the back surface, towards the second side surface, and retractable into the cradle;
a second microphone at the back surface, towards the second side surface, and retractable into the cradle;
a battery at the back surface;
a spool in the recess; and
electrical wires electrically coupling the earpiece and the second microphone to the electronics, retractable into the cradle, retractable into the recess, and retractable onto the spool.
13. The cellular telephone of claim 12 further comprising an auto-answer mechanism comprising:
a first electrical contact located in the cradle and electrically coupled to the electronics; and
a second electrical contact located on the earpiece,
wherein the first electrical contact is electrically coupled to the second electrical contact when the earpiece is retracted into the cradle.
14. The cellular telephone of claim 12 wherein the electronics permit a simultaneous use of the first microphone and the second microphone; and
wherein the electronics permit a simultaneous use of the speaker and the earpiece.
15. The cellular telephone in claim 12 further comprising an elastic band coupled to the housing and located across the cradle to hold the earpiece in the cradle.
16. The cellular telephone in claim 12 further comprising a tab located at an edge of the cradle and extended at least partially across the cradle to hold the earpiece in the cradle.
17. The cellular telephone in claim 12 having a release mechanism comprising:
a button comprising:
a head at the second side surface;
a body extending into the housing and having a hole through which the electrical wires pass; and
a spring coupling the body to the housing,
wherein the housing further comprises passageways located at opposite sides of the release mechanism;
wherein the button is moveable perpendicular to the passageways between a wire-engaging position and a wire-releasing position;
wherein the spring biases the button towards the wire-engaging position;
wherein the button in its wire-releasing position aligns the hole in the body of the button and the passageways;
wherein the button in its wire-engaging position misaligns the hole in the body of the button and the passageways; and
wherein the electrical wires are retractable through the cradle, retractable through the passageways, retractable through the hole in the body of the button, and retractable onto the spool.
18. The cellular telephone in claim 17 wherein the second microphone comprises a flexible housing retractable through at least one of the passageways and retractable through the hole in the body of the button in the release mechanism.
19. The cellular telephone in claim 12 wherein the second microphone comprises a flexible housing.
20. The cellular telephone in claim 12 wherein the second microphone is retractable from the cradle into the housing.
21. The cellular telephone in claim 12 further comprising:
a wheel located in the recess and having a groove;
an open cylinder having a hole interior to the open cylinder and eyelets exterior to the open cylinder;
a bottom center axle comprising:
a disk at one end, located below the recess, located below the open cylinder, and having a hole in its center; and
a hollow center rod coupled to the disk, extending into the recess, extending into the open-cylinder through the hole in the open cylinder, located in a center of the open cylinder, and having a hole;
a top center axle comprising;
a non-circular column above the open cylinder having a top inner portion of the non-circular column threaded to receive a screw and having a hole; and
a hollow center rod coupled to the non-circular column, fitted over the hollow center rod of the bottom center axle, and having a hole aligned with the hole in the hollow center rod of the bottom center axle;
a spring comprising:
a first end passed through the holes of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axles;
a body coiled around the top and bottom center axles; and
a second end attached to an interior of the open cylinder;
a cover located over the open cylinder, having eyelets adjacent to the cover and aligned with the eyelets exterior to the open cylinder, and having a hole in its center sized to fit over the non-circular column of the top center axle and sized to permit the non-circular column of the top center axle to rotate;
first screws passing through the eyelets exterior to the open cylinder and the eyelets adjacent to the cover, fastening the cover to the open cylinder, and fastening the open cylinder to the housing; and
a second screw,
wherein the spool has a first hole conformed to the non-circular column of the top center axle and through which the non-circular column of the top center axle extends, has a second hole aligned with the hole in the non-circular column of the top center axle, and is secured to the non-circular column of the top center axle by the second screw.
22. The cellular telephone in claim 21 wherein the electrical wires extend from the earpiece and the second microphone to the cradle, into the recess, across the groove in the wheel to the spool, through the aligned holes in the spool and the non-circular column of the top center axle, through the interior of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axle, and through the hole in the disk of the bottom center axle to the electronics.
