Title:
LAPTOP COMPUTER CARRIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments of laptop computer carriers with simple, low cost constructions are disclosed herein. One disclosed embodiment comprises a shoulder strap, a hinge pocket that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap and that is configured to hold a hinged spine of the laptop computer, and a retainer coupled with the strap and configured to retain a side edge of the base portion of the laptop computer.



Inventors:
Groene, Ralf (Kirkland, WA, US)
Chatterjee, Monique (Seattle, WA, US)
Pickett, Lindsey Michelle (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/163875
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
06/27/2008
Assignee:
Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/257
International Classes:
A45C15/00; A45F3/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC (Redmond, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A carrier for a laptop computer, the laptop computer comprising a screen portion connected to a base portion at a hinged spine, the carrier comprising: a shoulder strap; a hinge pocket that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap and that is configured to hold the hinged spine of the laptop computer; and a retainer coupled with the strap and configured to retain a side edge of the base portion of the laptop computer.

2. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a protective cover configured to attach to the screen portion of the laptop computer and extend over an outer face of the screen portion of the laptop computer.

3. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a retainer for each side of the laptop computer.

4. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of connectors disposed on the shoulder strap, wherein each connector is configured to accept attachment of an accessory with a complementary connector.

5. The carrier of claim 4, wherein the accessory comprises a modular pocket.

6. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the shoulder strap comprises an integrated pocket.

7. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the shoulder strap comprises an integrated power cord configured to connect the laptop computer to a power supply.

8. The carrier of claim 7, wherein the integrated power cord runs substantially a length of the shoulder strap and comprises connectors that extend from the shoulder strap at locations adjacent to each end of the shoulder strap.

9. A carrier for a laptop computer having a screen portion connected to a base portion at a hinged spine, the device comprising: a shoulder strap; a computer support sling that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap and that is configured to fit between the screen portion and the base portion of the laptop computer when the laptop computer is in a closed configuration; and a cover coupled to the shoulder strap and configured to at least partially cover an outside face and an inside face of the laptop computer when the laptop computer is supported by the sling.

10. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the sling comprises a wire having a protective coating.

11. The carrier of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of connectors disposed on the shoulder strap, wherein each connector is configured to accept attachment of an accessory with a complementary connector.

12. The carrier of claim 11, wherein the accessory comprises a modular pocket.

13. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the shoulder strap comprises an integrated pocket.

14. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the shoulder strap comprises an integrated power cord configured to connect the laptop computer to a power supply.

15. A carrier for a laptop computer, comprising: a cover comprising a first expanse configured to support a first face of the laptop computer, a second expanse configured to support a second face of the laptop computer, and a bottom connecting the first expanse and the second expanse and configured to support a hinged spine of the laptop computer, the first expanse, second expanse and bottom defining an open first side and an open second side; a first elastic member extending between and connecting a first side of the first expanse to a first side of the second expanse; a second elastic member extending between and connecting a second side of the first expanse to a second side of the second expanse; a first shoulder strap extending from the first expanse; and a second shoulder strap extending from the second expanse.

16. The carrier of claim 15, wherein the first and second expanse are flexible.

17. The carrier of claim 15, wherein the first and second expanse are rigid.

18. The carrier of claim 15, wherein one or more of the first shoulder strap and the second shoulder strap comprises a plurality of connectors each configured to accept attachment of an accessory having a complementary connector.

19. The carrier of claim 15, wherein one or more of the first shoulder strap and the second shoulder strap comprises an integrated pocket.

20. The carrier of claim 15, wherein one or more of the first shoulder strap and the second shoulder strap comprises an integrated power cord configured to connect the laptop computer to a power supply.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Various devices have been proposed for transporting laptop computers in a hands-free manner. One commonly used carrier is a briefcase-like bag including a pouch or compartment for holding a laptop computer, and one or shoulder straps connected to the pouch to allow a user to support the weight of the pouch on a shoulder. Such carriers also may include pockets for holding power cords, mice, and other such accessories.

Such carriers may be made of many separate parts, and may take many manufacturing steps to assemble the parts. Therefore, such carriers may be relatively expensive to manufacture. Further, a laptop computer positioned in such a carrier may be difficult to use without removing the laptop computer from the carrier. The effort involved in removing a laptop computer from a carrier for use and then placing it back in the carrier after use may discourage various types of user sessions, including but not limited to use during transport.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, various embodiments of laptop computer carriers with simple, low cost constructions are disclosed herein. For example, one disclosed embodiment comprises a shoulder strap, a hinge pocket that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap and that is configured to hold a hinged spine of the laptop computer, and a retainer coupled with the strap and configured to retain a side edge of the base portion of the laptop computer. In this manner, a user may open and use the laptop computer while the laptop computer is positioned in the carrier.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of a laptop computer carrier, with a laptop computer in a closed configuration positioned in the carrier.

FIG. 2 shows the embodiment of FIG. 1, with the laptop computer in an opened configuration.

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of a laptop computer carrier.

FIG. 4 shows a partially exploded view of another embodiment of a laptop computer carrier.

FIG. 5 shows the embodiment of FIG. 4, with the laptop computer in an opened configuration and with the protective cover removed for clarity, and also shows an embodiment of a shoulder strap comprising an integrated power cord.

FIG. 6 shows another embodiment of a laptop computer carrier.

FIG. 7 shows the embodiment of FIG. 6, with a laptop computer in an opened configuration positioned in the carrier.

FIG. 8 shows embodiments of a laptop computer carrier shoulder strap and a modular accessory pocket partially attached thereto.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a shoulder strap comprising an integrated accessory pocket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 shows a first embodiment of a carrier 100 for a laptop computer 102. The carrier 100 comprises a shoulder strap 104 and a hinge pocket 106 that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap and that is configured to hold a hinged spine of the laptop computer 102. Further, one or more retainers 108 coupled with the strap are configured to retain a side edge of a base portion 110 (i.e. processor/keyboard portion) of the laptop computer 102, but not a display portion 112. This allows the laptop computer 102 to be opened when positioned in the carrier 100. In the depicted embodiment, one retainer 108 is disposed on each side of the shoulder strap 104 such that each side edge of the base portion 110 of the laptop computer 102 is secured to the shoulder strap 104. However, any other suitable number of and/or configuration of retainers may be used, including but not limited to a single retainer.

Referring to FIG. 2, the laptop computer 102 may be opened with the shoulder strap 104 still positioned over a user's shoulder. When the laptop computer 102 is opened, a display screen 114 on the display portion 112 of the laptop computer faces toward the user. Likewise, the base portion 110 of the laptop computer 102 is positioned such that a keyboard 116, mouse pad 118, or other input device is oriented correctly relative to the user. This allows a user may use the laptop computer 102 without removing the laptop computer 102 from the carrier, in contrast to a briefcase-like bag. Once the user has finished using the computer, the user may simply close the screen portion of the laptop to end the use session, without having to put the laptop computer 102 back into the carrier 100, and without having to put the carrier 100 back over a shoulder.

In this manner, a user may use the laptop computer 102 positioned in the carrier 100 either while sitting or standing. In the standing use example, the display screen 114 faces upwardly toward the user, while the base portion 110 of the laptop computer rests against the user's body. The display screen 114 may be supported in this position by the friction in the hinge of the laptop computer 102, as well as by the shape of the laptop hinge pocket 106. In either the sitting use or standing use example, the carrier 100 permits a user to access and open the laptop computer 102 while standing or walking, thereby allowing the user to quickly reference a desired item on the laptop computer 102 without removal from the carrier. This may help to improve the computer user experience during “shuttling” (i.e. moving from space to space, such as between conference rooms or classrooms), as the laptop computer may be used for short periods of time without time-consuming unpacking and repacking.

In contrast to briefcase-style laptop bags, the carrier 100 may be manufactured using a comparatively smaller number of parts and/or manufacturing processes. For example, the shoulder strap 104 and the hinge pocket 106 may be formed from just one or two fabric sections joined together, for example, in an end-to-end manner to form a closed loop. Further, the carrier 100 may utilize less material than that used to construct a briefcase-like bag for a similarly-sized laptop computer, thereby reducing materials costs. Further, the retainers 108 may comprise simple clips made of plastic, metal, sturdy fabric, etc., and therefore also may be available at low cost.

In some embodiments, a carrier may include a protective cover or covers that protect the outer surfaces of a laptop computer positioned in the carrier, and that allow the computer to be substantially enclosed within the carrier when not in use. FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of a carrier 300 comprising a protective front cover 302 configured to extend over an outer face of the screen portion of a laptop computer, and a protective back cover 304 configured to extend over an outer face of the base portion of the laptop computer. The carrier further comprises a pocket 306 to accommodate a hinged spine of the laptop computer, and a shoulder strap 308.

The protective front cover 302 of the carrier is configured to be attached to the display screen portion of a laptop computer. In this manner, the front cover 302 automatically opens when a laptop computer positioned in the carrier 300 is opened. Thus, as opposed to other laptop computer carriers, the carrier 300 may be opened with no additional user-performed acts (such as unzipping zippers or opening other fasteners) other than opening the laptop computer.

The front cover 302 may be configured to be attached to the screen portion of a laptop computer in any suitable manner. In the depicted embodiment, the front cover 302 includes a hooked edge 304 configured to hook over a top edge of a screen portion of a laptop computer. In other embodiments, the front cover may include a sleeve configured to fit over the top edge of the screen portion of a laptop computer, a hook-and-loop fastening mechanism, or any other suitable attachment mechanism that allows the front cover 302 to be easily attached to and removed from the laptop computer. Likewise, in the depicted embodiment, each side of the back cover 304 is depicted as being fixed to the shoulder strap 308. However, it will be understood that the back cover 304 may have any other suitable configuration, and may be configured to be connected to the base portion of a laptop computer in a similar manner as the front cover 302 connects to the screen portion of a laptop computer. Further, either the front cover 302 and/or the back cover 304 may be configured to cover the small space between the base portion and the screen portion of the laptop computer when the laptop computer is closed. In some embodiments, the back cover 304 may also be configured to provide ventilation, for example via one or more openings, and/or via a suitable choice of material.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show another embodiment of a carrier 400. The carrier 400 is configured to support a laptop computer 402 by hanging the laptop computer 402 from its hinged spine 404 while the laptop computer 402 is in a closed configuration. The carrier 400 comprises a shoulder strap 410, and a computer support sling 412 that forms a closed loop with the shoulder strap 410. The sling is configured to fit between a screen portion 414 and a base portion 416 of the laptop computer 402 when the laptop computer 402 is in a closed configuration, as shown in FIG. 4. Likewise, the carrier 400 may be removed or inserted from the laptop computer when the laptop computer is in an opened configuration, as shown in FIG. 5.

The carrier 400 also comprises a cover 430 coupled to the shoulder strap 410. The cover is shown exploded upwardly from the laptop computer in FIG. 4, and is omitted from FIG. 5. The cover 430 is configured to at least partially cover a first face 432 and a second face (not visible in FIG. 4) of the laptop computer when the laptop computer is supported by the sling 404. The cover 406 may be permanently coupled to the shoulder strap 410 (for example, sewn, glued, etc.), or may be removably coupled to the shoulder strap 410 (for example, via buttons, snaps, hook and loop connectors, etc.) so that a user can choose to use the cover on a selective basis. The cover 430 may be formed from any suitable material or materials, including but not limited to flexible materials such as suitable fabrics, polymer sheets, leather, more rigid materials, such as plastic materials, supported fabrics, composite materials, and/or combinations thereof.

The computer support sling 412 may be formed from a length of wire having an outer protective coating. A protective coating may provide a softer surface of contact against the computer than if the wire were uncoated. Further, a protective coating also may provide a higher friction outer surface than uncoated wire, and therefore may help to prevent the laptop computer 402 from sliding on the computer support sling 412 during use. In other embodiments, the computer support sling 412 may be formed from an uncoated wire, a plastic or fabric cord, a strap, etc.

Referring to FIG. 5, the carrier 400 is depicted with an embodiment of a shoulders strap 500 comprising an integrated power cord 502 configured to connect the laptop computer 402 to a power supply. This may allow a user to conveniently connect the laptop computer 402 to an electrical outlet without having to carry a separate cord. In the depicted embodiment, the integrated power cord 502 runs substantially the length of the shoulder strap 500 within an interior of the shoulder strap. A first connector 504 configured to connect to the laptop computer 402 extends from the shoulder strap adjacent to one end of the shoulder strap 500, and a second connector 506 configured to connect to an electrical outlet extends from the shoulder strap 500 adjacent to another end of the shoulder strap 500. Because only a small portion of the integrated power cord 502 is located outside of the shoulder strap 500, the integrated power cord 502 may not be noticeable by a user when carrying the laptop computer.

In some embodiments, one or both ends of the shoulder strap 500 may be configured to be selectively connected to or disconnected from the computer support sling 412 to facilitate the use of the integrated power cord 500. Likewise, in some embodiments, some length of the integrated power cord 502 may be configured to be pulled from the shoulder strap 500 during use and then inserted or retraced back into the shoulder strap 410 for transport. In such embodiments, the connectors 504 and 506 may be concealed within the shoulder strap 500 when not in use, and pulled from the shoulder strap 500 only during use. While shown in the context of the carrier embodiment of FIGS. 4-5, it will be appreciated that a shoulder strap with an integrated power cord may be used with any suitable laptop computer carrier, including but not limited to other embodiments discussed herein.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show another embodiment of a carrier 600 for a laptop computer. Carrier 600 comprises a cover 602 including a first expanse 604 configured to support a first face 606 of a laptop computer 608, a second expanse 610 configured to support a second face 612 of the laptop computer 608, and a bottom 614 connecting the first expanse 604 and the second expanse 610, wherein the bottom 614 is configured to support a hinged spine 616 of the laptop computer 608.

