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Title:
HEAD-MOUNTED ILLUMINATION DEVICES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/112850
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Illumination devices as include a frame intended to be worn by a user and one or more light sources (e.g., LEDs) positioned by the frame so as to be near a user's zygomatic bones and oriented to project light in a direction of the user's view when the illumination device is worn on the wearer's head. The frame may be shaped to be worn over the user's ears and behind the user's head, and may be made of one or more of plastic, metal and/or a metal alloy, carbon fiber, wood, cellulose acetate, natural horn and/or bone, leather, and an epoxy resin. An optional strap may be retractably attached to connect portions of the frame over the wearer's head. The LEDs may be included in respective panels swivelly mounted to booms of the frame and the panels may further include imaging devices, such as a camera, and/or a projector.

Inventors:
ROSS JEREMY (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2018/062767
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
November 28, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FIRST LIGHT USA LLC (US)
International Classes:
F21L2/00; F21L14/00; F21V21/00; F21V21/14; F21V21/30
Domestic Patent References:
WO2010062479A12010-06-03
WO1996037730A11996-11-28
Foreign References:
US6612695B22003-09-02
US5946071A1999-08-31
US20110317402A12011-12-29
US20040189930A12004-09-30
US20100081895A12010-04-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAHMI, Tarek, N. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An illumination device, comprising a frame having one or more booms configured to position one or more light sources of the illumination device near a wearer’s zygomatic bones when the illumination device is worn on the wearer’s head, said light sources oriented to project light in a direction of the wearer’s view.

2. The illumination device of claim 1, wherein the one or more light sources comprise light emitting diodes (LEDs).

3. The illumination device of claim 2, wherein the frame is shaped to be worn over the wearer’s ears and behind the wearer’s head.

4. The illumination device of claim 2, wherein the LEDs are included in respective panels swivelly mounted to the booms.

5. The illumination device of claim 4, wherein one or more of the panels further

includes an imaging device.

6. The illumination device of claim 5, wherein the imaging device comprises a

camera.

7. The illumination device of claim 4, wherein one or more of the panels further

includes a projector.

8. The illumination device of claim 1, further comprising a strap retractably attached to connect the booms.

9. The illumination device of claim 2, wherein at least some of the LEDs emit light in visible wavelengths.

10. The illumination device of claim 1, wherein the one or more light sources comprise fiber optic cables.

11. The illumination device of claim 10, wherein the fiber optic cables optically convey light from an illumination source remote from the frame.

12. The illumination device of claim 1, wherein the frame is articulated at one or more hinge points.

13. The illumination device of claim 12, wherein the frame is articulated at hinge points on each of the booms.

14. The illumination device of claim 1, wherein the frame includes one or more grip points along its inner surface and said grip points are fitted with pads for contacting the wearer’s skin.

15. The illumination device of claim 1, further comprising audio communications

means.

16. The illumination device of claim 15, wherein the audio communications means includes one or both of a microphone and an earpiece.

17. The illumination device of claim 1, further comprising a sensor package for

monitoring of the wearer’s vital statistics.

18. The illumination device of claim 17, wherein the sensor package includes one or more sensor pads communicably coupled to a processor configured to sample signals from the sensor pads periodically.

19. The illumination device of claim 17, wherein the sensor package includes a telemetry transmitter and an associated antenna.

20. The illumination device of claim 15, wherein the audio communications means includes bone conduction transducers for transmission and/or reception of audio signals.

Description:
HEAD-MOUNTED ILLUMINATION DEVICES

RELATED APPLIC AITON S

[0001] This is a NONPROVISIONAL and claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 62/596,046, filed December 7, 2017, and 62/729,048, filed September 10, 2018.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to illumination devices and, more particularly, to such illumination devices as are mounted on a frame intended to be worn on the person of a user, for example, on the user’s head.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Head-worn illumination devices find application in a variety of fields and activities. Typically, such devices are worn atop a wearer’s head, e.g., secured by or to a strap, cradle, or helmet, etc., or may be positioned on or in spectacle frames, e.g., near the wearer’s temples. The benefit of head-worm illumination devices is that they leave the wearer’s hands free to perform tasks other than holding the illumination device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Various embodiments of a head-worn illumination devices are described herein. In one or more of those embodiments, an illumination device includes a frame having one or more booms configured to position one or more light sources (e.g., light emitting diodes (LEDs)) of the illumination device near a wearer’s zygomatic bones when the illumination device is worn on the wearer’s head, said light sources oriented to project light in a direction of the wearer’s view. The frame is preferably shaped to be worn over the wearer’s ears and behind the wearer’s head, and is made of one or more of plastic, metal and/or a metal alloy, carbon fiber, wood, cellulose acetate, natural horn and/or bone, leather, and an epoxy resin. An optional strap may be retractably attached to connect the booms over the wearer’s head.

