Title:
Ergonomic platform for furniture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A removable retrofittable platform for elevating existing furniture having a top surface including a raised perimeter edge forming a recessed area on said top surface for removably placing furniture; a bottom surface for removably placing said platform on the ground; a side wall means for connecting said top surface and said bottom surface. The platform includes a handle means for grasping said platform and is sloped so that furniture placed on top said platform sits on angle to improve egress from the furniture. The platform may also include a frictional pad or the like to help prevent furniture movement on the platform. The platform may also include a plurality of coasters that reduce platform movement relative to a support surface during platform use.



Inventors:
Casteel, Gregory Dean (Heber Springs, AR, US)
Moix, Bridget A. (Heber Springs, AR, US)
Application Number:
09/751605
Publication Date:
11/22/2001
Filing Date:
12/29/2000
Assignee:
CASTEEL GREGORY DEAN
MOIX BRIDGET A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C3/20; A61G5/14; (IPC1-7): A47C1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRANN, DEBORAH M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Trent C. Keisling (Fayetteville, AR, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A removable retrofittable platform for elevating existing furniture having a top surface including a raised perimeter edge forming a recessed area on said top surface for removably placing furniture; a bottom surface for removably placing said platform on the ground; a side wall means for connecting said top surface and said bottom surface.

2. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 1 wherein said side walls means includes a handle means for grasping said platform.

3. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 1 wherein said wall means has a front panel, a first side panel, a second side panel, and a back panel.

4. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 3 wherein said handle means for grasping said platform further includes at least one handle mounted on said front panel.

5. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 1 wherein said top surface further includes a means to frictionally secure said chair.

6. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 5 wherein said frictional means is a textured removable pad.

7. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 6 wherein said pad is made of rubber.

8. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 5 wherein said bottom surface includes a plurality of coasters to reduce said platform movement with the ground.

9. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 8 wherein said frictional means is a textured removable pad.

10. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 9 wherein said pad is made from rubber.

11. The removable retrofittable platform as recited in claim 1 further including a plurality of supporting coasters that may adjust the height, slope or both of said platform.

12. The removable retrofittable platform of claim 11 wherein said coasters are substantially obscured from vision during use.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/174,070 filed Dec. 30, 1999 of which it is a continuation-in-part.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to platforms for furniture. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a universal platform for elevating furniture, including chairs, to improve egress therefrom. The apparatus can be installed quickly or retrofitted easily under most furniture, including chairs such as recliners and the like. Known art can be found in U.S. Class 297, Subclasses 85,326,330,334,344 and the various subclasses thereunder.

[0003] As the population matures, an ever increasing need exists for ergonomic chairs to compensate for aging individuals or injured persons or the like who may suffer from loss of mobility, strength and agility. Also to be noted is the increased awareness by mid-life and disabled individuals regarding better use of body mechanics in everyday life.

[0004] The ergonomics of proper seating dictates that the user, while seated, has their feet resting comfortably on the ground or a foot rest with adequate support under the individual's thighs and buttocks. If the user is sitting too low, the individual's weight is not properly distributed across the back of the thighs. Rather, a significant percentage of the user's weight rests upon their buttocks. This improper distribution leads to an disproportionate amount of weight on the buttocks. Hence, the lower the seat position, the more weight on the buttocks. More weight on the buttocks causes egress from the chair to be more difficult because the person's center of gravity is both farther back in the seat and lower to the ground.

[0005] Other persons experience problems when rising from furniture for other reasons. Individuals often become accustomed to a piece of furniture that they have used for years, even if such furniture is no longer suited for that person's physical needs. Often furniture, especially frequently used furniture will lose a degree of its original seating height as the springs, cushions, stuffing and other components become compacted or worn with time. Also as the individual user ages they experience more difficulty moving from seating to standing positions. Both events compound the user's problem.

[0006] Users often “fall” into their favorite chair and then have great difficulty getting back up. This practice increases the possibility of user injury, especially if the individual uses bad body mechanics while attempting to rise. Possibly even worse, users may become sedentary or curtail their activity when faced with the constant impedance of struggling to get up from a low chair on a routine basis. Unfortunately, most individuals who are in the greatest need of ergonomically sound chairs are reluctant to give up their old familiar chairs.

[0007] Moreover, the majority of individuals in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and retirement centers either need or will need in the immediate future practical solutions to alleviate their recurring problems with rising from furniture. Often, health care workers attempt to solve this problem for individuals in their care. It is not an uncommon occurrence for physical and occupational therapists to attempt to “rig” solutions for patients in need because the known art has not adequately addressed this problem.

[0008] Devices have proposed to address some of these problems. For example, there are numerous devices that combine a lift mechanism with a chair as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,165,753, 5,294,179, 5,641,201 and 5,651,580. Unfortunately, these devices are extremely expensive, they often require an external power source, and they are not retrofittable to the individual's chair.

[0009] Some devices have tried to place special adaption devices on existing individuals chair bases such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,251,960. These devices are far from universal and often require significant carpentry or other modification to attach to the existing chair. Some of the devices even made the chair unstable, rickety and/or and off-balance, thus creating a potentially hazardous situation.

[0010] Other proposals include the addition of a booster in the seat of the chair such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,333,931. These devices are often unsatisfactory because they may easily became displaced when the user moves. These devices often also make the chair uncomfortable. These devices also fail to meet further objectives of the current invention.

[0011] Thus, the known art fails to provide a suitable solution to all the problems. The known art does not provide an apparatus that is cheap, easy to install and remove. Particularly desirable is an ergonomic design that can be universally retrofitted to preexisting furniture. Thus a need exists in the prior art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of devices now present in the art, the present invention provides a new and improved construction wherein the same can be utilized reliably in those situations where an ergonomic platform is desired. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new and improved ergonomic platform apparatus which has all the advantages of the known art and none of the disadvantages.

[0013] To attain this, an exemplary embodiment of the present invention uses a platform with a sufficient top surface area to accommodate the furniture to be elevated, including most armchairs and recliners. The platform has a retaining edge to keep the chair base on the surface of the platform. The platform also has a non-skid surface on the top surface to prevent slippage and an angled slope to provide better body mechanics as the user moves from a sitting position to a standing position. In another exemplary embodiment, a non-skid bottom is secured to the platform for stability and floor protection. The non-skid surfaces may be permanently or temporarily attached. In one exemplary embodiment, the non-skid surface is formed by adjustable coasters. The platform also includes handles for easier installation and removal beneath furniture.

[0014] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0015] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in this application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0016] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved ergonomic platform which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

[0017] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved ergonomic platform which is of a durable and reliable construction.

[0018] An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved chair platform that is susceptible to low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such apparatus economically available to those in need.

[0019] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved ergonomic platform that provides some of the advantages of the prior art, while simultaneously overcoming some of the disadvantages normally associate therewith.

[0020] It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved ergonomic chair platform that allows for ease of installation and removal with no training or tools required.

[0021] An even further object of the preset invention is to allow use of an ergonomic platform in tight quarters where access space for installation is limited and floor space a premium.

[0022] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved ergonomic platform that provides sufficient height to preexisting furniture for more efficient egress.

[0023] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved ergonomic platform that provides an improved angle of egress.

[0024] A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved ergonomic platform that frictionally holds the furniture on the base without need of adapters or fasteners to secure the furniture.

[0025] These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of the disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of an ergonomic platform constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 2 is a side elevational view thereof;

[0028] FIG. 3 is a front elevational view thereof;

[0029] FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof;

[0030] FIG. 5 is a side elevational view showing the apparatus deployed under a chair;

[0031] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view showing a recessed area with hidden line markings;

[0032] FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of another exemplary embodiment employing adjustable coasters; and,

[0033] FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0034] In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention as shown in the drawings and specifically FIGS. 1-4, reference numeral 15 generally designates a new and improved ergonomic platform constructed in accordance with the present invention. The apparatus 15 includes a top surface 16, a bottom surface 17, a front panel 18, a back panel 19, a first side panel 20 and a second side panel 22.

[0035] Referring to the drawings in detail and to FIG. 5 in particular, one exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 includes retaining edging front edge 24, back edge 26, first side edge 28, and second side edge 30 positioned on top surface 16 forming a generally recessed area 32. Top surface 16 is generally large enough to accommodate the runners 34 or legs of a standard sitting chair 38 such as but not limited to armchairs and recliners with foot rest activators 36.

[0036] Chair 38 and its components are not specifically related to the improvements that constitutes the invention of this disclosure but are illustrated and described only to give a general background to which the invention is applicable. It is understood that in practice of the apparatus 15 the shape and configuration of chair 38 and its components can vary considerably and may have physical appearances that are completely unlike that illustrated in the drawings. For example, other pieces or types of furniture could be used with the invention, including other types of chairs, sofas and the like.

[0037] A preferred embodiment of apparatus 15 is construction to generally fit under chair 38 so that apparatus 15 does not significantly protrude from the chair 38 base 40. Other preferred embodiments include construction of apparatus 15 to generally fit under other furniture designed for sitting such as but not limited to love seats and sofas.

[0038] Recessed area 32 is of preferable depth to provide a general barrier for chair 38 runners 34 from sliding off apparatus 15. Recessed area 32 should also be shallow enough to permit normal operation of a standard reclining chair. Recessed area 32 is also preferably shallow enough to allow full support of chair 38 by top surface 16. Thus, chair 38 is not partially supported by front edging 24, back edge 26, first side edge 28 or second side edge 30.

[0039] An exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 includes sloping top surface 16 at a generally downward angle 42 with the high end at the back portion 44 and the low end at the front portion 46 of the apparatus 15. A preferred embodiment of angle 42 is but not limited to 20 degrees drop from the back portion 44 to the front portion 46. Other preferred embodiments may include varying sloping top surface 16 at a generally upward angle so that the high end is at back portion 44 with the low end at the front portion 46.

[0040] Another exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 includes a non-skid material 48 applied to top surface 16 for reduction of chair 38 slippage when the user egresses from chair 38. Non-skid material 48 may be made from suitable friction producing materials such as grooved rubber, plastic, polyurethane or the like. It should be noted that top surface 16 could have an integral texture for providing a non-skid surface. Non-skid material 48 may be fixedly attached by adhesive, nails, staples and the like or removably attached with fasteners such as but not limited to snaps, bolts, and screws.

[0041] Apparatus 15 may also include a non-skid pad 50 that is generally placed on bottom surface 17. This pad 50 reduces slippage of the apparatus 15 when used on smooth surfaced flooring such as wood, tile and the like. Non-skid pad 50 also provides protection so that apparatus 15 doesn't nick, cut or scar flooring. Non-skid pad 50 is preferably constructed from suitable friction producing materials such as grooved rubber, plastic, polyurethane or the like. It should be noted that bottom surface 17 could have an integral texture for providing a non-skid pad. Non-skid pad 50 may be fixedly attached by adhesive, nails, staples and the like or removably attached with fasteners such as but not limited to snaps, bolts, and screws.

[0042] In an other exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15, removable coasters 90 are adapted to be inserted into the bottom surface 17. In a preferential embodiment, removable coasters are placed at each corner of the apparatus 15 although more or less coasters may be used as desired. Each removable coaster 90 comprises a bottom foot 92 with a threaded stud 94 protruding upwardly therefrom. Each stud is adapted to be inserted into a corresponding threaded hole appropriately defined in surface 17. The coasters 90 permit the user to manually adjust the overall height of apparatus 15, the slope angle of apparatus 15 or both as desired. Thus, the adjustable coasters 90 permit the apparatus 15 to be easily adjusted to accommodate a variety of situations.

[0043] Another exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 includes a handle means for installing and removing the apparatus 15. Such handle means generally includes a first handle 52 and a second handle 54 which are generally located on front panel 18. First handle 52 and second handle 54 are preferably fixedly attached with screws 56, 58, 60, and 62, but can also be removably attached. It should be noted that front panel 18 could alternatively integrate a recessed handle means.

[0044] Apparatus 15 components top surface 16, bottom surface 17, front panel 18, back panel 19, first side panel 20 and a second side panel 22 are preferably constructed from such material as wood, 20 plastic, steel or the like. Apparatus 15 components are preferably fixedly attached to one another with fasteners such as but not limited to wood glue, nails, screws and the like. Another exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 would include a single piece construction such as but not limited to injection molded plastic or poured metal alloy.

[0045] Other exemplary embodiments of apparatus 15 include a collapsible unit where front panel 18, back panel 19, first side panel 20 and second side panel 22 fold out or are respectively hinged so that top surface 16 and bottom surface 17 compress. This exemplary embodiment of apparatus 15 would store more easily when not in use.

[0046] In operation, apparatus 15 is installed by first lifting chair 38 allowing apparatus 15 to be placed generally beneath chair 38. Chair base 40 is generally lined up so that apparatus 15 sits squarely under chair base 40 with chair runners or legs 34 resting on non-skid material 48 on top surface 16. Chair runners or legs 34 should fit within the recessed area 32 such that back of chair 64 is generally placed on the back portion 44 of apparatus 15 and front 66 of chair 38 is generally placed on the front portion 46 of apparatus 15. Chair 38 should now be generally higher with back 64 of chair 38 higher than front 66 of chair 38 and sloped at angle 42.

[0047] To remove apparatus 15, chair 38 is lifted off apparatus 15 and can be pulled or carried by handles 52 and 54. For storage, apparatus 15 can be placed on back panel 18 with handles 52 and 54 accessible for transporting apparatus 15 when desired.

[0048] Thus, it will be appreciated that as a result of the present invention, a new and improved ergonomic chair platform apparatus is provided by which the principle objective, among others, is completely fulfilled. Changes may be made in the combinations, operations, and arrangements of the various parts and elements described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.