US20050261057A1 - Gaming machine with light altering features - Google Patents

Gaming machine with light altering features Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050261057A1
US20050261057A1 US11/127,488 US12748805A US2005261057A1 US 20050261057 A1 US20050261057 A1 US 20050261057A1 US 12748805 A US12748805 A US 12748805A US 2005261057 A1 US2005261057 A1 US 2005261057A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
light
material
illumination device
light source
machine
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Abandoned
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US11/127,488
Inventor
Charles Bleich
Stephen Canterbury
Bradley Cornell
Peter Dorn
Scott Irving
Thomas Kopera
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Bally Gaming Inc
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WMS Gaming Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US57261504P priority Critical
Application filed by WMS Gaming Inc filed Critical WMS Gaming Inc
Priority to US11/127,488 priority patent/US20050261057A1/en
Assigned to WMS GAMING INC. reassignment WMS GAMING INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BLEICH, CHARLES R., CANTERBURY, STEPHEN A., CORNELL, BRADLEY D., DORN, PETER, IRVING, SCOTT M., KOPERA, THOMAS M.
Publication of US20050261057A1 publication Critical patent/US20050261057A1/en
Assigned to BALLY GAMING, INC. reassignment BALLY GAMING, INC. MERGER (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: WMS GAMING INC.
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3204Player-machine interfaces
    • G07F17/3211Display means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/34Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting depending on the stopping of moving members in a mechanical slot machine, e.g. "fruit" machines

Abstract

A gaming machine for conducting a wagering game includes a game display and at least one illumination device. The game display is for displaying the wagering game and the illumination device is for presenting artistic elements such as marquee lettering and candle lighting. One aspect of the illumination device is a formed material with at least one LED embedded within. The formed material contains light dispersion particles and is of a nature that allows the light from the embedded LEDs to emit from the surface in an effectively uniform manner. In a different embodiment, an illumination device, comprised of a colored light source, associated electronic components that are enclosed within the gaming machine's housing, and a transparent object, directs light from the light source through the structure of the transparent object positioned over the source, and displays the color and intended intensity of the light on an altered surface on the transparent object.

Description

    PRIORITY
  • This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of provisional application Ser. No. 60/572,615, filed May 19, 2004, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety as if fully set forth.
  • COPYRIGHT
  • A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to gaming machines and, more specifically, to a gaming machine with light altering features.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Players also appreciate the reliability of a gaming machine, as do the casino operators. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining, exciting, and reliable machines available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator.
  • Gaming machines display a variety of visual attraction devices, models, signs, and other forms of information. Methods used to display these items include fixed permanently printed glass, video displays, fixed artwork, model and marquee displays, and various lighting techniques.
  • Lighting technology used in most gaming machines today include incandescent, fluorescent, LED, and cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL). These techniques are used for many applications including backlighting, direct lighting of model displays, bezel lighting, tower lighting and others. A specific example used in most gaming machines today is the backlighting approach, most commonly associated with display glass and game control buttons. Typically incandescent or florescent, this application is relatively inexpensive and safe due to low wattage requirements and because the light source is hidden. This technique is limiting because the lighting sources used can fail, requiring occasional replacement and some embarrassment, as the machine is not then presented in its finest form. The visual display, because of its flat or two-dimensional presentation, offers less design options and thus becomes common and less interesting.
  • A more interesting signage or artwork effect can be obtained by using CCFL or neon. But CCFL has limitations, as well. The fragility of the glass and the higher voltage requirements result in safety concerns that require manufacturers that offer CCFL, especially in neon form, to use shields to prevent accidents. Higher costs are another prohibitive factor when considering CCFL.
  • LEDs, while reliable and inexpensive to power, are individual pinpoints of light that require many numbers to create the illusion of a single lighted object, when viewed from a distance. When viewed at close range, the effect is obvious and unique design options are numbered.
  • Fluorescent lighting is also limiting because of its required shape. Restricted to tubes or round shapes, this option limits the development of interesting lighting design. Fluorescent lighting is also as fragile as CCFL adding safety concerns to its design issues.
