Title:
Electronic device comprising a single hinge twist mechanism and a method to use same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An electronic device (100) can include a base portion (105) and a flip portion (110) moveably attached to the base portion (105) through a single hinge twist mechanism (200) such that the flip portion (110) is capable of rotating about a first axis (115) to a first open position and twisting about a second axis (120) to a second open position. The second axis (120) can be substantially perpendicular to the first axis (115).



Inventors:
Castaneda, Julio C. (Coral Springs, FL, US)
Blatt, David I. (Margate, FL, US)
Burnette, Donald W. (Sunrise, FL, US)
Moskowitz, Douglas W. (Weston, FL, US)
Nguyen, Bach L. (Lauderhill, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/118436
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/29/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/00; B65D21/02
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, TUAN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Motorola, Inc Intellectual Property Section (LAW DEPT, 8000 WEST SUNRISE BLVD, FT LAUDERDAL, FL, 33322, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An electronic device comprising: a base portion; a flip portion moveably attached to the base portion through a single hinge twist mechanism, such that the flip portion is capable of rotating about a first axis to a first open position and twisting about a second axis to a second open position, wherein the second axis is substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

2. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the first axis is substantially perpendicular to the base portion.

3. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the first open position is one of a plurality of first open positions in which the flip portion is capable being positioned by rotating about the first axis.

4. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the second open position is one of a plurality of second open positions in which the flip portion is capable of being positioned by twisting about the second axis.

5. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the single hinge twist mechanism comprises: a casing having a first opening and a second opening, wherein the first opening is substantially perpendicular to the second opening; a flip open spindle, which fits into the first opening of the casing, capable of rotating about the first axis along the first opening of the casing; a twist spindle, which fits into the second opening of the casing, capable of twisting about the second axis along the second opening of the casing; and, a dual loop flex integrated into the casing for carrying signals.

6. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein the dual loop flex wraps around a stem portion of the flip open spindle.

7. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein the dual loop flex wraps around a stem portion of the twist spindle.

8. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein a first portion of the dual loop flex enters the single hinge twist mechanism in a first direction and a second portion of the dual loop flex exits the single hinge twist mechanism in a second direction.

9. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein a third portion of the dual loop flex exits the single hinge twist mechanism in a third direction.

10. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the electronic device is a mobile communications device.

11. A single hinge twist mechanism comprising: a casing having a first opening and a second opening, wherein the first opening is substantially perpendicular to the second opening; a flip open spindle, which fits into the first opening of the casing, capable of rotating about a first axis along the first opening of the casing; a twist spindle, which fits into the second opening of the casing, capable of twisting about a second axis along the second opening of the casing; and, a dual loop flex integrated into the casing for carrying signals.

12. The single hinge twist mechanism of claim 11, wherein a first portion of the dual loop flex enters the single hinge twist mechanism from a slit in the flip open spindle.

13. The single hinge twist mechanism of claim 11, wherein a second portion of the dual loop flex exits the single hinge twist mechanism from a slit in the twist spindle.

14. The single hinge twist mechanism of claim 11, wherein a third portion of the dual loop flex exits the single hinge twist mechanism towards a plurality of controls.

15. A method of using an electronic device, the method comprising: opening a flip portion of the electronic device, about a first axis through a single hinge twist mechanism, relative to a base portion of the electronic device to a first open position; twisting the flip portion of the electronic device, about a second axis through the single hinge twist mechanism, to a second open position, the second axis substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a single hinge twist mechanism, an electronic device using the single hinge twist mechanism and a method of using the electronic device.

2. Description of Related Art

The present generation of electronic devices offer various designs to the customers in terms of use and aesthetic appeal. For instance, existing clamshell mobile phones possess mechanisms wherein an upper flip portion of the mobile phone is capable of rotating as well as swiveling or twisting about a base portion of the mobile phone. The capability of rotation and swivel provides various advantages including larger display area, ease of use, aesthetic appeal, easy image capturing and viewing. In case of existing devices, the mechanism that facilitates such rotation and swivel movement includes a dual hinge mechanism or two knuckles, around which the flip portion rotates and swivels. The dual hinge mechanism, however, is more prone to damage as it has more moving parts. Also, the increased number of parts leads to higher manufacturing costs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns an electronic device using the single hinge twist mechanism, a single hinge twist mechanism, and a method of using the electronic device deploying the single hinge twist mechanism.

The present invention concerns an electronic device that can include a base portion and a flip portion, and the flip portion can be moveably attached to the base portion through a single hinge twist mechanism. The flip portion may be capable of rotating about a first axis to a first open position and twisting about a second axis to a second open position. The second axis may be substantially perpendicular to the first axis, and the first axis may be substantially perpendicular to the base portion.

In an arrangement of the invention, the first open position may be one of a plurality of first open positions in which the flip portion may be capable of being positioned by rotating about the first axis. In another arrangement, the second open position may be one of a plurality of second open positions in which the flip portion may be capable of being positioned by twisting about the second axis.

In an embodiment of the invention, the single hinge twist mechanism can comprise a casing that can integrate a plurality of components of the single hinge twist mechanism. The plurality of components can comprise a flip open spindle, which can fit into a first opening of the casing, and is capable of rotating about a first axis along the first opening of the casing. The plurality of components can further comprise a twist spindle, which can fit into a second opening of the casing and is capable of twisting about the second axis along the second opening of the casing. A dual loop flex can be integrated with the casing for carrying signals from the base portion to the flip portion of an electronic device.

In an arrangement of the invention, the dual loop flex can wrap around a stem portion of the flip open spindle, and in another arrangement, the dual loop flex can wrap around a stem portion of the twist spindle.

In an embodiment of the invention, a first portion of the dual loop flex can enter the single hinge twist mechanism in a first direction and a second portion of the dual loop flex can exit the single hinge twist mechanism in a second direction. The third portion of the dual loop flex can exit the single hinge twist mechanism in a third direction.

An embodiment of the electronic device includes a mobile communications device.

The present invention also concerns a single hinge twist mechanism that includes a casing that can integrate a plurality of components of the single hinge twist mechanism. The plurality of components can comprise a flip open spindle, which can fit into a first opening of the casing, and is capable of rotating about a first axis along the first opening of the casing. The plurality of components can further comprise a twist spindle, which can fit into a second opening of the casing and is capable of twisting about the second axis along the second opening of the casing. A dual loop flex can be integrated with the casing for carrying signals from the base portion to the flip portion of an electronic device.

In an arrangement, a first portion of the dual loop flex can enter the single hinge twist mechanism from a slit in the flip open spindle. In another arrangement, a second portion of the dual loop flex can exit the single hinge twist mechanism from a slit in the twist spindle. In yet another arrangement, a third portion of the dual loop flex can exit the single hinge twist mechanism towards a plurality of controls.

The present invention also concerns a method of using an electronic device. The method can include the opening of a flip portion of the electronic device, about a first axis, through a single hinge twist mechanism, and relative to a base portion of the electronic device to a first open position. The method can also include twisting the flip portion of the electronic device, about a second axis through the single hinge twist mechanism, to a second open position. The second axis can be substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying figures together with the detailed description below are incorporated in and form part of the specification, serve to further illustrate various embodiments and to explain various principles and advantages all in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates an electronic device in accordance with one embodiment of the inventive arrangements.

FIG. 2 illustrates exploded and assembled views of a single hinge twist mechanism in accordance with one embodiment of the inventive arrangements.

FIG. 3 illustrates a flow chart of a method of using an electronic device employing a single hinge twist mechanism in accordance with one embodiment of the inventive arrangements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting but rather to provide an understandable description of the invention.

The terms “a” or “an,” as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term “plurality,” as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term “another,” as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms “including” and/or “having,” as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language). The term “coupled,” as used herein, is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically. The terms “program,” “software application,” and the like as used herein, are defined as a sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system. A program, computer program, or software application may include a subroutine, a function, a procedure, an object method, an object implementation, an executable application, an applet, a servlet, a source code, an object code, a shared library/dynamic load library and/or other sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system.

The present invention relates to an electronic device comprising a single hinge twist mechanism, which can enable a user to use features of rotation and swivel. As an example, the design and interlocking of the mechanical parts in the electronic device has been improved to reduce wear and tear and improve durability of the electronic device.

According to an embodiment, an electronic device can comprise a base portion and a flip portion, which can be moveably attached to the base portion such that the flip portion can be rotated about a first axis to a first open position and twisted about a second axis to a second position. In one arrangement, the second axis may be substantially perpendicular to the first axis. According to an embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the electronic device can be a mobile communications device 100. The device 100 can comprise a base portion 105 and a flip portion 110. The flip portion 110 can be moveably attached to the base portion 105 through a single hinge twist mechanism (not shown). As such, the flip portion 110 is capable of rotating about a first axis 115 to a first open position (an example of which is shown on the left) and twisting about a second axis 120 to a second open position (an example of which is shown on the right). As an example, the second axis 120 may be substantially perpendicular to the first axis 115. As another example, the first axis 115 can be substantially perpendicular to the plane 125 of the base portion 105.

The first position can be one of a plurality of first open positions, wherein the flip portion 110 can be positioned by rotation about the first axis 115. For example, the flip portion 110 can be rotated about the first axis 115 at an angle of 110° relative to the base portion 105 or at another angle of 90° relative to the base portion 105, depending upon the user's choice. The second position can be one of a plurality of second open positions, wherein the flip portion 110 can be positioned by twisting about the second axis 120. For example, the flip portion 110 can be twisted by an angle of 90°, 180° or 270°, allowing the flip portion 110 to be positioned depending on the user's choice or preference. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is not limited to positions mentioned above, and the invention shall have the full scope of the claims.

An internal mechanism can connect the flip portion of the electronic device to the base portion of the electronic device and can carry at least a portion of the electric wiring from the base portion to the flip portion. Referring to FIG. 2, an exploded view and an assembled view of an example of a single hinge twist mechanism 200 is shown. The single hinge twist mechanism 200 can be employed in various electronic devices, including a mobile communications device 100 described previously in FIG. 1, where the single hinge twist mechanism 200 couples the flip portion 110 to the base portion 105 of the mobile communications device 100. The single hinge twist mechanism 200 can comprise a casing 205, which can hold at least some of the other components forming part of the single hinge twist mechanism 200. The casing 205 can have a first opening 210 and a second opening 215.

A flip open spindle 220 can fit into the first opening 210 and is capable of rotating about a first axis 230 along the first opening 210. A twist spindle 225 can fit into the second opening 215, and is capable of rotating about a second axis 235 along the second opening 215. A dual loop flex 240 can be integrated into the casing 205. The dual loop flex 240 can carry signals from the base portion 105 of the mobile communications device 100 to the flip portion 110 of the mobile communications device 100 and vice-versa.

The first opening 210 can be substantially perpendicular to the second opening 215. When the single hinge twist mechanism 200 is incorporated in an electronic device, such as the mobile communications device 100, the first axis 230 of the single hinge twist mechanism may be substantially parallel to the first axis 115 in the mobile communications device 100. Also, the second axis 235 of the single hinge twist mechanism 200 may be substantially parallel to the second axis 120 in the mobile communications device 100.

As noted earlier, the dual loop flex 240 can carry signals. For example, in the mobile communications device 100, the signal may be a signal corresponding to a key press in the base portion 105 for which a character or any other content needs to be displayed on a display 130 in the flip portion 110. The dual loop flex 240 can be, for example, a flexible circuit, which, as is known in the art, can bend or twist around corners or other space restrictions.

In an embodiment of the invention, a design of the dual loop flex 240 may include a body 242, a first portion 245, a second portion 250 and a third portion 255. The design of the dual loop flex 240 can be adapted so that it can wrap around the components of the single hinge mechanism 200, when it carries signals from a base portion 105 to the flip portion 110 (and vice versa). As an example, part of the rectangular body 242 of the dual loop flex 240 can wrap around a stem portion 222 of the flip open spindle 220, and another part of the rectangular body 242 of the dual loop flex 240 can wrap around a stem portion 227 of the twist spindle 225. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the methodology or design explained herein for the carrying of signals using the dual loop flex 240 is not exhaustive and it can be implemented by other methods or by using other suitable structure.

The first portion 245 of the dual loop flex 240 may be L-Shaped and may enter the single hinge twist mechanism 200 in a first direction. The second portion 250 of the dual loop flex 240 can exit the single hinge twist mechanism 200 in a second direction. The third portion 255 of the dual loop flex 240 may exit the single hinge twist mechanism 200 in a third direction. In a particular embodiment of the mobile communications device 100, the third portion 255 of the dual loop flex 240 can exit the single hinge twist mechanism 200 in the third direction, towards a plurality of controls (not shown) in the mobile communications device 100. As an example, the plurality of controls may include a navigation control and a center select control, although other components and configurations are within contemplation of the inventive arrangements. The navigation control may, for example, facilitate navigation of the display 130 provided on the flip portion 110 of the mobile communications device 100. The center select control may facilitate selecting and executing an option in the mobile communications device 100. In one particular arrangement, the first direction, the second direction and the third direction may be substantially perpendicular to one or more of each other and may lie along the three dimensional x, y and z axes.

As shown in the drawing depicting the assembled single hinge twist mechanism 200, the first portion 245 of the dual loop flex 240 can enter the single hinge twist mechanism 200 through a slit 224 in the flip open spindle 220. The second portion 250 of the dual loop flex 240 can exit the single hinge twist mechanism 200 through a slit 260 in the twist spindle 225. As such, the dual loop flex 240 can permit the transfer of signal from the base portion 105 to the flip portion 110 (and vice-versa) no matter how the flip portion 110 is configured or arranged.

According to another embodiment as shown in FIG. 3, a method 300 of using an electronic device can include a first step 305 of opening a flip portion of the electronic device to a first open position, about a first axis through a single hinge twist mechanism, relative to a base portion of the electronic device. As an example, the first open position can be one of a plurality of possible first open positions in which the flip portion is capable of being positioned by rotating about the first axis. Based on the convenience of the user, the first open position may include opening the flip portion to, for example, 90 degrees, 120 degrees or 180 degrees relative to the base portion, although the flip portion may be opened to other suitable positions.

The opening step 305 can be followed by twisting the flip portion of the electronic device about a second axis—through the single hinge twist mechanism—to a second open position, as shown at step 310. The second axis can be substantially perpendicular to the first axis. The second open position can be one of a plurality of possible second open positions in which the flip portion is capable of being twisted by rotating about the second axis. Based on the convenience of the user, the second open position can include twisting the flip portion so that it is at, for example, 90 degrees, 180 degrees or 270 degrees relative to the base portion, although the flip portion can be twisted to other suitable positions.

In an embodiment of the invention, the user may rotate the flip portion by 180 degrees about the first axis to a first open position, then twist the flip portion by 180 degrees about the second axis relative to the first open position. The user can then rotate the flip portion back by 180 degrees about the first axis. In this embodiment the electronic device would be such that the flip portion rests on the base portion, but in an inverted position with the display upwards. The rotation and twisting as mentioned in the embodiment is made possible through a single hinge twist mechanism.

This disclosure is intended to explain how to fashion and use various embodiments in accordance with the invention rather than to limit the true, intended and fair scope and spirit thereof. The foregoing discussion is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Modifications or variations are possible in the light of the above teachings. The embodiment(s) was chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and practical application, and to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims, as may be amended during the pendency of this application for patent, and all equivalents thereof, when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled.