Title:
WRIST POUCH FOR ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pouch forms a cavity for holding a portable electronic device, a front panel of the pouch defines a viewing opening through which a display screen of the electronic device can be viewed during use, and an adjustable strap or other arm-mounting coupling is used to secure the pouch and the electronic device to a user's arm. A cover panel extends from the pouch and can be moved from a closed position covering and protecting the display screen to an open position exposing the display screen for viewing during use. In a parked open position the cover is held in place with the display screen exposed for use.



Inventors:
Anderson, Robert C. (Cumming, GA, US)
Pierce, James (Cumming, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/668119
Publication Date:
01/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/29/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/236, 224/930
International Classes:
A44C5/18; A45F3/14; A45F5/02
View Patent Images:
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20070228094Removable carrying accessory for crutchOctober, 2007Bednarz
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Primary Examiner:
COGILL, JOHN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARDNER GROFF & GREENWALD, PC (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A carrier for a portable electronic device with a display screen, the carrier being wearable on a limb of a user, comprising: a pouch defining a cavity configured to receive and hold the electronic device, the pouch having a front panel defining a viewing opening alignable with the display screen so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch; and a limb-mounting coupling adapted to mount the pouch on the user's limb in a fixed position.

2. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the electronic device includes at least one connection port for a connector of an auxiliary component, wherein the pouch defines an auxiliary opening alignable with the connection port and through which the connector of the auxiliary component is extendible for connecting to the connection port when the electronic device is in the pouch.

3. The carrier of claim 2, wherein the pouch has a back panel opposite the front panel and side panels between the back panel and the front panel, wherein the auxiliary opening is defined in one of the side panels and is separate from the viewing opening.

4. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the pouch defines an insertion opening through which the electronic device is insertable into and removable from the pouch, the insertion opening being separate from the viewing opening.

5. The carrier of claim 4, wherein the electronic device has a side-mounted removable external battery, and wherein the pouch has a back panel opposite the front panel and sides therebetween, with the insertion opening defined at the pouch side where the battery is so that the battery can be replaced through the insertion opening when the electronic device is in the pouch.

6. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the electronic device has a back surface that is recessed and curved to generally conform to the limb's curvature, and wherein the pouch has a back panel that is opposite the front panel and is flexible so that, when the user is wearing the carrier, the back panel conforms to the curvature of the electronic device back surface.

7. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the limb-mounting coupling comprises an adjustable strap.

8. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the limb-mounting coupling comprises a single strap that is attached to the pouch off-center of a transverse axis of the pouch.

9. A carrier for a portable electronic device with a display screen, the carrier wearable on a limb of a user, comprising: a pouch defining a cavity configured to receive and hold the electronic device, the pouch having a front panel defining a viewing opening alignable with the display screen so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch; a cover panel movable from a closed position covering the viewing opening to an open position with the viewing opening exposed so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch; and a limb-mounting coupling adapted to mount the pouch on the user's limb in a fixed position.

10. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the carrier has a cover closure adapted to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position.

11. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the carrier has a cover closure adapted to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position and to removably secure the cover panel in a parked open position with the cover panel held in place and the viewing opening exposed so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch.

12. The carrier of claim 11, wherein the cover closure comprises a first closure element attached to the cover panel, a second closure element that cooperates with the first closure element and is attached to the pouch at a position to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position, and a third closure element that cooperates with the first closure element and is attached to the pouch or the cover panel at a position to removably secure the cover panel in the parked open position.

13. The carrier of claim 12, wherein the second and third cover closure elements are positioned with the viewing opening therebetween.

14. The carrier of claim 12, wherein the pouch has a back panel opposite the front panel, the pouch defines an insertion opening through which the electronic device is insertable into and removable from the pouch, the pouch includes a closure having first and second cooperating closure elements adapted for opening and closing the insertion opening, and the pouch includes first and second overlapping flaps adjacent the insertion opening, wherein the first flap extends from the back panel and the second flap extends from the front panel, the replacing closure elements are attached to the overlapping flaps and positioned to close the insertion opening with the second front flap over the first back flap, and the third cover closure element is attached to an outer surface of the second front flap, wherein by applying a force to the cover panel adjacent the first cover closure element the cover panel is removable from the parked open position without forcing open the replacing closure elements.

15. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the pouch defines an insertion opening through which the electronic device is insertable into and removable from the pouch, the cover panel is attached to the pouch, and the insertion opening is positioned between the viewing opening and where the cover panel is attached to the pouch so that when the cover panel is in the closed position the cover extends over the insertion opening to hold the electronic device in the pouch.

16. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the cover panel includes a first section and a second section, the first section having a protective layer that covers the viewing opening to protect the display screen when the cover panel is in the closed position, and the second section being flexible to permit the cover panel to be moved between the open and closed positions.

17. A carrier for a portable electronic device with a display screen, the carrier being wearable on an arm of a user, comprising: a pouch defining a cavity configured to receive and hold the electronic device, the pouch having a front panel defining a viewing opening alignable with the display screen so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch, the pouch defining an insertion opening through which the electronic device is insertable into and removable from the pouch, the insertion opening being separate from the viewing opening; a cover panel extending from the pouch and movable from a closed position covering the viewing opening to an open position with the viewing opening exposed so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch, the insertion opening positioned between the viewing opening and where the cover panel extends from the pouch so that when the cover is in the closed position the cover panel extends over the insertion opening to hold the electronic device in the pouch; a cover closure adapted to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position and to removably secure the cover panel in a parked open position with the cover panel held in place and the viewing opening exposed so that the display screen is viewable by the user when the electronic device is in the pouch; and an arm-mounting coupling adapted to mount the pouch on the user's arm in a fixed position.

18. The carrier of claim 17, wherein the electronic device includes at least one connection port for a connector of an auxiliary component, wherein the pouch defines an auxiliary opening alignable with the connection port and through which the connector of the auxiliary component is extendible for connecting to the connection port when the electronic device is in the pouch, wherein the auxiliary opening is separate from the viewing opening.

19. The carrier of claim 17, wherein the cover closure comprises a first closure element attached to the cover panel, a second closure element that cooperates with the first closure element and is attached to the pouch at a position to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position, and a third closure element that cooperates with the first closure element and is attached to the pouch or the cover panel at a position to removably secure the cover panel in the parked open position, wherein the second and third cover closure elements are positioned with the viewing opening therebetween.

20. The carrier of claim 19, wherein the pouch has a back panel opposite the front panel, the pouch includes a replacing closure having first and second cooperating closure elements adapted for opening and closing the insertion opening, and the pouch includes first and second overlapping flaps adjacent the insertion opening, wherein the first flap extends from the back panel and the second flap extends from the front panel, the replacing closure elements are attached to the overlapping flaps and positioned to close the insertion opening with the second front flap over the first back flap, and the third cover closure element is attached to an outer surface of the second front flap, wherein by applying a force to the cover panel adjacent the first cover closure element the cover panel is removable from the parked open position without forcing open the replacing closure elements.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/807,884, filed Jul. 20, 2006, entitled WRIST POUCH FOR ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT is hereby claimed, and the specification thereof is incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to cases and carriers for portable electronic devices such as PDA-like devices. In particular, the present invention relates to a wearable pouch for carrying such portable electronic devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Portable computers and communications devices have developed to the point that it is common to have a portable, small (often a few inches across by several inches long) device that can serve as a computer for accomplishing various tasks. One example of such a portable electronic device is the so called Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). These devices often are wirelessly connected to a wireless network of some sort to allow the devices to send and receive messages and/or data. There are various types of PDA's, including the ubiquitous BLACKBERRY devices available from RESEARCH IN MOTION LIMITED, as well devices specially adapted for use by the United States military forces.

Conventional PDA's typically come with a carrying case that clips onto the user's belt or pocket. Many such cases are configured so that the display screen and keypad of the PDA face inward towards the user's body for protection. Because the screen and keypad are facing inward and are at the user's waist, the PDA cannot be used unless it is removed from its case. When a person wants to use the device, for example to send or receive an email, they must reach down and slip the PDA out of its case. After use, the PDA is then returned to its waist-mounted carrying case.

For users in some situations, it would be advantageous to have quicker and easier access to their portable electronic device, without having to remove the device from a waist-mounted carrying case or a pocket. For example, soldiers engaged in warfare would be better-served by having constant or immediate access to their portable electronic devices to send and receive maps, receive orders, request reinforcement, report enemy positions and strength, etc. In the fog of battle, having better information and getting it faster can improve military effectiveness and save lives. In addition, frequently handling an electronic device, when removing it for use and storing it afterwards, increases the likelihood of dropping, losing, or damaging the device. Furthermore, business persons and others using conventional PDA's would also benefit from more ready access to their devices, for example, when walking through an airport carrying luggage, a laptop computer, etc.

Accordingly, it can be seen that a need exists for an article for carrying a PDA or other portable electronic device so that the device is constantly or immediately available for use. It is to the provision of an article meeting this and other needs that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, the present invention comprises a wearable carrier for a portable electronic device. The carrier includes a pouch defining a cavity for the electronic device and a coupling for mounting the electronic device in a generally fixed position on the lower arm/wrist of a user. The pouch has a front panel with a viewing opening that aligns with the display screen and any needed keys or buttons of the electronic device so that the user can view the display screen and operate the electronic device when it is in the pouch. The pouch and the viewing opening preferably are sized and shaped for holding a PDA, but can be readily adapted for holding a video recorder, camera, cell phone, or other portable electronic device. The arm-mounting coupling preferably is attached to the pouch and configured for mounting the carrier securely to the user's lower arm/wrist, but can be readily adapted for wearing on another arm part or another limb.

Advantageously, the present invention allows the user to carry a PDA or other portable electronic device on the user's wrist, instead of on a belt or in a pocket. The viewing opening of the pouch makes it easy to access the display screen and keypad to use the PDA quickly by simply turning one's head/eyes and arm, without having to remove the PDA from the carrier.

In a first example embodiment according to the present invention, the pouch has a back panel that is made of a flexible material so that, when holding a PDA with a back surface that is recessed and curved to conform to the user's arm, the pouch conforms to this shape to provide a sleek and comfortable fit. In addition, the pouch has an insertion opening through which the PDA can be inserted into and removed from the pouch, with the insertion opening being positioned typically at the top of the pouch. Optionally, the pouch has an auxiliary opening that aligns with a connection port on the PDA for connecting an auxiliary component (earphones, charger, etc.) to the PDA when it is in the pouch, with the auxiliary opening typically at one side of the pouch. The insertion opening and the auxiliary opening typically are dedicated openings that are separate from the viewing opening to provide maximum protection for the PDA and still allow the PDA to be used when in the pouch. Also, with the insertion opening at the pouch's top (or other side) and when using a PDA with an external battery mounted at its top (or corresponding side), the battery can be replaced without removing the PDA from the pouch.

Furthermore, the arm-mounting coupling is provided by an adjustable strap assembly that includes two bands that adjustably connect together, for example, by a bucket. Preferably, there is only one such strap assembly and it is attached to the pouch in an off-center position so that it is closer to the user's wrist than the center of the pouch to provide a more secure and comfortable fit. Alternatively, other conventional couplings can be used, such as flexible sleeves, clamps, collars, two or more of any of these, etc.

In addition, the carrier preferably includes a cover panel that can be moved from a closed position covering the viewing opening to an open position with the viewing opening exposed. With the viewing opening so exposed, the user can access the display screen and keypad to use the PDA in the pouch. Also, a cover closure (e.g., strips of mating hook-and-loop fasteners) is provided to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position. The cover panel can be attached to the pouch with the insertion opening between the viewing opening and where the cover panel is attached, so that when the cover panel is in the closed position the cover panel extends over the insertion opening to help hold the PDA in the pouch.

Preferably, the cover closure also provides for removably securing the cover panel in a parked open position with the cover panel held in place so it does not interfere with the use of the PDA. For example, the cover closure can be provided by a first closure strip on the cover panel that can be selectively fastened to a second closure strip and a third closure strip on the pouch. The second closure strip is positioned to removably secure the cover panel in the closed position, and the third closure strip is positioned to removably secure the cover panel in the parked open position. Typically, the second and third closure strips are positioned on opposite sides of the viewing opening.

In a typical commercial embodiment, the pouch has two foldable flaps that form the insertion opening, and a replacing closure (e.g., strips of mating hook-and-loop fasteners) on the flaps for securing the pouch closed. The replacing closure strips are positioned on the flaps to close the insertion opening with the front flap over the back flap, and the third cover closure strip is positioned on an outer surface of the front flap. In this way, the cover panel can be pulled open without also opening the insertion opening of the pouch. Alternatively, the cover panel and its closure can be configured in other ways to cover and protect the display screen.

In a second example embodiment according to the present invention, the cover panel includes a first section and a second section. The first section has a protective layer that covers the viewing opening to protect the display screen when the cover panel is in the closed position. The second section is flexible so that the cover panel can be moved between the open and closed positions.

Other advantages and benefits of the present invention will become apparent upon reading and understanding the present specification when taken in conjunction with the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wrist-mounted pouch according to a first example embodiment of the present invention, showing a portable electronic device in the pouch and a cover panel in a parked open position exposing the device's display screen for use.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the wearable pouch and electronic device of FIG. 1, showing the cover panel in a closed position covering the device's display screen.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the wearable pouch and electronic device of FIG. 1, showing the cover panel in an open position for replacing the device.

