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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ARM REST
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/130866
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A portable and adjustable arm rest (10) for supporting a distal portion of an arm of a user (26) in a position raised above his waist when using a handheld electronic device (30) comprises: a length-adjustable telescopic member (14) having a foot for supporting the arm rest (10) on a support surface; a releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism for releasably locking the telescopic member (14) in one of a variety of different lengths; and an arm support (12) adjustably engaged to the telescopic member (14), the arm support (12) having an arm support surface (12a) for supporting the distal portion of the arm of the user thereon, wherein, in use, the length of the telescopic member (14) is adjusted to position the arm support (12) relative to the foot of the telescopic member so as to encourage an upright sitting position when using the handheld electronic device (60) on the arm support (12).

Inventors:
REHAYEM GEORGES (LB)
KAHY HENRY (LB)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2017/000956
Publication Date:
July 19, 2018
Filing Date:
August 11, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MCD SOLUTIONS LTD (SC)
International Classes:
A47C16/00; F16M11/10; F16M11/20; F16M11/28; F16M13/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO1993008773A11993-05-13
Foreign References:
US5385536A1995-01-31
US20160113407A12016-04-28
US20020050009A12002-05-02
US2429472A1947-10-21
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A portable and adjustable arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) for supporting a distal portion of an arm of a user in a position raised above his waist when using a handheld electronic device (60), the arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) comprising:

a length-adjustable telescopic member ( 14) having a foot portion for supporting the arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) on a support surface;

a releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism for releasably locking the telescopic member ( 14) in one of a variety of different lengths; and

an arm support (12) adjustably engaged to the telescopic member ( 14), the arm support (12) having an arm support surface (12a) for supporting the distal portion of the arm of the user thereon; wherein, in use, the length of the telescopic member ( 14) is adjusted to position the arm support ( 12) relative to the foot portion of the telescopic member ( 14) so as to encourage an upright sitting position when using the handheld electronic device (60) on the arm support (10; 1 10; 210).

2. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 1 , in which the arm support (10) is pivotably attachable to the telescopic member ( 14).

3. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 2, in which the arm support ( 12) is pivotable to a closed position when the arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) is not in use to enable compact storage of the arm rest (10; 1 10; 210), whereby the arm support surface (12a) of the arm support ( 12) is parallel or substantially parallel to an axial extent of the telescopic member ( 14).

4. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 3, in which the arm support (12) includes a recess or cut-out on at least a portion of the longitudinal extent on its lower surface ( 12b) to accommodate at least a portion of the telescopic member (14).

5. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 4, in which the arm support (12) is pivotable relative to the telescopic member ( 14) via a ball and socket joint (36).

6. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any of the preceding claims, in which the arm support (1 12) has more than one attachment location (164, 166) on its lower surface ( 1 12b) for the telescopic member (14) to engage thereto.

7. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 6, in which a first attachment location (164) is provided at a centre or substantially the centre between opposing ends ( 1 12e, 1 12f) of the arm support (1 12), and at least one further attachment location (166) is provided away from said midpoint between the opposing ends (1 12e, 1 12f) of the arm support (1 12) for attachment of the telescopic member ( 14) to the arm support (1 12).

8. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 7, in which at least one of the one or more further attachment location ( 166) is proximate one of the opposing ends (1 12e, 1 12f) of the arm support (1 12).

9. An arm rest (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the telescopic member (14) is slidable relative to the arm support (12).

10. An arm rest ( 10) as claimed in claim 9, in which the arm rest ( 10) further comprises a track (22) provided at least part way along a portion along a longitudinal extent of a lower surface ( 12b) of the arm support ( 12), the arm rest ( 10) further comprising a connecting means (28) slidably engaged with the track (22) at one end (34) and connected to the telescopic member ( 12) at the other end (32).

1 1. An arm rest ( 10) as claimed in claim 10, in which the track (22) has a T-shaped cross section and the connecting means (28) includes a corresponding C-shaped extruded profile (52) for receiving the T-shaped cross section.

12. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the arm support ( 12) is detachable from the telescopic member (14).

13. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which a longitudinal extent of the arm support (12) is greater than a width of the arm support (12), and in which the width of the arm support (12) is greater than a thickness of the arm support (12).

14. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the arm support ( 12) includes at least one aperture therethrough.

15. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the arm support ( 12) includes a resilient mesh to promote air circulation through the arm support (12).

16. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the arm support surface ( 12a) of the arm support ( 12) is shaped to conform a contour of the distal portion of the arm of the user.

17. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the arm support ( 12) includes a rigid frame ( 16) for supporting the distal portion of the arm of the user.

18. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in claim 17, in which the arm support ( 12) further includes a resilient in-use upper layer (18) provided on and supported by the rigid frame ( 16).

19. An arm rest ( 10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising an electronic device support portion on or adjacent the arm support ( 12), for releasably supporting the handheld electronic device (60) thereon.

20. An arm rest (10; 1 10; 210) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the foot portion of the telescopic member includes a non-slip contact surface.

Description:
ARM REST

The present invention relates to a portable and adjustable arm rest for supporting a distal portion, i.e. hand, wrist, forearm, and/or elbow, of an arm of a user when using an electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet, particularly but not necessarily exclusively, while seated.

Many people use electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets for work and entertainment. Current research shows that 84% of time spent using smartphones is spent either texting, video calling, using email, on social media or playing games, with only 16% spent on phone calls.

Electronic devices may be used when seated in a variety of contexts, such as in the office or home, or on public transport. Some users may spend a significant portion of their time using such devices in a seated position.

When using an electronic device for most purposes, excluding phone calls, the device and the user's head must be held in proximity and the display screen at or near eye level to allow easy viewing of the device's display, free from glare and reflections.

When using an electronic device for such purposes while seated, it is possible to support the device with the user's hands being level with the user's eyes or at a comfortable height for viewing, elevated above the legs of the user. This allows the user to view the device screen comfortably with the upper back and neck held straight. However, holding the device up with the arms for extended periods may induce fatigue, leading to undesirable shaking of the arms and an impaired user experience.

Many users support the electronic device on their lap to avoid this problem.

One problem with supporting the device on the legs while seated, as seen in Figure 1 , is that the user must then stoop over the device, bending the upper spine forwards in order to position the head at an appropriate angle and distance to the device screen for viewing of the display. This can lead to slouching, hunching, or postural kyphosis if practised habitually, which in turn may cause upper back and neck pain.

The present invention seeks to provide an arm rest which limits or obviates the above-mentioned problems.

According to the present invention, there is provided a portable and adjustable arm rest for supporting a distal portion of an arm of a user in a position raised above his waist when using a handheld electronic device, the arm rest comprising a length-adjustable telescopic member having a foot portion for supporting the arm rest on a support surface; a releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism for releasably locking the telescopic member in one of a variety of different lengths; and an arm support adjustably engaged to the telescopic member, the arm support having an arm support surface for supporting the distal portion of the arm of the user thereon, wherein, in use, the length of the telescopic arm may be adjusted to position the arm support relative to the foot portion of the telescopic member so as to encourage an upright sitting position when using the handheld electronic device on the arm support.

The arm rest of the present invention allows a person to use an electronic device while seated with the spine in a natural upright position for a significant length of time without experiencing arm fatigue, or pain or stiffness in the back or neck.

The distal end of the telescopic member is placed on a support surface, which may be a portion of the seat on which the user is seated, or alternatively may be the floor or a footrest. In these cases, the telescopic member may pass between the legs of the user. The telescopic member extends upwardly from its distal end, and may extend between the legs of the user and substantially in front of the user. This allows the arm support to be held at an appropriate height for supporting the distal portion of the user's arm or arms, that is, the hand/s, forearm/s, wrist/s or elbow/s, so as to position the electronic device in line with the user's natural line of sight when the user is in an upright sitting position. At the same time, the weight of the user's arms and the device are transmitted to the ground or other support surface.

The user is not required to rely on his own strength to hold the electronic device near eye level, the eye level being the same height above the ground as the user's eyes, because the arm support contacts the user's arms, so the user may substantially relax his arms. The arm support contacts a distal portion of the user's arms so that the user's arms may be bent, with the user's hands at or near eye level and the user's elbows below that level. This allows the electronic device to be held close to the face of the user, as the arms are not extended in use.

The telescopic member and releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism allow the distance between the distal end of the telescopic member and the arm support to be varied for different users or different situations, while remaining fixed during use. The height above the support surface at which the arm support is held may thus be varied. This allows users of different sizes or heights to be accommodated, and also allows the arm support to be used in a variety of situations, for example, resting on the floor or resting on a seat. When not in use, the telescopic member can be retracted to its shortest length to enable compact and convenient storage or transportation.

The arm support may be pivotably attachable to the telescopic member. This allows the orientation of the arm support surface relative to the ground to be varied to accommodate a preference or requirement of the user. For example, users with long arms or weak eyesight may need to bend their arms more than other users in order to accommodate their arms between the arm support and their torso, because the distance between their head and the electronic device must be kept short so that the user can read text or view images on the screen of the electronic device. This will result in the distal portions of the user's arms being held at a greater angle to the horizontal in use. It is desirable to be able to vary the orientation of the arm support to account for this.

The arm support may be pivotable to a closed position when the arm rest is not in use to enable compact storage of the arm rest, whereby the arm support surface of the arm support is parallel or substantially parallel to an axial extent of the telescopic member. When the arm support surface of the arm support is parallel or substantially parallel to the axial extend of the telescopic member, the arm rest occupies less space and is a more convenient shape for packing, for example within a user's handbag or rucksack.

