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Title:
IMPROVEMENTS IN SUPPORTING COMPUTER TABLETS & LAPTOPS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/033695
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed is a support for a portable computer, the support comprising: a column locatable on a surface; and a first mount supported by the column, the first mount adapted to removably receive the portable computer, wherein the first mount is slidable relative to the surface to adjust the height of the portable computer received on the first mount.

Inventors:
ATKINSON, Stephen Alexis (Freedom Ability Ltd, Unit 4C Sett End Business Park, Blackburn Lancashire BB1 2PT, BB1 2PT, GB)
ATKINSON, Malcolm James (Freedom Ability Ltd, 4C Sett End Business Park, Blackburn Lancashire BB1 2PT, BB1 2PT, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/052018
Publication Date:
February 22, 2018
Filing Date:
July 10, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NEO ONE LTD (Gladebridge Ltd c/o Freedom Ability, Unit 4C Sett End Business Park, Blackburn Lancashire BB1 2PT, BB1 2PT, GB)
International Classes:
A47F5/00; A47B21/03; A47B57/26; A47B57/54; A47B57/56; A47F5/06; F16M11/04; F16M11/10; F16M13/00; F16M13/02; G06F1/16; H04M1/04
Foreign References:
US20150354746A12015-12-10
US20100229343A12010-09-16
DE202006001422U12006-04-06
DE29606076U11996-08-22
US20040188573A12004-09-30
US5735222A1998-04-07
US9074722B12015-07-07
US20140265185A12014-09-18
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
APPLEYARD LEES IP LLP (15 Clare Road, Halifax Yorkshire HX1 2HY, HX1 2HY, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A support for a portable computer, the support comprising:

a column locatable on a surface; and

a first mount supported by the column, the first mount adapted to removably receive the portable computer,

wherein the first mount is slidable relative to the surface to adjust the height of the portable computer received on the first mount. 2. The support of claim 1 , wherein the first mount comprises a first shelf, the first shelf adapted to receive the portable computer so that the portable computer sits on the first shelf and rests against a front face of the column, wherein the first shelf is foldable between a stowed position and an open position, the first shelf adapted to receive the portable computer when the first shelf is in the open position.

3. The support of claims 2, wherein the first shelf is adapted to rotate upwardly in use from the open position to the stowed position, wherein a rear edge of the first shelf rests against the column to prevent rotation of the first shelf beyond the open position. 4. The support of any one of claims 2 and 3, wherein the first shelf comprises a pair of plates, the plates positioned on opposing sides of the column.

5. The support of claim 4, wherein a first plate of the pair of plates extends further from the column than a second plate of the pair of plates.

6. The support of claim 4 or 5, wherein the first shelf comprises a bracket to maintain the plates at the same height.

7. The support of any one of claims 4 to 6, wherein the plates are foldable between the stowed position and the open position independently of each other.

8. The support of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support comprises a second mount supported by the column, the second mount adapted to removably receive a keyboard or second portable computer,

wherein the second mount is slidable relative to the surface to adjust the height of the portable computer received on the second mount,

wherein the second mount comprises a second shelf adapted to receive the keyboard or second portable computer so that the keyboard or second portable computer sits on the second shelf.

9. The support of claim 8, wherein the second shelf comprises a high friction coating to help retain the keyboard or second portable computer on the second shelf. 10. The support of any one of claims 2 to 9, wherein in use upwards rotation of at least one the first shelf and the second shelf disengages a brake to allow the first shelf to slide relative to the surface.

1 1 . The support of claim 10, wherein rotation of the at least one the first shelf and the second shelf beyond the point of disengaging of the brake causes a stop of the at least one the first shelf and the second shelf to touch a flange, thereby preventing further upward rotation of the at least one the first shelf and the second shelf and allowing sliding to be achieved by pushing the second shelf upwards. 12. The support of one of claims 10 or 1 1 , wherein in use downwards rotation of the at least one the first shelf and the second shelf to a substantially horizontal position engages the brake to prevent the second shelf sliding relative to the surface.

13. The support of any of claims 2 to 12, wherein at least one of the first shelf or second shelf is ridged.

14. The support of any one of the preceding claims, comprising a shuttle slidable in a slot to allow the first mount to slide relative to the surface. 15. The support of claim 14, wherein the height of the first mount is maintained by friction, and the support comprises a lever operable to remove the friction to allow the first mount to slide relative to the surface.

Description:
Improvements in Supporting Computer Tablets & Laptops

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a support for a portable computer. Background As employers try to rationalise there office costs and improve the mobility of their workforce to allow working within the home a Cafe or breakout space etc. or to reduce the size of desks within their organisation, and individuals choosing to access their computer needs with more portable devices, Tablet computers and laptop computers popularity as increased significantly due to longer battery life and improved WIFI Capacity both at home and in public spaces.

Good ergonomics before tablet computers required a computer screen to be at arm's length from the user and the users head to be facing forward or tilted slightly forward, The viewing angle of the computer screen should be perpendicular to the field of view. The arms of the hands that use the keyboard should be horizontal from the elbow to the front of the hand, Historically this need has been met when using computers by having a separate computer monitor that can be positioned at the back of a desk and the viewing angle can be tilted at various angles, the ideal viewing angle for the top of the computer monitor should be just below horizontal from the line of site.

Tablet computers are often housed within a protective cover that may also include a separate but attached keyboard, because the keyboard & Tablet Computer are attached to the cover and therefore close together, The physical relationship to the user is defined by the keyboard position, the users have therefore positioned the tablet computer closer to themselves resulting in them tilting there heads further forward than 45 degrees resulting in neck pains, headache and general fatigue.

In response to this monitor support arms have been redesigned to clamp onto tablet computers and a separate WIFI / bluetooth keyboards used

It is an aim of the present invention to address at least one problem associated with the prior art, whether referred to herein or otherwise. Summary of the Invention

According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a support for a portable computer, the support comprising a column locatable on a surface and a first mount supported by the column, the first mount adapted to removably receive the portable computer, wherein the first mount is slidable relative to the surface to adjust the height of the portable computer received on the first mount.

Such a support is advantageous, as it means that the user can position the portable computer at a height which results in them tilting their head at an angle which is comfortable and does not cause neck pain.

In one example the first mount comprises a first shelf, the first shelf adapted to receive the portable computer so that the portable computer sits on the first shelf and rests against a front face of the column. This means that the support can receive different sizes of portable computers (e.g. tablet computers and laptops) without adjustments being made. Additionally, a tablet computer does not need to be removed from its protective sleeve before it is received by the support. Additionally, the tablet computer can easily be positioned at any angle desired by the user, and can be portrait or landscape.

In one example the first shelf is foldable between a stowed position and an open position, the first shelf adapted to receive the portable computer when the first shelf is in the open position. In one example the first mount comprises a pivot, the first shelf foldable by rotation about the pivot. In one example the first shelf comprises a pair of brackets connecting the first shelf to the pivot. In one example the first shelf is substantially flush with the front face of the support column when it is in the stowed position. In one example the first shelf is in a substantially horizontal position when it is in the open position. In one example the first shelf is adapted to rotate upwardly in use from the open position to the stowed position. In one example the first shelf rests against the column to prevent rotation of the first shelf beyond the open position. In one example the first shelf comprises a pair of plates, the plates positioned on opposing sides of the column.

In one example, a first plate of the pair of plates extends further from the column than a second plate of the pair of plates. In one example, the first shelf comprises a bracket to maintain the plates at the same height. In one example, the plates are foldable between the stowed position and the open position independently of each other. In one example each of the plates comprises one of the brackets. In one example the first shelf comprises a high friction coating to help retain the portable computer on the first shelf. The above features are advantageous, as they mean that the first shelf can be moved out of the way when it is not required. These features provide an easy means for achieving the stowing and opening of the first shelf. Additionally, in cases where there is also a second shelf located below the first shelf (see below), stowing the first shelf provides a greater height for storage on the second shelf. The portable computer may be received by the second shelf instead.

In one example the support comprises a second mount supported by the column, the second mount adapted to removably receive a keyboard or second portable computer, wherein the second mount is slidable relative to the surface to adjust the height of the portable computer received on the second mount. This means that the second mount can be positioned so that the keyboard or second portable computer allows the user's forearm and hands to be horizontal in use.

In one example a distance between the first mount and the second mount is fixed during sliding of the first mount. This means that the height of both can be adjusted by moving one only, and allows the sliding mechanism of the support to be simplified.

In one example the second mount comprises a second shelf adapted to receive the keyboard or second portable computer so that the keyboard or second portable computer sits on the second shelf. In one example, the second shelf comprises a high friction coating to help retain the keyboard or second portable computer on the second shelf.

In one example in use upwards rotation of the second shelf disengages a brake to allow the second shelf to slide relative to the surface. In one example rotation of the second shelf beyond the point of disengaging of the brake causes a stop of the second shelf to touch a flange, thereby preventing further upward rotation of the second shelf and allowing sliding to be achieved by pushing the second shelf upwards. In one example in use downwards rotation of the second shelf to a substantially horizontal position engages the brake to prevent the second shelf sliding relative to the surface. In one example the brake is a friction brake. In one example the brake is magnetic. These features provide a simple and effective means for adjusting the heights of the second (and possibly first) shelves.

In one example the first shelf is located above the second shelf in use. In one example the front face comprises at least one strip which sits proud of the main body to form the front face of the support column, the strip made of softer material than the column. This prevents damage to the portable computer when it is received by the first mount. In one example the at least one strip has more friction than the column. This allows the portable computer to be better supported. In one example at least one of the base first shelf or second shelf is ridged. This further improves support to portable computer.

In one example the first mount is slidable using a ball bearing track slidable within a ball bearing guide. In one example the first mount is connected to the ball bearing track and ball bearing guide is located within the column. In one example the first mount is connected to the ball bearing track using a mounting plate. In one example the mounting plate is located within a slot formed in the support column, the slot located between the braking surface and a rear section of the support column. In one example the front face of the column is connected to the mounting plate so that the front face slides with the first mount.

In one example the support comprises a counterweight to reduce the effort required to raise the first mount. In one example the counterweight is located in a rear section of the support column. This means that the support can be more compact. In one example the counterweight comprises a plurality of removable weights. This means that the total weight of the counterweight can be adjusted

In one example the first mount is connected to a second column which is concentric with the column, the second column adapted to slide relative to the column. In one example the second column is supported on the column by ball bearings.

In one example the second column is concentric with the column.

In one example the second column is located in front of the column. In one example, the ball bearings are located in a front face of the second column. In one example, the ball bearings are biased into contact with the column, In one example, the second column comprises a tapered portion to increase the second column's rigidity, the tapered portion received by the column. In one example the support comprises a base to allow the support to stand on a desk.

In one example the base is slidable on the desk. This means that the portable computer can be laterally adjusted In one example the support comprises a member to fix the support to the surface. The member may be horizontal in use. This means that the surface to which the support is fixed is a wall. In one example the support comprises a multi arm device, the multi arm device connectable to a fixed point, wherein arms of the multi arm device are rotatable to allow the support column to translate in a horizontal direction in use. This means that the position of the support can be adjusted, and allows the support to be folded away when it is not being used. In one example, the support comprises a base to allow the support to stand on a floor so that the portable computer is at a height where it is usable by a standing user.

In one example the column is adapted to be angled away from a user in use. This may be achieved by the angle formed between the base and the column. It means that the forward facing portable computer can be better supported by the front face of the column.

In one example, the first or second shelf is a larger bracket operable to support a monitor. In one example, the column comprises a shuttle slidable within a slot to allow the first mount to slide relative to the surface, so that the first and/or second shelf is adjustable in height.

In one example, the height of the first mount is maintained by friction, and the support comprises a lever operable to remove the friction to allow the first mount to slide relative to the surface.

In one example, the height of the first and/or second shelf is maintained by friction caused by the first and/or second shelf resting against the column. This is caused by the weight of the first and/or second shelf causing the first and/or second shelf to rotate about the pivot point such that a back edge of the first and/or second shelf rests on a friction face of the column. The friction can be increased by having the first and/or second shelf split so that it is on either side of the column and linked together. In order to adjust the height of the first and/or second shelf, the first and/or second shelf is rotated about the pivot point to remove the back edge from the column.

In one example, the friction between the first and/or second shelf and the column can be released by pressing a lever or a lever that tilts the first and/or second shelf. According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit of parts for the supports described above.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a portable computer support system comprising a horizontal beam and a series of supports as described above fixed to the horizontal beam.

Brief Description of the Drawings For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how embodiments of the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a drawing of a user using a tablet computer;

Figure 2 is a drawing of a user using a desktop computer;

Figure 3 is a drawing of a user using a desktop computer; Figure 4 is a drawing of a user using a tablet computer;

Figures 5 and 6 are drawings of a user using a tablet computer which is supported by a support; Figures 7 and 8 are drawings of a user using a tablet computer and keyboard which are supported by a support;

Figures 9, 10 and 1 1 are drawings of a user using a laptop computer which is supported by a support;

Figure 12 is a drawing of a prior art tablet holder; Figures 13 and 14 show side views of a support; Figures 15, 16 and 17 show close up views of a pivot;

Figure 18 shows an exploded view of a support; Figure 19 shows an exploded perspective view of a support; Figure 20 shows a side view of a support;

Figure 21 shows a close up perspective view of a support;

Figure 22 shows a perspective view of a support

Figure 23 shows a perspective view of a support sliding on a desk;

Figure 24 shows a mounting plate for mounting the support to a wall;

Figure 25 shows a wall mounted support surface;

Figure 26 shows a side view of a support fixed to a wall;

Figures 27 and 28 shows side views of a support having a multi arm device;

Figure 29 shows a perspective view of a support having a multi arm device;

Figures 30 and 31 shows a perspective view of a portable computer support system; Figure 32 shows a perspective view of a support;

Figures 33 and 34 show side views of a support;

Figures 35, 36 and 37 show close up views of a first and a second mount;

Figure 38 shows a side view of a support;

Figure 39 shows a close up view of a first mount;

Figures 40 show views of ball bearing slides

Figures 43 and 44 show exploded views of supports;

Figure 45 shows views of a counterweight;

Figure 46 shows exploded and perspective views of an alternative support; Figure 47 and 48 show views of a counterweight;

Figure 49 shows views of an alternative support; Figures 50 to 54 shows exploded views of a support.

Description of Example Embodiments

Figures 1 and 2 shows how, because of the higher resolution of tablet computers, users often move the tablet computer closer to their eyes than they would a traditional desk mounted computer monitor., The figure also shows how the tablet computer can have a similar perceived screen size to the computer monitor by it being positioned closer to the users eyes

Figures l and 2 show a person 300 sitting on a sofa 500 and viewing a portable computer 200. The portable computer 200 is a tablet computer 200. The standard field of view 320 for a computer monitor 400 is shown in Figure 2. To achieve the same perceived screen size for the user,, the tablet computer 200 is positioned approximately 40% closer to the eyes of the user 301 than the computer monitor 400. This is because the higher screen resolution of tablet computers gives a clear image at this distance and Linear perspective allows the image on the Tablet Computer 200 to appear the same size as that on a computer monitor 400.

Figure 3 shows the ideal position for a user viewing a computer monitor, which is is to have the head slightly forward. Figure 4 shows how tablet computers are often used on desks. As the screen must be used as an input device and this results in the user bending their head forward at a considerable angle, leading to neck and back stress, particularly over long periods of use.

In Figure 3 the computer monitor 400 is far enough away 320 to enable the head 302 to be tilted slightly forward and allow the whole of the screen of the monitor 401 to be viewed without moving the head 302. Figure 4 shows that when inputting data into the touch screen of a tablet computer or using an attached keyboard located on a desk 600, the head 302 has to tilt further forward, putting increased weight on the neck 303 and creating pain in the neck 303 and shoulders 304.

Figure 5 shows that lifting the height of the tablet computer from the desk and allowing the tablet screen to be angled at approximately 45 degrees, both screen inputting and vision can be achieved with the head only moved slightly forward, putting less strain on the user's neck and shoulders. Figure 6 shows that the improved posture described in figure 5 can be maintained in a standing position by increasing the height of the tablet computer from the desk. Figure 5 shows that when using the integrated touch screen keyboard of the tablet computer 200, positioning the tablet computer 200 higher from the desk 600 reduces the amount the head 302 has to tilt forward and therefore reduces the shoulder & neck pain compared to the user's position in figure 4. This position does however mean that the forearm and hand have to reach upwards for inputting data. This means that although this is an improvement for shoulder & neck pain, this position should only be used for light data input. In order to support the tablet computer at this position there needs to be a support 100. The support and its associated features are described below. Figure 5 shows the support 100 used in the seated position. Figure 6 shows the same support 100 adjusted to the standing position, because it is recognised that excessive sitting is detrimental to a body's metabolic system, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer and depression. A sedentary lifestyle also increases cardiovascular disease. In response to this, there is an increasing drive for people to stand more.

Figure 7 shows the improved standing posture shown in figure 6, with the additional improvement of using a separate keyboard allowing arms to be horizontal. Figure 8 shows the improved sitting posture shown in figure 5, with the additional improvement of using a separate keyboard allowing arms to be horizontal.

Figure 7 & 8 Show the ideal situation for data inputting in both seated & standing positions. In these figures the support 100 which encompasses a first mount 1 10, that supports the Tablet computer & its integrated screen. The first mount 1 10 is a first shelf 1 10. The position of the table computer on the first shelf 1 10 allows the head 302 to face forward & slightly down. The separate keyboard 410 is received by a second mount 120. The second mount 120 is a second shelf 120. The second shelf 120 which allows the forward arm & hands to be near to Horizontal when inputting data, reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury.

Figure 9 shows that tilting the angle of the keyboard attached to a Tablet Computer or a laptop lifts the viewing screen, resulting in the head not moving as far forward when viewing the laptop screen.

Figure 10 shows that moving the keyboard of a Tablet computer attached to a keyboard or a laptop further away from the user gives a good viewing angle but will result in the viewing screen being further away from the user. Figure 1 1 shows in the standing position that tilting the angle of the keyboard attached to a tablet computer or a laptop lifts the laptop screen away from the attached keyboard, resulting in the head not moving as far forward when viewing the laptop screen. Figures 9, 10 & 1 1 show a laptop computer 450 that can be used in a sitting or standing position. The support 100 is used with the first shelf 1 10 folded away to enable the laptop computer 450 to be supported on the second shelf 120. Figure 9 & 1 1 show how the laptop computer screen is lifted higher than the keyboard to improve the viewing angle by tilting the attached keyboard 470 at an angle. Figure 10 shows for heavy data input the laptop keyboard 470 in the horizontal plane. This can also be replicated in the standing position.

Figure 12 shows a prior art monitor arm 700. Tablet computers 200 are often located within a protective wallet 250 to prevent scratching and damage to the screen. Additionally these protective wallets 250 may house a separate but protective keyboard. Prior art tablet computer housings require the tablet computer to be removed from the housing prior to being placed in the support.

Figure 12 shows how the prior art requires the tablet computer 200 to be removed from the protective case 250 and inserted into the clamping support 720 that is part of the support arm 700 that because of its cantilever design is required to be clamped to the desk 710. Unfortunately, because of the time it takes to take the computer tablet out of the protective wallet 250 and clamp it to the monitor arm 720, and reverse this process before leaving, the monitor arm is often not used, so the ergonomic problems remains. Figure 13,14,15,16,17 show how the first shelf can be folded away into a stowed position. In order that the tablet computer or laptop can be positioned on the second shelf 120, the first shelf 1 10 needs to be folded into the stowed position (as seen in figures 14). In figure 14 the first shelf folds upwards in a clockwise direction from an open position (in figure 13) to a stowed position (figure 14). The first shelf 1 10 rotates around a pivot point 130 until it is in the stowed position, where it is flush with a front face of the support.

Figure 14 shows the first shelf 1 10 comprising a pair of plates, which are located on opposite sides of the column of the support. One of the plates is in the stowed position and the other is in the open position. Although the two plates are on opposite sides of the column, it is important to keep the two plates close together so that they can support the smaller tablet computers 200. When the First shelfH O is required it is rotated down until the contact point 140 contacts with the flat surface 145 this then stops the first shelf 1 10 from rotating any further and keep's the first shelf surface 1 1 1 horizontal even when weight is applied. Figure 18 shows the front face of the support 140, which comprises a main body 141 that provides the structural rigidity and can be made from extruded, moulded, cast, rolled or folded metal or plastic. Attached to the main body 141 are multiple linear strips 142 that sit proud of the main body 141 these are made of a soft material to protect the laptop or tablet computer that rests against them. The strips have increased friction helping to anchor the laptop or tablet computer. The first shelf 1 10 & second shelf 120 are connected to the main body 141 by the pivot assembly 130. The pivot assemble connection takes place by the locking nut 131 & the friction washer 132 sliding inside the keyway 143 that is part of the support surface 140. On the outside face of the keyway 143 is a slot. The following items are connected in sequence to the locking nut 131 through the slot 144, The low friction rotation washers 133 are located each side of the first shelf 1 10, The first shelf 1 10 also has a central bush 134 that acts as a spacer and prevents the low friction washers 133 from overtightening onto the first shelf 1 10, allowing the first shelf to rotate freely. The central bush 134 may be a press fit or glued / welded to the first shelf 1 10 to improve its rigidity in use. In order to clamp the assemble together the machine screw 135 is tightened into the locking nut 131 , the washer 134 maintains pressure on the whole assemble. The locking nut may also incorporate a nylon patch or glue to prevent it coming undone during rotation of the top shelves 1 10. When the second shelf 120 is attached to the same slot via the pivot assemble the central bush 134 may have the central hole off centre creating a eccentric bush allowing the position of the second shelf 120 to be adjusted closer or further away from the front face 140 by rotating the eccentric bush 134. The top & bottom shelves can be pre-set in any position along the length of the slot 143 allowing the correct ergonomic solution for people of different stature and the different sizes of tablet computers & laptops and how they may work with separate keyboards. Figure 19 & 20 shows that the support surface 140 can be supported by a base 185.

The support comprises first and second shelves. The first shelf, which is lower than the second shelf, comprises a first plate 109 and a second plate 108, on opposing sides of the column of the support. The second shelf comprises two second plates 108, on opposing sides of the column of the support. The base 185, along with the plates 108, 109 of the shelves, incorporates a series of ridges 126. The ridges 126 enable the tablet computer 200 to be rested at various angles, with a lower portion of the tablet computer 200 resting against a ridge 126 on the base 185 and an upper portion of the tablet computer resting against the linear strips 142. This enables the tablet computer 200 to be supported at different viewing angles for different heights of users' eyes 301 in comparison to the height of the surface, or at different angles for use of a touch screen of the tablet computer 200.

The ridges 126 can be constructed from any suitable material, but it is preferable to use a high friction material such as PVC, TPE or rubber. This enables the area between the ridges 126 to grip the lower portion of the tablet computer. Additionally, the ridges 126 provide a hard stop when the tablet computer 200 is supported close to horizontal. As high friction materials can lack rigidity, the shelves 109, 108, 1 10, 120 and base 185 may have a rigid inner core, which could be metal or a rigid injection moulding material, such as nylon. A first plate 109 is longer than a second plate 108. This allows the first plate 109 to support a laptop 450, as shown in figures 9, 10 & 1 1 , or a keyboard 410, as shown in figures 7 & 8. However when used with a tablet computer 200 in a upright position the first plate 109 can be left in its stowed position, to prevent the first plate 109 protruding in front of the tablet computer 200 and reducing the quality of the user experience, with the second plate 108 being used to support the tablet computer 200. Otherwise, the first plate 109 and the second plate 108 include the same features as the shelf 1 10, in terms of their rotation between the stowed position and the open position.

The first shelf and the second shelf are height adjustable to suit the sitting and/or standing requirements of the user. The support comprises a tube 134 for each shelf, the tube 134 running through the centre of the shelves. Inserted through each tube 134 is a bolt 128, the bolt 128 located in a shuttle 129. The shuttle 129 is made of a material that is low friction to enable it to slide within a slot 143. The shuttle 129 is designed so that it grips the hexagonal head of the bolt. By tightening a female threaded clamp 137 which is connected to the tube 134, the tube 134 is clamped against the side of the support surface 140. By turning the clamp 137 anticlockwise, the bolt 128 releases the clamping force, allowing the whole shelf assembly to be positioned at any location along the slot 143. The plates 108, 109 of the shelves can rotate individually or together around the tube 134. On the front of the support surface 140 are markings 127 on either side. The markings 127 are used to indicate the same point at each side, allows the plates 108, 109 of the shelves to be located level at the same level. The female threaded clamp 137 can have an inbuilt ratchet to enable clamping without having to rotate the levers through 360 degrees. Alternatively, the clamp 137 can have a male thread that fastens into a hexagonal nut located in the shuttle 129. Figure 19 shows that the back of the support surface 140 is hollow with two keyways to enable it to be bolted to the base 185. In order to encase the remaining hollow section a cover plate 21 1 can be bolted onto the two keyways. The cover plate 21 1 can be manufactured from any material, but if the material is translucent, a light 210 can be inserted into the void of the support surface 140 to provide ambient lighting.

In figure 20 it can be seen that the plates 108 109 of the shelves can be used separately or together. This figure also shows that the ridges 126 can hold the tablet computer 200 in a portrait or landscape position, in or out of the protective case 250, and at various angles. Figure 21 shows that the plates 108 109 of each shelf can be linked by a linking bracket 107. The linking bracket 107 has two ribs 106 that wrap around the wings 105 of the support surface 141 . The ribs 106 enable the linking bracket 107 to slide up and down the support surface without a geometric lock occurring. The holes 104 that are part of linking bracket 107 can be used to hold the swivel tube 134 and therefore the bolt 128, shuttle 129 and the plates 108 & 109. This therefore enables both plates of each shelf to be at the same height, avoiding the need to adjust each plate individually. The linking bracket 107 can work in conjunction with the clamping levers 137. The weight of the each shelf or anything placed on top of the shelf causes each shelf to rotate around the pivot point 130 (see figure 36) so that a back edge of the shelf presses against the friction surface 150, locking the plate 108, 109 in place by friction. The friction is increased if the plates 108 109 of the shelves are linked by a bracket 107 (which also maintains the shelves at the same rotation about the pivot point). In order to adjust the height of the shelves, the shelves are tiled slightly upwards to remove the friction, thereby allowing the shelves to slide up or down with the shuttle 129 that is slidable with the slot 143. In other examples, a lever 103 may be pulled to tilt the shelves using a pad 102, which presses against the back of the shelves. This removes the friction, thereby enabling the shelves to be adjusted. The lever may also cause the shelves to tilt.

Figure 22 shows further accessories that can be included in the support to enhance the user experience. These include a privacy screen 212, which may be constructed out of an opaque material and/or covered on a fabric to improve acoustic absorption. The privacy screen 212 is particularly effective in an open plan office.

A mouse mat 214 connects to the first plate 109. A surface extender 213 incorporates two pins 216, which can be inserted into two holes that are part of the plate 109, in order to extend the width of the shelf but still allow it to fold away. The support surface 140 may also include sockets to provide power and data transfer. Figure 22 shows a UK 3 pin plug socket with 2 USB plugs. However these can be configured for different markets and data requirements, e.g. VGA , HDMI etc.

Figure 23 show how the support can slide around the desk. When utilising the support 100 there will be times when desk space is needed (figure 23: 600). Therefore it is important that the support 100 can be pushed to the back of the desk. In order to achieve this the support 100 is fitted with a base 181 , the base can also be used to position the support anywhere on the desktop 600. In the scenario in figure 23 tablet computers 200 or laptops 450 may be used for mobile working, then used with the support 100 in conjunction with a desktop monitor 400 and separate keyboards 410 when back in the office. It is particularly helpful when using computer software that enables the item being viewed on the tablet computer 200 or laptop 250 to be dragged onto the computer monitor 400 or vice versa. Figure 24 shows the support surface 140 attached to a vertical surface using a member.

The member is a mounting plate 220. The mounting plate 220 has a plurality of fixing holes 221 to allow the mounting plate 220 to be attached to the wall. The mounting plate 220 has a plurality of threaded elements 222. Additionally, the mounting plate 220 has a plurality of hexagonal bolts 223. Each of these has a right hand thread and left hand thread on opposing sides, corresponding to a thread in a nut 224 and a threaded element 222, so that once the fixing plate is attached to the vertical surface by rotating the double threaded hexagonal bolts, the support surface 140 is rigidly connected to the vertical surface without any visible fixings. This further improves the aesthetics by creating a shadow gap that will be particularly effective if a light 210 (figure 19) is used.

Figure 25 & 26 Show how the support can be fixed to any vertical surface.

The support can be attached to a member 180 enabling the support surface to be fixed to a wall 700 enabling the user 300 to work standing or sitting without a desk 600.

Figures 27, 28 & 29 show how the support 100 can be attached to a multi arm device 190 that pivots at points 191 and is clamped to the desk 192 or a vertical surface such as a wall. The multi arm device allows the support to move to any point over the desk 600. The support does not touch the desk or the contents on the desk and can be pushed discreetly away as shown in figure 28, allowing other work activities to take place. There will need to be sufficient friction to prevent the support 100 from moving, particularly during data input to the keyboard so the friction at the pivot points can be increased by tightening the hand wheels 193 that clamp the arms together at the pivot points 191 Figures 30 and 31 show how the support 100 can be attached to a horizontal beam 182 with the member! 80, to increase the number of users compared to a desk installation and prevent the colonisation of desk space by users. This is a particular problem when hot desking is initially implemented within organisations. Figure 30 shows a linear base leg, figure 31 shows a round base option.

Figure 32 shows a floor standing version of the support 101 , it comprises the support 100 that is attached to vertical riser 183 to position the support at the correct height for sitting and standing. The vertical riser is located on the floor with the base 184, which allows the floor standing support to be moved to the required position. Figures 33,34,35,36 & 37 show how the height of the front face 140 of the support can be adjusted in relation to the rest of the support 100. This feature is important to accommodate people of different stature and using the device when sitting or standing or even using different size laptops or tablet computers, these scenarios can be seen in figures 1 ,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 & 1 1 . The connection between the front of the support surface will be discussed later, what is important is that the adjustment happens with the minimum of inconvenience and is instant. This is achieved by lifting the second shelf, as can be seen in figure 33, by the user 300 lifting the second shelf with their hand 305. This causes a friction face 121 figure 35 to disengage with a breaking surface 150. As soon as this brake is disengaged the rotation movement around the pivot point 130 cause the stop 122 to touch the flange 145 preventing any further rotation causing the upward movement of the hand 305 to lift the front face 140 in relation to the rest of the support surface 100. When the desired height is achieved lowering of the hand 305 causes the friction surface 121 to reengage with the braking surface 150. The weight of the second shelf and any items place on it causes rotational movement around the pivot point 130 to increase the friction on to the braking surface and locking the relationship between the front face 140 and the rest of the support unit, because the first shelf 1 10 and the second shelf 120 are attached to the front face 140 there height is also adjusted. To lower the front face the process is reversed. In order to improve friction either the friction surface or braking surface can be coated in a high friction material that could be rubber, urethane or soft PVC.

Another way of implementing the brake is shown in figure 35. In this instance a magnet 123 is incorporated into the second shelf that creates a magnetic lock when it is brought into contact with the braking surface 150. The breaking surface 150 is made of or coated with a material that is magnetic, such as steel. Figure 38 & 39 shows the same solutions but having the friction face 121 below the second shelf 120.

The same rotational principle can be applied to figure 41 and 42, such that the shelf support bracket 188 rotates around the pivot point 130. The pivot point 130 is connected to the shuttle 129 with the bolt 128 and a handwheel or clamping lever 137. The handwheel or clamping lever 137 may be tightened up enough for stability but may enable the shelf support bracket 188 to rotate upwards, moving the breaking surface 150 away from the flange 145. The amount of rotation is limited by contact of the point 122, whose limited surface area reduces the amount of friction, enabling the shelf bracket 188 to slide along the keyway slot 143, with the sliding shuttle 129 enabling the height to be adjusted. By lowering the front edge of the shelf 189 to the horizontal position, the friction surface 150 is reengaged to the friction clamping surface locking the shelf in position. The more items that are put on the shelf, the more the friction. Because the shelf brackets 188 are on each side of the support surface 140, there is double the amount of friction.

In order that the first shelf 1 10, second shelf 120 and the front support surface 141 are stable, and that they do not vibrate or wobble especially during data input, whilst also at the same time allowing the front section 140 to slide upwards or downwards against the rest of the support 100. The current design utilises ball bearing slides 160 as can be seen in figures 40, The slides contain the main body 161 that contains a plurality of holes 162 to enable the main body 161 to be fastened to the support structure rear section 151 . The ball bearing slide 160 also incorporates a mounting plate 163 that is attached to a ball bearing guide 164. The mounting plate has a plurality of holes 165 that enable it to be connected to the front section figure 18 140 via the rear keyway 146. The ball bearing guide 164 travels inside the longitudinal axis of the main body 161 . This movement is facilitated by the ball bearing track 166 that keeps ball bearings 167 in position. The ball bearings are tight against the ball bearing guide 164 & the main body 161 . However there is sufficient springiness in both forms to main tension without losing movement. The shape of the main body 161 & the bearing guide 164 closely follow the shape of the ball bearings preventing any twisting or movement from front to back or side to side, this is also helped by the length of the ball bearing track 166 creating a wide area of contact within the main body 160. There is also an end cap 168.

Figure 43 & 44 show how the braking surface can be created in front of the area that the ball bearing mounting plate slides

Figure 43 shows that in order to allow the second shelf 120 that is attached to the front face 140 to travel up and down when attached to the ball bearing slides 160 via the mounting plate 163, but at the same time allow the friction clamping to take place 121 (see figure 35,36,37,38 & 39) there is a braking surface 150 between the mounting plate 163 and the friction clamp 121 . This therefore creates an open slot 153 between the friction surface 150 and the rear section 151 that allows the ball bearing mounting plate 163 to travel in and protrude from. The ball bearing mounting plate 163 is attached to the front section 140 allowing the front section along with the first shelf 1 10 and second shelf 120 to adjust in height but still be securely fastened to the rest of the support via the ball bearing slide 160.

Another way to create the slot is to use tubular material with the slot already in it, as can be seen in figure 44 this may be made from folded sheet, or a moulding / casting. In the drawing the column is shown as square but it can be any shape. In this scenario a column with a slot 153 as the ball bearing slide 160 positioned inside the column. The mounting plate 163 can travel freely within the slot and because the front section 149 is attached to the mounting plate 163, and the second shelf 120 is attached to the front section 149. The friction clamp 121 can operate onto the front face of the column 150. The front section 149 outer surface is covered in a high friction material to provide the same advantages as the part 140.

Figure 45 shows how the counterbalance weight works to help with the lifting of the front section, first shelf 1 10 & second shelf 120

To lift the front section 140 and the connected first shelf 1 10 and second shelf 120 the user 300 has to lift the weight of all of these item plus the tablet computer 200, tablet computer protective case 250 or the laptop 450 and possibly a keyboard 410. There is also weight and friction from the sliding elements of the ball bearing slide 160. If the height adjustment takes too much effort the user will not adjust the height to the correct ergonomic position or a standing position from sitting or vice versa. Therefore within the current invention we have created a counter weight that uses gravity to make the lifting and lowering effortless, this can be seen in figure 45. The counter weight 175 slides within the rear section 151 that as guides 152 to reduce friction. The counter weight can be different lengths to increase or decrease its weight. The counter weight 175 is attached to a cable 173. At each end of the cable is a pear nipple 174 that sits on a shoulder inside the tightening screw 176, The tightening screw 176 screws into the top & bottom of the counterweight 175. When the tightening screws 176 are tight the cable 173 is pulled tight into the grove of the pulley wheels 170, preventing the cable 173 from jumping out and gripping the pulley wheel. The pulley wheel 170 rotates around a spindle 171 that as tapped holes in the end, a screw is used through the holes in the rear extrusion 151 to attach to the spindle 171 , in order to locate the pulley wheel 170 in the centre of the rear section 151 , spacers are used 172. The front section 140 is attached to the ball bearing mounting plate 163 via the keyway 146, also attached to the ball bearing mounting plate is the cable bush 169, the cable bush 169 has a slot that allows the cable 173 to sit inside it and a grub screw to connect the cable 173 to it. The ball bearing slide is mounted to the rear section 151 through the fixing holes 162. Therefore it is possible to offset the weight of the front section and the equipment it carries fully. There is also the possibility to attach a spring over the spindle 173 on one side that can be compressed to adjust the rotation of the pulley wheel 170 and therefore make the impact of the counter weight adjustable.

Figure 46, shows how two columns can telescope against each other to provide the height adjustment required. Figure 46 shows an alternative method by utilising two column, with one column sliding relative to the other. The two columns are concentric, and the smaller column is smaller than the other. The smaller column 155 is attached to its end a bearing 156 this can be made of a low friction material such as nylon or PTFE, the bearing as a pip 157 than locates in the corresponding holes 158 within the smaller column 155 or the larger column 154. The larger column as two sets of bearing 156 located at the bottom of the column 154 in the holes 158 when the smaller column 155 is slid into the larger column 154 the bearings are located above the top set of bearings within the larger column 154 at point 159. This guarantees a set minimum distance increasing stability between the columns. If the second shelf 120 is lifted the top column 154 will rise in relation to the lower column 154 because the second shelf 120 is attached to the top column 154, In the same way as described previously the second shelf 120 and its friction clamp 121 or magnetic clamp 123 shown figures 33, 34, 35, 36 & 37 allows the height of the top column 154 to be adjusted in relation to the lower column 155 by clamping to the face 150. There is also an end cap 157.

Figure 47 and 48 show how the counterweight can be achieved with two ball bearing slides, and how the counter weights can be adjusted in weight by bolting them together or utilising a pin & hole arrangement Figure 47 and 48 show how an alternative arrangement for a counter weight can be achieved. In this scenario two ball bearing slides 160 & 160A are attached back to back sandwiching the main body of the support 147 they are attached through the holes 146 in the main body 147 and the fixing holes 162 within the ball bearing slides 160 & 160A. The front section 149 is attached to the mounting plate 163 allowing the first shelf 1 10 & the second shelf 120 along with the front section 149 to be adjustable in height. In order to counterbalance the weight of these elements along with a tablet computer 200 Tablet computer case 250 or a laptop 450, a cable 173 is attached to mounting plate 163 via the cable bush169. The cable bush 169 has a slot or hole that allows the cable 173 to sit inside it and a grub screw to connect the cable 173 to it. On the rear Ball bearing slide 160A the cable is also attached to the mounting plate 163A via the cable bush 169, however also attached the mounting plate 163A is a counter weight 177, a number of counter weights 177 can be bolted together to achieve the desired weight or they can have a hole & pin arrangement as seen in figure 47 whereby the counter weight 177 that is attached to the mounting plate 163A has a connecting bar 178 that as a series of holes that correspond to the holes in the other counter weights 177A, by the user inserting the pin 179 in the counter weight that gives the desired weight the counter weight is adjustable. To enclose the Unit the main body 146 is connected to the cover plate 148, the main body 146 & cover plate 148 are attached to a base plate. The pulley arrangement is as described previously. Figure 49 shows how by using two shaped sections with tapers that the height adjustment can be achieved whilst maintaining a stable front face.

Another option to adjust the height of the top 1 10 and bottom 120 shelf that are attached to the sliding upper and front face 1 13 can be seen in figures 49. We can see two sections 1 12 the lower section and a front section 1 13 that slides up and down as the lower section 1 12 remains stable because it is attached to the base 181 . At the top of the section 1 12 are located two ball bearings 1 15 that have a spring within the spherical chamber 1 19, the spring is constantly pushing the ball bearing 1 15 against the front section 1 13, this drives the tapered element of the front section 1 16 onto the tapered element of the rear section 1 17 creating a rigid connection between the two preventing wobbling or twisting of the first shelf 1 10, second shelf 120 or front face 141 . In order to improve the sliding movement the ball bearing 1 15 is allowed to rotate as the upper surface 1 13 moves, There is also a second set of sprung ball bearings 1 15 located in the bottom of the front extrusion 1 13, pushing the front extrusion 1 13 away from the lower extrusion 1 12. These are located at the bottom of the front extrusion 1 18. In order to improve the sliding movement further low friction strips 1 14 can also be inserted between the tapers 1 16 & 1 17 these may be made out of Nylon or a low friction material such as PTFE. If the second shelf 120 is lifted the top section 1 13 will rise in relation to the lower column 1 12 because the second shelf 120 is attached to the front section 1 13. In the same way as described previously, the second shelf 120 and its friction clamp 121 or magnetic clamp 123 shown in figures 33,34,35,36&37 allows the height of the front section 1 13 to be adjusted in relation to the lower section 1 12 by clamping to the face 150.

Figures 50,51 ,52,53 & 54 show exploded views of the product options contained within this patent

Although a few preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications might be made without departing from the scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

Attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive.

Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing embodiment(s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.