  • An inexpensive, safe, alternative lighting method that disperses light from an embedded source within a substance and emits it in a uniform fashion across its entire viewable surface, or a method that passes light (virtually invisibly) through a transparent objects structure and displays it specifically at an altered point on the object, would benefit the manufacturer through cost savings and new design options, and benefit the player through safer, more interesting, game presentations and entertaining visuals.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a lighting device is presented that disperses light across its viewable surface providing a look similar to neon. Comprised of LEDs embedded within a material that can be cast into any shape, the method and materials used in the lighting device introduce new design possibilities and reduce safety issues typically associated with glass materials used in many other lighting applications. In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a lighting device is offered that encloses a colored light source and its associated electronic components within the gaming machine's housing, directs emitted light from the source through the structure of a transparent object positioned over the lighting source, and displays the color and intended intensity of the light source on an altered surface on the transparent object.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine with embedded LED lighting in accordance with the present invention
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine;
  • FIG. 3 is a front view of a gaming machine marquee with embedded LED lighting.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an individual marquee letter made with embedded LED lighting technology.
  • FIG. 5 a is a front view of the individual marquee letter of FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 5 b is a front view showing the embedded components within the individual marquee letter of FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 5 c is a cutaway view showing the embedded components within the individual marquee letter of FIG. 5 b.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative signage display using embedded LED lighting technology.
  • FIG. 7 a is a front view of the individual signage display of FIG. 6.
  • FIG. 7 b is a front view showing the embedded components within the individual signage display of FIG. 6.
  • FIG. 7 c is a cutaway view showing the embedded components within the individual signage display of FIG. 7 b.
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a candle device for a gaming machine in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 9 a is a front view of the candle device of FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 9 b is a front view showing representations of the embedded components within the candle device of FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 10 is a front view of an alternative candle device.
  • FIG. 11 is a top view of the candle device of FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 12 is a cutaway view of the candle device of FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 13 illustrates a candle device using acrylic light pipe technology.
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 depicts a gaming machine 10 operable to conduct a slot-based wagering game. In operation, the gaming machine receives a wager from a player to purchase a “play” of the game. In a “play” of the game, the gaming machine generates at least one random event and provides an award to the player for a winning outcome of the random event. The random event may be internally or remotely determined using a random number generator or pooling schema. To portray the random event and outcome to the player, the gaming machine includes a primary display 12. If the wagering game is a reel slot game, for example, the primary display 12 includes a plurality of symbol-bearing reels that are rotated and stopped to place symbols on the reels in visual association with the pay line.
  • The primary display 12 may be implemented with a CRT, LCD, plasma, mechanical reels (in the case of a reel slot game), or other type of display known in the art. The primary display 12, especially if implemented in video, may be overlaid with a touch screen to facilitate interaction with the player. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 12 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 12 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine. Money/credit detector 22 signals a central processing unit (CPU) 20 when a player has inserted money or played a number of credits. Using a button panel 16 and/or a touch screen 18 (also see FIG. 1), the player may select any variables associated with the wagering game and place his/her wager to purchase a play of the game. In a play of the game, the CPU 20 generates at least one random event using a random number generator (RNG) and provides an award to the player for a winning outcome of the random event. Alternatively, the random event may be generated by a remote computer using an RNG or pooling schema and then transmitted to the gaming machine. The CPU 20 operates the display 12 to represent the random event(s) and outcome(s) in a visual form that can be understood by the player. In addition to the CPU 20, the control system may include one or more additional slave control units for operating the display 12 and any secondary displays.
  • System memory 24 stores control software, operational instructions and data associated with the gaming machine. In one embodiment, the system memory 24 comprises a separate read-only memory (ROM) and battery-backed random-access memory (RAM). However, it will be appreciated that the system memory 24 may be implemented on any of several alternative types of memory structures or may be implemented on a single memory structure. A payoff mechanism 26 is operable in response to instructions from the CPU 20 to award a payoff to the player. The payoff may, for example, be in the form of a number of credits. The number of credits is determined by one or more math tables stored in the system memory 24. CPU 20 controls a number of peripheral devices via serial links. One of the peripheral devices may, for example, be a candle device 19. A microcontroller 23 on or connected to the candle device 19 responds to commands from the CPU 20. The microcontroller 23 signals a drive circuit 25 to “switch” certain logic circuits on or off. In this example, the circuits provide power to a peripheral device, in this example, light emitting diodes (LEDs) 27.
  • FIG. 3 presents a front view of the gaming machine marquee 30 depicted in FIG. 1. The marquee 30 is for a video reel slot game called “CLINT EASTWOOD A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS”. In this embodiment, the letters shown on this marquee 30 are lit with light emitting diodes (LEDs) embedded in a substance that can be poured and hardens, such as a resin or acrylic material, with uniform light scattering characteristics creating a presentation similar to neon.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a letter “E” 34 from the “CLINT EASTWOOD” 32 group of letters (see FIG. 3) on the gaming marquee 30. The letter “E” 34 is comprised of an outer shell or housing 36 made of plastic and a light scattering material 38 set in the housing 36. The housing 36 is non-translucent and creates a cup comprising all sides of the letter “E” 34 except the front. The light scattering material 38 is a solid that emits light across its entire viewable surface from within, in a uniform, consistent fashion. The light scattering material typically contains light dispersing particles uniformly added to create a milky or frosted appearance.
  • FIG. 5 a shows a front view of the letter “E” with the housing 36 and the light scattering material 38. FIG. 5 b shows components embedded within the light scattering material 38. At the back or bottom of the cup shape of the letter “E” 34, a printed circuit board (PCB) 41 is positioned. LEDs 42 of the desired color for the lettering are set into predetermined positions on the PCB 41. The predetermined positions are based on a uniform display of the lighted, viewable surface of the letter, in this example, the front. FIG. 5 c is a cutaway view of the lower portion of the letter “E” 34 of FIG. 5 b. The position of the PCB 41 can be easily viewed at the bottom of the cup created by the housing 36. LEDs 42 are inserted into the PCB 41, typically by soldering into positions predetermined for this particular component. Light scattering material 38 covers the PCB/LED assembly. To power the PCB/LED assembly, wiring 40 is connected to the PCB 41 through the housing 36 at the back or bottom of the letter “E” 34. The wiring 40 is typically soldered into a circuit on the PCB 41 and is connected to a power source on the gaming machine. Circuits on the PCB 41 carry the necessary power to each LED 42. It will be appreciated that any number of techniques can be used to supply power to the LEDs including flexible circuits and direct wiring. Also protruding from the back or bottom of the letter “E” 34 are threaded mounting studs 44. These are used to secure the letter to the marquee. The wiring 40 and the threaded mounting studs 44, both passing through the housing 36, do so with enough tolerance that during the casting process, minimal or no liquid light scattering material 38 passes through the outer housing 36 through these points. Further information regarding the light scattering material 38 and the method of reflecting and dispersing light from the embedded light source (LED 42) is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,592,238 Cleaver, et al, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIG. 6 presents an alternative use of the embedded LED technology in a gaming machine. A signage display 46, “MAHJONGG MONEY”, using glass artwork 50 that allows light to pass through predetermined areas on the surface, incorporates the embedded LED technology as the light source behind the glass artwork 50. The housing 48 of the signage display 46 is non-translucent and creates a cup comprising all sides of the signage display 46.
  • FIG. 7 a shows a front view of the signage display 46 “MAHJONGG MONEY”. The housing 48 and the glass artwork 50 are visible in this view. With the glass artwork 50 removed, FIG. 7 b is a similar view to FIG. 7 a. FIG. 7 b shows components embedded within the light scattering material 38. At the back or bottom of the cup shape of the signage display 46, a printed circuit board (PCB) 54 is positioned. LEDs 56 of the desired color for the back lighting are set into predetermined positions on the PCB 54. The predetermined positions are based on a uniform display of the lighted surface behind the glass artwork shown in FIG. 7 a. FIG. 7 c is a cutaway view of the signage display 46 of FIG. 7 a. The position of the PCB 54 is at the bottom of the cup created by the housing 48. LEDs 56 are inserted into the PCB 54, typically by soldering into positions predetermined for this particular component. Light scattering material 38 covers the PCB/LED assembly. To power the PCB/LED assembly, wiring 52 is connected to the PCB 54 through the housing 48 at the back or bottom of the signage display 46. The wiring 52 is typically soldered into a circuit on the PCB 54 and is connected to a power source on the gaming machine. Circuits on the PCB 54 carry the necessary power to each LED 56. Also protruding from the back or bottom of the signage display 46 are threaded mounting studs 62. These are used to secure the signage display 46 to the gaming machine. The wiring 52 and the threaded mounting studs 62, both passing through the housing 48, do so with enough tolerance that during the casting process, minimal or no liquid light scattering material 38 passes through the housing 48 through these points.
