Title:
ELECTRONIC DEVICE CARRYING SLEEVE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An inflatable carrying case for sensitive electronic device and other delicate devices are described herewith. The inflatable carrying case is made by stitching an outer sleeve to an inner sleeve with a layer of open cell foam glued in between. Two rigid top and bottom surfaces or plates (as 2 examples) are attached to the outer sleeve. An inflating mechanism comprising of an air valve assembly is positioned where the latch hooks over it to secure the carrying case. The inflating mechanism is used to inflate the carrying case and thus increase fortification against movement, sudden jolts and direct impact to the enclosed sensitive electronic device. The inflating mechanism is easily accessible and simply operated. Detachable pockets to carry accessories and shoulder strap are included in this invention. Many embodiments, examples, and variations are given.



Inventors:
Mongan, Ryan (Sammamish, WA, US)
Owyoung, Bruce Dicksen (San Francisco, CA, US)
Weis, Jarrel (San Francisco, CA, US)
Law, David (Seattle, WA, US)
Xiong, Dan (Redwood City, CA, US)
Hynecek, Bryan Lee (Redwood City, CA, US)
Lu, Randy Chihyeuan (Fremont, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/137690
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
06/12/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DENTONS US LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An article of manufacture for purpose of carrying or protecting an electronic device, said article comprising of: an inflatable foldable cover that forms a pocket or sleeve for said electronic device; an adjustment mechanism to inflate said inflatable foldable cover for fortification; wherein said adjustment mechanism is accessed and operated by a user; and wherein said adjustment mechanism has a self-inflating mechanism using open cell foam to draw in air, when a valve is open.

2. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an inner sleeve of said article is made of one or more of the following materials: Corduroy, Suede, leather, nylon, Neoprene, and cotton.

3. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an outer sleeve of said article is made of one or more of the following materials: Leather, Bresent micro-fiber, Plastic, Patterned cotton and suede.

4. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a bottom surface and a top surface of said article are made of one or more of the following materials: Wood, Metal, Carbon fiber, Armor Rubber, Corduroy, Suede, leather, nylon, Neoprene, and cotton.

5. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein said article is waterproof.

6. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an open cell foam resides between a top plate, a bottom plate, a inner sleeve, and a outer sleeve of said article.

7. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein said adjustment mechanism is operated by pressing a button or turning a valve.

8. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein said adjustment mechanism comprises a release valve for deflation, wherein said deflation is accomplished by rotation of said valve.

9. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a folding sleeve cover of said article comprises pockets and lids for articles for powering said electronic device.

10. The article of manufacture of claim 9, wherein said pockets and lids are secured by one or more of the following materials or mechanisms: Velcro, Zipper, or Ziplock.

11. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a folding sleeve cover of said article comprises latches for a shoulder strap.

12. The article of manufacture of claim 11, wherein said shoulder strap is made of a synthetic material.

13. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an inner sleeve of said article comprises of different colors.

14. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an outer sleeve of said article comprises of different colors.

15. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a top surface and a bottom surface of said article comprise of different colors.

16. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a folding sleeve cover of said article is secured by a latch hook.

17. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a folding sleeve cover of said article is secured by a latch hook over a release valve.

18. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein a folding sleeve cover of said article comprises a spine, connected to a top surface and a bottom plate of said article.

19. The article of manufacture of claim 18, wherein said spine is flexible.

20. The article of manufacture of claim 1, wherein an outer sleeve of said article is stitched to an inner sleeve of said article.

Description:

RELATED INVENTION/APPLICATION

The present invention is related to (and based on) a provisional application filed on Feb. 1, 2008 (priority date), application No. U.S. 61/063,326, with similar title, same assignee/owner, and common inventors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to carrying cases that protect sensitive electronic items/devices during storage, handling and transport. More particularly, the present invention relates to an inflatable carrying case for extra fortification and improved weight reduction, and allows the user to choose when and where they have maximum or minimum protection, for the level of protection.

Carrying cases are used for carrying various items such as luggage, electronic equipment of all types, sports equipment and all sorts of delicate and breakable items. In today's world, personal electronic devices have rapidly become necessities in people's lives. These items are reduced in size and weight (i.e., laptop computers, iPods, cameras, etc) so that, they are conveniently carried and employed wherever the user chooses. The reduction in size of these electronic devices leaves little to no room inside for any shock absorbing protective layers to protect the vulnerable and delicate parts of these sensitive electronic devices. Almost all commonly used carrying cases have padded interior to prevent items held within from shifting and breaking. Many carrying cases have rigid frames to inhibit the effects of direct impact and provide structural support in order to reduce the risk that, item will be crushed or otherwise broken. (The prior art are also relatively heavy.)

