Title:
Aqua lighting system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aqua lighting system including a container capable of holding a fluid and a chimney in the container. The chimney extends from an inner surface of the container and includes a space capable of holding a light source, at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney. Also, methods of making and using the aqua lighting system.



Inventors:
Smith, Gregory W. (Whitehall, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/504428
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
08/15/2006
Assignee:
DHGS LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F23D3/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAMLING, SEAN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dane C. Butzer (Columbus, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lighting system, including: a container capable of holding a fluid; and a chimney in the container, with the chimney extending from an inner surface of the container, wherein the chimney includes a space capable of holding a light source; at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney.

2. A lighting system as in claim 1, further comprising the light source in the chimney, wherein the light source is a candle.

3. A lighting system as in claim 1, wherein the container is in the shape of a sphere, oval, pyramid, cube, rectangle, or double pyramid.

4. A lighting system as in claim 2, wherein the chimney is in the shape of a half-sphere, half-oval, half-pyramid, sphere, oval, cube, rectangle, wave, double pyramid, or multiple wave.

5. A lighting system as in claim 4, wherein the chimney extends from one side of the container to another side of the container, with the two openings at those sides of the container to allow airflow in the chimney.

6. A lighting system as in claim 5, wherein at least one side of the chimney is detachable.

7. A lighting system as in claim 4, wherein the chimney extends from a bottom of the container to a top of the container, with one of the two openings at the bottom of the container and another of the two openings at the top of the container.

8. A lighting system as in claim 7, wherein at least a bottom of the chimney is detachable.

9. A lighting system as in claim 1, further including an air agitator next to one of the two openings to further aid airflow in the chimney.

10. A lighting system as in claim 1, further including one or more mirrors placed either in the container or in the chimney to reflect the light from the light source.

11. A lighting system as in claim 1, further including the light source inside the chimney, the fluid in the container, a light source outside of the chimney, a filtering unit outside of the chimney, a heat control unit outside of the chimney, aquatic life outside of the chimney, a fluid agitator outside of the chimney, or a combination thereof.

13. A method of making an aqua lighting system, including steps of: providing a container capable of holding a fluid; and adding a chimney to an inner side of the container, wherein the chimney includes: a space capable of holding a light source; at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney.

14. A method as in claim 13, wherein at least one side of the chimney is detachable.

15. A method as in claim 14, further including a step of attaching an air agitator next to one of the two openings to further aid airflow in the chimney.

16. A method as in claim 15, further including a step of placing one or more mirrors in the container, in the chimney, or both to reflect light from the light source.

17. A method as in claim 16, further including a step of putting the light source in the chimney, the fluid in the container, another light source outside of the chimney, a filtering unit outside of the chimney, a heat control unit outside of the chimney, aquatic life outside of the chimney, a fluid agitator outside of the chimney, or a combination thereof.

18. A method of using an aqua lighting system that includes a container capable of holding a fluid, and a chimney in the container, with the chimney extending from an inner surface of the container, wherein the chimney includes a space capable of holding a light source, at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney, the method including steps of: inserting the light source inside the chimney; lighting the light source; and putting fluid into the container.

19. A method as in claim 18, wherein at least one side of the chimney is detachable, wherein the light source is lit outside the chimney.

20. A method as in claim 18, wherein the aqua lighting system further includes an air agitator next to one of the two openings of the chimney to further aid airflow in the chimney, and further including the step of turning on the air agitator.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an aqua lighting system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Considerable human needs exist for restoring fatigued attention in today's high technology world. Fatigued minds can be restored in natural settings that evoke fascination or effortless attention. Such settings have been found to provide the highest restorative effectiveness. See Herzog et al., J. Environ. Psychol. 17(2) 165-170.

Among natural settings, studies have demonstrated that low activity waterscapes, for example aquariums, provide a significant reduction in stress among individuals in a stressful environment. See P. H. Kahn, Developmental Review, 17, 1-61 (1997). Alternatively, flames or candles are recognized to have relaxing and/or contemplative qualities in many cultures. The dancing flame of a candle is often used to provide a means of contemplation or meditation.

