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Title:
RECONFIGURABLE WALL SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/204724
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A reconfigurable wall system (10) for dividing the interior space of a residential room comprises an anchor structure (14) configured to be fixedly attached to a structural member, such as an inner wall face, of the residential room for anchoring the reconfigurable wall system (10), and a movable wall (18) extending in a movable wall plane. The wall system comprises a wall motor for driving the movable wall (18), and a plurality of crawler tracks configured to engage with the floor to drive the movable wall (18), the crawler tracks being operatively connected to the wall motor so as to receive traction power therefrom.

Inventors:
BANKA JONSSON, Eva-Carin (Rännaregatan 37, Åhus, 296 32, SE)
Application Number:
SE2017/050517
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 17, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
IKEA SUPPLY AG (Grüssenweg 15, 4133 Pratteln, 4133, CH)
BANKA JONSSON, Eva-Carin (Rännaregatan 37, Åhus, 296 32, SE)
International Classes:
E04B2/82; E04B1/12
Foreign References:
US20130139449A12013-06-06
US20040035060A12004-02-26
US20040187395A12004-09-30
DE202011052302U12012-02-28
JP2008093023A2008-04-24
US20160031090A12016-02-04
US4037385A1977-07-26
US5964065A1999-10-12
US20150033642A12015-02-05
US3724397A1973-04-03
JP2002274619A2002-09-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STRÖM & GULLIKSSON AB (P.O. Box 4188, Malmö, SE-203 13, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A reconfigurable wall system for dividing the interior space of a residential room (12), the reconfigurable wall system comprising an anchor structure (14; 1 14; 214) configured to be fixedly attached to a structural member, such as an inner wall face (17), of the residential room (12) for anchoring the reconfigurable wall system (10; 1 10; 210), and a movable wall (18; 1 18; 218) extending in a movable wall plane, the wall system (10; 1 10; 210) comprising at least one wall motor (38) for driving the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218) along a wall movement direction (21 ), characterized in that the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218) comprises a plurality of crawler tracks (42) configured to engage with the floor (28) to drive the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218), the crawler tracks (42) being operatively connected to the at least one wall motor (38) so as to receive traction power therefrom.

2. The reconfigurable wall system according to 1 , wherein each of said crawler tracks (42) is configured as a toothed belt, engaging with a respective set of toothed pulleys (46a, 46b,46c).

3. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 2, wherein each crawler track (42) encloses and engages with a respective set of pulleys (46a, 46b, 46c) which are free from side flanges, and each of said crawler tracks (42) is provided with a ridge structure (56) extending along the length of the crawler track (42) and protruding radially inwards, for engaging with a mating axial alignment structure (54) of the respective set of pulleys (46a, 46b, 46c).

4. The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the previous claims, said crawler tracks (42) being arranged in a plurality of crawler track units (36a, 36b) distributed along the width (W) of the wall, each of said crawler tracks (42) enclosing and engaging with a proximal pulley (46a), a distal pulley (46b), and at least one intermediate pulley (46c) between the proximal and distal pulleys (46a, 46c).

5. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 4, wherein for each crawler track unit (36a, 36b), said distal pulleys (46b) are carried by a shared distal pulley shaft (48b); said proximal pulleys (46a) are carried by a shared proximal pulley shaft (48a); intermediate pulleys (46c) are carried by shared intermediate pulley shaft(s) (48c); and the distal, proximal, and intermediate pulley shafts (48a, 48b, 48c) are journaled in a pair of side walls (44a, 44b) straddling the crawler tracks (42).

6. The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the claims 4-5, each of said crawler track units (36a, 36b) being provided with a pair of tilt protection extensions (52a, 62b) extending adjacent to the floor (28) on the distal and proximal sides of the respective crawler track(s) (42) such that, if the movable wall plane tilts from a vertical plane by an angle exceeding a limit angle, the tilt protection

extensions (52a, 52b) will engage with the floor (28).

7. The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the previous claims, wherein the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218) is mechanically connected to the anchor structure (14; 1 14; 214) via an extensible support structure (30).

8. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 7, wherein the extensible support structure (30) comprises a scissors mechanism (58) comprising a proximal pair of link ends (60a, 62a) connected to the anchor structure (14; 1 14; 214) and a distal pair of link ends (60b, 62b) connected to the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218).

9. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 8, wherein the link ends (60a, 60b) of at least one of the proximal and distal link end pairs are in threaded engagement with a threaded rod (66), wherein a first link end (60a) of said at least one of the proximal and distal link end pairs engages with a right-handed thread of said threaded rod (66), and a second link end (62a) of said one of the proximal and distal link end pairs engages with a left-handed thread of said threaded rod (66).

10. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 9, wherein each of said left- and right-handed threads has a respective thread lead exceeding 50 mm, and preferably exceeding 75 mm.

1 1 . The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the claims 7-10, wherein the extensible support structure (30) is provided with a locking mechanism (68) allowing the degree of extension of the extensible support structure (30) to be locked.

12. The reconfigurable wall system according to claim 1 1 , wherein the locking mechanism (68) is self-locking.

13. The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the previous claims, wherein the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218) comprises a sensor (98) configured to measure the inclination of the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218), and a control system (92) configured to, based on the inclination of the movable wall (18; 1 18; 218), perform a safety action.

14. The reconfigurable wall system according to any of the previous claims, wherein the anchor structure comprises a stationary wall (14; 214), and said stationary and movable walls (214; 218) are interconnected by a roller carpet (284) and/or a roller ceiling (286).

15. A reconfigurable wall system kit comprising the components and instructions to assemble a reconfigurable wall system (10; 1 10; 210) according to any of the previous claims.

Description:
RECONFIGURABLE WALL SYSTEM

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a reconfigurable wall system for dividing the interior space of a residential room.

Background of the invention

US 2016/0031090 A1 suggests a residential building concept comprising various robotic furniture and structural elements, such as a movable wall for dividing the interior space of a room into flexible sub-spaces. The building concept is based on a chassis comprising a system of rails and floor tracks, allowing walls and other elements to move along the rails in response to commands from a control system. Summary of the invention

It is an object of the present invention to obtain a more versatile movable wall. To this end, there is provided a reconfigurable wall system for dividing the interior space of a residential room, the reconfigurable wall system comprising an anchor structure configured to be fixedly attached to a structural member, such as an inner wall face, of the residential room for anchoring the reconfigurable wall system, and a movable wall extending in a movable wall plane, the wall system comprising at least one wall motor for driving the movable wall along a wall movement direction, which may be normal to the movable wall plane. The movable wall comprises a plurality of crawler tracks configured to engage with the floor to drive the movable wall, the crawler tracks being operatively connected to the at least one wall motor so as to receive traction power therefrom. Such a wall system allows comparatively simple and inexpensive retrofitting in an existing residential building, and does not require substantial, irreversible modifications of, or visible guide structures on, the floor. In particular, no tracks or rails need be installed on or in the floor - the floor may be free from tracks and other guide installations. Crawler tracks are endless belts or tracks generally used on e.g. tanks, bulldozers, forestry machines and other machines requiring a better traction in difficult terrain than that provided by wheels only, and are sometimes referred to as continuous tracks, bulldozer tracks, or tank treads. Each crawler track loops a respective plurality of pulleys or sprockets distributed along the direction of travel, so as to distribute the weight of the movable wall over a large area of the floor, minimizing wear on the floor surface and allowing the wall to move across any type of floor surface already installed. Preferably, the crawler tracks are rubber crawler tracks, which may provide a high level of friction, i.e. good traction, while being gentle to the floor surface. The movable wall may divide one room from another, or one part of a room from another part of the same room. In order to obtain a true feeling of separate spaces, it is desirable that the movable wall be at least the height of an adult person, i.e. preferably 2 metres or higher.

According to an embodiment, each of said crawler tracks is configured as a toothed belt, engaging with a respective set of toothed pulleys. Toothed pulleys are sometimes also referred to as sprockets. The engagement between mating structures of the toothed pulleys and the respective crawler tracks enable an accurate control of the speed of the crawler tracks, since any track slip is avoided. Alternatively, the belt may be flat instead of toothed, in order to minimize noise. The crawler tracks may be reinforced by a fibrous material such as glass fibre or carbon fibre, which may e.g. be embedded into any rubber material of the crawler tracks. Such reinforcement may minimize any hysteresis in the engagement between the drive pulley and the engagement with the floor surface, so as to improve the odometric accuracy of the traction.

According to an embodiment, each crawler track encloses and engages with a respective set of pulleys which are free from side flanges, and each of said crawler tracks is provided with a ridge structure extending along the length of the crawler track and protruding radially inwards, for engaging with a mating axial alignment structure of the respective set of pulleys. Such an arrangement reduces the risk of severe damage to the floor, e.g. in the event that a crawler track breaks. Clearly, the ridge structure may be continuous or interrupted along its path on the inner circumference of the crawler track - its purpose is to centre the crawler track on its respective pulleys. The ridge structure may engage with a groove in the pulleys. Alternatively, the crawler track may be provided with a pair of ridges straddling the entire width of the pulley.

According to an embodiment, each crawler track of said plurality of crawler tracks is driven by a respective drive pulley, said drive pulleys being driven by a common, i.e. shared, drive motor. Thereby, it is possible to obtain an almost identical speed of the first and second traction units, minimizing any misalignment of the movable wall when moving. According to an embodiment, the drive pulleys are connected to a transmission common to the drive pulleys, such as a common drive shaft. According to an embodiment, said crawler tracks are arranged in a plurality of crawler track units distributed along the width of the wall, each of said crawler tracks enclosing and engaging with a proximal pulley, a distal pulley, and at least one intermediate pulley between the proximal and distal pulleys. In this disclosure, proximal is used for denoting the direction towards the anchor structure, whereas distal denotes the opposite, i.e. the direction away from the anchor structure. The lowermost tangents of the proximal, distal and intermediate pulleys may lie in the same plane, so as to define a planar engagement face for rolling on the floor; such an arrangement minimizes any wear on the floor. According to an embodiment, the intermediate pulley(s) may have a smaller diameter than the proximal and distal pulleys in order not to interfere with the crawler track's return path above the intermediate pulley(s).

According to an embodiment, each crawler track unit comprises at least two crawler tracks. The at least two crawler tracks within a crawler track unit provides redundancy, thereby maintaining the movability of the movable wall and minimizing any damage to the floor in the event that one crawler track should break.

According to an embodiment, for each crawler track unit, said distal pulleys are carried by a shared distal pulley shaft; said proximal pulleys are carried by a shared proximal pulley shaft; intermediate pulleys are carried by shared intermediate pulley shaft(s); and the distal, proximal, and intermediate pulley shafts are journaled in a pair of side walls straddling the crawler tracks.

According to an embodiment, each of said crawler track units is provided with a pair of tilt protection extensions extending adjacent to the floor on the distal and proximal sides of the respective crawler track(s) such that, if the movable wall plane tilts from a vertical plane by an angle exceeding a limit angle, the tilt protection extensions will engage with the floor. If the movable wall is tilted beyond the limit angle at which the tilt protection extensions engage with the floor, the crawler tracks will be lifted out of traction with the floor, thereby stopping the motion of the movable wall. Thereby, a completely passive tilt stop function may be obtained. Preferably, the limit angle is less than 20°; more preferred, it is less than 10°, even more preferred, it is less than 5°; and optimally, it is less than 3°.

According to an embodiment, each crawler track encloses an adjustable crawler track tensioning pulley. By way of example, the tensioning pulley may be a proximal and/or a distal pulley, which may be translatable relative to the other pulleys enclosed by the crawler track, in a direction along the wall movement direction. According to an embodiment, the movable wall is mechanically connected to the anchor structure via an extensible support structure. Preferably, the extensible support structure is connected to a top portion of the movable wall at a height exceeding 2 metres, to allowing an adult person to pass freely below it. According to an embodiment, the extensible support structure may be passive, so as not to require any driving of the extensible support structure. Thereby, there is no need to actively synchronize the speed of the extensible support structure with the speed of the crawler tracks; instead, the extensible support structure is extended/contracted by the motion of the movable wall itself. Preferably, the extensible support structure is non self-locking.

