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Publication numberUS20060240739 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/111,221
Publication date26 Oct 2006
Filing date21 Apr 2005
Priority date21 Apr 2005
Also published asWO2006116138A2, WO2006116138A3
Publication number11111221, 111221, US 2006/0240739 A1, US 2006/240739 A1, US 20060240739 A1, US 20060240739A1, US 2006240739 A1, US 2006240739A1, US-A1-20060240739, US-A1-2006240739, US2006/0240739A1, US2006/240739A1, US20060240739 A1, US20060240739A1, US2006240739 A1, US2006240739A1
InventorsMatthew Kennedy
Original AssigneeMatthew Kennedy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminable noisemaker and associated methods
US 20060240739 A1
Abstract
An illuminable apparatus includes a housing with a noisemaking component and a container for an illumination element. The noisemaking component of the illuminable apparatus is configured to audibly attract the attention of an individual, while the illumination element provides light and, thus, may visibly attract an individual's attention. Additionally, the illumination element may provide a source of light for an individual using the illuminable apparatus.
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Claims(21)
1. An illuminable apparatus, comprising:
a noisemaking component that is configured to generate an audible signal; and
a passive illumination component that generates a visible signal.
2. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the noisemaking component is configured to generate the audible signal as an individual blows into the noisemaking component.
3. The illuminable apparatus of claim 2, wherein the noisemaking component comprises one of a whistle and a blow horn.
4. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the illumination component is configured to be reused.
5. The illuminable apparatus of claim 4, wherein the illumination component comprises phosphorescent material.
6. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the illumination component is configured to be flexed to generate the visible signal.
7. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the illumination component comprises a chemiluminescent system.
8. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
a housing into which the noisemaking component and the illumination component are integrally incorporated.
9. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the noisemaking component is configured to be reversibly secured to the illumination component.
10. The illuminable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the illumination component is configured to emit light regardless of an age of the illuminable apparatus.
11. A method for attracting attention, comprising:
generating an audible signal with an illuminable apparatus; and
causing the illuminable apparatus to passively emit light.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein generating the audible signal comprises blowing into a noisemaking component of the illuminable apparatus.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein causing the illuminable apparatus to passively emit light comprises exposing at least an illumination element of the illuminable apparatus to a separate source of light prior to the act of causing.
13. (canceled)
14. The method of claim 11, wherein causing the illuminable apparatus to passively emit light comprises manipulating at least a portion of an illumination element of the illuminable apparatus.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein manipulating comprises flexing at least the portion of the illumination element.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein manipulating comprises causing at least two chemicals of a chemiluminescent system to mix with one another.
17. The method of claim 11, further comprising:
carrying the illuminable apparatus into a situation where it may be necessary or desirable to attract the attention of another individual.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein carrying comprises wearing the illuminable apparatus around a body part.
19. The method of claim 11, wherein causing the illuminable apparatus to passively emit light comprises causing the illuminable apparatus to emit light to increase an individual's safety.
20. The method of claim 11, wherein causing the illuminable apparatus to passively emit light comprises generating a visible signal with the illuminable apparatus.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF RELATED ART
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to illumination devices and, more specifically, to “glow stick” type illumination devices, which include luminescent material.
  • [0003]
    2. Background of Related Art
  • [0004]
    Occasions during which it might be desirable to attract another's attention include when an individual becomes lost in the wilderness, in a body of water, in a crowded area, or elsewhere. It may also be desirable to attract another individual's attention when they in situations where danger is possible or imminent. Sometimes people just want to be noisy, such as at parties, sporting events, or in any other environment.
  • [0005]
    Various apparatus have been devised to assist individuals in attracting the attention of others. Some of these attention-getting apparatus include elements that may be used to generate audible (i.e., sound) signals and visible (e.g., light) signals.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,079,679 to Chin-Fa and U.S. Pat. No. 6,329,927 to Hobson disclose attention-getting apparatus that include, among other things, lights and noisemakers, such as whistles. The lamps of these apparatus are electrically operated. To maintain the portability of these apparatus, they require batteries, electrodes, and some circuitry so that the lamps thereof may be powered. The inclusion of a lamp (e.g., light bulb, light-emitting diode and associated circuitry, etc.), battery, electrodes, and other elements, increases the complexity of such devices, which may make them undesirably expensive. Moreover, the use of conventional batteries is somewhat undesirable since the energy stored within batteries dissipates over time, even when such batteries are not used. Consequently, when a long period of time elapses from the initial manufacture of a battery included within such an apparatus (e.g., during storage or other periods of nonuse of the apparatus), the lights of such apparatus may be rendered useless if the apparatus are stored for long periods of time and batteries are not available to an individual using such an apparatus.
  • [0007]
    The inventor is not aware of a simple, illuminble apparatus that is configured for use in generating both audible and visible signals regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed since the apparatus was manufactured or stored.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    In one aspect, the present invention includes an illuminable apparatus. An example of an illuminable apparatus includes a housing with a noisemaking component and a container for an illumination element. The noisemaking component and the container may be integrated into the housing.
  • [0009]
    According to another aspect, the present invention includes a method for attracting attention. Such a method includes generating audible signals using a individual-powered noisemaking component of an illuminable apparatus. Visible signals may be generated using a passive illumination element of the same illuminable apparatus. The audible and visible signals may be generated alone or in combination with one another.
  • [0010]
    Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of skill in the art through consideration of the ensuing description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    In the drawings, which depict exemplary embodiments of various aspects of an illuminable apparatus that incorporates teachings of the present invention, as well as use of an illuminable apparatus to gain the attention of another individual:
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of illuminable apparatus according to the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2 is a side plan view of illuminable apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3 is a cross-section through line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a variation of the illuminable apparatus depicted in FIGS. 1 through 3;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 5 is a side assembly view of another embodiment of illuminable apparatus that incorporates teachings of the present invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 6 is a side plan view of yet another embodiment of illuminable apparatus of the invention;
  • [0018]
    FIGS. 7 through 10 schematically depict various processes that may be used to fabricate an illuminable apparatus;
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate uses of an illuminable apparatus.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0020]
    FIGS. 1 through 3 depict an exemplary embodiment of an illuminable apparatus 10. Illuminable apparatus 10 includes a housing 20. A noisemaking component 30 and an illumination element 40 may be formed by housing 20. As illustrated, noisemaking component 30 and illumination element 40 may be integral parts of housing 20.
  • [0021]
    All or part of housing 20 of the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 through 3 may be formed from a moldable material with a transparence or translucence that will permit light of a desired intensity to pass therethrough. By way of example only, the material from which housing 20 is formed may comprise a thermoplastic material or a curable polymer. Examples of thermoplastic materials that may be used to form housing 20 include polyolefins (e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, etc.) or mixtures thereof, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,819,925, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein, in its entirety, by this reference.
  • [0022]
    Noisemaking component 30 and illumination element 40 may be configured to be readily available for immediate use when needed, despite the amount of time that has passed since the manufacture of illuminable apparatus 10 or the length of time for which illuminable apparatus has been stored.
  • [0023]
    In the illustrated example, noisemaking component 30 comprises a one-piece whistle of any known configuration. As is well-known, a whistle or blow horn may be used repeatedly to generate a noise which can be heard or otherwise detected from a relatively long distance (e.g., several hundred feet or more). Alternatively, noisemaking component 30 may comprise a more complex (e.g., multiple piece) whistle, which may also be configured for repeated use. Other alternatives include mechanical noisemakers (e.g., miniature air-horns), electronic alarms, and other devices that are known to generate audible signals that may be heard or otherwise detected from significant distances. Noisemaking component 30 may be configured to generate an audible signal that may be heard from a significant distance (e.g., several hundred feet or more).
  • [0024]
    The exemplary illumination element 40 shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 includes a chamber 42, as can best be seen in FIG. 3. Illumination element 40 may be passive (e.g., it may be chemical-based, rather than operate electrically).
  • [0025]
    A chemiluminescent system 45, which includes a pair of chemicals 46 and 47 (e.g., a luminescable material and an activator therefor) that, when mixed, illuminate, is contained within chamber 42. A variety of chemiluminescent systems that are suitable for use in as chemiluminescent system 45 are known in the art, including, but not limited to, those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,747,796, 3,819,925, and 3,934,539, the disclosures of each of which are hereby incorporated herein, in their entireties, by this reference. As shown, one chemical 46 may be contained within a breakable ampoule 48 disposed within chamber 42, while the other chemical 47 may be disposed freely within chamber 42. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 4, chemicals 46 and 47 may be contained within separate breakable ampoules 48 that are located within chamber 42. Each breakable ampoule 48 is fragile enough to be readily broken when an individual intends to release chemical 46, 47 therefrom (e.g., by bending housing 20), but robust enough to withstand other impacts on housing 20. Examples of suitable ampoule 48 configurations and materials are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,747,796 and 3,819,925.
  • [0026]
    Chamber 42 is formed by a section of housing 20 that may be manipulated, such as by flexing that part of housing 20. Optionally, housing 20 may include a pinched region 41, which has a smaller outer diameter than the remainder of the portion of housing 20 at which illumination element 40 is located, to facilitate manipulation of housing 20. Pinched region 41 may also extend into chamber 42 to retain an ampoule 48 at a desired location therein. Of course, as shown in FIGS. 7, 9, and 10, the housing of an illuminable apparatus according to the present invention need not include a pinched region.
  • [0027]
    Housing 20 of illuminable apparatus 10 may additionally include an engagement element 50 (e.g., a hole, an eyelet, etc.) by which the illustrated string 52, a ring, or another retaining element may be secured thereto. Alternatively, an engagement element 50′″ in the form of a clip may extend from a housing 20′″ of an illuminable apparatus 10′″, as shown in FIG. 4.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 5 illustrates a variation of illuminable apparatus 10′, in which noisemaking component 30′ is removably secured to an illumination element (e.g., illumination element 40′). Noisemaking component 30′ and the illumination element may be secured to one another by complementary threads, by an interference fit, or by other means for reversible engagement 39′.
  • [0029]
    Another embodiment of illuminable apparatus 10″ is shown in FIG. 6. Like illuminable apparatus 10 (FIGS. 1 through 3), illuminable apparatus 10″ includes a housing 20″ with a noisemaking component 30 and a passive illumination element 40″. Housing 20″ differs from housing 20, however, in that illumination element 40″ of housing 20″ is phosphorescent, or glows in the dark. Such phosphorescence may be achieved by forming illumination element 40″ of housing 20″, which may comprise all or part of housing 20″, from a moldable, phosphorescent material, or by incorporating a phosphorescent material into a moldable material from all or part of housing 20″ is formed. Alternatively, a phosphorescent material (e.g., in the form of a paint) may be coated onto at least a portion of the surface of housing 20″ to form illumination element 40″ thereof. Suitable phosphorescent materials include, without limitation, zinc sulfide-based materials, as well as europium-based or other rare earth-based materials, such as those available from United Nuclear Scientific Supplies of Sandia Park, N. Mex. As is well known, phosphorescent materials may be reenergized with light and, thus, may be used repeatedly.
  • [0030]
    Illuminable apparatus that incorporate teachings of the present invention (e.g., illuminable apparatus 10, 10, ‘10′’) may be fabricated by known processes, as illustrated in FIGS. 7 through 10.
  • [0031]
    In the case of illuminable apparatus that include assembled components, such as illuminable apparatus 10, an intermediate housing structure 201 may initially be formed. As shown in FIG. 7, noisemaking component 30 (e.g., a whistle, blow horn, etc.) may be formed as the remainder of intermediate housing structure 201 is formed. Intermediate housing structure 20I also includes an opening 43 that communicates with a chamber 42 therein. Opening 43 is configured to facilitate the introduction of one or more ampoules 48 and, optionally, a chemical 46, 47 of chemiluminescent system 45 (FIG. 3) into chamber 42. Opening 43, therefore, facilitates the formation of illumination element 40 of illuminable apparatus 10 (FIGS. 1 through 3).
