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Title:
PROTECTIVE CASE FOR A SMARTPHONE WITH PASSIVE AUDIO FEATURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/130257
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A protective case for a smartphone comprises a single body (2) suitable to be hand fitted to the chassis of the smartphone to firmly embrace at least two opposite sides of the chassis and remain firmly anchored thereon while extending from a top to a bottom of each longer side of the chassis; a movable wall (3) carried by the body (2) to slide parallel to longer sides of the smartphone so that, in an extracted position, the wall projects from the body to deflect sound to and from a speaker and/or microphone of the smartphone when the body is anchored to the chassis and having a width of at least 7/10 of a shorter side of the smartphone; wherein the movable wall (3) is configured to be distanced from the chassis so that there is no contact with the chassis during sliding; and wherein the body (2) comprises rails (R) matching with suitable sliding elements of the movable wall, the rails being either on lateral opposite walls of the body (2) contacting the longer sides of the chassis; or being in the form of ridges projecting on the body (2) opposite to the chassis when the body is anchored to the smartphone.

Inventors:
COLA, Mario Eugenio (Contrada Reputolo 8, Fermo, 63900, IT)
Application Number:
IB2018/060684
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 28, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COLA, Mario Eugenio (Contrada Reputolo 8, Fermo, 63900, IT)
CALZAVARA, Armando (Via Don L. Murialdo 32, Torino, 10142, IT)
PICCHI, Davide (Via Rosolino Pilo 39, Torino, 10145, IT)
IACOPINI, Massimo (Via Vallescura 26a, Fermo, 63900, IT)
International Classes:
H04M1/03; H04B1/3888; H04M1/18; A45C11/00; H04M1/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013028282A12013-02-28
WO2013028282A12013-02-28
Foreign References:
US20110259664A12011-10-27
US20120199501A12012-08-09
US20110259664A12011-10-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOLA, Edoardo (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 3, Torino, 10125, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Protective case for a smartphone comprising:

- A single body (2) suitable to be hand fitted to the chassis of the smartphone to firmly embrace at least two opposite sides of the chassis and remain firmly anchored thereon while extending from a top to a bottom of each longer side of the chassis;

- A movable wall (3) carried by the body (2) to slide parallel to longer sides of the smartphone so that, in an extracted position, the wall projects from the body to deflect sound to and from a speaker and/ or microphone of the smartphone when the body is anchored to the chassis and having a width of at least 7/10 of a shorter side of the smartphone;

- Wherein the movable wall (3) is configured to be distanced from the chassis so that there is no contact with the chassis during sliding; and

- Wherein the body (2) comprises rails (R) matching with suitable sliding elements of the movable wall, the rails being either on lateral opposite walls of the body (2) contacting the longer sides of the chassis; or being in the form of ridges projecting on the body (2) opposite to the chassis when the body is anchored to the smartphone.

2. Protective case according to claim 1, wherein the body (2) and the movable wall (3) are contacting one another via thousand lines (15) for a fine adjustment of the movable wall position.

3. Protective case according to claims 1 or 2, wherein the movable wall (3) is received in a recess of the body (2) and has a first end (11) distal from the microphone and/ or speaker, the distal end (11) being flush with a back surface (S) of the body when the movable wall is in the retracted position.

4. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the movable wall (3) has a flush end (8), the flush end being proximal to the microphone and/ or speaker when the movable wall is in the retracted position.

5. Protective case according to claim 4, wherein flush end (8) does not project from the body (2) along a sliding direction of the movable wall (3) when the movable wall (3) is in the retracted position.

6. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims, wherein both the body (2) and the movable wall (3) are of injection molded polycarbonate.

7. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the movable wall (3) is undeformable between the retracted and the extracted position.

8. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the movable wall (3) projects from the chassis in the extracted position by no more than 4 centimeters.

9. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the body (2) has a first and second ridge (4, 5) transversal to a sliding direction of the movable wall to block the body onto the chassis, a height of at least one of the first and second ridge being is less than half of a maximum height of the body.

10. Protective case according to any of the preceding claims when depending on claim 3, wherein the movable wall (3) and/ or the body (2) define a depression (12) adjacent or across the first end (11) to guide a finger of the user to find a preferred position for extracting the movable wall (3).

Description:
Protective case for a smartphone with passive audio feature

DESCRIPTION TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a protective case for a smartphone. In particular, the protective case of the present invention has a passive audio feature to enhance both the performance of the speakers for multimedia contents of the smartphone and that of the microphones, e.g. during a telephone conversation. A smartphone is an intelligent personal electronic device providing multimedia contents and having a size such to fit e.g. in a back pocket of unisex jeans or trousers. The same does not apply to other larger intelligent personal electronic devices e.g. a tablet. Furthermore a smartphone, due to the largest possible screen area on its chassis, has microphone and speaker ports on the thickness of the chassis.

STATE OF THE ART

WO2013028282 discloses a number of embodiments wherein a single-body protective cover carries a flexible sound deflector sliding from a curved, extracted position in a hidden, retracted position. In the extracted position, the sound deflector orients sound waves to the microphone of the smartphone and from the multimedia speakers of the smartphone to a user watching the screen. The flexible sound deflector tends to be damaged during its working life due to deformation cycles. Furthermore, there is a large contact area between the sliding deflector and a rear surface of the smartphone and this, over time, damages the surface texture of the smartphone because of friction. Embodiment of figure 6 in WO2013028282 and US2011259664 disclose a two-body protective cover wherein two parts slide one with respect to the other and, in a retracted position, embrace the smartphone to provide protection and in an extracted position, a void is defined adjacent to a shorter and lower side of the smartphone to provide a sound deflection feature similar to that described in the preceding paragraph. A two-body protective case may become loose over time and this prejudice protection of the smartphone. In particular, in case one of the two bodies detaches, e.g. the one sliding close to the shorter and lower side of the smartphone, the other one does not provide a proper protection to the smartphone from shocks, scratches and the like and may even not be firmly attached to the chassis of the smartphone.

SCOPE AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The scope of the present invention is to provide a protective element for a smartphone avoiding the above-mentioned problems.

The scope of the present invention is achieved by a protective case for a mobile phone comprising:

- A single body suitable to be hand fitted to the chassis of a smartphone to firmly embrace at least two opposite sides of the chassis and remain firmly anchored thereon while extending from a top to a bottom of each longer side of the chassis;

- A movable wall carried by the body to slide parallel to longer sides of the smartphone so that, in an extracted position, the wall projects from the body to deflect sound to and from a speaker and/ or microphone of the smartphone when the body is anchored to the chassis and having a width of at least 7/10 of a shorter side of the smartphone; - Wherein the movable wall is configured to be distanced from the chassis so that there is no contact with the chassis during sliding; and

- Wherein the body comprises rails matching with suitable sliding elements of the movable wall, the rails being either on lateral opposite walls of the body contacting the longer sides of the chassis; or being in the form of ridges projecting on the body opposite to the chassis when the body is anchored to the smartphone.

According to the invention, even in case the movable wall is detached from the body, the latter remains firmly attached to the chassis and provide the protection of a standard case to the smartphone. Furthermore, the specific dimension of the movable wall is optimized to provide an effective acoustic performance and a compact dimension in order to improve daily use.

According to a preferred embodiment, the body and the movable wall are contacting one another via thousand lines in order for fine adjustment of the movable wall position.

According to a preferred embodiment, the movable wall is received in a recess of the body and has an end distal from the microphone and/ or speaker, the distal end being flush with a back surface of the body when the movable wall is in the retracted position. This further improves compact dimensions and user experience.

According to a preferred embodiment, the movable wall has a flush end, the flush end being proximal to the microphone and/or speaker when the movable wall is in the retracted position. This does not significantly impact the sound deflection performance and simplifies the manufacturing process of the movable wall. According to a preferred embodiment, the proximal end is not projecting from the body along the sliding direction of the movable wall when the latter is in the retracted position. This further improves compactness of the case.

According to a preferred embodiment, both the body and the movable wall are of injection molded polycarbonate. This polymer has proved to be effective both for sound deflection and for durability of the sliding rails.

According to a preferred embodiment, the movable wall is undeformable between the retracted and the extracted position. This ensures durability of sliding on the rails and does not significantly impact on sound reflection.

According to a preferred embodiment, the movable wall projects from the chassis in the extracted position by no more than 4 centimeters. This does not significantly impact on sound reflection and improves compactness of the protective case.

According to a preferred embodiment, the body has a first and second ridge transversal to a sliding direction of the movable wall to block the body onto the chassis. In particular, a height of at least one of the ridge is less than half of a maximum height of the body. In this manner, there is no interference with speaker and/ or microphone ports on the lower and shorter side of the chassis and the body is firmly secured to the smartphone.

According to a preferred embodiment, the movable wall and/ or the body define a depression adjacent or across the first end to guide a finger of the user to find a preferred position for extracting the movable wall. This improves handling of the sound deflection mode.

Other advantageous features will be described in the following paragraphs and will be listed in the claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described in the following paragraphs based on non- limiting examples illustrated with explication purposes in the attached drawings, wherein:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a back side of a protective element case according to the present invention, wherein the movable wall is extracted;

Fig. 2 is a perspective of a front side of the protective case in fig. 1;

- Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a back side of the protective case according to the present invention, wherein the movable wall is retracted;

Fig. 4 is a front view of the protective case in fig. 3;

Fig. 5 is a back view of fig. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Figure 1 shows, as a whole, a protecting case 1 comprising a protective body 2, suitable for being firmly anchored to a chassis of a smartphone (not shown) in use, and a sound deflector 3 slidingly attached to body 1 to selectively move from a retracted position (fig. 3) where sound performance of the smartphone is not significantly enhanced and an extracted position from body 2 where sound from or to a lower and shorter side of the chassis is deflected to improve sound performance.

Body 2 is a single body made either of a single material, e.g. a polymeric material, or of a plurality of materials, e.g. a co-molded structure comprising a stronger frame and a more compliant material molded thereon or a multi-layer structure having e.g. a softer layer to contact the chassis and a stronger layer to provide resistance against shocks. Preferably, body 2 is made of injection molded polycarbonate. Even more preferably, body 2 has a continuous lower portion and an upper portion providing an opening for a camera and/or flash light of the smartphone. Lower portion of body 2 may be however discontinuous, i.e. defining apertures to decrease weight of body 2.

Body 2 is suitable to be anchored to the chassis of a smartphone in any known manner, including fitting by snapping or by interference. The latter ensure proper sliding of sound deflector 3 when body 2 is anchored to the chassis. It is also possible that, if body 2 is a multi-material element, anchoring means are provided by a soft and deformable material, such as silicone or the like, fitted on the chassis and a stronger structure is co-molded in such soft material to provide guides or rails for the sliding movement of sound deflector 3.

According to the embodiment of fig. 1, body 2 defines a left rail (hidden) and a right rail R extending parallel to longer sides of the chassis and embracing the latter, i.e. project on the same side of the chassis. It is also possible that rails of body 2 project opposite to the chassis on a back surface of body 2.

Sound deflector 3 improves the audio performance of the smartphone in the sense that, in the extracted position, sound from a speaker port of the chassis is prevented from travelling away from the smartphone and from the user along a direction perpendicular to a plane where sliding guides of deflector 3 lay. In particular, the user is normally located adjacent to a screen of the smartphone, i.e. at the opposite side of body 2 with respect to the chassis. The same applies to sound waves directed to a microphone port of the chassis and generated on a user side of the smartphone, i.e. when a user faces a screen of the smartphone. Furthermore, the speaker and/ or a microphone port of the chassis are located in the thickness of the device, normally on a lower and shorter side of the chassis. In particular, such ports face a direction that is substantially parallel to a plane surface defined by the screen of the smartphone.

An optimal extraction with respect to the shorter and lower side of the chassis does not exceeds 4 centimeters. Furthermore, an optimal width of sound deflector 3 is at least 7/ 10 of the shorter and lower side of the chassis.

As shown in figure 2, body 2 has a front surface facing in use the chassis and delimited by end ridges 4, 5 transversal, preferably perpendicular, to a sliding direction of sound deflector 3. Ridges 4, 5 block body 2 on the chassis along a direction parallel to the sliding direction of sound deflector 3 and contact shorter sides of the chassis. Preferably, ridges 4, 5 have a reduced height with respect to a maximum height of body 2, in particular a height that is no more than half of the maximum height of body 2. Maximum height of body 2 is defined by embracing left and right walls 6, 7 that are suitable for coupling by fitting on longer sides of the chassis.

Sound deflector 3 slides on rails R without contacting the chassis, e.g. there is either a wall of body 2 or a distance between the chassis and sound deflector 3. Therefore sound deflector 3 is external to body 2 and, both in the retracted and extracted position, has the largest part of its back surface B exposed to shocks and sharp wedges of surrounding objects both in the retracted and in the extracted position.

Even more preferably, a proximal edge 8 of sound deflector 3 is adjacent to speaker and/ or microphone ports of the chassis and is flush, i.e. has a generating line substantially rectilinear and parallel to the sliding direction of sound deflector 3. In the retracted position, proximal edge 8 does not project from body 2 along the sliding direction (fig. 3). This helps in particular where deflector in injection molded and is made of polycarbonate.

Sound deflector 3 is preferably attached in a recess 10 of body 2 so that a distal edge 11 of sound deflector 3 along the sliding direction is flush with a back surface S of body 2 in the retracted position.

Sound deflector 3 or body 2 further defines a depression 12 to guide a finger of the user, e.g. an indicis finger, to find a preferred position for extracting sound deflector 3. Preferably, the preferred position is substantially midway rails R and adjacent to distal edge 11.

Sound deflector 3 is preferably snapped on rails R so as to be interchangeable and provide a personalization to the case by a user. Even, due to the fact that body 2 extends between a top and a bottom end of each longer side of the chassis, a proper protection of the smartphone is achieved when sound deflector 3 is detached. An example of protection provided by body 2 without sound deflector 3 is shown in fig. 5.

Fig. 5 also shows that, preferably, body 2 contacts sound deflector 3 via one or more thousand lines 15 and, correspondingly, sound deflector 3 has a coupling ridge (not shown) parallel to millerays and contacting thereon.