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Publication numberUS20080250985 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/049,260
Publication date16 Oct 2008
Filing date14 Mar 2008
Priority date14 Mar 2007
Publication number049260, 12049260, US 2008/0250985 A1, US 2008/250985 A1, US 20080250985 A1, US 20080250985A1, US 2008250985 A1, US 2008250985A1, US-A1-20080250985, US-A1-2008250985, US2008/0250985A1, US2008/250985A1, US20080250985 A1, US20080250985A1, US2008250985 A1, US2008250985A1
InventorsDavid W. Hall
Original AssigneeHall David W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multifunction Furniture
US 20080250985 A1
Abstract
A furniture frame that incorporates electronic parts into the furniture where the furniture includes an electronic display and an articulated arm and where the articulated arm unit bridges between the frame and an electronic display and it is extendable from and retractable into the frame.
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Claims(5)
1. Furniture that incorporates electronic parts comprising:
a furniture frame;
an electronic display and;
an articulated arm unit,
wherein said articulated arm bridges between said frame and electronic display and is extendable from and retractable into said frame.
2. The furniture of claim one whereby said articulated arm allows for 180 vertical rotation and 360 horizontal rotation.
3. The furniture of claim one whereby said display has a see through surface that forms a part of said furniture.
4. The furniture of claim three where said see through surface contains a means for providing a clear, see through surface or an opaque surface.
5. The furniture of claim one whereby said display is hidden within said furniture and where there is a separate furniture section that independently covers said display when said display is concealed within said furniture and that also covers the same section when said display is released and raised from said furniture.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The invention relates to furniture that includes electronic equipment or computer equipment, especially an electronic display or a computer display and, more specifically, a flat display, such as an LCD or plasma display. In one aspect the invention relates to household furniture with the display integrated therein. Such incorporation allows the users to hide the display, keyboard, mouse and CPU and enables the use of the display without being tied to the rest of the computer or electronic system.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    Computers are increasingly utilized in entertainment applications and are now moving from the desk/work area into the living room. The line between television and computer is also becoming more and more vague. Music, videos, digital pictures and internet usage are just a few of the new and innovative applications where computers are moving into the entertainment realm of the house. Presently people use their computers to play music on their home stereos, they view family pictures and other pictures on their television from their computer and they watch videos played from files stored on their computers. Furthermore, video gaming systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and many use large screen displays, such as that of a television or a computer. All of these applications require access to the home computer, gaming system or television in the living room/entertainment room of the house.
  • [0005]
    Additionally because of convenience, safety and parental controls (children online) people are increasingly using the internet while they are in the living room watching a separate TV. The internet is used for checking sports scores, television show listings, movie ratings, monitoring news reports, and a plethora of other activities. Currently many applications try to use the TV to view actual television shows and to project the computer image to the TV. However, the applications usually only allow for one image at a time and does not provide for picture in picture capability thereby limiting the ability to view reference material concurrently with what is being broadcast through the television.
  • [0006]
    One way to solve this problem is to have a computer available in the living room, such as a laptop or notebook computer. The problem with this is that you have to own a laptop for each room you will use it in, in addition to your home computer and there is still the need to either pass around a notebook computer or have a display sitting on the living room table. Additionally, in order to have many entertainment applications work there is a multitude of connections, wires and cables required (for example, hooking up a larger, external hard drive or an external display). Utilizing a portable notebook computer means having to hook up all the connections every time the user desires to use the system. This by its nature destroys the concept of a notebook being a portable computer.
  • [0007]
    Another way to resolve the issue is to have the computer placed at a workstation in the living room or an adjacent room. If an additional workstation is required in the living room then the user is forced to give up living room space for the workstation. Alternatively, the user could use space in the adjacent room for computer placement. However, this again takes up counter space and/or room space if an additional desk is required and it eliminates the convenience of having the computer readily accessible. The final alternative is to simply place the computer on or near the living room table with the display sitting on top of the table. This works, but the problem is that the system takes up space and the display in particular takes up space on the living room table.
  • [0008]
    Recent advances in computer technology have given rise to smaller CPU's, thinner, more lightweight and larger displays in the form of liquid crystal displays (LCD) and plasmas and wireless devices such as wireless mice and keyboards. However, despite these advances computers are frequently placed at computer desks where they are left exposed and are inaccessible from the living room or are placed in the living room at a corner workstation and it is just not convenient for use. Typically the display is placed on the desk and occasionally it may be mounted on an articulated arm that is attached to a wall or desk. However, once mounted the display generally remains in place and is not moved for viewability by others. Generally people move to see the display. The display does not move for people to view it.
  • [0009]
    There is furniture that conceals or hides the CPU or other electronics and that also uses an articulated arm attached to the display. However, as described above, the articulated arm has limited mobility and there is nothing available that allows the display the flexibility of motion provided by the present invention.
  • [0010]
    Overall, the keyboard, mouse, and display are generally placed next to the CPU and are generally out of the living room area or are in the corner and are not readily accessible while viewing the television. Due to these limitations and problems the inventor has created the present invention that allows the user to watch television and have easy access to the computer and its peripherals, such as the display, keyboard and mouse.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The present invention is a piece of furniture, such as a coffee table, end table, kitchen table, work station table, sofa or chair, or any other piece of furniture in which an electronic display or computer display is concealed in order to maintain the furniture aesthetics but whereby the electronic display or computer display is capable of being raised from the top, bottom or side to allow the display to swivel up to 180 degrees vertically (pitch) and up to 360 degrees horizontally (yaw) to allow viewing from multiple locations in a given area. The display could also be raised or lowered to allow viewing at various heights. The display can be connected to multiple devices including, but not limited to, a computer, DVD player, game system, television tuner, or any other electronic device that may be either wired or wirelessly connected. The CPU, game system, DVD player, television tuner or other device may be hidden within the furniture or may be out in the open.
  • [0012]
    The display generally is a flat panel electronic display, (that could be a flat panel such as a plasma or LCD) that has a see-through protective cover surface, such as plastic, glass, plexi-glass, or any other see through medium, that completely covers and protects the display's outer surface area. The display is then attached to an articulated arm that is capable of rising up and out of the furniture, either from a flat, level position from the top of the furniture, or up and out from the side of the furniture, to allow the display to swivel in multiple directions thereby allowing the user or users to view from multiple angles.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 is a top view photo with the screen recessed
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a bottom view photo with the screen recessed
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a top view photo with the screen elevated into the viewing position
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a top view photo with the screen elevated
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 is a bottom view photo with the screen recessed, different angle
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 is a top view photo with the screen elevated
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a top view photo with the screen elevated
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is a top view photo, different angle, with the screen elevated
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9 is a top view photo with the screen recessed
  • [0022]
    FIG. 10 is a bottom view photo with the screen recessed
  • [0023]
    FIG. 11 is a top view photo with the screen elevated and flat
  • [0024]
    FIG. 12 is a top view photo with the screen elevated
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0025]
    The invention described herein is a piece of furniture that incorporates a flat panel electronic display therein allowing the display to be accessible using an articulated arm that allows the display to be viewable from numerous directions. A central processing unit (CPU) or other electronic devices can be incorporated as well into the furniture but need not be. The CPU or other electronic devices could be place out of the way in other furniture or at a desk whereby the display is connected using a long connection cable or, if technology exists, wirelessly. Wireless technology already currently exists for both the keyboard and mouse.
  • [0026]
    One embodiment of the invention consists of coffee table 10 or other table surface that further has a panel 20 that moves out of the way to allow a flat panel electronic display 40 to come out of the furniture, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 12. An articulating arm 50 is attached to the coffee table 10 at one or more places at the furniture connection end or ends 61 and at the display connection end 60 at the other end. The articulating arm 50 may have a ball pivot 62 or multiple pivot points at the display connection end 60 to allow the display 30 to swivel in multiple directions. The main pieces of the arm 50 will fold or pivot and the movement may use assistance from at least one gas piston 70, at least one spring 80, at least one friction joint, or electric linier or rotary actuators. Further, the arm may rise up and out of the top of the table or alternatively it may rise up from the side of the table.
  • [0027]
    A second embodiment consists of an electronic display 40 that is incorporated into the finish of the furniture, and specifically the coffee table 10, by means of the viewing surface being protected or covered with a see-through material 25, such as plexi-glass, glass or any other protective, see-through material. An articulating arm 50 is attached to the furniture 10 in one or more places at the furniture connecting end one end and at the display connection end 60 at the other end. The arm may have a ball pivot 62 or multiple pivot points at the display connection end 60 to allow the display to swivel in multiple directions. The main pieces of the arm 50 will fold or pivot and the movement may use assistance from at least one gas piston 70, at least one spring 80, at least one friction joint, or electric linier or rotary actuators.
  • [0028]
    In either of the above described embodiments the arm could be attached to a locking mechanism and a self actuating release mechanism. The locking mechanism would allow the user to push the display back into place in the table and the display would lock down into place in the table. In turn, the user could release the display somehow, possibly like a magnetic release mechanism, where the user would push down on the display, thereby releasing the lock and allowing the display to rise out of the table. The locking mechanism could also be in the form of a switch located anywhere on the table, in order to prevent inadvertent release of the display.
  • [0029]
    A third embodiment consists of the flat panel electronic display 40 being hidden or contained within a chair or sofa 100. An articulating arm 50 is attached to the sofa or chair 100 at one end and at the display at the display connection end 60 at the other end. The arm may have a ball pivot 62 or multiple pivot points at the display connection end 60 to allow the display to swivel in multiple directions. The main pieces of the arm 50 will fold or pivot and the movement may use assistance from at least one gas piston 70, at least one spring 80, at least one friction joint, or electric linier or rotary actuators.
  • [0030]
    A fourth embodiment consists of a wireless feature where the display is wireless and is inserted as above. All would be the same except that there would be no cabling required to connect the display.
  • [0031]
    A fifth embodiment would have a glass face on the display and would utilize technology that changes the glass from opaque to clear. When employed, the display would be opaque when hidden or concealed within the furniture and then when the display is elevated the glass would change from opaque to clear or become the display itself once elevated or turned on. This technology and feature could be available whether or not the display is wireless.
  • [0032]
    Furthermore, the present invention need not be restricted to the living room or entertainment room. For example, the same articulated spring arm could be used in a kitchen counter. This way, a chef could view recipes on the internet, could order supplies, ingredients and anything else on the internet, could search for cooking tips online, and anything else requiring the use of a computer. As described above, the display would rise out of the countertop and would be available for viewing by the user. Alternatively, the same articulated arm could be used to place the display underneath a kitchen cabinet, whereby the same invention as described above would work in reverse, i.e., the display could be mounted under the kitchen cabinets and would then rotate down and out for viewing.
  • [0033]
    Additionally, this invention could be used in any room. For example, it could be used in a work-shed, an office, a garage, a study or any other room.
  • [0034]
    Finally, it is obvious that that there is a void in the table when the display rises up and out of a table. In order to eliminate this problem, the present invention could contain a hidden sliding portion of the table that would replace the display when it is erected from the table. This replacement portion could either be a section that unrolls and fills the void, or it could be a hidden solid section that slides into place after the display section is removed.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8141499 *13 Nov 200627 Mar 2012Thk Co., Ltd.Wireless actuator
US8854802 *31 Jan 20117 Oct 2014Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.Display with rotatable display screen
US20080111310 *14 Nov 200615 May 2008Lydia ParvantaGame table television and projector system, and method for same
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US20120260830 *20 Sep 201018 Oct 2012I-Point Beheer B.V.Desktop/monitor combination
US20140001929 *12 Nov 20122 Jan 2014Eufina AGMobile information and entertainment unit for hospital patients
USD73199525 Aug 201416 Jun 2015Eufina AGMobile information and entertainment unit
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Classifications
U.S. Classification108/50.11
International ClassificationA47B37/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B81/06, A47B21/007, A47C7/72
European ClassificationA47B81/06, A47C7/72, A47B21/007