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Title:
DEPLOYABLE SUPPORT SURFACE FORMED FROM UPPER SHROUD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/263262
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A passenger seat can include a seat back (102) (e.g., with a rearward surface (104) and a forward-facing headrest (103)), a tray table (106), a deployable shroud portion (108), and a pivot (112). The rearward surface can include a rear-of-headrest portion positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest. The tray table may be deployable away from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back. The pivot may pivotally couple a support surface of the deployable shroud portion with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface and allow pivoting of the support surface to a deployed position. The support surface may be sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in the deployed position.

Inventors:
TRANIER, Romain (US)
MANSOURI, Reza (US)
Application Number:
US2019/039522
Publication Date:
December 30, 2020
Filing Date:
June 27, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SAFRAN SEATS USA LLC (US)
International Classes:
B64D11/00; B64D11/06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSSELL, Dean W. et al. (US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

That which is claimed is:

1. A passenger seat comprising:

a seat back comprising a rearward surface and a forward-facing headrest, the rearward surface comprising a rear-of-headrest portion positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest;

a tray table deployable away from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back;

a deployable shroud portion independent from the tray table and comprising a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward leaning seated passenger in a deployed position; and

a pivot pivotally coupling the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface and for pivoting the support surface to the deployed position to support the head and folded arms of the forward-leaning seated passenger.

2. The passenger seat of claim 1, wherein the support surface is pivotally coupled to the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface for movement between (a) a stowed position in which an upper edge of the deployable shroud portion is located proximate to an upper edge of the seat back, and (b) the deployed position in which the deployable shroud portion is pivoted away from the rearward surface.

3. The passenger seat of claim 2, further comprising a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position between the stowed position and the deployed position.

4. The passenger seat of claim 2, wherein the deployable shroud portion is angled relative to the rearward surface to support at least one of a head or at least one arm of a passenger in at least one intermediate deployed position.

5. The passenger seat of claim 2, wherein the support surface comprises at least one opening aligned with at least one of an in-flight entertainment system disposed in the rearward surface or an upper literature pocket disposed in the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

6. The passenger seat of claim 2, wherein the pivot couples the upper edge of the support surface or a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

7. The passenger seat of claim 1, wherein the deployable shroud portion is deployable independent of a deployed state of the tray table, and the tray table is deployable independent of the deployed state of the deployable shroud portion.

8. A shroud assembly for coupling with an upper area of a seat back of a passenger seat that includes a forward-facing headrest, the shroud assembly comprising:

a deployable shroud portion that includes a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in a deployed position;

a pivot by which the support surface is pivotally coupleable with a rear-of- headrest portion of a rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat for movement of the support surface between a stowed position and the deployed position, wherein the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in the upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and

a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position in between the stowed position and the deployed position.

9. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the deployable shroud portion is independent of a tray table deployable from the rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat.

10. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein in the stowed position, the support surface is positioned substantially parallel to the rearward surface and is positioned entirely above an upper edge of a tray table in a stowed tray table position.

11. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the deployable shroud portion includes an outer face that forms a protective covering over the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the deployable shroud portion is in the stowed position.

12. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the shroud assembly further comprises a fixed shroud portion to which the deployable shroud portion is releasably attached in the stowed position.

13. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the support surface comprises a cushioning material.

14. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the stopper comprises at least one of:

at least one predetermined pivot stop configured to allow the deployable shroud portion to incrementally pivot to and remain at the at least one intermediate deployed position; or

at least one foldable stop deployable from the support surface to interact with the rearward surface of the seat back and configured to maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position.

15. The shroud assembly of claim 8, wherein the stopper is configured to support at least one of the head of the passenger or at least one arm of the passenger and maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position.

16. A method comprising:

deploying a deployable shroud portion rearwardly from a rear-of-headrest portion of a rearward surface of a seat back of a passenger seat independent of a deployment of a tray table from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back, wherein the seat back includes a forward-facing headrest and the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and

arranging the deployable shroud portion at an angle for supporting an object on a support surface of the deployable shroud portion.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising supporting an object on the support surface of the deployable shroud portion.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the object comprises at least one of a head of a user, an arm of the user, a pillow, a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, a book, or a magazine.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein deploying the deployable shroud portion comprises: pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one first pivot that couples an upper edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in a stowed position; or pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one second pivot that couples a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

20. The method of claim 16, further comprising maintaining the deployable shroud portion in at least one intermediate deployed position in between a stowed position and a maximum deployed position using a stopper configured to support at least one of a head of a passenger or at least one arm of the passenger.