Carrying cases may include soft and/or rigid inserts. These inserts inhibit movement of items within the carrying case. Rigid inserts are designed to provide rigidity to the carrying case and to restrict movement of the item in the carrying case. Rigid inserts do not always prevent the item from moving within the carrying case and do not protect the item from vibrations. Soft inserts are typically made of foam, cloth and plastic. Soft inserts cushion enclosed items against impact and inhibit them, to a degree, from moving while being enclosed. Soft inserts may not provide structural rigidity to a carrying case; cases with soft inserts can often crush and often permit enclosed items to move relative to the carrying case.

What is desired is a carrying case which protects item by restricting movement of the item and resisting against direct impact, sudden jolts and movement and vibrations of different durations. Carrying cases are optimally lightweight, durable and easily stored. In general, for maximum protection, a thickness of cushioning material is required, by allowing the user to inflate or deflate a bladder the protectiveness of the case can be changed to suit the situation, and also the bulk of the case can be changed to suit the situation. That is, if the sleeve is being placed into an additional travel bag which has independent padding, the inflatable case can be deflated to better fit into the other bag, then when removed from the case inflated to provide ongoing protection.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore, an objective of the present invention to provide an inflatable carrying case for sensitive electronic device. It is another objective of the present invention to provide a carrying case, for sensitive electronic device, that protects enclosed items by increased fortification through an inflating mechanism and restricting movement of items within the carrying case.

In accordance with the above objectives and those that will be mentioned below, a carrying case for holding sensitive electronic device comprises of a folding sleeve cover, an inner sleeve, a bottom plate, a top plate, an inflating mechanism and a flexible spine to accommodate the inflation and deflation configurations of the carrying case. Alternatively, we can have bottom surface or cover and top surface or cover, as in a sleeve or pocket. The outer and inner sleeves are stitched together enveloping a layer of open cell foam between them. The top and bottom plates are positioned onto the outer sleeve to provide structural rigidity. An easily accessible and operable adjustment mechanism comprised of an aluminum air valve assembly inflates the folding cover and thus, the sensitive electronic device is protected against impact, vibration and any sudden jolt and movement that can otherwise damage the device while in the carrying case. The adjustment mechanism is located on the top surface where it can readily be accessed and operated.

An important advantage of the present invention is the ease by which the adjustment mechanism operates. Inflation of the carrying case occurs by simply pressing a button. When deflation of the carrying case is desired, the adjustment mechanism for deflation is operated by rotation of the valve.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, pockets of different size to enclose accessories (e.g., powering articles) for the electronic device in the carrying case are attached to the outer sleeve and/or the shoulder strap using Velcro, zipper, Ziploc or clasping mechanisms. The plurality of removable and interchangeable pockets and containers provides a higher degree of versatility for enclosing a sensitive electronic device and corresponding accessories.

Another advantage of the present invention is illustrated by placement of the air valve where the outer sleeve of the carrying case includes a locking mechanism. The outer sleeve of the carrying case is secured utilizing a latch/lock mechanism. The latch is placed over the air valve and secured in place using magnet and hook.

Another advantage of the present invention is the increased fortification of the enclosed sensitive items without noticeable increase in weight of the carrying case. The preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a shoulder strap that is connected to the outer sleeve of the carrying case, as an option.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Note that these embodiments and examples are for clarification and description of some of the examples of the invention, but they are not limiting the scope of the invention (and its variations) by any means:

FIG. 1: is the schematic diagram of the back view of the carrying case. The top surface (130) and the bottom surface (150) are connected to the flexible spine. As shown in this illustration, the inflating mechanism (110) and the latch (120) are located on the top plate/surface (as two examples) of the case.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now specifically to the figures, in which identical or similar parts are designated by throughout, preferred embodiments of the present invention is herewith described in detail. The following descriptions include various aspects and advantages of the present invention. As mentioned, the drawings are for purposes of illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention only, and not for the purpose of limiting the invention.

