Title:
Compact disc dispensing/retrieving device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A compact disc dispensing, retrieving and storage device comprising an outer cover, storage pockets, index arms, and spacing means. The storage pockets are located within the outer cover and can be rotated out of the outer cover into a dispensing or receiving position using an index arm. An index arm swivels around a pivot point and is rigidly connected to the storage pockets. The spacing means connect the upper and lower sides of the outer cover and provide structure to the invention. The present invention enables users to dispense and retrieve a compact disc from a compact disk player device using only one hand. The invention can contain multiple compact discs for storage and use.



Inventors:
Byrne, Michael Patrick (Allison Park, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/159190
Publication Date:
12/05/2002
Filing Date:
05/31/2002
Assignee:
BYRNE MICHAEL PATRICK
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/9.64, G9B/33.014
International Classes:
G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): A47B81/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael Patrick Byrne (Allison Park, PA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A compact disc dispensing/retrieving device comprising: a flexible outer cover having an upper and a lower side, one or more storage pockets having a top face, said storage pockets located within said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover when in a storage position, a pivot, said pivot connecting said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover, one or more index arms, said index arms attached to each said storage pockets and rotateably attached to said pivot, said storage pockets are rotateably attached to said pivot to enable top and bottom lips of said storage pockets to become fully exposed for dispensing and retrieving a compact disc; and a spacing means connecting said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover.

2. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 1, further comprising a closure device, wherein said closure device prevents said compact disks from rotating out of said storage pockets when in said storage position.

3. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 2, wherein said closure device is selected from the group consisting of a locking pin, a strap, and an elastic band.

4. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 1, further comprising a return device for returning said storage pocket within said outer cover from a dispensed position.

5. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 1, wherein said upper side is slanted towards said lower side of said outer cover in a direction generally away from said pivot.

6. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 1, wherein said spacing means are spacing pins with washers attached thereto.

7. A compact disc dispensing/retrieving device comprising: a flexible outer cover having an upper and a lower side, one or more storage pockets having a top face, said storage pockets located within said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover when in a storage position, a pivot, said pivot connecting said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover, one or more index arms, said index arms attached to each said storage pocket and rotateably attached to said pivot, said storage pockets being rotateably attached to said pivot to enable top and bottom lips of said storage pockets to become fully exposed for dispensing and retrieving a compact disc, a spacing means connecting said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover; and wherein said upper and said lower sides of said outer cover are slanted generally away from said pivot to prevent said compact disks from slipping out of said storage pockets when in a storage position.

8. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 7, further comprising a return device for returning said storage pocket within said outer cover from a dispensed position.

9. The compact disc dispensing device of claim 8, wherein said return device is a spring.

10. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 8, wherein said return device is an elastic material.

11. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 8, wherein said return device is a rubber band.

12. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 7, further comprising a closure device.

13. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 8, wherein said closure device is selected from the group consisting of a locking pin, a strap, and an elastic band.

14. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of claim 7, wherein said spacing means are spacing pins with washers attached to provide separation between said compact disks.

15. A method of dispensing a compact disc from a compact disc dispensing device including the steps of: moving an index arm of a storage pocket of said compact disc dispensing device in a direction generally towards a spacing means to expose said compact disc and said storage pocket in a dispensing position; inserting said compact disc into a compact disc user device; withdrawing said storage pocket and said compact disc dispensing device from said compact disc user device and said compact disc; and moving said index arm in the general direction away from said spacing means to place said storage pocket at a position in interior of said compact disc dispensing device, which is a storage position.

16. A method of storing a compact disk from a compact disk dispensing device including the steps of: moving an index arm of a storage pocket of said compact disc dispensing device in a direction generally toward a spacing means to expose an opening of said storage pocket at a position in front of a leading edge of an outer cover of said compact disc dispensing device; receiving said compact disc from a compact disc user device into said opening of storage pocket; withdrawing said compact disc from said compact disc user device; and moving said index arm in the general direction away from said spacing means to place storage pocket at a position in interior of said compact disc dispensing device, which is a storage position.

17. The method of claim 14, further including the step of: pressing an upper and lower side of said outer cover of said compact disk dispensing device generally towards each other during compact disk retrieval.

Description:

[0001] This present application is based on U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/295,045 filed Jun. 1, 2001 and hereby claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e)(1).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to storing, dispensing and retrieving compact discs and to an apparatus for storing, dispensing and retrieving compact discs.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Audio compact discs, for example, those containing prerecorded music, are typically stored in plastic containers known in the trade as “jewel boxes.” Jewel boxes utilize front and rear plastic panels that are hinged together along adjacent edges. Although jewel boxes are an effective storage device for compact discs, they are prone to breakage and generally require the use of two hands for a user to open and remove a compact disc from the jewel box.

[0006] Alternative compact disc storage devices have been disclosed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,092,650 to Budnik discloses a booklet for housing compact discs. The booklet has a front and back cover attached to and at least partially rotatable about a spine or hinge and movable between an open and closed position. Although booklet type compact disc storage devices have the advantage of conveniently storing multiple compact discs, they also require the use of two hands to remove compact discs from or place compact discs into the storage device.

[0007] The use of two hands to properly handle compact discs can be problematic when, for example, a user is operating a vehicle such as an automobile, truck or boat while handling the compact discs. The required use of two hands to handle the compact disc provides a significant distraction for the vehicle operator from attending to vehicle operation. The subsequent distraction can often lead to improper vehicle operation resulting in damage or injury to the vehicle operator, surrounding property or any other person or thing the vehicle may accidentally come in contact with.

[0008] There is, therefore, a demonstrated need for a compact disc storage, dispensing and retrieval device that will cause minimal distraction and maximum ease of use for a compact disc user, especially when the user is multitasking compact disc usage with another activity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides a compact disc storage, dispensing and retrieval device, which can be operated with one hand and offers minimal distraction to a multitasking compact disc user. The present compact disc storage device includes an outer cover, a spacing means, one or more storage pockets located within the outer cover and a pivot. The pivot extends through a pivot point on the storage pockets and attaches at an upper attachment point and a lower attachment point on the outer cover. The storage pockets are each able to rotate about the pivot by moving an index arm, which extends from the storage pocket. Movement of an index arm can rotate a storage pocket to a dispensing position for providing a compact disc to a compact disc user device or for removing a compact disc from the compact disc user device. The index arm may also be moved to place the storage pocket within the interior of the outer cover in a storage position. The compact disc dispensing/retrieving device can be held and operated with one hand, leaving the other hand free for other activities.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention without storage pockets;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a plan view of a storage pocket used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a closure embodiment used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of an alternative closure embodiment used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 6 is a plan view of a base of a storage pocket used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a plan view of a pocket, without the index arm, used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 8 is a plan view of a storage pocket holding a compact disc as used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 9 is a plan view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device in the storage position;

[0019] FIG. 10 is a plan view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention in the dispensing position;

[0020] FIG. 11 is a plan view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention in a partially dispensed position;

[0021] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the pivot used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 13 is an exploded perspective view of the storage pocket used in the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 14 is a side view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention without storage pockets, which shows a spacing means; and

[0024] FIG. 15 is a plan view of another alternative closure embodiment of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention.

[0025] FIG. 16 is a plan view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention showing an alternative spacing means.

[0026] FIG. 17 is a side view of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device of the present invention showing the alternative spacing means described in FIG. 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0027] For the purpose of the description hereinafter, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” “top,” “bottom” and derivatives thereof, shall relate to the invention as oriented in the drawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume alternate variations and step sequences except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes, illustrated in the attached drawings and described in the following specification, is an exemplary embodiment of the invention. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics related to the embodiment disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting the invention.

[0028] Referring to FIG. 1, the present compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 includes an outer cover 12, one or more storage pockets 14, spacing means 64, and a pivot 16. FIG. 2 shows outer cover 12, which includes an upper side 18, a lower side 20, an upper pivot attachment 22, a lower pivot attachment 24 and an interior 26. FIG. 3 shows storage pockets 14 which include a base 28, a pocket 30, a pivot point 32, and an index arm 34.

[0029] Storage pocket 14 can be any dimension and shape suitable for holding a compact disc 11 or similar item. In an embodiment of the present invention, storage pocket 14 is semicircular with a diameter 15 at least equivalent to that of the compact disc 11 to be stored. FIG. 6 shows base 28 with a diameter 42, which may be at least 4.75 inches, typically from 4.75 to 7 inches, more typically from 4.75 to 6 inches and most typically from 4.75 to 5 inches. FIG. 7 shows pocket 30, which is a similar shape as base 28 and has a similar diameter 44 that is the same as diameter 42. Pocket 30 consists of two pieces: a bottom face 103, and a top face 104. Bottom face 103 and top face 104 are fastened together around their circumference. Examples of fastening methods include, but are not limited to: stitching, stapling, gluing, melting and snapping. Bottom face 103 is larger than top face 104. A distance 105 separates bottom lip 106 of bottom face 103 from top lip 107 of top face 104. Distance 105 may be at least 0.125 inch, typically from 0.125 inch to 1 inch, more typically from 0.25 inch to 1 inch, and most typically from 0.5 inch to 0.75 inch. Top lip 107 of top face 104 is not fastened to bottom face 103, so that opening 29 is formed (FIG. 13). The bottom face 103 can be reflective to aid the user during dark conditions. Alternatively, the bottom face 103 and the top face 104 can have contrasting colors to aid users in receiving the compact disk 11. Referring to FIG. 13, pocket 30 and base 28 are fastened together to form storage pocket 14. Examples of fastening methods include, but are not limited to: stitching, stapling, gluing, melting and snapping. Alternatively bottom face 103 could be eliminated and the compact disk 11 could rest on base 28 instead. FIG. 8 shows storage pocket 14 with a compact disc 11 stored therein.

[0030] Returning to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 12 one or more storage pockets 14 are located in interior 26 of outer cover 12. Shaft 36 of pivot 16 extends through lower pivot attachment 24, pivot point 32 for each storage pocket 14, and upper pivot attachment 22. Pivot 16 is held in place by upper collar 38 and lower collar 40. Upper collar 38 and lower collar 40 can be any device suitable for holding pivot 16 in place. Shaft 36 can be any diameter suitable for allowing storage pocket 14 to rotate about pivot point 32. Shaft diameter 52 can be 0.01 to 1 inch, typically 0.05 to 0.75 inch, more typically 0.1 to 0.5 inch and most typically 0.1 to 0.25 inch. The length of shaft 36 will depend on the number of storage pockets 14 included in compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10.

[0031] Compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 may optionally include a spacer 54 as shown in FIG. 14. One or more spacers 54 may be used. Typically, spacer 54 will be placed between each storage pocket 14. Spacer 54 may be attached to an upper surface 56 of lower side 20 of outer cover 12 and to a lower surface 58 of upper side 18 of outer cover 12. When two or more spacers 54 are used, an upper side 60 of a spacer 54 is attached to a lower side 62 of another spacer 54. A spacing means 64 may be utilized to control the spacing between spacers 54. When spacing means 64 is used, an upper side 66 and a lower side 68 of spacing means 64 is attached to the respective upper surface 56 of lower side 20 of outer cover 12, lower surface 58 of upper side 18 of outer cover 12, lower side 62 of spacer 54 and upper side 60 of spacer 54. The height 55 of spacing means 64 is a height suitable to allow storage pocket 14 to rotate freely about pivot point 32. The height of spacing means 64 may be from 0.01 inch to 1 inch, typically 0.05 inch to 0.75 inch, more typically 0.1 inch to 0.6 inch and most typically 0.15 inch to 0.5 inch.

