Title:
SMART DELIVERY BOX WITH INSULATED COMPARTMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A delivery box with a main rectilinear receiving compartment with a wedge-shaped upper area. A movable divider is hingedly attached along one side to the interior of the main compartment, and can be lowered into place to provide additional support, stability or space, thereby dividing the interior into two sections. A zippered door or flap provides access to the interior for storage of delivered packages, groceries, or similar items. The zippered door or flap may be locked. One or more hooks extend from the top of the delivery box for mounting on a door.



Inventors:
Adewuyi, Ashley Amber (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Application Number:
15/344513
Publication Date:
05/11/2017
Filing Date:
11/06/2016
Assignee:
ADEWUYI ASHLEY AMBER
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G29/124
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
W. EDWARD RAMAGE (NASHVILLE, TN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A delivery box, comprising: a main body with multiple sides defining an exterior and an interior, with an receiving compartment in the interior of the main body; a lockable door or flap in one side of said main body allowing access to the receiving compartment; and one of more hooks extending from the main body configured to suspend the main body from a door.

2. The delivery box of claim 1, further comprising a movable divider in the receiving compartment.

3. The delivery box of claim 1, wherein the lockable door or flap is attached to the side of said main body with a zipper.

4. The delivery box of claim 3, wherein the zipper comprises a two-way zipper.

5. The delivery box of claim 4, further comprising a lock to lock the two-way zipper.

6. The delivery box of claim 1, wherein two hooks extend from a top of the main body.

7. The delivery box of claim 6, wherein the two hooks are J-shaped.

8. The delivery box of claim 7, wherein the bottom of the J-shape is flattened.

9. The delivery box of claim 1, further comprising a receipt pocket or window.

10. The delivery box of claim 9, wherein said receipt pocket or window is located in the interior of the receiving compartment.

11. The delivery box of claim 9, wherein said receipt pocket or window is located on the exterior of the main body.

12. The delivery box of claim 1, wherein the main body is made of one or more of metal, wood, plastic, or fabric.

13. The delivery box of claim 1, wherein the main body is made of a multi-layered material.

14. The delivery box of claim 13, wherein the multi-layered material comprises an outer layer, an anti-theft layer, an insulation layer, and an interior layer.

15. The delivery box of claim 14, wherein the outer layer comprises nylon fabric, the anti-theft layer comprises hex mesh, the insulation layer comprises a polyethylene insulation liner; and the interior layer comprises a thermal liner.

16. The delivery box of claim 14, wherein the interior layer comprises a thermally reflective sealed liner approved for use with food.

17. The delivery box of claim 1, further comprising support frame members.

18. The delivery box of claim 1, wherein the delivery box is collapsible into a compact rectilinear form.

Description:

This application claims benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/251,822, filed Nov. 6, 2015, by Ashley Adewuyi, et al., and is entitled to that filing date for priority. The specification, figures, appendices and complete disclosure of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/251,822 are incorporated herein in their entireties by specific reference for all purposes.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a personal smart delivery box or drop box for depositing and holding packages, parcels, letters, and similar items securely.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of online shopping and mail order delivery has increased dramatically with the growth of the Internet and mobile computing device. However, as the use of mail order delivery has grown, so, too, do the “final mile” delivery problem. In general, when a person places an order for an item to be delivered to a postal address, it is normally necessary for a recipient to be available to accept delivery of the ordered item when it is delivered by a delivery service. The primary reason is that the retailer and the delivery agent need to obtain some proof-of-delivery (POD) of the item to avoid fraudulent claims for non-delivery. This usually is a signature from a person at the delivery address. If a recipient is not present at the point and time of delivery, the delivery agent often must make subsequent delivery attempts, which increases cost, time, and inconvenience for everyone involved in the transaction.

Recipients often will use a work address for delivery of parcels and packages to avoid the inconvenience and delay associated with home delivery; however, this often causes problems with employers, such as accepting liability for signing for employees' packages, or storing delivered items until such time as the employee recipient is able to collect them.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In various embodiments, the present invention comprises a multi-compartment delivery box or drop box for receiving and securely holding delivered items (e.g., packages, parcels, mail, boxes, and similar forms). Delivered items include, but are not limited to, clothes, books, papers, food items, flowers, and other consumer goods.

In one embodiment, the delivery box comprises a body with a receiving compartment or space or drawer, or both. A delivery person accesses the receiving compartment or space, or opens the drawer, and places the delivered item therein. The delivered item is subsequently delivered to a secure interior holding compartment or space, typically upon closing or shortly after the receiving compartment is closed. The receiving compartment may be unlocked and generally accessible, and is designed to not allow access to the secure holding compartment when the receiving compartment itself is open or being accessed.

The apparatus may provide POD in various means. In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises one or more cameras on the exterior or interior of the apparatus, or both. The invention records digital images, video, or both, of delivery activity, which is date and time stamped. In one embodiment, one or more cameras are placed so as to take a digital image of a delivered item in the receiving compartment (or holding compartment), including an image of an address label or delivery label (which may identify the shipper or delivery service). When the delivered item is in a position where it cannot be removed by the person placing it there (e.g., after the delivered item has been placed in the receiving compartment, and the receiving compartment has been closed), the digital image or images are taken, and a POD is provided. The data may be stored on computer-readable media or storage device inside the apparatus, or sent via wired or wireless connection to a remote storage device The POD may contain an image of the package and label, as well as the delivery time, date and location. One or more weight sensors or visual sensors may also be used to detect weight and dimensions of the delivered item (and this information may also be provided on the POD).

The POD may be in paper form, and printed by the apparatus upon delivery of the delivered item, as described above. Alternatively, it may be sent electronically via email to an email address associated with the delivery service. In one embodiment, the present invention comprises a computer-implemented system whereby the delivery person interacts with the delivery box via an application on a smart phone, tablet, or mobile computing device, informing the delivery box of what is being delivered, gaining access to one or more compartments of the delivery box, and receiving electronic POD from the delivery box.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the delivery box comprises a main rectilinear receiving compartment with a wedge-shaped upper area. A movable divider is hingedly attached along one side to the interior of the main compartment, and can be lowered into place to provide additional support, stability or space, thereby dividing the interior into two sections. When the divider is raised, the entire interior comprises a single space. The divider may be a stiff, hard shelf comprised of hardboard or similar material. Similarly, a compartment floor made of similar material may be provided on the bottom of the receiving compartment.

A door or flap is provide on the front, sides, or top of the delivery box for access to the interior. In the embodiment shown, the flap is hingedly attached at the bottom to the delivery box and opens downward. A single or two-way zipper may be used to securely close the door or flap. A lock (such as, but not limited to, a luggage lock) may be used to securely fasten the two zippers together. In one embodiment, the zipper is a two-way #10 heavy duty industrial zipper, secured by a 3-dial combination zipper lock.

A receipt pocket or window (which may be clear or transparent in whole or in part) may be provided on the inside of the receiving compartment, including, but not limited to, the interior of the door or flap. The pocket may be used to provide delivery instructions, a receipt, or other information.

One or more hooks extend from the top of the delivery box, and are adapted to fit over the top of a door, and to be secured when the door is closed (i.e., the hooks and thus the bag cannot be removed unless the door is unlocked and opened). The hooks may be flat to allow the door to open and close, and substantial in width to help prevent unauthorized removal. The hooks are securely fastened to the delivery box in various ways known in the art, such as with cross-bars or members embedded in the box wall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a front view of the apparatus.

FIG. 3 shows a side view of the apparatus.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the interior components of the apparatus.

FIG. 5 shows a front view of the components.

FIG. 6 shows a side view of the components.

FIG. 7 shows a side cutaway view of the operation of a drawer component.

FIG. 8 shows a side cutaway view of a hinged door component.

FIG. 9 shows another perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 10-12 show views of a drawer.

FIG. 13 shows the inside of a the front of a drawer.

FIG. 14 shows the hinge or pivot area of a drawer with rollers.

FIG. 15 shows another perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 shows another perspective view of the components of the apparatus.

FIG. 17 shows a perspective view of a drawer.

FIG. 18 shows a perspective view of a corner of the apparatus.

FIG. 19 shows a perspective view of an electronic lock used with the apparatus.

FIG. 20 shows a perspective view of a door-mounted apparatus in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 21 through 25 show additional views of the apparatus of FIG. 20.

FIG. 26 shows a close-up view of the hooks.

FIGS. 27-28 show close-up views of the lock.

FIG. 29 shows a view of the apparatus of FIG. 20 in a semi-collapsed state.

