Title:
Two-position desk chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chair provides support for a user in two configurations. The first configuration is a normal sitting position. The second configuration is a partial kneeling position. A knee cushion assembly is extendable from a stowed position under a tiltable seat cushion to an extended position in front of the seat cushion for the user's knees. When the knee cushion assembly is extended, the rear of the seat cushion is tilted upwardly to provide support for the user's buttocks.



Inventors:
Mays, Steven C. (San Antonio, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/232697
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/22/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/50
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alan R. Thiele (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A two-position chair comprising: a substantially horizontal seat cushion having a front portion and a rear portion; a substantially vertical back cushion positioned above and behind said substantially horizontal seat cushion; a support located under said substantially horizontal seat cushion; an extendable knee cushion assembly attached to said support, said knee cushion assembly having a first position wherein said knee cushion is positioned under said front portion of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion and a second position wherein said knee cushion is positioned in front of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion, and said rear portion of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion is elevated; whereby, in said first position of said extendable knee cushion assembly, an occupant of the chair will be supported by said tiltable horizontal seat cushion, and, in said second position of said extendable knee cushion assembly, an occupant of said chair will be supported by said knee cushion and said front portion of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion.

2. The two-position chair, as defined in claim 1, wherein said extendable knee cushion assembly includes a plurality of support arms and a movable handle for moving said knee cushion from its first position under the front portion of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion to its second position in front of said substantially horizontal tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion and elevating the rear portion of said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion.

3. The two-position chair, as defined in claim 1, further including a pair of substantially horizontal arm rests above said tiltable substantially horizontal seat cushion and extending outwardly with respect to said substantially vertical back cushion.

4. The two-position chair, as defined in claim 1, wherein said support is mounted on a set of rollers.

5. The two-position chair, as defined in claim 4, wherein said seat cushion swivels with respect to said support.

6. The two-position chair, as defined in claim 1, further including a support for said knee cushion extending from the bottom of said knee cushion to the surface on which the two-position chair is resting.

7. A chair enabling support of the weight of a user in two configurations, said chair comprising: a first configuration including a supported substantially horizontal seat cushion and a back cushion constructed and arranged to support the weight of a user in a sitting position; a second configuration including a supported tilted seat cushion and an extendable knee cushion to support the weight of a user in a partial kneeling position.

8. The chair, as defined in claim 7, further including a manual lever and linkage arms for moving the chair from said first configuration to said second configuration.

9. The chair, as defined in claim 7, further including arm rests on either side of said substantially horizontal seat cushion.

10. The chair, as defined in claim 7, further including a base assembly connected to said seat cushion with a swivel mounting.

11. The chair, as defined in claim 7, further including a floor support for said knee cushion when said knee cushion is in said second configuration.

12. A method of supporting a human being in both a sitting position and in a partial kneeling position, said method comprising the steps of: providing a chair having a seat cushion and a back cushion for supporting the human being in a sitting position; tilting said seat cushion and simultaneously moving a knee rest stored under said seat cushion to a position in front of said seat cushion for supporting the human being in a partial kneeling position.

13. A system for altering the support provided to a human being by a chair, said system comprising: a system for extending a knee rest to a position in front of the chair; a system for tilting the seat portion of the chair when said knee rest is positioned in front of the chair; whereby the human being can use the chair for support in a sitting position and can also use the chair when said knee rest has been extended and said seat portion of the chair has been tilted for support in a partial kneeling position.

14. A chair enabling support of a user in both a sitting position and a partial kneeling position, said chair comprising: a substantially vertical chair back, a tiltable substantially horizontal chair seat, and a support under said substantially horizontal chair seat, said substantially vertical chair back and said substantially horizontal chair seat constructed and arranged to support the user in a sitting position; a knee cushion extendable from a first stored position under said substantially horizontal chair seat to a second support position in front of said substantially horizontal chair seat when said substantially horizontal chair seat is tilted, said tilted chair seat and said knee cushion constructed and arranged to support the user in a partial kneeling position.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention pertains to office furniture; more particularly, the present invention pertains to an ergonomic chair which may be used in conjunction with a table or a chair.

BACKGROUND

In offices or study areas located in businesses, residences, or educational institutions, it is not uncommon to find workers or students seated in front of a computer screen for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, the chairs used with the desk or the table on which a computer is located do not properly position the user's body in the most comfortable position for the size or skeletal structure of a particular user. Even when a chair is approximately the correct size for the user of a computer, muscle fatigue is a common result of sitting in one position for long periods of time.

When computers first became small enough to be placed on the desks of office workers, in home offices, or in study areas, those who studied ergonomics recommended the use of a backless chair on which a computer user was supported in a partial kneeling position by placing the user's knees on a first forward pad and the user's buttocks on a second rear pad. While such chairs may have provided better skeletal and muscular support, most computer users found these backless chairs uncomfortable for long periods of use. Accordingly, many computer users reverted to conventional chairs and simply assumed a variety of different positions in the conventional chairs to find more comfortable ways of sitting to combat the effects of joint and muscle fatigue. The health impact was that many office workers and computer users suffered from both muscular fatigue and joint ailments, particularly lower back ailments, from not having proper support for their backs while sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer screen. Such lower back ailments include low back pain and sciatica.

Therefore, a need still remains in the art for an ergonomic chair usable by persons spending extended periods of time before a desk or a table—particularly those with chronic lower back ailments—that will provide skeletal and muscular support in different positions.

SUMMARY

A two-position ergonomic chair suitable for use over extended periods of time before a desk or a table that provides proper skeletal and muscular support in different positions is provided by the disclosed invention.

The disclosed two-position ergonomic chair has a conventional back support, a seat, a base to support the seat, and a retractable knee cushion assembly. The base of the disclosed chair is built around a column or post.

The disclosed two-position ergonomic chair includes a one-piece tiltable seat cushion having a front portion and a rear portion. Behind the rear portion of the tiltable seat cushion is a conventional, substantially vertical back support. Underneath the one-piece tiltable seat cushion is located a retractable knee cushion assembly. A mechanical system of support arms provides for movement of the knee cushion assembly from underneath the tiltable seat cushion to an extended position in front of the chair. Accordingly, a user may use the disclosed ergonomic chair as a conventional chair when the knee cushion assembly is located under the tiltable seat cushion. When the knee cushion assembly is moved out from under the chair to the extended position in front of the chair, the user may assume a partial kneeling position by placing the user's knees on the knee cushion assembly as the user's buttocks remain supported by the tilted seat cushion. When the user desires to return to a conventional sitting position, the knee cushion assembly is moved back under the seat cushion, and the seat cushion is returned to a level position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

A better understanding of the ergonomic two-position desk chair of the present invention may be had by reference to the drawing figures wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the ergonomic two-position desk chair of the present invention with the knee cushion assembly retracted under the tiltable seat cushion;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the ergonomic two-position desk chair of FIG. 1 with the knee cushion assembly extended and the seat cushion tilted;

FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C are side elevational views of the ergonomic two-position desk chair illustrating the changes between FIG. 1 and FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the ergonomic two-position desk chair.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

As may be seen by a comparison of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the disclosed two-position ergonomic desk chair 10 provides a user the opportunity for assuming two supported body positions. In FIG. 1, the user 100 is in a conventional sitting position with the legs 102 supported by the seat cushion 20 and the substantially vertical back support 40 in close proximity to the user's back 104. The knee cushion assembly 60 is stowed beneath the seat cushion 20. In the seated position, shown in FIG. 1, the low back muscles are stagnant.

In FIG. 2, the knee cushion assembly 60 has been extended out in front of the seat cushion 20, providing a support on which the user may rest the user's knees 106. The user's buttocks 108 remain on the seat cushion 20 which has been moved to a tilted position. In this position, the user's back 104 has been moved away from the substantially vertical back support 40, and the stabilizer muscles in the low back are activated. By moving a lever 90 located near the user's hand 110, the configuration of the disclosed two-position chair 10 may be easily changed between the configurations, shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. The lever locks by causing it to have a travel path which requires lever 90 to be first pushed inward before the lever may be moved up or down by the user 100.

A better understanding of the construction of the disclosed two-position ergonomic desk chair 10 may be had by an observation of the movement of the ergonomic chair between configurations, as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C. Support for the ergonomic chair is provided by a base assembly 30. The base assembly 30 in the preferred embodiment includes a plurality of substantially horizontal support arms 32 on which are located optional rollers 34 to enable the chair 10 to roll around. Those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that a variety of different base configurations may be used without departing from the scope of the invention. Opposite the optional rollers 34 on the substantially horizontal arms 32 is a central post or column 36. This central post or column 36 provides both support for the tiltable seat cushion 20 and the mechanism 62 which enables movement of the knee cushion 64 from a stowed position to a position in front of the tiltable seat cushion 20. If desired, the central post 36 may be extendable to adjust the vertical location of the seat cushion 20 with respect to the floor. If desired, a swivel mount well known to those of ordinary skill in the art may be used to connect the top of the central post 36 to the bottom 24 of the seat cushion 20.

