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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
WALL MOUNTED DEPLOYABLE FURNITURE PIECE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/187163
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A table provides a surface that stores flat on a wall when not in use and can be manually deployed at variable lengths, with any the remainder remaining stored on the wall. The surface easily slides down and out from its low profile retracted (vertically stored) position into a deployed (horizontal) configuration to serve as a shelf, a desk, dining / conference / work table, and the like.

Inventors:
BANKS JESSICA (US)
Application Number:
US2016/032795
Publication Date:
November 24, 2016
Filing Date:
May 16, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ROCKPAPERROBOT INC (US)
International Classes:
A47B3/04; A47B5/00; A47B13/08; A47B17/03; A47B77/10
Foreign References:
BE689469A1967-04-14
DE19935762A12001-02-08
GB612633A1948-11-16
JPS5513849U1980-01-29
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCGUIRE, George, R. et al. (Schoeneck & King PLLC,One Lincoln Cente, Syracuse NY, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A deployable furniture piece that is moveable between a fully stowed positon and a fully deployed position, comprising:

a. a plurality of slats, including a leading slat and a trailing slat, interconnected to one another with each extending along a respective axis all of which are parallel to one another;

b. a vertical assistance mechanism that provides an automated force to assist in

transitional movement of the table between its fully stowed position wherein said plurality of slats extend in an essentially vertical plane and a fully deployed position wherein a majority of said plurality of slats extend in a essentially horizontal plane; and

c. a brake that is selectively, manually actuable between locked and unlocked positions, wherein the table is locked from movement without manual actuation of said brake.

2. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 1, further comprising first and second legs connected to said leading slat and movable between a fully stowed, wherein said first and second legs extend in parallel relation to the plane in which said leading slat extends, and a fully deployed position, wherein said first and second legs extend perpendicularly to the plane in which leading slat extends.

3. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 1, wherein said vertical assistance mechanism comprises:

a. a plurality of linked legs, including an upper set of linked legs and a lower set of linked legs, that collectively form a scissor lift;

b. first and second connecting arms extending between said upper set of linked legs and said lower set of linked legs, respectively;

c. a guide attached to one of said plurality of linked legs and having an arcuate slot formed therethrough; and

d. a piston and cylinder arrangement wherein said cylinder is attached at one end to one of said first and second connecting arms and said piston passes through said arcuate slot.

4. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 1, further comprising a brake

assembly.

5. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 4, wherein said brake assembly comprises a brake attached to said leading slat, said brake being manually movable from a locked positon to an unlocked position and upon manual release automatically movable from said unlocked position back to said locked position.

6. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 5, wherein said brake assembly further comprises:

a. a cable that passes through said brake;

b. a plurality of pulleys attached to said plurality of slats and around which said cable passes; and

c. first and second tensioning springs to which the ends of said cable attach.

7. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 1, further comprising a connection assembly interconnecting adjacent ones of said plurality of slats.

8. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 7, wherein said connection

assembly comprises a slat hinge plate and a slip surface, wherein said slip surface is positioned between said adjacent slats and said slat hinge plate.

9. The deployable furniture piece according to claim 8, wherein said slat hinge plate comprises a convex trailing edge and a concave leading edge.

10. A method for deploying a furniture piece from a stowed position to a deployed

position, wherein the furniture piece comprises a plurality of slats, including a leading slat and a trailing slat, interconnected to one another with each extending along a respective axis all of which are parallel to one another, and a brake attached to the leading slat, wherein the stowed position comprises the plurality of slats being positioned in a vertical plane in supported relation against a wall and the deployed position comprises at least a majority of the plurality of slats being positioned in a horizontal plane, wherein the method comprises the steps of:

a. applying force to the brake to release the plurality of slats from their stowed position;

b. pulling outwardly on the leading slat to cause at least a majority of the

plurality of slats to each transition from a vertical plane to a horizontal plane; and

c. releasing the brake to lock the plurality of slats in position.

11. A method for deploying a furniture piece from a deployed position to a stowed position, wherein the furniture piece comprises a plurality of slats, including a leading slat and a trailing slat, interconnected to one another with each extending along a respective axis all of which are parallel to one another, a brake attached to the leading slat, and a vertical assistance mechanism that provides an automated force to assist in transitional movement of the table between its fully stowed position and its fully deployed position, wherein the stowed position comprises the plurality of slats being positioned in a vertical plane in supported relation against a wall and the deployed position comprises at least a majority of the plurality of slats being positioned in a horizontal plane, wherein the method comprises the steps of:

a. applying force to the brake to release it from the plurality of slats and permit movement thereof;

b. pushing inwardly on the leading slat to actuate the vertical assistance

mechanism and cause the plurality of slats to each transition from a horizontal plane to a vertical plane; and

c. releasing the brake to lock the plurality of slats in position.

