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Publication numberUS3636837 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 25, 1972
Filing dateJan 7, 1970
Priority dateJan 7, 1970
Publication numberUS 3636837 A, US 3636837A, US-A-3636837, US3636837 A, US3636837A
InventorsJoseph T Mcnaney
Original AssigneeJoseph T Mcnaney
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Light beam information presentation control means
US 3636837 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent McNaney Jan. 25, 1972 i541 LIGHT BEAM INFORMATION PRESENTATION CONTROL MEANS [72] Inventor: Joseph T. McNaney, 8548 Boulder Drive,

La Mesa, Calif. 92041 22 Filed: Jan. 7, 1970 21 Appl.No.: 1,102

3,5 [7,593 6/1970 Overacker ..95/4.5

Primary ExaminerJohn M. Horan [57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for controlling the formation and presentation of messages utilizing the high-speed light deflection characteristics of electro-optic light-refractive materials in combination with a longitudinally extended window of a light-limiting member supported in the path of a light beam. The light beam is deflected vertically and allowed to enter the window whereby a series of vertically oriented side-by-side lines of light may be exposed to the surface ofa display medium. But, in the process of doing so, the light beam will be deflected horizontally and beyond the limits of the window so as to effect interruptions in lines of the series which correspond to the formation requirements of a message being presented.

6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures LIGHT BEAM INFORMATION PRESENTATION CONTROL MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention is related quite closely to recorders and displays of information-utilizing character and pictorial generators in combination with cathode-ray tubes, but instead of an electron beam a beam of light is being used either as the means of displaying information on a screen for viewing purposes or on a light-sensitive media for the purpose of storing information. However, in relation to the present invention, cathode-ray tubes and their associated equipment is complex, and recording media is usually in the form of sensitive film which is expensive. The light beam as used in the present invention may, of course, be obtained from a LASER and, therefore, capable of exciting the less sensitive and less expensive record media. Moreover, this invention is capable of providing printed information and displays of date which exceed the quality standards of the cathode-ray tube since the spot size and brightness of available light sources make this possible in the apparatus disclosed herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Included herein are several embodiments of apparatus for presenting information on a viewing screen or on a record medium for storage. In each case a spot-size beam of light is used, preferably from a LASER light source, and it is directed toward a screen or other media by means of a system of horizontal and vertical electro-optic light beam deflectors. Intermediate the target, toward which the beam of light is being directed, and these deflectors there is a light-stopping member containing an area through which light of the beam will be permitted to pass. The cross-sectional dimension of the beam is related to the size of the light-passing area of the lightstopping member to the extent that the area presents a longitudinal dimension substantially greater than the beam dimension; possibly to 100 times greater.

The light-passing area will coincide with a common optical axis of the apparatus and along which the beam of light is projected, and the longitudinal dimension of the light-passing area is oriented in the direction in which the beam is capable of being displaced in relation to the optical axis by the vertical deflectors. Therefore, the area is scanned at a predetermined, and rapid, rate by the beam of light under the influence of voltages being applied to the electro-optic materials of the deflectors. Whenlight reaches the target, which may be movable in a horizontal direction, a series of vertically oriented lines will be exposed to the surface of the target. In forming a meaningful image, however, these lines will be interrupted in various ways and to the extent necessary to form a message. These interruptions are initiated by the application of the influence of a voltage applied to the electro-optic material of the horizontal beam deflector while voltages are being applied to the vertical deflectors. During each interruption the beam is deflected horizontally and beyond the limits of the lightpassing area. The duration of such interruptions will be in accordance with a given image formation requirement.

Within the light-passing area of the light-stopping member the invention will include the use of one of several beam utilization means, each designed to meet a different display or recording requirement of the invention. The light-passing area in one embodiment is in the form of a vertically oriented lighttransparent window. The vertically scanned beam is thereby projected through the window and onto the surface of the image presentation target. In another embodiment a vertically oriented array of light-admitting end surfaces of optical fibers is positioned within the light-passing area and light is conducted through the fibers to a similar array of light-emitting end surfaces. A series of columns of light spots from these emittingends may then be imaged on the surface of the target. In another embodiment a single vertically oriented array of the light-admitting ends of the fibers is divided into five, for example, vertically oriented arrays of light-emitting endsfrom which an individual series of five columns of light spots may be derived for forming message characters, either directly on the surface of a record medium or projected onto the viewing surface of a target medium.

Objects of the invention and its various embodiments include high-speed means of presenting informative light images on a display medium and more particularly on record media requiring relatively high levels of light output from the source of the information. Other objects include simplified means for generating the informative light images simply and at very high writing speeds.

The invention, however, both as to its originality and method of operation, and additional objects and advantages, will best be understood from the following description when read with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGS. 1 and 2 each include a diagram of the unique means of generating light images with respectively different means of effecting the display and recordations of light image;

FIG. 3 will be referred to in describing the image-generating functions of the FIG. I embodiment;

FIG. 4 will be referred to in describing the function of the light-stopping member in the FIG. I embodiment;

FIG. 5 represents an array of light-emitting elements of a light-stopping member and of a type that may be used in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 6 will be referred to in describing the image-generating function of the FIG. 2 embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the image-generating portions of the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiments of the invention a light source 10, and preferably a Laser light source 10, in combination witha lens system 11 will project a beam of light along a common optical axis of the apparatus. Following the lens system 11 along this optical axis is an electro-optic light beam deflector 13 for effecting vertical deflections of the beam in relation to the axis 12, and an electro-optic light beam deflector 14 for effecting horizontal deflections of the beam in relation to the axislZ. In describing the invention itshould be understood, of course, the positions of deflectors l3 and 14 are interchangeable in that the deflector 14 may be between the deflector l3 and the lens 11. Each of these deflectors includes an electrically controllable light-refractive material and will be described, for example, as containing at least first and second, 15 and 16, prismatic elements having surfaces adjacent one another and coincident with a line 17 which intersects, diagonally, the axis 12. On opposite surfaces of the deflectors l3 electrodes 18 and 19 are provided, and on opposite surfaces of the deflectors l4 electrodes 20 and 21 are provided. Upon the application of the influence of an electrical potential between the electrodes of the respective deflectors the index of refraction of the material is altered sufficiently to effect a change in the direction of light leaving the deflectors. Electro-optic materials useful in meeting the light-deflecting functions of the invention may be chosen from a number of different materials including barium strontium niobate, barium sodium niobate, nitrobenzene, carbon disulphide and still other materials having similar characteristics for controlling the deflection of light beams. The influence of electrical potentials will be obtained from a controllable voltage source 22 which, of course, may be that of electronic data-processing equipmentsrhowever, the description of the invention herein will exemplify the use of mechanical means for effecting the desired control functions.

In the FIG. I embodiment there is a light-stopping member 25 supportedin the path of light from the source 10, which is provided with a light-passing area 26-, and being in the form of a light-transparent window 27 through which the light beam may pass. This area 26 has a longitudinal dimension, which will be referred to as being oriented vertically in the apparatus, and which dimension is possibly l to 100 times the cross-sectional dimension of the light beam upon reaching this area. To illustrate, a beam cross section 28 is shown in FIG. 4 in relation to the area 26, and upon the application of the influence of an electrical potential across the deflector 13 the effect will be equal to that of scanning the area 26 between the lower and upper limits 30 and 31 as indicated. In doing so, light beyond the member will be projected, by a lens 32 for example, toward the surface 33 of a medium 34. Depending upon the information presentation requirements of a given ap plication the medium 34 may be moved in the direction of the arrow 35, for example, while in a spaced-apart position from the member 25, or, additional light deflectors between the medium 34 and the lens 32 can be used to deflect light beyond the member 25 in relation to a fixed position medium 34, or, the medium 34 can be positioned adjacent the member 25 and moved in relation thereto.

In the FIG. 2 embodiment the light-stopping member 40 includes a light-passing area 41 in which there is an array of light-admitting end surfaces 42 of light guides, such as optical fibers, which extend from a first surface 43 of the member 40 to a second surface 44 thereof. Emitting end surfaces of the light guides at the surface 44 may be arranged in a straight line manner as the admitting surfaces 42 are shown to be, or, arranged in a manner considered best in meeting an image presentation application requirement. For contact printing therefrom, a record medium 45 can be supported adjacent the surface 44 and moved in the direction of the arrow 46. However, light appearing at the surface 44 may be projected onto a display medium in a manner described in connection with the FIG. 1 embodiment.

In the process of presenting images on a display medium the light-passing area, either 26 of member 25 or 41 of member 40, is scanned from one end of its longitudinal dimension to the other. Referring to FIG. 4, the beam 28 will be deflected so as to scan the area 26 from the one end to the other end 31. Such scanning will be accomplished at some predetermined number of scans per second, and upon the application of sawtooth waveform voltages between the electrodes 18 and 19 of the vertical deflector 13. If, for example, a record medium 34 is made to move in the direction of the arrow a series of lines may be recorded on the surface 33, and when on and off voltages are appropriately applied between the electrodes 20 and 21 of the horizontal deflector 14 a series of light beam scanning functions can be interrupted in a manner necessary to present meaningful images on the surface 33. A recording of the letter E in FIG. 3 is exemplified as being comprised of a series of lines, some continuous and some interrupted. The first four lines extend from a lower limit 50 to an upper limit 55, but the remaining lines thereof had been subjected to a program of interruptions. After a recording of the first four lines in the E is completed the fifth line is interrupted at a point 51 by the application of a voltage to the deflectors 14, causing the beam 28 to be deflected horizontally in the direction of the arrow 56 and beyond the limits of the area 26. The beam will follow a light-stopping path 57 until it has reached a point'52 as indicated in FIG. 3, whereupon the voltage will be removed from the horizontal deflectors 14, allowing the beam 28 to return in the direction of the arrow 58 to the area 26. A recording of the fifth line continues from the point 52 until it reaches the point 53, whereupon the beam is deflected in the direction of the arrow 56, to follow the path 57 until it reaches a point 54. The beam 28 is again allowed to return in the direction of the arrow 58 to the area 26 to complete the fifth line of the E. The process of applying on and off voltages to the horizontal deflectors will continue until the formation of the E is completed.

Another recording of a letter E, utilizing the light guide member 40, is illustrated in FIG. 6. The same technique of interrupting a vertically scanned light beam over the surfaces 42 of a series of seven light guides in the member is used, but the E of FIG. 6 is composed of fewer vertical scans of the beam between the lower and upper limits of the light-passing area 41 of the member 40. However, the process of applying voltages to the horizontal deflector 14 will be followed as described in connection with the FIG. 1 embodiment.

FIG. 5 represents a five-by-seven array of light guides 60 in a light-stopping member 61, having a light-admitting surface 62, wherein the light-admitting ends of the five-by-seven array of light guides are arranged in a straight single-column line, similar to the single-column line of ends 42 appearing at the surface 43 of the member 40. The light-admitting surface 62, however, will contain a single-column line of 35 light-admitting ends of the five-by-seven array of light guides 60. In doing so, a single vertical scan over a light-passing area of the surface 62 will provide a record of the letter E as shown in FIG. 6. To illustrate further, the light-admitting ends of the guides 60 are arranged and illuminated whereby column 1 in FIG. 5 is designed to emit light from the lowermost light guide 60, first, and then the next lowermost guide, and so on until the seven guides in the column 1 have been illuminated. Then beginning with the lowermost guide in column 2, column of guides 60 is illuminated. In this manner the illumination of columns 3, 4 and 5 may continue. The horizontal interruption of the single scan of the 35 light-admitting ends of the guides 60 will be effected in the same manner as the scanning of five columns of seven ends separately.

In the embodiment described in connection with FIG. 1 the object is to project spot-size beams onto the surface 33 having cross-sectional dimensions of 0.00l in., or less, for high-density recording of information, but larger spot size beams for visual displays. And the lower and upper limits 30 and 31 of the light-passing area 26 are designed to effect well-registered, and therefore straight, lines of printed matter across the surface 33. In the embodiments utilizing the light-conducting fibers 42 or 60, such light guides as small as 0.001 in. are intended for high-density recording of information, while in direct contact with the medium 45. The design of a lightstopping member as described in connection with FIG. 5 lends itself to the supporting of a plurality of members 61 side by side across the width of a record media, whereby, a line of images may be recorded while the media is held stationary.