It teaches a carrying case in a closed situation, as well as open situation, for an electronic device of different size and shape (e.g., laptop computers, iPods, etc). In the preferred embodiment, an outer sleeve is stitched to an inner sleeve with a layer of open cell foam in between the sleeves. A top plate and a bottom plate or surface is attached to the outer sleeve of the present invention. The exterior of the carrying case or the outer sleeve is made of different fabric and different material with different colors to accommodate and appeal to different designs and tastes. The inside of the carrying case as shown in this figure includes foam padding that can be molded to surround the enclosed sensitive electronic device and keep it from moving while in the carrying case. In another preferred embodiment, we have just the open cell foam with an airtight material around it, and a valve.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention utilizes an inflating mechanism, to provide further fortification to the sensitive electronic device enclosed within. To secure the carrying case a latch is used that is attached to a silicone strap.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, two adjacent sides of an outer sleeve are stitched to the corresponding adjacent sides of an inner sleeve. It teaches the material options that can be used for the outer sleeve. As shown, a variety of fabric and materials is used to create a functional as well as an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Types of materials used for the outer sleeve include but are not limited to: leather, Bresent micro-fiber, plastic, patterned cotton and suede, nylon, and neoprene.

It teaches material options that can be used for inner sleeve. A variety of more delicate textile and fabric including corduroy, suede, fluffy and patterned material is used. The material for the inner sleeve may be different in color or texture from the outer sleeve material.

It teaches the structure method of the preferred embodiment of the present invention is as follows: a layer of open cell foam is glued to the inner and outer sleeves' material. Next step consists of folding it with the inner sleeve facing out and stitching the two adjacent sides together. Once the two adjacent sides are sewn together, the assembly will be reversed so that, the stitched seams are hidden inside and the outer sleeve is facing out. The zipper could be sewn at this stage. Then the top plate and the bottom plate are glued onto the outer sleeve.

It teaches the preferred embodiment of the present invention in both open and closed configurations with schematics illustrating the inflating mechanism. In this embodiment, the carrying case has a leather exterior and a printed fabric is used for the inner sleeve. The adjustment mechanism that provides inflating capability to the carrying case is placed on a canvas insert and is comprised of an air valve, of any metal or other materials, that is positioned and connected to a steel plate. The air valve assembly is situated where the latch that closes the carrying case is attached. The latch hooks over the air valve assembly and has an opening that can easily accommodate the air valve assembly.

The advantage of the present invention is herewith further described; once the sensitive electronic device is placed inside the carrying case and the case is closed, increased fortification for the device is provided through activating an inflating mechanism. The button located in the top portion of the air valve assembly is pressed down and air is pumped in the carrying case hence inflating it. The inflation of the case provides increased fortification to the enclosed item against sudden jolts and movements, vibrations of short and/or long durations, and any direct impact. An important advantage of the present invention is the accessibility of the inflating mechanism and the simplicity by which the apparatus is operated. It teaches, once the deflating of the carrying case is desired, the air valve is easily accessed, the air valve is rotated as shown and air is released from the carrying case. As mentioned, the advantage of the present invention is illustrated by how easily and simply deflation of the carrying case is achieved.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention as illustrated in the schematic of the bottom view of the carrying case incorporates a flexible spine in the body of the carrying case. FIG. 1 illustrates the flexible spine (140) is connected to the top plate (130) as well as to the bottom plate (150). The spine is flexible in order to accommodate the inflation of the case as well as deflation of the case. More specifically, once the air is out of the case and collapsing of the case occurs, the flexibility of the spine will allow for the complete collapsing to take place. In this configuration the top plate (130) is constructed so that both the inflating mechanism (110) and the latch (120) for the carrying case are accommodated.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention incorporates two plates, a top plate and a bottom plate, into the structure of the inflatable carrying case. This can be done with two opposing surfaces, as well. It teaches these plates are glued onto the outer sleeve and connected to one another via a flexible spine as described in previous paragraphs. These plates establish rigidity of the form for the inflatable carrying case and provide protection to the enclosed sensitive electronic device. It teaches the material options for the top and bottom plates. As shown a variety of rigid material including: printed PC, wood, metal, carbon fiber and armor rubber are used for the fabrication of these plates. The top plate has apertures and openings to accommodate the inflating mechanism as well as the latch attachment of the carrying case.

In one embodiment of the present invention, external pockets and attachments are added to the carrying case. The external pockets are used to enclose various accessories necessary for the proper operations of the enclosed sensitive electronic device such as; power brick, batteries, chords, etc. These pockets are secured to the exterior of the carrying case utilizing Velcro, zipper or clasps. These pockets are fabricated from the same or matching material used for the sleeve. The external pockets have lids that are secured using Velcro, zipper or Ziploc mechanisms.

Another embodiment of the present invention includes a shoulder strap. In this embodiment there are grommets located in the upper corners of the carrying case. The shoulder strap is passed through the grommets and thus allows for the easier carrying of the case. In this embodiment, the external pocket for the accessories is clipped to the shoulder strap.

