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Title:
ERGONOMIC WINDOW CLEANING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/133649
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
A surface treatment apparatus (10) comprising an elongated application head (12) including at least one application implement (12A, 12B), a lockable swivel arm (14) connected to a terminal end of the application head, a lockable universal positioning joint (16) connected to the swivel arm, and an extendible wand (18) connected to the universal positioning joint. The universal positioning joint is disposed between the swivel arm and the extendible wand and is configured to pivotally join the swivel arm and the extendible wand such that the application head is adjustably disposed at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

Inventors:
PARK, Sung (91 Waban Avenue, Waban, MA, 02468, US)
DAYTON, Douglas, C. (108 Harvard Depot Road, Harvard, MA, 01451, US)
Application Number:
US2007/011330
Publication Date:
January 10, 2008
Filing Date:
May 09, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UMAGINATION LABS (C/O Ideo, 485 Massachusetts AvenueCambridge, MA, 02139, US)
PARK, Sung (91 Waban Avenue, Waban, MA, 02468, US)
DAYTON, Douglas, C. (108 Harvard Depot Road, Harvard, MA, 01451, US)
International Classes:
A47L1/06; A47L13/42; B25G3/38
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004086931A12004-10-14
Foreign References:
US20020078519A12002-06-27
DE10332403A12005-02-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MIRABITO, Jason, A. (Mintz, Levin Cohn, Ferris,Glovsky And Popeo, P.C.,One Financial Cente, Boston MA, 02111, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS r

1. A window cleaning apparatus comprising: an elongated cleaning head including at least one cleaning implement; S a lockable swivel arm connected to a terminal end of the cleaning head; a lockable universal positioning joint connected to the swivel arm; and an extendible wand connected to the universal positioning joint, wherein the universal positioning joint is disposed between the swivel arm and the extendible wand and is configured to pivotally join the swivel arm and the extendible wand such that the cleaning head is adjustably 0 disposed at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed substantially perpendicular to the extendible wand.

5 3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed substantially parallel to the extendible wand.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed in at least one of: (i) a substantially perpendicular orientation 0 relative to the extendible wand, (ii) a substantially parallel position relative to the extendible wand, and (iii) any one of a multiple of positions between a substantially perpendicular orientation and a substantially parallel orientation to the extendible handle.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint.

6. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint to incrementally and adjustably position the cleaning head at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the locking mechanism is configured to permit at least one of: the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about 360 degrees about the universal locking joint.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one cleaning implement comprises at least one of: (i) a wiper blade, (ii) a sponge, and (iii) a scrubber rail along at least a portion of the length of the cleaning head.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the at least one surface cleaning implement is disposed along one of: (i) a first side of the cleaning head and (ii) a second side of the cleaning head opposite to the first side.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the cleaning head defines a cross sectional profile of at least one of: (i) less than about one inch and (ii) less than about two inches.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the swivel arm includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm to pivot about the locking mechanism.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the extendible wand includes a first portion connected to the universal positioning joint, the first portion being configure to be telescopically and slidably received by a second portion of the extendible wand, such that, the first portion retracts into and extends from the second portion to shorten or to lengthen the extendible wand.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a handle connected to the extendible wand opposite to the universal positioning joint, the interior of the handle defining a fluid reservoir and the handle comprising an actuating mechanism disposed and configured in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir to express fluid from the reservoir.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the fluid reservoir is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined by the interior of the extendible wand such that the interior channel receives fluid expressed from the fluid reservoir.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the interior channel of the extendible wand is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined through the universal positioning joint, an interior channel defined by the interior of the swivel arm and an interior channel within the interior of the cleaning head.

16. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the handle further comprises a pressurizing mechanism configured and disposed to pressurize fluid contained within the fluid reservoir.

17. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the cleaning head further comprises one or more jets or nozzles to express fluid from the interior of the cleaning head.

18. A surface treatment apparatus comprising: an elongated application head including at least one application implement; a lockable swivel arm connected to a terminal end of the application head; a lockable universal positioning joint connected to the swivel arm; and an extendible wand connected to the universal positioning joint, wherein the universal positioning joint is disposed between the swivel arm and the extendible wand and is configured to pivotally join the swivel arm and the extendible wand such that the application head is adjustably disposed at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed substantially perpendicular to the extendible wand.

20. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed substantially parallel to the extendible wand.

21. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed in at least one of: (i) a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the extendible wand, (ii) a substantially parallel position relative to the extendible wand, and (iii) any one of a multiple of positions between a substantially perpendicular orientation and a substantially parallel orientation relative to the extendible handle.

22. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint.

23. The apparatus of claim 22, wherein the universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint to incrementally and adjustably position the cleaning head at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

24. The apparatus of claim 23, wherein the locking mechanism is configured to permit at least one of: the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about 360 degrees about the universal locking joint.

25. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the at least one application implement comprises at least one of: (i) a wiper, (ii) a sponge, (iii) a scrubber rail, (iv) a roller, (v) a scraper, (vi) a sander, (vii) a brush, and (viii) an applicator along at least a portion of the length of the application head.

26. The apparatus of claim 25, wherein the at least one application implement is disposed along one of: (i) a first side of the application head and (ii) a second side of the application head opposite to the first side.

27. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the application head defines a cross sectional profile of at least one of: (i) less than about one inch and (ii) less than about two inches.

28. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the swivel arm includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm to pivot about the locking mechanism.

29. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the extendible wand includes a first portion connected to the universal positioning joint, the first portion being configure to be telescopically and slidably received by a second portion of the extendible wand, such that, the first portion retracts into and extends from the second portion to shorten or to lengthen the extendible wand.

