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Publication numberUS20070186330 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/700,550
Publication dateAug 16, 2007
Filing dateJan 30, 2007
Priority dateApr 15, 2004
Publication number11700550, 700550, US 2007/0186330 A1, US 2007/186330 A1, US 20070186330 A1, US 20070186330A1, US 2007186330 A1, US 2007186330A1, US-A1-20070186330, US-A1-2007186330, US2007/0186330A1, US2007/186330A1, US20070186330 A1, US20070186330A1, US2007186330 A1, US2007186330A1
InventorsThomas Howell, Peter Tong, C. Thomas
Original AssigneeHowell Thomas A, Tong Peter P, Thomas C D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hat with a radiation sensor
US 20070186330 A1
Abstract
One embodiment includes a hat that has an electronic module with a radiation sensor. The module is at the brim of the hat. The module further includes a display. When the hat is normally worn, the sensor faces towards the sky to measure radiation, and the display faces towards the wearer. Also, when the wearer looks up at the brim, the wearer can see the output from the display. In another embodiment the module includes a speaker instead of or in addition to a display as the output device. Yet another embodiment includes a hat that has a crown, and an electronic module with a radiation sensor at the crown.
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Claims(20)
1. A hat, comprising:
an electronic module;
wherein the electronic module includes a radiation sensor,
wherein the electronic module includes at least one electrical component that is operatively connected to the radiation sensor, and
wherein at least a part of the module is in between at least a portion of the materials of the hat.
2. A hat as recited in claim 1, wherein the electronic module includes a flange, and wherein the electronic module is attached to the hat via the flange.
3. A hat as recited in claim 2, wherein the electronic module is sewn to the hat at the flange.
4. A hat as recited in claim 1,
wherein the electronic module includes an output, and
wherein the output device is a display device with a screen.
5. A hat as recited in claim 4,
wherein the module is at the brim of the hat,
wherein the brim includes a brim support, and the brim support has a hole,
wherein the screen is at the bottom surface of the module,
wherein the sensor is at the top surface of the module, and
wherein at least a portion of the module is located inside the hole, with the top surface of the module next to the top surface of the brim support, and the bottom surface of the module next to the bottom surface of the brim support.
6. A hat as recited in claim 1,
wherein the electronic module includes an output, and
wherein the output device is a speaker.
7. A hat as recited in claim 1, wherein the hat further comprises a power source operatively connected to the at least one electrical component of the module for providing power thereto.
8. A hat as recited in claim 1,
wherein the hat includes a brim with a brim support,
wherein the electronic module is attached to the brim support,
wherein the hat further comprises an activation switch being configured to activate and deactivate at least one electrical component in the module, and
wherein the switch is also at the brim support of the hat.
9. A hat as recited in claim 1, wherein the hat further comprises an electrical connector operatively connected to the at least one electrical component of the module.
10. A hat as recited in claim 1,
wherein the hat includes a crown,
wherein the electronic module is attached to the crown, and
wherein the hat further comprises an activation switch being configured to activate and deactivate at least one electrical component in the module,
wherein the hat includes a brim, and
wherein the switch is at the brim of the hat.
11. A hat as recited in claim 10,
wherein the electronic module includes a screen, and
wherein the screen substantially faces forward if the hat is worn in its normal manner with the brim being in front.
12. A hat as recited in claim 1,
wherein the electronic module includes a substrate,
wherein the substrate is attached to the hat via sewing, and
wherein at least a portion of the substrate is deformable enough to permit said sewing of the substrate to the hat.
13. A hat as recited in claim 12,
wherein said electronic module includes a printed circuit board,
wherein said substrate includes an opening, and
wherein said printed circuit board is fitted inside the opening.
14. A hat as recited in claim 13,
wherein the module includes a printed circuit board,
wherein the sensor is on a first surface of the board,
wherein the board includes a display on a second surface of the board, the second surface being opposite to the first surface,
wherein the substrate includes a hole,
wherein the module is positioned inside the hole with the first surface facing up and the second surface facing down when the hat is typically worn.
15. A hat as recited in claim 12, wherein the module is substantially sealed for waterproofing the module.
16. A method for attaching an electronic module to a hat, said method comprising:
providing the electronic module that includes a printed circuit board and a substrate; and
sewing the substrate to at least a portion of the hat,
wherein the printed circuit board is coupled to the substrate,
wherein the electronic module includes a radiation sensor, and
wherein at least a portion of the substrate is deformable enough to permit said sewing of the substrate to the hat.
17. A method as recited in claim 16, wherein said method further comprises substantially sealing the electronic module for waterproofing the module.
18. A method as recited in claim 16,
wherein the hat includes a brim, which has a brim support,
wherein the substrate is sewn to a portion of the brim support of the hat,
wherein there is a hole at the brim support of the hat, and
wherein at least a portion of the module is located in the hole.
19. A method as recited in claim 18,
wherein there is a hole at the substrate, and
wherein the printed circuit board is located in the hole of the substrate.
20. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein the electronic module includes a display that remains exposed even after the electronic module is secured to the hat.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/078,855, filed Mar. 11, 2005, and entitled “EYEWEAR WITH RADIATION DETECTION SYSTEM,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, which in turn claims priority to each of: (i) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/562,798, filed Apr. 15, 2004, entitled “EYEWEAR WITH ULTRAVIOLET DETECTION SYSTEM,” and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (ii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/583,169, filed Jun. 26, 2004, entitled “ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR USE WITH EYEWEAR, AND METHODS THEREFOR,” and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (iii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/592,045, filed Jul. 28, 2004, entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH A CLOCK OR OTHER ELECTRICAL COMPONENT,” and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (iv) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/605,191, filed Aug. 28, 2004, entitled “ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR USE WITH EYEWEAR, AND METHODS THEREFOR,” and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (v) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/618,107, filed Oct. 12, 2004, and entitled “TETHERED ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR EYEGLASSES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (vi) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/620,238, filed Oct. 18, 2004, entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH HEARING ENHANCED AND OTHER AUDIO SIGNAL-GENERATING CAPABILITIES,” and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (vii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/647,836, filed Jan. 31, 2005, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH HEART RATE MONITOR,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; and (viii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/647,826, filed Jan. 31, 2005, and entitled “EYEWEAR WITH ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

The application also claims priority to each of: (i) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/763,854, filed Jan. 30, 2006, and entitled “HAT WITH A RADIATION SENSOR,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (ii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/846,150, filed Sep. 20, 2006, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH ACTIVITY MONITORING,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; and (iii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/787,850, filed Apr. 1, 2006, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH A HEART RATE MONITOR,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

In addition, this application is related to each of: (i) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/822,218, filed Apr. 12, 2004, and entitled “EYEGLASSES FOR WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (ii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/964,011, filed Oct. 12, 2004, and entitled “TETHERED ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR EYEGLASSES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (iii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/006,343, filed Dec. 7, 2004, and entitled “ADAPTABLE COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (iv) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/078,855, filed Mar. 11, 2005, and entitled “EYEWEAR WITH RADIATION DETECTION SYSTEM,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (v) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/078,857, filed Mar. 11, 2005, and entitled “RADIATION MONITORING SYSTEM,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (vi) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,269, filed Jul. 15, 2005, and entitled “EYEWEAR SUPPORTING AFTER-MARKET ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (vii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,283, filed Jul. 15, 2005, and entitled “EVENT EYEGLASSES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (viii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,262, filed Jul. 15, 2005, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH HEARING ENHANCED AND OTHER AUDIO SIGNAL-GENERATING CAPABILITIES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (ix) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,263, filed Jul. 15, 2005, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH A CLOCK OR OTHER ELECTRICAL COMPONENT,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (x) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,276, filed Jul. 15, 2005, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH ACTIVITY MONITORING,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (xi) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/521,256, filed Sep. 13, 2006, and entitled “TETHERED ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR EYEGLASSES,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference (xii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/580,222, filed Oct. 11, 2006, and entitled “EYEGLASSES SUPPORTING AFTER MARKET ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; (xiii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/546,685, filed Oct. 11, 2006, and entitled “EYEGLASSES HAVING A CAMERA,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference; and (xiv) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/650,626, filed Jan. 6, 2007, and entitled “EYEGLASSES WITH A HEART RATE MONITOR,” which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

It is common for people to be exposed to various types of radiation. Often excessive exposure to radiation can be hazardous to one's health. One type of radiation that frequently raises a health concern is ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is subdivided into three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C radiation has wavelengths in the range of 200 to 285 nanometers (nm) and is totally absorbed by the earth's atmosphere. UV-B, from about 285 to 318 nm, is known to cause skin cancer in humans. UV-A, from about 315 to 400 nm, is mostly responsible for tanning. However, UV-A has also been found to play some role in skin cancer and is the cause of eye cataracts, solar retinitis, and corneal dystrophies.

Although one can buy different radiation measuring and warning instruments, these instruments are disadvantageous for various reasons. One disadvantage is that the instruments are often a stand alone, special purpose device. As a result, a user must separately carry the special purpose device, which can be often inconvenient. Another disadvantage is that those instruments, even if separate but attachable to other devices, can hinder or impede the design for the other devices.

Thus, there is a need for improved approaches to measure and inform persons of different types of hazardous radiation levels.

SUMMARY

One embodiment of the invention includes a hat that has an electronic module with a radiation sensor. The module is at the brim of the hat. The module further includes a display. When the hat is normally worn, the sensor faces towards the sky to measure radiation, and the display faces towards the wearer. Also, when the wearer looks up at the brim, the wearer can see the output from the display.

In one approach to make a hat with the electronic module, the module includes a substrate and a printed circuit board with a radiation sensor. The substrate includes a hole and the printed circuit board is positioned in the hole. Then the printed circuit board is sealed, such as for waterproofing electronics in the board. The hat has a brim, which has a brim support. The brim support also has a hole to receive at least a portion of the printed circuit board with the substrate. Then the substrate is attached to the brim support, for example, by sewing the substrate to the brim support, based on a portion of the substrate being deformable enough to permit sewing the substrate to the brim support. The substrate can be attached via other mechanisms, such as by an adhesive, mechanical forces, molding compound, or solder.

In another embodiment the module includes a speaker instead of or in addition to a display as the output device.

Yet another embodiment includes a hat that has a crown, and an electronic module with a radiation sensor and additional electrical components at the crown. The electrical components at the crown can be activated by a switch at the brim of the hat. The switch can be a low-profile switch to help maintain the appearance of a standard hat.

In one embodiment, the material of the hat is made of a mesh or fishnet material, which includes enough built-in holes to allow radiation to get in to be measured by a radiation sensor in the hat, without the need to create additional holes in the fabric of the hat to expose the sensor.

In one embodiment, there is a hole in the hat to enhance a radiation sensor in a hat to measure radiation. There can be matching designs around the hole for aesthetic reasons. The design can be a logo of a company.

In one embodiment, a hat includes an electrical connector that is operatively connected to the at least one electrical component in the hat. The connector can be a standard connector, such as a USB connector.

In one embodiment, a hat includes other type of electrical components. For example, the hat includes a pedometer, a temperature sensor, a headset, a wireless communication circuit, a chemical sensor, and/or a clock. In another embodiment, a hat includes a digital camera that can be located at the crown of a hat with an activation switch at its brim and with a display at the bottom of the brim showing the image to be taken.

Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, which, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrates by way of example the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrates an electronic module including a circuit board in a flexible substrate to be attached to a brim support of a hat according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a bottom view of an electronic module positioned within an opening of a brim support of a hat with the electronic module at least partially sealed, according to different embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of an electronic module being stitched to a brim support of a hat via a flexible substrate according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows a bottom view of an electronic module being stitched to a brim support of a hat via a flexible substrate according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a close-up bottom view of a portion of an electronic module with sealing material and a flexible substrate according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of a cap according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the cap shown in FIG. 6, according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom view of a cap according to one embodiment of the invention.

Same numerals in FIGS. 1-8 are assigned to similar elements in all the figures. Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to FIGS. 1A-8. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to providing electrical components in wearable garments, such as hats. Techniques for securing the electronic components to wearable garments are described.

In one embodiment, a radiation sensor with additional electrical components is incorporated into a hat such that the appearance of the hat is similar to a standard or ordinary hat having no electronics. In other words, even with the electronics, the aesthetics and comfort of a hat are maintained.

One type of hat is a cap. The cap typically includes a brim or bill, a headband and a crown. The brim is attached to the headband. The headband is at the lower edge of the crown and is attached to the crown. The brim can have the traditional curved appearance of a typical baseball cap brim. The rear of the headband could include an adjustment band for adjusting the fit of the cap to the head size of the user. In another embodiment, the cap includes a brim and a crown, with the brim attached to the crown without a headband.

Regarding the electronics or electrical components, in one embodiment, electrical components are on a substrate, such as a circuit board. Incorporating the electronics onto one circuit board has the advantage of minimizing conducting wires in the cap. Reducing conducting wires in the cap could help avoid potential shorting the wires after extensive wear and tear of the cap. In other words, the use of a circuit board improves reliability and simplifies assembly.

In one embodiment, the circuit board can be a flexible circuit board. This can help mounting the circuit board to a curved or flexible surface. In another embodiment, the circuit board is of small dimensions, such as 1″×0.5″×0.032″ (Length, width and height). With the board being small, incorporating the circuit board into the cap would have minimal effect on affecting the flexibility or utilization of the cap. For example, the circuit board can be incorporated into the brim of the cap. A circuit board that is relatively small would not significantly or materially affect flexing the brim of the cap or other uses of the cap.

In one embodiment, electrical components on the circuit board include a radiation sensor, a control circuitry to control the sensor, a power source to power the electrical components, and an activation switch to activate and deactivate the sensor and/or control circuitry. Different embodiments regarding electrical components of a radiation sensor have been previously described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/078,855 and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/078,857, which are related applications that have and are incorporated herein by reference.

The power source could be small so that the power source can be easily concealed in the cap. For example, the power source can be a 1.5V alkaline, coin-cell battery.

The activation switch could be a pressure switch, such as a dome switch. Other types of switches are applicable and have been previously described in related applications that have been incorporated herein by reference.

There could be a display, such as a LCD display, on the circuit board. The display could show the amount of radiation measured by the sensor. In one embodiment, the display and the activation switch are on one side of the circuit board, while the sensor is on the opposite side of the circuit board. In another embodiment, the display, the switch and the sensor are all on one side of the circuit board.

The display presents output information. The output information could show a bar graph with a number of bars. The more radiation energy the sensor measured, the more bars are presented on the display. There could be another switch on the circuit board for skin type. For example, the skin-type switch could have three positions, one for dark skin, one for fair skin and the third one for skin pigment in the middle of the two. In another embodiment, there is no switch for skin type, but there are more bars on the display, such as 9 bars. A user having fair skin would focus on bars 1-3, with 1 bar implying the amount of sun exposure not being excessive, and 3 bars implying having been exposed to excessive sun. However, a user with dark skin would focus on 7-9 bars. Instead of bars, another user interface is based on different types of symbols (e.g. facial expressions). For example, a smiling face implies sun exposure that is not excessive, and a sad face implies excessive sun exposure, while an expressionless face indicates moderate sun exposure.

In one embodiment, the circuit board is made into an electronic module that is sealed. The electronic module includes a substrate. In another embodiment, there can be more than one substrate, such as having one substrate attached to another substrate. Regardless, a substrate of the electronic module can have a flange, a flap or an extended portion, for ease of attachment. For example, in one embodiment, the flange is made such that it is adapted to be sewn for ease of attaching the substrate to fabric.

In one approach, an aperture similar to the size of the circuit board is made into a piece of semi-rigid material. The area around the aperture can serve as a flange for attaching the circuit board to different materials. In one embodiment, the semi-rigid material could be sewn. Examples of such materials are vinyl, PVC, thin plastic (such as P.E.T. or polypropylene) or vinyl coated fabrics, like Naugahyde®. In one embodiment, the semi-rigid material is a piece of thin plastic having the thickness between 0.010″ and 0.060″, and in another embodiment, the thin plastic has the thickness of about 0.030″. The semi-rigid material can enhance the ease of mounting or attaching the circuit board onto a piece of fabric.

As an example, the circuit board is to be located at the brim of the cap. Then the semi-rigid material could be the stiffener cardboard or the thin plastic that is typically inside the brim of the cap.

The circuit board is then positioned in the aperture. For example, the circuit board is rectangular in shape. A rectangular aperture similar in size to the circuit board is created in the semi-rigid material, and the circuit board is positioned in the rectangular aperture.

With the circuit board in the aperture, the circuit board with the semi-rigid material can be sandwiched between two pieces of sealable layers or films, such as tapes or heat-sealable plastic films. Then the film can be, for example, heat-treated to encapsulate or laminate the board with the semi-rigid material. This would seal and/or protect the board, and form the module.

In one embodiment, there are holes in the film. For example, the circuit board has a sensor on a first side, and a display and an activation switch on an opposite side (the second side). The film on the first side could have a hole for the sensor, and the film on the second side could have two holes, one for the activation switch and the other for the display. The hole for the sensor allows the sensor to protrude from the film, such as for measuring the radiation. For example, the sensor can be an ultraviolet sensor to measure ultraviolet radiation. With holes on the film, the circuit module may not be waterproof. One approach to waterproof the module is to seal around the holes with glue (or rubber etc.). This would ensure the module to be substantially waterproof.

In another embodiment, there are more holes for other operations. In yet another embodiment, there are fewer or no holes on the films. For example, the films are clear or transparent films. This would allow reading the display, and the sensor to measure, for example, the sun intensity through the film. Also, the switch can be a dome switch that responds to pressure through the film. In the embodiment with no holes in the film, the laminated module is substantially waterproof.

There are other ways to form this sealed module. For example, the circuit board is sandwiched between two sheets of sealing layers or films, such as soft PVC, which can be sewn into fabric. The films can be heat-treated, R.F. welded or glued, to seal the board. In another example, the circuit board is injection molded into the module with a flange. This could be done by inserting the board into a mold, and injection-molding or “over-molding” around the board. This would encapsulate the board to form the module with a flange.

In yet another embodiment, the sealed module is formed by the circuit board itself. For example, the board is a flexible board, such a piece of polyimide, like Kapton®. The circuit board is sealed, such as covered by another layer of polyimide. The electrical components are not right at the edges of the board, but on the inside of the circuit board, surrounded by a border without components. At least a portion of the border could serve as a flange.

Instead of using the circuit board and at least a piece of material to form the sealed module, one embodiment just uses the circuit board as the sealed module. In this embodiment, the circuit board does not have to have a flange. The circuit board is sealed for waterproofing, for example, by methods previously described. The board/module includes a fastening mechanism, such as Velcro or snap fasteners. The fastening mechanism can be on one side of the board/module while the electrical components on the opposite side of the board/module. The fastening mechanism could be used to attach the board/module to a piece of fabric.

There are different approaches to attach the module to the cap. In one embodiment, the module is permanently attached to the cap. If the module has a flange, the attachment can be done by stitching, sewing, knitting, gluing or stapling the flange of the module to the different parts of the cap. In another embodiment, at least the flange of the module is made of plastic, which is heat sealed to attach to a piece of cloth on the cap.

In another embodiment, the module is configured to be relatively easy to be attached and removed from the cap. One can then remove the module before washing the cap, if one desires. In one embodiment, the module has a flange. At the flange, there could be Velcro, sew-on snap fasteners, buttons or zippers, to be used to removably attach the module to their counterpart at the cap. In another embodiment, the module has a fastening mechanism, which is used to fasten the module to the cap. For example, the module has Velcro, which is used to attach to corresponding Velcro at the cap. Other mechanisms, such as Pins, clasps, detents, snaps, grooves and/or tabs, could also be used to removably attach the module to the cap.

In yet another embodiment, there can be a pocket at the cap to receive the module. In one embodiment with a pocket, the module does not have a flange and does not include a fastening mechanism. The size of the pocket is made to be similar to the size of the module. With both being of similar size, the pocket itself serves as the mechanism to fix the position of the module relative to the cap. In another embodiment with a pocket, each of the two opposite edges of the module has a groove or an indented area to serve as the fastening mechanism. The cap includes corresponding set of protrusions for the grooves or the indented areas to hold the module in place. To illustrate, at each of two opposite edges of the module there is a protrusion, and there is a pocket at the cap. At each of two opposite edges of the pocket there is a groove to receive each of the protrusions. By sliding the protrusions of the module into the grooves at the cap, a user could attach or fasten the module into the cap.

FIGS. 1A-8 are diagrams illustrating different assembly processes integrating a circuit board into a hat according to different embodiments of the invention. It should be recognized as discussed elsewhere, other embodiment of the invention can use different assembly processes than those discussed in FIGS. 1A-8.

According to one embodiment, in FIG. 1A an electronic module 100 includes a circuit board and a flexible substrate 102. The circuit board fits within an opening of the flexible substrate 102. In this example, the circuit board can be a conventional Printed Circuit Board (PCB); and the flexible substrate 102 can a piece of vinyl coated fabric. In one example, the flexible substrate can be Neoprene. In addition, as shown in FIG. 1B, a brim support 104 of a hat is manufactured or modified to have an opening 106.

In one embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, with the circuit board fitted into the hole of the substrate, both the top and the bottom surface of the board can be exposed. Also, with the board inside a hole of the substrate, the profile of the configuration can be more planar, reducing the amount of protrusion caused by the board being above the surface of the substrate.

In another embodiment, the circuit board can be positioned on top of the substrate, and the substrate may not have a hole. For example, the board can be attached to a surface of the substrate. The attachment can be through different mechanisms, such as using an adhesive, mechanical forces, molding compound, or solder techniques. Also, the brim support may not have the hole 106, and the board with the substrate can be on top of the brim support 104.

FIG. 2 shows the electronic module 100 placed within the opening 106 in the brim support 104 according to one embodiment. The opening 106 in the brim support 104 substantially corresponds to the size of the electronic module 100. In addition, since in this embodiment the electronic module 100 is not already sealed, sealing material 200 can be applied over the electronic module 100, on both the top surface and the bottom surface of the brim support 104 about the opening 106 to at least partially seal the module 100. For example, the sealing material is an adhesive vinyl tape (e.g., black tape). In FIG. 2, the bottom surface of the brim support 104 is illustrated. Note that the sealing material 200 includes an opening 202 on the bottom surface. The opening 202 allows an electrical component of the electronic module 100 to be exposed. For example, if the electronic module includes a display (e.g., LCD display), the electronic module 100 can provide the display on the bottom side of the brim support 104. Hence, the opening 202 in the sealing material 200 can be configured to expose one or more electrical components (e.g., the display) of the electronic module 100. In another embodiment, instead of using black tape, one can use transparent tape as the sealing material; with radiation capable of passing through the transparent tape, no opening 202 may be necessary.

FIG. 2 shows tapes being used to seal circuits in one embodiment. In another embodiment, a printed circuit board is sealed using glue. In yet another embodiment, the substrate is a piece of urethane, and the circuit board is sandwiched by two additional pieces of urethane. The circuit board is sealed by heat sealing the urethane to each other. In one embodiment, the substrate is vinyl and the circuit board is sandwiched by two additional pieces of vinyl. The circuit board is sealed by RF welding the vinyl pieces to each other.

FIG. 3 shows the electronic module 100 being mechanically attached to the brim support 104 according to one embodiment. For example, after the electronic module 100 is positioned within the opening 106 of the brim support 104, the flexible substrate 102 can be mechanically attached to the brim support 104. One technique to mechanically attach the electronic module 100 to the brim support 104 is to sew the flexible substrate 102 of the electronic module 100 to the brim support 104. In one embodiment, the flexible substrate being sewed to the brim support serves as the flange for attachment.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top surface of the brim support 104 with the electronic module 100 having been mechanically attached thereto by stitching 300 the flexible substrate 102 to the brim support 104. In this embodiment, the top surface of the electronic module 100 includes at least an electrical component, namely, a UV, a light intensity or other type of radiation sensor. The sensor can be at least partially exposed, so as to receive UV, light intensity or other radiation, which can be from the sun. In this embodiment, the sealing material 200 (i.e., black tape) covers the electrical component, which measures light intensity. Nevertheless, though covered, the sensitivity of the radiation sensor is sufficient to adequately monitor the light intensity of the sunlight through the sealing material 200. In an alternative embodiment, the sealing material 200 could include an open for exposing the radiation sensor. [00056] FIG. 4 illustrates the bottom surface of the brim support 104 with the electronic module 100 sealed by the sealing material 200 according to one embodiment. In the bottom surface, there can be an opening 204, and the opening can be for a display provided on the electronic module 100. The flexible substrate 102 of the electronic module 100 has stitches 300 about its periphery, which attach the electronic module 100 to the brim support 104.

FIG. 5 illustrates a close-up bottom view of a portion of an electronic module with sealing material and a flexible substrate according to one embodiment. The sealing material 200 and the flexible substrate 102 can be stitched to the brim support 104. Typically the flexible substrate 102 can be trimmed after being stitched to the brim support 104. For example, the flexible substrate 102 in FIG. 1A is substantially rectangular in shape, while the flexible substrate 102 in FIG. 4 has been trimmed after being stitched to the brim support 104.

In one embodiment, after the electronic module is mechanically attached to the brim support 104, the brim support 104 can then be sandwiched between two pieces of cloth to form the brim of a hat, which in this embodiment can be a cap.

FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of a cap 600 according to one embodiment. The cap 600 has a crown 602 and a brim 604. The top surface 606 of the brim 604 includes an opening 608 in the fabric of the brim 604 that is positioned to correspond to the electrical component (e.g., radiation sensor) of the electronic module that is at least partially exposed. Hence, in this embodiment, the fabric of the brim 604 does not cover the radiation sensor.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the cap 600 according to another embodiment, including the brim 604 and the opening 608, illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom side 800 of the brim 604 of the hat 600 illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7 according to an embodiment. Here, the bottom side 800 includes an opening 802 for a display 804 of the electronic module 100. The display 804 is an electrical component of the electronic module 100. The opening 802 in the bottom surface 800 of the brim 604 thus corresponds to the position of the display 804 of the electronic module 100 (which has been attached to the brim support 104). The display 804 can provide output information to the user or a wearer of the cap 600. Still further, the bottom surface 800 of the brim 604 can include a switch designator 806. In this example, the switch designator 806 is an embroidered “X” pattern, though various other visual designators can be used. The position of the switch designator 806 on the bottom surface 800 can be over a push-button or dome switch, which functions as an activation and deactivation switch of the electronic module 100. Hence, if the user or a wearer of the hat 600 pushes on the brim 604 in the vicinity of the switch designator 806, the push-button switch can induce a switching action (e.g., module on/off) that is recognized by the electronic module 100.

In one embodiment, an electronic or electrical module can be located at the brim or bill portion of the cap. The circuit board could be the type with a sensor on one side, and a display and an activation switch on the other side. The module could be made using the stiffener board inside the brim, as described above, with the sensor side of the circuit board facing up and the display side facing down. Typically, the stiffener is sandwiched between two pieces of cloth. In one embodiment, a hole is made in the cloth on top of the module to expose the sensor. In another embodiment, instead of a hole, the cloth on top of the module could be made of mesh or fishnet materials, with enough built-in holes to have the sensor at least partially and sufficiently exposed. In one configuration, the wearer would be able to see the display facing the wearer, with the sensor substantially pointing towards the sky.

The module can be at different locations of the brim. For example, the module could be at the middle of the brim. In another example, the module is on the flatter part of the brim near one side of the brim.

In one embodiment, having the module at the brim would make it easy for a user to activate and deactivate the switch. Also, a low-profile switch could help maintain the appearance of a standard cap. One example of a switch is a dome switch. It allows easy activating and deactivating just by a squeezing action.

In one embodiment, there are two versions of the cap, one for the left-handed and the other for the right-handed users for ergonomic reason. For example, for the right-handed users, the switch is at the right-hand side of the brim because it is the location where those users normally grasp the cap to put it on or take it off.

In one embodiment, the module includes a display on its bottom side, with its top side includes a radiation sensor. The module is positioned close to the outside edge of the brim. This would provide more distance from the eyes of the user to the display to make it easier for the wearer to see the display without the need to take off the cap. To further help the wearer see information on the display, one embodiment provides additional features, such as a bigger display, more conspicuous readings on the display, and/or readings on the display that are dynamic, such as readings that blink.

In a number of embodiments described above, an electronic module can be built into and can be substantially concealed by a brim. In another embodiment, the module can be attached to the bottom of a brim. For example, the module is at the bottom edge of the brim. A hole is made into the brim to at least partially expose the sensor towards the sky.

Instead of having the module located at the brim, in one embodiment, the module is at the crown portion of the cap. For example, the module can be located at the area of the crown that is in front of the forehead. The module could be on the outside of the cap, and the circuit could be one with a sensor, an activation switch and a display all on one side of the circuit board. That side of the board faces outside, which would allow the display to be more easily seen by someone other than the wearer, when the wearer has the cap on. As an illustration, a child is wearing the cap, and his parents could easily see the output from the display.

Instead of locating on the outside of the cap, the module could be located in front of the forehead on the inside of the cap. Typically, there is a space between the cap and the forehead of the wearer. This could be due to, or for accommodating, the difference in curvature between the cap and the wearer's head. The module could be located in that space. In this case, the sensor can be on one side of the board, while the activation switch and the display on the other side of the board. The sensor side of the board faces outside. A hole can be made at the forehead region of the cap to at least partially expose the sensor. In yet another embodiment, the module is again located at the crown region, but is between the lining and the outer layer cloth of the cap.

In one embodiment, an electronic module could be at other locations on the cap, such as the cap having a headband, and the module being inside or on the headband. In another embodiment, the module is at the crown areas, such as at the top of the cap.

In yet another embodiment, there is a pocket on the cap, and an electronic module is inside the pocket. Again, through different approaches as previously described, the module can be attached to linings of the pocket and the sensor is at least partially exposed to the outside. If the wearer wants to find out her radiation exposure, she could open the pocket and take out the module to find out.

A number of embodiments have been described regarding creating a hole in the cap to at least partially expose, for example, a sensor. In one embodiment, a design is created around the one or more holes made on the cap. The design could be a logo of a company.

There are different ways to create the design. For example, the design could be embroidered or silk-screened on the cap. In another embodiment, the design could use photoluminescence materials. This allows the design to glow in the dark after absorbing light, such as sunlight during the day. To illustrate, the photoluminescence materials could be a powder pigment. One can mix the materials with silk screen ink and use silk screen technologies to apply such powder pigments onto the cap to create the design.

A number of embodiments have been described where electrical components are on a circuit board. In another embodiment, one or more electrical components are not incorporated onto a circuit board, or in the same module, but those component(s) and/or circuits on one or more circuit boards can be operatively associated or electrically connected together. For example, a sun sensor and its control circuitry can be on a circuit board, which is incorporated into the brim of the cap. The activation switch for the sensor and a battery are not on the circuit board. The switch can be a dome switch. Though the switch is not on the circuit board, the switch can still be at the brim of the cap. The switch can be also electrically connected to the battery and the sensor by conductive wires concealed inside the cap.

In another embodiment, the power source is a battery, and is concealed or substantially concealed in the headband of a cap. In one embodiment, the power source is inside a pocket, such as at the crown of a cap. The power source can be electrically connected to the sensor through wires concealed in the cap. In one embodiment, with the battery in the pocket, and not laminated in the sensor's electronic module, the battery could be more easily replaced, if necessary.

In yet another embodiment, electrical components include a solar panel, which is used to provide power. In one embodiment, a battery is used with the solar panel. The solar panel can be at different location on the cap from the sensor's electronic module, but is electrically connected to other electrical components, such as the module. This embodiment allows the solar panel to charge the battery during the day and to allow running other electrical components at a hat at night. For example, the solar panel is at the brim of the cap. In one embodiment, the solar panel is integral with a display, such as located directly below the display. Sunlight goes through the display to charge the solar panel.

In one embodiment, the electrical components include a speaker for audio output. Instead of or in additional to a visual display, the output to a wearer of a hat is via sound.

In one embodiment, the electrical components include a connector, such as a 3.5 mm female plug connector. Different connectors described in related applications have been incorporated herein by reference. In one embodiment, a power source in a hat is rechargeable through the connector. In another embodiment, one of the electrical components at the cap is a memory device, which stores, for example, the radiation measurements. These measurements could be uploaded through the connector to another computing device separate from the cap.

In one embodiment, the design or logo on the cap is dynamic based on a display on the cap. In other words, the information on the display could change. In one embodiment, the same display can also be used to provide radiation monitoring information to the wearer. For example, when the display is not used to provide radiation information, the display can show a design or message. In one embodiment, the display could be located on the front, rear or side portion of the crown of the cap. As an example, the design or message can be a logo, a trademark brand.

In one embodiment, instead of or in addition to a radiation sensor, electrical components in the cap include one or more additional sensors. For example, the cap includes a pedometer or an activity sensor. Different embodiments regarding pedometers have been described in related applications, such as U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/183,276, which has been incorporated herein by reference.

In another embodiment, instead of or in addition to a radiation sensor, the cap can include a temperature sensor. In one embodiment, the temperature sensor is used to measure the temperature of the wearer of the hat. In another embodiment, the temperature sensor is used to measure the ambient temperature.

In one embodiment, electrical components include a headset with such as pull-down tubes, retractable, slidable or foldable tubes or buds, to allow the cap to be used as a headset. Different embodiments have previously been described regarding headsets in related applications that have been incorporated herein by reference.

In one embodiment, electrical components include wireless communication circuits to allow signals to be received and transmitted wirelessly from the cap. In another embodiment, electrical components include a wireless headset to allow the cap to be used as a phone. Different embodiments have previously been described regarding wireless communication circuits and phones in related applications that have been incorporated herein by reference.

In one embodiment, electrical components include a clock. In one embodiment, the clock could be located on the bottom of the brim to allow time to be seen by the user looking up at the brim. Different embodiments have previously been described regarding clocks in related applications that have been incorporated herein by reference.

In another embodiment, electrical components include a digital camera. For example, the camera could be located at the crown of the cap, such as at the position in front of the forehead. The activation and deactivation switch of the camera can be at the brim. There can be a display at the brim of the cap facing the wearer, which shows the image to be taken by the camera. In another embodiment, the camera can be at the brim of the cap also, with the camera configured to be on the top surface of the brim. To take a picture, the wearer takes off the cap, and rotates it to have the top surface of the brim pointing at the image. By clicking a switch at the brim, the wearer takes a picture of the image. Different embodiments have previously been described regarding digital cameras in related applications that have been incorporated herein by reference.

A number of embodiments have been described regarding a cap. Instead of a cap, different embodiments previously described are applicable for a hat, a visor or a headband. For example, one embodiment is for a visor, such as a traditional tennis visor. Electronics could be embedded into the brim of the visor while maintaining the traditional visor look and feel.

A number of embodiments have been described regarding a headwear, such as a cap, a hat, a visor or a headband. Instead of a headwear, different embodiments previously described are applicable to clothing, garment and other wearable products. For example, the flange of an electronic module for measuring radiation can be sewn on the lapel of a jacket, or can be attached to a handbag, wristband or footwear. In one embodiment, garment includes a hat, a jacket, a shirt, a vest, a scarf, a headband, a wristband, a coat, a pair of gloves or a pair of pants. In another embodiment, wearable products include footwear.

The various embodiments, implementations and features of the invention noted above can be combined in various ways or used separately. Those skilled in the art will understand from the description that the invention can be equally applied to or used in other various different settings with respect to various combinations, embodiments, implementations or features provided in the description herein.

A number of embodiments in the invention can utilize software, hardware or a combination of hardware and software. A number of embodiments of the invention can also be embodied as computer readable code on a computer readable medium. The computer readable medium is any data storage device that can store data which can thereafter be read by a computer system. Examples of the computer readable medium include read-only memory, random-access memory, CD-ROMs, magnetic tape, optical data storage devices, and carrier waves. The computer readable medium can also be distributed over network-coupled computer systems so that the computer readable code is stored and executed in a distributed fashion.

Numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will become obvious to those skilled in the art that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. The description and representation herein are the common meanings used by those experienced or skilled in the art to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, components, and circuitry have not been described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring aspects of the present invention.

Also, in this specification, reference to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment can be included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. Further, the order of blocks in process flowcharts or diagrams representing one or more embodiments of the invention do not inherently indicate any particular order nor imply any limitations in the invention.

Other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from a consideration of this specification or practice of the invention disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with the true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification2/422
International ClassificationA42B1/24
Cooperative ClassificationA42B1/245
European ClassificationA42B1/24C