Title:
Portable climate controlled structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An embodiment of a portable climate controlled structure of the present invention includes a frame having a plurality of interconnected frame members, a covering attached over a portion of the frame to form a roof, a back wall, opposing side walls and an opening opposite the back wall, a cavity defined by the roof, back wall, opposing side walls and opening and a climate control system functionally connected with the cavity. The climate control structure may include a heating element and/or a cooling unit. The structure may further include wheels and a steering mechanism.



Inventors:
Wallander, James J. (Coppell, TX, US)
Guyer, Jeff (Dallas, TX, US)
Henderson, Ryan (Frisco, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/441431
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
05/25/2006
Assignee:
Mister Range, Inc. (Coppell, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/143, 135/87
International Classes:
E04H15/10; E04H15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WINSTEAD SECHREST & MINICK P.C. (P.O. BOX 50784, DALLAS, TX, 75201, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable climate controlled structure, the structure comprising: a frame having a plurality of interconnected frame members; a covering attached over a portion of the frame to form a roof, a back wall, opposing side walls and an opening opposite the back wall; a cavity defined by the roof, back wall, opposing side walls and opening; and a climate control system functionally connected with the cavity.

2. The structure of claim 1, further including: a first wheel connected to one of the frame members of one of the side walls proximate the opening; and a second wheel connected to another one of the frame members of opposing side wall proximate the opening.

3. The structure of claim 1, further including at least one container holder connected to a frame member within the cavity.

4. The structure of claim 1, wherein the climate control system includes a heating element.

5. The structure of claim 4, further including: a first wheel connected to one of the frame members of one of the side walls proximate the opening; and a second wheel connected to another one of the frame members of opposing side wall proximate the opening.

6. The structure of claim 1, wherein the climate control system includes a cooling system.

7. The structure of claim 1, wherein the climate control system includes: a cooling unit; duct connected to the cooling unit, a portion of the duct connected to the frame within the cavity; and vents provided in the portion of the ducts positioned within the cavity.

8. The structure of claim 7, wherein the vents are directional.

9. The structure of claim 7, further including: a first wheel connected to one of the frame members of one of the side walls proximate the opening; and a second wheel connected to another one of the frame members of opposing side wall proximate the opening.

10. The structure of claim 6, wherein the cooling system includes comprises a fan.

11. The structure of claim 10, further including: a first wheel connected to one of the frame members of one of the side walls proximate the opening; and a second wheel connected to another one of the frame members of opposing side wall proximate the opening.

12. A portable climate controlled structure, the structure comprising: a frame having a plurality of interconnected frame members; a covering attached over a portion of the frame to form a roof, a back wall, a first side wall and an opposing second side wall and an opening opposite the back wall; a first wheel connected to the first side wall proximate the opening and a second wheel connected to the second side wall proximate the opening; a cavity defined by the roof, back wall, opposing side walls and opening; a climate control system functionally connected with the cavity; and a steering mechanism connected to the frame.

13. The structure of claim 12, wherein the steering mechanism includes: a handle functionally connected to a wheel; and a piston functionally connected between the frame of the structure and the handle, wherein the handle moves the piston between a resting position and a maneuvering position wherein the piston is extended lifting the frame for movement.

14. The structure of claim 13, further including a locking mechanism connectable between the piston and a foot to maintain the piston in the maneuvering position.

15. The structure of claim 12, wherein the climate control system includes: a cooling unit; duct connected to the cooling unit, a portion of the duct connected to the frame within the cavity; and vents provided in the portion of the ducts positioned within the cavity.

16. The structure of claim 15, wherein the steering mechanism includes: a handle functionally connected to a wheel; and a piston functionally connected between the frame of the structure and the handle, wherein the handle moves the piston between a resting position and a maneuvering position wherein the piston is extended lifting the frame for movement.

17. The structure of claim 16, further including a locking mechanism connectable between the piston and a foot to maintain the piston in the maneuvering position.

18. A steering mechanism for maneuvering portable structures, the mechanism comprising: a handle functionally connected to a wheel; and a piston functionally connected to the frame of the portable structure; wherein the handle is functionally connected to the piston such that the handle moves the piston between a resting position and a maneuvering position wherein the piston is extended lifting the frame for movement.

19. The mechanism of claim 18, further including a locking mechanism connectable between the piston and a foot to maintain the piston in the maneuvering position.

20. The mechanism of claim 19, wherein the handle is functionally connected to the piston via an arm and a foot.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/684,673 filed May 26, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates in general to climate controlled structures and in particular to portable climate controlled structures for multiple uses.

BACKGROUND

Outdoor activities are enjoyed by young and old for both entertainment and much needed exercise. Participation in many sports, such as golf, baseball and softball are limited to the outdoors for the majority of participants. For many people, participation in a sport or practice is severely limited by the outdoor temperatures. Although, there are indoor facilities available in some areas for those with the financial means, for the majority participation in certain sports is limited to the outdoors.

