Title:
MULTIMEDIA AND GAMING ORIENTED FURNITURE STRUCTURES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Multimedia furniture includes structure for a multimedia console that allows insertion of the console through a front panel of the multimedia furniture, e.g., via a slot or cutout, advantageously keeping the console apparent through the front panel. For better integration of multimedia peripherals and storage components into the multimedia furniture, the invention also includes structure for retaining multimedia storage components, such as gaming DVDs and their cases and/or structure for retaining gaming peripherals, such as wired or wireless gaming controllers. For instance, in one non-limiting embodiment, a furniture stand for a display device is provided having a main surface for supporting a display device. In a front panel, the furniture stand includes a cutout or slot in a front panel for receiving a multimedia console. In another non-limiting embodiment, tower furniture is provided including a cutout or slot in the tower portion for receiving and supporting a multimedia console.



Inventors:
Kim, Hyung J. (Lynnwood, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/643320
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
12/21/2009
Assignee:
SLAM BRANDS, INC. (Redmond, WA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARLOW, JOSEPHS & HOLMES, LTD. (PROVIDENCE, RI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multimedia gaming tower for retaining a plurality of multimedia games associated with a multimedia console platform, comprising: a base; a tower section extending upwards from the base, the tower section including a plurality of retention means for retaining multimedia games on at least one side of the tower section, and the tower section including an opening through which a multimedia console is inserted whereby the multimedia console is supported substantially inside the tower section.

2. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the tower section is a cylindrical tower section.

3. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the tower section is a substantially rectangular tower section.

4. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the opening is a slot through the tower section.

5. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the opening is formed by at least one cutout from the tower section.

6. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, further comprising: a plurality of supports adapted to attach to a plurality of peripherals associated with the multimedia console.

7. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 5, wherein the plurality of supports are customized to support a plurality of gaming controllers for providing input to the multimedia console.

8. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 5, wherein the plurality of supports include a support at least one of a headset associated with the multimedia console or a camera associated with the multimedia console.

9. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the at least one side includes at least one interior side.

10. The multimedia gaming tower of claim 1, wherein the at least one side includes at least one exterior side.

11. A multimedia tower furniture item, including: a base; a tower section extending substantially upwards from the base, the tower section including a cutout or slot adapted to receive and support a multimedia gaming console.

12. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the cutout or slot is adapted to receive the multimedia gaming console from a direction that is substantially orthogonal to the tower section.

13. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the cutout or slot passes through the tower section such that a viewer of the cutout or slot sees through the cutout or slot from a front side of the tower section.

14. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the tower section includes a substantially rectangular cutout.

15. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the tower section includes a substantially vertically oriented rectangular cutout.

16. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the tower section includes a first cutout in a front of the tower section and a second cutout in a rear of the tower section adapted to receive a multimedia console through the first and second cutouts.

17. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the first and second cutouts are adapted to support the multimedia console at a position at or near a bottom of the first and second cutouts.

18. The multimedia tower furniture item of claim 11, wherein the first and second cutouts are adapted to support a support piece which in turn supports the multimedia console.

19. A multimedia tower, including: a base; a tower section extending substantially upwards from the base, the tower section an opening of the multimedia furniture item for receiving a multimedia console through the opening, the opening having a contour customized to be substantially shaped like a contour of the multimedia console, wherein the opening is larger than the multimedia console to accommodate receiving the multimedia console through the opening, and whereby a user's view to the multimedia console is unobstructed through the opening when the multimedia console is received through the opening; peripheral attachment structure adapted to receive and attach to a plurality of peripherals associated with the multimedia console including at least one of hooks or brackets; and multimedia storage including a plurality of individual receptacles for storing a corresponding plurality of multimedia storage cartridges.

