This document relates to a new and improved apparatus for independently controlling indirect lighting and the indirect delivery of conditioned air to an individual passenger of a motor vehicle.
In a ride share situation including, particularly, the situation of an autonomous transportation-as-a-service motor vehicle, the environmental controls should be simple and equal among each individual passenger. In other words, each individual should be able to control their own light level and intensity of airflow.
This document relates to a new and improved apparatus allowing an individual to easily control their own lighting and airflow. Advantageously, the lighting provided is indirect in order to reduce glare and the airflow provided is indirect in order to eliminate the annoyance of an individual often caused by the force an airstream blowing directly upon the individual.
In accordance with the purposes and benefits described herein, a new and improved apparatus is provided for allowing an individual passenger of a motor vehicle to independently control his or her own indirect lighting and indirect airflow so as to maximize the individual's comfort while being transported from point to point in a motor vehicle. One such apparatus may be provided in the motor vehicle for each passenger or individual. Such an apparatus comprises a vent body including an air inlet and an air outlet, an air valve carried on the vent body and displaceable between an open position and a closed position and at least one flexible air guide carried on the vent body and adapted to direct air discharged from the air outlet toward the individual.
The apparatus may further include a light source carried on the vent body. That light source may be elongated and extend parallel to the air outlet along a longitudinal axis of the vent body.
The at least one flexible air guide may include an arcuate surface adapted to redirect air received from the air outlet and light received from the light source toward a single occupant or passenger of the motor vehicle without intruding upon the ride experience of other individual passengers that might be in that motor vehicle. By redirecting the airflow and light with the at least one flexible air guide, indirect lighting and airflow is provided to the individual so as to provide an enhanced travel experience.
A pivot may connect the air valve to the vent body. An operator handle is connected to the pivot. The operator handle is adapted to provide simple and efficient controls for adjusting the light and airflow provided by the apparatus to the individual passenger.
The vent body may further include at least one arm connecting the at least one flexible air guide to the vent body. The at least one arm and the at least one flexible air guide may include a first connection feature that connects the at least one arm to the at least one flexible air guide.
The vent body may also include at least one aligner element connecting the at least one flexible air guide to the vent body. The at least one aligner element and the at least one flexible air guide may include a second connection feature connecting the at least one aligner element to the at least one flexible air guide.
Still further, the first connection feature may include a first aperture adjacent a first corner of the at least one flexible air guide and a first channel in the at least one arm. A margin of the at least one flexible air guide surrounds the first aperture and is engaged in the first channel.
The second connection feature may include a second aperture adjacent a second corner of the at least one flexible air guide. A second channel, including a scoop pin, may be provided in the at least one aligner element. An edge of the at least one flexible air guide extends along that second channel with the scoop pin engaged in the second aperture. Here it should be noted that the second channel may extend in a diagonal direction to the longitudinal axis of the vent body so that the at least one flexible air guide has an elongated guide surface that is arcuate in cross section. It is this arcuate surface that provides for the indirect lighting and airflow to the individual passenger operating the apparatus. In at least one possible embodiment, the vent body, including the at least one arm and the at least one aligner element, is 3-D printed as a single body. This substantially reduces the number of parts and the cost of production.
Still further, the apparatus may include an outer shroud that is received around the vent body in order to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the apparatus. That outer shroud may include an open bottom and the at least one flexible air guide may project from that open bottom toward the individual operating the apparatus.
In the following description, there are shown and described several preferred embodiments of apparatus. As it should be realized, the apparatus is capable of other, different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the apparatus as set forth and described in the following claims. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions should be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.
The accompanying drawing figures incorporated herein and forming a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the apparatus and together with the description serve to explain certain principles thereof.
Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the apparatus, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawing figures.
Reference is now made to
The vent body 12 includes an internal air manifold 18 between the air inlet 14 and the air outlet 16. An air valve 20 is carried on the vent body 12 in the air manifold 18. As illustrated, the air valve 20 is displaceable between an open position illustrated in
At least one flexible air guide 22 is carried on the vent body 12. In the illustrated embodiment, five flexible air guides 22 are provided. See, for example,
A light source, generally designated by reference numeral 24, is carried on the vent body 12. As illustrated, the light source 24 is elongated and extends parallel to the air outlet 16 along a longitudinal axis L of the vent body 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the light source 24 comprises a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) 26 with one LED juxtaposed to each flexible air guide 22. Here it should be appreciated that each flexible air guide 22 includes an arcuate surface 28 adapted to redirect air discharged or received from the air outlet 16 and light received from the light source 24 and, more particularly, the juxtaposed LED 26, toward the single occupant or individual passenger of the motor vehicle operating the apparatus 10.
More specifically, the air valve 20 includes an arcuate blade body 27, a plurality of support ribs 29 and a pivot 30 that connects the air valve 20 to the vent body 12. An operator handle 32 is connected to the pivot 30. In the illustrated embodiment, the handle 32 is connected to the pivot 30 by a crank arm 34. Vent icons 36 on the handle 32 indicate the direction of movement needed to close and open the air valve 20. These vent icons 36 are located on both the bottom and top of the handle 32 so that they can be seen when the handle is in the positions illustrated in
As should be appreciated, the operator handle 32 is easily accessible by an individual and allows both the light and air discharged from the apparatus 10 to be conveniently controlled independently.
As further illustrated in
As illustrated in
Each arm 40 includes a rounded nose 55 and a first channel 56 adjacent that nose. The first aperture 48 in the sheet material 44/flexible air guide 22 and the first channel 56 in the arm 40 comprise a first connection feature 58 for connecting the flexible air guide 22 to the vent body 12. See particularly
Each aligner element 42 includes a second channel 60 including a scoop pin 62. As should be appreciated, the second channel 60 is curved and elongated so that the second channel extends in a diagonal direction to the longitudinal axis L of the vent body 12. Together, (a) the second aperture 52 in the sheet material 44/flexible air guide 22 and (b) the second channel 60 and scoop pin 62 on the aligner element 42 comprise a second connection feature 64 for securing the flexible air guide 22 to the vent body 12. Each flexible air guide 22 may be quickly attached to the vent body 12. First the edge 66 is inserted in the second channel 60 and the scoop pin 62 is engaged in the second aperture 52. The sheet material 44 is then manipulated so as to fully seat the vent body cutout 46 around the vent body 12 and then folded so as to allow the rounded nose 54 of the arm 40 to be inserted into the first aperture 48.
The margin 68 of the sheet material 44/flexible air guide 22 surrounding the first aperture 48 is then engaged in the first channel 56 of the arm 40 in order to complete the connection. As a result of the folding of the sheet material 44 in the manner described, the flexible air guide 22 is arcuate in cross section, thereby providing the arcuate surface 28 that is adapted to efficiently and effectively redirect airflow from the air outlet 16 and light from the light source 24 toward the individual passenger controlling the operation of the apparatus 10 through the operator handle 32. The resulting distribution of softer and more pleasant indirect light and less annoying indirect airflow toward the individual passenger functions to enhance the travel experience of the individual passenger allowing that individual passenger to customize his light and airflow environment without adversely affecting other individuals in the motor vehicle.
As should be further appreciated from reviewing
The foregoing has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the embodiments to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled.
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