Description:
DEPLOYABLE SUPPORT SURFACE FORMED FROM UPPER SHROUD

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The field of the invention relates to passenger-usable support surfaces attached to seat backs for passenger vehicles such as aircrafts.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Inside an airplane, space is very limited and therefore valuable. Airlines aim to optimize how they use the space to ensure they meet their profit goals and to achieve the required density level in economy class. To do this, the area allocated to each seat is typically minimized to be as small as possible to fit an average person, which can be uncomfortable for the passenger, especially for long flights. Sleeping in these economy class seats can be especially challenging due to the lack of space and lack of available position options. While reclining functionality in most seats may provide an option for a passenger to lean backward to try and sleep, options are typically more limited for comfortably leaning forward to try and sleep. Conventionally, the main location in each economy class seat where the passenger can lean forward to rest his or her head and arms is the tray table. When the tray table is deployed, the passenger may place his or her head and arms on the tray table in a resting position. However, for the majority of passengers, this is a very uncomfortable position to maintain because the tray table is too low and results in the passenger being hunched over. Additionally, the passenger may be using the tray table to support items such as beverage glasses, food containers, or personal items, e.g., a tablet, a cellphone, a laptop, a book, a magazine, etc., in which case, the lack of space on the tray table would prevent the passenger from resting his or her head and arms on the tray table.

[0003] Conventional airplane seats may include a shroud to protect a portion of the seat back or an in-flight entertainment element. However, these conventional shrouds are typically permanently attached to the seat back so that no portion of the shroud may be moved away from the seat back, with the result that the shroud may only serve the purpose of protecting a portion of the seat back or an in-flight entertainment element.

SUMMARY

[0004] The terms“invention,”“the invention,”“this invention” and“the present invention” used in this patent are intended to refer broadly to all of the subject matter of this patent and the patent claims below. Statements containing these terms should be understood not to limit the subject matter described herein or to limit the meaning or scope of the patent claims below. Embodiments of the invention covered by this patent are defined by the claims below, not this summary. This summary is a high-level overview of various aspects of the invention and introduces some of the concepts that are further described in the Detailed Description section below. This summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used in isolation to determine the scope of the claimed subject matter. The subject matter should be understood by reference to appropriate portions of the entire specification of this patent, any or all drawings and each claim.

[0005] According to certain embodiments of the present invention, a passenger seat includes a seat back comprising a rearward surface and a forward-facing headrest, the rearward surface comprising a rear-of-headrest portion positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; a tray table deployable away from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back; a deployable shroud portion independent from the tray table and comprising a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in a deployed position; and a pivot pivotally coupling the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface for pivoting the support surface to the deployed position to support the head and folded arms of the forward-leaning seated passenger. [0006] In some embodiments, the support surface is pivotally coupled to the rear-of- headrest portion of the rearward surface for movement between (a) a stowed position in which an upper edge of the deployable shroud portion is located proximate to an upper edge of the seat back, and (b) the deployed position in which the deployable shroud portion is pivoted away from the rearward surface.

[0007] The passenger seat may include a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position between the stowed position and the deployed position.

[0008] In certain embodiments, the deployable shroud portion is angled relative to the rearward surface to support at least one of a head or at least one arm of a passenger in at least one intermediate deployed position.

[0009] The support surface may include at least one opening aligned with at least one of an in-flight entertainment system disposed in the rearward surface or an upper literature pocket disposed in the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0010] In some embodiments, the pivot couples the upper edge of the support surface or a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0011] In certain embodiments, the deployable shroud portion is deployable independent of a deployed state of the tray table, and the tray table is deployable independent of the deployed state of the deployable shroud portion.

[0012] According to certain embodiments of the present invention, a shroud assembly for coupling with an upper area of a seat back of a passenger seat that includes a forward facing headrest, the shroud assembly including a deployable shroud portion that includes a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in a deployed position; a pivot by which the support surface is pivotally coupleable with a rear-of-headrest portion of a rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat for movement of the support surface between a stowed position and the deployed position, wherein the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in the upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position in between the stowed position and the deployed position.

[0013] The deployable shroud portion may be independent of a tray table deployable from the rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat.

[0014] In some embodiments, in the stowed position, the support surface is positioned substantially parallel to the rearward surface and is positioned entirely above an upper edge of a tray table in a stowed tray table position.

[0015] The deployable shroud portion may include an outer face that forms a protective covering over the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the deployable shroud portion is in the stowed position.

[0016] In certain embodiments, the shroud assembly further comprises a fixed shroud portion to which the deployable shroud portion is releasably attached to in the stowed position.

[0017] The support surface, in some embodiments, includes a cushioning material.

[0018] The stopper may include at least one of at least one predetermined pivot stop configured to allow the deployable shroud portion to incrementally pivot to and remain at the at least one intermediate deployed position; or at least one foldable stop deployable from the support surface to interact with the rearward surface of the seat back and configured to maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position. [0019] In some embodiments, the stopper is configured to support at least one of the head of the passenger or at least one arm of the passenger and maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position.

[0020] According to certain embodiments of the present invention, a method includes deploying a deployable shroud portion rearwardly from a rear-of-headrest portion of a rearward surface of a seat back of a passenger seat independent of a deployment of a tray table from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower are of the seat back, wherein the seat back includes a forward-facing headrest and the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and arranging the deployable shroud portion at an angle for supporting an object on a support surface of the deployable shroud portion.

[0021] The method may include supporting an object on the support surface of the deployable shroud portion.

[0022] The object, in some embodiments, includes at least one of a head of a user, an arm of the user, a pillow, a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, a book, or a magazine.

[0023] In certain embodiments, deploying the deployable shroud portion includes pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one first pivot that couples an upper edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in a stowed position; or pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one second pivot that couples a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0024] In some embodiments, the method includes maintaining the deployable shroud portion in at least one intermediate deployed position in between a stowed position and a maximum deployed position using a stopper configured to support at least one of a head of a passenger or at least one arm of the passenger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] Figure 1 is a perspective rear view of a seat with a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion in a deployed position, according to certain embodiments of the present invention.

[0026] Figure 2 is a perspective rear view of the seat of FIG. 1 with the support surface formed from the deployable shroud portion in a stowed position.

[0027] Figure 3 is a side view of the seat of FIG. 1 with the support surface formed from the deployable shroud portion supporting a head and arms of a passenger.

[0028] Figure 4 is a perspective rear view of a seat with a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion in a deployed position, according to certain embodiments of the present invention.

[0029] Figure 5 is a side view of the seat of FIG. 4 with the support surface formed from the deployable shroud portion supporting a head and arms of a passenger.

[0030] Figure 6A is a side view of one example of a pivot of a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion, according to certain embodiments of the present invention.

[0031] Figure 6B is a side view of another example of a pivot of a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion, according to certain embodiments of the present invention.

[0032] Figure 6C is a side view of another example of a pivot of a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion, according to certain embodiments of the present invention. [0033] Figure 7 is a perspective rear view of a seat with a support surface formed from a deployable shroud portion in a deployed position and supporting a personal item, according to certain embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0034] The subject matter of embodiments of the present invention is described here with specificity to meet statutory requirements, but this description is not necessarily intended to limit the scope of the claims. The claimed subject matter may be embodied in other ways, may include different elements or steps, and may be used in conjunction with other existing or future technologies. This description should not be interpreted as implying any particular order or arrangement among or between various steps or elements except when the order of individual steps or arrangement of elements is explicitly described.

[0035] The described embodiments of the invention provide a support surface formed from an upper shroud for passenger seats. For example, the support surface from the upper shroud may be used to support a head or arms of a passenger. While the support surface formed from an upper shroud is discussed for use with aircraft seats, they are by no means so limited. Rather, embodiments of the support surface formed from an upper shroud may be used in passenger seats or other seats of any type or otherwise as desired.

[0036] According to certain embodiments of the present invention, as shown in

Figures 1-5 and 7, a support surface 110 formed from a deployable shroud portion 108 may be part of an upper shroud assembly 105 for a passenger seat 100. The upper shroud assembly 105 may include the deployable shroud portion 108 and a fixed shroud portion 109. The deployable shroud portion 108, or the support surface 110, may additionally include or be coupled with a pivot 112.

[0037] In some embodiments (such as in FIGS. 1-5 and 7), the deployable shroud portion 108 or the fixed shroud portion 109 may include one or more portions positioned on or along a rearward surface 104 of a seat back 102 of the passenger seat 100. The deployable shroud portion 108 may form a support surface 110. The passenger seat 100 may include an upper area and a lower area of the seat back 102. The upper area of the seat back 102 may include a forward-facing headrest 103 positioned on a forward surface of the seat back 102. The upper area of the seat back 102 may also include a rear-of-headrest portion on the rearward surface 104 and rearward of the forward-facing headrest. In some embodiments, the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface 104 is the area located above an upper edge

107 of a tray table 106 when the tray table 106 is in a stowed position. The tray table 106 may be positioned in the lower area of the seat back 102.

[0038] The support surface 110 of the deployable shroud portion 108 may be sized and designed to support at least one of a head or an arm of a forward-leaning passenger. For example, the deployable shroud portion 108 may be coupled to any suitable location in the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102, such as proximate to the upper edge 107 of the tray table 106 (e.g., FIGS. 1 and 2) or along an upper edge 111 of the seat back 102 (e.g., FIG. 4). This coupling location of the deployable shroud portion

108 in the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface 104 may permit the deployable shroud portion 108 to be at a suitable height when deployed so that the forward-leaning passenger may comfortably rest his or her head and/or arm(s) on the support surface 110.

[0039] While supporting at least one of a head or an arm of a forward-leaning passenger may include the head or the arm of the passenger directly contacting the support surface 110, other intervening structures or elements may be included to assist or enhance the supporting of at least one of the head or the arm of the passenger by the deployable shroud portion 108. For example, the passenger may place a pillow, a jacket, or any other suitable element on the support surface 110 then rest at least one of his or her head or arms on the element that is in turn resting on the support surface 110. [0040] When the deployable shroud portion 108 is in a stowed position, the deployable shroud portion 108 may completely or at least partially surround a seat-back entertainment feature 118 (such as an in-flight entertainment system or an upper literature pocket) positioned in the passenger seat 100. By completely or at least partially surrounding the seat-back entertainment feature, the deployable shroud portion 108 may continue to serve the purpose of protecting the seat-back entertainment feature 118, for example, as passengers move past the passenger seats 100 during ingress or egress.

[0041] In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or the support surface 110 may be shaped to mimic the shape of the outer edge of the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102. The deployable shroud portion 108 may define an interior opening 113 that may be aligned with the seat-back entertainment feature 118. The interior opening 113 may allow a passenger who is resting his or her head and/or arms on the support surface 110 to be able to see through the deployable shroud portion 108 (e.g., FIG. 3). Such visibility may allow the passenger to continue using a personal item supported on the tray table 106. In such a case, the interior opening 113 may serve as a window that permits the passenger’s sightline 142 to reach a tablet 140 or other personal item resting on the tray table 106. For example, the passenger may look through the interior opening 113 to continue reading a book placed on the tray table 106 or to continue using a personal electronic device such as a mobile phone or tablet 140 while resting his or her head on the support surface 110. Additionally, the positioning of the passenger shown in FIG. 3 (e.g., resting his forehead on the support surface 110 directly or indirectly by resting on an arm that is also resting on the support surface) is not limited to viewing through the support surface. This positioning could also be for resting (e.g., regardless of whether the interior opening 113 is included). [0042] Additionally, the deployable shroud portion 108 may include a covering that may extend across the interior opening 113 to provide additional support for at least one of the head or arm of the passenger. For example, the covering may be a piece of fabric, e.g., mesh, cotton, etc., that is attached to one portion of the deployable shroud portion 108 and removably attached to another portion of the deployable shroud portion 108, where the two portions of the deployable shroud portion 108 are located across the interior opening 113 from one another. In some embodiments, the interior opening 113 may include a clear, or substantially transparent, cover extending partially or entirely across the interior opening 113. The clear cover may permit viewing of the seat-back entertainment feature 118 while the shroud portion 108 is in the stowed position as well as viewing of personal items positioned on the tray table 106 while the deployable shroud portion 108 is in the deployed position.

[0043] In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or the support surface 110 may lack or not define an interior opening (e.g., FIG. 7). For example, the passenger seat 100 may lack or not include a seat-back entertainment feature 118, in which case there may not be a reason to include the interior opening. When there is not a seat-back entertainment feature 118, the deployable shroud portion 108 may serve to provide a protective covering to the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 when the deployable shroud portion 108 is in the stowed position.

[0044] Additionally, the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or the support surface

110 may be rectangular, trapezoidal, triangular, or any other suitable shape. In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 may include separate left and right parts deployable from either side of the seat-back entertainment feature 118 (e.g., without fully connecting across the top or bottom of the seat-back entertainment feature 118) or may otherwise be formed of multiple parts that may be joinable or otherwise collectively provide a surface for a passenger to lean forward against. The deployable shroud portion 108 may be formed of materials including but not limited to aluminum, stainless steel, aramid fibers, polycarbonate, polypropylene, other metallic materials, composite materials, or other similar materials. In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108, or at least the support surface 110, may include a cushioning material, such as foam, cotton, feathers, etc.

[0045] The pivot 112 may be coupled to at least one of the deployable shroud portion

108 or the support surface 110 and the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 of the passenger seat 100, e.g., the fixed shroud portion 109. In some embodiments, the pivot 112 may include or correspond to two pivots. However, it is to be understood that the deployable shroud portion 108 may have any suitable number of pivots 112. In some embodiments, the pivot 112 may be coupled to an upper edge (e.g., FIG. 4) or a lower edge (e.g., FIG. 1) of the deployable shroud portion 108. The pivot 112 may pivotally couple the support surface 110 to the rearward surface 104 and enable a rotational movement of the deployable shroud portion 108 relative to the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102.

[0046] The pivot 112 may be any sort of assembly that allows pivoting of the deployable shroud portion 108. As non-limiting examples, the pivot 112 may be or include a hinge, a ball and socket connection, or any other suitable connection that permits rotational movement. It is to be understood that the pivot 112 may include any suitable number of joints, articulations, or other components to facilitate the operations described.

[0047] In some embodiments, the pivot 112 may include or be coupled with a stopper

116. The stopper 116 may enable the user to control the positioning of the deployable shroud portion 108 by maintaining the deployable shroud portion 108 at any among various angles relative to the seat back 102. In some embodiments, the stopper 116 and the at least one pivot 112 may be sufficiently robust to maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 at any among various angles relative to the seat back 102 while the deployable shroud portion 108 supports the weight of at least a head or an arm of a passenger. Further description of examples of the stopper 116 will be provided with respect to FIGS. 4, 5, and 6A-6C below.

[0048] The deployable shroud portion 108 may be independent of the tray table 106, e.g., a separate structure that can be moved separately from the tray table 106. For example, while the deployable shroud portion 108 and the tray table 106 may be deployed simultaneously (e.g., FIG. 1), the deployable shroud portion 108 may also be deployed while the tray table 106 remains stowed (e.g., FIG. 4).

[0049] In some embodiments (such as in FIGS. 1, 3, 5, and 7), the deployable shroud portion 108 may be positioned at least partially above the tray table 106 when both the deployable shroud portion 108 and the tray table 106 are deployed simultaneously. The deployable shroud portion 108 may be used simultaneously with the tray table 106 so that the passenger has an extra surface, the deployable shroud portion 108, on which to rest his or her head or arms while the tray table 106 may support and/or hold at least one personal item, e.g., a food or beverage item, a book, a magazine, a personal electronic device, such as a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop, an e-reader, an MP3 player, or a gaming system, or any other suitable personal item the passenger may place on the tray table 106.

[0050] Additionally, the deployable shroud portion 108 may be deployed so that the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or the support surface 110 provides an additional surface that may support and/or hold at least one personal item such as a tablet 140 (e.g., FIG. 7). While FIG. 7 shows a deployable shroud portion 108 without an interior opening 113 supporting the tablet 140, a deployable shroud portion 108 with an interior opening 113 (with or without the covering extending across the interior opening 113 discussed above) may also be used to support at least one personal item. The support surface 110 of the deployable shroud portion 108 may include at least one retainer to help keep the personal items in place when the items are being supported on the support surface 110. Examples of different retainers that may be incorporated into the deployable shroud portion 108 are discussed in further detail below.

[0051] The tray table 106 may be movable between a stowed tray table configuration

(e.g., FIG. 2) and a deployed tray table configuration (e.g., FIG. 1). The stowed tray table configuration may correspond to a state in which the tray table 106 is secured by a tray table latch 114 and/or a state in which the usable surface of the tray table 106 is received along the rearward surface 104. In the stowed tray table configuration, the tray table edge 107 may be positioned proximate to or adjacent to at least one of a lower edge of the deployable shroud portion 108 in the stowed upper shroud position or a pivot 112. The deployed tray table configuration may correspond to a state in which the tray table 106 has been released from the tray table latch 114 and/or a state in which the usable surface of the tray table 106 is rotated away from the rearward surface 104 and is available for receiving items placed by a passenger.

[0052] In some embodiments (such as in FIG. 2), the stowed position of the deployable shroud portion 108 may correspond to a state in which the support surface 110 is positioned proximate and substantially parallel to the fixed shroud portion 109 and/or the rearward surface 104 of the rear-of-headrest portion of the seat back 102. An upper edge of the deployable shroud portion 108 may substantially align with or be positioned proximate to an upper edge of the seat back 102 when the deployable shroud portion 108 is in the stowed position. Additionally, the deployable shroud portion 108 may at least partially surround the seat-back entertainment feature 118 while the deployable shroud portion 108 is in the stowed position. The deployable shroud portion 108 may then serve the purpose of protecting the seat-back entertainment feature 118 from potential damage as passengers move into and out of the passenger seats 100. [0053] The pivot 112 may permit the deployable shroud portion 108 to move from the stowed position to one or more deployed positions. Some examples of the deployed positions are described further below. The deployable shroud portion 108 may be rotated and positioned relative to the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 of the passenger seat 100 when moved to one or more deployed positions. The stowed position of the deployable shroud portion 108 may alternatively be referred to as the stowed upper shroud position, for example, to avoid confusion between the stowed upper shroud position and the stowed tray table configuration. More generally, any states (such as a deployed position, maximum deployed position, etc.) may alternatively be described with the term“upper shroud” or “support” included (such as deployed upper shroud position, deployed support position, maximum deployed upper shroud position, etc.) to provide additional clarity beyond the immediate context in which such states are described.

[0054] In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 may be maintained respectively at various different positions. For example, with reference to FIGS. 3 and 5, the deployable shroud portion 108 may have a maximum deployed position. The maximum deployed position may correspond to a position that the deployable shroud portion 108 is designed to rotate to but not past, e.g., such that once the deployable shroud portion 108 reaches this maximum deployed position, it may not be rotated past that position without damaging the deployable shroud portion 108 or an associated component. In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 may be designed so that the maximum deployed position occurs when the support surface 110 rotates to an angle Q. In some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 reaches the maximum deployed position when the support surface 110 reaches a horizontal orientation, e.g., when the angle Q is 90 degrees from vertical. In further embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 may reach the maximum deployed position when angle Q is approximately 45 degrees from vertical. In some embodiments, the angle Q at which the deployable shroud portion 108 reaches the maximum deployed position may be set with reference to a fully reclined state of the seat back 102. More generally, although examples of specific angles and/or criteria that may be implemented for determining the maximum deployed position of the deployable shroud portion 108 are provided, it is to be understood that angle Q may be any suitable angle.

[0055] As previously discussed, the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or support surface 110 may include at least one retainer to help keep personal items in place when the items are being supported on the deployable shroud portion 108. Different types of retainers may be incorporated. For example, recesses, protrusions, straps, and extenders may be incorporated. Retainers are not limited to these examples however, and may include any suitable structure or feature for providing and/or improving a retention of an item on the deployable shroud portion 108, including but not limited to a sticky or high-friction coating, a static-cling coating, or any other suitable gripping or retaining structure. As further examples, the support surface 110 may be constructed of or at least partially covered with a gripping material, e.g., silicone, rubber, or any other suitable material.

[0056] The at least one retainer may include a recess 115 (such as shown in FIG. 1).

The recess 115 may be any suitable shape and depth for retaining an item on the deployable shroud portion 108. For example, the recess 115 may be circular and sized to retain a beverage cup. The recess 115 may extend partially into the deployable shroud portion 108 or extend entirely through the deployable shroud portion 108. The recess 115 may also be a rectangle, square, oval, triangle, etc. Additionally, the recess 115 may be located in any suitable location on the deployable shroud portion 108, such as the support surface 110, the outer face of the deployable shroud portion 108, etc.

[0057] In some embodiments, the at least one retainer may include at least one strap.

The at least one strap may be positioned in any manner across the support surface 110 (e.g., horizontally, vertically, diagonally), and it is to be understood that the deployable shroud portion 108 may include any suitable number of straps arranged in any suitable orientation or combination of orientations.

[0058] The at least one retainer may additionally or alternatively include at least one protrusion. The at least one protrusion may be positioned at any suitable location on deployable shroud portion 108, including but not limited to the bottom and side edges of the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or on the support surface 110. In some embodiments, at least some part of the at least one protrusion may be extendable in an outward direction away from the deployable shroud portion 108 and/or the support surface 110, e.g., which may allow for a variety of differently sized personal items to be supported by and retained by the deployable shroud portion 108.

[0059] In some embodiments, the retainer may include at least one extender that may include a panel, shaft, or other member slidable or otherwise movable or extendable from the support surface 110 to adjust the size of items that can be accommodated by the support surface 110 and allow for a variety of differently sized personal items to be supported by the deployable shroud portion 108. The at least one extender may extend from any suitable edge or edges of the deployable shroud portion 108 and there may be multiple extenders that may extend from a single edge of the deployable shroud portion 108. In some embodiments, the at least one extender does not extend past the edge of the corresponding passenger seat 100 so as not to encroach on the space of a user in another seat. In some embodiments, the extender includes flanges that extend upward relative to the support surface 110. For example, the extenders may be moved toward one another in a pincher movement such that the flanges may grip an item from opposite sides and hold the item in place relative to the deployable shroud portion 108. In some embodiments, a similar pincher effect may be achieved with one flange that is moveable relative to a stationary flange or other stationary structure of the deployable shroud portion 108. Additionally or alternatively, the flanges may be retractable or collapsible into or in the general direction of the extender.

[0060] While certain features of the passenger seat 100 and deployable shroud portion

108 may be shown in combination with other features in the figures, it is to be understood that any functional combination of the features disclosed may be used.

[0061] As previously noted, in some embodiments, the deployable shroud portion 108 comprises at least one stopper 116 that may maintain the support surface 110 in respective positions, such as the stowed position, the maximum deployed position, at least one intermediate deployed position, etc. The stopper 116 may include any suitable structure to achieve this function. Some examples are shown in FIGS. 4, 5, and 6A-6C, although the stopper 116 is not limited to these examples.

[0062] In some embodiments (such as in FIGS. 4 and 5), the stopper 116 may include a foldable assembly 120, which may allow a user to maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 in a deployed position as the deployable shroud portion 108 supports a head and/or arm(s) of the passenger. For example, the foldable assembly 120 may be rotatably attached to the deployable shroud portion 108 so that the foldable assembly 120 may fold up and be stored in a recess of the deployable shroud portion 108 or seat back 102 to permit the deployable shroud portion 108 to be pivoted to the stowed position. The foldable assembly 120 may be rotated and folded out of the recess of the deployable shroud portion 108 when the deployable shroud portion 108 is in the deployed position. In some embodiments, the foldable assembly 120 folds out to a rigid state to rest against the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 and maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 in the deployed position as the passenger rests his/her head and/or arm(s) on the deployable shroud portion 108.

[0063] In some embodiments, the foldable assembly 120 may have multiple arms

(such as in FIGS. 4 and 5) connected by a pivot that permit the foldable assembly 120 to fold up and be stored in the recess of the deployable shroud portion 108. However, in some embodiments, the foldable assembly 120 may include only a single arm rotatably attached to the deployable shroud portion 108 and the recess may be sized to fit the single arm when the foldable assembly 120 is folded and stored in the recess. Additionally, the foldable assembly 120 may be removably attached to the deployable shroud portion 108 so that the passenger may attach the foldable assembly 120 to maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 in the deployed position and then remove the foldable assembly 120 to permit the deployable shroud portion 108 to be rotated to the stowed position.

[0064] In some embodiments, the foldable assembly 120 may be extendable so that the foldable assembly 120 may maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 in multiple intermediate deployed positions. For example, an arm of the foldable assembly 120 may have a telescoping feature that enables the length of the arm to be adjusted. Additionally or alternatively, the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 and/or an underside of the deployable shroud portion 108 may include elements that permit the foldable assembly 120 to maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 at multiple intermediate deployed positions. For example, there may be several indentations along the rearward surface 104 that may mate with the foldable assembly 120. The foldable assembly 120 may be moved from a first indentation to a second indentation to adjust the deployed position of the deployable shroud portion 108. Additionally or alternatively, the rearward surface 104 of the seat back 102 and/or an underside of the deployable shroud portion 108 may include a slidable track that enables the foldable assembly 120 to slide to different locations and adjust the deployed position of the deployable shroud portion 108.

[0065] In some embodiments (such as in FIG. 6 A), the stopper 116 may include a continuous friction interface 124, for example, which may allow a user to pivot the deployable shroud portion 108 to an infinite number of intermediate deployed positions while being capable of maintaining those intermediate deployed positions as the deployable shroud portion 108 supports at least a head or an arm of the passenger. As a non-limiting example, the continuous friction interface 124 may include a sleeve positioned in an interference fit (or with some other controlled amount of deformation to provide a controlled amount of friction) between a rod and an inner wall of a tubular structure, although other suitable structures may be utilized.

[0066] In some embodiments (such as in FIG. 6B), the stopper 1 16 may include a predetermined pivot stop 126, e.g., which may allow a user to pivot the deployable shroud portion 108 to a predetermined number of intermediate deployed positions. When the deployable shroud portion 108 is pivoted to one of the predetermined intermediate deployed positions, the stopper 116 and pivot 112 maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 in that predetermined intermediate deployed position while the deployable shroud portion 108 supports at least a head or an arm of the passenger. As a non-limiting example, the predetermined pivot stop 126 may function by using a flexible peg 128 that allows the user to ratchet the deployable shroud portion 108 between the stowed position, the maximum deployed position, and a predetermined number of intermediate deployed positions. However, this is not the only option, and any sort of ratcheting or incrementing device may be used as the predetermined pivot stop 126.

[0067] In some embodiments (such as in FIG. 6C), the stopper 116 may include an external portion 130, which may allow a user to pivot the deployable shroud portion 108 to a maximum deployed position and maintain the deployable shroud portion 108 at the maximum deployed position while the deployable shroud portion 108 supports at least a head or an arm of the passenger. As a non-limiting example, the external portion 130 may include a protrusion extending from or attached to the seat back 102 of the passenger seat 100 that prevents the deployable shroud portion 108 from rotating past the external portion. However, this is not the only option, and any sort or shape of protrusion may be used as the external portion 130.

[0068] In the following, further examples are described to facilitate the understanding of the invention:

[0069] Example #1. A passenger seat (which may incorporate features of any of the subsequent examples) comprising:

a seat back comprising a rearward surface and a forward-facing headrest, the rearward surface comprising a rear-of-headrest portion positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest;

a tray table deployable away from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back;

a deployable shroud portion independent from the tray table and comprising a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in a deployed position; and

a pivot pivotally coupling the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface for pivoting the support surface to the deployed position to support the head and folded arms of the forward-leaning seated passenger.

[0070] Example #2. The passenger seat of example #1 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the support surface is pivotally coupled to the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface for movement between (a) a stowed position in which an upper edge of the deployable shroud portion is located proximate to an upper edge of the seat back, and (b) the deployed position in which the deployable shroud portion is pivoted away from the rearward surface.

[0071] Example #3. The passenger seat of example #2 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, further comprising a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position between the stowed position and the deployed position.

[0072] Example #4. The passenger seat of example #2 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the deployable shroud portion is angled relative to the rearward surface to support at least one of a head or at least one arm of a passenger in at least one intermediate deployed position.

[0073] Example #5. The passenger seat of example #2 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the support surface comprises at least one opening aligned with at least one of an in-flight entertainment system disposed in the rearward surface or an upper literature pocket disposed in the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0074] Example #6. The passenger seat of example #2 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the pivot couples the upper edge of the support surface or a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0075] Example #7. The passenger seat of example #1 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the deployable shroud portion is deployable independent of a deployed state of the tray table, and the tray table is deployable independent of the deployed state of the deployable shroud portion.

[0076] Example #8. A shroud assembly for coupling with an upper area of a seat back of a passenger seat that includes a forward-facing headrest, the shroud assembly (which may incorporate features of any of the subsequent examples) comprising:

a deployable shroud portion that includes a support surface sized to receive and support a head and folded arms of a forward-leaning seated passenger in a deployed position; a pivot by which the support surface is pivotally coupleable with a rear-of-headrest portion of a rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat for movement of the support surface between a stowed position and the deployed position, wherein the rear-of- headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in the upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and

a stopper that maintains the support surface in at least one intermediate deployed position in between the stowed position and the deployed position.

[0077] Example #9. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the deployable shroud portion is independent of a tray table deployable from the rearward surface of the seat back of the passenger seat.

[0078] Example #10. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein in the stowed position, the support surface is positioned substantially parallel to the rearward surface and is positioned entirely above an upper edge of a tray table in a stowed tray table position.

[0079] Example #11. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the deployable shroud portion includes an outer face that forms a protective covering over the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the deployable shroud portion is in the stowed position.

[0080] Example #12. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the shroud assembly further comprises a fixed shroud portion to which the deployable shroud portion is releasably attached to in the stowed position.

[0081] Example #13. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the support surface comprises a cushioning material.

[0082] Example #14. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the stopper comprises at least one of: at least one predetermined pivot stop configured to allow the deployable shroud portion to incrementally pivot to and remain at the at least one intermediate deployed position; or

at least one foldable stop deployable from the support surface to interact with the rearward surface of the seat back and configured to maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position.

[0083] Example #15. The shroud assembly of example #8 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the stopper is configured to support at least one of the head of the passenger or at least one arm of the passenger and maintain the deployable shroud portion at the at least one intermediate deployed position.

[0084] Example #16. A method (which may incorporate features of any of the subsequent examples) comprising:

deploying a deployable shroud portion rearwardly from a rear-of-headrest portion of a rearward surface of a seat back of a passenger seat independent of a deployment of a tray table from the rearward surface of the seat back in a lower area of the seat back, wherein the seat back includes a forward-facing headrest and the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface is positioned in an upper area of the seat back and rearward of the forward-facing headrest; and

arranging the deployable shroud portion at an angle for supporting an object on a support surface of the deployable shroud portion.

[0085] Example #17 The method of example #16 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, further comprising supporting an object on the support surface of the deployable shroud portion. [0086] Example #18. The method of example #16 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein the object comprises at least one of a head of a user, an arm of the user, a pillow, a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, a book, or a magazine.

[0087] Example #19. The method of example #16 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, wherein deploying the deployable shroud portion comprises:

pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one first pivot that couples an upper edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in a stowed position; or

pivoting the support surface away from the rearward surface and about at least one second pivot that couples a lower edge of the support surface with the rear-of-headrest portion of the rearward surface when the support surface is in the stowed position.

[0088] Example #20. The method of example #16 or any of the preceding or subsequent examples, further comprising maintaining the deployable shroud portion in at least one intermediate deployed position in between a stowed position and a maximum deployed position using a stopper configured to support at least one of a head of a passenger or at least one arm of the passenger.

[0089] Different arrangements of the components depicted in the drawings or described above, as well as components and steps not shown or described are possible. Similarly, some features and sub-combinations are useful and may be employed without reference to other features and sub-combinations. Embodiments of the invention have been described for illustrative and not restrictive purposes, and alternative embodiments will become apparent to readers of this patent. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above or depicted in the drawings, and various embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the claims below.