23. A method of manufacturing a two-way audio communication device comprising:
providing a housing having a passageway;
positioning electronics in the housing;
providing a retractable speaker and a retractable microphone;
assembling a spool adjacent to the housing; and
electrically coupling electrical wires and the retractable microphone to the electronics.
24. The method of manufacturing a two-way communication device in claim 23 further comprising:
attaching a wheel with a groove to the housing;
aligning a hole of an open cylinder and eyelets of the open cylinder with corresponding holes in a recess of the housing;
placing a hollow center rod of a bottom center axle through a hole in the recess and through a hole interior to the open cylinder;
fitting a top center axle partially over the bottom center axle wherein the top center axle comprises:
a non-circular column located above the open cylinder and having a hole; and
a hollow center rod coupled to the non-circular column, fitted over the hollow center rod of the bottom center axle, and having a hole aligned with a hole in the hollow center rod of the bottom center axle;
biasing a spring around the top and bottom center axles by passing one end of the spring through the holes of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axles, coiling the body around the top and bottom center axles, and attaching a second end of the spring to the open cylinder;
placing a cover over the open cylinder wherein the non-circular column of the top center axle extends through a hole in the cover and wherein the cover has eyelets adjacent to the cover;
screwing screws through the eyelets exterior to the open cylinder, the eyelets adjacent to the cover, and the holes in the recess to fasten the cover to the open cylinder and to secure the open cylinder and the cover to the housing;
threading one end of the electrical wires through aligned holes in the spool and the non-circular column of the top center axle, through the interiors of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axle to the electronics, and leaving a second end of the electrical wires extending from the spool and the non-circular column;
wrapping the electrical wires around the spool; and
passing the electrical wires around the groove in the wheel and through the passageway, wherein assembling the spool adjacent to the housing comprises:
positioning the spool having a center hole conformal to the shape of the non-circular column of the top center axle onto the non-circular column; and
securing the spool to the non-circular column of the top center axle.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates generally to two-way audio communication devices and more specifically to a two-way audio communication device having a retractable microphone.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Cell phones have been in mainstream use for more than fifteen years, and earphones have been around for many decades. Because many cell phone users drive or otherwise multitask while talking on the cell phone and because many cell phone users desire to avoid radiation from their cell phone, a hands-free set was developed to permit the cell phone user to utilize both hands while still carrying on a conversation and to also keep the cell phone away from the user's head. A hands-free set typically comprises an earpiece coupled to a microphone by electrical wires, but hands-free sets are separate from the cell phone and must be plugged into a jack or outlet on the cell phone to be operational. Therefore, the cell phone user does not have a convenient place to store the hands-free set when it is not in use. Thus, the hands-free set may be easily lost or otherwise separated from the cell phone. While a cell phone is a common example, other two-way communication devices present the same challenges when the user wants to have a hands-free option. Accordingly, a need exists for a two-way communication device having an integrated hands-free system, such as, for example, a retractable microphone.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0003]
    The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the accompanying FIGS., in which like references indicate similar elements, and in which:
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a two-way audio communication device in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0005]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a back view of the two-way audio communication device of FIG. 1;
  • [0006]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of the two-way audio communication device of FIG. 2 taken along a section line 3-3;
  • [0007]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a partial cut-away, back view of the interior of the two-way audio communication device of FIG. 1;
  • [0008]
    FIG. 5 illustrates an exploded, side cross-sectional view of the retraction mechanism, the spool, and the electrical wires of FIG. 3;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a partially assembled top view of the retraction mechanism of FIG. 3 without the cover or the screws;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a partially assembled, side cross-sectional view of the retraction mechanism of FIG. 3 without the spring or screws;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 8 illustrates a top view of the spool of FIG. 3;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 9 illustrates a partial view of a two-way audio communication device having an auto-answer mechanism in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a schematic, back view of a two-way audio communication device in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0014]
    FIG. 11 through FIG. 13 illustrate a method of manufacturing a two-way audio communication device having a retractable microphone.