20. The multimedia furniture item of claim 19, wherein the multimedia storage includes a plurality of slots for storing the corresponding plurality of multimedia storage cartridges.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/457,336, filed on Jul. 13, 2006, entitled “MULTIMEDIA AND GAMING ORIENTED FURNITURE STRUCTURES”, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to multimedia furniture, and more specifically to multimedia furniture that incorporates structure that is custom made for multimedia consoles, peripherals and/or multimedia storage.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For decades, networked and standalone computing devices/components and multimedia devices have been continually invading the living room, home offices, bedrooms, basements, conference rooms, commercial spaces, etc. However, at the same time, generally speaking, the furniture that has been used to house these devices and peripherals has remained static in terms of its functionality. For instance, “coffee tables” have by and large remained the same. For another example, while the notion of a “TV stand” has existed, i.e., a stand suited for supporting a TV, the TV stand in its various formations tends to be little more than a flat surface with shelves or drawers underneath, including one or more hinged doors on the front to shield the multimedia devices (gaming consoles, games, DVD players, CD players, set top boxes, VCRs, etc.) from view and/or from damage.

In some instances, furniture has been made that is targeted to some specific kind of multimedia or computing component, such as a CD tower, though such furniture has not been generalized for a host of related kinds of multimedia or computing components. For instance, as people collect more and more physical music CDs or DVDs, stacking the CDs or DVDs on shelves becomes impractical, and thus “towers” have been provided which specifically have retention slots for CDs or DVDs. However, such “CD towers” or “DVD towers” do not also store multimedia consoles, such as gaming machines, or their associated peripherals such as headsets, controllers, etc.

What is thus desired is an integrated piece of multimedia furniture including structure for a variety of related multimedia or computing components, including a multimedia console itself. Moreover, as multimedia consoles themselves become part of the user experience for interacting with games (e.g., peripheral discovery for wireless peripherals, notifications, etc.), it would be desirable to include such structure in a way that does not shield the space in front of the console. Accordingly, for these and other reasons, improved furniture structures targeted to multimedia consoles, peripherals and multimedia storage are desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In various embodiments, the invention provides multimedia furniture that includes structure for a multimedia console, such as a gaming console, that allows insertion of the console through a front section, such as a front panel or front door, of the multimedia furniture, e.g., via a slot or cutout in the front section, advantageously keeping the console apparent through the front panel.

For better integration of multimedia peripherals and storage components into multimedia furniture, the invention also may include structure for retaining multimedia storage components, such as gaming DVDs and their cases, and/or structure for retaining gaming peripherals, such as wired or wireless gaming controllers. For instance, in one non-limiting embodiment, a furniture stand for a display device is provided having a main surface for supporting a display device. In a front panel, the furniture stand includes a cutout or slot in a front panel for receiving a multimedia console. In another non-limiting embodiment, tower furniture is provided including a cutout or slot in the tower portion for receiving and supporting a multimedia console.

Additional features of the invention are described in more detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The multimedia and gaming oriented furniture structures of the invention are further described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary variety of consoles, peripherals and storage for accommodation by integrated furniture in accordance with the invention;

FIGS. 2A to 2C illustrate the concept of incorporation of a multimedia through an opening in a front section of a furniture item in accordance with the invention;

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate two exemplary non-limiting types of furniture to which the integrated structure for multimedia furniture of the invention may be applied;

FIGS. 4A to 4E illustrate a first exemplary non-limiting implementation of the integrated structure for multimedia furniture of the invention including perspective, front, side, top and bottom views; and

FIGS. 5A to 5D illustrate further exemplary non-limiting implementations of the integrated structure for multimedia furniture of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Overview

As described in the background, traditional furniture has not been tailored to the multimedia equipment space that has evolved in the living spaces everywhere. While some prior art furniture is provided with generic shelves, drawers and/or swing doors on hinges so that a user can place a console inside on a shelf, in a drawer and/or swing a door shut to enclose the console, such furniture is generic by nature in that shelves and drawers can house any item, and additionally, swing doors can interfere with a user's view of the console. In some cases, a console may include lights as part of a notification scheme to indicate one or more states of operation. Even a see-through door, like clear glass or plastic, may inhibit the sight of the console due to a glare or the like. Accordingly, improved furniture tailored to a multimedia console and/or associated storage or peripherals for a gaming platform, such as Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's Playstation, Nintendo's Gamecube, etc. is provided by the invention.

In various embodiments, the invention provides multimedia furniture that includes structure for a multimedia console, such as a gaming console, that allows insertion of the console through a front panel of the multimedia furniture, e.g., via a slot or cutout, advantageously keeping the console apparent through the front panel. For instance, in one non-limiting embodiment, a furniture stand for a display device is provided having a main surface for supporting a display device. In a front panel, the furniture stand includes a cutout or slot in a front panel for receiving a multimedia console. In another non-limiting embodiment, tower furniture is provided including a cutout or slot in the tower portion for receiving and supporting a multimedia console.

In addition, in another aspect of the invention, for better integration of multimedia peripherals and storage components into the multimedia furniture, the invention also may include structure for retaining multimedia storage components, such as gaming DVDs and their cases, and/or structure for retaining gaming peripherals, such as wired or wireless gaming controllers.

Exemplary Non-Limiting Multimedia Console Environment

As described herein, various embodiments of the present invention integrate consoles, multimedia storage and peripherals associated with the consoles into a single piece of furniture. As shown in FIG. 1, for instance, one of ordinary skill in the multimedia console art can appreciate that there are a variety of multimedia consoles 100, multimedia storage 110 and multimedia peripherals 120 that can be accommodated by the furniture designs of the present invention. For instance, a variety of multimedia consoles 100 include consoles C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, etc., though the multimedia consoles 100 shown are not intended to be limiting. Additionally, other media devices such as CD players, DVD players, amplifiers, set top boxes and the like may also be accommodated by the furniture designs of the invention. In addition, the various embodiments of the integrated furniture designs of the invention include multimedia storage 110 including storage cases S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, etc. Furthermore, the various embodiments of the integrated furniture designs of the invention may include multimedia peripherals 120 including, but not limited to, controllers P1, P2, P3 and P4, headset P5 or cameras P6 or P7.

Exemplary Integrated Multimedia Furniture Structures

FIGS. 2A to 2C illustrate a first aspect of the invention in which an opening is provided in a front section of a furniture item, so that a console may be viewed through the opening. For instance, as shown in FIG. 2A, a furniture item 200, which may include a coffee table, a tower with a base, a multimedia TV stand, an entertainment center, or the like, includes an opening 210 through a front section of the furniture item that is conducive to receiving a multimedia console or other electronic equipment. In this regard, a viewer of the front section can see through the opening 210, which may be an opening that is cutout from the front section. Inside the opening 210, a surface (not shown) supports a multimedia console so that it is apparent through the opening 210. The opening may also extend backwards from the front section as a 3-D slot with or without a ceiling. The surface may be any kind of mechanism, from flat surfaces to metal brackets, known to those of ordinary skill in the art which would support a multimedia console.

FIG. 2B illustrates a furniture item 200a with an opening 210a in which the orientation of the opening is substantially a vertically arranged rectangle. This accommodates the reception of a console that can stand vertically. FIG. 2C illustrates a furniture item 200b that includes a horizontal opening 210b, which in turn accommodates the reception of a traditional substantially horizontally arranged multimedia console or other piece of electronic equipment.

FIG. 3A illustrates that a front section 220 having an opening 210d may be just a portion of the front area of the furniture item 200d. For instance, front section 220 may be a hinged door that swings open and shut. Front section 220 may also be a front panel of the furniture item 200d. As shown in FIGS. 2B and 2C, opening 210d may be any shape that is well suited to receiving a console through the opening 210d, e.g., substantially rectangular with horizontal or vertical orientations.

