Title:
Media core cabinet furniture system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A contemporary custom wood furniture-styled cabinet, which houses a home computer system and various electronic components, has been designed to integrate into a home living environment. It features a cabinet built from high-grade plywood supported by four legs. Internal shelving is designed to allow easy access to computer and electronic components. When closed it adapts to the surrounding furniture scheme of the living environment. When open it allows for access and use of the computer and peripheral electronic components. The design is executed to enhance the look of the living environment and encourage greater use of the computer system.



Inventors:
Robins, Adrian (San Anselmo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/799280
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/30/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
361/679.48, 361/679.4
International Classes:
A47B21/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
OREILLY, PATRICK F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Matlock Law Group, PC (Walnut Creek, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A media center computer furniture system comprising: A media core computer furniture cabinet, one or more personal computer, a passive cooling system, an active extractive fan cooling system, electrical controls including I/O switch, reset button, wireless mouse, peripheral connection module, and compact disk drives; and client-based peripherals including cable television set top boxes, or amplifiers, wherein the computer furniture system is a contemporary article of furniture of a suitable designer quality such that the additional living environment furniture is similar design and quality.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the article of furniture is constructed of high grade wood or other suitable material.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein the media core computer furniture cabinet is assembled to conceal computer, electronics, media and associated peripheral equipment.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the media core furniture cabinet is designed to provide a central access point while simultaneously concealing said computer, electronics, media and associated peripheral equipment.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the media core furniture cabinet includes a passive cooling system.

6. The system of claim 5 wherein the media core furniture cabinet is designed to provide a central passive cooling system while simultaneously concealing said passive cooling system.

7. The active extractive fan cooling system of claim 1 comprising: a horizontal cooling fan facing panel, a cooling fan; and two elevating legs, wherein said active extractive fan system actively cools the computer furniture system.

8. The horizontal cooling fan facing panel of claim 7 wherein the bottom panel is suitably cut out to provide mounting means for cooling fan by any suitable L shaped support member and associated vertical support assembly mechanism.

9. The two elevating legs of claim 7 wherein said two elevating legs are smoothly connected to said bottom panel via a suitable fastening or bonding means to allow appropriate room for said vertical support assembly mechanism.

10. A home entertainment electronics retractable access panel, capable of providing a method performing the steps comprising: pulling a handle mechanism securely fastened to said panel; sliding outwardly from the computer furniture cabinet to a point beyond the vertical axis of the rear chassis enclosure panel wherein said retractable access panel edge does not strike the chassis frame edge when said panel is pivoted upwardly; pivoting upwardly about said point beyond the vertical axis until said retractable access panel has reached a substantially vertical orientation; translating up in the vertical axis where necessary to align with a vertical plane cavity in opening of said chassis frame; becoming a vertically oriented cover, wherein said cover conceals the said computer, electronics, media and associated peripheral equipment.

11. The retractable access panel of claim 10 further comprising the steps of: sliding inwardly to a point parallel to said vertical axis flush with said cabinet chassis frame; and latching said vertically oriented cover mechanically coupled a first latching portion and latching said first latching portion to a second latching receiving portion said second latching portion mechanically coupled to said chassis frame.

12. The retractable access panel of claim 10 wherein the handle mechanism is mechanically coupled to or bonded to a perpendicular panel top edge of said access panel via a plurality of bonding means.

13. The handle mechanism of claim 10 comprising: A top edge vertically offset from a right side of retracting access panel; A cavity in said access panel creating a gripping means clearance; and A handle mechanism bonded to said top edge vertically offset panel.

14. A method of increasing user entertainment media access comprising the following steps in any order: Housing a plurality of user entertainment media devices in a central location; Controlling a pc based computer system coupled to at least one wireless remote wherein said media devices are controlled externally to said housing; coupling the wireless remote electronically to a wireless pc based computer system mouse; and selecting from a menu of media, entertainment, computer and peripheral devices, wherein said remote mouse selects from a virtual menu on a display screen housed internal or external to the media core cabinet.

15. The method of claim 14 comprising: providing a designer styled furniture finish to said housing wherein said housing is an enclosure; Concealing said media devices from a user external to said centrally located devices.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The subject matter herein relates generally to a system and method for media center, entertainment and computer furniture and more particularly to a computer cabinet that can be integrated into a living room or designer furniture environment. Further, the subject matter also relates generally to a means for providing designer style furnishings to house computer components, entertainment, media, and storage therein.

