GB2506140A - An ambient light edge-lit sign - Google Patents

An ambient light edge-lit sign Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2506140A
GB2506140A GB201216855A GB201216855A GB2506140A GB 2506140 A GB2506140 A GB 2506140A GB 201216855 A GB201216855 A GB 201216855A GB 201216855 A GB201216855 A GB 201216855A GB 2506140 A GB2506140 A GB 2506140A
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GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
front plate
prism
portion
light
surface
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB201216855A
Other versions
GB201216855D0 (en
Inventor
Adrian Lowes
Original Assignee
Adrian Lowes
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Adrian Lowes filed Critical Adrian Lowes
Priority to GB201216855A priority Critical patent/GB2506140A/en
Publication of GB201216855D0 publication Critical patent/GB201216855D0/en
Publication of GB2506140A publication Critical patent/GB2506140A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F13/00Illuminated signs; Luminous advertising
    • G09F13/04Signs, boards or panels, illuminated from behind the insignia
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0011Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being planar or of plate-like form
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F13/00Illuminated signs; Luminous advertising
    • G09F13/04Signs, boards or panels, illuminated from behind the insignia
    • G09F13/08Signs, boards or panels, illuminated from behind the insignia using both translucent and non-translucent layers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F13/00Illuminated signs; Luminous advertising
    • G09F13/18Edge-illuminated signs

Abstract

A sign comprising a front plate 2 and a prism 4, the front plate having a first portion and a second portion 6 such that the first portion has a higher opacity than the second. The prism has a coupling surface coupled to the front plate and at least partially overlapping the second portion of the front plate. A collecting surface 10 of the prism admits light into the prism and may extend beyond the front panel to collect ambient light. A reflecting surface 12 of the prism reflects light towards the front plate such that the second portion emits light. The reflecting surface may be polished or coated to increase reflectivity and the collecting surface may be inclined with respect to the front plate. There may be an artificial light source which could be powered by a solar panel and operated by a light sensor. A method of manufacturing the sign is also disclosed.

Description

A SIGN

[0001] The present invention relates to a sign. In particular, the present invention relates to a sign which incorporates an illuminated portion, for instance illuminated letters, numbers or logos. The illumination may be provided by collected ambient light, which may be supplemented or replaced by a powered light source.

BACKGROUND

[0002] It is known to provide signs, which may be wall mounted, to identify a building.

For instance, such a sign may comprise a front plate displaying the building name, street address, occupants or any other desired information. It is known to illuminate such a sign, either by providing a light source directed towards the front plate, or by providing backlighting. A backlit sign may be provided by positioning a light source behind the front plate and providing translucent or transparent portions of the front plate such that light can shine through. However, providing an illuminated sign which is powered from mains electricity may be considered to be wasteful. Additionally, it may not always be convenient to provide a power source where a sign is located.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] It is an aim of embodiments of the present invention to obviate or mitigate one or more of the problems associated with the prior art, whether identified herein or elsewhere.

In particular, it is an aim of certain embodiments of the present invention to provide a sign which can be illuminated without requiring a power supply.

[0004] In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a sign comprising: a front plate having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion having a higher level of opacity than the second portion; and a prism having a coupling surface coupled to the front plate and at least partially overlapping the second portion of the front plate; wherein at least part of one surface of the prism not in contact with the front plate comprises a collecting surface arranged to admit light into the prism; and wherein at least part of one surface of the prism comprises a reflecting surface arranged to reflect light towards the front plate such that the second portion emits light.

[0005] Advantageously, the prism collects ambient light and emits the ambient light through the second portion of the front plate. The second portion of the front plate may be shaped as desired such that the illuminated portion of the front plate displays information such as a house number. Embodiments of the invention provide an environmentally friendly solution to illuminated signage.

[0006] The sign is suitable for both domestic and commercial buildings, and indeed anywhere where there is a need to display information and where it is desirable for the information to be illuminated. Particular embodiments of the invention are self-lit by utilising ambient light where the sign is located, and as such requires no source of power.

In other embodiments, suitable for use in environments with limited ambient light, additional illumination may be provided by a light source coupled to the prism.

[0007] In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of manufacturing a sign comprising: providing a front plate having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion having a higher level of opacity than the second portion; and coupling a surface of a prism to the front plate such that the prism at least partially overlaps the second portion of the front plate; wherein at least part of one surface of the prism not in contact with the front plate comprises a collecting surface arranged to admit light into the prism; and wherein at least part of one surface of the prism comprises a reflecting surface arranged to reflect light towards the front plate such that the second portion emits light.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Embodiments of the invention are further described hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a sign in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention; Figure 2 illustrates a rear perspective view of the sign of Figure 1; Figure 3 illustrates an exploded view of the sign of Figure 1; Figure 4 illustrates a front perspective view of a sign in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention; Figure 5 illustrates a front perspective view of a sign in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention; Figure 6 illustrates a front perspective view of a sign in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the invention; and Figure 7 illustrates a rear perspective view of the sign of Figure 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0009] Referring first to Figures 1 to 3, these illustrate a sign in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. The sign comprises a front plate 2 and a prism 4.

The front plate 2 comprises a generally planar sheet of material which may be formed from metals such as steel, stainless steel, gold, silver, woods or plastics including acrylics, or indeed any other material which may be provided in sheet form.

[0010] The front plate 2 is cut or otherwise profiled to leave apertures 6, for instance in the form of letters and numbers as illustrated. The apertures are formed in areas to be illuminated within the front plate, for instance by routing! laser cutting or water jet cutting.

It will be appreciated that the apertures may be in any shape or arrangement such that when illuminated from behind (as described below) they display a desired pattern or information. The remaining parts of the front plate 2 comprise a first portion and the apertures comprise a second portion. The effect is that the first portion may be opaque (dependent upon the selected material and the second portion is transparent such that light can only pass through the apertures.

[0011] In alternative embodiments of the invention the material of the front plate 2 may be selected such that it is translucent to allow a proportion of incident light to pass through.

Alternatively, or additionally, the second portions may not comprise apertures. The first portion may be selected or treated such that it is more opaque than the first portion of the front plate such that when illuminated from behind the two regions can be discerned due to the different amount of light passing through. For instance, the front panel may be formed from a sheet of a transparent or translucent material and the first portions may be marked out by applying a coating or a treatment only to the first portion to increase its opacity.

Alternatively, it may be the second portion which is treated to decrease its opacity, for instance by etching an opaque surface coating upon a transparent or translucent material.

In a further alternative, the second portions may be provided as apertures in a sheet of a first material, the apertures then being filled by corresponding portions of a second material with a reduced opacity. Other approaches to generating regions of first and second opacity will be apparent to the skilled person. It will be appreciated that where reference is made to the front plate 2 having a first portion and a second portion this includes the option of the front plate 2 having multiple first and second portions as illustrated in Figures ito 3.

[0012] Prism 4 comprises a block of a generally transparent or translucent material such as plastics including acrylic or glass. Other optically suitable materials will be well known to the skilled person. The prism 4 is coupled to the front plate 2, for instance by a coupling surface being glued to the first portion of the front plate 2 (where the first portion is opaque). Alternatively, the prism 4 may be attached using transparent glue applied to the whole of a coupling surface 8 of the prism 4 (visible in the exploded view of Figure 3). In the embodiment of Figures ito 3 the prism 4 is smaller than the front plate 2 such that it does not extend beyond the edges of the front plate 2, though it will be appreciated that the relative sizes and shapes may vary widely.

[0013] At least one part of one surface of the prism 4 comprises a collecting surface 10, for instance a top edge as illustrated in Figure 3. The collecting surface 10 is arranged to admit light into the prism. This may be arranged by not coating the collecting surface 10.

The collecting surface 10 is chosen such that when the sign is mounted in its normal position (for instance wall mounted, as discussed below) the collecting surface 10 is arranged to receive ambient light and to admit the ambient light into the prism.

[0014] At least one further surface of the prism 4 comprises a reflecting surface 12 arranged to internally reflect substantially all light back into the prism 4. Preferably all surfaces other than the coupling surface and the collecting surface are reflecting surfaces 12. However, in certain embodiments other surfaces or parts of surfaces may be left untreated or partially treated. Normally at least the surface of the prism 4 opposite the front plate 2 will be treated to form a reflecting surface 12. The reflecting surface 12 may be treated for instance by polishing, coating or painting to maximise the internal reflection of light. Suitable paints or coatings include white, light coloured or reflective paint. The prism 4 may also be polished to a high finish on all sides to increase the proportion of light passing through the collecting surface and the coupling surface to the second portion of the front plate. In certain embodiments the first portion of the front plate 2 may also be arranged to reflect light back into the prism 4, or those parts of the prism 4 facing the first portion of the front plate 2 may be treated to form a reflecting surface 12. The effect of the reflecting surfaces 12 is that ambient light entering the prism 4 through the collecting surface lOis internally reflected until it exits the prism 4 through the second portion of the front plate 2 or back through the collecting surface 10.

[0015] The shape of the prism 4 may be chosen to minimise the amount of light which exits through the collecting surface 10, for instance by shaping the prism such that light is focussed towards the front plate 2. For instance! the prism 4 may be triangular such that ambient light entering vertically through the collecting surface 10 is reflected towards the front plate 2 by an internal prism surface at 45° to the front plate. Internal surfaces of the prism 4 may also be curved such that light within the prism 4 is focussed towards the front plate 2. The prism surfaces may be both concave and convex. A further option to increase the amount directed towards the front plate 2 is to provide reflecting surfaces which have a one way reflective surface allowing light outside of the prism to enter the prism, while internally reflecting light within the prism. Effectively, such surfaces comprise a combination of aspects of the collecting surface and the reflecting surface. Light exiting through the second portion of the front plate 2 provides illumination such that the second portion stands out relative to the first portion. In effect, the front plate 2 is backlit.

[0016] The sign may be secured to a wall or other suitable surface. For instance, a wall mount may comprise screws 14, for instance dowel screws, which pass through holes 16 in the front plate 2, through stand-off tubes 18 (to provide clearance between the front plate 2 and a mounting surface) and into a mounting surface such as a wall or other structure (not illustrated). The screws 14 may be secured with nuts 20, such as acorn nuts, or other suitable fixings. It will be appreciated that the number, position and configuration of the mountings may vary significantly. Other mounting techniques will be well known to the skilled person.

[0017] Figures 4to 7 illustrate alternative embodiments of the invention. Except where differences are expressly noted, the description of parts of the sign given above in connection with the embodiment of Figures 1 to 3 is equally applicable to the embodiments of Figures 4 to 7.

[0018] Figures 4 and 5 illustrate alternative embodiments of the present invention in which the size and shape of the prism 4, and for the position of the prism 4 relative to the front plate 2 is varied in order to increase the amount of light collected through the collecting surface 10. In both Figures 4 and 5 the prism 4, including the collecting surface 10, extends above the front plate. This is particularly suitable for use in situations where the majority of ambient light is received generally from above the sign. Figure 4 shows the prism 4 having an angled top surface forming the collecting surface 10. Figure 5 shows an embodiment in which part of a reflecting surface 12 extends above the front plate 2 at the front of the prism 4 and the collecting surface 10 is formed on the top edge of the prism 4.

[0019] Figures 6 and 7 illustrate a further alternative embodiment of the invention in which the front plate 2 and the prism 4 are substantially the same as in Figures ito 3, but an additional source of illumination is provided. The embodiment of Figures 6 and 7 may be particularly suitable for locations where there is limited ambient light. The light source may be an auxiliary light emitting diode (LED) lighting unit 22 (the LEDs themselves not being directly visible), powered by rechargeable batteries 24 and recharged by a solar panel 26. The LED lighting unit 22 is coupled to the collecting surface 10 such that the LEDs shine light into prism 4. Advantageously, this may also minimise the transmission of light back out of the prism 4 through the collecting surface 10. A low light sensor (not illustrated) may be provided such that the LEDs only turn on in low light conditions. The LED lighting unit 22 is attached to the prism 4 via a self-sealing gasket (not visible) at the interface between the light unit 22 and the prism 4 around or in contact with the collecting surface 10. The LED lighting unit 22 fits around the stand-off tubes 18 for security.

[0020] To make further use of the light provided by the auxiliary LED lighting unit 22, the surface of the prism 4 opposite the LED lighting unit 22 may be left uncoated (or partially coated) to allow light to penetrate to floor level thereby providing floor lighting.

[0021] It will be appreciated by the appropriately skilled person that in a further alternative embodiment a light source powered by mains electricity or battery powered without a solar panel may be provided in place of the solar powered LED lighting unit 22.

[0022] Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the words comprise" and "contain" and variations of them mean "including but not limited to", and they are not intended to (and do not) exclude other components, integers or steps. Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the singular encompasses the plural unless the context otherwise requires. In particular, where the indefinite article is used, the specification is to be understood as contemplating plurality as well as singularity, unless the context requires otherwise.

[0023] Features, integers or characteristics described in conjunction with a particular aspect, embodiment or example of the invention are to be understood to be applicable to any other aspect, embodiment or example described herein unless incompatible therewith.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. The invention is not restricted to the details of any foregoing embodiments. The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.

[0024] The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.

Claims (13)

  1. CLAIMS: 1. A sign comprising: a front plate having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion having a higher level of opacity than the second portion; and a prism having a coupling surface coupled to the front plate and at least partially overlapping the second portion of the front plate; wherein at least part of one surface of the prism not in contact with the front plate comprises a collecting surface arranged to admit light into the prism; and wherein at least part of one surface of the prism comprises a reflecting surface arranged to reflect light towards the front plate such that the second portion emits light.
  2. 2. A sign according to claim 1, wherein the first portion of the front plate is opaque and the second portion of the front plate comprises an aperture through the plate.
  3. 3. A sign according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the reflecting surface is polished or coated to increase internal reflection of light within the prism.
  4. 4. A sign according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reflecting surface extends over the whole of the plism except foi the collecting surface and the coupling surface.
  5. 5. A sign according to any one of the pieceding claims, wherein the prism comprises an extension portion which extends from the front plate in at least one direction in the plane of the front plate, the collecting surface being formed upon the extension portion.
  6. 6. A sign accoiding to claim 6, wherein the collecting surface is inclined relative to the plane of the front plate.
  7. 7. A sign according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a light source optically coupled to the collecting surface and arranged to transmit light into the prism.
  8. 8. A sign according to claim 7, further comprising a solar panel arranged to generate electricity to power the light source.
  9. 9. A sign according to claim 8, further comprising a rechargeable cell arranged to store electrical energy supplied by the solar panel.
  10. 10. A sign according to any one of claims 7 to 9, further comprising a light sensor arranged to control the light source such that the light source is switched on when ambient light levels sensed by the light sensor fall below a predetermined threshold.
  11. 11. A sign according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a wall mount arranged to mount the sign on the wall.
  12. 12. A sign according to claim 11, wherein the wall mount comprises two or more mounting screws arranged to pass through mounting holes within the front plate and into a wall.
  13. 13. A method of manufacturing a sign comprising: providing a front plate having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion having a higher level of opacity than the second portion; and coupling a surface of a prism to the front plate such that the prism at least partially overlaps the second portion of the front plate; wherein at least part of one surface of the prism not in contact with the front plate comprises a collecting surface arranged to admit light into the prism; and wherein at least part of one surface of the prism comprises a reflecting surface arranged to reflect light towards the front plate such that the second portion emits light.
GB201216855A 2012-09-21 2012-09-21 An ambient light edge-lit sign Withdrawn GB2506140A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB201216855A GB2506140A (en) 2012-09-21 2012-09-21 An ambient light edge-lit sign

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB201216855A GB2506140A (en) 2012-09-21 2012-09-21 An ambient light edge-lit sign

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GB201216855D0 GB201216855D0 (en) 2012-11-07
GB2506140A true GB2506140A (en) 2014-03-26

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Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3968584A (en) * 1974-07-18 1976-07-13 Kingston Willard L Illuminated sign
US4965950A (en) * 1987-03-23 1990-10-30 Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Display device for automotive mark plate
WO1995028277A1 (en) * 1994-04-15 1995-10-26 Shelton K David Illuminated display using ambient natural or artificial light
US6250767B1 (en) * 1998-06-22 2001-06-26 Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. Light guide plate, surface light source and display using the same
US6369866B1 (en) * 1998-02-19 2002-04-09 Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Liquid crystal display having a light collecting mechanism with a light transmitter optically connected to the light guide plate and light collector for collecting ambient light
US20030201702A1 (en) * 2002-04-26 2003-10-30 Kyu-Seok Kim Backlight assembly and liquid crystal display apparatus having the same
CN201868053U (en) * 2010-08-06 2011-06-15 安薪实业有限公司 Energy-saving spectacular structure

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3968584A (en) * 1974-07-18 1976-07-13 Kingston Willard L Illuminated sign
US4965950A (en) * 1987-03-23 1990-10-30 Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Display device for automotive mark plate
WO1995028277A1 (en) * 1994-04-15 1995-10-26 Shelton K David Illuminated display using ambient natural or artificial light
US6369866B1 (en) * 1998-02-19 2002-04-09 Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Liquid crystal display having a light collecting mechanism with a light transmitter optically connected to the light guide plate and light collector for collecting ambient light
US6250767B1 (en) * 1998-06-22 2001-06-26 Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. Light guide plate, surface light source and display using the same
US20030201702A1 (en) * 2002-04-26 2003-10-30 Kyu-Seok Kim Backlight assembly and liquid crystal display apparatus having the same
CN201868053U (en) * 2010-08-06 2011-06-15 安薪实业有限公司 Energy-saving spectacular structure

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Publication number Publication date
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