Title:
Lighted picture frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A picture frame illuminated and decorated by several LEDs, distributed along the face of parallel sides, as well as top and bottom of the picture frame and controlled by software, which is programmed into a micro-controller. The lighted picture frame comprises of a printed circuit board, a motion detector element, a light sensor element, a push button, battery compartment, one or more one-color, bi-color or tri-color LED independently or collectively connected to printed circuit board by wires, or by printed wires. A current limiting resistor network is connected in series with LEDs. Electronic circuit is powered by a DC power source, which can be either battery or a DC adapter. LEDs flash and illuminate in different patterns and sequences controlled by software. LEDs are individually or collectively controlled by software, making it possible to create a variety of light and pattern combinations. Either the motion detector element or the push button can wake up the controller from sleep mode and restart program flow for a duration specified by software, before the micro-controller goes to sleep mode again. Frame can come in different shape, size and material such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, foam or any combination of different materials, and can be covered and decorated with different shapes and materials such as leather, aluminum, glass, ceramic, metal, etc. The illuminated frame has all elements found in a basic picture frame, such as easel back plate, transparent plate, etc. Printed circuit board and battery can be installed in a compartment within the body of the picture frame, covered by the back plate.



Inventors:
Moshirnoroozi, Masoud (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/243420
Publication Date:
03/18/2004
Filing Date:
09/16/2002
Assignee:
MOSHIRNOROOZI MASOUD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/768
International Classes:
A47G1/06; (IPC1-7): A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Masoud Moshirnoroozi (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A lighted picture frame comprising: I. A frame, including a flange and a border, defining interior viewing area. II. A set of at least one LED (Light Emitting Diode), distributed evenly or unevenly alongside the front face of the frame, in a single arrangement or in groups, which are controlled and driven by a micro-controller device under control of software programmed into the micro-controller. III. A printed circuit board comprising a micro-controller and a battery holder, mounted in a compartment inside the body of the frame. IV. A motion detector device, exposed through a window on the front face of the picture frame, intended to sense and detect motion near the picture frame and to wake up the micro-controller from sleep mode when a motion detected. V. A windowed easel back plate wherein a hinged leg is attached to the center window as a stand for the picture frame. VI. Wires or printed wires connecting LEDs and other electronic components to the printed circuit board. VII. A transparent plate to hold the display item between the flange and the back plate. VIII. Frame covering and decorations provided on or around the front face of the picture frame.

2. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, LEDs may be of any combination and of any type including but not limited to one-color, bi-color or tri-color, and come in any color combination, including but not limited to red, green, amber, yellow, blue.

3. A lighted picture frame according to claim 2, wherein, each LED is exposed on the face of the frame and wired from the rear, and routed to the printed circuit board through a trench opening provided on the back of the frame.

4. A lighted picture frame according to claim 2, wherein, quantity of LEDs may only be limited by available space on the picture frame and also may be limited by drive capability and pin availability of electronic components in the circuit.

5. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the motion detector can be replaced with a push button or the push button can be added as an extra feature to manually wake up the micro-controller from sleep mode or otherwise put it back into sleep mode. The push button mounted on the printed circuit board is accessible and exposed from the back of the frame.

6. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the motion detector can be replaced with a light sensor such as a photocell, or a light sensor can be added as an extra feature, to prevent the micro-controller from waking up when the light intensity is higher than some specified level, such as in a high lighted environment or in the outside day light to save more battery energy.

7. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the printed circuit board comprises of micro-controller, LED connections, push button if any, resistor network, motion detector connection, light sensing device connection if any, battery holder, Lithium coin battery and battery connection when an external battery holder is used.

8. A lighted picture frame according to claim 7, wherein, the micro-controller is controlled by software, which is embedded and programmed into the controller and different versions of the embedded code, virtually are capable of creating unlimited variety of light patterns and sequences.

9. A lighted picture frame according to claim 7, wherein, a PLD (Programmable Logic Device) or ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) or any other device capable of providing electrical current and creating patterns and sequences of light and flashing, is being used instead of a micro-controller.

10. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the battery holder is external to the printed circuit board in a different embodiment and mounted in a compartment inside the body of the frame, instead of being mounted on the printed circuit board. This is the case when higher quantity of LEDs are used, and therefore more power is required.

11. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the wires or printed wires are laid and routed inside a trench opening alongside the back of the frame under the back plate, which is providing a routing path for connections between LEDs or other electronic components and the printed circuit board.