FIG. 30 shows a view of the apparatus of FIG. 20 in a collapsed state.

FIG. 31 shows a view of material layer components.

FIG. 32 shows a diagram of the features of the apparatus of FIG. 20.

FIGS. 33-36 show screens from a mobile device application for use with the apparatus of FIG. 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

In various exemplary embodiments, the present invention comprises a multi-compartment delivery box or drop box for receiving and securely holding delivered items (e.g., packages, parcels, mail, boxes, and similar forms). Delivered items include, but are not limited to, clothes, books, papers, food items, flowers, and other consumer goods.

As seen in FIGS. 1-18, the delivery box comprises a body 2 with a receiving compartment or space or drawer 6, or both. A delivery person accesses the receiving compartment or space, or opens the drawer 6, and places the delivered item therein. The delivered item is subsequently delivered to a secure interior holding compartment or space 14, typically upon closing or shortly after the receiving compartment is closed. The receiving compartment may be unlocked and generally accessible, and is designed to not allow access to the secure holding compartment when the receiving compartment itself is open or being accessed.

The body is made of steel, metal, composite, wood, or other material that provides suitable security (e.g., resistance to cutting, breaking, and other forms of unauthorized access). The body may be of any suitable shape, including, but not limited to, a box-like shape, a rounded top mailbox shape, a prism, a trapezoid, a sphere, or other polygonal form. The body may comprise one or more legs. The body may comprise means for securing the apparatus in place, including, but not limited, holes for bolting the body to a fixed structure or post, holes for chains or cables, hooks 20 for suspending the body from a door or similar frame, and the like.

The secure holding compartment may be insulated, to help protect perishables. In several alternative embodiments, additional compartments may be present in the body, such as a separate insulated compartment (suitable for perishables), a compartment with a hook or rod (suitable for dry-cleaned clothes), or a refrigerated compartment. Some or all of the compartments may be accessed through the receiving compartment, or may be individually or separately accessed by a locked access point or points by a lock 12, which grants access only to authorized individuals or delivery services.

The apparatus may provide POD in various means. In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises one or more cameras on the exterior or interior of the apparatus, or both. The invention records digital images, video, or both, of delivery activity, which is date and time stamped. In one embodiment, one or more cameras are placed so as to take a digital image of a delivered item in the receiving compartment (or holding compartment), including an image of an address label or delivery label (which may identify the shipper or delivery service). When the delivered item is in a position where it cannot be removed by the person placing it there (e.g., after the delivered item has been placed in the receiving compartment, and the receiving compartment has been closed), the digital image or images are taken, and a POD is provided. The data may be stored on computer-readable media or storage device inside the apparatus, or sent via wired or wireless connection to a remote storage device The POD may contain an image of the package and label, as well as the delivery time, date and location. One or more weight sensors or visual sensors may also be used to detect weight and dimensions of the delivered item (and this information may also be provided on the POD).

The POD may be in paper form, and printed by the apparatus upon delivery of the delivered item, as described above. Alternatively, it may be sent electronically via email to an email address associated with the delivery service. In one embodiment, the present invention comprises a computer-implemented system whereby the delivery person interacts with the delivery box via an application on a smart phone, tablet, or mobile computing device, informing the delivery box of what is being delivered, gaining access to one or more compartments of the delivery box, and receiving electronic POD from the delivery box.

FIGS. 20-32 show another embodiment of the present invention. The delivery box 100 comprises a main rectilinear receiving compartment 102 with a wedge-shaped upper area 104. A movable divider 106 is hingedly attached along one side to the interior of the main compartment 102, and can be lowered into place to provide additional support, stability or space, thereby dividing the interior into two sections. When the divider 106 is raised, the entire interior comprises a single space. The divider may be a stiff, hard shelf comprised of hardboard or similar material. Similarly, a compartment floor 108 made of similar material may be provided on the bottom of the receiving compartment.

A door or flap 110 is provide on the front, sides, or top of the delivery box for access to the interior. In the embodiment shown, the flap 110 is hingedly attached at the bottom to the delivery box and opens downward. A single or two-way zipper may be used to securely close the door or flap. A lock 112 (such as, but not limited to, a luggage lock) may be used to securely fasten the two zippers together. In one embodiment, the zipper is a two-way #10 heavy duty industrial zipper, secured by a 3-dial combination zipper lock.

