Title:
Media lift
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A media lift that is configured for mounting in a storage chamber is provided. The media lift is comprised of a flat panel screen holder; the media lift being configured to move the flat panel screen holder between a stored position in the storage chamber and a viewing position outside the storage chamber. The media lift utilizes gas cylinders to elevate and lower the flat panel screen holder. The media lift can be formed in structures such as a footboard of a bed or a quilt rack. In addition, a bed having a footboard frame comprising the media lift is described. Speakers are mounted within the bed's structure to provide a surround sound system. The headboard of the bed has storage compartments for multimedia equipment. Furthermore, a desk unit comprising the media lift is described.



Inventors:
Hanson, Thomas W. (Baldwin, WI, US)
Application Number:
10/964507
Publication Date:
04/13/2006
Filing Date:
10/13/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/905, 312/7.2, 5/2.1
International Classes:
A47B81/06; A47C17/00; A47D11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SANTOS, ROBERT G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dykema Gossett PLLC (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A media lift operatively configured and arranged for mounting in a storage chamber and a flat panel screen holder, the media lift being configured to move the flat panel screen holder between a stored position in the storage chamber and a viewing position outside the storage chamber.

2. The media lift of claim 1 which utilizes gas springs to elevate and lower the flat panel screen holder.

3. The media lift of claim 1 which utilizes a combination of a scissors-type lift mechanism and gas cylinders to elevate and lower the flat panel screen holder.

4. The media lift of claim 1 which utilizes discharging and regenerating gas spring cylinders to elevate and lower the flat panel screen holder.

5. A storage chamber comprising the media lift of claim 1 wherein the chamber is formed into a structure selected from the group consisting of: a quilt rack, a book shelf, a footboard of a bed, a credenza, a deacon's bench, a desk, a nightstand, and a dresser.

6. The media lift of claim 1 that further comprises at least one mount for a speaker operatively configured to an audio system.

7. A bed having a footboard frame comprising: a storage chamber formed within the footboard frame; a flat panel screen holder operatively configured to securely hold a flat panel screen; and a media lift operatively coupled to a portion of the storage chamber and the flat panel screen holder, the media lift being configured to move the flat panel screen holder between a stored position in the storage chamber and a viewing position outside the storage chamber.

8. The bed of claim 7 wherein the flat panel screen holder comprises a flat panel screen mounted therein.

9. The bed of claim 8 wherein the flat panel screen holder comprises a television tuner mounted therein.

10. The bed of claim 7 wherein a computer system is arranged in a storage chamber configured in the headboard of the bed frame.

11. The bed of claim 7 further comprising an audio system with at least one speaker built into a structure of the bed.

12. The bed of claim 11 further comprising an audio system with one speaker within each post of the bed.

13. The bed of claim 7 wherein an electronic system is built into the bed.

14. The bed of claim 7 further comprising a remote gyro mouse and keyboard that are operatively configured to a receiving station mounted within a structure of the bed.

15. The bed of claim 7 wherein the footboard frame and storage chamber comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: oak solids and veneers, birch, maple, pine, rustic style log, and stainless steel.

16. The bed of claim 7 wherein the flat panel screen holder is supported within a bed type selected from the group consisting of: a daybed, four poster, pencil post, sleigh, futon and sofa, bunk, metal, and motion bed.

17. The bed of claim 7 wherein the flat panel screen holder is supported within a bed size selected from the group consisting of: a standard king, California king, queen, full, or twin bed.

18. A desk unit comprising: a body; a flat panel screen holder operatively configured to securely hold a flat panel screen; a media lift operatively coupled to a portion of the cavity and the flat panel screen holder, the media lift being configured to move the flat panel screen holder between a stored position in the cavity and a viewing position outside the cavity; a shelf system operatively configured to the body, the shelf system configured to receive and store office paraphernalia and electronic equipment; a door hingedly fixed to the body for selectively opening and closing the shelf system; and a sliding drawer system operatively configured to the body, the drawer system configured to receive and store office paraphernalia and electronic equipment.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a mechanical lift mechanism which can be integrated with home and office furniture to both store and display various electronics while utilizing efficient use of space.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Furniture styling, especially that of bedroom furniture, incorporates a wide variety of styles, borrowing ideas from cultures across the globe in order to achieve a unique, signature style for bedrooms of adults and children alike. For those that are on the cutting edge of modern interior decorating practices, they know all too well that interior design is susceptible to the same type of trends or cyclical popularity as that experienced in the fashion world or other areas.

Furthermore, television (TV) sets have become larger over the years. Recently, the TV displays, or monitors, have become very large, often separated from the TV set. Some are thin but of large area including the new plasma displays. They have become so large that it is often desirable to hide them when not in use. See for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,151,804 “Elevating apparatus particularly adapted for television receiver support-tables and the like” issued Jan. 1, 1979 to Wache. In addition, it has been known to provide various pieces of furniture, including beds, with entertainment centers which have a TV or stereo sets that can be concealed while not being viewed by that person. One example of an integrated sofa-bed and TV unit can be seen in U.S. Pat. No. 3,608,101 “Integrated Sofa-bed and Television Unit” issued Sep. 28, 1971 to Castro et al.

Some of the systems that conceal and reveal electronics utilize electronic motors; others utilize scissors-type lifts. In addition, gas spring cylinders can also be utilized to elevate and lower electronics in furniture. A gas spring is an energy-storage device similar in function to mechanical coil springs. Mechanical coil springs store energy by straining the material composing the spring. A gas spring stores energy by compressing the nitrogen gas within the gas spring. As a mechanical coil spring is compressed, additional strain is placed within the spring, which adds to the spring's stored energy. Likewise, as a gas spring is compressed, the gas chamber volume is reduced due to the intrusion of the shaft into the gas spring tube; thereby causing the gas pressure to rise, storing more energy.

The goal is the same with either type of spring; to move or resist the movement of some object. Typically for gas springs, the object to be moved is an automotive liftgate, hood or trunk. Gas springs are not limited to just this use, and in fact can be used in many applications where mechanical springs are applied.

One of the significant differences between mechanical springs and gas springs is the force provided at their free length. Gas springs always require some initial force to begin compression. Mechanical springs have a characteristic known as free length. This is the length of the spring with no force applied. The force required to move the spring begins at zero and increases according to the spring rate. Gas springs in their “free length” require some initial force before any movement takes place. After the full initial force is applied the gas spring will begin to compress. In mechanical springs this initial force is called pre-load and requires additional hardware to achieve. Another significant difference is the spring rate. Gas springs can be designed with a very low spring rate utilizing a small package. A similar mechanical spring would require as much as twice the package space. The ability to have a controlled rate of extension is another major difference. Gas springs can provide a rate of extension (controlled release of the stored energy) that can be set to a prescribed velocity. Mechanical springs do not have this ability. In fact, gas springs can have multiple extension rates within the same gas spring (typically two: one through the majority of the extension stroke, another at the end of the extension stroke to provide dampening).

Applicant has been marketing a media lift that uses a platform supported at opposite sides by a pair of gas springs that raise and lower in synchrony. With the new flat plasma displays, it would be desirable to provide a more compact device with simple construction to take advantage of the compact configuration of these new displays. Moreover, an attractive piece of bedroom furniture that fits within or complements a room's decor and incorporates a multimedia system has commercial advantages. Where the set is a console or is placed on a conventional TV stand the viewing angle is less than comfortable and a substantial amount of floor space is required. The present invention overcomes these and other problems and inconveniences associated with viewing a TV from a bed by positioning the TV at the optimal angle and the optimal distance from the viewer, with little obstruction of floor space. The present invention provides a solution to these needs and other problems, and offers other advantages over the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a media lift is configured for mounting in a storage chamber. The media lift is a type of mechanical lift mechanism used to conceal and reveal multimedia equipment in home and office furniture. The media lift is comprised of a flat panel screen holder; the media lift being configured to move the flat panel screen holder between a stored position in the storage chamber and a viewing position outside the storage chamber. The media lift utilizes gas springs to elevate and lower the flat panel screen holder. The storage chamber can be formed in structures such as a footboard of a bed, quilt rack, dressers, etc. In addition, a bed having a footboard frame comprising the media lift is described. Speakers are mounted within the bed's structure to provide a surround sound system. The headboard of the bed has storage compartments for multimedia equipment. Furthermore, a desk unit comprising the medial lift is described.

Additional advantages and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part, will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned by practice of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a media lift configured to a footboard of a bed.

