Title:
Battery Grip Protective Device for Cameras, Video Recorders, and Other Electronic Devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one example, we have a rubber skin that fits a range of battery grips. It has a number of cut-outs that allow the material to stretch and accommodate different cameras (or sizes/models), and also, access the different camera control locations, knobs, or buttons. This can apply to video recorders or any electronic devices, in general. This provides protection for device, for impact, scratch, or water, for example. In addition, it provides easy access or change of battery. Thus, convenience, adjustability, and protection are provided at the same time. Many other variations and extensions are also discussed in the specification and figures. In addition, the skin can be solid/rigid or soft. Furthermore, using a band or Velcro, with multiple pieces or attached pieces, one can easily adjust the sizes for different cameras or models.



Inventors:
Law, David (Seattle, WA, US)
Busck, Johannes Refskund (Soeborg, DK)
Esarey, Graeme (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/772217
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
06/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHANG, FANG-CHI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEDLER FERRO WOODHOUSE & MILLS PLLC (McLean, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, wherein said battery grip armor or cover comprises one or more holes, cutouts, or access points, for accessing different knobs, buttons, parts, chambers, or controls, on a battery pack of said camera or video recorder, wherein said battery grip armor or cover holds or grips a battery, and wherein said battery is connected to or associated with said camera or video recorder.

2. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is rigid.

3. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of soft or flexible material.

4. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of multiple pieces.

5. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of only one piece.

6. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 4, wherein said multiple pieces are connected or attached together, using band, Velcro, string, cable, hook, zipper, rope, or any connecting means.

7. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 6, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is adjustable for different sizes, cameras, or models.

8. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 3, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is adjustable for different sizes, cameras, or models.

9. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of shock absorbent material.

10. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of water resistant material.

11. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover holds or grips said battery during battery exchange or recharging.

12. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein a logo, LCD, or display is shown through said one or more holes, cutouts, or access points.

13. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover comprises one or more flap covers or hinged skin pieces.

14. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover comprises more than 1 layers.

15. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 14, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is inflatable.

16. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 15, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is filled with air, liquid, fluid, gas, powder, gel, foam, sponge, or hot fluid.

17. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover comprises rubber shell, shock absorbing material, or bubble cushion.

18. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is connected to, adjacent to, or attached to a cover or skin protecting said camera or video recorder.

19. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is made of or comprises one or more of the following materials or structures: plastic, elastic material, nylon, bubble-protection material, layered material, soft material, synthetic material, shock absorbent material, hard material, solid material, liquid-containing material, gas-containing material, pressurized-gas-containing material, balloon-type material, inflatable material, gel-type material, natural material, leather, water-proof material, oil-protected surface, paper, cardboard, stretchable material, elastic band network, net-shape material, magnetic material, metallic material, metallic chain, array of metallic rings, multi-dimensional structure, folded structure, hinges, hinged plates, hinged micro-plates, connected tiles, Lego-shaped material, brick-shaped material, ceramic tiles, stone tiles, artificial material tiles, glass tiles, transparent material, translucent material, reflective material, fluorescent material, metal-plated material, painted material, rug, woven material, bamboo, carpet material, wooden material, sticks, insulation material, water-cooling jacket, air-cooling jacket, heating-element jacket, insulation jacket, or any similar material, compound, chemical, or composite material.

20. A battery grip armor or cover for a camera or video recorder, as recited in claim 1, wherein said battery grip armor or cover is attached to one or more of the following items: a picture frame, clock, notebook, calculator, solar cell array, battery, pen holder, pen, pencil, magnetic plate, magnetic decoration, light, LED, LCD, display, small TV, small radio, thermometer, pressure gauge, biometric sensor, thumb or fingerprint recognition module, combination lock, lock, Velcro, hook-and-loop, password entry input, small keyboard, input device, pointing device, speaker, microphone, small telephone set, keychain ring, hook, small video game, music player, downloading unit, wireless unit, communication unit, antenna, small computer, small web browser, recorder, or any electronic or mechanical device, apparatus, system, toy, decoration, or equipment.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to the following co-pending applications, with some common inventors, and same exact assignee: (The teaching of all the applications below are incorporated herein by reference.)

Also: CIP of the following case: U.S. application Ser. No. 11/695,625, filed 4-3-07.

U.S. application Ser. No. 11/696,740, filed 4-5-07.

U.S. application Ser. No. 11/695,624, filed 4-3-07.

BACKGROUND

The cameras or video recorders, especially expensive cameras, need protection against impact, heat, sun, dirt, moisture, and water. Thus, a protective outer layer of skin or armor is a very important feature on cameras or video recorders (or any other electronic gadgets and devices). In this invention, we concentrate on Battery Grip Armor. In one embodiment, we have a rubber skin that fits a range of battery grips. This is the same or similar material as our main camera armor, described in our earlier disclosure. It has a number of cut-outs that allow the material to stretch and accommodate different cameras and also access the different camera control locations. Some of the related prior art are listed here:

    • Okuda, U.S. Pat. No. 7,057,660 teaches a digital camera having a camera body, a shutter release button, a photographic optical system, a display cover, a lens/strobe flash cover, a non-skid grip pits/projection, a mode dial, operation buttons, indication lamps, a display screen, and a strobe flashing unit. When the camera is not in-use, the display screen is covered by the display cover and a lens of the photographic optical system and the strobe flashing unit are covered by the lens/strobe flash cover to provide protection to such features. The lens/strobe flash cover is mechanically coupled to the display cover via a coupling mechanism such as a gear mechanism or a link mechanism or a chain/wire mechanism, or a combination of those mechanisms. An electric power switch to turn on and off an electric power supply to operate the digital camera is activated coupled to the movement of the display cover and the lens/strobe flash cover.
    • Lamphron, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,943,521, teaches a camera comprising a particular device (such as an electronic flash unit) that requires electrical energy to operate, a power switch capable of being changed from a normal state to a working state in order to provide electrical power to the device and biased to return to the normal state, and a protective cover (such as a lens cover) that changes the power switch from the normal state to the working state as the protective cover is moved from being closed to being open, is characterized in that the protective cover is supported for manual movement when open, without being moved to close, to change the power switch from the normal state to the working state when the power switch has returned to the normal state.
    • Hayakawa, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,070,348, teaches a waterproof and/or water-resistant camera including a movable photographing lens barrel which moves in the optical axis direction of the camera, an air breathing passage for connecting the interior and the exterior of the camera, an air-permeable and water-impermeable filter provided in the air breathing passage, and a protection cover which covers the air-permeable and water-impermeable filter to constitute an air connecting assembly for the air-permeable and water-impermeable filter.
    • Tsuboi, U.S. Pat. No. 4,595,268, teaches a lens protection cover being contained within a barrel ahead of the objective lens, and opening and closing of this lens protection cover is performed by an actuator operable along the periphery of the lens barrel, whereby it is possible not only to protect the objective lens when not in use, but also to permit camera operation to be controlled by the open and closed positions of the lens projection cover so that faulty operation is prevented.

However, none of the above teaches the features of the current application and invention, as described below.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, we have a rubber skin that fits a range of battery grips. This is the same or similar material as our main camera armor, described in our earlier disclosure. It has a number of cut-outs that allow the material to stretch and accommodate different cameras and also access the different camera control locations.

This is an improvement to the current state-of-the-art. It provides more protection for the device, in terms of water, impact, and scratch resistance, for example.

It also features plug-in covers for gaps, plus any or all of the below (in combination with our other disclosures/inventions, described before, in our co-pending applications):

    • a. Double layer (with ultra thin layer on inside and/or also outside),
    • b. Zip Lock features around the holes,
    • c. Hot shoe drape over top of camera,
    • d. Finger Condom.

To customize for one model, all of the access points and holes/plugs are predetermined. However, in another embodiment, to apply to 2 or more models, the access points and holes/plugs are usually more than needed, to get all the models covered. In addition, there are extra plugs or covers, to hide and cover the unused access points. To compensate for the different sizes, one uses an elastic material or stretchable material, or alternatively, uses the folded skin, or a skin sewed/stapled/attached to the elastic band.

As another embodiment, we are introducing an elastomeric skin, which covers the battery grip and provides protection against dirt and general wear-and-tear on the battery grip. The skin covers many, most, or all surfaces and replicates the existing battery grip buttons with elastomeric/rubber buttons, which the user can press on, to activate all the existing functions of the camera, without exposing the buttons to any dirt or moisture. The skin has both open and “open-able” areas, to allow the user access to functional areas on the camera or video recorder battery grip (in this example), e.g. to replace the battery or memory card, if they exist within the battery grip.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows armor applied to the battery.

FIG. 2 shows holes and access points, for predicting and providing, in advance, different access points for different cameras, so that it can fit and satisfy the shape and configuration of many cameras in the market.

FIG. 3 shows the battery grip/armor, on battery, alone.

FIG. 4 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 shows a different view/variation for FIG. 3. In one embodiment, it has a rubber shell for shock absorption and protection of camera.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows armor applied to the battery grip. FIG. 2 shows holes and access points, for predicting and providing, in advance, different access points for different camera battery grips, so that it can fit and satisfy the shape and configuration of many camera battery grips in the market. It also shows the battery grip. In one embodiment, the material is flexible, to be able to stretch and fit others, as well. It also reduces the cost of production, and cost to consumers.

FIG. 3 shows the battery grip/armor, on battery grip, alone, without being attached to the camera. FIG. 4 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3. FIG. 5 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3. It shows that how easy it is to change the battery, with the armor on it. FIG. 6 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a different view/variation for FIG. 3. In one embodiment, it displays the logo through an opening, similar to the access points for other knobs and buttons, as well as other places/things to access on the camera, by the user. In one embodiment, it uses Velcro band, for the bottom of the unit, for attachment. In one embodiment, other equivalent material and devices, such as belt, string, cable, or hook, could be used, instead. It indicates ease of attachment and flexibility, plus adjustability to fit other models.

FIG. 8 shows a different view/variation for FIG. 3. In one embodiment, it has a rubber shell for shock absorption and protection of camera. In one embodiment, it indicates where it sticks to the battery grip. In one embodiment, it can be adhered. In one embodiment, it is 1 piece, only. In one embodiment, it is 2 pieces, or more. This makes it more adjustable, for size, and for different models. The Velcro connecting different pieces, or other means of attachment, can be adjusted for different sizes, distances, or dimensions, to grab the device very tightly, for many models, to have a good impact protection for the device, as well as being scratch resistant.

The upgrade kit, optional, has a set of plugs for different size of holes. It can be for media opening, battery opening, or general purpose.

In one embodiment, the water flaps cover openings. In one embodiment, the flaps could be removed or pulled away or out. In one embodiment, the rest of the cover is permanent. In one embodiment, the skin looks like shingles, or fish's scales, in which one layer partially covering previous layer, but the whole arrangement can be loose, or attached/rigid. In one embodiment, one uses flexible membrane for the finger condom, on the skin of the device.

In general, whatever we mentioned above, or below, can be applied to the video cameras or any electronic devices, as well.

In one embodiment, one can add a belt clip to the camera skin, so that it could be worn on the belt. Also, the skin itself (without any additional parts) can be wrapped over a belt, so that it can be worn by a user on his belt. Also, the skin can be attached to the belt, pants, skirt, shirt, or purse, with a string, tether, band, belt, or chain, through the skin, on the skin, in-between the skin (e.g. a pocket), or inside the skin.

In one embodiment, one can add different designs, text, and patterns inside or outside of the skin, for decoration, advertisement, instructions, or convenience of the user.

In one embodiment, the skin is made of one or more of the following materials or structures: plastic, elastic material, nylon, bubble-protection material, layered material, soft material, synthetic material, shock absorbent material, hard material, solid material, liquid-containing material, gas-containing material, pressurized-gas-containing material, balloon-type material, inflatable material, gel-type material, natural material, leather, water-proof material, oil-protected surface, paper, cardboard, stretchable material, elastic band network, net-shape material, magnetic material, metallic material, metallic chain, array of metallic rings, multi-dimensional structure, folded structure, hinges, hinged plates, hinged micro-plates, connected tiles, Lego-shaped material, brick-shaped material, ceramic tiles, stone tiles, artificial material tiles, glass tiles, transparent material, translucent material, reflective material, fluorescent material, metal-plated material, painted material, rug, woven material, bamboo, carpet material, wooden material, sticks, insulation material, water-cooling jacket, air-cooling jacket, heating-element jacket, insulation jacket, or any similar, compound, chemical, or composite material.

In one embodiment, the skin includes (in, attached to, or on it) one or more of the following items: a picture frame, clock, notebook, calculator, solar cell array, battery, pen holder, pen, pencil, magnetic plate, magnetic decoration, light, LED, LCD, display, small TV, small radio, thermometer, pressure gauge, biometric sensor, thumb/fingerprint recognition module, combination lock, lock, Velcro, hook-and-loop, password entry input, small keyboard, input device, pointing device, speaker, microphone, small telephone set, keychain ring, hook (for hanging the unit), small video game, music player, downloading unit (from Internet or satellite), wireless unit, communication unit, antenna, small computer, small web browser, recorder, or any other electronic or mechanical device, apparatus, system, toy, decoration, or equipment.

Inflatable Skin Cover, as an Embodiment, to Fit (Almost) any Size Camera

In one embodiment, the skin cover comprises multiple layers. In one embodiment, the skin cover is inflatable. In one embodiment, the skin cover is inflated using one or more of the following, or combination or mixture of the following: gas, liquid, solid, dust, gel-type, liquidated-solid, pressurized fluid, water-absorbent sponge, sponge-type material, or any expandable solid, liquid, fluid, chemical, gas, or material, caused by chemical reaction, heat, temperature variation, catalyst, chain reaction, exceeding critical mass, seed material, mixing, or pressure.

In one embodiment, the size or shape of said skin cover is adjusted based on the size, model, or type of the camera battery grip. In one embodiment, the inflation is adjusted based on the size, model, or type of the camera battery grip. In one embodiment, the size or shape of said skin cover is adjusted by one or more of the following, or a combination of the following: a user, a computer, feedback from one or more sensors, feedback module, pressure gauges at different points, data about the model number or type of said camera or camera battery grip, data about the dimensions or weight of said camera or camera battery grip, fuzzy logic system, a training module, or a neural network module. In one embodiment, the skin cover has multiple parts or chambers, each of which can be optimized, or inflated separately, or in concert, with respect to each other.

In one embodiment, a database holds all the information about specific cameras, or camera battery grips, to inflate the components or parts accordingly, to fit the camera. The more individual chamber or parts we have (smaller chambers), the easier one can make it fit to the shape of a specific camera battery grip. The chambers can be connected together, or can be individually inflated, independent of each other.

This embodiment is useful for semi-custom-made or generic skin cover, to act or behave as a custom-made skin cover (fit perfectly with the camera).

Any other variation of the above teaching is also meant to be protected by the current patent.