(19)
(11)EP 3 628 919 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
01.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/14

(21)Application number: 18382691.6

(22)Date of filing:  27.09.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F21V 8/00(2006.01)
G02F 1/315(2006.01)
G02F 1/01(2006.01)
G09F 9/30(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicants:
  • BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
    81739 München (DE)
  • BSH Electrodomésticos España, S.A.
    50016 Zaragoza (ES)

(72)Inventors:
  • Alaman Aguilar, Jorge
    50012 Zaragoza (ES)
  • Schlaß, Alexander
    14624 Dallgow-Döberitz (DE)
  • Schmidt, Sebastian
    10715 Berlin (DE)
  • Schulz, Julia
    16321 Bernau (DE)

  


(54)DEVICE AND METHOD FOR DISPLAYING OPTICAL INFORMATION


(57) The invention relates to a device (1) for displaying optical information to a user and a method for manufacturing a device (1) for displaying optical information to a user. The device (1) for displaying optical information to a user comprises a substrate (2), and a radiation guide (4) provided on top of the substrate (2) for guiding a source radiation (9). The device (1) further comprises at least two luminescent elements (3), wherein the at least two luminescent elements (3) emit visible light (10) when radiated via the source radiation (9). Furthermore, the device (1) comprises at least one barrier element (5) arranged in between the at least two luminescent elements (3), wherein the at least one barrier element (5) is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation (9) is influenceable from the exterior.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a device for displaying optical information to a user. The present invention further relates to a home appliance comprising such a device. The present invention furthermore relates to a method for manufacturing a device for displaying optical information to a user.

[0002] In order to display optical information to a user, particularly in displays of home appliances, usually LED lamps or other conventional illumination technologies are used. These technologies are limited though by their need for physical space for light sources and related electronic elements, especially when lighting effects such as diffusion or dimming, or several illuminated elements are used. These conventional technologies also have high power consumption and often do not show a high temperature or humidity resistance.

[0003] The present invention therefore deals with the problem of specifying an improved or at least alternative embodiment of a device for displaying optical information which is distinguished in particular by a compact design, and thus by a low requirement for installation space, and also by a simple manufacturing process and a low requirement for necessary components, such as electronic elements and light sources, and thus by low production costs. The present invention further deals with the problem of specifying a method for manufacturing such a device for displaying optical information.

[0004] This problem is solved by the subject matter of the independent patent claims. Preferred embodiments are the subject matter of the dependent patent claims.

[0005] Accordingly, the basic idea of the invention is to display optical information by radiating luminescent elements arranged on a radiation guide with only a few radiation sources or even just one single radiation source. In the course of this, radiation from the radiation sources is guided inside the radiation guide, while the reflectance of a barrier element arranged on the radiation guide between at least two luminescent elements is influenceable from the exterior.

[0006] The device for displaying optical information to a user comprises a substrate and a radiation guide provided on top of the substrate for guiding a source radiation. The device further comprises at least two luminescent elements, wherein the at least two luminescent elements emit visible light when radiated via the source radiation. Furthermore, the device comprises at least one barrier element arranged in between the at least two luminescent elements, wherein the at least one barrier element is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation is influenceable from the exterior.

[0007] Preferably, the device further comprises an excitation source connected with the at least one barrier element for influencing the reflectance of the at least one barrier element. In this way, the reflectance of the at least one barrier element can be increased or decreased as desired and the information displayed by the device of the present invention conveniently adjusted. Additionally, the excitation source can be arranged far away from the radiation guide unlike local electronics, in order to avoid potential high temperatures and, alternatively or additionally, high humidity in the vicinity of the radiation guide. Furthermore, by using a single excitation source, no further electronic components are necessary regardless of the number of barrier elements the device comprises.

[0008] In a preferred embodiment, the radiation guide is shaped linearly along a longitudinal direction L the at least two luminescent elements and the at least one barrier element are arranged along the longitudinal direction L adjacent to the radiation guide. Via such geometry, a particularly compact design and low requirement for installation space can be achieved.

[0009] According to a preferred embodiment, the device further comprises a first radiation source and a second radiation source, particularly LEDs, wherein the first radiation source and the second radiation source emit the source radiation during operation of the device. Such a configuration allows displaying information on two sides of the at least two luminescent elements. Additionally, no further radiation sources are required independent of the number of luminescent elements.

