Patent application title: Convertible Carrying Apparatus
Julia Dodd (Marana, AZ, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D3306FI
Class name: Flexible bags lifting or suspending element (e.g., handle)
Publication date: 2010-04-29
Patent application number: 20100104222
A convertible carrying apparatus for items such as toys comprises a flat
sheet of flexible material with an optional smaller and centered rigid
section. The sheet may be one or several layers and may have any shaped
perimeter including octagonal, square, or circular. One or more gatherers
are disposed about the perimeter of the sheet and a permanent or
removeable grip is attached to one of the gatherers. The gatherers may be
two or more handles, two or more ties, or a continuous drawstring that is
threaded through a channel around the perimeter of the sheet and exposed
at two or more locations around the perimeter of the sheet. The grip may
include a fastener for securing it around the gatherers. When an item or
many items are placed on the sheet, the gatherers can be collected or
secured together with the grip. When the sheet is lifted by the grip, the
sheet becomes a carrying apparatus for the items originally placed on the
sheet. When desired, the carrying bag can set down, the grip can be
unfastened, and the sheet can again lay flat.
1. A carrying apparatus comprising:a. a flexible sheet having a
perimeter;b. one or more gatherers connected to the perimeter of the
sheet; andc. a grip connected to at least one gatherer.
2. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the gatherer comprises a drawstring.
3. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the gatherer comprises two or more handles.
4. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the grip is permanently connected to at least one gatherer.
5. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the grip comprises a fastener.
6. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the grip comprises a flexible material.
7. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the grip comprises a rigid material.
8. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the grip is removably connected to at least one gatherer.
9. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a rigid structure connected to the sheet, wherein the rigid structure comprises rigid material having a smaller perimeter than the perimeter of the sheet.
10. The carrying apparatus of claim 3 wherein the grip is connected to one of the handles.
11. The carrying apparatus of claim 5 wherein the fastener comprises a hook-and-loop-type fastener.
12. The carrying apparatus of claim 5 wherein the fastener comprises one or more snaps.
13. The carrying apparatus of claim 6 wherein the grip further comprises a rigid material.
14. The carrying apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perimeter of the sheet comprises an octagon.
15. The carrying apparatus of claim 3 further comprising four handles spaced equidistant around the perimeter of the sheet.
16. The carrying apparatus of claim 3 wherein the perimeter of the sheet comprises an octagon having a first corner, a second corner, a third corner, a fourth corner, a fifth corner, a sixth corner, a seventh corner, and an eighth corner and wherein the gatherer comprises a first handle connected to the first corner, a second handle connected to the third corner, a third handle connected to the fifth corner, and a fourth handle connected to the seventh corner.
17. The carrying apparatus of claim 3 wherein the handles comprises a flexible webbed material.
18. A carrying apparatus comprising:a. a flexible sheet having a perimeter and one or more channels along the perimeter;b. a drawstring comprising one or more drawstring portions moveably encased in the one or more channels and one or more exposed drawstring portions; andc. a grip connected to one or more exposed drawstring portions, wherein the grip comprises a fastener.
19. A carrying apparatus comprising:a. a flexible sheet having a perimeter;b. a first handle permanently connected to the perimeter of the sheet;c. one or more additional handles permanently connected to the perimeter of the sheet; andd. a grip permanently connected to the first handle and capable of removably attaching to the additional handles.
20. The carrying apparatus of claim 19 wherein the perimeter of the sheet comprises an octagon having a first corner, a second corner, a third corner, a fourth corner, a fifth corner, a sixth corner, a seventh corner, and an eighth corner; wherein additional handles comprise a second handle, a third handle and a fourth handle; and wherein the first handle is permanently connected to the first corner, the second handle is permanently connected to the third corner, the third handle is permanently connected to the fifth corner, and the fourth handle is permanently connected to the seventh corner.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of co-pending U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/197,707 filed Oct. 29, 2008.
FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention relates generally to a convertible carrying apparatus. This invention relates more specifically to a carrying apparatus that can open flat when not transporting items and can be gathered and secured with a handle when transporting items.
The current trend for children's toys is the production and marketing of additional or supplementary pieces to enhance or complement an original toy purchase. For example, dolls not only come with clothes, but furniture, cars, pets, and other accessories can also be purchased. A collection of super-hero figures can be enhanced with vehicles, weapons, armor, etc. Managing, storing and transporting all these toy pieces can be overwhelming. As many children and adults know, fun can quickly turn into frustration when one must decide which toys "have to stay at home" or when one searches unsuccessfully for a missing toy.
The most common way children and adults store or transport toys is to use a box or bag. However, a box has several disadvantages. A box cannot be resized: thus, a box that holds fifty toys also holds two toys, but cannot be reduced in size to save space despite the number of toys. In the quest to live "greener," people are choosing to replace disposable plastic and paper boxes and bags with a reusable product. Boxes can also be unwieldy and awkward for children to carry. Because toys contained in a box become buried under other toys, a child is forced to dig through the box or dump all the toys out to find the desired toy. A box may be too large for a child to dump out. Also, most boxes require a lid and lids can be easily misplaced and difficult for children to open. Bags have a similar disadvantage of making it difficult to see toys that may be buried under other toys. Even the conventional drawstring toy bag has this same disadvantage, requiring children to dump all the contents out of the bag in order to see all the toys or share the toys with others while playing.
Today's children are frequently on the go, traveling in the car, on planes, etc. Children need an easy and convenient way to take their toys wherever they go. While a box may keep all the toys together, it may be difficult to carry a box in a car or on a plane. A box can fall over, it can be cumbersome to put in the car or pack in a bag or backpack, it may not fit well, or it can be too large to fit at all.
Once children are ready to play, they may need a place to play. Parents often feel the need to spread out a blanket or cloth so their children have a clean or uncluttered place to lay out their toys to play. Combining a play surface with a portable toy bag would be very efficient and advantageous.
Finally, when playing is done, children and adults face the biggest challenge of all: picking up the toys. Picking up toys is the least favorite part of playing, and as a consequence toys often remain out, which can lead to lost and misplaced toys. There is a need for a device that enables children to conveniently carry their toys with them, have easy access to all their toys when playing and pick up their toys quickly and with little effort. This need is not limited to children; adults also have a need for a device which allows them to display and quickly gather objects for transport or storage.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
This invention is a convertible carrying apparatus for items such as toys. It is made of a flat sheet of cloth or other flexible material. It can optionally include a rigid structure section smaller in size than the overall sheet and centered on the sheet. The perimeter of the sheet may be any shape including octagonal, square, or circular, and the sheet may be one or several layers. Around the perimeter of the sheet, the carrying apparatus includes one or more gatherers and a permanent or removeable grip. The gatherers may be two or more handles, two or more tabs or ties, or a continuous drawstring that is threaded through a channel around the perimeter of the sheet and exposed at two or more locations around the perimeter of the sheet. The permanent or removeable grip secures to at least one of the gatherers. For example, the grip can be secured to one of the handles, one of the ties, or along one portion of the exposed drawstring. The grip can be made of cloth, another flexible material, a rigid material, or a combination of flexible and rigid material. The grip may also include a fastener for securing it around the collected gatherers.
When an item or many items are placed on the sheet, the handles, tabs, ties, or exposed drawstring portions can be gathered together, drawn up, collected or secured together with the grip. When the sheet is lifted by the grip, the sheet becomes a carrying apparatus for the items originally placed on the sheet. When desired, the carrying bag can set down, the grip can be unfastened, and the sheet can again lay flat.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a top view of an embodiment of the invention laid flat.
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of an embodiment of the invention drawn up as a bag.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the grip.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the grip.
FIG. 5 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the invention laid flat.
FIG. 6 is an elevation view of an alternative embodiment of the invention drawn up as a bag.
FIG. 7 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the invention laid flat.
FIG. 8 is an elevation view of an alternative embodiment of the invention drawn up as a bag.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the convertible carrying apparatus. A sheet 1 creates a substantially flat playing surface and can be converted to a carrying apparatus. Sheet 1 can have a perimeter 10 of any shape. For example, the perimeter can be triangular, square, circular, hexagonal, or octagonal. Preferably, perimeter 10 is octagonal, as shown in FIG. 1. Additionally, sheet 1 can be one, two, or many layers of any flexible materials, such as cloth, leather, plastic, or nylon. Preferably, sheet 1 is large enough to form a play surface on which a child can sit, move around, and play with his toys, or sheet 1 can be smaller in size so that it forms a play surface that a child can use in confined spaces, such as on an airplane or at a restaurant table. Preferably, the sheet has a diameter between 16 and 36 inches, but it can be as small as possible while still being an effective carrying apparatus, and as large as possible while not being unwieldy for a person to carry. A preferred embodiment allows the invention to be washable or reusable. Alternatively, it may be disposable.
In an alternative embodiment of sheet 1, it can also include a rigid structure section smaller in overall size than the sheet and preferably substantially centered on the sheet. The rigid structure can be used to form a base so that when sheet 1 is drawn up into a carrying bag, the rigid structure provides extra protection for the items in the carrying bag. The perimeter 13 of the rigid structure can mimic the perimeter 10 of sheet 1, or it can have a different shape. The rigid structure can be substantially flat like sheet 1 or it can include a lip, edge, or walls about its perimeter. FIG. 7 illustrates a substantially flat rigid structure 11 centered on sheet 1. Rigid structure 11 can be permanently or removably connected to sheet 1. For example, rigid structure 11 can be a removable piece of plastic or cardboard that is removably connected to sheet 1 with a hook-and-loop-type fastener such as Velcro®. Alternatively, rigid structure 11 can be permanently glued, adhered, or stitched to one of the layers of material forming sheet 1 or between two of the layers of material forming sheet 1.
Connected around the perimeter of sheet 1 are one or more gatherers, such as a drawstring, ties, tabs, or handles. Gatherers can also include any other structure useful for bringing together two or more different items or two or more different portions of a single item. The embodiment shown in FIG. 1 illustrates a drawstring 6 as a gatherer, and the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5-8 illustrates handles 12a-12d as gatherers.
As shown in FIG. 1, a continuous drawstring 6 is arranged about the perimeter of sheet 1. Drawstring 6 can be made of any elastic or non-elastic material and can be a continuous string or multiple strings. Drawstring 6 is moveably connected to sheet 1 by being strung through several holes 2 arranged about perimeter 10. Holes 2 can perforate the entire thickness of sheet 1 or only some of the layers of sheet 1. For example, if sheet 1 consists of only one layer of material, then holes 2 perforate the layer entirely and the drawstring is always exposed on one side of the sheet or the other. Alternatively, if sheet 1 consists of two or more layers of material, then holes 2 may perforate all layers or holes 2 may perforate only the top layer, preserving the structural integrity of the bottom layers. In this embodiment, a hem, casing, or channel 8 is created with stitching 7. Portions of drawstring 6 can be strung through channel 8 so that portions of drawstring 6 are moveably encased in channel 8 while additional portions of drawstring 6 are exposed, as shown in FIG. 1. Preferably, sheet 1 is constructed of two or more layers, and stitching 7 creates a channel 8 for drawstring 6, as shown in FIG. 1. Also in the preferred embodiment, holes 2 only perforate one layer of sheet 1, leaving at least one layer without holes 2. Additionally, each of holes 2 is preferably reinforced at its periphery with a grommet, edge stitching, or other rigid annular structure 3. Two or more portions of drawstring 6 are exposed along the perimeter 10 of sheet 1 so that they can be collected when using sheet 1 as a carrying apparatus.
As shown in FIG. 5, as an alternative to drawstring 6, two or more handles can be used as gatherers. The handles can be constructed of any type of flexible or rigid material, such as plastic, cloth, leather, or flexible webbed material. The handles also can be placed anywhere around perimeter 10, but are preferably spaced equally from each other and lie substantially flat when sheet 1 is laying substantially flat. Preferably the handles are permanently connected to sheet 1, for example either with stitching or adhesive. Alternatively, the handles can be removably connected, for example with snaps, buttons, or ties. FIG. 5 illustrates sheet 1 having an octagonal perimeter with four permanently connected handles 12a, 12b, 12c, and 12d. The octagonal perimeter includes first corner 14a, second corner 14b, third corner 14c, fourth corner 14d, fifth corner 14e, sixth corner 14f, seventh corner 14g, and eighth corner 14h. Preferably and as shown, handles 12a-12d are placed at every other corner of the perimeter. Handle 12a is attached at first corner 14a, handle 12b is attached at third corner 14c, handle 12c is attached at fifth corner 14e, and handle 12d is attached at seventh corner 14g. By placing handles 12a-12d at every other corner, the sides can fold in on themselves as shown in FIG. 6, which helps contain the items. For example, to fold sheet 1 as shown in FIG. 6, first a user holds handle 12a in his hand, preferably with a grip 4. Second, the user brings handle 12c to his hand to mate with handle 12a so that both handle 12a and 12c are collected in the user's hand. Third, the user brings either handle 12b or handle 12d to his hand to mate with handles 12a and 12c so that three of the handles are collected in the user's hand. Fourth, the user brings the last remaining handle, either handle 12b or 12d, to his hand to mate with the three previously collected handles. After the four handles have been collected in the user's hand, grip 4 can be secured around all four handles to create a comfortable grip for the user and to help the user keep the handles securely collected together, with the sides folded in on themselves. Alternatively, handles 12a-12d can be place at other positions along perimeter 10 instead of at the corners. Also alternatively, additional or fewer handles can be used.
As an alternative to a drawstring or handles, other gathering structures can be substituted. For example, several ties or tabs can be spaced about the perimeter 10 of sheet 1. As with the handles, the ties or tabs also can be permanently connected to sheet 1 or removably connected. The tabs can be collected and secured together with buttons, snaps, or other fasteners. Likewise, if ties are used, they can be collected and secured together by tying one or more bows or knots. Additionally, any other form of collecting the edges of the perimeter can be substituted so that the sheet can be suspended and supported its perimeter.
To secure the gatherers together and to form a comfortable carrying surface for a user's hand, a grip 4 is permanently or removably connected to at least one of the gatherers. A preferred embodiment of grip 4 is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Grip 4 collects or secures together the gatherers and allows for lifting or suspending sheet 1. Grip 4 also enables a user to easily carry the carrying bag without hurting their fingers because it helps to distribute the weight of the drawstring, handles, or other gatherers. Grip 4 can be made of one or several layers of flexible materials such as cloth, leather, or nylon. Alternatively, grip 4 can be made of a rigid material such as plastic piping or can be constructed of a combination of flexible and rigid materials. Grip 4 can be opened or closed and preferably includes fasteners 5 for securing it in a closed position. Fasteners 5 include buttons, zippers, clips, magnets, loops, hook-and-loop-type fasteners such as Velcro®, or other separable fasteners. FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate grip 4 and a hook-and-loop-type fastener 5.
By accommodating several gatherers or portions of a single gatherer surrounding the perimeter of sheet 1, the perimeter of sheet 1 can be collected near grip 4 while the center of sheet 1 can be suspended like a carrying bag. FIG. 2 illustrates grip 4 collecting exposed portions of a drawstring to create a carrying bag. FIG. 6 illustrates grip 4 collecting several handles to create a carrying bag where sheet 1 is constructed of only flexible material. FIG. 8 illustrates grip 4 collecting several handles to create a carrying bag where sheet 1 is constructed of flexible material with a rigid section 11 at its center. Once the gatherers are collected and secured, the carrying bag can be hung from a support such as a hook, peg, or hand. Then, when a child wishes to play with the items in the carrying bag, the gatherers are released form grip 4 and sheet 1 converts back to its flat configuration.
While there has been illustrated and described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the true scope of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that this invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of this description.
Patent applications in class LIFTING OR SUSPENDING ELEMENT (E.G., HANDLE)
Patent applications in all subclasses LIFTING OR SUSPENDING ELEMENT (E.G., HANDLE)