Patent application title: EXTENSION CORD MANAGEMENT DEVICE
Peter Costantino (Armonk, NY, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65H5700FI
Class name: Wound storage package particular winding on core
Publication date: 2009-05-21
Patent application number: 20090127366
A cord management device comprising a coiled spring member and at least
one cord attachment member for securing a cord to be coupled to said
spring member is disclosed. Spring members are fitted with ties which
grasp the cord making the spring members and cord act simultaneously.
When the inventive spring member is attached to a cord, it has the
ability to stretch if desired and compress to create an organized
configuration when not in use. The inventive device may be incorporated
into an appliance or other device permanently, as well as being an
attachment retrofitted onto an existing cord flexible or tubular conduit
to provide an electrical conductor connection to another device or
system, thus making it easy to manage a cord.
1. A cord management device, comprising:(a) a coiled spring member; and(b)
at least one cord attachment member for securing a cord to be coupled to
said spring member.
2. A cord management device as in claim 1, further comprising(a) an attachment member for attaching said cord management device to an object.
3. A cord management device as in claim 1, wherein said coil spring is made of plasticmetal or rubber, or combination thereof.
4. A cord management device as in claim 1, wherein said tie is a planar member with mating hook members on one side and mating loop members on the other side.
5. A cord management device as in claim 1, wherein the ratio of coil length to coil diameter is in the range between 3:1 and 1:6.
6. A cord management device as in claim 1, wherein the ratio of coil length to coil diameter is in the range between 1:1 and 1:5.
7. A cord management device as in claim 1, wherein the ratio of coil length to coil diameter and is in the range between 0.5:1 and 1:2.
8. In cord management device as in claim 1, wherein said cord attachment member is a tie.
9. A device incorporating a cord and the cord management device as in claim 1, wherein said cord attachment member is a gluing member extending along the length of said coil spring member and said cord.
10. A device incorporating the cord management device of claim 1 and a cord secured to said cord management device, wherein said cord is a pneumatic or tubular liquid or gas supply conduit cord.
11. A device incorporating the cord management device of claim 1 and a cord secured to said cord management device, wherein said cord is a fiber optical cord.
12. A cord management device, comprising a flexible resilient coiled member having a coil shape and having a groove disposed along to its length, said groove being defined by a pair of flexible lips, said groove being dimensioned to receive and retrain a cord to be managed, and said coiled member being resilient enough to return itself and a retained cord to its compressed coil shape after being pulled into an extended coil shape.
13. A cord management device as in claim 12, wherein said flexible resilient coiled member is made of a rubbery material and includes an internal spring made from a material selected from the group consisting of metal and plastic.
14. A cord management device as in claim 12, wherein said groove is positioned on the outside of the coil.
15. A cord management device as in claim 12, wherein said groove is positioned on the inside of the coil.
16. A cord management device as in claim 12, wherein said groove is positioned between the inside and the outside of the coil.
17. A device as in claim 16, wherein the cord is an electrical, optical or pneumatic cord.
18. A cord management device as in claim 16, wherein said flexible resilient coiled member is made of a rubbery material and includes an internal spring made from a material selected from the group consisting of metal and plastic.
19. A device as in claim 18, wherein said lips extend toward each other to define at least a partial closure over said groove.
The invention relates to a device for managing cords or flexible tubular conduits, such as cords on appliances, information bearing cords such as cords on computer keyboards, computer mouse devices, and cords in the workplace environment such as an office, hospital, factory or warehouse.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Today, numerous appliances and peripheral devices require an electrical conductor connection, optical connection, gas or liquid supply to another device or system. These include cords for appliances which are powered by, for example, ordinary house current, battery packs or the like.
In addition, there are numerous cords commonly encountered in everyday life, such as cords which are used to connect computer peripheral devices, such as disk drives, keyboards, earphones, headphones, and so forth to computers. Still another class of cords carry other informational or power content. For example, cords comprising hollow flexible tubes convey air pressure to pneumatically powered tools or liquids to supply a fabrication process. Another example comprises cords which carry optical information, typically being made of fiber-optic bundles. For example, such devices may be used to convey image information from one point to another.
Fiber-optic bundles may also be used to carry illumination. For example, some light sources comprise a main housing comprising a lamp and a fiber-optic bundle used to output light onto a work piece. Yet another application involves the collection of sunlight, for example on the roof of a building, and sending that luminous energy to a room in the building where it may be used to illuminate an object.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the invention, a device is provided for managing a power cord, or linear tubular conduit, for example, a cord carrying any of the above energy or information or other inputs or outputs. It is contemplated that the inventive device will be sold in different lengths, and that the consumer will be able to trim a device to a desired length and/or select the desired length needed to match a particular cord which the consumer wishes to manage.
A cord management device comprising a coiled spring member and at least one cord attachment member for securing a cord to be coupled to said spring member is disclosed. In one embodiment spring members are fitted with adhesive for Velcro®-type hook and loop fasteners or other ties of any configuration which grasp the cord making the spring members and cord act simultaneously. When the inventive spring member is attached to a cord, it has the ability to stretch if desired and compress to create an organized configuration when not in use. The inventive device may be incorporated into an appliance or other device permanently, as well as being an attachment retrofitted onto an existing cord in, for example, an appliance to provide an electrical conductor connection to another device or system, thus making it easy to manage a cord. The device can also be detached from the power cord should it no longer be desired or if it has worn out or otherwise lost functionality. Advantageously, it may be detached without damaging the cord or conduit to which it had been connected.
The inventive cord management device is in one embodiment made of a coiled helical spring which may be attached to, for example, an appliance by any means such as adhesive, a hinge, a ball and socket, and so forth. The helical coil is attached to the cord by a plurality of attachment members.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The operation of the invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view illustrating a general implementation of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of the method as implemented according to the present invention in a cord management system;
FIGS. 3-5 illustrate the cord grasping ties which are generally rectangular or curved in shape and are provided with hooks on one end and loops at the other, and exhibit a preferred, but not required, low profile, and are secure and have double attachment system design;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the tying function of the loop and hook bearing ends;
FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating a suitable spring member useful in implementing the apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a top view illustrating a suitable spring member useful in implementing the apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is an outstretched view illustrating the configuration of a stretched spring member equipped with a cord;
FIG. 10 is a side view illustrating the compressed position of the cord when the cord is not in use;
FIG. 11 is a top view illustrating the compressed position of the cord when the cord is not in use;
FIG. 12 illustrates the inventive device installed on the back of an appliance;
FIG. 13 illustrates how the inventive device is secured and held in place by two adhesive patches, on the back of an appliance;
FIG. 14 is an outstretched view illustrating the form of a permanently installed spring member on an extension cord;
FIG. 15 is a top view illustrating the form of a permanently installed spring member on an extension cord;
FIG. 16 is a side view illustrating the form of a permanently installed spring member on an extension cord;
FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the extension cord with extruded lips for engaging a spring member;
FIG. 18 is an outstretched view illustrating a USB cord having a pair of USB connectors;
FIG. 19 is a side view illustrating the inventive device suspended from a ceiling;
FIG. 20 is an outstretched view illustrating the inventive device suspended from a ceiling;
FIG. 21 is an outstretched view illustrating the inventive device used in conjunction with a computer headset;
FIG. 22 illustrates an outstretched view of a preferred embodiment of a cord organizer;
FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the tape member comprising a planar tape;
FIGS. 24-26 are cross-sectional views illustrating the inventive cord organizer secured on an appliance by spring member securement and a cord securement;
FIG. 26 is a cross-sectional view illustrating an adhesive cord securement during use;
FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional view illustrating an alternative inventive embodiment with a cord inside a silicon rubber grooved cord organizer;
FIG. 28 is a top view of the inventive organizer with an adhesive "foot" for attachment to a computer;
FIG. 29 is a view of the silicone rubber covering and wire fully enveloping the electrical cord with the path of an inner metal wire coil indicated in phantom lines;
FIG. 30 is a cross-sectional, outer view of the silicone rubber covering enveloping the electrical cord and wire coil.
FIG. 31 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive cord organizer;
FIG. 32 is a cross-sectional view along lines 32-32 of FIG. 31;
FIG. 33 is a side view illustrating an enlarged view of a coiled cord inside the coil housing.
FIG. 34 is a side view illustrating an enlarged view of a coiled cord inside the coil housing.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Turning to FIGS. 1 and 2, the inventive cord manager 10 is illustrated. Cord manager 10 comprises a spring member 12. Spring member 12 may be made of a suitable material, such as spring metal or plastic?. However, metal has the advantage of being rugged and thus having a longer life expectancy. Spring member 12, may come in a wide variety of dimensions, however, in accordance with a preferred embodiment, it as a thickness 14 on the order of the same or less than the power cord or conduit, but could also be thicker if so desired. In accordance with one preferred embodiment of the invention, spring member 12 may be on the order of three inches in diameter.
Spring member 12 is fitted with a number of cord grasping ties 18. As illustrated in FIGS. 3-5, cord grasping ties 18 are generally rectangular in shape. Ties 18 are provided with hooks 20 at one end and loops 22 at the other end. Hooks 20 are adapted to mate with loops 22 in order to secure opposite ends of ties 18 to each other. In accordance with the invention, ties 18 may be spaced at about 3 inches with respect to each other along substantially the entire length of spring member 12. Of course, larger intervals of spacing between ties 18 are possible as are smaller ones, with larger intervals being more practical for larger diameters of spring member 12. Ties 18 are also provided with a patch of adhesive 24.
Referring to FIG. 6, the tying function of ties 18 is most clearly illustrated. Generally, ties 18 are adhered to spring member 12 by adhesive 24. Loop bearing end 26 extends around, for example, a power cord 28 exposing its loops 22. Hook bearing end 30 extends over end 26 with its hooks 20 facing loops 22. Because hooks 20 are pressed into engagement with loops 22, ends 26 and 30 adhere to each other and firmly grasp cord 28, thus holding it to spring member 12, and causing the spring member 12 and cord 28 to act as a single spring member.
Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, a suitable spring member 12 useful in implementing the apparatus of the present invention is illustrated. Such a spring member 12 may be stretched out as illustrated in FIG. 9. When such a spring member is equipped with a power cord, and then stretched out, the power cord 28 takes the configuration illustrated in FIG. 9 in phantom lines.
Referring to FIGS. 10 and 11, attachment of the power cord 28 to spring member 12 result in slight expansion of spring 12. Thus, when a cord is not in use, it is organized and occupies a minimal volume. The strength of spring 12 may be varied to be so strong that it can carry the weight of, for example, power cord 28 and pull it into a compressed condition. Alternatively, spring 12 may be of relatively weak strength and merely respond to maintain the cord in an organized configuration with a degree of compression and in a configuration into which it is put by the user. Such a weak spring may be commensurate with the force exerted by a spring having a spring constant similar to that of a commercial toy product known as a "Slinky" (trademark).
Referring to FIG. 12, the inventive extension cord management device 110 may be installed on the back of an appliance 132 to manage the power cord 128 with which the appliance was sold. The inventive device 110 may be held in position by a first adhesive patch 134 which secures the power cord 128 in a flat position while at the same time securing the bottom of the inventive device 110. A second adhesive member 136 secures the opposite end of the base of the inventive device 110, as illustrated most clearly in FIG. 13. The appliance cord 128 is managed by a spring member 112. When a user grasps the plug 138 and pulls out cord 128, the same is maintained and close relationship to spring member 112. When the user releases his grip on plug 138, spring member 112 pulls the cord into the compressed position illustrated in FIG. 12 and, as can be seen from FIG. 10, it maintains an orderly configuration. On the other hand, if plug 138 has been secured in a wall socket in order to provide power to appliance 132, the cord will stay in the outstretched position illustrated, for example, in FIG. 13.
The inventive device may take the form of a permanently installed spring member 212 on an extension cord 214, as illustrated in FIGS. 14-16. In this case, ties 18 may be replaced by a layer of glue 218. Extension cord 214 includes a plug 240 and a socket 242.
Alternatively, an extension cord 314 may be extruded with lips 344 and 346 for engaging a spring member 312, as illustrated in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 17.
In principle, the inventive system may be installed under a desktop. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 18, a USB cord 414, having a pair of USB connectors 415 and 417 may be secured by adhesive member 419 under a desktop 421 or screws. Connector 415 may be coupled to a computer sitting on the desktop. Connector 417 may be coupled, for example, to a handheld communicating device.
It is also contemplated in accordance with the present invention that the inventive device may be suspended from ceilings, such as ceiling 511 illustrated in FIGS. 19 and 20. In this embodiment, an extension cord 514 incorporating a spring member 512 is secured by any suitable fastener 512 to a support plate 523 associated with an electrical socket, which in turn is secured to the ceiling, or more customarily, to the metal box containing the electrical socket, by screws 525. This extension cord also includes a plug 540 and socket 542. Plug 540 goes into the electrical socket, as illustrated, and socket 542 is available to be connected to a tool, appliance or other device.
It is also contemplated that the present invention may be used to implement and easily manage the cord to be used with a computer mouse. Because of the relatively large diameter of the inventive cord manager, it is practical to use the same in many applications not suitable for conventional coiled cords, such as those used on telephone headsets. More critically, in accordance with the present invention, it is contemplated that cord diameters may be in excess of 5 cm, and as large as 25 cm or larger.
The inventive device will also work well with a computer keyboard.
Likewise, in accordance with the present invention, the stiff nature of the spring member helps to manage the cord. In accordance with the present invention, coil diameters which result in a coil length, in the compressed state, such as that illustrated in FIG. 10, which is of the same order of magnitude as the diameter of the coil, are particularly valuable as the same are relatively compact. For example, if the diameter of the coil equals the height of the coil the use of space is minimized. However, if the height of the coiled managed cord is about one third of the diameter of the coiled cord, the same is a neat package which allows good management while minimizing space consumed. This is in contrast to a conventional telephone cord which may be 50 times longer than the diameter of the coil which forms the cord. In accordance with the invention, ratios of coil length to coil diameter in the range between 3:1 and 1:6 are particularly advantageous. Ratios in the range between numeral 1:1 and 1:5 are particularly preferred. More especially preferred ratios for aesthetic reasons range between 5:1 to 1:2.
In accordance with the invention, it is anticipated that the various tools used at a construction site, such as drills, power saws, power screwdrivers and the like may be outfitted with the inventive cord manager. Thus, an individual working at the site, who may be simultaneously using several tools, such as a power drill, power screwdriver and saw can conveniently and without the cords interfering with each other, switch from one tool to another to efficiently complete a task.
In the same manner as illustrated in FIGS. 19 and 20 with respect to a ceiling outlet, the inventive device may be applied to a wall outlet.
Likewise, the inventive system may be used in conjunction with a telephone or other similar device.
Referring to FIG. 21, the inventive system may be used in conjunction with a computer headset 650 which includes a pair of earphones 652 and a microphone 654 and a loose section of cord 656 is coupled to the end 658 of a spring member by a tie 618 which secures cord 656 to a spring member. The end of the cord opposite computer headset 650 is coupled to a USB connector 660.
Referring to FIG. 22, a particularly preferred embodiment of a cord organizer 710 is illustrated. Cord organizer 710 comprises a spring member 712 which may be made of plastic and which has a spring constant and mass similar to that of a plastic Slinky (trademark) toy. A plurality of tape members 718 are positioned along the length of spring member 712.
As illustrated in FIG. 23, tape member 718 comprises a planar tape 719 made of any suitable flexible tape material and is provided with a layer of adhesive 721. Layer of adhesive 721 is protected by a release member comprising a paper backing 723 and a layer of release material 725. Each release member 727 protects a respective one of the ends of tape member 718.
Referring to FIGS. 24-26, an appliance 732 may be fitted with the inventive cord organizer 710 through the use of a spring member securement 733 and a cord securement 735. Cord securement 735 comprises a hook carrying fabric coupling member 737 secured to the back of appliance 732 by adhesive layer 739. The cord 728 is laid over the face of hook varying member 737 and held in place by a patch of material 741 pairing loop coupling members 743, as illustrated in FIG. 22 and as illustrated in cross-section in FIG. 24.
With reference to FIGS. 24 and 25, end 745 of spring member 712 is secured in a similar fashion. More particularly, a hook bearing patch 747 secured to the back of appliance 732 by an adhesive layer 749 underlies end 745 of spring member 712. End 745 of spring member 712 is secured between a pair of fabric members. The first fabric member is a loop bearing patch 751. Patch 751 includes an adhesive layer 753. Adhesive layer 753 faces at another adhesive layer 755 which underlies a fabric member 757. End 745 of spring member 720 is locked into position bearing against the back of appliance 732 by placing end 745 over the middle of patch 747 and engaging the loops on patch 751 with the hooks on patch 747.
The above structure allows cord 728 and spring member 712 to be attached, detached and reattached many times by the use of the hook and loop connectors.
When it is desired to use the inventive system, hook carrying fabric coupling member 737 is put in place on the housing of appliance 732 in a position in which it will underlie loop bearing patch 741. Cord 728 is then laid over the hook varying surface of fabric coupling member 737, preferably in the middle of said service, and patch 741 is placed over cord 720 to lock cord 728 into position. The result is that cord 728 assumes a direction substantially parallel to the rear surface of appliance 732, feeding it in a direction toward the base of spring member 712 which is secured to the back of appliance 732.
One then secures the end 745 of spring member 720 which is locked into position bearing against the back of appliance 732 by placing end 745 over the middle of patch 747 and engaging the loops on patch 751 with the hooks on patch 747.
Next, adhesive protective release member 727 are removed from each tape member 718 and secured around cord 728, in sequence, as the cord is wrapped against spring member 712. Each time an adhesive protective release member 727 is removed, it is wrapped around cord 728, as illustrated in FIG. 26.
Yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention is schematically illustrated in cross-section FIG. 27. In this embodiment, the inventive cord organizer 810 takes the form of a plastic, for example silicone rubber, covering 811. The same may be made in various colors, with glitter, or the like. Silicon rubber covering 811 is equipped with an internal groove 814 formed by a pair of lips 815. Groove 814 serves to house and support, for example, an electrical cord 812. Together the silicone rubber covering 811, internal groove 814 and wire coil 820 shape and envelope electrical cord 812 such that it is retained in the cord organizer 810.
In accordance with the invention, an adhesive foot 816 may be positioned at an end of the silicone rubber covering 811 which serves to attach the cord to for example a computer or device. FIG. 28 illustrates adhesive foot 816 on one end of the silicone rubber covering 811. At the other end, a computer mouse 824 or other computer input device is attached to cord organizer 810.
While enveloped in the silicone rubber covering 810, the electrical cord 812 is maintained in a desired organized configuration. While this can be achieved by making the covering 811 of a suitable springy material, the possibility also exist to incorporate a springy member 820 which follows a path 818, as illustrated in FIG. 29. Springy member 820 thus forms an inner metal wire coil 820. Inner metal wire coil 820 can be made of various types of metal, as well as plastic, for example a plastic significantly stiffer than the rubbery material of which covering 811 is made, etc., and forms the shape and structure of the device as illustrated by FIG. 29.
As illustrated in FIG. 30, instead of being positioned on the inside of the coil formed by the cord organizer, a cord organizer 910 may have its lips 915 positioned on the outside of the coil to provide for the grasping of electrical cord 912.
Still yet another alternative for the placement of the groove in a cord similar to those illustrated in FIGS. 27-29 is illustrated in FIGS. 31 and 32. In this embodiment, the groove 1014 is not either on the inside or the outside of the helical coil formed by the inventive cord organizer 1010, but in between. If this embodiment, lips 1015 are hidden within the coil, thus giving a pleasant aesthetic appearance. At the same time, placement of electrical cord 1012 is facilitated by pressing the same into groove 1014 in between the thumb and index finger without undue interference from adjacent coils of the cord organizer which need only be minimally displaced during installation of the electrical cord into the cord organizer.
Referring to FIGS. 33 and 34, coil housing 1122, is an additional component which consists of, for example, a cylindrical shape housing which holds the electrical cord 1112 in place when not extended. The opening 1113 of the coil housing 1122 is desirably slightly larger than the diameter of the organizer coil 1110 when it compresses electrical cord 1120 into a coiled position, as illustrated in FIG. 34. The function of housing 1122 is to assist in keeping electrical cord 1120 coiled while maintaining aesthetic appearance. The same is achieved by providing a measure of vertical support. The coil housing 1122 is optionally adhered to an appliance 1126. The electrical cord 1120 with the cord organizer 1110 can be positioned inside the coil housing 1122 as shown in FIG. 34 or outside the coil housing 1122 as illustrated in FIG. 33. FIGS. 33 and 34 illustrate an expanded configuration of the electrical cord 1120 while extended from the coil housing 1122 and while coiled inside the coil housing 1122, respectively.
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