Patents

Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.







Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20110303578
Kind Code A1
Mizell; John ;   et al. December 15, 2011

TABLET PC ENCLOSURE

Abstract

A protective enclosure for a tablet pc includes a protective shell having an opening within the front surface for accessing the screen of tablet pc, and a rotating unit for allowing a user to securely hold and rotate the TPC without obscuring the screen of the device.


Inventors: Mizell; John; (Orlando, FL) ; Genzianelli; Anthony; (Oviedo, FL)
Serial No.: 796755
Series Code: 12
Filed: June 9, 2010

Current U.S. Class: 206/701
Class at Publication: 206/701
International Class: B65D 85/00 20060101 B65D085/00


Claims



1. An enclosure for a portable electronic device, comprising: a shell configured to receive the portable electronic device said shell having a front surface, left surface, right surface, top surface, bottom surface and back surface, wherein said front surface has an opening for accessing a screen of the portable electronic device; a rotating unit configured to allow a user to securely hold and rotate the portable electronic device, said rotating unit being affixed to the back surface of the shell; and one or more pegs configured to extend outward from a back surface of the enclosure.

2. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said rotating unit includes a circular shape that approximates a size of a hand of a user.

3. The enclosure of claim 2, wherein said shape includes a raised area configured to ergonomically position the hand of the user.

4. The enclosure of claim 3 wherein said rotating unit includes an adjustable securing means for attaching the hand of the user to the rotating unit.

5. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said rotating unit includes a mechanism for securing the rotating unit at a desired position.

6. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein an inside portion of the shell further includes an impact absorption coating.

7. The enclosure of claim 6, wherein said impact absorption coating includes at least one rubber, foam and neoprene.

8. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said opening includes a raised lip around a periphery of the opening, said raised lip adapted for preventing the screen of the portable electronic device from being contacted when the enclosure is placed upside down.

9. The enclosure of claim 8, wherein said raised lip is configured to flex when impacted by a foreign object.

10. The enclosure of claim 8, wherein said raised lip includes a rubber portion.

11. The enclosure of claim 10, wherein said raised lip is configured to flex when impacted by a foreign object.

12. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said shell includes a plurality of openings and embossed portions configured to allow a user to access a plurality of input/output elements of a specific portable electronic device.

13. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said shell is constructed from hardened plastic.

14. The enclosure of claim 13, wherein a portion of said shell is configured to flex thus accommodating placement of the portable electronic device.

15. The enclosure of claim 13, wherein a portion of said shell is configured to flex when impacted by a foreign object.

16. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said shell is constructed from one of a hardened rubber, and hardened neoprene.

17. The enclosure of claim 13, wherein a portion of said shell is configured to flex to accommodate placement of the portable electronic device.

18. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said rotating unit is removably affixed to the back surface of the shell.

19. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said rotating unit is removably affixed to the back surface of the shell.

20. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein said rotating unit is removably affixed to the back surface of the shell via one of a magnetic element, a compression fitting, a lock and grove and velcro.

21. The enclosure of claim 1, wherein the portable electronic device is a tablet PC.

22. An enclosure for a portable electronic device, the portable electronic device having a screen and one or more electronic elements associated therewith, the enclosure comprising: a plurality of surfaces configured to allow the portable electronic device to be placed therebetween; an enclosure front configured to allow a user to view the screen when the portable electronic device is placed between said surfaces; one of said surfaces being a back surface opposing said enclosure front; and at least one of said surfaces adapted to allow the user to access the electronic elements when the portable electronic device is placed between said surfaces.

23. The enclosure of claim 22 further comprising a mechanism for allowing the enclosure to sit at an angle relative to a level surface.

24. The enclosure of claim 22 wherein the portable electronic device is a tablet PC.

25. The enclosure of claim 22 wherein the back surface further comprises a rotating unit.

26. The enclosure of claim 25 wherein the back surface further comprises a mechanism for allowing the enclosure to sit at an angle relative to a level surface.

27. The enclosure of claim 25 wherein the rotating unit further comprises an adjustable mechanism for securing the hand of a user to the back surface.

28. The enclosure of claim 25 wherein the rotating unit is configured to allow a user to rotate the enclosure to any angle.

29. The enclosure of claim 28 wherein the rotating unit further comprises a mechanism for securing the enclosure at a desired angle.

30. A portable electronic device comprising: a body having an interactive screen and a plurality of electronic elements associated therewith; an enclosure having a plurality of surfaces in contact with the portable electronic device and an enclosure front, the enclosure front being configured to allow a user to interact with the screen, one of said surfaces being a back surface opposing said enclosure front; and at least one of said surfaces adapted to allow the user to access the electronic elements.

31. The portable electronic device of claim 30 further comprising a mechanism for allowing the portable electronic device to sit at an angle relative to a level surface.

32. The portable electronic device of claim 30 wherein the portable electronic device is a PC.

33. The portable electronic device of claim 30 wherein the back surface further comprises a rotating unit.

34. The portable electronic device of claim 33 wherein the rotating unit further comprises a mechanism for allowing the enclosure to sit at an angle relative to a level surface.

35. The portable electronic device of claim 33 wherein the rotating unit further comprises an adjustable mechanism for securing the hand of a user to the back surface.

36. The portable electronic device of claim 33 wherein the rotating unit is adapted for allowing a user to rotate the enclosure to any angle.

37. The portable electronic device of claim 33 wherein the rotating unit further comprises a mechanism for securing the enclosure at a desired angle.

38. An enclosure for a portable electronic device, the portable electronic device having a screen and one or more electronic elements associated therewith, the enclosure comprising: a plurality of surfaces including a front surface, left surface, right surface, top surface, bottom surface, and back surface, the surfaces configured to receive a tablet PC therebetween; the front surface having an opening for allowing a user to access the screen; the back surface having a rotating unit configured to allow a user to securely hold and rotate the tablet PC and a mechanism for allowing the enclosure to sit at an angle relative to a level surface.

39. The enclosure of claim 38 wherein the mechanism for allowing the enclosure to sit at an angle relative to a level surface is connected to the rotating unit.

40. The enclosure of claim 38 wherein the rotating unit is removably affixed.

41. The enclosure of claim 40 wherein the rotating unit further comprises a mechanism for adjustable securing the hand of a user to the rotating unit.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to a protective enclosure for a tablet PC, and more particularly to a protective enclosure having a rotatable handle for allowing a user to securely hold and position a tablet PC with one hand.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Tablet PC's such as the APPLE IPAD, for example, are quickly replacing traditional laptop and desktop computers in households everywhere. Unlike a traditional computer, a tablet PC uses a touch screen display which negates the need for an external keyboard and mouse.

[0005] FIG. 1 illustrates one example of a modern tablet personal computer (TPC). As shown, a typical TPC 10 includes a rectangular body 11 having an interactive touch screen 12, a plurality of I/O ports 13 and one or more push buttons 14. Due to the compact design and relatively light weight of a TPC, it is common for users to operate the device on the go. To this end, in most cases a user 15 will hold the TPC with one hand while attempting to interface with the touch screen with the other.

[0006] However, utilizing the device in such a manner has several drawbacks. For example, due to the size of the device, it is common for the user to inadvertently access the touch screen when attempting to grip the body of the TPC. Also, the user can not easily switch between a landscape and portrait mode without shifting their grip on the device. Further, because the device is not secured to the hand of the user, it is not uncommon for the device to be dropped resulting in severe damage. Additionally, when placed on a table the device will rest flat on its back, which makes viewing and typing on the touch screen 12 difficult for most users.

[0007] Many different devices have been proposed for use with a tablet PC including U.S. Publication No. 2004/0226973 which describes a holding aid for a tablet PC having a custom tab which can be connected to one side of a TPC to allow a user to grip the device. Additionally, U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,070 describes a device having a handle which can be secured to the wrist of a user. However, none of the above devices overcomes each of the issues described above.

[0008] Accordingly, it would be beneficial to provide a protective enclosure capable of allowing a user to securely hold a TPC at any angle without obscuring the screen of the device while simultaneously providing protection to the TPC against damage from accidental impact. Moreover, it would also be beneficial to provide a protective enclosure which is simple to use, is economical to manufacture and allows a TPC to be positioned at an angle for viewing and typing when not being held.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention is directed to a protective enclosure for a tablet pc. One embodiment of the present invention can include a shell configured to enclose a tablet pc having a front, left, right, top, bottom and back surface, and an opening within the front surface for accessing the screen of the TPC. The enclosure can also include a rotating unit for allowing a user to securely hold and rotate the TPC without obscuring the screen of the device.

[0010] Another embodiment of the invention can include one or more pegs configured to extend outward, thus allowing the device to rest at an angle for typing and viewing.

[0011] Yet another embodiment of the present invention can include several protrusions configured to protect the TPC from inadvertent contact and damage from impact.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Presently preferred embodiments are shown in the drawings. It should be appreciated, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a known tablet pc.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a frontal view of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a left side view of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a right side view of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a top view side of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a bottom side view of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 7 is a back side view of a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 8 is a back side view of a tablet pc enclosure according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 9 is a frontal view of a tablet pc and a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a left side view of a tablet pc and a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a right side view of a tablet pc and a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a top view side of a tablet pc and a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a bottom side view of a tablet pc and a tablet pc enclosure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a tablet pc enclosure in use according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0027] While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the description in conjunction with the drawings. As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the inventive arrangements in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting but rather to provide an understandable description of the invention.

[0028] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used herein, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms "comprises" and/or "comprising," when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

[0029] FIGS. 2-7 illustrate one embodiment of a TPC enclosure that is useful for understanding the inventive concepts disclosed herein. The enclosure 20 can include a shell 21 and a rotating unit 30 (see FIG. 7). The shell 21 is preferably constructed from a hardened resilient material having good strength and impact absorption ability such as injection molded plastic or carbon fiber material, for example, however other materials are contemplated. For instance, one alternative embodiment can include an outer shell constructed entirely or mostly from stiff rubber or other elastic material having good tensile strength and excellent impact absorbing qualities.

[0030] In the embodiments shown herein, the enclosure 20 can encompass a Tablet PC in the form of an APPLE IPAD. However, one of skill in the art will recognize that the inventive concepts described herein can be equally applied to Tablet PC's of other makes and models without deviating from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the inventive concepts are not limited to one specific TPC.

[0031] As shown in FIGS. 2-6, shell 21 can include a front surface 21a, a right side surface 21b, a left side surface 21c, a top surface 21d and a bottom side surface 21e. Each of these sides can act together to form a roughly rectangular body having an opening 22 into which a TPC can be securely inserted.

[0032] Additionally, each of the surfaces can include a lip/protrusion (P) along the periphery that forms the opening 22. As such, the opening 22 can have a depth that is greater than that of the TPC. In one embodiment, the lip/protrusion P can be constructed from the same material as the shell, and can be formed as an integral part of the shell. Alternatively, the protrusion P can be constructed from a soft cushion material such as rubber or nylon padding, for example, and may be attached to the end of the shell to form the protrusion. In this regard, when the TPC is inserted into the opening, the screen of the TPC is recessed with respect to the protrusions thus providing protection against inadvertent contact with foreign objects. Moreover, in the event the enclosure is dropped or subjected to impact, each of the protrusions P in conjunction with the hardened sides 21a-21f can flex, thus acting as impact absorption elements in order to protect the TPC.

[0033] In another embodiment, shell 21 can include a plurality of I/O openings 22 for accessing the components of the TPC and one or more embossed sections 23 for allowing the buttons of the TPC to be utilized by a user when positioned within the enclosure. Additionally, front surface 21a can further include one or more optional gaps 24 for allowing the top surface of the shell 21d to bend (see arrow A) in order to allow the TPC to be more easily inserted into the opening 22.

[0034] In one alternate embodiment (not shown), the inside portion of the shell 21 can be lined with an impact absorbing material such as rubber or neoprene, for example. In this regard, the impact absorbing material can provide additional cushion to the TPC when impacted by a foreign object, or dropped.

[0035] FIG. 7 illustrates the back side of the enclosure 20 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. As shown, back surface 21f can include a rotating unit 30 having a raised area 31 for ergonomically accommodating the hand of a user, an adjustable strap 32 for securely positioning the users hand to the rotating unit, and an optional catch/release button 33.

[0036] As shown, rotating unit 30 can turn 360 degrees (see arrow B) in either direction with respect to the back surface 21f. Moreover, rotating unit 30 can include a plurality of internal stops/indentions (not shown) into which a portion of catch/release button 33 can engage. In this regard, a user can lock the rotating unit 30 to a specified position in order to prevent further movement until desired. Rotating/rotatable units such as element 30 are well known in the art and can include a front side and a back side which can rotate independently of each other and can be constructed from plastic or composite materials. To this end, the rotating unit can be secured to the back surface of the shell by means of a standard rotational joint arrangement and can rotate to any angle and be secured at that angle. Alternatively, rotating unit can be removably secured to the back surface of the shell by a non-permanent means such as a locking groove, VELCRO, magnetic elements and compression fittings, for example. Rotating devices and removable connection devices as described above are well known to one of skill in the art, accordingly no further description is provided.

[0037] Although described herein as including an adjustable strap 32, this language is not intended to be limiting as one of skill in the art will recognize that many known materials and configurations can be utilized for securing the hand of a user to the rotating unit.

[0038] FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of the enclosure 20. As shown, the back surface 21f can include one or more extendable pegs 35. Each of pegs 35 can rotate/extend outward with respect to the back surface (see arrow C). Such a feature can allow the device to be oriented at an angle suitable for reading and/or typing when placed on a flat surface.

[0039] As can be seen in FIGS. 9-13, a TPC 10 can be securely positioned within opening 22 such that body of the TPC can be protected on all sides by the enclosure 20. Moreover, the screen 11 of the TPC can be protected against inadvertent impact by protrusions P located along the periphery of the opening. In this regard, the enclosure can be positioned or set down at any angle without exposing the TPC to damage. Additionally, I/O openings 22, and embossed sections 23 positioned within surfaces 21a-21e can align with I/O ports 13 and push buttons 14 of the TPC, respectively, thus allowing full utilization of the TPC when positioned within the enclosure.

[0040] FIG. 14 illustrates one embodiment of the enclosure 20 in action. As shown, when a TPC 10 (in this instance an APPLE IPAD) is inserted into the enclosure 20, a user can securely hold and rotate the TPC to any desired angle without obstructing any portion of the screen 12. Moreover, by securing a users hand to the device, the user does not need to reposition their grip on the TPC when changing from a landscape to portrait mode, thus eliminating the risk of dropping the device, and making it better suited for use on the go.

[0041] Accordingly, a enclosure 20 as described herein can allow a user to securely hold a TPC and transition between a portrait and landscape mode, while providing protection to the TPC against damage from accidental impact. Moreover, the enclosure 20 can allow an enclosed TPC to be positioned at an angle for viewing and typing when not being held.

[0042] The corresponding structures, materials, acts, and equivalents of all means or step plus function elements in the claims below are intended to include any structure, material, or act for performing the function in combination with other claimed elements as specifically claimed. The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, but is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed.

[0043] Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.

* * * * *