Title:
FOOTWEAR DEVICE WITH SCROLLING LIGHT EMITTING DIODE DISPLAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A footwear unit having a pre-programmable, self-programmable and re-programmable display inorganic and organic LED with a panel that is operably aligned with a window located on the outside surface of the footwear unit and a sensor on said programmable display for receiving a program signal. The programmable display has two or more modes of operation for displaying information on the panel. Inside of the programmable display unit is a controller that controls the display of information on the panel as well as for wirelessly transmitting said program signal to said sensor wherein said program signal provides data that determines what information is displayed on said panel. The controller also stores information or data that later can be viewed on the panel.



Inventors:
Forbes, Brandon F. (Grand Ledge, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/126196
Publication Date:
11/26/2009
Filing Date:
05/23/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/544, 40/463
International Classes:
A43B3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090113762Actively ventilated shoeMay, 2009Leimer et al.
20060156576Pocket slipperJuly, 2006Sloan
20030102641Cuff pivoting of in-line roller skateJune, 2003Liu
20040250451Traction cleat for use on surfaces of variable hardness and method of making sameDecember, 2004Mcmullin
20050115110Shoe heel guardJune, 2005Dinkins
20050034329Shoe with adjustment pad unitFebruary, 2005Chen et al.
20060174513Articulated foldable sandalsAugust, 2006Martinez
20020166258Footwear for making personalized footprintsNovember, 2002Posa
20080052959SHOES WITH REPLACEABLE TOE PORTION OR REPLACEABLE HEEL PORTIONMarch, 2008Hu
20040244225Ladies shoe converters marianne'sDecember, 2004Ostow
20080282577Disposible Ice Patch For ShoesNovember, 2008Holeyfield



Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARN PARTNERS, P.C. (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A footwear arrangement comprising: a footwear unit; a programmable display connectable to said footwear unit and having a panel, wherein said programmable display has two or more modes of operation for displaying information on said panel; a controller operably connected to said programmable display for controlling the display of information on said panel and storing information on said controller.

2. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said controller external to said footwear unit and said programmable display and wirelessly communicates with said programmable display causing said programmable display to display information on said panel.

3. The footwear arrangement of claim 2 further comprising a stylized housing connected to said controller.

4. The footwear arrangement of claim 3 further comprising two or more stylized housing each of said two or more stylized housings being connectable and interchangeable with said controller.

5. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said panel is an organic light emitting diode or inorganic light emitting diode.

6. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said footwear unit is one selected from the group comprising a skate shoe, a sandal, a golf shoe, an athletic shoe, a boot, a slipper, a high top athletic shoe, or a dress shoe.

7. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said two or more modes of operation include at least two of the following, on, off, scrolling, flashing, exploding, hold, timed, random display, and combinations thereof.

8. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said programmable display further comprises a counter located within said controller, wherein said counter can operate to collect data such as time, distance, or speed and display said data on said panel of said programmable display.

9. The footwear arrangement of claim 1 further comprising a control panel in said controller for inputting data or changing data on said programmable display, and thus altering the information displayed on said panel.

10. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said programmable display is configured to be recharged using a plug in energy source.

11. The footwear arrangement of claim 1, wherein said programmable display further comprises: a power source which is one selected from the group comprising electrical power from a power port or USB connector, solar power, kinetic energy, or electric power from a battery; a power indicator displayed on said footwear unit, said power indicator being connectable with said power source to provide information relating to how much energy is stored in the power source.

12. A footwear arrangement comprising: a footwear unit; a programmable display having a panel with two or more modes of operation for displaying information on said panel; a sensor on said programmable display for receiving a program signal; and a controller for wirelessly transmitting said program signal to said sensor, wherein said program signal provides data that determines what information is displayed on said panel.

13. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said controller external to said footwear unit and said programmable display and wirelessly communicates with said programmable display causing said programmable display to display information on said panel.

14. The footwear arrangement of claim 13 further comprising a stylized housing connected to said controller.

15. The footwear arrangement of claim 13 further comprising two or more stylized housing each of said two or more stylized housings being connectable and interchangeable with said controller.

16. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said panel is an organic light emitting diode or inorganic light emitting diode.

17. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said footwear unit is one selected from the group comprising a skate shoe, a sandal, a golf shoe, an athletic shoe, a boot, a slipper, a high top athletic shoe, or a dress shoe.

18. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said two or more modes of operation include at least two of the following, on, off, scrolling, flashing, exploding, hold, timed, random display, and combinations thereof.

19. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said programmable display further comprises a counter located within said controller, wherein said counter can operate to collect data such as time, distance, or speed and display said data on said panel of said programmable display.

20. The footwear arrangement of claim 12 further comprising a control panel in said controller for inputting data or changing data on said programmable display, and thus altering the information displayed on said panel.

21. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said programmable display is configured to be recharged using a plug in energy source.

22. The footwear arrangement of claim 12, wherein said programmable display further comprises: a power source which is one selected from the group comprising electrical power from a power port or USB connector, solar power, kinetic energy, or electric power from a battery; a power indicator displayed on said footwear unit, said power indicator being connectable with said power source to provide information relating to how much energy is stored in the power source.

23. A footwear arrangement comprising: a footwear unit having an exterior surface; an organic light emitting diode display panel attached to said external surface and having two or more modes of operation for displaying information; an energy source operably connected to said organic light emitting diode; and a controller operably connected to said organic light emitting diode display panel for controlling the display of information on said organic light emitting diode display panel.

24. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said controller external to said footwear unit and said programmable display and wirelessly communicates with said programmable display causing said programmable display to display information on said panel.

25. The footwear arrangement of claim 24 further comprising a stylized housing connected to said controller.

26. The footwear arrangement of claim 24 further comprising two or more stylized housing each of said two or more stylized housings being connectable and interchangeable with said controller.

27. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said footwear unit is one selected from the group comprising a skate shoe, a sandal, a golf shoe, an athletic shoe, a boot, a slipper, a high top athletic shoe, or a dress shoe.

28. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said two or more modes of operation include at least two of the following, on, off, scrolling, flashing, exploding, hold, timed, random display, and combinations thereof.

29. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said programmable display further comprises a counter located within said controller, wherein said counter can operate to collect data such as time, distance, or speed and display said data on said panel of said programmable display.

30. The footwear arrangement of claim 23 further comprising a control panel in said controller for inputting data or changing data on said programmable display, and thus altering the information displayed on said panel.

31. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said programmable display is configured to be recharged using a plug in energy source.

32. The footwear arrangement of claim 23, wherein said programmable display further comprises: a power source which is one selected from the group comprising electrical power from a power port or USB connector, solar power, kinetic energy, or electric power from a battery; a power indicator displayed on said footwear unit, said power indicator being connectable with said power source to provide information relating to how much energy is stored in the power source.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to footwear, more specifically footwear units having a programmable display unit for conveying information.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the footwear industry there is a need to provide consumers with new accessories that allow a person to tailor their footwear to their own individual tastes of style. Additionally, there is also a need to make footwear more utilitarian and provide a user with added benefits or features. For example, shoes having flashing lights not only provide the user with stylistic benefits; the lights also provide a useful safety benefit when worn at night. Some shoes have also been developed where lights are used to illuminate a logo or sign. The general purpose of the various types of footwear described above is that they are used to convey information that is usually a predetermined pattern or array of lights. There exists a need to provide consumers with further options for conveying information using their footwear by providing greater versatility in the type of information that is conveyed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a footwear arrangement having a footwear unit with a window. A programmable display is connectable to the footwear unit and has a panel operably aligned with the window. The programmable display has two or more modes of operation for displaying information on the panel. A controller is operably connected to the programmable display and controls the information that is displayed on the panel.

The present invention also relates to footwear having a programmable display unit. Each footwear unit which represents a single shoe, sandal, boot, etc.; out of a pair, has a window on its surface. A programmable display unit with a display panel is operably aligned with the window of the footwear unit. The programmable display unit has two or more modes of operation for displaying information on the display panel. Inside of the programmable display unit is a controller that controls the display of information on the display panel. The controller also stores information or data that can later be selectively viewed on the display panel.

Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective angled view of the invention integrated into a boot;

FIG. 2 is a perspective angled view of the invention integrated into a athletic shoe;

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the invention used in a skate shoe embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a partially sectioned plan overhead view of the present invention incorporated on a shoe;

FIG. 5 is a perspective front view of the programmable display device;

FIG. 6 is a perspective side angled view of the invention incorporated on a sandal using an alternate attachment;

FIG. 7 is a side perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention incorporated on a hat;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention utilizing a controller for wirelessly programming the display panel;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along the section lines 9-9 in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is an alternate embodiment of the invention where the display panel is incorporated on a different article of clothing such as a jacket;

FIG. 11 is an alternate embodiment of the invention where an OLED display panel is incorporated on a hat;

FIG. 12 is an alternate embodiment of the invention where the display panel is incorporated on a purse; and

FIG. 13 is an alternate embodiment of the invention where an OLED display panel is incorporated on a high heeled shoe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3 and 6, an embodiment of the present invention is shown being incorporated on a footwear unit 10 which represents one unit or shoe out of a pair of shoes. The footwear unit 10 has an inner surface 12, an outer surface 14, and a window 16. Each of the Figures displays a slight variation in that the invention is being used with various types of footwear. For example, FIG. 1 depicts the invention incorporated on a boot; FIG. 2 shows the invention on an athletic shoe, FIG. 3 shoes the invention on a skate shoe which can include roller skates, inline skates, roller shoes, snowboard brackets, snow skis and ice skates. FIG. 6 shows the invention on a sandal or dress shoe. Additionally other types of footwear can be used including slippers, golf shoes, etc. Each of the Figures are not intended to be limiting with respect to the particular type of footwear used for the present invention, but rather serve the purpose of illustrating the number of different configurations that can be used with virtually any type of footwear. The window 16 can be located anywhere on the outer surface 14 of the footwear unit 10. FIGS. 1 and 2 show in phantom lines various alternate locations of the window 16 for placement of the programmable display 22. For example the window 16 can be on the toe, buckles, straps, tongue, heel, and sides of the footwear unit 10. Additionally the shape of the programmable display 22 and the window 16 is not limited to a rectangular shape but can include any kind of shape. FIGS. 1 and 2 show a circular and star shaped window 16 and programmable display.

The footwear unit 10 has an upper 18 and a lower 20. However, the term lower is referring to the surface or a sole of the footwear unit 10 that is used for at least in part communicating with the surface under the footwear unit 10. For example, in FIG. 3 the skate shoe embodiment of the footwear unit 10 has a lower 20 that would include the roller unit which is the part that communicates with the ground during use.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-6, all of the footwear units 10 have a programmable display 22 incorporated with the footwear units 10. The programmable display 22 has a panel 24 with one or more buttons 26 that are operably configured with a controller 28 that is part of the circuitry of the programmable display 22. The controller 28 controls the projection of light from the panel 24 and further controls the pattern of light that is emitted from the panel 24. The controller 28 stores data such as text, numbers, logos, symbols, or other relevant information that can be projected from the display panel 24.

The controller 28 also has one or more modes of operation that are activated by the one or more buttons 26 to cause information to be displayed on the panel 24 in a desired mode. For example, the controller 28 can have two or more modes of operation that include on, off, scrolling, flashing, exploding, hold, timed, random display, and combinations thereof. The scrolling mode of operation would cause the information to scroll across the panel 24 at a predetermined rate of speed or rates of speed. The information can move across the panel 24 horizontally, vertically, diagonally or in any other direction. The flashing mode would cause the information to be flashed on the panel 24. The exploding mode would involve displaying the information and then having it break apart like it was exploding. The hold mode of operation would cause the information to be presented on the panel 24 and held there for a user determined amount of time. The timed mode of operation would cause various groupings of information to be placed on the panel 24 for a predetermined amount of time. The random display mode would cause the controller 28 to randomly display information on the display 24 in any of the aforementioned modes. The various modes of operation can be selected using the one or more buttons 26 on the programmable display 22.

The kind of information that can be stored and displayed includes, but is not limited to information for conveying personal content such as pictures, photos, designs, drawings, different languages, patterns, text, graphics, slogans, colors, phrase, shapes, numbers, logos, brand markings including trademarks, messages and any combinations of the above.

The programmable display 22 can be preprogrammed with data that cannot be changed. The programmable display 22 can be blank and require the user to add their own personal content, or the programmable display 22 can be reprogrammable so it has information already stored but the information can be changed or erased at the user's discretion.

In order to change or upload information onto the controller 28 a data port 30, which can be a USB link or other suitable port located on the surface of the programmable display 22, can be used to input information to the controller 28. The port 30 can also be used to charge a power source 32 of the programmable display 22. The power source 32 of the programmable display 22 can be a rechargeable battery, such as a lithium ion battery or other suitable battery source. Other embodiments provide charging the battery using an electric outlet via a power port or USB connector, solar power, kinetic energy, or any other suitable source that is operably connected to the power source 32. Additionally as shown in FIG. 2 a power indicator 38 can be installed on any outside surface of the footwear unit 10 and it is also possible for the indicator to be a part of the panel 24 or anywhere else of the programmable display 22. The power indicator 38 is a visual indicator of how much energy the power source 32 has available before needing to be recharged. The power indicator 38 can operate via a wireless signal from the programmable display 22 or a contact 42, shown in FIGS. 4-5, allows for a wire 40 to connect with the programmable display 22 when placed into the carrier 34. The wire 40 can be attached to the inside surface 12, the outside surface 14 or embedded between the inside surface 12 and outside surface 14 of the footwear unit 10.

In another embodiment of the invention, the controller 28 of the programmable display 22 can have a counter mode that allows the controller 28 to collect and store data such as time, distance, or speed. The controller 28 of the programmable display 22 includes other electronics such as a global positioning system or pedometer that would allow the programmable display 22 to keep track of distance or speed. The information gathered by the counter can then be projected from the display panel 24. This particular aspect of the invention would be helpful for keeping track of pace, distance, or speed during an event such as exercising or competitive running or walking instead of having to download or transmit the data to an external device such as an MP3 player.

Another alternate embodiment allows the counter to be used to keep track of time allowing the footwear unit 10 to be used as a continuous scrolling clock which projects time on the panel 24. The controller 28 can also further include an alarm mechanism so that the footwear unit 10 would function in the place of an ordinary alarm clock or a stop watch. Additionally the programmable display 22 can have an internal digital thermometer that can display ambient temperature.

The programmable display 22 can be permanently attached or removeably connected to the footwear unit 10. When the programmable display 22 is connected the panel 24 is operably aligned with the window 16 so that information emitted on the panel 24 can be seen through the window 16. The programmable display 22 is held in place by a carrier 34 which is a bracket type member operably connected to the inner surface 12 of the footwear unit 10. Alternatively, it is possible for the carrier 34 to be connected to the outer surface 14 of the footwear unit 10.

In another alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 6, there is a pocket 36 that is located on the outer surface 14 of the footwear unit 10. The programmable display unit 22 slides into the pocket 36 as opposed to using brackets for securing the programmable display unit 22 to the footwear unit 10.

While FIGS. 1-3 and 6 depict the programmable display unit 22 being used with a footwear unit 10, it is possible to use the programmable display unit 22 with other types of objects. For example, FIG. 7 depicts an alternate embodiment of the invention where the programmable display unit 22 is integrated with a hat 100. The invention still utilizes the use of a carrier or pocket with a window and a programmable display as described in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 6; however, the difference is that the object is now a hat 100. It is also possible to use the invention having a programmable display and a carrier, with other types of clothing such as shirts, neckties, glove, helmets, pants, jackets, headbands, wristbands, belts, or undergarments. It is also possible to use the programmable display unit 22 with other non-clothing objects such as mugs, plates, key chains, jewelry, tire rims, etc.

The types of information that can be projected from the display 24 are projected using a light source such as one or more inorganic light emitting diodes (LED). The light emitting diode or LED technology allows for information to be scrolled across the display panel 24 during the various modes of operation. Furthermore, the use of the one or more light emitting diodes allows for the information on the display panel 24 to appear to be moving or graphically animated in modes of operation that involve the scrolling, flashing, or exploding of information across the display panel 24. In addition to an LED light source, the light source can also be any other suitable type of light source capable of allowing for the display of information on the programmable display unit 22 in a desired manner. For example, the LED display unit can also include liquid crystal display (LCD) technology as well as a plasma light source.

FIGS. 8-9 show an alternate embodiment of a footwear arrangement 200 having a footwear unit 202 with a programmable display 204. Just like the previous embodiments, the programmable display 204 can be located anywhere on the exterior surface of the footwear unit 202. The programmable display 204 includes all of the features of the programmable display 22 described above and shown in the FIGS. 1-7. However, in this particular embodiment the programmable display 204 incorporates a flexible display that can be connected to the exterior of the footwear unit 202 without the need for a carrier or pocket. The programmable display 204 in the present embodiment utilizes technology known as organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology that provides a programmable display 204 that is much thinner than an inorganic LED. The OLED programmable display 204 has a flexible thin layered panel 205 that is connected to the exterior of the footwear unit 202 through the use of a fastening layer 218 which can be any suitable adhesive material. This allows the panel 205 to be adhered to and be flexible with the surface to which it is attached. In another aspect of the present embodiment of the invention, a window 206 is applied over the panel 205 of the OLED programmable display 204; however, this is an optional addition. The use of the OLED programmable display 204 or a programmable display having an LED can include the features of a display that is water resistant, heat resistant, and stress resistant. This makes the OLED programmable display 204 more practical for use on clothing which can be exposed to stress, water, and heat. Additionally, if the window 206 is applied over the panel 205 the water, heat, and stress resistant properties are further enhanced.

The OLED programmable display also includes a power source 214 that can be positioned apart from the panel 205 or it can be part of the panel 205. The power source 214 includes a battery storage or power generating device suitable for providing power for the operation of the OLED programmable display 204. The power source 214 can be connected to a plug-in energy source 212 to receive and store power. The plug-in energy source 212 can be any type of a plug-in connector such as an electrical cord, cigarette lighter, adaptor, or other suitable connector.

Another aspect of the present embodiment is a controller 208 provided external to the footwear unit 202. The controller 208 is in the form of a remote or wireless type of controller 208 that allows for communication between the controller 208 and the programmable display 204. The programmable display 22 shown in FIGS. 1-7 can also utilize a wireless controller in the same manner as shown in FIGS. 8-9. The controller 208 is configured to be connectable and interchangeable with one or more stylized housings 209 which can have various shapes or styles. The stylized housings 209 have an aperture 211 for receiving and holding the controller 208. Additionally, the controller 208 can also have a clip 213 allowing it to be connected to an object as desired by the user.

The controller 208 also has a counter 210 much like the counter in the first embodiment of the invention described above. The counter 210 is capable of collecting and storing data to be transmitted to the programmable display 204. The controller 208 has a control panel 220 where a user can program the controller to send signals regarding the various modes of operation and information to be displayed using the programmable display 204. The programmable display 204 includes a sensor 226 which receives wireless signals 222 that are transmitted from the controller 208. The programmable display 22 using an LED can also include the sensor 226 for communicating with a controller. The controller 208 can use several types of wireless signals which include blue-tooth type technology, infrared, sonic, or other light waves for communicating signals to the programmable display. The controller 208 can include a transmitter eye 224 for facilitating the transmission of the wireless signals 222; however, this may or may not be a necessary feature depending on the type of wireless signals 222 being transmitted.

An additional feature of the footwear arrangement 200 includes a lock feature incorporated into the components to lock in the information being displayed on the programmable displays 22, 204. The lock can be a switch located as one of the buttons on the controller 208 or it can be a switch located on the programmable display 22, 204.

The wireless signals 222 can be continuously transmitted between the controller 208 and the programmable display 204 where the controller 208 is tasked with storing and carrying out all the logic functions of the footwear arrangement 200. Alternatively, the programmable display 204 can have logic circuitry built therein which can retrieve data via the wireless signals 222 from the controller 208 and control the information that is displayed on the programmable display 204.

In another embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 10, the OLED programmable display 204 is connected to a jacket unit 302 as part of a jacket arrangement 300. The use of the OLED programmable display 204 makes the present embodiment of the invention more versatile for use on other articles of clothing including shirts, hats, pants, etc. because of the thin flexible nature of the OLED and the elimination of the need to have a carrier member built into the article of clothing. With the present invention, the OLED programmable display 204 can be adhered to and flex with the article of clothing that it is connected to. The present invention is intended to be utilized with any type of clothing article.

In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 11, the OLED display 204 is connected to an OLED hat arrangement 400. The use of the OLED programmable display 204 makes the present embodiment of the invention more versatile because the OLED programmable display 204 is bent in a circular fashion and connected to the hat 402 allowing for information on the OLED display panel 204 to be continuously scrolled around the hat 402.

FIG. 12 shows another embodiment of the present invention where the OLED programmable display 204 is connected to a purse unit 502 as part of a purse arrangement 500. Once again, the OLED programmable display 204 can flex with the outer exterior of the purse unit 502. FIG. 13 depicts yet another embodiment of the invention where the OLED programmable display 204 is connected to a high heeled shoe 602 as part of a high heeled shoe arrangement 600. The OLED unit 204 can flex to accommodate the contours of the outer surface of the high heeled shoe 602.

The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and; thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.