A receipt pocket or window (which may be clear or transparent in whole or in part) may be provided on the inside of the receiving compartment, including, but not limited to, the interior of the door or flap. The pocket may be used to provide delivery instructions, a receipt, or other information.

One or more hooks 120 extend from the top of the delivery box, and are adapted to fit over the top of a door, and to be secured when the door is closed (i.e., the hooks and thus the bag cannot be removed unless the door is unlocked and opened). The hooks may be flat to allow the door to open and close, and substantial in width to help prevent unauthorized removal. The hooks are securely fastened to the delivery box in various ways known in the art, such as with cross-bars or members embedded in the box wall. As seen in the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 26, two hooks are provided to provide security and stability.

The walls of the box may comprise the materials described above with the first embodiment, or may be anti-theft “rip-stop” fabric. The walls of the box may be multi-layered. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 20, there are four layers, starting with the exterior, as shown in FIG. 31:

1. 600D Nylon 202;

2. Anti-theft, anti-rip hex mesh (e.g., 7 mm metal, composite or hard plastic hex mesh) 204;

3. Insulation liner (e.g., ⅛″ polyethylene insulation) 206;

4. Thermal liner (e.g., heavy duty thermally reflective ultra high-temp sealed liner, compliant with FDA regulations for use in contact with food) 208.

Rigid or semi-rigid supports or frame members may be provided on the inside of the delivery box, or embedded or installed in the material, along the edges and sides. The supports or frame members may be hingedly attached at some ends. One or more straps may extend from the body of the box and wrap around the door to provide additional security and support.

The box material allows for it to be collapsed for storage or transport. As seen in FIG. 29, the box collapses around a midpoint, with the top and bottom sections folding over to a collapsed state, as seen in FIG. 30.

For use, the delivery box may be left in an unlocked state (i.e., the lock is provided, but left unlocked). The delivery person arrives, unzips the door/flap, places the items (e.g., boxes, bags of groceries, and the like) inside the receiving compartment, leaves a receipt (if any) in the receipt pocket, closes the door/flap, and locks the zipper with the lock. Alternatively, the user may provide the lock combination or code to the delivery company when placing the order, or the combination or code may be available to an authorized delivery person using an application as described herein, thereby allowing the delivery box to be left in a locked state even when empty.

While the delivery box can vary in size, in one exemplary embodiment, the box is 17 inches wide, 13.5 inches deep, and 44 inches in height (from the bottom to the top of the wedge) with a 6 inch hook length. This provides 9600 cubic inches, or 157 liters, of interior usable space. The delivery box weighs 5.7 lbs when empty, and can hold up to approximately 75 lbs of goods or items.

FIGS. 33-36 show examples of screens from a mobile device application for use with the delivery box. FIG. 33 shows an example of a login screen. FIG. 34 shows an example of a tracking screen, which allows the user to keep track of deliveries by tracking number, arrival time and date, and actual delivery. FIG. 35 shows an example of a delivery detail screen to review the history and status of a selected delivery. FIG. 36 shows a notification provided by the application when delivery has been made.

In order to provide a context for the various computer-implemented aspects of the invention, the following discussion provides a brief, general description of a suitable computing environment in which the various aspects of the present invention may be implemented. A computing system environment is one example of a suitable computing environment, but is not intended to suggest any limitation as to the scope of use or functionality of the invention. A computing environment may contain any one or combination of components discussed below, and may contain additional components, or some of the illustrated components may be absent. Various embodiments of the invention are operational with numerous general purpose or special purpose computing systems, environments or configurations. Examples of computing systems, environments, or configurations that may be suitable for use with various embodiments of the invention include, but are not limited to, personal computers, laptop computers, computer servers, computer notebooks, hand-held devices, microprocessor-based systems, multiprocessor systems, TV set-top boxes and devices, programmable consumer electronics, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, smart phones, touch screen devices, smart TV, internet enabled appliances, internet enabled security systems, internet enabled gaming systems, internet enabled watches; internet enabled cars (or transportation), network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, embedded systems, virtual systems, distributed computing environments, streaming environments, volatile environments, and the like.

Embodiments of the invention may be implemented in the form of computer-executable instructions, such as program code or program modules, being executed by a computer, virtual computer, or computing device. Program code or modules may include programs, objects, components, data elements and structures, routines, subroutines, functions and the like. These are used to perform or implement particular tasks or functions. Embodiments of the invention also may be implemented in distributed computing environments. In such environments, tasks are performed by remote processing devices linked via a communications network or other data transmission medium, and data and program code or modules may be located in both local and remote computer storage media including memory storage devices such as, but not limited to, hard drives, solid state drives (SSD), flash drives, USB drives, optical drives, and internet-based storage (e.g., “cloud” storage).

In one embodiment, a computer system comprises multiple client devices in communication with one or more server devices through or over a network, although in some cases no server device is used. In various embodiments, the network may comprise the Internet, an intranet, Wide Area Network (WAN), or Local Area Network (LAN). It should be noted that many of the methods of the present invention are operable within a single computing device.

A client device may be any type of processor-based platform that is connected to a network and that interacts with one or more application programs. The client devices each comprise a computer-readable medium in the form of volatile and/or nonvolatile memory such as read only memory (ROM) and random access memory (RAM) in communication with a processor. The processor executes computer-executable program instructions stored in memory. Examples of such processors include, but are not limited to, microprocessors, ASICs, and the like.

Client devices may further comprise computer-readable media in communication with the processor, said media storing program code, modules and instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the processor to execute the program and perform the steps described herein. Computer readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by computer or computing device and includes both volatile and nonvolatile media, and removable and non-removable media. Computer-readable media may further comprise computer storage media and communication media. Computer storage media comprises media for storage of information, such as computer readable instructions, data, data structures, or program code or modules. Examples of computer-readable media include, but are not limited to, any electronic, optical, magnetic, or other storage or transmission device, a floppy disk, hard disk drive, CD-ROM, DVD, magnetic disk, memory chip, ROM, RAM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, an ASIC, a configured processor, CDROM, DVD or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium from which a computer processor can read instructions or that can store desired information. Communication media comprises media that may transmit or carry instructions to a computer, including, but not limited to, a router, private or public network, wired network, direct wired connection, wireless network, other wireless media (such as acoustic, RF, infrared, or the like) or other transmission device or channel. This may include computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism. Said transmission may be wired, wireless, or both. Combinations of any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer readable media. The instructions may comprise code from any computer-programming language, including, for example, C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Java, and the like.

Components of a general purpose client or computing device may further include a system bus that connects various system components, including the memory and processor. A system bus may be any of several types of bus structures, including, but not limited to, a memory bus or memory controller, a peripheral bus, and a local bus using any of a variety of bus architectures. Such architectures include, but are not limited to, Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus, Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) bus, Enhanced ISA (EISA) bus, Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) local bus, and Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus.

Computing and client devices also may include a basic input/output system (BIOS), which contains the basic routines that help to transfer information between elements within a computer, such as during start-up. BIOS typically is stored in ROM. In contrast, RAM typically contains data or program code or modules that are accessible to or presently being operated on by processor, such as, but not limited to, the operating system, application program, and data.

Client devices also may comprise a variety of other internal or external components, such as a monitor or display, a keyboard, a mouse, a trackball, a pointing device, touch pad, microphone, joystick, satellite dish, scanner, a disk drive, a CD-ROM or DVD drive, or other input or output devices. These and other devices are typically connected to the processor through a user input interface coupled to the system bus, but may be connected by other interface and bus structures, such as a parallel port, serial port, game port or a universal serial bus (USB). A monitor or other type of display device is typically connected to the system bus via a video interface. In addition to the monitor, client devices may also include other peripheral output devices such as speakers and printer, which may be connected through an output peripheral interface.

Client devices may operate on any operating system capable of supporting an application of the type disclosed herein. Client devices also may support a browser or browser-enabled application. Examples of client devices include, but are not limited to, personal computers, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, computer notebooks, hand-held devices, cellular phones, mobile phones, smart phones, pagers, digital tablets, Internet appliances, and other processor-based devices. Users may communicate with each other, and with other systems, networks, and devices, over the network through the respective client devices.

Thus, it should be understood that the embodiments and examples described herein have been chosen and described in order to best illustrate the principles of the invention and its practical applications to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited for particular uses contemplated. Even though specific embodiments of this invention have been described, they are not to be taken as exhaustive. There are several variations that will be apparent to those skilled in the art.