Patents by Inventor Robert R. Turnbull

Robert R. Turnbull has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 6980092
    Abstract: A vehicle communication and control system is provided that may be more readily installed in a vehicle and that utilizes minimal additional wiring. According to some of the disclosed embodiments, the electrical components of the “brick” of a communication and control system are integrated into a rearview mirror assembly. Preferably, the microwave antenna for the GPS and the cellular telephone antenna are also integrated into the rearview mirror assembly. Various functions and features of the system are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 27, 2005
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Robert R. Turnbull, Robert C. Knapp, Eric J. Walstra, Alan R. Watson, G. Bruce Poe, John K. Roberts, Wayne J. Rumsey
  • Patent number: 6958844
    Abstract: A rearview mirror assembly is disclosed including a housing adapted to be mounted to the vehicle, a mirror disposed in the housing, at least one electrically powered device disposed in the housing, and a power supply for receiving power from a vehicle power source having a voltage in excess of about 24 V and for supplying power at a voltage of about 5 V or less to the electrically powered device. The electrically powered device and the power supply exhibit an electromagnetic interference level of less than about 41 dB?V/m for emissions in the frequency range from about 0.4 MHz to about 20 MHz. The mirror is preferably an electrochromic mirror, and the electrically powered device may be a control circuit for the electrochromic mirror.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2005
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Frederick T. Bauer, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Patent number: 6863405
    Abstract: An automatically dimming mirror includes a dimming element having variable reflectivity, the degree of reflectivity based on a control signal. An ambient light sensor is positioned to receive light from a region generally in front of the vehicle. The ambient light sensor outputs a discrete ambient light signal based on the amount of light incident on the ambient light sensor over an integration period. A glare sensor is positioned to view the scene generally behind the vehicle operator. The glare sensor outputs a discrete glare signal based on the amount of light incident on the glare sensor over an integration period. A dimming logic determines an ambient light level based on the ambient light signal. The glare integration period is determined based on the ambient light level. The glare signal resulting from the glare integration period determines a mirror glare level used to set the dimming element control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 28, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2005
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Jon H. Bechtel, Joseph S. Stam, Robert R. Turnbull, Robert H. Nixon, Eric R. Fossum
  • Patent number: 6861942
    Abstract: A vehicle antenna system incorporated into at least one side-view mirror of a vehicle includes a forward directed antenna and a rearward directed antenna to transmit and receive signals over corresponding forward and rearward-directed detection fields, respectively. The antennas act as directional transmitters and/or receivers, and a processing circuit discriminates between signals from different antennas without requiring any of the antennas to transmit identification signals to the processing circuit. Signal discrimination is conducted in part by sequentially selecting each antenna to obtain a corresponding antenna signal and, if required for a particular application, comparing the obtained signal with previously obtained antenna signals. The vehicle antenna system can be used, for example, in conjunction with tire pressure sensors to detect low tire pressure in a particular tire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2005
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Robert C. Knapp, David L. Plangger, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Patent number: 6828170
    Abstract: A semiconductor optical radiation package includes a leadframe, at least one semiconductor optical radiation emitter, and an encapsulant. The leadframe has a heat extraction member, which supports the semiconductor optical emitter and provides one or more thermal paths for removing heat generated within the emitter to the ambient environment, as well as at least two electrical leads for providing electrical coupling to the semiconductor optical radiation emitter. The encapsulant covers and protects the emitter and optional wire bonds from damage and allows radiation to be emitted from the emitter into the ambient environment. The semiconductor optical radiation package provides high emitted flux and is preferably compatible with automated processing techniques.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 7, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: John K. Roberts, Joseph S. Stam, Spencer D. Reese, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Publication number: 20040239243
    Abstract: A light emitting assembly having a first light source and a second light source. The first and second light sources are oriented such that when the first and second light sources emit light, light emitted from the first and second light sources overlaps and is capable of forming effective white light. The light emitted from the first light source exhibits color coordinates different from the light emitted from the second light source. One of the light sources may be a photoluminescent source, such as a fluorescent dye or phosphor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 2, 2004
    Publication date: December 2, 2004
    Inventors: John K. Roberts, Robert R. Turnbull, Robert C. Knapp, Kathy E. Roberts
  • Publication number: 20040230358
    Abstract: The present invention relates to monitoring and automatic control systems.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 20, 2004
    Publication date: November 18, 2004
    Inventors: Joseph S. Stam, Mark W. Pierce, Jon H. Bechtel, William R. Spence, Robert R. Turnbull, El-Sayed Eid
  • Publication number: 20040218277
    Abstract: An automatically dimming mirror includes a dimming element having variable reflectivity, the degree of reflectivity based on a control signal. An ambient light sensor is positioned to receive light from a region generally in front of the vehicle. The ambient light sensor outputs a discrete ambient light signal based on the amount of light incident on the ambient light sensor over an integration period. A glare sensor is positioned to view the scene generally behind the vehicle operator. The glare sensor outputs a discrete glare signal based on the amount of light incident on the glare sensor over an integration period. A dimming logic determines an ambient light level based on the ambient light signal. The glare integration period is determined based on the ambient light level. The glare signal resulting from the glare integration period determines a mirror glare level used to set the dimming element control signal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 28, 2004
    Publication date: November 4, 2004
    Inventors: Jon H. Bechtel, Joseph S. Stam, Robert R. Turnbull, Robert H. Nixon, Eric R. Fossum
  • Publication number: 20040202001
    Abstract: The present invention relates to information display assemblies and various covert displays using the same.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 10, 2004
    Publication date: October 14, 2004
    Inventors: John K. Roberts, Frederick T. Bauer, Darin D. Tuttle, Harold C. Ockerse, Robert R. Turnbull, David M. Falb
  • Publication number: 20040196179
    Abstract: A rearview assembly includes a mounting structure and a tri-band antenna module. The mounting structure is adapted for mounting to a conductive mounting button that is attached to an inside surface of a vehicle windshield. The tri-band antenna module is mounted adjacent the conductive mounting button and includes a patch antenna and a dual-band cellular antenna.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 3, 2003
    Publication date: October 7, 2004
    Inventor: Robert R. Turnbull
  • Patent number: 6789907
    Abstract: A control system for a plurality of electrochromic elements, for example, used in automobiles, to control the glare of the IEC elements used as a rearview mirror (20) as well as the OEC elements (24, 26) used as sideview mirrors (24, 26). The IEC element and each of the OEC elements is provided with an individual drive circuit (21, 22). The drive circuits for the OEC's elements may be customized to account for various factors such as the type of curvature as well as the size and shape. Since individual drive circuitry is provided for the IEC elements and each of the OEC elements, the reflectance of each of the electrochromic elements (20, 24, 26) can be relatively accurately controlled by way of glare signal from inside the automobile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Robert R. Turnbull, Robert C. Knapp, Roy E. Vawter
  • Patent number: 6791811
    Abstract: A current sense circuit includes a current sense device and a voltage sense device. The current sense device is positioned to sense a drive current provided to a load by a drive circuit. The voltage sense device is coupled across the current sense device and receives a threshold signal at a first input and provides an output signal on an output whose value is dependent upon whether a sense signal at a second input is above or below the threshold signal. A level of the threshold signal changes in response to a voltage level of a power supply that supplies the drive current to the drive circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: G. Bruce Poe, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Publication number: 20040170293
    Abstract: A microphone assembly includes one or more transducers positioned in a housing. Circuitry is coupled to the transducer for outputting an electrical signal such that the microphone has a main lobe directed forwardly and attenuates signals originating from the sides and/or rear. The transducers can advantageously include multiple transducers, which, with the circuit, produce a desired sensitivity pattern. The microphone assembly can be employed in a vehicle accessory.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 4, 2003
    Publication date: September 2, 2004
    Inventors: Alan R. Watson, Robert C. Knapp, Robert R. Turnbull, William R. Spence, G. Bruce Poe, Michael A. Bryson
  • Publication number: 20040160657
    Abstract: According to one embodiment of the present invention, an electrochromic rearview mirror assembly for a vehicle includes an electrochromic mirror having a variable reflectivity, a glare sensor for sensing levels of light directed towards the front element from the rear of the vehicle, an ambient sensor for sensing levels of ambient light, a display positioned behind the partially transmissive, partially reflective portion of the reflector for displaying information therethrough; and a control circuit coupled to the sensors and the display. The control circuit determines whether daytime or nighttime conditions are present as a function of the ambient light level sensed by the ambient sensor. During daytime conditions, the control circuit responds to light levels sensed by the glare sensor to control a contrast ratio of light originating from the display and light reflecting from the partially transmissive, partially reflective area of the reflector.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 12, 2004
    Publication date: August 19, 2004
    Inventors: William L. Tonar, Jeffrey A. Forgette, John S. Anderson, David J. Cammenga, Robert R. Turnbull, Philip B. Hall, Mark D. Bugno, Alan R. Watson
  • Patent number: 6755542
