Title:
Locking collapsible seat apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The locking collapsible seat apparatus of the present invention offers a convenient height for sitting or standing according to studies directed to preferred height of the apparatus, a light-weight construction for easy transport, a compact design for convenient storage and a configuration for effortless transition between an erected state and a folded state. The present invention also provides a seat locking component to stabilize the apparatus in an erected state as well as communicates with the user whether or not the locking component is activated.



Inventors:
Kay, Ronald J. (Barrington, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/148634
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/21/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C12/00
View Patent Images:
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20020171269Folding structure for chairsNovember, 2002Liu
20100007190Chair backJanuary, 2010Johnson et al.
20050023872Modular seat cushion with interlocking human support and base portions and method of creating and using a seat cushionFebruary, 2005Hetzel et al.
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20060181134Child bouncing apparatusAugust, 2006Douglas



Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VALAUSKAS & PINE LLC (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A locking collapsible seat apparatus, comprising: a top platform including a top platform surface and a bottom platform surface, wherein said top platform is divided by a platform hinge into a first platform portion and a second platform portion; a first wall including a first exterior surface and a first interior surface; a first wall hinge connecting said first platform portion of said top platform and said first wall; a second wall including a second exterior surface and a second interior surface; a second wall hinge connecting said second platform portion of said top platform and said second wall; a first plate including an external surface and an internal surface, wherein said first plate is divided by a first plate hinge into a first plate portion and a second plate portion; a second plate including an outside surface and an inside surface, wherein said second plate is divided by a second plate hinge into a third plate portion and a fourth plate portion; a first corner hinge connecting said first wall and said first plate portion of said first plate; a second corner hinge connecting said first wall and said third plate portion of said second plate; a third corner hinge connecting said second wall and said second plate portion of said first plate; a fourth corner hinge connecting said second wall and said fourth plate portion of said second plate; and a seat locking component, wherein at least one ramp and at least one receptacle are positioned on said bottom platform surface of said top platform and at least one protrusion is positioned on one of said first plate and said second plate.

2. The locking collapsible seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein said height is between about 13 inches to about 16½ inches.

3. The locking collapsible seat apparatus of claim 2, wherein said height is 15 inches.

4. The locking collapsible seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein said top platform further includes grasping elements.

5. A locking collapsible seat apparatus for positioning on a surface, comprising: a top platform divided by a platform hinge into a first platform portion and a second platform portion, wherein said first platform portion includes a first top surface and a first bottom surface and said second platform portion includes a second top surface and a second bottom surface, and said top platform is between about 13 inches to about 16½ inches from the surface; a first wall including a first exterior surface and a first interior surface; a first wall hinge connecting said first platform portion of said top platform and said first wall; a second wall including a second exterior surface and a second interior surface; a second wall hinge connecting said second platform portion of said top platform and said second wall; a first plate divided by a first plate hinge into a first plate portion and a second plate portion, wherein said first plate portion includes a first external surface and a first internal surface and said second plate portion includes a second external surface and a second internal surface; a second plate divided by a second plate hinge into a third plate portion and a fourth plate portion, wherein said third plate portion includes a first outside surface and a first inside surface and said fourth plate portion includes a second outside surface and a second inside surface; a first corner hinge connecting said first wall and said first plate portion of said first plate; a second corner hinge connecting said first wall and said third plate portion of said second plate; a third corner hinge connecting said second wall and said second plate portion of said first plate; a fourth corner hinge connecting said second wall and said fourth plate portion of said second plate; and a seat locking component, wherein a first ramp and a first receptacle are positioned on said first bottom surface of said first platform portion of said top platform, a second ramp and a second receptacle are positioned on said second bottom surface of said second platform portion of said top platform, a third ramp and a third receptacle are positioned on said first bottom surface of said first platform portion of said top platform, and a fourth ramp and a fourth receptacle are positioned on said second bottom surface of said second platform portion of said top platform; a first protrusion is positioned on said third plate portion of said first plate, a second protrusion is positioned on said fourth plate portion of said second plate, a third protrusion is positioned on said first plate portion of said first plate, and a fourth protrusion is positioned on said second plate portion of said second plate; said seat locking component stabilizes the seat apparatus when said first protrusion clears said first ramp and seats in said first receptacle, said second protrusion clears said second ramp and seats in said second receptacle, said third protrusion clears said third ramp and seats in said third receptacle, and said fourth protrusion clears said fourth ramp and seats in said fourth receptacle.

