Title:
Ergonomic mouse pad support
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An in-lap mouse pad support has an essentially flat panel, with an upper surface for a computer mouse and an undersurface having a plurality of thin, orthogonally disposed walls, to form an array of rectilinear cells of uniform size, and at least one sidewall with two or more rounded connecting members, sized to fit tightly into a rectilinear cell, extending upwardly from the sidewall upper edge, so that the sidewall may be attached to the flat panel thereby.



Inventors:
Gunsch, Tonya (Plano, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/315698
Publication Date:
06/10/2004
Filing Date:
12/10/2002
Assignee:
GUNSCH TONYA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/156, 108/43
International Classes:
A47B23/00; G06F3/039; (IPC1-7): A47B23/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WOOD, KIMBERLY T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOHN F. BRYAN (ENGLEWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. Apparatus for an in-lap mouse pad support, comprising: an essentially flat top panel to provide a working surface for a computer mouse pad, with right, left, near and far edges, and an undersurface; a plurality of thin, orthogonally disposed walls forming a plurality of rectilinear cells, wherein one edge of each wall is joined to the underside of the flat panel so as to provide stiffness thereto; at least one sidewall member having a length, an upper edge and a lower edge; and at least two rounded connecting members, each sized to fit tightly into a rectilinear cell, extending upwardly from the upper edge thereof, each fitting tightly into a rectilinear cell.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the flat top panel further comprises a substantially vertical front panel, rear panel, and right and left side panels.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the top panel further comprises a raised edge.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rectilinear cells toward the front panel are proportionately deeper than those toward the rear panel, so as to incline the top panel.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein rectilinear cells are arranged to accept the side wall in at least three alternative locations.

6. Apparatus for an in-lap mouse pad support, comprising: an essentially flat panel having an upper surface to provide a working surface for a computer mouse pad, and an undersurface with right, left, front and rear vertically depending panels; a plurality of thin, orthogonally disposed walls forming an array of rectilinear cells, wherein one edge of each wall is joined to the underside of the flat panel and both ends are joined to a vertical panel; at least one sidewall having a length, an upper edge and a lower edge; and at least two rounded connecting members, each sized to fit tightly into a rectilinear cell, extending upwardly from the upper edge thereof, each fitting tightly into a rectilinear cell.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the top panel further comprises a raised edge.

8. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the rectilinear cells toward the front panel are proportionately deeper than those toward the rear panel, so as to incline the top panel.

9. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein rectilinear cells are arranged to accept the side wall in at least three alternative locations.

10. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the flat panel further comprises a substantially vertical front panel, rear panel, and right and left side panels.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of computer mouse pads and more particularly to method and apparatus for ergonomic positioning and supporting of mouse pads.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Carpal tunnel syndrome has become a pervasive problem, largely as a result of the widespread use of computers in the general population's business and personal lives. Ergonomically designed keyboards and wrist supporting pads have become popular for combating the repetitive motion effect that causes this disorder and other efforts have been made to address the problem. For reasons inherent to its operation, working with a mouse has a greater adverse affect on carpal tunnel syndrome than does typing on a keyboard, and of course the mouse operating hand is called upon in both tasks.

[0003] Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological disease caused by the pressure of wrist ligaments rubbing against the median nerve of the hand. This nerve extends through the wrist to the hand by means of a “carpal tunnel”. The carpal tunnel provides a passageway through the densely packed carpal bones of the wrist. Relaxation of the forearms and wrists, when the hands are in the palms down mouse operating or typing position, will significantly diminish the pressures that cause this syndrome. Thus, the often unspoken purpose of ergonomic keyboards and wrist supporting pads is to provide relaxation of the forearms in this position. While most users are unaware that they also benefit in forearm relaxation, under desk top keyboard and mouse positioning has become popular as a means of saving desk top space.

[0004] In fact, the most relaxing placement for a mouse (or keyboard) is found to be in the lap, where the user's hands can rest in a natural, supported position. There have been a number of efforts to provide satisfactory lap support for a mouse pad, but there are more problems in doing this than are readily apparent. Of course, stability is most important, and strapping arrangements have been offered to address this need by binding the mouse pad to the user's thigh. Aside from being useless to anyone wearing a skirt or when used by diabetics, this approach has been found liable to cause circulatory system related problems. Others have offered mouse pads with side panels on the under surface, on each side of the user's thigh, so as to hold the mouse pad in position. This approach is also unsuited to skirt wearers. Alternatively, the side panels can be spaced widely apart to fit outside both legs in a wider arrangement more suitable to a keyboard than a mouse pad.

[0005] The approach of using a “bean bag” to adapt to the shape of a user's lap as a foundation for supporting a mouse pad is favored by some, but does not actually provide the degree of stability that most users would like.

[0006] A first object of the present invention is therefore, to provide a laptop mouse pad support that is positioned to mitigate the muscular tensions that contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. A second object is to provide this mouse pad support in a form that does not impose undue localized pressure on the user's leg(s). A third object is that the mouse pad support of the present inventions is easily positioned on one's lap. Yet a fourth third object is that the mouse pad support stay in place when so positioned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present inventions contemplate improved apparatus for an improved laptop mouse pad support. These inventions relate to or employ some steps and apparatus well known in the mouse pad and computer arts, and therefore not the subject of detailed discussion herein.

[0008] The present inventions comprise apparatus for supporting a mouse pad in a form that addresses all of the above objects, and in addition, is inexpensive to manufacture. A top comprising an essentially flat panel with an upper surface provides a working area for a computer mouse. The undersurface is characterized by a plurality of thin, orthogonally disposed walls to form a “rank and file” array of rectilinear cells of uniform size, with one edge of each wall joined to the underside of the flat panel, so as to provide stiffness. The upper surface may be bordered by an upwardly extending portion to keep the mouse on the working surface. At least one sidewall, with an upper edge and a lower edge, has at two rounded connecting members, each sized to fit tightly into a rectilinear cell and extends upwardly from the upper edge, so that the sidewall may be attached to the flat panel thereby. The rounded connecting members have a tapered leading end and cause the walls of the rectilinear cell to deflect slightly upon insertion to create a retaining force. The rectilinear cell arrangement permits the sidewall to be assembled in a central position, the right or left side, or anywhere in between. Thus assembled, the mouse-pad support is placed in the user's lap. The sidewall does not extend downward so much that it would interfere with a woman's skirt, and when centrally affixed to the top, may be positioned between the user's legs to keep the assembly in place. Alternatively, it may be positioned at either the right or left outside edge, as the user desires. In any case, with very little practice, the user finds that the mouse pad support of the present invention stays readily in place and is comfortable to use. If it is deemed desirable, the flat panel can be inclined upwardly from the user's near edge by giving the rectilinear cells progressively greater depth. In another embodiment of the present invention, two sidewalls may be spaced apart by a dimension appropriate to the thigh width of an individual user.

[0009] Practice of the above inventions in the manner described achieves the stated objects, even being usable by diabetics with severely degraded blood circulation in their legs who cannot tolerate pressure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The accompanying drawings are incorporated into the specification to assist in explaining the present inventions. The drawings illustrate preferred and alternative examples of how the inventions can be made and used and are not to be construed as limiting the inventions to only those examples illustrated and described. The various advantages and features of the present inventions will be apparent from a consideration of the drawings in which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the mouse pad support of the present inventions;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the embodiment of the present inventions as shown in FIG. 1; and

[0013] FIG. 3 is a cross-section view of the embodiment of FIG. 2 as seen along plane 3-3 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The present inventions are described in the following by referring to drawings of examples of how the inventions can be made and used. In these drawings, reference characters are used throughout the views to indicate like or corresponding parts. The embodiments shown and described herein are exemplary. Many details are well known in the art, and as such are neither shown nor described.

[0015] FIG. 1, an exploded perspective view of the present inventions, shows one possible relationship of sidewall 20 to mouse pad support 10 and the manner in which the two pieces go together. Top panel 12 is bordered by substantially vertical front wall 14, rear wall 16, and right and left walls 18R and 18L. These walls may be extended slightly above panel 12 to provide a raised edge 36. By reference to FIG. 2, a bottom view and FIG. 3, a cross-section view, it is seen that top panel 12 is supported by a generally uniform grid of perpendicular transverse walls 22 and lateral walls 24, forming a rank and file grid of rectilinear cells 30. As illustrated in FIG. 3, walls 22 and 24 may be made deeper in one embodiment of the present inventions, so as to give top panel 12 any desired degree of inclination.

[0016] Side wall 20 includes round pegs 32, sized and spaced to fit tightly into rectilinear cells 30. Round pegs 32 have a slightly tapered lead and cause walls 22 and 24 to deflect slightly upon insertion into a cell 30, so as to provide a secure holding force. The spacing of cells 30 is generally uniform, and thus sidewall 20 may be assembled to mouse pad support 10 at the right side, left side or in between. As an added convenience, rectilinear cells 34 are spaced to allow assembly of sidewall 20 in a skewed right or left position, so that the hand and wrist will be in the most relaxed position when the pad is centered in the user's lap.

[0017] Thus, users have the option of configuring the present inventions in the way that best suits their working posture. Sidewall 20 may be located on the right or left edge of the mouse support pad 10 and positioned on either side of the user's thigh, located centrally, or at an inclined angle. Where the prior art has focused on providing a firmly mounted mouse pad support, which can result in undue pressure on the user's leg, the present inventions have recognized that simply keeping the mouse pad support in the user's lap is the only important consideration.

[0018] The embodiments shown and described above are exemplary. It is not claimed that all of the details, parts, elements, or steps described and shown were invented herein. Even though many characteristics and advantages of the present inventions have been described in the drawings and accompanying text, the description is illustrative only. Changes may be made in the detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of the parts within the scope and principles of the inventions. The restrictive description and drawings of the specific examples above do not point out what an infringement of this patent would be, but are to provide at least one explanation of how to use and make the inventions. The limits of the inventions and the bounds of the patent protection are measured by and defined in the following claims.





 
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