The outer sleeve cover is secured by a latch hook. In one embodiment of the present invention, the latch hooks over the air valve assembly. There is a perforation in the latch with a ring to accommodate the air valve assembly. A magnet strip is attached under the ring of the perforation. Once the latch is hooked over the valve the magnet strip touches the steel ring plate on which the air valve rests as shown. This secures the latch in place and closes the outer sleeve.

It teaches another embodiment of the present invention. It teaches the carrying case is shown in a closed and inflated configuration. The inflating mechanism is positioned in the upper right corner of the case with the lid closed. As illustrated, the carrying case is closed and inflated. It teaches the complete assembly of the case including the outer sleeve, liner, inflating mechanism and the eyelets of the exterior layer of the case. It teaches the outside surface is sewn, folded over and sewn to the inner liner. It teaches how the liner is sewn to the outside surface around each eyelet. In this embodiment, the outer skin of the carrying case is sewn to the liner along the opening.

It teaches the aforementioned embodiment in a deflated configuration. It is also illustrated in this schematic that by pressing the top of the inflating mechanism, the air flow is encouraged inside the carrying case to inflate the case by pumping air inside.

The advantages of the present invention is further illustrated by using air as means to increase protection of the sensitive electronic device that need to be transported or stored in. Air provides protection against direct impacts or sudden movements and jolts. When other protective soft and or rigid layers do not protect against vibrations that could be detrimental to the sensitive electronic device, air acts as a barrier between sensitive electronic device and vibrations of varying durations and amplitudes.

Another important advantage of using air to provide increased fortification is the weight consideration of the present invention. Using air to protect the enclosed item has little effect on the weight of the carrying case.

The individual bubbles or compartments can be filled up (or emptied out/evicted) with air, liquid, fluid, gas, mixture, water, sand, gel, foam, small spheres, packing material, or shock absorbent material, individually or collectively, at the same time or different times, manually or automatically, from one or more devices or openings.

It teaches a combination of foam and fabric, folded in half, e.g. over the edge, with inserted valve, or folded fabric over the foam, with glued edges, or glue and stitch on the exterior. It shows flexibility, various components, versatility, and how the components are put together. The glue can be replaced with string, clip, chain, staple, or any attachment device and mechanism.

It teaches a bag with a handle, with one or more air-intake and release valves, at various locations, for self-inflating laptop bag. The basic technology to inflate can be any version in the market, or any other, such as those for picnic accessories or Thermarest. The light foam can be indented or grooved for more flexibility (for bending or shaping it differently, permanently or temporarily), still with good protection. The bag can have hook, latch, band, chain, or other attachment or connecting devices. The valve or opening can be hidden in different parts of the bag or briefcase. The foam can include bubbles, as well. The bubbles can be interleaved with the foam. The bubbles can be permanent or filled up temporarily. It can have few big bubbles or many small bubbles. It can have relative vacuum in between, or high pressure gas, liquid, or fluid, with inert gasses, or insulation material, for electrical, magnetic, electromagnetic, heat, cold, or shock. It can have a layer or multiple layers. It can have solar panel or backup battery, on the side or within. It can have antenna attached or detachable, permanently or temporarily. It can have RFID, GPS, for tracking, or biometrics, for security and authentication, to use or open the content.

It teaches how to deflate, using the valve (and rolling up the bag). It can have a spring-action or string, to pull to roll-up, or flatten, using user's hand or a cylindrical roller/ball.

It teaches how to inflate computer bag, with reversed bladder, self-sealing valve (requires higher pressure inside). One can insert the tube to deflate. (The bladder material or insert which seals with internal pressure, or Ball Bladder.) It can be stored very easily. It can have a clip or different valves/nozzles, or safety/pressure-release valves, as extra features.

It teaches an inflatable case, with pump in handle, or at other locations. (The bubble-wrap bag, with industrial non-popping bubbles, for protection.) The bubbles can be transparent, translucent, visible, covered, painted, clear, uncovered, or invisible. They can be used as decorations, as well, with various designs/colors/logos on it.

It teaches a top-padded shell, laptop computer, or any other device, protected in between, and bottom-padded shell, with snap or hook that attaches shell to the computer, with rigid shell that snaps onto the computer (e.g. polycarbonate), along with adhesive connection, foam with interstitial air that acts as a cushion, and flexible fabric or elastomer that acts as an air barrier. The case stays attached to the computer, when in use, or can be separated, as the user wishes. This structure is very compact and practical (also, elegant).

It should be further apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in form can be made to the above described invention. It is intended that such changes be included within the spirit and scope of the claims appended hereto. For example, the inflatable carrying case can have sections of various shapes and applications/contents.