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Title:
DETACHABLE ACCESSORY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/037409
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This disclosure relates to an accessory which is detachably attachable to a utility article, for example a charging device that is detachably attachable to a suitcase.

Inventors:
APELBAUM, Nir (10 Binyamini St, 09 Tel Aviv, 6745909, IL)
HAIMOFF, Efraim (2 Hazamir Street, 02 Mevaseret Zion, 9079502, IL)
Application Number:
IL2017/050937
Publication Date:
March 01, 2018
Filing Date:
August 22, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TRAVEL SMART LTD (2 Sapir Street, 06 Herzliya, 4685206, IL)
International Classes:
A45C13/02; A45C15/00; H02J7/00; A45C5/03; A45C11/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013099228A22013-07-04
Foreign References:
CN204426982U2015-07-01
CN204949848U2016-01-13
US20130126286A12013-05-23
US8371442B12013-02-12
US20100231161A12010-09-16
US20150084592A12015-03-26
US20120262117A12012-10-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SOKOL, Edith (Reinhold Cohn and Partners, P.O.B. 13239, 62 Tel Aviv, 6113102, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. An accessory which is detachably attachable within a confined space of a utility article, said accessory configured with a connecting platform for articulating to an articulation portion of the utility article and at least one utility port.

2. The accessory of claim 1, selected from a power bank, a charging device, a communication device, a location device, an entertainment device, a data storage device, and combinations thereof.

3. The accessory of claim 1 or 2, being a portable charging device provided with at least one utility port configured with at least a USB port for connecting and powering or charging batteries of devices and systems.

4. The accessory of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the utility port is covered by a protective cover.

5. The accessory of any one of claims 1 to 4, comprising a housing accommodating at least one functional element, at least one utility port and a coupling platform for detachably attaching to an articulation portion of a confined space of the utility article.

6. The accessory of claim 5, wherein the coupling platform is integral with the housing.

7. The accessory of claim 5, wherein the coupling platform is integral with an interface adapter configured for detachably attaching to the housing of the accessory and the articulation portion of the utility article.

8. The accessory of any one of claims 5 to 7, wherein the housing is integral with the functional element or applied thereto.

9. The accessory of any one of claims 5 to 8, wherein the housing is configured for modular accommodation of one or more functional elements.

10. The accessory of any one of claims 5 to 9, wherein the housing is provided with outwardly biased retention members.

11. The accessory of claim 10, wherein the retention members are provided at sides of the housing and configured for snap-type connection to respective receiving members of the articulation portion of the utility article, for arresting the retention members.

12. The accessory of any one of claims 5 to 11, wherein the housing is provided with at least one cable holder configured to hold a cable.

13. The accessory of any one of claims 5 to 12, wherein housing is provided with an integrated retractable cable.

14. The accessory of any one of claims 1 to 13, being a portable charging device that comprises a housing configured to hold a battery therein, a utility port that has an output power connector for providing output power to a device, an input source for providing power to the battery, a power path controller between the input source and the output power connector for directing the power between the input source, the output power connector and the battery, the housing further comprises at least one connector member configured for detachably attaching the portable charging device to a utility article.

15. A utility article comprising an accessory according to any one of claims 1 to 14, the accessory being detachably attachable within a confined space of the utility article, said confined space configured with an articulation portion for positioning and arresting with a coupling platform of the accessory, and wherein at least one utility port of the accessory is accessible through an outer wall portion of the utility article.

16. The utility article of claim 15, selected from a bag, luggage, a toolbox, a cooler, a belt, a shelf, a desk, a pocket, a ladder, a workbench, a case, a wall, and a seat.

17. The utility article of claim 15 or 16, being a piece of luggage with said confined space is a space extending flush at an inside rear wall surface of the luggage, parallel to a pulling handle of the luggage, and the utility port is configured at a top or rear face thereof.

18. The utility article of any one of claims 15 to 17, wherein, the coupling platform of the accessory snapingly engages within the articulation portion of the utility article.

Description:
Detachable Accessory

TECHNOLOGICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to an accessory which is detachably attachable to a utility article.

BACKGROUND ART

References considered to be relevant as background to the presently disclosed subject matter are listed below:

- US20150084592

- US 20120262117

Acknowledgement of the above references herein is not to be inferred as meaning that these are in any way relevant to the patentability of the presently disclosed subject matter.

