Title:
Tray supporting device for a wheelchair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The tray-supporting device for a wheelchair includes an attachment member attached to the back of the wheelchair. A holding member that receives and holds items is positioned in front of the user. An elongated support member connects to the attachment member. The support member forms two substantially ninety-degree bends, so that the elongated support member travels vertically from the attachment member and horizontally over a shoulder of the user, when the user is seated in the wheelchair.



Inventors:
Suh, Simon (Fullerton, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/847698
Publication Date:
11/07/2002
Filing Date:
05/02/2001
Assignee:
SUH SIMON
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61G5/10; (IPC1-7): A47B39/00; A47B83/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080127898Zipper system for removable covers on pet furnitureJune, 2008Morse
20060097556Chair backrest having adjustable head and lumbar zonesMay, 2006Jang
20040212229Attachable sitting device buttsyOctober, 2004Potapova
20090072594Heated portable battery powered sports chairMarch, 2009Korytowski
20080042472Transformer SeatFebruary, 2008Holdampf et al.
20050006932Triathlete bicycle saddleJanuary, 2005Laidlaw
20100066141Method For Implementing A Supporting Base Of A Car Seat For Children, Base And Car Seat Thus ObtainedMarch, 2010Damiani et al.
20060238005Portable shelter sledOctober, 2006Walter et al.
20050269859Vehicle seat having a ventilation systemDecember, 2005Eriksson et al.
20060261659Adjustable arm and armrest assemblyNovember, 2006Dykes
20060273643Belt Extension ApparatusDecember, 2006Mcmillen



Primary Examiner:
MARSH, STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PARK LAW FIRM (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A tray supporting device for a wheelchair comprising: a) an attachment member attached to a wheelchair; b) a holding member, wherein the holding member receives and holds items; and c) an elongated support member connected to the attachment member and the holding member, wherein the elongated support member travels vertically from the attachment member and over a shoulder of a user and down the front of the user to the holding member when the user is seated in the wheelchair.

2. The tray supporting device of claim 1 wherein the attachment member attaches to a pre-existing opening on the back structure of the wheelchair.

3. The tray-supporting device of claim 2 wherein the attachment member is a metal plate having a plurality of apertures, wherein the attachment member attaches to preexisting openings on the back structure of the wheelchair.

4. The tray-supporting device of claim 3 wherein the holding member has a cup opening that accepts a drinking cup.

5. A tray-supporting device for a wheelchair comprising: a) an attachment member attached to a wheelchair; b) a holding member, wherein the holding member receives and holds items; and c) an elongated support member connected to the attachment member and the holding member, wherein the elongated support member forms two substantially ninety degree bends, so that the elongated support member travels vertically from the attachment member and horizontally over a shoulder of a user and down the front of the user to the holding member when the user is seated in the wheelchair.

6. The tray-supporting device of claim 5 wherein the attachment member attaches to a pre-existing opening on the back structure of the wheelchair.

7. The tray-supporting device of claim 6 wherein the attachment member is a metal plate having a plurality of apertures, wherein the attachment member attaches to a pre-existing opening on the back structure of the wheelchair.

8. The tray-supporting device of claim 7 wherein the holding member has a cup opening that accepts a drinking cup.

9. A tray supporting device for a wheelchair comprising: a) an attachment member attached to a wheelchair; b) a holding member, wherein the holding member receives and holds items; c) a mounting member attached to the attachment member, the mounting member having an interior channel; d) an elongated support member connected to the mounting member and the holding member, wherein the elongated support member travels vertically from the mounting member and over a shoulder of a user and down the front of the user to the holding member when the user is seated in the wheelchair, wherein the elongated support member recedes within the interior channel of the mounting member; and e) a gripping member attached to the mounting member and attached to the elongated support member, wherein rotation of the gripping member loosens or tightens the gripping member so that the elongated support member can be fixedly attached to the mounting member when the gripping member is tightened, and wherein the height of the elongated support member can be adjusted by loosening the gripping member, moving the elongated support member and tightening the gripping member.

10. The tray-supporting device of claim 9 wherein the support member forms two substantially ninety degree bends, so that the elongated support member travels horizontally over a shoulder of the user and down the front of the user to the holding member when the user is seated in the wheelchair.

11. The tray-supporting device of claim 10 wherein the elongated support member is rotatable.

12. The tray supporting device of claim 11 wherein the attachment member attaches to a pre-existing opening on the back structure of the wheelchair.

13. The tray-supporting device of claim 12 wherein the attachment member is a metal plate having a plurality of apertures, wherein the attachment member attaches to the pre-existing openings on the back structure of the wheelchair.