The first expanse 604, second expanse 610, and bottom 614 define open first and second sides 620, 622 of the cover 602. A first elastic member 624 and a second elastic member 626 extend between the first expanse 604 and the second expanse 610 to connect first and second sides of the first and second expanses 604, 610 at locations effective to prevent the laptop computer 608 from sliding out of the open first side 620 and open second side 622, respectively. The carrier 600 also comprises a first shoulder strap 630 extending from the first expanse 604 and a second shoulder strap 632 extending from the second expanse. A user may carry the laptop computer 608 securely within the carrier 600 by placing both shoulder straps over a shoulder. Then, when a user desires to use the laptop computer 608 while standing or sitting, the user may remove one of the shoulder straps and fold the screen portion 640 of the laptop computer downwardly, as depicted in FIG. 7. The elasticity of the first and second elastic members 624, 626 allow the user to open the laptop computer 608 when the laptop computer 608 is positioned in the carrier 600, while the locations of the elastic members 624, 626 prevent the laptop computer 608 from sliding out of the open sides 620, 622 of the carrier 600 both during computer transport and computer use.

The first expanse 604, second expanse, 610, and bottom 614 may be made from any suitable material or materials, and may have any suitable construction. For example, in some embodiments, the first expanse 604, second expanse 610, and bottom 614 may comprise a single piece of a flexible material, while in other embodiments two or more of these structures may be formed from different pieces of material joined together. Where additional strength is desired, a sandwich of two or more sheets of material may be used to form these structures. Additionally, any or all of the first expanse 604, second expanse 610, and bottom 614 may include a stiffener or reinforcement such as a foam or plastic sheet, etc., to make the first expanse 604, second expanse 610, and/or bottom 614 rigid.

Each of the above-described embodiments of carriers may offer various advantages over briefcase-style carriers. For example, the embodiments described herein may be easier and less expensive to manufacture than briefcase-style laptop carriers. Further, various embodiments described herein may enable a user to use a laptop carrier without removing the laptop computer from the carrier, whether standing or sitting. Therefore, the embodiments described herein may improve the shuttling experience by simplifying the process of accessing a laptop computer for a short user session.

In some embodiments, a carrier may be configured to accept the attachment of one or more accessories to accommodate peripherals and other accessories that a user may wish to carry. Examples of such accessories include, but are not limited to, a mouse or other input device, a power cord, a spare battery, etc. To accommodate such accessories, a carrier may comprise one or more pockets, and/or may comprise one or more connectors that are configured to accept the selective attachment of a modular accessory pocket.

FIG. 8 depicts an embodiment of a shoulder strap 800 comprising a plurality of connectors 802 each configured to accept attachment of an accessory, such as a modular pocket 804. In the depicted embodiment, the connectors comprise snaps configured to accept the attachment of an accessory via a plurality of complimentary snaps located on the accessory. However, it will be understood that the shoulder strap 800 may comprise any other suitable type of connector or connectors. Likewise, it will be understood that carrier may comprise either fewer or more connectors 802 than those shown, and some embodiments may include only a single connector. Further, the carrier may be configured to accept the attachment of a single accessory, or multiple accessories. Additionally, while the connectors 802 of the depicted embodiment are disposed on a shoulder strap 800, it will be understood that one or more connectors may alternatively or additionally be disposed on another part of a carrier, such as on any of the above-described covers 302, 430, 602.

In other embodiments, a carrier may comprise one or more integrated pockets for carrying accessories. FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a shoulder strap 900 that comprises a pocket 902 configured to hold a portable mouse 904 or other such accessory. The depicted pocket 902 has a depth greater than a width of the shoulder strap 900 to accommodate accessories of larger sizes than the shoulder strap width. However, in other embodiments, a pocket may have a depth no greater than a width of the shoulder strap 900. It will be understood that the pocket 902 may have any suitable depth relative to the width of the shoulder strap 900.

While the concepts disclosed herein are described in the context of specific embodiments, it will be understood that configurations and/or approaches described herein are exemplary in nature, and that these specific embodiments or examples are not to be considered in a limiting sense, because numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the present disclosure includes all novel and nonobvious combinations and subcombinations of the various configurations, features, functions, and/or properties disclosed herein, as well as any and all equivalents thereof.





 
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