[0010] According to a further preferred embodiment, the wavelength of the source radiation which the first radiation source emits and the wavelength of the radiation which the second radiation source emits are different from each other, such that the at least two luminescent elements emit visible light of a different color when radiated via the first radiation source than when radiated via the second radiation source. Thereby information can be displayed in at least two colors.

[0011] In an advantageous embodiment, the first radiation source and, additionally or alternatively, the second radiation source are arranged in the extensions of the radiation guide along the longitudinal direction. Via such geometry, an even more compact design and low requirement for installation space can be achieved. Additionally, the source radiation can easily enter the radiation guide from its longitudinal ends. Furthermore, the radiation sources can be arranged far away from the radiation guide, in order to avoid potential high temperatures and, alternatively or additionally, high humidity in the vicinity of the radiation guide.

[0012] Preferably, the substrate is partially radio-opaque, such that the at least two luminescent elements are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation. In this way, a user will perceive a homogenous appearance of the device while the at least two luminescent elements are not radiated, and only observe more information when a luminescent element is radiated.

[0013] Preferably, the excitation source is configured such that it influences the reflectance of the at least one barrier element electrically and/or thermically. This allows for simple control of the at least one barrier element and thus of the displayed information. If the excitation source influences the reflectance thermically, this can also lead to a reduction of condensation in the vicinity of the radiation guide.

[0014] In a further advantageous embodiment, the device further comprises a cladding coating provided between the substrate and the radiation guide. In this way, the reflectance at the surface between the substrate with the cladding coating and the radiation guide is more homogenous and predictable, while fixing the radiation guide to the substrate can also be achieved more easily.

[0015] The invention further relates to a home appliance, such a dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, wash-dryers, ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, coffee machines,.... The home appliance further comprises an electronic control unit for controlling an excitation source and a first and the second radiation source. Furthermore the home appliance comprises a display for displaying information regarding the home appliance operation, wherein the display comprises a device presented above. The previously explained advantages of the device according to the invention therefore also transfer to the home appliance.

[0016] Furthermore, the invention relates to a method for manufacturing a device for displaying information to a user. The method comprises providing a substrate and providing a radiation guide on top of the substrate for guiding a source radiation. The method further comprises depositing at least two luminescent elements on top of the radiation guide, wherein the at least two luminescent elements emit visible light when radiated by the source radiation, and depositing at least one barrier element on top of the radiation guide in between the at least two luminescent elements, wherein the at least one barrier element is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation is influenceable from the exterior. In this way, a convenient and low cost production is achieved.

[0017] Preferably, the substrate provided in step a) is partially radio-opaque such that the at least two luminescent elements are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation. In this way, a user will perceive a homogenous appearance of the device while the at least two luminescent elements are not radiated, and only observe more information when a luminescent element is radiated.

[0018] Expediently, the method further comprises providing an excitation source connected with the at least one barrier element for influencing the reflectance of the at least one barrier element. In this way, the reflectance of the at least one barrier element can be increased or decreased as desired and the information displayed by the device of the present invention conveniently adjusted. Additionally, the excitation source can be arranged far away from the radiation guide unlike local electronics, in order to avoid potential high temperatures and, alternatively or additionally, high humidity in the vicinity of the radiation guide. Furthermore, by using a single excitation source, no further electronic components are necessary regardless of the number of barrier elements the device comprises.

[0019] According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises providing a first radiation source, particularly a LED, wherein the first radiation source emits the source radiation during operation, or providing a first radiation source and a second radiation source, particularly LEDs, wherein the first radiation source and the second radiation source emit the source radiation during operation. Such a configuration allows displaying information on two sides of the plurality of luminescent elements. Additionally, no further radiation sources are required independent of the number of luminescent elements. According to a further preferred embodiment a wavelength of the source radiation emitted by the first radiation source and a wavelength of the source radiation emitted by the second radiation source emits are different from each other, such that a luminescent element emits a different visible color when radiated via the first radiation source than when radiated via the second radiation source. Thereby information can be displayed in at least two colors.

