Title:
Bag with Integrated Display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides portable bags having integrated displays. Disclosed embodiments include apparatus and associated methods providing integrated electronic displays providing one or more illumination, audio, or radio frequency capabilities. Chemical displays include illumination and scent dispersal capabilities. Embodiments of bags with integrated displays also include electronic displays having at least one associated charging element for charging a charge storage element for powering the display.



Inventors:
Teggatz, Ross E. (McKinney, TX, US)
Chen, Wayne T. (Plano, TX, US)
Smith, Brett E. (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/263457
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
11/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/156, 383/127
International Classes:
A45C13/08; B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KIM, SHIN H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael, Konczal Patent Attorney T. (P.O. BOX 863656, PLANO, TX, 75086, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A bag of flexible material, the bag having a sealed bottom, sealed opposing sides, and an opening, the bag further comprising: at least one display disposed on the bag.

2. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises an illuminated electronic display.

3. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises a light emitting diode display.

4. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises an electronic audio display.

5. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises a luminescent chemical display.

6. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises a light guide.

7. A bag according to claim 1 wherein at least one display further comprises a dispersible chemical display.

8. A bag according to claim 1 further comprising a charge storage element.

9. A bag according to claim 1 further comprising a charging element.

10. A bag according to claim 1 further comprising a radio frequency device.

11. A bag according to claim 1 further comprising carrying handles disposed adjacent to and extending distal to the open top of the bag, wherein at least one display is integrated into the carrying handles.

12. A bag of flexible material, the bag having sealed opposing sides, and an opening, the bag further comprising: at least one electronic display disposed on the bag; at least one charge storage element operably coupled to the electronic display; and at least one charging element for charging the charge storage element.

13. A bag according to claim 12 wherein a charging element further comprises a piezoelectric generator for generating electrical energy from mechanical motion of the bag.

14. A bag according to claim 12 wherein a charging element further comprises a photovoltaic generator for generating electrical energy from available light.

15. A bag according to claim 12 wherein a charging element further comprises a radio frequency generator for generating electrical energy from radio frequency energy.

16. A bag according to claim 12 wherein the electronic display further comprises a display element matrix.

17. A method of making a bag having an integrated display, comprising the steps of: providing a bag of flexible material, the bag having a sealed bottom, sealed opposing sides, and an opening, the bag adapted for receiving at least one display in at least one location on the bag; providing at least one display; and integrating the display into the bag.

18. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an operable electronic circuit.

19. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an operable electronic circuit for the display of one or more illuminated light emitting diode.

20. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an operable electronic circuit for the display of one or more audio signal.

21. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an operable electronic circuit for the display of one or more radio frequency signal.

22. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an operable electronic circuit comprising self-charging charging capability.

23. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an electronic display using a display element matrix.

24. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing an luminescent chemical display.

25. A method according to claim 17 wherein the step of providing at least one display further comprises steps for implementing a dispersible chemical display.

Description:

PRIORITY ENTITLEMENT

This application is entitled to priority based on Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/075,288 filed on Jun. 24, 2008, which is incorporated herein for all purposes by this reference. This application and the Provisional Patent Application have at least one common inventor.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to portable bags and integrated displays. More particularly, the invention relates to the integration of illuminated, audible, dispersible chemical, and radio frequency displays into bags suitable for carrying.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Portable, hand-carried bags are used to hold or carry articles for many occasions. The lower cost of bags relative to rigid containers, as well as their foldability and stackability have made them almost ubiquitous in commerce. Examples include bags having decorative features such as printing relating to the promotion of products, stores, boutiques, manufacturers, sports organizations, or trade associations. Further examples of the use of such bags include trick-or-treat bags for carrying candy on Halloween and decorative bags for carrying gifts, such as on Christmas, birthdays, or other occasions. Due to technological limitations and costs, efforts to provide bags with novel decorative features on a commercial scale have been limited primarily to the inclusion of a printed design on one or more of the outer surfaces of the bag, generally made from a pliable material such as various forms of paper, plastic, or fabric. As illustrated by the above-mentioned examples, in addition to the basic holding and carrying functions essential to bags in common usage, decoration or branding is an important feature in many, and perhaps most applications.