  • [0032]
    FIG. 8 schematically illustrates the use of known molding processes to form intermediate housing structure 20I. Specifically, FIG. 8 shows cross-sectional views through a mold 60, which includes two separable halves 62 and 64.
  • [0033]
    Without limiting the scope of the invention, when a thermoplastic material is used to form intermediate housing structure 201 (FIG. 7), known injection molding processes may be used. In such processes, a flowable (e.g., heated, liquefied) thermoplastic material 22 is introduced, under pressure, into a cavity 66 of mold 60, which cavity 66 is defined in abutting surfaces of complementary mold halves 62 and 64. If necessary, depending upon the desired configurations of housing 20, noisemaking component 30, and illumination element 40 (FIGS. 1 through 7), mold 60 may include one or more inserts 68 that are configured to be disposed within cavity 66. Depending upon the desired configuration of housing 20, the entire intermediate housing structure 201 may be formed in a single cavity 66 (e.g., when illuminable apparatus 10″ is formed) or in multiple cavities 66 a, 66 b, etc. (e.g., when illuminable apparatus 10, 10′, or 10″ is formed) (FIGS. 1 through 4), in which case the separate pieces (e.g., noisemaking component 30′ (FIG. 4), intermediate illumination element 40′ (FIG. 4), etc.) may be subsequently assembled and secured to one another.
  • [0034]
    As another example, intermediate housing structure 201 may be formed from a curable material 22 by way of known molding and curing processes (e.g., transfer molding in which two components, such as a curable material and a catalyst, the two parts of a two-part epoxy, or the like, are introduced into a mold cavity simultaneously, by heating a mold that includes a cavity within which a thermally curable, or thermoset, material is disposed, by exposing a photo-curable material within the cavity of a transparent or translucent mold to an appropriate wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, etc.).
  • [0035]
    Alternatively, molding processes may be used only to form noisemaking component 30, which may then be secured to an intermediate housing structure (not shown) having a generally tubular configuration.
  • [0036]
    As another alternative to an intermediate housing structure 20I that includes an integrated noisemaking component 30, an intermediate housing structure may be configured to receive and releasably or permanently retain a separate noisemaking component, such as a whistle, blow horn, or the like (e.g., by molding the housing around the noisemaking component; by securing the noisemaking component within the housing, then using known processes to cause the material of the housing to shrink; etc.).
  • [0037]
    Once material 22 has become sufficiently hard (e.g., cured, solidified, etc.), mold halves 62 and 64 may be separated from one another and inserts 68, if any, may be removed from the resulting articles of manufacture, as known in the art.
  • [0038]
    If illuminable apparatus 10, 10′ includes multiple pieces, these pieces may be assembled with and secured to one another by appropriate techniques. For example, elements that are configured to be removed from one another may be reversibly secured to each other (e.g., by interference fits, complementary threading, or other means for reversible engagement). Application of a suitable adhesive (or curable materials or thermoplastic materials) or heat treatment (e.g., use of focused heat (e.g., welding), application of heat and pressure, etc.) (for thermoplastic materials) may be used to permanently secure elements of illuminable apparatus 10, 10′ that are not to be disassembled to one another.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 9 shows the introduction of one or more ampoules 48 and materials 46 and 47 of chemiluminescent system 45 into chamber 42 of intermediate housing structure 201 through opening 43. The formation of illumination element 40 and of housing 20 (FIGS. 1 through 3) may be completed by sealing the components of chemiluminescent system 45 within chamber 42. Such sealing may be effected by use of known heat sealing processes when intermediate housing structure 201 is formed from a thermoplastic material. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 10, a sealing element 44 (e.g., a simple cap, as illustrated, a noisemaking component that has been fabricated separately from intermediate housing structure 20I (e.g., noisemaking component 30′ of FIG. 5), etc.) may be secured in place over opening 43 and secured to intermediate housing structure 20I by known processes that are suitable for use with the material from which intermediate housing structure 20I is formed. For example, when intermediate housing structure 20I is formed from a thermoplastic material, known plastic welding processes may be employed. Alternatively, glues, cements, or other adhesives that are compatible with the material of may intermediate housing structure 20I and sealing element 44 may be used to secure sealing element 44 in place over opening 43 when intermediate housing structure 20I has been fabricated from a curable material or a thermoplastic material.
  • [0040]
    In forming illuminable apparatus 10″ (FIG. 6), there is no need to form an intermediate housing structure, as phosphorescent material is either incorporated into the material from which the illumination element 40″ portion of housing 20″ is formed, or phosphorescent material is subsequently applied to the surface of a portion of housing 20″.
  • [0041]
    Turning now to FIGS. 11 and 12, methods for attracting the attention of an individual are depicted.
  • [0042]
    As illustrated in FIG. 11, an illuminable apparatus 10, 10′, 10″ may be stored for an indefinite period of time, then, when use thereof may be necessary or desired, worn around the neck of an individual, or otherwise carried by the individual (e.g., around the individual's wrist or another body part, in the individual's pocket, clipped to an item of the individual's clothing, etc.) (not shown).
  • [0043]
    Illumination element 40″ of illuminable apparatus 10″, which includes phosphorescent material, may be energized or activated by exposing the element to available natural or artificial light before use thereof as a source of light.
  • [0044]
    A method for audibly attracting the attention of an individual, such as in a situation where a person gets lost, is in danger, or otherwise wants to draw attention to herself, includes generating an audible signal and a visible signal using a single apparatus. As an example, an individual could use illuminable apparatus 10, 10′, 10″ to audibly and visibly attract the attention of another individual. The audible signal could be generated by use of noisemaking component 30, 30′, 30″ (FIGS. 1 through 7), while the visible signal could be generated by use of illumination element 40, 40′, 40″ (FIGS. 1 through 7).
  • [0045]
    More specifically, a loud noise could be generated by blowing on the whistle or horn of noisemaking component 30 of illuminable apparatus 10. If necessary or desirable, noisemaking component may be used repeatedly over a short or long period of time, until the desired attention has been attained. Audible signals may alternatively be generated by activating a mechanical noisemaking component or an electronic noisemaking component, as known and in a manner suitable for the particular embodiment of noisemaking component included in illuminable apparatus 10, 10′, 10″.
  • [0046]
    Turning to FIG. 12, a visible signal may be generated by causing materials 46 and 47 of chemiluminescent system 45 within chamber 42 of illumination element 40 of illuminable apparatus 10 to mix and, consequently, to emit light (see FIG. 3). More specifically, housing 20 may be manipulated in such a way (e.g., by flexing or bending illumination element 40 thereof, such as at pinched region 41) as to break each ampoule 48 contained within chamber 42 (FIG. 3). Generation of such a visible signal is particularly useful in dark conditions (e.g., at night, indoors when lights are out, in caves, etc.).
  • [0047]
    In addition, or as an alternative, to use of illumination element 40, 40′, 40″ (FIGS. 1 through 7) to visibly gain the attention of another individual, illumination element 40, 40′, 40″ may be used to provide an individual with light (e.g., for safety, comfort, etc.) in dark conditions.
  • [0048]
    Although the foregoing description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present invention, but merely as providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments. Similarly, other embodiments of the invention may be devised which do not depart from the spirit or scope of the present invention. Features from different embodiments may be employed in combination. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated and limited only by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the foregoing description. All additions, deletions and modifications to the invention as disclosed herein which fall within the meaning and scope of the claims are to be embraced thereby.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/204, 446/219
International ClassificationA63H5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG10K5/00
European ClassificationG10K5/00