Title:
PORTABLE STORAGE SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage system for a seating unit comprising storage means having first and second pannier portions for storing articles. The storage system has securing means in the form of at least one strip of material extending between said pannier portions for securing said storage means to said seating unit. Each pannier portion is arranged to depend from the securing means on a respective side of the seating unit in use and the strip of material is selectively securable around a portion of the seating unit. The strip of material comprises releasable fastening means such that the strip can be passed around the seating unit dining use and selectively fastened together so as to form of a closed loop about said seating unit.



Inventors:
White, Paul William (Northamptonshire, GB)
White, Nikki Claire (Northamptonshire, GB)
Application Number:
11/849285
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANMER, LAURIE K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YOUNG LAW FIRM, P.C. (PORTOLA VALLEY, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storage system for a seating unit, comprising: storage means having first and second pannier portions for storing articles, and securing means including at least one strip of material extending between the first and second pannier portions for securing the storage means to the seating unit; wherein each pannier portion is arranged to depend from the securing means on a respective side of the seating unit in use and the at least one strip of material is selectively securable around a portion of the seating unit; and wherein the at least one strip of material includes releasable fastening means such that the at least one strip of material can be passed around the seating unit and releasably fastened so as to form of a closed loop about the seating unit.

2. A storage system according to claim 1, wherein the securing means comprises a first material strip portion having first fastening means.

3. A storage system according to claim 2, wherein the first fastening means are fastenable to opposing fastening means provided on an opposing material strip portion.

4. A storage system according to claim 2, wherein the first fastening means are fastenable to opposing fastening means provided on one of the first and second pannier portions.

5. A storage system according to claim 1, wherein the securing means comprise first and second strips of material, the first strip being configured to extend over an upper surface of the seating unit, and the second strip being configured to extend around an underside of the seating unit.

6. A storage system according to claim 5, wherein one of the first and second material strip includes opposing strip portions, each including corresponding fastening means attached thereto.

7. A storage system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the opposing strip portions are each attached at one end to a respective one of the first and second pannier portions and each have a free end to which the fastening means is attached such that the opposing portions are fixable to one another to form a continuous loop with the other of the first or second strip.

8. A storage system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the first and second opposing strip portions are fixable to one another using at least one of a hook and eye pad pair, mutually engageable clip halves, and popper means.

9. A storage system according to claim 5, wherein the fastening means are provided on the second strip of material.

10. A storage system as claimed in claim 5, wherein the first and second pannier portions depend from an interface between the first and second strips of material.

11. A storage system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the securing means is adjustable in length.

12. A storage system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the strip of material is elastically stretchable.

13. A storage system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the material strip includes an adjustor buckle through which the strip passes for allowing a length of the strip to be adjusted.

14. A storage system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the securing means includes a plurality of strips arranged substantially parallel to one another.

15. A storage system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and second pannier portions are configured to be securable to one another to form a unitary portable carrier for carrying articles stored therein.

16. A storage system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the first and second pannier portions each include releasable attachment means disposed along at least one edge thereof.

17. A storage system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the securing means is configured to act as a shoulder strap for carrying the carrier.

18. A storage system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the securing means includes the first and at least one further material strip, the first strip being configured to act as a shoulder strap for the carrier and the at least one further strip being configured to form a substantially closed loop between the first and second pannier portions for supporting one or more articles therein during transit.

19. A storage system as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the first and second pannier portions includes a plurality of pockets of different sizes for holding the articles.

20. A storage system as claimed in claim 19, wherein at least one of the pockets includes a large pocket extending a full width of the first or the second pannier portion, the or each remaining pocket being located on the pocket.

21. A storage system as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the first and second pannier portions is substantially formed of a textile material.

22. A storage system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the first and second pannier portions have a stiffened back portion.

