Friday, May 29, 2009

United States Patent 7,226,351
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Sliger , et al.
June 5, 2007

Small game gambrel

Abstract

A low cost, compact, lightweight gambrel is disclosed. The gambrel can have a coupler, a cable, a spreader bar, and six swage sleeves. The coupler can be affixed to a limb of a tree or any other point that is semi rigid and to a loop of the gambrel formed by folding the cable over on to itself and threading the cable through an oval swage sleeve. During a swaging process, a hammer or a press can crimp the swage sleeve such that the sleeve secures the cable. Two holes can be fabricated proximate to the ends of a spreader bar and the cable can be inserted into another swage sleeve and into the holes of the spreader bar. Two more swage sleeves can be swaged on the cable on the bottom side of the spreader bar to hold the spreader bar in place. Two nooses can be formed on the ends of the cable. The nooses can be formed from loops at the end of cable by folding the cable and crimping swage sleeves to form the loop. The cable can then be placed through the loop to form a noose at each termination or end of the cable such loops can act as leg securing members.
Inventors: Sliger; Bobby Keith (Durant, OK), Sliger; Delores Jane (Durant, OK)
Appl. No.: 11/337,280
Filed: January 23, 2006

Current U.S. Class: 452/188
Current International Class: A22C 21/00 (20060101)
Field of Search: 452/187,188,189,191,192 224/921,259-260,638,103 294/81.56,74,137,142,81.2,19.1,19.3,24,67.1-67.3,67.31,67.32,81.1,81.21,81.3,82.1,79,80
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

4763942 August 1988 Lyon
4909555 March 1990 Blasi
6250483 June 2001 Frommer
D462416 September 2002 Dallas, Sr.
6712687 March 2004 Douglas
D509881 September 2005 Waltrip
6974374 December 2005 Teinert
6994618 February 2006 Syers
Primary Examiner: Price; Thomas
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A gambrel comprising: a cable forming a loop with a first swage sleeve; a spreader bar having a hole at a first end and a hole at a second end, the cable traversing the spreader bar at the first hole and at the second hole; a second swage sleeve affixed to the cable on a first side of the spreader bar; a third swage sleeve affixed to the cable on a second side of the spreader bar; a fourth swage sleeve affixed to the cable on the second side of the spreader bar; a first noose formed at a first termination of the cable; and a second noose formed at a second termination of the cable.

2. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the cable further comprises more than one cable.

3. The gambrel of claim 1 further comprising a coupler connectable to the loop.

4. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the spreader bar further comprises a stainless steel spreader bar.

5. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the spreader bar further comprises a stainless steel tube.

6. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the spreader bar further comprises a plastic pipe.

7. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the first noose is formed by swaging a sleeve to the cable to form a loop in the cable.

8. The gambrel of claim 1 wherein the second noose is formed by swaging the cable to form a loop in the cable.

9. A method comprising: swaging a sleeve to form a first loop on a cable, the first loop configured to hang a gambrel; threading a first end of the cable through a first hole in a spreader bar; threading a second end of the cable through a second hole in the spreader bar; swaging a sleeve to form a second loop on a first end of the cable; swaging a sleeve to form second loop on a second end of the cable.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising swaging a sleeve on a first side of the spreader bar.

11. The method of claim 9 further comprising swaging a third sleeve and a fourth sleeve on a second side of the spreader bar.

12. The method of claim 9 folding the gambrel into a package measuring less than 9 inches by one inch by one inch.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure is generally related to systems and methods for hanging animal carcasses to be dressed with a gambrel and further to systems and methods for manufacturing such a hanging system.

BACKGROUND

Many individuals hunt wild game and prepare such game for consumption. Others raise small domestic animals and prepare such animals for personal consumption or dress the animals for purchase by others. Preparation of the carcass of a small animal for eating requires the game to be held properly. Properly holding of the carcass while skinning and butchering greatly simplifies the process and can prevent injury to the preparer. Different types of gambrels for dressing carcasses are available, however most of these holders are relatively large and made for dressing deer and the like. These holders are also relatively heavy and bulky and are not fit for carrying long distances and for dressing small animals. Accordingly, it would be desirable to have an improved system and method for holding small animal carcasses while they are dressed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a small game gambrel in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a top view of the spreader bar of the small game gambrel of FIG. 1 depicting features not visible in FIG. 1, particularly the first and second holes.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION of the DRAWINGS

Hunting is a popular sport for many. Many hunters desire to field dress their kill. It is preferable to perform this job without the help of another person, and dressing the kill for transport or for eating can be an awkward process for one person. In order to skin small game their carcass should be held with the hind legs spread such that the skin can be cut near the hind legs and pulled from the carcass. Gambrels exist for performing such a process but these gambrels are large and bulky and relatively expensive to manufacturer.

In accordance with the present invention, a small game hanger that is light and compact and can fit in a pocket or a pouch of a hunting vest is described. Further it can be appreciated if the small game hanger is efficient to manufacture. A low cost, compact, lightweight gambrel is disclosed. The gambrel can have a coupler, a wire rope or cable, a spreader bar and six swage sleeves. The coupler can be affixed to a limb of a tree or any other point that is semi rigid and to a loop formed in the gambrel. The loop can be formed by folding the cable over on to itself and threading the cable through a swage sleeve twice, then swaging the sleeve. During a swaging process, a hammer or a press can crimp the swage sleeve such that the sleeve secures the cable.

Two holes can be fabricated proximate to the ends of a spreader bar for insertion of the cable. The cable can be inserted into another swage sleeve and then into the holes of the spreader bar. Two more swage sleeves can be swaged on the cable on the bottom side of the spreader bar to secure the spreader bar. Two nooses can be formed on the ends of the cable to provide leg engagement members. The nooses can be created from loops at the end of cable. The loops can be formed by folding the cable and crimping swage sleeves on the cable. The cable can then be placed through the loop to form a noose at each termination or end of the cable.

FIG. 1 depicts a low cost, compact, lightweight gambrel 2. FIG. 2 depicts a top view of the spreader bar 20 of the small game gambrel 2 of FIG. 1 shown features not visible in FIG. 1, particularly the first hole 22 and second hole 24. The gambrel 2 can have a coupler 4, a cable 6, a spreader bar 20, a first swage sleeve 8, a second swage sleeve 10, a third swage sleeve 12, a fourth swage sleeve 14, a fifth swage sleeve 16, and a sixth swage sleeve 18. In a specific embodiment a single segment of rope can be utilized to manufacture the small game gambrel however, multiple segments or a non-continuous segments of rope would not part from the scope of the present disclosure.

Coupler 4 can be affixed to a limb of a tree or any other point that is semi rigid and will support the gambrel 2 and the weight of small game. Coupler 4 can be an aluminum carabiner type coupler having a spring loaded latch such that the coupler 4 will not come unhooked from the semi rigid point during the dressing process.

A loop 20 can be formed by folding the wire rope or cable 6 over on to itself and threading the cable through first swage sleeve 8. First swage sleeve 8 can be an "oval" swage sleeve, with two through holes that can accommodate to two segments of cable laying tangent to or adjacent to one another. First swage sleeve 8 can be made from steel, copper or aluminum and during a swaging process the first swage sleeve 8 can be smashed, deformed, pinched or crimped by a hammer or a press. The swaging process can "cold flow" the swage sleeve 8 to mate with the rough surface of the outside of the cable 6 thus firmly griping the cable 6. Although the swageable components herein are referred to as sleeves, the components do not need to have a though hole to be considered a sleeve as in some cases a blind hole would also function as a sleeve. Thus, to form the loop for the coupler 4, both ends of the cable 6 can be threaded through the first swage sleeve 8 and when the desire loop dimension is achieved the first swage sleeve 8 can be placed in a tool that presses or swages the sleeve such that the first swage sleeve 8 deforms and pinches the cable.

A first hole 22 can be fabricated in a first end of the spreader bar 20 and a first end of the cable can be fed through the first hole 22 and traverse the spreader bar 20. A second hole 24 can be fabricated in a second end of the spreader bar 20 and a second end of the cable 6 can be inserted into the holes on the spreader bar 20 and exit the other side of the spreader bar such that the cable 6 traverses the spreader bar 20. In other embodiments a large swage sleeve could be crimped over the end of the spreader bar 20 to secure the cable 6 at each end of the spreader bar 20. Other methods could also be utilized to secure the cable to the first and second end of the spreader bar.

A second swage sleeve 10 can be placed over the cable 6 proximate to the spreader bar 20 on a topside or first side of the spreader bar 20. As described above, the second swage sleeve 10 can be swaged or crimped on the cable 6. On a bottom side or a second side of the spreader bar third swage sleeve 12 and a fourth swage sleeve can be swaged on the cable 6. Thus, the second, third and fourth swage sleeves 10, 12, and 14 retain the spreader bar 20 at locations on the cable 6. In other embodiments instead of a swage sleeve a knot or mechanical clamp or other fastening device could be utilized to secure the spreader bar 20 and create loops in the cable 6.