6. The locking collapsible seat apparatus of claim 5, wherein said top platform is 15 inches from the surface.

7. The locking collapsible seat apparatus of claim 5, wherein said top platform further includes grasping elements.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to seat apparatuses and more particularly to a collapsible seat apparatus that can quickly and easily be transitioned between an erected state and a folded state and further comprises a seat locking component to stabilize the seat apparatus in the erected state.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is often desirable to have a foldable and portable stool device that may be easily transported from one place to another and used in a variety of indoor and outdoor conditions. It is also convenient to provide a portable stool device that may be reduced to a compact configuration for ease of storage and transport.

Folding stool devices are known in the prior art, but these prior art devices are deficient in several respects. First, prior art folding stool devices do not offer a convenient height for sitting or standing according to studies directed to preferred height of the device. Prior art stool devices typically range in height from 9 inches to 12 inches, which fail to accommodate a comfortable sitting position for a user as well as a sufficient height for standing to access out-of-reach places.

Certain prior art stool devices are heavy and clumsy, as well as complex in requiring multiple parts that are separable from the device, which may potentially become lost or misplaced.

Lastly, in addition to prior art stool devices being difficult to erect and fold, often times the user does not know whether or not the stool device is stable in its unfolded state to sit on or step on. Sitting on or stepping on an unstable stool device may cause a failure mode of the device, which may further result in serious injury of a user.

Examples of prior art devices include U.S. Pat. No. 3,993,003 that discloses a stool with an array of slats supported by arms—the arms being pivotally connected to the slats to achieve a parallel and perpendicular position with respect to the slats. U.S. Pat. No. 4,630,861 describes a foldable stool including a shoulder below and spaced inwardly from a lip around the outer periphery of a top wall.

Another type of stool device is a triangular shaped top platform supported by three legs extending away from each other in diverging directions as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,135,557, U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,704, U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,052, U.S. Pat. No. 4,934,638, U.S. Pat. No. 3,709,167, U.S. Pat. No. 3,638,588, and U.S. Pat. No. 2,722,973.

While these devices fulfill their respective particular objectives and requirements, the need still remains for a locking collapsible seat apparatus that fulfills the deficiencies of these prior art devices. The present invention satisfies this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The locking collapsible seat apparatus of the present invention offers a convenient height for sitting or standing according to studies directed to a preferred height of the apparatus, a light-weight construction for easy transport, a compact design for convenient storage and a configuration for effortless transition between an erected state and a folded state and vice versa. The present invention also provides a seat locking component to stabilize the apparatus in an erected state as well as communicate with the user whether or not the locking component is activated. Although the present invention was contemplated as an apparatus for a user to sit, it is also contemplated that the seat apparatus may be for a user to stand, for example to access out-of-reach places.

According to the present invention, seat apparatus includes five support panels and a plurality of hinges. Hinges connect panels and provide rotation. It is contemplated that hinges may be made of flexible material or of moving components. For example, hinges may be a pivot hinge, butt/mortise hinge, continuous hinge, concealed hinge, butterfly hinge, parliament hinge, strap hinge, counterflap hinge, flush hinge, to name a few. In certain embodiments, seat apparatus includes grasping elements to assist a user in erecting the seat apparatus into an erected state and/or folding the seat apparatus into a folded state.

