SHOE WITH AN EL LIGHT STRIP source. Also, the EL light strip or strips are unbreakable and
fully waterproof, providing further advantages over convenThis application is a Division of Ser. No. 08/409,925, tional lights. Not only are such strips durable, but they also filedMar.23,1995 (now U.S. Pat No. 5,611,621), which is have low power consumption comparable to that of an LED, a Continuation of Ser. No. 08/226,330, filed Apr. 12, 1994 5 and more color choices than any other light source, includ(now abandoned). ing green, blue, pink, purple, yellow, red. and turquoise.
Hence, the appearance of the inventive strip is much more BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION attractive than that of other light sources. Also, different
This invention relates to lighted shoes, and in particular to <!olors can be for a TMinb°w eS^KTMs a^s lighted shoes with eledro-mminescent (EL) light strips. 10 ^ hm"fon f 1X05 Tt0 * red colf which should be Lighted shoes, such as shown in U.S. Pat Nos. 3,893,247 ^served for police use. In the case of an illuminated heel and 3,946.505 have been provided in the past that include a ^siga,311 «TMP°TM*> « «*■ ^ ^oredinside of the heel, flashing light. When an individual wearing the shoes moves butJ^, positioned behind the light strip to prevent the back and forth, as during dancing or even while walking, a electncal comP°Mnts from blocking the light, circuit provides certain functions such as flashing on and off. 15 111 me case of a surface application, the light strip or strips Such shoes are very useful and provide enhanced safety for mlV Put into a transparent soft/stitchable material for many situations, but the conventional light sources are not as surface mounting. The light strip can be silk-screen printed versatile or attractive as EL light strips. However. EL light witn transparent or non-transparent ink to obtain a much strips cannot simply be used in the conventional lighted more attractive appearance for daytime or nighttime cosshoes because of different electrical requirements. The con- 20 metic purposes, and can be easily assembled to the shoe by ventional power supplies, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. VelcroTM hook and loop type fastener, double-sided tape, 4,158,922, which discloses a three position switch with stitching, glue, or other conventional attachment means, different functions for triggering a light by D.C. power, lack This allows all outside surfaces of the shoes to be lighted for components such as a transformer to convert D.C. power to better safety.
A.C. power suitable for use in EL applications, and thus the 25 It is therefore the primary objective of the present inven
previous arrangements cannot easily be adapted for use with tion to provide useful illuminated shoes that utilize lights
EL strips. having superior flexibility and durability, lower power
consumption, are easily manufactured, and provide
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION increased color choice. This and other objects of the inven
The present invention uses an EL strip triggered by ^ tion wil1 become clear from an inspection of the detailed
electric pulses supplied by a D.C. power source and D.C. to description of the invention and from the appended claims: A.C. inverter circuit at a certain frequency in place of the conventional D.C. powered flashing light. Rather than being
limited to a point sources, large areas of the shoe can be 35 piG. 1 is a side view of a shoe which uses a plurality of
illuminated with different designs while still providing space El light strips in accordance with the present invention;
to hide parts such as a transfrnner and function interface nG 2 b a Wock ^ of a Mt for ^ me ^
Furthermore, the improved lighting effects can be achieved u ht stri snown in pjG 1;
using relatively simple assembly techniques such as stitch- „ , '' . . TM .. .
ing or glue, or other similar assembly methods. ^ TMG- 3 sthT°ws,ttle ""^ f°f P°Wenng ^ hght StnpS
° . .. ., .. . , .„ . » shown in FIG. 1;
The invention thus provides an easier way to illuminate
shoes by using a flexible paper-thin EL strip. It can be put . ^f- 4 ls a P»Pecttve wew of a embodiment of the
inside of a transparent heel or on the side of the shoe's araat shown m mG- 3'
surface. The light strip is connected to a circuit which FIG. 5 is a bottom view of a shoe which uses a second
includes components for inverting D.C. battery power into 45 embodiment of the circuit shown in FIG. 3; and
A.C. pulses at a certain frequency (Hz). The circuit com- FIG. 6 is a side view of a shoe which uses the second
ponents include transistors, resistors, capacitors, embodiment of the circuit shown in FIG. 3.
transformers, and so forth which trigger the light strip. The jqQ 7 js a perspective view of a portion of a shoe bottom
hght can be turned on and off by a vibration, tilt, pressure, constructed according to the principles of the invention,
or photosensitive switch and an optional timer delay/ 50 no. 8 is a scherr^tic diagram showing a multiple EL strip
capacitor can be included to extend the on time for a certain ement for use in connection with ^ preferred
time penod. and other components for providing a variety of of ^ imeatiom lighting effects for different applications. Extra brightness
can be obtained by using a capacitor to store power for use nG 9 is a Perspective view showing a bottom of the shoe
when the switch is on, or the switch can have a variable time 55 mus,rated m nG- 9- wlth multiPle stnPs-
delay for flashing effects such as flashes steady-on, random
flashing, fade in-out, sequential flashes, and mixed effects
for multiple lights.
There are two principal ways to assemble the preferred Referring to FIG. 1, a sports shoe uses a plurality of EL
light strip or strips to a shoe. One is for the heel and the other 60 light strips which may be of the type described in the
is for me side-surface of the shoe. The heel type requires that applicant's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No.
some kind of transparent heel material is installed and that 08/156,004. The EL light strips such as 2A. 2B. 2C. 2D. 2E,
the light strip follow the heel's curve. The light strip cannot 2F, and 2G are attached to the sports shoe by means of
be put too far away from the outside edge of the heel to sewing, gluing, etc., and the electrical circuitry for the EL
prevent the illumination from becoming too weak. This 65 light strips are located either in a portion of the bottom of the
linear light strip can permit the entire contour to be lighted shoe indicated by part or wall 18 or in a housing 16 on the
to improve the "narrow viewing angle" of any other light side of the shoe as described in more detail below.