Title:
Talking cigarette lighter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a butane lighter that is equipped with a sound generating integrated circuit. This IC has a programmed memory or ROM that contains the greeting, and which is played when the user contacts a switch. There is a small battery or power source and an audio transducer (i.e., speaker), that are all incorporated into the body of the lighter. In one embodiment, the switch is associated with the lighter's thumb lever, so that the greeting plays whenever the user lights the flame. In other possible embodiments, the switch can be on the body of the lighter, so that it can play the greeting when the lighter is picked up, without having to actually light the flame. In one version of this, the switch can be a capacitive or similar proximity switch.



Inventors:
Jager-muench, Jacqueline J. (Baldwinsville, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/768884
Publication Date:
10/25/2001
Filing Date:
01/24/2001
Assignee:
JAGER-MUENCH JACQUELINE J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F23Q2/32; (IPC1-7): F23Q2/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ODLAND, KATHRYN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HANCOCK & ESTABROOK, LLP (Syracuse, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A lighter, comprising: a. a casing having an interior; b. a sound generation integrated circuit mounted within said casing; C. a transducer electrically connected to said integrated circuit; d. a power supply electrically connected to said integrated circuit; e. a storage mechanism electrically connected to said integrated circuit; and f. means for triggering said integrated circuit.

2. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said triggering means is a lever mounted to said casing and electrically connected to said integrated circuit.

3. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said triggering means is a proximity switch electrically connected to a proximity electrode that is mounted to said casing and electrically connected to said integrated circuit.

4. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said lighter is refillable.

5. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said lighter is disposable.

6. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said storage mechanism is a ROM.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/177,643, filed Jan. 24, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field Of Invention

[0003] The present invention generally relates to novelty cigarette lighters, and more particularly to standard cigarette lighters having sound generating capabilities.

[0004] 2. Description Of Prior Art

[0005] At present, there are many types of cigarette and cigar lighters, most of which are inexpensive, and may be either disposable or refillable butane-fueled devices. These lighters are often carried by smokers, and are frequently also carried by non-smokers either as a means for lighting a fire or as a convenience for friends who are smokers. There are also many small, inexpensive sounding devices, i.e., devices such as greeting cards, toys, Christmas ornaments or the like, that use commercially available synthetic speech chips or audio integrated circuits to produce a short sound segment, which may include musical notes or a spoken greeting.

[0006] It is also the case that many persons who would choose to stop smoking have a great deal of trouble doing so, largely because the force of habit is strong. Devices that could assist a smoker in remembering not to smoke when he or she is in a smoking situation could perhaps make a significant difference. This can be dome by providing an audible message when the smoker lights the cigarette, the message being either one of alarm, or humor, or disgust.

[0007] It is also sometimes desirable to incorporate a personal message that can be conveyed in a spoken message from a lighter, e.g., as a Valentine or birthday greeting. Such lighters could be used as advertising or promotion for a business or event.

[0008] 3. Objects And Advantages

[0009] It is therefore a principal object and advantage of the present invention to provide a butane lighter that can generate a sound.

[0010] It is another object and advantage of the present invention to provide a cigarette lighter that is inexpensive to manufacture.

[0011] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will in part be obvious, and in part appear hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] In accordance with the foregoing objects and advantages, the present invention provides a butane lighter that is equipped with a sound generating integrated circuit. This IC has a programmed memory or ROM that contains the greeting, and which is played when the user contacts a switch. There is a small battery or power source and an audio transducer (i.e., speaker), that are all incorporated into the body of the lighter. In one embodiment, the switch is associated with the lighter's thumb lever, so that the greeting plays whenever the user lights the flame. In other possible embodiments, the switch can be on the body of the lighter, so that it can play the greeting when the lighter is picked up, without having to actually light the flame. In one version of this, the switch can be a capacitive or similar proximity switch.

[0013] In a preferred mode, the lighter is a “hack-attack” lighter, and the sound that is produced is like a smoker's cough or hack. This can be quite effective in discouraging smoking, and may be used as such by those trying to quit. The lighter may also simply use a spoken expression, such as “Forget about it!” or “Reject!” The lighter can also be programmed with music or singing, or can have a personal greeting, such as “I love you” or “Be my Valentine.” The sound can be that of a bell, a harmonica, or a whistle. A promotional version, which may be simply handed out by a restaurant or other business, and may be programmed with a greeting such as “Welcome to Antonio's” (e.g., Antonio's Restaurant).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an integrated circuit incorporated into a lighter; and

[0015] FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an alternate embodiment of an integrated circuit incorporated into a lighter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout, there is seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 a lighter 10, which is of a standard design (i.e., a butane cigarette lighter), having a casing 11 illustrated in broken or dash lines, and a thumb lever 12 to actuate it and cause the flame to light in the conventional manner. Lighter 10 further includes a sound generation integrated circuit 13, i.e., any commercially available synthetic speech chip, with an associated ROM 14 electrically connected thereto and on which an aural greeting is stored as a sequence of digital bytes, all mounted within casing 11.

[0017] With reference to FIG. 1, lighter 10 operates by a user depressing lever 12, thereby causing a switch 15 to close and connect integrated circuit 13 with a power supply (e.g., a low power battery) 16. Integrated circuit 13 then generates the greeting, i.e, a hacking or coughing sound in one example, and supplies this to a transducer or speaker 17 to which it is electrically connected. In the alternative arrangement illustrated in FIG. 2, integrated circuit 13 has a proximity switch circuit 18 associated therewith, which is electrically connected to a proximity electrode 19 mounted within casing 11. This arrangement may operate by body capacitance, or by actual contact with the electrode 19. In this alternate version, when a user picks up the lighter and places his or her finger adjacent to electrode 19, battery 16 energizes circuit 18 and produces the pre-recorded sound, i.e., hacking or coughing in this example. Other triggering means, such as the lever shown in FIG. 1, are also possible within the scope of this invention.

[0018] Lighter 10 may be of any desired shape or dimension, and may be one-use or refillable. Other features and frills, such as flashing LEDs, can be included as well, if desired. Lighter 10 can be adapted for the user to record his or her own message also, e.g., by pressing a separate “record” button switch 20 (See FIG. 1) and speaking into a microphone (not shown) to which it is electrically connected. The spoken words are then transmitted and processed through integrated circuit 13 and stored digitally in ROM 14.