FIG. 3B in turn illustrates an alternate embodiment with another kind of furniture item 200e, which is a tower. Tower furniture item 200e includes any base 230 capable of supporting the tower and its contents and a tower section 240 that extends upwardly from the base 230. In accordance with the invention, opening 210e is provided in the tower section as it faces an observer of the furniture item 200e so that a multimedia console or the like may be placed through the opening 210e. In one embodiment, the tower section 240 includes a substantially rectangular cutout in both the front and the rear of the tower section 240 so that a multimedia console can be received through the cutouts, and supported at a position at or near the bottom of the opening, e.g., by the bottom of the cutouts themselves, or via a flat surface or other console retention mechanism (brackets, etc.) that extends from cutout to cutout of the opening or slot. FIGS. 4A to 4E, for instance, show an implementation 200_tower of the tower 200e of FIG. 3B in which a flat surface FS extends between cutouts CO1 and CO2. Perspective, front, side, top and bottom views are shown in FIGS. 4A to 4E.

FIG. 5A shows yet another implementation of the invention in which a media cabinet furniture item 200f includes an opening 210f, which, as described elsewhere herein, may invariably take the form of a cutout from the front of the furniture item 200f. Such cutout may extend across two or more sections, such as sections 500 and 510 in FIG. 5A. The opening 210f may also include a 3-D slot or other retention mechanism to help the process of receiving a multimedia console or other electronic component. In this fashion, a user may integrate a multimedia console more easily than in the past, and take part in notifications emitted from a console to a user such as lighting or other effects, or allow more unobstructed airspace when communicating wirelessly with peripherals or the like.

FIG. 5B illustrates that any of the furniture items of the invention may also include a way to retain peripherals somewhere on the furniture item, e.g., generic or custom made hooks or brackets 520 for wired or wireless controllers for a gaming platform may be provided on the side or elsewhere, or inside, of a furniture item 200f, as shown by peripheral retention component 520, so that in addition to having opening 210f to accommodate the multimedia console, peripheral retention component 520 in combination provides a better experience around utilizing the console. One of ordinary skill in the art can appreciate that there are a variety of mechanical means 520 that could be provided for the purpose of retaining peripherals, and so no one embodiment should be considered limiting in accordance with this aspect of the invention.

FIG. 5C illustrates that media storage 520a and 520b may also be provided for a furniture item 200g. The console in turn, as described earlier, may be inserted in opening 210g provided in accordance with the invention. Integrating media storage, such as games for a gaming platform, or DVDs for a DVD player, into a furniture item 200g enables a better user experience for the console as well since a user of the console can easily locate the media items associated with the console. In this regard, any furniture item can be provided with storage for media items in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 5D illustrates that media storage 530c1 and 530c2 may also be provided for a furniture item 200h in accordance with the integrated structures for multimedia furniture in accordance with the invention. As with FIG. 5C, integrating media storage, such as games for a gaming platform, or DVDs for a DVD player, etc. into a furniture item 200h enables a better user experience for the console as well since a user of the console can easily locate the media items associated with the console. In this regard, any furniture item can be provided with storage, like 530c1 and 530c2, for media items in accordance with the invention. For instance, a display stand or any piece of furniture may include the media storage apparatus 530c1 and 530c2 on its sides, or inside on a wall, etc. As with the other implementations of the integrated structures for a multimedia environment described herein, furniture item 200h includes an opening 210h for receiving a multimedia console, such as a gaming console. Furniture item 200h also provides an exemplary implementation of the invention wherein a console is accommodated by an opening (opening 200h), storage is accommodated by media storage apparatus 530c1 and 530c2, and peripherals are accommodated by peripheral retention 520a.

While the present invention has been described in connection with the preferred embodiments of the various Figures, it is to be understood that other similar embodiments may be used or modifications and additions may be made to the described embodiment for performing the same function of the present invention without deviating therefrom. For example, one skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention as described in the present application may apply to any multimedia environment, whether wired or wireless, and may be applied to any number of such devices, peripherals and storage. For instance, peripherals of the invention may invariably communicate with a console via wired or wireless means. In either case, the open space enabled by the opening for a multimedia console in accordance with the invention either allows wire access for wired peripherals or transmissions free from interference with physical structures for wireless peripherals. Therefore, the present invention should not be limited to any single embodiment, but rather should be construed in breadth and scope in accordance with the appended claims.