[0032] Alternatively the spacing means 64 may be comprised of spacing pins 250, a spacing/restricting pin 251, and washers 252. The spacing pins 250 may be but are not limited to: dowels, rods, screws and bolts. The spacing/restricting pin 251 is similar to spacing pins 250, but is placed in a particular position to prevent the compact disks 11 from sliding out of the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10. Referring to FIG. 16, the spacing/restricting pin 251 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 is positioned so that when storage pocket 14 is in a compact disc storage position 86, the minimum distance between spacing pin 251 and the upper tip 66 of storage pocket 14 is always less than the diameter of a compact disc, digital video disc (DVD) or other similar item. This feature ensures that the storage pocket 14 cannot rotate out of the outer cover 12, when storage pocket 14 is in a storage position 86. Spacing/restricting pin 251 accomplishes a similar function as leading edge 65, in the other alternative spacing embodiment.

[0033] Referring to FIG. 17, the spacing pins 250 and 251 may also include washers 252 or other similar means to separate the spacers 54.

[0034] Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, outer cover 12 can be made using any suitable material or combination of materials, so long as outer cover 12 is sufficiently rigid to protect interior 26 and to allow storage pockets 14 to rotate freely about pivot point 32. Outer cover 12 must also be flexible enough to allow a user to compress the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 during retrieval of the compact disk 11. Examples of material from which outer cover 12 may be constructed include, but are not limited to: laminated cardboard, plastic, vinyl, leather and metal. The base 28 of storage pocket 14 can be made using any suitable material sufficiently rigid to allow storage pocket 14 to rotate freely about pivot point 32.

[0035] Pocket 30 of storage pocket 14 is made from a material sufficient to protect inserted compact discs from damage. Suitable materials for pocket 30 include leather, plastic, vinyl, rubber (natural and synthetic), cotton cloth and synthetic fiber cloth. In an embodiment of the present invention, the coefficient of friction between base 28 and pocket 30 with a compact disc is high enough to minimize the occurrence of a compact disc accidentally falling out of storage pocket 14, but not so high as to prevent easy removal of a compact disc from storage pocket 14.

[0036] A closure embodiment is shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, closure strap 96 is attached to lower side 20 of cover 12. Closure strap 96 is positioned approximately at the center of opening 72. Attaching snap 98 is attached near an end of closure strap 96 such that it is able to form a closure with receiving snap 99, which is attached to upper side 18 of cover 12. Closure strap 96 may be attached at either end by any suitable device. Suitable devices include, but are not limited to, VELCRO™, snaps, sewing, buttons, and magnets. Attaching snap 98 and receiving snap 99 is the preferred method of attachment but not meant to serve at the sole attaching means. For example, closure strap 96 could be attached at one end by VELCRO™ and attached at the other end by buttons.

[0037] An alternative closure embodiment is shown in FIG. 5. In this embodiment, upper side 18 of outer cover 12 is sloped toward lower side 20 of outer cover 12, so that the distance between upper side 18 and lower side 20 is reduced at leading edge 65. The upper side 18 is sloped between 5 and 35 degrees, preferably between 10 and 20 degrees, towards the lower side 20. Alternatively the lower side 20 may be sloped towards the upper side 18, or both sides 18 and 20 may be sloped towards each other at said angles. This sloping serves to reduce the size of opening 72. When several storage pockets 14 are inserted into interior 26 of cover 12, the fact that the outer cover 12 is sloped toward leading edge 65 compresses the storage pockets 14 together and friction tends to prevent the storage pockets 14 from rotating out of outer cover 12, thus keeping compact disc 11 safely stored within compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10.

[0038] A second alternative closure embodiment is shown in FIG. 15. In this embodiment, base 28 of storage pocket 14 has a notch 100, which can accept a locking pin 101. Locking pin 101 can be mounted to spacer 64, or alternatively can be separate from the compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 but engageable with it. Locking pin 101 simply must be long enough so that, when front tip 200 of locking pin 101 is inserted into notch 100 of storage pocket 14, back tip 201 of locking pin 101 is still in contact with spacer 64. When front tip 200 of locking pin 101 is inserted into notch 100 of storage pocket 14, storage pocket 14 cannot rotate freely on pivot 16 about pivot point 32, thus ensuring that compact disc 11 will not rotate out of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10, while in the storage position 86.

[0039] Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, in an embodiment of the present invention, each storage pocket 14 may have a return device 82. Return device 82 facilitates the automatic movement of storage pocket 14 from a compact disc dispensing position 84 to a compact disc storage position 86. A first end 88 of return device 82 is attached to an attachment position 92 on storage pocket 14 and a second end 90 of return device 82 is attached to a second attachment position 94 on spacing means 64. Return device 82 can be any material or object that will facilitate the automatic movement of storage pocket 14 from a compact disc dispensing position 84 (FIG. 10) to a compact disc storage position 86 (FIG. 9). Examples of return devices 82 that may be used in the present invention include, but are not limited to rubber bands, synthetic elastic bands and springs.

[0040] Referring to FIG. 9, a leading edge 65 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 is formed by an end of spacing means 64. When storage pocket 14 is in a compact disc storage position 86, the minimum distance between leading edge 65 and the upper tip 66 of storage pocket 14 is always less than the diameter of a compact disc, digital video disc (DVD) or other similar item. This feature ensures that the storage pocket 14 cannot rotate out of the outer cover 12, when storage pocket 14 is in a storage position 86.

[0041] Referring to FIG. 11, a leading edge 65 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 is formed by an end of spacing means 64. Leading edge 65 is positioned such that it does not impede the rotation of storage pocket 14, especially when storage pocket 14 contains compact disc 11 and is in partially a opened position 87 as shown in FIG. 11.

[0042] The present invention is further related to a method of storing and dispensing compact discs using the apparatus of the present invention. The method of storing generally includes the steps of:

[0043] moving index arm 34 of storage pocket 14 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 in a direction generally towards spacing means 64 to expose opening 29 of storage pocket 14 at a position in front of leading edge 65 of outer cover 12 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10;

[0044] receiving compact disc 11 from a compact disc user device into opening 29 of storage pocket 14;

[0045] withdrawing compact disc 11 from the device; and

[0046] moving index arm 34 in the general direction away from spacing means 64 to place storage pocket 14 with compact disc 11 at a position in interior 26 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10, which is in storage position 86.

[0047] To aid in retrieval of compact disc 11, pressure may be applied to upper side 18 and lower side 20 of outer cover 12, when storage pocket 14 is in dispensing position 84. The pressure applied to upper side 18 and lower side 20 of outer cover 12 deforms each side in the general direction of storage pocket 14. In this way, the applied pressure is transferred to storage pocket 14, improving the gripping power of the interior of storage pocket 14.

[0048] The method of dispensing compact disc 11 from compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 includes the steps of:

[0049] moving index arm 34 of storage pocket 14 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 in a direction generally toward spacing means 64 to expose compact disc 11 and storage pocket 14 in a dispensing position 84;

[0050] inserting compact disc 11 into a compact disc user device;

[0051] withdrawing storage pocket 14 and compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10 from the compact disc user device and compact disc 11; and

[0052] moving index arm 34 in the general direction away from spacing means 64 to place storage pocket 14 at a position in interior 26 of compact disc dispensing/retrieving device 10, which is storage position 86.

[0053] The present method can be used with any compact disc user device including stereos, computers and digital video disc (DVD) players. In an embodiment of the present invention, the present method is used with a compact disc player in a vehicle, such as a car, truck or boat. In this embodiment, the user can select the desired compact disc based on which of several index arms 34 he or she selects. The index arms 34 can be color-coded, labeled, textured, or have various shaped tips to aid the user in selecting the appropriate compact disk or digital video disk (DVD), or other similar item. The present method allows for one handed selection, dispensing and/or retrieval of compact discs from the compact disc device. The present method is particularly advantageous in that it provides a method for a user to change/play compact discs in a vehicle with minimal disruption from the operation of the vehicle.

[0054] The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment. Obvious modifications and alterations will occur to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description.