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The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/732,366 filed on 1 Nov. 2005, the complete subject matter of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a swing-out mounting apparatus for adjustable and secure mounting of flat panel display screens, and pliable covers that conceal cable, cords, and wires from view. The invention also provides a safer mount with a more aesthetic appearance after installation of the mounting apparatus.
2. Description of the Related Art
A flat video screen, such as a plasma video screen, is thin in comparison to the depth of conventional cathode ray video screens. The plasma video screen offers high video resolution, a larger surface area for display, and less weight than older video screen technologies. These features permit a user to mount the flat video screen in a variety of convenient locations in a building. Additionally, because thinness of the screen type is a strong virtue, a user can mount flat video display screens close to the wall or away from the wall.
Plasma video screens are expensive, and any mounting systems for the plasma video screen must be able to securely connect to the plasma video screen. A problem with some secure mounting systems is a loss of range of adjustments for rotating, moving, or adjusting the screen to a user's preferences in different uses of the screen.
Another problem with mounting systems is that cables connecting to the flat screen can hang in disarray after the installation of the mounting apparatus. The hanging cables can be unsightly, and look unprofessional in some settings. In addition, the hanging cables or cords can present a safety hazard, and may tangle up with a movable mounting apparatus. The movement or adjustment of the flat screen can cause the hanging cables or cords to crease and bend over time, and present safety issues.
Accordingly, there is a need for a mounting system that permits users to position a screen in different orientations, and at the same time offers a secure mount that is safe and aesthetically pleasing upon installation.
The present invention satisfies those needs. The invention enables secure mounting of a device such as a flat video screen having a back with attachment holes while permitting a range of adjustments, and concealing cables within the swing-out arms of the invention. The cables, cords, and wires can be routed through the cover holes into one or more swing-out arms of the invention, and are concealed by the pliable covers inserted into the cover holes.
In one embodiment there is a swing-out apparatus for mounting a device having a back with attachment holes to a wall having a wall connector having an interior surface facing toward the wall for connection to the wall, an external surface, a mount connector for attaching said device to the apparatus; first and second swing-out arms having a first and second end, a body between the first and second ends, an aperture proximate each end, said body having a passageway at least partway therethrough connecting said apertures. The first end of the first swing out arm connecting pivotally to the wall connector; the second end of said first swing out arm being pivotally connected to said second arm; the second end of said second swing out arm connected to said mount connector, whereby, cables extending from the wall to the device may be at least partially hidden within said arms by passing into and out of said apertures.
In another embodiment there is disclosed a swivel mount having a bracket, for use in attaching a device to a wall surface having a first central connector plate having a rounded depression portion, a central tilt hole of a predetermined diameter therein and plurality of mounting points extending from the rounded depression portion; a second central connector plate configured to be in abutment with said first plate, and having a rounded depression portion shaped to mate with said rounded depression portion of said first plate, so that said first and second plates are in substantially complete contact with respect to abutting surfaces, a third central connector plate having a rounded depression portion similar to that of said second plate and configured to be in abutment with said first plate on a side opposite said second plate, so that said first plate may be sandwiched between said second and third plates; at said second and third plates being of a friction reducing material capable of sliding with respect said first plate; a central fastener passing through said plates for creating frictional engagement therebetween, so that when said first plate is moved relative to the bracket, it will tend to remain stationary after movement.
Another embodiment of the invention is a wall connector having an interior surface (facing toward the wall) for connection to the wall, an external surface, and a cable orifice, and a first swing-out arm having a first and second end, a body between the first and second ends having a cover hole near each end. The first end of the first swing out arm connects pivotally to the external surface of the wall connector.
This embodiment also includes an arm-screen connector having a rotatable arm end with a screen connector hole, the rotatable arm end connects pivotally to the second end of the first swing out arm; and a swivel mount having a central screen connector with a center tilt hole of predetermined diameter to permit a maximum angle of tilt in any direction, and flanges with screen holes. The swivel mount adjustably connects to the rotatable arm end through the screen connector hole of the rotatable arm end and the center tilt hole permitting about 360° rotation of the flat video screen. One or more screen holes on the flanges align to the attachment holes on the back of the flat video screen permitting connection of the flat screen to the swivel mount.
This embodiment further includes a plurality of pliable covers, each pliable cover having top and bottom surfaces, front and back ends, and side portions. The top surface of the pliable cover has: a slit with an enlarged opening at the back end, the enlarged opening being sized to permit a cable to fit under the enlarged opening; a ridge that extends around the periphery of the top surface, and the ridge extends outward and over a downwardly extending side wall with a plurality of protruding hooks. The downwardly extending wall is located on the bottom surface and runs under the front end and both sides of the pliable cover, the protruding hooks flex to fit snuggly within the cover hole of each end of the first swing-out arm. The pliable cover also has an interior pair of substantially parallel side walls between the downwardly extending side walls forming a channel that surrounds a cable or cables placed through the cover holes into the interior of the first swing-out arm.
There are many more embodiments disclosed. While the above embodiment described an apparatus of the invention having a single swing out arm, other embodiments would include apparatus with two or more arms. The one and two armed embodiments are preferred embodiments. The scope of this patent is defined by the claims and not this brief summary, which is provided to assist the reader in preparing for a complete understanding of this entire document.
FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position
FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position.
FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a pliable cover of the invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates a bottom plan view of a pliable cover of the invention.
FIG. 5 illustrates a top exposed view of a pliable cover of the invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates a back (or rear) view of a pliable cover of the invention.
FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of a pliable cover of the invention.
FIG. 8 illustrates a cross section of a pliable cover.
FIG. 9 illustrates an exploded view of a swing-out arm apparatus having pliable covers.
FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of a mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position.
FIG. 11 illustrates a side view of a mounting apparatus of the invention in a compacted position.
FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of the arm-screen connector of the invention.
FIG. 13 illustrates the routing of a cable shown in a perspective view of the mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position.
FIG. 14 illustrates the routing of a cable shown in a side view of the mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position.
The following discussion describes embodiments of the invention and several variations of these embodiments. This discussion should not be constructed, however, as limiting the invention to these particular embodiments. Practitioners skilled in the art will recognize numerous other embodiments as well.
As used herein, the term “substantially” is used to indicate some variation in, for example, the shape of hole, but the variation still providing the function within the scope and principles of the invention.
With a swing-out mounting apparatus of the present invention, a user can position the flat screen in a variety of different and useful orientations. The mounting apparatus of the invention has a range of flexible adjusting capabilities when attached to the flat video screen. When a flat screen is attached to the swing out apparatus of the invention, the user can pivot the flat screen about 360°, and tilt the flat screen up to a predetermined angle in any direction. The mounting apparatus of the invention further protects and conceals cables from hanging in disarray about the mounting apparatus.
The arms of the mounting apparatus can be folded into a compact position orienting the flat screen close to the wall as shown in FIG. 11 (an attached flat video screen is not shown). This configuration is useful for positioning the flat video screen in a wall hugging profile at the end of a presentation. In FIG. 11, the embodiment shown is the same as in FIG. 1, except for its compact position, and has been identified as a mounting apparatus with pliable covers 210 in a compact position. The mounting apparatus in the compact position shows a rotatable cylinder 270 connected to a swivel mount 268, and a non-rotatable cylinder 264 of a second swing-out arm (compare with FIG. 9, a non-rotatable cylinder 164 on swing-out arm 120, to see the linear relationship, and FIGS. 1-2). The components are positioned close to the wall connector 212 when oriented in the compact position.
A the other end of the spectrum, an installed mounting apparatus of the invention permits swinging out the flat display screen away from the wall into a fully extended position as shown in FIG. 1-2 (an attached flat video screen is not shown). Between the compact position shown in FIG. 11 and the fully extended position shown in FIGS. 1-2 is a range of positions to accommodate a user's preferences.
An advantage of the fully extended configuration is that the audience can have a better (or closer) view of the display. When the video screen is no longer in use, the user can easily return the video screen to the compact wall hugging configuration of the invention.
FIG. 1 shows the swing-out apparatus 10 of the invention having a wall connector 12 having a cable orifice 14 with a removable cap 16 that fits into the orifice. The other orifice has a removable cap 16 inserted into it. The swing-out apparatus 10 has a first swing arm 18 that pivots about 180° around a first joint 20. The first swing-out arm 18 is connected to a second swing out arm 22. The second swing arm 22 pivots around a second joint 24. The second swing-out arm 22 is connected to a device mount or arm-screen connector 26. The arm-screen connector 26 pivots around a third joint 28.
FIG. 2 is a side view that shows each swing-out arm has a rotatable cylinder 30a at a first end and a non-rotatable 30b (or fixed) cylinder at a second end, and a body 32 between the cylinders having a cover hole 34 near each end. FIG. 2 shows a first swing-out arm with pliable covers 36 fitted snugly within the cover holes. In FIG. 2, a second swing out arm 22 is shown with cover holes 34, and pliable covers 36 are outside of the holes (not fitted into the cover holes). The body of the arm should be sufficiently hollow inside to permit cable or cables to be routed between the cover holes on the swing-out arm.