12. A lighted picture frame according to claim 11, wherein, electrical connections between wires and other electronic elements including the printed circuit board and LEDs, may be made by direct soldering, wire wrapping or by any other appropriate connectors and connections.

13. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the frame comprises a flange formed on a rear face thereof, for holding a display item such as a picture or a mirror between the transparent plate and the back plate in the interior viewing area. The flange may have a rectangular geometric shape or any other regular or irregular shape.

14. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, a back plate is windowed at the border of viewing area and covers entire frame on the back side, including battery compartment if any and covers the printed circuit board housing. The access window to viewing area is attached to the back plate at one edge which is bendable or hinged and detached from the back plate on other three edges and can be fixed to the back plate by turn buttons mounted on the back plate and provides access to the space designated for receiving a display item viewable in the interior viewing area of the frame.

15. A lighted picture frame according to claim 14, wherein, a different kind of back plate in a different embodiment is windowed at the border of viewing area and covers only the frame from the back side, including battery compartment if any and covers the printed circuit board housing. A separate back piece with a corresponding size and shape of the viewing area is attached to the internal walls of the viewing area by turn buttons mounted on the said separate back piece, and with the hinged leg attached to the said separate back piece.

16. A lighted picture frame according to claim 14, wherein, a battery access window, is provided on the back plate to access battery compartment, for replacing batteries when needed. The battery access window is attached to the back plate at one edge which can be bendable or hinged and detached from the back plate on other three edges and can be fixed to the back plate by a turn button mounted on the back plate.

17. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the picture frame comprises a transparent plate receivable in the flange of the frame, between the frame and the back plate, for holding a display item between transparent plate and the back plate inside the interior viewing area.

18. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the frame has a predetermined geometric shape, and wherein the back plate and the transparent plate have a respective corresponding or complementary shape.

19. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the frame may come in any combination of shape, size, color and may be composed of any material or any combination of materials such as wood, molded plastic, aluminum, glass, ceramic, etc.

20. A lighted picture frame according to claim 1, wherein, the frame may have a decorative pattern formed on the face of the frame or the border thereof, which can have any shape or size and can be composed of any material or any combination of materials such as wood, molded plastic, aluminum, glass, ceramic, etc. The frame may have a decorating covering such as leather, aluminum, glass, etc., instead of or along with the aforementioned decorative pattern formed on the face of the frame.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention generally relates to display devices. More specifically, the present invention relates to a new lighted picture frame where a set of LEDs, mounted and distributed along the face of a decorated picture frame, are illuminated under control of software, to create colorful and attractive patterns and sequences of light and to attract the attention of viewers.

[0003] 2. Related Art

[0004] Picture frames are well known and used everywhere. Also light shows and light decorations exist in many applications and places, such as signs, displays, Christmas lightings and so on.

[0005] There are also display devices, which have combined picture frames with lights. However, prior designs are intended to somehow and by some means to illuminate the display item itself, and they are designed to accommodate other specific applications than this application, while the intention of this invention is to provide some means to light and decorate the frame itself with a newer fashion and technology. It is desirable to provide an improved and more advanced display device, which converts a conventional picture frame into an attractive lighted artwork.

[0006] Majority of lighted displays consume higher current and therefore use larger batteries, which lasts for only a short period of time and makes them impractical. In some other cases they use direct connection to power source through a DC adapter or direct plug-in into wall outlet, while the entire electronic circuit and battery cell of this invention fits on a printed circuit board as small as two quarters, making it possible to install the printed circuit board in a small compartment on the back of a picture frame. Use of low current and high intensity LED,s makes this invention very practical as a manufacturing and marketing point of view.

[0007] This invention specifically is different in that, it can be used to light up and decorate a vast variety of existing picture frame types with colored flashing lights in different patterns and create fashion art in picture frame industry, combining light and artwork, making picture frames more attractive. This invention also employs the most recent technology available today in the field of embedded controllers which minimizes parts count, power consumption, placement and space considerations and makes it cost effective and profitable for manufacturing purposes and makes it possible to operate the electronics with only two Lithium coin batteries for a long time. This newer technology, which combines a variety of features involving both software and hardware, along with other features such as motion detector and light sensor, wakeup and sleep mode with time control, and use of laser diode in some applications, plus software versatility for future improvements, makes this invention distinctive from other lighted displays. U.S. Pat. No. 5,412,887 granted to James R. Layne on May 9, 1995 is specifically intended for holding consumer products such as: video tape, audio tape and the like. In Layne's invention, a large external battery compartment is used as a supporting base and holds larger batteries with higher quantities, which makes it impractical for being used in a picture frame, while the current invention is a conventional picture frame combined with light, which is not a holder, and uses small batteries inside the body of the frame instead. Another difference is that, in Layne's invention, the backing piece holds the lighting elements, while in the current invention, LEDs are directly inserted into the holes provided on the frame itself, which makes it possible for many frame manufacturers to easily modify their existing processes to accommodate this feature, by adding holes to frames for installing LED,s and to providing small compartment for printed circuit board on the back of frame. Although there are some similarities between Layne's invention and the present invention, however, these two inventions have been designed for two different purposes. Unfortunately, details of circuit control module in Layne's application is not revealed and circuit diagram is not provided, otherwise, it would be easy to show that circuit elements and configuration of electronic components would be totally different from the present invention in that the whole electronic control circuit in the present invention only consists of a very small in size and extremely low power consumption micro-controller and one small resistor network in a preferred embodiment, all of which fit onto a small printed circuit board. U.S. Pat. No. 6,420,008 issued to Edward D. Lewis and Raymond W. Leung on Jul. 16, 2002 is also designed for a totally different application, even though in the control circuit, it has some similarities with the present invention. U.S. Pat. No. 4,942,685 issued to Ling-Yung Lin on Jul. 24, 1990 is different from the present invention in that the lights are a hidden illumination loop, hiding behind the front cover and intended to illuminate the display item itself, as well as different control circuit with different features being used thereof. U.S. Pat. No. 5,111,606 issued to Randy B. Reynolds, on May 12, 1992 has some similarities with the present invention, still it has been designed for a different application and with different features.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention relates to a lighted picture frame comprising several colored LEDs, which are controlled by a micro-controller mounted on a printed circuit board. LED,s are uniformly or non-uniformly distributed along the face of a frame, combined with decoration and artwork of conventional picture frames, creating a novel and attractive lighted picture frame. LEDs can be in different colors or any combination of colors and types. In some applications, laser diode can also be used in combination or instead of LED. In the preferred embodiment, a motion detector is used which is installed in the body of the frame and exposed to motion through a window provided thereof. The entire electronic circuit can be the size of two adjacent quarters and the battery can be installed on the aforementioned printed circuit board and can be as small as a Lithium coin battery, depending on the size of picture frame and quantity of LEDs used. In one aspect, lighted picture frame of the present invention has a motion detector, in which the lights will be turned on only when somebody has been moving nearby or passed by the said frame, triggering the circuit. This will prevent unnecessary power consumption and lengthen battery life.

[0009] In another aspect, a light sensor is provided, which can be adjusted to turn the lights on, only in dark or at night, when there is no sun shine and when light intensity is lower than some specified level in a lighted room or environment, a feature, which can be combined with motion detector to save the power even more.

[0010] In another aspect, a push button option, which can be combined with other options, is provided to arbitrarily turn the circuit on when needed, for only a duration of time that is specified by software embedded into the micro-controller. In another aspect, a jack is provided to connect a DC adapter instead of using a battery or along with a battery.

[0011] In another aspect, the frame comprises a flange and front border, defining an interior viewing area. The aforementioned lighted picture frame further comprises a windowed back plate along with a transparent plate securely receivable in the flange for holding a display item, such as a picture, between the transparent plate and the back plate, where the item may be viewed in the interior viewing area. In another aspect, a printed circuit board comprising a micro-controller, a resistor network and all necessary connections to LEDs and other components, is mounted inside a compartment on the back of the frame.

[0012] Yet in another aspect, in case where battery is not mounted on printed circuit board a battery holder is mounted inside a compartment on the back of the frame.

[0013] Use of low current and high intensity LED,s will provide flashing patterns that is even viewable in the day light, creating a fascinating and wonderful feeling and converting a conventional picture frame into an artwork which attracts the attention of viewers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is the front and sectional side view of the preferred embodiment of Lighted Picture Frame assembly according to the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 2 is the rear view of Lighted Picture Frame assembly of FIG. 1. For the purpose of clarity, the back plate is shown separately.

[0016] FIG. 3 is the rear view of the easel back plate.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the control circuit and an alternate arrangement of LED for Lighted Picture Frame of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] The present invention will be more readily understood from the detail description of the preferred embodiment. No limitation of the scope of the invention is assumed. Figures are not on scale. In FIG. 1 through FIG. 4, like or similar reference numbers represent like or corresponding elements and features in all drawings.

[0019] Reference numbers of figures are listed below:

[0020] 1—Picture Frame body

[0021] 2—Flower decorating element

[0022] 3—LED

[0023] 4—Viewing area

[0024] 5—Back Plate

[0025] 6—Easel Leg Joint

[0026] 7—Easel Leg

[0027] 8—Screw

[0028] 9—Hinge

[0029] 10—Push Button

[0030] 11—Battery Holder

[0031] 12—Battery

[0032] 13—Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

[0033] 14—Turn Button

[0034] 15—Micro-controller

[0035] 16—Resistor Network

[0036] 17—Light Sensor

[0037] 18—Motion Detector

[0038] 19—Standoff

[0039] 20—Trench

[0040] 21—Hole for LED legs

[0041] 22—Wires

[0042] 23—Flange

[0043] 24—LED leg

[0044] 25—Access window

[0045] FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are front and rear view of the present invention. For the sake of clarity, on FIG. 2 the back plate is shown separately. As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the lighted picture frame generally includes frame (1), decorating element (2), LED (3), back plate (5), stand (7), light sensor (17), motion detector (18), wires (22) and printed circuit board assembly (13).

[0046] In this embodiment, total of 8 LED,s (3) are mounted in the center of 8 decorating flowers (2) mounted onto frame body (1). It is readily appreciated that any number and type of LED,s and any number and type of decorating elements may be used.

[0047] Display items, such as a picture is receivable in the viewing area (4) between transparent plate and back plate, while seating on the flange (23), which is a seat for receiving transparent plate and display item. The flange (23) can have any geometric shape with transparent plate having corresponding or complementary shape.

[0048] Sectional cut-out AA shows details of electronic elements mounted on the printed circuit board (13) as well as back plate (5) and easel leg (7).

[0049] The printed circuit board (13) is screwed to the frame body (1), by two screws (8), and by using standoff (19).

[0050] A turn button (14) is provided to fix the access window (25) to the back plate (5), and also serves as a handle to lift the access window (25), when battery needs to be replaced.

[0051] Push button (10), which is mounted on the printed circuit board (13) acts as a toggle switch. This push button is exposed from the rear of the frame through a window and is accessible by user when intending to manually wake up the processor (15) from sleep mode and start program flow, turning the lights on and flashing LED,s (3). Pressing the push button (10) for the second time, will turn the lights off and will put the Micro-controller (15) in sleep mode.

[0052] Micro-controller (15) is mounted on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) (13). A PLD (Programmable Logic Device) or ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) device or any other device, which is capable of providing current to lights, may be used instead of micro-controller (15).

[0053] A resistor network (16) is also mounted on the PCB (13) to limit the current provided to LED,s (3).

[0054] Light Sensor (17) is exposed to light through a window provided on the face of the frame. Motion Detector (18) is also exposed to motion through a window provided on the front face of the frame (1) to wake up the controller (15) from sleep mode when an object is moving nearby. After the duration set by the software programmed into the micro-controller (15), all lights turn off and processor (15) goes to sleep mode again. The light sensor (17), which is exposed to light from the front or side of the frame, is also provided to further prevent the processor from running during the day light when environment light intensity is higher than some specified level, saving battery life even more. A battery holder (11) is soldered on the PCB (13) to hold a replaceable Lithium coin battery (12). Hinge (9) and turn button (14) are provided on a windowed portion of the back plate (5) which can be lifted and make it possible to access battery (12) and replace the battery when needed.

[0055] An easel leg (7) is attached to the back plate (5) through joint (6) to provide a stand for the picture frame.

[0056] LED legs (24) are brought to the back of the frame through the holes (21). LED,s (3) and other electronic devices are routed to the PCB (13) by wires (22) which are laid inside a trench (20) provided inside the body, on the back side of the frame (1) under back plate (5). In this embodiment, wires (22) are soldered to printed circuit board (13). However, connectors or other means can be used to attach the wires to the PCB (13). In this embodiment, wires (22) are wire-wrapped to LED legs (24), however, they can be soldered or attached by some other means. Printed Circuit wire may be used instead of wire (22).

[0057] FIG. 4 is a typical schematic diagram of the control module in the present invention as shown in FIG. 1. Depending on certain application, a different variation of the schematic diagram may be used.

[0058] It is understood that the invention is not limited to what is disclosed and considered to be the preferred embodiment. The present invention is intended to cover equivalent arrangements and various options included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. The scope of claims presented in the present invention, are to be accorded the broadest interpretation to encompass all modifications and structures used in certain applications.

[0059] Frame (1) may be provided with a pattern using a conventional technique, including any one or a combination of molding, painting, etching and the like. Lighted picture frame may be designed and be adapted to any special occasion and application.





 
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