23. A storage system for selective attachment to a seating unit, comprising: storage means comprising first and second pannier portions, each of the first and second pannier portions including attachment means for releasably attaching the first and second pannier portions together, and securing means including at least one strip of material, wherein the storage system is configured to be convertible between a first configuration in which the first and second pannier portions are releasably attached together by way of the attachment means and a second configuration in which the first and second pannier portions are spaced apart such that the securing means extends therebetween, and wherein the at least one strip of material is releasable such that the storage system is configured to be securable to the seating unit in the second configuration by passing the strip around the seating unit and subsequently fastening the strip so as to form a closed loop around the seating unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(a-d) to Great Britain Patent Application No. 0617324.9, filed Sep. 2, 2006, which application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a portable storage system for a seating unit such as, but not limited to, a sun bed, sun lounger, other recliner, deck chair or the like.

It is well known for sunbathers and the like to take a variety of articles with them both to provide entertainment or distraction whilst sunbathing, and for practical reasons. Typically, for example, a sunbather may have a media player such as an mp3 player, CD player, IPOD®, hand held games console, or the like for providing entertainment. The sunbather may also have reading material such as a book, magazine, and/or newspapers, a cold drink for avoiding dehydration, sun lotion, money, a digital camera, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.

The convenient storage of such articles, whilst sun bathing, is a known problem.

Typically, articles are left on the ground such as hot concrete by a swimming pool, or on a sandy beach near the sea. Alternatively the articles may be stored haphazardly in a bag. However, in both cases there is a significant risk of the articles becoming damaged or being stolen. Portable electronic devices in particular are attractive to thieves since they are often lightweight and high in value. Furthermore thieves can easily steal an article whilst the sunbather is distracted or asleep.

Where the articles are left on the ground, for example, they are easily kicked or trodden on, and hence damaged by a passer-by. They also represent a health and safety hazard because the passer-by might be injured as a result of treading on/tripping over an article. Additionally, electronic articles and especially those with mechanical/electro-mechanical parts can become damaged by sand, water, and or radiation from the sun.

Storage in a bag is preferable but the articles remain at risk of damage during transit and while a user is looking through the contents of the bag. Additionally, the bag itself along with its contents is still at significant risk of theft while a user is asleep/distracted.

Known storage systems for chairs and the like generally comprise rigid box-like structures which are fixed to the chair and which are not portable without the chair itself.

The present invention provides a portable storage system for a seating unit such as a sun bed, sun lounger, other recliner, deck chair or the like, which mitigates the above problems.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided, a storage system for a seating unit such as a sun bed, sun lounger, other recliner, deck chair or the like the storage system comprising:

storage means for storing articles; and securing means for securing said storage means to said seating unit; wherein said securing means is securable around a portion of said seating unit such that said storage means are accessible to a user; and wherein said storage means comprises at least two pannier portions, each pannier portion arranged to depend from the attachment portion on a respective side of said seating unit.

The present invention is particularly advantageous since the storage system can be attached to and removed from the seating unit as required. Thus the storage system is not specific to any single seating unit and can be carried by a user for use in conjunction with a variety of seating units as and when required by the user. The user can therefore use the storage system in a manner similar to that of a conventional carrier or bag when carrying articles to a desired location and can subsequently attach the storage system to the seating unit.

Furthermore the present invention is advantageous since the elongate securing means passes around the seating unit, typically around the portion of a seating unit which is configured to support the weight of a user, such as the seat itself. Thus when the user is sitting or lying on the seating unit, it is difficult to remove the storage system without first dislodging the user. Hence it is difficult for a thief to remove the storage system without alerting the user.

According to a preferred embodiment, the securing means comprises a first strip of material which is attached at one end to the first pannier and at an opposing end to the second cannier. Preferably the securing means comprises a second strip which is releasably attachable between the first and second pannier portions.

During use, the first strip can pass around a first side of a seating unit and the second strip can be passed around a second side of the seating unit and fastened to form a closed loop around the seating unit. The second strip can be detached, breaking the closed loop, when it is required to remove the storage system from the seating unit. Typically the first and second strips can be passed respectively above and below a portion of the seating unit.

According to a preferred embodiment the first and second pannier portions comprise opposing attachment means so as to allow the pannier portions to be selectively fastened together when the storage system is removed from the seating unit. This makes the storage system easy to carry by a user. The attachment means may be located along one edge, along a pair of edges, or else around the perimeter of each pannier portion.

