24 Mar 2004
The pick of this week’s patent applications including a way to retrofit traffic lights with LED-based lamps.
• Title: Compact light emitting diode retrofit lamp and method for traffic signal lights
Applicant: Leotek Electronics Corporation, US
International application number: WO 2004/023424
A US firm is trying to patent a high-power LED-based lamp which can replace the incandescent lamps traditionally used in traffic lights. As well as describing the lamp, patent application WO 2004/023424 also reveals a method for retrofitting conventional traffic signals. The method includes installing a Fresnel lens that collimates the light before it strikes the outer lens of the traffic signal lamp.
• Title: Intrinsic Fabry-Perot optical fiber sensors and their multiplexing
Applicant: Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc, US
International application number: WO 2004/023171
Patent application WO 2004/023171 describes a Fabry-Perot optical sensor, which contains a thin-film sandwiched between the ends of two optical fibers. The patent describes several setups. In one setup, the refractive index of a small portion of a fiber is changed by exposing it to a laser. “Interference between reflections at the ends of the small portion give rise to the sensor output,” say the authors. “Multiple sensors along a single fiber are multiplexed using an optical time domain reflectometry method.”
• Title: Individual identification device
Applicant: Fujitsu Limited, Japan
International application number: WO 2004/021884
The pattern of blood vessels in a person’s hand can be used to reveal their identity, according to the authors of patent application WO 2004/021884. The non-contact method involves taking a picture of the hand while it is being illuminated with near infrared light. The image is then compared and matched to stored data, revealing the user’s identity.
• Title: Car mat comprising fibre optic lighting
Applicant: Jesus Fernandez Ortiz, Spain
International application number: WO 2004/022385
Dull car interiors could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to an idea being patented by a Spanish inventor. Jesus Fernandez Ortiz’s idea involves embedding optical fibres into car mats in any desired design, such as a flag or drawing. He says that the mat should contain three layers, specifically an upper layer made from a textile that prevents the feet slipping and an intermediate layer made from EVA plastic. The optical fibers are embedded in the intermediate layer.