US 3810170 A
A visual signalling system which provides for visual signalling of deaf persons is described. The system is installed in the sleeping rooms, corridors, rest rooms, and other areas of a building which may be occupied by deaf persons. A signalling panel in each room contains a plurality of lights including a high intensity strobe lamp. Electrical control circuits for the lamps include an emergency and fire warning circuit and attention circuits. These circuits repeatedly operate the strobe lamp, and in the case of the fire and emergency circuits, override all other circuits to operate the strobe lamp. In addition, another of the lamps, which has a distinguishing color or other label, indicates the fire or emergency condition. Thus, through the use of the strobe lamps the attention of the deaf persons is obtained, and when these persons observe the other lamps, they are informed of the nature of the call, whether it be fire or other emergency condition, or visitors, or some other signalling condition.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
C United States Patent [1 1 Zinsmeister May 7, 1974 ALARM SYSTEM Primary ExaminerThomas B. Habecker  Inventor: Roland F. Zinsmeister, 26 E. Park Attorney Agent Firm Martin Lu Kacher Rd., Pittsford, N.Y. 14534  ABSTRACT 22 Fld: 0t.5 1972 l 1 W C A visual signalling system WhlCl'l provides for visual  Appl. No.: 295,241 signalling of deaf persons is described. The system is installed in the sleeping rooms, corridors, rest rooms, 52 us. or 340/420, 340/227, 340/326, and (her areas Of t l may be 340/331 340/37] 297/463 by deaf persons. A signallmg panel 1n each room con-  Int Cl Gosh 23/00 G08b 17/00 tains a plurality of lights including a hlgh intensity [581 Fie'ld 340/420 1 311 331 strobe lamp. Electrical control circuits for the lamps 51 5/13] 1 include an emergency and fire warning circuit and attention circuits. These circuits repeatedly operate the  References Cited strobe lamp, and in the case of the fire and emergency circuits, override all other circuits to operate the UNITED STATES PATENTS strobe lamp. In addition, another of the lamps, which 1,771,953 7/1930 Conklin 340/332 has a distinguishing color or other label, indicates the 2,0475% 7/1936 340/31 fire or emergency condition. Thus, through the use of E the strobe lamps the attention of the deaf persons is 3'278895 1011966 gf 343/34 obtained, and when these persons observe the other 314303224 2/1969 Krantz 2.........................::i: 340/3ll lamps they are informed of the nature of the whether it be fire or other emergency condition, or visitors, or some other signalling condition.
12 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures ROOM SIGNAL INDICATOR DESK FIRE DOOR EMERGENCY STROBE ?AIENTEUMY 71914 $810,170
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FIRE DOOR DESK STROBE EMERGENCY EMERGENCY CONTROL SENSOR I POWER T.D.U. gIYSSEIEIa. CENTER HALL SIGNAL 4 ROOM SIGNAL INDICeTORS f INDICATORS 280 28 log lon VIDEO F162.
sza azn TTY ---4 TTY PATENTEDIIII 7 I974 23 V:l K-3-2 q POWER T0 RSI CONTROL 5 CABWET CENTER v 42 H 4 FIRE I EMERGENCY 5 7 ix K-5-l BUZZER I? 46 48 I r I a BUZZER FAIL INDICATOR X: B5. /54 C RECTIFIER 5 VA Tf TO RsI's "5 VA; 3 5 f TO RsI's ALARM SYSTEM The present invention relates to visual signalling systems and particularly to a system for visual signalling of deaf or hearing-impaired persons.
The invention is especially suitable for use in a dormitory or other housing for deaf and hearing-impaired persons and provides a central system for calling such persons at their respective rooms or in corridors, rest areas, and the like, which system will alert all rooms and occupants of fire, smoke, or other potential danger or emergency conditions.
The invention is also applicable to provide a signalling or call system as an auxiliary to or in lieu of audible signalling systems, as in applications where quiet must be maintained.
in order to care for the safety of deaf persons and to call them for any purpose, it has been necessary to make personal contact with each deaf person. An attendant was required to visit each deaf person in his or her respective room. In emergency situations, as for example when there is a fire in a hotel or dormitory housing deaf persons, the attendants had to rush from room to room and physically rouse each of the deaf occupants. The delays incident to this procedure and the danger to the attendants and to the deaf persons will be obvious. Accordingly, it is both necessary and desirable to provide a system for arousing and obtaining the attention of deaf persons from a remote point which operates automatically in case of fire or emergency. It has been discovered in accordance with this invention that visual signalling can be provided in a manner which will allow deaf persons to be aroused and informed of emergency and other call conditions. By emergency conditions is meant flre, smoke or other potential danger, and by call conditions is meant visitors at a room door, in a lobby of a building, or that certain appliances which provide longer and detailed messages are ready to transmit such messages.
It is a feature of this invention to provide for such visual signalling by first flashing a high intensity lamp, such as a strobe lamp, and then illuminating other lamps which represent the particular call condition. It has been found that the high intensity lamp, when flashed, affects the optical nervous system of persons, especially deaf persons. Even when such persons are sleeping, the high intensity illumination flashing in their vicinity causes them to be aroused.
It is a feature of this invention to provide a system for repeatedly flashing such high intensityillumination in the rooms occupied by such persons, or in'any area in which they may be located, so as to arouse such persons in the event of an emergency condition or if there is some call for their attention.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved visual signalling system.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved system for signalling that will allow deaf persons to be aroused and informed of emergencies or other call conditions from a'remote point.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide an improved signalling system which operates through a central control so that an attendant in a central area can alert occupants of various call conditions from such central area.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an impoved visual signalling system which operates automatically and through a central control for applying flashes of high intensity illumination automatically in the event of emergency conditions and for signalling the failure of any emergency circuit and to the attendant at the central control location so that the attendant can alert occupants in areas served by any defective emergency signalling circuit.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an improved visual signalling system having a plurality of lamps for arousing attention and for indicating the various different call conditions.
Briefly described, a visual signalling system in accordance with this invention contains a source of intense illumination. Means are provided for applying power to the source when enabled. Sensing means are provided which are responsive to certain events, as for example, fire, emergency conditions, or calls of various types. Control circuits are operated by the sensing means for enabling the power applying means to operate the source of high intensity illumination whereby to arouse any persons, especially deaf or hearing-impaired persons in'the vicinity ofthe illumination source, and to inform them of the call condition.
The foregoing and otherfeatures, objects, and advantages of the invention, as well as the invention itself will becomemore apparent from a reading of the following description'when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an indicator panel which is used in a system provided in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the system embodying the invention which utilizes the indicator panel shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a simplified schematic diagram of the sensing, power distribution and control circuits of the system shown in FIG. 2; and v v FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of circuitry for operating the panel illustrated in FIG. 1 when power is applied thereto through the circuits and systems illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a panel which may be installed in each room ofa building, such as a dormitory, occupied by deaf or hearingimpaired persons. This may be the various sleeping rooms of the dormitory. Other panels of similar design may be installed in the rest rooms, corridors, class rooms, libraries, dining halls, or other rooms where the I attention of the occupants is desired. The illustrated panel is one of the room signal indicator panels 10. The four lamps are mounted in the panel. These are a red incandescent lamp 12, a green incandescent lamp l4,
' and an amber incandescent lamp 16, and a high intensity strobe lamp .18.The red lamp 12 indicates a tire or other emergency condition, the green lamp l4 indicates a call at the door of the room as when a visitor presses the room call push button at the door, the amber lamp l6is operated by the building attendant or desk clerk. The desk in the lobby of the building hasa control console containing push button or other call control system. When the .push button at the desk for a particular room is depressed, the amber light in the panel 10 for that room is illuminated. The lamp 18 is a strobe lamp designated by the letters WS which connotes white strobe. This strobe lamp may be a Xenon lamp of the type used in photo-flash equipment. The lamp, when flashed constitutes an intense source of illumination. It has been found to excite the optic nerves so as to arouse the attention of persons in the vicinity of the illumination. The occupant of the room then has his attention brought to the room signal indicator panel 10. By observing the lamps l2, l4 and 16 on the panel the appropriate call condition is then brought to his at tention (viz., a fire or emergency, a visitor at the door, or visitor at the desk of the lobby of the building).
I The exemplary visual signalling system as a whole is illustrated in FIG. 2. The sensors 20 detect fire or smoke and may be the sensors regularly installed in the building as part of the fire alarm system or sprinkler system. These sensors control a separate emergency power supply 22, which applies emergency power, separate from any of the regular lighting power systems of the building, through a time delay unit (T.D.U.) 24 to a power distribution system 26. The time delay unit is a timer, either electronic or mechanical, which permits power to be applied from the emergency power sources 22 to the power distribution system 26 for a period of time, say minutes, after the emergency power is applied upon actuation of the sensors 20. After the period of operation, the time delay unit automatically shuts off the power and then if the sensor is still activated permits emergency power to be applied for another predetermined, say 5 minutes, time period. A suitable time delay unit may be of the type manufactured by Chronologics, Inc., of Rochester, New York, Model No. PT- 100.
The power distribution system provides for sources of voltage or power lines for each room signal indicator a through l0n, and the other signal indicators which by way of example are indicated as hall or corridor signal indicators 28a through 28n. In this example, these power lines are l volts AC for operating the strobe light 18, and 24 volts AC (an exclusive line) for actuating the control circuits forthe emergency lamp l2 and the strobe lamp 1.8, a 24 volt DC line also for operating these control circuits, and a separate 24 volt AC line for operating portions of the control circuits for operating the green and amber lamps 14 and 16. While it is desirable to use 24 volt circuits for operating the various control circuits of the signalling system in order to permit wiring of the building with wires having smaller diameter (the 24 volt wires require less insulation than higher voltage 15 volt wires), it may be desirable or convenient to use 115 voltcircuits throughout. it will be noted that'the power requirements 0T the system when in the idle mode (lamps not illuminated) is minimal and constitutes only the no-load transformer current drain.
The power distribution system 26 may be located in the basement of the building in a power cabinet. The system is connected to the control center 30 which is located in a console at the reception desk which may be in the lobby of the building. The desk is attended by a desk clerk or attendant who is a person having normal sight and hearing capabilities. The control center is equipped with indicators, such as lamps, which inform the attendant that the power distribution system, particularly the emergency power system, is operating properly in all of the rooms of the building. Accordingly, there are connections between the power distribution system 26 and the control center 30. There are also connections between both the power distribution system 26 and the control center 30 and the room signal indicators 10a through 10n, and the hall signal indicators 28a and 2&1.
Each of the room signal indicators is equipped with control circuitry which will be described hereinafter in connection with FIG. 4. In some buildings and in some rooms there may be installed video phones 32a through 32n and teletypewriters (TTY) 34a to 3411. in such cases the strobe lamp will be operated to arouse and obtain the attention of the occupant and additional lamps will be provided on the indicator panels 10 to call the occupants attention to a message either on the video phone or teletypewriter. The volt AC line will provide power for the video phones 32a to 32n, and teletypewriters 34a to 34n. The video phone and teletypewriters may be of the conventional type which is supplied by the telephone utility companies under their established tariffs. It will be appreciated that there may be additional attention-obtaining and emergencyindicator panels or simply emergency visual-alert panels containing only strobe lights in areas of the building other than the sleeping rooms where call indicator lamps such as the green and amber lamps 14 and 16 are not required. On such emergency and alert panels the rate of flashing of the strobe lamp may be used to indicate an emergency'condition as opposed to indicating some other calling condition.
FIG. 3 shows, in simplified schematic form, the emergency power circuits as well as the circuits of the power distribution system 26 and the control center 30 as are applicable to an exemplary room signal indicator l0. lt will be appreciated that similar circuits or groups of circuits may be provided for each room signal indicator or groups of room signal indicators as for example as may be located in rooms along one corridor'or-one floor of the building. I
The sensors 20 may be the temperature sensors 20a or smoke sensors 20!; of'the fire alarm system installed in the building. The temperature sensors may be thermo couples which produce a change in resistance or the closure of a switch contact when temperature rises above a certain threshold. The smoke sensors 20b may be photo cells interposed in a light beam which may be interrupted by smoke to increase the resistance in a current path to a relay driver amplifier 3 6. The
temperature sensors 200 may be connected to similar relay driver amplifiers 38. The amplifiers are operated by the l 15 volt AC line in the emergencypower supply 22 which is separate from other power lines in the building. Upon occurrence ofa temperature or smoke condition, the relay drivers operate their respective relays Kl or K2. As the description proceeds it will be noted that the relays are indicated by the letter K followed by a distinctive numeral. The contacts associated with each relay are designated by the relay designation followed by a numeral which connotes the contact. Thus, relay K1 has contact K-l-l associated therewith, while relay K2 has contact K-2-l associated therewith. These contacts pull in and close the circuits from the 1 15 volt AC line to the time delay unit 24 when either a high temperature or a smoke condition is detected. The time delay unit contains another relay or electromagnetic contacter K3 which when actuated pulls in contacts K-3-l and K-3-2 which are in parallel with each other for greater current carrying capability. Contacts K-3-4 and K-3-5 are also closed to apply 115V AC power to the RSI 10 control circuits. The time delay unit interrupts the circuit to the contacter K-3 which drops out after a predetermined time period, say 5 minutes. If the contacts K-l-l or K-2-l are closed at the end of the 5 minute interval, the time delay unit will be retriggered and cause the contacter K-3 to be actuated from the l 15 volt AC line to an additional 5 minute period; However, if the alarm condition does not exist after the 5 minute operating period the contacter K-3 will remain dropped out and alarms or emergency alerts will not continue to be indicated.
Consider that the contacts K-3-1 and K-3-2 have closed, then power is'applied through step-down transformer X-l to terminals T,, and T" going to the room signal indicator circuits. The step-down transformer X provides a 24-volt AC emergency power source which serves to enable the strobe lamp and red emergency lamp l8 and 12 in the panels of the room signal indicators. When power is applied to the emergency circuit transformer X a lamp 40 on the power cabinet is illuminated to indicate an emergency condition associated with the particular room indicator, there being a separate transformer X for each room signal indicator panel 10 or a group of room signal panel indicators. Simultaneously a lamp 42 in the control center which is connected to the transformer X is also illuminated indicating to the attendant'an emergency condition associated with a particular room signal indicator or group of room signal indicators.
Relays K-4 and K-Sare connected across the primary and secondary of the transformer X. A normally open contact K-4-l of the relay K4 and a normally closed contact K-S-l of the relay K-S are connected in series across one side of the l volt AC emergency line. In the control center there is located a fire-emergency lamp 46 and buzzer 48. There is also located and associated with each lamp 46 and buzzer 48 a call indicator buzzer and lamp 50 and 52. Under emergency conditions when the relay K-3 pulls in, contact K-4-l will close and contact K-S-l will open. This will cause the failure indicator lamp and buzzer 52 and 50 to sound. However, the fire emergency lamp and buzzer 46 and 48 will be disconnected from the line, thus indicating that power is being applied across the secondary of the transformer X and the room signal indicator emergency circuits are operating. However, if relay K-S does not pull in,the fire and emergency lamp and buzzer 46 and 48 as well as the failure indicator lamp and buzzer 52 and 50 will both sound. This provides a warning to the attendant at the control center that there is a failure in a particular room signal indicator or group of room signal indicators. The attendant then will warn the occupants of the rooms having filed room signal indicators by some other means.
The emergency power source also connects the 115 volt AC line through separate step-down transformers X and X to provide separate sources of voltage, particularly the 24 volt AC source which is connected to terminals T and T which are applied to lines to the individual room signal indicators or groups of room signal indicators. The transformer X is connected to a rectifier 54 which provides 24 volt DC at terminals T and T,. These terminals are also connected to lines which go to the room signal indicators and hall signal indicators.
FIG. 4 illustrates the circuitry associated with each room signal indicator. The hall signal indicators may be similar except that the circuits associated with the green and amber lamps need not be included in the hall signal indicator circuits. The l 15 volt lines from terminals T, and T,, are connected to a circuit for operating the strobe lamp 18. The circuit includes a step-up transformer 59. The voltage across the secondary of the transformer 59 is rectified by halfwave rectifier diode 60 and filtered by a resistor'capacitor filter including the resistor 62 and a filter capacitor 64. The DC voltage then appears across a voltage divider resistor 66. ln order to trigger the strobe lamp 18, a capacitor 68 and a transformer 70 are connected to the trigger electrode of the lamp 18. A pulse which is stepped up in the transformer 70 is generated each time a silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) 72 is triggered. The capacitor 68 which has been charged, by virtue of being connected through the primary of the transformer 70 across a portion of the voltage divider 66, then discharges through the SCR 72 to produce the current pulse which is transformed by the transformer 70 into a high voltage pulse for triggering the strobe lamp 18. The trigger pulse for the SCR 72 is provided by closing different contacts K-7-2, K-9-l, and K-lO-l. Taking contact K-7-2 by way of example, which contact is closed in response to the deskcall or control center push button 74. Voltage from the lower tap 76 of the divider 66 (viz., the voltage across the capacitor 78) is applied to the trigger electrode of the SCR 72 and causes the SCR to conduct thereby producing the pulse which causes the strobe lamp to flash but once. A simi lar single-flash occurs when the contact K-9-1 is closed. When the contact Kl0-l is closed a relaxation oscillator is provided. This oscillator includes a neon lamp 80 connected in series with a capacitor 82 and a resistor 84 across the lower portion of thevoltage divider 66 (viz., the capacitor 78). The time constant of the neon lamp circuits is adjusted so that the neon lamp will become conductive and provide trigger pulses to the SCR at a predetermined rate, say 30 pulses per minute, so long as the contact K-lO-l isclosed.
Upon occurrence of a fire or other emergency condi-' tion, power is applied to the 24 volt AC lines to terminals T and T,,. The red lamp 12 then is illuminated. The 24 volt AC power is rectified by a rectifier diode 86 and its associated filter circuit capacitor and resistor 88 and 90 so as to cause the relay K-l0 to pull in. Contact K-l0-l then closes so as toactivate the neon tube relaxation oscillator and causes the strobe lamp to light say 30 times a minute. It will be recalled that this sequence of strobe flashes will occur for a five minute period under control of the time delay unit 24 which then resets. Accordingly, a false alarm condition should exist for no longer than 5 minutes. I
A visitor at the-door of the room operates a door push button 92 which closes the circuit of the separate 24 volt AC line, thus illuminating the green lamp 14. A rectifier circuit 94 similar to the circuit containing the rectifier 86 resistor and capacitor 90 and 88 causes relay K-9 to pull in. This operates contact K-9-l which causes a single flash from the strobe lamp. The door push button will be repeatedly closed if attention of the room occupant is not obtained at once. Each closure will produce another flash of the lamp. By keeping the door push buttons depressed the green lamp will remain on.
The attendant at the desk can call the attention of the person in a particular room operating'the control center push button 74 allocated to that room. Power is then applied from the 24 volt DC terminal T through relay K and normally close contact K-6-1 of another relay K-6. When relay [(-7 pulls in it closes contacts K-7-3 and K-7-4 which applies 24 volts AC from terminals T. and T, across the amber lamp 16. The amber lamp, indicating a desk call is then illuminated on the room signal indicator panel. Contacts K-7-2 closes. Closure of contact K-7-2 triggers the strobe lamp l8 and causes a single flash.
The control center push button 74 when depressed connects the 24 volt DC power line from terminals T,. to T, across the relay K-7 which is in series with the normally closed contact K-6-l.
The contact K-7-1 of relay [(-7 is also connected to terminal T, and therefore holds relay K-7 pulled in until relay K-6 operates. Relay K-6 is connected in a relaxation oscillator including a unijunction transistor 96. When the control center push button is depressed, capacitor 102 begins charging through resistor 100. When the emitter of unijunction 96 reaches its required voltage. unijunction 96 conducts, energizing the coil of relay K-6, opening contacts K-6-l which causes relay K-7 to drop out.
At the time the control center button is depressed, the amber lamp comes on by virtue of contacts K-7-3 and K-7-4; it remains on until K-7 drops out. This period is variable by changing the time constant set by the resistor 100 and capacitor 102. Also, when the control center button is operated, the strobe light flashes only once by virtue of the contact K-7-2 which by closing allows the voltage at junction 76 of the voltage divider to be applied to the junction of the resistor 84, and capacitor 86, thus operating the S.C.R. 72 into conduction, and triggering the'strobe light 18.
It will also be apparent that the rate of flashing of the At once by strobe lamp is an indication of the particular call condition whether a fire or emergency, a caller at the door of the room, or caller at the desk of the lobby of the building.
From the foregoing description it will become apparent that there has been provided an improved visual signalling system which is especially suitable for use in arousing deaf and hearing-impaired persons and informing them of the nature of the calling condition. While a particular embodiment of the invention has been described, in a form so as to explain and elucidate the principles and features which characterize the invention, it will be apparent that variations and modifications of the herein described system, within the scope of the invention, for example using solid state instead of electro-mechanical relays, will undoubtedly suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the foregoing description should be taken as illustrative and not in any limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
l. A visual signalling system for areas adapted to be occupied by hearing-impaired persons which comprises:
a. a high intensity lamp means providing a source of intense illumination disposed in the area to be occupied by the hearing-impaired persons, said source being of such intensity and duration to excite the optic senses of the hearing-impaired persons in the area,
b. power applying means connected to said source for operating said source when enabled,
0. sensing means responsive to occurrence of certain events. and
d. means operated by said sensing means for enabling said power applying means whereby to operate said source to signal the occurrence of said event.
2. The invention as set forth in claim 1 wherein said source comprises a strobe lamp.
3. The invention as set forth in claim 2 wherein said source further includes a plurality of second lamps each of a different color.
4. The invention as set forth in claim 3 wher ein said power applying means comprises a first source of voltage, and means operated by said first source for applying pulses successively to said strobe lamp when triggered.
5. The invention as set forth in claim 4 wherein said power applying means includes a second source of voltage, and means operated by said second source of voltage for triggering said means operated by said first source, and for operating at least one of said plurality of second lamps. I
6. The invention as set forth in claim 5 including means operative independently of said means operated by said second source for also triggering said means operated by said first source and for operating another of said plurality of second lamps.
7. The invention as set forth in claim 5 including a plurality of means each operative independently of said means operated by said second source for also triggering said means operated by said first source and for separately operating different ones of said'plurality of second lamps.
8. The invention as set forth in claim 5 wherein said sensing means includes a fire detection device and wherein said means operated by said sensing means includes means operated by said device for providing said second source of voltage when fire is detected by said device.
9. The invention as set forth in claim 8 including first time delay means connected between said device and said first source for disconnecting said first source from said power applying means for a predetermined period of time after said device detects a fire condition.
10. The invention as set forth in claim 9 wherein said power applying means includes second time delay means for successively interrupting the operation of said independently operative triggering means, each interruption occurring after a certain time delay.
11. The invention as set forth in claim 1 further comprising means for automatically, repetitively, flashing the source of intense illumination on and off.
12. The invention as set forth in claim 11 further comprising means for illuminating the area with illumination spots of different color for providing different messages for the hearing-impaired persons in the. area.