The arm support may include a recess or cut-out on at least a portion of the longitudinal extent on its lower surface to accommodate at least a portion of the telescopic member. This allows the arm rest to occupy a smaller space when in the closed position.

The arm support may be pivotable relative to the telescopic member via a ball and socket joint. A ball and socket joint advantageously provides pivoting about multiple axes, so that the arm support may be moved between a closed configuration and an open configuration, and may also be adjusted so that its orientation corresponds to an in-use alignment of the user's arm.

The arm support may have more than one attachment location on its lower surface for the telescopic member to engage thereto. This allows the telescopic member to be attached to the arm support in a first attachment location which is adapted to promote stable and comfortable use of the arm support while holding the electronic device, and also in a second attachment location which is adapted to allow the arm support to occupy a smaller space while in the closed configuration, for example.

A first attachment location may be provided at a centre or substantially the centre between opposing ends of the arm support for attachment of the telescopic member to the arm support, and one or more further attachment locations for attachment of the telescopic member to the arm support may be provided away from said midpoint between the opposing ends of the arm support. The first location being provided midway between the ends of the arm support allows the arm support to be more stable when in use, as the weight of the user's arms and the electronic device is balanced about the point of attachment to the telescopic member.

At least one of the one or more further attachment locations may be proximate one of the opposing ends of the arm support. This allows a greater longitudinal extent of the arm support to be adjacent or to overlap the axial extent of the telescopic member when in the closed configuration, reducing the space occupied by the arm rest. The telescopic member may be slidable relative to the arm support. This allows the location of the point of attachment of the telescopic member on the arm support to be varied without separating the arm support and the telescopic member. This minimises the chance of losing one of the telescopic member and arm support and makes operation more convenient.

The arm rest may further comprise a track provided on at least part of a longitudinal extent of a lower surface of the arm support, the arm rest further comprises a connecting means slidably engaged with the track at one end and connected to the telescopic member at the other end. Preferably, the track may have a T-shaped cross section and the connecting means may have a corresponding C-shaped extruded profile for receiving the T shaped cross-section.

The arm support may be detachable from the telescopic member. This may allow a variety of interchangeable arm supports to be provided, the arm supports having different characteristics, such as shapes, sizes, styles, and material, to provide the user freedom to customise the arm rest. Alternatively, a damaged arm support or telescopic member may be replaced without needing to replace the entire arm rest. Additionally, the arm rest may be stored with greater versatility.

A longitudinal extent of the arm support may be greater than a width of the arm support, and the width of the arm support may be greater than a thickness of the arm support. This allows the arm support to provide sufficient longitudinal extent to simultaneously support both arms of the user, while reducing the space required for storage of the arm support.

The arm support may include at least one aperture therethrough. This reduces the weight of the arm support.

The arm support may include a resilient mesh to promote air circulation through the arm support. This also allows a low-weight arm support to be provided which is comfortable for use over long periods of time.

The arm support surface of the arm support may be shaped to follow a contour of the distal portion of the arm of the user. This provides a comfortable surface for the user's arm, thereby increasing user comfort.

The arm support may include a rigid frame. The rigid frame allows the arms of the user to be firmly supported via a single point of attachment to the telescopic member. The rigidity of the frame prevents deformation of the arm support during use, which may lead the user's arms to slip off the arm support.

The arm support may further include a resilient in-use upper layer provided on and supported by the rigid frame. The resilient upper layer makes the arm support more comfortable for use over extended periods of time. The resilient upper layer may be covered by a covering layer. The covering layer may be made of plastics or fabric or leather. The covering layer may have non-slip properties to prevent the distal portion of the arm of the user from slipping off the arm support.

The arm rest may further comprise an electronic device support portion on or adjacent the arm support, for releasably supporting the handheld electronic device thereon. The handheld electronic device may thus be supported without the user needing to hold his arms at the level of the arm support. This may be advantageous when the user is using the device non-interactively, for example while watching a video, or when the user is interacting with the device via a speech recognition facility of the device.

The distal end of the telescopic member may include a non-slip contact surface. This allows the arm rest to be used with the telescopic member at an angle to the vertical without slipping, which allows multiple use geometries and situations to be accommodated.

The telescopic member may be substantially straight and/or rigid. This improves the stability of the arm rest and reduces the chance of unintentional movement or slipping of the arm rest in use.

