US 20060146514 A1
A display apparatus (10) comprises a display band (14) and a control unit (12). The display band (14) is flexible and is dimension for wrapping round the wrist or other part of the user. In preferred forms, the control unit (12) includes a timing circuit and the display band (14) includes a digital time display, the apparatus thus functioning as a watch. Also preferred is the use of a malleable display band (14) allowing the apparatus to be applied to the wrist or the like without use of a buckle or catch. A variety of display bands (14) nay be used interchangeably with a single control unit
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The present invention relates to display apparatus, particularly, but not exclusively, display apparatus which is used as personal jewellery or wrist watches.
Most people own a wristwatch and they can be found in a number of guises to suit personal taste and disposable income. They all have the same basic features, however, of a central section which provides the time and display (be it analogue or digital) and also contains the watch's mechanism, a strap or bracelet which surrounds the wearer's wrist and a clasp or buckle to secure the whole arrangement to the wearer's wrist.
The present invention is directed to a display apparatus for personal wear.
The present invention provides a display apparatus comprising a flexible display member and a control unit provided at one end of the display member, the display member being in the form of a strip of a size suitable to be positioned around a limb of a user.
In one form of the invention, the display member is malleable, the malleable display member preferably being sufficiently stiff as to retain its shape without the need for a latch or other retainer. This allows a given product to fit a wide range of users, and makes the product easier to use.
The term “malleable” is used herein to mean capable of being shaped or moulded by the application of hand pressure to a shape which is retained until the shape is again altered by hand pressure. One form of malleable member contemplated in this invention is a strip or band of thin metal or plastic and which is initially axially straight and transversely concave. An alternative is to use a strip or band of a low yield point, such as a soft alloy.
The display member may comprise an electro-luminescent display bonded to a malleable strip; and in a preferred form the display member comprises a rubber backing, a strip of thin steel forming said malleable strip, said electro-luminescent display, a filter layer, and an anti-moisture covering.
In an alternative form of the invention, the apparatus can be secured by a buckle or clasp.
In either form, controls are preferably provided on the display member, most suitably in the form of touch-sensitive areas on the display. This simplifies construction, and makes it easier to seal the apparatus against water.
The control unit preferably comprises a timing circuit and the display member is adapted to display time indicia, whereby the apparatus functions as a watch. Additionally, or alternatively, the control unit may comprise means for generating visual patterns on the display member, whereby the apparatus functions as an electronic bracelet.
Preferably also, the display member is removably attached to the control unit, whereby the display member can be detached and replaced with an alternative design or size to suit the individual. Thus, the apparatus can readily be adapted to different styles and appearances according to the desires of the user and his/her social milieu at a given time.
An embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
Referring to the drawings and initially to
The control unit 12 contains all of the required mechanisms and the power source for the watch. It consists of a rear cover 26 and a top cover 28 which clip securely together and house a battery 12 a and electronics 12 b.
In this case the watch uses a standard quartz circuit and an ordinary watch battery.
The sprung band 14 is constructed from several layers which are shown in greater detail in
The bottom layer 16 is a 500 μm thick natural rubber section. Above that is a layer 18 composed of a 50 μm plastic coated hardened and tempered steel. Above that is a 100 μm thick electro-luminescent display layer 20 on top of which is a 50 μm polyester deep dyed filter layer 22. Finally, there is a 100 μm anti-moisture ingress coating 24. All five layers form a composite sandwich to make up the sprung band 14.
The steel layer 18 has the transverse shape shown in
The four layers apart from the electroluminescent layer 20 terminate first inside the control unit 12. The electroluminescent layer 20 continues further into the control unit 12 and adopts its shape. The layer 20 has a beryllium-copper surface-mounted connector similar to the mounting of an LCD in a mobile phone. This allows the user to have several displays of differing colours and layouts driven from a common driver circuit and battery.
The sprung band 14 also contains touch sensitive buttons (not shown). These are used to control the functions of the watch such as setting the time. Buttons may also be included which alter the display properties of the band, for example to increase luminescence or to change a decorative pattern on the watch.
It will be appreciated that the display must be flexible. In addition to electroluminescent displays, other forms of flexible display may be used such as organic light emitting diode, light emitting polymer, and organic liquid crystal display.
In use the watch 10 is placed over the wearer's wrist in its initial flat form. The wearer then applies pressure to the ends of the watch 10. The sprung band 14 yields to the pressure and moulds around the wearer's wrist as described above. Once a desired fit is attained, the wearer discontinues the application of pressure. The watch 10 is left in a moulded position around the wearer's wrist. The watch 10 in this form can be seen more clearly in
The watch 10 does not require any latch mechanism to hold it in this position, as the malleability of the sprung display band 14 retains it around the wearer's wrist until the wearer wishes to remove it.
Since the watch 10 has a malleable property, it can be readily moulded into a number of shapes or sizes. Standard lengths of display bands 14 can fit a variety of wearers with differing wrist sizes. Alternatively a single wearer can deploy the watch on another limb; the leg for example.
Since the control unit 12 and display band 14 are interchangeable, the wearer can alternate shapes and designs of display band to suit mood or occasion.
Alternatively, the battery may be recharged by a solar cell or by a thermoelectric cell using the body heat of the wearer.
As a further alternative, a lithium ion polymer battery could be used; since these are conformable, the battery could be included in the wrists trap rather than the control unit.
Power consumption may be reduced by providing a light sensor and controlling the display illumination in accordance with ambient light.
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A number of modifications are envisaged without departing from the scope of the invention.
The invention may be provided as an item of adornment only, not containing a time displaying function. The invention could therefore display an attractive design for aesthetic purposes only. This design could also be changeable via the control unit alternating between several designs.
The invention may include means to program the device to alternate the displayed design at a set frequency, or to strobe or produce other interesting or eye-catching effects.
All this can be separate from or in conjunction with a display of the time.
The apparatus may be double sided, such that it can be wrapped around the wrist in either direction. One side might then display the time and the other side a graphic display. Either side or both may be animated.
The apparatus may include an external plastic casing enclosing the whole apparatus.
Furthermore, the invention may include a sound sensor linked to the display feature. Therefore if the invention is exposed to a sound source, for example if the wearer is in a nightclub, the invention would provide an attractive display which flashes or illuminates selectively in response to the tempo of the music.
Although it is preferred to have the display band readily detachable from the control unit, it would be possible to mount the control circuitry directly onto the display substrate, possibly but not necessarily a rigid portion.