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Publication numberUS20070028486 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/197,961
Publication dateFeb 8, 2007
Filing dateAug 5, 2005
Priority dateAug 5, 2005
Publication number11197961, 197961, US 2007/0028486 A1, US 2007/028486 A1, US 20070028486 A1, US 20070028486A1, US 2007028486 A1, US 2007028486A1, US-A1-20070028486, US-A1-2007028486, US2007/0028486A1, US2007/028486A1, US20070028486 A1, US20070028486A1, US2007028486 A1, US2007028486A1
InventorsIsaac Montanya, Jeffrey Phelps, Suen Man
Original AssigneeMontanya Phelps & Phelps, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Footwear with an electroluminescent lamp
US 20070028486 A1
Abstract
Footwear with at least one light source that is located on said footwear to be visible exteriorly thereof. The components for the light source include a power source for energizing the light source, a circuit for selectively electrically connecting said power source with the light source to illuminate the source, a pressure switch, which while depressed is “closed” and when not depressed is “open”, where the circuit is adapted to disconnect the power source from the light source a predetermined time after said pressure switch is “open”. The circuit is adapted to connect the power source to the light source when the switch is “closed”. Preferably, the light source is an electroluminescent lamp, which is combined with a graphic layer producing an animated EL panel.
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Claims(18)
1. Footwear comprising:
at least one light source, located on said footwear to be visible exteriorly thereof;
a power source for energizing said light source;
a circuit for selectively electrically connecting said power source with said at least one light source to illuminate said source;
a pressure switch, which while depressed is “closed”, and when not depressed is “open”;
wherein said circuit being adapted to disconnect said power source from said light source a predetermined time after said pressure switch is “open”; and
wherein said circuit being adapted to connect said power source to said light source when said switch is “closed”.
2. Footwear, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said light source is an electroluminescent lamp.
3. Footwear, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said pressure switch is a membrane switch.
4. Footwear, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said circuit is further comprised of an inverter and a sequencer, where the sequencer provides a timed flashing light sequence.
5. Footwear, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said pressure switch is located in the sole of the footwear, so that when said footwear is worn, said power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”.
6. Footwear, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said circuit is further comprised of a photo sensor switch having two states, an “off” state in the presence of light, and an “on” state in the absence of light, wherein when the photo sensor switch is in the “off” state, the pressure switch is overridden, and said power source is not connected to said light source, when the pressure switch is “closed”; and, when the photo sensor switch is in the “on” state, the pressure switch is not overridden, and said power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”.
7. Footwear, as claimed in claim 6, wherein said photo sensor switch is located on the interior of the footwear, such that when the footwear is worn, the photo sensor switch is blocked from light, and said power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”.
8. Footwear, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said power source is comprised of a battery.
9. Footwear, as claimed in claim 8, wherein said battery is rechargeable.
10. Footwear, as claimed in claim 9, wherein said rechargeable battery is in electrical communication with an electric port that can couple to an external recharging source.
11. Footwear, as claimed in claim 9, wherein said footwear is comprised of an exterior solar panel that, in the presence of sunlight, provides some electrical power to the rechargeable battery.
12. Footwear, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said electroluminescent lamp is further comprised of a graphic layer, therein providing a sequenced illuminated graphic panel.
13. Footwear, as claimed in claim 7, wherein said electroluminescent lamp is further comprised of a graphic layer, therein providing a sequenced illuminated graphic panel.
14. Footwear, as claimed in claim 8, wherein said footwear has a sole with a compartment and an access thereto, wherein the battery is housed and accessible.
15. Footwear, as claimed in claim 3, wherein said circuit is comprised of an inverter and a sequencer, where the sequencer provides a timed flashing light sequence.
16. Footwear, as claimed in claim 15, wherein said circuit is further comprised of a photo sensor switch having two states, an “off” state in the presence of light, and an “on” state in the absence of light, wherein when the photo sensor switch is in the “off” state, the pressure switch is overridden, and said power source is not connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”; and, when the photo sensor switch is in the “on” state, the pressure switch is not overridden, and said power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”.
17. Footwear, as claimed in claim 16, wherein said photo sensor switch is located on the interior of the footwear, such that when the footwear is worn, the photo sensor switch is blocked from light, and said power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”.
18. Footwear, as claimed in claim 17, wherein said membrane switch has an electroluminescent back panel, which illuminates when said footwear is worn.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an electroluminescent device and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to an electroluminescent device that can be affixed to shoes, where the electroluminescent device provides radiant visible light.

2. Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,009 to Nicholas Rodgers discloses articles of footwear that are provided with a battery and a light source and a motion responsive switch to intermittently connect said battery to the light source. The light source is preferably an LED, and there is preferably a circuit to extinguish the light after a predetermined interval.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,843,578 to James Chung teaches a system of illuminated footwear article utilizing electroluminescent light strips, which are randomly illuminated according to the movement of the person wearing said article(s). Illumination control is accomplished by means of a DC to AC converter and various types of switches. Such switches include a random pressure switch, a random or controlled sequencer, an orbiter random motion switch, or a combination of such switches. Such switching allows for random or sequenced illumination of light strips based on user movement.

The prior art teaches electroluminescent footwear wherein the movement of the footwear activates the illumination of the electroluminescent light or LED. A problem associated with a switch activated by movement is that the electroluminescent light, or LED, can be actuated during shipment, causing the battery to run down, even when the footwear is not being worn. What is needed is electroluminescent footwear that has a sensor system that prevents accidental illumination. A second problem with the current art is that the batteries are enclosed in a unified assembly wherein, when the battery expires, the shoe no longer illuminates. What is needed is a power pack that can be replaced, and / or recharged.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is footwear comprising at least one light source located on said footwear, to be visible, exteriorly thereon; a power source for energizing said light source; a circuit for selectively, electrically, connecting said power source with said at least one light source to illuminate said source; a pressure switch, which while depressed is “closed”, and when not depressed is “open”; wherein the circuit is adapted to disconnect said power source from said light source a predetermined time after said pressure switch is “open”; wherein said circuit being adapted to connect said power source to said light source when said switch is “closed”. Preferably, the light source is an electroluminescent lamp, but other light sources, such as LEDs are also anticipated. The pressure switch is selected from switches that will automatically return to the “open” position when the switch is not depressed, for instance, when the footwear is not worn. Examples of suitable pressure switches include certain spring and rubber switches, membrane switches, and certain reed switches. The pressure switch is preferably located in the sole of the footwear, so that when the footwear is worn, the power source is connected to said light source when the pressure switch is “closed”. The preferred light source is an electroluminescent lamp. When employing an electroluminescent lamp, the circuit is further comprised of an inverter and a sequencer, where the sequencer provides a timed flashing light sequence, and the inverter provides an AC voltage. The electroluminescent lamp is preferably combined with a graphic layer, therein providing a sequenced illuminated graphic panel that is exteriorly visible on the footwear. The sequenced illuminated graphic panel can have multiple graphic and individually timed illuminated electroluminescent lamps, such that the sequenced illuminated graphic panel produces an animated image.

The power source is typically a battery, where the preferred battery is rechargeable. The footwear has a sole with a compartment and an access thereto, wherein the battery is housed and accessible. The battery is in electrical communication with an electrical port that can couple to an external recharging source. Additionally, the footwear can have an exterior solar panel that, in the presence of sunlight, provides some electrical power to the rechargeable battery.

The footwear can be further comprised of a photo sensor switch that overrides the pressure switch. The photo sensor switch has two states, an “off” state in the presence of light, and an “on” state in the absence of light. When the photo sensor switch is in the “off” state, even when the pressure switch is “closed”, the power source is not connected to the light source. When the photo sensor switch is in the “on” state, then when the pressure switch is “closed” the pressure switch is not overridden, and power source is connected to the light source. The photo sensor switch and the pressure switch combine to provide an interlock that prevents the circuit from inadvertently becoming activated and drain down the power source, when the footwear is not being worn. Unlike a motion responsive switch, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,009, a pressure switch is unlikely to activate during shipment, as there is substantially no change in the pressure. The photo sensor switch prevents activation in daylight, except when the footwear is being worn, as the presence of a foot blocks the entrance of daylight. The interlock can be further secured by utilizing a membrane switch located in the interior of the footwear, and selecting a membrane switch that has an electroluminescent backlit panel that illuminates only when the pressure switch is depressed. In a dark environment, such as a closed box, if the pressure switch is accidentally depressed, then the electroluminescent backlit panel will become illuminated. Further, unless there is an intervening obstacle filling the interior of the footwear, such as a foot, then the photo sensor switch will detect the light and deactivate the pressure switch, therein shutting down the connection of the power source to the light source.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other objects will become readily apparent by referring to the following detailed description and the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a lateral side view of the invention, footwear 10 with an electroluminescent lamp, wherein the view illustrates the use of EL lamps with a graphic layer to produce an animated EL graphic panel.

FIG. 2 is an overhead view of the footwear illustrated in FIG. 1, wherein sidewalls of the shoe have EL graphic panels.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the footwear 10, wherein an outsole has a compartment that houses the power source, inverter and sequencer. The compartment has a door for accessing the power source, which is a battery.

FIG. 4 is a medial side view of the invention, footwear 10 with an EL graphic panel, a photo sensor switch located in the interior of the shoe (shown in ghost), and an external charging port.

FIG. 5 is a frontal perspective view of the footwear 10, wherein the toe of the illustrated shoe has a solar panel, which provides electricity to the power source having rechargeable batteries.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram of the EL graphic panels and the supporting electronic components, where both EL graphic panels have a graphic layer and three EL lamps that are sequentially lighted.

FIG. 7 is a schematic of an electronic circuit having five EL lamps, which are sequentially lighted, therein producing animation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The illustrated embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, is footwear 10 having a graphic electroluminescent panel. A graphic EL panel 30 is comprised of a graphic layer and at least one EL lamp. Referring to FIG. 1, the graphic EL panel 30 is on the visible exterior of the shoe. In the illustrated embodiment, EL panel 30 is comprised of a graphic layer with three flowers and three lamps, where one lamp illuminates a flower. As shown, the center flower is illuminated. Most of the electronic components supporting the graphic EL panel are located in the sole 15 of the footwear 10 in a compartment 36 (shown in ghost). The compartment is accessible through a door 38 shown FIG. 3. Referring to FIG. 2, the footwear 10 has an opening 20 through which is visible a pressure switch 48 that is seated in the inner sole 16. The pressure switch 48 actuates a sequencer, which generates timed electrical AC power to the EL lamps. In the embodiment, there are a pair of graphic EL panels, 30a on the medial side and 30 b on the lateral side. FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the footwear 10, wherein the outsole 18 has access to the compartment 36 through door 38. The compartment 36 houses the power source, a rechargeable battery 40, and the circuit board 42 comprising the inverter 46 and the sequencer 44. FIG. 4 illustrates the medial side view of the invention, footwear 10. Shown are the medial EL graphic panel 30 a mounted on the medial sidewall 14 a of the footwear 10, with a toe 12, a sole 15, and a heel wall 24. Mounted in the heel wall 24 is a photo sensor switch 50. The position of photo sensor switch 50 is selected such that, when the footwear is worn, photo sensor switch 50 is directed toward the interior 22 of the footwear 10, such that the switch is covered by the wearer's foot. For footwear not having a heel wall, the location would appropriately be either the inner sole 16 or a sidewall 14. In the sole 15 of the footwear, near the heel 24, is an external charge port 26, for connecting to a battery charger.

Referring to FIG. 5, the front of the footwear 10 is covered with a solar panel 52, which provides electricity to the power source 40 comprising rechargeable batteries. The medial EL graphic panel 30 a is mounted on the medial sidewall 14a, and the lateral EL graphic panel 30 b is mounted on the lateral sidewall 14 b of the footwear.

Referring to FIG. 6, each of the EL graphic panels, 30 a and 30 b, are comprised of a graphic layer 34 and three EL lamps 32 a-32 c and 32 d-32 f. Each panel typically has a common lead 80. When the sequencer 44 is initiated by depression of the pressure switch 48, the EL graphic panels are lighted for a specified period through a specified number of loops in a specified order. The DC current emanating from the power source 40 is converted to an AC current by inverter 46. Typically, the inverter generates voltages around 70-120 Volts, and frequencies of 800-2,000 Hz. The pressure switch 48, in circuit 100, is selected from pressure switches that, when not depressed, automatically return from “closed” position to the “open” position. Examples are certain spring and rubber switches, membrane switches, and certain reed switches. The pressure switch is only in the “closed” position while it is being depressed, that is, when the footwear is being worn. Membrane switches are relatively inexpensive and durable, and perform suitably. As shown, the power source 40 can be in electrical communication with an external charging port 26, and a solar panel 52. Rechargeable batteries are in the power source 40, and the power source 40 is accessible so that the batteries can be changed. The circuit is preferably further comprised of a photo sensor switch 26. The photo sensor switch has two states, an “off” state in the presence of light, and an “on” state in the absence of light. When the photo sensor switch is in the “off” state, even when the pressure switch is “closed”, the power source is not connected to the light source. When the photo sensor switch is in the “on” state, then when the pressure switch is “closed” the pressure switch is not overridden, and power source is connected to the light source. The photo sensor switch and the pressure switch combine to provide an interlock that prevents the circuit from inadvertently becoming activated and draining down the power source, when the footwear is not being worn.

FIG. 7 is a schematic of a representative circuit 100 having five EL lamps, a power source, an inverter and sequencer. The inverter and sequencer somewhat overlap. The lamps are sequentially lighted for a specified period-of-time, in a specified sequence, as determined by the IC chip 45. The IC chip 45, CDT 3228-01 also coverts the DC current emanating from the power source 40 to AC. The AC is stepped up by the transformer 70 and the two input transistors 59 and 60, and on the output side, the five transistors 61-65 that feed to the EL lamps.

The descriptions above and the accompanying drawings should be interpreted in the illustrative and not the limited sense. While the invention has been disclosed in connection with the preferred embodiment or embodiments thereof, it should be understood that there may be other embodiments which fall within the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims. Where a claim is expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function, it is intended that such claim be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof, including both structural equivalents and equivalent structures.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7789520 *Sep 7, 2007Sep 7, 2010Kristian KonigElectroluminescent communication system between articles of apparel and the like
US8046937May 2, 2008Nov 1, 2011Nike, Inc.Automatic lacing system
US8058837 *Feb 11, 2009Nov 15, 2011Nike, Inc.Charging system for an article of footwear
US8322055 *Feb 26, 2009Dec 4, 2012Patrick Saint-CyrFootwear with integral massager
US8356430Feb 11, 2010Jan 22, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating an illuminable fluid-filled chamber
US8453357 *Feb 11, 2010Jun 4, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating illuminable strands
US8522456Sep 19, 2011Sep 3, 2013Nike, Inc.Automatic lacing system
US8544197Feb 11, 2010Oct 1, 2013Nike, Inc.Article of footwear incorporating an illuminable panel
US8769844Jul 31, 2013Jul 8, 2014Nike, Inc.Automatic lacing system
US20100170115 *Jan 8, 2009Jul 8, 2010Smith Iii Roy RFootwear, footwear components, and methods of making and using same
US20110047828 *Sep 2, 2010Mar 3, 2011Gary Stephen ShusterRemotely controlled footwear disruptor
US20110192058 *Feb 11, 2010Aug 11, 2011Nike, Inc.Article Of Footwear Incorporating Illuminable Strands
US20130333250 *May 30, 2013Dec 19, 2013Nike, Inc.Article Of Footwear Incorporating Illuminable Strands
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/137
International ClassificationA43B23/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43B3/001, A43B3/0005
European ClassificationA43B3/00E10, A43B3/00E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 5, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: MONTANYA PHELPS & PHELPS, INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MONTANYA, ISAAC S.;PHELPS, JEFFREY R.;MAN, SUEN HOK;REEL/FRAME:016867/0902
Effective date: 20050804