Skip to comments.Apple Patents Illuminated Hardware Cases
Posted on 10/10/2011 12:30:00 PM PDT by smokingfrog
The patent goes back all the way to the original iMac in 1998 to describe a technology that enables a light source to be coordinated with certain computing events. The hardware foundation uses a light controller that is connected to the main CPU of the computer as well as a light source. In Apple's words, we are talking about: "computing device includes a housing having an illuminable portion. The computing device also includes a light device disposed inside the housing. The light device is configured to illuminate the illuminable portion."
Apple expands on this idea a bit further and notes that "the light source [is] configured to illuminate the reduced thickness portion in order to form an indicator image at an outer surface of the inner bezel" and that the "shape of the recess [produces] an indicator image of similar shape on the outer surface of the inner bezel."
Apple's idea comes down to the thought that the illumination of a computer housing can serve as an additional information source next to the display screen itself. For example, it would provide a different illumination when playing a DVD than when you are playing a video game. While it would be common to assume that Apple would be discussing different color ranges, the patent focuses on intensity and the brightness of the Illumination, which is controller via a light driver: "The light driver is configured to convert the light control signals into a stable continuous current for driving the light emitting diode. The magnitude of the current is based at least in part on the light control signal. The magnitude of the current affects the light intensity of the light emitting diode."
Apple patented the idea for any computing device <*snip* >
(Excerpt) Read more at tomshardware.com ...
Those front panel indicators are 7-segment LED plus discrete LEDs. Brightness is modulated under control of the software as is information content. Do it wrong and you can burn the LEDs with too much current.
Ha! HA! HA!!!!
My Dad and I built one of those on the dining room table the summer of 1979!
After a month of soldering resistors like an Asian factory worker, we booted it up and those LED’s scrolled this epochal mesasge: “Your H8 is up and running”
We looked at each other and said “Is that it?”
I’ve built little 3-wheeled robots back in the 1970s that would scoot around and avoid walls. I threw a bunch of colored LEDs I had laying around onto it, to signify different directions it was taking. Should have patented it.
However, the Apple patent probably goes much further than just on and off. Ever watch the heartbeat fading in and out of Apple Mac indicator lights when they are in sleep mode? Mesmerizing.
I think it might be useful to have a computer case that would change color to let you know that your system resources are getting low, the graphics card is overheating, hard drive is fragmented - stuff like that, but not just for eye candy.
In 1982, I wired up the cassette data interface to a 2 meter ham rig to transmit data files to a friend a few miles away. I didn't have an internet connection until 1983.
Just pulse width modulation. That's how you control the "brightness" of an LED. Full current drive with a different duty cycle produces different apparent brightness due mostly to the persistence behavior of human vision.
These kind of patents are obvious to anybody skilled in the art of design. They evidently are not obvious to those supposedly skilled in the art of marketing. The patent office should be able to distinguish between the two.
You went way past us in the computer hacking skills department. We started with HDOS, switched to CP/M, went through several different floppy drives, had a dot matrix printer, and thought we were the cat’s pajamas. We bought and built the old version of their terminal, and got finished right when they released the Z-80 based version, which was 80 char per line, would do lower case and symbols, and they let us trade in for that. The maximum data rate to the display was 9600 baud, and it seemed really fast - and it was compared to 2400. We had every slot on the motherboard filled - Dad drilled out a doorknob sized hole in the side and installed a fan. He used it for a number of years, but that sucker is long gone now. The ham radio transmission stunt is pretty cool.
I’d say perhaps a specific warning for serious system issues like the overheat you mention, or voltage changes beyond a set point, but pc-side there are perfectly elegant apps that sit in your system tray and monitor resources (as well as a bevy of other choices like temps, voltage, fan rpms). Seems like a better solution to me for anything that doesn’t chance expensive damage.
Not convinced realtime monitoring of fragmentation is a great idea, either...