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Title:
Workstation acting as a desk or a drawing table for at least one seated user
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a workstation (1) suitable for acting as a desk or a drawing table for at least one seated user, the workstation comprising a structure (2) supported by a stand (3) so as to be capable of pivoting about a horizontal pivot axis (X), and a window (6) defining a display zone for one or more screens (5) and/or one or more image projector devices disposed beneath the window, said screen(s) and/or said projector device(s) being carried by the structure, each screen and/or each projector device being fixed relative to the portion of the window covering it. The workstation is arranged in such a manner as to enable a seated user to place the legs beneath the structure, at least when the window is horizontal.


Inventors:
Landa, Philippe (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
10/474437
Publication Date:
11/25/2004
Filing Date:
01/21/2004
Assignee:
LANDA PHILIPPE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B13/00; A47B13/08; A47B13/12; A47B21/00; (IPC1-7): A47B41/04
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Oliff & Berridge (P O Box 19928, Alexandria, VA, 22320, US)
Claims:
1. A workstation suitable for acting as a desk or a drawing table for at least one seated user, the workstation being characterized by the fact that it comprises a structure supported by a stand so as to be capable of pivoting about a horizontal pivot axis, and a window defining a display zone for one or more screens and/or one or more image projector devices disposed beneath the window, said screen(s) and/or said projector device(s) being carried by the structure, each screen and/or each projector device being fixed relative to the portion of the window covering it, and wherein the workstation is arranged in such a manner as to enable the seated user to place the legs beneath the structure, at least when the window is horizontal.

2. A workstation according to claim 1, wherein the display zone occupies the major fraction of the window, and the window occupies the major fraction of the work surface made available to the user.

3. A workstation according to claim 1 wherein the structure carries a plurality of screens, preferably disposed in a rectangular matrix.

4. A workstation according to claim 1, wherein the display zone is square or rectangular and presents a diagonal greater than or equal to 144 cm, and preferably 166 cm.

5. A workstation according to claim 1, including a controller for the screen(s) and/or the projector device(s), the controller being arranged in such a manner as to enable an image displayed in the display zone to be rotated or to display a plurality of images at a plurality of locations in the display zone, each image being oriented in a desired direction.

6. A workstation according to claim 1, wherein the structure can pivot relative to the stand in order to enable the window to be put into a vertical position.

7. A workstation according to claim 6, including at least one locking element for locking the structure in a given angular position relative to the stand.

8. A workstation according to claim 1, wherein a portion at least of the window is suitable for being raised, in particular to access an internal compartment.

9. A workstation according to claim 1, including a plotter behind the structure and secured to the stand.

10. A workstation according to claim 1, including one or more shelves or a compartment for receiving a controller for controlling the screen(s).

Description:
[0001] The present invention provides a workstation acting as a desk or a drawing table for at least one seated user.

[0002] Canadian patent CA 1 106 895 discloses a desk having a transparent work surface under which there is placed a screen fixed to a frame capable of sliding relative to the work surface. In that patent, the work surface is secured to a stand and can be used in the horizontal position only. Furthermore, the display zone constituted by the single screen is of relatively small dimensions.

[0003] International application WO 85/03626 discloses a workstation with a single screen placed beneath the work surface. The screen is fixed to the workstation by means of a device that enables it to slide and to pivot in several directions, thereby making the device relatively complex. Furthermore, that workstation enables only a single screen to be secured thereto, which screen is of relatively small size, thereby restricting the possibility of displaying a plurality of images simultaneously or one large-format image. That workstation also has telescopic legs.

[0004] The invention seeks to propose a novel workstation making it possible in particular to improve working conditions on a screen.

[0005] According to the invention, the workstation suitable for acting as a desk or a drawing table for at least one seated user comprises a structure supported by a stand so as to be capable of pivoting about a horizontal pivot axis, and a window defining a display zone for one or more screens and/or one or more image projector devices disposed beneath the window, said screen(s) and/or said projector device(s) being carried by the structure, each screen and/or each projector device being fixed relative to the portion of the window covering it. The workstation is also arranged in such a manner as to enable the seated user to place the legs beneath the structure, at least when the window is horizontal.

[0006] By means of the invention, the above-specified window can act both as a work surface and as a display zone.

[0007] The workstation may be arranged to allow one or more users to work simultaneously while seated or standing, or even in a prone position if the user is handicapped or is a mechanic lying under a car, for example, in sight of the display zone.

[0008] When the user is seated, the knees can be placed beneath the structure and the arms on the window in comfortable manner.

[0009] The user may be a child and the workstation may be adapted accordingly, in particular in terms of height.

[0010] Furthermore, the workstation of the invention provides a significant saving in work space compared with the usual situation in which the screen is placed on a desk.

[0011] The window may be made out of any type of transparent material, for example a plastics material or glass, it may comprise a single piece or a plurality of panes, and it may optionally form part of the screens, in particular when the screens are touch-sensitive.

[0012] The structure may include a box having the screen and/or projection device(s) placed therein.

[0013] The structure may also be of the cellular type, enabling screens to be received, the screens advantageously being taken out of their shells, if any.

[0014] Advantageously, the display zone occupies the major portion of the window.

[0015] This makes it possible to display a large format image or a plurality of small format images simultaneously.

[0016] In general, the invention makes it possible to display a large quantity of information simultaneously, thus making the work of the user easier and more efficient. In particular, because of the large area of the display zone, the user can view accurately a determined zone of a plan or a map while still being able to see the surroundings of said zone. This can enable the user to avoid periodically zooming or re-centering on particular zones of the image.

[0017] The invention is particularly well suited to activities that require large-format images to be displayed such as maps or plans or drawings or graphs or directory tree structures, and possibly also texts or spreadsheets and any composite image made up of a plurality of such elements.

[0018] The window may be plane over at least a major portion of its surface, and it may constitute the major portion of the top face of the structure and of the work surface made available to the user.

[0019] The structure may contain a single screen or a plurality of screens preferably disposed in a rectangular matrix.

[0020] In an embodiment of the invention, the structure includes a projector device disposed relative thereto in such a manner as to enable the user to place the legs beneath at least a portion of the structure.

[0021] In an embodiment of the invention, the structure has one or more screens only. In a variant, the structure has one or more projector devices only. In another variant, the structure has both at least one screen and at least one projector device. The structure can thus have a projector device mounted on a first portion of the structure, together with one or more screens, mounted on a second portion of the structure, e.g. flat screens and in particular touch-sensitive screens, the second portion being of smaller depth than the first so as to allow the user to put the legs under the second portion.

[0022] In an embodiment of the invention, the display zone is rectangular or square and presents a diagonal greater than or equal to 144 centimeters (cm) or even 166 cm.

[0023] The workstation advantageously includes a controller for the screens and/or the projector devices.

[0024] The controller is preferably arranged, when the workstation has a plurality of screens and/or a plurality of projector devices, to control the content displayed by each of the screens and/or the projector devices.

[0025] In particular, the controller may be suitable for causing information to be displayed on some only of the screens, with the other screens being on standby.

[0026] The controller may also be arranged so as to enable an image displayed in the display zone to be rotated so that when a plurality of people are working simultaneously around the workstation, each of them can select the orientation of an image as suits them.

[0027] The controller may also be arranged to enable different locations of the display zone to display a plurality of optionally identical images, each oriented in a desired direction, thus enabling people seated around the workstation to look at the images that are intended for them under the most appropriate orientation conditions.

[0028] The workstation may be provided with an electronic stylus for interacting with the display zone.

[0029] The user can thus modify the displayed image, put annotations on a display plan or map, and/or select action buttons displayed on the screen(s).

[0030] The window or the screen(s) may be touch-sensitive, where appropriate.

[0031] In addition to the window, the structure may have a frame surrounding the window at least in part and also suitable, where appropriate, for supporting a computer keyboard and/or drawing or writing instruments, for example.

[0032] In a particular embodiment, the workstation has a compartment, with one or more drawers or one or more shelves suitable for receiving a controller of the screens and/or peripherals such as a printer or an uninterruptable power supply, for example.

[0033] The stand is advantageously arranged so as to enable the height of the pivot axis of the structure to be adjusted.

[0034] The workstation may include a motor-driven device for adjusting the height of the pivot axis, the inclination of the structure, and/or locking elements enabling the structure to be locked in a desired position.

[0035] Advantageously, the structure has screen-fastening means enabling individual screens to be removed. This enables the user to replace one or more screens, where necessary.

[0036] The screens may be of the cathode ray tube (CRT) type, the liquid crystal type, the plasma type, or the microcapsule type, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,017,584.

[0037] The workstation may be suitable for acting as a wall of screens, the structure being suitable for pivoting relative to the stand so as to bring the window into a substantially vertical position, thus constituting a display zone that can be seen from a distance, for example for viewing by all of the attendees at a meeting.

[0038] Advantageously, the structure can pivot through an angle of 180° relative to the horizontal in either direction.

[0039] In a particular embodiment, at least a portion of the window is suitable for being raised together with the screen(s), in particular in order to access an internal compartment.

[0040] The workstation may include a plotter disposed behind and/or above the structure and secured to the stand.

[0041] The invention will be better understood on reading the following detailed description of non-limiting embodiments of the invention, and on examining the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0042] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic fragmentary perspective view of a workstation constituting a first embodiment of the invention, the display zone being oriented horizontally;

[0043] FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic and fragmentary perspective view of the FIG. 1 workstation with the display zone inclined;

[0044] FIGS. 3 and 4 are diagrammatic and fragmentary perspective views of a workstation constituting a second embodiment of the invention, with the window being shown closed and opened, respectively; and

[0045] FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic and fragmentary view of a variant embodiment of FIG. 1.

[0046] FIG. 1 shows a workstation 1 of the invention comprising a structure 2 supported by a stand 3.

[0047] The structure 2 has a frame 2a supporting four screens 5 disposed in a rectangular 2 by 2 matrix.

[0048] In the example described, the screens 5 are CRTs.

[0049] In a variant, they could be of the liquid crystal type, of the plasma type, or indeed of the microcapsule type.

[0050] The screens 5 define a display zone A of A0 format adapted in particular to displaying large-format graphics documents.

[0051] The screens 5 are fixed to the structure 2 by fastening means (not shown) that enable any screen to be removed individually in the event of a breakdown.

[0052] The screens are also covered by a plane and non-removable window 6 presenting appropriate mechanical properties enabling it to withstand impacts and scratching and which is also suitable for use as a work surface.

[0053] Along its front longitudinal edge, the structure 2 has a trough 7 enabling a user to place drawing or writing instruments therein, for example.

[0054] In addition to the trough 7, or as a replacement therefor, the structure 2 may also be provided with one or more peripheral supports (not shown) enabling one or more keyboards or sets of control buttons for the screen to be received.

[0055] The structure 2 is connected to the stand 3 in the example shown via a two-part horizontal shaft 10 capable of turning about a pivot axis X.

[0056] The shaft 10 may be hollow so as to receive connection cables, where appropriate.

[0057] The stand 3 comprises two support elements 12 (or “uprights”), each being H-shaped and each having two telescopic legs 11 that are adjustable in height.

[0058] The legs 11 may be mounted on castors enabling the workstation to be moved easily, with the legs then also being fitted with locking devices.

[0059] Each support element 12 also comprises a horizontal cross-bar 15 interconnecting the legs 11 and having the shaft 10 connected thereto via a hinge 18.

[0060] A locking element 19 acting on the hinge 18 enables the structure 2 to be locked in a desired angular position, for example in a horizontal position as shown in FIG. 1, or else in an inclined position, as shown in FIG. 2, or indeed in a vertical position.

[0061] The height and/or the angle of inclination of the structure 2 can be adjusted manually or under motor control.

[0062] The workstation may include additional locking elements for preventing or braking pivoting of the structure 2 beyond authorized angles.

[0063] One of the two support elements 12, or both of them, may include at least one shelf 16 for receiving a central unit 17 that acts as a screen controller, with the screens 5 being connected thereto via connection cables (not shown).

[0064] Naturally, any other peripheral can be placed on the shelf 16, such as a printer, a scanner, a CD-ROM or DVD reader, or indeed an uninterruptable power supply.

[0065] The mother board of the central unit and possibly other cards may be placed in fittings provided in the structure 2.

[0066] The central unit 17 is arranged to control the content displayed by each of the screens 5, and specifically it can cause a fraction only of the screens 5 to be put into operation if the user desires to use only a fraction of the display zone A.

[0067] When a plurality of users are present around the workstation 1, the central unit 17 may cause a plurality of optionally identical images to appear at different locations of the display zone A, said images being oriented appropriately for each of the users.

[0068] The central unit 17 may also be arranged to enable an image displayed in the plane of the window to be rotated so as to orient it in a desired direction, adapted to the orientation of the structure 2.

[0069] The display zone A may be arranged in such a manner as to interact with an electronic stylus enabling a user to modify the displayed image.

[0070] In the example shown, the workstation 1 further comprises a plotter 20 fastened to the support elements 12 far enough above and behind the structure 2 to avoid interfering with pivoting thereof.

[0071] It would not go beyond the ambit of the present invention to replace at least one of the screens 5 by an image projector device 35, e.g. a video projector, which can be fixed to the structure 2 as shown in FIG. 5.

[0072] The projector device 35 is suitable for projecting an image on the portion of the display zone A that is situated above it.

[0073] The projector device 35 may extend over a relatively large depth beneath the window 6, while the user can still easily place the legs beneath the three screens 5.

[0074] It would not go beyond the ambit of the present invention to use a single screen only.

[0075] FIG. 3 shows a workstation 1′ comprising a structure 2′ fixed to a stand 3 analogous to that of the example of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0076] The structure 2′ has a box 25 and a panel 26 closing the box 25 and hinged to the rear longitudinal edge thereof.

[0077] The panel 26 supports the window 27 and a single flat screen 5′ of A0 format placed beneath it.

[0078] The panel 26 can be raised by the user by causing it to pivot rearwards, as shown in FIG. 4, thereby gaining access to an internal compartment 30. In a variant, when the window is made up of panes, it is possible to raise a single pane and the associated screen.

[0079] Naturally, the invention is not limited to the embodiments described above.

[0080] The support elements 12 may be of different shapes, in particular they may be A-shaped or upside-down T-shaped, and they may be connected to each other at ground level.

[0081] If the weight of the structure makes this possible, a single central leg can be used, with the structure being connected to said leg by a ball-and-socket type hinge. Under such circumstances, the structure may pivot through a greater or smaller angle, and possibly through an angle close to 90° relative to the horizontal, in one direction or the other.

[0082] The workstation may also serve as a digitizing table or as a light box for viewing transparencies, for example. It may also act as a computer station having a plurality of pieces of computer equipment. It may also include one or more touch-sensitive screens.

[0083] The workstation may also be provided with an element enabling light reflection in the display zone to be eliminated or reduced, for example a cover overlying the display zone.

[0084] The structure may be connected to the stand in non-hinged manner, with pivoting being performed by changing the length of the legs of the stand.

[0085] The stand may itself be supported by a bedplate or slab.