14. The tray-supporting device of claim 13 wherein the holding member has a cup opening that accepts a drinking cup.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to devices that attach to wheelchairs, which hold articles. The invention particularly relates to devices that hold food and drink for the user. Drinking liquids and eating foods can be difficult for individuals confined to a wheelchair. The hands are often needed for other tasks, such as, moving the wheel of the wheelchair. In particular, quadriplegics have an extremely difficult time eating and drinking without the assistance of another person or device.

[0002] Typically, an assistant must hold the drink for the handicapped individual. Without the convenience of some type of support structure to hold the drinks and food the assistant must remain close by to respond to the needs of the handicapped person. Constantly requiring the services of an assistant can be time consuming for family members or costly to hire an assistant.

[0003] There are numerous prior art devices on the market that hold varying items. Most are designed to store and carry personal articles. Pouches that attach to the armrests of the wheelchair are designed primarily for the long-term storage of articles and are not appropriate for carrying food and drink. Food and drink require a steady support surface to prevent spilling, which the pouch-like devices do not offer. Prior art devices include movable straws for drinking, attachments to the front of the wheelchair that hold drinks and numerous styles of holders that attach to the side of the wheelchair. Holders that attached to the side of the wheelchair can increase the overall width of the wheelchair, which creates difficulty in maneuvering through tight areas and doorways.

[0004] There is a requirement for a support structure to hold food and drink that can be attached to a wheelchair, which will allow an individual in the wheelchair to drink without the use of their hands. Additionally, the support structure should secure the drinking cup from spilling during movement of the wheelchair. Also, there is a requirement for a support structure that will not increase the overall width of the wheelchair.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] A tray-supporting device for wheelchairs fulfills the objective of providing a support structure that will allow for holding of a food container and hands free drinking. The invention attaches easily to the back structure of the wheelchair. The support member loops over the shoulder of the wheelchair occupant and can hold a tray directly in front of the person. With the over the shoulder positioning, the device fulfills the objective of not increasing the overall width of the wheelchair. The tray-supporting device does not create an obstruction to passage through narrow doorways.

[0006] A tray-supporting device for a wheelchair includes an attachment member attached to the back of the wheelchair. A holding member that receives and holds items is positioned in front of the user. An elongated support member connects to the attachment member. The support member forms two substantially ninety-degree bends, so that the elongated support member travels vertically from the attachment member and horizontally over a shoulder of a user, when the user is seated in the wheelchair. Then, the support member travels down the front of the user to where the holder member is attached.

[0007] The attachment member attaches to an opening formed by the back structure of the wheelchair. The attachment member is a metal plate having two apertures. The two apertures attach to openings on the back structure of the wheelchair. The attachment member can be attached to the structural supports on the back of the wheelchair. Alternately, the attachment member can attach to a handle bar of the wheelchair. Other methods that can be used to connect the attaching member to the structure of the wheelchair are well known in the arts.

[0008] The tray-supporting device can be rotated to the side when the person is not drinking or eating. Both the support member and the tray, individually, can be rotated. Dual rotation capability allows the tray to be rotated slightly to the side of the person, while not positioning any portion of the device to the outside of the wheelchair armrests. This flexibility in positioning is especially important when moving the wheelchair through narrow doorways and tight areas. When the wheelchair is stationary in an expansive area, the support member and tray can be rotated significantly to the side, completely away from the front of the wheelchair occupant.

[0009] Cup openings or apertures are formed within the holding member tray, which are sized to accommodate drinking cups. The drinking cup openings can be varied to securely hold different sized cups. The drinking cups are positioned in front of the user, where the cups are easily accessible for the user. The tray can be designed to hold just a drinking cup or additional surface area with raised ridges can be included for the holding of food containers. The raised ridges prevent the sliding of the food container during consumption of the meal or during movement of the wheelchair.

[0010] With the above and additional objects and advantages in view, as will hereinafter appear, this invention comprises the devices, combinations and arrangements of parts hereinafter described, by way of example, and illustrated in the accompanying drawings of a preferred embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a side view of the tray-supporting device attached to a wheelchair with the elongated support member forming two ninety-degree bends.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a back view of the tray-supporting device showing attachment to the back of the wheelchair.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a side view of the tray-supporting device, with a partial top view of the tray.

[0014] FIG. 4 is a side view of a second embodiment of the tray-supporting device attached to a wheelchair with a curved elongated support member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 the tray-supporting device 10 for a wheelchair 100 includes an attachment member 12 attached to the back structure 104 of the wheelchair 100. A holding member 14 that receives and holds items is positioned in front of the user. An elongated support member 16 connects to the attachment member 12. The support member 16 forms two substantially ninety-degree bends 18, 18′, so that the elongated support member 16 travels vertically from the attachment member 12 and horizontally over a shoulder of a user, when the user is seated in the wheelchair 100. Then, the support member 16 travels down the front of the user to where the holder member 14 is attached.

