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Title:
TRAMPOLINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/074111
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A new type of trampoline that has a frame, a mat, first support members extending upwardly from the frame above the mat, and second support members connecting the first support members to the mat. In preferred embodiments the first support members have a resiliently flexible portion which allows them to flex when a load is applied to the mat.

Inventors:
ANDON, Joe (1/95 Ingleston Road, Wakerley, Queensland 4154, AU)
Application Number:
AU2014/050357
Publication Date:
May 28, 2015
Filing Date:
November 18, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VULY PROPERTY PTY LTD (1/95 Ingleston Road, Wakerley, Queensland 4154, AU)
International Classes:
A63B5/11
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012167300A12012-12-13
Foreign References:
JPH0984896A1997-03-31
US20040198507A12004-10-07
US6846271B22005-01-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISHER ADAMS KELLY PTY LTD (Level 29, 12 Creek StreetBrisbane, Queensland 4000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A trampoline comprising:

a frame;

a mat; and

a plurality of spaced apart first support members extending upwards above the mat from the frame;

wherein the first support members are connected to the frame at or towards a lower end and support the mat via second support members extending downwards from upper ends of the first support members; and wherein the first support members and/or the second support members are resiliently flexible such that the second support members pull on at least one of the first support members to bias the mat upon a load, such as a person's weight, being applied to the mat.

2. The trampoline of claim 1 , wherein at least a portion of each first support member is resiliently flexible.

3. The trampoline of claim 2, wherein the resiliently f lexible portion of the first support member is made of fibregiass.

4. The trampoline of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the resiliently flexible portion of the first support member is located toward a lower end of the first support member.

5. The trampoline of anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members are elongate with a rounded cross section.

6. The trampoline of claim 5, wherein the first support members are circular or oval in cross section.

7. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least a portion of each first support member is hollow.

8. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members are substantially perpendicular to a plane of the mat.

9. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members extend from below the mat.

10. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members extend further above the mat than below the mat.

11. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein at rest the first support members are substantially straight along a longitudinal axis.

12. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members are biased by the second support members when a load is applied to the mat.

13. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members flex when they are biased.

14. The trampoline of any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the first support members are substantially rigid with resiliency deformable second support members,

15. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members are rounded poles configured to bend at the upper end generally inwards towards the mat and around the middle outwards away from the mat without any significant sideways bending.

16. The trampoline of any one of claims 1 to 14 wherein the first support members are rectangular poles comprising leaf springs.

17. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support members are connected to the first support members at or near an upper end of the first support members.

18. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least a portion of the second support member is received by the first support member.

19. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support member is connected to the mat via one or more connectors.

20. The trampoline of claim 19, wherein the second support members have a hook or eyelet that receives a portion of a mat connector.

21. The trampoline of claim 20, wherein the second support members have an eyelet that receives a portion of a mat connector and connects the second support member to a third support member.

22. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support members are substantially aligned with the first support members.

23. The trampoline of an one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support members are under tension between the mat and the first support members.

24. Preferably the second support members include at least one line member or at least one webbing which is connected at its opposite ends to the first support member and the mat respectively.

25. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second support member comprises a cable which splits into multiple forks.

26. The trampoline of any one of claims 1 to 24, wherein the second support members comprise webbing which is integral with a safety net,

27. The trampoline of claim 26, wherein the webbing extends from at or near an upper end of the first support members to the frame.

28. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims further comprising a plurality of third support members connected to the frame at or adjacent one end and to the mat at the other end.

29. The trampoline of claim 28, wherein each second support member has at least one corresponding third support member.

30. The trampoline of claim 28 or 29, wherein the second support members extend above the mat and the third support members extend below the mat.

31. The trampoline of any one of claims 28 to 30, wherein the third support members are connected to the frame substantially in-line with a longitudinal axis of the first support members.

32. The trampoline of any one of claims 28 to 31 , wherein the third support members tension the second support members.

33. The trampoline of any one of claims 28 to 32, comprising one third support member for each end of the second support member connected to the mat, wherein the second and third support members connect to the mat at substantially the same point.

34. The trampoline of any one of claims 28 to 33, wherein the mat is connected to each set of second and/or third support members by a mat connector which is releasabiy secured to the mat.

35. The trampoline of claim 34, wherein the mat connector comprises one or more spreader bars.

36. The trampoline of claim 35, wherein the spreader bar extends circumferentially around a portion of the mat.

37. The trampoline of claim 34 of 35, wherein the mat connector comprises a primary spreader bar and one or more secondary spreader bars.