FIG. 4 is a right side view of the wearable pouch and electronic device of FIG. 1, showing a connection port of the device aligned with an auxiliary opening of the pouch and the cover panel being removed from the parked open position.

FIG. 5 is a right side view of the wearable pouch and electronic device in the open position of FIG. 3, showing the device in the pouch being replaced.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the wearable pouch and electronic device in the open position of FIG. 3, showing flaps with closures being opened to replace the device.

FIG. 7 is a left side view of the wearable pouch and electronic device in the closed position of FIG. 2, showing an adjustable strap for mounting to a user's wrist.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a wrist-mounted pouch according to a second example embodiment of the present invention, showing a protective layer in a cover panel for protecting the display screen of an electronic device in the pouch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals represent like elements throughout the several views, FIGS. 1-7 depict a wearable carrier 10 according to a first example embodiment of the present invention. The carrier 10 is designed to hold a portable electronic device such as, but not limited to, a PDA-like device 12 configured to receive and transmit communications and/or data to and from the wearer or an external source. Such a device 12 has many functions and uses in a wide range of applications, such as in military units, in the delivery service industry, or in other applications where a user wishes to access computer data and the use of a traditional computer is impossible or impractical. Typical devices 12 include a display screen 14 and function and input keys 16 for the user to input and output messages and data. Conventional devices 12 are generally rectangular, but they could be formed in any number of shapes including, but not limited to, circular, elliptical, polygonal, etc.

For illustration purposes, the invention is described at places herein as being for use with a PDA 12. It will be understood, however, that the carrier 10 can be readily adapted for holding other types of portable electronic devices, including PDA-like devices customized for military or other applications, video recorders, cameras, and cell phones.

The carrier 10 includes a pouch 18 defining a cavity 20 for holding the PDA 12 (see FIG. 5) and a coupling 22 for mounting the PDA in a fixed position on the lower arm/wrist 24 of a user. The pouch 18 is sized and shaped for receiving the PDA 12 in the cavity 20, so typically the pouch is generally rectangular and slightly larger than the PDA. For military applications, the pouch 18 may include a camouflage or other pattern selected based on the environment where it will be used. The pouch 18 can be made from a variety of materials; however, in preferred forms, the pouch is made of durable fabric, vinyl or another flexible polymer, rubber, hard plastic, graphite, fiberglass, or a combination thereof. Similarly, the arm-mounting coupling 22 can be made from a variety of materials; however, in preferred forms, the coupling is made of vinyl or another flexible polymer, rubber, durable fabric, leather, or a combination thereof.

In the depicted embodiment, the pouch 18 is rectangular and has a front panel 26, a back panel 28, a left panel 30, a right panel 32, and a bottom panel 34. The front panel 26, the bottom panel 34, and the back panel 28 can be made of a single piece of material, with the left and right panels 30 and 32 attached to them and made of webbing or a stretch material for ease of inserting and removing the PDA 12. In addition, the back panel 28 (if not all of the pouch) is made of a flexible material. In this way, when holding a PDA 12 with a back surface 36 that is recessed and curved (see FIG. 5) to conform to the shape of a typical adult human arm 24, the pouch also conforms to this curved shape to provide a sleek and comfortable fit. Such an electronic device is shown and described in co-owned U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/807,871, filed on Jul. 20, 2006 (the same filing date as the present application), and titled WEARABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE WITH EDGE-MOUNTED BATTERY, the entire scope and content of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference. Alternatively, the back panel 28 may be rigid and include this conforming curvature.

The front panel 26 of the pouch 18 has a viewing opening 38 that aligns with the display screen 14 and keys 16 (or any other input or output interfaces) of the PDA 12 so that the user can view the display screen and operate the PDA when it is in the pouch 20. The viewing opening 38 makes it easy to quickly access the display screen 14 and keys 16 to use the PDA while it is in the pouch 12. The viewing opening 38 depicted is rectangular except for a small notch for accessing one of the keys 16. In alternative embodiments, the viewing opening 38 has a different size, shape, and position relative to the front panel 26. For example, the viewing opening 38 can be rectangular, without the notch, where the PDA screen and keys are all arranged in a rectangular array. The viewing opening 38 can be smaller where the PDA includes a touch screen for operating the PDA, with fewer or no keys.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the pouch 18 has one (or more) auxiliary opening 40 that is positioned so that it aligns with an auxiliary connection port 42 on the PDA 12. Such auxiliary connection ports 42 are provided for connecting auxiliary components 44, such as earphones, battery chargers, other computer devices, etc. to the PDA 12. The auxiliary opening 40 is sized and shaped so that the connector 46 of the auxiliary component 44 fits through it and can be connected to the connection port 42 of the PDA 12. In this way, such auxiliary components 44 can be used with the PDA 12 without removing the PDA from the pouch 18. Preferably, the auxiliary opening 40 is positioned at one side of the pouch 18 and is a dedicated opening that is separate from the viewing opening 38.

Referring to FIGS. 4-6, the pouch 18 has an insertion opening 48 through which the PDA 12 can be inserted into and removed from the pouch cavity 20, as indicated by the directional arrow in FIG. 5. In the depicted embodiment, the pouch 18 has two foldable flaps 50 and 52 that form the insertion opening 48, and a replacing closure for fastening the flaps together to secure the pouch 20 closed. The first and second flaps 50 and 52 extend from the back and front panels 28 and 26, respectively, and overlap each other. The replacing closure preferably is provided by fasteners that are quick, easy, and reliable to open and close, such as first and second strips of mating hook-and-loop fasteners 54a and 54b (referred to collectively as the “replacing closure 54”). Alternatively, other conventional fasteners could be used, such as snaps or a zipper.

Typically, the insertion opening 48 is positioned at the top of the pouch 18 and is a dedicated opening that is separate from the viewing opening 38. In this way, the pouch 18 can be used with a PDA 12 having an external battery 56 removably mounted at its top, and the battery can be replaced by opening the replacing closure 54 and the flaps 50 and 52 but without removing the PDA from the pouch 20. Of course, the pouch 18 can be adapted with the replacing closure 48 positioned on another side of the pouch 18 for use with a PDA having an external battery mounted at that corresponding side.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the carrier 10 includes a cover panel 58 that can be moved from a closed position (shown in FIG. 2) covering the viewing opening 38 to an open position (shown in FIG. 3) with the viewing opening exposed. In the closed position, the cover panel 58 protects the screen 14 and keys 16 from scratches, dirt, moisture, and or other damaging effects. In the open position, the viewing opening 38 is exposed so the user can access the display screen 14 and keys 16 to use the PDA 12 in the pouch 18.

In addition, the pouch 18 has a cover closure for removably securing the cover panel 58 in the closed position. The cover closure preferably is provided by fasteners that are quick, easy, and reliable to open and close, such as first and second strips of mating hook-and-loop fasteners 60a and 60b (referred to collectively as the “cover closure 60”). The first cover closure strip 60a is attached to the cover panel 58 and the second cover closure strip 60b is attached to the pouch 18 in positions so that when they are engaged together they removably secure the cover panel in the closed position. For example, the second cover closure strip 60b may be positioned on the bottom side panel 34 of the pouch 18 so that the bottom edge of the cover panel 58 is less exposed and thus less likely to be snagged and inadvertently pulled open. Alternatively, other conventional fasteners could be used, such as snaps or a zipper, and positioned elsewhere on the carrier 10. Also, a pull tab 62 can be attached to the cover panel 58 and used to quickly and easily pull or otherwise remove the cover panel from the closed position.

The cover panel 58 preferably is attached to the pouch 18 with the insertion opening 48 between the viewing opening 38 and where the cover panel is attached. In the depicted embodiment, the cover panel 58 is attached to the back panel 28 at the point where the back flap 50 folds over to close the insertion opening 48. In this configuration, when the cover panel 58 extends over the insertion opening 48 when it is secured in the closed position. This acts as a backup to the replacing closure 54 to help secure the PDA 12 in the pouch 18.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 6, the cover closure 60 also provides for removably securing the cover panel 58 in a parked open position (shown in FIG. 1). In the parked open position, the cover panel 58 is held in place with the viewing opening 38 exposed so the cover panel does not interfere with the use of the PDA 12. That is, with the cover panel 58 removably secured in the parked open position, the user can move about without the cover panel flipping back over the viewing opening 38, even in windy conditions.

The cover closure 60 may include a third cover closure strip 60c positioned on the pouch 18 or the cover panel 58 to engage the first cover closure strip 60a to removably secure the cover panel in the parked open position. Typically, the second and third cover closure strips 60b and 60c are positioned on opposite sides of the viewing opening 38, with the third cover closure strip between the viewing opening and where the cover panel extends from the pouch 18.

In the depicted embodiment, the third cover closure strip 60c is attached to an outer surface 64 of the front flap 52, the first replacing closure strip 54a is attached to an outer surface of the back flap 50, and the second replacing closure strip 54b is attached to an inner surface of the front flap 52. In this configuration, the flaps 50 and 52 are folded and secured closed by the replacing closure 54 by first folding over the back flap 50 and then folding the front flap 52 over the back flap. With the third cover closure strip 60c at the top side of the pouch 18 on the front flap outer surface 64, the user can pull the tab 62 (as indicated by the directional arrow in FIG. 4) and remove the cover panel 58 from the parked open position without pulling open the replacing closure 54. If the front and back flaps 50 and 52 were attached differently, with the back flap folded over the front flap, then pulling back on the cover panel 58 would also tend to pull the back flap apart from the front flap.

In alternative embodiments, the carrier 10 is provided with a cover panel that is slidingly retractable, removable and tethered to the pouch, or pivotal to a side other than the top. In other alternative embodiments, the cover closure includes two closure elements for removably securing the cover panel in the closed position and two separate closure elements for removably securing the cover panel in the parked open position. And in still other alternative embodiments, the carrier 10 is provided with a cover panel that is fixed in place and clear for viewing the display screen through it, or without a cover panel at all.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, the arm-mounting coupling 22 may be provided by any conventional structure selected to removably secure the pouch 18 to the user's lower arm/wrist 24. In the depicted embodiment, the arm-mounting coupling 22 is provided by an adjustable strap assembly that includes two bands 66 that adjustably connect together, for example, by a bucket 68 and a strap closure. The strap closure preferably is provided by fasteners that are quick, easy, and reliable to open and close, such as first and second strips of mating hook-and-loop fasteners 70a and 70b (referred to collectively as the “strap closure 70”). The first and second strap closure strips 70a and 70b can be selectively engaged together (as indicated by the directional arrow in FIG. 7) at different positions to provide adjustability for users with different-sized wrists/arms and for positioning the pouch at different positions on the user's arm.

Preferably, there is only a single such strap assembly and it is attached to the pouch 18 in an off-center position so that in use it is closer to the user's hand than the center of the pouch. That is, a centerline 72 of the bands 66 is off-center of a transverse axis 74 (normal to the longitudinal axis of the user's arm) of the pouch 18. In the configuration shown, the bands 66 are towards the right side of the pouch 18 so that they are secured lower on the arm where the diameter is smaller. The left, free side of the pouch will seat against the higher-up, larger-diameter part of the arm. This way, both the left and the right side of the pouch 18 are seated nicely against the arm so that there are no protruding edges that can be snagged, which provides a secure and comfortable fit. This configuration is for right-handed users, but the position of the bands 66 can be reversed to the left side of the pouch 18 for left-handed users.

In alternative embodiments, other conventional strap closure elements are used, such as snaps or a zipper. In other alternative embodiments, other conventional couplings are used, such as flexible sleeves, C-clamps, collars, two or more of any of these, etc. In further alternative embodiments, the coupling includes elements for attaching to a cooperating elements included in a military uniform (e.g., mating clips on the uniform sleeve and the pouch), or the coupling is provided by a pocket with a viewing opening that is made into the uniform sleeve. And in still other alternative embodiments, the coupling is adapted for wearing on another arm part or another limb (i.e., the legs), but not the waist or neck, and/or for users other than adult humans (e.g., youths or robots).

In a second example embodiment according to the present invention, the carrier 110 has a pouch 118 with a cover panel 158 that includes a first section 176 and a second section 178. The first section 176 has a protective layer 180 that covers the viewing opening to protect the display screen when the cover panel 158 is in the closed position, as shown. For example, the protective layer 180 may be made of padding, hard plastic, or both. And the second section 178 is flexible so that the cover panel 158 can be moved between the open and closed positions.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a number of advantages to users of PDA's. For instance, by carrying his PDA in one of the wrist-mounted pouches, the user has quicker and easier access to his PDA than if he carried it on a belt or in a pocket. In addition, the user can quickly and easily use his PDA's display screen and keys through the viewing opening, without having to remove the PDA from the pouch. And the cover panel in the closed position protects the display screen, and in the parked open position it is fixed and out of the way so it does not interfere with the use of the PDA.

Whereas this invention has been described in detail with particular reference to exemplary embodiments and variations thereof, it is to be understood that other variations and modifications can be effected within the scope and spirit of the invention, as described hereinbefore and as defined in the appended claims.





 
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