Extending outwardly from the front 66 of the knee cushion 64 is a retractable floor support 68. In the stowed position, as shown in FIG. 3A, the retractable floor support 68 is tucked under the tiltable seat cushion 20. When the lever 90 on the side of the chair 10 is pushed in and down, as shown in FIG. 3B, the knee cushion 64 moves out from under the front 26 of the tiltable seat cushion 20, thus extending the retractable floor support 68 out between the user's legs 102. In FIG. 3C, the retractable floor support 68 has reached the limit of its travel and extends downwardly in front of the horizontal support arms 32 of the base assembly 30 and contacts the floor. This contact of the retractable floor support 68 with the floor enables the weight of the user 100 resting on the knee cushion 64 to be supported by the floor on which the two-position ergonomic desk chair 10 rests.

By a comparison of the position of the seat cushion shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C, it may be seen that, by the downward movement of the lever 90 on the side of the chair 10, the rear portion 22 of the tiltable seat cushion 20 is elevated. This movement of the tiltable seat cushion 20 provides a forward tilt, of about 24° in the preferred embodiment, to the seat cushion 20. When the user 100 tires of the partial kneeling position provided when the knee cushion 64 has been extended in front of the seat cushion 20, the configuration of the ergonomic chair 10 can be changed back to that of a conventional chair by activating the lever 90 on the side of the chair 10. This lever action pulls the retractable floor support 68 away from the floor and brings the knee cushion 64 back to a position underneath the tiltable seat cushion 20. At the same time the knee cushion 20 is moving back under the tiltable seat cushion 20, the rear portion 22 of the tiltable seat cushion is lowered.

In the preferred embodiment, a support piece 70 attached to the base assembly 30 to provide a mounting for the back support 40. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, a pair of arms 72 is provided which extend outwardly from the back support 40 when mounted to the bottom 24 of the seat cushion 20. If desired, the back support 40 can be connected directly to the arms 72 and mounted to an extension of the support used to position the arms on either side of the seat cushion 20. In an alternate embodiment, the support piece 70 may include an adjustment for positioning the back support at a variety of different angles with respect to the seat cushion.

A still better understanding of the construction of the mechanism which enables the ergonomic two-position chair 10 of the present invention to move between configurations enabling the user to be in a conventional sitting posture and a partial kneeling position may be had by reference to FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C, and FIG. 4.

In FIG. 3A and FIG. 4, the lever 90 is in the uppermost position, and the chair 10 enables the user to be in a conventional sitting position. The seat cushion 20 is substantially horizontal, and the knee cushion assembly 60 is tucked under the seat cushion 20. The retractable floor support 68 under the knee cushion 64 is off the floor.

In FIG. 3B, the lever 90 has begun its downward movement. A first arm 80 under the rear 22 of the seat cushion 20 begins moving the rear 22 of the seat cushion 20 upward. A second arm 82 pivotably connected 83 to a plate 85 behind the lever 90 pushes a third arm 84 outward from under the seat cushion 20. The third arm 84 is pivotably connected 39 to a bracket 87 on the bottom of the post or column 36 and is also pivotably connected 89 to the underside 67 of the knee cushion 64. Further support for the knee cushion 64 is provided by a fourth arm 86 under the knee cushion 64.

In FIG. 3C, the rigid connection between the retractable floor support 68 and the knee cushion 64 has moved the bottom 71 of the retractable floor support 68 into contact with the floor so that the portion of the weight of the user on the knee cushion 64 will be transferred by the retractable floor support 68 onto the floor, as shown in FIG. 2. The seat cushion 20 is now tilted to about 24°.

By pulling upon the lever 90, the process is reversed and the configuration of the chair 10 is returned so that the user may assume a conventional siting position, as shown in FIG. 1.

In an alternate embodiment, the arms 72 can be mounted to the seat cushion 20 so that the arms 72 will tilt as the seat cushion 20 tilts. In yet another alternate embodiment, the back support 40, the seat cushion 20, and the knee cushion 64 may contain inflatable/deflatable bladders to adjust the softness of these cushions. In yet another alternate embodiment, the back support 40, the seat cushion 20, and the knee cushion 64 may include a VELCRO® fastening system to enable removal of the cushions for cleaning or replacement.

While the ergonomic chair 10 illustrated in the drawing figures employs an assembly of linkage arms with pivotable connections to change the position of the knee cushion assembly 60, those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that a small electric or hydraulic motor may also be used in place of the manual lever shown in the drawing figures. In yet another alternate embodiment, the back support 40, the seat cushion 20, and the knee cushion 64 may contain a small vibratory motor to stimulate circulation or a small heating element. In yet still another embodiment, a timer may be included in the chair 10 to remind the user of the need to change positions.

The foregoing disclosure describes the invention according to its preferred and alternate embodiments. Those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that still other embodiments have been enabled by the foregoing disclosure. Such other embodiments shall be included within the scope and meaning of the appended claims.