BACKGROUND

Various types of portable charging devices are known in the art. For example, US20150084592 is directed to a device that includes a battery pack receptacle that removably connects to a battery pack used for a cordless device. A universal serial bus (USB) port is connected to the battery pack receptacle. The battery pack is used as a power source for the USB port. An attachment device is connected to the battery pack receptacle that attaches the battery pack receptacle to a utility bag. The attachment device is configured for attaching the battery pack receptacle to a platform.

Another example is disclosed in US 20120262117 directed to a portable system for charging an electronic device has a charging system located within a bag, and an audio notification module for indicating a charging status of at least one of the battery charging system and the electronic device. Another example of this system has a charging unit located within a bag with a charging port accessible from an exterior of the bag. A charging apparatus is configured to connect to the charging port through the bag to provide power to the charging system. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

According to a first aspect of the disclosure there is provided an accessory which is detachably attachable within a confined space of a utility article, said accessory configured with a connecting platform for articulating to an articulation portion of the utility article and at least one utility port.

In some embodiments, said at least one utility port is accessible from an outer portion of the utility article.

Another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a utility article comprising an accessory, detachably attachable within a confined space of the utility article, said confined space configured with an articulation portion for positioning and arresting with a coupling platform of the accessory, and wherein at least one utility port of the accessory is accessible through an outer wall portion of the utility article.

The term 'accessory' as used herein denotes a variety of functional elements, such as power bank (charging device) for recharging different electronic appliances, communication devices, location devices, entertainment devices (e.g. audio players), data storage devices, and the like. It is appreciated that an accessory according to the disclosure can be a single item or a combination of items. For example, the accessory can be a power bank configured also as a data storage unit.

The term 'utility article' as used herein denotes different forms of bags and containers, setting as examples a bag, luggage (e.g. suitcases, trollies), toolbox, cooler, belt, a shelf, desk, a pocket, a ladder, a workbench, case, a wall, seat (e.g. standalone or of a vehicle, aircraft, etc.), etc.

The term 'utility port' as used herein denotes any element of the accessory which is configured for connecting (fixedly or detachably) to the accessory (e.g. plugs and sockets, jacks of different types - USB, AUX, power in/out, etc.) or for providing visual/audio signal (e.g. indicative of power level of a power bank, volume indication, space left in a data storage unit, temperature meter, elevation meter, barometric data, radio frequency, and the like) and manipulating switches (e.g. ON/OFF, volume control, channel control, etc.), user interface screen, etc.

The utility port may be configured with a cover to protect it from dirt, humidity and liquids. The cover may be part of the utility article or of the accessory. The cover can be tamper proof to prevent unauthorized access to elements thereof. In accordance with a particular embodiment, the accessory is a portable charging device provided with at least one utility port configured with at least a USB port for connecting and powering or charging batteries of devices and systems, such as mobile communication and navigation devices, entertainment devices, hand tools (shaver, hair styling/dryer, cordless drill, saw, and the like), illumination systems, etc. and a port for charging the internal battery of the charging device. Also, the power bank may be used for propelling an electric locomotion assembly (integral with or attachable to the utility article).

According to the disclosure, the accessory may comprise a housing accommodating at least one functional element, at least one utility port and a coupling platform for detachably attaching to an articulation portion of the confined space of the utility article. The coupling platform may be integral with the housing or with an interface adapter configured for detachably attaching to at least one of the housing of the accessory and the articulation portion of the utility article. The housing can be integral with the functional element or applied thereto. The housing can be configured for modular accommodating of one or more functional elements. The interface adapter may be configured for facilitating articulation of a specific accessory within varying confined spaces, or vice versa, i.e. for articulation of different accessories within a specific confined space.

By one particular embodiment, the housing of the accessory is provided with outwardly biased retention members. The retention members may be provided at sides of the housing of the accessory and configured for snap-type connection to respective receiving members of the articulation portion of the utility article, for arresting the retention members. In some embodiments, the retention members are outwardly biased members configured to be compressed when mounted over or removed from the respective receiving members.

In an embodiment of this disclosure, the utility article is a piece of luggage and the confined space is a space extending flush at an inside rear wall surface of the luggage, parallel to a pulling handle of the luggage, and the utility port is configured at a top or rear face thereof. By one example, the confined space extends between two telescopically extending manipulating bars of the luggage. By another embodiment, the accessory does not project beyond the confined space, namely does not project into the interior of the luggage (i.e. does not project over the manipulating bars or their receptacles at an inside surface of the luggage).

By one particular embodiment, the coupling platform of the housing of the accessory snapingly engages within the articulation portion of the utility article; one or both of the coupling platform and the articulation portion may be configured with snapping members for detachably arresting the other one of the coupling platform and the articulation portion.

In accordance with an example, the housing of the accessory may be provided with at least one cable holder configured to hold a cable (USB cable, earphones, etc.). In accordance with another example the housing is provided with an integrated retractable cable.

According to another aspect, the disclosure provides a portable charging device, the device comprising a housing configured to hold a battery therein, a utility port that has an output power connector for providing output power to a device, an input source for providing power to the battery, a power path controller between the input source and the output power connector for directing the power between the input source, the output power connector and the battery, the housing further comprises at least one connector member configured for detachably attaching the portable charging device to a utility article.

In accordance with an example, the accessory is configured for detachable attachment to a utility article/platform, such that it can be easily engaged or removed therefrom. The accessory may be mounted at the interior of the utility article, in which case the utility article is configured with an opening to allow access to the utility port of the device; and/or at the outer surface of the device.

In accordance with an example, at least the housing of the accessory is made from plastic. In accordance with yet examples, the accessory comprises at least a power bank configured with a multiple use, rechargeable battery. The battery of the charging device is replaceable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to better understand the subject matter that is disclosed herein and to exemplify how it may be carried out in practice, embodiments will now be described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1A is a perspective top, rear view of an accessory in accordance with an example of the disclosed subject matter, said accessory being a power bank;

Fig. IB is a perspective bottom, front view of the accessory of Fig. 1 A;

Fig. 1C is an exploded view of the accessory of Fig. 1 A;

Fig. ID is a top view of the accessory of Fig. 1 A;

Figs. 2A-2E illustrate successive steps in positioning of the accessory (power bank) of Figs. 1 within the designated confined space within a utility article, namely a suitcase;

Fig. 3 is a cross section along lines B-B in Fig. 2D illustrating the power bank arrested within the designated confined space of the suitcase;

Figs. 4A and 4B illustrate a utility port of the accessory of Figs. 1 exposed through an opening at a top wall portion of the utility article, where in Fig. 4A the utility port is closed and in Fig. 4B the utility port is uncovered and accessible;

Figs. 5A and 5B illustrate the steps of disengaging of the accessory from the utility article; and

Figs. 6A to 6G illustrate another example of the disclosed subject matter wherein:

Fig. 6A is a perspective view of an assembly comprising an accessory similar to that illustrated in Fig. 1A, received within an interface adapter;

Fig. 6B is a section taken along line C - C in Fig. 6A;

Fig. 6C illustrates the assembly of Fig. 6A articulated within the confined space of a luggage article:

Fig. 6D is a top perspective view of a portion of a modular receptacle of the luggage accommodating the assembly of Fig. 6A;

Fig. 6E is an exploded view of Fig. 6D;

Fig. 6F is a planar section along line F - F in Fig. 6D; and

Fig. 6G is a perspective section taken along line G - G in Fig. 6C.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

In the present examples and embodiments, and in the annexed drawings, reference is made to a particular accessory, namely a power bank, and to a specific utility article, namely a suitcase. However, it should be appreciated that these are examples only provided for sake of clarity.

Attention is directed to Figs. 1A and IB illustrating an accessory, i.e. a portable charging device, namely a power bank, at times referred to also as a battery pack, in accordance with an example of this disclosure, generally designated 100. The portable charging device 100 comprises a housing 120, having a front wall 122, a rear wall 124, side walls 126A, 126B and a top wall 128 and a bottom wall 129.