In some sports, such as golf and baseball, a large portion of the participation is involved in practice sessions. In fact, for many people their primary involvement in these sports may be sessions hitting golf balls or taking batting practice. As such driving ranges and batting cages are available all over the country. In some areas of the country, many of these practice facilities are provided with fixed structures that are covered and at times cooled or heated. While these structures have provided additional opportunities for the temperature sensitive, for many of us the expense of using these facilities substantially limits their availability. Additionally, access to these fixed facilities is limited by the number of users and by the physical proximity to these facilities. Additionally, the prior art practice facilities typically with fixed structures typically do not provide a natural setting. For example, in fixed structure golf driving ranges, the golfer hits balls of a plastic mat that covers a hard, often concrete, surface instead of natural turf. These hard artificial surfaces often result in hand and wrist injuries.

There is a further need for improvement in climate controlled structures for primarily outdoor activities. For example, concessions are often provided at outdoor events such as sports competitions, festivals and concerts. Often at these events, the concessionaires are positioned within climate controlled structures, however, the patrons are left out in the cold, or heat. For some activities, tents or the such are constructed to provide some environmental protection for patrons.

Therefore, it is a desire to provide a portable climate controlled structure that addresses shortcomings of the prior systems. It is a further desire to provide climate controlled structure that is relatively inexpensive. It is a still further desire to provide a portable climate controlled structure that can be utilized for multiple activities including, but not limited to, sports, concessions, picnics, parties and lounging.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing and other considerations, the present invention relates to portable structures to provide a climate controlled area for outdoor activities

An embodiment of a portable climate controlled structure of the present invention includes a frame having a plurality of interconnected frame members, a covering attached over a portion of the frame to form a roof, a back wall, opposing side walls and an opening opposite the back wall, a cavity defined by the roof, back wall, opposing side walls and opening and a climate control system functionally connected with the cavity. The climate control structure may include a heating element and/or a cooling unit. The structure may further include wheels for moving.

In another embodiment, the portable climate controlled structure includes a frame having a plurality of interconnected frame members. a covering attached over a portion of the frame to form a roof, a back wall, a first side wall and an opposing second side wall and an opening opposite the back wall, a first wheel connected to the first side wall proximate the opening and a second wheel connected to the second side wall proximate the opening, a cavity defined by the roof, back wall, opposing side walls and opening, a climate control system functionally connected with the cavity and a steering mechanism connected to the frame.

An embodiment of a steering mechanism for moving and maneuvering structures is also provided. In one embodiment the steering mechanism includes a handle functionally connected to a wheel, and a piston functionally connected to the frame of the portable structure, wherein the handle is functionally connected to the piston such that the handle moves the piston between a resting position and a maneuvering position wherein the piston is extended lifting the frame for movement.

The foregoing has outlined the features and technical advantages of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other features and aspects of the present invention will be best understood with reference to the following detailed description of a specific embodiment of the invention, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the portable climate controlled structure of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the portable climate controlled structure illustrating another climate control system;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view from the back of a portable climate controlled structure illustrating an embodiment of a steering mechanism; and

FIGS. 4A-4D illustrate operational positions of an embodiment of a steering system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Refer now to the drawings wherein depicted elements are not necessarily shown to scale and wherein like or similar elements are designated by the same reference numeral through the several views.

For purposes of describing the invention, the embodiments that are described and illustrated herein are primarily directed to climate controlled structures for participating in a sporting activity and that provide cooling in the structure. However, the invention is intended and adapted for multiple uses and may be heated or cooled and is not limited to specific activities described for exemplary purposes.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a portable climate controlled structure of the present invention, generally denoted by the numeral 10. Structure 10 includes a frame 12, cover 14, climate control system 16 and steering mechanism 18.

Frame 12 includes a plurality of interconnected frame members 20 that substantially form a back wall 22, opposing side walls 24 and 26, a roof 28. Cover 14 is positioned and attached across frame 12 to complete walls 22, 24, 26 and roof 28 to form a cavity 30. An opening 32 is formed opposite back wall 22 extending from the ground to roof 28 and from side wall 24 to side wall 26. As such, frame 12 and covering 14 form a structure having a covered cavity 30 for users and opening 32. In the embodiment for sports activities, opening 32 provides a path for driving balls such as, but not limited to, golf balls, softballs, baseballs, soccer balls and footballs, from cavity 30 to the exterior of the structure.

Frame members 20 are preferably constructed of lightweight material having sufficient strength to support covering 14 and withstand uses of structure 10. Examples of material for frame members 20 include, but are not limited to, metal such as aluminum and plastics such as PVC. Frame members 20 may be interconnected by connectors 34. Connectors 34 include sockets and/or hinged members such that when desired, sporting structure may be readily disassembled or compacted for storage.

Covering 14 may be constructed of various materials suitable for outdoor use and protection from the environment. Particularly suited for sporting activities are mesh materials having a mesh size suited to limit the penetration of the sun and provide some shading while allowing some air circulation and view to the exterior. A suitable covering 14 material may also be determined in conjunction with the climate control system 16 utilized. Covering 14 is illustrated in FIG. 1 as at least being partially transparent. For some uses of structure 10, canvas or plastic coverings may be desired. It should be noted that additional openings, such as windows or slits, may be provided through covering 14 to permit air flow and to withstand heavy winds and gusts.

Structure 10 is portable providing ease of movement between locations. As should be realized, structure 10 of the present invention is suitable for commercial uses and personal use. Thus, it is desired that the system be moveable between locations in various settings. It may be necessary to move structure 10 through crowds of people such as when used for concessions or the like.

Portability is provided in some embodiments by steering mechanism 18 and wheels 36. Steering mechanism 18 is connected to back wall 22 of frame 12 opposite from opening 32 and is described below in reference to FIGS. 4A-4D. A wheel 36 is provided on at least each side wall 24 and 26 proximate opening 32. As illustrated each wheel 36 is connected to a frame member of 22. Although, illustrated and described as a wheel, it is noted that wheel may include any suitable moving device such as skis or skids, and “wheel” is intended to include such equivalents.

Climate control system 16 is provided in functional connection with structure 10 to provide climate control for users located within cavity 30. Climate control system 16 may provide cooling and/or heating.

Cooling may be provided by cooling the atmosphere within cavity 30 and/or by cooling the user(s) positioned in cavity 30. For example, cooling system 16 may include refrigerated cooling systems, evaporative coolers, misting systems, and/or fans. Climate control system 16 may be a heating system. Although not shown or described in detail herein, a heating system may include electrical or gas powered heating elements with the appropriate safety apparatus and systems.

As shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1, climate control system 16 includes a unit 38, ducts 40 and vents 42. Unit 38 may be a cooling system, a heating element or both. Unit 38 in this embodiment is a refrigerated unit, such as those commonly known as window units or portable units. Cooling unit 38 may be an evaporative unit which is suited best for low humidity environments. Cooling unit 38 may be connected directly to frame 12 or positioned a short distance from frame 12. Cooling unit 38 is connected to a power source 44. Power source 38 may be electrical power from a power company or a generator.

Cooling unit 38 is functionally connected to cavity 30 via duct 40 and vents 42. A portion of duct 40 carrying vents 42 is connected to a portion of frame 12 within cavity 30. In FIG. 1, duct 40 is shown connected to roof 28, however, it may be connected to any of walls 22, 24 or 26 as well. In one desired embodiment, vents 42 are directional, such that the cooled air can be directed where desired. Directional vents 42 may be particular desired for golfing activities.

Structure 10 provides a comfortable environment for a user to participate in an outdoor activity. To provide further comfort and convenience one or more container holders 46 are connected to walls 22, 24, 26 of frame 12.

Referring now to FIG. 2, structure 10 is illustrated with another climate control system 16. As illustrated in FIG. 2, climate control system 16 comprises a fan to provide convection cooling of the users of the system. It may also be desired to include a water mist 48 from a water supply (not shown).

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a structure 10 illustrating an embodiment of steering mechanism 18. Steering mechanism 18 is manually operated apparatus for moving and maneuvering structure 10. Steering mechanism 18 is connected to one or more frame members 20 and provides a handle 50 and wheel 52. As will be described further in reference to FIGS. 4A-4D, steering mechanism 18 provides a means for lifting structure 10 so that it rests atop steering wheel 52 and wheels 36. Steering wheel 36 is rotatable via handle 50 to facilitate maneuvering structure 10.

Referring to FIGS. 4A-4D in view of FIG. 1, operation of steering mechanism 18 is described. Steering mechanism 18 includes a piston 54 that is operationally connected to one or more of frame members 20 of frame 12. Handle 50 is connected to piston 54 and a lock 56 is provided to maintain piston 54 in a raised position or maneuvering position.

In FIG. 4A, steering mechanism 18 and structure 10 are resting on the ground. When it is desired to move structure 10, handle 50 is raised from the resting position to a position past horizontal as shown in FIG. 4B. When handle 50 is raised, it acts via arm 58 against foot 60 raising piston 54 and lifting frame 12 off of the ground. With handle 50 positioned above horizontal (FIG. 4B) lock 56 is positioned between foot 60 and piston 54. In FIG. 4D, handle 50 is lowered to approximately the horizontal position with lock 56 maintaining piston 54 in a raised position. In the maneuvering position illustrated in FIG. 4D, frame 12 is raised off of the ground and rests on steering wheel 52 and wheels 36. From the maneuvering position a person may push on handle 50 to motivate structure 10 and rotate steering wheel 52.

From the foregoing detailed description of specific embodiments of the invention, it should be apparent that a portable climate controlled structure for multiple purpose that is novel has been disclosed. Although specific embodiments of the invention have been disclosed herein in some detail, this has been done solely for the purposes of describing various features and aspects of the invention, and is not intended to be limiting with respect to the scope of the invention. It is contemplated that various substitutions, alterations, and/or modifications, including but not limited to those implementation variations which may have been suggested herein, may be made to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims which follow.