[0005] The LEDs are included in respective panels swivelly mounted to the booms and may emit light in the visible or other spectrum. One or more of the panels may further include an imaging device, for example, a camera, and/or a projector oriented to project an image towards the wearer’s eye and/or towards an area the user is staring.

[0006] In some instances, the light sources may comprise fiber optic cables, which act as waveguides to optically convey light from an illumination source. That source may be local to or remote from the frame.

[0007] The frame of the illumination device may be articulated at one or more hinge points. For example, the frame may be articulated at hinge points on each of the booms. This allows the frame to be comfortably fitted on the wearer’s head and/or folded up. The frame may also include one or more grip points along its inner surface, which grip points are fitted with pads for contacting the wearer’s skin.

[0008] The illumination device may also include audio communications means, e.g., a microphone and/or an earpiece, or bone conduction transducers for transmission and/or reception of audio signals, and may sometimes include a sensor package for monitoring of the wearer’s vital statistics. The sensor package may include one or more sensor pads communicably coupled to a processor configured to sample signals from the sensor pads periodically and may also include a telemetry transmitter and an associated antenna.

[0009] These and further embodiments of the present invention are discussed in more detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0010] The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0011] Figure 1A is an isometric view of a head-mounted illumination device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] Figure 1B is a front view of the head-mounted illumination device shown in Figure 1 A.

[0013] Figure 1C is a partial side view of the head-mounted illumination device shown in Figure 1A.

[0014] Figure 1D is a top view of the head-mounted illumination device shown in Figure 1 A.

[0015] Figures 2A-2C illustrate aspects of a head-mounted illumination device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention as worn by a user.

[0016] Figures 3 A and 3B illustrate aspects of the hinged articulation of a head-mounted illumination device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention that allow the head-mounted illumination device to be folded when not in use.

[0017] Figure 4 is a rendering that shows front and back perspective views of a head- mounted illumination device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, as well as a side profile of such an illumination device as worn by a user.

[0018] Figure 5 illustrates additional rear-side profiles views of an illumination device such as that shown in Figure 4 as worn by a user.

[0019] Figure 6 illustrates an example of a sensor package arrangement for optional use with the head-mounted illumination device of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION

[0020] Described herein are illumination devices mounted on or in a frame intended to be worn on the person of a user, for example, on the user’s head. Head-mounted illumination devices configured in accordance with embodiments of the present invention are suitable for application in a variety of contexts, including military, law enforcement, health care, and others (e.g., consumer). Unlike helmet-mounted lights, which require the user to wear a helmet in order to use them, illumination devices configured in accordance with

embodiments of the present invention can be worn with or without a helmet or other eyewear, communication devices, visioning systems, etc. In particular, illumination devices configured in accordance with embodiments of the present invention provide directional lighting from the area of the user’s zygomatic bones. Placing the light source in this vicinity reduces light-blinding of others when communicating. Additionally, the use of two (left-side and right-side), independently adjustable light sources allows for illumination of two areas simultaneously, at two separate color wavelengths if desired.

[0021] Illumination devices configured in accordance with embodiments of the present invention provide a relatively small (in terms of area being occupied), augmentative, illumination source that does not interfere with eye protection, loupes, masks, etc. Such illumination devices allow users to avoid shadowing that occurs within cavities when using ceiling-mounted or other overhead light sources.

[0022] In addition to lighting, the frame carrying the present illumination devices provide a platform for image and/or video capture and/or projection devices, for example as may be used with a helmet-worn or other heads-up display. Further, one or more microphones may be provided integral to or on the frame and/or on a boom associated with the frame that supports the illumination units. Hands-free operation of the present illumination devices may be facilitated using a boom microphone, an integral microphone, a chin-worn actuator that can be pressed against the wearer’s shoulder, or a remote switch that can be activated (e.g., by voice command or otherwise) when worn under garments, for example as a pendant worn around the neck. [0023] Figures 1 A-1D and 2A-2C illustrate embodiments of a head-mounted illumination device configured in accordance with the present invention. As shown, individual illumination elements, e.g., light emitting diodes (LEDs) 14, are included on or in a harness 10, which is worn over the ears and behind the head, and which may include an optional retracting head strap 11 connecting the two sides of the harness. At the front of the harness are located one or more booms 12 that extend over a portion of the wearer’s face, below the eyes, and terminate in the area of the zygomatic bones. Two such booms, one each on the left side and right side of the wearer’s face are shown in the illustrations, however, embodiments of the invention may provide just a single such boom on one side of the wearer’s face, or multiple such booms on each side of the wearer’s face. For some specialized applications it may be desirable to have different numbers of booms on each side of a wearer’s face. The booms may or may not contact the wearer’s face and may include a rubberized or other backing to provide a comfortable surface against the wearer’s cheek.