Due to the limitations inherent in the arts relating to bag manufacture and printing, the application of additional technological approaches to integrate into bags novel improved displays, such as illumination, scent, audio, and communications potential would be useful and advantageous in the arts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In carrying out the principles of the present invention, in accordance with preferred embodiments, the invention provides advances in the arts with novel methods and apparatus directed to providing improved integrated bag displays useful for their increased visual appeal, audio capabilities, safety features, and potential communication capabilities.

According to one aspect of the invention, a preferred embodiment of a bag with an integrated display includes a bag of flexible material having a sealed bottom, sealed opposing sides, and an opening, with at least one display disposed on the bag.

According to another aspect of the invention, in a particular embodiment thereof, a bag includes an integrated illuminated electronic display.

According to another aspect of the invention, in a specific embodiment thereof, a bag includes an integrated electronic audio display.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a preferred embodiment includes a bag having an integrated luminescent chemical display.

According to another aspect of the invention, a preferred embodiment includes a bag having an integrated display having a radio frequency device.

According to another aspect of the invention, a bag of flexible material has a sealed bottom, sealed opposing sides, and an opening. The bag also includes at least one integrated electronic display with at least one charge storage element operably coupled to the electronic display, and at least one charging element for charging the charge storage element.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a bag of flexible material having at least one integrated display and at least one charge storage element operably coupled to the electronic display, also includes at least one piezoelectric generator for charging the charge storage element.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method of making a display insert, for integration into a bag, includes steps for providing a bag adapted for receiving at least one display in at least one location, and providing at least one display integrated into the bag.

The invention has advantages including but not limited to providing one or more of the following features; increased safety, improved decoration, improved visibility, sound-emission, chemical dispersal, and radio frequency communication. These and other advantageous features and benefits of the present invention can be understood by one of ordinary skill in the arts upon careful consideration of the detailed description of representative embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more clearly understood from consideration of the following detailed description and drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top front perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a bag with an integrated illuminated display according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a section view of the bag with an integrated illuminated display taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a simplified schematic diagram of a display insert in an exemplary embodiment of a bag with an integrated display according to the invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of a display insert in an exemplary preferred embodiment of a bag with an integrated LED display according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a display insert in an exemplary preferred embodiment of a bag with an integrated combination display according to the invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram representative of preferred apparatus and manufacturing steps for manufacturing a display insert for integration with a bag according to the invention;

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of a display insert in an exemplary preferred embodiment of a bag with integrated light guides in a display according to the invention;

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram representative of steps in a preferred method of manufacturing a bag with an integrated display according to the invention;

FIG. 9 is a front view of a preferred embodiment of a bag with an integrated chemical luminescent display according to the invention;

FIG. 10 is a front view of another embodiment of a bag with an integrated chemical luminescent display according to the invention;

FIG. 11 is a detailed exploded side view of a preferred embodiment of a chemical luminescent display element according to the invention as introduced in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a detailed side view of another embodiment of a chemical luminescent display element according to the invention as introduced in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is another alternative embodiment in a detail view of a chemical luminescent display element according to the invention; and

FIG. 14 is a detailed view of a dispersible chemical display element according to the invention.

References in the detailed description correspond to like references in the various drawings unless otherwise noted. Descriptive and directional terms used in the written description such as front, back, top, bottom, upper, side, et cetera, refer to the drawings themselves as laid out on the paper and not to physical limitations of the invention unless specifically noted. The drawings are not to scale, and some features of embodiments shown and discussed are simplified or amplified for illustrating principles and features, as well as anticipated and unanticipated advantages of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While the making and using of various exemplary embodiments of the present invention are discussed herein, it should be appreciated that the present invention provides inventive concepts which can be embodied in a wide variety of specific contexts. It should be understood that the invention may be practiced with various electronic circuits, chemical compounds, displays, components and bags made from various materials by various manufacturers without altering the principles of the invention. For purposes of clarity, detailed descriptions of functions and systems familiar to those skilled in the bag, electronic circuit, chemical, and manufacturing arts are not included. In general, the invention provides portable bags having integrated displays that provide visual, audio, or other output features beyond those provided by common printing technology.

Referring initially to FIG. 1 (front, top, perspective view), and FIG. 2 (section view), an example of a bag 10 with an integrated display 12 is shown in which the bag 10 forms an enclosure with a top opening 14 and a sealed bottom 16, sealed opposing long sides 18, 20, and sealed opposing short sides 22, 24. The “long” sides 18, 20 in the drawings correspond to the “front” and “back” respectively for the purposes of the illustration and the “short” sides 22, 24 correspond to the left and right. Thus, as shown in FIG. 1, the integrated display 12 appears in the “front” side 18. It should be appreciated that one or more integrated displays 12 may be located in any of the sides, including the bottom, or top cover if any, or on each of the sides, or any combination of sides. It should also be understood that the bag 10 need not be based on a rectangular bottom 16 as shown, but may be based on any shape with a suitable arrangement and number of sides for forming a bag enclosure, for example a polygonal, circular, or irregular bottom may be used, or the bottom may be omitted altogether, with the sides joined directly to one another at their adjacent lower edges. The opening, shown at the top, may optionally be located elsewhere, and may be endowed with closure mechanisms such as flaps, snaps, zippers, drawstrings, or other means contrived to provide for closing the bag. The bag 10 is made from a flexible material, preferably a relatively strong natural, synthetic, or blended fabric, plastic film, or paper, such as for example, cotton, jute, silk, polyester, nylon, mylar (a trademark of Dupont Teijin Films U.S. Corporation, Wilmington, Del.), polypropylene, woven polypropylene, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), plasticized polyvinyl chloride, coated or uncoated paper. A carrying handle 26 is preferably provided at a location suitable to facilitate carrying, such as adjacent to the bag opening 14, as drawn. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the handle 26 includes corresponding cut-outs in opposing sides, 18, 20, of the bag 10. In alternative embodiments, handles made from material such as fiber cords, fabric straps, or rigid or semi-rigid plastic tubes or other material, may extend past the bag opening, preferably in aligned and matched pairs extending from opposite sides of the bag.

The integrated display 12 is preferably part of a display insert 28 preferably encased in a pouch 30 or otherwise secured to a side of the bag 10. The pouch 30 may be permanently sealed, may be partially open, or may be amenable to being opened and resealed for such purposes as removing and replacing the display insert or selected portions of the display insert depending on the configuration of the display insert used. For example, some display inserts may include replaceable power supply elements or replaceable illumination or sound display elements. The side(s) of the bag and pouch(es) are configured to optimize the display 12 attributes according to the application, for example, in the case of an illuminated visual display 12 as shown in the example of FIGS. 1 and 2, a light-transmitting window 32 is provided. Omni directional or directional display orientations may be used, for example, to illuminate one or more sides of the bag, the ground below the bag, or the inside of the bag. The light-transmitting window 32, or windows, may be made from transparent, semi-transparent, or translucent material, or may be an opening or arrangement of multiple openings in appropriate locations in the side of the bag. The display insert 28 and integrated display 12 introduced in FIGS. 1 and 2 is shown in more detail in FIG. 3. In this example, the integrated display 12 includes an array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) 34 arranged in a suitable pattern. The display insert 28 includes circuitry for supporting the LEDs 34, in this example a power supply 36, such as a battery, resistors R as required for particular LED/power supply combinations, and a suitable switch 38 for activating and deactivating the display 12. The switch may be a push-button, toggle, rocker, or other switch mounted for independent activation/deactivation, or may be mounted in a configuration suitable for activation by the acts of lifting or carrying the bag by the handles. Alternatively, a motion-activated switch may also be used.

Additional display alternatives may also be used in order to provide the display output desired for a particular application. Preferably, the display insert 28, as shown in the simplified schematic view of FIG. 4, includes one or more display elements 40, a power supply 36, and a switch 38. Of course, the display insert may be may be implemented in various forms for integration with a suitable bag. For example, the display elements 40 may include LEDs (as in FIG. 4), which may be arranged using innumerable configurations, sizes, and colors. Other display elements such as audio circuit components may by also be used in the display insert in order to provide audio output to the display. The display elements 40 may alternatively include radio frequency components such as transmitters, receivers, and RFID tags, providing a display which may be perceived at a location remote from the bag itself, instead of, or in addition to, a locally perceived display. An example of a more complex display insert 28 is shown in the simplified schematic diagram of FIG. 5, in which, display elements 40 are shown connected to a charge storage element(s) 36, which may include for example, batteries and capacitors. Additional circuit components shown in FIG. 5 include charging elements 50 and associated control circuitry 52. In this example a piezoelectric generator 54 is shown operably coupled to an energy conditioning circuit 56 in order to charge the charge element 36 with energy generated by the relative movement of piezoelectric elements (not shown) of the piezoelectric generator 54. Another example of a charging element is shown at reference numeral 58, illustrating a photovoltaic generator also operably coupled to the energy conditioning circuit 56 in order to charge the charge storage element 36 from available ambient light. Another example of a charging element is shown similarly connected, a radio frequency (RF) generator 60.