Preferably either or both of the first or second strips of material provide a strap, such as for example a shoulder strap, for carrying the storage system. In one embodiment, the strip which acts as a shoulder strap may be attached to different locations on each of the first and second pannier portions. The strip may be attached towards opposing edges of the pannier portions.

Each pannier portion may have a pair of opposing major faces which may be substantially rectangular in shape. A first face of each pannier portion may be provided with pockets, pouches and/or flaps for selective access to one or more internal pockets of the pannier. A second face of each pannier may be provided with attachment means for attachment to the second face of the opposing pannier portion when the storage system is configured to be carried by a user. Attachment means may additionally or alternatively be provided on the securing means adjacent the pannier portions.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a storage system for selective attachment to a seating unit comprising: storage means comprising first and second pannier portions, each pannier portion having fastening means for releasable fastening of the pannier portions together; and, securing means in the form of first and second strips of material, wherein the storage system is arranged to be convertible between a first format in which the first and second pannier portions are fastened together by way of said fastening means and a second format in which the first and second pannier portions are spaced apart such that the securing means extends therebetween, and wherein at least one of the first and second strips is releasable such that the strips can be passed around a seating unit and fastened to form a closed loop around said seating unit such that the pannier portions are securable to the seating unit in the second condition.

Typically the pannier portions depend from respective sides of the seating unit when secured thereto.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the attached figures in which:

FIG. 1a shows a perspective view of a storage system according to the invention;

FIG. 1b shows a perspective view of the storage system of FIG. 1 when secured to a seating unit;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a pannier portion of the storage system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a side view of an alternative embodiment of a pannier portion;

FIG. 4 shows a view of the opposite side of the pannier of either FIG. 2 or FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a storage system according to the present invention in a portable condition; and,

FIG. 6 shows a side view of one of the pannier portions of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In FIG. 1a a storage system is shown generally at 10. The storage system is intended for use with a sun bed, sun lounger, other recliner or the like. One type of sun lounger is shown at 11 in FIG. 1b. It will be appreciated, however, that the system could also be used with other seating units, such as deck chairs, other outdoor chairs etc. The storage system comprises storage means 12 for storing articles, and securing means 14 for securing the storage means 12 to the seating unit.

The storage means 12 comprises a pair of pannier portions 16, each of which includes a plurality of storage pockets 20, 22, 24, 26 for storing articles of different shapes, sizes and configurations. In the embodiment shown, the pannier portions 16 are of substantially identical configuration, which is described in relation to FIGS. 2 to 4 below. However, it will be appreciated that each pannier portion could have a different arrangement of storage pockets, or the like.

The securing means 14 comprises first 50 and second 52 portions in the form of opposing strips of material.

The first portion 50 is configured for support by an upper surface of the seating unit 11 in operation as can be seen in FIG. 2 and comprises a plurality of generally parallel strips 54, typically having substantially equal length. Either end of each strip 54 is respectively secured to the upper edge 36 of the back 30 of a corresponding pannier portion 16. The strips 54 may be formed from any suitable textile material such as a webbing or the like but are preferably formed of an elastically stretchable material to allow use with chairs of different widths, and to allow a tight fit when secured around the seating unit in operation.

The length of the strips 54 is such that, in operation when the first portion 50 extends transversely across an upper surface of, and is supported by, the seating unit, each pannier portion 16 depends from a respective side of the seating unit for access by a user seated/reclining on the unit. Thus each pannier hangs over the opposing edges of the seat.

The number of strips 54, width and elasticity are configured such that in operation when the pockets contain articles, the weight of the pockets do not cause the first portion 50 of the attachment means to overstretch significantly, for example in a manner which causes the pockets to touch the ground. It will be appreciated that whilst three strips are shown and a plurality of strips described any suitable number of strips 54 may be provided including a single strip of suitable width and elasticity. In an embodiment which makes use of a single strip, the width of the strip would preferably be increased to extend substantially across the width of the panniers. Such a strips may be formed of a mesh or net type material which is lightweight, small in volume and which does not absorb a significant volume of moisture.

The second portion 52 of the attachment portion 14 is configured to extend around an underside of the seating unit and comprises first and second material strips 56, 58 which may or may not be elastically stretchable. One end of each strip 56, 58, is secured to the upper edge 36 of a corresponding pannier portion 16. It can be seen in FIG. 1 that each strip 56, 58 is attached to the right hand side of the upper edge of each respective pannier such that, when the panniers are turned to face away from each other, the strips 56, 58 in fact depend from opposing sides of the storage means 12.

The opposite end of each strip portion 56, 58 are each provided with mutually engageable fastening means 60, 62, for fixing the respective opposite ends to one another, in operation, to secure the securing means 14 around the seating unit, thereby securing the pannier portions 16 in a position accessible to the user. The fastening means 60, 62, comprises respective hook and eye pads of a material fastener of the type sold under the Velcro® trade mark or the like. Alternatively, or additionally the fastening means could comprise any suitable means, for example, mutually engageable clip portions, poppers, buttons/button holes or other conventional fasteners which will be familiar to a person skilled in the art.

Whilst the above-described embodiment fastens underneath the seat, it is also possible that the strip portions 56, 58 could fasten above the seat with the strips 54 passing therebeneath.

Additionally a single strip 56 could be provided in place of the pair of opposing strip portions 56, 58. In such an embodiment, the fastening means may be provided at an end of the strip such that the strip can be selectively fastened or detached from one of the pannier portions.

In such an embodiment, the or each pannier may be provided with a loop or eye formation. The strip may be provided with a hook or clip formation at one or both ends thereof such that the strip can be selectively clipped and unclipped from the or each pannier. When fastening means are provided at either end of the strip, the strip may be detached from both panniers and stored within one pannier. In such an embodiment, smaller handles or straps may be provided on one or both pannier portions such that the storage system can be carried in a manner similar to that of a handbag or briefcase.

It will be appreciated that while the material of the first and second portions are described as being elastically stretchable, and that such a configuration is preferable for providing flexibility, the material need not be elastically stretchable.

Alternatively, or additionally, the first and second portions 50, 52, may be adjustable in length, beyond that provided by any natural elastic stretchability of the corresponding material. Each strip 54 of the first portion 50 may, for example, be provided with an adjustor buckle through which the strip 54 passes to allow the length the strip to be adjusted. Similarly one or both strips 56 of the second portion 52 may be provided with an adjustor buckle through which the corresponding strip 56 passes to allow the length the strip 56 to be adjusted. It will be appreciated that where adjustor buckles are used each adjustable strip 54, 56, may comprise a plurality of material sections arranged to provide the adjustability.

As seen in FIG. 2, each pannier portion 16 comprises a generally rectangular main pocket 20, on the front of which the other pockets 22, 24, 26 are formed, The main pocket 20 has the general form of a carrier similar in shape and size to a record or shoulder bag. In this regard the main pocket generally takes the form of an envelope having a rear panel portion 30, a flexible front portion 32 and a flap portion 34 extending substantially over the front portion 32. The flap 34 is joined to the back portion 30 along an upper edge 36 thereof so as to allow the main envelope pocket 20 to be opened or closed and necessary, The remaining pockets 22, 24, 26 comprise narrow and wide envelope pockets 22, 24, and a pouch pocket 26. The pockets 22, 24, 26, are arranged adjacent one another on the flexible front 32 of the main pocket 20, the wide envelope pocket 24 being located between the narrow envelope pocket 22 and the pouch pocket 26, although any other suitable arrangement is possible.

In the embodiment shown, the rear panel 30 is stiffened to retain its shape although lie rear panel may also be made simply of a flexible material the same as or similar to the material of the front panel portion 32. In such an embodiment, each pannier portion is substantially formed of a textile material such that each pannier is generally flexible and compliant.

The narrow and wide envelope pockets 22, 24 are similar in configuration to the main pocket 20, each having a respective flap 38, 40 for closing the pocket 22, 24. Unlike the main pocket 20, however, the flaps 38 and 40 cover only an upper portion of the pockets 22 and 24 when closed. The main flap 34 is larger in size and covers substantially the whole of the front panel 32 when closed. This form of flap provides added security since the content of the pockets is hidden from view and less readily accessible to a passer-by. The main flap 34 has fastening means 35, which fastens with corresponding fastening means 37 on the both of the pannier, located for example on front panel. Such fastening means 35. 37 may comprise hook and eye fasteners, magnetic members, poppers, buttons, clip-fit, twist-fit members or the like.

The envelope pockets 22, 24 have a flexible back formed by the flexible front 32 of the main pocket 20. The narrow and wide envelope pockets 22, 24 are generally equal in height, relative to the orientation seen in FIG. 2. Contrastingly, the pouch pocket 26 is shorter and is preferably approximately half the height of the two envelope pockets 22, 24, depending on requirements. The pouch pocket may be elasticized and may be configured to hold a can, bottle or the like.

One or more small loops 42 of material is provided adjacent the wide pocket 24, above the pouch pocket 26, for receiving an arm of a pair of sunglasses, spectacles or the like. The loop 42 has size, configuration and location such that in operation, the glasses may be hung from the loop with at least a portion of the glasses received in the pouch pocket 26, for the protection of a lens or lenses thereof.

The narrow pocket 22 is further provided with an internal hidden pocket 44 having fastener means 46 for opening and closing the pocket in use. The fastener means 46 may comprise any suitable means for example a zip, poppers, button/button hole or the like. The hidden pocket 44 and/or any of the other pockets 22 or 24 may be thermally insulated such that an ice pack, freeze pack, or the like, stored in the hidden pocket 44, keeps articles in the pockets cool, and is insulated from heat from external sources such as, for example, the sun. The hidden pocket 44 is preferably formed in the narrow envelope pocket 22 on the flexible front 32 of tie main pocket 20.

Alternatively or additionally the hidden pocket may be used to conceal valuable items such as wallets, mobile phones, jewelry, or the like.

The pockets 20, 22, 24, 26 may be of any suitable size and configuration. Preferably, however, the main pocket 20 is of size and configuration for receiving a newspaper, magazine or the like. Accordingly, each pannier preferably may have a width of 30 to 60 cm and typically a width of roughly 38 to 40 cm. Each pannier preferably has a height of 20 to 40 cm and typically a height of roughly 25 to 30 cm. The narrow pocket 22, when provided with an ice pack is preferably configured for receiving a drinks carton, bottle, can or the like. The wide pocket 24 is preferably configured for receiving a book sun cream, CD or the like. The pouch pocket 26 is preferably configured for receiving loose change, a media player, a watch or the like, in addition to the portion of the glasses. The hidden pocket 44 is preferably configured to receive an ice pack, freeze pack, or the like.

In FIG. 3 another embodiment of a pannier portion suitable for use in the storage system 10, is shown generally at 70. The pannier portion 70 is generally similar to the pannier portion 16 described with reference to FIG. 2, and like parts are given like reference numerals. However in the embodiment of FIG. 3, a small additional pocket 72, is provided on the front of the wide envelope pocket 24, in the lower right corner as viewed. The additional pocket is provide for receiving additional small articles 72 such as earrings, rings, other jewelry, loose change, or the like. It will be appreciated additional pockets could be provided in this manner on the front of any of the pockets 22, 24, 26.

In addition, the main flap 34 is smaller in dimensions than the flap shown in FIG. 2 and covers only an upper portion of the front panel. In addition the pouch pocket 26 has been reversed such that it is on the inside surface of the front panel. Thus the pouch pocket is located inside the main pocket for increased security. Any of the other pockets may be located on the inside of the main pocket in this manner.

Conveniently, any of the embodiments may be provided with a pouch for receiving the storage system to form an enclosed package. The pouch may be separate or may form an integral part of one of the pannier portions.

It will be appreciated that whilst a plurality of separate embodiments are described the features of the embodiments are generally interchangeable to the extent practically possible.

FIG. 4 shows the rear of one pannier portion. The rear panel 30 is provided with a large pocket 74 extending the full width of the pannier suitable for receiving a magazine or the like. The pannier portions are provided with attachment means 76 arranged along m upper and lower edge thereof. The attachment means are mutually engageable with corresponding attachment means on the opposing pannier portions allowing the two pannier portions to be fixed to one another for ease of carrying the storage system when not attached to seat.

In the embodiment shown the attachment means comprise zip portions although any other conventional fastening means of the types described above may be used such as Velcro®, poppers, clips, buttons or the like. In another embodiment, the fasteners may be provided around the entire periphery of the pannier portions. Additionally or else alternatively the fasteners may be provided on the front side of the pannier portions such that the pockets 20, 22, 26, 28, 44 are located within a substantially enclosed package when the panniers are fastened together.

In such an embodiment the securing means may be configured either for concealment and storage within the enclosed package, or for use as a strap or the like to allow a user to carry the package on their shoulder as shown in FIG. 5. In FIG. 5, the upper zips 76 of each pannier have been fastened together and the strips 56 and 58 pulled upwardly and attached at fasteners 60 and 62 to provide a shoulder strap. Each strip 54 of the first securing portion hangs down between the pannier portions in this configuration and provides a loop in which a towel 78 or other articles of clothing or possessions can be held. This is particularly useful when a towel of other clothing has become wet or sullied and a user does not wish to store them with their other possessions in the main pockets of the panniers.

The lower zip 76 may be fastened if the dimensions of the towel 78 permit.

The manner in which the towel 78 or other articles can be supported is more clearly 1 shown in FIG. 6. Each strip 54 is attached at the upper edge of the rear panel 30 and hangs down therefrom such that when the opposing pannier portions are attached together, each strip forms a substantially closed loop about the towel 78.

Alternatively, or additionally, one or both the pannier portions may be provided with handle means extending from the upper edge 36 to allow the package to be carried in the ha id of the user.

Typical operation of the storage system will now be described, by way of example only.

In typical operation the storage system pannier portions are pre-packed with a plurality of desired articles such as sun-cream, drinks, media players, electronic games, reading material etc., by a user. Where the pannier portions are securable to one another to form a substantially enclosed package, the articles may be secured in the package for transport to a desired location such as a poolside lounger or the like. Alternatively or additionally the storage system may be placed in an associated pouch, if available, to form an enclosed package.

The storage system may then be carried to the desired location using the shoulder strap, handle means, or the like, where provided.

At the desired location any enclosed pouch is opened and the storage system sect red to a seating unit such as a lounger, recliner or the like using the attachment means 14. Tie strips 54 of the first portion 50 are placed over an upper surface of the seating unit and the strips 56 and 58 of the second portion passed beneath it. The strips 56 and 58 of the lower portion are then secured to ore another, such that the attachment means 14 forms a tight loop around the seating unit, and each pannier portion 16 depends from the attachment means 14 on a respective side of the seating unit. Where adjustor means are provided, the length of the first and/or second portion may be adjusted to tighten the loop.

Conveniently, where the seating unit has a cushion, or the like, the attachment means may be arranged to pass over an upper surface of the frame of the seating unit but beneath the cushion for enhanced comfort,

The user then uses the seating unit and the articles within the storage system to the extent required. Where the user wishes to move the seating unit, for example to take account of the movement of the sun when sun bathing, the storage system is moved along with the seating unit.

After the user has finished at the desired location the storage system is removed with the articles remaining in place in the associated pockets. Where provided for the system may be arranged to form a unitary package as described previously by securing the two pannier portions to one another and/or using an associated pouch. The storage system may then be transported to another location as desired.

The storage system of the present invention is particularly desirable since it closely resembles the form of a conventional carrier such as a record bag or shoulder bag, whilst performing a useful dual purpose. This therefore avoids the stigma which is often attached to overly cumbersome carriers such as rigid boxes or the like and provides a relatively secure carrier for a user's possessions which does not significantly depart from the appearance of a fashion accessory.





 
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