FIG. 2 is a cutaway view of a media lift configured to a footboard of a bed, with a flat screen monitor stored inside the footboard.

FIG. 3 is a cutaway view of a media lift configured to a footboard of a bed, with a flat screen monitor elevated outside the footboard.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a footboard of a bed configured with a media lift and a flat screen monitor stored inside the footboard.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a footboard of a bed configured with a media lift and a flat screen monitor elevated outside the footboard.

FIG. 6 is a front cutaway view of a media lift

FIG. 7 is a top cross sectional view of a media lift.

FIG. 8 is a partially cutaway view of one embodiment of a gas spring.

FIG. 9 is a front view of a headboard with storage for multimedia equipment.

FIG. 10 is a front cross sectional view of a desk unit configured with a

    • media lift.

FIG. 11 is a side cross sectional view of a desk unit configured with a media lift.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a media lift 101 configured to a footboard 108 of a bed 100. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the media lift 101 can be configured to other furniture such as a quilt rack, a book shelf, a credenza, and a deacon's bench. The media lift 101 conceals a flat screen monitor 126 when not in use, and elevates the flat screen monitor 126 to a position outside the footboard 108 when in use.

FIG. 2 is a cutaway view of the media lift 101 configured to the footboard 108 of a bed 100, with the flat screen monitor 126 stored inside. A television tuner can be configured to the flat screen monitor 126 so that a person may watch television from the bed 100. In addition, in preferred embodiments the headboard 106 of the bed 100 has separate computer storage 110 and DVD player, keyboard and mouse storage 122. In preferred embodiments, the bed 100 is composed of oak solids and oak veneers. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the bed 100 may be made of other types of wood such as birch, maple, pine and rustic style log. It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the bed 100 may alternatively be constructed from metal, glass, or composites. Furthermore, the bed 100 can be any bed type selected from the group consisting of: a daybed, four poster, pencil post, sleigh, futon and sofa, bunk, metal, and motion bed. Also, the bed size may be a standard king, California king, queen, full, or twin bed. A flat panel screen holder 102 holds the flat screen monitor 126 inside a storage chamber 103. The storage chamber 103 is formed within the footboard 108. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the storage chamber 103 can also be formed within furniture consisting of the following but not limited to a quilt rack, a book shelf, a credenza, a deacon's bench, a desk, a nightstand, and a dresser. FIG. 2 also shows a mattress 114 and a bed structure 104. A headboard 106 and bed posts 120 are also shown.

FIG. 3 is a cutaway view of the media lift 101 configured to a footboard 108 of a bed 100. The flat screen monitor 126 is elevated outside the footboard 108 by means of gas springs 128. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the flat screen monitor 126 may be elevated by other mechanisms, such as a scissors—lift mechanism.

FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of the media lift 101. FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the footboard 108 of the bed 100 configured with the media lift 101 and the flat screen monitor 126 stored inside the footboard 108. In preferred embodiments, an audio system is built into the bed structure 104. Furthermore, in preferred embodiments each bed post 120 comprises a speaker 118 which is coupled to the audio system. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a subwoofer 116 may be configured to the bed structure 104. FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the footboard 108 of the bed 100 configured with the media lift 101 and the flat screen monitor 126 elevated outside the footboard 108.

FIG. 6 is a front cutaway view of the media lift 101. If necessary, the flat panel screen holder 102 may have a weight 132 for lift compensation. Furthermore, a latch 138 is configured to the bottom of the flat panel screen holder 102 for a “latch and release” type mechanism. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other types of latches may be used, such as spring loaded latches and catches. The flat panel screen holder 102 is configured to a remote push button release. When the flat screen monitor 126 is not in use, both the flat screen monitor 126 and the flat panel screen holder 102 are moved down into the footboard 108 of the bed 100 via a downward force or manual push down. The flat panel screen holder 102 comprising the flat screen monitor 126 latches to a receiver in the footboard 108. When the flat screen monitor 126 is to be viewed, the remote push button release moves the flat panel screen holder 102 to a viewing position outside the footboard 108 of the bed 100. This releases the latch 138 from the receiver and gas springs 128 synchronously elevate the flat screen monitor 126 to a position outside the footboard 108 of the bed 100. In addition, a slide 130 is configured to two sides of the flat panel screen holder 102 for smooth movement of the flat screen monitor 126 from the inside of the footboard 108 to a position outside the footboard 108. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the slide 130 utilizes a standard gliding mechanism.

FIG. 7 is a top cross sectional view of the media lift 101. A decorative front and mount plate 136 is attached to the viewing side of the flat panel screen holder 108 and flat screen monitor 126. A cover panel 134 is attached to the back non-viewing side of the flat panel screen holder 108 and flat screen monitor 126. Both the decorative front and mount plate 136 and the cover panel 134 provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the media lift 101 that blends with any surrounding room furniture.

FIG. 8 is a partially cutaway view of one embodiment of the gas spring 128. Mounting hardware 140 is attached to a rod 142 that leads into a main seal 144. The main seal 144 provides positive sealing under static and dynamic conditions. The main seal 144 is part of a seal system 146. Furthermore, a limit groove 148 follows the seal system 146 to provide an internal piston stop to assure precise free length. A piston seal 150 ensures that gas and liquid are properly metered through the piston orifice during dynamic conditions. The piston seal 150 is configured in a standard piston assembly 152 to provide controlled extension and free compression. A pressure cylinder 154 follows the standard piston assembly 152. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a gas spring is interchangeable with a variable positioning strut or similar piston mechanisms.

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of a headboard 106 with storage for multimedia equipment. In preferred embodiments the headboard 106 has speakers 118 configured to posts 120. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the headboard 106 need not have posts 120. Instead, the speakers 118 could be configured to any part of the bed structure 104. Moreover, in preferred embodiments the speakers 118 and subwoofer 116 together form a surround sound system for the bed 100. This surround sound system provides a pleasing audio addition to viewing the flat screen monitor 126. The headboard 106 has the storage for computer 110 and the storage for DVD player, keyboard, and mouse 122. In preferred embodiments, a keyboard and a mouse utilize a wireless connection to a receiver coupled to a computer. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that wireless keyboards and mouse can be used interchangeably with a variety of remote gyro keyboards and mouse found in the market. Additionally, the headboard 106 has a sliding door 124 that provides access to the storage for computer 110 and storage for DVD player, keyboard, and mouse 122.

FIGS. 10 and 11 are cross sectional views of a desk unit 160 configured with the medial lift 101. FIG. 10 is a front cross sectional view of desk unit 160. The desk unit 160 consists of a body 162 and the flat panel screen holder 102 operatively configured to securely hold the flat screen monitor 126. In preferred embodiments of the desk unit 160 the flat screen monitor 126 is configured to a computer, but it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the flat screen monitor 126 can be configured to a television tuner as well. The media lift 101 is operatively coupled to the flat panel screen holder 102, the media lift 101 utilizing gas springs 128 to move the flat panel screen holder 102 between a stored position in the body 162 and a viewing position outside the body 162. Also, a remote push button release system is configured to the desk unit 160 so that no external force is necessary to move the flat panel screen holder 102. Furthermore, the desk unit 160 has a shelf system 164 which is operatively configured to the body 162, the shelf system 164 configured to receive and store office paraphernalia and electronic equipment. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that office paraphernalia includes but is not limited to writing instruments, staplers, hole punches, paper files, etc. It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that electronic equipment includes but is not limited to compact disk and/or DVD players, radios, keyboards, mouse, printers 170, etc. Also, at least one door 166 is hinged to the body 162 for selectively opening and closing the shelf system. The door 166 can be any standard cabinet—types found in the industry. The desk unit 160 may also have one or more sliding drawer systems 168 to hold office paraphernalia and electronic equipment. Furthermore, the desk unit 160 may be constructed out of a variety of woods and metals, including but not limited to birch, maple, pine, rustic log, and stainless steel. FIG. 11 shows a side cross sectional view of the desk unit 160. In preferred embodiments, the desk unit 160 is configured with one or more speakers 118 and a sub woofer 116. The speakers 118 and sub woofer 116 would be tuned to a receiver or speaker control 169 configured to the desk unit 160. The combination of speakers 118 and sub woofer 116 would create a surround sound—type audio system. The audio system would add a pleasing effect to utilizing a computer 112 or multimedia equipment.

It is to be understood that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of various embodiments of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of various embodiments of the invention, this disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of structure and arrangement of parts within the principles of the present invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.