Title:
ASSEMBLY FOR THE SEPARATION OF MULTIPLE COMPUTERS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WORK STATIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly for separating multiple computers is disclosed. The assembly comprises vertical dividers suspended from horizontal supports which, in turn, are supported by free-standing side supports. The assembly is relatively inexpensive, provides privacy to students using a computer, and may be retrofitted onto existing computer tables wherein several computers may rest.



Inventors:
Saccani, Richard (Charleroi, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/022536
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
01/30/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B37/00
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl (PITTSBURGH, PA, US)
Claims:
1. An assembly for separating multiple computers comprising: at least two free-standing side supports; at least one substantially horizontal divider support extending between the at least two side supports; and at least one substantially vertical divider located between the at least two side supports and suspended by the at least one horizontal divider support.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the height of the at least one vertical divider is adjustable.

3. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the at least one vertical divider is adjustable along a length of the at least one horizontal divider support.

4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the at least two side supports each comprise at least one vertical support member and at least one horizontal support member.

5. The assembly of claim 1, comprising three of the horizontal divider supports.

6. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the at least one vertical divider comprises at least one aperture through which the at least one horizontal divider support passes through.

7. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising at least one collar disposed about the at least one horizontal divider support and adjacent to the at least one vertical support member.

8. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the at least one vertical divider is structured and arranged to rest on a desk or table upon which the computers are located.

9. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the free-standing side supports are structured and arranged to rest on a floor.

10. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the free-standing side supports are adjustable in height.

11. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a third free-standing side support located between the at least two free-standing side supports.

12. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the assembly is structured and arranged to separate four computers.

13. The assembly of claim 12, wherein the four computers are located on two desks or tables.

14. The assembly of claim 12, wherein each of the four computers is located on a separate desk or table.

15. The assembly of claim 12, wherein the four computers are located on a single desk or table.

16. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the assembly is structured and arranged to separate eight computers.

17. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the eight computers are located on at least two separate desks or tables.

18. An assembly for separating multiple computers comprising: at least two free-standing side supports; at least one substantially horizontal divider support extending between the at least two side supports; at least one substantially vertical divider located between the at least two side supports and suspended by the at least one horizontal divider support; and at least one desk or table located between the at least two free-standing side supports upon which computers are located.

19. The assembly of claim 18, wherein the computers are located on one desk or table.

20. The assembly of claim 18, wherein each computer is located on a separate desk or table.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/898,606 filed Jan. 31, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an assembly that is capable of separating multiple computers and/or establishing individual work stations.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

As a result of the advantages that technology provides in education, virtually every classroom now uses computers in multiple ways to enhance the learning process. As a result, classroom instructors often find it necessary to have many computers available in a classroom for students to use. Often times, the easiest and most cost effective way to accommodate a high number of classroom computers leads to placing multiple computers on a single table or simply using student desks. Typically, this “computer” table is long and rectangular to accommodate several computers. As one can imagine, several computers sitting side by side on a single table provides virtually no privacy to the users at each computer. This lack of privacy can be distracting to both the students who are trying to effectively use each computer as well as to the instructor who is trying to instruct the students. Further, should the students ever need to take an exam on one of these computers, the lack of privacy can result in poor concentration as well as students potentially seeing each other's work.

Today, if an instructor wants to provide privacy at classroom computers, he or she can place each computer on a separate desk or table spaced apart at a sufficient distance. This alternative is not very space-effective and may still have privacy problems. Another alternative is to use cubicle-type desks (carrels) which provide privacy, but are space-prohibitive and very expensive.

Thus, it would be desirable to provide privacy between multiple computers with a separate cubicle for each computer without incurring the considerable expense and loss of space. Further, it would be desirable to retrofit a standard table holding several computers to quickly and easily provide privacy between each computer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an assembly for separating multiple computers. The assembly comprises vertical dividers suspended from horizontal supports which, in turn, are supported by free-standing side supports. The assembly is relatively inexpensive, provides privacy to students using a computer, and may be retrofitted onto existing computer furniture wherein several computers may rest.

As aspect of the present invention provides an assembly for separating multiple computers comprising at least two free-standing side supports; at least one substantially horizontal divider support extending between the at least two side supports; and at least one substantially vertical divider located between the at least two side supports and suspended by the at least one horizontal divider support.

Another aspect of the present invention provides an assembly for separating multiple computers comprising at least two free-standing side supports; at least one substantially horizontal divider support extending between the at least two side supports; at least one substantially vertical divider located between the at least two side supports and suspended by the at least one horizontal divider support; and at least one desk or table located between the at least two free-standing side supports upon which computers are located.

This and other aspects of the present invention will be more apparent from the following description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembly for separating multiple computers in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a vertical divider of the present invention illustrating openings for each horizontal divider support to pass through in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a vertical divider mounted on two horizontal divider supports with collars to adjustably hold the vertical divider in place in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a partially schematic front view of an assembly separating four computers each resting on a separate computer table in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a partially schematic front view of the present invention separating four computers all resting on one computer table in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a partially schematic front view of an assembly of the present invention separating eight computers, four computers resting on one computer table and four computers table resting on a second computer table in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a partially schematic front view according to another embodiment of the present invention wherein the vertical side supports are resting on the computer table.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the assembly of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1-3 illustrate an assembly 10 for separating multiple computers in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The assembly 10 separates four computers 44a-44d resting on two computer tables/desks 40a and 40b. Specifically, computers 44a and 44b both rest on computer table/desk 40a and computers 44c and 44d both rest on computer table/desk 40b. While a computer monitor, keyboard and computer processing unit (CPU) are shown together at each computer station within the figures, the CPU may be located separate from the computer monitor and keyboard at the computer station or at a remote location from the computer station. Although computers are illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the assembly 10 may be used to separate other computerized objects including, for example, voting machines, gambling machines and the like. Further, the assembly 10 may be used to separate workspace at a desk or table, whether or not any computerized object is present.

The assembly 10 comprises two free-standing side supports 12. As used herein when referring to the side supports, the term “freestanding” means that the supports rest on the floor rather than being provided as an integral unit with a computer table or desk. Alternatively, the side supports may rest on the computer table or desk. The free-standing side supports may be made of metal, wood, plastic, composite, or any other suitable material.

Extending between and attaching to the side supports 12 are three horizontal divider supports: an upper front horizontal divider support 22, an upper rear horizontal divider support 24, and a lower rear horizontal divider support 26. FIGS. 1-2 illustrate three vertical dividers 30 suspended by the horizontal divider supports 22, 24 and 26. However, any desired number of vertical dividers 30 may be placed between the free-standing side supports 12 depending on the number of computers one wishes to separate. Although three horizontal divider supports are shown in FIG. 1, each vertical divider 30 may be suspended by at least one horizontal divider support. The horizontal divider supports may be in the form of rods having circular cross sections or any other suitable shape. The horizontal divider supports may be made of tubular steel, tubular aluminum, PVC piping, or any other suitable material. The horizontal divider supports may provide a conduit for electrical wiring and outlets to provide electrical access at any location within the assembly. The upper horizontal divider supports 22 and 24 provide a convenient means of storage for computer headsets and the like.

End caps are located on the side supports 12: an upper front end cap 23, an upper rear end cap 25, and a lower rear end cap 27. The end caps are designed to accept each of the corresponding horizontal divider supports 22, 24 and 26, such that each of the horizontal divider supports pass through the side support 12 and extend into the end cap, but do not pass through the end cap. The end caps 23, 25, and 27 may be hollowed to the same shape as the corresponding horizontal divider support so that the horizontal divider support engages with the end cap. The end caps may be grooved or ungrooved to accept the corresponding horizontal divider support. Although FIGS. 1-3 show the end caps 23, 25, and 27 on the outer portion of the side supports 12, the end caps may alternatively be located on the inner portion of the side supports 12. In such cases, the horizontal divider supports may pass through the end caps and into the side supports 12, but may not extend completely through the side supports 12. Further, a screw, pin, or similar object may be inserted into the end cap and pass through the horizontal divider support, e.g., in a direction perpendicular to the length of the horizontal divider support to lock the horizontal divider support into the end cap and provide stability to the entire assembly 10.

In accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the vertical dividers 30 are suspended by the horizontal divider supports and, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, may hang at a clearance distance C above the computer tables 40a and 40b. The clearance C may be any measurement that would provide privacy to the computer user. The clearance distance C may range from zero to 6 inches, typically from zero to 0.5 or 1 inch. In one embodiment, the clearance distance is zero, and the vertical dividers 30 touch the upper surface of the computer table or desk. In this case, the dividers 30 are supported by the horizontal divider supports 22, 24 and 26, while resting on the computer table or desk. Further, the vertical dividers 30 may be moved along the horizontal divider supports to adjust the space necessary for each computer.

A side view of the assembly for separating multiple computers 10 is shown in FIG. 3. The free-standing side support 12 comprises both vertical support members and horizontal support members. For example, the free-standing side support 12 comprises a front vertical support member 14 and a rear vertical support member 15, as well as an upper horizontal member 16 and a lower horizontal member 17. The free-standing side support 12 may be adjustable in height. FIG. 3 illustrates adjustable pedestals 18a and 18b attached to the bottom of the free-standing side support 12. However, any suitable means for adjusting the height may be employed including, for example, the front vertical support member 14 and the rear vertical support member 16 may be telescopic.

Also shown in FIG. 3 is a side view of a vertical divider 30 which extends beyond the front of the computer table 40b. The extended length of the vertical divider 30 provides additional privacy to a computer user. Furthermore, if additional privacy is desired, the entire free-standing structure may be moved forward in relation to the computer table or desk.

As shown most clearly in FIG. 4, each vertical divider 30 has three openings to allow each corresponding horizontal divider support to pass through the vertical divider 30. For example, each vertical divider 30 has an upper front opening 32, an upper rear opening 34, and a lower rear opening 36 which allows each corresponding horizontal support 22, 24 and 26 to pass through and suspend the vertical divider 30. Although the openings in FIG. 3 are round, the openings may be any shape provided the corresponding horizontal divider supports may attach to the side supports. Each vertical divider 30 is positioned along the horizontal divider supports to separate the computers 44a-44d from each other. Further, each of the vertical dividers 30 may be adjustably suspended along the horizontal divider supports to provide the adequate desired space for each computer.

FIG. 4 shows a side view of a vertical divider 30. Although a modified rectangle-type shape is shown, the vertical divider 30 may be any suitable shape to separate the computers. FIG. 4 illustrates that one edge of the vertical divider 30 may be angled. This feature allows a computer user to enter and exit each computer area with ease. The vertical dividers 30 may be made of a solid material including wood, metal, plastic, composite, or any other suitable material. Alternatively, the vertical dividers 30 may be hollow. The vertical dividers 30 may be upholstered by any suitable material to provide noise reduction. There are three openings in the vertical divider 30: an upper front opening 32; an upper rear opening 34; and a lower rear opening 36. These openings allow each of the corresponding horizontal divider supports to pass through the vertical divider 30 such that the vertical divider 30 is suspended by the horizontal divider supports. While FIG. 4 illustrates the openings as round holes, these openings may be any shape so long as they allow the horizontal divider supports to pass through and suspend them. Further, the vertical divider 30 may be attached to the horizontal divider supports in any other known manner.

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of a vertical divider 30 and portions of the upper front horizontal divider support 22 and upper rear horizontal divider support 24. In this figure, the upper front horizontal divider support 22 and the upper rear horizontal divider support 24 each pass through the vertical divider 30. There are four collars 38 shown in this figure; two collars are located on the upper front horizontal divider support 22 on each side of the vertical divider 30, and two collars are located on the upper rear horizontal divider support 24 on each side of the vertical divider 30. These collars 38 may be used to adjustably secure the vertical divider 30 along the horizontal divider supports. Collars 38 may utilize a set screw, compression fitting or other means of fixing the collar 38 in place. Other means for securing the vertical dividers may be employed.

FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 illustrate alternative embodiments of the assembly for separating multiple computers 10 illustrating variations in the number and set-up of the computers separated. For example, in FIG. 6, the assembly for separating multiple computers 10 is shown separating four computers 44a-44d, each computer setting on a separate computer desk/table 40a-40d. In FIG. 7, the assembly for separating multiple computers 10 again separates four computers, 44a-44d, however, in this figure all of the computers are resting on one computer table 40a. In FIG. 8, the assembly 10 serves to separate eight computers, 44a-44h, however, 44a-44d rest on one computer table 40a and 44e-44h rest on another computer table 40b. In this embodiment of the present invention, there are three side supports 12.

Referring now to FIG. 9, another alternative embodiment of the present invention illustrates side supports 112 resting on the computer table 40a. The side supports 112 are attached to the computer table 40a by a fastener 118. A screw, bolt, pin, clamp, latch or any other suitable device may be used to attach the side supports 112 to the computer table 40a. In FIG. 9, the front vertical support member 114 of each side support 112 is shown. Further, the upper front horizontal divider support 22 and the lower rear horizontal divider support 24 are shown extending between and attaching to the side supports 112. The horizontal divider supports suspend the three vertical dividers 30.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the assembly of FIG. 9 wherein the side support 112 is a desk-mounted side support and further comprises a front vertical support member 114 and rear vertical support member 115 as well as a front upper horizontal support member 116 and a lower horizontal support member 117. The desk mounted side support 112 rests on the computer table 40a and is attached by a fastener 118. Further illustrated in FIG. 10 is a side view of a vertical divider 30. The vertical divider 30 extends beyond the computer table 40a to provide additional privacy to the computer user. There is a space between the vertical divider 30 and the computer table 40a.

Another alternative of the present invention exists wherein the horizontal divider supports may be telescopic so as to adjust the distance between the side supports. This telescopic adjustability may in turn adjust the width of the assembly so that computer tables/desks of varying lengths may be easily retrofitted with the assembly. Further, this telescopic adjustability may allow the assembly to completely collapse so that it may be easily stored and transported.

Whereas particular embodiments of this invention have been described above for purposes of illustration, it will be evident to those skilled in the art that numerous variations of the details of the present invention may be made without departing from the invention as defined in the appended claims.