The seat apparatus also includes a seat locking component. Seat locking component includes ramps, receptacles and protrusions. Protrusions are sized and shaped to be received within receptacles. Ramps guide protrusions toward the receptacles when the seat apparatus is unfolded. Ramps also prevent protrusions from escaping from receptacles once received therein.

An object of the present invention is to provide a collapsible seat apparatus configured with a height within a range of about 13 inches to 16½ inches. According to studies based on the height, weight, sex, and age of a user, the most preferred height is about 15 inches.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a collapsible seat that is light-weight, for example constructed from materials such as plastic, plastic composite, thermoplastic resin, such as polyurethane, nylon, polyester, or polypropylene. The materials may further be compounded with a glass fiber or other additives to enhance strength, weatherability or other physical properties.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a collapsible seat that possesses a compact design in the folded state for convenient storage.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a configuration for effortless transition between an erected state and a folded state, as well as between a folded state and an erected state.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a collapsible seat apparatus with a seat locking component to stabilize the seat apparatus in the erected state. The locking component further communicates to the user—the top platform acts as an indicator to the user as to whether or not the locking component is activated. The seat locking component stabilizes the seat apparatus on any surface, for example, thick course carpet or soft ground block.

These and other aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the attached drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the invention will be described in conjunction with the appended drawings provided to illustrate and not to the limit the invention, where like designations denote like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a collapsible seat apparatus in the erected state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an alternate perspective view of a collapsible seat apparatus in the erected state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top view of a collapsible seat apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a collapsible seat apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view of a collapsible seat apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a collapsible seat apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a side view of a collapsible seat apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of a collapsible seat apparatus in the erected state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a close-up view of a seat locking component of a collapsible seat apparatus in the erected state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a collapsible seat apparatus in the folded state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of a seat apparatus according to the present invention are generally shown by referring to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are perspective views of a collapsible seat apparatus 10 in the erected state accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As shown, a seat apparatus 10 includes five support panels 100 and a plurality of hinges 300. The first support panel 100 is a top platform 110. Other support panels 100 include two walls 120, 130 opposing one another and two plates 140, 150 also opposing one another.

As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 and more particularly in FIG. 3, top platform 110 includes a top platform surface 111 and a bottom platform surface 112. Top platform 110 is divided by a platform hinge 310 into a first platform portion 220 and a second platform portion 230. First platform portion 220 includes a first top surface 221 and a first bottom surface 222. First platform portion 220 further includes a center edge 225, wall edge 226, first plate edge 227 and a second plate edge 228. Second platform portion 230 includes a second top surface 231 and a second bottom surface 232. Second platform portion 230 further includes a center border 235, wall border 236, first plate border 237 and a second plate border 238. Platform hinge 310 is positioned at the center edge 225 of the first platform portion 220 and center border 235 of the second platform portion 230.

In certain embodiments, both first platform portion 220 and second platform portion 230 include grasping elements 500. Grasping elements 500 are in the form of elliptical cutouts 510 although any size and shape grasping elements are contemplated. Grasping elements 500 assist a user in erecting the seat apparatus 10 into an erected state and/or folding the seat apparatus 10 into a folded state.

FIG. 3 also illustrates as hidden lines portions of the seat locking component 400 described more fully in reference to FIG. 8 and FIG. 9.

As shown more particularly in FIG. 4, first wall 120 includes a first exterior surface 121 and a first interior surface 122. First wall 120 further includes a top perimeter 125, first side perimeter 126, second side perimeter 127 and a bottom perimeter 128. Bottom perimeter 128, as shown in FIG. 4, forms a first wall punch-out 129 that is trapezoidal in shape, although any shape and size is contemplated for punch-out 129.

Second wall 130, as shown more particularly in FIG. 5, includes a second exterior surface 131 and a second interior surface 132. Second wall 130 further includes a top verge 135, first side verge 136, second side verge 137 and a bottom verge 138. Bottom verge 138, forms a second wall punch-out 139 that is trapezoidal in shape, although any shape and size is contemplated for punch-out 139.

