US20100328420A1 - Optical adapters for mobile devices with a camera - Google Patents

Optical adapters for mobile devices with a camera Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100328420A1
US20100328420A1 US12/459,375 US45937509A US2010328420A1 US 20100328420 A1 US20100328420 A1 US 20100328420A1 US 45937509 A US45937509 A US 45937509A US 2010328420 A1 US2010328420 A1 US 2010328420A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
mobile device
optical adapter
lens
adapter
mirror
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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.)
Abandoned
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US12/459,375
Inventor
Kendyl A. Roman
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Roman Kendyl A
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Roman Kendyl A
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Publication date
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Priority to US12/459,375 priority Critical patent/US20100328420A1/en
Publication of US20100328420A1 publication Critical patent/US20100328420A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/222Studio circuitry; Studio devices; Studio equipment ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, TV cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules for embedding in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/225Television cameras ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules specially adapted for being embedded in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/2251Constructional details
    • H04N5/2254Mounting of optical parts, e.g. lenses, shutters, filters or optical parts peculiar to the presence or use of an electronic image sensor
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B13/00Optical objectives specially designed for the purposes specified below
    • G02B13/001Miniaturised objectives for electronic devices, e.g. portable telephones, webcams, PDAs, small digital cameras
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B19/00Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics
    • G02B19/0004Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics characterised by the optical means employed
    • G02B19/0009Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics characterised by the optical means employed having refractive surfaces only
    • G02B19/0014Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics characterised by the optical means employed having refractive surfaces only at least one surface having optical power
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B19/00Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics
    • G02B19/0033Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics characterised by the use
    • G02B19/0076Condensers, e.g. light collectors or similar non-imaging optics characterised by the use for use with a detector
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B7/00Mountings, adjusting means, or light-tight connections, for optical elements
    • G02B7/02Mountings, adjusting means, or light-tight connections, for optical elements for lenses
    • G02B7/023Mountings, adjusting means, or light-tight connections, for optical elements for lenses permitting adjustment
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/422Input-only peripherals, i.e. input devices connected to specially adapted client devices, e.g. global positioning system [GPS]
    • H04N21/42203Input-only peripherals, i.e. input devices connected to specially adapted client devices, e.g. global positioning system [GPS] sound input device, e.g. microphone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/41Structure of client; Structure of client peripherals
    • H04N21/422Input-only peripherals, i.e. input devices connected to specially adapted client devices, e.g. global positioning system [GPS]
    • H04N21/4223Cameras
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television or video on demand [VOD]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/478Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application
    • H04N21/4788Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application communicating with other users, e.g. chatting
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/222Studio circuitry; Studio devices; Studio equipment ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, TV cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules for embedding in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/225Television cameras ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules specially adapted for being embedded in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/2251Constructional details
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/222Studio circuitry; Studio devices; Studio equipment ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, TV cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules for embedding in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/225Television cameras ; Cameras comprising an electronic image sensor, e.g. digital cameras, video cameras, camcorders, webcams, camera modules specially adapted for being embedded in other devices, e.g. mobile phones, computers or vehicles
    • H04N5/2257Mechanical and electrical details of cameras or camera modules for embedding in other devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/14Systems for two-way working
    • H04N7/141Systems for two-way working between two video terminals, e.g. videophone
    • H04N7/142Constructional details of the terminal equipment, e.g. arrangements of the camera and the display
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/14Systems for two-way working
    • H04N7/141Systems for two-way working between two video terminals, e.g. videophone
    • H04N7/147Communication arrangements, e.g. identifying the communication as a video-communication, intermediate storage of the signals
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/14Systems for two-way working
    • H04N7/15Conference systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/02Constructional features of telephone sets
    • H04M1/0202Portable telephone sets, e.g. cordless phones, mobile phones or bar type handsets
    • H04M1/026Details of the structure or mounting of specific components
    • H04M1/0264Details of the structure or mounting of specific components for a camera module assembly
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/14Systems for two-way working
    • H04N7/141Systems for two-way working between two video terminals, e.g. videophone
    • H04N7/142Constructional details of the terminal equipment, e.g. arrangements of the camera and the display
    • H04N2007/145Handheld terminals

Abstract

Portable, mobile, lightweight, removable, low cost, easy to manufacture, easy to ship, easy to transport, easy to store, and easy to use optical adapters that provides an effective means of videoconferencing over a mobile phone or other mobile device with a camera. Embodiments include landscape and portrait adapters that can be easily applied, used and removed while maintaining a professional and aesthetic appearance. Small mirrors within the optical adapter allow light from the front of the mobile device to enter the adapter and be conditioned and redirected into the built-in lens of the camera on the back of the mobile device. Novel embodiments include a lens reverser and/or a re-lens. Optical adapters also provide for self-imaging or surveillance. Various protective cases and adapter embodiments are configured to match specific mobile devices.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The following design patent applications are included herein by reference:
      • U.S. Design patent application, entitled “Optical Adapter for Mobile Device,” docket number “DPE,” filed concurrently on Jun. 29, 2009.
      • U.S. Design patent application, entitled “Case for Optical Adapter and Mobile Device,” docket number “DPECASE1,” filed concurrently on Jun. 29, 2009.
      • U.S. Design patent application, entitled “Case for Optical Adapter and Mobile Device,” docket number “DPECASE2,” filed concurrently on Jun. 29, 2009.
      • U.S. Design patent application, entitled “Case for Optical Adapter and Mobile Device,” docket number “DPECASE3,” filed concurrently on Jun. 29, 2009.
    BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to optical adapters, in particular optical adapters for mobile devices with still or video cameras.
  • BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART
  • There is often a need or want to see the people we telecommunicate with. This allows us to see facial expressions, perform a show and tell, make presentations, etc., as if we were physically present. Visual mobile telecommunication is just emerging as a practical reality.
  • Videoconferencing adds a visual component to telecommunication and is becoming more popular especially with the current focus on global warming and the high cost of travel. Travel for face-to-face meetings is expensive, as well as bad for the environment. Conventionally, videoconferencing is performed using specialized hardware and software or via personal computers. This equipment is not easily portable or mobile. People are often confined to the rooms permanently supporting the videoconferencing equipment or the network required for the telecommunication.
  • Mobile devices with digital cameras, such as various cell phones, Blackberry, iPhone, iTouch, or other iPhone-like devices have processors that execute computer programs. The programs respond to user input from various buttons or touch displays, handle networking, capture and play audio, capture and display digital images, including video, and perform other functions.
  • Conventional wired phones and cellular phones allow us to telecommunicate, but contain no visual component. Cell phones and cell phone use is globally ubiquitous these days. Almost everyone has a cell phone and cell phone networks are found throughout the world.
  • Research in Motion created the Blackberry, the first real business oriented mobile phone with e-mail, web browsing, etc. The Blackberry helped pave the way for high speed broadband mobile networks.
  • The iphone and iTouch have a wireless network connection to the Internet.
  • With the iPhone, Apple Computers has revolutionized mobile phones. With a large touch screen and a slick, graphic rich interface, the iPhone sets the trend for mobile phones of the future. However, videoconferencing has not been commercially available for mobile phones, including the iPhone. One reason videoconferencing is not available on the iPhone, or other cell phones, is that the camera is on the back and so the users cannot see the screen while creating a video image of themselves.
  • Likewise, because the camera is on the back, users cannot take still pictures or videos of themselves, or people or other objects behind them. Video streams are comprised of a plurality of video frames.
  • What is needed is a portable, mobile, lightweight, removable, low cost, easy to manufacture, easy to ship, easy to transport, easy to store, and easy to use device that provides an effective means of videoconferencing over a mobile phone, such as the iPhone or other mobile devices with cameras which are not on the same side as the display.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • It is an objective of the present invention to provide a portable, mobile, lightweight, removable, low cost, easy to manufacture, easy to ship, easy to transport, easy to store, and easy to use device that provides an effective means of videoconferencing over a mobile phone, such as the iPhone or other mobile devices with cameras.
  • OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
  • Accordingly, the present invention includes the following advantages:
      • a) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that are portable.
      • b) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that are mobile.
      • c) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that are lightweight.
      • d) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that are easy to use.
      • e) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that offer full color.
      • f) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that can be quickly and easily set up.
      • g) To provide means and methods of optical adapters that can be quickly applied and removed.
      • h) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that can be quickly and easily used.
      • i) To provide means and methods of videoconferencing that are minimal in cost and waste.
      • j) To provide an inexpensive optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • k) To provide a simpler way of making an optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • l) To provide a removable optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • m) To provide an easy to store optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • n) To provide an easy to transport optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • o) To provide a lightweight optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • p) To provide a simple way to manufacture optical adapters for a mobile device with a camera.
      • q) To provide an inexpensive way to manufacture an optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • r) To provide a simple way to ship optical adapters for the mobile device with a camera.
      • s) To provide an ideal optical adapter for people, groups of people, and organizations who prefer low maintenance and low cost optical adapters for a mobile device with a camera.
      • t) To provide a professional and aesthetic optical adapter for a mobile device with a camera.
      • u) To provide a stylized optical adapter for a mobile device.
      • v) To provide a cover configured to hold and protect an optical adapter and at least a portion of the mobile device.
    DRAWING FIGURES
  • In the drawings, closely related figures have the same number but different alphabetic suffixes.
  • FIG. 1A illustrates a side view of a mobile device with a camera opposite from a display.
  • FIG. 1B illustrates the back view of a mobile device with a camera.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates normal light input into a camera lens.
  • FIG. 3A illustrates a mobile device with a first adapter configuration.
  • FIG. 3B illustrates light with lens reverser (“null lens”).
  • FIG. 3C illustrates a first adapter configuration.
  • FIG. 3D illustrates a second adapter configuration.
  • FIG. 3E and 3F illustrate adapter operations with mirror at various angles.
  • FIG. 4A and 4B illustrate a phone with an optical adapter with wide top mirror.
  • FIG. 5A through 5D illustrate embodiments of narrow optical adapters for the mobile device with a camera.
  • FIG. 6A through 6E illustrate embodiments of optical adapters within cases for an iPhone or similar mobile device.
  • REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS
    • 100 mobile device with camera
    • 102 touch display
    • 104 camera chip sensor
    • 106 lens
    • 110 camera
    • 120(a-d) ray of light
    • 140(a-c) top mirror
    • 142(a-c) bottom mirror
    • 150(a-d) housing
    • 200 lens reverser
    • 210 re-lens
    • 300 first adapter configuration
    • 310 second adapter configuration
    • 400 wide adapter
    • 500 narrow adapter
    • 510 side adapter
    • 520 adjustable adapter
    • 600 iPhone
    • 602(a-c) button/toggle
    • 610 horizontal casing
    • 620 vertical casing
    • 630 diagonal casing
    • 640 full casing
    • 650 adjustable casing
    • 652 moveable arm
    • 654 thumb knob
    • 656 spring
    Special Definitions
  • lens reverser—A lens, known as a “null lens,” which counteracts the effects of another lens while leaving the other optical properties the same.
  • re-lens—A lens that reshapes the light consistent with an original lens which has been reversed with a lens reverser.
  • videoconference—Also known as a videoteleconference, a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.
  • Description of the Invention
  • FIG. 1A illustrates a side view of an exemplary mobile device with a camera on the back, namely opposite from a display. The mobile device with camera 100 shown comprises both a touch display 102 in front and a camera 110 in the back. The camera 110 comprises a lens 106 and camera chip sensor 104, as shown in greater detail in FIG. 2. The camera 110 has been placed at the back of the phone to facilitate a visual of a photograph to be taken on the camera 110 via the touch display 102. In the embodiment shown, the touch display 102 consumes most of the frontal space of mobile device with camera 100. A mobile device with a touch display 102 is exemplary and is used to illustrate the structure and operations of various optical adapters. A mobile device with a non-touch screen could also use the optical adapters.
  • FIG. 1B illustrates the back view of a mobile device with a camera 100. The mobile device with camera 100 contains a camera 110 on the back comprising a lens 106. Only the lens 106 portion of camera 110 is visible.
  • Normal Light Input
  • FIG. 2 illustrates normal light input into a camera lens. The rays of light 120 (a-d) shine through lens 106 and refract into the camera chip sensor 104. The camera chip sensor 104 digitizes the rays of light 120 to form a digital image, namely a photograph or a frame of video. Digitizing a digital image is referred to a capturing an image.
  • Light Input Reflected via Dual Mirrors and a Lens Reverser
  • A novel aspect of the present invention is an optical adapter comprising a top mirror 140, a bottom mirror 142, and a novel lens reverser 200.
  • The terminology “top” and “bottom” are used consistent with the drawings to identify the respective mirrors. It is understood that the optical adapters could be rotated 90, 180, or 270 degrees, relative to the mobile device such that the “top mirror” would be on the right, bottom, and left, respectively, and the “bottom mirror” would be on the left, top, and right, respectively. Such rotation would not alter the elements of the structure nor alter operation of the claimed invention.
  • FIG. 3A illustrates a mobile device 100 with a first adapter configuration 300. The first adapter configuration 300 is placed on the back of the mobile device with camera 100 opposite the touch screen 102. The rays of light 120 shine from in front of mobile device with camera 100 into the first adapter configuration 300 where it first reflects down off of top mirror 140 a and second reflects back in off of bottom mirror 142 a, and ultimately enters into camera 110.
  • FIG. 3B further illustrates the structure and operation of a novel lens reverser 200 of FIG. 3A. The rays of light 120(a-d) shine straight through a lens reverser 200 and lens 106 respectively and are then digitized by the camera chip sensor 104 to form a digital image. The lens 106 and camera chip sensor 104 are both part of the mobile device with camera 100. The lens reverser 200 is configured to reverse the optical properties of the built-in lens 106. As shown here, the lens 106 has a convex outer surface, so to be effective the lens reverser has a precisely matching concave surface, such that in this example the light is straightened out. Once the light is straightened out it can travel any distance, from mirror to mirror, using the same lumen (or bore through a tubular adapter housing 150). In other situations, such as where the built-in lens 106 is behind a flat piece of exterior glass or plastic, the lens reverser 200 will have to be engineered to have the necessary reversing properties based on the external surface constraints and the precise distance that it will be mounted away from the refracting surface of the built-in lens 106
  • FIG. 3C further illustrates the structure and operation of a first adapter configuration 300 of FIG. 3A. The rays of light 120(a-d) shine from in front into the first adapter configuration 300 where it first reflects down off of top mirror 140 a and second reflects back in off of bottom mirror 142 a. Note that in this embodiment the mirrors are both at 45 degree angles. Next, the rays of light 120(a-d) shine straight through a lens reverser 200 and lens 106, as a result of the lens reverser 200, and are then digitized by the camera chip sensor 104 to form a digital image. The lens 106 and camera chip sensor 104 are both part of the mobile device with camera 100. The lens reverser 200 and mirrors (140 and 142) are part of the optical adapter configuration 300.
  • The Addition of a Re-Lens
  • FIG. 3D illustrates a second adapter configuration such as shown in FIG. 5A through 5C. The embodiment of the second adapter configuration 310 is similar to the first adapter configuration 300 (FIG. 3C) with the addition of re-lens 210. The rays of light 120 shine through the re-lens 210, which reshapes the light for the original camera lens 106. With the first adapter configuration 300, the light gathering properties of the built-in lens 106 are reversed. In order for the standard software to work on the mobile device, it is desirable to recreate substantially the same optical characteristics of how the light is gathered. The re-lens 210 in some embodiments where the light is substantially straightened could be identical to the original lens 106. In other embodiments, it may be beneficial to slightly modify the light gathering characteristics to better facilitate the intended use, namely self-imaging or videoconferencing, which may have a preferred focal range of about 18 inches, for example, when the mobile device is held in the hand of the user.
  • Mirror Angles Can Reduce Thickness of Optical Adapter Housing
  • FIG. 3E and 3F illustrate alternate adapter embodiments. FIG. 3E illustrates a side view of a mobile device with camera 100 shown having a touch display 102. Both FIG. 3E and 3F illustrate the workings and inner components of the wide adapter 400.
  • FIG. 3E illustrates an embodiment where the rays of light 120 shine into and reflect down off of the wide top mirror 140 b (angled at 145 degrees), back in off of bottom mirror 142 b (angled at 55 degrees) and then into lens 106. Note that in this example, as shown, the light is gathered into the top mirror 140 b at an angle that is below perpendicular to the front face of the mobile device 100. In an alternate configuration the light could be gathered at an angle that is above perpendicular to the front face of the mobile device. FIG. 3E further illustrates that unlike FIGS. 3C and 3D, the mirrors do not have to be at 45 degree angles and this allows the top mirror 140 b to be position forward over the top edge of the mobile device 100. This allows the bottom mirror 142 b to be smaller than the top mirror 140 b, and also allows the light to be gathered into a narrower beam as it enters the adapter and reflects from mirror to mirror. This eliminates the need for a lens reverser 200 or a re-lens 210 thus simplifying the optical adapter. This embodiment may be housed in a wide adapter 400 (shown in cross section by the dashed lines; see also FIGS. 4A and 4B.
  • FIG. 3F illustrates an embodiment where the rays of light 120 shine into and reflect down off of a wide top mirror 140 c (at 150 degrees), back in off of a bottom mirror 142 c at 60 degrees, then through lens reverser 200, and ultimately into lens 106. This is another example where the mirrors are not necessarily at 45 degree angles and the top mirror 140 c may be forward of top edge of the mobile device 100 (not shown but indicated by the relative position of the camera chip sensor 104 and the lens 106). In contrast to the example shown in FIG. 3E, the light is received at an angle that is perpendicular to the face of the mobile device 100 (not shown). This embodiment may also be housed in a wide adapter 400 (not shown).
  • Wide Optical Adapters for Mobile Devices with a Camera
  • FIG. 4A and 4B illustrate a wide adapter 400 mounted on an exemplary mobile device with camera 100.
  • FIG. 4A illustrates a perspective front view of mobile device with camera 100. In this exemplary illustration the mobile device 100 has a touch display 102. The display 102 illustrates the mobile device 100 being used in a videoconference where the local user is facing the display 102 is able to simultaneously view both the image being transmitted and the image being received. Alternatively, the local user can be viewing more than one remote participant in the videoconference while simultaneously capturing the local image via the wide optical adapter 400. In this front view, the top mirror 140 b is visualized angled over the top edge of the mobile device 100.
  • FIG. 4B illustrates a back view of mobile device with camera 100. The wide adapter 400 mounts onto the top of the mobile device with camera 100 and houses, for example, the first adapter configuration 300 of FIG. 3C, the embodiment shown in FIG. 3E or the embodiment shown in FIG. 3F. The wide adapter 400 is shown in this example comprising a rectangular wide top mirror 140 b and a smaller round bottom mirror 142 b both held into position with a housing 150 a. The rays of light 120 (not shown) pass through the adapter, as described above with each respective embodiment, and ultimately into the built-in lens 106.
  • The wide adapter 400 shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B is configured to slip on and off of the mobile device 100. This allows for easy setup and use. The optical adapter can be easily transported attached to the mobile device 100, for example in a garment pocket, or holster. Alternatively it can be transported separately and removably attached when needed. The housing 150 a of the wide adapter 400 protects the internal components of the optical adapter and may be configured to mate with specific mobile devices 100.
  • Narrow Optical Adapters for Mobile Devices with a Camera
  • FIG. 5A through 5D illustrate narrow embodiments of optical adapters for the mobile device with a camera 100.
  • FIG. 5A illustrates a perspective front view of a narrow adapter 500 mounted on an exemplary mobile device with camera 100. In this exemplary illustration the mobile device 100 has a touch display 102. The display 102 illustrates the mobile device 100 being used in a videoconference where the local user is facing the display 102 is able to simultaneously view both the image being transmitted and the image being received. Alternatively, the local user can be viewing more than one remote participant in the videoconference while simultaneously capturing the local image via the narrow adapter 500.
  • FIG. 5B illustrates a back view of the narrow adapter 500 mounted on the exemplary mobile device with camera 100.
  • The narrow adapter 500 mounts onto the top of the mobile device with camera 100 and houses, for example, the second adapter configuration 310, as described in reference to FIG. 3D. The narrow adapter 500 comprises a re-lens 210, a top mirror 140 a, a bottom mirror 142 a, and a lens reverser 200 all held into position with a housing 150 b. As shown in FIG. 5A, the re-lens 210 may be in the same plane as the display 102. As shown in FIG. 5B, in this embodiment, each of the lens 106, bottom mirror 142 a and top mirror 140 a are round. In this example, the top mirror 140 a and the bottom mirror 142 a are about the same size, which is made possible by the light straightening features of the lens reverser 200 (see FIG. 3D) and the beam being able to pass through the same sized lumen between the mirrors (140 a and 142 a).
  • The narrow adapter 500 shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B is configured to slip on and off of the mobile device 100. This allows for easy setup and use. The optical adapter can be easily transported attached to the mobile device 100, for example in a garment pocket, or holster. Alternatively it can be transported separately and removably attached when needed. The housing 150 b of the narrow adapter 400 protects the internal components of the optical adapter and may be configured to mate with specific mobile devices 100.
  • FIG. 5C illustrates the front view of a side adapter 510 mounted on an exemplary mobile device with camera 100 in a landscape position. The side adapter 5 10 mounts onto the mobile device with camera 100 and houses, for example, the second adapter configuration 310, as described in reference to FIG. 3D. The side adapter 500 comprises a re-lens 210, a top mirror 140 a, a bottom mirror 142 a, and a lens reverser 200 all held into position with a housing 150 c. As shown in FIG. SC, the re-lens 210 may be in the same plane as the display 102. The landscape position allows the camera 110 (not shown) to capture images and display them at a wider angle.
  • The side adapter 510 shown in FIGS. 5C is configured to slip on and off of the mobile device 100. This allows for easy setup and use. The optical adapter can be easily transported attached to the mobile device 100, for example in a garment pocket, or holster. Alternatively it can be transported separately and removably attached when needed. The housing 150 c of the side adapter 510 protects the internal components of the optical adapter and may be configured to mate with specific mobile devices 100. The side adapter 510 reduces the overall length of the combined system comprising the mobile device 100 and the side adapter 510, when compared to the wide adapter 400 shown in FIG. 4A or the narrow adapter 500 shown in FIG. 5A.
  • FIG. 5D shows an adjustable adapter 520 which is be mounted on a mobile device with a camera 100. The adjustable adapter 520 may comprise, for example, the second adapter configuration 310, as described in reference to FIG. 3D. The adjustable adapter 520 may comprise a re-lens 210, a top mirror 140 a, a bottom mirror 142 a, and a lens reverser 200 all held into position with a housing 150 d. The adjustable adapter 520 can be positioned in either a vertical or horizontal position. In one embodiment, it may be attached with a swivel attachment allowing it to be rotated 90 degrees by the user. Once positioned it may alternatively be held in place by a flexible cover, such as a rubberized skin or leather case (not shown).
  • Adapters for iPhone G3
  • After my initial drawings for optical adapter, Apple released a new version of the iPhone, the iPhone G3, which has a few notable features including locating the camera 110 in a corner on the back and various buttons/toggles 602(a-c) at the top and side. FIG. 6A through 6E illustrate alternate embodiments of optical adapters for, but not limited to, the iPhone 600. The optical adapters are not limited to the iPhone, and may be used or modified for use with other mobile devices with cameras available now and in the future.
  • These adapters can be easily applied to and removed from the mobile device with a camera, such as an iPhone, or iPhone-like device. Application for these adapters may be performed directly over an existing skin, cover, or protector so that the existing skin does not have to be removed for videoconferencing use.
  • FIG. 6A shows an iPhone 600 with an optical adapter having a second adapter configuration 310 (in a housing 150 d, not shown, similar to adjustable adapter 520), held in place by a horizontal casing 610 which clips over the upper left corner and reaches out between the buttons/toggles 602(b-c) on the side. In addition, cutouts provide access and operation of the button/toggle 602 a on the top.
  • FIG. 6B shows an iPhone 600 with an optical adapter having a second adapter configuration 310, held in place by a vertical casing 620 that clips over the upper left corner and reaches down to the bottom. In addition, cutouts provide access and operation of the button/toggle 602 a on the top.
  • FIG. 6C shows an iPhone 600 with an optical adapter having a second adapter configuration 310, held in place by a diagonal casing 630 that clips over the upper left corner and reaches down over the bottom right corner. In addition, cutouts provide access and operation of the button/toggle 602 a on the top.
  • FIG. 6D shows an iPhone 600 with an optical adapter having a second adapter configuration 310, held in place by a full casing 640 that clips over the entire iPhone 600 (over all 4 corners). The entire front of the iPhone 600, including touch display 102, is uncovered and operational. In addition, cutouts provide access and operation of the buttons/toggles 602(a-c).
  • FIG. 6E shows an iPhone 600 with an optical adapter having a second adapter configuration 310, held in place by an adjustable casing 650 which clips over the upper left corner and moveable arm 652 reaches out between the buttons/toggles 602(b-c) and clips along the sides and front. The spring 656 inside the adjustable casing 650 provides the inward tension to keep the adapter firmly in place. This allows the adjustable casing 650 to fit over an existing cover or skin, and allows the adjustable casing to fit directly on the mobile device (e.g. iPhone 600). The thumb knob 654 provides leverage to allow the moveable arm 652 to be pulled open and have the adjustable casing removed. In addition, the buttons/toggles 602(a-c) are unobstructed.
  • The various casing embodiments can be made of rigid plastic or metal. Alternative they can be molded of soft plastic or silicon and configured to go over a plastic or metal housing 150 d. Still another alternative is for the casing to be made of leather with appropriate internal or edge reinforcements.
  • Advantages Videoconferencing
  • These improved optical adapters allow videoconferencing with a mobile device with a camera.
  • Self-Imaging
  • These improved optical adapters allow users to take images of themselves while viewing the display. Alternative this allows users to take pictures over their shoulders, which may be useful for surveillance or, for example, discrete celebrity sightings.
  • Portable
  • These improved optical adapters are small and therefore portable.
  • Mobile
  • These improved optical adapters are mobile. They can be used with a mobile phone and can be used anywhere a mobile phone can. Thus, they facilitate videoconference while on the run, during traveling, or from remote locations.
  • Lightweight
  • These improved optical adapters are lightweight.
  • Removable
  • These improved optical adapters are easily applied and removed.
  • Low Cost
  • These improved optical adapters are low cost. They can be made of materials that are smaller, thus ultimately less expensive.
  • Easy to Manufacture
  • These improved optical adapters are easy to make or to manufacture, having a simple set of parts and configurations.
  • Easy to Ship
  • These improved optical adapters are small and, therefore, easy to ship.
  • Easy to Transport
  • These improved optical adapters are small and, therefore, easy to transport in a purse or pocket.
  • Easy to Store
  • These improved optical adapters are small and, therefore, easy to store in a drawer, purse or pocket.
  • Easy to Use
  • These improved optical adapters are ideal for people, groups of people, and organizations who prefer low maintenance and low cost optical adapters that can be easily applied and removed and used anywhere mobile phones can be used.
  • Professional and Aesthetic Appearance
  • These optical adapters have a professional and aesthetic appearance that integrates well with the mobile device with a camera.
  • Conclusion, Ramification, and Scope
  • Accordingly, the reader will see that the portable, mobile, lightweight, removable, low cost optical adapters are easy to manufacture, easy to ship, easy to transport, easy to store, easy to use, and have a professional and aesthetic appearance.
  • While the above descriptions contain several specifics these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as examples of some of the preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example mirrors in optical adapters can be made in different shapes, sizes, and angles. Further, for example, additional optical elements could be added to the light beam, such as additional mirrors or lenses, even automatic focus or manual focus lenses. Further, the cases could have different designs than those shown here but have the same functions of holding the optical adapter in place or protecting the optical adapter as well as the mobile device. Protective cases made of different materials and having different stylistic designs would also be within the scope of the invention. The variations could be used without departing from the scope and spirit of the novel features of the present invention.
  • Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the illustrated embodiments, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Claims (24)

1. An optical adapter for use with a mobile device having a display on the front of the mobile device and a camera lens on the back of the mobile device, the optical adapter comprising,
a) an top mirror positioned to reflect light coming from the front of the mobile device,
b) a bottom mirror positioned to reflect light coming from the top mirror to the camera lens, and
c) a housing enclosing the top mirror and the bottom mirror and holding the top mirror and the bottom mirror in place relative to each other a first predetermined top angle for the top mirror and a second predetermined angle for the bottom mirror,
wherein the bottom mirror about the same size as the camera lens,
wherein the top mirror is larger than the camera lens,
wherein the housing is configured to attach to the mobile device and position the optical adapter in a predetermined location relative to the camera lens,
whereby one or more objects located on the front side of the mobile device,
which is opposite from the side having the camera, lens is visually captured by a digital camera chip sensor in the mobile device creating a digital image.
2. The optical adapter of claim 1 wherein the digital image is a still photograph.
3. The optical adapter of claim 1 wherein the digital image is a frame of a video being captured.
4. The optical adapter of claim 3 wherein a plurality of video frames is captured as a video stream.
5. The optical adapter of claim 4 wherein the video stream is recorded on the mobile device.
6. The optical adapter of claim 4 wherein the video stream is transmitted from the mobile device over a network.
7. The optical adapter of claim 6 wherein the network is a mobile phone network.
8. The optical adapter of claim 6 wherein the network is connected to the Internet.
9. The optical adapter of claim 1 further comprising a lens reverser, wherein the housing is connected to the lens reverser and holds the lens reverser in place relative to the bottom mirror.
10. The optical adapter of claim 9 further comprising a re-lens, wherein the housing is connected to the re-lens and holds the re-lens in place relative to the top mirror.
11. The optical adapter of claim 1 wherein the second predetermined angle is 45 degrees.
12. The optical adapter of claim 1 wherein the second predetermined angle is greater than 45 degrees,
whereby the thickness of the housing is less than required if the second predetermined angle were 45 degrees.
13. The optical adapter of claim 1 wherein the top mirror is rectangular and a least a portion of the top mirror is forward of the camera lens, such that is over the top edge of the mobile device.
14. The optical adapter of claim 9 wherein both the top mirror and the bottom mirror are rounded, such as an oval or a circle.
15. The optical adapter of claim 14 wherein the housing further comprises a tubular bore between the top mirror and the bottom mirror, and wherein the lumen of the tubular bore is the same size.
16. The optical adapter of claim 9 wherein the camera lens is centered horizontally in the back of the mobile device, and wherein the housing is configured to hold the top mirror over one of the top end of the mobile device, the left edge of the mobile device, or the right edge of the mobile device.
17. The optical adapter of claim 15 wherein the ends of the housing are rounded and wherein the portion between the ends is convex away from the mobile device and flattened to match at least a portion of the back of the mobile device.
18. The optical adapter of claim 17 wherein the housing is attached with a swivel attachment.
19. The optical adapter of claim 9 wherein the camera lens is in a corner in the back of the mobile device, and wherein the housing is configured to hold the top mirror over one of the top end of the mobile device or the edge of the mobile device closest to said corner.
20. An optical adapter system comprising:
a) the optical adapter of claim 15, and
b) a casing configured to cover the optical adapter at least a portion of the mobile device,
whereby the casing protects the optical adapter and the portion of the mobile device, and
whereby the casing holds the optical adapter in place.
21. The optical adapter system of claim 20 wherein the casing comprises one of:
a) a horizontal casing,
b) a vertical casing,
c) a diagonal casing, and
d) a full casing.
22. The optical adapter system of claim 20 wherein the casing comprises an adjustable casing having:
a) a movable arm having a thumb knob, and
b) a spring attached to the moveable arm a body of the casing,
wherein the body is configured to cover the optical adapter and to attach over at least one corner of the mobile device,
wherein the spring provides tension on the movable arm,
wherein the movable arm allows the system be applied over a plurality of different types of the mobile device or over a plurality of different covers or skins,
wherein the thumb knob allows the arm to be opened allowing the optical adapter system to be removed,
whereby the optical adapter system may be temporarily applied over one of the plurality of types or the plurality of covers or skins.
23. A method of videoconferencing using a mobile device having a display on one side of the mobile device and having a camera lens on an opposite side as the display side, wherein the mobile device is configured to capture video from rays of light that enter the camera lens, the method comprising the steps of:
a) providing an optical adapter configured to mount on the mobile device, said optical adapter comprising:
i) a re-lens configured to be in line with the camera lens,
ii) a top mirror positioned to reflect light coming from the display side of the mobile device,
iii) a bottom mirror positioned to reflect light coming from the top mirror to the camera lens through the re-lens,
iv) a housing enclosing the top mirror, the bottom mirror, and the re-lens, wherein the housing holds the top mirror, the bottom mirror, and the re-lens in place relative to each other,
b) providing a computer program to be run on a processor in the mobile device,
c) executing the computer program to repeat the following substeps:
i) capturing a frame of video from the rays of light originating from a person on the display side of the mobile device,
ii) transmitting the frame of video over a network,
whereby the person views the video being captured on the display.
24. A protective cover for a mobile device and an optical adapter,
wherein the optical adapter is configured reflect light from a display side of the mobile device to a camera lens on the opposite side of the mobile device,
wherein the protective cover is configured to cover at least a portion of the mobile device, and
wherein the protective cover is further configured to cover the optical adapter.
US12/459,375 2009-06-29 2009-06-29 Optical adapters for mobile devices with a camera Abandoned US20100328420A1 (en)

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US13/969,466 US9544539B2 (en) 2009-06-29 2013-08-16 Optical adapters for mobile devices with a camera
US15/349,396 US20170064168A1 (en) 2009-06-29 2016-11-11 Optical Adapters for Mobile Devices with a Camera

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