Title:
CLIMATE CONTROL PANEL WITH NON-PLANAR DISPLAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A control is provided that includes a current altering device for control of peripheral devices and a display having a first segment, second segment and third segment and the first and second segments are not located in the same plane. The display includes at least one touch sensitive segment to operate a peripheral control function. The display includes alphanumeric display areas adjacent to first and second segments. In an embodiment the display may have an arc shape and the first segment is located at an apex of the arc of the display in a first plane and a second segment is located in a second plane.



Inventors:
Moore, Glenn A. (Geneva, IL, US)
Poplawski, Daniel S. (Oswego, IL, US)
Soderlund, Ernest E. (Hampshire, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/097430
Publication Date:
06/05/2014
Filing Date:
12/05/2013
Assignee:
Braeburn Systems LLC (Montgomery, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
345/50
International Classes:
G09G3/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
DANIELSEN, NATHAN ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cook Alex, LTD (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A control comprising: a housing including circuitry and electronic components for control of a peripheral device; the circuitry controlling at least one current altering device for control of the peripheral device; a display mounted on the housing connected to the circuitry via a current carrying bridge member; and the display having a first segment, second segment and third segment wherein the first and second segments are not located in the same plane.

2. The control of claim 1 wherein the display has an arc shape and is attached to the housing adjacent to each side of the housing.

3. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment and the third segment are located substantially in the same plane.

4. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment and third segment are not located in the same plane.

5. The control of claim 1 wherein the housing having an opening for receiving the display and the opening formed in a first plane and at least one of the first, second and third segments extend externally beyond the first plane of the housing.

6. The control of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first, second and third segments extend to an exterior edge of the housing.

7. The control of claim 1 wherein at least one the first, second and third segments extend internally to the housing.

8. The control of claim 1 wherein the current altering device is located externally to the housing.

9. The control of claim 1 wherein the current altering device includes a relay that interrupts the current to the peripheral device.

10. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment to operate a peripheral control function of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation, and humidity.

11. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment to operate a peripheral control function of the non-English equivalent translation of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation, and humidity.

12. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment connected to the current altering device to operate a peripheral control function of an icon equivalent of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation and humidity.

13. The control of claim 1 wherein the first segment is a touch sensitive area and the second segment includes an alphanumeric display area located adjacent the first segment.

14. The control of claim 1 wherein the peripheral device includes one of a heat pump, air conditioner, furnace, boiler, humidifier, fan and ventilation damper.

15. The control of claim 1 wherein the control is a thermostat.

16. The control of claim 1 wherein the display has a non-planar shape and forms in part one of a cube, octahedron, pentagonal prism, pyramid, tetrahedron, triangular prism, truncated pyramid, stairs, cone, and mushroom shape.

17. The control of claim 1 wherein the display has an arc shape and the first segment is located at an apex of the arc of the display in a first plane and the first segment is located adjacent to the second segment in a second plane and near a side edge of the housing; and a first touch segment is located in the first segment in the first plane and a second touch segment is located in the second plane.

18. The control of claim 17 wherein the housing includes an arc shaped frame member to support the display.

19. A thermostat control comprising: a housing for containing circuitry and electronic components for control of a peripheral device; the circuitry controlling at least one current altering device for control of the peripheral device; a display mounted on the housing, the display having a bridge for connecting the circuitry; the display including a first segment and a second segment; the display disposed in a non-planar shape and configured so that user interaction with the control in order to activate at least the first and second segments is configured wherein at least one Z axis movement by a user's hand is required during the operation of the control.

20. The control of claim 16 wherein the housing includes a face that defines an X and Y axis and the Z axis is defined by a line extending perpendicularly through the face of the housing, so that the perpendicular line extends upward out of the face of the housing and downward through the back of the housing.

21. The control of claim 16 wherein the first segment provides a touch sensitive pad and the second segment provides an alphanumeric display area.

22. The control of claim 16 wherein the orientation of the display in a non-planar shape is configured wherein movement by a user's hand during operation of the control in the X, Y and Z axes is required in order to activate the control by touching at least the first and second segments.

23. The control of claim 16 wherein the display is a flexible display that is supported by the housing to attain the desired shape.

24. The control of claim 16 wherein the shape of the display becomes static for use in the field by an end user.

25. A method of assembling a control comprising the steps of: providing a housing having circuitry containing at least one current altering device; attaching a flexible display to the circuitry; the flexible display having a first segment and a second segment; orienting the flexible display in a desired static shape wherein the first segment is located substantially in a first plane and the second segment is located substantially in a second plane; and securing the flexible display to the housing in order to maintain the flexible display in the desired static shape.