Most home computers are under utilized because they do not integrate attractively into a living environment and are usually set up in a separate space such as an office. If they are set up in a living room or living area, they tend to be placed out of the way because their bulk and the multitude of wires make them unattractive. Home computers will not be utilized fully unless their presence can be streamlined, be accessible and be readily available to all members in a household. This would occur most naturally in a living room environment. To accomplish these objectives, the computer needs to be housed in an attractive piece of contemporary furniture that integrates controls and functions into one unit.

Many people would benefit by having their computers readily and easily available to them. Designing a piece of furniture that attractively allows the computer to be placed in a living or entertainment room would allow people to get greater use out of their computer system. Greater availability and easy use would allow them to search information, listen to music, record and watch television and use e-mail. As such what is needed is a system and method for consolidating such equipment in such a way to integrate the designer style of existing living room or entertainment room designer furniture with designer furniture for computer, electronics, and media equipment in the home.

SUMMARY

It is the object of this invention to incorporate a computer system into a cabinet that is functional, yet aesthetically attractive enough to be placed in the home living and entertaining environment. A piece of furniture that can fit attractively into a living room and entertainment room environment will provide greater access to the system. This approach integrates functionality of various devices with aesthetic appeal, and therefore enhances and encourages greater use of the computer system itself.

Computer system cabinets and furniture have typically been developed with designs suitable for a workspace such as a commercial office building or a home office. However, with many technologies converging, including telecommunications, desktop computing, television broadcasting, cable television broadcasting, streaming media Internet Protocol (IP), VoIP telephony, video on demand, satellite broadcasting, cellular telephones, traditional telephony, wireless networking, data broadband networking, i-Pod audio/video, stereo and various handheld mobile devices, there is a need to consolidate access in home locations and for device control. Further, there is a need to provide such access from the entertainment center or living room environment with suitable furniture designs to integrate attractively into such spaces.

The entertainment, media and information superhighway is converging in a dramatic and rapid way recently. A consumer of these devices would like to use and enjoy the services such devices provide in an abundance of comfort and relaxation. As such, there is a need for centrally located devices to co-exist in a high end designer style living room or entertainment media room environment. For example, in many high end custom homes, many of these entertainment and media products are enjoyed from the comfort of a home theatre environment. On the other hand, for many others, such enjoyment and use of entertainment and media devices would ideally be experienced in the living room.

However, most traditional furniture, whether designed as an entertainment center, computer cabinet or media center, does not allow a central control location for the consumer to send commands to the plethora of entertainment, computing and media devices available today. Further, no existing modular system today will allow a consumer to access these devices, universally, wirelessly and in a low profile, concealed and flush mounted, attractive high end designer style article of furniture.

Most traditional furniture, whether designed as an entertainment center, computer cabinet or media center, does not allow a central access point for the consumer to load content, make configuration changes to output signals, or controls to the plethora of entertainment, computing and media devices available today. Further, no existing modular system today will allow a consumer to access these devices, universally, wirelessly or manually.

Also, most traditional furniture, whether designed as an entertainment center, computer cabinet or media center, does not allow a consumer to enjoy using such entertainment, computing and media devices from a central location of relaxation. Further, no existing modular system today will allow a consumer access to these devices in a low profile, concealed and flush mounted, attractive high end designer style article of furniture. Therefore, a new article of furniture is needed to solve these and other problems.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, together with additional objectives and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an overall assembly, front view, media core furniture system, first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates an overall assembly, rear view, media core furniture system, first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates an overall assembly, rear view, media core furniture system, first embodiment of the present invention with the rear panel rear shelf in a vertical position.

FIG. 4-7 shows side, front and rear elevation views and bottom plan views of the invention both with the doors open and closed.

FIG. 4 illustrates an overall assembly, side elevation with the doors open, first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 5a illustrates an overall assembly, rear elevation with the doors removed first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 5b illustrates an overall assembly, front elevation with the doors removed first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates an overall assembly, bottom plan with the doors open, first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates an overall assembly, bottom plan with the doors closed and the location of a cutout in a first embodiment of the current invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Specific examples of components and arrangements are described below to simplify the present disclosure. These are, of course, merely examples and are not intended to be limiting. In addition, the present disclosure may repeat reference numerals and/or letters in the various examples. This repetition is for the purpose of simplicity and clarity and does not in itself dictate a relationship between the various embodiments and/or configurations discussed.

It is the object of this invention to incorporate a computer system into a cabinet that is functional, yet aesthetically attractive enough to be placed in the home living and entertaining environment. A piece of furniture that can fit attractively into a living room and entertainment room environment will provide greater access to the system. This approach integrates functionality of various devices with aesthetic appeal, and therefore enhances and encourages greater use of the computer system itself.