  • [0015]
    Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the FIGS. are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the FIGS. may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention. In the following description, the term “hole” refers to an opening having any geometric shape and is not limited round openings. “Non-circular” refers to geometric shapes that are not round including, but not limited to, ovals, ellipses, rectangles, squares, triangles, and other polygons. “Disk” means a flattened piece having any geometric shape and is not limited to circular objects.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of two-way audio communication device 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As an example, two-way audio communication device 100 can be a cellular telephone with an integrated hands free system. As illustrated in FIG. 1, two-way audio communication device 100 comprises housing 190, keypad 110, digital display 120, speaker 130, and microphone 140 at front surface 101 of housing 190. Two-way audio communication device 100 also comprises antenna 160 located towards first side surface 150 of housing 190 and button 180 located at second side surface 170 of housing 190.
  • [0017]
    Referring now to FIG. 2, two-way audio communication device 100 further comprises removable cover 210 with latch 211 and located over a recess in back surface 201 of housing 190. Also illustrated in FIG. 2, two-way audio communication device 100 includes removable cover 250 with latch 251 and located over recess 360 (FIG. 3) in which battery 320 (FIG. 3) is located. At back surface 201, towards second side surface 170, two-way audio communication device 100 also includes earpiece 220, which comprises a speaker. Earpiece 220 retracts into cavity 230 of housing 190 and is shown in its retracted state. In one embodiment, the shape of cavity 230 can be conformal to the shape of earpiece 220 and may be referred to as a cradle. Two-way audio communication device 100 further includes elastic band 240 coupled to housing 190 at the edges of cavity 230 of back surface 201 and located across cavity 230. Elastic band 240 holds earpiece 220 in cavity 230.
  • [0018]
    In another embodiment of the invention, two-way audio communication device 100 has one or more rigid tabs, rather than elastic band 240, coupled to housing 190 at back surface 201 near the edge of cavity 230. The tabs extend at least partially across cavity 230 to hold earpiece 220 in cavity 230. An example of two such tabs is illustrated in FIG. 9 as tabs 940.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of two-way audio communication device 100 of FIG. 2 taken along section line 3-3. As illustrated in FIG. 3, two-way audio communication device 100 comprises electronics 310 located in housing 190. As an example, electronics 310 can include a circuit board, integrated circuits, and discrete components. Back surface 201 has recesses 330 and 360. Two-way audio communication device 100 also comprises spool 340 and retraction mechanism 350 located in recess 330, where spool 340 is attached to retraction mechanism 350. Removable cover 210 permits easy access to spool 340 retraction mechanism 350 for repairs and/or adjustments, as needed. FIG. 3 depicts recess 330, spool 340, and retraction mechanism 350 towards the bottom of two-way audio communication device 100 at back surface 201. Two-way audio communication device 100 further comprises battery 320 in recess 360 at back surface 201 near the top of the device, towards first side surface 150 (FIG. 2) and towards antenna 160.
  • [0020]
    In a different embodiment, the locations of recess 330 and recess 360 are exchanged. In this different embodiment, recess 330, spool 340, and retraction mechanism 350 can be at the top of a two-way audio communication device at back surface 201, and recess 360 and battery 320 can be at back surface 201 near the bottom of the device.
  • [0021]
    Referring now to FIG. 4, two-way audio communication device 100 includes retractable microphone 410 located at back surface 201 and towards second side surface 170. Two-way audio communication device 100 also includes electrical wires 420 which are electrically coupled to earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410 and which also electrically couple earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410 to electronics 310 (FIG. 3). In one embodiment, retractable microphone 410 retracts into cavity 230. More specifically, retractable microphone 410 retracts from cavity 230 into housing 190. Even more specifically, retractable microphone 410 has flexible housing 411 (and can be longer and thinner than a microphone for a conventional, separate hands-free system) permitting retractable microphone 410 to retract through at least passageway 491 and through hole 483 in body 482 of button 180. In another embodiment, as an example, retractable microphone 410 can be further retracted through passageway 492, around wheel 430, and onto spool 340. Spool 340 and retraction mechanism 350 retract electrical wires 420 into cavity 230, into recess 330, and onto spool 340. More specifically, electrical wires 420 are retracted through cavity 230, through passageway 491, through hole 483 in body 482 of button 180, through passageway 492, around wheel 430, and onto spool 340. The retraction of electrical wires 420 causes the retraction of earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410.
  • [0022]
    Two-way audio communication device 100 also includes release mechanism 480 to control the extension and retraction of earpiece 220, retractable microphone 410, and electrical wires 420. Release mechanism 480 comprises button 180 having head 481 at second side surface 170 and body 482 extending into recess 490 of housing 190. Body 482 of button 180 has hole 483 through which electrical wires 420 pass. Release mechanism 480 also comprises spring 484 which couples body 482 of button 180 to a bottom portion of recess 490 in housing 190. Housing 190 comprises passageway 491 and passageway 492, which are located at opposite sides of release mechanism 480.
  • [0023]
    Button 180 moves perpendicular to passageways 491 and 492 between a wire-engaging position and a wire-releasing position. Button 180 is illustrated in FIG. 4 in the wire-releasing position, but button 180 is spring biased towards the wire-engaging position. In one embodiment, button 180 is pushed into its wire-releasing position, and in a different embodiment, button 180 is pulled into its wire-releasing position.
  • [0024]
    When button 180 is in its wire-releasing position, as illustrated in FIG. 4, hole 483 in body 482 of button 180 aligns with passageways 491 and 492 permitting the manual extension and automatic retraction of electrical wires 420, earpiece 220, and microphone 410. When button 180 is in its wire-engaging position, hole 483 in body 482 of button 180 is misaligned with passageways 491 and 492. Thus, electrical wires 420 bend to accommodate the misalignment between hole 483 and passageways 491 and 492. In this configuration, electrical wires 420 contact the edges of hole 483 and passageways 491 and 492, which creates friction greater than the force of spring 550 (FIG. 6) to prevent electrical wires 420 from retracting onto or extending from spool 340.
  • [0025]
    In a different embodiment, release mechanism 480 provides sufficient friction in its wire-engaging position to prevent electrical wires 420 from retracting onto spool 340, but a user of two-way audio communication device 100 can still remove earpiece 220 from cavity 230 and pull electrical wires 420 out of housing 190 when button 180 is in its wire-engaging position. In another embodiment, the pulling of electrical wires 420 out of housing 190 automatically moves button 180 into its wire-releasing position.
  • [0026]
    Retraction mechanism 350 also includes wheel 430 with a groove (not shown in FIG. 4) and located in recess 330. Electrical wires 420 extend across the groove in wheel 430 to spool 340. Wheel 430 guides electrical wires 420 from passageway 492 onto spool 340 when earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410 are retracted. When earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410 are extended, wheel 430 directs electrical wires 420 from spool 340 into passageway 492.
  • [0027]
    FIGS. 5 through 7 depict various views of retraction mechanism 350 of FIG. 3. FIG. 5 illustrates an exploded, side cross-sectional view of retraction mechanism 350, spool 340, and electrical wires 420. FIG. 6 shows a partially assembled top view of retraction mechanism 350 without cover 210 or screws 580. FIG. 7 depicts a partially assembled, side cross-sectional view of retraction mechanism 350 without spring 550 or screws 580.
  • [0028]
    Referring to FIGS. 5 through 7, retraction mechanism 350 comprises open cylinder 510 positioned in recess 330. Open cylinder 510 has hole 512 interior to open cylinder 510. Open cylinder 510 also has eyelets 511 exterior to open cylinder 510. Hole 512 in open cylinder 510 aligns with hole 532 in bottom surface 531 of recess 330, and eyelets 511 align with holes 591 in housing 190 at bottom surface 531 of recess 330. Retraction mechanism 350 also comprises bottom center axle 520 with disk 521 coupled to hollow center rod 522. Disk 521 is located below open cylinder 510 and below recess 330. Hollow center rod 522 of bottom center axle 520 extends through hole 532 in bottom surface 531 of recess 330, into recess 330, through hole 512 in open cylinder 510, and into the center of open cylinder 510. Disk 521 prevents bottom center axle 520 from slipping entirely into recess 330 or open cylinder 510. Hollow center rod 522 of the bottom center axle 520 has hole 523.
  • [0029]
    Retraction mechanism 350 further comprises top center axle 560 with hollow center rod 562 coupled to non-circular column 561. In one embodiment, the exterior of non-circular column 561 can be rectangular. In another embodiment, the exterior of non-circular column 561 can be triangular. In yet another embodiment, the exterior of non-circular column 561 can be polygonal. In its assembled stated, non-circular column 561 extends above open cylinder 510. Threaded hole 566 is at the top of non-circular column 561.
  • [0030]
    Top center axle 560 fits over bottom center axle 520. More specifically, hollow center rod 562 fits over hollow center rod 522 of bottom center axle 520. Hollow center rod 562 of top center axle 560 has hole 563. When top center axle 560 fits over bottom center axle 520, hole 563 in top center axle 560 aligns with hole 523 in bottom center axle 520.
  • [0031]
    Spring 550, which can be a coil spring or a ribbon spring, provides a biasing force on top center axle 560 and bottom center axle 520. End 551 of spring 550 passes through aligned holes 563 and 523 of top and bottom center axles 560 and 520, respectively. Body 552 of spring 550 coils or winds around top and bottom center axles 560 and 520, which are coupled together by spring 550. End 553 of spring 550 attaches to interior surface 513 of open cylinder 510. In one embodiment, when spring 550 is in its most relaxed, least compressed, or least biased state, spring 550 can expand to contact the inner surface of the sidewalls of open cylinder 510.
  • [0032]
    In another embodiment of the invention, a screw, rivet, or other fastening means may be used to couple bottom center axle 520 to top center axle 560. In yet another embodiment, bottom center axle 520 may be glued to top center axle 560. In still another embodiment, the interior of hollow center rod 562 of top center axle 560 can have an oval, elliptical, square, rectangular, triangular, or other cross-section rather than a circle, and the exterior top portion of hollow center rod 522 of bottom center axle 520 can be shaped the same as the interior of hollow center rod 562 of top center axle 560. Thus, the hollow center rod 562 of top center axle 560 and hollow center rod 522 of bottom center axle 520 can be mechanically interlocked. In yet another embodiment, hollow center rod 562 can fit inside hollow center rod 522. In all of these embodiments, end 551 of spring 550 can be attached to top center axle 560, bottom center axle 520, or both.
  • [0033]
    Retraction mechanism 350 also includes cover 570 which has eyelets 571 adjacent to cover 570. Eyelets 571 are aligned with eyelets 511 exterior to open cylinder 510 and are also aligned with holes 591 in bottom surface 531 of recess 330. Spring 550, bottom center axle 520, and a portion of top center axle 560 are enclosed in open cylinder 510 by cover 570, which is located over open cylinder 510. Cover 570 also has hole 572 at its center sized to fit over non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560. Thus, non-circular column 561 protrudes from the then-covered open cylinder 510 while hollow center rod 562 remains within open cylinder 510 covered by cover 570. Shoulder 565 of top center axle 560 prevents top center axle 560 from slipping entirely out of open cylinder 510 through hole 572 of cover 570. Hole 572 in cover 570 is sized appropriately to permit non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560 to rotate.
  • [0034]
    Retraction mechanism 350 also includes screws 580, which fasten cover 570 to open cylinder 510 and which also fasten cover 570 and open cylinder 510 to housing 190. Screws 580 also fasten cover 570 to open cylinder 510 by passing through eyelets 571 adjacent to cover 570 and eyelets 511 exterior to open cylinder 510. Screws 580 fasten cover 570 and open cylinder 510 to housing 190 by further passing through holes 591 in bottom surface 531 of recess 330.
  • [0035]
    Spool 340 is fixed upon non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560 and is located over cover 570. Referring to FIG. 8, spool 340 has hole 841 at its center and is shaped to be conformal to the exterior shape of non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560. Non-circular column 561 (FIG. 5) extends through hole 841 in spool 340. Because column 561 and hole 841 are non-circular, spool 340 does not spin independently of non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560. Instead, non-circular column 561 and spool 340 are geometrically interlocked and rotate together. Therefore, referring back to FIGS. 5 through 7, when spool 340 turns, top center axle 560 rotates. Top center axle 560 is coupled to bottom center axle 520. Thus, top center axle 560 and bottom center axle 520 rotate with spool 340. When electrical wires 420 are pulled out of housing 190, spool 340 and top and bottom center axles 560 and 520 rotate in the same direction to bias, tightens, or increases the tension of spring 550, which is attached to top and bottom center axles 560 and 520. When electrical wires 420 are retracted back into housing 190, spool 340 and top and bottom center axles 560 and 520 rotate in the same opposite direction, which unbiases, loosens, or reduces the tension of spring 550. Spool 340 is secured to non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560 by screw 590. Non-circular column 561 has threaded hole 566 to receive screw 590. In another embodiment, a washer (not shown) may be added between screw 590 and spool 340 to better secure spool 340 to top center axle 560. In a different embodiment, bottom center axle 520 does not rotate and remains in a fixed position relative to open cylinder 510, but spool 340 and top center axle 560 rotate to bias and unbias spring 550. In this different embodiment, spring 550 can be detached from bottom center axle 520.
  • [0036]
    Electrical wires 420 are coupled to electronics 310 (FIG. 3). To reach electronics 310 (FIG. 3), electrical wires pass through hole 544 in spool 340. Hole 544 in spool 340 is aligned with hole 564 in non-circular column 561 of top center axle 560. Electrical wires 420 pass through holes 544 and 564 into the interiors of non-circular column 561 and hollow center rod 562 of top center axle 560. Electrical wires 420 then pass through the interiors of hollow center rod 522 and disk 521 of bottom center axle 520. Electrical wires 420 exit bottom center axle 520 through hole 524 in disk 521 of bottom center axle 520 to electronics 310 (FIG. 3). The excess electrical wire 420 between spool 340 and retractable microphone 410 is wound upon spool 340.
  • [0037]
    Referring now to FIG. 9, two-way audio communication device 900 has auto-answer mechanism 910 comprising metal contact 931 located in cavity 230. Metal contact 931 is electrically coupled to electronics 310 (FIG. 3). Auto-answer mechanism 910 also comprises metal plate 921 which is located on earpiece 220. Metal contact 931 is electrically coupled to metal plate 921 when earpiece 220 is retracted into and held in cavity 230. Electronics 310 (FIG. 3) detect when metal contact 931 is and is not electronically coupled to metal plate 921 and permit flexible cellular telephone operating options including any combination of the following: simultaneous use of speaker 130 (FIG. 1) and earpiece 220, simultaneous use of microphone 140 (FIG. 1) and retractable microphone 410, and simultaneous use of speaker 130 (FIG. 1) and microphone 140 (FIG. 1) by one person and earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410 by another person. In one embodiment, electronics 310 (FIG. 3) can also permit use of speaker 130 (FIG. 1) and microphone 140 (FIG. 1) without the use of earpiece 220 and/or retractable microphone 410 even though earpiece 220 is extended from cavity 230. In another embodiment, electronics 310 can also permit the auto-answering of a received phone call when earpiece 220 is removed from cavity 230 and the electrical connection between metal plate 921 and metal contact 931 is broken.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a schematic back view of two-way audio communication device 1000 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. Two-way audio communication device 1000 comprises housing 1010 having passageway 1020. Two-way audio communication device 1000 also comprises electronics (not shown, but similar to electronics 310 in FIG. 3) located in housing 1010. Device 1000 also has retractable earpiece 220 and retractable microphone 410. More specifically, retractable microphone 410 is retractable into passageway 1020. Two-way audio communication device 1000 further includes spool 340 adjacent to housing 1010 and located in a recess of housing 1010. Electrical wires 420 electrically couple retractable microphone 410 to the electronics. Electrical wires 420 are retractable through passageway 1020 and are retractable onto spool 340. In one embodiment, both electrical wires 420 and retractable microphone 410 are retractable through passageway 1080 located in antenna 160, but at least some portion of earpiece 220 remains outside of antenna 160.
  • [0039]
    It is understood that the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 10 can contain numerous other features including, but not limited to: release mechanism 480 as depicted in FIG. 4; and auto-answer mechanism 910 as depicted in FIG. 9 and adapted so that metal contact 931 is located in antenna 1070 as opposed to cavity 230.
  • [0040]
    FIGS. 11 through 13 illustrate a flow chart 1100 for a method of manufacturing a two-way audio communication device having a retractable microphone. As an example, the two-way audio communication device of flow chart 1100 can be similar to two-way audio communication device 100 of FIGS. 1 through 4. In FIG. 11, flow chart 1100 comprises a step 1110 for providing a housing having a passageway, a step 1120 for positioning electronics in the housing, and a step 1130 for providing a retractable speaker and a retractable microphone. For example, the housing in steps 1110 and 1120 can be similar to housing 190 indicated in FIGS. 1 through 5 and 7. The electronics in step 1120 can be similar to electronics 310 shown in FIG. 3. The retractable speaker and retractable microphone in step 1130 can be similar to retractable earpiece 220 indicated in FIGS. 2, 4, 9, and 10 and retractable microphone 410 indicated in FIGS. 4, 9 and 10.
  • [0041]
    Flow chart 1100 continues with a step 1140 for attaching a wheel with a groove to the housing and a step 1150 for aligning a hole of an open cylinder and eyelets of the same open cylinder with corresponding holes in a recess of the housing. The wheel in step 1140 can be similar to wheel 430 shown in FIG. 4. The hole and eyelets of the open cylinder in step 1150 can be similar to hole 512 located in the center of open cylinder 510 and eyelets 511 as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7. The corresponding holes in the recess can be similar to holes 512 and 591 which are also depicted in FIGS. 5 and 7. Flow chart 1100 further continues with a step 1160 for placing a bottom center axle through a hole in the recess that is aligned with the hole interior to the open cylinder. For example, the bottom center axle in step 1160 can be similarly situated as bottom center axle 520 depicted in FIGS. 5 and 7. The bottom center axle in step 1160 can also be similar to bottom center axle 520 which comprises disk 521, hollow center rod 522, and hole 523 as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 7.
  • [0042]
    Flow chart 1100 continues with a step 1170 for fitting a top center axle partially over the bottom center axle wherein the top center axle comprises: a non-circular column located above the open cylinder and a hollow center rod coupled to the non-circular column. The hollow center rod of the top center axle is fitted over a hollow center rod of the bottom center axle. A hole in the top center axle is aligned with a hole in the bottom center axle. For example, the top center axle and its components in step 1170 can be similar to top center axle 560 having non-circular column 561, hollow center rod 562, and hole 563 shown in FIGS. 5 through 7. In step 1170, the top center axle can be fit over the bottom center axle in a similar manner as depicted in FIG. 7 which shows top center axle 560 fitted over bottom center axle 520. Flow chart 1100 continues with a step 1180 for biasing a spring around the top and bottom center axles by passing one end of the spring through the holes of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axles, coiling or winding the body around the top and bottom center axles, and attaching a second end of the spring to the open cylinder. For example, the spring in step 1180 can be biased in a similar manner as spring 550 depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6.
