Apple patent is for computer with illuminable portion for feedback
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple patent is for computer with illuminable portion for feedback




An Apple patent (number 20120133301) for an active enclosure for a computing device has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It revives an idea mentioned in previous patents for computer hardware that gives feedback depending on the task on which you're working. In fact, the patent even mentions multi-colored iMacs, which apparently references the early incarnation of Apple's all-in-one desktop.

The invention involves a computing device that includes a housing having an illuminable portion. The computing device also includes a light device disposed inside the housing. The light device is configured to illuminate the illuminable portion.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Most computing devices, including portable computers and desktop computers, give feedback to its user via a display screen or speakers. As is generally well known, display screens are used to display textual or graphical information to a user and speakers are used to output sound to the user.

"For example, display screens may be used to display a graphical user interface (GUI) and speakers may be used to output music or audio messages. Computing devices also give feedback to users via small indicators positioned on the computing device. By way of example, some indicators use light to indicate that a computing device (or the display screen of the computing device) is turned on/off or that a disk drive is reading or writing data to a disk. Although displays, speakers and indicators work well, they are limited to the type of feedback they give a user.

"For example, while playing a movie with a DVD drive of a computing device, the display screen only outputs the video associated with the movie, the speaker only outputs the audio associated with the movie, and the indicator only indicates that a movie is playing the DVD drive. Thus, it would be desirable to provide additional feedback to a user.

"Computing devices also have housings that enclose the components and circuitry associated with operating the computing devices. Housings generally serve to shield and protect the components and circuitry from adverse conditions such as impact and dust. In some cases, the housings are configured to surround all the components of the computing device while in other cases the housings are configured to surround individual or a subset of components.

"For example, a housing may be used to enclose the central processing unit (CPU), display screen, disk drive, and speaker to form a single unit. As another example, a plurality of different housings may be used to individually enclose the CPU, display screen, disk drive and speakers to form a plurality of individual units.

"As is generally well known, housings for computing devices in particular product lines are typically manufactured with the same appearance, i.e., they look the same. For example, housings from a particular product line may have the same box-like shape and/or the same neutral color. This can be discouraging to computer users who desire computers that are more personalized or to computer users who desire computers that are different than another user's computer.

"Recently, manufacturers have attempted to remedy this problem by offering brightly colored or translucent housings for computing devices. For example, some computer and telephone manufacturers now sell a variety of housings, which have different colors and patterns. By way of example, the iMac computer, which is produced by Apple Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., is available in various colors and patterns.

"Although these recent advances make substantial inroads to overcoming the same old appearance, the housings for the computing device remain passive structures that exhibit a non-adaptable or non-changing appearance. That is, a colored or patterned housing has a single color or pattern associated therewith that does not change overtime.

"External lights have been used in some devices associated with displaying video to enhance the viewing experience of the video. Unfortunately, however, none of the external lights have been capable of changing the visual appearance of the device housing. That is, the external lights are typically located outside the periphery of the housing and are typically arranged to alter the environment in which the video is shown rather than the device housing itself (the appearance of the housing remains the same even with the use of lights). Thus, there is a need for improvements in appearances of housings for computing devices.

"The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a computing device. The computing device includes a housing for enclosing various internal components associated with the operation of the computing device. The computing device also includes an indicator assembly for indicating events associated with the computing device. The indicator assembly is configured to produce an indicator image at an outer surface of the housing when activated, and to eliminate the indicator image from the outer surface of the housing when deactivated.

"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a housing indicator system. The housing indicator system includes a housing having at least an inner bezel. The inner bezel has a light receiving recess that forms a reduced thickness portion. The reduced thickness portion is translucent. The housing indicator system also includes a light source disposed behind the housing. The light source is configured to illuminate the reduced thickness portion in order to form an indicator image at the outer surface of the inner bezel. The shape of the recess produces an indicator image of similar shape on the outer surface of the inner bezel.

"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a housing indicator system. The housing indicator system includes a housing having a clear outer layer and a translucent inner layer. The translucent inner layer includes a light receiving recess that forms a reduced thickness portion. The reduced thickness portion represents the area of the translucent layer that is illuminated. The housing indicator system also includes an indicator assembly.

"The indicator system includes a light device configured to provide light to the reduced thickness portion, a light barrier configured to prevent light from entering the translucent layer except at the reduced thickness portion and a light guide configured to direct light from the light source to the reduced thickness portion.

"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a computer system. The computer system includes a processor configured to generate light control signals. the computer system also includes a light feature operatively coupled to the processor. The light feature includes one or more light emitting diodes capable of emitting light in order to illuminate an illuminable housing of the computer system.

"The computer system also includes a light driver disposed between the processor and at least one of the LEDs. The light driver is configured to convert the light control signals into a stable continuous current for driving the light emitting diode. The magnitude of the current is based at least in part on the light control signal. The magnitude of the current affects the light intensity of the light emitting diode.

"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a method of illuminating a housing. The method includes generating a light control signal associated with a desired light intensity. The method also includes converting the light control signal into a voltage representative of the desired light intensity. The method further includes converting the voltage into a current representative of the desired light intensity. The current driving an LED so as to produce light. The method additionally includes directing the light from the LED through the housing such that an image is created at an outer surface of the housing."

The inventors are Duncan R. Kerr and Steve P. Hotelling.

 
AAPL
$99.02
Apple Inc.
+1.35
GOOG
$590.60
Google Inc.
+1.58
MSFT
$43.97
Microsoft Corpora
-0.53
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Traps n’ Gemstones Review
Traps n’ Gemstones Review By Campbell Bird on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLEVANIA JONESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fight mummies, dig tunnels, and ride a runaway minecart to discover ancient secrets in this throwback exploration game.   | Read more »
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review By Jordan Minor on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GHOSTS BUSTEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Phantom PI is an exceedingly clever and well-crafted adventure game.   | Read more »
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a Ne...
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Great Prank War Review
The Great Prank War Review By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRANKING IS SERIOUS BUSINESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Though short, The Great Prank War offers an interesting and fun mix of action and tower defense. Get your fish out.   | Read more »
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at...
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at Comic-Con Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Announced over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con was the fairly exciting looking Marvel Contest of Champions. | Read more »
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review By Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL SWIPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The pizza power is weak when it comes to this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.   | Read more »
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbudd...
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbuddy Set to Make Transition from PC to iOS this September Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
PlanetHD
PlanetHD By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPACE MADNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PlanetHD will keep players busy for a while, though its unpredictable physics are a handful to deal with.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: July 21-25, 2014
Another Week of Expert App Reviews   At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a... | Read more »
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client (...
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: News Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Reddme for iPhone is an iOS 7-optimized Reddit client that offers a refreshing new way to experience Reddit on your iPhone. Sporting a gorgeous, intuitive design and packing more amazing features than we can... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.