[0024] Each of the booms 12 terminates with a hinged panel 20. The hinged panels are swivelly mounted to the booms, e.g., with a piano hinge, butt hinge, barrel hinge, butterfly hinge, pivot hinge, spring hinge, or other arrangement, and may be detachable from the boom so as to be replaceable/reconfigurable. For example, different arrangements of hinged panels 20 may be adapted to carry different illumination devices, sensors, imaging devices, and/or projection devices. In some examples, hinged panels 20 may be adapted for carrying LEDs that emit light in the visible spectrum. Other forms of hinged panels 20 may be adapted to carry LEDs that emit light in other wavelengths, in addition to or in lieu of the LEDs that emit light in the visible spectrum. Still further forms of hinged panels 20 may be adapted to carry light detectors and/or imaging devices (e.g., still image and/or video cameras), in addition to or in lieu of the LEDs that emit light in the visible spectrum. Also, as discussed below, some hinged panels 20 may be adapted to carry LEDs that emit light as well as image/video projectors for use with a heads-up display or other imaging system. Although the majority of the remaining discussion focuses on hinged panels adapted to carry LEDs that emit light in the visible spectrum, this discussion applies equally to the other forms of hinged panels and associated illumination, projection, and imaging devices described herein. Cabling for the illumination devices and other sensors, etc. may be provided by wiring run through hollow channels within the hinged panels, booms and harness (not shown). In instances where the hinged panels 20 are detachable from the booms 12, electrical contacts may be placed on both sides of the hinged panel- boom junction so as to provide electrical continuity and avoid the need for separately coupled wirings (although such wired connections may be used).

[0025] In some instances, the illumination may be provided by fiber optic cables terminating (e.g., with or without lens systems) at the hinged panels, in which case the illumination source may be positioned remotely from the hinged panel, for example worn elsewhere on the person of the user such as in a shoulder harness or utility belt. This would allow for larger power sources and illumination sources of significant luminance, while still providing the directional control afforded by the use of the harness and boom system of the present invention. Likewise, image capture components, such as imaging systems and storage devices could be worn on a shoulder harness or belt and the information obtained by image sensors positioned in the hinged panels 20 at the ends of booms 12 conveyed to such systems through the use of fiber optic waveguides routed through channels in the present headwear.

[0026] The illustrated example of the hinged panels 20 at the ends of booms 12 are sized so as to provide one or more LEDs (and/or other sensors and/or projecting elements) approximately below the wearer’s eye(s) and facing forward, in the direction the wearer is looking, so that the LEDs illuminate the area of interest to the wearer. The booms 12 are sized so as to position the hinged panels 20 so that they just rest on the wearer’s cheeks, preferably over the zygomatic bones, without putting undue pressure thereon. Accordingly, harnesses 10 may be provided in various sizes to accommodate head sizes and shapes of different wearers, or they may be adjustable at one or more points to accomplish same. In some instances, harnesses and booms may be personalized to a wearer by creating a model, either physical or digital, of the wearer’s head and face and fabricating a harness specifically to suit the wearer according to the dimensions provided from the model.

Modern additive manufacturing processes (commonly known as 3D printing) make such customizations economically feasible even for consumer applications and custom harnesses could readily be produced from images of a wearer’s head and face captured using computer-based cameras and transmitted to remote server hosting a Web service for purchase of the harness and accessories therefor. For example, following instructions provided by the Web-based service, a user may capture multiple still images and/or a short video of his/her head and face. By including an object of known dimensions (e.g., a ruler, a credit card, etc.) within the field of view of the camera at the approximate position of the user’s head as the images are captured, a 3D model of the user’s head and face can be created at the server. The user can then be provided with an opportunity to customize a harness to be sized to the dimensions of the model, selecting, for example, the number of booms, the type and number of hinged panels, with illumination or other accessories, the positions over the ears, etc. at which the harness will be worn, and other parameters of the to-be-manufactured harness. Once the customizations are specified, and payment collected, the harness specification may be dispatched to a manufacturing facility at which the harness is fabricated.

