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Title:
PERSONAL DEVICE TETHER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/210220
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A personal device tethering system is provided. The system includes an armband or a belt clip or other mounting surface. The system includes a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device. The system includes tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the armband or belt clip or other mounting surface.

Inventors:
MEADOWS, Gina (101 Market St, Unit 416San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
MEADOWS, Jason (101 Market St, Unit 416San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
LEAKE, Michael (101 Market St, Unit 416San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
Application Number:
US2017/035061
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
May 30, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
VALKYRIE CONCEPTS, LLC (101 Market St, Unit 416San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
International Classes:
A45F5/00; B65H75/48; H04B1/3888
Foreign References:
US20030019893A12003-01-30
US20070278265A12007-12-06
US20110036879A12011-02-17
US9526321B12016-12-27
US20150288407A12015-10-08
US20100001020A12010-01-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLON, Joseph, J. (Knobbe, Martens Olson & Bear, LLP,2040 Main Street 14th Floo, Irvine CA, 92614, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A personal device tethering system comprising:

an armband or a belt clip;

a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device; and a tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the armband or the belt clip.

2. The personal device tethering system of Claim 1, wherein the non-enclosing holder comprises a magnet housing configured to receive a metallic plate affixed to a portion of the personal device.

3. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the metallic plate is affixed to an inner surface of the personal device.

4. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the metallic plate has a thickness of 1.5 - 3.0 millimeters.

5. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the magnet housing includes a recessed cavity on a surface that receives the metallic plate, wherein a depth of the recessed cavity corresponds to a thickness of the metallic plate.

6. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the magnet housing includes at least one magnet producing a magnetic field a surface of the magnet housing to attract and hold the metal plate and the personal device.

7. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 1-6, wherein the non-enclosing holder receives the personal device at a first surface and wherein the non- enclosing holder includes a rotational locking feature that is received by the tethering device.

8. The personal device tethering system of Claim 7, wherein the rotational locking feature includes at least one locking element, wherein rotation of the rotational locking feature once received by the tethering device causes engagement of the at least one locking element and a locking feature included in the tethering device.

9. The personal device tethering system of Claim 8, wherein the locking feature comprises at least one of: a spring or a compressible pylon, wherein the locking feature, upon engagement with the locking element, exerts a force against the locking element to form a static coupling between the non-enclosing holder and the tethering device.

10. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 1-9, further comprising a tether, a first end of the tether anchored to the tethering device and a second end of the tether anchored to the non-enclosing holder.

11. The personal device tethering system of Claim 9, wherein the tethering device includes a winding mechanism, and wherein the first end is anchored to the winding mechanism.

12. The personal device tethering system of Claim 11, wherein the winding mechanism includes a spring loaded reel for retracting the tether into the winding mechanism.

13. The personal device tethering system of Claim 12, wherein the spring loaded reel exerts a continuous retracting force on the tether of at least 2.8 pounds.

14. A personal device tethering system comprising:

a surface mount;

a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device; and a tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the surface mount.

15. The personal device tethering system of Claim 14, wherein the surface mount comprises:

a clamping assembly configured to statically couple the surface mount to a surface; and

a connective assembly for coupling with the tethering device.

16. The personal device tethering system of Claim 14, wherein the surface comprises at least one of: a handlebar, a dashboard, a stroller, a belt clip, a belt, an armband, a desk, a wearable item, a bag, or a table.

17. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 14-16, wherein the non-enclosing holder comprises a magnet housing configured to receive a metallic plate affixed to a portion of the personal device.

18. The personal tethering system of Claim 17, wherein the metallic plate is affixed to an inner surface of the personal device.

19. The personal tethering system of Claim 17, wherein the metallic plate has a thickness of 1.5 - 3.0 millimeters.

20. The personal tethering system of Claim 17, wherein the magnet housing includes a recessed cavity on a surface that receives the metallic plate, wherein a depth of the recessed cavity corresponds to a thickness of the metallic plate.

21. The personal tethering system of Claim 17, wherein the magnet housing includes at least one magnet producing a magnetic field a surface of the magnet housing to attract and hold the metal plate and the personal device.

22. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 14-21, wherein the non-enclosing holder receives the personal device at a first surface and wherein the non- enclosing holder includes a rotational locking feature that is received by the tethering device.

23. The personal device tethering system of Claim 22, wherein the rotational locking feature includes at least one locking element, wherein rotation of the rotational locking feature once received by the tethering device causes engagement of the at least one locking element and a locking feature included in the tethering device.

24. The personal device tethering system of Claim 23, wherein the locking feature comprises at least one of: a spring or a compressable pylon, wherein the locking feature, upon engagement with the locking element, exerts a force against the locking element to form a static coupling between the non-enclosing holder and the tethering device.

25. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 14-24, further comprising a tether, a first end of the tether anchored to the tethering device and a second end of the tether anchored to the non-enclosing holder.

26. The personal device tethering system of Claim 25, wherein the tethering device includes a winding mechanism, and wherein the first end is anchored to the winding mechanism.

27. The personal device tethering system of Claim 26, wherein the winding mechanism includes a spring loaded reel for retracting the tether into the winding mechanism.

28. The personal device tethering system of Claim 27, wherein the spring loaded reel exerts a continuous retracting force on the tether of at least 2.8 pounds.

29. A method of tethering a personal device comprising:

applying a first force to couple the personal device to a first surface;

coupling the first surface to a second surface via a tether and at least one locking element;

rotating the first surface parallel to the second surface using a second force; and

releasing the locking element to create a space between the first surface and the second surface, wherein a portion of the tether extends between the first surface and the second surface within the space.

30. The method of Claim 29, further comprising applying a continuous retracting force on the tether.

31. The method of any one of Claims 29 or 30, wherein the first force is applied via a magnetic field.

32. A tethering system according to any of the embodiments disclosed herein.

33. The ornamental design for a personal device tethering system as shown and described herein.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 16 November 2017 (16.11.2017)

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A personal device tethering system comprising:

an armband or a belt clip;

a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device; and a tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the armband or the belt clip,.

wherein the non-enclosing holder receives the personal device at a first surface and wherein the non-enclosing holder includes a rotational locking feature that is received by the tethering device.

2. The personal device tethering system of Claim 1, wherein the non-enclosing holder comprises a magnet housing configured to receive a metallic plate affixed to a portion of the personal device.

3. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the metallic plate is affixed to an inner surface of the personal device.

4. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the metallic plate has a thickness of 1.5 - 3.0 millimeters.

5. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the magnet housing includes a recessed cavity on a surface that receives the metallic plate, wherein a depth of the recessed cavity corresponds to a thickness of the metallic plate.

6. The personal tethering system of Claim 2, wherein the magnet housing includes at least one magnet producing a magnetic field a surface of the magnet housing to attract and hold the metal plate and the personal device.

7. The personal device tethering system of Claim 1, wherein the rotational locking feature includes at least one locking element, wherein rotation of the rotational locking feature once received by the tethering device causes engagement of the at least one locking element and a locking feature included in the tethering device.

8. The personal device tethering system of Claim 7, wherein the locking feature comprises at least one of: a spring or a compressible pylon, wherein the locking feature, upon engagement with the locking element, exerts a force against the locking element to form a static coupling between the non-enclosing holder and the tethering device.

9. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 1-8, further comprising a tether, a first end of the tether anchored to the tethering device and a second end of the tether anchored to the non-enclosing holder.

10. The personal device tethering system of Claim 9, wherein the tethering device includes a winding mechanism, and wherein the first end is anchored to the winding mechanism.

11. The personal device tethering system of Claim 10, wherein the winding mechanism includes a spring loaded reel for retracting the tether into the winding mechanism.

12. The personal device tethering system of Claim 11, wherein the spring loaded reel exerts a continuous retracting force on the tether of at least 2.8 pounds.

13. A personal device tethering system comprising:

a surface mount;

a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device; and a tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the surface mount,

wherein the non-enclosing holder receives the personal device at a first surface and wherein the non-enclosing holder includes a rotational locking feature that is received by the tethering device.

14. The personal device tethering system of Claim 13, wherein the surface mount comprises:

a clamping assembly configured to statically couple the surface mount to a surface; and

a connective assembly for coupling with the tethering device.

15. The personal device tethering system of Claim 13, wherein the surface comprises at least one of: a handlebar, a dashboard, a stroller, a belt clip, a belt, an armband, a desk, a wearable item, a bag, or a table.

16. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 13-15, wherein the non-enclosing holder comprises a magnet housing configured to receive a metallic plate affixed to a portion of the personal device.

17. The personal tethering system of Claim 16, wherein the metallic plate is affixed to an inner surface of the personal device.

18. The personal tethering system of Claim 16, wherein the metallic plate has a thickness of 1.5 - 3.0 millimeters.

19. The personal tethering system of Claim 16, wherein the magnet housing includes a recessed cavity on a surface that receives the metallic plate, wherein a depth of the recessed cavity corresponds to a thickness of the metallic plate.

20. The personal tethering system of Claim 16, wherein the magnet housing includes at least one magnet producing a magnetic field a surface of the magnet housing to attract and hold the metal plate and the personal device.

21. The personal device tethering system of Claim 13, wherein the rotational locking feature includes at least one locking element, wherein rotation of the rotational locking feature once received by the tethering device causes engagement of the at least one locking element and a locking feature included in the tethering device.

22. The personal device tethering system of Claim 21, wherein the locking feature comprises at least one of: a spring or a compressable pylon, wherein the locking feature, upon engagement with the locking element, exerts a force against the locking element to form a static coupling between the non-enclosing holder and the tethering device.

23. The personal device tethering system of any one of Claims 13-22, further comprising a tether, a first end of the tether anchored to the tethering device and a second end of the tether anchored to the non-enclosing holder.

24. The personal device tethering system of Claim 23, wherein the tethering device includes a winding mechanism, and wherein the first end is anchored to the winding mechanism.

25. The personal device tethering system of Claim 24, wherein the winding mechanism includes a spring loaded reel for retracting the tether into the winding mechanism.

26. The personal device tethering system of Claim 25, wherein the spring loaded reel exerts a continuous retracting force on the tether of at least 2.8 pounds.

27. A method of tethering a personal device comprising:

applying a first force to couple the personal device to a first surface;

coupling the first surface to a second surface via a tether and at least one locking element;

rotating the first surface parallel to the second surface using a second force; and

releasing the locking element to create a space between the first surface and the second surface, wherein a portion of the tether extends between the first surface and the second surface within the space.

28. The method of Claim 27, further comprising applying a continuous retracting force on the tether.

29. The method of any one of Claims 27 or 28, wherein the first force is applied via a magnetic field.

30. A tethering system according to any of the embodiments disclosed herein.

31. The ornamental design for a personal device tethering system as shown and described herein.

Description:
PERSONAL DEVICE TETHER

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/344037 filed June 1, 2016 entitled "PERSONAL DEVICE TETHER" the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Field

[0002] The present disclosure is related to tethering features for a personal device.

Description of Related Art

[0003] Personal devices such as smartphones, media players, or pedometers are increasingly miniaturized for day-to-day use. Such devices may be carried by a user such as while walking or exercising. In the course of using the device, it may be desirable to provide a convenient yet secure way to carry the device.

SUMMARY

[0004] The devices, systems, and methods disclosed herein have several features, no single one of which is solely responsible for its desirable attributes. Without limiting the scope as expressed by the claims that follow, its more prominent features will now be discussed briefly. After considering this discussion, and particularly after reading the section entitled "Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments" one will understand how the features of the system and methods provide several advantages over traditional systems and methods.

[0005] In one innovative aspect, a personal device tethering system is provided. The system includes an armband or a belt clip. The system includes a non-enclosing holder configured to receive a personal device. The system includes a tethering device configured to receive the non-enclosing holder and couple with the armband or belt clip. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] The following is a brief description of each of the drawings. The drawings disclose illustrative embodiments and particularly illustrative implementations in the context of tethering a personal device. They do not set forth all embodiments. Other embodiments may be used in addition to or instead. Conversely, some embodiments may be practiced without all of the details that are disclosed. It is to be noted that the Figures may not be drawn to any particular proportion or scale.

[0007] FIG. 1 is an illustration of a personal device tethering system according to an exemplary implementation.

[0008] FIG. 2 is an illustration of the personal device tethering system of FIG. 1 without the personal device.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a bottom surface of the non-enclosing holder.

[0010] FIG. 4 is another view of the bottom surface of the non-enclosing holder.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a side-perspective view of the non-enclosing holder.

[0012] FIG. 6 is a transparent view of the non-enclosing holder.

[0013] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the non-enclosing holder taken along the first point and the second point shown in FIG. 4.

[0014] FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of a lower portion of the tether housing.

[0015] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the tether housing taken along the first point and the second point shown in FIG. 8.

[0016] FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of the bottom portion of the tether housing.

[0017] FIG. 11 provides a bottom perspective view of the personal device tethering system.

[0018] FIG. 12 shows exemplary features for receiving the non-enclosing holder by the tether housing.

[0019] FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of the non-enclosing holder extending by the tether from the tether housing. [0020] FIG. 14 shows another perspective view of the non-enclosing holder extending by the tether from the tether housing.

[0021] FIG. 15 shows a perspective view of the tether housing and armband in an exemplary embodiment of the personal tethering system.

[0022] FIG. 16 is a top view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0023] FIG. 17 is a bottom view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0024] FIG. 18 is a left side view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0025] FIG. 19 is a right side view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0026] FIG. 20 is a front view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0027] FIG. 21 is rear view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMB ODEVIENT S

[0028] The personal device tethering system may include an armband or clip to attach to a belt or other surface. The armband or clip provides a way to secure the system to the body or vehicle (e.g., bike) of the user. The armband may be attached to a tethering device such as a tether housing. The armband may be permanently or semi-permanently affixed to the armband or belt. The tether housing may include a winding mechanism to maintain the supply of tether. A pulley or reel may be included to turn a re-winder and allow controlled release and recoil of the tether. Locking features may also be included to receive and secure a magnet housing. The magnet housing may attach to the personal device such as via magnetism. As shown in the figures, the magnet housing may include one or more magnets (e.g., 2 magnets, 6 magnets, 8 magnets or other arrangement) to produce a suitable magnetic field that can engage a metal plate affixed to the personal device. The metal plate may be a thin, low profile metal plate. In some implementations, the metal plate may be affixed to the personal device using an adhesive. In some implementations, the metal plate may be affixed to the personal device through a case. In such implementations, the case may include the metal plate. The metal plate may be disposed for coupling with the magnet housing. A rubber pad may be included to provide a secure and safe connection between the personal device and the magnet housing. The magnet housing can be received by the tether housing and rotatably (e.g., clockwise or counterclockwise) locked into the tether housing. As shown in the figures, rotational locking features on the magnet housing may engage with locking features in the tether housing. Once engaged, the personal device may be secured via magnet(s) to the magnet housing which in turn is secured to the tether housing via the locking features.

[0029] Should a user wish to access the personal device, such as during a run or while riding a bike, rotating the personal device may disengage the magnet housing from the tether housing. As the user removes the personal device from the tether housing, the tether would extend to provide a secure link between the personal device and the tether housing. The tether may provide tension sufficient to prevent dropping of the personal device. For example, if the personal device is a smartphone, if user receives a call, she may extend the personal device and non-enclosing holder from the tether housing. If she later releases the personal device, the tension on the tether may cause the personal device to hang rather than drop to the ground. In some implementations, the tension may draw the personal device toward the tether housing rather than allowing the personal device to drop to the ground. In some implementations, the tension may be sufficient to retract the personal device to the tether housing if the user releases the personal device.

[0030] Should a user wish to access the personal device without the tether, the user may apply force sufficient to break the magnetic link between the metal plate and the magnet housing. This affords a way to access the personal device without a tether. This can be desirable where a user deems the risk of drop low and needs more freedom in movement for the personal device such as to make a mobile payment or show a picture to a friend.

[0031] The personal device tethering system described herein provides a non- enclosing holder that permits tethered use without requiring a custom case or other enclosing apparatus to be affixed to the personal device. The personal device may be an unobtrusive metal plate or other magenetically active element that can couple to the personal device tethering system. For example, a magnet housing may be included in or implemented as the non-enclosing holder. Custom cases can be bulky and may include physical features that are only useful in specific contexts (e.g., when the device is interfacing with another specific component). Furthermore, custom cases are typically suitable for a limited range of personal devices (e.g., specific make or model)

[0032] The features described preferably limit the distortion of the physical shape of the personal device by including a small magnetically responsive element that can be applied to the personal device to couple with the non-enclosing holder. As one non-limiting advantage, the features described strike a balance between security for the personal device and freedom of motion both while the device is in use and attached to the personal tethering system. The features also provide a universal tethering system that can be used for a wide array of personal devices.

[0033] FIG. 1 is an illustration of a personal device tethering system according to an exemplary implementation. The personal device tethering system 200 may receive a personal device 120 such as a smartphone, a cellphone, a portable music player, a personal digital assistant, a global positioning system device, electronic sporting equipment (e.g., electronic golf range finder / score keeper), or the like. The personal tethering system 200 may include an armband 202. The armband 202 may be adjustable to fit around an arm or leg of a user. In some implementations, the personal tethering system 200 may be mounted to a surface such as a desk, a handlebar, a stroller, a counter, a dashboard, or the like. In such implementations, the personal tethering system 200 may include a surface mount, bracket, or similar structure to affix the system 200 to the desired surface. The surface mount may include a clamping assembly configured to statically couple the surface mount to a surface such as a handlebar, a dashboard, a stroller, a belt clip, a belt an armband, a desk, a wearable item, a bag, or a table.

[0034] The armband 202 may be formed from a stretchable material to ensure that the armband 202 can fit a variety of body parts. The stretchable material may be used to form a portion of the armband 202. For example, one inch of the material may be used to provide variation in the size of the armband 202. Additional variation may be provided by adjustable portions of the armband 202 that can lengthen or shorten the armband 202. For example, the armband 202 may include a VELCRO® portion, snaps, buttons, or other fastening mechanism to allow cinching of the armband 202 to secure the armband 202 to a body part or physical surface (e.g., handlebar).

[0035] FIG. 2 is an illustration of the personal device tethering system of FIG. 1 without the personal device 120 (i.e., with the personal device 120 removed). FIG. 2 illustrates three of the components included in the personal device tethering system 200, namely a non-enclosing holder 206, a tether housing 204, and the armband 202. The non- enclosing holder 206 may include magnetic elements that create a magnetic field to attract and hold the personal device 120. A magnetically active plate (e.g., metal plate) may be affixed to a portion of the personal device 120. When the personal device 120 is attached to the non-enclosing holder 206, the magnetically active plate may be received within a recessed cavity 230 on a top surface 250 that interfaces (e.g., directly or indirectly contacts or abuts) with the personal device 120.

[0036] The magnetically active plate may include an adhesive surface that can be applied to the personal device 120. The magnetically active plate, in some implementations, may be included within the personal device 120 (e.g., inside the device housing). The magnetically active plate may have a thickness. The thickness may be at least 1.5 or 1.8 millimeters and may correspond to the depth of the recessed cavity 230. In some implementations, the thickness may be 1.5 to 3.0 millimeters.

[0037] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a bottom surface 260 of the non-enclosing holder 206. The bottom surface 260 can be parallel to the top surface 250. The bottom surface 260 interfaces with the tether housing 204 (as shown, for example, in FIG. 2). The bottom surface 260 may include a rotational locking feature 220. The rotational locking features 220 may include an annular protrusion projected outwardly from the bottom surface. The rotational locking feature 220 may include a circular structure extending from bottom surface 260, and may include at least two locking elements. As shown in FIG. 3, the rotational locking feature 220 includes four locking elements 210a, 210b, 210c, and 210d. The locking elements 210a-210d extend inward from the annular protrusion toward a anchor point 212 of the rotational locking feature 220. The anchor point 212 may be located in the center of the bottom surface 260. In some implementations, the locking elements may extend away from the anchor point 212. The anchor point 212 may be a reinforced connective slot or bore for receiving and anchoring at least a portion of the tether 310. In some embodiments, the anchor point 212 extends partially through the non-enclosing holder 206, as shown in FIG. 7. In some embodiments, the anchor point 212 extends all the way through the non- enclosing holder 206.

[0038] FIG. 4 is another view of the bottom surface 260 of the non-enclosing holder 206. The embodiment shown in FIG. 4 illustrates one layout for the locking elements 210a, 210b, 210c, and 210d. The locking elements may engage with respective or corresponding locking features included in the tether housing 204 (see locking features 320a, 320b, 320c, and 320d shown in FIG. 8). Accordingly, the non-enclosing holder 206 may be statically coupled with the tethering device (including, for example, the tether housing 204).

[0039] The locking elements 210a-210d may be positioned to allow a rotational force to cause disengagement with the locking features of the tether housing 204. Accordingly, a user may access a personal device by either disengaging the personal device from the non-enclosing holder 206 by supplying sufficient force to overcome the magnetic force between the magnet(s) included in the non-enclosing holder 206 and the personal device 120 (or magnetically active plate affixed thereto), thus permitting free range of motion for the personal device 120 or by rotating the non-enclosing holder 206 to disengage it from the tether housing 204 to permit tethered use of the personal device 120.

[0040] FIG. 4 also includes indications for a first point 270a and a second point 270b. A cross-section of the non-enclosing holder taken along a line connecting the first point 270a and the second point 270b is shown in FIG. 7, discussed below.

[0041] FIG. 5 is a side-perspective view of the non-enclosing holder 206. The cavity 230 on the top surface 250 is shown. The depth or shape of the cavity 230 may correspond to the width or shape of the metallically active plate affixed to the personal device 120.

[0042] FIG. 6 is a transparent view of the non-enclosing holder 206. The non- enclosing holder 206 may include one or more magnets. The magnets may be included between the top surface 250 and the bottom surface 260 of the non-enclosing holder 206 within a magnet housing. For example, FIG. 6 includes five magnet chambers 232, 234, 236, 238, and 240. Each chamber may be enclosed by the top surface 250 and the bottom surface 260. Magnets may be positioned within the chambers. The chambers may be disposed in any pattern that such that the magnets provide a magnetic field to the cavity 230 or other portion of the non-enclosing holder 206 that will receive the personal device 120. The magnets may be rare earth magnets. In some implementations, the non-enclosing holder 206 may include a power source such as a battery and the magnet chambers may include electromagnets driven by the power source. The power source may be activated based on proximity of the personal device 120 to the non-enclosing holder 206. The proximity may be detected by a proximity sensor, magnetic sensor, wireless signal detector, or other sensing element included on the non-enclosing holder 206. In some implementations, the non-enclosing holder 206 itself may be magnetic rather than housing the magnet(s).

[0043] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the non-enclosing holder 206 taken along the first point 270a and the second point 270b shown in FIG. 4. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnet chambers, such as the chamber 232, are generally rectangular in shape. In some implementations, the chamber 232 may take other shape such as ellipses, circular, or the like.

[0044] FIG. 7 also shows an example configuration for the anchor point 212. As discussed, the anchor point 212 may be where one end of a tether connects to the non- enclosing holder 206. The anchor point 212 may include a notch 214 or other engagement means to couple the non-enclosing holder 206 with the end of the tether. The end of the tether may be affixed to the non-enclosing holder 206 by force applied through engagement with the notch 214. For example, the tether may be formed of a compressible material and may be inserted into the anchor point 212. After insertion, the tether may expand to engage with the notch 214. In some implementations, an adhesive may be used as an additional or as an alternative engagement means to secure the end of the tether to the non-enclosing holder 206.

[0045] As shown in FIG. 9, the tether housing 204 can include an upper portion 304 and a lower portion 302. FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of the lower portion 302 of the tether housing 204. The lower portion 302 may include rivets for securing the lower portion 302 to the upper portion 304. As shown in FIG. 8, the lower portion 302 can include one or more rings 384 which may receive or include a post 382 that can be secured by a cap 380. The cap 380 may be received by the upper portion 304 to engage with the post 382 affixed to the lower portion 302. In some embodiments, the lower portion 302 can be joined to the upper portion 304 by other methods or mechanisms, such as other mechanical fasteners, press fits, snap fits, adhesives, etc.

[0046] The lower portion 302 may also include locking features 320a, 320b, 320c, and 320d. The locking features may be disposed to engage with the rotational locking elements (e.g., 210a, 201b, 210c, and 210d respectively). The locking features, such as locking feature 320c, may include a concave surface for engaging with the rotational locking element 210c, which may be convex. This interfacing may include ridges or other friction inducing features to facilitate a static coupling between the locking feature 320c and the rotational locking element 210.

[0047] A tether 310 is shown. The tether 310 may be formed of nylon cord, cable (e.g., aircraft cable), cotton, nanotube fibers, KEVLAR® fibers, or other flexible and strong material that can withstand the force of the personal device 120 being dropped and can be dangled from or be retracted by the tether housing 204. The tether 310 may extend through a first opening 315 at or near the center of the lower portion 302. A second opening 342 may direct the tether to a winding mechanism 350 via a channel 359. The winding mechanism 350 may include a spring loaded reel 355 configured to retract the tether 310. A bearing 357 or other stopping element may be included in the winding mechanism 350 to limit or control one or more of: an amount of the tether extended from the winding mechanism 350 or a rate at which the tether 310 is released from the winding mechanism 350 or received by the winding mechanism 350. The winding mechanism 350 may include additional or alternative retraction means to control release and return of the tether 310.

[0048] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the tether housing 204 taken along a line extending between the first point 399a and the second point 399b shown in FIG. 8. The tether housing 204 may include the upper portion 304 and the lower portion 302. The upper portion 304 may be held to the lower portion 302 using a rivet or other mechanism. One ring, the ring 384, is shown in FIG. 9 though additional rings, posts, and rivets (or other securing means) may be included to secure the upper portion 304 and the lower portion 302. [0049] A mounting post 390 may be included in the tether housing 204. The mounting post 390 may be included to secure the tether housing 204 to a mounting surface such as an armband, belt clip, clothing, bag, or other surface mount. Depending on the surface mount, other types of connective assemblies may be included such as adhesive connections, stitched connections, additional or alternative mounting post configurations, or the like.

[0050] The embodiment of FIG. 9 also shows the first opening 315 and how the surface of the first opening 315 may include curvature to facilitate smooth extraction and retraction of the tether 310.

[0051] FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of the bottom portion 302 of the tether housing 204. The bottom portion 302 may include cutouts 392a, 392b, 392c, and 392d through the bottom portion 302. The cutouts 392a, 392b, 392c, and 392d may allow air to flow into and out of the tether housing 204. The cutouts 392a, 392b, 392c, and 392d can provide a means for any liquid that enters the tether housing 204 to evaporate. The liquid may enter the tether housing 204 through absorption on the tether 310, through gaps between the upper portion 304 and the lower portion 302, or from a surface near or abutting the lower portion 302 such as a sweaty arm or leg or dashboard condensation.

[0052] The cutouts 392a, 392b, 392c, and 392d may also provide space for the locking features 320a, 320b, 320c, and 320d to move when engaging with the corresponding locking elements from the non-enclosing holder 206.

[0053] FIG. 11 provides a bottom perspective view of the personal device tethering system. In this example, the mounting post 390 is shown to affix the tether housing 204 to the armband 202.

[0054] FIG. 12 shows exemplary features for receiving the non-enclosing holder 206 by the tether housing 204. The tether 310 is shown in FIG. 12 as extending from the bottom portion 302 to the anchor point 212 of the non-enclosing holder 206. The winding mechanism 350 may exert a retracting force on the tether 310 of at least 2.8 pounds. In some implementations, the retracting force may be 5 pounds or 6 pounds. The retracting force may be selected to ensure the personal devices compatible with the personal tethering system 200 are retractable. For example, if the personal device is a feature phone, the retracting force may be less than 2.8 pounds.

[0055] The force may be created, at least in part, by the spring loaded reel 355. The retracting force may be continuously applied. In some implementations the quantity of force exerted by the winding mechanism 350 (or element therein such as the spring loaded reel 355) may vary. For example, it may be desirable to increase the force as more of the tether 310 is released. This can ensure that sufficient force is applied to retract the personal device 120 and the non-enclosing holder 206 in the event they are dropped such as during exercising or by accident. In some embodiments, the tether 310 may extend for a distance of at least 1.5 feet. The tether 310 may be of sufficient length that a user can access and use the personal device 120 freely when the tether is extended, while also being sufficiently short so as to prevent or reduce the likelihood that the personal device 120 will impact the ground if dropped.

[0056] FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of the non-enclosing holder 206 extending by the tether from the tether housing. 204 In the configuration shown in FIG. 13, the locking elements and rotational locking features may be aligned such that when the tether 310 is retracted into the tether housing 204, the locking features 320a, 320b, 320c, and 320d may collide with, rather than engage with (see, e.g., FIG. 2), the rotational locking elements (e.g., 210a, 201b, 210c, and 210d respectively). The collision would create a space between the non-enclosing holder 206 and the tether housing 204 rather than the coupling shown in, for example, FIG. 2.

[0057] FIG. 14 shows another perspective view of the non-enclosing holder extending by the tether from the tether housing. In FIG. 14, the non-enclosing holder 206 is shown at an angle relative to the tether housing 204 that would permit the rotational locking feature 220 to be received by the tether housing 204. Once received, when the non-enclosing holder 206 is rotated clockwise, the rotational locking elements (e.g., 210a, 210b, 210c, and 210d) may engage with respective locking features (e.g., 320a, 320b, 320c, and 320d). Upon engagement with the locking element, the locking feature may exert a force against the locking element to form a static coupling between the non-enclosing holder 206 and the tether housing 204. The locking feature may exert a force using a metal spring, a polymer structure (e.g., plastic clip or other compressible pylon), or other deformable structure.

[0058] FIG. 15 shows a perspective view of the tether housing 204 and armband 202 in an exemplary embodiment of the personal tethering system. The tether housing 204 includes the upper portion 304 which is covering elements on the lower portion 206 such as the winding mechanism 350. The tether 310 is shown extending from the first opening 315. As shown in FIG. 15, a receiving well 340 is formed when the upper portion 304 is affixed to the lower portion 260. The receiving well 340 includes a channel that can receive the rotational locking feature 220. As described. The receiving well 340 may include a sloped or curved upper portion to provide a guiding surface for the rotational locking feature 220.

[0059] The shape of the tether housing 204 and the non-enclosing holder 206 are shown as generally rectangular. It will be appreciated that the personal tethering system 200 provides certain non-limiting advantages in the way the tether housing 204 and non-enclosing holder 206 secure the personal device 120. The tether housing 204 and the non-enclosing holder 206 may be implemented using different ornamental shapes to provide different visual impressions for the personal tethering system 200.

[0060] FIG. 16 is a top view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0061] FIG. 17 is a bottom view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0062] FIG. 18 is a left side view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0063] FIG. 19 is a right side view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0064] FIG. 20 is a front view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0065] FIG. 21 is rear view of an embodiment of an ornamental design for a personal tethering system.

[0066] In one or more of the implementations the personal tethering system may include an armband for an iPhone or other smartphone. The system may be universal in nature (e.g., adjustable to a variety of sizes of personal devices it can hold). The personal device may click into a mechanism and the recoil may be part of that mechanism. The click may include a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. A user can click out to un-tether when user does not want the personal device attached to armband. A user can click in to secure the personal device back to armband and recoil system so that the personal device is tethered. These click in/click outs of the personal tethering systems described may be performed easily, without requiring looking at the personal tethering system or stopping an activity the user is engaged in (e.g., running, weightlifting, driving, strolling, biking, etc.) to retrieve the personal device. This can be desirable, for example, to tether devices used during athletic activities.

[0067] A method of tethering a personal device may include applying a first force (e.g., via a magnetic field) to couple the personal device to a first surface. The first surface may include the non-enclosing holder 206 discussed herein. The method may also include coupling the first surface to a second surface via a tether and at least one locking element. The second surface may include the tether housing 204 discussed herein. The method may further include rotating the first surface parallel to the second surface using a second force. The method may also include releasing the locking element to create a space between the first surface and the second surface, wherein a portion of the tether extends between the first surface and the second surface within the space. In some implementations, the method may include applying a continuous retracting force on the tether.

[0068] The foregoing description and claims may refer to elements or features as being "connected" or "coupled" together. As used herein, unless expressly stated otherwise, "connected" means that one element/feature is directly or indirectly connected to another element/feature, and not necessarily mechanically. Likewise, unless expressly stated otherwise, "coupled" means that one element/feature is directly or indirectly coupled to another element/feature, and not necessarily mechanically. Thus, although the various schematics shown in the Figures depict example arrangements of elements and components, additional intervening elements, devices, features, or components may be present in an actual embodiment (assuming that the functionality of the depicted circuits is not adversely affected). [0069] The methods of tethering disclosed herein may comprise one or more steps or actions for achieving the described method. The method steps and/or actions may be interchanged with one another without departing from the scope of the claims. In other words, unless a specific order of steps or actions is specified, the order and/or use of specific steps and/or actions may be modified without departing from the scope of the claims.

[0070] It is to be understood that the implementations are not limited to the precise configuration and components illustrated above. Various modifications, changes, and variations may be made in the arrangement, operation, and details of the methods and apparatus described above without departing from the scope of the implementations.

[0071] Although this invention has been described in terms of certain embodiments, other embodiments that are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, including embodiments that do not provide all of the features and advantages set forth herein, are also within the scope of this invention. Moreover, the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. In addition, certain features shown in the context of one embodiment can be incorporated into other embodiments as well.