A first wall hinge 320 connects the first platform portion 220 of the top platform 110 and the first wall 120. First wall hinge 320 is located at the wall edge 226 of the first platform portion 220 and at the top perimeter 125 of the first wall 120.

A second wall hinge 330 connects the second platform portion 230 of the top platform 110 and the second wall 130. Second wall 330 hinge is located at the wall border 236 of the second platform portion 230 and at the top verge 135 of the second wall 130.

As shown in FIG. 6, first plate 140 includes an external surface 141 and an internal surface 142. First plate 140 is divided by a first plate hinge 340 into a first plate portion 240 and a second plate portion 250. First plate portion 240 includes a first external surface 241 and a first internal surface 242. First plate portion 240 further includes a center rim 245, wall rim 246, top rim 247 and a bottom rim 248. Second plate portion 250 includes a second external surface 251 and a second internal surface 252. Second plate portion 250 further includes a center boundary 255, wall boundary 256, top boundary 257 and a bottom boundary 258. First plate hinge 340 is positioned at the center rim 245 of the first plate portion 240 and center boundary 255 of the second plate portion 250.

Bottom rim 248 and bottom boundary 258, as shown in FIG. 6, forms a first plate punch-out 249 that is triangular in shape, although any shape and size is contemplated for punch-out 249.

Second plate 150, as shown in FIG. 7 includes an outside surface 151 and an inside surface 152. Second plate 150 is divided by a second plate hinge 350 into a third plate portion 260 and a fourth plate portion 270. Third plate portion 260 includes a first outside surface 261 and a first inside surface 262. Third plate portion 260 further includes a center periphery 265, wall periphery 266, top periphery 267 and a bottom periphery 268. Fourth plate portion 270 includes a second outside surface 271 and a second inside surface 272. Fourth plate portion 270 further includes a center edging 275, wall edging 276, top edging 277 and a bottom edging 278. Second plate hinge 350 is positioned at the center periphery 265 of the third plate portion 260 and center edging 275 of the fourth plate portion 270.

Bottom periphery 268 and bottom edging 278, as shown in FIG. 7, forms a second plate punch-out 259 that is triangular in shape, although any shape and size is contemplated for punch-out 259.

FIG. 6 and FIG. 7 also illustrate as hidden lines portions of the seat locking component 400 as described more fully in reference to FIG. 8 and FIG. 9.

A first corner hinge 360 connects the first wall 120 and the first plate portion 240 of the first plate 140. First corner hinge 360 is located at the second side perimeter 127 of the first wall 120 and the wall rim 246 of the first plate portion 240 of the first plate 140.

A second corner hinge 370 connects the first wall 120 and the third plate portion 260 of the second plate 150. Second corner hinge 370 is located at the first side perimeter 126 of the first wall 120 and the wall periphery 266 of the third plate portion 260 of the second plate 150.

A third corner hinge 380 connects the second wall 130 and the second plate portion 250 of the first plate 140. Third corner hinge 380 is located at the first side verge 136 of the second wall 130 and the wall boundary 256 of the second plate portion 250 of the first plate 140.

A fourth corner hinge 390 connects the second wall 130 and the fourth plate portion 270 of the second plate 150. Fourth corner hinge 390 is located at the second side verge 137 of the second wall 130 and the wall edging 276 of the fourth plate portion 270 of the second plate 150.

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of a collapsible seat apparatus in the erected state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The seat locking component 400 is positioned on the bottom platform surface 112 of the top platform 110 and on plates 140, 150. Locking component 400 includes ramps 410, receptacles 420 and protrusions 430. Ramps 410 are positioned on the bottom platform surface 112 of the top platform 110 and are triangular in shape, but any size or shape ramps 410 are contemplated. Receptacles 420 are also located on the bottom platform surface 112 of the top platform 110 and are rectangular in shape, but any size or shape such as circular or square is contemplated such that receptacles 420 can receive protrusions 430. Protrusions 430 are positioned on plates 140, 150 and sized and shaped to be received within receptacles 420; in this embodiment, the protrusions 430 are rectangular shaped.

