|Publication number||US20070044346 A1|
|Application number||US 11/211,289|
|Publication date||Mar 1, 2007|
|Filing date||Aug 25, 2005|
|Priority date||Aug 25, 2005|
|Publication number||11211289, 211289, US 2007/0044346 A1, US 2007/044346 A1, US 20070044346 A1, US 20070044346A1, US 2007044346 A1, US 2007044346A1, US-A1-20070044346, US-A1-2007044346, US2007/0044346A1, US2007/044346A1, US20070044346 A1, US20070044346A1, US2007044346 A1, US2007044346A1|
|Inventors||Joseph Ungari, Chia-Chyi Cheng|
|Original Assignee||Ungari Joseph L, Chia-Chyi Cheng|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (7), Classifications (20), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates generally to an article of footwear and, in particular, to an article of footwear having a solar panel assembly.
Electronic devices are commonly integrated into footwear including, for example, illuminated elements such as flashing lights. Flashing lights can provide aesthetic appeal and improve safety for the user by providing increased visibility. The users of such footwear face the problem of providing sufficient power to the electronic devices incorporated in the footwear. It would be desirable to provide a source of power in the footwear to power electronic devices or provide power to other devices that may be temporarily stored in or attached to the footwear.
Particular objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that is, those who are knowledgeable or experienced in this field of technology, in view of the following disclosure of the invention and detailed description of certain preferred embodiments.
The principles of the invention may be used to advantage to provide an article of footwear with a solar panel assembly. In accordance with a first aspect, an article of footwear includes a sole assembly and an upper secured to the sole assembly and has an exterior surface. At least one solar cell on the exterior surface of the upper is configured to provide power to a power receiving device.
In accordance with another aspect, an article of footwear includes a sole assembly and an upper secured to the sole assembly and having an exterior surface. A solar panel assembly includes a plurality of solar cells on the exterior surface of the upper and a plurality of wires connecting the solar cells. A rechargeable battery is connected to the solar cells by the wires.
In accordance with a further aspect, an article of footwear includes a sole assembly and an upper secured to the sole assembly and having an exterior surface. A solar panel assembly includes a plurality of solar cells releasably secured to the exterior surface of the upper and a rechargeable battery operably connected to the at least one solar cell.
Substantial advantage is achieved by providing an article of footwear with a solar panel assembly. In particular, certain embodiments of the present invention allow powered elements on the footwear to operate without an independent power source. This will allow a user to operate an electrical device on their footwear for an indefinite period of time, without the need to worry about replacing batteries, enhancing convenience for the user and reducing operating costs.
These and additional features and advantages of the invention disclosed here will be further understood from the following detailed disclosure of certain preferred embodiments.
The figures referred to above are not drawn necessarily to scale and should be understood to provide a representation of the invention, illustrative of the principles involved. Some features of the article of footwear with a solar panel assembly depicted in the drawings have been enlarged or distorted relative to others to facilitate explanation and understanding. The same reference numbers are used in the drawings for similar or identical components and features shown in various alternative embodiments. Footwear with solar panels as disclosed herein would have configurations and components determined, in part, by the intended application and environment in which they are used.
The present invention may be embodied in various forms. An embodiment of an article of footwear 10 is shown in
Unless otherwise stated, or otherwise clear from the context below, directional terms used herein, such as rearwardly, forwardly, top, bottom, inwardly, downwardly, upwardly, etc., refer to directions relative to footwear 10 itself. Footwear 10 is shown in
Top refers to elements toward the top of the page as seen in
Sole assembly 14 may include an insole (not shown) located within upper 12, a midsole 26, and an outsole 28. Midsole 26 is attached to upper 12 and functions as the primary shock-attenuating and energy-absorbing component of footwear 10. Midsole 26 may be secured to upper 12 by adhesive or other suitable means. Suitable materials for midsole 26 include polymer foam materials such as ethylvinylacetate or polyurethane, or any other material that compresses resiliently. Outsole 28 is attached to the lower surface of midsole 26 by adhesive or other suitable means. Suitable materials for outsole 28 include polymers, e.g., polyether-block co-polyamide polymers (sold as Pebax® by ATOFINA Chemicals of Philadelphia, Pa.), and nylon resins such as Zytel®, sold by Dupont. Other suitable materials for outsole 28 will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.
A solar panel assembly 30 is positioned on footwear 10. In certain embodiments, as illustrated in
In the illustrated embodiment, solar cells 32 are substantially square. However, it is to be appreciated that solar cells 32 may have any desired shape, e.g., triangular as seen in
Solar panel assembly 30 includes a battery 34, which is operably connected to solar cells 23 by one or more cables or wires 36 that extend through footwear 10. In certain embodiments, wires 36 extend be on an interior of upper 12. Battery 34 is a rechargeable battery that is recharged by energy received from solar cells 23. Battery 34 may be any suitable rechargeable battery type, e.g., nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), or lithium.
A powered element 38 on footwear 10 is connected to battery 34 by a cable or wire 40. Powered element 38 can be any desired device that requires power to operate. For example, powered element 38 may be a light or other illuminated element. Powered element 38 may also be an exercise related device, such as a pedometer. Other suitable powered elements will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.
In certain embodiments, as seen in
A benefit of using releasable fasteners such as snaps 42 is that individual solar cells 32 can be removed, allowing for replacement of damaged solar cells, or allowing a user to customize their footwear by choosing solar cells of different colors, sizes or different shapes, as noted above.
Other suitable types of fasteners 42 for securing solar cells 32 to upper 12 will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.
Retainers 43 may also be used to secure solar cells 32 to upper 12. Retainers 43 may be secured to upper 12 with an adhesive or other suitable fastening means. Retainers 43 include a peripheral lip 45 that captures a peripheral edge of a solar cell 32. In certain embodiments, retainer 43 is formed of a resilient, flexible material, allowing it to be easily flexed away from solar cell 32, thereby allowing solar cell 32 to be removed, thus facilitating replacement or repair of the solar cell. In certain embodiments, retainer 43 is formed of an elastomeric material such as rubber.
As illustrated in
In certain embodiments, as seen in
It is to be appreciated that although recess 50 is shown here as being located in upper 12, it may be located in sole assembly 14 in other embodiments. In other embodiments, removable battery 34 may be temporarily secured to footwear 12 without incorporating a recess in footwear 10 in which battery 34 is received.
In other embodiments, as illustrated in
The flexibility of base member 53 allows it to easily conform to the complex shape of the exterior surface of upper 12. Flexible base member 53 may be releasably secured to upper 12 with fasteners such as snaps 42 described above in connection with
In other embodiments, as illustrated in
Flexible solar cells 55 may be formed of pentacene sheets (made of rings of hydrogen and carbon that occur naturally), organic polymers or plastic. Forming the individual solar cells 55 of a flexible material allows them to easily conform to the complex shape of the exterior surface of upper 12.
In light of the foregoing disclosure of the invention and description of the preferred embodiments, those skilled in this area of technology will readily understand that various modifications and adaptations can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. All such modifications and adaptations are intended to be covered by the following claims.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7927253||Apr 1, 2009||Apr 19, 2011||Adidas International Marketing B.V.||Sports electronic training system with electronic gaming features, and applications thereof|
|US8314324||Dec 19, 2008||Nov 20, 2012||Shadeplex, Llc||Laminated thin film photovoltaic systems|
|US8950087 *||Jan 22, 2009||Feb 10, 2015||Nike, Inc.||Article of footwear with a customizable upper|
|US9087159||Jan 14, 2013||Jul 21, 2015||Adidas International Marketing B.V.||Sports electronic training system with sport ball, and applications thereof|
|US20100180469 *||Jan 22, 2009||Jul 22, 2010||Nike, Inc.||Article of footwear with a customizable upper|
|CN102048297A *||Dec 15, 2010||May 11, 2011||许文强||Shoe with solar fan|
|WO2014114951A1 *||Jan 27, 2014||Jul 31, 2014||Eight19 Limited||Primary packaging comprising photovoltaic device|
|Cooperative Classification||A43B23/0235, A43B3/0031, A43B3/24, A43B3/242, Y02E10/50, A43B3/0005, G01C22/006, H02S20/00, A43B3/0015, A43B3/001|
|European Classification||A43B3/24B, A43B3/00E, A43B3/00E20, A43B3/00P, A43B3/00E10, H01L31/042B, G01C22/00P, A43B3/24|
|Jan 24, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NIKE, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:UNGARI, JOSEPH L.;CHENG, CHIA-CHYI;REEL/FRAME:017059/0977
Effective date: 20050824