Title:
Armband light
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An armband light that includes an armband light section with a flat, flexible light and a power source forming one end of an armband. The flat, flexible light is wrapable about a user's arm or other limb. An armband spring section includes a planar wrap spring and forms another end of the armband. A fastener fastens the armband light section and the armband spring section together to secure the armband light to a user's arm.



Inventors:
Kemery, Michael C. (Portland, OR, US)
Plocher, Barry M. (Portland, OR, US)
Application Number:
10/964169
Publication Date:
04/13/2006
Filing Date:
10/12/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/267
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IPSOLON, LLP (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
1. An armband light, comprising: an armband light section with a flat, flexible light and a power source forming one end of an armband, the flat, flexible light being wrapable about a user's arm or other limb; an armband spring section with a planar wrap spring forming another end of the armband to engage the user's arm or other limb under compression; and a fastener for fastening the armband light section and the armband spring section together.

2. The armband light of claim 1 in which the flat, flexible light is an electroluminescent light panel.

3. The armband light of claim 1 in which the planar wrap spring is a snap-wrap spring.

4. The armband light of claim 1 in which the planar wrap spring forms only a partly open loop.

5. The armband light of claim 1 further comprising a frame that covers and supports the periphery of the flat, flexible light, the frame including on its surface a reflective material to reflect light.

6. The armband light of claim 1 further comprising a resilient section attached between the armband light section and the armband spring section.

7. An armband light, comprising: an armband light section with an electroluminescent light panel and a power source forming one end of an armband, the electroluminescent light panel being wrapable about a user's arm or other limb; an armband spring section with a planar snap-wrap spring forming another end of the armband; and a fastener for fastening the armband light section and the armband spring section together.

8. The armband light of claim 7 further comprising a resilient section attached between the armband light section and the armband spring section.

9. The armband light of claim 7 further comprising a frame that covers and supports the periphery of the flat, flexible light, the frame including on its surface a reflective material to reflect light.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to safety lights for people engaged in activities in low-light conditions in the presence of hazardous equipment and, in particular, to an armband that includes such a light.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

People participate in many work- and recreation-related activities in low-light or dark conditions despite the presence of potentially dangerous machinery or equipment, including automobiles, which are operated by other people. In many of these activities the safety of participants is at least partly dependent on their being seen by the equipment operators or drivers. For purposes of illustration the following description refers to generally recreational activities such as walking or running outdoors where automobiles pose the primary hazard. It will be appreciated, however, that the description would be similarly applicable to any activities that occur in low-light conditions in the presence of equipment operated by others.

Runners and walkers commonly increase their visibility to motorists in low-light or dark conditions by wearing light- or bright-colored clothing, or reflective items such as reflective vests, bands, patches, etc. Light- or bright-colored clothing and reflective items are generally passive in that they rely on ambient or other light sources to provide increased visibility. Generally reflective items are only effective when illuminated from a narrow range of directions and when the observer is in narrow range of viewing positions. If either the illumination angle or the viewing position is outside it's narrow range, reflective items fail to provide their characteristic bright reflectance.

Accordingly, the present invention provides an armband light that includes an armband light section with a flat, flexible light and a power source forming one end of an armband. The flat, flexible light is wrapable about a user's arm or other limb. An armband spring section includes a planar wrap spring and forms another end of the armband. A fastener fastens the armband light section and the armband spring section together to secure the armband light to a user's arm.

The planar wrap spring is characterized as having a spring bias that wraps toward or around itself within a single plane. The wrapping of the planar wrap spring within a single plane is distinguished from a conventional helical spring in which spring coils extend over a range of multiple planes. The planar wrap spring is sized to fit around a user's arm or other limb under compression and may form a partial loop (e.g., C-shaped), or a complete or overlapping loops the wrap around a user's arm.

The armband light of the present invention provides active illumination that increases the safety of the user in low-light or dark conditions. The armband light is compact, lightweight, and unobtrusive and compatible with a wide range of activities including walking, running, etc. The flexible light wraps around the user's arm to provide active illumination in a very wide range of directions.