FIG. 3-FIG. 8 show different views of the pliable covers 36. The orientation used in describing the direction of portions of the pliable covers is as follows: the top is the portion that is seen when the pliable cover is fitted into a cover hole; the bottom or downward direction is the portion of the pliable cover that faces the interior of a swing-out arm when placed in the cover hole; the center or interior of the pliable cover is the mid-area of the pliable cover; and outward or exterior 3-4 is from the center toward the sides, front, or back. The sides, top, bottom, front, and back are identified in FIGS. 3-4.
FIG. 3-4 shows pliable covers 36 that have a top surface 37 and a bottom surface 41, a front end 38, a back end 40, and side portions 39. The pliable cover has a ridge 42 that extends around the periphery of the top surface 37, and the ridge extends outward over an exterior downward extending side wall 44 on the bottom portion 41, and the top portion 37 having a slit 46 with an enlarged opening 48 sized for cable to fit under, and the enlarged opening located at the back portion 40. The exterior downward extending side wall 44 has a hook 50 on each side 39 of the pliable cover, FIGS. 4, 8. The hooks 50 of the pliable cover 36 flex inward when pressed into the cover hole 34 (not shown), and revert back to their original shape to hook on the inside of the body near the edge of the cover hole 34 (not shown). The hook 50 is shaped to flex in and out for the pliable cover 36 to fit snuggly into the cover hole 34 (not shown).
FIG. 7 is a side view of a pliable cover 36. FIG. 7 dissects the pliable cover along a line 7A-7A to create a cross section shown in FIG. 8. FIG. 8 provides another view of the hooks 50.
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the pliable cover 36. This bottom view shows exterior downwardly extending side walls 44 and two interior downwardly extending side walls 52. The interior downwardly extending side walls 52 are substantially parallel to each other, and the downward length of the interior downwardly extending side walls 52 increase in depth (not shown) as the side walls 52 go from the front portion 38 to the back portion 40. Between the interior downwardly extending side walls 52 is formed a channel 54 where cables or cords can be contained or fit neatly (not shown) within the body 32 of the swing-out arms 18, 22 shown in FIGS. 1-2. The channel 54 acts to collect the cables and cords, and holds the cables to provide added protection against abrasion when the arms swing in or out.
FIG. 5 shows an exposed top plan view of a pliable cover. As shown in FIG. 5 by the broken lines, the shape of this embodiment of the pliable cover is elliptical. This is a preferred shape. The pliable covers of the invention, however, can be any shape so long as the cover is pliable, and can fit snuggly in the body of the arms, and cables or cords can be fed into the slit or enlarged opening when the pliable cover is fitted in the cover holes. The pliable covers for use in the invention can be made of any pliable material such as plastic, vinyl, nylon, or rubber. A preferred embodiment is the placement of the enlarged opening of the pliable cover nearest to the rotatable and nonrotable cylinders as the inserted pliable covers are shown for example in FIGS. 1-2.
FIG. 6 is a rear view of the pliable cover 36. This views shows support walls 58 that connect the interior downwardly extending side walls 44 and the exterior downwardly extending side walls 52.
Optionally, the pliable cover can also have a predefined removable section 56 that is made of thinner material in the area corresponding to the channel 54. The predefined removable section 56 in this embodiment runs the length of the slit, and the width of the channel 54. The user can cut out the predefined removable section 56, and enlarge the opening for larger or more cables.
In FIGS. 13-14 of the application, the routing or snaking of a cable 25 or cords from the wall connector to the mounted flat video screen (not shown) is shown in these drawings with a segment of the cable 25. The cable 25 (or cord) can be pulled though the cable orifice 14 on the wall connector at cable position 25a, and routed through the cover hole 34 on the first swing out arm at cable position 25b. The cable 25 is routed into the cover hole nearest to the first joint on the first swing out arm at cable position 25c, and out through the cover hole on the first swing out arm nearest to the second joint at cable position 25d connecting the second swing-out arm. The procedure is then repeated by routing the cable 25 into the cover hole on the second arm nearest to the second joint at position 25e, and out the remaining cover hole on the second swing out arm at position 25f, and to the flat video screen (not shown) at cable position 25f.
The above routing of the cables or cords can be reversed, starting with a cable on the flat screen, and routing through each cover hole of the arms to the wall connector (not shown). When the cables are in position, each of the pliable covers can be pushed (flexed or locked) into the cover holes, and conceal the cables inside the arm. As previously discussed, the channel in the pliable covers acts to hold or keep the cables together when the pliable cover is flexed into place in the cover hole. Also as previously mentioned, an embodiment of the pliable covers having a predefined removable section allows a user to cut open the channel, and create a larger opening to accommodate more or larger cables or cords.
The user also has the flexibility to route a cable or cables through the cable orifices of the wall connector, or for example, in the case of a power cord from the flat video screen, the user can route that power cord through each of the swing-out arms to a power outlet, instead of going through the cable orifices.
FIG. 9—is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention with two swing-out arms with pliable covers. This embodiment of the swing out arms with concealed pliable covers is the same as the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. However, all numbering on the drawing in FIG. 9 begins at 110. As shown in FIG. 9, the swing-out apparatus of the invention 110 has a wall connector 112 having an external surface 113 with two cable orifices 114 and an interior wall surface (also called an internal wall-facing surface) 117 (not shown). FIG. 9 also shows wall mounting bracket 160 that fits against the internal wall-facing surface 117 (not shown), and secures the wall connector to the wall (not shown). One side of the mounting bracket connects to the wall, and the other side connects to the internal wall-facing surface 117 (not shown) of the wall connector 112. (connection not shown on drawings). There are many ways that a person skilled in the arts would use to connect the wall connector to the wall.
FIG. 9 shows a first swing-out arm 118. In this embodiment, the first joint 20 (FIG. 1) is formed by connecting a rotatable cylinder 162 at a first end of the first swing-out arm 118, with top and bottom cylinder holding portions 112a and 112b of the wall connector 112. The rotatable cylinder 162 pivots the body of the first arm up to about 180°. The pivoting of the body of the first arm is limited by its contact with the wall or the wall connector (not shown).
FIG. 9 also shows a second swing-out arm 120 having a second joint 24 (FIG. 1). In this embodiment, the second joint 24 (FIG. 1) is formed by connecting a rotatable cylinder 162 at a first end of the second swing-out arm 120 with a non-rotatable (or fixed) cylinder 164 at a second end of the first swing-out arm 118. The second swing-out arm 120 pivots at the second joint 24 (FIG. 1) by way of the rotatable cylinder 162 on a first end of the second swing-out arm 120.
FIGS. 9 and 12 further shows the connection of the non-rotatable cylinder 164 of the second arm 120 to an arm-screen connector 126 to create the third joint 28 (FIG. 1). The arm-screen connector 126 is comprised of an arm connector 166 and a swivel mount 168. In this embodiment, the arm connector is a rotatable cylinder (also referred to as a rotatable arm end), 170 having a top end 172, a bottom end 174, and a screen connector hole 176 between the top and bottom ends 172, 174. The rotatable cylinder 170 connects to the non-rotatable (or fixed) cylinder 164 of the second swing-out arm 120. The rotatable cylinder 170 pivots around the third joint 28 (FIG. 1).
FIGS. 9 and 12 further show the swivel mount 168 is comprised of a central (screen) connector 178 having a rounded depression 180, a central tilt hole 184 of a predetermined diameter to permit a maximum angle of tilt in any direction, and four flanges 186 with flange holes 188 on the outside of the rounded depression 180. The depression can be a simple curved portion, a parabola, a hemisphere or portion thereof, a dish shape or similar. The flanges 186 fit against the back of a flat video screen. The flange holes 186 of the flange correspond to one or more holes on the back of a flat video screen (not shown), and connect to the back of the flat video screen (not shown) typically using screws or bolts.
The swivel mount 168 further comprises two circular curved elements 190 having a center hole 192; and two curved bearing members 194 having a center hole 196. The circular curved elements 190 and the curved bearing members 194 are curved to fit against the complementary curvature of the interior and exterior rounded depression 180 of the central screen connector 178. It is desirable, but not essential to have both pairs of complementary elements 190, 19r. These curved elements 190,194 preferably have similar curvatures so that they nest together with nearly complete contact on all points of the their surfaces. The inner element 190 (adjacent bolt 198 in FIG. 12) is preferably a complementary shape to its adjacent element 194 so that bolt 198 applies relatively equal force to the entire curved surface of adjacent plates. This provides a smoother glide between plates without slippage.
The diameter of the center holes of the circular curved elements and the center holes of the curved bearing members are about the same size permitting a bolt or screw to go though the holes, and the shape of the holes is substantially circular.
