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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Fiber Optic Display Apparatus and Methods of Osillating Illuminated Optical Fibers", for Approval

May 7, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Spangler, Thomas Mark (Charlotte, NC), filed on December 19, 2013, was made available online on April 24, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to decorative fiber optic lamps, toys, and displays, and various new methods of moving and manipulating illuminated optical fibers. Fiber optics have been used for decades to create visually stimulating displays and decorations, even incorporating movement to enhance the visual effects. The type of movement has been thus far about an axis running longitudinally through the fibers within their holder. While this axial motion of the holder and fibers can create unique visual effects, the range of motion, responsiveness, and illumination options of the optical fibers is inherently limited. A need exists therefore to provide other types of fiber optical light displays that reciprocate across the longitudinal axis of fibers within their holding member."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "One object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that can create unique and visually stimulating optical displays and light patterns in space through the oscillation of illuminated optical fibers. Another object of the present invention is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that places optical fibers in motion across the longitudinal axis of the holder of the fibers, like the fishing pole of a fisherman casting his line. Another object of the present invention to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that can utilize leverage to allow for smaller, more compact designs without compromising visual effects. Another object of the invention is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that provides for many flexible design options as the axis of movement and point of contact for drive means coupling can exist in unlimited geometric arrangements and relationships. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that provides greater, more effective responsiveness of all the optical fibers. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that can reciprocate the fibers in a more predictable, linear range of motion. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that requires less power to achieve the desired visual effects. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that allows the holding member and fibers to move in roughly the same manner through space, despite their orientation to gravity. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that has the ability to move silently when the fibers are cast in motion by means of electromagnetic coupling. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that has the ability to derive its illumination from more than one light or color, detached from the holding member in the form of an array mounted to the housing with the fibers changing colors as they sweep across the array of separate individual lights. Yet another object is to provide a fiber optic display apparatus that has the ability to create complex multi-directional moving displays, where one entire embodiment can be mounted to a base plate that is itself caused to rotate, or reciprocate about another axis--also across the longitudinal axis of the fibers, creating two-dimensional, predictable patterns in space, such as a sine-wave, or visual representation of audio waves, similar to that of an oscilloscope.

"These and other objects of the invention may be achieved in the preferred embodiments of the invention described below. One embodiment of the invention comprises a fiber optic display apparatus comprising one or more varying length fiber optic strands, either individual or in bundles, with one end of each strand or bundle being tightly bound to a holding member, the other end of the fiber optic strand or bundle, being unrestrained and allowed to move freely about. A light source such as, but not limited to, a light emitting diode is mounted within a holding member, oriented to expose and illuminate the rigidly bound fiber ends, causing light to be emitted from the free, unrestrained end of the fibers.

"The holding member can be freely secured to a pivot point axis that is attached to, or part of a housing. This pivot point axis, can be positioned anywhere within the fiber holding member, and is non-parallel to the longitudinal axis of the holding member and fibers within the holding member, but relatively perpendicular to, or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the tightly bound illuminated end of the fibers and holding member.

"The fiber holding member can be functionally attached to a housing of any desired shape, in such a manner so that the holding member can move freely through its entire range of motion without restriction. The fiber holding member can also be freely connected to an actuator rod that moves back and forth on or within the housing with a push/pull motion. The actuator rod can be freely mounted at one end to the fiber holding member and at the other end freely mounted non-centrally to a cam wheel rotating about an axis. The cam wheel can be caused to rotate by means of a motor attached to the housing, or by means of a gear, sprocket, pulley, hand crank, or combination thereof. The rotation of the cam wheel coupled to the actuator rod, then to the holding member and fibers causes the holding member and fibers to travel back and forth about the pivot point axis that is relatively perpendicular to, or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the optical fibers and holding member, creating random and constantly changing light display patterns.

"Another object of the present invention comprises one or more varying length fiber optic strands, either individual or in bundles, with one end of each strand or bundle tightly bound to a holding member, and the other end of the fiber optic strand, or bundles, unrestrained and allowed to move freely about. The tightly bound fiber ends can be exposed to and illuminated by a plurality of lights, such as an array of LED's attached to the housing. As the holding member is reciprocated throughout its range of motion, the tightly bound fiber ends are exposed to the array light source, causing light to be emitted from the display end of the fibers corresponding to the individual colored light elements of the array, allowing for color changes within individual fibers as they sweep across a multi-colored light source.

"The holding member can be freely secured to a pivot point axis that is attached to, or part of a housing. This pivot point axis within the fiber holding member is not parallel to the axis of fibers within the holding member, but relatively perpendicular to, or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the holding member and fibers within the holding member. The fiber holding member can be functionally attached to a housing of any desired shape in such a manner so that the holding member can move freely through its entire range of motion without restriction. The fiber holding member can also be freely connected to an actuator rod that moves back and forth on or within the housing with a push/pull motion. The actuator rod can be freely mounted at one end to the fiber holding member, and at the other end freely mounted non-centrally to a cam wheel rotating about an axis. This cam wheel can be caused to rotate by means of a motor attached to the housing, or by means of a gear, sprocket, pulley, hand crank, or combination thereof. The rotation of the cam wheel coupled to the actuator rod, then to the holding member and fibers causes the holding member and fibers to travel back and forth about a pivot point axis that is relatively perpendicular to, or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the optical fibers and holding member, creating random and constantly changing light display patterns.