38. The trampoline of claim 37, wherein the secondary spreader bars are received in strapping loops of the mat.

39. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a safety net.

40. The trampoline of claim 39, wherein the safety net is attached to the mat at or adjacent its periphery and extends upwards towards upper ends of the first support members.

41. The trampoline of claim 39 or 40, wherein the safety net receives at least a portion of the second support members and extends towards the upper ends of the second support members.

42. The trampoline of any one of claims 39 to 41 , wherein the second support members pass through sleeves of the safety net.

43. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first support members connect to the frame by being received in hollows of the frame.

44. The trampoline of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the frame comprises two vertically spaced apart tubes extending around the mat with spaced apart tubular posts connected thereto, the spaced apart tubular posts being arranged in a ring around the two vertically spaced apart tubes and extending above and/or below the vertically spaced apart tubes.

45. A trampoline comprising:

a frame adapted to rest on the ground or be mounted on a plurality of spaced apart legs;

a plurality of spaced apart flexible and resilient first support members operatively connected to said frame against relative movement therebetween and extending upwards therefrom:

a plurality of spaced apart second support members connected to said flexible and resilient support members towards their upper ends respectively and depending therefrom;

a jumping mat operatively connected to said second support members towards their lower ends about its perimeter; and

a plurality of third support members operatively connected to said frame at or adjacent one end and to said mat at or adjacent its perimeter at the other end; the parts being so made and arranged that said second support members pull on at least one of said first support members upon a person's weight being applied to said mat {for example by jumping on said mat) and said first support members pull on said second support members upon the person's weight being lifted from said mat.

Description:
TRAMPOLINE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001 ] The invention relates to trampolines. In particular, the invention relates, but is not limited, to trampolines without helical coil springs.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

[0002] Reference to background art herein is not to be construed as an admission that such art constitutes common genera! knowledge.

[0003] For many years recreational trampolines have typically included a tubular steel frame which is supported on spaced apart legs with a flexible jumping mat secured to the frame by a large number of spaced apart extension springs, typically helical coil springs, which extend and contract as a user jumps on the mat, providing bounce.

[0004] The springs are usually connected to the tubular steel frame at one end via radial slots provided therein and to the mat via hooks or the like at the other end. At rest, the springs extend in the plane of the mat radially outwards towards the frame. However, this arrangement creates a void between the edge of the mat and the frame. Not only does this provide difficulties for users in getting onto and off the mat, but the springs and void also present a significant safety hazard. For example, it is well known for a user to injure themselves by landing outside the mat, typically by impacting the springs or frame or by falling into the void.

[0005] Consequently, modern trampolines typically include padding that extends around the perimeter of the mat and covers the springs and the void between the edge of the mat and the frame. The padding is typically tied to the mat and/or the frame by ribbon ties or the like, While such padding improves safety over unpadded trampolines, it still does little to overcome the possibility of a user landing outside the frame altogether. [0008] More recent trampolines therefore typically include a safety barrier In the form of a net that extends upwardly around the perimeter of the mat or the frame. The net is typically held up by net poles that extend upwards around the trampoline. Such nets enclose the jumping area to prevent users from falling off the trampoline. While these nets are effective and popular, it will be appreciated that such nets increase the overall complexity of the trampoline as additional infrastructure is required purely to support the net.

[0007] Other forms of tram polines which do not require a frame adjacent the edge of the jumping mat and do not use extension springs to support the mat have been developed in recent years. These trampolines are sometimes known as 'soft edged' trampolines, in soft edged trampolines the mat is typically supported by a large number of circumferenttai!y spaced fibreglass rods. The rods are connected at their Sower ends to a frame located under the mat, and at their upper ends to the edge of the mat. The rods are inclined, extending upwards, outwards and forwards around the periphery of the mat. As a load is applied to the mat, such as the weight of a user jumping, the rods cause a twisting motion between the mat and the frame as the rods flex resiliently around the circumference of the mat. This twisting action gives a different performance feel to users when compared with traditional extension spring trampolines. In general, although these 'soft edged' trampolines overcome some of the disadvantages of traditional extension spring trampolines, the twisting action is considered to provide a less desirable jumping experience.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an aim of this invention to provide a trampoline which overcomes or ameliorates one or more of the disadvantages or problems described above, or which at least provides a useful alternative,

[0009] Other preferred objects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description. SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0010] In one form, although it need not be the only or indeed the broadest form, there is provided a trampoline comprising:

a frame;

a mat; and

a plurality of spaced apart first support members extending upwards above the mat from the frame;

wherein the first support members are connected to the frame at or towards a lower end and support the mat via second support members extending downwards from upper ends of the first support members; and wherein the first support members and/or the second support members are resiliently flexible such that the second support members pull on at least one of the first support members to bias the mat upon a load, such as a person's weight, being applied to the mat.

[0011 ] Preferably at least a portion of each first support member is resiliently flexible. Preferably the resiliently flexible portion is made of fibreglass. Preferably the resiliently flexible portion is located toward a lower end of the first support member. Preferably the first support members are elongate with a rounded cross section. Even more preferably the first support members are circular or oval in cross section. Preferably at least a portion of each first support members is hollow. Preferably the first support members are substantially perpendicular to a plane of the mat. Preferably the first support members extend from below the mat. Preferably the first support members extend further above the mat than below the mat.

[0012] Preferably at rest the first support members are substantially straight along a longitudinal axis. Preferably the first support members are biased by the second support mem bers when a load is applied to the mat. Preferably the first support members flex when they are biased. In an alternative form, the first support members may be substantially rigid with resiliently deformable, preferably elastic, second support members. [0013] In one form of the invention, said first support members are rounded poles which allow limited sidewards bending but in another form, rectangular poles such as leaf springs may foe used to achieve particular performance characteristics. The poles are preferably selected so as to bend at the upper end generally inwards towards the mat and around the middle outwards away from the mat without any significant sideways bending.

[0014] Preferably the second support members are connected to the first support members, preferably at or near an upper end of the first support members. Preferably at least a portion of the second support member is received by the first support member, preferably by a hole in the first support member. Preferably the second support member is connected to the mat via one or more connectors. Preferably the second support members have a hook or eyelet that receives a portion of a mat connector. In a preferred form the second support members have an eyelet that receives a portion of a mat connector and connects the second support member to a third support member.

[0015] Preferably the second support members are substantially aligned with the first support members. Preferably the second support members are under tension between the mat and the first support members. Preferably the second support members include at least one line member such as a wire or cable, or at least one webbing such as seat belt material which is connected at its opposite ends to the first support member and the mat respectively.

[0016] In a preferred form the second support member comprises a cable which splits into multiple forks, preferably two. Preferably the cable is substantially 'Υ' shaped. Preferably an end of the cable is connected to a single first support member and a split end of the cable connects to the mat at the end of each fork of the split. The forked cable may comprise a single cable which splits into two separate portions or two or more cables joined at one or more locations,

[0017] In another form the second support members preferably comprise a webbing material, preferably like seat belt material. The webbing material is preferably integral with a safety net. The webbing may comprise a reinforced region of the safety net or, alternatively, it may be received in a sleeve of the safety net. The webbing preferably extends from the mat to at or near an upper end of the first support members. Preferably a single piece of webbing is provided for each first support member. Preferably each webbing is aligned with a respective first support member. Preferably the webbing extends from at or near an upper end of the first support members to the frame, preferably a base portion of the frame, via the mat. Preferably a connector is provided to connect the webbing to a periphery of the mat. Preferably the webbing is affixed to an internal portion of the first support members.

[0018] In a form, the webbing is preferably shaped such that it is wider adjacent the mat end than an upper end at or near an upper end of the first support members. Preferably the end of the webbing adjacent the mat is flared. The webbing may extend around at least a substantial portion of the mat perimeter.

[0019] In a form, two second support members may depend from each of the first support members, one on each side thereof . In this form preferably the second support members are line members. In one such form, the two second support members are constituted by a single Sine member passing through a connector or mount towards the upper end of the first support member with one run of the line member on one side of the first support member connected to the edge of the mat and spaced from the first support member by a predetermined distance and another run on the other side of the support member.

[0020] The trampoline preferably further comprises a plurality of third support members. The third support members are preferably connected to the frame at or adjacent one end and to the mat at the other end. Preferably each second support member has at feast one corresponding third support member. Preferably the third support member connects to the mat by the same connector of the second support member. The third support members may be separate or integral with the second support members. Preferably the second and third support members are arranged at an angle, preferably an obtuse angle, to each other. Preferably the second support members extend above the mat and the third support members extend below the mat.

[0021 ] Preferably the third support members include at least one line member such as a wire or cable which is connected at its opposite ends to the mat and the frame respectively. Preferably the third support members are connected to the frame substantially in-line with a longttudtnal axis of the first support members. Preferably the third support members tension the second support members. In a preferred form the third support members comprise non-stretch line members such as stainless steel cables, in other forms, each third support member may include a flexible and resilient band or strap.