Many different types of products and approaches have been developed to address the problem of providing a restorative environment at home for people, ranging from decorative water lamps to lighted aquarium. However, all those approaches and products use artificial lights instead of natural flames. Under the biophilia hypothesis, scientists assert the existence of a fundamental human need and propensity to “affiliate with life and life-like process.” See P. H. Kahn, Developmental Review, 17, 1-61(1997). Artificial lights, even if combined with flowing water, do not give sufficiently life-like processes to relax stressed minds effectively for many people.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention address some or all of the concerns discussed above. Products according to the invention have the potential to be simple to manufacture, inexpensive, and widely accepted.

An aqua lighting system according to the invention combines water with candle flames to provide a natural setting for high restorative effectiveness. People can achieve the goal of contemplative restoration by gazing at the watery flame during and after a hectic day, or after staring into a computer screen for an extended period of time.

One embodiment of a lighting system includes a container capable of holding a fluid and a chimney in the container. The container could be an aquarium or some other type of container. The chimney extends from an inner surface of the container and includes a space capable of holding a light source, at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney.

The invention also encompasses methods of making and using the aqua lighting system.

This brief summary has been provided so that the nature of the invention may be understood quickly. A more complete understanding of the invention may be obtained by reference to the following description of the preferred embodiments thereof in connection with the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of an aqua lighting system.

FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of an aqua lighting system.

FIG. 3 shows some possible shapes for a container and for a chimney for an aqua lighting system.

FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a method of using an aqua lighting system

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a method of making an aqua lighting system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Aqua Lighting System

Briefly, one embodiment of a lighting system includes a container capable of holding a fluid and a chimney in the container. The container could be an aquarium or some other type of container. The chimney extends from an inner surface of the container and includes a space capable of holding a light source, at least two openings to allow airflow in the chimney, and a seal to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney. FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of such a system.

Aqua lighting system 1 in FIG. 1 includes container 2 capable of holding a fluid. For example, container 2 could be an aquarium that holds water. Container 2 could include a cover, for example a detachable or permanent cover, or could be open on top.

System 1 also includes chimney 3 that extends from inner surface 4 of the container. The chimney includes at least space 6 capable of holding light source 7, which preferably is a natural light source such as a candle. Alternatively, an artificial light source can be used. Chimney 3 also includes at least two openings 9 and 10 to allow airflow in the chimney, and seal 11 to prevent the fluid from getting into the chimney.

The two openings permit airflow through the chimney. This airflow permits a candle or some other natural light source to burn or otherwise to function in the chimney. In contrast, if only a single opening was present, the candle or other natural light source might consume the oxygen in the chimney and then go out.

In FIG. 1, chimney 3 extends from a bottom of the container to near a top of the container. In this configuration, one opening 9 preferably is at the bottom of container 2, and another opening 10 preferably is at a top of the container.

Container 2 preferably has feet 15 or the like to raise its bottom up so that air can flow into the bottom opening of the chimney. Alternatively, a tube or conduit could provide a pathway for airflow, the container could sit on a porous or grid-like surface that permits airflow, or some other arrangement could be used to permit air to flow into the bottom opening of the chimney.

The opening at the top of the chimney should be above an expected fluid level in the container when filled. If the container includes a cover, a portion of the chimney with the opening preferably extends through the cover.

The chimney and openings could be located differently as long as airflow for a candle or other natural light source is provided by the openings when the container is filled with fluid.

In some embodiments, container 2 and chimney 3 are actually a single piece. In that case, seal 11 could just be a juncture between the container and the chimney. However, in a preferred embodiment, chimney 3 is detachable from container 2. For example, chimney 3 could be detachable at seal 11 at the bottom of the container. A detachable chimney is preferred because it can make cleaning and installation of a light source easier. In this configuration, the seal could be an O-ring or gasket that forms a pressure fit with chimney 3 when the chimney is in place. Alternatively, other configurations and seals can be used.

Preferably, air flow will occur in the chimney naturally. In the case that a candle is used as the light source, heat generated by the candle could promote such air flow. However, system 1 can include air agitator 16, for example a fan or blower, next to one of the two openings to further aid airflow in the chimney. For aesthetic reasons, the fan or blower preferably is placed in or under the bottom opening of the chimney, although this need not be the case.

In order to enhance the appearance of the light source under the fluid, one or more mirrors such as mirror 17 can be placed either in the container or in the chimney to reflect the light from the light source. However, mirrors do not have to be used.

As mentioned above, one embodiment of container 2 is an aquarium. Thus, container 2 could also include one or more light sources 20 outside of the chimney, filtering unit 21 outside of the chimney, heat control unit 22 outside of the chimney, fluid agitator 23 outside of the chimney, and aquatic life 24 (for example snails, plants, crayfish, fishes as shown, etc.) outside of the chimney. In other embodiments, container 2 could include different items in addition to or instead of these items, or container 2 could include no such items. In addition, chimney 3 could contain other items, for example but not limited to a pedestal for the light source.

Each of the elements of system 1 preferably is colored to be aesthetically pleasing. Clear and non-colored components could be used as well.

FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of an aqua lighting system. This embodiment is substantially similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, except that container 30 is a round bowl, chimney 31 has a wave-like shape extending horizontally across the container, and openings 32 and 33 are at the sides of container 30. FIG. 2 also illustrates that multiple light sources 34 can be included in the chimney.

Again, in this embodiment, at least one side of chimney 31 preferably is detachable. In a preferred embodiment, both sides are detachable. Alternatively, the chimney could be permanently attached. All of the other elements and variations discussed above with respect to FIG. 1 also can be used with this embodiment of the aqua lighting system.

The chimneys do not have to be aligned completely vertical as shown in FIG. 1 or horizontal as shown in FIG. 2, but rather can be aligned at any angle.

FIG. 3 shows some possible shapes for a container and for a chimney for an aqua lighting system. Column 35 shows that possible shapes for a container of an aqua lighting system include, but are not limited to, a sphere, oval, pyramid, cube, rectangle, or double pyramid. Column 36 shows that possible shapes for a chimney of an aqua lighting system include, but are not limited to, a half-sphere, half-oval, half-pyramid, sphere, oval, cube, rectangle, wave, double pyramid, or multiple wave.

Methods of Using an Aqua Lighting System

FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a method of using an aqua lighting system. The steps of this method do not have to be performed in the order shown. Furthermore, the invention is not limited to being used in accordance with this method.

In step 41, a light source is inserted inside the chimney. This step can be performed with the chimney in the container. Alternatively, if the chimney is detachable, the step could be performed outside of the container with the chimney detached. The light source is lit in step 42. Again, this step could be performed with the chimney in the container or detached outside the container.

In step 43, fluid such as water is put into the container. This step could be performed before, after, or between the other steps in this method.

An air agitator can be turned on in optional step 44, if one is present.

In optional step 45, one or more mirrors can be placed in the container, in the chimney, or both to reflect light from the light source.

In optional step 46, additional items can be added to the container. For example, the light source can be placed in the chimney, the fluid can be put in the container, another light source can be placed outside of the chimney, a filtering unit can be placed outside of the chimney, a heat control unit can be placed outside of the chimney, aquatic life can be placed outside of the chimney, a fluid agitator can be placed outside of the chimney, or a combination thereof. Some, none, or all of these items can be added, as well as any combination of other items.

Methods of Making an Aqua Lighting System

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a method of making an aqua lighting system. The steps of this method do not have to be performed in the order shown. Furthermore, the invention is not limited to being made in accordance with this method.

In step 51, a container for liquid is provided, for example an aquarium. In step 52, a chimney is added to an inner side of the container. This step includes adding a seal between the chimney and the container to keep fluid from getting into the chimney when the container is filled with liquid. In addition, this step might include cutting or otherwise adding openings to the container if needed to match openings in the chimney.

In optional step 53, an air agitator can be attached next to one of the chimney's openings to further aid airflow in the chimney.

In optional step 54, one or more mirrors can be placed in the container, in the chimney, or both to reflect light from the light source.

In optional step 55, additional items can be added to the container. For example, the light source can be placed in the chimney, the fluid can be put in the container, another light source can be placed outside of the chimney, a filtering unit can be placed outside of the chimney, a heat control unit can be placed outside of the chimney, aquatic life can be placed outside of the chimney, a fluid agitator can be placed outside of the chimney, or a combination thereof. Some, none, or all of these items can be added, as well as any combination of other items.

Alternative Embodiments

The invention is in no way limited to the specifics of any particular embodiments and examples disclosed herein. For example, the terms “preferably,” “preferred embodiment,” “one embodiment,” “this embodiment,” “alternative embodiment,” “alternatively” and the like denote features that are preferable but not essential to include in embodiments of the invention. The terms “comprising” or “including” mean that other elements and/or steps can be added without departing from the invention. Many other variations are possible which remain within the content, scope and spirit of the invention, and these variations would become clear to those skilled in the art after perusal of this application.