Description:
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application relates and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Serial Number 62/162,730, filed May 16, 2015, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to furniture, and more specifically to tables or other furniture pieces useful in areas with limited space

2. BACKGROUND OF ART

[0003] Furniture that is both aesthetically pleasing while appropriately functional for a given use is desirable. A particular need exists for furniture that provides adequate functionality and aesthetics in spaces of small or limited size. For example, a studio apartment typically provides very limited living space, but the occupant may like to have adequate furniture to live not just comfortably, such as a bed, a dining table, chairs, and the like but also optimize for experience and utility of that space, such as dinner parties, office, work, etc.

[0004] One rather old but functionally useful furniture design that has addressed the need of furnishing small spaces is the Murphy bed. The Murphy bed is a sleeping bed that simply moves between a stowed position wherein it extends in a vertical plane typically against a wall and perhaps hidden behind doors that make it appear as a closet, and a deployed positioned where it simply pivots at its base to extend in the normal horizontal plane as with "fixed" beds.

[0005] Other furnishings that have been designed for smaller spaces include, for example, what are known as TV trays; small trays that are foldable between a stowed and collapsed position and a deployed, usable position. The TV trays simply include a pair of legs on each side of the tray that are pivotally movable relative to one another about their midpoints. The tray surface is also pivotally mounted to one of the legs on each side and can be releasingly and securely clipped to the other legs on each side when deployed for use.

[0006] Traditional folding tables and chairs are also functionally useful for small spaces. These tables include the table base and support legs pivotally extendible between collapsed positions and extended positions. When the table is not in use the legs are folded up against the downwardly facing surface of the table and the table stowed for later use. Similarly with the traditional folding chairs, the legs and seat portion simply pivot to permit folding of the chair's components into a single plane for storage. When use of the chair is desired, one simply unfolds the legs and seat to convert the chair into a functional piece of furniture.

[0007] Couches commonly known as futons are useful at providing a couch that can be converted into a bed by unfolding its various sections and extending the couch cushion into a mattress. Similar to couches with fold away mattresses, this type of furniture is useful for providing extra an sleeping piece in an area otherwise occupied with living room type furninghing.

[0008] While each of the examples provided above of traditional furniture used in spaces of limited size, there are drawbacks associated with each of them that make them less attractive for use by certain individuals who may otherwise have a need for such functionality. For instance, even the TV trays and folding tables and chairs require space to store them, which certain apartments or other small quarters may not provide. And while a Murphy bed is useful in saving space it is a rather heavy piece of furniture that is difficult for some individuals to manipulate. In addition, it is merely movable between a fully stowed or a fully open/deployed position; it does not have the ability to convert between say a king size bed and a twin bed, or a long bed and a short/toddler bed. Thus, it will always take up the maximum amount of space when deployed, which may not always be necessary or desired. 3. OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0009] It is therefore an object and advantage of the present invention to provide a table that may be moved between a stowed position and a deployed position.

[0010] It is another object and advantage of the present invention to provide a table that can be deployed to various lengths to accommodate various size needs.

[0011] It is a further object and advantage of the present invention to provide a table that may be easily moved between its deployed and stowed positions with minimal strength or effort.

[0012] It is an additional object and advantage of the present invention to provide a table that can be customized in appearance

[0013] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will in part be obvious, and in part appear hereinafter. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] In accordance with the foregoing objects and advantages, the present invention provides a table that is movable between stowed and deployed positions. The table essentially comprises a plurality of slats pivotally interconnected to one another and each of which extends in parallel relation to the rest. Each slat is interconnected to the adjacent slat(s) by hinge plates that are positioned along the side edges of each slat. A rail system is mounted to a wall and provides the sliding passageway for the slatted table top to move between its stowed (vertical) positon and its deployed (horizontal) position. When in the vertical (retracted) orientation, the table is suspended by a gas spring loaded scissors lift (referred to herein as a "vertical assist mechanism" or "VAM") such that the weight of the table is balanced. As the table deploys into a horizontal position, the force needed to counter balance the table mass decreases because part of it is now supported by legs that pivot outwardly from the bottom of the table onto the floor. The VAM is designed so that the user experiences a constant force when retracting or deploying the table even though the mass that is being translated is increasing or decreasing respectively. The gas spring is mostly responsible for this and the system is designed to even out any variation of the force output by the spring over its stroke.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0016] Figure 1 is a perspective view of a table in its deployed position in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0017] Figure 2 is a second perspective view thereof.

[0018] Figure 3 is a rear elevation view thereof with the wall section partially cut away for purposes of viewing the rear of the table assembly.

[0019] Figure 4 is a bottom plan view thereof.

[0020] Figure 5 is a side elevation view of the table of Figure 1 in its stowed position.

[0021] Figure 6 is a front elevation view thereof.

[0022] Figure 7 is a perspective view of the table of Figure 1 in a

partially/initially deployed position.

[0023] Figure 8 is a side elevation view thereof.

[0024] Figure 9 is a front elevation view thereof. [0025] Figure 10 is a perspective view of a portion of a slat assembly in accordance with an aspect of the invention.

[0026] Figure 11 is a bottom plan view thereof.

[0027] Figures 12a- 12c are side elevation views of a slate, slip surface, and slat hinge plate, respectively.

[0028] Figure 13 is an illustrative view of the horizontal brake mechanism in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

[0029] Figure 14 is a schematic view of the horizontal brake mechanism in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

[0030] Figures 15a - 15 j are sequential illustrative views illustrating the process associated with an aspect of the present invention.

[0031] Figure 16 is an elevation view of the vertical assist mechanism associated with an aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0032] Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout, there is seen in Figure 1 a table designated generally by reference numeral 10. Table 10 is manually movable between a stowed (vertically oriented position (see Figures 5 and 6) to a fully deployed (horizontally oriented) position (see Figures 1 - 4). If a shorter length of table is desired than is provided when fully deployed, deployment of table 10 can cease at any desired length, leaving a portion thereof in its vertically oriented position while the desired length of horizontally oriented table may be deployed and used.

[0033] Table 10 generally comprises a plurality of slats 12 that form the table top. Each slat 12 is interconnected to adjacent slat(s) 12 by hinge plates 14 that extend along the side edges of each slat 12. A slip surface 16 is positioned between each hinge plate 14 and slat 12 to reduce friction during movement of the slats. A pin 18 passes through and interconnects two slats 12 together and the length of the pin serves as the pivot axis between the two adjacent slats 12. As most clearly seen in Figures 11 and 12c, each hinge plate 14 includes a leading edge 20 that is concave, while its trailing edge 22 is correspondingly convex in shape. This convex/concave relationship provides a smooth transition as one slat moves from its vertical to its horizontal position while the adjacent one remains in it vertical orientation.

[0034] With reference to Figures 13 and 14, when a user is moving the table, a brake mechanism, designated generally by reference numeral 100, must be disengaged.

Brake mechanism 100 comprises a brake 102 attached to the underside of the leading slat, and a series of pulleys 104 around which a cable 106 travels (and cable 106 also passes through brake 102) and with the ends of the cable tied off to tensioning springs. Brake 102 pinches cable 106 by magnetic (or spring) biased force when in its neutral state, thereby preventing movement of cable 106 and movement of the table. To disengage brake 102, a user would pull on the handle 108 of brake 102, thereby freeing cable 106 from its clutch. The user's minimum push or pull force exerted on the leading slat 12 then moves the table with the assistance of the VAM to either its stowed or deployed position, respectively. Upon release of handle 108, cable 106 once again is engaged and movement of the table is prohibited. Thus, releasing handle 108 when any desired length of table is deployed permits a table of desired size to be deployed (e.g., only one or two slats might be deployed to provide a shelf).

[0035] With reference to Figure 16, VAM 200 is illustrated. VAM comprises a plurality of pivotally linked legs 202 to form a scissor lift. The upper and lower extremities of legs 202 are bridged by connecting arms 204 and 206, respectively. A gas piston 208 has its cylinder attached at one end of connecting arm 206 and its piston is carried in an arcuate slot 210 formed through a guide 212 that is attached to a leg 202. As a user begins to move the table either towards a deployed position or towards its stowed position, gas piston 206 will provide the majority of the force and support needed to carry the weight of the table, thus minimizing the effort required of the user. The arcuate slot 210 is designed to vary the amount of force contributed by the gas piston to the movement of the table; as more of the table becomes vertically oriented towards its stowed position, the greater the amount of force contributed by the gas piston and conversely when the table nears its fully deployed position, the arcuate slot is oriented such that the gas piston again contributes a significant amount of force to hold the weight of the table as it is moved. Likewise, less force is needed when a portion of the table is deployed and a portion in the vertical plane. When the table is in its fully stowed position, gas spring 206 provides the force to prevent the table from sliding down and away from the wall.

[0036] With respect to Figures 15a-15j, the table 10 is shown in its sequential modes of operation from shipping (15a), to installation on a wall (15b), initial deployment of a shelf (15c), with the legs locking outwardly to support the shelf/table (15d), to deployment (15e). Figure 15 f begins the process of deployment of table 10 for table use. Retraction is started as shown in Figure 15g, wherein the legs will retract upwardly into their stored position on the underside of the table (15h), and finally the shelf (slat 12) can be pushed into the vertical plane (15i). As shown in Figure 15 j, the table's surface can be decorated with artwork which can be interchangeable via veneers or other suitable coverings.

[0037] Also the legs will work by automatically falling down to parallel to the wall when the leading slat is lifted from the wall. These will lock in place automatically. When the table is pulled out from the wall, these will stay down and stay locked in place.

[0038] As the table is returned to retracted state, the legs can then be free to retract and will do so when the user manually pushes on them so as to fold down the leading slat to its retracted state on the wall.