The particular embodiments of the invention illustrated and described herein is illustrative only, and the invention includes such other modifications and equivalents as may readily appear to those skilled in the arts, and within the scope of the appended claims.

Iclaim:

1. Light beam information presentation apparatus comprismg:

a. a light source and means for deriving a beam of light therefrom having a predetermined cross-sectional dimension;

b. a light-stopping member supported in the path of said beam presenting a light-passing area having a longitudinal dimension substantially greater than said cross-sectional dimension;

0. an electro-optic light beam deflector, intermediate said stopping member and said light source, including electrically controllable light-refractive material and electrodes with means for subjecting said material to the influence of an electrical potential for effecting deflections of said beam along said longitudinal dimension and, thereby, the entry of said beam to the light-passing area along said longitudinal dimension; and

d. another electro-optic light beam deflector, intermediate said stopping member and said light source, including electrically controllable light-refractive material and electrodes with means for subjecting said material to the influence of an electrical potential for deflecting said beam in a direction substantially perpendicular to said longitudinal dimension for selectively interrupting the entry of said beam to the light-passing area during said deflections of the beam along the longitudinal dimension thereof. 7

2. The invention as set forth in claim 1 additionally including:

e. said light-stopping member having a thickness dimension and said light-passing area comprising alight-transparent window extending through said thickness dimension.

3. The invention as set forth in claim 1 additionally including:

ing:

a. a light source and means for deriving a beam of light therefrom;

b. a light-responsive medium;

0. light-stopping means intermediate said source and said medium, presenting a series of light passing areas to said beam;

d. a light beam deflection system intermediate said source and said light-stopping means including electrically controllable light-refractive material and electrodes with means for connecting the influence of an electrical potential to said electrodes;

e. means for extending the influence of a combination to electrical potentials to the electrodes of said deflection system for effecting changes in the refractive index of said material and, accordingly, deflections of said beam in a first direction for exposing, successively, said lightpassing areas to said beam in combination with deflections of said beam in a second direction for effecting a series of interruptions in said exposing of the light-passing areas to said beam;

f. a plurality of fibers of light-conducting material, each having first and second end surfaces;

g. each of said light-passing areas comprising a first end surface of one of said fibers and upon an exposing of the beam thereto light will be conducted to the second end surface of said one fiber; and

b. means for exposing said medium to light being conducted to the second end surfaces of said fibers and forming information thereon corresponding to said exposing of the light-passing areas to said beam in combination with said interruptions in the exposing of the light-passing areas to said beam.

5. The invention as set forth in claim 4 additionally includ- I. said second end surfaces of the plurality of fibers supported and arranged in a series of vertically oriented arrays of light-emitting ends from which said information will be exposed to said medium.

6. Light beam information presentation apparatus comprisa. a light source and means for deriving a beam of light therefrom;

b. light-stopping means supported in the path of said beam presenting a light-passing area having a longitudinal dimension;

0. a light beam deflection system intermediate said source and said light-stopping means including electrically controllable light-refractive material and electrodes with means for connecting the influence of an electrical potential to said electrodes; and

d. means for extending the influence of a combination of electrical potentials to the electrodes of said deflection system for effecting changes in the refractive index of said material and, accordingly, deflections of said beam along said longitudinal dimension of the light-passing area and, thereby, the entry of said beam of light to the lightpassing area along said longitudinal dimension, in combination with deflections of said beam in a direction sub stantially perpendicular to said longitudinal dimension for selectively interrupting the entry of said beam to the lightpassing area during said deflections of the beam along the longitudinal dimension thereof.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3803637 *Nov 17, 1972Apr 9, 1974IbmLaser printer
US4390875 *Mar 17, 1982Jun 28, 1983Mcnaney Joseph TMessage character image projection control system
US4453160 *Sep 28, 1983Jun 5, 1984Mcnaney Joseph TMessage character image projection control means
US4457580 *Feb 24, 1983Jul 3, 1984Mattel, Inc.Display for electronic games and the like including a rotating focusing device
US4470044 *May 15, 1981Sep 4, 1984Bill BellMomentary visual image apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification396/267, 396/548, 340/815.42, 396/561
International ClassificationG02F1/29, G06K15/12
Cooperative ClassificationG02F1/29, G06K15/12
European ClassificationG06K15/12, G02F1/29