According to an embodiment, the extensible support structure comprises a scissors mechanism comprising a proximal pair of link ends connected to the anchor structure and a distal pair of link ends connected to the movable wall. A scissors mechanism may form a self-centering mechanism on the anchor structure as well as the movable wall, thereby preventing the movable wall from deviating from the path defined by the intended wall movement direction. A particularly stable scissors mechanism is obtained by a pair of crossed arms, the ends of the arms forming said respective pairs of link ends. The scissors mechanism may be oriented to operate in the horizontal plane, i.e. its pivot joint(s) may have a vertical pivot axis. A non-self- locking configuration may be obtained by arranging the respective link ends of each pair of link ends to be movable relative to each other by moving the movable wall.

According to an embodiment, the link ends of at least one of the proximal and distal link end pairs are in threaded engagement with a threaded rod, wherein a first link end of said at least one of the proximal and distal link end pairs engages with a right-handed thread of said threaded rod, and a second link end of said one of the proximal and distal link end pairs engages with a left-handed thread of said threaded rod. The engagement with two oppositely threaded portion of the same threaded rod unambiguously ties the positions of the respective link ends to each other. In particular, if said threads of opposite hands have the same thread lead, said link end pairs will be centered on the threaded rod at all times, keeping the movable wall in alignment with its intended path.

According to an embodiment, each of said left- and right-handed threads has a respective thread lead exceeding 50 mm, and preferably exceeding 75 mm. The lead for a screw thread is the axial travel for a single revolution. A long lead allows a strictly axial movement of the engaging link ends along the threaded rod to bring the threaded rod into rotation.

According to an embodiment, the extensible support structure is provided with a locking mechanism allowing the degree of extension of the extensible support structure to be locked. Preferably, the locking mechanism is electronically controlled. It may be configured so as to automatically release in response to an event associated with the setting in motion of the crawler tracks. It may also be configured to automatically lock in response to an event associated with the stopping of the crawler tracks. By way of example, the locking mechanism may be a shaft brake configured to engage with, and lock, the threaded rod described hereinabove. The brake may be provided with a manual release mechanism, to allow manually moving the wall if necessary. The locking mechanism may be self-locking, i.e. configured to be locked as the default non-actuated state, requiring actuation against a locking bias to unlock. Such a locking mechanism removes the risk that e.g. a badly timed power outage leaves the locking mechanism in an unlocked state.

According to an embodiment, the scissors mechanism doubles as a guide for power and/or communications cabling between the anchor structure and the movable wall.

According to an embodiment, the movable wall comprises a sensor configured to measure the inclination of the movable wall, and a control system configured to, based on the inclination of the wall, perform a safety action. The safety action may, by way of example, comprise stopping the movable wall. The safety action may also comprise locking the extensible support structure and operating the crawler tracks in a direction to straighten up the movable wall to a vertical position. The sensor may, by way of example, be accelerometer, an inclinometer, or the like.

According to an embodiment, the anchor structure comprises a stationary wall. Preferably, the stationary wall is of dimensions similar to those of the movable wall, such that the outer edges of the stationary and movable walls substantially coincide when the movable wall is placed against the stationary wall. Such a design is particularly space efficient.

According to an embodiment, said stationary and movable walls are

interconnected by a roller carpet and/or a roller ceiling. Thereby, an entire room-in- room experience may be obtained, since the floor as well as the ceiling may be of a different colour or surface finish than that of room in which the reconfigurable wall system is installed. According to an embodiment, said movable wall comprises a top section connected to the anchor structure via a stabilization structure; an intermediate section comprising storage furniture modules; and a bottom section provided with crawler tracks for moving the movable wall.

According to another aspect of the invention, parts or all of the above mentioned problems are solved, or at least mitigated, by a reconfigurable wall system kit comprising the components and instructions to assemble a reconfigurable wall system according to any of the exemplary embodiments described herein.