[0027] The harness 10 may include one or more hinge points 16, one or more on each side, about which sections of the harness may articulate so as to allow for a comfortable fit on the wearer. This may be especially important in harnesses that are not fabricated for personalized fit, so as to allow individual wearers to achieve a comfortable fit. As shown in Figure 2A, the harness 10 may be worn next to the head, beneath a helmet 18. Accordingly, by allowing the harness 16 to articulate in several places, the fit of the harness may be adjusted to accommodate the presence of the helmet and its associated retention straps, as well as other helmet-worn accessories such as a screen 24 of a head-up display (see Figure 2C).

[0028] The hinge points 16 may be purely friction fit adjustments in which the relative friction between opposing cylindrical ribs is sufficient to keep the relative orientation of two hinged members constant during wear. Or, the hinge points may incorporate ratchet fittings that provide interlocking gear-like rings to assure that the relative positions of two members will not change with respect to one another unless a relatively significant force is applied. Other hinged arrangements may be used at points 16, such as swivel torque hinges, circle rotational hinges, click and pawl mechanisms, etc. In some cases, the hinge points 16 are fitted with O-rings to prevent moisture from intruding.

[0029] Referring briefly to Figures 3 A and 3B, in some embodiments additional hinge points 56 may be provided along booms 12 to allow the harness 10 to be folded into the configuration shown in Figure 3B, with the booms folded inwards towards the rear of the harness. This allows easy storage of the harness while preventing accidental damage to the booms. As shown in Figure 3 A, one or more hinge points 56 may be included along the length of each boom, providing multiple points of articulation. The hinges used at hinge points 56 may be any of piano hinges, butt hinges, barrel hinges, spring hinges, or other arrangements.

[0030] Additionally, one or more grip points 58 along the inner surface of each boom 12 or other parts of harness 10 may be fitted with silicone pads for contacting the wearer’s skin. The pads assist in reducing slipping of the harness when worn, and also distribute pressure over a larger surface area than might otherwise be the case if they were not present. While silicone pads are preferred, pads made of other materials, e.g., cork, may be used. [0031] Referring back to Figures 1 A-1D and 2A-2C, one or more LEDs 14 may be included in each hinged panel 20 at the end of each boom 12. In addition to the LED(s), the hinged panels 20 may include heads up display (HUD) projection optics 22. As shown in Figure 2C, the HUD projection optics 22, which are oriented towards the wearer’s eye, may be used to project information on a HUD screen 24 disposed in front of the wearer’s eye(s). The screen 24 may be secured to helmet 18 on a hinge 26 so that it can be swiveled out of the wearer’s line of sight when not in use, or it may exist in the form of a screen 60 worn in front of the wearer’s eyes in a fashion similar to a pair of spectacles (see Figure 2A). Alternatively, the projector may be oriented away from the user so that images can be projected onto a surface in front of the user. A power source and telemetry transmitter (e.g., for HUD data and audio communications) may be included in the harness 10 and/or a helmet 18 and attached to the various illumination and video elements, microphone(s), and earpiece(s) via one or more wire leads within the harness.

[0032] Figure 4 is a rendering that shows front and back perspective views of a head- mounted illumination device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, as well as a side profile of such an illumination device as worn by a user. Figure 5 illustrates additional rear-side profiles views of such an illumination device as worn by a user.

[0033] Returning to Figures 1 A-1D, the harness 10 may further support one or more communication earpieces 28. Together with one or more boom microphones 30, which may be supported on one or more booms separate from that used to carry hinged panels 20 (or, in some embodiments, on the same boom), the earpiece and microphone allow for communications to/from the wearer. The earpiece and microphone may be

communicatively connected to a transceiver carried elsewhere on the wearer’s person, either using wired or wireless connections. [0034] In other embodiments, the earpiece 28 and/or microphone 30 may be eliminated, and audio communications facilitated through bone conduction elements. Portions of the harness 10 are in contact with the wearer’s head. Hence, rather than an earpiece, a bone conduction headphone that decodes signals from a receiver and converts them to vibrations can transmit those vibrations directly to the wearer’s cochlea. The receiver and bone conduction headphone(s) may be embedded directly in the harness 10, or in some cases the receiver may be external to the harness. One or more bone conduction headphones may be provided. For example, the headphone(s) may be similar to bone conduction speakers employed by scuba divers and may consist of a piezoelectric flexing disc encased in a molded portion of the harness 10 that contacts the wearer’s head just behind one or both ears. Similarly, a bone conduction microphone may be provided in lieu of a boom microphone.

[0035] In some embodiments, harness 10 may include a sensor package 32 that allows for monitoring of the wearer’s vital statistics. A power source and telemetry transmitter (not shown) may be included in harness 10 and attached to the sensor package via one or more wire leads. Thus, even with a helmet removed, the sensors package 32 can continue to relay information concerning the wearer’s vital statistics and other monitored biometrics via the telemetry transmitter, because harness 10 remains attached to the wearer.

[0036] The sensor package may include a sensor pads constructed of conductive fabric that contact the wearer at or near the temple. Additional sensor pads may be integrated in the harness 10 or may be included in the retractable strap positioned over the head of the wearer. This would allow for additional sensor readings for electrophysiological or other noninvasive monitoring of the wearer.

[0037] The sensor pad(s) and associated electronics may allow for detection of electrical signals in the manner described by von Rosenberg, W. et ah,“Smart Helmet: Monitoring Brain, Cardiac and Respiratory Activity,” Conf. Proc. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc. 2015, pp. 1829-32 (2015). For example, as shown in Figure 6, sensor pad(s) 34 may be attached by electrical leads to a processor 38, e.g., via associated amplifiers 40, analog-to-digital converters 42, etc., which samples the signals from the sensor pads periodically. A record of the sampled signals may be stored locally, e.g., in a suitable writable memory 44 such as a flash memory, and also may be transmitted to a remote monitoring location via a telemetry transmitter 48 and an associated antenna. Alternatively, the telemetry may be transmitted only when the transmitter is activated, e.g., by an on-scene paramedic, or by the wearer him/herself. Upon command, any stored samples may be similarly transmitted so that a history of the wearer’s biometric and vital signs can be analyzed by a physician or other person at the remote monitoring station, or locally via an output port 50.

[0038] In some embodiments, the sensor package may also include one or more accelerometers 46 which provide inputs to processor 38 concerning rapid

accelerations/decelerations of the wearer’s head. Such measurements may be important when assessing possible traumatic brain injuries, cervical spinal injuries, and the like.

[0039] Although not shown in the various views, a power source for the electronics is provided and may be housed within the harness 10 or located external thereto (e.g., worn on a vest or pack). In some cases, a primary power source may be located external to the harness 10 and a secondary power source provided integral thereto. This would allow the primary power source to be decoupled from the harness, which would then revert to using the secondary power source (e.g., a small battery or the like), at least temporarily. This would allow for continuous monitoring of the biometric and vital signs and provision of related telemetry. Primary power may later be restored by an attending medic using a transportable power supply. To facilitate this operation, the harness may be provided with one or more ports allowing connection of different forms of power supplies.

[0040] Beyond comfort, the present head-worn illumination device offers beam

separation/brightness consistency when closing distance /peering. For example, by having separate illumination sources on booms on either side of a wearer’s face, with each being mounted on a pivotable, hinged panel, a wearer can aim each illuminations source independently so as to provide for combining the illumination of the respective beams at a desired point in front of the wearer (e.g., corresponding to an area of interest to the wearer), so as to maximize the provided illumination at that point. Then, by moving his/her head towards/away from the area of interest, the user can provide a form of brightness control over that area of illumination. As the user moves his/her head, the beams provided by the illumination sources will separate, thereby adjusting the effective amount of illumination at the area of interest. In some embodiments, haptic feedback may be used for various indications, e.g., low battery, etc. Embodiments of the head-worn illumination device may also support other components of a head-worn“system” that includes integrated eyewear components, disposable masks and caps, heads-up display, sensors, data

capture components, etc.

[0041] Illumination devices of the kind described herein, and especially the harness, booms, and hinged panels thereof, may be fashioned from a variety of materials, including but not limited to plastics (e.g., zylonite), metals and/or metal alloys, carbon fiber, wood, cellulose acetates (including but not limited to nylon), natural horn and/or bone, leather, epoxy resins, and combinations of the foregoing. Fabrication processes include, but are not limited to, injection molding, sintering, milling, and die cutting. Alternatively, or in addition, one or more additive manufacturing processes, such as extrusion, vat

photopolymerization, powder bed fusion, material jetting, or direct energy jetting, may be used to fashion the illumination device and/or components thereof.

[0042] Thus, illumination devices and, more particularly, such illumination devices as are mounted on a frame intended to be worn on the person of a user, for example, on the user’s head, have been described.