26. The method of claim 22 further comprising the steps of mounting the flexible display to a printed circuit board provided by the housing and the flex display including bridge members for attaching the flexible display to the printed circuit board.

27. The method of claim 22 wherein the first segment is a touch segment and the second segment is a touch segment each of the first and second segments providing for a touch sensitive pad for operation of the control.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of and priority date of provisional application No. 61/733,558, filed Dec. 5, 2012.

The present invention pertains to a control such as a thermostat, other household control, automotive control or manufacturing equipment control and the use of a non-planar display screen for such controls.

BACKGROUND

It is common for controls to have LCD or LED display monitors comprised of planar rigid layers of glass and display layers including plasma display technology. Such display screens include touch sensitive displays where a user may place his or her finger on the glass surface to activate the controls and manipulate the functioning of the devices to which the control is connected electronically. The present invention improves upon such controls by incorporating a flex display, such as an electronic paper display technology; for example, a roll-up screen manufactured by LG Displays Corp.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides a control comprising a housing including circuitry and electronic components for control of a peripheral device, the circuitry controlling at least one current altering device for the control of the peripheral device, a display mounted on the housing connected to the circuitry via a current carrying bridge member and the display having a first segment, second segment and third segment wherein the first and second segments are not located in the same plane. In an embodiment the display may have an arc shape and is attached to the housing adjacent to each side of the housing. In an embodiment the first segment and the third segment are located in the same plane. In an embodiment the first segment and third segment may be located in different planes.

In an embodiment the invention includes a housing having an opening for receiving the display and the opening formed in a first plane and at least one of the first, second and third segments extend externally beyond the first plane of the housing. In an embodiment at least one of the first, second and third segments extend to an exterior edge of the housing. In an embodiment at least one of the first, second and third segments extend internally into the housing. In an embodiment the current altering device is located externally to the housing. In an embodiment the current altering device may include a relay that interrupts the current to the peripheral device. In an embodiment the current altering device is a digital signal controller. In an embodiment the current altering device is a radio transmitter.

In an embodiment the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment to operate at least one peripheral function of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation, and humidity. In an embodiment the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment to operate at least one peripheral control function of the non-English equivalent translation of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation, and humidity. In an embodiment the first segment of the display includes at least one touch sensitive segment connected to the current altering device to operate at least one peripheral control function of an icon equivalent of heat, cool, fan, temperature, time, ventilation, and humidity.

In an embodiment the first segment is a touch sensitive area and the second segment includes an alphanumeric display area located adjacent to the first segment. In an embodiment the peripheral device includes at least one of a heat pump, air conditioner, furnace, boiler, humidifier and ventilation damper. In an embodiment the control is a thermostat.

In an embodiment the display has a non-planar shape and forms in part one of an arc, convex arc, concave arc, cube, octahedron, pentagonal prism, pyramid, tetrahedron, triangular prism, truncated pyramid, stairs, uneven stairs, cone, mushroom shape. In an embodiment the display has an arc shape and the first segment is located at an apex of the arc of the display in a first plane and the first segment is located adjacent to the second segment in a second plane and near a side edge of the housing. A first segment is located in the first plane and a second touch segment is located in the second plane. In an embodiment the housing includes an arc shaped frame member to support the display.

The invention further comprises a thermostat control comprising a housing for containing circuitry and electronic components for control of a peripheral device, the circuitry controlling at least one current altering device for control of the peripheral device, a display mounted on the housing, the display having a bridge for connecting the circuitry, the display including a first segment and a second segment and the display disposed in a non-planar shape and configured so the user interaction with the control in order to activate at least the first and second segments is configured wherein at least one z-axis movement by a user's hand is required during operation of the controls. In an embodiment the housing includes a face that defines an X and Y-axis and the Z-axis is defined by a line extending perpendicularly through the face of the housing so that the perpendicular line extends upward out of the face of the housing and downward through the back of the housing.

In an embodiment the first segment provides a touch sensitive pad the second segment provides an alphanumeric display area. In an embodiment the orientation of the display in a non-planar shape is configured wherein movement by a user's hand during operation of the control of the X, Y and Z-axes is required in order to activate the control by touching at least the first and second segments. In an embodiment the display is a flexible display that is supported by the housing to attain the desired shape. In an embodiment the shape of the display becomes static for use in the field by an end user.