Additional description and implementations of the present invention will be apparent from the detailed description of the preferred embodiment thereof, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an armband light of the present invention on user's arm.

FIGS. 2A and 2B are fragmentary front views of the armband light.

FIGS. 3A and 3B are fragmentary rear views of the armband light.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a snap wrap spring in its flat and rolled configurations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-3 illustrate an armband light 10 that fits upon a user's arm 11 or other limb to provide illumination indicating presence of the user. For example, armband light 10 could be worn by a jogger or walker in low-light or night-time conditions to increase visibility to motorists or others. It will be appreciated that such uses are merely exemplary and in no way limit that scope or use of armband light 10.

Armband light 10 includes a light section 12 with a light source 14 (indicated by dashed lines in FIG. 2A), such as a flexible electro-luminescent flat light panel or other flat and flexible light source, that is secured between a flexible backing panel 16 (FIG. 3A) and a front frame 18 (FIG. 2A) with an opening 20. Frame 18 holds edges of light source 14 so that light generated by it is visible through opening 20, which may include a transparent cover, a translucent cover, or no cover. In one implementation, frame 18 is secured to backing panel 16 by stitching. It will be appreciated, however, that frame 18 may be secured to backing panel 16 with adhesives, bonding, welding, etc. Frame 18 may optionally include a reflective surface to reflect light incident upon it from other sources.

Light section 12 includes a case 22 that contains a battery (not shown) for powering light source 14 and a user-operable switch 24 with which the user turns light source 14 on and off. Switch 24 controls a circuit for delivering electrical power to light source 14 in a conventional manner known in the art. Case 22 includes a battery access panel 26 for accessing and replacing the battery. A tab 28 with a fastener 30 (FIG. 3A) extends from case 22.

In one implementation, switch 24 is positioned on a front face of case 22, and battery access panel 26 is a rotating-type panel that is positioned on a rear face of case 22. In this implementation fastener 30 is either hooks or loops (e.g., hooks) of a hook and loop fastener material (e.g., Velcro®) that faces in the direction of the rear face of case 22.

A spring section 34 includes a planar wrap spring 36 (FIG. 2B, outlined in dashed lines) contained between a fastener 37 that is complementary to fastener 30 (e.g., a strip of loops of a hook and loop fastener) and a flexible backing panel 38. Fastener 37 is positioned on a front side to mate and connect with complementary fastener 30. For example, fastener 37 and backing panel 38 are secured together to contain spring 36, such as by stitching, adhesives, bonding, welding, etc. A resilient (e.g., elastic) section 40 may be connected between light section 12 and spring section 34.

Planar wrap spring 36 is characterized by having a spring bias that wraps toward or around itself within a single plane. The wrapping of planar wrap spring 36 within a single plane is distinguished from a conventional helical spring in which spring coils extend over a range of multiple planes. Planar wrap spring 36 is sized to fit around at least part of a user's arm under compression and may formed as a partial loop (e.g., C-shaped), or a complete or overlapping loop the wraps around the user's arm.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate one implementation in which planar wrap spring 36 is a snap-wrap spring 36A that has a stable straight state or configuration (shown in a plane view in FIG. 4) and a stable wrapped state (shown in a side view in FIG. 5). In its straight state, snap-wrap spring 36A is generally flat and elongate and has a slight curvature in a direction 42 transverse (e.g., perpendicular) to and along its length 44. Snap-wrap spring 36A may be snapped to its wrapped state merely by a user flattening the curve at any point along the length. Snap-wrap spring 36A may be straightened into its straight state merely by a user unwrapping spring 36A until the curve across its length holds it straight.

Armband light 10 provides active illumination that increases the safety of the user in low-light or dark conditions. Armband light 10 is compact, lightweight, and unobtrusive and compatible with a wide range of activities including walking, running, etc. Flexible light source 14 wraps around the user's arm to provide active illumination in a very wide range of directions.

In view of the many possible embodiments to which the principles of our invention may be applied, it should be recognized that the detailed embodiments are illustrative only and should not be taken as limiting the scope of our invention. Rather, we claim as our invention all such embodiments as may come within the scope and spirit of the following claims and equivalents thereto.





 
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