For a better understanding of the present invention, and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made by way of example only to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a side view of a person using an electronic device while seated, according to the prior art;

Figure 2 shows a partial plan view from the front of a first embodiment of an arm rest according to the present invention in an open configuration, with the telescopic member in a first position on the arm support, with part of the cover of the arm support removed for clarity;

Figure 3 shows a partial perspective view from below of the arm rest of Figure 2 in the open configuration with the telescopic member in a second position on the arm support, with the cover and an upper portion of the arm support removed;

Figure 4 shows a front perspective view of the arm rest of Figure 2 in a closed configuration, with the telescopic member in a retracted state and in the second position on the arm support, with the cover and the upper portion of the arm support removed;

Figure 5 shows a side view of a person using an electronic device on the arm rest of Figure 2, with the telescopic member in the extended state; Figure 6 shows a plan view from below of an arm support of a second embodiment of an arm rest according to the present invention, and a plan view from the front of the telescopic member of the second embodiment of the arm rest shown detached from the arm support;

Figure 7 shows a plan view from the side of a third embodiment of an arm rest according to the present invention in an open configuration, with the telescopic member in the retracted state;

Figure 8 shows a plan view from above of the arm rest of Figure 7; and

Figure 9 shows a plan view from the side of the arm rest of Figure 7 in the open configuration, with the telescopic member in the extended state.

Referring firstly to Figures 2 to 4, a first embodiment of an arm rest is indicated generally at 10.

The arm rest 10 includes an arm support 12 and a length-adjustable telescopic member 14 for adjustably supporting the arm support 12.

The arm support 12 is generally rectangular in shape, having an upper surface 12a for supporting a distal portion of an arm of a user, a lower surface 12b opposing the upper surface 12a, and first and second opposing longitudinal sides 12c, 12d and first and second opposing ends 12e, 12f extending between and connecting the upper and lower surfaces 12a, 12b. The upper surface 12a effectively provides an arm support surface for supporting the distal portion of the user's arm. Preferably, the arm support 12 is longest in length along its sides 12c, 12d in a longitudinal direction X. The arm support preferably has a length of between 10cm to 30cm, more preferably between 15cm to 25cm, most preferably 20cm, and may have a thickness of between 0.6cm to 6cm, more preferably 1 cm to 4cm, most preferably 2.5cm. The upper surface 12a and the lower surface 12b are preferably parallel or substantially parallel to the longitudinal direction X.

In the embodiment illustrated, the arm support 12 preferably comprises a frame or base portion 16, a padding or upper portion 18 provided on and supported by the base portion 16, and a cover 20 for covering and protecting the upper portion 18 and at least part of the base portion 16. The base portion 16 is preferably rigid to provide the arm support 12 with structural integrity, and preferably has a thickness of between 0.2cm to 2.5cm, more preferably 0.4cm to 1 cm, most preferably 0.76cm.

The upper portion 18 is preferably resilient so as to maintain the shape of the arm support 12 even after prolonged use by the user. The upper portion 18 may comprise one or a combination of gel, rubber, and foam, such as memory foam, preferably in layers. The upper portion 18 may alternatively or additionally comprise of eiderdown for additional comfort for the user. The upper portion 18 preferably has a thickness of between 0.3cm to 3.5cm, more preferably 0.8cm to 2cm, most preferably 1.78cm.

The cover 20 is preferably made of a non-slip material, which is leather in the embodiment illustrated, but may be made of fabric, plastics or any other resilient material. The cover 20 may additionally be textured so as to provide a textured upper surface 12a for improved grip.

The arm support 12 also includes a slider rail or track 22 in the embodiment illustrated, provided on the lower surface 12b and protruding linearly from the base portion 16. The slider rail 22 is preferably parallel to a central longitudinal axis of the arm support 12. The slider rail 22 preferably has a T-shaped cross section, and is bonded or integrally formed with to the base portion 16 at a base of the T-shape. In this embodiment, the slider rail 22 extends from an open end 22a adjacent the second end 12f of the arm support 12 to a closed end 22b at or substantially at a centre of the lower surface 12b. The closed end 22b is provided with a stop or barrier 24 to prevent unintentional detachment of the telescopic member 14 from the arm support 12. It will be appreciated that the slider rail 22 may extend across a greater or smaller portion of the longitudinal extent of the arm support 12, or indeed across the full longitudinal extent of the arm support 12.

The open end 22a of the slider rail 22 allows the telescopic member 14 to slide off the slider rail 22 to become detached from the arm support 12, to allow the two parts 12, 14 to be stored separately. Such an arrangement also allows a variety of interchangeable arm supports 12 and/or telescopic members 14 to be provided, each preferably having a different characteristic, such as their size, shape, colour, etc, to allow customisation of the arm rest 10 by the user. Additionally, the arm support 12 and/or the telescopic member 14 may be replaced without replacing the entire arm rest 10. However, it will be appreciated that the open end 22a of the slider rail 22 may also be provided with a barrier such that the telescopic member 14 is permanently attached to the arm support 12, or the barrier may be omitted at both ends 22a, 22b of the slider rail 22, if preferred.

The telescopic member 14 is preferably straight and/or rigid, and has an axial extent Z, which is shown partially in Figure 2. The telescopic member 14 has a proximal end 14a, and a distal end 14b (shown in Figure 4) which effectively serves as a foot or a base portion for supporting the arm rest 10 on a support surface. The distal end 14b preferably includes a non-slip surface. The telescopic member 14 is preferably in the form of a rod, and preferably comprises a plurality of sections 26. The embodiment illustrated has five such sections 26a, 26b, 26c, 26d, 26e. Each section 26 is preferably made from a lightweight material, such as aluminium, and is preferably provided with a textured outer surface, for example a foam layer, for improved grip. The sections 26 are preferably cylindrical, and arranged concentrically and coaxially. The sections 26 are arranged in order of diameter such that they are slidably disposed within one another, the section 26a at the proximal end 14a having the smallest diameter and the section 26e at the distal end 14b having the largest diameter. The telescopic member 14 is thus collapsible or retractable. The length of the telescopic member 14 along its axial extent Z may thus be varied. It will be appreciated that the number of sections 26, and the axial extent of the sections 26 of the telescopic member 14 may be varied depending on the desired required maximum and minimum length of the telescopic member 14. In a maximum extended position, the axial extent Z of the telescopic member preferably measures between 50cm to 120cm, more preferably 70cm to 100cm, most preferably 91 cm.

The telescopic member 14 includes a releasable telescopic-member fixing or locking mechanism (not shown) for releasably fixing the axial extent of the telescopic member 14. In this embodiment, a separate fixing or locking mechanism is provided between each adjacent pair of sections 26a and 26b; 26b and 26c; 26c and 26d; 26d and 26e. To provide the locking mechanism, the outer surface of the first section 26a, 26b, 26c, 26d of each pair increases in radius smoothly as a function of angle, while the inner surface of the second section 26b, 26c, 26d, 26e of each pair decreases in radius smoothly as a function of the same angle. Relative rotation of the sections in one direction therefore causes the outer surface of the first section 26a, 26b, 26c, 26d of each pair to press against the inner surface of the second section 26b, 26c, 26d, 26e of each pair in a friction fit, thus inhibiting relative axial movement between the pair of sections. A first axial lip is provided on the outer surface of the first section 26a, 26b, 26c, 26d of each pair and a second axial lip is provided on the inner surface of the second section 26b, 26c, 26d, 26e of each pair to engage with the first axial lip and limit relative rotation of the sections of each pair in a second direction. It will be appreciated that other locking mechanisms may be provided, such as protrusion and an indexed slot arrangement.

A connector 28 is provided for connecting the arm support 12 to the telescopic member 14, comprising a neck portion 30, and a telescopic-member end 32 and an arm-support end 34 extending from either ends of the neck portion. The telescopic-member end 32 of the connector is preferably provided with a ball and socket joint 36, the ball and socket joint 36 having a ball member (not shown) extending from the neck portion 30, a ball receiving member 38 for pivotably holding the ball member therein, and releasable fastening means 40 for releasably locking the ball member from rotation. A correspondingly shaped socket (not shown) is provided in a free end of the ball receiving member 38 to accommodate and retain the ball member such that the ball member can pivot or rotate therein. An opposing end 42 of the ball receiving member 38 is connected or attached to the proximal end 14a of the telescopic member 14. A slot or opening 44 is preferably provided axially in the ball receiving member, extending from the free end of the ball receiving member 38 into the socket and radially to a circumferential outer surface 46 of the ball receiving member 38, to allow the neck portion 30 of the connector 28 to extend therethrough. The slot 44 allows the ball member and the neck portion 30 to pass through and rotate around 90 degrees so as to pivot the arm support 12 from an open configuration whereby the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14, as illustrated in Figures 2 and 3, to a closed configuration whereby the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is parallel or substantially parallel to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14, as illustrated in Figure 4.

The ball member and the neck portion 30 can also be moved about other axes without passing through the slot 44, whereby the angle of rotation is typically equal to or less than 90 degrees, such as at an angle of between 30 to 90 degrees, preferably between 40 to 80 degrees, more preferably between 50 to 70 degrees. This allows the arm support member 12 to be orientated in a large number of different positions and a range of possible angles. One or more further slots may be provided in the ball receiving member 38 to permit greater rotation of the ball member and the neck portion 30 about other axes. Furthermore, the slot 44 may extend further across the free end of the ball receiving member 38, or even across its whole diameter to allow the ball member and the neck portion 30 to rotate further than 90 degrees, such as 1 80 degrees.

The fastening means 40, which protrudes from the circumferential outer surface 46 through to the socket of the ball receiving member 38, is provided with a handle 48 for rotating the fastening means 40. To lock the ball member from rotation, the fastening means 40 can be turned, via the handle 48, in one direction to abut the ball member against a wall of the socket so as to prevent the ball member from rotation. The handle 48 can simply be turned in the opposite direction to disengage the fastening means 40 from the ball member, thus allowing the ball member freedom to rotate.

The arm-support end 34 of the connector 28 is provided with a slider-rail engagement portion 50, preferably having a rail locator 52 at one end, and a releasable rail-locator locking means 54 at an opposing end of the slider-rail engagement portion 50 for releasably locking the rail locator 52 on the slider rail 22. The rail locator 52 is substantially formed as an extruded C shape for slidably locating on the T-shaped slider rail 22. An extent of the rail locator 52 in the direction of extrusion is smaller than the extent of the slider rail 22 in the longitudinal direction X of the arm support 12. The rail-locator locking means 54 preferably include a locking member 56 which extends between and connects with the rail locator 52 and the neck portion 30 of the connector 28, and a user engagement portion, preferably in the form of a ribbed wheel 58, provided on the locking member 56 for the user to engage for locking and unlocking the rail locator 52. Rotating the ribbed wheel 58 actuates the locking member 56 to clamp or unclamp the rail locator 52 against slider rail 22. It will be appreciated that any other suitable user engagement portion may be provided.

Thus, the rail locator 52 can occupy and be locked in a first position on the slider rail 22, in which it is disposed at the centre or substantially the centre of the lower surface 12b of the arm support 12 and abuts the stop 24 of the slider rail 22. The rail locator 52 can also occupy and be locked in a second position on the slider rail 22, in which it is disposed proximal to the second end 12f of the arm support 12. The slider- rail engagement portion 50 can slide between the first position and the second position on the slider rail 22. Optionally, the rail locator 52 can also be locked at one or more locations along the slider rail 22 between these two positions using the rail-locator locking means 54. Furthermore, the slider rail 22 may be indexed to provide a plurality of pre-determined positions for the rail locator 52 to locate thereto.

The slider-rail engagement portion 50 may be releasably connected to the neck portion 30 of the connector 28, for example by means of a screw and threaded hole, a push-fit connector, a snap-fit connector or a magnetic connector. The ball receiving member 38 of the ball and socket joint 36 is joined to the proximal end 14a of the telescopic member 14. The ball receiving member 38 may be releasably attached to the proximal end 14a of the telescopic member 14, for example by a threaded screw and screw socket. Alternatively, a push-fit connector, a snap fit connector or magnetic connector may be used. As an alternative, the positioning of the ball member and the ball receiving member 38 may be interchanged such that the ball member is connected to the proximal end 14a of the telescopic member 14 and the ball receiving member 38 connected to the neck portion 30.

As discussed above, the arm rest 10 has an open configuration (shown in Figure 2) in which the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is perpendicular to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14. It will be appreciated that the open configuration includes any other orientation whereby the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is non-parallel to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14. The axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14 is normal to both the upper surface 12a and the lower surface 12b of the arm support 12 in the open configuration. In the open configuration, the telescopic member 14 may then slide and be fixed to the first position on the slider rail 22, such that an equal or substantially equal amount of arm support 12 is provided on either side of the telescopic member 14 for supporting the user's distal arm portions, the distal arm portions being the hands, wrists, forearms, and/or the elbows. The length of the telescopic member 14 may be partially or fully extended and its axial extent is fixed using the locking mechanism of the telescopic member 14.

The arm rest 10 can also occupy the closed configuration (shown in Figure 4) for storage. In the closed position, the arm support 12 is oriented such that the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is parallel or substantially parallel to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14. The telescopic member 14 may slide and be fixed to the second position on the slider rail 22. The majority of the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 overlaps the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14.

In use, the telescopic member 14 is extended to an appropriate axial extent, and the releasable telescopic- member locking mechanism is used to fix the axial extent of the telescopic member 14. An appropriate length is selected to correspond to the distance between a location proximate the eye level of the user and the nearest available support surface, the ideal positioning of the arm support 12 being somewhere between the user's eye level and chest level. The arm support 10 is rotated and then fixed in the open configuration using the fastening means 40 of the ball and socket joint 36. The distal end 14b of the telescopic member 14 rests on the support surface. Fine tuning of the positioning of the arm support 12 is possible by tilting the arm support 12 relative to the telescopic member 14 via the ball and socket joint 36, such that the upper surface 12a of the arm support 12 can be tilted towards or away from the user to suit.

In Figure 5, the floor is illustrated as the support surface, but it will be appreciated that any other suitable surface may be used, such as the ground or a horizontal portion of a piece of furniture, such as the chair the user is sitting on. The user holds and uses the electronic device 60 in his hands 62 while seated, with his head upright and back in a neutral upright position and the electronic device in line with his natural line of sight. The weight of the user's hands, wrists, and distal ends of the forearms are supported on the upper surface 12a of the arm support 12. It will be appreciated that any distal portion of the user's arms, including the elbows, may be supported on the arm support 12. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the user may also utilise the arm rest 10 in the same way whilst standing, providing the telescopic member 14 can be extended to a sufficient length.

