Plural Mechanically Movable Display Elements Patents (Class 345/108)
  • Patent number: 6329967
    Abstract: A thin low power, paper white, direct-view display includes an array of bistable micromirrors that are deflected between two stable states, a dark state in which the mirror covers a portion of the background and a white state in which the mirror uncovers the background. The drive electronics are similar to those used in multiplexed LDCs but are modified in order to drive the micromirrors to one of their two stable states. The micromirrors in the enabled row are attracted up or down with sufficient force to exceed the micromirrors' bistable threshold and deflect the micromirrors to their dark and white states, respectively. The attractive forces on the micromirrors in the remaining non-enabled rows are insufficient to exceed the micromirrors' bistable threshold so that the micromirrors remain in their current stable state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2001
    Assignee: Intel Corporation
    Inventors: Michael J. Little, William P. Robinson, Eric A. Gifford
  • Patent number: 6327482
    Abstract: A mobile radio apparatus of the present invention includes an apparatus body having a connector portion at one side thereof. A main display is mounted on the apparatus body. An auxiliary display includes a terminal portion and is removably connected to the side of the apparatus body with the terminal portion mating with the connector portion of the apparatus body. The auxiliary display connected to the apparatus body assists the main display in displaying data at the time of, e.g., transmission or receipt. When the apparatus is carried by the user, the auxiliary display is dismounted from the apparatus body. The apparatus therefore achieves a great display capacity without being increased in size.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2001
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventor: Toshikazu Miyashita
  • Patent number: 6326944
    Abstract: A display includes a substrate, a matrix formed over the substrate, and thermomeltable material disposed in the matrix, having a transition temperature range above room temperature wherein the viscosity of the thermomeltable material decreases substantially from below to above the transition temperature range. The display also includes field-driven particles, immersed in the thermomeltable material, so that the field-driven particles change reflective densities in response to an applied electric field when the material is above the transition temperature range and is stable at temperatures below its transition temperature range, and heater(s) disposed in the display associated with the matrix for controlling the temperature of at least a portion of the matrix to control the response of the field-driven particles in the matrix.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2001
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: Steven D. MacLean, Xin Wen, William H. Simpson
  • Patent number: 6323833
    Abstract: Disclosed is a display-driving device for driving a display comprising an optical waveguide plate for introducing light thereinto, and a driving section provided opposingly to one plate surface of the optical waveguide plate and including a number of actuator elements arranged corresponding to a large number of picture elements, for displaying, on the optical waveguide plate, a picture image corresponding to an image signal by controlling leakage light at a predetermined portion of the optical waveguide plate by controlling displacement action of each of the actuator elements in a direction to make contact or separation with respect to the optical waveguide plate in accordance with an attribute of the image signal to be inputted; the display-driving device comprising a row electrode-driving circuit for selecting the actuator elements at least in one row unit, a column electrode-driving circuit for outputting a data signal-to the selected row, and a signal control circuit for performing gradation control for t
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: NGK Insulators, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yukihisa Takeuchi, Tsutomu Nanataki, Iwao Ohwada, Takayoshi Akao
  • Patent number: 6311141
    Abstract: A method and an apparatus are used with a display. A physical relationship between the display and a viewer of the display is determined, and the physical relationship is monitored to detect when the relationship substantially changes. In response to the detection, the display is automatically positioned to compensate for the change.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2001
    Assignee: Intel Corporation
    Inventor: Rajeeb Hazra
  • Patent number: 6304364
    Abstract: Electromagnetic radiation valves are provided. In one system, a transparent, elastomeric article is provided having a contoured surface including protrusions and intervening indentations. The contoured surface is placed adjacent a transparent plate and a void pattern defined by indentations of the contoured surface is filled with an opaque fluid. The protrusions decrease in cross-sectional area in the direction in which they extend away from the bulk of the elastomeric article, thus compression of the elastomeric protrusions against the transparent plate results in an increase in surface area in elastomeric protrusions against the transparent plate due to deformation of the protrusions, and the opaque fluid is displaced from the voids. Increased transmission of the electromagnetic radiation results. In another system, a similar elastomeric article includes an array of corner cubes that are totally internally reflective of the electromagnetic radiation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2001
    Assignee: President & Fellows of Harvard College
    Inventors: Dong Qin, Younan Xia, George M. Whitesides
  • Publication number: 20010020931
    Abstract: A display apparatus includes a projection display device for enlarging and projecting an image from the back side of a display plane, a screen disposed on the front side of the display plane of the projection display device, and a screen driving device for moving the screen to thereby switch between a first state where the display plane of the projection display device is covered with the screen and a second state where the display plane of the projection display device is visible from the front. The display apparatus displays the information provided on the screen in the daytime, and performs display by the projection display device via a window in the screen in the nighttime when there is no effect of external light.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 26, 2001
    Publication date: September 13, 2001
    Inventor: Yasunori Haba
  • Patent number: 6285490
    Abstract: An improved micromechanical device comprising a substrate (104), a deflectable member (102) suspended over the substrate (104), at least one spring-ring (124) supported above the substrate (104); and at least one address electrode (110) spaced apart from substrate (104). The spring-ring (124) resists deflection of the deflectable member (102) when the deflectable member (102) deflects to contact the spring-ring (124). By moving the address electrode (110) off the substrate level, the micromirror is much more immune to particle-caused short circuits, and a planer surface on which to fabricate the mirror (102) is provided without the need to utilize an inverse spacer layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2001
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Robert E. Meier, James D. Huffman, Richard L. Knipe
  • Patent number: 6252575
    Abstract: A method of selectively changing an image on a sign and a sign with selectively changeable image display. A body is provided having a viewing aperture, a printer, and a printed media support for tensioning and advancing printed media produced by the printer across the viewing aperture. The printer is connected to a computer and print files downloaded from the computer to initiate printing by the printer onto printed media and advancing printed media across the viewing aperture.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2001
    Inventor: Trevor Jason Kern
  • Patent number: 6229517
    Abstract: The display or indicating device comprises at least one display unit (1) having a display dot (10) as well as having means for actuating the display dot. The latter has a pivotably mounted baseplate (11) which is provided with an electroluminescence apparatus (30). Spurs (14, 15) protrude from the baseplate (11) and are mounted such that they can rotate in bearing sleeves (23, 24) made of an electrically conductive material. The electrodes (31, 32) of the apparatus (30) extend right into the region of the spurs or the bearing sleeves. Fitted on the respective spur (14, 15) is a contact element (36), which is electrically connected to the electrode that is present here. The bearing sleeves (23, 24) are fitted on supports (22) made of an electrically conductive material, these supports being connected to a supply source. The display dot (10) is provided with a permanent magnet (8).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2001
    Assignee: ENZ-Electronic AG
    Inventor: Emil Enz
  • Patent number: 6211853
    Abstract: Disclosed is a display device comprising an optical waveguide plate for introducing light radiated from a light source thereinto, in which the display gradation is controlled by changing the entering amount into an evanescent region existing around the back surface of the optical waveguide plate. In the present invention, an actuator element is provided, which makes bending displacement in a direction to make approach to the optical waveguide plate in accordance with voltage application to a pair of electrodes. A plate member of a displacement-transmitting section for determining the picture element area is provided on the actuator element. The entering amount of the plate member into the evanescent region is changed by controlling voltage application to the actuator element so that display gradation of the picture element corresponding to the actuator element is controlled.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2001
    Assignee: NGK Insulators, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yukihisa Takeuchi, Tsutomu Nanataki, Iwao Ohwada, Takayoshi Akao
  • Patent number: 6181315
    Abstract: A method of operating a magnetically operated display unit that includes a frame of a color, a plate pivotably mounted on the frame which includes a first surface of a color different from that of the frame and a second surface of a color identical to that of the frame, a magnet embedded in the plate, a U-shaped ferromagnetic element mounted on the frame so that two tips of the magnet are located between two tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element, a solenoid mounted on the U-shaped ferromagnetic element and a light emitting diode mounted on the frame. The plate contains a cutout designed for receiving the light emitting diode and one of the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The tip of the light emitting diode is located on a level between the plate and the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The light emitting diode is visible sufficiently above the surface of the plate so that its light can shine on that surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 2000
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2001
    Assignee: Lite Vision Corporation of Taiwan
    Inventor: Pin-Chi Kao
  • Patent number: 6130656
    Abstract: An actuatable film type display device has a plurality of actuatable films. Each of the actuatable films is colored in a desired color and is put in or out of a gap between two white plates of adjacent pixels according to the driving control. The actuatable film is supported by a cantilever. An electrode (actuatable electrode) is attached to the cantilever. Further, two fixed electrodes are disposed to sandwich the cantilever. The actuatable electrode is moved closer to one of the fixed electrodes by a potential applied to the electrode on the cantilever, that is, the actuatable electrode and potentials applied to the fixed electrodes. The actuatable film, white plate, cantilever, and fixed electrodes are combined to constitute one pixel. A plurality of pixels thus formed are arranged in a matrix form to constitute a dot matrix display device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2000
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiaba
    Inventor: Atsushi Sugahara
  • Patent number: 6122094
    Abstract: Several variations in full-color additive gyricons are shown. Each gyricon shown has been designed for ease of construction by eliminating the need for precise placement of rotating elements, alignment between the gyricon layers, if any, and alignment between the gyricon sheet and the addressing device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Xerox Corporation
    Inventor: Alexander E. Silverman
  • Patent number: 6118418
    Abstract: A pixel for use in a visual matrix display including a frame having front and rear surfaces and defining an aperture; a light source oriented in the aperture; a first retroreflective surface borne by the frame and positioned adjacent to the aperture; a flap borne by the front surface and moveable along a given path of travel between a first position wherein the pixel is nonoperational, and the flap is disposed in covering relation relative to the light source, and a second operational position, wherein the flap has a second retroreflective surface which is exposed when the flap is in the second position; means borne by the frame for moving the flap along the given path of travel; and means for energizing the light source when the flap is in one of the given positions along the path of travel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2000
    Assignee: American Electronic Sign Company
    Inventors: Jerry L. Johnson, Kevin M. Hanson, Kenneth R. Cummings, Edward A. Wilson
  • Patent number: 6118426
    Abstract: A process for creating an electronically addressable display includes multiple printing operations, similar to a multi-color process in conventional screen printing. In some of the process steps, electrically non-active inks are printed onto areas of the receiving substrate, and in other steps, electrically active inks are printed onto different areas of the substrate. The printed display can be used in a variety of applications. This display can be used as an indicator by changing state of the display after a certain time has elapsed, or when a certain pressure, thermal, radiative, moisture, acoustic, inclination, pH, or other threshold is passed. In one embodiment, the display is incorporated into a battery indicator. A sticker display is described. The sticker is adhesive backed and may then be applied to a surface to create a functional information display unit. This invention also features a display that is both powered and controlled using radio frequencies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2000
    Assignee: E Ink Corporation
    Inventors: Jonathan D. Albert, Barrett Comiskey, Joseph M. Jacobson
  • Patent number: 6115013
    Abstract: A pixel for use in a visual matrix display including a frame having front and rear surfaces and defining an aperture; a light source oriented in the aperture; a first retroreflective surface borne by the frame and positioned adjacent to the aperture; a flap borne by the front surface and moveable along a given path of travel between a first position wherein the pixel is nonoperational, and the flap is disposed in covering relation relative to the light source, and a second operational position, wherein the flap has a second retroreflective surface which is exposed when the flap is in the second position; an assembly borne by the frame for moving the flap along the given path of travel; and an assembly for energizing the light source when the flap is in one of the given positions along the path of travel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Assignee: American Electronic Sign Company
    Inventors: Jerry L. Johnson, Kevin M. Hanson, Kenneth R. Cummings, Edward A. Wilson
  • Patent number: 6101036
    Abstract: A static diffracting grating display system provides a fixed image representing high digital content information. A plurality of physical diffracting features are fixed into the surface of a substrate. The diffracting features are positioned and oriented to selectively diffract or reflect a first incident beam of light which is then collected by a first display optical system. For color, preferably three light sources, red, green and blue, are used to form three incident beams of light. The period between adjacent ones of the diffracting features can be adjusted to appropriately form full-color image from the collected light. Preferably the diffracting features are formed by embossing a deformable substrate. Where the material of the deformable substrate is not reflective, a reflective coating is then applied. In some circumstances a protective overcoat applied over the reflective surface to obviate scratches or other damage to the diffracting features of the embossed surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2000
    Assignee: Silicon Light Machines
    Inventor: David M. Bloom
  • Patent number: 6081249
    Abstract: A flat panel color display device is comprised of a two-dimensional array of stacks of colored membranes. Each membrane is comprised of a conductive film sandwiched between colored insulating films and integrated within a pellicle assembly which wends between pairs of adjacent colored fiber electrodes between which membrane stacks are juxtapositioned and around which membranes optionally wrap. Each colored membrane stack together with portions of the adjacent fiber electrodes defines one color pixel produced by the exposed surface colors of the membranes and the fiber electrodes. Any pixel or group of pixels of the display can display any color of the palette. Thin film transistor electronics are provided within a silicon coating on one fiber of each pair. Conductive traces on the pellicle assembly provide power, signal and interconnectivity between fiber electrodes and the pellicle assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2000
    Inventor: Ellis D. Harris
  • Patent number: 6072620
    Abstract: Microlenses 3a and 3b are formed on a first surface of a transparent substrate, and an output efficiency control device 2 which modulates a light amount of incident light is provided on a second surface opposing the first surface. Incident light 4 is made to be incident obliquely to an optical axis of the microlens 3a, to be focused on the output efficiency control device 2. The output efficiency control device 2 modulates a light amount of incident light and outputs the light as outgoing light 5 through the microlens 3b. Because of such a structure, the output efficiency control device 2 can be decreased in size, compared with a diameter of a beam and an aperture of a microlens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2000
    Assignee: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Teruhiro Shiono, Michihito Ueda, Tatsuo Ito, Kazuo Yokoyama
  • Patent number: 6067183
    Abstract: A light modulator for modulating a beam of light of wavelength .lambda. including a substrate, a fixed electrode formed over the substrate and arranged to reflect light; an insulative transparent layer defining a modulating region formed over the fixed electrode wherein the height of the insulative transparent layer is substantially an odd multiple of .lambda.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2000
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: Edward P. Furlani, William J. Grande, Thomas M. Stephany
  • Patent number: 6046720
    Abstract: A scanning display device directly scans a light source along at least one scanning path, rather than scanning a light beam emitted from such source along such scanning path. By scanning the light source a smaller, lighter weight scanner without a mirror can be used to achieve light source scanning along the desired scan path. A resonant cantilever translates one or more point sources (e.g., one for a monochromatic display; red, green and blue for an RGB display). The cantilever motion is driven by an electromagnetic drive circuit or by a piezoelectric drive actuator. The light source is one or more light emitting diode point sources, one or more a fiber optic point sources, or one or more light emitting polymer light sources.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: University of Washington
    Inventors: Charles D. Melville, Michael Tidwell
  • Patent number: 6038059
    Abstract: Several variations in full-color additive gyricons are shown. Each gyricon shown has been designed for ease of construction by eliminating the need for precise placement of rotating elements, alignment between the gyricon layers, if any, and alignment between the gyricon sheet and the addressing device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: Xerox Corporation
    Inventor: Alexander E. Silverman
  • Patent number: 6034807
    Abstract: A thin low power, paper white, direct-view display includes an array of bistable micromirrors that are deflected between two stable states, a dark state in which the mirror covers a portion of the background and a white state in which the mirror uncovers the background. The drive electronics are similar to those used in multiplexed LCDs but are modified in order to drive the micromirrors to one of their two stable states. The micromirrors in the enabled row are attracted up or down with sufficient force to exceed the micromirrors' bistable threshold and deflect the micromirrors to their dark and white states, respectively. The attractive forces on the micromirrors in the remaining non-enabled rows are insufficient to exceed the micromirrors' bistable threshold so that the micromirrors remain in their current stable state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2000
    Assignee: MEMSolutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael J. Little, William P. Robinson, Eric A. Gifford
  • Patent number: 6031657
    Abstract: The present invention provides a Schlieren projection system with a large aperture reflective imager. The combination of a beam-addressed CCM design with flat-panel manufacturing techniques configuration produces a large aperture imager that overcomes the problems of limited deflection range, high beam current, electrostatic instability and limited resolution associated with known electrostatically-actuated micromirror targets. The CCM imager includes a thin insulating membrane that decouples the electron beam from the micromirror array. Decoupling also allows the mirror to be designed to optimize reflectivity, exhibit a higher resonant frequency for better video performance, and be fabricated simultaneously with the hinges. The CCM imager is fabricated using flat-panel manufacturing techniques that are ideally suited to producing large aperture devices at low cost.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Assignee: MEMSolutions, Inc.
    Inventors: William P. Robinson, Michael J. Little, Eric A. Gifford
  • Patent number: 6028582
    Abstract: An improved solenoid and reset pin for a modular display apparatus for displaying indicia at a front thereof having a frame for rotationally mounting a plurality of pixels. Each pixel includes first and second display faces joined along respective adjacent edges. A triggering mechanism has a plurality of solenoids adapted for selective actuation to rotate selected ones of the pixels for changing the pattern of the desired display indicia and a plurality reset pins to return the pixels to an original position. The reset pins and the plungers for the solenoids include a spring and a rod extending axially outward from said spring to provide radial flexibility.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2000
    Assignee: Reader Vision, Inc.
    Inventors: W. Brooks Drew, G. Frank Dye, F. Martin Black
  • Patent number: 6028978
    Abstract: Disclosed is a display device comprising an optical waveguide plate for introducing light thereinto, and a driving section provided opposingly to the back surface of the optical waveguide plate and including a number of actuator elements arranged corresponding to a large number of picture elements, for displaying, on the optical waveguide plate, a picture image corresponding to an image signal by controlling leakage light at a predetermined portion of the optical waveguide plate by controlling displacement action of each of the actuator elements in a direction to make contact or separation with respect to the optical waveguide plate in accordance with an attribute of the image signal to be inputted; the display device further comprising a displacement-transmitting section for transmitting the displacement action of the actuator element to the optical waveguide plate, wherein a plate member of the displacement-transmitting section is constructed by a white scattering element, and a color filter is formed at a
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2000
    Assignee: NGK Insulators, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yukihisa Takeuchi, Tsutomu Nanataki, Hisanori Yamamoto
  • Patent number: 6025825
    Abstract: A magnetically operated display unit includes a frame of a color, a plate pivotably mounted on the frame which includes a first surface of a color different from that of the frame and a second surface of a color identical to that of the frame, a magnet embedded in the plate, a U-shaped ferromagnetic element mounted on the frame so that two tips of the magnet are located between two tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element, a solenoid mounted on the U-shaped ferromagnetic element and a light emitting diode mounted on the frame. The plate contains a cutout designed for receiving the light emitting diode and one of the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The tip of the light emitting diode is located on a level between the plate and the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The light emitting diode is visible sufficiently above the surface of the plate so that its light can shine on that surface. Two opposite currents are selectively directed through the solenoid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2000
    Assignee: Lite Vision Corporation of Taiwan
    Inventor: Pin-chi Kao
  • Patent number: 6008785
    Abstract: A method of automatically generating a load/reset sequence for a display system having a spatial light modulator whose display elements that are loaded with data and reset between loads (FIG. 7). Bit-planes of data are classified according to their display times as normal, short, or reset-release (FIG. 5). Extra time of normal bit-planes is calculated (FIG. 5). The display times of normal bit-planes are adjusted by subtracting or adding extra time, such that any normal bit-plane displayed before a short or reset-release bit-plane includes sufficient extra time to allow for loading the short or reset-release bit-plane (FIG. 7). Also, reset conflicts are detected and avoided (FIGS. 7, 8, 9A and 9B).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 28, 1999
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Gregory J. Hewlett, Donald B. Doherty
  • Patent number: 5923313
    Abstract: A modular display apparatus for displaying indicia at a front thereof has an inner frame with horizontal support beams, the inner frame supporting a plurality of grid modules, at least one grid module being located above another. A plurality of pixels rotationally mounted to the grid modules each include first and second display faces joined along respective adjacent edges. The pixels have a center of gravity located on each pixel so as to interact with an external force applied to the pixel and provide a complete rotation, with a minimum of bounce, to display a desired display face. A triggering mechanism has a plurality of solenoids adapted for selective actuation to rotate selected ones of the pixels for changing the pattern of the desired display indicia controlled by an electronic signal transmitted from an electronics system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 13, 1999
    Assignee: ReaderVision, Inc.
    Inventors: F. Martin Black, G. Frank Dye
  • Patent number: 5898418
    Abstract: A magnetically operated display unit includes a frame of a color, a plate pivotably mounted on the frame which includes a first surface of a color different from that of the frame and a second surface of a color identical to that of the frame, a magnet embedded in the plate, a U-shaped ferromagnetic element mounted on the frame so that two tips of the magnet are located between two tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element, a solenoid mounted on the U-shaped ferromagnetic element and a light emitting diode mounted on the frame. The plate contains a cutout designed for receiving the light emitting diode and one of the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The tip of the light emitting diode is located on a level between the plate and the tips of the U-shaped ferromagnetic element. The light emitting diode is visible sufficiently above the surface of the plate so that its light can shine on that surface. Two opposite currents are selectively directed through the solenoid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Inventor: Pin-Chi Kao
  • Patent number: 5892497
    Abstract: A segmented ball for an electrical twisting ball color display device, the device being composed of different sets of spheroidal balls rotatably disposed in an elastomer substrate, each set being associated with a different display color. The segmented ball includes a colored interior segment surrounded on either side by transparent exterior segments, the three segments being arrayed substantially parallel to one another, with adjacent segments being adjoined to one another at substantially planar interfaces. The colored interior segment can have, for example, a transparent or opaque chromatic color, such as red, green, or blue. The ball has an anisotropy for providing an electrical dipole moment, the electrical dipole moment rendering the ball electrically responsive such that when the ball is rotatably disposed in a nonoscillating electric field while the electrical dipole moment of the ball is provided, the ball tends to rotate to an orientation in which the electrical dipole moment aligns with the field.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 6, 1999
    Assignee: Xerox Corporation
    Inventor: George G. Robertson
  • Patent number: 5841579
    Abstract: A diffraction grating light valve modulates an incident beam of light. A plurality of elongated elements each have a reflective surface. The elongated elements are suspended with their respective ends substantially coplanar. Alternate ones of the elongated elements are electrically coupled for receiving a first bias voltage. The interdigitated elongated elements are electrically coupled for receiving a second bias voltage. By applying a appropriate first and second biasing voltages, all the reflective surfaces can be maintained in a first plane. When all the elongated elements are in the first plane, the diffraction grating light valve reflects the beam of light. A predetermined group of the elongated elements, preferably alternate ones, are deformable to be substantially coplanar in a second plane which is parallel to the first plane. When the predetermined group of elements is in the second plane, the diffraction grating light valve diffracts the beam of light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Assignee: Silicon Light Machines
    Inventors: David M. Bloom, Dave B. Corbin, William C. Banyai, Bryan P. Straker
  • Patent number: 5808797
    Abstract: A modulator for modulating incident rays of light, the modulator having a plurality of equally spaced apart elements, each of which includes a light reflective planar surface. The elements are arranged parallel to each other with their light reflective surfaces parallel to each other. The modulator includes means for supporting elements in relation to one another and means for moving particular ones of the elements relative to others so that the moved elements transit between a first configuration wherein the modulator acts to reflect the incident rays of light as a plane mirror, and a second configuration wherein the modulator diffracts the light reflected therefrom. In operation, the light reflective surfaces of the elements remain parallel to each other in both the first and the second configurations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: Silicon Light Machines
    Inventors: David M. Bloom, Francisco S. A. Sandejas, Olav Solgaard
  • Patent number: 5790088
    Abstract: A pixel for use in a visual matrix display including a frame having front and rear surfaces and defining an aperture; a light source oriented in the aperture; a first retroreflective surface borne by the frame and positioned adjacent to the aperture; a flap borne by the front surface and moveable along a given path of travel between a first position wherein the pixel is nonoperational, and the flap is disposed in covering relation relative to the light source, and a second operational position, wherein the flap has a second retroreflective surface which is exposed when the flap is in the second position; means borne by the frame for moving the flap along the given path of travel; and means for energizing the light source when the flap is in one of the given positions along the path of travel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1998
    Assignee: American Electronic Sign Company
    Inventors: Jerry L. Johnson, Kevin M. Hanson, Kenneth R. Cummings, Edward A. Wilson
  • Patent number: 5751269
    Abstract: A modular display apparatus for displaying indicia at a front thereof has an inner frame with horizontal support beams, the inner frame supporting a plurality of grid modules, at least one grid module being located above another. A plurality of pixels rotationally mounted to the grid modules each include first and second display faces joined along respective adjacent edges. The pixels have a center of gravity located on each pixel so as to interact with an external force applied to the pixel and provide a complete rotation, with a minimum of bounce, to display a desired display face. A triggering mechanism has a plurality of solenoids adapted for selective actuation to rotate selected ones of the pixels for changing the pattern of the desired display indicia controlled by an electronic signal transmitted from an electronics system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 12, 1998
    Assignee: Reader Vision, Inc.
    Inventors: F. Martin Black, G. Frank Dye
  • Patent number: 5737115
    Abstract: A tristate light valve ball for an electrical twisting ball device composed of spheroidal balls rotatably disposed in an elastomer substrate. The ball is composed of segments arrayed substantially parallel to one another, each segment being adjacent to at least one other segment and to no more than two other segments. Adjacent segments are adjoined to one another at substantially planar interfaces. The segments include: a first, interior, nontransparent segment having a first optical modulation characteristic; a second exterior, transparent segment, adjacent to the first segment and having a second optical modulation characteristic; a third, interior, nontransparent segment having a third optical modulation characteristic; and a fourth, exterior, transparent segment adjacent to the third segment. For example, the ball can be made with a black first segment adjacent to a white third segment, surrounded on either side by clear second and fourth exterior segments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 7, 1998
    Assignee: Xerox Corporation
    Inventors: Jock D. Mackinlay, Maureen C. Stone
  • Patent number: 5721564
    Abstract: An electromagnetically operated, linearly sliding shutter is provided for a light source emanating from a fiber optic light guide, used for example, in a variable display such as those providing information to motorists on highways. For such a display a plurality of shutters in an array is provided with individual shutters being operable under computer control to occlude or allow passage of light in a predetermined pattern. The shutter may include a base unit having bores to hold the end of the fiber optic guide and control electromagnetic coils, and a shutter unit having a slide movable into and out of the path of light from the guide. The shutter unit may be sealed against entry of dust and dirt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 24, 1998
    Assignee: Ledstar Inc.
    Inventor: Milan Patel
  • Patent number: 5717513
    Abstract: A method of repositioning mirror elements (10) of a digital micromirror device (DMD) that have become stuck in an "on" or an "off" position. The mirror element (10) is irradiated with a short high-energy pulse of visible light. The method may be easily performed during fabrication at the wafer level, and may be followed by a passivation step to prevent further sticking.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 10, 1998
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventor: Douglas J. Weaver
  • Patent number: 5717423
    Abstract: A human/machine interface system that presents information in a three-dimensional and visual form and is optionally capable of receiving input.The Three-Dimensional Display comprises a display shape with visual displays that is movable to provide visual and three-dimensional representative imagery. An optional method for sensing input can be added to allow user interaction with the display.A number of these displays could be arrayed together and driven by appropriate circuitry to present to the user visual and physical representation upon which the user can act to communicate back to the machine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 10, 1998
    Assignee: Merltec Innovative Research
    Inventor: David N. Parker
  • Patent number: 5697174
    Abstract: A matrix-shaped display device with a display foil in which display elements are punched out in the form of tabs. The tabs are positioned in rows and columns, and depending on the desired display, can be positioned by a positioning device in front of or behind a strip having a contrasting color. The display elements are oriented alternately upward and downward from one row to the next. Pairs of oppositely oriented display elements support a strip.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 16, 1997
    Inventor: Gerhard-Gunter Gassmann
  • Patent number: 5686939
    Abstract: A spatial light modulator in the form of a deformable mirror device receives from a frame store data which has been formatted by a data formatter subsequent to gamma correction in a ROM look-up table. The DMD displays different light levels by being ON for selected periods of a series of durations 4, 8, 16, - - - , 1024 varying in proportion to a basic period multiplied by powers of two. The shortest duration 4 for which the DMD can be turned on is a multiple of the basic period, and the series includes additional durations 5, 6, and 7 in the series between the shortest displayable duration 4 and the next power of two 8. Durations 1, 2, and 3 of less than the shortest displayable duration can be displayed by adjusting the turn-on time of a proportion of the adjacent mirrors. The longest duration for which the mirror can be turned on can be employed twice.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 1993
    Date of Patent: November 11, 1997
    Assignee: Rank Brimar Limited
    Inventors: John David Millward, John Gillespie
  • Patent number: 5659374
    Abstract: Methods are disclosed by which the effects of a defective electromechanical pixel 20 having a beam 30 and a hinge 32,34 are mitigated. These methods may damage the hinge 32,34 or the beam 30 and comprise the step of applying a voltage sufficient to damage the hinge 32,34 or beam 30 of said electromechanical pixel 20 by mechanical overstress, thermal overstress, electrochemical reaction, or thermally induced chemical reaction. Other methods are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 19, 1997
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Richard Ovid Gale, Jr., Brian C. McCormack
  • Patent number: 5636038
    Abstract: A device for converting the visual and/or auditory into tactile representations includes imaging equipment for converting light and/or sounds, including spoken text, into electrical signals, processing equipment for processing the electrical signals, and a tactile display for converting processed electrical signals into tactile images. The tactile images are felt by the user enabling them to obtain visual or auditory information by touch about the world around them that would otherwise be obtained through vision and/or hearing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 3, 1997
    Inventors: Ingrid H. Lynt, Christopher H. Lynt
  • Patent number: 5627563
    Abstract: A large multicolor display apparatus displays pictures and animations of high quality with multiple colors. The apparatus is used for advertisement and information purposes. The apparatus comprises unit blocks, which are divided into a plurality of sections. In each of the sections, there is arranged a multicolor display element having a rotary color display member. The color of each unit block is determined by the multicolor display elements disposed in the unit block. Each of the unit blocks, therefore, can display multiple colors, to improve the quality of images displayed on the apparatus. Since the multicolor display elements can be prepared in small sizes, they operate at high speed to display animations and make the apparatus thinner and lighter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 6, 1997
    Assignees: Citizen Watch Co., Ltd., T.I.C.-Citizen Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tadahiko Nakagiri, Kazuo Teramoto, Mitsuhiro Okamoto
  • Patent number: 5623281
    Abstract: An improved error diffusion filter for a DMD display (10) includes both an inverse gamma LUT (Look-up Table) (51) and an Error LUT (Look-up Table) (82), both responsive to the raster scan red, green, or blue video data for when the video data calls for an intensity level different from the achievable level of a DMD device. The Error LUT (82) provides an error value for that difference. The error is distributed to neighboring DMD devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 22, 1997
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Vishal Markandey, Gregory S. Pettitt
  • Patent number: 5617242
    Abstract: A method of repairing mirror elements of a digital micromirror device (DMD) that have become stuck in an "on" position. The mirror element (10) is located and targeted with a laser beam. The wavelength, pulse duration, and power of the radiation is selected so that the mirror component (11) of the defective mirror element (10) will be ablated without affecting the underlying circuitry or neighboring mirror elements (10).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 1, 1997
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventor: Douglas J. Weaver
  • Patent number: 5581272
    Abstract: A method and device for controlling the bias voltages for a split-reset spatial light modulator. Each block of the spatial light modulator can be individually controlled lowering the throughput needed to load each frame of data. Blocks are selected individually or in groups with the potential of providing one voltage condition on the selected blocks and a different voltage condition on the deselected blocks. One embodiment of the disclosed method comprises input latches and buffers 44, address decode logic 46 to determine the selected blocks, mode select logic 48 to determine the requested operation, delay circuitry 50 to minimize current loading, and level shifters 52 to convert logic signals to voltage levels appropriate to control the output drive circuitry 54.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 3, 1996
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: James L. Conner, Michael J. Overlaur, Kevin Kornher
  • Patent number: 5526016
    Abstract: A large multicolor display apparatus displays pictures and animations of high quality with multiple colors. The apparatus is used for advertisement and information purposes. The apparatus comprises unit blocks, which are divided into a plurality of sections. In each of the sections, there is arranged a multicolor display element having a rotary color display member. The color of each unit block is determined by the multicolor display elements disposed in the unit block. Each of the unit blocks, therefore, can display multiple colors, to improve the quality of images displayed on the apparatus. Since the multicolor display elements can be prepared in small sizes, they operate at high speed to display animations and make the apparatus thinner and lighter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 11, 1996
    Assignees: Citizen Watch Co., Ltd., T.I.C.-Citizen Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tadahiko Nakagiri, Kazuo Teramoto
  • Patent number: 5515075
    Abstract: A large multicolor display apparatus displays pictures and animations of high quality with multiple colors. The apparatus is used for advertisement and information purposes. The apparatus comprises unit blocks, which are divided into a plurality of sections. In each of the sections, there is arranged a multicolor display element having a rotary color display member. The color of each unit block is determined by the multicolor display elements disposed in the unit block. Each of the unit blocks, therefore, can display multiple colors, to improve the quality of images displayed on the apparatus. Since the multicolor display elements can be prepared in small sizes, they operate at high speed to display animations and make the apparatus thinner and lighter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 7, 1996
    Assignees: Citizen Watch Co., Ltd, T.I.C. Citizen Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tadahiko Nakagiri, Kazuo Teramoto, Mitsuhiro Okamoto