(19) United States
US 20020076247A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2002/0076247 A1
Kelsay
(43) Pub. Date:
Jun. 20, 2002
(54) OPTICAL INTERLINK BETWEEN AN
(52)
US. Cl. ........................................................ .. 400/118.2
OPTICAL TRANSDUCER AND OPTICAL
DATA PORT
(76) Inventor: Curtis Gregory Kelsay, Boise, ID (US)
Correspondence Address:
HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY
P O BOX 272400, 3404 E. HARMONY ROAD
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
ADMINISTRATION
FORT COLLINS, CO 80527-2400 (US)
(*)
Notice:
This is a publication of a continued pros
ecution application (CPA) ?led under 37
CFR 1.53(d).
(57)
ABSTRACT
An optical interlink made from an optical transducer capable
of optically exchanging information. Information to and
from the optical transducer passes through a light pipe
transducer end and an optical data port end. The optical light
pipe consists of separate transmit and a receive light pipes.
To reduce losses as a result of the light pipe transmission,
there is are lenses formed to collimate light betWeen the
transducer end of the light pipe and the optical transducer.
(21) Appl. No.:
09/491,994
The collimating lenses are formed in the light pipe. There are
also provided additional lenses on the optical data port side
(22) Filed:
Jan. 26, 2000
through a lens that increases the illumination angle of the
Publication Classi?cation
of the light port. Transmitted light from the light pipe passes
light exiting from the optical data port. Received light passes
through a lens that ampli?es and collimates the light into the
(51)
rm. c1? ...................................................... .. B41J 2/00
receiving light pipe.
Patent Application Publication
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Patent Application Publication
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Patent Application Publication
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OPTICAL INTERLINK BETWEEN AN OPTICAL
TRANSDUCER AND OPTICAL DATA PORT
illumination angle of the-light exiting from the optical data
port. Received light passes through a lens that ampli?es and
collimates the light into the receiving light pipe.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0001] The advent of portable electronic devices, espe
cially portable personal computers, such as laptops, note
books and the like, has spurred a desire to transfer data from
one device to another Without having to physically connect
the tWo devices. One example of this is printing a document
to a printer from a notebook type computer. In the past, this
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0006] Abetter understanding of the invention may be had
from the consideration of the folloWing detailed description
taken in conjunction With the accompanying draWings in
Which:
could only be accomplished by attaching a cable betWeen a
[0007]
serial or parallel port on the computer and a serial or parallel
incorporating the present invention.
FIG. 1 is a simpli?ed internal vieW of a printer
port on the printer. To eliminate this problem, manufacturers
have turned to infra-red (IR) data transfer Wherein each
device is provided With an infra-red data port, Which often
detail.
[0008] FIG. 2 shoWs the light pipe assembly in greater
include both an infra-red source and an infra-red detector or
[0009] FIG. 3 shoWs the transmitting portion of the light
receiver.
assembly and its associated lenses.
[0002] One of the draWbacks to the current state of the art
is that the “?eld of vieW” of the infra-red transducers is
limited to approximately 30°, i.e. 15° on both sides of the
axis. This places limitations on Where the user can position
[0010] FIG. 4 shoWs the receiving portion of the light
assembly and its associated lenses.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
the devices since the data ports must more or less line up.
For instance, if the notebook computer’s IR port is located
on the back panel of the computer and the printer’s IR port
is located on the front panel of the printer, the computer must
be placed generally in front of the printer to complete the
data transfer. This can be a problem if there isn’t enough
available space on the table or desktop in front of the printer.
[0003] An additional problem, Which is present in some
electronic device designs, is a consequence of the limited
available space Within the electronic device itself. For
instance, in most laser printers the majority of the space of
[0011] The present invention is not limited to a speci?c
embodiment illustrated herein, in particular, While the pre
ferred embodiment is shoWn as a printer, the present inven
tion may be utiliZed by other equipment such as computers,
facsimile machines, cameras, scanners, handheld devices,
remote control devices, or data gathering devices. Referring
particularly to FIG. 1 there is shoWn a printer 10 incorpo
rating the present invention. Printer 10 includes many sub
systems not shoWn but knoWn by one skilled in the art.
ShoWn Within printer 10 is print engine 40, Which is shoWn
the printer is utiliZed by the print engine and paper transport
as a electrophotographic process (EP) mechanism. Other
mechanism leaving little room for supporting electronics.
types of printing process could also be used. Paper enters the
The printed circuit assembly (PCA) is often mounted
printer from paper supply 20 and passes through print engine
toWards the rear of the printer to alloW for the rear panel Wire
connection. With this location of the PCA, the IR transducer
must be remotely located to provide front panel access.
then passes through fusing station 50 Where the image is
fused to the paper. Finally the paper exits printer 10 through
[0004]
opening 30.
In an effort to reduce the amount of desk space a
peripheral such as a printer uses, the placement of the PCA
Within the peripheral may not alloW the IR transducer proper
external access. Prior to the present invention, the solution
Was to physically locate the IR transducer Where it Would
have the necessary external access While providing the
40 Where the desired image is placed on the paper. The paper
[0012]
PCA 60 includes numerous electronics Which con
trol the printing process. Typically the electronics include
things such as a microprocessor, memory, ?rmWare, and I/O
ports. Under the direction of the ?rmWare or softWare, the
microprocessor controls the printing process and communi
electrical connection to and from the PCA via a Wire
cates With external devices. As shoWn in FIG. 1 PCA
harness. Such approach increases the cost and potentially
creates RFI problems.
supports tWo I/O ports. A direct Wire port (61) is shoWn near
the rear of the printer. This port is used to connect printer 10
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
is knoWn in the art and may support one or more common
to other devices such as a computer. Such a direct Wired port
[0005]
In order to accomplish the present invention there
is provided an optical interlink Which is made from an
optical transducer capable of optically exchanging informa
tion. Information to and from the optical transducer passes
through a light pipe transducer end and an optical data port
end. The optical light pipe consists of separate transmit and
a receive light pipes. To reduce losses as a result of the light
pipe transmission, there is are lenses formed to collimate
light betWeen the transducer end of the light pipe and the
optical transducer. The collimating lenses are formed in the
con?guration such as centronics, bitronics, 1284, USB, or
netWork. Asecond optical data port (64) is shoWn at the front
of printer 10. This optical data port provides bidirectional
Wireless communication betWeen the printer and other
devices. The preferred embodiment use Infra-red light for
the optical data port, but other types may be used With the
present invention. The IR data port may use one or more
protocol such as the Infra-Red Data Association (IRDA)
protocol. The IR data port (64) is connected to IR transducer
62 by a pair of light pipes 63.
optical data port side of the light port. Transmitted light from
[0013] Referring next to FIG. 2 the light pipe assembly 63
is shoWn in greater detail. Light pipe 63 is constructed from
the light pipe passes through a lens that increases the
tWo light pipes, one for transmit (70) and a second (71) for
light pipe. There are also provided additional lenses on the
Jun. 20, 2002
US 2002/0076247 A1
receive. Window 54 provides the optical interface to external
devices. The transmit light pipe optically connects the
transmit portion of the IR transducer 62 to the WindoW 54.
In a similar manner, receive light pipe 71 optically connects
WindoW 54 to the receive portion of IR transducer 62. The
light pipe can be made from several materials knoW in the
art. In the preferred embodiment, the light pipe and lenses
What is claimed is:
Were formed from natural polycarbonate also knoWn as GE
Lexan 111N.
transducer capable of transmitting and receiving information
[0014]
FIG. 2 also shoWs a light guide 81. As is typical,
printer 10 conveys information to the user by Way of a
“READY” LED (80), While it is possible to mount LED 80
remotely from PCA 60, the use of a light guide or light pipe
Will alloW the LED 80 to be mounted on the PCA. The light
guide 81 transmits the LED light external of the printer. It
should be understood that the light guide 81 is not necessary
for proper operation of the IR I/O.
[0015] Referring next to FIG. 3 Where the transmit light
pipe 70 is shoWn in greater detail. The transmit light pipe 70
is a constant cross section molded part With integral lens
details on each end. Lens 83 collimates the light rays from
the IR transducer for more efficient coupling and transmis
1. An optical interlink comprising:
a light pipe having a ?rst end optically coupled to an
optical transducer and a second end arranged to provide
an optical data port.
2. The optical interlink of claim 1 Wherein, the optical
optically.
3. The optical interlink of claim 2 Wherein the optical
transducer uses infra-red light to transmit and receive infor
mation.
4. The optical interlink of claim 1 Wherein the light pipe
further comprising a receive light pipe and a transmit light
pipe.
5. The optical interlink of claim 4 Wherein the transmit
light pipe further comprising:
a ?rst lens betWeen the ?rst end of the light pipe and the
optical transducer, the ?rst formed to optically couple
the optical transducer to the transmit light pipe; and
a second lens placed to increase an angle of light exiting
optical data port.
sion through the light pipe. Lens 82 at the WindoW increases
the angle of illumination of light exiting the WindoW thereby
creating an acceptable “vieWing” angle distribution of the
light rays as they exit the printer.
[0016] The receiving light pipe 71 is shoWn in FIG. 4.
Receiving light pipe is also a constant cross section molded
part With integral lens details on each end. Lens 90 is formed
in the light pipe to collimate the light on to the receiving
6. The optical interlink of claim 5 Wherein the ?rst lens
and second lens being formed as part of the transmit light
pipe.
7. The optical interlink of claim 4 Wherein the receive
light pipe further comprising:
a ?rst lens betWeen the ?rst end of the light pipe and the
optical transducer, the ?rst lens formed to optically
couple the optical transducer to the receive light pipe;
portion of the IR transducer. At the other end, receiving light
pipe uses a lens to collect and thereby amplify the received
light to help recover losses from transmission through the
light pipe. FIG. 4 shoWs tWo lenses 91 and 92. Lens 92 is
integral to the receive light pipe and can be formed as part
of the molding process of the light pipe. Optional lens 91
could be formed during the molding of the plastic WindoW
54. Optional lens 91 provides additional ampli?cation and
may provide improved performance of the IR data port.
[0017]
One skilled in the art Will understand that When
and
a second lens placed to collimate light received at the
optical data port into the second end of the light pipe.
8. The optical interlink of claim 7 Wherein the ?rst lens
being formed as part of the receive light pipe.
9. An optical interlink comprising:
an optical transducer capable of optically exchanging
information;
designing the light pipes and lenses, several losses must be
taken in to consideration. Some of these losses include
Fresnel losses, surface scatter, and absorption losses. Fresnel
losses are due to re?ection at the entry and exit points.
Surface losses are due to imperfect surface ?nishes and
re?ection of light off of these surfaces. Absorption losses are
due to material properties of light pipe material for IR
frequency light. Additionally, the light pipe should be
designed to couple to the speci?c optical transducer. Ideally,
a light pipe having a ?rst end and a second end arranged
to provide an optical data port; and
a ?rst lens formed to collimate light betWeen the ?rst end
of the light pipe and the optical transducer.
10. The optical interlink of claim 9 Wherein the optical
the optical data port end of the transmit light pipe should
transducer uses infra-red light to transmit and receive infor
mation
have a similar “vieWing” angle as the transducer. It may be
desirable for the optical transducer to have a small vieWing
11. The optical interlink of claim 2 Wherein the light pipe
further comprising a receive light pipe and a transmit light
angle thereby increasing the amount of light coupled into the
pipe.
light pipe, While the optical data port lens creates a desired
vieWing angle to the external devices.
further comprising:
[0018] Although the preferred embodiment of the inven
tion has been illustrated, and that form described, it is readily
apparent to those skilled in the art that various modi?cations
may be made therein Without departing from the spirit of the
invention or from the scope of the appended claims.
12. The optical interlink of claim 2 Wherein the light pipe
a transmit lens that increases an angle of illumination of
light exiting the optical data port; and
a receive lens that couples light incident on the optical
data port into the light pipe.
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US 2002/0076247 A1
13. A printer comprising:
a print engine;
a controller connected to the print engine, the controller
controlling operation of the print engine, the controller
including an optical transducer capable of optically
transmitting and receiving information; and
a light pipe having a ?rst end optically coupled to the
optical transducer and a second end arranged to provide
an optical data port.
14. The printer of claim 13 Wherein the optical transducer
uses infra-red light to transmit and receive information.
15. The printer of claim 13 Wherein the light pipe further
comprising a receive light pipe and a transrnit light pipe.
16. The printer of claim 15 Wherein the transmit light pipe
further comprising:
a ?rst lens betWeen the ?rst end of the light pipe and the
optical transducer, the ?rst formed to optically couple
the optical transducer to the transmit light pipe; and
a second lens placed to increase an angle of light exiting
optical data port.
17. The printer of claim 16 Wherein the ?rst lens and
second lens being formed as part of the transmit light pipe.
18. The printer of claim 15 Wherein the receive light pipe
further comprising:
a ?rst lens betWeen the ?rst end of the light pipe and the
optical transducer, the ?rst lens formed to optically
couple the optical transducer to the receive light pipe;
and
a second lens placed to collirnate light received at the
optical data port into the second end of the light pipe.
19. The printer of claim 18 Wherein the ?rst lens being
formed as part of the receive light pipe.
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