[0022] In one preferred form, the trampoline includes one third support member for each end of the second support member connected to the mat. In such form it is preferred that the second and third support members connect to the mat at substantially the same point. In a preferred form where the second and third support members are line members, the second and third support members effectively constitute a continuous line member with an intermediate connection point for connecting them jointly to the mat.

[0023] In a preferred form, the mat is connected to each set of second and/or third support members by a mat connector which is releasably secured to the mat. Preferably the mat connector is connected to the mat via two spaced apart strapping loops of the mat. Preferably both the second and third support members are connected to a mid-point, preferably an apex region, of the mat connector.

[0024] The mat connector may comprise one or more spreader bars. Preferably at least one spreader bar is provided per second and/or third support member, The spreader bar preferably spreads loads from the second and/or third support members to portions of the mat that are adjacent to the second and/or third support members. The spreader bar preferably extends circumferentially around a portion of the mat. [0025] In a form, the mat connector comprises a primary spreader bar and one or more secondary spreader bars. In a preferred form, a primary spreader bar is connected to two secondary spreader bars, wherein the primary spreader bar is connected to the second and/or third support members and the secondary spreader bars are connected to the mat. Preferably the secondary spreader bars are connected at or near ends of the primary spreader bar. Preferably the secondary spreader bars are connected to the primary spreader bar in a central region of the secondary spreader bar. Preferably the secondary spreader bars are connected to the mat at least at or near their ends. Preferably the mat connector connects a single second support member to the mat at a plurality of spaced apart locations. Preferably the secondary spreader bars are received in strapping loops of the mat, preferably spaced apart strapping loops of the mat. Preferably the secondary spreader bars collectively extend at least substantially around the perimeter of the mat. In a form the primary and/or secondary spreader bars are made of metal. Preferably at least the primary spreader bars are made of a resiliency flexible material, preferably a metal material such as spring steel.

[0026] In other forms a stabilising ring may extend about the jumping mat and is connected thereto via strapping loops. In turn the stabilising ring is preferably connected to the second support members and the third support members. In such form, it is preferred that the mat be connected to the ring by load bearing fittings mounted in pockets formed in the mat adjacent its periphery. In still yet another form, the mat can be connected directly to the second support members by the load bearing fittings mentioned previously.

[0027] Preferably the trampoline further comprises a safety net. Preferably the safety net is attached to the mat at or adjacent its periphery and extends upwards towards upper ends of the first support members. In a preferred form the safety net receives at least a portion of the second support members and extends towards the upper ends of the second support members. In one form the second support mem bers extend from the first support members to the mat on the outside of the safety net, thereby allowing the safety net to protect users from the second support members.

[0028] Preferably the safety net has sleeves that receive a portion, preferably a majority portion, of the second support members. The sleeves preferably extend substantially the height, preferably at least a majority portion of the height, of the safety net. Preferably the sleeves are shaped to correspond to the shape of the second support members. Preferably the second support members tension the net via the sleeves. The sleeves may comprise a cushioning material that preferably enshrouds at least a portion of the second support members for added protection of users.

[0029] In one form each sleeve splits into multiple forks, preferably two, which correspond to forks of the second support members. In this form, preferably the sleeves are substantially Ύ shaped. Preferably the sleeves are connected to the safety net via a web portion. Preferably the web portion distances the sleeves of the net from an inner surface of the net.

[0030] In forms of the invention, the second support members are cables or webbing that pass through full length sleeves on the outside of the safety net so that the net is held in place by the second support members and the sleeves protect the cables and the trampoline users from the cables and the net is made such that the cables keep the net taut in its non-use disposition. In such forms, trampoline users can rebound off the net using the tension in the second support members to give momentum urging them back towards the centre of the mat.

[0031 ] Preferably the safety net encloses the mat in its entirety. Preferabiy the safety net has an opening to allow passage therethrough. Preferably the opening comprises an overlap in the safety net such that the safety net extends around the full perimeter of the mat. The safety mat may comprise a cover portion that receives mat connectors adjacent an outer edge of the mat. Preferably the cover portion has cut-outs to allow access to at least a portion of the mat connectors. [0032] In one form, an upper end of the safety net is connected to a stabilising ring. Preferably the stabilising ring is constructed of fibreglass or other suitable material which is flexibly and resiliency connected to the first support members or the second support members, for example, by elastic ties or rubber bands selected to allow flexing. In another form, the safety net is connected to independent rigid poles by flexible and resilient bands or the like,

[0033] Preferably the first support members connect to the frame by being received in hollows of the frame. Alternatively, the first support members could be integral, or at least partially integral, with the frame. Preferably the frame comprises a base portion adapted to rest on the ground or be mounted on a plurality of spaced apart legs. The frame preferably comprises tubular posts shaped to receive a portion of the first support members therein. In a preferred form, the frame comprises two vertically spaced apart tubes, preferably steel tubes, extending around the mat with spaced apart tubular posts connected thereto. Preferably the spaced apart tubular posts are arranged in a ring around the two vertically spaced apart tubes. Preferably the tubular posts extend above and/or below the vertically spaced apart tubes.

[0034] Preferably lower end portions of the first support members are slidabiy mounted in hollows of the posts thereby being held securely therein. In one form, it is preferred that the tubular posts lean outwards away from the mat so that the poles can be straight (when not tensioned) and have their upper ends sufficiently outside the mat to allow the second and third support members to be properly tensioned. Preferably the frame comprises a plurality of interconnected segments suitably sized for transport of the frame. Advantageously, such segments may be connected in a manner so as to prevent relative rotational or pivoting movement therebetween. In that respect, it is preferred that the frame segments include keying means for keying them together against relative rotational movement,

[0035] In another form, there is provided a trampoline comprising:

a frame adapted to rest on the ground or be mounted on a plurality of spaced apart legs; a plurality of spaced apart flexible and resilient first support members operatively connected to said frame against relative movement therebetween and extending upwards therefrom;

a plurality of spaced apart second support members connected to said flexible and resilient support members towards their upper ends respectively and depending therefrom;

a jumping mat operatively connected to said second support members towards their lower ends about its perimeter; and

a plurality of third support members operatively connected to said frame at or adjacent one end and to said mat at or adjacent its perimeter at the other end; the parts being so made and arranged that said second support members pull on at least one of said first support members upon a person's weight being applied to said mat {for example byjumping on said mat) and said first support members pull on said second support members upon the person's weight being lifted from said mat.

[0036] In another aspect, the invention resides broadly in a frame for a trampoline having a jumping mat, the frame including;

a plurality of first tubular segments adapted to be connected together end to end to form a first ring adapted to extend about the jumping mat;

a plurality of second tubular segments adapted to be connected together end to end to form a second ring adapted to extend about the jumping mat above the first ring;

a plurality of post members adapted to be arranged in spaced apart relationship around said first and second rings and to be connected thereto, at least some of said first tubular segments including a connector for said post members and at least some of said second tubular segments including a connector for said post members;

the connectors of said first and second tubular segments being aligned to allow the posts to extend upwards from said first and second rings at a predetermined angle and said posts and said connectors having complementary securing means for securing them together. [0037] Preferably, the third support members are connected directly to the lower tube but it has been found that different performance characteristics can be achieved by connecting the third support members to the upper tube rather than the lower tube.

[0038] In another aspect, the invention resides broadly in a mat assembly for a trampoline, the assembly including:

a jumping mat having a plurality of spaced apart connection points about its periphery;

a plurality of spaced apart second support members connected at one end to said mat at the respective connection points and adapted to extend upwards therefrom in use;

a plurality of spaced apart third support members connected to said mat at one end at the respective connection points and adapted to extend downwards therefrom in use;

a safety net having an upper end, and a lower end connected to said mat about its periphery, said safety net being adapted to extend upwards from said mat in use and said net including spaced apart sleeves extending upwards from or near said lower end towards said upper end, and said spaced apart second support members being located substantially within said sleeves.

[0039] Preferably the mat assembly is made and arranged to be packaged in roll up form or fold over form for easy efficient transport. Preferably, said mat assembly includes mat connectors. Preferably the mat connectors comprise at least one leg received by a loop portion of the mat. Preferably the mat connector has two legs and an apex centrally located between the two legs. Preferably the mat connector is integral with the two legs facing each other with the apex located therebetween.

[0040] In another aspect, the invention resides broadly in a mat assembly including a jumping mat and a safety net, the jumping mat having a plurality of spaced apart connection points about its periphery and the safety net being connected to the jumping mat about its periphery but inside said plurality of connection points. In such form, it is preferred that the safety net be connected to the mat, preferably stitched, wherein the mat and the safety net can be supplied as a unit.