[0020] In an advantageous embodiment, the method further comprises providing a cladding coating between the substrate and the radiation guide by depositing a material on the substrate via an ink jet. In this way, the reflectance at the surface between the substrate with the cladding coating and the radiation guide is more homogenous and predictable, while fixing the radiation guide to the substrate can also be achieved more easily. Additionally, low production costs and production flexibility can be achieved via such manufacturing.

[0021] In a further advantageous embodiment, the radiation guide is manufactured by depositing a material on the substrate via an ink jet, and/or the plurality of luminescent elements is manufactured by depositing a material on the radiation guide via an ink jet, and/or the barrier elements are manufactured by depositing a material on the radiation guide via ink jet. By means of such manufacturing, low production costs and production flexibility can be achieved.

[0022] Further important features and advantages of the invention can be gathered from the sub-claims, from the drawings and from the associated figure description using the drawings.

[0023] It goes without saying that the features mentioned above and those still to be explained below can be used not only in the respectively specified combination but also in other combinations or on their own without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0024] Preferred examples of the invention are illustrated in the drawings and will be explained in more detail in the following description.

[0025] In the drawings, in each case schematically:

Fig. 1 shows an example of a first embodiment of a device for displaying optical information 1 to a user according to the invention in an assembled state in a profile view,

Fig. 2 shows an example of a second embodiment of a device for displaying optical information 1 to a user according to the invention in an assembled state in a profile view.



[0026] According to figures 1 and 2, the device 1 comprises a substrate 2. A radiation guide 4 is arranged on top of the substrate 2 for guiding a source radiation 9 to luminescent elements 3. The luminescent elements 3 are arranged on top of the radiation guide 4. The luminescent elements emit visible light 10 when radiated via a source radiation 9. The luminescent elements 3 are spaced apart from each other. Barrier elements 5 are arranged in between the luminescent elements 3, wherein each barrier element 5 is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation 9 is influenceable from the exterior. The barrier elements 5 and the luminescent elements 3 are arranged alternatingly along a longitudinal direction L adjacent to the radiation guide 4. The radiation guide 4 is shaped linearly along the longitudinal direction L, and the substrate 2 is shaped linearly along the longitudinal direction L.

[0027] The device 1 further comprises an excitation source 7 connected with the barrier elements 5 via the excitation connectors 7a for influencing the reflectance of the barrier elements 5. The excitation source 7 is configured such that it influences the reflectance of the barrier elements 5 electrically and, alternatively or additionally, thermically.

[0028] Depending on the reflectance of a barrier element 5, the barrier elements 5 can act as reflecting barrier elements 5a or non-reflecting barrier elements 5b. Accordingly, some of the source radiation 9 guided by the radiation guide 4 can be reflected off a barrier element 5 acting as a reflecting barrier element 5a, and be further guided to the next luminescent element 3, where some of the reflected radiation is absorbed by that next luminescent element 3. Thereafter the source radiation 9 can be guided to a next barrier element 5a, where it can again be reflected and continue to repeat the previous process.

[0029] Alternatively or additionally, some of the source radiation 9 guided by the radiation guide 4 can also be not reflected of a barrier element 5 acting as a non-reflecting barrier element 5b, and instead be absorbed by the non-reflecting 5b barrier element or transmitted through it. In this case the source radiation 9 is not guided further by the radiation guide 4 and is not absorbed by following luminescent elements 3.

[0030] According to the first example of an embodiment shown in figure 1, the device 1 comprises a radiation source 6a, particularly a LED, wherein the radiation source 6a emits the source radiation 9 during operation of the device 1. The radiation source 6a is preferably arranged in the extensions 11 of the radiation guide 4 along the longitudinal direction L.

[0031] According to a second example of an embodiment shown in figure 2, the device 1 comprises a first radiation source 6a and a second radiation source 6b, particularly LEDs, wherein the first radiation source 6a and the second radiation source 6b emit the source radiation 9 during operation of the device 1. A first wavelength of the source radiation 9 emitted by the first radiation source 6a and a second wavelength of the source radiation 9 emitted by the second radiation source 6b are different from each other. Thus, the luminescent elements 3 emit a different visible color when radiated via the first radiation source 6a than when radiated via the second radiation source 6b. The first radiation source 6a and the second radiation source 6b are preferably arranged in the extensions 11 of the radiation guide 4 along the longitudinal direction L. Particularly, the first and the second radiation source 6b can be arranged on opposite sides of the radiation guide 4. In this way, source radiation 9 emitted from the first radiation source 6a and source radiation 9 emitted from the second radiation source 6b can travel through the radiation guide 4 in opposite directions and each of the luminescent elements 3 can be radiated by the first radiation source 6a alone, or by the second radiation source 6b alone, or by both of the radiation sources 6a, 6b simultaneously.