30. The apparatus of claim 18, further comprising a handle connected to the extendible wand opposite to the universal positioning joint, the interior of the handle defining a fluid reservoir and the handle comprising an actuating mechanism disposed and configured in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir to express fluid from the reservoir.

31. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the fluid reservoir is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined by the interior of the extendible wand such that the interior channel receives fluid expressed from the fluid reservoir.

32. The apparatus of claim 31, wherein the interior channel of the extendible wand is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined through the universal positioning joint, an interior channel defined by the interior of the swivel arm and an interior channel within the interior of the application head.

33. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the handle further comprises a pressurizing mechanism configured and disposed to pressurize fluid contained within the fluid reservoir.

34. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the application head further comprises one or more jets or nozzles to express fluid from the interior of the application head.

Description:

SUMMARY

An object of the invention includes an improved surface treatment apparatus and, more particularly, an improved window cleaning apparatus, which defines an ergonomic form factor that permits a user of the apparatus to effectively, safely and comfortably employ the apparatus to access and contact surfaces for treatment and/or cleaning.

In general, in an aspect, the invention provides a window cleaning apparatus comprising an elongated cleaning head including at least one cleaning implement, a lockable swivel arm connected to a terminal end of the cleaning head, a lockable universal positioning joint connected to the swivel arm, and an extendible wand connected to the universal positioning joint. The universal positioning joint is disposed between the swivel arm and the extendible wand, and is configured to pivotally join the swivel arm and the extendible wand such that the cleaning head is adjustably disposed at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand. Implementations of the invention may include one or more of the following features. The apparatus further comprises the universal positioning joint configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed substantially perpendicular to the extendible wand. The universal positioning joint is configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed substantially parallel to the extendible wand. The universal positioning joint is configured to permit the cleaning head to be disposed in at least one of: (i) a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the extendible wand, (ii) a substantially parallel position relative to the extendible wand, and (iii) any one of a multiple of positions between a substantially perpendicular orientation and a substantially parallel orientation to the extendible handle.

The universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint. The universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint to incrementally and adjustably position the cleaning head at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand. The locking mechanism is configured to permit at least one of: the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about 360 degrees about the universal locking joint.

Implementations of the invention may also include one or more of the following features. The at least one cleaning implement comprises at least one of: (i) a wiper blade, (ii) a sponge, and (iii) a scrubber rail along at least a portion of the length of the cleaning head. The at least one surface cleaning implement is disposed along one of: (i) a first side of the cleaning head and (ii) a second side of the cleaning head opposite to the first side. The cleaning head defines a cross sectional profile of at least one of: (i) less than about one inch and (ii) less than about two inches.

Implementations of the invention may also include one or more of the following features. The swivel arm includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm to pivot about the locking mechanism. The extendible wand includes a first portion connected to the universal positioning joint, the first portion being configure to be telescopically and slidably received by a second portion of the extendible wand, such that, the first portion retracts into and extends from the second portion to shorten or to lengthen the extendible wand.

Implementations of the invention may further include one or more of the following. The apparatus includes a handle connected to the extendible wand opposite to the universal positioning joint, the interior of the handle defining a fluid reservoir and the handle comprising an actuating mechanism disposed and configured in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir to express fluid from the reservoir. The fluid reservoir is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined by the interior of the extendible wand such that the interior channel receives fluid expressed from the fluid reservoir. The interior channel of the extendible wand is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined through the universal positioning joint, an interior channel defined by the interior of the swivel arm and an interior channel within the interior of the cleaning head. The handle further comprises a pressurizing mechanism configured and disposed to pressurize fluid contained within the fluid reservoir. The apparatus further includes one or more jets or nozzles to express fluid from the interior of the cleaning head.

In general, in another aspect, the invention provides a surface treatment apparatus comprising an elongated application head including at least one application implement, a lockable swivel arm connected to a terminal end of the application head, a lockable universal positioning joint connected to the swivel arm, and an extendible wand connected to the universal positioning joint. The universal positioning joint is disposed between the swivel arm and the extendible wand and is configured to pivotally join the swivel arm and the extendible wand such that the application head is adjustably disposed at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand.

Implementations of the invention may include one or more of the following features. The universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed substantially perpendicular to the extendible wand. The universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed substantially parallel to the extendible wand. The universal positioning joint is configured to permit the application head to be disposed in at least one of: (i) a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the extendible wand, (ii) a substantially parallel position relative to the extendible wand, and (iii) any one of a multiple of positions between a substantially perpendicular orientation and a substantially parallel orientation relative to the extendible handle. The universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint. The universal positioning joint includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm and the extendible wand when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about the universal positioning joint to incrementally and adjustably position the cleaning head at any one of a multiple of positions relative to the extendible wand. The locking mechanism is configured to permit at least one of: the swivel arm and the extendible wand to pivot about 360 degrees about the universal locking joint.

Implementations of the invention may also include one or more of the following features. The at least one application implement comprises at least one of: (i) a wiper, (ii) a sponge, (iii) a scrubber rail, (iv) a roller, (v) a scraper, (vi) a sander, (vii) a brush, and (viii) an applicator along at least a portion of the length of the application head. The at least one application implement is disposed along one of: (i) a first side of the application head and (ii) a second side of the

application head opposite to the first side. The application head defines a cross sectional profile of at least one of: (i) less than about one inch and (ii) less than about two inches.

Implementations of the invention may also include one or more of the following features. The swivel arm includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the swivel arm when disposed in at least a first position and when disposed in at least a second unlocked position to permit the swivel arm to pivot about the locking mechanism. The extendible wand includes a first portion connected to the universal positioning joint, the first portion being configure to be telescopically and slidably received by a second portion of the extendible wand, such that, the first portion retracts into and extends from the second portion to shorten or to lengthen the extendible wand.

Implementations of the invention may further include one or more of the following features. The apparatus includes a handle connected to the extendible wand opposite to the universal positioning joint, the interior of the handle defining a fluid reservoir and the handle comprising an actuating mechanism disposed and configured in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir to express fluid from the reservoir. The fluid reservoir is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined by the interior of the extendible wand such that the interior channel receives fluid expressed from the fluid reservoir. The interior channel of the extendible wand is in fluid communication with an interior channel defined through the universal positioning joint, an interior channel defined by the interior of the swivel arm and an interior channel within the interior of the application head. The handle further comprises a pressurizing mechanism configured and disposed to pressurize fluid contained within the fluid reservoir. The application head further comprises one or more jets or nozzles to express fluid from the interior of the application head.

Various aspects of the invention may provide one or more of the following capabilities. A surface treatment apparatus may be provided including a lockable universal positioning joint that articulates the apparatus to configure the apparatus in an ergonomically safe and comfortable form factor that permits a user of the apparatus to safely and comfortably access and contact surfaces. A surface treatment apparatus may include a lockable universal positioning joint to define an optimal geometry between an application head and an extendible wand to permit a user of the apparatus to easily and safely access and contact a surface, including a difficult to reach surface, wherein the application head may include one or more implements for cleaning, treating, and/or otherwise affecting the surface. The extendible wand may incorporate an adjustable

length into the apparatus. The position of the application head relative to the extendible wand, and/or the length of the extendible wand, may enable the surface treatment apparatus to be configured for a particular surface treatment application or task. The positions of the application head and extendible wand, and/or the length of the extendible wand, may permit a user of the « apparatus to access and contact a surface without placing the user in an uncomfortable and/or unsafe position. The universal positioning joint may articulate the apparatus to position the application head vertically above a user's hand and arm, horizontally parallel to a user's hand, and/or at any one of a multiple of positions to enable the user to effectively, comfortably and safely perform a surface treatment motion or stroke and to facilitate movement of the apparatus

K to avoid or increment the apparatus around obstacles in its path. The surface treatment apparatus may include any of a number of fluid delivery systems for increasing efficacy in delivering fluid to the application head and a surface to be treated. A fluid delivery system of the apparatus may enable a portable and convenient fluid supply. The fluid delivery system may include a handle attached to the apparatus including an internal fluid reservoir and a channel or conduit system in

If fluid communication with the reservoir to deliver fluid to the application head. The fluid reservoir may be pressurized to express fluid under pressure into the channel or conduit system of the apparatus for immediate and effective delivery of fluid to the application head. A surface treatment apparatus may be provided including a first and a second universal positioning joint that articulates the apparatus to configure the apparatus in an ergonomically safe and comfortable

2C form factor that permits a user of the apparatus to safely and comfortably access and contact surfaces. Such apparatuses for surface treatment may be provided for cleaning window surfaces. These and other advantages of the invention, along with the invention itself, will be more fully understood after a review of the following figures, detailed description, and claims.

2f BRIEF DESCRIPTON OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of a surface treatment apparatus according to the invention configured as a window cleaning apparatus.

FIGS. 2-3 are schematic perspective views illustrating a user employing the window cleaning apparatus shown in FIG. 1 in a vertical motion or stroke.

3( FIGS. 4-5 are schematic perspective views illustrating a user employing the window cleaning apparatus shown in FIG. 1 in a horizontal motion or stroke

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view illustrating an internal configuration of a cleaning head of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating another exemplary embodiment of a window cleaning apparatus according to the invention. FIG. 8A-8B are cross-sectional views of quick connect couplings of a handle, an extendible wand and/or an extension element of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7.

FIGS. 9-10 are perspective views illustrating a remote fluid supply container for connection to the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view illustrating another embodiment of a handle of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a fluid delivery system of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7.

FIG. 13 is another exemplary embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention including a first and a second universal positioning joint.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention provides a surface treatment apparatus including an application head, a lockable swivel arm configured to position or angle the head, a lockable universal positioning joint configured to articulate the apparatus, an extendible wand incorporating an adjustable length into the apparatus, and a handle. The swivel arm and the universal positioning joint configure and orient the apparatus relative to a surface and/or a position of a user's hand and/or arm. The apparatus defines a form factor that permits movement of the application head along various directions, enables extension of the application head to contact remote or difficult to reach surfaces, and facilitates moving or incrementing the head about obstacles along its path. The apparatus essentially defines an ergonomically safe and comfortable user form factor that permits a user of the apparatus to articulate the application head and/or the extendible wand at a preferred angle or orientation relative to a surface and/or the user's arm and body, to extend the wand for sufficient length, and to facilitate contact and movement of the application head along the surface. The application head may be configured in any of a variety of constructions and may incorporate one or more of a range of implements to achieve different functions or surface treatments using the apparatus. The apparatus according to the invention essentially enables a user to safely and comfortably access or reach surfaces and, in particular, difficult to reach

surfaces, with the apparatus without the user positioning their arm or body in unsafe and uncomfortable positions, and to contact and move the apparatus along a surface in a motion or stroke that is effective and comfortable to the user.

For purposes of disclosure, and not to limit the invention, the invention is described below in the context of window cleaning and the apparatus includes a window cleaning apparatus and the application head includes a cleaning head constructed and arranged to contact and clean interior and exterior window surfaces. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate other embodiments of the surface treatment apparatus according to the invention are possible that incorporate one or more application heads and implements, each constructed and arranged to perform one or more functions in a variety of surface treatment applications including, but not limited to, treating, sealing, polishing, painting, texturizing, sanding and otherwise affecting a surface. Other embodiments are within the scope of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, in an aspect, the invention provides a window cleaning apparatus 10 including a cleaning head 12, a lockable swivel arm 14, a lockable universal positioning joint 16, an extendible wand 18, and a handle 20. The lockable universal positioning joint 16 and the lockable swivel arm 14 are constructed and arranged to adjustably articulate the apparatus 10 such that the cleaning head 12 is disposed at an optimal angle or orientation relative to the extendible wand 18 and a user's hand and arm to enable the user to safely and comfortably contact the window surface with the cleaning head 12 and to move the cleaning head 12 along the window surface in an effective and comfortable motion or stroke. The extendible wand 18 adjustably configures the apparatus 10 with sufficient length to permit a user to access all portions of window surface, such as difficult to reach exterior surfaces.

Referring to FIGS. 2-3, and with further reference to FIG. 1, the swivel arm 14 and/or the universal joint 16 adjust the apparatus 10 and, in particular, adjust the geometry of the cleaning head 12 and the extendible wand 18 relative to one another and to a user's hand and arm, while the extendible wand 18 adjusts the length Li of the apparatus 10, to help to configure the apparatus 10 for use in cleaning different types and sizes of windows. As shown in FIG. 2 and 3, a user applies the apparatus 10 to clean an exterior window surface of a casement window whereby the extendible wand 18 provides sufficient length Li to permit the user to reach all areas of the window surface, including difficult to reach areas, with the cleaning head 12 without the user extending their arm far outside the window and without the user experiencing body strain and discomfort. The length Li of the extendible wand 18 is slidably

adjustable, as shown by arrow 300 in FIG. 1. The swivel arm 14 and/or the universal positioning joint 16 position the cleaning head 12 at an optimal geometry for a particular cleaning application. As described below, the swivel arm 14 and/or the extendible wand 18 pivot about the universal position joint 16, as shown by arrow 200 in FIG. 1 to adjust the geometry of the cleaning head 12 and the extendible wand 18 and a user's hand and arm. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the cleaning head 12 is positioned in a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the extendible wand 18 and above a user's hand and arm to enable access to exterior surfaces of a window, while the user remains in a safe and comfortable position inside the window casement. In addition, the geometry of the cleaning head 12 relative to the extendible wand 18 and a user's hand and arm helps to permit the user to safely and comfortably move the cleaning head 12 along the exterior window surface. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a user performs a vertical cleaning motion or stroke from inside the window casement.

As described below, the swivel arm 14 further disposes the cleaning head 12 by pivoting, as shown by arrow 100 in FIG. 1, to position or angle the cleaning head 12 toward a window surface to help to facilitate effective contact of the cleaning head 12 with the window surface.

In addition, as shown in FIG.3 and as will be described below, the apparatus 10 defines a low or narrow profile to permit the apparatus 10 to extend between two panes of, for instance, a double hung window to enable window surface cleaning. As described above, the geometry of the cleaning head 12 relative to the extendible wand 18 and a user's arm and hand help to facilitate access to difficult to reach window surfaces, such as those shown, and to enable the user to safely and comfortably clean such surfaces.

Referring to FIGS.4-5, and with further reference to FIG. 1, the swivel arm 14 and/or the universal joint 12 also position the cleaning head 12 in a substantially horizontal orientation relative to the extendible wand 18 and a user's hand whereby the cleaning head 12 is horizontally parallel to the wand 18 and a user's hand. In addition, the cleaning head 12 may be further aligned with the wand 18 and a user's hand to dispose the head 12 at approximately the same height as the wand 18 and the user's hand. This configuration of the apparatus 10 is useful for cleaning exterior surfaces of windows that are relatively wide and would typically require a user to reach far outside a window casement, with difficulty, danger and discomfort to the user, to enable the user to reach all areas of an exterior window surface. As mentioned, the length Li of the extendible wand 18 configures the apparatus 10 with sufficient length to enable a user to reach all areas of an exterior surface of a wide window with the cleaning head 12 without the

user dangerously extending their arm or body far outside the window and experiencing body and arm strain. The swivel arm 14 and/or the universal joint 16 dispose the cleaning head 12 at an optimal geometry relative to the wand 18 and a user's hand to help to achieve effective contact of the cleaning head 12 with a window surface and to enable the user to safely and comfortably move the cleaning head 12 along the window surface in an upward/downward vertical motion or stroke.

In addition, configuration or orientation of the apparatus 10, as shown in FIGS.2-5, may be adjusted, e.g., turned about 45 degrees, such that a user can employ the apparatus 10 to accomplish a safe and comfortable back and forth horizontal motion or stroke across a window surface. Further, the cleaning head 12 and the extendible wand 18 may define any other geometry than those shown in FIGS.2-5 to position or orient the cleaning head 12 relative to a user's hand and/or arm and to optimize a form factor the apparatus 10 defines relative to a particular type and size of window.

Referring to FIG. 6, and with further reference to FIG. 1, the cleaning head 12 is a low profile member including at least one cleaning implement, such as, for instance, a wiper blade 12 A, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6. Preferably, the cleaning head 12 is an elongated member and the at least one cleaning implement covers at least a portion of the length of the member to provide the apparatus 10 with sufficient and effective surface cleaning area. The length of the cleaning head 12 and the cleaning implement may be any of a range of lengths, depending upon the window cleaning application.

The cleaning head 12 may be one-sided, wherein the cleaning head 12 includes a single implement, such as the wiper blade 1OA, disposed along a first side of the cleaning head 12. Optionally, the cleaning head 12 may be two-sided, wherein a second implement, such as, for instance, a scrubber rail or sponge 12B, may be disposed along a second side of the cleaning head 12, e.g., opposite to the first side, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, to incorporate the cleaning head 12 with multiple functions. In addition, the implement and, in particular, the wiper blade 1OA and the scrubber rail or sponge 12B may be removably secured to the cleaning head 12 such that the wiper blade 1OA and the rail or sponge 1OB can be removed for cleaning, storage, or repair or for replacement with other cleaning implements. The invention is not limited to the type of implement disposed along the cleaning head 12 and envisions the cleaning head 12 is configured to accept any of variety of other implements including, but not limited to, a scraper, a

brush, a roller, a drier, an applicator, and any other implement configured to clean, treat and/or otherwise contact a window surface for a particular application.

The wiper 12A and the scrubber rail or sponge 12B are disposed and angled along at least a portion of the length of the cleaning head 12 and are configured to contact a surface, e.g., substantially the entire length of the wiper 12A or the scrubber rail or sponge 12B contacts a surface, to be cleaned.

The interior of the cleaning head 12 defines an internal fluid channel 12C configured to receive fluid from a fluid channel the interior of the swivel arm 14 defines, as described below.

The internal fluid channel 12C extends along at least a portion of the interior of the cleaning head 12 to distribute fluid through the member. The cleaning head 12 further includes one or more spray jets or nozzles 12D disposed along the cleaning head 12 and configured in fluid communication with the internal fluid channel 12C. Each spray jet or nozzle 12D includes an outlet 12E configured in fluid communication with the internal fluid channel 12C to receive fluid from the channel 12C to enable the jet or nozzle 12D to express fluid from the cleaning head 12. The jets or nozzles 12D may be positioned substantially equidistant from one another along the cleaning head 12. Optionally, one or more of the jets or nozzles 12D are adjustable such that the positions of the outlets 12E are altered to change the direction in which the jets or nozzles 12D express fluid.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, the jets or nozzles 12D are disposed along the second side of the cleaning head 12 preferably above the scrubber rail or sponge 12B, or other implement(s), to express fluid from the cleaning head 12 above the rail or sponge 12B to a surface to be cleaned.

For instance, when the rail or sponge 12B contacts a surface to be cleaned, one or more jets or nozzles 12D express fluid above the rail or sponge 12B to help to prevent running or streaking of fluid along the surface below the rail or sponge 12B to thereby facilitate efficient application of fluid and surface cleaning. Alternatively, or additionally, the jets or nozzles 12D may be disposed along the first side of the cleaning head 12 above the wiper blade 12A, or other implement(s).

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the low profile of the cleaning head 12 that results from the compact dimensions of the cleaning head 12 and the low profile of the wiper blade 12 A, the scrubber rail or sponge 12B, andJor the plurality of jets or nozzles 12D. As shown, the cleaning head 12 may define a width Wi that is relatively narrow, e.g., approximately one inch or two inches. In addition, the width Wi of the cleaning head 12 may be related to the

application, e.g., the type of windows or other surfaces, in which the apparatus 10 is being used. As an example, FIG. 6 shows the cleaning head 12 positioned between the separate panes 6OA and 6OB of a double hung window, illustrating the low profile of the cleaning head 12 that permits the apparatus 10 and, in particular, the cleaning head 12 to access the interior surfaces of the panes 6OA and 6OB for cleaning.

With further reference to FIG. 1, the lockable swivel arm 14 is connected to a terminal end 12F of the cleaning head 12 and is configured to swivel or pivot, as shown by arrow 100 in FIG. 1, about a lockable swivel joint 14A to permit adjustment of aposition or an angle of the cleaning head 12. The swivel arm 14 includes a first portion 14B connected to the cleaning head terminal end 12F and slidably received by a second portion 14C that is connected to the lockable universal positioning joint 16. The swivel joint 14A is defined at about the point at which the first and the second portions 14B and 14C interface and is constructed and arranged to releasably lock the first and the second portions 14B and 14C and to permit the portions 14B and 14C to pivot about one another, as shown by arrow 100 in FIG. 1, when disposed in an unlocked position. The swivel joint 14A may include any of a variety of locking mechanisms constructed and arranged to releasably lock the first and second portions 14B and 14C in place to securely position the swivel arm 14 and the cleaning head 12 at a desired or required position or angle. Suitable locking mechanisms enable the swivel joint 14A to be configured as a fluid tight joint and may include, but are not limited to, screw clamps, cam locks, collet locks, ratchet locks, friction clamps, tooth locking mechanisms, cammed magnetic locks, magnetic cable locks and similar configurations. When unlocked, the swivel joint 14A helps to facilitate position adjustment and angling of the cleaning head 12 relative to a surface to be cleaned such that the cleaning head 12 effectively contacts the surface for cleaning. In addition, the swivel arm 14 helps to further facilitate adjustment of a position and/or an angle of the cleaning head 12 to help configure an optimal geometry of the cleaning head 12 relative to the extendible wand 18 such that a user of the apparatus 10 achieves, as described above, an ergonomically comfortable and effective extension of the apparatus 10 and a cleaning motion or stroke of the cleaning head 12. Further, the swivel arm 14 helps to angle or position the cleaning head 12 to enable a user to manipulate the apparatus 10 and/or the cleaning head 12 to move around obstacles in the path of the cleaning head 12. The cleaning head 12 permits a user to move around or next to, for instance, window frames, panes, and other obstacles with a comfortable and effective cleaning motion or stroke.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the first portion 14B of the swivel arm 14 defines a right angle to dispose the cleaning head 12 at a distance from the extendible wand 18 sufficient to permit pivoting movement and angling adjustment of the cleaning head 12 toward a window surface to facilitate effective contact of the cleaning head 12 with the window surface. The angle of the swivel arm 14 also helps to dispose the universal locking joint 16 at a position opposite to the cleaning head 12 that is in alignment with approximately the center of the elongated cleaning head 12, as shown in FIG. 1. In this configuration, the apparatus 10 conveys pressure or force that a user applies to the apparatus 10 to the cleaning head 12, such that, the pressure or force the cleaning head 12 applies to a surface is substantially consistent along at least a portion of the length of the cleaning head 12 in contact with the surface. The contact the cleaning head 12A makes with a surface and the pressure or force the cleaning head 12 applies to the surface, e.g., during movement of the cleaning head 12 along the surface, is substantially consistent along at least a portion of the length of the cleaning head 12 in contact with the surface. For example, when a user applies pressure or force to the apparatus 10 configured as shown in FIG. 1, the wiper blade 12 A contacts and applies pressure or force to a surface substantially consistently along at least a portion of its length in contact with a surface. As a result, the motion or stroke of the wiper blade 12A along a surface is more consistent and effective.

The angle of the swivel arm 14 further helps a user of the apparatus 10 to manipulate or work the cleaning head 12, and, more particularly, any cleaning implement attached to the cleaning head 12, into corners and narrow openings, around or adjacent obstacles in the cleaning head path, such as window panes and frames, and other difficult to access or clean areas of window surfaces.

Still referring to FIG. 1, and with further reference to FIGS. 2-5, the apparatus 10 includes the lockable universal positioning joint 16 constructed and arranged to articulate the apparatus 10 whereby a position or an angle of the cleaning head 12 relative to the swivel arm 14, the extendible wand 18 and/or the handle 20 is achieved to adjustably position or orient the cleaning head 12 and/or the extendible wand 18 at an appropriate and optimal geometry. As mentioned, the universal joint 16 configures the apparatus 10 in an ergonomically safe, comfortable and effective user form factor. Such form factor enables a user to access difficult to reach areas of window surfaces with the apparatus 10 and to produce an effective and comfortable cleaning motion or stroke along window surfaces with the cleaning head 12 while the user remains in a safe and comfortable position inside window casements. The form factor

also helps to eliminate the need for a user to extend their arm and/or body dangerously and/or uncomfortably outside a window casement.

As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the joint 16 permits the swivel arm 14 and/or the extendible wand 18 to pivot, in a direction shown by arrow 200 in FIG. 1, about the joint 16 to position or orient the cleaning head 12 in a variety of positions relative to the swivel arm 14, the extendible wand 18, and/or the handle 20, as may be required or desired for a particular application. The geometry of the cleaning head 12 relative to the extendible wand 18, the swivel arm 14 and/or the handle 20 may permit a user's hand and arm to be disposed approximately below the cleaning head 12 during use of the apparatus 10, or to be disposed parallel to and, optionally, inline with the cleaning head 12 to configure the apparatus 10 in the required or desired form factor.

The universal positioning joint 16 includes a locking mechanism constructed and arranged to releasably and securely lock the swivel arm 14 and the extendible wand 18 in a given position and is configured as a fluid tight joint. Suitable locking mechanisms include, but are not limited to, screw clamps, cam locks, collet locks, ratchet locks, friction claims and any locking configurations or combinations.

With further reference to FIG. 1, an interior of the swivel arm 14 defines an internal fluid supply channel (not shown) that is disposed in fluid communication with an internal fluid supply channel (not shown) that an interior of the positioning joint 16 defines. The internal fluid supply channels of the arm 14 and the joint 16 help to deliver fluid to the internal channel 12C of the cleaning head 12.

The internal fluid supply channel of the positioning joint 16 may include an enclosed, gasketed cavity internally disposed within the joint 16. Alternatively, the fluid supply channel of the joint 16 may be disposed along an outer surface of the joint 16, and configured at one end to connect to the internal fluid channel of the extendible wand 18 and at another opposite end to the internal fluid channel of the swivel arm 14 via fluid-tight ports. In this case, the channel would extend from an output port of the extendible wand 18, along the external surface of the joint 16, and terminate into an input port defined in the swivel arm 14 to convey fluid from the wand 18 to the swivel arm 14. As described below, an interior of the extendible wand 18 defines an internal fluid supply channel in fluid communication with the channel of the joint 16 to deliver fluid expressed from

an interior reservoir 21 of the handle 20 to the channels of the joint 16 and the arm 14 and ultimately to the internal fluid channel 12C of the cleaning head 12.

As shown in FIG. 1, the extendible wand 18 is constructed and arranged to adjust the length and the geometry of the apparatus 10 relative to the application or surface, e.g., the type and size of a window, in which the apparatus 10 is used. The extendible wand 18 includes a first portion 18A that is telescopically and slidably received by a second portion 18B. The first portion 18A moves inward into the interior of the second portion 18B to reduce the length Li of the extendible wand 18 and extends outwardly from the interior of the first portion 18A to increase the length Li of the extendible wand, as shown by arrow 300 in FIG. 1. The extendible wand 18 is further configured along one end 18C of the second portion

18B to releasably lock the first and the second portions 18A and 18B in place. Such a configuration may include, but is not limited to, a sliding joint 18C configured as a fluid tight seal between the two portions 18A and 18B when the portions are disposed in a locked position. Alternatively, the extendible wand 18 includes a locking mechanism to releasably lock the first and the second portions 18A and 18B and to define a fluid tight seal. The locking mechanism may include any of a variety of locking mechanisms, including, but not limited to, a sliding joint, a collet and O-ring combination, a cam and lever combination fitted with O-rings, a screw-type fastener, a spring notch, and other similar configurations.

As shown in FIG. 1, the handle 20 is connected to a second end 18D of the extendible wand 18 and includes within its interior a fluid reservoir 21 configured to contain a fluid, e.g., a cleaning, coating, sealing, or drying fluid. The handle 20 further includes a manual air pump 22 disposed along a terminal end of the handle and in fluid communication with the reservoir 21 to deliver or pump air into the reservoir 21. The pump 22 is slidably connected to the handle 20 to permit the pump 22 to be actuated by moving the pump into and out of the handle 20, as shown by arrow 400 in FIG. 1. The action of the pump 22 introduces air into the reservoir 21 which pressurizes the interior of the reservoir 21 such that the reservoir 21 contains fluid under pressure. The handle 20 further includes an actuating trigger 23 that, when manual actuated, e.g., pulled, the trigger 23 enables an amount of pressure to be released from the reservoir 21 and, as a consequence, an amount of fluid to be expressed from the reservoir 21 into the internal channel of the extendible wand 18. The invention is not limited in this respect and envisions other means of pressurizing and expressing fluid from the fluid reservoir 21 of the handle 20, as described below.

Referring to FIG. 7, the length I* of the apparatus 10 may be further adjusted, e.g., lengthened, with the attachment of one or more extension elements 30 via a quick disconnect coupling 32 along one end of the element 30 configured to removably connect to the second end 18D of the extendible wand 18, and a quick disconnect coupling 34 along another end of the element 30 configured to removably connect to a distal end 20A of the handle 20. The quick connect couplings 32 and 34 are configured as fluid tight couplings.

Referring to FIG. 8, exemplary couplings are illustrated. Any of the disconnect couplings 32 and 34 shown in FIG. 7 may be configured as coupling 40 or 50. In addition, the second end 18D of the extendible wand 18 and the distal end 2OA of the handle 20 shown in FIG. 7 may be configured as coupling 45 or 55. The couplings 40 and 50 include an O-ring fluid seal to configure the couplings 40 and 50 as fluid tight joints or connections between the extension element 30 and the extendible wand 18 and the handle 20. The invention is not so limited and anticipates that fluid tight joints or connections between the extension element 30, the extendible wand 18 and the handle 20 can be configured and achieved with other designs including, but not limited to, elastomeric scrapers, spring and elastomer sealing and other similar configurations and devices.

The coupling 40 further includes one or more snap locks or lock tabs 42 configured for quick release from complementary snap locks 46 configured along the coupling 45. The coupling 50 further includes screw threads 52 configured to mate with complementary screw threads 56 along the coupling 55 to achieve a screw thread seal. The invention is not limited to these configurations and envisions the connection of the extension element 30 and the extendible wand 18 or the handle 20 can be configured and achieved with liquid tight screw connections, quick release catches, quick release slide collars and other similar configurations and devices.

As shown in FIGS. 8 A and 8B, the coupling 40 and 50 includes an interior fluid channel or conduit 43 and 53 defined by the coupling interior that is disposed in fluid communication with an interior channel or conduit 47 and 57 of its complementary coupling 45 and 55 to permit the extension element 30 to internally receive fluid from the reservoir 21 of the handle 20 and to channel fluid to the internal channel of the extendible wand 18.

With further reference to FIG. 7, in another aspect, the invention provides an apparatus 80 including the components described above and in reference to FIGS. 1-6 including an alternative handle 24. The handle 24 including an integrated fluid pump 25 and a manually- actuated trigger 26 operatively coupled to the fluid pump 25. As shown in the perspective view

of an interior of the handle 24 of FIG. 7, the fluid pump 25 is in fluid and operative communication with a fluid reservoir 27 and is operatively connected to a fluid pipe 28 disposed in contact with fluid contained in the reservoir 27. The fluid pump 25 configuration is known and further details need not be disclosed here. Actuation of the trigger 26, e.g., pulling trigger 26, causes the fluid pump 25 to draw fluid from the fluid reservoir 27 into the fluid pipe 28 and to express fluid from the fluid pipe 28 through the pump 25 and into the internal fluid supply channel within the interior of the extendible wand 18, and, if connected, within the interiors) of one or more extension elements 30, to ultimately supply the internal fluid channel 12C of the cleaning head 12 with fluid. The fluid pump 25 is constructed and arranged to express fluid from the fluid pipe 28 with pressure sufficient to cause fluid to flow to the cleaning head 12. Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, the apparatus 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 7 may be removably connected to a remote fluid supply container 60. In the preferred embodiment, the container 60 is portable and its interior defines an internal reservoir 61 to contain a volume of fluid to supply or refill the handle reservoir 21 and 27, such as, through a fluid tube 62. The fluid tube 62 is connected at one end to an output port 63 defined in the container 21 and in fluid communication with the container reservoir 61, and is connected at another end to an input port 64 defined in the handle 20 and 24 and in fluid communication with the handle reservoir 21 and 27. Each end of the fluid tube 62 and/or the input and output ports 63 and 64 is configured with a quick connect coupling constructed and arranged to release the fluid tube 62 and to accomplish fluid tight seals at the ports 63 and 64. The container 60 further includes a clip 65 to attach to, for instance, a user's belt, to enable the container to be portable during use of the apparatus 10. In addition, the container 60 includes a cap 66 to permit refilling the internal reservoir 61. In the preferred embodiment, the container 60 defines a configuration, shape, and/or profile that permit the container 60 to be comfortably disposed proximate to a user's body during use of the apparatus 10. As shown in FIGS.9 and 10, the container 60 defines a concave surface 67. The concave surface 67 is configured to help to promote portability of the container 60 and to dispose the container 60 in close proximity to a user of the apparatus 10 and/or to the user's body during use of the apparatus 10, such as, when the container 60 is attached or clipped to, for instance, the user's belt to enable the container 60 to be carried by a user with comfort and ease. Referring FIG. 11, in a further aspect, the invention provides an apparatus 10 as shown in either FIG. 1 or FIG. 7 including an alternative handle 70. The handle 70 is solid and includes an integrated pressurizing pump 25, as shown in FIG. 7, and an actuating trigger 72. Actuation

of the pump 25 is achieved by manually actuating the trigger 72, which draws fluid from the container 60 through the fluid tube 62 and into the internal fluid supply channel of the extendible wand 18. In this embodiment, the fluid supply is maintained solely by the container 60 in contrast to the handle 21 and 24 including the internal reservoir 21 and 27. Referring to FIG. 12, in another aspect, the invention provides an apparatus 80 including the components of the apparatus 10 described above and in reference to FIGS. 1-11 with an alternative fluid delivery system. The apparatus 80 includes, as an alternative to the fluid channels or conduits defined by the interiors of the extendible wand 18 and the one or more extension elements 30, an external fluid supply tube 82 disposed external to the fluid reservoir 27. The supply tube 82 is connected at one end to an output port 84 defined in the handle 24 and in fluid communication with the reservoir 27. The supply tube 82 is further connected at another end to an input port 84 defined in the swivel arm 14 and in fluid communication with the internal fluid supply channel defined by the interior of the swivel arm 14 and with the internal fluid channel 12C of the cleaning head 12. Each end of the fluid supply tube 82 and/or each of the input and output ports 82 and 84, 3 and 64 are configured with quick connect couplings that are constructed and arranged to releasably connect the supply tube 82 to the handle 24 and the swivel arm 14 and to accomplish fluid tight seals between the supply tube 82 and the ports 63 and 64. Alternatively, or additionally, the supply tube 82 may be connected with the cleaning head 12 to supply fluid to the internal fluid channel 12C. In this case, the cleaning head 12 would include an input port, e.g., defined along a terminal end of the elongated member, to releasably connect with the supply tube 82. The input port may be configured with a quick connect coupling that is constructed and arranged to releasably connect the supply tube 82 and to accomplish a fluid tight seal. Although the apparatus 10 and the handle 24 shown in FIG. 7 is illustrated in FIG. 12 and configured with the alternative fluid delivery system employing the fluid supply tube 82, it is understood that the apparatus 10 with the pump handle 20 shown in FIG. 1 may be similarly configured with the alternative fluid delivery system employing the fluid supply tube 82.

Referring to FIG. 13, the apparatus 10 and 80 described above and with reference to FIGS. 1-12 may further include a second lockable universal positioning joint 90 disposed between the extendible wand 18 and the handle 20 and 24. The joint 90 is constructed and arranged to releasably lock the extendible wand 18 and the handle 20 and 24 in any one of a multiple of positions relative to one another and to permit the wand 18 and the handle 20 and 24

to pivot about the joint 90 when the joint 90 is in an unlocked position. Similar to the universal positioning joint 16 located between the swivel arm 14 and the wand 18, the joint 90 enables a user of the apparatus 10 and 80 to articulate the handle 20 and 24 and the wand 18 relative to one another, as well as to articulate the handle 20 and 24 and/or the wand 18 relative to the cleaning head 12 to optimize their geometry. Alternatively, the second universal joint 90 may be disposed anywhere along the length Li of the extendible wand 18.

The second joint 90, alone or in conjunction with the joint 16, permits the apparatus 10 and 80 to be configured in an ergonomically safe and comfortable form factor that enables a user to employ the apparatus 10 and 80 to, for instance, reach and access window surfaces located relatively remotely from the user and the handle 20 and 24. The apparatus 10 and 80 is also configured to receive a second removable handle 95 constructed and arranged to apply pressure or force to the apparatus 10 and 80 to effect cleaning of window surfaces, e.g., located at relatively long distances from the handle 20 and 24.

The second handle 95 is configured to be releasably connected to the apparatus 10 and 80 via a collet 96 that is configured to be slidably received by the extendible wand 18 and/or the handle 20 and 24 to dispose the collet 96 along the apparatus 10 and 80 proximate to the positioning joint 90. The handle 95 may be connected to the collet 96 via a screw-down connection to releasably connect the handle 95 to the apparatus 10 and 80. Other connections between the handle 95 and the collet 96 are envisioned. The collet 96 may be configured with an adjustable diameter whereby the collet 96 may be disposed along the apparatus 10 and 80 at different positions relative to the positioning joint 90.

The handle 95 may also define a right angle grip or handle. In this case, the right angle of the handle 95 helps to convey pressure or force a user applies to the handle 95 and the apparatus 10 to the cleaning head 12, such that, the cleaning head 12 contacts and applies pressure or force to a surface substantially consistently along at least a portion of its length in contact with the surface.

Having thus described at least one illustrative aspect of the invention, various alterations, modifications and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such alterations, modifications and improvements are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description is by way of example only and is not intended as limiting. The invention's limit is defined only in the following claims and the equivalents thereto. What is claimed is: