This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In the prior art, almost all vehicle interior lighting was viewed primarily as functional. This much light needed in this area that much in that area and instrumentation needed backlighting to be visible at night. Most vehicle cabs were equipped with dome and map lights for cab visibility, door lights for safe entry and exit, backlit instrument panels and controls, and maybe a lit vanity mirror and glove box. All purely functional, almost always from incandescent bulbs, almost always white, and except for instrument backlighting, most did not have adjustable intensity.
"While the forgoing prior art vehicle interior lighting scheme was useful and effective for their functional purposes, the achieved lighting effects were seldom attractive. Over the last couple of years LED's (Light-Emitting Diodes) have made significant inroads into motor vehicle lighting systems. While initially the new LED lighting was for headlights and tail lights, LED's gradually found their way into vehicle interior lighting. New vehicles now use LED's rather extensively for passenger compartment general lighting, instrumentation lighting and warning lights.
"LED's typically last longer than the vehicles they are installed in. Thus bulb replacement may become a thing of the past. In addition, LED's have reduced power consumption, which enables smaller, and thus cheaper, power wiring. The lower power consumption enables redirection of available electrical power to other devices and applications that are becoming increasingly common in today's motor vehicles.
"However, many people find that LED's produce light that is too bright, harsh, and generally unappealing. Bright lights of LED's are particularly troublesome at night. While driving at night the use of bright compartment interior lighting either by a passenger or driver creates discomfort and poor night vision for the driver because of the reflection of the bright light from the windshield into the driver's eyes. This creates a dangerous condition, particularly during emergencies.
"Therefore, vehicles having aesthetically improved interior lighting would be beneficial. Particularly useful would be LED vehicle interior lighting that can be adjusted in both intensity and color. Ideally such LED vehicle interior lighting would enable aesthetically attractive lighting schemes at relatively low cost and with easy driver adjustability. Preferably such LED vehicle interior lighting would provide numerous colors and would have highly configurable lighting intensities, and would improve driver safety by reducing excessive light reflections while driving at night."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The principles of the present invention provide for vehicles having aesthetically improved interior lighting. Those principles specifically provide for LED vehicle interior lighting that can be adjusted in both intensity and color. Such LED vehicle interior lighting enables aesthetically attractive lighting schemes at relatively low cost and with easy driver adjustability. The LED vehicle interior lighting provides numerous colors and is highly configurable in lighting intensities.
"A vehicle interior lighting system in accord with the present invention includes a controller, a selector control that applies a user adjustable selector input to the controller, a color control that applies a user adjustable color input to the controller, and an intensity control that applies a user adjustable intensity input to the controller. The vehicle interior lighting system further includes an instrument cluster having instrument illumination devices emitting light with a color and intensity, and an array of indicators having indicator illumination devices emitting light with a color and intensity. The controller controls the color of the instrument illumination devices based on a color input, the color of the indicator illumination devices based on a color input, the intensity of the instrument illumination devices based on an intensity input, and the intensity of the indicator illumination devices based on an intensity input.
"Beneficially, the vehicle interior lighting system also includes compartment interior illumination devices emitting light having a color and intensity, where the controller controls the intensity based on an intensity input, and the color based on a color input. In practice the instrument illumination devices, the indicator illumination devices, and the compartment interior illumination devices are light-emitting diodes, preferably tri-color light-emitting diodes.
"Usefully the color control is a potentiometer, the intensity control is a potentiometer, and the controller includes an Analog to Digital converter for digitizing the intensity and color inputs. Preferably the selector control is a multiple position switch. When in a first position the instrument illumination devices, the indicator illumination devices, and the compartment interior illumination devices are off. When in a second position the controller sets the intensity and color of the instrument illumination devices. When in a third position the controller sets the intensity and color of the indicator illumination devices. When in a fourth position the controller sets the intensity and color of the compartment interior illumination devices. When in a fifth and final position the controller sets the intensity and color of the instrument illumination devices, the indicator illumination devices; and the compartment interior illumination devices on an even and consistent manner.
"Preferably the controller is a microcontroller, the vehicle interior lighting system includes a programming input port for receiving an operating program, and the microcontroller is a flash programmable microcontroller.
"In practice the vehicle interior lighting system may include a first control device for turning the instrument illumination devices on/off, a second control device for turning the indicator illumination devices on/off, and a third control device for turning the compartment interior illumination devices on/off. The vehicle interior lighting system may also include a vehicle operation control device for selectively applying external electrical power to the vehicle interior lighting system.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following more detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like elements are identified with like symbols and in which:
"FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a variable color and variable intensity vehicle interior lighting system 10 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention and installed in a motor vehicle passenger compartment 15;
"FIG. 2 is an electrical block diagram depicting major components of the interior lighting system 10 shown in FIG. 1; and,
"FIG. 3 is an electrical schematic of the major components of the interior lighting system 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, specifically including a multi-color LED driving circuit."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Pasdar, Mohammad A. Multi-Color In-Dash Lighting System for Changing Vehicle Backlighting. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Electronics, Microcontroller, Light-emitting Diode.
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