Another embodiment of the invention provides for a method of assembling a control comprising the steps of providing a housing having circuitry containing at least one current altering device, attaching a flexible display to the circuitry, the flexible display having a first segment and a second segment, orienting the flexible display in a desired static shape wherein the first segment is located in a first plane and the second segment is located in the second plane and securing the flexible display to the housing in order to maintain the flexible display in the desired shape. In an embodiment the steps for the comprise of mounting the flexible display to a printed circuit board provided by the housing and the flex display including bridge members for attaching the flexible display to the printed circuit board. In an embodiment the first segment is a touch segment and the second segment is a touch segment each of the first and second touch segments providing for a touch sensitive pad for operation of the control.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional aspects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent in the following detailed description read in conjunction with the following drawing figures:

FIG. 1a is a flow diagram depicting the present invention;

FIG. 1b is a perspective view the control of the present invention;

FIG. 2a is a perspective view of the control of FIG. 1 with the cover removed;

FIG. 2b is a perspective view of the invention depicting an alternate embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the display of an alternate embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4a and b are a side view and a perspective view and an alternate embodiment of the display invention; and

FIG. 5 is a schematic representations of alternative embodiments of the displays of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the control of an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1a depicts a diagram of the present invention wherein the control 100 is depicted including the display 10 including the touchpad areas 13 which are connected through signal lines to microprocessor 14 which are in turn controlled by switches 20 and the microprocessor is linked to the HVAC system control relay 120 via signal lines. The control relays 21 are linked to peripheral devices 30 such as a furnace, boiler, air conditioner, humidifier, fan or ventilation damper. The switches 1 and 2 operate the HVAC system control relays (21) and are controlled by microprocessor 14 which is linked to the display in order to provide feedback and alter the alphanumeric icons on the display 10.

Turning to FIG. 1b, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed where a thermostat 100 includes a clam shell type design with an upper housing 105 and lower housing 110 or base. Display 120 is shown having a slight curvature protruding from the upper panel 105. The display 120 (similar to other non-flexible displays) includes means for displaying alphanumeric characters and touch sensitive areas to provide means for an operator to use fingertips or pointing device to control functions of the electronics. In an embodiment, the display 120 may include a liquid crystal display (LCD), a thin film transistor (TFT)-LCD, an organic Light-emitting diode (OLED), a flexible display, a three-dimensional (3D) display or a transparent display. A display and electronics therefor may be provided, such as disclosed by LG Electronics in US patent publication number 20120329528, that is incorporated herein by reference. The display, in this embodiment, includes icons for operation of the thermostats functions such as fan, such as touchpad 125. Numeric Icon 127 depicts a numeric icon as a control parameter for example, the temperature. In an embodiment, the display 120 includes touch sensitive capability and the operation of the thermostat 100 is performed by touch pads 125 for example, to operate the fan mode. The other touch pads on the display screen are also operative to control the thermostat 100. As well, mechanical button 130 provides for operation of the thermostat either in combination with the touch pads on the display 120 or independently.

Turning to FIG. 2a the thermostat 100 depicted in FIG. 1 is illustrated having the upper cover 105 removed. With the upper cover 105 removed, the base 110 is depicted having a printed circuit board 200 exposed therein. Components are mounted on the printed circuit board 200, such as mechanical receptors 210, 212 upon which the mechanical button 130 (FIG. 1) is mounted in order to operate up and down inputs for the control of the thermostat 100. Other components such as current altering devices including a relay 21 or series of relays that control current to peripheral devices 30 such as a heat pump, air conditioner, furnace, boiler, humidifier, or ventilation damper (FIG. 1a). The relay 21 (FIG. 2a) may interrupt current, decrease current or increase current according to input from the microprocessor 14.

The flex display 120 is shown being connected to the printed circuit board 200 via connection bridge 220. The flex display screen 120 has a first end 221 and a second end 222. The display has an arc shape that places numeric icon 127 at the apex in plane x1. The numeric icon 127 may be located within a first segment 131 of the display that resides substantially in a first plane x1. The first segment 131 may include touch sensitive circuitry. A second segment 132 resides substantially in a second plane x2 and includes touch pad buttons 125a “CLEAN” and 125b “CONFIG.” A third segment 133 also resides substantially in a second plane x2 and includes touch sensitive buttons 125c “SYSTEM” and 125 “FAN.”

The flex display 120 connects to the printed circuit board so that the first end 221 is tethered to the printed circuit board 220. In an embodiment, the second end 222 of the flex display 120 is loose. Using an operator's fingers grabbing the second end 222, the flex display 120 can be pivoted and moved away from the face of the thermostat in order to manipulate the flex display 120. In an embodiment, other means of attaching the flex display 222 to the housing may be implemented such as attachment using adhesive for capturing the ends and edges 221, 222 or by using slots formed in the upper housing 105 or the display may be constrained by other means.

In an embodiment, both ends 221 and 222 of the display 120 may be secured to the housing of the thermostat 100. As depicted in FIG. 2b, the flex display 120 is shaped having a slight radius. This embodiment would enable a user of the thermostat 100 to view the display from multiple angles. If viewing from a side away from the center of the thermostat, the curvature of the display 120 may allow for improved viewing of the display. The display depicted in FIG. 1b and 2a, b includes a clear base. However, in alternate embodiments, the base may not be clear. As well, the display may be backlit in an embodiment or in other embodiments, no backlighting is necessary. Other shapes of the flex display will be discussed below, including flex displays having multiple radiuses and curvatures.

FIG. 2b depicts a perspective view of the present invention which is similar to that depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2a. The display 120 is formed in an arc shape and maintains that form due to a frame 230 provided beneath the display 120. The frame may be formed of a polymer material and be formed in any of the myriad of shapes including those depicted in the following figures.

By placing the frame 230 under the display 120 it provides a ridged backstop to support the display 120 in the desired form. Adhesives may be used to attach the display 120 to the frame 230. Alternate embodiments of attaching the display 120 to the frame 230 may also be used. The frame 230 may likewise be attached the printed circuit board 200 via known means such as adhesives and fasteners. Thus it is understood that the display 120 is flexible and may have undesired movement in its arc shape; but when the frame 230 is placed under the display 120 it maintains the arc shape and when a user depresses the display 120 with his or her fingertip, the display 120 will not move downward away from the user's fingertip and the frame 230 will maintain the display in the desired non-planar orientation. The display 120 will be maintained in a static shape according to the shape of the frame 230.

In an embodiment the frame 230 may incorporate components of the printed circuit board 200 and in some instances the printed circuit board may comprise the frame 230. For example, with respect to FIG. 3 below, the cube shape of the display 120a may be maintained by a cube shaped frame 230 formed within and the display 120a itself and may have the componentry and circuitry of the printed circuit board so that the display itself defines the entire electronic component where the display 120a forms the exterior of the electronic competent. In an alternate embodiment, the cube of FIG. 3 may be mounted to a printed circuit board and the frame 230 contained within the cube shaped display 120a may be mounted to that printed circuit board.

By manipulating the flex display 120 into different shapes during manufacture of the control, the user interaction with the control may be enhanced and allow for better interaction and viewing capability with the display screen 120. For example, the flex display 120 when being prepared in the factory may be set in position to have an “S” shape. The first end 221 can extend generally parallel to the printed circuit board 200 and at a mid-point, the flex screen may be turned at a 90° angle from the printed circuit board 200 and at a further point along the flex screen 120 an additional 90° bend may be made to the material and further along, an additional 90° bend may be made to the material until the second end 222 extends out and away from the face of the thermostat 100, so that the entire display 120 forms the shape of an “S”. In this way, specific surfaces of the display screen will be facing a user who is looking at the side of the control 100 and other surfaces of the display will be out of view and facing away from the viewer.

By having surfaces of the display that are both visible and not visible to the user, placement of buttons or icons at certain areas on the display may help to enhance user interaction with certain types of controls. For example, by placing display icons in non-visible locations and touch pad icons in visible locations, the user may be required to manipulate the control 100 in order to complete operations and alternate between visible and non-visible surfaces of the flex display 120. Depending on the device being controlled and the actual configuration of the control 100, these surfaces of the flex display may increase security and help require more precise user inputs to confirm operation of the control. While the control depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 is for a thermostat, the present invention may be applied to all types of controls, including mobile devices such as, cell phones, smart phones, personal digital assistants and remote control devices for residential or manufacturing use and automotive displays.

Turning to FIG. 3 an alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown where the flex display 120a has been manipulated and shaped in a cube form. The base 100a may support a printed circuit board therein which may be connected via a bridge, such as discussed above, to the flex display 120a. A frame (not shown) having a cube shape may extend from the PCB to support the display 120a.