  • As will be appreciated by those with ordinary skill in the art, the method by which the light component is created can be any number of molding techniques including casting and removing the form or direct pour into a mold or housing that is then used in the application, as in this embodiment. The positioning of the embedded light sources, for example, LEDs, is such that the general area illuminated by an individual LED overlaps that of each adjacent LED within the light scattering material creating the appearance of the entire component being a singular light source.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, a candle device 19 (also known as a tower light) on top of gaming machines, used to define the denomination of a game, alert casino employees of an error or fault condition, or identify a winning outcome can be manufactured using the light scattering material with embedded LEDs. The LEDs can be of differing, automatically changeable, colors depending on the requirements of the lighting device. Referring to FIG. 8, an external perspective view, the candle device 19 is comprised of a housing 60 and the light scattering material 38. FIG. 9 a is a front view of the candle device 19 showing the housing 60, the light scattering material 38 and a divider 68 that separates the top and bottom of the candle device 19. This allows for varying light presentations depending on the requirements of the game or the casino. FIG. 9 b shows the embedded components within the candle device 19. In the upper half of the candle device 19, a number of LEDs 64 connected in circuit to a PCB 62 is attached to the back of the candle device's 19 housing 60. The bottom half of the candle device 19 also has a number of LEDs 64 connected to a PCB 66. The LEDs 64 in both halves can be the same color or two separate colors. The LEDs 64 can also be mixed and different colors of lighting can be displayed for different requirements. For example, the top of the candle device 19 can contain an even mix of red white and blue LEDs 64. The candle device 19 could then display a flashing white light (using the white LEDs 64) when a player presses a button to signal a casino employee for help or it could display a solid blue light (using the blue LEDs 64) for another purpose. As will be appreciated by those with ordinary skill in the art, the number of different colors that can be displayed, the type of lighting (flashing or static), the sequencing of the flashing, and even the device containing the controlled lighting is dependent on the requirements of the game, of the casino, and most notably, of the jurisdictional requirements governing the casino. A gaming manufacturer may develop software with all these requirements in mind, and the candle device automatically responds to the gaming software when an event occurs. The candle device 19 may be controlled serially via a serial link that comprises a single cable, which replaces a plurality of wires found in conventional gaming devices. Examples of suitable serial links are a universal serial bus (USB), IEEE1394, RS-232, RS-485, Ethernet, or the like. The CPU 20 (see FIG. 2) communicates with a microprocessor on a PCB in or attached to the candle device 19.
  • Controlling the candle device 19 serially also has other advantages. The candle device's physical configuration would not need altering for different gaming software. The gaming machine software can be engineered to automatically display candle device colors based on a predetermined set of criteria or the candle device can be manually set by a technician through a command line interface, for example. The number of tiers on a candle device 19 can be preprogrammed for specific games. Also, the software controlling the candle device 19 can be separated from the gaming code reducing the necessity of submitting gaming software for review if changes are needed in the candle device's code. The candle device is also a vulnerable point for electro-static discharge (ESD). Using a serial interface based on differential signals with its own power connection would substantially reduce the susceptibility to ESD events. Another advantage to the candle device 19, with the potential of displaying a number of different colors, is the reduced difficulty in manufacturing different candle devices to support varying casino requirements and the elimination of physically changing candle lamp colors in the field.
  • In another embodiment, a candle device for a gaming machine incorporates a vertically positioned acrylic pipe that directs light upward from LEDs positioned under the bottom edges of the pipe. The light from the LEDs is directed upward through the walls of the pipe to a viewing area at the top of the pipe. FIG. 10 shows a front view of such a candle device 58 constructed from acrylic pipe. Light pipe 72 is attached to a PCB 76. PCB 76 acts as a base and provides power to the LEDs that provide illumination for the candle device assembly. LEDs 78 are positioned directly beneath the walls of light pipe 72 and are connected to the PCB 76. The LEDs 78 may be colored, clear, white, or a combination. The inner and outer surfaces of light pipe 72 are smooth. Light from the LEDs 78 travels up through the walls of light pipe 72 reflecting of the inner wall 82 and the outer wall 80. A light-dispersing surface 74 at the top portion of the inner wall 82 is used to deflect the light traveling up the wall of light pipe 72 and thus displaying its brightness and color. Altering a portion of the inner wall 82 of the light pipe 72 creates the light-dispersing surface 74. Light emitted from the LEDs 78 will only be emitted by the light-dispersing surface 74. As will be appreciated by those with ordinary skill in the art, the material used to create this embodiment of the candle device 58 can be of any substance supporting the characteristics required to transmit light between its inner and outer surface and display it once the surface is altered (changes the index of reflection). A number of materials can be used including glass, clear plastics, and other similar substances. The method by which the light-dispersing surface 74 is created may also be any that supports changing the index of reflection such as etching, grooving, adding a prism like material, or coating the surface.
  • Another aspect of this embodiment is the positioning of the candle device 58 in respect to the top of the gaming machine. FIG. 10 shows a representation of the top 84 of the gaming machine. The PCB 76 is positioned well below the surface of the top 84 of the gaming machine providing excellent electro-static discharge (ESD) protection for the electronic components contained on PCB 76. Light pipe 72 can be fitted with a cap to prevent objects from entering the top of the pipe and damaging the components and/or circuitry on the PCB 76.
  • FIG. 11 is a top view of the candle device 58 showing an example of the proximity of the LEDs 78, connected to PCB 76, to the wall of light pipe 72. The LEDs 78 emit light that travels up through the walls of light pipe 72. FIG. 12 is a cutaway view of candle device 58 showing the behavior of the light 86, 88 emitted from the LEDs 78 into the wall of light pipe 72. LEDs 78, connected to PCB 78 emit light as directed by the gaming machines CPU. Emitted light 86 reflects off of outer wall 80 and inner wall 82 as it travels upward. When it reaches the light-dispersing surface 74, the index of reflection is changed (by the different characteristics of the light-dispersing surface 74) and a visible light 88 is now viewable outside of light pipe 72. FIG. 13 shows another example of a candle device 58 using the acrylic light pipe technology. In this example, two light pipes are being used to present multiple lights. As will be appreciated by those with ordinary skill in the art, multiple pipes may be used based on the requirements for this type of lighting and is only limited by the size of the device versus the amount of space available to reasonably present it. Outer light pipe 72 and inner light pipe 70 reside on the same PCB 76 that, in turn, is safely positioned below the top 84 of the gaming machine. Both pipes have the light-dispersing surface 74. Because the majority of the outer light pipe 72 is clear, the light dispersed from the light-dispersing surface 74 on the inner light pipe 70 will easily show through the outer light pipe 72. Light pipe 72 shows a cap 90 placed on top to prevent debris from falling into either light pipe and damaging components within.
  • While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • For example, the embedded LED technology described in this invention can be used in a number of places on a gaming machine. Lighted buttons can be made from the light scattering material 38 with LEDs embedded within. A narrow band made from the light scattering material 38 with embedded LEDs can be positioned around a monitor or other peripheral devices on the gaming machine.
  • An alternative for the candle device incorporating a transparent pipe is the inclusion of a logo as the altered surface of the inner wall. Other means of displaying wording or a logo can be incorporated as well including the use of decals, screen-printing, paint or other means of altering the visibility of the light emanating from the altered surface.
  • There are also additional embodiments of the invention. One embodiment is directed to a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game, where a game display displaying the wagering game and at least one illumination device includes a light scattering material and a light source embedded in the material. The illumination device may be powered through an electrical connection element. The element supports at least one light source. The light scattering material may be solidified from a non-solid state. The light scattering material may emit the color of the embedded light source. The light scattering material is contained within a housing.
  • Another embodiment is directed to an illumination device for a gaming machine. The gaming machine is operable to conduct a wagering game. The illumination device includes (a) at least one light source; (b) an electrical connecting element for providing power to the light source; and (c) a light scattering material for displaying light from the light source in an effectively uniform manner. The electrical connecting element supports one or more light sources. The light scattering material contains light dispersing particles. The light scattering material is solidified from a non-solid state and may emit the color of the internal light source. The light scattering material is contained within a housing. The illumination device is selected from a group consisting of marquee artistic elements including lettering, a candle extending from a top of the gaming machine, bezel lighting for the game display or peripheral devices, lighted game play buttons, and other artistic game lighting.
  • An additional embodiment is directed to a gaming device having a main controller for conducting a wagering game, a candle device, and a peripheral controller coupled to the main controller via a serial link. The peripheral controller directly controls the candle device. The candle device includes a light source and a drive circuit. The peripheral controller may be coupled to the light source via the drive circuit. The peripheral controller may be located on or connected to the candle device.
  • A further embodiment is directed to a peripheral for a gaming device. The peripheral has a candle device, a peripheral controller that directly controls the candle device, and a serial link for coupling the peripheral controller to a main controller. The peripheral controller may include an input/output microcontroller. The candle device may include a light source and a drive circuit. The peripheral controller may be coupled to the light source via the drive circuit. The peripheral controller may be located on or connected to the candle device.
  • Another embodiment is directed to a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game. The gaming machine includes a game display for displaying the wagering game, and at least one illumination device. The illumination device includes a light source, a transparent non-flat member, and a light-dispersing surface along a side of the member. The light source is positioned to emit light through the member such that the light impinges upon the light-dispersing surface and becomes generally apparent to a player. The member may have a round, elliptical, or polygonal shape. The light-dispersing surface may be positioned on an inner or outer surface of the member. The light-dispersing surface may be an etching, grooving, or coating. The light-dispersing surface may be arranged to create shapes, logos, or wording. The light-dispersing surface may include light-blocking material added to create shapes, logos, or wording. The light-blocking material may include decals, screen-printing, or paint.
  • Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (18)

1. A gaming machine for conducting a wagering game, comprising:
a game display for displaying the wagering game; and
at least one illumination device including a light scattering material and a light source embedded in the material.
2. The machine of claim 1, wherein the light source is selected from the group consisting of a tinted light emitting diode (LED) and an untinted LED.
3. The machine of claim 1, wherein the illumination device is powered through an electrical connection element, and the electrical connection element is formed to position the light source throughout the shape of the illumination device and is selected from a group including printed circuit boards (PCBs), flexible circuit members, and electrical wiring.
4. The machine of claim 1, wherein the light scattering material is selected from a group including resin, acrylic, or plastic-based polymers, the material allowing light from the light source to pass through the material and be emitted from a surface thereof in an effectively uniform manner.
5. The machine of claim 4, wherein the light scattering material contains light dispersing particles.
6. The machine of claim 4, wherein the light scattering material is contained within a housing having walls with interior light reflective material and exterior light absorbing material.
7. The machine of claim 1, wherein the illumination device is selected from a group consisting of marquee artistic elements including lettering, a candle extending from a top of the gaming machine, bezel lighting for the game display or peripheral devices, lighted game play buttons, and other artistic game lighting.
8. An illumination device for a gaming machine, the gaming machine operable to conduct a wagering game, comprising:
at least one light source;
an electrical connecting element for providing power to the light source; and
a light scattering material for displaying light from the light source in an effectively uniform manner.
9. The illumination device of claim 8, wherein the light source is selected from the group consisting of a tinted light emitting diode (LED) and an untinted LED.
10. The illumination device of claim 8, wherein the electrical connecting element is selected from a group including printed circuit boards (PCBs), flexible circuit members, and electrical wiring.
11. The illumination device of claim 8, wherein the electrical connecting element is formable to effectively position light sources throughout the shape of the illumination device.
12. The illumination device of claim 8, wherein the light scattering material is resin, acrylic, or plastic-based polymers that allow light to pass through from the light source embedded in the material, said light emitting from the surface of the material in an effectively uniform manner.
13. The illumination device of claim 8, wherein the light scattering material is contained within a housing having walls with interior light reflective material and exterior light absorbing material.
14. A gaming machine for conducting a wagering game, comprising:
a game display for displaying the wagering game; and
at least one illumination device including a light source, a transparent non-flat member, and a light-dispersing surface along a side of the member, the light source being positioned to emit light through the member such that the light impinges upon the light-dispersing surface and becomes generally apparent to a player.
15. The machine of claim 14, wherein the light source includes an LED.
16. The machine of claim 14, wherein the member is comprised of a transparent material for transporting light and a translucent material or material altered to be translucent for displaying light.
17. The machine of claim 14, wherein the member is comprised of a molded and extruded material selected from a group consisting of acrylic, plastic, and glass.
18. The machine of claim 14, wherein the illumination device includes electronics recessed within a housing of the gaming machine.
US11/127,488 2004-05-19 2005-05-12 Gaming machine with light altering features Abandoned US20050261057A1 (en)

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