The shape of the power bank 100 is substantially flat and rectangular, although other shapes and dimensions are envisioned. The housing 120 is further provided with two outwardly (laterally) biased retention members 130A and 130B functioning as connector members to a utility article (e.g. suitcase 200, as will be discussed hereinafter), and a cover member 132, hinged to the top wall 128 of the housing 120 and configured to cover a utility port best seen in Figs. ID and 4B. The two outwardly biased retention members 130A and 130B are integral part of the housing 120 and as will be discussed in detail with respect to Fig. 3, the retention members 130A and 130B extend from a bottom (rear) portion of the side walls 126A and 126B and above the front wall 122 of the housing 120. It will be appreciated that different configurations and positions of the retention members 130A and 130B are envisioned, e.g. extending from the bottom wall or at different position of the side walls or the front wall of the housing. In accordance with another example, at least one retention member extends from bottom wall 129 of the housing.

In the illustrated example, the retention members 130A and 130B extend at an angle a (best seen in Fig. 3) from the side walls 126A and 126B of housing 120. In accordance with this example, the angle a is smaller than 90 degrees. In accordance with another example, the angle a is about 15 degrees. It will be appreciated that the angle can differ and be, for example, in the range of degrees, e.g. between about 10 to 50 degrees. This configuration allows compressing of the retention members 130A and 130B towards one another, namely towards the respective side wall 126A and 126B, thereby bringing the angle closer to about 0 degrees, where an outer surfaces 132A and 132B of the retention members 130A and 130B, respectively, are substantially flush with the respective outer surface of the walls 126A and 126B of the housing 120. For this purpose, the side wall of the housing has respective indented portions 134A and 134B, adapted to receive the retention members 130A and 130B when compressed towards the respective side wall 126A and 126B.

The retention members 130A and 130B are each fitted with outwardly protruding extensions 133A and 133B, respectively, configured to lock the members 130A and 130B in place when attached to the utility article, as will be further discussed. The housing 120 in accordance with this example is made from plastic and is injection molded. Resilience of the retention members 130A and 130B can be controlled by imparting cutouts/slots 135. It will be appreciated that other suitable materials and methods of manufacturing can be used to form the housing 120.

As also seen in Figs. 1A-1D, the housing comprises a main body 121 fitted with the outwardly biased retention members 130A and 130B and a narrower neck-like portion 123 extending from the main body 121. The width of the main body portion 121 corresponds to the dimensions of a confined space within the utility article, namely suitcase 200, as will be discussed in detail below. The width of the neck-like portion 123 substantially corresponds to the width of the utility port of the portable charging device 100. It will be appreciated that other dimensions and structures of the device 100 are envisioned, without departing from this disclosure.

Fig. 1C illustrates the portable charging device 100 in an exploded view, showing the front wall 122 of the housing 120 disengaged from the housing case 150. Housing case 150 comprises bottom wall 124, side walls 126A and 126B, top wall 128 and bottom wall 129. In this example the housing 120 is formed from the top wall 122 and the case 150, configured for respective engagement through adhering, welding or snap-coupling by shoulder elements 151. It will be appreciated that other structures are envisioned. The housing 120 is configured in shape and dimensions to hold therein a battery pack 153, a control unit 155 controlling and directing the charging and power flow between an input source, an output power connector and the battery.

As best seen in this figure, the top wall 128 is fitted with a utility port comprising a POWER IN USB socket 157, POWER OUT USB socket 162, an ON/OFF switch 165, and an array of battery capacity LED indicators 167. The cover 132 is configured for covering all said ports and indications, though according to other examples, one or more ports and indicators can remain exposed at all times (not shown). The cover 132 is articulated to the body through a living hinge portion 173 and is configured for retaining a closed position by friction or snap engagement against protective shoulder 175 projecting from the top wall 128.

Attention is now directed to Figs. 2A to 3D illustrating the positioning of the accessory 100 over a designated platform 167 (seen in Fig. 3A), namely a confined space of a utility article such as a back shell of suitcase 200 (Fig. 2A). As discussed herein, the utility article in this example is a suitcase comprising a back wall 202 configured with inwardly protruding channels 160A and 160B configured to hold therein a telescopic handle 165 for maneuvering of the utility article. Such an article can be a travel case (e.g. a trolley), a tool box, a bag, or any other type of article. It will be appreciated that while the description is based on a travel case as an example of a platform for the charging device, other housings are envisioned, such as stand-alone containers, or even a charging device used independently of any article for example a charging device that is mounted on a wall.

