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Número de publicaciónUS20040031895 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/646,251
Fecha de publicación19 Feb 2004
Fecha de presentación22 Ago 2003
Fecha de prioridad28 Feb 2000
También publicado comoCA2324614A1
Número de publicación10646251, 646251, US 2004/0031895 A1, US 2004/031895 A1, US 20040031895 A1, US 20040031895A1, US 2004031895 A1, US 2004031895A1, US-A1-20040031895, US-A1-2004031895, US2004/0031895A1, US2004/031895A1, US20040031895 A1, US20040031895A1, US2004031895 A1, US2004031895A1
InventoresRichard Langhoff
Cesionario originalVolvo Trucks North America, Inc.
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Vehicle cupholder
US 20040031895 A1
Resumen
A beverage container holder which is especially suited for use in vehicles is disclosed. The holder includes a container support including a support surface delineating a bottom of a container receiving space. The surface is for engagement with the bottom of a beverage container when the holder is in use. The support including upstanding portions delineates the perimeter of the container space and an inflatable bladder is operably connected to the upstanding portions for engaging at least three locations about a perimeter of a container when the holder is in use.
Imágenes(3)
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Reclamaciones(33)
Claims:
1. A holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle, said holder comprising:
a securement means for anchoring a manually carryable article within an occupant compartment of a vehicle, said securement means comprising an inflatable bladder having a deflated configuration for facilitating insertion of an article therein and establishing an article-release configuration of the holder, and an inflated configuration for impeding disengagement of an inserted article therefrom and establishing an article-securing configuration of the holder.
2. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 1, wherein said securement means is coupled to an interior of an occupant compartment of a vehicle and spatially fixed therein within reach of at least one vehicle occupant.
3. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 2, wherein said securement means is mounted to a console within the occupant compartment of the vehicle.
4. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 2, wherein said securement means is mounted to a dashboard within the occupant compartment of the vehicle.
5. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 2, further comprising:
a support body defining an interior space therein; and
the inflatable bladder confined within the interior space of the support body.
6. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 5, wherein the support body further comprises an open-top recess surrounded by a substantially annular wall that defines the interior space of the support body.
7. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 6, further comprising:
an inwardly protruding lip located at a top portion of the substantially annular wall, the inwardly protruding lip having a reduced inner diameter relative to an inner diameter of the substantially annular wall.
8. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 2, wherein said inflatable bladder of the securement means is configured for releasably gripping a hand-held beverage container.
9. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 2, further comprising:
a pressure feed line fluidly interconnected between the inflatable bladder and a vehicular fluid pressure source.
10. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 9, further comprising:
a control valve disposed between the inflatable bladder and the vehicular fluid pressure source, the control valve configurable to transition the holder between the article-release configuration and the article-securing configuration.
11. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
a sensing means for detecting the presence of an inserted article and causing the inflatable bladder to transition between the inflated and deflated configurations.
12. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 11, wherein said sensing means is a motion sensor.
13. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 11, wherein said sensing means is a photovoltaic-cell.
14. The holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle as recited in claim 11, wherein said sensing means is a pressure sensor.
15. A method for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle, said method comprising:
anchoring a manually carryable article in a holder located within an occupant compartment of a vehicle utilizing an inflatable bladder, said anchoring step comprising:
establishing an article-release configuration of a holder by establishing a deflated configuration of the inflatable bladder thereby facilitating insertion of the manually carryable article therein;
inserting the manually carryable article into an interior space of the holder; and
establishing an article-securing configuration of the holder by inflating the inflatable bladder thereby impeding disengagement of the inserted article therefrom.
16. The method as recited in claim 15, further comprising:
locating the holder within an interior of the occupant compartment of the vehicle within reach of at least one vehicle occupant.
17. The method as recited in claim 16, further comprising:
mounting the holder to a console within the occupant compartment of the vehicle.
18. The method as recited in claim 16, further comprising:
mounting the holder to a dashboard of the vehicle.
19. The method as recited in claim 15, further comprising:
providing the holder in a form having a support body that defines an interior space therein; and
confining the inflatable bladder within the interior space of the support body.
20. The method as recited in claim 19, further comprising:
providing the support body with an open-top recess surrounded by a substantially annular wall that defines the interior space of the support body.
21. The method as recited in claim 20, further comprising:
providing an inwardly protruding lip located at a top portion of the substantially annular wall, the inwardly protruding lip having a reduced inner diameter relative to an inner diameter of the substantially annular wall.
22. The method as recited in claim 15, further comprising:
releasably gripping a hand-held beverage container utilizing the inflatable bladder.
23. The method as recited in claim 15, further comprising:
providing a pressure feed line fluidly interconnected between the inflatable bladder and a vehicular fluid pressure source.
24. The method as recited in claim 23, further comprising:
providing a control valve disposed between the inflatable bladder and the vehicular fluid pressure source; and
configuring the control valve to transition the holder between the article-release configuration and the article-securing configuration.
25. The method as recited in claim 15, further comprising:
detecting the presence of an inserted article in the holder utilizing a sensor and responsively causing the inflatable bladder to transition between the inflated and deflated configurations.
26. A beverage container holder for use in a vehicle comprising:
a) a container support including a support surface delineating a bottom of a container receiving space, the surface being for engagement with the bottom of a beverage container when the holder is in use;
b) the support including upstanding portions delineating at least sections of the perimeter of the container space;
c) an inflatable bladder connected to an air supply conduit and operably connected to the upstanding portions for engaging at least three locations about a perimeter of such a container when the holder is in use;
d) a valve for controlling a flow of air under pressure from the conduit to the bladder; and,
e) a container activated switch that controls said valve.
27. The holder of claim 26 wherein the switch is a photovoltaic cell.
28. The holder of claim 26 wherein the switch is pressure sensitive.
29. For use in a vehicle, an improved beverage container holder comprising:
a) base adapted to be mounted in a vehicle at a location readily accessible to at least one vehicle occupant;
b) the base defining a container receiving recess;
c) an inflatable bladder connected to an air supply conduit and connected to the base and positioned to engage at least three permitral points on a portion of a container positioned in the recess;
d) an air supply conduit connected to the bladder for supplying air under pressure to the bladder;
e) a valve operable connected to the conduit for controlling a flow of air under pressure from the conduit to the bladder; and,
f) a container activated switch that controls the valve.
30. The holder of claim 29 wherein the switch is a photovoltaic cell.
31. The holder of claim 29 wherein the switch is pressure sensitive.
32. An improved process of supporting a beverage container in selected one of truck and a tractor, the process, comprising:
a) positioning a beverage container on a support surface at a lower end of a container receiving recess in a container holder mounted with a cab of the vehicles;
b) moving a container gripping diaphragm toward the container by inflating the diaphragm initiated by a signal from a proximity switch that establishes communication between a source of air under pressure and the diaphragm.
c) continuing the movement until the container is engaged at least three perimetrally spaced points whereby to secure the container in the holder.
33. An improved process of supporting a beverage container in selected one of a truck and a tractor, the process, comprising:
a) positioning a beverage container on a support surface at a lower end of a container receiving recess in a container holder mounted with a cab of the vehicles;
b) moving a container gripping diaphragm toward the container by inflating the diaphragm initiated by a signal from a pressure sensitive switch that establishes communication between a source of air under pressure and the diaphragm; and,
c) continuing the movement until the container is engaged at least three perimetrally spaced points whereby to secure the container in the holder.
Descripción
    Relate Bacck
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation in part of co-pending application Ser. No. 09/513,908, entitled “Vehicle Cupholder,” filed on Feb. 28, 2000.
  • FIELD OF INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to vehicle so-called cupholders and more particularly to a beverage holder which is especially suited for use in vehicles.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Currently, typical highway vehicles are each equipped with beverage holders often referred to as cupholders. The cupholders are provided to allow vehicle operators to set a beverage container down in order that the operator can have both hands free for operating a vehicle. Cupholders are also provided for the convenience of passengers.
  • [0004]
    Prior cupholders exhibited a n umber of shortcomings. Beverage containers come in a range of sizes. If a prior cupholder was large enough for larger sizes, it was too large for smaller sizes and obviously and conversely if appropriately sized for smaller sizes it was too small for larger sizes. As a consequence cupholders while usually providing adequate vertical support, provided little if any lateral support with the result that tipage and spillage occurred all too often. Spillage was especially likely if the vehicle was operating in rough conditions.
