Title:
Workstation With Articulating Arm
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A workstation for selectively positioning a work surface includes a housing which defines a storage compartment, a tambour door track secured to the housing, and a tambour door disposed in the tambour door track. The tambour door is adapted to move between a closed position and an open position to provide selective access to the storage compartment. The workstation also includes an articulating arm including a first end secured to the housing, and a second end adapted to support said work surface. The articulating arm is adapted for adjustable movement between a retracted position placing the work surface within the storage compartment, and a user-selected extended position placing the work surface outside of the storage compartment.



Inventors:
Waugh, Robert F. (Petoskey, MI, US)
Waugh, John F. (Dewit, MI, US)
Smith, Kenneth J. (Alanson, MI, US)
Karriger, Jeff (Petoskey, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/674367
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
02/13/2007
Assignee:
Cygnus Inc. (Petoskey, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B67/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050194872Compact gun safeSeptember, 2005Cleveland et al.
20090251038ANTI-FALLING APPARATUS FOR CABINETSOctober, 2009YU et al.
20090302726DOMESTIC APPLIANCE COMPRISING A SUPPORT SYSTEMDecember, 2009Eckartsberg
20090153006No-tools interchangeable drawer front systemJune, 2009Hazzard et al.
20030090185Arc stack housing with arc plate latching mechanismMay, 2003Abroy
20020145364Towel loop formation in a hand towel dispenserOctober, 2002Gaide et al.
20070296319Applied molding for texturizing exterior surfaces of furnitureDecember, 2007Pons
20090184614Leveling System and MethodJuly, 2009Walsberg
20100001622MODULAR COUNTERTOP AND SYSTEMJanuary, 2010Dunbar
20070290588Display Unit Installing Structure for RefrigeratorDecember, 2007Oh et al.
20060267465Sliding track for server chassisNovember, 2006Hung et al.



Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HONIGMAN LLP (Kalamazoo, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A workstation for selectively positioning a work surface, comprising: a housing which defines a storage compartment; a tambour door track secured to the housing; a tambour door disposed in the tambour door track, wherein the tambour door is adapted to move between a closed position and an open position to provide selective access to the storage compartment; and an articulating arm including: a first end secured to the housing, and a second end adapted to support said work surface, wherein the articulating arm is adapted for adjustable movement between a retracted position placing the work surface within the storage compartment, and a user-selected extended position placing the work surface outside of the storage compartment.

2. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the articulating arm is pivotally secured to the housing.

3. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the articulating arm includes first and second articulating arm components joined together by a hinge.

4. The workstation of claim 3, wherein the first and second articulating arm components are stacked.

5. The workstation of claim 3, wherein the first and second arm components are substantially the same length.

6. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the second end of the articulating arm is coupled to said work surface wherein said work surface includes means for adjustably supporting a keyboard.

7. The workstation of claim 6, wherein the adjustable support means is adapted to move between a generally vertical, stored position and a generally horizontal, deployed position.

8. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the second end of the articulating arm includes a data-display panel adjustment mount adapted to adjustably support a data-display panel.

9. The workstation of claim 8, wherein the data-display panel adjustment mount includes at least one adjustment handle.

10. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the tambour door is configured to automatically move toward the closed position when the articulating arm is moved toward the retracted position.

11. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the housing further includes a track and a support device that is movably disposed in the track, wherein the articulating arm is connected to the support device, wherein the support device is adapted to move, pivot, or rotate relative to the track.

12. The workstation of claim 1, wherein the housing further defines a computer CPU storage compartment adapted to store a computer CPU.

13. A wall-mountable workstation, comprising: a housing including a storage compartment; a keyboard and/or a data-display panel that are receivable within the storage compartment; a tambour door track secured to the housing; a tambour door disposed in the tambour door track, wherein the tambour door is adapted to move between a closed position and an open position to provide selective access to the keyboard and/or data-display panel that is receivable the storage compartment; and an articulating arm disposed in the storage compartment, wherein the articulating arm includes: a first end secured to the housing within the storage compartment, and a second end adapted to support said keyboard and/or data display panel, wherein the articulating arm is adapted for adjustable movement between a retracted position within the storage compartment, and a user-selected extended position away from the storage compartment.

14. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the second end of the articulating arm includes a keyboard support tray adapted to adjustably support the keyboard.

15. The workstation of claim 14, wherein the keyboard support tray is adapted to move between a generally vertical or stored position and a generally horizontal or deployed position.

16. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the second end of the articulating arm includes a data-display panel adjustment mount adapted to adjustably support a data-display panel.

17. The workstation of claim 16, wherein the data-display panel adjustment mount includes at least one adjustment handle.

18. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the articulating arm includes first and second articulating arm components separated by a hinge.

19. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the first and second articulating arm components are stacked.

20. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the first and second arm components are substantially the same length.

21. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the tambour door is configured to automatically move toward the closed position when the articulating arm is moved toward the retracted position.

22. The workstation of claim 13, wherein the articulating arm is connected to a support device that is movably-disposed in a track that permits the articulating arm to move, pivot, or rotate relative the positioning of the support device in the track.

23. The workstation of claim 13, further including a computer CPU storage compartment adapted to store a computer CPU.

24. A wall-mountable workstation for electronic equipment, comprising: a housing including a storage compartment; a tambour door track secured to the housing; a tambour door disposed in the tambour door track, wherein the tambour door is adapted to move between a closed position and an open position to provide selective access to the storage compartment; and means for supporting said electronic equipment for adjustable movement between: a retracted position within the storage compartment, and a user-selected extended position away from the storage compartment.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/772,761, filed Feb. 13, 2006. This application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/235,611, filed Sep. 26, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to workstations, including wall-mountable workstations that contain electronic equipment, such as computer equipment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

Workstations that secure a keyboard and/or a monitor within a workstation housing are known in the art These workstations are particularly useful in medical facilities, such as a hospital room, where doctors and technicians demand convenient and secure access to a computer or other electronic device.

Such workstations, however, include a number of limitations. For example, conventional workstations often fix the monitor and keyboard in a predetermined position that limits a user's ability to orient the keyboard and/or monitor. For at least this reason, improved workstations are desired that overcome limitations of the prior art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wall-mountable workstation according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top, partial cross-sectional view of the workstation of FIG. 1, showing a data-display panel and a keyboard in a first extended position;

FIG. 3 is a top, partial cross-sectional view of the workstation of FIG. 1, showing a data-display panel and a keyboard in a second extended position;

FIG. 4 is a top, partial cross-sectional view of the workstation of FIG. 1, showing a data-display panel and a keyboard during retraction into the workstation;

FIG. 5 is a top, partial cross-sectional view of the workstation of FIG. 1, showing a data-display panel and a keyboard retracted into the workstation with the keyboard in a generally horizontal or deployed position;

FIG. 6 is a top, partial cross-sectional view of the workstation of FIG. 1, showing a data-display panel and a keyboard retracted into the workstation with the keyboard in a generally vertical or stored position;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the wall-mountable workstation of FIG. 1, showing the electronic equipment storage compartment door in a closed position;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a wall-mountable workstation according to another embodiment of the present invention, showing an optional computer CPU storage compartment;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a workstation depicted with an open door and shown with a display panel and keyboard in an extended or deployed position according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a workstation shown with a closed door according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a front perspective view of a workstation depicted with an open door and shown with a display panel and keyboard in a generally retracted position according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 12 is a front perspective view of a workstation illustrating an optional storage compartment shown in an open configuration according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a portion of a support arm shown connected to an inner portion of a cabinet of the illustrated workstation according to an embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 14 is a simplified schematic illustrating an example of how a tambour door and related track may be incorporated into a cabinet in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The Figures illustrate an exemplary embodiment of a system for dimming one or more light sources, and a method for dimming one or more light sources in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Based on the foregoing, it is to be generally understood that the nomenclature used herein is simply for convenience and the terms used to describe the invention should be given the broadest meaning by one of ordinary skill in the art.

Referring to FIG. 1, a wall-mountable workstation 10 for storing electronic equipment, such as a keyboard 12 and a data-display panel 14, is shown according to an embodiment of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, workstation 10 includes a generally rectangular housing 16 having an electronic equipment storage compartment 18 for storing electronic equipment, such as a keyboard 12 and/or a data-display panel 14. Workstation 10 may also include an optional computer central processing unit (CPU) storage compartment 20 adapted to store a computer CPU 22 (see, e.g., FIG. 8). Power and/or data distribution cables 24 of the electronic equipment may be routed through one or more holes (not shown) between electronic equipment storage compartment 18 and computer CPU storage compartment 20, or, alternatively, between electronic equipment storage compartment 18 and a wall or structure upon which workstation 10 is mounted if not equipped with an onboard CPU 22. However, when equipped with a CPU 22, for example, housing 16 may include at least one cooling device 26, such as a vent or fan, to facilitate airflow into and out of housing 16 to cool CPU 22 or other electronic equipment.

Referring to FIGS. 1-6, workstation 10 also includes an articulating arm 28 having a first end 30 non-movably secured within housing 16 and a second end 32 adapted to support the electronic equipment, such as, for example, a keyboard 12 and/or a data-display panel 14, for adjustable movement between a user-selected extended position away from electronic equipment storage compartment 18 (see, e.g., FIGS. 2 and 3) and a retracted storage position (see, e.g., FIG. 6) within electronic equipment storage compartment 18. In an embodiment, articulating arm 28 is non-movably secured to a bottom support wall 34 of housing 16 so that workstation 10 may be shipped as a complete unit. Alternatively, the wall or structure upon which housing 16 is mounted may function as the de facto support wall of workstation 10, in which case articulating arm 28 may be mounted to the wall or structure itself within electronic equipment storage compartment 18.

In an embodiment, articulating arm 28 includes first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 separated by a hinge 39. In the illustrated configuration, first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 are stacked, one on top of the other, which permits second articulating arm component 38 to be pivoted over first articulating arm component 36. When so configured, the space occupied by the first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 in the retracted storage position is minimized (see, e.g., FIGS. 5 and 6). While first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 are shown in the drawings as being substantially the same length, it will be appreciated that first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 may be different lengths provided the electronic equipment and arm components are received within housing 16 in the retracted storage position. It is also noted that articulating arm 28 may include more than two articulating arm components when more adjustable movement of the electronic equipment is desired, or, alternatively, even a single arm component when only limited movement of the electronic equipment is desired.

In an embodiment, second end 32 of articulating arm 28 includes a keyboard support tray 40 adapted to adjustably support keyboard 12. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, keyboard support tray 40 may be moved between a generally vertical or stowed position to a generally horizontal or deployed position. If CPU 22 supports use of a mouse, electronic drawing tablet, or the like, keyboard support tray may also include space for an optional mouse, mouse holder, electronic drawing tablet, or the like (not shown).

In an embodiment, second end of articulating arm 28 also includes a data-display panel adjustment mount 42 adapted to adjustably support data-display panel 14. As shown in an embodiment, data-display panel 14 is attached to mount 42 at a pivot point 44, which permits data display panel 14 to pivot relative to mount 42. Mount 42 may also include at least one adjustment handle 46 that enables a user to grip and move data-display panel 14 and mount 42 along with articulating arm 28. Mount 42 and support tray 40 may be connected to articulating arm 28 at a common pivot point 48, which enables mount 42 and support tray 40 to pivot relative about second end 32 of articulating arm 28.

To securely enclose the electronic equipment within housing 16 when not in use, a door 50 is secured to housing 16 and is adapted to move between a closed position (see, e.g., FIG. 7) in which electronic equipment storage compartment 18 is closed and an open position (see, e.g., FIG. 1) in which electronic equipment storage compartment 18 is open. In an embodiment, door 50 is configured to automatically move toward the closed position when articulating arm 28 is moved toward the retracted storage position. In one configuration, for example, at least one pressurized cylinder 52 is positioned between housing 16 and door 50 for biasing door 50 toward the closed position (see, e.g., FIGS. 1 and 8). Door 50 may also include a locking device 54, such as a key lock, to secure keyboard 12 and data-display panel 14 within storage compartment 18 when closed.

Referring to FIG. 9, a workstation 100 for storing equipment, such as a keyboard 12 and a display panel 14, is shown according to an embodiment of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, workstation 100 includes a housing 16 (which may be generally rectangular) having an electronic equipment storage compartment 18 for storing electronic equipment, such as, for example, a keyboard 12 and/or display panel 14. Workstation 100 may also include an optional computer CPU storage compartment 20 adapted to store a computer CPU 22 (see, e.g., FIG. 12). Power and/or data distribution cables 24 of the electronic equipment may be routed through one or more holes, slots, or openings between electronic equipment storage compartment 18 and computer CPU storage compartment 20, between electronic equipment storage compartment 18 and a wall or structure upon which workstation 100 is mounted if not equipped with an onboard CPU 22, or otherwise as needed. When equipped with CPU 22, for example, housing 16 may include at least one cooling device 26, such as a vent or fan, to facilitate airflow into and out of housing 16 to cool CPU 22 or other electronic equipment.

Workstation 100 also includes an articulating arm 28 having a first end 30 secured within housing 16 and a second end 32 connected to an attachment or otherwise adapted to support electronic equipment, such as a keyboard 12 and/or display panel 14, for adjustable movement between a user-selected extended position away from electronic equipment storage compartment 18 (for example as shown in FIG. 9) and a retracted storage position within electronic equipment storage compartment 18.

In an embodiment, articulating arm 28 may be secured to a bottom support wall of housing 16 so that workstation 100 may be shipped as a complete unit. Alternatively, the wall or structure upon which housing 16 is mounted may function as a support wall of workstation 100. For example, as generally illustrated in FIG. 9, articulating arm 28 may be mounted to a portion of the workstation 100, such as illustrated wall 37, or another structure, within or forming part of electronic equipment storage compartment 18.

In an embodiment, articulating arm 28 includes first and second articulating arm components 36,38, which may be connected by and/or separated by a hinge member. The hinge member may be a hinge 39, such as illustrated in FIG. 9, or may take the form of another structural member or members that permits second articulating arm 38 to change positions or rotate relative to first articulating arm.

Moreover, as generally illustrated in the configuration shown in FIG. 9, first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 may be vertically offset or stacked (e.g., one on top of the other) to permit second articulating arm component 38 to be pivoted about (e.g., over or under, as the case may be) first articulating arm component 36. When configured in such a potentially offset or “stacked” relationship, the horizontal space (or footprint) occupied by first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 in the retracted storage position (e.g., such as within the compartment 18) may be minimized (see, e.g., FIG. 11). While first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 are shown in the drawings as being substantially the same length, it should be appreciated that first and second articulating arm components 36, 38 may instead be different lengths provided the electronic equipment and arm components can be received within housing 16 when in the retracted storage position. It is also noted that articulating arm 28 may include more than two articulating arm components when more adjustable movement of the electronic equipment is desired, or even a single arm component when only limited movement of the electronic equipment is required.

In an embodiment, second end 32 of articulating arm 28 includes a keyboard support tray 40 adapted to adjustably support keyboard 12. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 11, keyboard support tray 40 may be moved between a generally stowed position to a generally deployed position. If CPU 22 or other electronics or hardware supports use of a mouse, electronic drawing tablet, or the like, keyboard support tray may also include space for an optional mouse 41, mouse holder. electronic drawing tablet, or the like.

In an embodiment, second end of articulating arm 28 also includes a display panel adjustment mount 42 adapted to adjustably support or position the display panel 14. Display panel 14 may be attached to mount 42 at a pivot point, which permits display panel 14 to pivot relative to mount 42. Mount 42 may also include at least one adjustment handle that enables a user to grip and move display panel 14 and mount 42 along with articulating arm 28. Mount 42 and support tray 40 may be connected to articulating arm 28 at a common pivot point, which enables mount 42 and support tray 40 to pivot relative about second end 32 of articulating arm 28.

To securely enclose the electronic equipment within housing 16 when not in use, a door 150 is secured to housing 16 and is adapted to move between a closed position (see, e.g., FIG. 10) in which electronic equipment storage compartment 18 is closed and an open position (see, e.g., FIG. 9) in which electronic equipment storage compartment 18 is open. As generally illustrated in connection with the embodiments of the workstation 100 shown in FIGS. 9, 10, 11, and 14, the door system employed in connection with the workstation 100 can be a door that, when moved to an open position, does not extend outwardly from the workstation 100, such as a tambour door system that includes a tambour door 150. An example of a tambour door system 60 is generally shown in FIG. 14. The door system 60 is shown including a door 150 (that is a tambour door) and a track 62 (shown in generic form), which may include one or more straight segments or portions 64, and one or more curved segments or portions 66.

The tambour door 150, according to an embodiment, may be comprised of solid wood, wood veneer, metal, or other materials known to those in the field. The tambour door 150 may be comprised of a plurality of slats 52, generally connected in succession. Components of successive or adjacent slats 52 may be physically interlocked, or in other embodiments, a hinge (e.g., a plastic or metal hinge) may be used to connect successive or adjacent slats. The use of a tambour door 150 generally permits segments of the door 150 to bend or curve as the door 150 is opened or closed about curved segments or portions of the track (e.g., segment 66). Moreover, the use of a tambour door 150 may be used for applications in which it may not be desirable to have a door 150 extend outside of the space of the compartment or the workstation 100.

However, the invention is not limited to the use of or type of tambour door 150, track, or system shown and described, and it is to be understood that other types of tambour doors 150, tracks, and systems, as well as other types of doors 150, may be used.

Door 150 may also include one or more handles 54 and/or a locking device (not shown), such as a key lock, to secure keyboard 12 and display panel 14 within storage compartment 18 when closed.

With reference to FIG. 14, in an embodiment of the invention, articulating arm 28 may be adapted to be movable and/or adjustably secured to a portion of the workstation 100, such as a side or rear wall of the storage compartment 18. According to an embodiment, second articulating arm component 36 is shown connected to a support device 68 that is positioned generally at or about end 30. Second articulating arm component 36 is connected to the support device 68 in such a manner so as to permit arm component 36 to move, pivot, or otherwise rotate as necessary or desired with respect to the support device 68.

Support device 68 may be connected to one or more tracks, such as, for example, vertical track 70 shown in connection with wall 37 (i.e., a rear wall of compartment 18). If desired, the support device 68 can be adapted or configured to securely be positioned at one or more locations or positions along track 70. Support device may for example be in a sliding engagement along a length of track 70 and, in an embodiment, may be locked or secured at various positions along the track 70. In the illustrated embodiment, a lever or handle 72 is shown for use in connection with securing the support device 68 at a desired position or location along the track 70.

The present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the foregoing embodiments, which are merely illustrative of the best modes for carrying out the invention. It should be understood by those skilled in the art that various alternatives to the embodiments of the invention described herein may be employed in practicing the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims. It is intended that the following claims define the scope of the invention and that the method and apparatus within the scope of these claims and their equivalents be covered thereby. This description of the invention should be understood to include all novel and non-obvious combinations of elements described herein, and claims may be presented in this or a later application to any novel and non-obvious combination of these elements. Moreover, the foregoing embodiments are illustrative, and no single feature or element is essential to all possible combinations that may be claimed in this or a later application.