US 20080019120 A1
A lighting system for wearing apparel and the like includes a sealed housing of flexible light transmitting material with at least two hollow regions interconnected by a section having an opening therein communicating between the hollow regions, a battery in one of the hollow regions, at least one light source in each hollow region for light emission through the surface of the housing, a motion responsive switch or a user-activated switch or both contained within one of the hollow regions, light controls contained within one of the hollow regions connected to the battery, the switch and the light sources for controlling the activation of the light sources responsive to operation of the switch, the weight and volume of the battery, light control means and switch being distributed among the hollow regions.
1. A lighting system for attachment to garments, footwear, back packs, purses, belts, accessories and wearing apparel comprising:
at least two housing portions, and connectors extending between and connecting said at least two housing portions said connectors comprising electrical wiring, or sealed, hollow housings for electrical wiring that extend between said hollow housing portions;
one or more batteries inside said housing portions;
one or more light sources inside said housing portions for light emission through the surface of said housing;
a motion responsive switch or a user-activated switch or both inside said housing portions; and
light control circuitry connected to said battery, said switch and said light sources for controlling the activation of said light sources responsive to operation of said switch, wherein the weight and volume of said battery, light control circuitry and said switch are distributed among said housing portions.
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21. A lighting system for wearing apparel comprising:
at least two sealed housing portions shaped like one or more toys, and made of flexible, light transmitting material: and, inside said housing portions, a battery; a switch; at least one light emitting source; and an electrical circuit, said switch, said light emitting source and said electrical circuit being connected to said battery such that activation of said switch causes said light emitting source to illuminate said toy.
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25. A system for attachment to a garment comprising: at least two discrete hollow housing units containing lighting components, and connected to one another with electrical conductors, said electrical connectors including stress relief components.
26. The system of
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28. A system for attachment to a garment comprising: at least two discrete hollow housing units containing lighting components, and connected to one another with electrical conductors, said hollow housing units including potting/sealant material to insulate said components.
29. A lighting and electronic system for attachment to garments, wearing apparel, and accessories, comprising: at least two housing portions with cavities for electronic components interconnected with electrical conductors, said conductors having stress relief components at said interconnections.
30. The system of
31. A lighting and electronic system for attachment to garments, wearing apparel, and accessories, comprising: at least two interconnected housing portions for lighting and electronic components, said housing portions including potting material to insulate said components.
This application is a Continuation-in-Part of applications Ser. No. 10/766,709 filed Jan. 27, 2004, and Ser. No. 11/432,466 filed May 10, 2006 by the applicant herein and priority is claimed from the earliest filing dates of these patent applications.
This invention relates to lighting structures for attachment to garments such as shoes, jackets and other clothing. Such garments have enjoyed significant commercial success, particularly in footwear. Lighted footwear is shown in the following U.S. Patents:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,477,435 MODULE TO PROVIDE LIGHT WITH INTERMITTENT MOVEMENT, Dec. 19, 1995, now REISSUE Patent RE 37,220, Jan. 12, 2001;
U.S. Pat. No. 5,732,486;
U.S. Pat. No. 5,649,755;
U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,110;
U.S. Pat. No. 6,017,128 FOOTWEAR WITH FLASHING LIGHTS, Jan. 25, 2000;
and in the above-referenced co-pending U.S. patent applications Ser. Nos. 10/776,709 and 11/432,466.
Lighted shoes may utilize one or more LEDs which may be turned on by a motion sensitive switch. One such switch utilized a coil spring having one end secured to, for example, one track of an integrated circuit, and having its other end suspended over a separate conductor track. Motion of the shoe caused the spring to bounce up and down, making multiple contacts with the separate conductor track. Each such contact caused one or more LEDs to be momentarily illuminated. Such spring-type switches are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,238,056 SPRING MOUNTED LIGHT, May 29, 2001; U.S. Pat. No. 5,550,721 MOTION SENSITIVE LIGHT AND BATTERY ASSEMBLY SWITCHED ON AND OFF BY THE OSCILLATION OF A HELICAL SPRING, Aug. 27, 1996; and U.S. Pat. No. 7,044,618 MOTION SENSITIVE LIGHT AND BATTERY ASSEMBLY SWITCHED ON AND OFF BY THE OSCILLATION OF A HELICAL SPRING, May 16, 2006; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,559,721.
The electrical circuit for controlling one or more LEDs connected to a battery requires, for enhanced visual effects, one or more batteries, a control circuit, usually on a circuit board, a switch, and one or more LEDs. When the battery, switch and circuit board assembly are connected together as a unit, the unit becomes somewhat bulky, e.g., one inch by three-eighths inch by one inch. This is an important factor, particularly when the light system is attached to clothing such as jackets or trousers where the battery is expected to have a useful life which may be equivalent to the life of the clothing itself. Other embodiments include timing and lighting control circuits to provide certain patterns of light flashes, which may add to the volume of the system.
There is a definite need and desire for lighting and other electronic systems for attachment to wearing apparel that provides greater flexibility than with currently available lighting and other electronic systems. There is also a need for self-powered lighting and other electronic systems sewn or otherwise attached to a garment such as a jacket with light emission or another electronic function from one or more places on the garment. Marks or slits in the outer surface of the systems such as strips extending between elements of the system may interrupt light passing through the system, causing the marks or slits to emit light. Such strips are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,882,110 and 5,649,755, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference.
Another need in the clothing and electronics fields is for lighting and other electronic systems free from known containments such as mercury, lead or solder of any type which might leach out over the years and enter the water supply. Applicant's co-pending application Ser. No. 11/432,466 disclosed several embodiments of solder-free and/or lead free electrical connections which may be used with mercury-free batteries to provide environmentally acceptable lighting fixtures for shoes and clothing. This '466 application also teaches a switch structure usable with the present invention and which can be made in a smaller package than the spring switches of applicant's patents referred to above.
There is a definite need and desire for lighting and other electronic systems which provide greater flexibility for use on shoes and other clothing than existing systems provide.
This invention provides sealed, preferably flexible, lighting and other electronic systems for attachment to shoes and other articles of clothing that may include two or more hollow housing portions of transparent or translucent material with one or more electronic components inside these housings. The systems preferably include a bottom member (or potting/sealant) which may be attached to, and worn for the normal useful life, e.g., several years, of a garment. Such systems may be removable and replaceable, if desired. Each system may include two or more hollow, housing portions joined by a connection device, e.g., wiring, or wiring inside a molded, sealed, hollow housing. Such hollow housing portions may be ornamental in shape; for example, these portions may take the shape of a flower including a stamen and petal portions. One or more of the hollow housing portions may be large enough inside to hold at least one LED or other lighting device for illuminating the ornamental portion(s), or at least one of the other components used to provide power for one or more LEDs, e.g., one or more batteries, a switch, and control circuitry, to activate lighting of the LEDs, or other electronic components such as transducers, displays, and electromechanical devices. The switch may be motion-activated, manually activated, or both motion-activated and manually-activated. If a lighting or other system requires a plurality of one or more of these components, the components may be distributed over all or part of the housing portions of the system to minimize weight and/or volume imbalances that might otherwise arise. This distribution of components allows the system to be smaller, and more comfortable to a wearer.
The connection devices between the hollow portions may include channels for holding wiring for the electrical elements of the system and may also provide a surface for enhanced lighting effects. The connector devices may also hold the housing portions together, simplifying assembly/manufacturing.
The electrical operating elements of the system may include, in addition to lighting elements such as light emitting diodes, a battery, e.g., a coin-shaped battery, a control circuit on an electronic circuit board or in the form of an integrated circuit, and an electromechanical motion responsive switch or accelerometer.
In some embodiments, each housing may be sealed and preferably includes a flange around most of its periphery for sewing or otherwise attaching the housing to a garment. Alternatively, the housing may be attached to garments by hook and loop fasteners for removal for cleaning or washing of the garment.
Preferably, the LEDs are illuminated when the article of clothing to which the system is attached is worn. If a system ceases operating before the garment has reached the end of its useful life, the system may be removed, and another system may be attached in its place.
Preferably, each system attaches at at least two separate spaced portions on a garment to minimize the bulk of the system, and to exhibit attractive, flashing light from several areas of the garment. The system's connection devices, which are preferably exposed to LED illumination, may also emit light from slits or marks on their outer or inner surfaces, or both, where, e.g., the connection devices are hollow, molded channels. These lighting systems, when attached to garments, make the garments more comfortable and more attractive, and provide moving illumination for a wearer, day or night. Some embodiments of the system may comprise one or more lighted toys.
This invention may be better understood from the following Detailed Description of the Drawings with reference to the drawings, in which:
Referring now to
Alternatively, as shown in
Portions 12, 14 and 16 are formed into flowers that extend above the level of connection devices 26 and 28 much like a flower extends above its stem. Portions 12, 14, and 16 may each enclose one or more light emitting diodes, hereinafter designated LEDs. LEDs 20, 22 and 24 are placed inside portions 12, 14, and 16, as indicated by the dashed lead lines in
Extending between flower shaped housing portions 12 and 14 and between flower shaped housings 14 and 16 are molded connection devices 26 and 28, respectively, including internal channels 26C and 28C, shown as dashed lines in
Member 30 is attached to the bottom surface of the housing for lighting system 10 along the under side of portions 12, 14 and 16 and connection devices 26 and 28 that include internal channels 26C and 28C so that system 10 is sealed from the ingress of moisture or other unwanted substances. Sealing may be accomplished by bonding with an adhesive, by sonic welding, by magnets (see
The electrical circuitry components of fixture 10 (see
Illumination from LED 20 is visible from the top of portion 12, and may also be directed through channel 26C. See
In operation, when switch 44 is activated, either manually or in response to movement of the system, the control circuit contained on circuit board 38 activates LEDs 20, 22 and 24 in a desired sequence and duration. LEDs 20, 22 and 24 need not be lighted, avoiding battery usage, when the system is at rest. Switch 44 may be located in portion 12 or 16, near the elbow and forearm of jacket J in
Leads 36 are connected to circuit board 38. Switch 44 is connected to circuit board 38 such that, when switch 44 senses motion or user activation, it sends a signal to the control or timing circuit on circuit board 38, and current flows through leads 34, 46 and 48 to cause LEDs 20, 22 and 24 to be illuminated in the pattern and duration provided by the timing and control circuit.
FIGS. and 7-10 illustrate an alternate embodiment of lighting system 50.
The advantages of the embodiment of
Connection device 60 may include discontinuities, e.g., a plurality of notches or slits 60S, which interrupt and emit light coming from LEDs 56 and 58. If the control circuit on the circuit board 62 alternately lights the LEDs 56 and 58, this produces an attractive alternate racing light effect. The same feature may be embodied in the lighting system 10 of
In both the first and second embodiments, the flanges 60F and 10F of the molded housing extend outward (see
The concepts of
Other changes and modifications in the lighting systems described here may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the following claims.