CROSS-REFERENCED TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 13/015,535 filed on Jan. 27, 2011.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- Top of Page
The presented invention relates to tachometers in general, and more particularly to a flexible light bar tachometer case employing an array of light-emitting devices, providing a highly visible illuminated display that contours to the top of the dash assembly of an automobile.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
When driving a vehicle at high speed, it is dangerous to look at anything other than the road directly ahead. It is especially dangerous to look down at the dashboard display to read the tachometer or speedometer; not only may the vehicle travel a considerable distance while the gaze is averted, but the eyes take time to refocus when the driver looks down at the dashboard and then up to the road again. During that refocusing time critical events may take place that the driver may not fully perceive because of the delay in focusing. Further, the conventional numerical displays (whether digital or analog) require some time for interpretation. This is because the numbers symbolize and signify something and require at least a moment of cognition to ascertain what action, if any, to take in view of the information provided. Accordingly, racers using conventional tachometers occasionally simply memorize needle locations or make an educated guess as to actual engine RPM by considering other factors, such as engine sound.
Current known solutions to avoid the gaze-shifting problem include mounting the tachometer on the hood of the car or mounting the tachometer on top of the dash within the driver's general line of sight but, due to their sheer size, tachometers mounted on dashboards obstruct vision in some measure. Whether the tachometer is mounted within the driver's general line of sight or moved to one side, the driver's gaze is required to be shifted or averted from the road to view it.
Another proposed solution has been to “clock” the tachometer. “Clocking” entails rotating the tachometer in its housing, such that when the tachometer is indicating redline, the needle points straight up or in another preferred direction.
Other proposed solutions were the addition of shift lights to simplify the interpretation of shift points, or to add a pre-set indicator needle to the tachometer display. Adding a preset needle provides the tachometer with adjustability for a specific redline, so when the moving needle aligns with the pre-set indicator needle, the engine's redline or shift point is more easily determined.
These previous solutions improve, but do not eliminate, the gaze-shifting problem. Additionally, these solutions also do not make the determination of redline, or engine RPM, significantly easier for the driver to assess.
- Top of Page
OF THE INVENTION
The presented invention is a flexible low profile, light bar tachometer that incorporates an array of lights that provide the driver of a vehicle with a dramatic visual prompt, for shifting up or down and the ability to visually monitor the engine's RPM range. The illuminated light bar display of the presented invention employs a row of lights arrayed in a flexible tachometer case that can be manipulated and contoured to conform to the top of the dash assembly of an automobile or any other surface deemed suitable for the needs of the driver. The flexible low profile light bar tachometer provides a reliable illuminated visual reference of the usable range of an engine's RPM without obstructing the driver's vision because it is designed for the driver to utilize peripheral vision to monitor the tachometer display.
In a preferred embodiment, RGB LEDs or lights that can change color are employed. Since this preferred light array includes RGB LED lights that can emit different color frequencies, the lights are driven such that the entire light array, to the extent that the illuminated lights have traveled sequentially across the display, change to the next chosen color. The driver can immediately assess the engine's RPM from light color or light position and the light array can display different colors to signify important RPM ranges or values such as power band, redline and maximum torque. A circuit connected to the headlight switch of the vehicle detects voltage to the headlights, such that during night or low light conditions the tachometer display can be dimmed.
Numerous methods are known for measuring engine and/or rotating shaft RPM, including the use of optoelectronic devices, voltage pulses, and, of course, the outdated technology of cables connected by gears to a drive shaft. The presented invention contemplates the use of any system and method of measuring engine RPM, which is then decoded and displayed in the presented invention.
It is therefore a first and principal object of the invention to display the usable range of engine RPM.
It is another object of the invention to provide a tachometer display that facilitates viewing through peripheral vision, rather than requiring direct viewing by the driver of a vehicle.
It is another object of the invention to provide an indication of the usable range of engine RPM through the use of color changing lights.
It is another object of the invention to provide a flexible light bar tachometer display that includes a light intensity adjustment.
It is another object of the invention to provide a flexible light bar tachometer case that can be manipulated and contoured to conform to the top of the dash assembly of an automobile or any surface deemed suitable for the needs of the driver.
It is another object of the invention to provide a color changing light array employing RGB LEDs or any similar light-emitting device that would satisfy the requirements of the application.
The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following brief description thereof and the presented contribution to the art may be better appreciated.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
- Top of Page
A general understanding of the presented invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent brief description, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front view of a center case segment;
FIG. 2 is an upper right front perspective view of the center case segment shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a front view of two center case segments linked together;
FIG. 4 is an upper right front perspective view of the two center case segments linked together shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a front view of a left case segment;
FIG. 6 is an upper right front perspective view of the left case segment shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a front view of a right case segment;
FIG. 8 is an upper right front perspective view of the right case segment shown in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a front view of a straight segment chain;
FIG. 10 is an upper right front perspective view of the straight segment chain shown in FIG. 9;