    Abstract: An automatically dimming mirror includes a dimming element having variable reflectivity, the degree of reflectivity based on a control signal. An ambient light sensor is positioned to receive light from a region generally in front of the vehicle. The ambient light sensor outputs a discrete ambient light signal based on the amount of light incident on the ambient light sensor over an integration period. A glare sensor is positioned to view the scene generally behind the vehicle operator. The glare sensor outputs a discrete glare signal based on the amount of light incident on the glare sensor over an integration period. A dimming logic determines an ambient light level based on the ambient light signal. The glare integration period is determined based on the ambient light level. The glare signal resulting from the glare integration period determines a mirror glare level used to set the dimming element control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 29, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Jon H. Bechtel, Joseph S. Stam, Robert R. Turnbull, Robert H. Nixon, Eric R. Fossum
  • Patent number: 6750823
    Abstract: An inventive rearview mirror assembly is disclosed in which a microwave antenna is mounted so as to receive transmissions from one or more satellites through the front windshield of the vehicle. The microwave antenna may be tuned to receive satellite transmissions from a position identification system constellation of satellites, such as GPS or GLONASS. Additionally, the microwave antenna may be tuned to alternatively or additionally receive transmissions from at least one communication satellite, such as a CD radio satellite. In addition to the inventive rearview mirror assembly, an inventive electrical control system is disclosed that may be used as a navigation system, an electrochromic rearview mirror control system, a head lamp control system, a tire pressure monitoring and display system, a temperature sensing and display system, a vehicle compass system, a vehicle data recorder system, and/or a vehicle odometer verification system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 15, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Robert R. Turnbull, Robert C. Knapp, Eric J. Walstra
  • Patent number: 6742904
    Abstract: Equipment on automotive vehicle is controlled by a system including at least one semiconductor light sensor having variable sensitivity to light. Each light sensor generates a light signal indicative of the intensity of light incident on the light sensor. Control logic varies the sensitivity of the light sensor and generates equipment control signals based on received light signals. Sensitivity of light sensors may be varied by changing the integration time for producing charge from light incident on light transducers, by selecting between light transducers of different sensitivity within the light sensor, by using a light transducer with a sensitivity that is a function of the amount of incident light, and the like. Controlled equipment includes devices such as automatically dimming rearview mirrors, headlamps, and moisture removal means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 1, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Jon H. Bechtel, Frederick T. Bauer, Joseph S. Stam, Robert C. Knapp, Robert R. Turnbull, David J. Schmidt, G. Bruce Poe, David L. Plangger, Robert H. Nixon, Eric R. Fossum, Timothy E. Steenwyk
  • Patent number: 6737630
    Abstract: A mirror assembly having an electrically adjustably reflectivity provides for the simultaneous display of a vehicle heading and an external temperature. The mirror assembly includes a reflective device, a dual display and a control circuit. The reflective device includes a transmissive element and a reflective surface formed on the transmissive element. The dual display is located behind the reflective surface of the reflective device. The dual display visually provides the vehicle heading and the external temperature through the reflective device. The control circuit provides for the variable attenuation of light through the transmissive element of the reflective device and controls the intensity and information displayed by the dual display. An advantage of the present invention is that it provides a dual display while exhibiting currently acceptable electromagnetic interference levels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2004
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventor: Robert R. Turnbull
  • Publication number: 20040070907
    Abstract: A current sense circuit includes a current sense device and a voltage sense device. The current sense device is positioned to sense a drive current provided to a load by a drive circuit. The voltage sense device is coupled across the current sense device and receives a threshold signal at a first input and provides an output signal on an output whose value is dependent upon whether a sense signal at a second input is above or below the threshold signal. A level of the threshold signal changes in response to a voltage level of a power supply that supplies the drive current to the drive circuit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 8, 2003
    Publication date: April 15, 2004
    Inventors: G. Bruce Poe, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Publication number: 20040051378
    Abstract: A rearview mirror assembly is disclosed including a housing adapted to be mounted to the vehicle, a mirror disposed in the housing, at least one electrically powered device disposed in the housing, and a power supply for receiving power from a vehicle power source having a voltage in excess of about 24 V and for supplying power at a voltage of about 5 V or less to the electrically powered device. The electrically powered device and the power supply exhibit an electromagnetic interference level of less than about 41 dB&mgr;V/m for emissions in the frequency range from about 0.4 MHz to about 20 MHz. The mirror is preferably an electrochromic mirror, and the electrically powered device may be a control circuit for the electrochromic mirror.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 8, 2003
    Publication date: March 18, 2004
    Inventors: Frederick T. Bauer, Robert R. Turnbull