Brief description of the drawings

The above, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be better understood through the following illustrative and non- limiting detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention, with reference to the appended drawings, where the same reference numerals will be used for similar elements, wherein:

Fig. 1 a is a diagrammatic view in perspective of a residential room divided into sub-spaces by a reconfigurable wall system comprising a movable wall;

Fig. 1 b is a diagrammatic view in perspective of the residential room of Fig. 1 a, in which the movable wall has been moved to an end position in which it does not divide the residential room into said sub-spaces;

Fig. 2 is a schematic view in perspective of a reconfigurable wall system comprising a stationary wall and a movable wall, such as the reconfigurable wall system of Figs 1 a-b;

Fig. 3 is an exploded view in perspective of a bottom section of the movable wall of Fig. 2;

Fig. 4 is a diagrammatic view in perspective of a crawler track unit of the movable wall of Fig. 2;

Fig. 5 is a diagrammatic side view of the crawler track unit of Fig. 4;

Fig. 6 is a schematic view in perspective of the rotating parts of the crawler track unit of Fig. 3;

Fig. 7 is a diagrammatic side view of the rotating parts of Fig. 6;

Fig. 8 is a diagrammatic view of the reconfigurable wall system 10 of Fig. 2 as seen from above, and with top section housings of the stationary and movable walls broken away to reveal an extensible support structure; Fig. 9 is a schematic view in perspective of a scissors mechanism of the extensible support structure;

Fig. 10 is a schematic view in perspective of details of the extensible support structure;

Fig. 1 1 is a schematic view in perspective of a shaft brake and a threaded rod of the extensible support structure;

Fig. 12 is a schematic view in perspective of a second embodiment of a reconfigurable wall system;

Fig. 13 is a schematic view in perspective of a third embodiment of a reconfigurable wall system; and

Fig. 14 is a schematic block diagram of a control system for a reconfigurable wall system.

Detailed description of the exemplary embodiments

Figs 1 a-b illustrate a first embodiment of a reconfigurable wall system 10 for dividing the interior space of a residential room 12 (Fig. 1 b). The reconfigurable wall system 10 comprises an anchor structure configured as a stationary wall 14. The stationary wall 14 is fixedly attached to an inner residential building wall 16, thereby anchoring the reconfigurable wall system 10 to the structure of the residential building. For clarity of illustration, Fig. 1 a illustrates the inner building wall 16 partly in section, whereas it is completely omitted in Fig. 1 b. The reconfigurable wall system 10 also comprises a movable wall 18 extending in a vertical movable wall plane parallel to the face of the stationary wall 14. The movable wall 18 is movable along a wall movement direction, illustrated by an arrow 21 , perpendicular to the movable wall plane, between a distal position illustrated in Fig. 1 a, in which it divides the residential room 12 into two room portions 12a, 12b, and a proximal position illustrated in Fig. 1 b, in which it abuts the stationary wall 14. An integrated bed 22 is pivotally connected to the stationary wall 14, allowing the bed 22 to be pivoted in the direction of the curved arrow 24, between the horizontal usage position illustrated in Fig. 1 a, in which it extends horizontally from the stationary wall 14 towards the movable wall movable wall 18, to an upright storage position in which it is entirely received in the stationary wall 14. As illustrated in Fig. 1 a, a proximal face of the movable wall 18 may comprise a number of storage furniture modules 26, such as closets and clothes racks. The movable wall 18 also comprises a plurality of crawler tracks configured to drive the movable wall 18 across the floor 28 of the residential room 12 in a manner which will be described in greater detail hereinafter.

Fig. 2 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the reconfigurable wall system 10. In addition to the integrated bed 20, which in Fig. 2 is illustrated in the upright storage position essentially flush with the wall face, the stationary wall 14 also comprises storage furniture modules 26. The stationary and movable walls 14, 18 may be provided with similar fastening structures for attaching compatible storage furniture modules 26 belonging to the same modular system, such that storage furniture modules may be interchanged between the stationary and movable walls 14, 18. The movable wall 18 comprises a top section 18a connected to the stationary wall 14 via an extensible support structure 30; an intermediate section 18b

comprising the storage furniture modules 26 (Fig. 1 a); and a bottom section 18c provided with the crawler tracks for moving the movable wall 18. The movable wall has a height H, a width W, and a thickness T. Preferably, the height H is at least 180 cm, and more preferably at least 200 cm, such that a true separation of the

residential room 12 is experienced. Preferably, the height H is less than 240 cm, such that the wall may be retrofitted within the constraints set by the most common indoor ceiling height standards. Preferably, the thickness T is at least 30 cm, such that a stable footprint area is obtained. The width W may be adapted for different needs - the exemplary movable wall 18 illustrated in Fig. 2 may have a width exceeding 200 cm, to allow it to accommodate a bed of 200 cm standard length. The distal face 27 of the movable wall 18 may be flat, so as to define a smooth surface for e.g. attaching wallpaper and/or hanging paintings. The movable wall may be moved in any of the distal or proximal directions by pressing a respective button 96a, 96b on a user input panel 96.

Fig. 3 illustrates the interior components of the bottom section 18c of the movable wall 18. A floating outer frame 32 is shaped so as to enclose a bottom section base frame 34, which carries the load of the intermediate and upper sections 18b, 18a. The outer frame 32 is movably suspended to the base frame 34 and operatively connected to sensors (not illustrated) for detecting a displacement of the outer frame 32 relative to the base frame 34. Thereby, collisions between the movable wall 18 (Fig. 2) and any object blocking the movable wall's 18 path along the floor 28 may be detected. The base frame 34 houses a pair of crawler track units 36a, 36b distributed along the width W of the movable wall 18. The crawler track units 36a, 36b are powered by a wall motor 38, which delivers traction power to the crawler track units 36a, 36b via a transmission shaft 40 common to both crawler track units 36a, 36b. The wall motor is configured to rotate in either direction based on input from the user input panel 96 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 4 illustrates the crawler track unit 36b in greater detail; it will be

appreciated that the crawler track unit 36a may be identical. The crawler track unit 36b has four crawler tracks 42, which are configured as toothed rubber belts. Each crawler track 42 encloses a set of toothed pulleys, one of which is driven by the drive shaft 40. The toothed pulleys are rotatably suspended in a pair of opposing crawler track unit side walls 44a-b, which transfer the weight of the movable wall 18 (Fig. 2) to the toothed pulleys. An extension 40' of the drive shaft 40 allows attaching a crank in a non-illustrated manner for manually driving the movable wall 18, e.g. in the event of a power outage.

Fig. 5 illustrates the crawler track unit 36b as seen from the side, such that only one crawler track 42 with its set of pulleys is visible. An arrow 45 indicates the direction towards the stationary wall.

The crawler track 42 encloses and engages with a proximal pulley 46a, which is the drive pulley; a distal pulley 46b; and two intermediate pulleys 46c between the proximal and distal pulleys 46a, 46b. Each pulley 46a-c is attached to a respective pulley shaft 48a-c, which is journaled in the crawler track unit side wall 44a. The proximal pulley shaft 48a is the same as the drive shaft 40, 40'. The distal shaft 48b may be translated in the horizontal direction by means of an adjustment mechanism 50 so as to increase or decrease the distance between the proximal and distal pulleys 46a, 46b. Thereby, the crawler track 42 may be tensioned; in this respect, the distal pulley 46b operates as a crawler track tensioning pulley. At its proximal and distal edges, the crawler track unit side wall 44a is shaped so as to define a pair of tilt protection extensions 52a, 52b extending adjacent to the floor 28 (Fig. 1 b) on the distal and proximal sides of the crawler tracks 42 such that, if the movable wall 18 tilts by an angle exceeding a limit angle, the tilt protection extensions 52a-b will engage with the floor, thereby bringing the crawler tracks 42 out of traction.

Fig. 6 illustrates the crawler tracks 42 and toothed pulleys 46 in greater detail, with two crawler tracks removed and one crawler track partly removed for clarity of illustration. With reference to an exemplary pulley 46b, the pulley 46b comprises two axially separated pulley portions 46a', 46a", which are separated by a groove 54. The groove 54 receives a ridge 56 extending along the inner face of the respective crawler track 42, and thereby acts as an axial alignment structure keeping the crawler track 42 axially aligned on the pulley 46b without the need for side flanges on the pulley 46b. All proximal, distal and intermediate pulleys 46a-c are provided with similar grooves. As is illustrated, all proximal pulleys of the crawler track unit share the same shaft. The same applies to the distal and intermediate pulleys, mutatis mutandis

Fig. 7 illustrates the engagement between a crawler track 42 and a set of pulleys 46a-c as seen from the side. As is illustrated, the lowermost tangents of the proximal, distal and intermediate pulleys 46a-c lie in the same plane, so as to define a planar engagement face 57 for rolling on the floor 28 (Fig. 1 b). The intermediate pulleys 46c have a smaller diameter than the proximal and distal pulleys 46a, 46b to provide clearance to the crawler track's 42 return path above the intermediate pulleys 46b.

Fig. 8 illustrates the extensible support structure 30, which interconnects the movable 18 wall and the stationary wall 14 so as to stabilize the movable wall 18. The stationary wall 14 is rigidly attached to the face 17 of the wall 16 of the residential building. The extensible support structure 30 comprises an extensible scissors mechanism 58 comprising a pair of crossed scissor arms 60, 62

interconnected at their centres in a pivot joint 64. Each arm 60, 62 has a respective proximal link end 60a, 62a connected to the stationary wall 14, and a respective distal link end 60b, 62b connected to the movable wall 18. The proximal pair of link ends 60a, 62a are in threaded engagement with a proximal threaded rod 66, which comprises a right-hand threaded portion 66a engaging with a first proximal link end 60a, and a left-hand threaded portion 66b engaging with a second proximal link end 62a. The threaded portions 66a, 66b each have a respective thread lead of about 100 mm. The long lead of the threads allows the proximal link ends 60a, 62a to bring the threaded rod 66 in rotation when the movable wall 18 is moved along the wall movement direction 21 . A similar, distal, threaded rod is arranged on the movable wall 18, and engages with the distal link ends 60b, 62b of the scissor arms 60, 62 in the same manner.

An electrically controlled shaft brake 68, which is fixedly arranged in the stationary wall 14, is configured to releasably engage with the threaded rod 66 so as to selectably prevent the threaded rod 66 from turning. The shaft brake 68 thereby provides a locking mechanism allowing the degree of extension of the extensible support structure to be locked. The shaft brake 68 is provided with internal brake pads (not shown) spring-biased into engagement with a brake disc (not shown). The brake pads are configured to be electromagnetically released against the spring bias, so as to render the brake 68 self-locking in the event that electrical power is lost.

The scissors mechanism 58 also doubles as a guide for power and

communications cabling 72 between the stationary and movable walls 14, 18. For the purpose, at least one of the scissor arms is hollow. A cable drag chain 70 connects the movable link end 60a with the immobile structure 15 of the stationary wall 14, and is configured to receive and guide power and communications cables 72. A similar cable drag chain is arranged in the movable wall 18. The stationary wall 14 may be connected to an electric wall socket (not shown), and electric power may be distributed to wall sockets (not shown) arranged on the movable wall 18 via the cabling 72.

Fig. 9 illustrates the scissor arms 60, 62 in greater detail. The cables 72 (Fig. 8) enter the hollow scissor arm 60 via an axial opening 74. A lamp 76 is carried at the scissor arm joint 64, and receives electrical power via the cabling 72 (Fig. 8) inside the hollow scissor arm 60.

Fig. 10 illustrates the interface between the proximal threaded rod 66, the proximal link end 60a of the first scissor arm 60, and the cable drag chain 70 in greater detail. The proximal link end 60a comprises a fork end 76a pivotally engaging with a pair of opposing pivot ends 78 (only one shown) on a nut 80, which in turn engages with the thread of the threaded rod 66. Fig. 1 1 illustrates the shaft brake 68 in greater detail.

Fig. 12 illustrates a second embodiment of a movable wall system. The movable wall system 1 10 of Fig. 12 differs from the movable wall system 10 of Figs 1 -1 1 in that the anchor structure 1 14 is not configured as a stationary wall. Instead, it is configured as a box for hanging on the residential building wall 16 (Fig. 1 a). Its function is to guide and support the movable wall 1 18 in a manner identical to that of the stationary wall 10. Power is supplied via an ordinary wall plug 82. The movable wall 1 18 differs from the movable wall 18 described hereinabove in that it has storage furniture modules on its distal side.

Fig. 13 illustrates a third embodiment of a movable wall system. The movable wall system 210 of Fig. 13 differs from the movable wall system 10 of Figs 1 -1 1 in that the stationary and movable walls 214, 218 are interconnected by a roller carpet 284 and a roller ceiling 286. The roller carpets and roller ceilings 214, 218 are stored on respective spring-biased carpet and ceiling reels 288 and 290, which automatically roll up the carpet 284 and ceiling 286 when the movable wall 218 is moved in the proximal direction towards the stationary wall 214.

Fig. 14 illustrates a control system 92 for controlling any of the movable wall systems described hereinabove, such as the movable wall system 10. The control system 92 comprises a controller unit 94 in communication with the wall drive motor 38 (Fig. 3), the shaft brake 68 (Fig. 10), a user input panel 96, collision sensors 97 sensing the position of the floating frame 32 (Fig. 3), and an accelerometer 98, which is arranged in the movable wall 18. Each of the controller unit 94 and the user input panel 96 may be arranged in either of the movable wall 18 and the stationary wall 14, even though it may be preferable to arrange the user input panel 96 on the movable wall, since such a location gives an operator a better visibility of the path that will be followed by the movable wall 14. If a collision is detected by the collision sensors 97, the control system 92 is configured to stop the motor 38. If the movable wall 18 for some reason starts to incline, the control system 92 is configured to take corrective action. By way of example, it may lock the brake 68 and operate the crawler tracks 42 (Fig. 5) in the direction required to straighten up the movable wall 18 to a vertical position.

The reconfigurable wall system 10/1 10/210 may be distributed as kit, comprising the components and instructions to assemble a reconfigurable wall system as described hereinabove.

The present application discloses several inventive concepts, each of which may be the subject of a divisional patent application. By way of example, each of the scissors mechanism, the tilt prevention control system, and the roller carpet/ceiling may be used independently of the crawler tracks; they can be combined with other alternative means for guiding and propelling the movable wall, such as wheels, suspension rails etc. Hence, there is also provided a reconfigurable wall system for dividing the interior space of a residential room, the reconfigurable wall system comprising an anchor structure configured to be fixedly attached to a structural member, such as an inner wall face, of the residential room for anchoring the reconfigurable wall system, and a movable wall extending in a movable wall plane, the wall system comprising a motor for driving the movable wall along a wall movement direction normal to the movable wall plane, wherein the movable wall system further comprises at least one of an extensible support structure, such as a scissors mechanism, mechanically connecting the movable wall to the anchor structure; a control system configured to, based on a signal from a sensor measuring the inclination of the wall, perform a safety action; and a roller carpet and/or roller ceiling interconnecting the movable wall with a stationary wall. The extensible support structure, control system and roller carpet/ceiling may be configured in accordance with any of the embodiments described in detail hereinabove.

The invention has mainly been described above with reference to a few embodiments. However, as is readily appreciated by a person skilled in the art, other embodiments than the ones disclosed above are equally possible within the scope of the invention, as defined by the appended patent claims. For example, the

reconfigurable wall systems described herein have been illustrated with various integrated storage furniture modules. However, storage furniture modules are not necessary for obtaining a reconfigurable wall system. The wall movement direction has been illustrated as being normal to the plane of the wall. However, the crawler tracks disclosed herein can be used for moving walls also in other directions, such as along the plane of the wall. Moreover, a scissors mechanism comprising only two crossed arms has been described. It will however be appreciated that a scissors mechanism can comprise several pairs of crossed arms connected in series.