The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The use of LEDs (Light Emitting diodes) spreads in lighting devices because, on the one hand, their high power light but also their low power consumption.
"Therefore, LEDs should be used not only for pocket lamps but also headlamps whose use is spreading to many as professional activities, as sports and leisure.
"Regarding the headlamps, these lamps are intended for a 'hands-free' use which should be efficient, comfortable and ensure maximum battery life.
"However, this new type of lamps, because of the strong light emitted by the LED power is now likely to cause serious physical harm to users but also to third parties due to the high transmission power of the LEDs.
"The present invention aims to remedy this situation."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "It is an object of the present invention to provide a lamp, such as a headlamp with light emitting diodes LEDs and with new features that can significantly increase the safe use of the latter.
"It is another object of the present invention to provide a headlamp with a built-in protection mechanism designed to prevent any damaging glare for the user or any third party.
"It is a third object of the present invention to provide a lamp and a method for controlling the power generated by the LEDs in accordance with the risk of glare.
"These objects are achieved by means of a lamp comprising one or more LEDs, and a power unit which can be controlled for providing power to the LEDs. A control unit includes an image sensor generating images of the area illuminated by the lamp, which images are then processed to allow detection of the presence of a human face and particularly including an eye within an area suspected to be dangerous.
"In response to that detection, the control unit generates a control signal transmitted to the power unit which then reduces significantly the amount of light generated by the LEDs so as to prevent damage to the eyes of the user or any third party.
"In one embodiment, the control unit determines the relative area of a human face on the image sensed by said image sensor and performs a reduction of the intensity in accordance with the determined relative area.
"Preferably, the control module includes a USB interface for the connection to a computer or a microcomputer.
"In one particular embodiment, the decrease of the intensity of the light and the return to the normal intensity of the light is performed with distinct profiles under control of said control unit.
"In one particular embodiment, there is provided an infrared sensor operating within a spectrum that is distinct from that of the light spectrum of the LEDs and which generates additional information to the control unit for controlling the light intensity of the LEDs.
"In one particular embodiment, a reference image is stored within the memory accessible to the microprocessor in order to store an image of an authorized user of the lamp and to authorize the use of the lamp only after a comparison of the image captured by said sensor with said reference image.
"The invention also achieves a method of limiting the light generated by a torch or a headlamp having one or more LEDs and a controllable power unit for powering the the LED lamps. The method comprises the steps of: Capturing an image using an image sensor and processing such image so as to detect a human face and more specifically an eye which is likely to be located within an dangerous area, because being likely to receive high flux density bright, and In response to detection of an eye in said area, reducing the power emitted by the LEDs.
"In one particular embodiment, the method comprises the following steps: determination of the relative area of a human face on the image captured by said image sensor, and a reduction of the light intensity in accordance with said determined surface area.
"In a particular embodiment, ,the decrease of the intensity of the light and the return to the normal intensity of the light is performed with distinct profiles under control of said control unit.
"In a particular embodiment, the method further comprises the following steps: storing a reference image within the memory accessible to the microprocessor corresponding to an authorized user of the lamp, and allowing the use of the lamp only after a comparison of such image with the image captured by the image sensor.
"In another aspect, the invention achieves an illuminating lamp comprising: one or more LEDs: a controllable power unit providing for supplying current to the LEDs, a control unit for setting the intensity of the light generated by the lamp, an infrared sensor operating within a spectrum distinct from that used by the LED(s) for the detection of a human face, said control unit generating a control signal for reducing the amount of light generated by the LED(s) when detecting a human face.
"Preferably the control unit includes a microprocessor-based architecture with memory for processing the information generated by the infrared detector.
"At last, the invention achieves a method for limiting the light generated by a lamp comprising one or more LEDs and a power unit which can be controlled for the purpose of power the LEDs with current, said method comprising the steps: detecting a human face by means of an infrared sensor operating in a spectrum which is distinct from that being used by the LEDs; reducing the amount of light generated by the LEDs in response to said dtection.
"In one particular embodiment, the method further involves the capture and the processing of an image, and the infrared sensor is used to quickly cause a decrease in light intensity, followed by a confirmation of the decrease in intensity resulting from a processing of the image captured by said image sensor.
"The invention is particularly suitable for the realization of a lamp, and in particular a portable lighting lamp such as a headlamp.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Other features, objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following description and drawings below, given by way of non-limiting examples. In the accompanying drawings:
"FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of a lamp fitted with a safety system protecting against glare.
"FIG. 2 illustrates a second embodiment of a lamp having a safety system based on a microprocessor.
"FIG. 3 illustrates a third embodiment of a lamp having a safety system including an image sensor.
"FIG. 4 illustrates a method using an infrared detection in order to secure the operation of the lamp illustrated in FIG. 1.
"FIG. 5 shows a two-dimensional picture showing 480x640 pixels and which can be used for detecting an eye
"FIG. 6 illustrates a process for detecting an eye within a rectangle 520
"FIG. 7 illustrates a method for reducing the power generated by the LED in response to the processing of the image captured by the image sensor of FIG. 3.
"FIG. 8 illustrates a method combining infrared detection and image processing for the purpose of increasing safety in the use of the lamp."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Bouffay,
Keywords for this news article include: Zedel S.A, Electronics, Microprocessors, Light-emitting Diode.
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