To store or transport the arm rest 10, the fastening means 40 and the releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism are released, the telescopic member 14 is collapsed and locked to a minimum axial extent, the slider locator 52 is unlocked and moved along the slider rail 22 from the first position to the second position and fixed thereto, and the ball and neck 30 portion is rotated through 90 degrees and locked so that the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 12 is parallel or substantially parallel to the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14. The arm rest 10 is then in the closed configuration.

Figure 6 shows a second embodiment of an arm rest 1 10, having an arm support 1 12 that is very similar to that of the first embodiment and a telescopic arm 14 identical to that of the first embodiment. Identical or similar reference numerals to those used in the description of the first embodiment will be used to refer to identical or similar components of the second embodiment and further description will be omitted for brevity. In the second embodiment, the arm support 1 12 has no slider rail and the connector 128 has no slider-rail engagement portion. Instead, the slider rail is replaced with first and second holes 164, 166 which are provided on the lower surface 1 12b of the arm support 1 12. The holes 164, 166 are internally threaded. The first hole 164 is situated mid-way or substantially mid-way along the longitudinal extent X of the lower surface 1 12b of the arm support 1 12. In other words, the first hole 164 is situated in the centre or substantially the centre of the lower surface 1 12b of the arm support 1 12. The second hole 166 is situated proximal to the second end 1 12f of the arm support 1 12. The second hole 166 is preferably translated along the longitudinal extent X relative to the first hole 164. The first hole 164 and the second hole 166 are the same size and have the same gauge thread. As an alternative, additional holes could be provided, or the above-mentioned holes could be provided in different locations on the lower surface 1 12b.

The arm-support end 134 of the connector 128 in the second embodiment is provided with an externally threaded screw portion 168 adapted to engage with the holes 164 and 166 of the arm support 1 12.

In the open configuration of the second embodiment, the screw portion 168 is inserted into the first hole 164. In the open configuration of the second embodiment, the second hole 166 is unoccupied. In the closed configuration of the second embodiment, the screw portion 168 is inserted into the second hole 166. In the closed configuration of the second embodiment, the first hole 164 is unoccupied.

In use, to move the arm rest 1 10 of the second embodiment from the open configuration to the closed configuration, the fastening means 40 and the releasable telescopic-member locking mechanism are released, the telescopic member 14 is collapsed to a minimum axial extent, the screw portion 168 is unscrewed from the first hole 164 and screwed into the second hole 166, and the ball member and neck portion of the connector are rotated through 90 degrees so that the longitudinal extent X of the arm support 1 12 is parallel to and overlaps the axial extent Z of the telescopic member 14.

Figures 7 to 9 show a third embodiment of an arm rest 210. Identical or similar reference numerals to those used in the description of the second embodiment will be used to refer to identical or similar components of the third embodiment and further description will be omitted for brevity. The third embodiment includes an arm support 212 having two separate support portions 270, 272 for supporting respective distal portions of arms of the user. Each of the support portions 270, 272 may be formed as one part, but is preferably similarly comprised of a frame or base portion, a padding or upper portion, and/or a cover 274. An upper surface 270a, 272a of each support portion 270, 272 is kidney-shaped or teardrop-shaped which is beneficial for following the contours of a respective left and right arm of the user, particularly palm portions of the hands, which improves user comfort.

In the third embodiment, a connector 228 similar to that of the second embod iment is provided, whereby a telescopic-member end 232 of the connector 228 is preferably provided with a ball and socket joint (not shown) similar to that of the first and second embodiments. The arm support 210 can thus be folded down for easy carrying and storage. A neck portion 230 of the connector is split into two separate parts 276, 278, each provided with a respective arm-support end (not shown) for engaging with its respective support portions 270, 272. Similar to the second embodiment, each arm-support end of the connector 228 may be provided with externally threaded screw portion (not shown) for releasably engaging with one of a plurality of holes (not shown) provided on the lower surface 212b of the respective support portions 270, 272.

It will be appreciated that to simplify the arrangement of the arm support 210, the support portions 270, 272 may be permanently fixed to respective parts of the neck portion 230, or only one hole may be provided on the lower surface 212b of the respective support portions 270, 272. Alternatively, the ball and socket joint of the telescopic-member end 232 of the connector 228 may be replaced with a screw and socket joint, push fit, snap fit, or magnetic connection such that the arm support 212 is releasable from, but not pivotable relative to, the telescopic arm 214.

The third embodiment of the arm rest 210 further comprises an electronic device support portion (not shown) for releasably supporting an electronic device while in use. The electronic device support portion is preferably hingeably attached to the arm support 212 or the connector 228 so that it may be pivoted towards the telescopic member 214, similar to the arm support 212, when not in use. The electronic device support portion may comprise clamping means for releasably clamping the electronic device thereto. Furthermore, a plurality of clamping means suitable for a plurality of and/or different electronic devices and detachable from the rest of the electronic device support portion may be provided, such that the electronic device support portion may be adapted for a specific electronic device. The electronic device support portion is thus modular.

The telescopic member 214 is provided with an anti-slip surface in the form of a foot or cover 280 for covering a distal end 214b of the telescopic member 214. The telescopic member 214 of the third embodiment is provided with fewer sections 226, 226a, 226b, 226c, than the first and second embodiment, although the locking mechanism for releasably locking the axial extent of the telescopic arm 214 remains the same.

Though only shown on the third embodiment, the arm rest of the first and second embodiment may also include an anti-slip surface at the distal end 14b of the telescopic member. The anti-slip surface may be provided by a foot or cover, and be made of rubber or any other suitable material for gripping onto the support surface.

While the arm rests are described herein as including a base portion, upper portion and a cover, one or more of these parts may be omitted to simplify the manufacture of the arm rests. For example, the cover may be omitted altogether, or may be provided to cover only the upper portion or the base portion. Alternatively, a resilient mesh, such as an elastomer mesh, may be provided and supported by the rigid frame or base portion which reduces the weight and thickness of the arm rest but maintains comfort for the user. The arm rest may also be provided as one piece formed of plastics material without a base portion, and may be perforated therethrough to reduce the weight of the arm rest. Perforations may also be provided through the arm rests of the embodiments described to reduce weight.

The cover of the arm support may be removable so as to allow cleaning and/or replacement.

While the second embodiment is described herein as having a screw portion on the arm-support end of the connector and at least two threaded holes on the lower surface of the arm support, these could be reversed, that is, the arm-support end of the connector may be provided with a threaded hole or socket, and the lower surface of the arm support may include protruding screw portions. Alternatively, other fixing means could be utilised, such as a snap fit, a push fit or magnets.

While the first embodiment is described herein as having a T-shaped slider rail, other suitable shapes may be utilised, such as L-shaped or hook shaped, and the shape of the slider locator portion may be adapted accordingly to match. Furthermore, the slider rail on the lower surface of the arm support may be replaced with a slider channel, groove, slot, runner or keyway instead. In this case, the slider locator may be replaced with a key for insertion into the channel, groove, slot, runner or keyway. Alternatively, a magnetic strip could be provided on the lower surface, and the slider locator may be provided with a magnetic element to fix to the magnetic strip.

Whilst the ball and socket joint of the connector provides a large degree of rotation freedom for the arm support, it will be appreciated that other pivoting means may be provided, such as a hinge mechanism which will simplify manufacture of the arm rest. Such a hinge mechanism may be indexed to provide a plurality of pre-determined angles of rotation for the arm support. Alternatively, the arm support need not provide multiple locations for the telescopic member to be attached to, so that the slider rail, the slider locator and the releasable rail-locator locking means may be omitted altogether. The telescopic member may then be permanently or releasably attached to the centre or substantially the centre of the lower surface 1 of the arm support.

In an embodiment whereby the arm support is detachable from the telescopic member, a recess or cut-out extending at least part way along the longitudinal extent on the lower surface of the arm support may be provided to accommodate at least a portion of the telescopic member that is detached from the arm support. This allows the arm rest to occupy a smaller space for storage, with the telescopic member connected to the arm support in the closed configuration.

It will be appreciated that the first and second embodiment of the arm rest may also be provided with an electronic device support portion as disclosed in the third embodiment. Furthermore, a different arrangement of the electronic device support portion may be provided. For example, the electronic device support portion could be a part of the upper surface shaped to conform to an electronic device, such as a slot or aperture shaped to receive the device. A protrusion may be provided on the arm support which is shaped to be received in a socket of the electronic device, for example a power socket, or simply to allow the electronic device to be supported thereon. Such a protrusion may be pivotably attached to the arm support such that it may be folded towards the upper surface of the arm support when not required.

While the upper surface of the arm support is shown herein as being flat, it may be shaped to conform to the distal part of the arms of the user, such as the palms of the hands or the forearms.

The arm rest may also include a beverage holder and/or an accessory holder provided on the arm support to hold items, such as a beverage, foodstuff, headphones, or a charger. The beverage holder and/or accessory holder may be pivotably or slidably attached to, for example the lower surface of the arm support such that it may be stowed away when it is not required. The beverage holder and/or accessory holder may pivot or slide in a plane parallel to the longitudinal axis of the arm support.

The words 'comprises/comprising' and the words 'having/including' when used herein with reference to the present invention are used to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub-combination.

The embodiments described above are provided by way of example only, and various changes and modifications will be apparent to persons skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.