Leg securing members can hang from each side of the spreader bar 20. Leg securing members could be hooks, clamps or a self-tightening system such as a noose. In a specific embodiment a first noose can be formed from a loop at the end of cable 6 by crimping fifth swage sleeve 16 over the cable 6 to create the loop. Another noose for a second leg of the carcass can be manufactured by forming another loop at another end of the cable 6 and crimping sixth swage sleeve 18. The cable 6 can then be placed through the loop to form a noose at each termination or end of the cable 6. A portion of the animal's leg can be placed in the noose and the noose can be tightened such that it tightly grips the leg of the carcasses. Like most nooses, the harder the user pulls on the carcass the tighter the noose can grip the carcass.

In alternate embodiments the cable does not have to be a single piece of cable but can be many different cable segments that are spliced together or terminate at the coupler 4 and/or the spreader bar 20. In a particular embodiment the spreader bar is manufactured from a solid stainless steel bar possibly as small as one quarter of an inch in diameter. The spreader bar could also be manufactured from a plastic material and could be a tube.

In a particular embodiment washers 26, 28 and 30 can be placed on load bearing sides of the swage sleeves 10, 12 and 14. When a quarter inch spreader bar 20 is utilized with a three thirty seconds diameter cable 6, a washer having an inner diameter or less that one half inch, or approximately three eights of an inch can be placed on the cable 6 in the appropriate locations (proximate to the swage sleeves 10, 12, 14) to spread out the load applied to the swage sleeves during use.

The swage sleeves 8 18 can be made of aluminum and can be as small as three thirty seconds of an inch in diameter. It can be appreciated that the gambrel described herein can fold up into a package measuring less than 9 inches by one inch by one inch. For example, the coupler 4 can be removed and the cable 6 can be wound around the spreader bar 20 to form such as compact carrying configuration.

It will be understood that a device as specified by the present disclosure may also be directed to other game skinning application of similar functionality. The above-disclosed subject matter is to be considered illustrative, and not restrictive, and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications, enhancements, and other embodiments, which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention. Thus, to the maximum extent allowed by law, the scope of the present invention is to be determined by the broadest permissible interpretation of the following claims and their equivalents, and shall not be restricted or limited by the foregoing detailed description. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

June 16 Deadline for Collegiate Inventors Competition
WWW.USPTO.GOV

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is a national competition designed to encourage college and graduate students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. This prestigious challenge recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential to receive patent protection. Introduced by the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990, with USPTO participation, the Collegiate Inventors Competition has annually rewarded individuals or teams for their innovative work and scientific achievement. All entries must be submitted on the official application form and must be postmarked by June 16, 2009.

For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

United States Patent 7,231,680
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Hafford , et al.
June 19, 2007

Diabetic sheet support

Abstract

The bed cover support is designed to provide a way of supporting the sheets/blankets and preventing them from resting on the feet of an individual laying in bed. The bed cover support includes a first adjustable height bar and a second adjustable height bar which allows the bed cover support to adjust to varying mattress heights. The first adjustable height bar and the second adjustable height bar each have a support bar extending outward which fits between the mattress and box springs. Attached to the top of the first adjustable height bar and the second adjustable height bar is a cover support bar which supports the sheets/blankets preventing them from resting on the sleeping individual. The bed cover support is also adjustable for varying size beds including twin, full, queen and king.
Inventors: Hafford; George L. (Norris City, IL), Hafford; Brenda (Norris City, IL)
Appl. No.: 11/387,593
Filed: March 23, 2006

Current U.S. Class: 5/505.1
Current International Class: A47C 21/02 (20060101)
Field of Search: 5/505.1,504.1,506.1
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

1072490 September 1913 Oilar
1577089 March 1926 Whitford
2674750 April 1954 Moore
3153795 October 1964 Emery
3317932 May 1967 Gibbons, Sr.
3680158 August 1972 Speed
4937903 July 1990 Joly et al.
5881406 March 1999 Cobb
Primary Examiner: Grosz; Alexander
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A bed cover support comprising: a first adjustable height bar and a second adjustable height bar each having a bottom end and a top end; a first adjustable width bar; wherein each end of said adjustable width bar attaches to adjustable height bar near said bottom end; a second adjustable width bar, wherein each end of said second adjustable width bar attaches to adjustable height bar near said top end; a support bar extending out from each of said adjustable height bars near said bottom end; at least two adjustable clamping extensions operable to cause a mattress to be secured between said adjustable clamping extensions and said support bars; wherein said adjustable clamping extensions are attached to said second adjustable width bar; a cover support bar attached to said adjustable height bars on said top end, said cover support bar being concave and extending toward the head of the mattress; and a series of spring clips attached to said first adjustable width bar and operable to attach to the bed covers.

2. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said cover support bar includes an extendable cover support extension.

3. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said first adjustable height bar and said second adjustable height bar comprise a spring loaded locking system for adjusting the height of the bed cover support.

4. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable width bar each comprise a spring loaded locking system.

5. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable with bar are capable of adjusting to the width of a full size bed.

6. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable with bar are capable of adjusting to the width of a queen size bed.

7. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable with bar are capable of adjusting to the width of a twin bed.

8. The bed cover support of claim 1, wherein said clamping extensions are covered with a padded material.

9. A bed cover support system comprising: a first adjustable height bar and a second adjustable height bar each having a bottom end and a top end, wherein said first adjustable height bar and said second adjustable height bar each comprise a spring load locking system; a first adjustable width bar; wherein each end of said adjustable width bar attaches to adjustable height bar near said bottom end; a second adjustable width bar, wherein each end of said second adjustable width bar attaches to an adjustable height bar near said top end; a support bar extending out from each of said adjustable height bars near said bottom end; at least two adjustable clamping extensions operable to cause a mattress to be secured between said adjustable clamping extensions and said support bar; wherein said adjustable clamping extensions are attached to said second adjustable width bar; a cover support bar attached to said adjustable height bars on said top end, said cover support bar being concave and extending toward the head of the mattress; and a series of spring clips attached to said first adjustable width bar and operable to attach to the bed covers.

10. The bed cover support of claim 9, wherein said cover support bar includes an extendable cover support extension.

11. The bed cover support of claim 9, wherein said first adjustable height bar and said second adjustable height bar comprise a spring loaded locking system for adjusting the height of the bed cover support.

12. The bed cover support of claim 9, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable with bar are capable of adjusting to the width of a full size bed.

13. The bed cover support of claim 9, wherein said first adjustable width bar and said second adjustable with bar are capable of adjusting to the width of a queen size bed.

14. A method of adjusting a bed cover support to support a bed cover above the feet of a person reclining in a bed, the bed cover support comprising: a first adjustable height bar and a second adjustable height bar each having a bottom end and a top end; a first adjustable width bar; wherein each end of said adjustable width bar attaches to an adjustable height bar near said bottom end; a second adjustable width bar, wherein each end of said second adjustable width bar attaches to an adjustable height bar near said top end; a support bar extending out from each of said adjustable height bars near said bottom end; at least two adjustable clamping extensions operable to cause a mattress to be secured between said adjustable clamping extensions and said support bars; wherein said adjustable clamping extensions are attached to said second adjustable width bar; a cover support bar attached to said adjustable height bars on said top end, said cover support bar being concave and extending toward the head of the mattress; and a series of spring clips attached to said first adjustable width bar and operable to attach to the bed covers, wherein the method comprises the steps of: adjusting the width of the first adjustable width bar and the second adjustable width bar; adjusting the height of the first adjustable height bar and the second adjustable height bar; inserting said support bar between the mattress and a box spring located beneath said mattress; and adjusting the clamping extensions so as to secure the mattress between the clamping extensions and the support bar.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein after the adjusting the height step the method further comprises inserting a padded material over said clamping extensions.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

A device designed to function with a regular mattress to keep the sheets/blankets lifted off the feet of the individual sleeping.

BACKGROUND

Diabetes is disease that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes on a regular basis. This disease can range from very mild to very severe. It is not a disease that effects a specific age group. In fact, it is common to find children as well as older adults with diabetes.

Depending on the severity of the disease depends on the amount of symptoms that are present and the degree of the symptoms. The disease to seems to effect the feet of a lot of people who are inflicted with it, especially if the disease is in a more advanced state. An individual can suffer from mild discomfort and irritation in their feet to more advanced swelling. This discomfort can be increased when lying in bed. The weight of the sheet/blanket on their feet can provide undesired distress and uncomfortable effect. This can make it difficult to sleep and create many restless hours. This problem remains relatively unaddressed.

Diabetics are not the only ones that have potential problems which pressure from the sheet/blankets on their feet. People who are exceptionally tall, sometimes experience pressure on their feet, especially when their feet are very close to the end of the bed. Again the weight of the sheet/blankets creates pressure on their feet. This too creates an uncomfortable sleeping environment. If the individual also has any sort of back problems, the pressure placed on the feet compounds the problems in their back.

In U.S. Pat. No. 3,680,158 a bedding support apparatus is disclosed that includes a post means which attaches to the frame of a bed and is capable of being moved upward and downward. The bedding support apparatus includes a cradle section that is capable of extending from the feet to up near the neck section of the bed.

An alternative bed covering apparatus is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,937,903. In this patent, the bed covering apparatus is attached to the foot board or the frame of an existing bed and then has arms that extend outward over the mattress in a substantially parallel position to around the shoulder area.

One of the options available are those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,881,406. In this patent, an adjustable blanket support device is disclosed which includes a mounting member which is placed between the mattress an box springs. The sheet raising member 30 will then move upward and downward by an electrical motor.

While there are some options available that could potentially be used, they are substantially more burdensome to use or install and most of them go far beyond the scope of just being able to keep the sheet/blankets lifted off of an individual's feet.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In one embodiment the bed cover support comprises a first adjustable height bar.

In still another embodiment the bed cover support includes a second adjustable bar.

In yet another embodiment the first adjustable height bar and the second adjustable height bar have a bottom end and a top end.

In another embodiment the bed cover support comprises a first adjustable width bar.

In still another embodiment the first adjustable width bar attaches to an adjustable height bar near said bottom end.

In yet another embodiment the second adjustable width bar attaches to an adjustable height bar near said top end.

In another embodiment the bed cover support includes a support bar extending out from each said adjustable height bars near said bottom end.

In still another embodiment the bed cover support comprises at least two adjustable clamping extensions.

In yet another embodiment the two adjustable clamping extensions operate to cause the mattress to be secured between the adjustable clamping extensions and the support bar.

In another embodiment the adjustable clamping extensions are attached to the second adjustable width bar.

In still another embodiment the bed cover support includes a cover support bar attached to the adjustable height bars on the top end.

In yet another embodiment the cover support bar is concave and extending toward the head of a mattress.

In another embodiment the bed support includes a series of spring clips.

In still another embodiment the spring clips are attached to the first adjustable width bar and operable to attach to the bed covers.

In yet another embodiment the cover support bar includes an extendable cover support extension.

In another embodiment the first adjustable height bar and the second adjustable height bar comprises a spring loaded locking system for adjusting the height of the bed cover support.

In still another embodiment the first adjustable width bar and the second adjustable width bar each comprise a spring loaded locking system.

In yet another embodiment the first adjustable width bar and the second adjustable width bar are capable of adjusting to a full size bed.

In another embodiment the first adjustable width bar and the second adjustable width bar are capable of adjusting to a queen size bed.

In still another embodiment the first adjustable width bar and the second adjustable width bar are capable of adjusting to a twin size bed.

In yet another embodiment of the bed cover support the clamping extensions are covered with a padded material.

Still other advantages of various embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in this art from the following description wherein there is shown and described preferred embodiments of this invention simply for the purposes of illustration. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other different aspects and embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the advantages, drawings, and descriptions are illustrative in nature and not restrictive in nature.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bed cover support.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the bed cover support depicted in FIG. 1

FIG. 3 depicts a back view of a bed cover support of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front view of a bed cover support depicted in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific preferred embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid detail not necessary to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.

FIG. 1 depicts a bed cover support 10 having a first adjustable height bar 20, a second adjustable height bar 30, a first adjustable width bar 40, a second adjustable width bar 50, a support bar 60, at least two adjustable clamping extensions 70, a cover support bar 80 and a series of spring clips 90. The first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30 are connected by way of the first adjustable width bar 40 which is attached near the bottom of the first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30. The second adjustable width bar 50 attaches to the first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30 near the top. Both the first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30 are capable of being adjusted to varying heights based on the height of a mattress. The first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30 are each equipped with a spring loaded locking system 100. Additionally, the first adjustable width bar 40 and the second adjustable width bar 50 are capable of being adjusted to varying widths based on the type of bed, i.e. twin, full, queen or king, by a spring loaded locking system 100. The bed cover support 10 includes a cover support bar 80 which is attached to the top of the first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30. The cover support bar 80 is concave and extends toward the head of the mattress. The cover support bar 80 includes an extension 110 that pulls out from inside the cover support bar 80 which allows the distance the cover support bar 80 extends to be increased. By increasing the distance of the cover support bar 80, it is capable of functioning to hold the sheets/blankets off the feet of varying size people. For example, an individual who is six feet tall will not need to have the cover support bar 80 extended as far as someone who is five foot 2 inches tall. Once the bed cover support 10 is adjusted to the proper height and width the adjustable clamping extensions 70 are used to cinch the mattress down to prevent the bed cover support 10 from tipping over. The sheets/blankets are then placed over the bed cover support 10 and attached to the spring clamps which are attached to the first adjustable width bar 40. This keeps the sheets/blankets in place and keeps then from sliding off of the bed cover support 10.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the bed cover support 10 and specifically shows the first adjustable height bar 20, the support bar 60 extending from the first adjustable width bar 40 and the adjustable clamping extensions 70 extending from the second adjustable width bar 50. As better shown in this embodiment, the support 60 attached to the first adjustable height bar 20 is designed to slide between a mattress and box springs. The adjustable clamping extensions 70 are then placed on the top of the mattress and the first adjustable height bar 20 and the second adjustable height bar 30 are used to cinch the mattress down and hold the bed cover support 10 in place and prevent it from being pulled over. The adjustable clamping extensions 70 can be covered with a padded material so that they are not rough or cold.

FIG. 3 depicts a back view of the bed cover support 10. In this view, the first adjustable width bar 40 and the second adjustable width bar 50 are more clearly depicted. Additionally, the spring clips 90 which are used to hold the covers in place over the bed cover support 10 are illustrated. The spring loaded locking system 100 which is used on the first adjustable width bar 40 and the second adjustable width bar 50 to adjust the width is also show in this illustration.

FIG. 4 illustrates a front view of the bed cover support 10 and more specifically shows the extension which extends outward from the cover support bar 80. The extension easily pulled from the cover support bar 80 to adjust for the height of the individual using the bed cover support 10. The spring loaded clips 90 are also shown.

Although an embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described in detail herein, along with certain variants thereof, many other varied embodiments that incorporate the teachings of the invention may be easily constructed by those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the specific form set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the invention. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Friday, May 22, 2009

United States Patent 7,234,556
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Pendleton
June 26, 2007

One-touch cruise control system

Abstract

A vehicle cruise control system comprises a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons and cruise control logic circuitry coupled to the pre-set cruise control speed buttons. Each one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons corresponds to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. The cruise control logic circuitry is configured for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons.
Inventors: Pendleton; Clifford J. (Owls Head, ME)
Appl. No.: 10/840,102
Filed: May 6, 2004

Current U.S. Class: 180/170 ; 180/171; 180/172; 180/173; 180/174; 180/175; 180/176; 180/177
Current International Class: B60K 31/04 (20060101)
Field of Search: 180/170-179 701/93
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

3406775 October 1968 Magnuski
4180713 December 1979 Gonzales
4590370 May 1986 Mills et al.
4701629 October 1987 Citroen
4933859 June 1990 Tsuyama et al.
5393277 February 1995 White et al.
5684374 November 1997 Chaffee
5775451 July 1998 Hull et al.
6240773 June 2001 Rita et al.
6431930 August 2002 Holt
Primary Examiner: Ellis; Christopher P.
Assistant Examiner: Collado; Cynthia F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso & Associates, LP Galasso; Raymond M.
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A vehicle cruise control system, comprising: a plurality of one touch pre-set cruise control speed buttons each button corresponding to a respective legal roadway speed wherein the speed is selected by depressing one button; a first cruise control logic circuitry module coupled to said pre-set cruise control speed buttons and configured for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons; and a second cruise control circuitry module comprising original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of a vehicle.

2. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1 wherein each one of said pre-set cruise control speeds corresponds to a respective legal roadway speed.

3. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1 wherein implementing control of the vehicle speed includes: determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed; and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed.

4. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1 wherein implementing control of the vehicle speed includes: setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons.

5. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1, further comprising: a current speed set button for implementing control of the vehicle speed to maintain a vehicle speed exhibited at the time when the current speed set button is depressed.

6. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 4 wherein: implementing control of the vehicle speed includes determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed; determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed is performed by the first cruise control circuitry module; and outputting the control signal includes outputting the control signal from the first cruise control circuitry module for reception by the second cruise control circuitry module.

7. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 6 wherein the control signal is configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module.

8. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 6 wherein the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

9. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1 wherein: implementing control of the vehicle speed includes determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed; determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed is performed by the first cruise control circuitry module; and outputting the control signal includes outputting the control signal from the first cruise control circuitry module for reception by the second cruise control circuitry module; the control signal is configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module; and the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

10. The vehicle cruise control system of claim 1 wherein: implementing control of the vehicle speed includes activating components of the original equipment cruise control system and setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons; setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system includes outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed; the control signal is configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module; and the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

11. A method for facilitating vehicle cruise control operation, comprising: receiving a speed control request signal corresponding to a selected one of a plurality of pre-set one touch cruise control speed buttons each corresponding to a respective pre-set cruise control speed, wherein cruise control speed is selected by depressing only one button, wherein each button corresponds to preset speed rather than to a digit of a desired speed as in a numeric keypad; and implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons in response to receiving the speed control signal; implementing control of the vehicle speed includes determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed; determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed is performed by a first cruise control circuitry module comprising said pre-set cruise control speed buttons; outputting the control signal includes outputting the control signal from the first cruise control circuitry module for reception by a second cruise control circuitry module comprising original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of a vehicle; the control signal is configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module; and the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein implementing control of the vehicle speed includes: determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed; and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein implementing control of the vehicle speed includes: setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed button.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein: implementing control of the vehicle speed includes activating components of the original equipment cruise control system and setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of said pre-set cruise control speed buttons; setting said components of the original equipment cruise control system includes outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed; the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the original equipment cruise control system.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to cruise control systems and, more particularly, to cruise control systems that reduce required input from the driver for achieving a desired cruise control speed.

BACKGROUND

Cruise control equipment is, of course, connected to a vehicle's operation control components (e.g., accelerator components, brake system components, steering system, transmission control components, etc). With conventional cruise control systems, a vehicle is first taken to a desired speed. Then, the cruise control system is turned on via a first driver-performed operation and then the cruise control system is set at a current speed via a second driver-performed operation. In many, if not most, cruise control systems, the input controls for performing various cruise control operations (e.g., turning the cruise control system on and setting the present speed) are located at different locations of the dashboard, steering wheel and/or control levers. For example, one input control is located on the steering wheel and another input control is located on or adjacent to the dashboard.

Such conventional cruise control systems are known to have limitations that adversely affect their effectiveness, safety, and/or practicality. One limitation is that various required input controls are located at disparate locations, which requires a driver to move their attention from concentrating on driving the car to the tasks of locating and operating input controls required for facilitating cruise control operation. Another limitation is that multiple operations must be performed to set a desired cruise control speed, further distracting a driver's attention from focusing on driving the car. Still another limitation is the need for the driver to manually achieve a desired cruise control speed in order to set that desired cruise control speed.

Therefore, a cruise control system that overcomes limitations associated with such conventional cruise control systems would be useful and novel.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In one embodiment of an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a vehicle cruise control system comprises a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons and cruise control logic circuitry coupled to the pre-set cruise control speed buttons. Each one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons corresponds to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. The cruise control logic circuitry is configured for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons.

In another embodiment, a cruise control input-output apparatus comprises a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons, a current speed set button, and cruise control logic circuitry coupled to the buttons. The plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons each correspond to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. The current speed set button is configured for implementing control of the vehicle speed to maintain a vehicle speed exhibited at the time when the current speed set button is depressed. The cruise control logic circuitry is configured for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain a cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of the buttons. Implementing control of the vehicle speed includes determining the cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of the buttons and outputting a control signal corresponding to the cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of the buttons. The control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of an original equipment manufacturer cruise control system.

In still another embodiment, a method for facilitating vehicle cruise control operation comprises receiving a speed control request signal corresponding to a selected one of a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons each corresponding to a respective pre-set cruise control speed and implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons in response to receiving the speed control signal.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the inventive disclosures made herein to provide a novel and useful approach for effecting cruise control operation via a one-touch button interface. Specifically, systems, methods and cruise control input-output apparatuses in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein are configured to allow cruise control operation to be effected through one touch of a button rather than a sequence of inputs (e.g., button selections). Operations such as activating a cruise control system and setting a desired the cruise control speed are accomplished with the touch of one button.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein to provide for placement of the operational components (e.g., pre-set cruise control speed buttons) in a convenient and centralized location, making them easier and safer to access.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for allowing the cruise control operations (e.g., activating the cruise control system and setting a desired cruise control speed) to be preset and then activated in the proper sequence as the motorist pushes one button.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for each one of the pre-set cruise control speeds to correspond to a respective legal roadway speed.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for implementing control of the vehicle speed to include determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed and outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for implementing control of the vehicle speed to include activating components of an original equipment cruise control system and setting the components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein to provide a current speed set button for implementing control of the vehicle speed to maintain a vehicle speed exhibited at the time when the current speed set button is depressed.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for cruise control logic circuitry to be segmented between a first cruise control circuitry module comprising a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons and a second cruise control circuitry module comprising original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of a vehicle.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed to be performed by the first cruise control circuitry module and for outputting the control signal to include outputting the control signal from the first cruise control circuitry module for reception by the second cruise control circuitry module.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for the control signal to be configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module.

It is another object of the inventive disclosures made herein for the control signal to simulate a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

These and other objects of the inventive disclosures made herein will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a speed control interface in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein.

FIG. 2 depicts a cruise control system in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein.

FIG. 3 depicts a method for facilitating vehicle cruise control operation in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, which may be carried out by a cruise control system in accordance with the inventive embodiments of the disclosures made herein (e.g., the cruise control system depicted in FIG. 2).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a speed control interface 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein. The speed control interface 10 is mounted on a steering wheel 12 of a vehicle. The speed control interface 10 includes a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons 14 and a current speed set button 16. It is contemplated and disclosed herein that such buttons may be lighted, textured or otherwise configured for enhancing their identification and operation. Each one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons 14 corresponds to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. At least a portion of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons 14 may correspond to common speed limits within a given country, its providences, its cities and/or its states.

The plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons 14 is comprised by buttons corresponding to respective pre-set cruise control speeds. Specifically, the plurality of pre-set speed buttons 14 serve as inputs for implementing control of a vehicle speed via a cruise control system to maintain and/or achieve at a respective speed level. The set current speed set button 16 is comprised by a button that serves as an input for implementing control of a vehicle via the cruise control system to maintain and/or achieve a vehicle speed exhibited at the time when the current speed set button is depressed, which may be a different speed than provided by the pre-set speed buttons. Activation of the brake or clutch of the vehicle deactivates the cruise control operation, returning the vehicle's speed control to displacement of the accelerator pedal by the driver.

FIG. 2 depicts a cruise control system 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein. The cruise control system 100 includes a one-touch speed control interface 102, cruise control logic 104, cruise-control actuation apparatus 106 and vehicle operating components 108. The one-touch speed control interface 102, the cruise-control actuation components 106 and the vehicle operating device sensing components 108 are connected to the cruise control logic circuitry for enabling interaction therebetween.

The speed control interface module 10 depicted in FIG. 1 is an embodiment of the one-touch speed control interface 100. Accordingly, the one-touch speed control interface 102 includes a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons and, optionally, a current speed set button. Each one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons corresponds to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. A vacuum actuator and an electromechanical servo connected to a throttle linkage of a carburetor or throttle body of a vehicle are examples of the cruise control actuation apparatus 106. A limit switch configured for sensing depression of a brake pedal assembly of the vehicle and a limit switch configured for sensing depression of a clutch pedal assembly of the vehicle are examples of the operating device sensing components 108.

The cruise control logic circuitry 104 is configured for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain a cruise control speed corresponding to a selected one of the buttons of the one-touch speed control module 102. The cruise control logic circuitry 104 interprets an input signal generated in response to a selected one of the buttons of the one-touch speed control interface 100 being depressed. The cruise control logic circuitry interacts with the cruise control actuation apparatus 106 for controlling operating devices of the vehicle (e.g., throttle linkage of a carburetor or throttle body) to achieve and/or maintain a vehicle speed corresponding to the selected one of the one-touch speed control interface 102. Broadly speaking, implementing control of the vehicle speed includes activating components, apparatuses and/or circuitry of the original equipment cruise control system and setting such components, apparatuses and/or circuitry to maintain a respective control speed corresponding to a selected one of the buttons of the speed control interface 102.

The cruise control logic circuitry 104 receives feedback signals from the operating device sensing components 108 upon the driver operating the corresponding vehicle operating device (e.g., brake pedal and/or clutch pedal) and correspondingly turns off the cruise control system, returning full control of the vehicle to the driver. It should be understood that a cruise control system in accordance with embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein, like conventional cruise control systems, takes command of vehicle accelerator function for achieving and/or maintaining a particular speed during cruise control operation. A driver of the vehicle can exert pressure on the accelerator pedal for accomplishing a speed greater than that targeted by the active cruise control system.

In one embodiment, the cruise control logic circuitry 104 is segmented between a first cruise control circuitry module comprising the pre-set cruise control speed buttons with associated logic and a second cruise control circuitry module comprising an original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of a vehicle. The combination of a one-touch speed control interface in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein and logic circuitry for outputting a control signal interpretable and actionable by the original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of the second cruise control circuitry module is an embodiment of the first cruise control circuitry module. In such an embodiment, the first cruise control circuitry module is configured for determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed associated with a selected one of the speed control buttons, for outputting a control signal for reception by the second cruise control circuitry module and for activating the second cruise control circuitry module. Correspondingly, the second cruise control circuitry module interprets the control signal and outputs a corresponding actuation signal for reception by the cruise control actuation apparatus 106. The control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of the second cruise control circuitry module, which enables retrofitting of the first cruise control module to an existing cruise control system with, at most, minimal alteration to the logic of the second cruise control circuitry module.

FIG. 3 depicts a method 200 for facilitating vehicle cruise control operation in accordance with an embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, which may be carried out by a cruise control system in accordance with the inventive embodiments of the disclosures made herein (e.g., the cruise control system 100). An operation 205 is performed for receiving a speed control request signal corresponding to a selected one of a plurality of pre-set cruise control speed buttons that each correspond to a respective pre-set cruise control speed. In response to receiving the speed control request signal, an operation 205 is performed for implementing control of a vehicle speed to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons.

In one embodiment, implementing control of the vehicle speed includes a step 215 determining the respective pre-set cruise control speed, a step 220 for activating cruise control system components and a step 225 for outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed. Such determination may be performed by a first cruise control circuitry module of a cruise control system (e.g., the cruise control system 100) comprising the pre-set cruise control speed buttons and such outputting may include outputting the control signal from the first cruise control circuitry module for reception by a second cruise control circuitry module comprising original equipment manufacturer cruise control circuitry of a vehicle. Steps comprising the operation of implementing control of the vehicle speed may be performed sequentially and/or in parallel, as required for carrying out the necessary functionality.

In another embodiment, implementing control of the vehicle speed includes activating components of an original equipment cruise control system and setting the components of the original equipment cruise control system to maintain the respective pre-set cruise control speed corresponding to the selected one of the pre-set cruise control speed buttons. Such setting includes outputting a control signal corresponding to the respective preset cruise control speed. Furthermore, the control signal is configured for activating the second cruise control circuitry module and, where needed, the control signal simulates a signal interpretable by logic of an original equipment manufacturer cruise control system of a vehicle.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, chemical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. For example, functional blocks shown in the figures could be further combined or divided in any manner without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

USPTO to Hold Live On-Line Chat for Independent Inventors
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Senior officials of the United States Patent and Trademark Office will be available live on-line Thursday, May 21, 2009 from 2 to 3 pm (EDT). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the on-line chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO web site at 10 AM (EDT) Thursday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 pm.

The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community.

For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Monday, May 18, 2009

United States Patent 7,237,711
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Manthei
July 3, 2007

Apparatus configured for illuminating paper-based forms of payment and cash register comprising same

Abstract

An illumination device comprises a housing, a light source, a light transmissive support plate and a sensor. The light source is mounted within a cavity of the housing. The light transmissive support plate is engaged with the housing. The housing and the light source are configured for enabling light from the light source to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate. The sensor is configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of an article relative to the light transmissive support plate. In one embodiment, the sensor is preferably a force sensitive sensor having the light transmissive support plate engaged therewith. The light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.
Inventors: Manthei; Donald James (Kalamazoo, MI)
Appl. No.: 10/973,967
Filed: October 26, 2004

Current U.S. Class: 235/375 ; 108/23; 235/378; 235/454; 250/556; 356/71; 362/276; 362/802; 40/367
Current International Class: G06F 17/00 (20060101); G02B 27/02 (20060101); G06K 15/00 (20060101); G06K 7/10 (20060101); G06K 7/14 (20060101)
Field of Search: 235/375,454,378 250/556 40/367 356/71 108/23 362/276,802
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

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2006/0131416 June 2006 Jwo
Foreign Patent Documents

004404872 Aug., 1995 DE
Primary Examiner: Walsh; Daniel
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for enabling authentication of a paper-based form of payment, comprising: an illumination device including a housing, a light source mounted within a cavity of the housing and a light transmissive support plate engaged with the housing, wherein the housing and the light source are configured for enabling light from the light source to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate, and illuminate the paper-based form of payment placed on the transmissive support plate to authenticate the paper based form of payment; an interface unit coupled to the light source of the illumination device, wherein the interface unit is configured for activating the light source in response to at least one of determining when a prescribed event of a sales transaction processing unit has been performed and receiving a signal designating that the prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed; a force sensitive sensor configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of the paper-based form of payment on the light transmissive support plate and wherein the light transmissive support plate is engaged with the force sensitive sensor; and the light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein: the prescribed event is opening of a payment drawer of the sales transaction processing unit; the interface unit includes a sensor configured for determining a relative position of the payment drawer; the illuminating device further includes a force sensitive sensor configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of the paper-based form of payment on the light transmissive support plate, and illuminate the paper-based form of payment placed on the transmissive support plate to authenticate the paper-based form of payment; the light transmissive support plate is engaged with the force sensitive sensor; and the light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.

3. A sales system, comprising: an illumination device including a housing, a light source mounted within a cavity of the housing and a light transmissive support plate engaged with the housing, wherein the housing and the light source are configured for enabling light to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate, and illuminate the paper-based form of payment placed on the transmissive support plate to authenticate the paper based form of payment; and a sales transaction processing unit coupled to the illumination device and including mean for activating the light source of the illumination device in response to at least one of determining when a prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed and receiving a signal designating that the prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed; a force sensitive sensor configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of the paper-based form of payment on the light transmissive support plate and wherein the light transmissive support plate is engaged with the force sensitive sensor; and the light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein: the prescribed event is opening of a payment drawer of the sales transaction processing unit; the interface unit includes a sensor configured for determining a relative position of the payment drawer; the illuminating device further includes a force sensitive sensor configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of the paper-based form of payment on relative to the light transmissive support plate; the light transmissive support plate is engaged with the force sensitive sensor; and the light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to currency anti-counterfeiting measures and, more particularly, to equipment and methods configured for facilitating visual identification of security measures in paper-based forms of payment.

BACKGROUND

In order to allow entities such as, for example, financial institutions, merchants and law enforcement agencies to determine whether various forms of paper-based payment are or are not counterfeit, such forms of paper payment often have built-in security devices. Examples of such paper-based payment forms include paper currency, checks, money orders, cashier's checks, traveller checks and the like. Individual units of paper currency are generally referred to as bills (e.g., $10 bills).

One example of a security measure is a specific ink composition used to print indicia on paper-based forms of payment. Proprietary inks, which are made by government entities or only available to government entities, are often used in printing paper currency. Another example of a security measure is an item that is integrated into or attached to the paper from which a paper-based form of payment is made and that is best viewed with light passing through the paper. Specific examples of such an item include an article designating information such as a denomination of a particular bill, an originating country of a particular bill, etc. In certain denominations of United States paper currency, a thread (e.g., a plastic strip) is embedded in the paper and glows green when exposed to ultraviolet light. Still another example of a security measure is microprinting of indicia on the paper currency, which is viewable only with a magnification device. Yet another example of a security measure is a watermark (i.e., a faint image) that is formed in the paper and that is best viewed with light passing through the paper.

Checking for security measures in paper-based forms of payment can be time-consuming and less than convenient. For example, checking for security measures that are best identified with light passing through the particular paper based-form of payment is often difficult when preferred light sources are inaccessible or in convenient to access. Additionally, some security measures require a particular type of light (e.g., ultraviolet light) and/or a particular intensity of light. Absent these conditions, it may be difficult to authenticate even legitimate paper-based forms of payment. However, even in view of such inconveniences, time-consuming practices and special requirements, it is in a business's best interest to examine any currency it receives because it typically assumes the loss for any counterfeit forms of payment that it accepts.

Therefore, apparatuses that overcome drawbacks and limitations associated with conventional approaches for visually identifying security measures in paper-based forms of payment would be useful, advantageous and novel.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In one embodiment, an illumination device comprises a housing, a light source, a light transmissive support plate and a sensor configured for selectively activating the light source. The light source is mounted within a cavity of the housing. The light transmissive support plate is engaged with the housing. The housing and the first light source are configured for enabling light from the light source to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate. The sensor is configured for selectively activating the light source dependent upon placement of an article relative to the light transmissive support plate.

In another embodiment, an apparatus for enabling authentication of a paper-based form of payment comprises an illumination device and an interface unit. The illumination device includes a housing, a light source mounted within a cavity of the housing and a light transmissive support plate engaged with the housing. The housing and the light source are configured for enabling light from the light source to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate. The interface unit is coupled to the light source of the illumination device and is configured for activating the light source in response to at least one of determining when a prescribed event of a sales transaction processing unit has been performed and receiving a signal designating that the prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed.

In another embodiment, a sales system comprises an illumination device and a sales transaction processing unit. The illumination device includes a housing, a light source mounted within the housing and a light transmissive support plate engaged with the housing. The housing and the light source are configured for enabling light to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate. The sales transaction processing unit is coupled to the illumination device and includes a means for activating the light source of the illumination device in response to at least one of determining when a prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed and receiving a signal designating that the prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed.

Correspondingly, it is a principal object of the inventive disclosures made herein to provide for devices, apparatuses, methods and/or systems that overcome drawbacks and limitations associated with conventional approaches for visually identifying security measures in paper-based forms of payment that are best viewed with a relatively high volume of light passing through the paper. Advantageously, such devices, apparatuses, methods and/or systems provide a convenient and simple means for allowing a person to determine whether or not a paper-based form of payment is counterfeit. A simple, reliable and convenient means of identifying paper-based forms of payment that are counterfeit is desirable as a business or person typically assumes the loss for any counterfeit forms of payment that it accepts.

Turning now to specific embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein, in at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a plurality of light sources are provided within the cavity of the housing, thereby enhancing uniformity of light distribution through the light transmissive support plate.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the sensor is a force sensitive sensor, the light transmissive support plate is engaged with the force sensitive sensor and the light transmissive support plate is mounted in a manner enabling force to be applied on the force sensitive sensor by the light transmissive support plate when a corresponding force is applied on a support surface of the light transmissive support plate.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the prescribed event that triggers activation of the light source or sources is opening of a payment drawer of a sales transaction processing unit and a sensor is provided for determining a relative position of the payment drawer.

These and other objects and embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 3 depict an embodiment of an illumination device in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein.

FIG. 4 depicts an embodiment of a sales system in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein is depicted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 3 depict an embodiment of an illumination device 100 in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein. The illumination device 100 includes a housing 102, a first light source 104, a second light source 106, a light transmissive support plate 108, and a sensor 110. The first light source 104 and the second light source 106 (e.g., commercially available light bulbs and fixtures) are mounted within a cavity 112 of the housing 102. The light transmissive support plate 108 (e.g., made from glass or plastic) is engaged with (e.g., mounted on or attached to) the housing 102. The housing 102 and the light sources (104, 106) are configured for enabling light from the light sources (104, 106) to impinge upon the light transmissive support plate 108. The sensor 110 is configured for selectively activating the light sources (104, 106) dependent upon placement of an article relative to the light transmissive support plate 108.

A preferred utility of the illuminating device 100 is illuminating paper-based forms of payment for enhancing visual identification of security measures in such paper-based forms of payment. Examples of such paper-based forms of payment include, but are not limited to, paper currency, checks, money orders, cashier's checks and traveller checks. Examples of such security measures include, but are not limited to, discrete items that are integrated into or attached to the paper from which the paper-based from of payment is made and images formed in and/or on the paper from which the paper-based from of payment is made. For example, in certain denominations of United States paper currency, a watermark is formed in the paper and/or a thread (e.g., a plastic strip) that glows green when exposed to ultraviolet light is embedded in the paper.

In operation, a paper-based form of payment is placed on the light transmissive support plate 108. The sensor 110 senses such placement of the paper-based form of payment and facilitates activation of (i.e., turns on) the light sources (104, 106). In doing so, light from the light sources (104, 106) passes through the light transmissive support plate 108 and, accordingly, through the paper of the paper-based form of payment. Transmission of light through the paper enhances identification and/or activates one or more security measures in the paper (e.g., a watermark, a light-activating embedded article, etc). Upon removing the paper-based form of payment, the sensor 110 senses such removal and facilitates deactivation (e.g., turning off) of the light sources (104, 106) either immediately or after a prescribed duration of time.

As disclosed in reference to FIGS. 1 3, the sensor 110 is a force sensitive sensor. As depicted in FIG. 3, the light transmissive support plate 108 is engaged with the sensor 110 and the light transmissive support plate is mounted on the housing 102 in a manner enabling force to be applied on the sensor 110 by the light transmissive support plate 108 when a corresponding force (e.g., placement of the paper-based form of payment) is applied on the light transmissive support plate 108. However, in other embodiments not specifically shown, it is disclosed herein that other type of sensors may be implemented. For example, a sensor that detects relatively abrupt changes in light intensity may be used for sensing when an article is being brought into position and/or placed on the light transmissive support plate 108. Additionally, the sensor 110 may be connected to other elements such as, for example, a relay or a timer.

There are a number of advantages associated with implementing a plurality of light sources (e.g., the first light source 104 and the second light source 106). One advantage is that, by spacing the light sources apart, uniformity of light distribution through the light transmissive support plate is enhanced. Another advantage is that a first one of the light sources may provide light of a first type (e.g., a type that is preferred with a first type of security measure) and a second one of the light sources may provide light of a second type (e.g., a type that is preferred with a second type of security measure). Where different types of light sources are implemented, the light transmissive support plate 108 may include means for diffusing light (e.g., a diffusing pattern on one or both major surfaces), whereby uniformity of light distribution through the light transmissive support plate is enhanced.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an embodiment of sales system 200 in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein is depicted. The sales system 200 includes an illumination device 202 and a sales transaction processing unit 204 coupled to the illumination device 202 via interface cable 205. In one embodiment, the illumination device 202 has essentiality the same construction, elements and/or functionality as the illumination device 100 depicted in FIG. 1. The sales transaction processing unit 204 includes a means for activating the light source of the illumination device in response to a suitable action. Examples of such action include, but are not limited to, determining when a prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed and receiving a signal designating that the prescribed event of the sales transaction processing unit has been performed.

In one embodiment, the prescribed event is opening of a payment drawer 206 of the sales transaction processing unit 204. A sensor (not specifically shown) detects such opening of the payment drawer and triggers activation of the illumination device 202 (i.e., turning on light sources of the illumination device 202). The sensor is configured for determining a relative position of the payment drawer 206. For example, a limit switch is mounted for detecting a closed and/or open position (i.e., a relative position) of the payment drawer 206. An alternate approach to use of a sensor for detecting such opening of the payment drawer 206 is for an algorithm that controls operation of the sales transaction processing unit 204 to output a signal upon facilitating opening of the payment drawer 206 (i.e., upon facilitating the prescribed event that triggers the illumination device 202).

It is disclosed herein that the means for activating the light source of the illumination device in response to the suitable action being performed may be comprised by an interface unit (not specifically shown). In one embodiment, the interface unit is integrated into the payment processing system 204. In another embodiment, the interface unit is integrated into the illumination device 202. In still another embodiment, the interface unit is a standalone unit that is coupled between the payment processing system 204 or the illumination device 202.

It is disclosed herein that, in another embodiment of the sales system 200, the illumination device 202 is mounted on the sales transaction processing unit 204 above the payment drawer 206 of the sales transaction processing unit 204. In this manner, a form of payment may be placed on the illumination device 202 and readily examined. In still another embodiment, the illumination device may be integral with the sales transaction processing unit 204 rather than being a separate unit.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, chemical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of such inventive disclosures. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Friday, May 15, 2009

United States Patent 7,267,462
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Cronin
September 11, 2007

Light bar defogger

Abstract

A lighting apparatus comprises a housing assembly, a light bulb socket and a forced air generation device. The housing assembly includes a light opening in a front wall thereof and an air delivery opening in a bottom wall thereof. The light bulb socket resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. A longitudinal centerline axis of the light bulb socket extends through the light bulb opening. The forced air generation device resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. The forced air generation device is configured for directing at least a portion of an air stream provided thereby through the air delivery opening.
Inventors: Cronin; Daniel Joseph (Toronto, OH)
Appl. No.: 11/149,010
Filed: June 9, 2005
Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application Number Filing Date Patent Number Issue Date
60579718 Jun., 2004

Current U.S. Class: 362/373 ; 34/90; 362/128; 362/136
Current International Class: B60Q 1/06 (20060101)
Field of Search: 362/373,127,128,136-137,547,218,264,294,345,96 34/523,90 392/411-416
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

3594063 July 1971 Smillie
3775606 November 1973 Bazell et al.
3786233 January 1974 Bumpus et al.
4483664 November 1984 Armbruster
4655559 April 1987 Odell
4665472 May 1987 Chang
4680448 July 1987 Fester
4832475 May 1989 Daniels
5093769 March 1992 Luntsford
5402265 March 1995 Jahoda
5467423 November 1995 Jakubowski
5731569 March 1998 Crescenzo
5993027 November 1999 Yamamoto et al.
Primary Examiner: Luebke; Renee
Assistant Examiner: Lee; Gunyoung T.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Simmons; David O. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Parent Case Text


CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application having Ser. No. 60/579,718, filed Jun. 15, 2004, entitled "Light Bar Defogger", having a common applicant herewith and being incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A lighting apparatus, comprising: a housing assembly including a light opening in a front wall thereof and an air delivery opening in a bottom wall thereof; a light bulb socket residing within the housing assembly and attached to the housing assembly, wherein a longitudinal centerline axis of the light bulb socket extends through the light bulb opening; a forced air generation device residing within the housing assembly and attached to the housing assembly, wherein the forced air generation device is configured for directing at least a portion of an air stream provided thereby through the air delivery opening; and an air delivery opening cover attached to the housing assembly over the air delivery opening, wherein the air delivery opening cover includes a plurality of air-directing passages extending therethrough and wherein at least a portion of said air-directing passages of the air delivery opening cover has side walls configured for substantially changing direction of the air stream and wherein the air delivery opening cover is rotatably mounted within the air inlet opening.

2. The lighting apparatus of claim 1 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; the light opening and the air delivery opening are in the main body; and the light socket and the forced air generation device are attached to the mounting plate.

3. The lighting apparatus of claim 1 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; the forced air generation device includes a fan motor and a fan blade; the fan motor is attached to the mounting plate; and the fan blade is attached to the motor.

4. The lighting apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: at least one air inlet opening in at least one wall of the housing assembly; and an air inlet opening cover attached to the housing assembly over the air inlet opening.

5. The lighting apparatus of claim 4, further comprising: a light bulb socket shroud engaged between the housing assembly and the light bulb socket such that flow of air through the light opening is at least partially inhibited.

6. The lighting apparatus of claim 1 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; the light opening and the air delivery opening are in the main body; the light socket and the forced air generation device is attached to the mounting plate; the forced air generation device includes a fan motor and a fan blade; the fan motor is attached to the mounting plate; the fan blade is attached to the motor; and the air inlet opening cover is rotatably mounted within the air inlet opening.

7. A lighting apparatus, comprising: a housing assembly; a light bulb socket residing within the housing assembly and attached to the housing assembly, wherein a longitudinal centerline axis of the light bulb socket extends in a first direction from a base of the light bulb socket; and a forced air generation device residing within the housing assembly and attached to the housing assembly, wherein the forced air generation device is configured for directing an air stream provided thereby in a second direction and wherein the second direction is one of generally perpendicular to the first direction and generally opposite the first direction; an air delivery opening cover attached to the housing assembly over an air delivery opening in the housing assembly wherein the forced air generation device is configured for directing at least a portion of the air stream provided thereby through the air delivery opening; wherein the air delivery opening cover includes a plurality of air-directing passages extending therethrough and wherein at least a portion of said air-directing passages of the air delivery opening cover has side walls configured for substantially changing direction of the air stream; and wherein the air delivery opening cover is rotatably mounted within the air inlet opening.

8. The lighting apparatus of claim 7 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; and the light socket and the forced air generation device is attached to the mounting plate.

9. The lighting apparatus of claim 7 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; the forced air generation device includes a fan motor and a fan blade; the fan motor is attached to the mounting plate; and the fan blade is attached to the motor.

10. The lighting apparatus of claim 7, further comprising: at least one air inlet opening in at least one wall of the housing assembly; and an air inlet opening cover attached to the housing assembly over the air inlet opening.

11. The lighting apparatus of claim 7 wherein: the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate; the light socket and the forced air generation device is attached to the mounting plate; the forced air generation device includes a fan motor and a fan blade; the fan motor is attached to the mounting plate; and the fan blade is attached to the motor.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to lighting fixtures and, more particularly, to lighting fixtures configured for providing forced air circulation.

BACKGROUND

Steam gathering on a bathroom mirror is a well-known situation. For example, showering in the vicinity of a bathroom mirror often results in condensation forming on a bathroom. Similarly, running hot water in a sink in a bathroom can result in condensation forming on the bathroom mirror.

Bathrooms often include a vent fan for extract stream from a bathroom, thus limiting the potential for moisture condensing on a bathroom mirror. However, even with such a bathroom vent fan in use, condensation sometimes still forms on the bathroom mirror due to factors such as location of the shower relative to the vent fan, ambient conditions, and/or the shear volume of steam generated by the shower.

Therefore, an apparatus that is configured specifically for limiting formation of condensation on a mirror in a bathroom and/or removing such condensation from the mirror and that overcomes limitations that conventional bathroom vent fans exhibit with respect to condensation forming on bathroom mirrors would be useful and advantageous.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Embodiments of the present invention relate to the common problem of steam condensing on a bathroom mirror. More specifically, embodiments of the present invention are configured for directing one or more streams of air toward a bathroom mirror and for providing lighting functionality as is provided by a conventional wall-mounted lighting apparatus. The stream(s) of air precludes and/or provides for removal of condensed steam on a bathroom mirror. Accordingly, the present invention advantageously overcomes one or more limitations associated with conventional lighting assemblies that are configured for and intended for being mounted on a wall over a mirror in a bathroom.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a lighting apparatus comprises a housing assembly, a light bulb socket and a forced air generation device. The housing assembly includes a light opening in a front wall thereof and an air delivery opening in a bottom wall thereof. The light bulb socket resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. A longitudinal centerline axis of the light bulb socket extends through the light bulb opening. The forced air generation device resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. The forced air generation device is configured for directing at least a portion of an air stream provided thereby through the air delivery opening.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a lighting apparatus comprises a housing assembly, a light bulb socket and a forced air generation device. The light bulb socket resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. A longitudinal centerline axis of the light bulb socket extends in a first direction from a base of the light bulb socket. The forced air generation device resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. The forced air generation device is configured for directing an air stream provided thereby in a second direction. The second direction is one of generally perpendicular to the first direction and generally opposite the first direction.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a lighting apparatus comprises a housing assembly, a plurality of light bulb sockets, a plurality of forced air generation devices, a plurality of air delivery opening covers and a plurality of electrical plug receptacles. The housing assembly includes a plurality of light openings in a front wall thereof, a plurality of air delivery openings in a bottom wall thereof and at least one air inlet opening in at least one wall thereof. The front wall extends generally parallel with a mounting surface of the housing assembly. The bottom wall extends generally perpendicular to the mounting surface of the housing assembly. The plurality of light bulb sockets resides within the housing assembly and attached to the housing assembly. A longitudinal centerline axis of each one of the light bulb sockets extends through a respective one of the light bulb openings. The plurality of forced air generation devices resides within the housing assembly and is attached to the housing assembly. At least a portion of an air stream provided by each one of the forced air generation devices is directed through a respective one of the air delivery openings. The plurality of air delivery opening covers are attached to the housing assembly. Each one of the air delivery opening covers is provided over a respective one of the air delivery openings. Each one of the air delivery opening covers includes a plurality of air-directing passages extending therethrough. At least a portion of the air-directing passages of each one of the air delivery opening covers has side walls configured for substantially changing direction of the air stream. The plurality of electrical plug receptacles is attached to the housing assembly. A plug engagement face of each one of the electrical plug receptacles is accessible through a respective electrical plug receptacle opening in the housing assembly.

Turning now to specific aspects of the present invention, in at least one embodiment, a housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate, the light opening and the air delivery opening are in the main body and the light socket and the forced air generation device is attached to the mounting plate.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, the housing assembly includes a main body and a mounting plate. The forced air generation device includes a fan motor and a fan blade attached to the fan motor. The fan motor is attached to the mounting plate and the fan blade is attached to the motor.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, at least one air inlet opening in at least one wall of the housing assembly and an air inlet opening cover attached to the housing assembly over the air inlet opening.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, a light bulb socket shroud is engaged between the housing assembly and the light bulb socket such that flow of air through the light opening is at least partially inhibited.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, an air delivery opening cover is attached to the housing assembly over the air delivery opening.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, the air delivery opening cover includes a plurality of air-directing passages extending therethrough and at least a portion of the air-directing passages of the air delivery opening cover has side walls configured for substantially changing direction of the air stream.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, the air delivery opening cover is rotatably mounted within the air inlet opening.

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, an electrical plug receptacle is attached to the housing assembly and has a plug engagement face of the electrical plug receptacle that is accessible through a respective electrical plug receptacle opening in the housing assembly.

These and other objects, embodiments advantages and/or distinctions of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification, associated drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a top perspective view of a lighting apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a bottom perspective view of the lighting apparatus depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 depicts an electrical schematic for the lighting apparatus depicted in FIGS. 1-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIGS. 1-4 depict a lighting apparatus in accordance with the present invention, which is referred to herein as the lighting apparatus 100. The lighting apparatus 100 is configured for directing one or more streams of air toward a bathroom mirror and for providing lighting functionality similar to that provided by a conventional wall-mounted lighting apparatus. The stream of air precludes and/or provides for removal of condensed steam on a mirror. Accordingly, the present invention advantageously overcomes one or more limitations associated with conventional lighting assemblies that are configured for and intended for being mounted on a wall over a mirror in a bathroom.

The lighting apparatus 100 includes a housing assembly 102, a plurality of light bulb socket assemblies 104, a plurality of forced air generation devices 106, a plurality of air delivery opening covers 108, a plurality of electrical plug receptacles 110 and a plurality of inlet air vents 112. As depicted in FIGS. 1-4, the lighting apparatus 100 includes a plurality of the light bulb socket assemblies 104, forced air generation devices 106, air delivery opening covers 108, electrical plug receptacles 110 and inlet air vents 112. Accordingly, the lighting apparatus 100 benefits from such plurality of functional components. However, in another embodiment of a lighting apparatus in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein (not specifically shown), only a single one of at least one of such functional components is provided. For example, it is contemplated that a lighting apparatus in accordance with the present invention includes a single light bulb socket assembly 104, a single forced air generation device 106, a single air delivery opening cover 108, a single electrical plug receptacle 110 and a single inlet air vent 112.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-4, the housing assembly 102 includes a main body 114 and a mounting plate 116. The mounting plate 116 includes a mounting surface 118 through which the mounting plate 116 may be attached to a wall (i.e., a wall-mount plate). The mounting plate 116 includes flanges 120 through which the main body 114 is attached to the mounting plate 116. Examples of means for attaching the main body 114 to the flanges 120 include, but are not limited to, threaded fasteners, integral clips, discrete clips and mating integral engagement structures.

The main body 114 includes a top wall 122, a front wall 124, a bottom wall 126 and sidewalls 128. The walls (122-128) of the main body are configured such that the main body 114 has a substantially rectangular shape. Accordingly, the front wall 124 extends generally parallel with the mounting surface 118 of the mounting plate 116 and the bottom wall 126 extends generally perpendicular to the mounting surface 118 of the mounting plate 116. It is disclosed herein that a main body in accordance with the present invention need not necessarily have a rectangular shape and/or include all of the walls (122-128) comprised by the main body 114. For example, a main body in accordance with the present invention may have a cylindrical shape, an elongated annular shape, a wedge shape, etc. Accordingly, a skilled person will appreciate that a lighting apparatus in accordance with the present invention is not limited by a shape of its main body.

The main body 114 of the housing assembly 102 includes a plurality of light openings 130in the front wall 124 (FIGS. 1 and 2), a plurality of air delivery openings 132 in the bottom wall 126 (FIG. 4), and a plurality of air inlet openings 134 in the top wall 122 (FIG. 4). The light openings 130 are even spaced and are sized for having at least a base of a light bulb inserted therethrough. The air delivery openings 132 are generally aligned between two of the light openings 130. Preferably, but not necessarily, each one of the air inlet openings 134 are positioned generally above a respective one of the forced air generation devices 106. Alternatively, the air inlet openings 134 may be provided in the front wall 124, the bottom wall 126 and/or one or both of the sidewalls 128.

Each one of the light bulb socket assemblies 104 resides within the main body 114 and are attached to the backing plate 116 via one or more respective mounting brackets 136 (FIGS. 3 and 4). Each one of the light bulb socket assemblies 104 includes a light bulb socket 138 and a light bulb shroud 140. Alternatively, each light bulb shroud 140 may be attached to the main body 114 rather than to the backing plate 116 through the respective light bulb socket 138. A longitudinal centerline axis C1 of each one of the light bulb socket assemblies 104 extends in a first direction from abase of the light bulb socket through a respective one of the light bulb openings 130. Each light bulb shroud 140 is configured for and intended to limit heat from a light bulb entering the main body 114 and/or for limiting air being drawn by the forced air generation devices 106 into the main body 114. For example, the light bulb shroud 140 may be made from a heat insulating material, include heat reflecting material and/or have a seal with adjacent structures (e.g., a respective light bulb socket 138 and/or the main body 114).

The forced air generation devices 106 reside within the main body 114 and are attached to the backing plate 116 via one or more respective mounting brackets 142 (FIGS. 3 and 4). At least a portion of an air stream provided by each one of the forced air generation devices 106 is directed through a respective one of the air delivery openings 132. Each one of the forced air generation devices 106 is configured for directing the air stream provided thereby in direction that is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal centerline axis C1 of the light bulb socket assemblies 104.

Each one of the air delivery openings 132 has one of the air delivery opening covers 108 associated therewith. For example, as depicted, each one of the air delivery opening covers 108 is mounted within a respective one of the air delivery openings 132. Each one of the air delivery opening covers 108 includes a protrusion 144 that facilitates securing the respective one of the air delivery opening covers 108 in place. Preferably, but not necessarily, one or more of the air delivery opening covers 108 are mounted in a manner enabling rotation within the respective one of the air delivery openings 132.

Each one of the air delivery opening covers 108 includes a plurality of air-directing passages 146 (FIG. 4) extending therethrough. One or more of the air-directing passages 146 is at least partially defined by vanes 148 having sidewalls configured for substantially changing direction of the air stream. For example, the vanes 148 are angled with respect to a nominal air discharge direction of a respective one of the forced air generation devices 106.

As depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4, each one of the forced air generation devices 106 includes a fan motor 150 and a fan blade 152. The fan motor 150 is attached to the mounting plate 116 via the respective mounting bracket 142. The fan blade 152 of each one of the forced air generation devices 106 is positioned generally over a respective one of the air delivery openings 132. Preferably, but not necessarily, the fan blade 152 is located within a fan shroud to enhance airflow. In one embodiment (as depicted in FIG. 4), each one of the air delivery opening covers 132 includes a fan shroud 154 that extends in a manner enabling the fan blade 152 of a respective one of the forced air generation devices 106 to be positioned therein.

As will be appreciated by skilled person, a particular type of forced air generation device does not limit the present invention. For example, rather than being of the type shown in FIGS. 1-4, forced air generation devices of a lighting apparatus in accordance with the present invention may be of a blower type whereby a stream of air is discharges through an outlet of the blower device. In such an embodiment where a blower is implemented, an air directing cover may be attached to the blower device rather than to the housing assembly of the lighting apparatus.

It is disclosed herein that an air heating device may be implemented in conjunction with the forced air generation device such that the stream of air exiting from within the housing assembly is a stream of heated air. In one embodiment, an electrical heating element is provided between each fan blade 152 and the respective air delivery opening 132 such that an air stream provided by the fan blade 152 may be heated. In another embodiment, an air heating device is integral with a blower unit (e.g., a self contained unit including a means for creating a stream of air and an air heating device). The air heating device may be implemented in a manner enabling selective actuation such that a user has a choice of whether or not the stream of air is a stream of heated air.

Each one of the electrical plug receptacles 110 attached to the main body 114 of the housing assembly 102. A plug engagement face 156 of each one of the electrical plug receptacles 110 is accessible through a respective electrical plug receptacle opening in the main body 114. Conventional plug receptacles are examples of the electrical plug receptacles 110 depicted in FIGS. 1-4.

FIG. 5 depicts an electrical schematic for the lighting apparatus 100 depicted in FIGS. 1-4. Each one of the light bulb sockets 138, the forced air generation devices 106 and the electrical plug receptacles 110 is electrically connected to a first harness conductor 158 (e.g., a hot-wire harness conductor) and to a second harness conductor 160 (e.g., a common-wire harness conductor). A plurality of electrical air heating devices 162 are attached to the first harness conductor 158 and to the second harness conductor 160.

Preferably, but not necessarily, the first harness conductor 158 and the second harness conductor 160 are configured for enabling the light bulb sockets 138, the forced air generation devices 106 and/or the air heating devices 162 to be separately or jointly energized. For example, as depicted in FIG. 5, the first harness conductor 158 and the second harness conductor 160 may each be a single piece of wire with the light bulb sockets 138, the forced air generation devices 106 and the air heating devices 162 connected in a manner (e.g., adjacent electrical connections) whereby severing of the first harness conductor 158 and/or the second harness conductor 160 at a location between grouped connection points of the forced air generation devices 106, the light bulb sockets 138 and/or the air heating devices 162 results in the light bulb sockets 138, the forced air generation devices 106 and/or the air heating devices 162 being electrically separated and, thus, connectable to separate wall switches for independent electrical activation.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the present invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice embodiments of the present invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, chemical and electrical changes maybe made without departing from the spirit or scope of such inventive disclosures. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.