Methods for manufacturing electronic display inserts 28 for integration into bags 10 according to the invention may be adapted without undue experimentation from circuit manufacturing techniques familiar to those reasonably skilled in the relevant arts. Preferably, the display elements 40, such as LEDs 34, may be incorporated into display inserts by the use of a display element matrix 70, as shown in FIG. 6. The display element matrix 70 and associated circuitry included on the display insert, e.g., power supply 36, switch 38, and in some cases charging element 50, are preferably provided in a readily mass-produced display insert 28. Display elements, LEDs 34 for example, may then be inserted into the display element matrix 70 at desired display element locations 72 based on the configuration required for a particular application. Unused display element locations 72 are preferably left empty. Suitable attachment points such as clips 74 to hold wires may be used to route power from the charge storage element 36 to the display elements, e.g., LED 34 in this example. Current limiting resistors R may also be provided for ready connection as needed for particular display elements. Thus, particular advantages accrue to this exemplary assembly method, providing readily customizable integrated displays 12.

An example of a preferred embodiment of a display 12 configuration showing a variation of the light-transmitting windows 32 is shown in FIG. 7. A number of light guides 33, such as optical fibers made from glass, plastic, or a combination thereof, are used in association with one or more illuminated display elements such as LEDs 34. The light guides 33 may be used to direct light from the source, e.g., LED 34, to one or more display 12 locations remote from the associated source location at the display insert 28, and may be used to form a desired display 12 such as for example, patterns, lettering, symbols, pictures, or logos.

It should also be appreciated by those skilled in the arts that the display integrated into the bag may include additional electronic technology such as radio frequency (RF) communications devices or tags. Examples of such uses include the use of RFID tags to track the bag itself, and the use of RFID technology to keep an inventory of the bag contents, using circuitry included in the display or display insert in concert with suitably tagged items placed in the bag.

A method for integrating a display into a bag is shown in FIG. 8. In this example, thermoplastic bag manufacturing machinery (not part of the invention) is used to provide a bag 10 having a pouch 30 for receiving a display insert 28. In the case of an illuminated display, the pouch preferably includes a light-emitting window 32. A display insert 28 is prepared separately according to suitable electronic circuit or chemical luminescent manufacturing methods, and is introduced into the pouch 30, preferably subsequent to the formation of the bag 10 sides. Preferably, the bag pouch 30 is then sealed, the handles 26 are formed, and the individual bags 10 are singulated using thermal pressing and die cutting techniques familiar in the bag manufacturing arts. Those reasonably skilled in the relevant arts will appreciate that the bag 10 with integrated display(s) 12 may be cost-effectively and efficiently manufactured using adaptations of circuit manufacturing techniques and bag manufacturing techniques and equipment. Although separate bag and display manufacturing processes are used in the preferred implementations of the present invention, the invention may also be practiced using manufacturing processes in which the bag and integrated display(s), such as electronic displays and associated circuitry, are more closely combined, for example incorporating the circuitry into layers of the bag during the manufacture of the bag itself.