[0016] With reference particularly to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the attachment member 12 is a metal plate 20 containing an upper aperture 22 and a lower aperture 24. The upper aperture 22 is slightly elongated, which allows for easier positioning of connecting bolts. Bolts, screws or other connectors can be used to attach the attachment member 12 to the back structure 104 of the wheelchair 100. The attachment member 12 can attach to openings 34 on the back structure 104 of the wheelchair 100.

[0017] The elongated support member 16 can be a hollow tubular structure or a solid bar. The hollow structure provides strength, while reducing the weight of the device. Maintaining a lightweight structure is an important feature, since many wheelchairs 100 are still self-powered without a motorized drive. Any additional weight reduces the speed and mobility of the wheelchair 100, particularly, for a self-powered wheelchair 100. Steel provides an excellent material for the elongated support member 16. Aluminum elongated support members 16 are lighter in weight, but lack the strength and rigidity of steel. A plastic cap 26 can be added to the end of the elongated support member 16, which eliminates exposed metal pieces that could be sharp from the manufacturing process.

[0018] The elongated support member 16 has a back-section 28 located behind the occupant user 102. Extending from the back-section 28 is an upper-section 30 that protrudes substantially over the shoulder of the user. Extending from the upper-section 30 is the front-section 32 that is positioned at the front of the occupant user during the drinking operation. Two substantially ninety-degree bends 18, 18′ separate the back-section 28 from the upper-section 30 and the upper-section 30 from the front-section 32. The holding member positions the drinking cup 102 in the front of the user, where the drinking cup 102 is easily accessible for the user.

[0019] Referring particularly to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the attachment member 12 attaches to an opening 34 on the back structure 102 of the wheelchair 100. The attachment member 12 is a metal plate 20 having two apertures 22, 24. The two apertures 22, 24 attach to the opening 34 on the back structure 102 of the wheelchair 100. The attachment member 12 can be attached to the structural supports on the back structure 104 of the wheelchair 100. Alternately, although not shown, the attachment member 12 can attach to a handle bar of the wheelchair 100. When openings 34 are not available, a strap can be included on the attachment member 12 that encircles the handle bar for connecting the elongated support member 16 to the wheelchair 100.

[0020] A gripping member 33 and a mounting member 35 are added between the attachment member 12 and the elongated support member 16. The gripping member 33 is attached to the mounting member 35 and attached to the elongated support member 16. Rotation of the gripping member 33 loosens or tightens the gripping member 33 so that the elongated support member 16 can be fixedly attached to the mounting member 35 when the gripping member 33 is tightened. The height of the elongated support member 16 is adjusted by loosening the gripping member 33, moving the elongated support member 16 and re-tightening the gripping member 33. The elongated support member 16 recedes within the interior channel of the mounting member 35 when the height is reduced. The interior channel is not visible in the figures.

[0021] Extension of the elongated support member 16 accommodates users of varying height, so that the holding member 14 is properly positioned in front of the user. The back-section 28 of the elongated support member 16 extends above the wheelchair 100. Additionally, the elongated support member 16 can rotate so that the elongated support member 16 and the attached holding member 14 are repositioned to the side of the wheelchair 100.

[0022] The tray-supporting device 10 can be rotated to the side when the person is not drinking or eating. Both the support member 16 and the holding member 14 can individually be rotated. Dual rotation capability allows the tray to be rotated slightly to the side of the person, while not positioning any portion of the device to the outside of the wheelchair armrests.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 3, the holding member 14 is shown as a tray 36 with cup openings 38 to accept a drinking cup 102. The drinking cup openings 38 can be varied to securely hold different sized cups. A washer 40 and a screw 42 attach the holding member 14 to the front-section of the support member 16. The holding member 14 can pivot about the front-section 32 of the elongated support member 16 to provide varied positions.

[0024] Referring to FIG. 4, an alternate version of the tray-supporting device 10 is illustrated. The elongated support member 16 is shown with the upper-section 30 curved, rather than the ninety-degree bends 18, 18′ that were illustrated in FIG. 1. There is no gripping member 33 nor mounting member 35 in this figure. The elongated support member 16 attaches directly to the attachment member 12.

[0025] While preferred embodiments of the invention has been described and illustrated for purposes of clarity and example, it should be understood that many changes, substitutions and modifications to the described embodiments will be apparent to those having skill in the art in light of the foregoing disclosure without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention which is defined by the claims which follow.





 
Previous Patent: Chair

Next Patent: Chair for a drum