[0041 ] Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION QF THE DRAWINGS

[0042] By way of example only, preferred embodiments of the invention will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein:

[0043] Figure 1 illustrates a side perspective view of a trampoline;

[0044] Figure 2 illustrates a top perspective view of the trampoline illustrated in f igure 1 ;

[0045] Figure 3 illustrates a close up view of an upper portion of the trampoline illustrated in figure 1 ;

[0046] Figure 4 illustrates a close up view of a lower portion of the trampoline illustrated in figure 1 ;

[0047] Figure 5 illustrates a close up view of a mid portion of the trampoline illustrated in figure 1 with a matt connector cover portion removed to more clearly illustrate mat connectors;

[0048] Figure 6 illustrates a close up view of a frame portion of the trampoline illustrated in figure 1 ;

[0049] Figure 7 illustrates a side perspective view of another trampoline;

[0050] Figure 8 illustrates a top perspective view of the trampoline illustrated in f igure 7;

[0051 ] Figure 9 illustrates a close up view of a frame portion of the trampoline illustrated in figure 7;

[0052] Figure 10 illustrates a close up view of a mat connector system ; and [0053] Figure 11 illustrates another close up view of the mat connector system illustrated in figure 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0054] Figures 1 to 6 illustrate a trampoline 10 having a frame 100, a mat 200, a plurality of spaced apart first support members in the form of resiliency flexible poles 300, and a plurality of second support members in the form of upper cables 400 (seen most clearly in figure 5) that extend downwards from upper ends of the poles 300. A safety net 500 is also provided that extends around and upwards from the mat 200. Although the frame 100 and mat 200 illustrated in the figures are circular, it will be appreciated that other shaped frames 1 GO, mats 200, and therefore trampolines 10, could also be constructed, and no limitation is meant thereby.

[0055] The poles 300 comprise two main portions, a resiliently flexible portion 302 which is typically made of fibreglass, and a rigid portion 304 which is typically made of a metal such as steel. The resiliently flexible portion 302 and the rigid portion 304 are aligned longitudinally, and preferably integrally connected to each other. It will be appreciated that the poles 300 may comprise a single material, preferably fibreglass.

[0056] The poles 300 have a rounded cross section in the form of an oval cross section with flat sides parallel to a longitudinal axis of the cross section. The cross section is substantially constant over the length of the poles 300, but it will be appreciated that a variable cross section may also be utilised. The poles 300 are arranged such that a longitudinal axis of the cross section is tangential to a perimeter of the mat 200. The poles 300 have a greater stiffness against bending along the longitudinal axis of the cross section and, accordingly, allow limited sideways movement (in the direction of the periphery of the mat 200).

[0057] The resiliently flexible portion 302 of the poles 300 allows the poles 300 to flex when a load is applied thereto. The rigid portion 304 effectively provides a leverage effect to the resiliency fiexibie portion 302. Lower ends 310 of the poles 300 are received by the frame 100. The poles 300 extend upwardly from the frame 100 to upper ends 320 above the mat 200. The poles 300 extend above the mat 200 significantiy, such that the majority of their length is located above the height of the mat 200. The poles 300 are arranged in a ring around the mat 200 such that they taper outwards away from each other at a predeterm ined angle as they extend upwards. Accordingly, the lower ends 310 of the poles 300 are located closer to each other than the upper ends 320. The poles 300 are hollow, effectively tubular, over their entire length. A pole cap 322 is therefore provided in the upper end 320 of the pole 300 to seal the hollow as seen most clearly in figure 3.

[0058] As illustrated in figure 3, the upper cables 400 extend downwards from the poles 300, specifically from upper ends 320 of the poles 300, A hole 324 near the upper end 320 of the pole 300 receives an end portion of the upper cables 400. The upper cables 400 are connected to the first support members therein such that the connection is concealed and protected. The upper cables 400 therefore extend from the holes 324 of the upper ends 320 of the poles 300 towards the mat 200. The net 500 has sleeves 510 which receive the upper cables 400 therein.

[0059] The upper cables 400 are preferably non-elastic flexible cables, preferably steel cables, which are tensioned between the poles 300 and the mat 200. However, it will be appreciated that elastic second support members could also be utilised, typically with more rigid, or even completely rigid, poles 300.

[0080] The upper cables 400 extend through the sleeves 510 of the net 500 to the mat 200. The sleeve 510 of the net 500 is distanced from an inner surface 502 of the net 500 by a web portion 504 as seen most clearly in f igure 4. The web portion 504 effectively distances the sleeve 510 from the inner surface 502 of the net 500 such that the upper cables 400 are located outside of the inner surface 502 of the net 500. The upper cables 400 have a split 410 which effectively forks the upper cable 400 to have two lower ends 412 as seen most clearly in figures 4 and 5. A corresponding split is provided in the sleeve 510 of the net 500. The split 410 of the cable 400 results in a generally Ύ shaped cable 400, and a correspondingly Ύ ' shaped sleeve 510 of the net 500, which allows the cables 400 to connect to the mat 200 in twice as many locations as there are poles 300. An alternative arrangement (not illustrated) is for two cables 400 to depend from each pole 300.

