US 20060228472 A1
An apparatus and method relating to a configured to receive a bulb are disclosed.
1. A method comprising:
forming a light surround having a mouth leading to an internal cavity, the mouth being sufficiently flexible to permit insertion of a bulb larger than the mouth into the cavity.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
coating the bulb with silicone prior to inserting the bulb into the cavity; and
curing the silicone to bond the bulb to the surround.
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. The method of
8. The method of
9. The method of
10. The method of
11. The method of
coating an internal surface of the cavity with silicone prior to insertion of the bulb into the cavity; and
curing the silicone coated upon the internal surface of the cavity to bond the bulb to the surround.
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. The method of
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
inserting a bulb through the mouth into the cavity, wherein the bulb has a light origin and wherein the bulb is inserted into the mouth such that the light origin is substantially centered in the surround.
20. The method of
21. The method of
22. The method of
23. The method of
24. The method of
25. The method of
26. The method of
one or more stars, one or more hearts, one or more eggs, one or more crosses, one or more pumpkins, one or more bunnies, one or more Christmas trees, one or more Santas, one or more bells, one or more candy canes, one or more candles, one or more snowmen, one or more snowflakes and one or more shamrocks.
27. The method of
inserting a bulb larger than the cavity through the mouth into the cavity; and
removing the bulb from the cavity through the mouth.
28. An apparatus comprising a light surround having a mouth leading to an internal cavity, the mouth being sufficiently flexible to permit insertion of a bulb larger than the mouth into the cavity.
29. The apparatus of
30. The apparatus of
31. The apparatus of
32. The apparatus of
33. The apparatus of
34. The apparatus of
35. The apparatus of
36. The apparatus of
37. The apparatus of
38. The apparatus of
The present application claims priority under 35 USC §119 from co-pending US provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/755,605 filed on Dec. 30, 2005 by Victoria Jean Van Dyn Hoven and entitled LIGHT SURROUND AND MULTI-CHARACTERISTIC LIGHT COVERING, the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The present application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ (Attorney docket V101-103), filed by Victoria Jean Van Dyn Hoven on the same day herewith and entitled LIGHT SURROUND, the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
Decorative lights are frequently used to decorate during holidays or other occasion. Many decorative lights are limited to the shape of the bulb. Others have rigid translucent shells about the bulbs. Such shells lack desired light transmitting or tactile characteristics.
Power source 18 comprises a source of power for emitter 16. Power source 18 is electrically connected to emitter 16 so as to supply electrical current to emitter 16. In one embodiment, power source 18 may comprise a direct current or alternating current voltage source. In particular embodiments, power source 18 may be provided by one or more batteries or may generate electrical current from solar cells or other sources. In particular embodiments, ornament 10 may omit power source 18, wherein ornament 10 is configured to be releasably connected to power source 18 via a plug or other connecting structure.
Light surround 14 comprises an at least partially translucent body of one or more materials having a 3-dimensional shape formed at least partially about emitter 16. Surround 14 diffuses light such that surround 14 or at least portions of surround 14 are illuminated. In particular embodiments, body 14 may additionally filter certain wavelengths of light such as when surround 14 is colored.
In the particular example illustrated, surround 14 generally includes body 20, particulates 22 and bubbles 24. Body 20 encapsulates particulates 22, embedded objects 23 and bubbles 24 that includes external surface 26, internal cavity 28 and mouth 30. External surface 26 generally extends about internal cavity 28 and forms the outermost surface of body 20. External surface 26 (schematically shown) is 3-dimensional in nature in that surface 26 is not generally flat and smooth along the entirety of surface 26. Rather, surface 26 has variations such that surface 26 is more than simply a coating. Surface 26 has variations such that body 20 has a 3-dimensional shape. Although schematically shown, body 20 and surface 26 may be configured to provide surround 14 with one of various decorative or ornamental configurations. For example, in one embodiment, surface 26 may be configured in a shape associated with a holiday. For example, in one embodiment, surface 26 of body 20 may be configured such that surround 14 has a shape selected from a group of shapes consisting of one or more stars (associated with Christmas or the Fourth of July), one or more hearts (associated with Valentine's Day), one or more eggs or one or more crosses (associated with Easter), one or more pumpkins (associated with Halloween), one or more Christmas trees, one or more Santas, one or more bells, one or more candles, one or more candy canes (associated with Christmas) or one or more shamrocks (associated with St. Patrick's Day). Other examples of holiday shapes and associated holiday scents are provided in U.S. Pat. No. 6,935,762 issued on Aug. 30, 2005 and entitled LIGHT STRING ASSEMBLY, the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference and a copy of which is attached as exhibit B. In still other embodiments, surface 26 and body 20 may be configured that surround 14 has other decorative 3-dimensional shapes.
Internal cavity 28 comprises an opening, gap, space or volume within body 20 configured to receive emitter 16. In one embodiment, internal cavity 28 is sized and configured substantially the same as the size and configuration of emitter 16. For example, in one embodiment in which emitter 16 comprises a bulb, cavity 28 is also in the shape of a bulb. According to one example embodiment, internal cavity 28 is sized and configured within body 20 such that an origin 32 (such as the filaments of an incandescent bulb) of light from emitter 16 is substantially centered either transversely or longitudinally within body 14. As a result, light is more uniformly transmitted through body 20. In other embodiments, cavity 28 may be configured such that origin 32 of light from emitter 16 is not centered within body 20. Although cavity 28 is illustrated as being generally rectangular simply as a schematic illustration, cavity 28 may have various other sizes, shapes and configurations. Mouth 30 comprises that portion of body 20 extending about and forming an opening leading to internal cavity 28. Mouth 30 is generally smaller than that portion of emitter 16 proximate to or about origin 32. In particular embodiments, emitter 16 may have a neck which extends alongside and through mouth 30. In particular embodiments, mouth 30 of body 20 is formed from a material having sufficient flexibility so as to permit larger head 34 of emitter 16 to pass through mouth 30 and to be inserted into cavity 28. During such insertion, mouth 30 flexes or deforms to allow insertion of head 34. Once head 34 of emitter 16 has been inserted into cavity 28, portions of mouth 30 resiliently return to the original shape or configuration. In particular embodiments, mouth 30, upon returning to its original shape or configuration bears against neck 36 of emitter 16. As a result, mouth 30 permits surround 14 to be preformed separate from emitter 16 and permits emitter 16 to be subsequently inserted into cavity 28. As a result, surround 14 may be positioned about emitter 16 with the reduced risk of emitter 16 becoming damaged, or broken as compared to other embodiments, wherein surround 14 is molded directly about emitter 16, subjecting emitter 16 to relatively high injection or molding pressures which may otherwise damage emitter 16 due to variations in the shape or configuration of emitter 16.
In particular embodiments, emitter 16 may be bonded or fused to surround 14 to inhibit its removal from surround 14. For example, in particular embodiments, a translucent adhesive material may be applied to the exterior of emitter 16 or the interior surface of cavity 28 upon insertion of emitter 16 through mouth 30 into cavity 28, thereby preventing separation of emitter 16 from surround 14 during shipping or in use. In other embodiments, emitter 16 may be removably inserted into cavity 28, permitting emitter 16 to be withdrawn through mouth 30 (causing flexing or deformation of mouth 30) such that emitter 16 may be replaced or repaired or such that surround 14 may be exchanged for another surround 14.
According to one example embodiment, not only is mouth 30 formed from a flexible material, but substantially the entirety of body 20 is formed from a flexible or soft material. As a result, body 20 has a soft and pleasing outer appearance and touch. Moreover, body 20 is less likely to become chipped, scratched or damaged and is less likely to damage, scratch or chip other articles or objects which may come into contact with surround 14. At the same time, surround 14 serves as an insulator, insulating heat that may be generated by emitter 16 and protecting emitter 16 by providing a decorative or ornamental configuration through which light or other electromagnetic radiation is at least partially transmitted. According to one example embodiment, body 20 is formed from a silicon based material such as silicone. In one embodiment, body 20 is formed from a colored silicone such that body 20 filters selected wavelengths of light. In one embodiment, body 20 may alternatively or additionally be scented by the addition of one or more scented additives (e.g. vanilla extract) (not generally visible). In particular embodiments in which body 20 is formed from silicone, emitter 16 is bonded to the interior surface of cavity 28 of body 20 by silicone. As a result, emitter 16 and body 20 have a stronger bond therebetween. Examples of silicone compositions, scent and various additives are found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/870,175 filed on Jun. 17, 2004 and entitled DECORATIVE LIGHT ASSEMBLY, the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference and which is attached as exhibit A.
As further shown by
Particulates 22 comprise internally embedded particulate materials within body 20. Particulates 22 absorb and reflect light or other electromagnetic radiation provided by emitter 16. For example, in one embodiment, particulate materials 22 may comprise glitter or confetti. In particular embodiments, particulate materials 22 may additionally be configured to provide a scent. For example, and one embodiment, particulates 22 may comprise coffee grains. In one embodiment, particulates 22 comprise hazelnut coffee grains or crystals commercially available under the brand FOLGERS. In one embodiment, materials 22 comprise poppy seeds. In yet other embodiments, particular 22 may comprise a whole, ground or cut materials such as seeds, spices, or ground plant or flower parts. In other embodiments, particulate materials 22 may comprise granules or flakes visible through material of body 20. In other embodiments, particulate materials 22 may comprise phosphors, which upon being excited, such as upon receiving ultraviolet light or radiation from emitter 16, emit visible light. Particulate materials 22 are generally provided by mixing such particulate materials 22 in one or more materials of body 20 while the one or more materials of body 20 are in a fluid state. For example, in embodiments where body 20 is formed from silicone, particulate materials 24 are mixed and distributed throughout the silicone or prior to the silicone being cured and while the silicone is in a fluid state. Upon curing or solidifying, the flexible material of body 20 fixes particulate material 22 throughout the matrix of material provided by body 20.
Embedded objects 23 comprise miniature objects having shapes corresponding to full-sized objects and formed from plastic, wood, metal or other materials. In one embodiment embedded objects 23 may have shapes corresponding to holidays such as hearts, stars, shamrocks, crosses, eggs, pumpkins, witches and the like. And one embodiment, objects 23 may be colored or may have multiple colors associated with a particular holiday or event. In one embodiment, objects 23 may comprise one or more alphanumeric symbols or words. An example illustrated, object 23 illustrated as a miniature polymeric or plastic star in a miniature or plastic dinosaur. In one embodiment, surround 14 may include one or multiple of such miniature objects 23. Bubbles 24 comprise pockets or cavities of air or other gas dispersed or distributed throughout the material of body 20. Bubbles 24 visually alter light or other electromagnetic radiation being transmitted through body 20 or being reflected or emanating from particulate materials 22. In particular embodiments, bubbles 24 may be uniformly distributed throughout body 20. In other embodiments, bubbles 24 may be non-uniformly distributed within body 20. According to one embodiment, bubbles 24 are formed by injecting air or other gas into the material of body 20 prior to the material of body 20 solidifying, curing or hardening. In particular embodiments, bubbles 24 may alternatively be formed by the addition of a gassing agent to the one or more materials of body 20. Although surround 14 is illustrated as including both particulate material 22 and bubbles 24, in other embodiments, surround 14 may alternatively include only one or none of particulate materials 22 and bubbles 24.
In other embodiments, although light surround 14 has been described as being provided with cavity 28 and as having emitter 16 subsequently inserted into cavity 28, in other embodiments, surround 14 may be molded directly about emitter 16. For example, in particular embodiments, emitter 16 may be placed between two or more mold portions or within a mold as the one or more materials of body 20 are injected into the mold about emitter 16.
Overall, ornament 10 provides an attractive, illuminated decorative object being manufactured at a low cost. In those embodiments in which substantially the entirety of body 20 is formed from a flexible or soft material, surround 14 provides ornament 10 with a soft compliant outer surface less likely to become damaged or to damage objects coming into contact with surround 14. At the same time, surround 14 covers and protects emitter 16 while transmitting light or other electromagnetic radiation in a pleasing fashion.
Once core 250 has been positioned within mold cavity 252 and mold portions 254 have been closed about core 250, more materials of body 220 surround 214 are injected by a material source 254 through sprew hole 256 into cavity 252. In the particular example illustrated, hole portions 254 include appropriately positioned vents 260 to facilitate escape of air from cavity 252 as the one or more materials flow about core 250. According to one example embodiment, one or more materials injected into cavity 252 comprise silicone in a fluid, viscous or semi-viscous state. As noted above with respect to ornament 10, in particular embodiments, the one or more materials injected through sprew hole 256 and forming body 220 of surround 214 may be scented and/or colored. The materials may also include particulate materials 22 or bubbles 24. Upon the one or more materials that have been injected about core 250 has sufficiently solidified or cured, mold portions 254 are separated and core 250 is withdrawn, providing surround 214 shown in
As shown by
According to one embodiment, emitter 216 coated with layer 264 is inserted into cavity 228 prior to completion of curing of layer 264, whereupon curing or solidifying, layer 264 bonds or fuses to body 220. According to one method, emitter 216 coated with layer 264 is inserted into cavity 228 prior to surround 214 having cooled since its formation (where the material of body 220 was injected in a heated state) to a temperature below the curing temperature of the material of layer 264. As a result, bonding time between emitter 216 and surround 214 is reduced and no additional energy is provided to facilitate curing of layer 264. Consequently, the manufacturing process is more economical. In other embodiments, surround 214 may be preformed and may be permitted to cool after its formation to a temperature below the curing temperature, wherein upon insertion of emitter 216 and the coated layer 264, surround 214 and the inserted emitter 216 are subsequently heated to a temperature above the cure temperature so as to cure the materials of layer 264 and to fuse layer 264 to body 220. In one embodiment where layer 264 and body 220 are both formed from silicone, enhanced bonding therebetween is achieved.
As indicated by the broken lines in
As shown by
According to such an alternative process, emitter 316 is screwed or inserted into core 450 and core 450 is positioned between mold halves 354 a and 354 b such that the light origin 332 of emitter 316 is substantially centered within cavity 352. In a particular example illustrated, origin 332 of emitter 316 is positioned at the center of star to be formed. Once mold portion 354 a and 354 b are positioned into close conforming or mating engagement with one another and against core 450, soft or flexible material, such as silicone, is injected through sprew hole 356 (shown in
Although the present disclosure has been described with reference to example embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the claimed subject matter. For example, although different example embodiments may have been described as including one or more features providing one or more benefits, it is contemplated that the described features may be interchanged with one another or alternatively be combined with one another in the described example embodiments or in other alternative embodiments. Because the technology of the present disclosure is relatively complex, not all changes in the technology are foreseeable. The present disclosure described with reference to the example embodiments and set forth in the following claims is manifestly intended to be as broad as possible. For example, unless specifically otherwise noted, the claims reciting a single particular element also encompass a plurality of such particular elements.