Title:
Laptop port
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A laptop port includes a well through an aperture in a work surface with various power or data connections in the well and a door with opposing front and back edges. The door hinging between a closed position in which the door is coplanar with the work surface and conceals the well and the connections, and an open position in which the door is in an over-center location and the well and connections are revealed. The pivot is spaced from the back edge and remains closer to the back edge than to the front edge, defining a door tail between the back edge and the pivot. The door is self supporting in the over-center open location, not requiring further mechanisms to hold the door in the open position.



Inventors:
Sweet, Timothy A. (Zeeland, MI, US)
Van Zalen, Dirk J. (Holland, MI, US)
Byma, Ralph J. (Zeeland, MI, US)
Pulver, Jeffrey A. (Holland, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/493084
Publication Date:
02/01/2007
Filing Date:
07/26/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/223.3
International Classes:
A47B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AYRES, TIMOTHY MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VARNUM, RIDDERING, SCHMIDT & HOWLETT LLP (333 BRIDGE STREET, NW, P.O. BOX 352, GRAND RAPIDS, MI, 49501-0352, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A work surface information technology appliance connection well, comprising: a work surface; an aperture in the work surface, the aperture having a perimeter with a proximal edge and an opposite distal edge; a well defined through the aperture; a corresponding door located in the aperture, the door having a front edge and a back edge; a pivot interconnected between the work surface and the door, whereby the door pivots between a closed position in which the door is coplanar with the work surface and the door conceals the well, and an open position in which the well is revealed and the door is in an over-center location, the door being self supporting in the over-center open location, the pivot being spaced toward the proximal edge from the distal edge and being closer to the distal edge than to the proximal edge, whereby a door tail portion is defined between the pivot and the distal edge; and at least one of a power connection and a data connection located in the well.

2. The well defined in claim 1 wherein the door pivots at least ninety degrees from the closed position to the opened position.

3. The well defined in claim 2 further including a stop that abuts the door in the opened position.

4. The well defined in claim 1 further including a stop that abuts the door in the opened position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a continuing non-provisional application of co-pending U.S. provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/702,570, entitled LAPTOP PORT and filed on Jul. 26, 2005, by Timothy A. Sweet and Dirk J. Van Zalen, now expired, the disclosure of which is incorporated here by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

NAMES OF PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to power and data connections at a work surface, and more particularly, to power and data connections in a well in the work surface.

People use a variety of information technology appliances, including laptop computers, and the like in various settings, including meeting environments. Use of information technology devices may include connection of the device with a power source, such as a typical wall outlet, and connection of the device with a data connection, such as a network jack or a display output jack. An array of wires may commonly be used to make these connections and may further become tangled or entangled with furniture, fixtures, and people. Also, providing an arrangement of power and data coupling jacks may interrupt an otherwise useful work surface and may merely be unsightly.

Thus, one understands a desirability of unobtrusively providing electronic support connections and the like at a work surface, including a conference table, a desk or a work station, for example.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a laptop port of the invention defines a well through an aperture in a work surface with various power or data connections or the like provided in the well and with a door that hinges to cover and reveal the well and the connections. In one aspect of the invention, a pivot interconnects the door with the work surface. The door has a front edge and a back edge. The pivot is spaced toward the front edge from the back edge and is also closer to the back edge than to the front edge. A portion of the door that is between the pivot and the back edge is defined as a tail portion of the door.

In another aspect, the door pivots between a closed position in which the door is coplanar with the work surface and the door conceals the well, and an open position in which the well and the connections are revealed and the door is in an over-center location. The door being self supporting in the over-center open location and not requiring further mechanisms or devices to hold the door in the open position.

These and other features or benefits of the invention will be recognized from this specification, including the claims and the drawing figures, by one having ordinary skill in the art and by those who practice the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a laptop port of the invention, showing an open position;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view thereof, showing a closed position;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation view thereof, partially in cross section and showing the open position in phantom.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With general reference to the drawing, a preferred embodiment of a laptop port 10 according to the invention includes a work surface 12, an aperture 14 in the work surface, a well 16 defined through the aperture, a corresponding door 18, and appliance connections 20 located in the well.

The work surface 12 may be any of various work surfaces, including a bench top, a desktop, or other cabinet top, and may further include commonly known office landscape partition system work surface components and countertops, without limitation. As shown in the drawing, a generally rectangular aperture 14 is provided in the work surface 12, although circular, elliptical, polygonal, and other geometric shapes may also be employed according to various aesthetic or structural considerations.

The door 18 corresponds to the aperture 14 and is mounted in the aperture with a pivot connection 34 (FIG. 3) between the door and the work surface 12. Thus, the door pivots between a closed position in which the door conforms with the aperture and conceals the well 16, and an open position. The door is preferably flush or coplanar with the work surface 12 when in the closed position (FIGS. 2 & 3) and provides a substantially uninterrupted work surface. The well 16 and the cooperating appliance connections 20 are revealed and accessible with the door in the open position (FIG. 1 & FIG. 3 in phantom).

The appliance connections 20 are generally shown in the drawing as a unified module that provides power outlets and various data outlets. The connections module illustrated is not of peculiar nature to the invention and is commonly available from various sources as one having ordinary skill in the art understands. Thus the connections module shown is not a limitation of the invention, and various information technology and power connections 20 and the like, may be provided individually or in whatever grouping of connections is preferred by one practicing the invention.

The well 16 as shown (FIGS. 1 & 3), has opposing side walls 22 and 24, a front panel or wall 26, and for connection access ergonomics, may have an opposite back wall 28 that is preferably slanted. The particulars of each of the side, the front, and the back walls may be arranged according to the structural or aesthetic preferences of one who uses the invention, however. More specifically as shown, the door 18 is mounted with a pair of nesting leaf hinges 32 to a top edge of the slanted back panel 28. One having ordinary skill in the art recognizes that any of various pivot devices may be employed for the pivot connection 34. The positioning or geometry of the door pivot 34 relative to the door 18 is material to the operation of the door, however.

Each of the door 18 and the aperture 14 has a proximal or front edge 40 and 42, respectively, (FIG. 2) and an opposite distal or back edge 44 and 46, respectively. The hinge pivot 34 (FIG. 3) is spaced toward the front edge 40 from the back edge 44 of the door 18 and is closer to the back edge than to the front edge. A door tail portion 50 (FIG. 3) is, then, defined between the hinge pivot and the back edge of the door 18.

The door 18 pivots to an over-center or beyond vertical open position and inclines away from the well front edge 42 (FIG. 3). This over-center location positively positions the door 18 in the open position. If the door were opened to a merely vertical, as opposed to the inclined over-center position, for example, the door may have a tendency to fall closed, which is undesirable. Further, the over-center open position is material at least insofar as additional devices are not required to hold the door 18 in the open position. Of course, additional devices would be required to hold the door 18 in an open position if the door were to pivot less than ninety degrees from the closed position to the opened position. In its least complicated design, the laptop port door 18 may stop in its open position with the door abutting one of the aperture back edge 46 or the well back wall 28 (FIG. 3). Just so, the one of the aperture back edge and the well back wall defines a opened door stop. Of course other opened door stops may be devised within the scope of the invention.

A rest 54 may be provided to position the proximal door edge 40 with the door 18 in the closed position. As shown, a spring latch is used for the rest 54. The spring latch may include a mechanism to open the door by depressing and releasing the front door edge 40 with the spring latch responding by raising the front door edge above the surrounding work surface 12, as is commonly known for a spring latch. Of course, various alternative rest configuration, including a fixed rest, may be used to position the front door edge 40. If a fixed rest or the like is used, then the door 18 may easily be opened from the closed position by pressing down on the tail portion 50, which raises the door proximal edge 40 like a teeter-totter, because the proximal edge 40 is opposite the distal edge 44 across the pivot 32.

One having ordinary skill in the art and those who practice the invention will understand that various modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the disclosed inventive concept. Various relational terms, including left, right, front, back, top, and bottom, for example, are used in the detailed description of the invention and in the claims only to convey relative positioning of various elements of the claimed invention and are not otherwise used to limit the scope of the invention.