The flex display may include icons 125a indicating buttons to be operated for the control and numeric icon 127a such as, a room temperature 72° Fahrenheit. In an embodiment, the flex display 120a may have only display capabilities and mechanical buttons linked to the microprocessor (not shown) may operate the device. In an alternate embodiment, the flex display 120a may have touch sensitive areas and the button icons 125a may be operated by touching in the touch sensitive area designated by the rectangle surrounding button icon 125a. Likewise, the numeric icon area 127a may include touch sensitive regions which may allow for interaction by a user. In an alternative embodiment, flex display 120a may be a flex display on one or more sides and other sides may use non-flexible displays or touchscreens.

FIG. 4a is a side elevation view and FIG. 4b is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention. The flex display 120b in FIG. 4a, b is formed in a conical shape. The buttons 125b extend partially around the circumference of the conical portion 120b of the display. Users may view the buttons 125b (e.g. “PROG”) and numeric icon 127b from multiple angles. This may improve the user interaction and lead to many benefits for the operation and control of devices linked to the display 120b. For example, if the flex display of FIG. 4 is mounted on a dashboard of an automobile, a user may more easily locate that specific control by recognizing the shape of the control with the user's fingers; without taking the user's eyes off the road. Such shaped flex display components 120b may be used for other types of equipment such as, manufacturing machines and on other mobile devices.

FIG. 4b depicts a perspective view of the bottom of an alternate embodiment of the control having a base 100b into which the printed circuit board and other components may be mounted or attached. The flex display area 120b includes icons or touch sensitive areas such as numeric icon 127b where the numeric display of 72° is depicted (FIG. 4a). A further alternate embodiment is depicted in FIG. 4b showing the underside of the flex display 120c mounted on the base 100b having a connection wire 128 extending from the base 100b.

It is intended by the present invention that the flex display may have multiple shapes that may have uses in many different applications. For example, FIG. 5 depicts other shapes to which the flex display may be formed and applied in different applications. The shapes depicted in FIG. 5 include a cube, fridge, octahedron, simple fridge (HL), open fridge, pentagonal prism, pyramid, pyramid 2, stairs, tetrahedron 2, triangular prism, symphony hall, special shape, symphony hall (HL), truncated pyramid, tetrahedron, table or uneven stairs. Other shapes not depicted in FIG. 5 are also incorporated into the present invention for which the flex display may be shaped for uses and other types of control applications. By providing surfaces in different orientations of the flex display, users may interact differently with certain parts of the display and their inputs may be more intuitively controlled by the software of the control system. In particularly, the use of a non-planar display provides for user interactions in the Z axis. For example, turning to FIG. 1 the X, Y, Z axis are depicted where X represents movement of a user's hand along the upper surface of the control moving from bottom to top of the housing 105. The Y axis represents movement of a user's hand from left to right across the face of the housing 105. The Z axis is movement out of the page, e.g. elevated above the face of the housing 125 and display 120. So by forming the display 120 in modified non-planar shapes, a user's interaction will require more Z axis movements and touches and different elevations to enhance user interactions. As well, where the display includes photographs or videos, the alternate display surfaces of the shaped flex display can produce more interesting and eye catching user interactions which may be used to more intuitively interact with the user in order to guide through the control process more easily.

Turning to FIG. 6, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed where a thermostat 300 includes an edge to edge design with an upper display 305 and lower housing 310 or base. Display 230 is shown having a curvature protruding from lower housing 310. The display 305 includes means for displaying alphanumeric characters and touch sensitive areas to provide means for an operator to use fingertips to control functions of the electronics. The display, in this embodiment, includes icons for operation of the thermostats functions such as fan, such as touchpad 225. Numeric Icon 227 depicts a numeric icon as a control parameter for example, the temperature. In an embodiment, the display 305 includes touch sensitive capability and the operation of the thermostat 300 is performed by touch pads 225 for example, to operate the fan mode. The other touch pads on the display screen are also operative to control the thermostat 300. This display 305 has touchpads 225 that reside in a different plane as compared to the numeric icon 227 (as discussed previously with respect to FIG. 2a.

The present invention has been described in terms of preferred embodiments. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention may be embodied in others specific forms without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed and that examples in embodiments described herein are in all respects illustrative and not restrictive. Those skilled in the art of the present invention will recognize that other embodiments using the concepts described herein are all also possible. Further, any reference to the claim elements in the singular, for example using articles a, and, or, the, is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular.