Title:
Sighting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sighting device has an illuminating device for making a colored target available. A brightness sensor (23) is assigned to the illuminating device (6) for detecting the brightness in the target region and a programmable control unit (15) is provided via which the operation of the sighting device can be adjusted.



Inventors:
Schiller, Jurgen (Wetzlar, DE)
Burzel, Timo (Lahnau, DE)
Rompf, Thomas (Lahnau, DE)
Application Number:
10/193151
Publication Date:
01/16/2003
Filing Date:
07/12/2002
Assignee:
SCHILLER JURGEN
BURZEL TIMO
ROMPF THOMAS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41G1/30; F41G1/34; G02B23/10; (IPC1-7): F41G1/34
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070217187Portable ice chest/cooler with lightSeptember, 2007Blakely et al.
20080239726LED projection lamp for stage useOctober, 2008Cheng
20090190343INCANDESCENT LAMP APPARATUS AND HEATING APPARATUSJuly, 2009Shimonaka
20050083697Smart shadowless illumination systemApril, 2005Filep
20040037067Illumination ring alerting others of the presence of the ring wearerFebruary, 2004Elwonger
20090316382ONE LED ILLUMINATED CLUSTERDecember, 2009Birman et al.
20050157500Illumination apparatus with laser emitting diodeJuly, 2005Chen et al.
20090135610Recessed light fixture for luminous ceilingsMay, 2009Miller
20080290816Aquarium lighting deviceNovember, 2008Chen et al.
20090273933Compact High Efficient OpticNovember, 2009Woodward et al.
20090059128Prism sheet having inclined ridges and liquid crystal display using the sameMarch, 2009Han et al.



Primary Examiner:
LUU, THANH X
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walter Ottesen (Gaithersburg, MD, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A sighting device comprising: an illuminating device for providing a colored target mark; and, a programmable control unit for adjusting the operation of the sighting device.

2. The sighting device of claim 1, further comprising a brightness sensor connected to said control unit for detecting brightness in the region of the target.

3. The sighting device of claim 1, wherein said illuminating device is signal connected to said control unit; said illuminating device includes means for operating the same utilizing ambient light; and, said illuminating device further including an additional energy source or light source.

4. The sighting device of claim 2, further comprising an input unit via which data is read into said control unit.

5. The sighting device of claim 2, wherein data is supplied to said control unit via said brightness sensor.

6. The sighting device of claim 1, wherein data is supplied to said control unit via induction.

7. The sighting device of claim 2, wherein the form of the target mark is selected from the data read into said control unit.

8. The sighting device of claim 1, wherein the brightness of said target mark is adapted to the requirements of the person utilizing said sighting device via the input of data.

9. The sighting device of claim 1, further comprising means for activating a function via input of data which function indicates the exhaustion of an additional energy source or a drop below a predetermined minimum voltage.

10. The sighting device of claim 1, wherein a function is activated from inputted data so that said illuminating device for illuminating said target mark is switched off after a predetermined time span.

11. The sighting device of claim 10, wherein an operator-controlled element is provided for activating said illuminating device.

12. A method for operating a sighting device which includes an illuminating device for providing a colored target mark; and, a programmable control unit for adjusting the operation of the sighting device; the method comprising the steps of: providing a program by inputting data into said control unit; and, operating said sighting device in accordance with said program.

13. The method of claim 12, comprising the further step of causing said control unit to drive said illumination device for providing the desired brightness of said target mark.

14. The method of claim 12, comprising the further step of causing said control unit to drive said illuminating device for providing the desired form of said target mark.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein said control unit drives the various energy sources and light sources to make said target mark available with the desired brightness.

16. A method for manufacturing a sighting device including an illumination device for providing a colored target mark; and, a programmable control unit for adjusting the operation of the sighting device; the method comprising the steps of: eliminating manufacturing scattering by subjecting said sighting device to a known brightness or scene; detecting the brightness of the target mark utilizing a brightness sensor mounted at the position of the eye of the person sighting; supplying this information to said programmable control unit to obtain a value; and, adjusting said target mark to predetermined standardized brightness based on said value.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the manufacturing scattering is eliminated based on several known degrees of brightness.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to a sighting device wherein illumination is provided for making a colored target mark available.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] A beam-spot target device is disclosed in an article entitled “Der springende Punkt” in the publication “Visier”, No. 6, (1991). The red beam spot of the beam-spot target device assumes the task of the rear sight and the front sight. The shooter only has to direct the red spot onto the target and pull the trigger. Eye spacing, focusing or centering of the graticule as in a telescopic sight become unnecessary because of a different operation in a beam-spot target device.

[0003] This beam-spot target device includes an automatic light-intensity controller so that a clearly outlined point having the size of a two-mark coin can be seen on a 25 m disc in bright sunshine. In twilight, the red beam spot of the beam-spot sighting device becomes a shining star in a disadvantageous manner. This star could cover the base of a beer can.

[0004] European Patent 0,651,225 discloses a sighting device with which a colored target is imaged in the eye of the person sighting. The sighting device includes a light source which includes a luminescent material. Furthermore, the sighting device has an additional light source, which can be switched in, and a sensor. The sensor is so mounted that it is irradiated by natural light in an undisturbed manner. The in-switchable light source is operated at maximum power when high intensity of the natural light is detected. The brightness of the target mark is fixedly pregiven in dependence upon the detected brightness of the surroundings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is an object of the invention to provide a sighting device which is improved in such a manner that the nature of the target mark and the operation of the sighting device can be adapted to the individual needs of the person sighting.

[0006] The sighting device of the invention includes: an illuminating device for providing a colored target mark; and, a programmable control unit for adjusting the operation of the sighting device.

[0007] It is possible to adapt the operation of the sighting device to the needs of the person sighting by providing the sighting device with a programmable control unit.

[0008] It has been shown that different persons sighting perceive different degrees of brightness of the target as pleasing. By providing the programmable control unit, it is now possible to adapt the brightness of the target to the person sighting.

[0009] A base brightness can be inputted. Furthermore, it can be additionally provided that the person sighting can pregive a brightness range wherein the brightness of the target mark varies, for example ±25% or ±20% with reference to the base brightness.

[0010] In a preferred embodiment, the person sighting can select the form of the target mark by means of the programmable control unit.

[0011] Furthermore, it can be provided that the person sighting can preset so that an illumination is automatically switched off after a predetermined time such as 8, 15, 30 minutes or a few hours. As the programmable control unit, this illumination is provided as a component of the illuminating device and is for the illumination of the target mark.

[0012] It has been shown to be especially advantageous that the illumination of the sighting device is automatically switched off by the control unit when non-use of the sighting device is detected. The non-use can, for example, be detected by a constant value of a brightness sensor for detecting the brightness in the region of the target or by a motion sensor.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, an actuating element (preferably a press button) is provided by means of which the illumination of the target mark can be again activated.

[0014] It has been shown to be advantageous that the ambient light is used for the illumination of the target mark whereby the energy requirement of the illuminated target mark can be considerably reduced. For example, a solar cell or a light source containing luminescent material is suitable. The illuminating device is further provided with an additional energy source or a further light source so that the wanted target mark brightness can always be adjusted.

[0015] A luminescent diode has been shown to be especially suitable as an additional light source and a battery has been shown to be especially suitable as an additional energy source. The use of a rechargeable battery leads to a further reduction of the energy requirement of the sighting device because the battery can be recharged by means of the solar cell.

[0016] In a preferred embodiment of the sighting device, an input unit is provided via which the data can be read into the control device especially by the person sighting.

[0017] It has also been shown to be advantageous to use a brightness sensor as the input.

[0018] Desired data can be read in via different light signals to which different meanings are assigned in the control unit. The generation of corresponding light patterns can, for example, take place by means of an operator-controlled element which works in the manner of a remote control. It can also be provided that an LED is correspondingly driven by a PC for supplying the predetermined light sequences. The input of the data into the programmable control unit via the brightness sensor affords the advantage that no additional component is required which contributes to a cost savings. A further advantage is that the sighting device has a closed housing and therefore a dirtying of the input unit in the context of a use of the sighting device cannot occur.

[0019] Furthermore, it has been shown to be advantageous to input the data into the programmable control unit by means of induction. The signals, which are required for such a data transmission, can be generated very simply by applying current/voltage to a coil. The closed off nature of the sighting device can be maintained even with this type of transmission.

[0020] The input of data via a card (which is pulled through a slot-shaped input unit) is, however, also possible especially when an intense dirtying of the sighting device is not anticipated during use.

[0021] As an advantageous method for operating the sighting device, it has been shown that the illumination is driven by the programmable control device in dependence upon the detected brightness in the region of the target. It can be sufficient to drive the illuminating device only by means of the ambient brightness for making available the target mark with the corresponding brightness. However, it can also be necessary to switch in an additional energy source or light source to supplement the ambient brightness or to switch over to the additional light source or energy source.

[0022] It has been shown to be advantageous that a photodiode can be provided as a brightness sensor which, in the context of the manufacturing process of the sighting device, is standardized in that the brightness sensor is irradiated with known light intensities. In this way, the scattering of the photodiodes can be compensated. The signals, which belong to the respective light intensities, can be stored in the control unit.

[0023] It is, however, possible to assign a separate storage medium to the sensor by means of which a standardization of the values, which are stored by the sensor, is undertaken. The control unit can then be supplied with standardized signals.

[0024] It has been further shown to be advantageous to undertake a standardization of the entire apparatus in that a scene of known brightness is viewed via the sighting device and the brightness of the target mark is detected by means of a sensor mounted at the location of the eye of the viewer and the values, which are detected by this sensor, are supplied to the programmable control unit so long until the detected brightness of the target mark corresponds to a predetermined standard value. Preferably, various standard values for different brightnesses of the scene are predetermined. In this way, it can be ensured in a simple and cost effective manner that all sighting devices exhibit the same basic characteristics.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] The invention will now be described with reference to the drawings wherein:

[0026] FIG. 1 is a schematic of a sighting device according to an embodiment of the invention; and,

[0027] FIG. 2 is a schematic of a reflex sighting device according to another embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0028] The sighting device 1 shown in FIG. 1 is provided with a programmable control unit 15 which is a component of an illuminating arrangement 5. The sighting device 1 includes an illuminating device 6 for making available an illuminated target mark 7 as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/708,180, filed Nov. 7, 2000, incorporated herein by reference. This illuminating device 6 includes a luminous diode 10 which is mounted at the center of a cover glass 8. In the sighting device shown in FIG. 1, the lenses mounted in the sighting device are not shown for the sake of clarity.

[0029] The target mark can also be provided by means of a cover glass. A recess is introduced into the cover glass which appears as a target mark when the cover glass is peripherally illuminated. Such a peripheral illumination can be especially made available by luminescent material. Furthermore, a luminescent diode can be provided as a light source for a peripheral illumination.

[0030] In this embodiment, a solar cell 29 is provided via which the LED 10 can be driven. The LED 10 is mounted in the cover glass or on the cover glass 8. If the energy made available by the solar cell 29 is not sufficient for making available the target mark 7 with the desired brightness, then an additional battery 31 or batteries are used for making available the target mark 7 at the desired brightness. The batteries can be additional or exclusively for the illumination of the target mark 7. In this embodiment, a rechargeable battery 31 is appropriate which can be recharged by the solar cell 29. The target mark 7, which is generated in the desired brightness, is imaged into the eye 19 of the person viewing.

[0031] For the detection of the brightness in the target region, a partially transmissive layer 27 is arranged on the optical axis 21 of the sighting device 1. With this layer 27, a fraction (for example, 1% of the incident radiation) is supplied to the photo sensor 25 used as a brightness sensor.

[0032] An input unit 17 is provided for the input of data into the programmable control unit 15. The data can be read in via the input unit 17 by means of induction. With these data, the brightness and form of the target mark 7 can be matched to the individual requirements of the person viewing. Furthermore, a time duration can be defined after which the illuminating device 6 of the target mark 7 is automatically switched off. Furthermore, a selection can be made as to whether the illuminating device 6 is switched off only with a detected non-use. It can be activated so that the brightness of the target mark can be varied in a predetermined sequence when the capacity of the battery is virtually exhausted or the voltage, which is made available by the battery, drops below a predetermined threshold value.

[0033] FIG. 2 shows a reflex sighting unit 3 wherein the target mark 7 is reflected into the eye of the person sighting. In this reflex sighting unit 3, an illuminating device 6 is provided which has a luminescent material 33. The light obtained in this way is coupled into the reflex sighting unit via a light conductor 35. The illuminating device 6 further includes a light source 9 which is operated by a battery 31. The colored light, which is outputted by the illuminating device 6, is reflected at a mirror 11 in the direction of a partially transmissible mirror 13 which is reflectant at the wavelength of the light of the target mark 7. This partially reflecting mirror 13 is mounted on a lens arranged at the object end in the reflex sighting unit. Further lenses, which are provided in the reflex sighting unit are not shown for reasons of clarity. The light, which is reflected by the partially-transmissible mirror 13, is reflected into the eye 19 of the person sighting.

[0034] A brightness sensor 23 is provided for sensing the brightness in the region of the target. The values, which are generated by this brightness sensor 23, are supplied to a programmable control unit 15 via which, inter alia, the light source 9 can be driven. A sensor 24 for the detection of the light production from the luminescent material is also provided and this sensor likewise is in signal connection with the programmable control unit 15. A determination is made in the programmable control unit 15 in dependence upon the values of the sensors (23, 24) as to whether the drive of the additional light source 9 is necessary in order to be able to make the target available with the desired brightness.

[0035] The brightness sensor 23 is utilized as an input unit for inputting data into the control unit 15.

[0036] However, a separate input unit 17′ can also be provided which has the form of a slot or a connector. To prevent a dirtying of this input unit 17′, the input unit is provided with a closure 18 which can be removed for inputting data.

[0037] If the input unit 17′ is configured to have a slot shape, then the data of the control unit 15 can be read in in that a card or magnetic card is introduced through the slot.

[0038] With the reading in of data, it is possible to undertake an adaptation of the sighting device to the needs of the person sighting as described already with respect to FIG. 1.

[0039] It is understood that the foregoing description is that of the preferred embodiments of the invention and that various changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.