  • [0005]
    Recently there has been a trend towards the utilization of larger and larger beverage container sizes. While at one time a typical soft drink beverage or carry out coffee or other beverage serving was six ounces, containers of 12 ounce and larger servings have become very popular. Indeed beverages are sometimes provided in containers as large as 32 ounce quarts. These larger sizes are reasonably popular among over the highway truck and tractor operators because such operators often travel several hours between stops and opportunities to replenish a beverage supply.
  • [0006]
    It would be desirable to have a holder which accommodates a substantial range of beverage container sizes and securely holds containers sized to fall within the range.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    A cupholder embodying the invention includes a recessed base. The recess is sized to receive the lower portion of a beverage container which can be mounted on a base surface at the bottom of the recess. A mechanism is provided to perimetrally grip a container after it has been mounted in the recess.
  • [0008]
    In the disclosed arrangement the mechanism is in the form of an annular inflatable bladder positioned within the recess and around a beverage container receiving space. When a beverage container is mounted on the base surface a valve is actuated to initiate air supply communication with the interior of the annular bladder. The bladder is inflated until it perimetraly grips the container holding it securely in an upright position.
  • [0009]
    While the preferred and disclosed embodiment includes an annular bladder it should be apparent that other forms may be provided so long as a circular beverage container is engaged in at least three spaced locations since three points locate a circle.
  • [0010]
    Accordingly, the objects of the invention include providing a novel and improved beverage container holder especially adapted for use in vehicles and a process for a supporting a beverage container in a vehicle when it is in operation.
  • [0011]
    In one embodiment, the presently claimed invention takes the form of a holder for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle. As discussed above, operators and passengers of vehicles often desire to bring relatively small articles onboard transporting vehicles and keep these articles nearby for ready access. Examples of such articles include mobile telephones and individual beverage servings typified by twelve ounce cans and disposable cups of various sizes, all of which are defined herein as being capable of being hand-carried and handheld. It should be appreciated that manually carryable does not merely denote portable articles, but items that are sufficiently small to be carried about by hand. Holders configured according to this embodiment of the invention comprise (include, but are not limited to) a securement means for anchoring such manually carryable articles within an occupant compartment of a vehicle. Such securement means can take various forms, but in at least one exemplary embodiment disclosed herein, the securement means incorporates an inflatable bladder having a deflated configuration for facilitating insertion of an article therein and which establishes an article-release configuration of the holder. The inflatable bladder also has an inflated configuration for impeding disengagement of an inserted article therefrom and which establishes an article-securing configuration of the holder. The resistance to disengagement imposed by an inflated bladder is due to the applied squeeze effect that the engorged bladder has on encircled article.
  • [0012]
    To avoid unintended movement of held or secured articles, the securement means, or holder, is coupled to an interior of an occupant compartment of a vehicle and spatially fixed therein within reach of at least one vehicle occupant. Location within arm's reach of an occupant is preferred because many of the articles that are contemplated to be suitable for the presently disclosed holders are of a nature which users wish to frequently access, and which are typified by the examples of beverage containers and mobile telephones. Advantageous mounting locations for holders of the present type are on center-consoles and dashboards traditionally found in occupant compartments of transport vehicles at positions well within both operator and passenger reach.
  • [0013]
    One particular embodiment of the holder includes a support body that defines an interior space and the inflatable bladder is confined within that interior space. The support body has an open-top recess surrounded by a substantially annular wall that defines the interior space of the support body.
  • [0014]
    In one particular embodiment, the support body and inflatable bladder are predominantly round in horizontal cross-section and are especially suited for releasably gripping a hand-held beverage container.
  • [0015]
    In furtherance of the interior space's definition, an inwardly protruding lip is located at a top portion of the annular wall. The lip has a reduced inner diameter relative to an inner diameter of the substantially annular wall.
  • [0016]
    Most commercial vehicles upon which the article holder of the present invention is envisioned to be a suitable accessory has one or both of a pressured air and hydraulic source. Capitalizing thereupon, a pressure feed line is fluidly interconnected between the inflatable bladder and such a vehicular fluid pressure source. Preferably, a control valve is disposed between the inflatable bladder and the vehicular fluid pressure source and is configurable to transition the holder between the article-release configuration and the article-securing configuration.
  • [0017]
    In an automated version, or at least semi-automated embodiment of the presently disclosed article holder, a sensor or sensing means is provided for detecting the presence of an inserted article and causing the inflatable bladder to transition between the inflated and deflated configurations. Examples of such sensing means include motion sensors, photovoltaic-type sensors, and pressure sensors.
  • [0018]
    In a commensurate embodiment, the invention takes the form of a method for releasably securing a manually carryable article in a vehicle.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a cupholder of this invention;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIGS. 2 and 3 are sectional views of the cupholder of FIG. 1 showing an inflatable bladder in deflated condition in FIG. 2 and in an inflated condition in FIG. 3;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 4 shows a more sophisticated embodiment including a photovoltaic cell and a pressure sensitive membrane each for sensing the presence of a beverage container; and
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 5 is a somewhat schematic view of a vehicle with a cupholder of the present invention mounted in its cab.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0023]
    In the drawings a cupholder is shown generally at 10. In FIG. 5, the cupholder is shown mounted in a truck or tractor 11 at a location convenient to the operator. The holder 10 includes a body 12 which is shown as a plastic molding. The body 12 has a central container receiving aperture 14. A beverage support 15 is provided at the base of the aperture 14. A beverage container shown in phantom at 16 in FIGS. 2 and 3 is positioned atop the support 15 when the holder is in use.
  • [0024]
    As shown, the holder 12 includes an annular wall 18 which delineates the perimeter of the aperture 14. The wall includes a lower recessed portion 20 extending upwardly from the support 15 to a smaller diameter lip portion 22.
  • [0025]
    An annular inflatable bladder 24 is positioned in the recessed portion 20. The bladder 24 is shown in a deflated condition in FIG. 2 for readily receiving a container. The bladder 24 is shown in an inflated condition in FIG. 3 perimetraly gripping the container 16.
  • [0026]
    An air line 25 is connected to a source of air under pressure, not shown. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 the air line is also connected to a manually actuated control valve 26. The valve 26 includes a control button 28 which is manually operable and which functions to open and close valve 26. Thus, the valve 26 when open allows air under pressure from the supply line 25 to flow through a line 30 to inflate the bladder as shown in FIG. 3. When in a closed position the valve vents the bladder through the line 30 to atmosphere to allow the bladder to deflate to the condition shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0027]
    Referring to the embodiment of FIG. 4, the support 15′ is a flexible membrane as contrasted with a rigid support of 15 in FIG. 1. A pressure sensitive switch is provided at 32, the pressure sensitive switch is actuated by movement of the flexible membrane 15′ in response to the weight a beverage container positioned in the holder. A signal from the pressure sensitive switch 32 causes a valve 26′ to open and inflate the bladder 24 when the presence of beverage container has been sensed.
  • [0028]
    A photovoltaic cell 35 is mounted in a lip portion 22′. The photovoltaic cell sense the presence of a container being placed in the cupholder to cause the valve 26′ to open and bladder inflation results. The provision of the photovoltaic cell 35 maybe in addition to, or as an alternate to, the pressure sensitive switch 32. In either event when the beverage container 16 is removed from the holder 12′ of FIG. 4 the valve 26′ will open and vent the bladder to atmosphere producing the condition shown in FIG. 4.
  • [0029]
    Although the invention has been described in its preferred form with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure of the preferred form has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction, operation and the combination and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.
Citas de patentes
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Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US764811422 Dic 200619 Ene 2010Gm Global Technology Operations, Inc.Gripping device and method of providing a gripping device
US8286844 *9 Dic 200916 Oct 2012GM Global Technology Operations LLCHolder for items
US9637078 *14 Nov 20142 May 2017Nxp Usa, Inc.Object restraint systems and methods of operation thereof
US20050205739 *17 Mar 200422 Sep 2005Depue Todd LCup holder with sensor
US20090261221 *22 Abr 200822 Oct 2009Damon KaliAutomated and illuminated cupholding devices and methods of use
US20100147917 *9 Dic 200917 Jun 2010Gm Global Technology Operations, Inc.Holder for items
US20150289630 *10 Abr 201515 Oct 2015Martin Donald MarinoBottle holding system for backpacks
Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.248/311.2, 224/926
Clasificación internacionalB60N3/10
Clasificación cooperativaB60N3/105
Clasificación europeaB60N3/10S