  • [0043]
    Flow chart 1100 continues in FIG. 12 with a step 1190 for placing a cover over the open cylinder wherein the non-circular column of the top center axle extends through a hole in the cover and wherein the cover has eyelets adjacent to the cover. Next, flow chart 1100 has a step 1200 for screwing screws through the eyelets exterior to the open cylinder, the eyelets adjacent to the cover, and the holes in the recess to fasten the cover to the open cylinder and to secure the open cylinder and cover to the housing. For example, the cover in step 1190 can be similar to cover 570 having hole 572 and eyelets 571 depicted in FIGS. 5 and 7. The screws in step 1220 can be similar to screws 580, which are also shown in FIG. 5 following a similar path.
  • [0044]
    Flow chart 1100 continues with a step 1210 for assembling a spool adjacent to the housing wherein assembling the spool adjacent to the housing comprises positioning a spool having a center hole conformal to the shape of the non-circular column of the top center axle onto the non-circular column, aligning a second hole in the spool with a hole in the non-circular column of the top center axle, and securing the spool to the non-circular column of the top center axle. For example, the spool in 1210 can be similar to spool 340 depicted in FIGS. 3 through 5, 8 and 10 wherein the center hole can be similar to hole 841 depicted in FIG. 8 and the second hole can be similar to hole 544 depicted in FIG. 5.
  • [0045]
    Flow chart 1100 further continues with a step 1220 for threading one end of the electrical wires through the aligned holes in the spool and the non-circular column of the top center axle, through the interiors of the hollow center rods of the top and bottom center axle to the electronics, and leaving a second end of the electrical wires extending from the spool and the non-circular column. Next, in FIG. 13, flow chart 1100 has a step 1230 for wrapping the electrical wires around the spool, a step 1240 for passing the electrical wires around the groove in the wheel and through the passageway, and a step 1250 for electrically coupling electrical wires and the retractable microphone to the electronics. For example, FIG. 5 illustrates electrical wires 420 taking a similar pathway to the electronics as indicated in steps 1220 and 1230. The electrical wires extending around the wheel and into the passageway in step 1240 can be similar to electrical wires 420 extending from spool 340, around wheel 430, and through passageways 491 and 492 as depicted in FIG. 4.
  • [0046]
    The sequence of assembly steps provided in flow chart 1100 is not the only order in which the various steps can be performed. For example, step 1120 for positioning the electronics in the housing can occur after assembling a spool adjacent to the housing in step 1210; step 1130 for providing a retractable speaker and a retractable microphone can occur after the electrical wires are wrapped around the spool in step 1230; and step 1220 for threading the electrical wires through the top and bottom center axles can occur before the spool is assembled adjacent to the housing in step 1210.
  • [0047]
    In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments. One of ordinary skill in the art, however, appreciates that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the claims below. For example, other release mechanisms and retraction mechanism can be used. Additionally, the retractable earpiece and the retractable microphone can be integrated into a single physical component, instead of being two separate components. Accordingly, the specification and FIGS. are to be regarded in an illustrative sense, rather than a restrictive sense, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.
  • [0048]
    Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described with regard to specific embodiments. The benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element or elements that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced, however, are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all of the claims. As used herein, the term “comprises,” “comprising,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements, but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7471467 *Mar 10, 2006Dec 30, 2008Bruce KalwaCell phone/magnification system
US7567212 *Feb 20, 2008Jul 28, 2009Sony CorporationElectronic equipment unit
US8737670 *Nov 2, 2011May 27, 2014Daqing ZHENGBuilt-in telescopic earphone structure and terminal device
US20080231538 *Feb 20, 2008Sep 25, 2008Sony CorporationElectronic equipment unit
US20120114162 *Nov 2, 2011May 10, 2012Zheng DaqingBuilt-in telescopic earphone structure and terminal device
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Classifications
U.S. Classification455/575.1
International ClassificationB65H16/02
Cooperative ClassificationH04M1/6058, H04M1/0258, H04M1/15
European ClassificationH04M1/60T2B, H04M1/15, H04M1/02A12H