[0032] According to the first and second examples of an embodiment discussed above, the substrate 2 is partially radio-opaque such that the luminescent elements 3 are only observable by a user when radiated by the source radiation 9, and hence emit visible light 10. The user is considered to be looking from a side of the substrate 2 opposite to the side the luminescent elements 3 are arranged on.

[0033] The device 1 according to the first and second example of an embodiment can further comprise a cladding coating 8 between the substrate 2 and the radiation guide 4. In case there is no cladding coating 8 on the substrate 2 the refractive indices of the radiation guide 4 and the substrate 2 are such that the source radiation 9 inside the radiation guide 4 is reflected at the contact surface between the radiation guide 4 and the substrate 2. In case there is a cladding coating 8 on the substrate 2, the refractive indices of the radiation guide 4 and the cladding coating 8 are such that the source radiation 9 inside the radiation guide 4 is reflected at the contact surface between radiation guide 4 and the cladding coating 8.

[0034] In figures 1 and 2 not shown is a home appliance, particularly a dishwasher, comprising an electronic control unit 12 for controlling the excitation source 7 and a first and the second radiation source 6a, 6b. The home appliance further comprises a display for displaying information regarding the home appliance operation to a user, wherein the display comprises a device 1 according to the present invention.

[0035] According to the first example of an embodiment of the device 1, the further an operating cycle of the home appliance has progressed, the more or the fewer luminescent elements 3 can be radiated and therefore emit visible light 10 and be observable by a user.

[0036] According to the second example of an embodiment of the device 1, the further an operating cycle of the home appliance has progressed, the more or the fewer luminescent elements 3 can be radiated by the first radiation source 6a and therefore emit visible light 10 of a first color and be observable by a user, while the remaining luminescent elements 3 can be radiated by the second radiation source 6b and therefore emit visible light 10 of a second color different to the first and be observable by a user.

[0037] The cladding coating 8 provided between the substrate 2 and the radiation guide 4 can be manufactured by depositing a material on the substrate 2 via an ink jet. The radiation guide 4 in turn can be manufactured by depositing a material on the substrate 2 or on the cladding coating 8 respectively, if a cladding coating 8 is provided, via an inkjet. The luminescent elements 3 and the barrier elements 5 can also be manufactured by depositing a material on the radiation guide 4 via ink jet.

[0038] The cladding coating 8 can be provided by depositing a material comprising GLYMO, BYK33, and PAG on the substrate 2 via an ink jet. The radiation guide 4 can be provided by depositing a material comprising GLYMO, BYK33, PAG, SU8, and DPDMS on the substrate 2 via an ink jet. The luminescent elements 3 can be provided by depositing a material comprising GLYMO, BYK33, PAG, SU8, DPDMS, and Rhodamine on the radiation guide 4 via an ink jet.

[0039] The substrate 2 can be manufactured from a partially radio-opaque material, such that the luminescent elements 3 are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation of the first radiation source 6a and, alternatively or additionally, of the second radiation source 6b. The substrate 2 can also be manufactured from a partially radio-transparent material and a partially radio-opaque coating, such that the luminescent elements 3 are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation of the first radiation source 6a and, alternatively or additionally, of the second radiation source 6b. The partially radio-opaque coating can be deposited via physical vapor deposition.

[0040] List of reference signs
1
device
2
substrate
3
luminescent element
4
radiation guide
5
barrier element
5a
reflecting barrier element
5b
non-reflecting barrier element
6a
first radiation source
6b
second radiation source
7
excitation source
7a
excitation connector
8
cladding coating
9
source radiation
10
visible light
11
extensions of the radiation guide
12
electronic control unit
L
longitudinal direction



Claims

1. Device for displaying optical information (1) to a user, comprising:

- a substrate (2); - a radiation guide (4) provided on top of the substrate (2) for guiding a source radiation (9); - at least two luminescent elements (3), wherein the at least two luminescent elements (3) emit visible light (10) when radiated by the source radiation (9); - at least one barrier element (5) arranged in between the at least two luminescent elements (3), wherein the at least one barrier element (5) is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation (9) is influenceable from the exterior.


 
2. The device (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the device (1) further comprises an excitation source (7) connected with the at least one barrier element (5) such that it influences the reflectance of the at least one barrier element (5).
 
3. The device according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the radiation guide (4) is shaped linearly along a longitudinal direction (L) and the at least two luminescent elements (3) and the at least one barrier element (5) are arranged along the longitudinal direction (L) adjacent to the radiation guide (4).
 
4. The device according to any of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the device (1) further comprises a first radiation source (6a) and a second radiation source (6b), particularly LEDs, wherein the first radiation source (6a) and the second radiation source (6b) emit the source radiation (9) during operation of the device (1).
 
5. The device according claim 4,
characterized in that
a first wavelength of the source radiation (9) emitted by the first radiation source (6a) and a second wavelength of the source radiation (9) emitted by the second radiation source (6b) are different from each other, such that the at least two luminescent elements (3) emit a different visible color when radiated via the first radiation source (6a) than when radiated via the second radiation source (6b).
 
6. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the first radiation source (6a) and/or the second radiation source (6b) are arranged in the extensions (11) of the radiation guide (4) along the longitudinal direction (L).
 
7. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the substrate (2) is partially radio-opaque, such that the at least two luminescent elements (3) are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation (9).
 
8. The device according to any of claims 2 to 7, characterized in that the excitation source (7) is configured such that it influences the reflectance of the at least one barrier element (5) electrically and/or thermically.
 
9. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the device (1) further comprises a cladding coating (8) provided between the substrate (2) and the radiation guide (4).
 
10. A home appliance, particularly a dishwasher, comprising: - an electronic control unit (12) for controlling an excitation source (7) and a first and second radiation source (6a, 6b); - a display for displaying information regarding the home appliance operation, wherein the display comprises a device (1) according to any of claims 2 to 9.
 
11. A method for manufacturing a device (1) for displaying information to a user comprising:

a) Providing a substrate (2); b) Providing a radiation guide (4) on top of the substrate (2) for guiding a source radiation (9); c) Depositing at least two luminescent elements (3) on top of the radiation guide (4), wherein the at least two luminescent elements (3) emit visible light (10) when radiated by the source radiation (9); d) Depositing at least one barrier element (5) on top of the radiation guide (4) in between at the at least two luminescent elements (3), wherein the at least one barrier element (5) is configured such that its reflectance with respect to the source radiation (9) is influenceable from the exterior.


 
12. The method according to claim 11, characterized in that the substrate (2) provided in step a) is partially radio-opaque such that the at least two luminescent elements (3) are only observable by a user when radiated via the source radiation (9).
 
13. The method according to claim 11 or 12, characterized in that the method further comprises the following step: e) Providing an excitation source (7) connected with the at least one barrier element (5) for influencing the reflectance of the at least one barrier element (5).
 
14. The method according to any of claims 11 to 13, characterized in that the method further comprises the following step: f) Providing a first radiation source (6a) and a second radiation source (6b), particularly LEDs,
wherein the first radiation source (6a) and the second radiation source (6b) emit the source radiation (9) during operation of the device (1).
 
15. The method according to claim 14, characterized in that
the wavelength of the source radiation (9) emitted by the first radiation source (6a) and the wavelength of the source radiation (9) emitted by the second radiation source (6b) are different from each other, such that the at least two luminescent elements (3) emit a different visible color when radiated via the first radiation source (6a) than when radiated via the second radiation source (6b).
 
16. The method according to any of claims 11 to 15, characterized in that the method further comprises the following step g): Providing a cladding coating (8) between the substrate (2) and the radiation guide (4) by depositing a material on the substrate (2) via an ink jet.
 
17. The method according to any of claims 11 to 16, characterized in that the radiation guide (4) provided in step b) is manufactured by depositing a material on the substrate (2) provided in step a) via an ink jet; and/or that the at least two luminescent elements (3) are manufactured by depositing a material on the radiation guide (4) via an ink jet; and/or that the at least one barrier element (5) is manufactured by depositing a material on the radiation guide (4) via ink jet.
 




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