FIG. 9 is a close-up view of the seat locking component 400. Seat locking component 400 can also be seen as hidden lines in FIG. 1, FIG. 6, and FIG. 7.

A first ramp 411 and first receptacle 421 are positioned on the first bottom surface 222 of the first platform portion 220 of top platform 110. Both the first ramp 411 and the first receptacle 421 are positioned from the first plate edge 227. First bottom surface 222 also includes a third ramp 413 and third receptacle 423. Third ramp 413 and the third receptacle 423 are positioned from the second plate edge 228 of first bottom surface 222.

First protrusion 431 is positioned on the top periphery 267 of the third plate portion 260 of plate 150. Third protrusion 433 is positioned on top rim 247 of first plate portion 240 of plate 140.

A second ramp 412 and second receptacle 422 are positioned on the second bottom surface 232 of the second platform portion 230 of top platform 110. Both the second ramp 412 and the second receptacle 422 are positioned from the first plate border 237 of second platform portion 230. Second platform portion 230 also includes a fourth ramp 414 and a fourth receptacle 424. Fourth ramp 414 and the fourth receptacle 424 are positioned from the second plate border 238 of second bottom surface 232.

Second protrusion 432 is positioned on the top edging 277 the fourth plate portion 240 of plate 150. Fourth protrusion 434 is positioned on the top boundary 257 of second plate portion 250 of plate 140.

In the erected state as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the seat locking component 400 stabilizes the seat apparatus 10 when first protrusion 431 clears the first ramp 411 and is seated in first receptacle 421 and second protrusion 432 clears the second ramp 412 and is seated in second receptacle 422 and third protrusion 433 clears the third ramp 413 and is seated in third receptacle 423, and fourth protrusion 434 clears the fourth ramp 414 and is seated in fourth receptacle 424.

First ramp 411 and second ramp 412 are positioned a certain distance from center edge 225 and center border 235, respectively, such that first ramp 411 and second ramp 412 do not interfere with one another when first bottom surface 222 and second bottom surface 232 substantially abut one another in the folded state.

Third ramp 413 and fourth ramp 414 are positioned a certain distance from center edge 225 a center border 235, respectively, such that third ramp 413 and fourth ramp 414 do not interfere with one another when first bottom surface 222 and second bottom surface 232 substantially abut one another in the folded state.

Although numerous configurations are contemplated, in a preferred embodiment the height, shown by “H” in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, defined by the top platform 110 from the surface 15 on which the apparatus 10 is positioned measures anywhere between about and including 13 inches to about and including 16½ inches, with a preferred height of 15 inches.

In order to collapse the seat apparatus 10 of the present invention from the erected state to a folded state as shown in FIG. 10. A user simply grabs grasping elements 500, here elliptical cutouts 510, to lift the top platform 110 such that the first plate hinge 340 and second plate hinge 350 fold toward one another. In the completely folded state, the following surfaces substantially abut one another: first bottom surface 222 of first platform portion 220 and second bottom surface 232 of second platform portion 230, first external surface 241 of first plate portion 240 and second external surface 251 of second plate portion 250, first internal surface 242 of first plate potion 240 and first interior surface 122 of wall 120, second internal surface 252 of second plate portion 250 and second interior surface 132 of wall 130, first outside surface 261 of third plate portion 260 and second outside surface 271 of fourth plate portion 270, first inside surface 262 of third plate portion 260 and first interior surface 122 of wall 120, second inside surface 272 of fourth plate portion 270 and second interior surface 132 of wall 130.

It will be understood that the embodiments of the present invention, which have been described, are illustrative of some of the applications of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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