"Another embodiment of the present invention comprises one or more varying length fiber optic strands, either individual or in bundles with one end of each strand or bundle being bound tightly to a holding member, the other end of the fiber optic strand, or bundle(s), unrestrained and allowed to move freely about. The fibers can be illuminated by one of two methods. In the first method, the holding member contains a light source such as an LED, laser diode, mirror, prism, lens, or array thereof for each individual fiber or bundle. The light source can be mounted within or attached to the holding member and oriented in such a way as to expose and illuminate the rigidly bound fiber ends, causing light to be emitted from the unrestrained end of the fibers.

"In the second method, the tightly bound fiber ends are exposed to and illuminated by a plurality of lights, such as a group of LED's attached to the housing and arranged as a linear array. As the holding member is reciprocated throughout its range of motion, the tightly bound fiber ends are exposed to the array light source, causing light to be emitted from the unrestrained end of the fibers corresponding to the individual light elements of the array, allowing for color changes within individual fibers as they sweep across a multi-colored light source.

"The holding member can be freely secured to a pivot point axis that is attached to, or part of a housing, this pivot point axis within the holding member, is non-parallel to the longitudinal axis of fibers within the holding member. The preferred axis within the holding member is relatively perpendicular to, or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the holding member and tightly bound optical fiber ends within the holding member. The holding member can also have attached to it one or more permanent magnets or coils of wire, magnetically coupled to react by means of attraction/repulsion to one or more corresponding permanent magnets, or coils of wire that are affixed to the housing.

"As an electric current signal flows through the coil(s) of wire creating a magnetic field, the magnetic attraction/repulsion forces to the corresponding permanent magnet(s), cause the holding member to react magnetically, moving about its axis within the housing in a manner that corresponds to the polarity, strength and frequency of the electric current signal through the coil(s) of wire. The coils being energized by means of electrical current signals supplied by but not limited to: an amplifier, signal generator, microphone, radio, speaker output, AC line voltage, AC power supply, DC power supply.

"Another embodiment of the present invention comprises a fiber optic display comprising one or more varying length fiber optic strands, either individual or in bundles, with one end of each strand or bundle being tightly bound to a holding member, the other end of the fiber optic strand, or bundle(s), unrestrained and allowed to move freely about. The holding member contains a light source, such as a light emitting diode mounted within the holding member and oriented to expose and illuminate the bound fiber ends, causing light to be emitted from the free, unrestrained fiber ends. The holding member can be freely secured to a pivot point axis that is attached to, or part of a housing. This pivot point axis within the fiber holding member is non-parallel to the longitudinal axis of the holding member and tightly bound fibers within the holding member, and approximately perpendicular to or parallel to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the tightly bound illuminated fiber ends and holding member. The fiber holding member can be functionally attached to a housing of any desired shaped in such a manner so that the holding member can move freely through its entire range of motion without restriction. The fiber holding member can further incorporate a surface or channel, shaped and positioned in such a way as to allow a rotating cam wheel to come in contact with the surface or channel, causing movement of the holding member and illuminated fibers. The rotation of the cam wheel, by coming in contact with and agitating the surface or channel and holding member causes the holding member to move about its pivot point axis, causing the unrestrained ends of the fibers to move about, creating random and constantly changing single or multi-colored light display patterns in space.

"According to yet another embodiment of the present invention a fiber optic display includes a base plate and the display is functionally attached to a second housing moveable about an axis extending through the base plate and the second housing, that is caused to reciprocate or rotate about its own axis that is relatively perpendicular to the pivot point axis of the holding member. The base plate can be made to oscillate or rotate on its axis by means of a cam wheel and channel, actuator rod, motor, gear, pulley, sprocket, magnetic coupling, or combination thereof. This second housing/base plate embodiment allows the display ends of the fibers to move about two approximately perpendicular axes simultaneously, creating constantly changing single or multi-colored light display patterns that respond to applied electrical signals, and have the ability to display wave forms such as sine-waves or sound, similar to waveforms displayed on an oscilloscope, with the movement of the base plate about its axis corresponding to the oscilloscope's 'sweep' and the movement of the holding member and fibers about the pivot point axis corresponding to the scope's 'response'.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 4 is a front elevation of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 5 is a partial bottom plan view of the optical fiber display device of FIG. 6;

"FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 7 is a schematic view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the optical fiber display device of FIG. 7;

"FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the optical fiber display device of FIG. 7;

"FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the optical fiber display device of FIG. 7;

"FIG. 11 is a schematic view of an optical fiber display device according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 12 is a schematic view of an optical fiber display device according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 13 is a schematic view of an optical fiber display device according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 14 is a schematic view of an optical fiber display device according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 16 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention; and

"FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an optical fiber display device according to another preferred embodiment of the invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Spangler, Thomas Mark. Fiber Optic Display Apparatus and Methods of Osillating Illuminated Optical Fibers. Filed December 19, 2013 and posted April 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4410&p=89&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140417.PD.&OS=PD/20140417&RS=PD/20140417

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Electronics, Light-emitting Diode.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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