The center tilt hole of the central screen connector is typically larger than the center holes of the circular curved elements and the center holes of the curved bearing members. The diameter of the center tilt hole 184 in the central screen connector 178 determines the maximum range (or amount) of tilt in any direction. As the diameter of the center tilt hole increases, the amount of tilt increases for each direction. As shown in FIG. 10, angle a (alpha) corresponds to the maximum amount of tilt. A person of skill in the art can adjust the diameter of the center tilt hole 184 in the central screen connector 178 to obtain a predetermined angle of tilt.
A predefined diameter of center tilt hole in the central screen connector that corresponds to a maximum of about 15° tilt in any direction is a preferred embodiment. This amount of tilt permits a secure connection with a range of tilt in each direction for adjustments.
The components of the swivel mount connect as follows: 1) a curved bearing member 194 fits against the complementary interior surface of the rounded depression 180, and a circular curved element 190 fits on top of the curved bearing member 194; and 2) a curved bearing member 194 fits against the complementary exterior surface of the rounded depression 180, and a circular curved element 190 fits on top of the curved bearing member.
In other words, the rounded depression 180 of the central screen connector 178 is sandwiched by a curved bearing member 194 against its interior and exterior surfaces, and a circular curved element 190 fits outside of each curved bearing member 194 to complete the sandwich. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 12, the center holes of the central screen connector 178, the circular curved element 190, and the curved bearing members 194 align to allow a fastener such a bolt 198 to fit through all of the center holes, and be connected by a nut 200. The fastener is to be tightened sufficiently to insure that the device (screen) can be moved by virtue of the friction reducing surfaces, but will remain stationary after movement because of friction and compressive forces on the friction reducing material (which may be resilient).
The curved bearing members 190, 194, can be made of nylon or other suitable material that acts as a bearing (or friction-reducing surface). The circular curved elements can be made of metal. In the preferred embodiment, metal elements are separated by fiction reducing materials so as to allow bolt 198 to be tightened but still allow movement. It is advantageous that the display or other device attached to mount be tiltable and tunable and yet stay where it is positioned. By providing at least-one friction reduced surface between metal elements which covers virtually all of the potential contact surface between metal elements, the maximum position holding (staying) potential is achieved. In this case, the elements 192 and 196 are approximately equal in size, shape or surface area.
When connecting the arm-screen connector, the bolt 198 should be tightened through the nut, and the connection should remain loose enough to permit 360° rotation of flat video screen, and allow a predetermined angle of tilt the flat video screen in each direction (this connection is also referred to as “adjustably connecting” or “adjustable connects”). FIG. 10 shows the swing-out arms in a fully extended position, and the screen connector tilted to a maximum angle α (alpha). The present invention permits rotation and tilting of the flat video screen, and couples these useful features with pliable plastic covers to route and hold cables through the inside of the swing-out arm or arms.
FIGS. 2-3 show the mounting apparatus of the invention in a fully extended position away from the wall. The swivel mount adjustably connects to the rotatable arm end through screen connector hole and the center tilt hole permitting about 360° rotation of the flat video screen, and the screen holes on the flanges align and connect through the attachment holes on the back of the flat video screen. A bolt or screw are typically used to connect the screen holes on one or more of the flanges to the attachment holes on the back of the screen. However any connector that secures and allows these adjustment can be used in place of the bolt or screw. It is preferable to connect the flanges with two or more screws, bolts, or other suitable connectors.
The swivel mount in this manner pivotally connects to the flat video screen (not shown). The swivel mount permits rotation of the flat display screen to about 360°. The embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-2, and 9-1 1are a mounting apparatus of the invention having two swing-out arms. This is a preferred embodiment. FIG. 9 also shows pliable covers 136 that fit in cover holes of the arms, and conceal cables, cords, or wires snaked through the interior of the swing-out arms (not shown).
Another preferred embodiment, although not shown in the drawings, is a swing-out apparatus for mounting a flat video screen to a wall that uses a single swing-out arm. A single swing out arm embodiment functions similarly to the two-armed embodiment. The single swing-out arm apparatus for mounting a flat video screen connects to the rotatable connector of the arm-screen connector, instead of the second swing-out arm as in the two swing-out arm apparatus.
Having thus described the invention, it should be apparent that numerous modifications and adaptations may be resorted to without departing from the scope and fair meaning of the instant invention as set forth herein above and as described herein below by the claims.
Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions described herein.
All features disclosed in the specification, including the claims, abstracts, and drawings, and all the steps in any method or process disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. Each feature disclosed in the specification, including the claims, abstract, and drawings, can be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.
Any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means” for performing a specified function or “step” for performing a specified function, should not be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. section 112.