[0061 ] The split ends 412 of the cable connect to the mat 200 via mat connectors 210 (seen most clearly in figure 5). The mat connectors 210 have opposed, longitudinally aligned legs 512 that are received by the mat 200. Each mat connector 210 receives a cable connector 414 of the upper cables 400 to connect the upper cables 400 to the mat 200. The mat connectors 210 have an apex 214, located equidistally between the legs 212, which centres the cable connector 414 thereon. The mat connectors 210 are effectively a shaped rigid wire which is received by an eyelet of the cable connector 414.

[0062] The cable connector 414 also connects each upper cable 400 to a third support member in the form of a lower cable 600. The lower cable 600 extends between the mat 200 and the frame 100. Specifically, as shown in figures 5 and 6, the lower cable 600 extends downward from the cable connector 414 to a base potion of the frame 100.

[0063] The lower cables 600 each correspond to one of the split ends 412 of the upper cables 400. As each upper cable 400 is split into two, there are twice as many lower cables 600 as upper cables 400. it will be appreciated that the lower cables 600 and upper cables 400 may be integrally formed (as illustrated) or, alternatively, comprise separate cables which connect, or at least meet, at the mat connector 210. Preferably each lower cable 600 connects to the frame substantially in-line with a longitudinal axis of the poles 300,

[0064] The lower cables 600 are preferably non-elastic flexible cables, preferably steel cables, which are tensioned between the mat 200 and the frame 100. However, it will be appreciated that elastic third support members could also be utilised. The lower cables 600 and upper cables 400 together effectively provide tension between upper ends 320 of the poles 300 and the frame 100 via the mat 200, As the mat 200 is smaller in area than the area bounded by frame where the lower cables 600 connect thereto, and the area bounded by the poles 300 where the upper cables 400 connect thereto, the upper cables 400 and lower cables 600 support the mat centrally with respect to the frame 100 and poles 300,

[0065] The frame 100 is substantially annular, having a base portion 110 adapted to rest on the ground as illustrated. The frame 100 also has two vertically spaced tubes, a lower tube 102 and an upper tube 104, extending around the mat 200 with spaced apart tubular posts 120 connected thereto. The tubular posts 120 extend above the upper tube 104 and receive the poles 300 therein. The tubular posts 120 also extend below the lower tube 102, effectively providing feet 112 to the base portion 110.

[0066] The poles 300 are slidabiy mounted in hollows of the tubular posts 120, but it will be appreciated that the tubular posts could instead have a protrusion which is recetved in a hollow of the poles 300. The tubular posts 300 lean outwards away from the mat so that the poles 300 taper outward towards their upper ends 320.

[0067] The net 500 is attached, preferably releasably attached, to the mat 200 at the periphery of the mat 200, but it will be appreciated that in some forms the net may be integral with the mat 200. The net 500 encloses, and extends upwards from, the mat 200 towards the upper ends 320 of the poles 300 such that it defines a jumping chamber above the mat 200. The net 500 is generally frustroconica! in shape and is held in place and tensioned by the upper cables 400 contained in the sleeves 510.

[0068] The net 500 has a cover portion 520, seen most clearly in figure 4, that receives the mat connectors 210 adjacent an outer edge of the mat 200. The cover portion 520 has cut-outs which allow the apex portion of the mat connectors to be accessed by the cable connector 414. The cover portion 520 not only conceals the mat connectors 210, but also assists in locating the mat connectors 210 at predetermined locations around the periphery of the mat 200. [0069] The mat 200 is suspended between the base portion 110 of the frame 100 and upper ends 320 of the po!es 300. The mat 200 is supported by the upper cables 400 and is anchored to the frame 100 via the lower cables 600. The mat is made of typical trampoline jumping mat material which deflects as a load, such as a user, is applied,

[0070] Figures 7 to 9 illustrate another trampoline 20. The primary differences between the first trampoline 10 of figures 1 to 6 and second trampoline 20 of figures 7 to 9 is that the second trampoline 20 has fewer first support members 300 and the second and third support members are in the form of webbing 400, 600 respectively. The resilientiy flexible portion 302 of each first support members 300 also forms a minority portion (i.e. less than half) of the total length of the first support members 300.

[0071] The second support members 400 and third support members 600 are preferably a single piece of webbing that connects to the mat 200 via a mat connector (not visible in figures 7 to 9). The webbing 400 may be integral with the safety net 500 or, more preferably, is received by a sleeve of the net 500 to allow removal of the net 500. The webbing 400, 600 is a non-elastic material, such as seat belt material, that is anchored to the first support members 300 at one end, anchored to the frame 100 at the other end, and connected to the mat 200 in-between those anchored ends.

[0072] Figure 10 and 11 illustrate a mat connector 220 which can be used with the first trampoline 10 or the second trampoline 20, but is shown in an embodiment that most closely resembles second trampoline 20. The second and third support members 400, 600 are formed of a single piece of webbing which has a fastener 420 that receives a portion of the mat connector 220. Specifically, the fastener 420 receives a central portion of a primary spreader bar 222 which is made of spring steel. The primary spreader bar 222 is then connected to two secondary spreader bars 224 via connector blocks 226.

[0073] The connector block 226 preferably connects ends of the primary spreader bar 222 to central regions of the secondary spreader bars 224. The primary spreader bar 222 is bowed to tension the secondary spreader bars 224. Although the secondary spreader bars 224 are illustrated as being substantially straight, it will be appreciated that they could be other shapes, such as curved to more closely follow the perimeter of the mat 200. The secondary spreader bars 224 are received by strapping loops 218 of the mat 200. The strapping loops are spaced around the perimeter of the mat 200 such that the secondary spreader bars 224 tension the mat evenly around its perimeter. The secondary spreader bars 224 are in turn tensioned by primary spreader bars 222 which are in turn tensioned by the second support members 400 and third support members 600.

[0074] Adjacent secondary spreader bars 224 are coupled to either other via the mat 200, but are otherwise substantially independent allowing tension to be applied substantially evenly around the perimeter of the mat 200 while also allowing the shape and circumference of the mat 200 to change as loads are applied. For example, as a user jumps on the mat 200 the perimeter contracts and the individual secondary spreader bars 224 allow contraction of the mat while also appiying even tension around the perimeter via the primary spreader bars 222.

[0075] In use, a load, such as the weight of a user, is applied to the mat 200. As the user jumps on the mat the second support members 400 pull on the first support members 300 which flex about their resiliently flexible portion 302. The first support members 300 bend, with their upper ends 320 tending towards the mat 200, allowing the mat 200 to travel downwards. As this happens the first support members 300 bias the mat 200. The first support members 300 then provide a spring effect, pulling the mat 200 upwards via the second support members 400, springing the user into the air in the chamber defined by the net 500. The third support members 600 keep the mat 200 centred while also preventing the mat 200 from travelling too far upward from the frame 1 GO, such that momentum of the user causes the user to disengage from the mat in a typical trampoline manner.

[0076] The trampoline 10 provides a new, effective trampoline 10 that provides a superior jumping experience. Advantageously, the trampoline 10 provides a safe trampoline that overcomes safety hazards of traditional extension spring trampolines while also overcoming the undesirable twisting motion caused by known soft edged trampolines. The design is relatively simple and light weight, require no separate net infrastructure, such as net poles, to hold the net 500 above the mat 200. The sleeves 510 of the net 500 allow the net 500 to be held in place and tensioned effectively, while also shielding the second support members 400 to some extent for user comfort. Additionally the second support members 400 assist in giving an amount of bounceback to any user that impacts the safety net 500.

[0077] References to restliently flexible herein are intended to include resilient deformation including, for example, resiiiently elastic deformation.

[0078] In this specification, adjectives such as first and second, left and right, top and bottom, and the like may be used solely to distinguish one element or action from another element or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order. Where the context permits, reference to an integer or a component or step (or the like) is not to be interpreted as being limited to only one of that integer, component, or step, but rather could be one or more of that integer, component, or step etc.

[0079] The above description of various embodiments of the present invention is provided for purposes of description to one of ordinary skill in the related art. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to lim it the invention to a single disclosed embodiment. As mentioned above, numerous alternatives and variations to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art of the above teaching. Accordingly, while some alternative embodiments have been discussed specifically, other embodiments will be apparent or relatively easily developed by those of ordinary skill in the art. The invention is intended to embrace all alternatives, modifications, and variations of the present invention that have been discussed herein, and other embodiments that fall within the spirit and scope of the above described invention.

[0080] In this specif ieation, the terms 'comprises', 'comprising', Includes ' , Including', or similar terms are intended to mean a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a method, system or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include those elements solely, but may well include other elements not listed.