Title:
Canopy apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A canopy apparatus including a canopy element having a canopy material bounded by a canopy frame. The base frame element is removably attached to an object, and a connector element allows for the removal and attachment of the canopy element to the base frame element. The canopy element extends away from the base frame and reduces the glare on a screen resulting from direct lighting, such as sunlight, reduces eye strain and provides dust protection.



Inventors:
Miller, Joseph E. (Naples, FL, US)
Cruz, Jose De La (Ft. Myers, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/960121
Publication Date:
03/27/2003
Filing Date:
09/21/2001
Assignee:
Bush Industries, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/142, 135/155, 348/E5.131, 135/120.3
International Classes:
G06F1/16; H04N5/65; (IPC1-7): E04H15/58
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FITZGERALD, JOHN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William H. Logsdon (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A canopy apparatus, comprising: a canopy element having a canopy material bounded by a canopy frame; a base frame element configured to be removably attached to an object; and a connector element configured to removably attach the canopy element to the base frame element; wherein the canopy element extends away from the base frame element and is configured to reduce glare on a screen resulting from direct lighting.

2. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the canopy element has a concave substantially rectangular shape.

3. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the canopy material is one of wire, mesh, fabric and plastic.

4. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the canopy element further comprises a canopy attachment mechanism configured to secure the canopy element to the connector element.

5. The canopy apparatus of claim 4, wherein the connector element further comprises at least one connector element orifice configured to mate with a canopy attachment mechanism.

6. The canopy apparatus of claim 5, wherein the at least one connector element orifice is configured to rotatably accept the canopy attachment mechanism therein, thereby allowing the canopy element to rotate.

7. The canopy apparatus of claim 4, wherein the connector element further comprises at least one threaded set screw orifice configured to accept a set screw therein, thereby further securing the canopy attachment mechanism to the connector element.

8. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base frame element further comprises a slide leg with two ends, each end connected to a base leg.

9. The canopy apparatus of claim 8, wherein the connector element further comprises a slide leg orifice extending through the connector element and configured to slidably accept the slide leg therethrough, thereby allowing the connector element to slide along a first axis of movement.

10. The canopy apparatus of claim 9, wherein the connector element is configured to rotate around the first axis of movement.

11. The canopy apparatus of claim 9, wherein the connector element further comprises a connector set mechanism configured to releasably secure the connector element to the slide leg.

12. The canopy apparatus of claim 11, wherein the connector element further comprises a threaded connector set mechanism orifice configured to accept the connector set mechanism therein and the connector set mechanism further comprises a threaded shaft configured to mate with the threaded connector set mechanism orifice, such that, in use, the connector set mechanism shaft is threaded through the threaded set mechanism orifice until it abuts the slide leg, thereby securing the connector element to the horizontal slide leg.

13. The canopy apparatus of claim 8, wherein the at least one base leg further comprises an adjustable slide mechanism configured to allow the base leg to move in a second axis of movement.

14. The canopy apparatus of claim 13, wherein the base leg is tubular and the adjustable slide mechanism comprises a hollow tubular element with an inside diameter greater than the outside diameter of the base leg, the hollow tubular element configured to slidably accept the base leg therein.

15. The canopy apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a base leg set mechanism configured to secure the base leg with respect to the adjustable slide mechanism.

16. The canopy apparatus of claim 15, wherein the base leg set mechanism is an adjustable hand flange.

17. The canopy apparatus of claim 8, wherein the at least one base leg terminates in a base leg attachment mechanism.

18. The canopy apparatus of claim 17, wherein the base leg attachment mechanism is one of a screw arrangement, an adhesive, a suction cup and a rivet arrangement.

19. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base frame element is configured to be attachable to a base element.

20. The canopy apparatus of claim 19, wherein the base element further comprises a swivel mechanism on an underside of the base element, thereby allowing the base element to rotate.

21. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the object is one of a table, a flat substrate, a side of a computer monitor, and a side of the television set.

22. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, wherein the screen is one of a computer screen, a television screen and a portable projection device screen.

23. The canopy apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a lighting mechanism configured to project light towards an underside of the canopy element.

24. A canopy apparatus, comprising: a canopy element having a canopy material bounded by a canopy frame; a base frame element configured to be removably attached to an object; a connector element configured to removably attach the canopy element to the base frame element; wherein the canopy element has a concave substantially rectangular shape; wherein the base frame element further comprises a slide leg with two ends, each end connected to a base leg, thereby forming an inverted U shape; wherein the connector element is configured to slide along a first axis of movement and rotate around the first axis movement; wherein the at least one base leg further comprises an adjustable slide mechanism configured to allow the base leg to move at a second axis of movement; and wherein the base frame element is configured to be attachable to the base element.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to a canopy apparatus for screen devices, and, in particular, to a canopy apparatus for light retardation and/or glare reduction on screen devices, such as computer monitors and television screens.

[0003] 2. Brief Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Canopy apparatus is well known for blocking sunlight and other bright lights from directly impacting an object or person. For example, an umbrella may be used to either shield a person from rain or, in the alternative, protect a person from sunlight. While covers are well known to protect a device or object from sunlight, such a cover would encapsulate or block the device in many instances.

[0005] In particular, many people are required to or prefer to use a screened device in a location with excessive sunlight or other harsh lighting. However, in these conditions, such lighting will cause a glare on the screen, preventing the user from clearly viewing the screen and its contents. Specifically, many people would prefer to watch a television outdoors in the sun. Similarly, other people enjoy to or are required by their job demands to use a computer, laptop, personal digital assistant or other electronic device having a screen outdoors. In both of these situations, the glare caused by the sunlight reflecting from the screen reduces overall visibility and clarity.

[0006] There has been developed certain devices that can be attached directly to a screen, such as a computer screen, that are tinted and do not reflect light. While this reduces glare, such tinted adapters drastically reduce the quality and clarity of the image on the screen. Typically, a computer screen with such a tinted adapter is too dark, and, if the lighting is reduced, too dark to even view. Also, such tinted adapters are not flexible or easily adapted to different situations, such as the angle of the light, the irregularity of the light, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a canopy apparatus that reduces the glare on a screened device, such as a computer screen or a television screen. It is another object of the present invention to provide a canopy apparatus that is easily adjustable to account for the variability in the light source. It is another object of the present invention to provide a canopy apparatus that is simple in its installation and inexpensive in its manufacture. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a canopy apparatus that reduces eye strain and provides cover from dust for the screened device and associated devices.

[0008] Accordingly, we have invented a canopy apparatus that includes a canopy element having a canopy material bounded by a canopy frame. The present invention also includes a base frame element configured to be removably attached to an object, such as a table or the side of a computer screen. The apparatus also includes a connector element which allows the canopy element to be removably attached to the base frame element. The canopy element extends away from the base frame element and blocks sunlight or other harsh direct light from reflecting from a screen, thereby reducing the glare.

[0009] The present invention, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a top view of a first embodiment of a canopy apparatus according to the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a side view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a top view of a second embodiment of a canopy apparatus according to the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 6 is a front view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 5;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a side view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 5;

[0017] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a connector element according to the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 9 is a top view of a third embodiment of a canopy apparatus according to the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 10 is a front view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 9;

[0020] FIG. 11 is a side view of the canopy apparatus of FIG. 9;

[0021] FIG. 12 is a side sectional view of canopy material attached to a canopy frame;

[0022] FIG. 13 is another embodiment of canopy material attached to a canopy frame; and

[0023] FIG. 14 is a further embodiment of canopy material attached to a canopy frame.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0024] The present invention is a canopy apparatus 10 for reducing the glare emanating from a screened device caused by sunlight and/or other direct and focused light, reducing eye strain in a user, and providing dust protection for the screened device and associated devices, e.g., a computer keyboard, a video game console, etc. The canopy apparatus 10 includes a canopy element 12, which includes a canopy material 14 and a canopy frame 16. Further, the canopy element 12 is connected to a base frame element 18 by a connector element 20. Specifically, the connector element 20 allows the canopy element 12 to be removably attached to the base frame element 18. This canopy element 12 extends away from the base frame element 18 and, when positioned properly, reduces screen glare resulting from direct focused lighting and resultant eye strain.

[0025] It is envisioned that the canopy element 12 has a concave, substantially rectangular shape. The curved shape of the canopy element 12 provides maximum protection of a screen from sunlight or other focused light, which reduces eye strain. The canopy element 12 may also be sized to project sufficiently to provide protection from dust for the screened device, as well as other associated devices. However, it is envisioned that the canopy element 12 may be sized and shaped in order to be suitable in a variety of applications. For example, in the case of a personal digital assistant (PDA), since the screen of the PDA is substantially smaller than that of a television or typical monitor, the canopy element 12 may not require any curvature in order to achieve the same result. The canopy material 14 may be wire, mesh, fabric, plastic or any other suitable material which blocks or diffuses light.

[0026] In the first embodiment, as seen in FIGS. 1-3, the canopy material 14 is mesh and is stretched taut and bound to the canopy frame 16. In order to further secure the canopy material 14 to the canopy frame 16, canopy clips 22 may be used. For example, these canopy clips 22 may be simple C-clamps, which easily slide over the canopy material 14 and canopy frame 16, thereby securing the canopy material 14 to the canopy frame 16.

[0027] As seen in FIG. 2, the canopy frame 16 has a canopy attachment mechanism for securing the canopy element 12 to the connector element 20. In this embodiment, the canopy attachment mechanism 24 is two vertically projecting canopy attachment mechanism legs 26. In order to secure the canopy attachment 24 to the connector element 20, the connector element 20 has at least one connector element orifice 28, which mates with the canopy attachment mechanism 24, in this case the canopy attachment mechanism legs 26. Since, in this embodiment, the canopy attachment mechanism 24 consists of two canopy attachment mechanism legs 26, there are a corresponding two connector element orifices 28 into which the canopy attachment mechanism legs 26 are inserted.

[0028] In order to further secure the canopy attachment mechanism 24 to the connector element 20, the connector element 20 uses at least one, and preferably two (one for each canopy attachment mechanism leg 26) threaded set screw orifices 30, each adapted to accept a set screw (not shown) therein. In construction, after the canopy attachment mechanism legs 26 are inserted into the connector element orifices 28, a set screw is threaded through each of the threaded set screw orifices 30 until they abut the canopy attachment mechanism legs 26, thereby removably securing the canopy attachment mechanism legs 26 to the connector element 20.

[0029] In this embodiment, the base frame element 18 includes a slide leg 32 having two ends, with each end connected to a base leg 34. As seen in FIG. 2, it is envisioned that the slide leg 32 is typically a horizontal leg, and the base legs 34 are vertical legs.

[0030] The connector element 20 includes a slide leg orifice 36, which extends through the connector element 20 and slidably accepts the slide leg 32 through it. This construction allows the connector element 12 to move or slide along a first axis of movement X. In addition, this construction allows the connector element 20 to rotate around this first axis of movement X, thereby allowing the canopy element 12 to be rotated as well. In order to releasably secure the connector element 20 to the slide leg 32, connector element 20 includes a connector set mechanism 38.

[0031] In a preferred embodiment, the connector element 20 includes a threaded connector set mechanism orifice 40, which is adapted to accept the connector set mechanism 38 therein. Specifically, the connector set mechanism 38 has a threaded shaft 42 that screws into the threaded connector set mechanism orifice 40. Further, in use, the connector threaded shaft 42 of the connector set mechanism 38 is threaded into the threaded connector set mechanism orifice 40 until it abuts the slide leg 32, thereby disallowing any movement along the first axis of movement X, and further disallowing any rotation of the connector element 20. In order to easily allow a user to quickly unthread, slide and rethread the connector set mechanism 38, the connector set mechanism 38 may also include a connector set mechanism knob 44.

[0032] Each of the base legs 34 use an adjustable slide mechanism 46, which allows each base leg 34 to move in a second axis of movement Y. Each base leg 34 is tubular, and the adjustable slide mechanism 46 is a hollow tubular element 48 with an inside diameter greater than the outside diameter of the base leg 34. This hollow tubular element 48 slidably accepts the base leg 34 within it, allowing the base leg 34 to be adjusted along the second axis of movement Y.

[0033] In order to secure the base leg 34 to the hollow tubular element 48, the adjustable slide mechanism 46 may also include a base leg set mechanism 50. As with the connector set mechanism 38, the base leg set mechanism 50 secures the base leg 34 to the hollow tubular element 48, disallowing any movement. It is envisioned that this base leg set mechanism 50 is any suitable means for securing the base leg 34 to the hollow tubular element 48, such as an adjustable hand flange.

[0034] In order to secure the base legs 34 to an object, such as a table or the side of a computer monitor, a base leg attachment mechanism 52 is provided. It is envisioned that the base leg attachment mechanism 52 can be a screw arrangement, an adhesive, a suction cup, a rivet arrangement, etc. Also, the base leg attachment mechanism 52 can be permanent, semi-permanent or easily removable from an object. When using suction cups (not shown), the canopy apparatus 10 can be attached directly to the sides of a computer monitor or television set in an easily removable manner. For a more permanent attachment, the canopy apparatus 10 includes a base leg attachment mechanism 52 that uses a plate and screw arrangement, securely fastening the base legs 34 to an object such as a table or other flat substrate.

[0035] As discussed above, the canopy material 14 may be plastic, which may negate the need for a canopy frame 16. In a second embodiment of the present invention, as seen in FIGS. 5-7, the canopy material 14 is plastic, and the canopy attachment mechanism 24 includes a screwable bracket 54 connected to a single canopy attachment mechanism leg 26. It is this bracket 54 that provides adequate and sturdy support for the plastic canopy material 14. Further, when using a single canopy attachment mechanism leg 26, only one connector element orifice 28 is required. Another advantage to using a single canopy attachment mechanism leg 26 is that after the canopy attachment mechanism leg 26 is inserted into the connector element orifice 28, the canopy element 12 is rotatable around the second axis of movement Y. Between the canopy attachment mechanism leg 26, the slide leg orifice 36 and the adjustable slide mechanism 46, the present invention is fully adjustable in any plane of movement for any application.

[0036] In a third embodiment, the canopy apparatus 10 includes a base element 56. In this embodiment, each base leg 34 is connected to the base element 56 via the base leg attachment mechanism 52. The advantage of using a base element 56 as opposed to other objects, such as a table, is that the resulting canopy apparatus 10 is portable and can be easily transported and used is a variety of situations. In order to increase the flexibility of this embodiment even further, the base element also includes a swivel mechanism 58 on an underside of the base element 56. The swivel mechanism 58 allows the base element 56 to rotate around the second axis of movement Y, thereby allowing the user to swivel the screen in different directions.

[0037] FIGS. 12-14 illustrate various materials and methods of construction between the canopy material 14 and canopy frame 16. In FIG. 12, the canopy material 14 is wrapped around the canopy frame 16 and double-stitched between the overlapping portion. FIG. 13 uses a stretched “sock” as the canopy material 14, which is stretched over the canopy frame 16 and held in place by canopy clips 22. Finally, FIG. 14 illustrates a canopy material 14 that is plastic and “hooked” over the canopy frame 16 and held in place by canopy clips 22.

[0038] It is also envisioned that a high intensity light may be mounted underneath the canopy element 12, projecting light against the underside of the canopy element 12. This upward projection of light, together with the concave shape of the canopy element, would provide indirect and non-glare lighting for the screened device and its associated devices. This would also allow night or evening use of the canopy apparatus 10. For example, this upward-projecting light may be mounted on the slide leg 32 of the base frame element 18.

[0039] Overall, the present invention provides a canopy apparatus 10 that assists in reducing and/or eliminating glare emanating from a screen when used in direct light and sunlight situations, thereby reducing eye strain of a user. The present invention is flexible and able to be adapted to any situation and any type of light. Also, if the light is reduced, the canopy apparatus 10 can be adjusted and modified to provide no additional glare protection. It is also envisioned, when using the plastic canopy material 14, the canopy element 12, due to its concave shape, actually assists in diffusing and illuminating the work area of the user. Further, the canopy apparatus 10 of the present invention is simple in its construction and easy to install. The present invention also acts as a dust protection cover for the screened device and its associated devices.

[0040] This invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obvious modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations.