Patent for Sale:

Retroreflective Sheeting and Structures with Enhanced Conspicuity and Long-Range Visibility    

Passive retroreflective structures that display dynamic visual effects in variable-brightness without using any power source.

Overview

Retroreflective lenticular systems employing a sheet-form structure with lens array texture on the front and a matching pattern of retroreflective areas on the back. The lens array is configured to direct the incident light only onto the retroreflective areas or only onto the separation areas in an alternating fashion as the incidence angle changes. The alternating illumination of retroreflective and non-retroreflective areas provides variable retroreflectivity and thus variable apparent brightness of the structure.

The retroreflective structure can be incorporated into road signs and roadside structure markings to dramatically enhance their long-range visibility and conspicuity in the reflected light. It can be designed to dynamically display various visual effects in variable brightness when illuminated by headlamps of an approaching vehicle. Such dynamic visual effects may include but are not limited to flashing, flip animation, morph and 3D.

A key benefit of the technology is enhancing the conspicuity of retroreflective sheeting by adding dynamic visual effects and modulating its apparent brightness. Unlike the electric flashing road signs and lights, this new retroreflective structure is completely passive and does not require any power source, light sources or electronics.

Primary Application of the Technology

Road signs.
Conspicuity marking of roadside structures and vehicles
Self-driving cars (navigation)
Advertising displays
Emergency communication

The Problem Solved by the Technology

The night-time visibility of conventional retroreflective sheeting is limited to the amount of returned light and its brightness contrast compared to the background, which is often insufficient to meet the safety requirements.

Electric-powered flashing road signs and lights provide improved conspicuity but require require power, dedicated light sources and electronics. They are also expensive to manufacture and maintain.

How the Technology Solves the Problem

The patented variable-brightness retroreflective sheeting achieves the improved night-time visibility effect of electric-powered systems but without the associated complexity, cost and energy/maintenance requirements.

Competitive Advantage

Adding dynamic visual effects in variable brightness to retroreflective sheeting, e.g., flashing, flip or animation could dramatically improve the night-time conspicuity and long-range visibility of road signs and marking, thus helping the drivers notice critical roadway signage.

The seller would like to be granted a license back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much electric power does it draw?
A: None. The system is completely passive as it only modulates and retroreflects light from the headlamps of an approaching vehicle back to the driver's eyes.

Q: Is it possible to create the effect of a "running arrow" in variable brightness using such retroreflectors?
A: Yes, almost any effect that can be obtained using lenticular printing, including flashing, flip, morph and animation can also be replicated in variable brightness using the retroreflective structure.

Patent Summary

U.S. Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class 359: Optical: Systems And Elements

Optical elements included in this class are: Lenses; Polarizers; Diffraction gratings; Prisms; Reflectors; Filters; Projection screens; Optical Modulators; Optical Demodulators. Among the optical systems included in this class are: Compound lens systems; Light reflecting signalling systems (e.g., retroreflectors); stereoscopic systems; Binocular devices; Systems of lenticular elements; Systems involving light interference; Glare reducing systems; Light dividing and combining systems; Light control systems (e.g., light valves); building illumination with natural light; Systems for protecting or shielding elements; Optical systems whose operation depends upon polarizing, diffracting, dispersing, reflecting, or refracting light; kaleidoscopes. Further included are certain apertures, closures, and viewing devices of a specialized nature which involve no intentional reflection, refraction, or filtering of light rays. This class also includes optical elements combined with another type of structure(s) to constitute an optical element combined with a nonoptical structure or a perfection or improvement in the optical element.

Subclass 530: Unitary plate or sheet comprising plural reflecting elements