US 3458655 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 29, 1969 THOURSON 3,458,655
HIGH SPEED PRINTING SYSTEM FOR CONVERTING INFORMATION I SIGNALS INTO LEGIBLE REPRESENTATIONS Filed D80- 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet, l
Developing and Fixing Station Source of UghT Information ij fi f' Tronsmming g ci t ig r i Signals eons 0 lg T Means tsi Control Means lNVIiN'IOR. Thomas L. Thourson 7375, J Z W Attorney y 1969 T. L. THOURSON 3,458,655
HIGH SPEED PRINTING SYSTEM FOR CONVERTING INFORMATION 7 SIGNALS INTO LEGIBLE REPRESENTATIONS Filed Dec. 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Speed Control Control Means 37b 38b 39b 3Ib 36b mummnlmn H 1H T W 11.1. mm w mum f 35 IA Hum IIIIIIINIIIIIIIHIIIIH 1 1 *Ilillll h 32b 34b 33b A B C D E H INVEN'IOR.
Thomas L. Thourson BY O fl AHOrney United States Patent US. Cl. 178-30 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A legible record is provided on a sensitized medium passing adjacent the output extremities of a bundle of fiber optic filaments, which output extremities are arranged in a matrix pattern. The input ends of the filaments are arranged in a different pattern, a linear array, and juxtaposed with a corresponding linear array of selectively energizable lamps. A light gate, comprising a cylinder with a longitudinal slit, is arranged such that when the slit is positioned between the lamps and the filament inputs as particular ones of the lamps are simultaneously energized, light passes from the energized lamps through the slit into the input ends of the filaments. The light is carried to the matrix pattern at the filament output ends to represent a particular character or symbol for printing on the adjacent part of the sensitized medium.
The foregoing abstract does not limit the invention described in this application. To understand the nature and full extent of the invention, the following detailed description must be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Background of the invention There are instances in practice Where information is handled as electrical or magnetic signals to facilitate the speed with which it may be processed, as for example in computers, or to increase the efliciency of transmitting the information, as for example in telemetry. Computers are programmed so that electrical signals represent data. The data is processed and stored in electrical or magnetic form as coded signals. In some types of information transmission, for example telemetry, the intelligence is represented by pulse signals. For recording the same in easily understood form, it is necessary to convert these signals to legible characters or pictures.
In each of these instances a high speed printing system for converting the coded signals into legible characters is desirable.
Furthermore, some of the printing or recording ap-' paratus available has the limitation that only characters or pictures corresponding to ones on the printing surface may be formed. This is similar to a device using type which must be set. To print characters and pictures of varying shapes and forms so as to use the complete capability of a computer for example, indeed to create characters, it is desirable to have a Versatile unit which can respond to electrical signals to print information, regardless of whether predetermined shapes are present at the print-out station. This is known in the art as matrix printing.
It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide an improved high speed matrix printing system for printing out coded signals as legible information with the system having the capability of recording the information at a high rate of speed though the same may be comprised of unusual or individually different characters or pictures requiring composite printing. The present invention will find advantageous but by no means exclusive use in a high speed electrostatic page printer coupled to ice a source of information signals, for example the output of a computer, for printing out the information on a light sensitive medium, for example a continuous roll or fanfold form of sensitized paper.
It is a more detailed object of the present invention to provide an improved high speed printing system of the above type having a novel light control and transmitting sub-system for exposing selected portions of a light sensitive medium, thereby printing out a latent image of the information on the medium that is representative of the coded signals.
It is an over-all object of the present invention to provide an improved print out system which can be adapted for use with high speed page printing devices for converting coded signals into legible representations, which is easy to maintain and economical to manufacture, while being accurate and having a high resolution capability for presenting in legible form characters and pictures of difiering and unusual shapes.
Summary of the invention The present invention finds utility in a high speed printing system for converting information-representing signals into printed or legible form. The invention includes a plurality of individually controlled light means selectively controllabe to illuminate preassigned portions of a predetermined area. A control means operates in response to receipt of the information-representing signals to energize selected ones of the light means and selectively illuminate portions of the predetermined area. Light transmitting means, such as a bundle of fiber optic filaments, is provided. This light transmitting means includes an input portion disposed to receive the light directed into the predetermined area. The light transmitting means carries this received light to an output area, where the filament extremities are arranged in a second pattern different from the physical disposition of the filament input portions. The output area displays the light signals in a second pattern which differs from the first pattern provided by the energized ones of the lights. A print-out station is located to receive light emanating in the second pattern at the output area, for exposing portions of a light-sensitive medium to establish thereon an image which represents in legible form the content of the information-representing signals.
The drawings In the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification:
FIGURE 1 is a block diagram of a high speed printing system embodying the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a drawing exemplifying the light control and transmitting subsystem of the present invention;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective and diagrammatic showing of one form of a light control for the present invention; and
FIGURE 4 is a diagrammatic showing of a printing surface embodying the present invention at a print out station.
Description of the invention Turning now to FIGURE 1, there shown is the printing system 10 coupled to a source of information signals 11, which may be the output of a computer or the receiving station of an information transmission device. The print out system 10 includes a control means 12 for coordinating the exposure to light of a sensitized medium 14. The latter is exemplarily shown as a roll of light-sensitive paper the movement of which is controlled, first past a print-out station 15 and then through a developing and fixing station 16. The means 12, in the present instance, controls movement of the light-sensitive medium 14 by effecting on and o operation of a driving motor 17 which powers a take-up roll 18. It is of course possible to use the present invention with other arrangements of the medium, for example where the medium is continuously moving or where the medium is exposed by sheet as from a fan-folded stack.
In accordance with the present invention, the control means 12 is responsive to information signals to effect sequential exposure of the light-sensitive medium 14 so as to print or record composite images representing in legible form the information signals. As herein illustrated, light is provided by a source 19, operation of which is controlled by means 12, whereupon it is fed into a light transmitting means 20 which carries the light to the printout station 15 where portions of the light-sensitive medium 14 are exposed. As herein illustrated, the source of light 19 includes a plurality of light bulbs 21-29 (see FIG- URES 2, 3), which preferably can be energized for short periods of time at a high rate of speed. The novel light transmitting means in the present instance includes a plurality or bank of light carrying fibers or filaments 31- 39 having respective inputs 31a-39a for receiving light from the corresponding light bulbs or sources and respective outputs 31b-39b arranged in a predetermined matrix or array to expose portions of the light-sensitive medium 14. In the present instance the inputs 31a-39a of the glass fibers or filaments, also known as fiber optic elements, are arranged in a first pattern which illustratively is linear so as to facilitate reception of light from each of the individual light sources.
For presenting the linear array of light signals at the print-out station 15 so as to sensitize portions of the lightsensitive medium 14 thereby printing characters and pictures of complex forms as ordered by the information signals, the output ends of the fiber optic elements 31b- 39b are arranged in a second pattern or predetermined matrix. Though a complex system would require many individual light sources and individual fiber optic elements, for purposes of describing the teachings of the present invention only nine fiber optic elements are shown in each channel. To illustrate the formation of one character, if the information signals called for printing of a letter X, see FIGURE 2, lights 22, 24, 26, 28 and 29 would be energized so that upon transmission to the output ends 32b, 34b, 36b, 38b, and 39b of the fiber optic elements this character is formed.
In order to permit printing of a line of characters across the medium for example, the fiber optic element outputs may be arranged across the width of the medium as schematically represented in FIGURE 4, and the fiber optic elements arranged in a plurality of channels or a bank as schematically represented in FIGURE 3 by respective channels A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. Accordingly, as the input ends of each of these fiber optic elements are fed with light by controlling energization of individual light sources, a plurality of characters can be formed across the width of the medium. Several letters are shown in FIGURE 4: channel AX; channel CY; channel ET and channel GH. It is, of course, within the teachings of the present invention to arrange the output ends of the respective fiber optic element chanels in different arrangements, other than linear, across the width of the paper; for example, they could be arranged diagonally, vertically, or in other shapes which would lend themselves to printing out the particular type of information which is being handled; for example in printing pictures, images or the like it may be desirable to arrange the outputs of the respective fiber optic element channels to cover a rectangular area.
Shown in FIGURE 3 is one form which the light source 19 may take. The nine individual bulbs are positioned along a central axis 40 of a rotatable drum 41 powered by a motor 42, the speed of which is controlled by a speed control 44. The drum 41 has an opaque outside wall 45 in which is provided a longitudinal slit 46. The inputs of fiber optic elements in each of the channels are 4 I positioned about the periphery of the drum 41 and aligned in a linear array to receive light through the slit 46 as the drum rotates and the bulbs are selectively energized.'
Only all the inputs for channel A, 31a39a, are shown. Each of the other respective channels B, C, D, E, F, G, and H also have their inputs arranged in a linear array, a portion of each channel being shown. Of course, other means may be utilized for controlling feeding of light into the fiber optic elements, for example instead of a drum, a punch tape may be moved relative to a bank of light sources thereby selectively directing light into the fiber optic elements.
Thus, as the drum rotates and the control means 12 energizes the respective lights 21-29, light is fed into the input ends of respective ones of the fiber optic elements in each of the channels. Depending on which of the respective fiber optic elements receive light, individual patterns will .be sensitized on the light-sensitive medium 14 at the output ends of the fiber optic elements.
As herein illustrated, the inputs of the fiber optic elements are arranged in a different pattern than the output ends of the fiber optic elements. In other words, the light is received in a first pattern and presented at the printout station 15 in a second pattern differing from the first pattern. This facilitates feeding of the light into the fiber optic elements while providing for printing of various characters or images which represent the information signals from the source 11. The rotation of the drum 41, the energization of the light bulbs 21-29 and movement of the light sensitive medium 14 are coordinated by the control means 12 so as to print out or record the information from the source 11.
The control means 12 is not described in detail as devices accomplishing its function are known to those skilled in the art and can be adapted by them for use in the present system. As commonly used, the control means 12 includes a converter which receives bits of information, for example six bits arriving on six parallel data lines, and recognizes these as signals representing particular characters or forms to be printed by the fiber optic output arranged in a predetermined pattern. In one commercial unit manufactured by the assignee of the present application, the Omni-Data electrostatic strip printer, the six bits of information are fed into a converter including a storage register and decoding matrix and then recoded to energize succeeding stages of the printer. In the present instance, the coding would provide suitable control of the respective light sources to expose appropriate areas on the medium 14 to provide a legible representation of the coded signal.
After suflicient signals have been received by the control means 12 to print a line, a carriage return signal may be fed from the source of information signals 11 to stop all printing and to also direct that the medium 14 be moved. One manner of doing this is to have the motor 17 continuously rotating and have an indexing drive couple the motor 17 to the take-up roll 18, which drive is engaged b the carriage return signal to effect forward stepping of the medium 14. As explained, the time allotted for this movement is the length of time it takes the drum 41 to make one revolution; thus in one revolution of the drum the medium 14 is moved and in another revolution of the drum, characters are printed on the sensitized surface-of the medium.
Giving a practical example of the printing system 10, if it is desired to print a line of characters across the width of the light-sensitive medium, the movement of the sheet may be stopped while the drum makes one complete revolution to feed light into each of the channel inputs to effect sensitization of respective areas on the light-sensitive medium 14 so that with each rotation of the drum a line of characters will be printed across the sheet.
In an electrostatic page printer of the above type wherein movement of the light-sensitive medium is intermittent, i.e., being moved for one-half the time and maintained stationary for the other half of the time, if it is desired to print 30 lines per second, the drum must rotate at 60 revolutions per second to print a line in the allotted time of .016 second. It a line contains 72 characters then there must be 72 channels. Additionally, if the characters are a maximum size of .08 inch by .08 inch, for high resolution printing, fibers or filaments having a typical diameter of 0.001 inch can be used and these packaged into a bundle of 100 fibers each, occupying a space of .01 inch by .01 inch. Of course, a single fiber optic element having a diameter of .01 inch could also be used. Each character is then formed from a print out surface having 64 bundles of fiber optic elements with 100 fibers to each bundle. This of course would require 64 individual light sources at the input instead of the nine light bulbs which were previously exemplarily described. Thus, as the light-sensitive medium is maintained stationary for .016 second, the drum 41 rotates one revolution and exposes the inputs of all 72 channels to light from the source of 64 individual light bulbs. The light from the appropriately energized light sources travels through the slit 46 in the drum to feed into each channel comprised of the inputs of 64 bundles of fiber optic elements. At the output the array of 64 bundles presents a light pattern as determined by the energization at the input to form an image on the light-sensitive medium.
Though in the exemplarily shown structure the characters printed are letters of the alphabet, the printing may be of pictures or like images. In the latter instance the number of channels can be increased and the spaces between the print-out matrixes eliminated to provide greater resolution and improve the quality of the printed image. The speed of printing is selectable by the speed with which the light is fed into the channels to establish the images on the light-sensitive medium. The information signals can be such as to effect printing requiring composite presentation by exposing portions of the light-sensitive medium so that a plurality of lines contribute to representation of a composite image. This, of course, is useful in transmitting pictures using electrical signals.
What is claimed is:
1. In a high speed printing system for converting signals representing information into printed form, the combination comprising a plurality of individually controlled light means selectively controllable to feed light into preassigned portions of a predetermined area, control means operative in response to receipt of said information signals for energizing selected ones of said light means to selectively illuminate corresponding selected portions of said predetermined area, a light transmitting means having an input for receiving light directed into the selected portions of said predetermined area and carrying said received light to an output area, and a print-out station located to receive light emanating at said output area for exposing a light-sensitive medium, said light receiving input arranged in a first pattern related to said predetermined area to receive the light directed into said selected portions of said predetermined area, and said output area arranged to present the light passed through the light transmitting means as a second pattern ditfering from said first pattern, for exposing portions of said light-sensitive medium to establish an image thereon representing said information in legible form.
2. The printing system of claim 1 wherein said light transmitting means comprises a plurality of glass fibers.
3. The printing system of claim 1 wherein said light transmitting means includes a plurality of channels, each channel comprising banks of fibers, and each channel having an input and output, said individual light sources being connected to selectively feed light into each of said respective channels.
4. The printing system of claim 1 wherein said control means coordinates the selective control of the individually controlled light means to expose predetermined portions of said light-sensitive medium to represent the information signals.
5. A printing system as claimed in claim 4 and further comprising an opaque mask defining a slit corresponding to said predetermined area, and drive means for displacing said mask between said light means and said input oi. each channel of the light transmitting means, said control means also coordinating mask displacement to eifect registration between said light means, said slit and the input of a given channel as selected ones of the light means are energized to represent a selected symbol at the output of said given channel.
6. A high speed processing system for converting information-representing signals into legible form, comprismg:
a first light-transmitting channel including a plurality of fiber optic filaments, each filament having an input end and an output end, said input ends being aligned in a first array of given form over a predetermined area, and said output ends being arranged to cooperatively define a matrix pattern which is diiferent from the alignment of said given array;
a plurality of individual light sources, respectively positioned adjacent the filament input ends in a second array corresponding to said first array, said individual light sources being disposed such that selective energization of certain of said light sources is efiective to pass light toward corresponding input ends of the fiber optic filaments;
an opaque mask, defining an extended slit dimensioned in accordance with said predetermined area, such that when the slit is positioned between the plurality of individual light sources and the first array of filament input ends, light from the selectively energized light sources passes through the slit into the adjacent filament input ends;
means for displacing a sensitized medium adjacent the matrix pattern formed by the filament output ends for exposure of said medium as light is passed through the fiber optic filaments; and
control means, connected to regulate energization of selected ones of said light sources and to regulate displacement of said sensitized medium in accordance with the received information-representing signals, thus converting the signals into legible form on the sensitized medium.
7. A high speed processing system as claimed in claim 6 and further comprising at least one additional lighttransmitting channel, including another plurality of fiber optic filaments having input ends and output ends, with all the input ends being aligned in a third array corresponding to that of said first array but positioned at a second predetermined area, and said output ends being arranged to cooperatively define a matrix pattern similar to that of the matrix pattern in the first light-transmitting channel, said opaque mask being generally cylindrical and being displaced such that said extended slit passes adjacent the input ends of the first and second light-transmitting channels at different times, with the control means energizing selected ones of the light sources at these different times to govern selective presentation of visible imlages at the output ends of each light-transmitting channe References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,109,065 10/1963 McNaney 178-30 3,262,379 7/1966 Bauer et a1. 9.5-4.5
FOREIGN PATENTS 4/1960 France.