The portable charging device 100 is seated within the utility article 200, in this example positioned at the back wall 202 of the travel case with the utility port 128 extending through an opening 209, the portable charging device 100 disposed within a confined space 175 extending between the two channels 160A and 160B for the telescoping handles (not shown) of the article 200. The back wall 128 of the power bank 100 extends flush with an inside surface of the rear wall 202 of the article 200.

As seen in Figs. 2B to 2E the confined space 175 of the utility article (suitcase) 200 extends between the two channels 160A and 160B and comprises two side walls 226A and 226B, a base wall 164, a top wall portion 161 configured with said opening 209, and at least one positioning/arresting member 165 for arresting the back wall of the pack 100 when in place. The side walls 226A and 226B of the confined space 175 further comprises an engagement portion 163B, in this example an elongated slot, configured to engage and retain the outwardly biased retaining members 130A and 130B and the outwardly protruding extensions 133A and 133B thereof.

Figs. 2B to 2D illustrate the steps of positioning the device 100 within the confined space 175 of the utility article 200. First the neck portion 123 is inserted towards the opening 209 in the wall portion 161 of the rear wall 202 (Fig. 2B in direction of arrow 181), the main body portion 121 is then pushed (arrow 183 in Fig. 2C) towards the base wall 164 of the confined space 175, and finally depressed downwards (arrow 185 in Fig. 2D) until the retaining members 130A and 130B snapingly engage the openings 163A and 163B, respectively, whereby the rear wall 124 of the device 100 is arrested by the arresting members 165, extending upwardly from base wall 164.

As best seen in Figs. 2D and 2E and 3, the shape and the size of the portable charging device 100 corresponds to the negative confined space formed between the two handle channels 160A and 160B as well as the handle resting area, marked 250. At its arrested position, the portable charging device 100 does not substantially project beyond the confined space 175, namely side walls 226A and 226B of channels 160A and 160B, respectively. It will be further appreciated that the portions of the channels near the handle resting area 250 are slightly broader than the channels, thus imparting the utility article with a structural strength to withhold forces imparted by the movement of the handle and or the weight shift when the article is in transit.

As can be seen further in Figs. 4A and 4B, the arrangement is such that at the assembled position, once retained within the confined space 175, the top wall 128 of the accessory 100 extends almost flush with the top surface 161 of the rear wall, with the cover 132 covering and offering protection to the utility ports, whereby any ports, indicators and switches of the accessory are readily accessible. It is also appreciated that the accessory can be configured with a main switch or other port, non-accessible through the wall 128, i.e. requiring opening of the utility article (e.g. suitcase).

Figs. 5A and 5B illustrate steps of disengaging and removing the accessory 100 from the utility article 200, wherein first, the outwardly biased retention members 130A and 130B are compressed towards one another (arrows 222 in Fig. 5A) by the use, thereby releasing the protrusions 133A and 133B from the openings 163A and 163B, respectively, allowing the device 100 to be easily pulled in direction of arrow 224 in Fig. 5B out of the confined space (as seen in Fig. 5B).

It is appreciated that the dimensions (and shapes) of different accessories and/or the confined space of the utility articles can differ. To conform to such diversity, an adaptor is provided, attachable to either one of the confined space of the utility article or the accessory, to conform the outer shape and size of the accessory to that of the confined space.

An exemplary adaptor 240 is illustrated in Fig. 6A to 6G, being generally U- shaped with each of its two arm members 242A and 242B, configured near their respective free end with an arresting recess (a through-going opening in the illustrated example), designated 246 A and 246B, respectively, and configured for snapingly engaging over the accessory 100 thereby allowing the outwardly protruding extensions 133A and 133B to snapingly engage therewith.

The adaptor 240 is further configured, at a bottom portion thereof, with a pair of lateral projections 250A and 250B sized for snap arresting within recesses 263A' and 263B' configured at a bottom portion of side walls 226A' and 226B', respectively, of the two telescopic handle channels 160A' and 160B'.

The arrangement being such that even though the distance D between the channels 160A' and 160B' (and likewise the distance D' between inside wall surface 226A' and 226B') is greater than the corresponding distance of the confined space of the previous example, the adaptor 240 compensates such variance in distance and snapingly engages at one side thereof with the accessory 100 and at its other side within the somewhat greater confined space 175', however retaining the accessory 100 firmly in place, whilst facilitating readily removal of the accessory 100' therefrom.