It is a primary object of a first embodiment of the present invention to provide a media core furniture system assembly. The first embodiment generally includes various panels, doors, shelves, drawers, runners and trays for housing a plurality of computer, entertainment, and media equipment in various modular shapes. The multiple furniture components are assembled in such a way as to conceal the equipment while maintaining the beautiful designer features of the furniture and maintaining flexible access for the user.

A single piece of furniture serves as both a contemporary, designer unit suitable for use in a living room or entertainment room and also as a computer, electronics and media station in the same configuration.

The new designer article of manufacture will allow a consumer to enjoy using such entertainment, computing and media devices from a central location of relaxation. A media center with a modular design, central access and universal control is one primary objective of the invention. Further, the new modular system will allow a consumer access to these devices in a low profile, concealed and flush mounted, attractive high end designer style article of furniture.

One skilled in the art will recognize that there are many ways to effect the collection of computer, electronics, and media equipment into a desk, coffee table or cabinet configuration suitable for display in a contemporary, designer living room or entertainment room environment upon having the benefit of the attached disclosure.

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a first embodiment of the present invention, a media core furniture system assembly. The first embodiment generally includes various panels, doors, shelves, drawers, runners and trays for housing a plurality of computer, entertainment, and media equipment. The various furniture components are assembled in such a way to conceal the equipment while maintaining the beautiful designer features of the furniture and maintaining flexible access for the user.

The lower three front doors 10, 20, 30 open out and are hinged with a bottom mounted piano hinge 201 allowing the door to fold out and down 90 degrees (FIG. 20 is limited to folding out only 20-30 degrees). With the door folded away, the user has access to the mouse housing, or compact disk storage tray component.

The top front door of the unit 40, is hinged with a snap locking hinge 401 on each side allowing the door to fold out and lock in a 90 degree position. This allows user access to various electronic components that can be placed on the fixed interior shelf 200. The computer is hung from the bottom of the sliding pull out shelf 210. Which slides a hidden nub (male) 50, opens the top front door 40, and closes into recessed female catch 51 located on the front side of the top panel 120. Metal push levers 60, (see FIG. 4) attached to side panels 140, to open the bottom door. The push levers 60 are right angle pieces of aluminum that if pushed from under the doors bottom edge cause the door to open. They also act as a door stop holding the door at 90 degrees when open. It slide's under the fixed shelf 200 where users components sit such as cable boxes.

The compact disc tray facia 90 is seated attached to the front lower support member 70, and the upper support member 80. A user can store and access CD cases from the front of the unit.

A cantilevered control box 100, is attached to the back of the bottom door panel 20. FIG. 102 is the part of the control box 100 attached to the rear of the door at 103. The control box will house a human interface module 240, an input-output (I/O) switch 250, and a reset switch 260. The bottom center door 20 opens out only as far as the control panel allows, about 20-30 degrees.

The mouse storage unit 110, consists of a curved, perforated aluminum rear panel, a bottom panel and a top panel, both curved on side to fit into a rear panel. The bottom of the unit is attached to the rear of the bottom door. The wireless mouse is designed to sit on its charging unit while in the cabinet.

The top panel 120 of the cabinet enclosure is comprised of plywood or a plurality of composite materials. A center square 130 is cut out of the top panel and replaced with a perforated aluminum vent 180, that allows heat generated by electronic devices to escape. A glass top 290 is seated atop four risers 300, which are secured on each corner of the top panel 120. Two support brackets 230, run along the top of the side panels 140, which secures the top panel 120, to said side panels 140.

Cabinet side panels 140 are formed from plywood or a plurality of composite materials. The bottom panel 150, consists of a medium density composite or fiberboard. A hole is cut into the center of the bottom panel 150, and an extractor fan 220, is seated into the hole, electrically coupled thereto.

Two door support members 70, are placed at the bottom of the front and rear of the unit. The piano hinges 201 (see FIG. 56) are attached to the front support member to allow the bottom door to fold down 180 degrees and away from the unit. The right and left ends of both support members are attached to the side panels 140. A fixed panel shelf 200 (see FIG. 2), made of perforated aluminum sits to the front of the cabinet and is attached to the side panels 140.

The rear of the unit consists of a panel 160, with a bottom mounted piano hinge 201 (see FIG. 5a) which allows the door to fold out and downward. [A hidden nub (male) 50, opens the rear panel door 160, and closes into recessed female catch 51 located on the front side of a top panel 120]. A perforated aluminum sliding shelf 210, sits in at the inside cabinet. [The shelf sits on full extension drawer runners 190, which are attached to each of the side panel 140, which allows the shelf to be pulled out of the cabinet. The shelf is hinged with locking swing hinges on each side, which allows the shelf to rotate up once fully extended, and lock in a vertical position in the rear of the cabinet. This vertical positioning of the movable shelf facilitates access and maintenance of electronic components. An ā€œLā€ shaped piece is cut out of the rear most portion of the shelf and a pull out handle 310, is attached to facilitate pulling the shelf out and up.]

The media core cabinet furniture system is designed to integrate aesthetically into a living environment by providing a method of housing computer, electronics and media equipment in a concealed but easily accessible designer article of furniture. The disclosed method simplifies and consolidates user access into aesthetically pleasing, designer style living environment and dispenses with the need to separately access entertainment, media, computer and storage locations.

FIG. 2 illustrates an overall assembly, rear view, media core furniture system, first embodiment of the present invention. According to this aspect of the present disclosure, the rear access aesthetic appeal is highlighted to illustrate the suitability of the article of furniture in a plurality of living room or entertainment center floor plan layouts. Further, FIG. 2 illustrates a top cover panel 290, a small panel support 180 vertically coupled via four vertical member spacers 300, fastened or affixed to a cabinet chassis enclosure top panel 120. The cabinet chassis enclosure top panel 120 is smoothly connected to a left side cabinet chassis enclosure panel 140a and a right side cabinet chassis enclosure panel 140, said left and right cabinet chassis enclosure side panels smoothly connected to said cabinet chassis enclosure top panel in a substantially perpendicular angle via a suitable fastening or bonding means, said connected panels extending about a centerpoint between said side panels and top panels equidistant to said top and side panel edges. Further, said side panels 140 a &b extend similarly to a cabinet chassis enclosure bottom panel 150. Collectively, said two side, one top and one bottom panels create a chassis wherein said panels create a cabinet chassis assembly and frame 305 to mount front top 40 and bottom hinged doors 10, 20, 30 and rear top extending shelf 210 and bottom hinged door 160, said top and bottom hinged doors hingedly connected at 72 to said cabinet chassis assembly and frame 305 in a plurality of hinging means 201, 401. Further, said hinged top 40 and bottom hinged doors 10, 20, 30 may be configured as shown with a single bottom hinged door 165 (see FIG. 4) mechanically coupled to said cabinet chassis with a suitable fastening or latching means 50, 51.

Finally in FIG. 2, said bottom panel 150 is mechanically coupled to a horizontal cooling fan facing panel 151 wherein said horizontal cooling fan facing panel is suitably cut out to provide a mounting means for said cooling fan 220. Further, said mounting means is mechanically coupled to said horizontal cooling fan facing panel 151 by a suitable vertical L shaped support member 154 (see FIGS. 5a &6) and associated vertical support assembly mechanism 156 (see FIG. 5a) to provide an appropriate depth for the cooling fan 220. Further, said bottom panel 150 is smoothly connected to two elevating legs 158 (see FIGS. 3, 4, 5, 6) via a suitable fastening or bonding means to allow appropriate room for vertical support assembly mechanism 156.

In another embodiment of this disclosure, said fastening and latching means is a push to open mechanism 60, spring loaded to allow for no visible hardware on the face of the media core center article of furniture and suitable to support the weight of said front and rear, top and bottom hinged doors 160, 40, 10, 20, 30, 165.

The cabinet chassis and frame assembly is further mounted with an internal skin, chassis or frame suitable for mounting a rail mount hardware apparatus 312 (see FIG. 4) as is well known in the art for draw out mechanisms. The rail mount hardware mechanism is suitably assembled in a carrier 311 (see FIG. 4) and receptacle 313 (see FIG. 4) mechanism to facilitate said draw out action, said carrier 311 mechanically coupled to a draw out horizontal access panel 210, said access panel and mechanically coupled carrier slidingly coupled to said receptacle 313 mechanism. Further yet, said horizontal access panel 210 is suitably pinned in a mechanically coupled manner to support said weight of horizontal access panel wherein said pinned horizontal access panel pivots about a point transverse to said panel and suitable to clear the internal cavity of said cabinet chassis assembly and frame. The pivot action point 206, (see FIG. 3) provides a means of retracting said horizontal access panel into an internal cabinet chassis vertical member cover 160 (rear bottom hinged door of FIG. 6) wherein said panel handle mechanism 306 is located at the top edge of said pivoting panel 210. Finally, said internal cabinet chassis vertical member cover 3002 fully retracts and closes flush to the cabinet chassis assembly and frame rear opening using a flush mount interconnecting grooved frame edges 3004 to said cabinet chassis frame and pivoting access panel covers. The top edge of said retracting access panel 210 provides a handle mechanism 306 that is mechanically coupled or bonded to a perpendicular panel top edge 308 of said access panel, said handle mechanism 306 bonded to said perpendicular panel top edge 308 via a plurality of bonding means, said handle mechanism formed wherein said top edge is vertically offset from said left hand side of retracting access panel 210 and said right side of retracting access panel wherein said vertical offset is accomplished by cutting away a substantially rectangular portion of said retracting access panel facing such that said left hand side of top edge and said right side of top edge are at two separate and distinct heights from a common vertical point at a point at or near the bottom edge of said retracting access panel 210. The offset vertical heights between said left hand side and said right side of the top edge of said retracting access panel 210 is mechanically bonded to said handle mechanism to form a cavity 310 wherein a user may grip said retracting access panel to open or close said retracting access panel and store said panel in its horizontal or vertical positions.

FIG. 3 illustrates an overall assembly, rear view, media core furniture system, first embodiment of the present invention with the rear panel rear shelf in a vertical position. A draw out action is accomplished by front access panel 210. Further yet, said horizontal access panel 210 is suitably pinned in a mechanically coupled pivoting manner to support said weight of horizontal access panels wherein said pinned horizontal access panels pivot about a point 206 transverse to said panels and suitable to clear the internal cavity of said cabinet chassis assembly and frame. The pivot action point 206, provides a means of retracting said horizontal access panels into an internal cabinet chassis vertical member cover 160 wherein said panel handle mechanism 306 is located at the top edge of said pivoting panel 210. Finally, said internal cabinet chassis vertical member cover 160 fully retracts and closes flush to the cabinet chassis assembly and frame rear opening using flush mount interconnecting grooved frame edges 304 to said cabinet chassis frame and pivoting access panel covers.

FIG. 4-7 shows side, front and rear elevation views and bottom plan views of the invention both with the doors open or removed. Each view illustrates the full open clearance needed to allocate floor space in a living room or entertainment room. FIG. 4 illustrates a side elevation view with doors open and extended downward in a fully horizontal open position and the hinge fully extended to its open position. FIG. 5a illustrates a rear elevation with the doors removed. FIG. 5b is a similar illustration except for the front elevation with the doors removed. FIG. 6 is a bottom plan of the media core assembly shown with the doors open. In this view the fan mechanism is fully viewable and the inner chassis doors are fully retracted in the vertical position. Finally, FIG. 7 illustrates the cutout in the plan view to allow for adequate ventilation of the media core assembly unit.

FIG. 4 illustrates an overall assembly, side elevation with the doors open, first embodiment of the current invention. The pivoting exterior hinged cabinet door 160 is attached with a latch mechanism 50, 51. Top and bottom hinged doors are hingedly connected 60, 201, 401 to said cabinet chassis assembly and frame 305 in a plurality of hinging means. Further, said hinged front 40, rear bottom 160 top and front bottom hinged doors 10, 20, 30 may be configured as shown with a single bottom hinged door 165 mechanically coupled to said cabinet chassis with a suitable fastening or latching means 50, 51. In another embodiment of this disclosure, said fastening and latching means is a push to open mechanism, spring loaded to allow for no visible hardware on the face of the media core center article of furniture and suitable to support the weight of said front and rear, top and bottom hinged doors 10, 20, 30, 40, 160, 165.

FIG. 5a illustrates an overall assembly, rear elevation with the doors removed first embodiment of the current invention. The piano hinge 201 is merely one embodiment of a mechanical hinging means. Other suitable hinging means will be readily recognized by those skilled in the art of such mechanical cabinet designs.

FIG. 5b illustrates an overall assembly, front elevation with the doors removed first embodiment of the current invention. The piano hinge 201 is merely one embodiment of a mechanical hinging means. Other suitable hinging means will be readily recognized by those skilled in the art of such mechanical cabinet designs.

FIG. 6 illustrates an overall assembly, bottom plan with the doors open, first embodiment of the current invention. In this view the fan mechanism 220 is fully viewable and the inner chassis panel door 210 is fully retracted in the vertical position and fixed shelf 200 removed. By fully retracting the inner chassis panel door 210, the fan mechanism 220 allows for full ventilation of the media core assembly unit.

FIG. 7 illustrates an overall assembly, top panel 120 with the doors closed and the location of perforated aluminum vent 180 in a first embodiment of the current invention. The cutout allows for full ventilation of the media core assembly unit.

The above illustrations provide many different embodiments for implementing different features of the invention. Specific embodiments of components and processes are described to help clarify the invention. These are, of course, merely embodiments and are not intended to limit the invention from that described in the claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in one or more specific examples, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention, as set forth in the following claims.