There are many examples of display and display insert variations that may be used to implement a bag with one or more integrated displays, and all possible variations of embodiments cannot and need not be shown herein. In addition to the exemplary electronic displays described thus far, luminescent chemical and various other chemical display elements may also be used. Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, examples of bags 10 with integrated display inserts 28 consisting of luminescent chemical elements 80 are shown. The luminescent chemical elements 80 are preferably flexible, generally tubular, inserts containing suitable luminescent chemicals, and may be permanently incorporated into the bag sides e.g. 18, as shown in FIG. 9. Particularly when using bags made from plastics, the luminescent chemical elements 80 may preferably be positioned in pouches 30 having light-emitting windows 32 and secured during the bag manufacturing process, using heated presses, for example. The user of the bag may subsequently activate the display(s) by hyperflexing of the luminescent chemical elements at the appropriate time. In some alternative embodiments for which reusability is desired, pouches in the sides of the bag may be provided with the necessary opening(s) for removing and replacing spent luminescent chemical elements. As shown in FIG. 10, the handles 26 of the bag 10 may alternatively be made using luminescent chemical elements 80 secured to opposite sides, e.g., 18, (20, FIG. 1) of the bag 10. In such instances, the luminescent chemical elements 80 are preferably reinforced such that they are sufficiently strong to support a selected anticipated load to be borne in the bag 10. Similarly, the attachment of the handles 26 to the sides 18, of the bag 10 may be reinforced using gussets 79 according to preselected load values.

Alternative embodiments of bags with integrated chemical luminescent displays can be understood with reference to FIG. 11. As illustrated, luminescent chemical elements 80 may be provided in the form of straight tubes 81 joined by a crosspiece segment 83. Attachment of the straight tubes 81 to the front 18 or back side (not shown) of the bag 10 may be implemented using adhesives 85 and/or press fittings 87 or other suitable means adapted to applicable manufacturing processes. Similarly, attachment of the crosspiece segment 83 to the tubes 81 may be made using suitable manufacturing techniques. Presently, substantially straight tube luminescent chemical elements 80, 81 are preferred over those with significant curvature due to the comparative simplicity of their manufacture.

Close-up detail views shown in FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate further alternative examples of configurations and techniques for providing chemical display elements for bags with integrated chemical displays incorporated into the handles. Generally, the chemical display elements 80 double as the bag handles 26. Preferably, the display elements are concentric plastic tubes containing chemical components which may be mixed in order to form a luminescent chemical compound. As known in the art, mixing is performed by hyperflexing the tubes so that the inner concentric tube ruptures and releases its contents into the outer concentric tube. As shown in FIG. 12 and FIG. 13, the concentric tube display element 80 (which doubles as a handle 26), is manufactured with a protective body 82 to prevent hyperflexing of the display element 80 during manufacturing, transporting, storage, and handling. The protective body 82 is preferably plastic left attached to the chemical display element 80 during the manufacturing process, such as plastic injection molding. The protective body 82 may be situated inside the chemical display element 80 as in FIG. 12, or outside the display element 80, as in FIG. 13, or in a combination or other configuration (not shown), depending on manufacturing processes used. Preferably, tabs 84 sufficient to secure the display element 80 to the protective body 82 are provided, and can be readily removed prior to use of the bag. Preferably, a support tab 86 is also used to retain the display element 80/handle 26 in the desired shape. The support tab 86 may be incorporated into the bag during assembly of the bag and display element(s) into an integrated unit. As shown, alignment apertures 88 may be used, in the protective body 82 (FIG. 12), or in the support tab 86 (FIG. 13), for convenience in handling bags during manufacture, shipping, or other pre-use processes.

In addition to luminescent chemical displays, dispersible chemical displays 90, shown in FIG. 14 may also be used without departure from the principles of the invention. For example, perfume scents or insect repellants may be provided in manner similar to that shown and described for luminescent chemical compound components, as long as a path is provided for a suitable degree of chemical dispersal from the dispersible chemical display. For example, a fracturable aperture 92 may be provided on the dispersible chemical display element 90 such that it becomes fractured by hyperflexion of the display element 90, beginning a slow release of the contents of the dispersible chemical display element 90. It is contemplated that a support tab 86 may be used. An absorbent material may be used for the support tab 86 or may be added, or may be omitted in the event an absorbent bag material is used along with a suitably small fracturable aperture 92 in order to prevent excessive leakage.

The methods and apparatus of the invention provide one or more advantages including but not limited to, providing enhanced bag displays using cost-effective manufacturing methods, providing illuminated bags for increased safety of nighttime users, and providing bags with advanced display features beyond the capabilities of the present art. While the invention has been described with reference to certain illustrative embodiments, those described herein are not intended to be construed in a limiting sense. For example, variations or combinations of steps or materials in the embodiments shown and described may be used in particular cases without departure from the invention. Various modifications and combinations of the illustrative embodiments as well as other advantages and embodiments of the invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the arts upon reference to the drawings, description, and claims.