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United States Patent Application 20170251793
Kind Code A1
BARRATT; James W. September 7, 2017

HANDS FREE DEVICE HOLDER

Abstract

A hands-free device holder is provided having a plurality of versatile attachment options and applications are provided. According to one approach, a hands free device holder is provided having a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; and a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly. In one embodiment the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount. In another embodiment, a kit is provided for a hands free device holder having a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly; wherein the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount by compatible connectors; a telescoping stick connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors; and a clip connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors.


Inventors: BARRATT; James W.; (Washington, DC)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

BARRATT; James W.

Washington

DC

US
Family ID: 1000002604022
Appl. No.: 15/450129
Filed: March 6, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62304590Mar 7, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A45F 2005/006 20130101; A45F 5/00 20130101
International Class: A45F 5/00 20060101 A45F005/00

Claims



1. A hands free device holder, comprising: a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; and a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly.

2. The hands free device holder of claim 1, wherein the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount.

3. The hands free device holder of claim 1, wherein the lanyard has at least 6 spacer rings spaced at intervals.

4. The hands free device holder of claim 1, wherein the clamping assembly has at least one spring loaded extension arm.

5. The hands free device holder of claim 1, wherein the lanyard is a series of interconnecting spheres.

6. A kit for a hands free device holder, comprising: a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly; wherein the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount by compatible connectors; a telescoping stick connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors; and a clip connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims benefit from U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/304,590, filed Mar. 7, 2016, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] Hands-free device holders and kits are described herein and, in particular hands-free device holders and kits having a plurality of versatile attachment options and applications are provided.

BACKGROUND

[0003] The rise in popularity of portable electronic devices, such as cellular telephones, computer tablets, media storage devices, media playback devices, video game devices, portable email devices, personal desktop assistants (PDAs), video teleconferencing, and the like, is well known. To use or to interface such devices, a user has typically been required to hold it in one or both of their hands. Holding the device not only allows the user to interface with the device (such as by thumb typing), but also positions it to allow the user to see monitor screens, lighted indicators, lens, and the like. For example, texting on a cell phone has typically required use of the user's hands to hold and type where they can see the device's display.

[0004] Despite the incredible functionality and convenience of such hand held devices, they may be cumbersome or inconvenient to hold for extended periods of time. This can be especially true when the user does not need his hands to continuously interface with the device. As technology advances and new types of devices and applications are considered for placement where a user can see it, there may be less need for the user to actually hold the device for extended periods of time. For example, when a user watches a movie on a computer tablet, the device may only occasionally need to be interfaced with the user. Or, the user may want to use his cell phone to video conference or to text someone using speech to text software. Other items that a user may need to hold where they can see it can include "hand held" mirrors, and the like. Here again, the user has limited use of their hands while holding the item. In these instances, and in many others, holding the device is not required and actually reduces functionality for the user.

[0005] Some limited attempts are known in the art to provide hands-free support for portable devices (See generally, US Pub. 2007/0164987 Graham and U.S. Pat. No. 896,269 to Birdwell). However, the devices described in the art have limited functionality, are cumbersome and would require storage challenges when not in use.

SUMMARY

[0006] Hands-free device holders and kits are described herein and, in particular hands-free device holders and kits having a plurality of versatile attachment options and applications are provided.

[0007] According to one approach, a hands free device holder is provided having a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; and a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly. In one embodiment the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount. In another embodiment the lanyard is a series of interconnecting spheres.

[0008] In another approach, the lanyard has at least 6 spacer rings spaced at intervals and in yet another approach the clamping assembly has at least one spring loaded extension arm.

[0009] One embodiment provides a kit for a hands free device holder having a pliable lanyard; a clamping assembly configured to releaseably hold a device; a mount to releaseably attach the lanyard and to releaseably mount the clamping assembly; wherein the lanyard is a series of at least three sections being connectable to each other and the mount by compatible connectors; a telescoping stick connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors; and a clip connectable to the lanyard and the mount by compatible connectors.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 illustrates a top perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a device holder.

[0011] FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded top perspective view of the device holder of FIG. 1.

[0012] FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the device holder of FIG. 2 taken along line III-III thereof.

[0013] FIG. 4 illustrates a top perspective view of a first alternate embodiment of a device holder having a wire harness.

[0014] FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the device holder of FIG. 4 taken along line V-V thereof.

[0015] FIG. 6 illustrates a top perspective view of a second alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0016] FIG. 7 illustrates a top perspective view of a third alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0017] FIG. 8 illustrates an exploded top perspective view of the device holder of FIG. 7.

[0018] FIG. 9 illustrates a top perspective view of the third alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration with optional spacer rings.

[0019] FIG. 10 illustrates a top perspective view of the third alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration with optional clip.

[0020] FIG. 11 illustrates a top perspective view of the third alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate tripod configuration.

[0021] FIG. 12 illustrates a top perspective view of a kit for the third alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0022] FIG. 13 illustrates a top perspective view of the third alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration with optional selfie stick.

[0023] FIG. 14 illustrates a top perspective view of the third alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration with optional selfie stick and accessory wires.

[0024] FIG. 15 illustrates a top perspective view of a fourth alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0025] FIG. 16 illustrates an exploded top perspective view of the device holder of FIG. 15.

[0026] FIG. 17 illustrates a top perspective view of a fourth alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration.

[0027] FIG. 18 illustrates a top perspective view of a fourth alternate embodiment of a device holder in an alternate configuration.

[0028] FIG. 19 illustrates a top perspective view of a fifth alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0029] FIG. 20 illustrates a top perspective view of a sixth alternate embodiment of a device holder.

[0030] FIG. 21 illustrates a top perspective view of an exemplary bracket assembly 34 for the present embodiments of a device holder.

[0031] FIG. 22 illustrates a top perspective view of an exemplary bracket assembly 34 for the present embodiments of a device holder with an installed device.

[0032] FIG. 23 illustrates a top perspective view of an alternate bracket assembly 34 for the present embodiments of a device holder with an alternate installed device.

[0033] FIG. 24 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the device holder of FIG. 21 taken along line XXIV-XXIV thereof.

[0034] FIG. 25 illustrates a cut-away view of the device holder of FIG. 21 taken around area XXV thereof.

[0035] FIGS. 26-45 illustrate a top perspective views of the alternate bracket assembly 34 for the present device holder embodiments.

[0036] Element Numbers: [0037] 30 Device [0038] 31 spring 41 attachment and stop to extendable arms 49 [0039] 32 neck piece [0040] 33 stop for extendable arms 49 [0041] 34 bracket [0042] 35 direction of slide of extendable arms 49 [0043] 36 user [0044] 37 pad [0045] 38 accessory [0046] 39 base [0047] 40 mount for bracket to neck piece [0048] 41 spring [0049] 42 accessory holder base/universal and releasable mount [0050] 43 latchable slide [0051] 44 threaded mount [0052] 45 latchable slide release [0053] 46 thumb wheel [0054] 47 grip [0055] 48 accessory mounts [0056] 49 accessory mount extendable arms [0057] 50 outer cover [0058] 51 grip for 47 [0059] 52 foam/pliable material [0060] 53 pad for 47 [0061] 54 rigidly bendable portion [0062] 55 range of extension [0063] 56 channels for accessory wires [0064] 57 direction of spring 41 pull [0065] 58 accessory wires [0066] 59 base to mount and accessory holder base [0067] 60 ear buds [0068] 62 disconnects for neckpiece [0069] 64 female portion of disconnect [0070] 66 male portion of disconnect [0071] 68 spring loaded extension [0072] 70 receptacle for spring loaded extension [0073] 72 optional spacer rings [0074] 74 optional clamp for kit [0075] 76 selfie stick [0076] 78 telescopic body [0077] 80 second telescopic body [0078] 82 third telescoping body [0079] 84 trigger [0080] 86 accessory connection [0081] 88 interconnected spheres

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0082] Hands-free device holders and kits are described herein and, in particular hands-free device holders and kits having a plurality of versatile attachment options and applications are provided.

[0083] According to one approach, a hands free smart phone device holder ("Holder") is provided and can include a lightweight, flexible necklace that holds a smart phone device ("device") in place so that a user can view the screen in front of them without having to use one or two hands to hold it in place. The holder can be configured from three main components.

[0084] The first component of the holder can be a necklace or lanyard that fits comfortably around a user's neck and shoulders. According to one approach (see e.g., FIG. 35) the lanyard can be formed from a string of connected, lightweight polycarbonate ball shaped pieces that resemble large marbles that fit together and can be adjusted to a variety of positions and hold those positions firmly in place. The ball shaped pieces are available in a variety of colors and color combinations. The lanyard can be adjusted so that the attached device can preferably be viewed approximately 6 to 8 inches in front of a user's face and then swung away when the device is not being viewed, for example, adjusted back down to rest out of the way against the front of the user's chest. This allows the device to be secure and readily available. It is noted though that the lanyard can be provided in a variety of configurations so long as it is adjustable and able to support the desired device. The device lanyard can be adjustable to be up against a user, such as when the user's attached device is a magnifying glass or a heating pad for the skin. The lanyard can also be adjustable to extend out a distance the length of a user's arms (e.g., to allow two people to watch movies on a computer tablet), or even beyond a user's arms (e.g., to act as a `selfie` stick for self-photography. The lanyard can be twisted such that the device can be viewed in either a vertical or horizontal positions depending on the viewer's preference.

[0085] The second component of the holder can be a means to secure a device. Two such device clamping configuration examples are shown at element 48 in FIGS. 1 and 26. According to one approach, the clamp can have a tension bar that can be elastically pulled wide enough apart to accept the outer dimensions of the device and to secure the device when the tension bar is released by the user by the inward elastic force of the clamp to its smaller neutral dimension. Similarly the device can be released from the clamp by overcoming the inward elastic force to pull the tension bar apart until the device can be removed. The clamping means must provide for a range of dimensions of desired devices to be retained while also providing sufficient clamping force to hold the device in place when the tension arm is released. Thus, various sized clamps can be used such that devices of different lengths and widths can be placed into the clamp.

[0086] The third component is a mount for the clamping device to the lanyard. A universal mount can be configured (such as a flash mount used in photography) for this purpose to mount the clamping device to the mount. The mount attachment to the lanyard can be a small, male, threaded bolt that screws into the universal mount that has the female grooved hole. Thus, the clamp can be connected to the lanyard through the use of a fitted screw that is a universal mount type of screw connection that a camera will typically be connected to a tripod.

[0087] Thus, the present holder embodiments can be used to view the device without requiring the user to hold it with their arms and hands. This allows the viewer to otherwise utilize their arms and hands when they are viewing their device. Because the lanyard is adjustable, the user can be sitting, standing or lying down and can adjust the necklace so that the device is at the desired distance from their eyes. With their arms and hands free using the device, viewers are able to take notes, eat and drink, rock a baby, hold hands with another, and the like.

[0088] The holder can also be configured for use when it is removed from the user's body (See e.g., FIG. 18). In this instance, the lanyard can be adjusted in such a way to serve in a tripod type of function and the device can be viewed from a table or desk. This allows for the device to be placed so that several viewers can watch the screen, and users are free to move around without the lanyard on their body. In this mode, the device could be used as a support for a video monitor, a music player, a camera, and the like.

[0089] The advantages of the holder are many. A lightweight necklace made, for example, of relatively light polycarbonate material does not put undue and uncomfortable weight and pressure on the user's neck and back. When users bend their necks over to look down and read their devices in their hands, the weight of their head is put on the neck and can lead to bad posture. The lightweight nature allows for viewers to wear the holder for longer periods of time and therefore use it more frequently resulting in less neck fatigue and better posture.

[0090] The present embodiments are configured to be flexible and durable, though easily manipulated to a desired position, yet strong enough to hold the device in that position without slipping or collapsing. By holding the device firmly in place, little or no adjustments are required by the user. The strength of the necklace allows for the viewer to adjust the device so it is at eye level and can be viewed without having to bend their neck to an uncomfortable position resulting in what is sometimes referred to a `tech neck` or `iPosture`. Proper posture is to hold you head upright, looking straight ahead. This way the weight of your head is not straining your neck.

[0091] The present embodiments are readily accessible and secure since the holder is light-weight and can be worn longer, it allows for the device to be readily available when needed without having the viewer search for the device. The clamp and lanyard components can keep the device from falling and breaking, potentially resulting in less damage and losses to the users often expensive to replace device. The holder serves as a necklace that is fully secure around the neck and can be worn like a piece of jewelry when not in use.

[0092] Given the flexibility of the lanyard, simple manipulation of the lanyard allows the device to alternate between vertical positions and horizontal positions. For example, some device applications may only function in a vertical position so the adjustable viewing allows for a quick adjustment.

[0093] The present embodiments allow for unlimited design and color options to enhance marketing of the device beyond its functionality. The lanyard can be formed from interesting and fun designs of ball or other geometrically shaped connectors to give the viewer user a unique, wearable accessory that can even resemble a piece of beaded necklace jewelry. The ball shaped connectors can have a thin, soft rubber piece that circle the center of each ball. This allows a two-tone option for colors. The colors of the ball connectors could be one solid color or have two-toned options. Some users may choose to select their favorite colors or they could be made into the colors of a school or sports team.

[0094] Various interchangeable clamping options are also possible with the present embodiments. Since the mount to the lanyard can use a universal mount to the clamping component, additional sizes and types of clamps can be mounted to the necklace. Depending on the type and size of the desired device to be held, different clamps may be utilized with the universal mount allowing for different devices to be viewed. Secure but quick release mounts would be desirable.

[0095] Similarly, quick release of the devices from the clamping component to the device would also be desirable. Several types of devices would be possible such as smart phones, cameras, GO PROs, mirrors, flashlights, global positioning system units (GPS), microphones, radios, law enforcement cameras, RFD, cups, heating pads, magnifying glasses, and the like.

[0096] The present embodiments can allow hands free device functionality, which would also benefit persons with disabilities demonstrating arm functionality limitations. The holder can be used as a selfie stick as well as allow law enforcement to `see` around corners. The device can be useful for face time applications, watching sporting events, and the like. The flexibility of the lanyard can allow a stowed position. In a loop configuration, connected arms of the lanyard can function as a handle or a tether for the device.

[0097] In kit form, multiple brackets and flexible arms can be attached to form a lanyard as continuous loop (i.e., a necklace), a tripod, or one long extension. Optional features may include RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, ear buds, earphones/plugs adapters, and the like. The lanyard can be a flexible foam covered wire, coiled steel or other pliable material (spring), linked beads, and the like. Polycarbonate polymers may be used. Other optional features may include telescoping/flexible arms, doughnut disks to lift the arms off a user's body.

[0098] The figures show many exemplary embodiments of the present holder assembly. FIGS. 1-5 show a holder device 30 for a user 36 having a lanyard/necklace portion 32, a mount 40 and a clamping device 48 for a user device 38. The clamping device 48 has a mounting bracket portion 34 having a base 39 and a pad 37. Base 42 (FIG. 1) allows a sill for the device to sit on and a quick release from a latchable slide 43 (See, FIG. 21), while pad 37 can be formed of a pliable non-slip material like rubber or a polyurethane foam to gently hold a user device 38. Also shown in FIG. 2 is a threaded mount 44 with a latchable slide release 45 to secure the mount to the lanyard 32. A rotating thumbwheel 46 can be attached to the threaded mount 44 to tighten it to the clamping assembly.

[0099] Lanyard 32 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5 can be a rigid my pliable material such as a bendable metal rod 54 sheathed in a pliable foam or rubber material 52, which can optionally be sheathed in a pliable outer cover 50 that can be a coating material such as a pliable plastic or rubber. Cover 50 allows the lanyard to be clean and offers an opportunity to develop colors or patters. Optionally, lanyard 32 can have channels 56 to allow for accessory wires 58. Accessory wires can be used, for example, for ear buds 60. FIG. 15 shows a lanyard 32iv formed by connected spheres 88.

[0100] An exemplary clamping mechanism, shown in FIGS. 21-25, can be mounted at base 59 and can have an extendable arm 49 slideably disposed within mounting tube 48 and can be held in a shortened position such as shown in FIG. 21 by a spring 41 (See, FIG. 25). As shown in FIG. 25, extendable arm 49 can slide in the directions shown at 35, while the spring applies force in a direction shown at 57. In this embodiment, the spring pulls the extendable arm 49 downward, though it is noted that the spring can be configured to push the extendable arm 49 downward. As shown, extendable arm 49 attaches to spring 41 by spring attachment 31, which can also act as a stop to stop the travel of extendable arm 49 at stop 33. As shown in FIG. 22, extendable arm 49 is extended a distance 55 to receive and clamp device 38. Extending extendable arm 49 can be facilitated with an optional grip 47 having a pad 53 and a tab 51 for a user to pinch with their fingers and pull upward.

[0101] Lanyard 32 can present multiple configurations to allow a variety of uses. For example, as shown in FIG. 8, lanyard 32ii has disconnect assemblies 62 having a male portion 66 and a female portion 64. When coupled, a slideable pin 68 extends into opening 70 to releaseably hold itself together. In this configuration, lanyard 32ii can be looped to form a necklace (FIG. 8), dual hooks (FIG. 17), a tripod (FIG. 11), or as extended stick (FIG. 13). As shown in FIG. 13, an optional selfie stick 76 with a trigger 84 and telescoping sections 78 can be added by connector 62 to extend the device out even further. An accessory connection 86 (FIG. 14) can also be included. As shown in FIG. 10, an optional clip 74 can be used to clamp the lanyard to a stationary object. Also, Lanyard 30 can have optional spacer rings 72 to hold the lanyard off the user to reduce continuous contact points. As shown in FIG. 28, mount 40 can attach to lanyard 32 (or lanyard sections 32ii) via corresponding female connectors 64b.

[0102] FIGS. 26-45 show an alternate embodiment of a bracket 34 for the present device holder embodiments.

[0103] While preferred embodiments have been described in detail, variations and modifications can be effected within the scope of the present embodiments. Throughout this specification and the drawings and figures associated with this specification, numerical labels of previously shown or discussed features may be reused in another drawing figure to indicate similar features.

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