GB2536450A - Rechargeable furniture leg - Google Patents

Rechargeable furniture leg Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2536450A
GB2536450A GB1504475.3A GB201504475A GB2536450A GB 2536450 A GB2536450 A GB 2536450A GB 201504475 A GB201504475 A GB 201504475A GB 2536450 A GB2536450 A GB 2536450A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
leg
rechargeable
housing
scaffold
screw
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB1504475.3A
Other versions
GB201504475D0 (en
GB2536450B (en
Inventor
Adrian Sirs Robin
Ian Fenton Philip
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
ISIS CONCEPTS Ltd
Original Assignee
ISIS CONCEPTS Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by ISIS CONCEPTS Ltd filed Critical ISIS CONCEPTS Ltd
Priority to GB1504475.3A priority Critical patent/GB2536450B/en
Publication of GB201504475D0 publication Critical patent/GB201504475D0/en
Publication of GB2536450A publication Critical patent/GB2536450A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of GB2536450B publication Critical patent/GB2536450B/en
Active legal-status Critical Current
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C7/00Parts, details, or accessories of chairs or stools
    • A47C7/62Accessories for chairs
    • A47C7/72Adaptations for incorporating lamps, radio sets, bars, telephones, ventilation, heating or cooling arrangements or the like
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B21/00Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B21/00Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards
    • A47B21/06Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards characterised by means for holding, fastening or concealing cables
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B97/00Furniture or accessories for furniture, not provided for in other groups of this subclass
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0042Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries characterised by the mechanical construction
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0047Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries with monitoring or indicating devices or circuits
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/34Parallel operation in networks using both storage and other dc sources, e.g. providing buffering
    • H02J7/342The other DC source being a battery actively interacting with the first one, i.e. battery to battery charging
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B13/00Details of tables or desks
    • A47B13/02Underframes
    • A47B13/023Underframes with a central column
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B21/00Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards
    • A47B21/06Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards characterised by means for holding, fastening or concealing cables
    • A47B2021/066Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards characterised by means for holding, fastening or concealing cables with power or communication connection interface

Abstract

An item of furniture 3 is provided for recharging personal or portable electronic devices such as laptops or mobile phones. The furniture leg 1 comprises a rechargeable power source (6, figure 4) and at least one power outlet 5 for providing power from the rechargeable power source to the electronic device. A variety of power outlets may be used, including USB or mains power sockets, or a wireless charging mat. A power inlet socket 8 may provide power to the rechargeable power source, alternatively, power may be supplied to the rechargeable power source via a solar panel. The furniture leg may comprise a base 4, an outer housing 21 and an internal scaffolding fixed to the base that comprises a plurality of vertical rods 16 and horizontal plates 17 to support the internal components of the recharging device. The housing is in slidable engagement with the scaffolding and may include vertical channels for receiving the vertical rods of the scaffolding.

Description

RECHARGEABLE FURNITURE LEG
The present invention relates to a rechargeable furniture leg, in particular a rechargeable table leg for providing power to mobile devices.
Whilst various options exist for providing power to devices such as laptops and mobile telephones in various settings, the provision of power in workplace, public and school settings can be particularly problematic. This is especially the case when power is to be provided at an item of furniture such as a desk, table or workstation, as the furniture must then be located in proximity to a suitable mains power supply outlet. Such a problem is particularly difficult to solve when power must be provided at multiple desks, tables, workstations or other furniture items and/or when the furniture items are intended to be moveable into different positions and/or are situated in open plan areas.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to seek to alleviate the above identified problems.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a rechargeable furniture leg comprising a rechargeable power source and at least one power outlet for providing power from the rechargeable power source to a portable electronic device, said rechargeable furniture leg being adapted for connection to another component of a furniture item.
Preferably, the leg is adapted for connection to a table top and/or a seat, such as a stool.
Preferably, the leg comprises one or more attachment means for attachment to a component of a furniture item.
Preferably, the one or more attachment means is for attachment to a table top or seat.
Preferably, the leg comprises a housing and an internal scaffold provided for supporting one or more internal components of the leg.
In this respect, it will be appreciated that the housing defines an internal space and the scaffold is provided within the internal space.
Preferably, the one or more internal components comprise a rechargeable power source, power source recharging electronics, control and management electronics, power conversion electronics, electrical cables, internal sockets, user device adapters, communications devices, a Wi-Fi hub, Wi-Fi router with integral Ethernet switch, and/or a Wi-Fi booster.
Preferably, the scaffold forms one or more storage areas for storing one or more of the internal components.
Preferably, the scaffold comprises one or more supports positionable within one or more support channels provided on the inner surface of the housing, said one or more supports for supporting one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.
Preferably, the housing comprises one or more support channels for holding one or more supports of the scaffold.
Preferably, the scaffold comprises one or more supports held within one or more support channels provided on the inner surface of the housing, said one or more supports for supporting one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.
Preferably, the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more cross supports for positioning across the internal space of the leg.
Preferably, the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more plates for supporting the one or more internal components of the leg.
Preferably, the one or more cross supports comprise one or more cross plates for positioning across the internal space of the leg.
Preferably, the one or more supports comprise one or more bars, for example metal bars.
Preferably, the one or more supports comprise one or more connectors for connection to one or more internal components of the leg and/or the one or more additional components of the scaffold.
Preferably, the one or more additional components of the leg comprise one or more connectors for connection to one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more supports of the leg.
Preferably, the one or more connectors comprise one or more apertures.
Preferably, the apertures comprise one or more holes and/or slots.
Preferably, the apertures of the one or more supports comprise one or more holes for receiving a protrusion provided on one or more additional components of the scaffold.
Preferably, the apertures of the one or more supports comprise one or more holes for receiving a protrusion provided on one or more cross plates of the scaffold.
Preferably, the apertures of the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more holes through which screws can be inserted for connection to one or more additional components of the leg.
Preferably, the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels for connection of one or more internal components of the leg to the housing and/or for connection of one or more additional components of the scaffold to the housing.
Preferably, the one or more screw-receiving channels comprise an elongate channel with an opening for receiving a plurality of screws, said opening extending along the channel for receiving screws from within the housing.
As such, screws can be screwed into the channel from within the internal space defined by the housing.
Preferably, the opening extends along substantially the entire length of the channel.
Preferably, at least one end of the screw-receiving channel comprises an open end for receiving a screw from outside the housing. Accordingly, not only can the screw-receiving channels receive screws from within the housing, for example screws which are used to secure internal components to the inside face of the housing, but the screw-receiving channels can also aid construction of a furniture item using a leg of the present invention. For example, it will be envisaged that a table top could be secured to a leg of the invention by passing one or more screws through the table top and into the end of one or more screw-receiving channels to secure the table top to the leg. Alternatively, an end or top plate can be secured to the leg in a similar fashion.
Preferably, each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.
This is particularly advantageous because it means that one or more internal components of the leg, and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold, can be attached to the housing via the supports and via one or more screws screwed directly into the one or more screw-receiving channels. This is, for example, additionally advantageous in embodiments in which internal components, and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold, can be removably attached to the supports and then securely attached to the housing via the screw-receiving channels.
Preferably, each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels with adjacent support channels and screw-receiving channels forming a combined channel comprising a first side comprising a support channel for holding a support and a second side comprising a screw-receiving channel, said first and second sides separated by a wall.
As such, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the housing comprises one or more double/combined channels for holding one or more supports and for receiving a plurality of screws, the one or more double/combined channels comprising first and second channels separated by a wall, the first channel for holding a support, said support for supporting one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold, and the second channel being a screw-receiving channel for connection of one or more internal components of the leg to the housing.
Preferably, the housing comprises first and second opposing pairs of support channels.
Preferably, the scaffold comprises first and second opposing pairs of supports.
Preferably, the support channels of the first and second opposing pairs of support channels are each positioned adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.
Preferably, the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels which are not adjacent to one or more support channels and/or distal from the one or more support channels.
Preferably, the housing comprises a plurality of screw-receiving channels positioned equidistant from each other around the circumference of the housing.
Preferably, the housing comprises first and second opposing pairs of double/combined channels.
Preferably, screw-receiving channels are provided at about 0 degrees and about 180 degrees and double/combined channels are provided at about 60 degrees, about 120 degrees, about 240 degrees and about 300 degrees with reference to the circumference of the substantially circular cross-section of the housing.
This arrangement has been found to be particularly advantageous for, not only providing a modular scaffold arrangement, but also for allowing appropriate removable and secure attachment of components to the internal surface of the housing in the most adaptable and convenient manner.
Preferably, the housing is in slideable engagement with the scaffold.
Preferably, the one or more support channels are in slideable engagement with the one or more supports.
Preferably, the scaffold is provided on a base.
Preferably, the scaffold is provided on a base and the housing is configured for being positioned above the scaffold, moved into slideable engagement therewith and being slid down the scaffold and into engagement with the base.
Preferably, the housing comprises a column.
Remarkably, the combination of the housing and the scaffold creates a leg of sufficient structural integrity to support a table surface and other furniture items. In particular, not only is the leg provided in the form of a modular structure which can easily be tailored to particular heights, widths and sizes, but the modular structure also imparts the required structural integrity required of a furniture leg.
Preferably, the housing is circular in cross section.
Alternatively, the housing is square or rectangular in cross section.
Preferably, the housing comprises an extruded tube.
Preferably, the housing comprises a plastics material.
Preferably, the power source is configured for being controlled and/or monitored remotely. For example, in preferred embodiments, the leg comprises a wireless communications device for communicating with a remote controller.
Preferably, the leg is configured for being controlled and/or monitored locally.
Preferably, the leg is configured for being controlled and/or monitored manually and/or automatically.
Preferably, the remote controller is configurable to turn the power on or off, indicate the charge level status of the power source, provide information regarding the usage statistics of the power source, indicate the identity of a furniture item to which the leg is attached and/or provide information regarding the location of a furniture item to which the leg is attached.
Preferably, the leg comprises an electronic tag for indicating the location and/or identity of the leg, or a furniture item to which the leg is attached, to a remote device, such as a remote controller or a computer device, including a hand-held device such as a tablet or smartphone.
Preferably, the tag is an identity tag.
Preferably, the tag comprises a GPS (global positioning system) tag.
Preferably, the remote controller comprises web-based or mobile device-based application software.
Preferably, the leg comprises one or more pop-out, retractable sections for revealing power sockets and/or for providing storage, for example for adapters and cables.
Preferably, the top of the leg comprises a retractable, pop-out section.
Preferably, the retractable, pop-out sections are powered by one or more gas struts.
Preferably the leg comprises one or more retractors for retracting into the leg power and/or data cables, for example a charging power lead.
As such, in a preferred embodiment, the leg comprises one or more retractable cables. Preferably, the cables include power cables and/or data cables.
Preferably, the one or more retractors comprise sliding weights and/or manually operable sprung cable winders.
Preferably, the housing is provided with a surface which is exposed, and which gives access to the at least one power outlet, when the leg forms part of a furniture item.
Preferably, the leg comprises a power inlet for supplying power to the rechargeable power source to recharge the rechargeable power source.
Preferably, the leg comprises a switch for interrupting the flow of power from the rechargeable power source to the at least one power outlet.
Preferably, the leg comprises a timer switch for interrupting the flow of power from the rechargeable power source to the at least one power outlet after a definable amount of time from activation.
Preferably, the leg comprises a timer switch for interrupting the flow of power from the rechargeable power source to the at least one power outlet after a definable amount of time from activation which can only be re-activated once the initial time period has expired.
Preferably, the leg comprises a timer switch for commencing the flow of power from the rechargeable power source to the at least one power outlet after a definable amount of time from activation and then interrupting the flow of power from the rechargeable power source to the at least one power outlet after a further definable amount of time from activation which can only be re-activated once the initial time period has expired.
Preferably, the leg comprises an automatic switch which provides power directly from a mains power source to at least one power outlet only when mains power is connected to the leg power inlet.
Preferably, the rechargeable power source is operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device to enable the portable electronic device to be operated but not to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device.
Preferably, the rechargeable power source is operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device to enable the portable electronic device to be operated but not to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device to any significant degree.
Alternatively, the rechargeable power source may be operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device to enable the portable electronic device to be operated and to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device.
Preferably, the rechargeable power source is operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device of a first type to enable the portable electronic device of the first type to be operated but not to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device of the first type, and further operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device of a second type to enable the portable electronic device of the second type to be operated and to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device of the second type.
Preferably, the rechargeable power source is operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device of a first type to enable the portable electronic device of the first type to be operated but not to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device of the first type to any significant degree, and further operable to provide sufficient power to a portable electronic device of a second type to enable the portable electronic device of the second type to be operated and to recharge a rechargeable battery of the portable electronic device of the second type.
Preferably, the appearance of at least a portion of the leg matches the appearance of at least a portion of the furniture item, said at least a portion of the leg remaining visible when the leg forms part of the furniture item.
Preferably, the at least one power outlet comprises at least one of, or a combination of, a mains power outlet, a USB power outlet and a power outlet adapted to supply power to laptop-type devices at a laptop device input range of 9V to 20V.
Preferably, the rechargeable power source comprises at least one rechargeable battery.
Preferably, the at least one rechargeable battery comprises one of a Lead Acid, NiMH, NiCD or Lithium based battery, or any other suitable rechargeable battery type.
Preferably, the at least one rechargeable battery comprises one or more cells.
Preferably, the at least one rechargeable power source can be fully recharged within about 3 hours, preferably within about 2 hours, most preferably within about 1 hour.
Preferably, the at least one power outlet comprises at least one socket.
Preferably the at least one socket comprises a Universal Serial Bus (USB) and/or mains power socket and/or DC power socket.
Preferably, the leg comprises a voltage converter (DC).
Preferably, the leg comprises an Inverter (AC).
Preferably, the leg comprises low voltage disconnect circuitry preferably with low voltage warning indicator(s).
Preferably, the leg comprises a power switch.
Preferably, the leg comprises a socket for connecting to a recharging device.
Preferably, the leg comprises at least one power indicator light.
Preferably, the leg comprises at least one rechargeable power source power level gauge or light.
Preferably, the leg comprises cabling and connectors for supplying power to a device.
Preferably, the leg comprises a solar panel for providing charge to the rechargeable power source, which may or may not be at a trickle charge level.
Preferably, the leg comprises a wireless charging pad, for example utilising inductive electrical power rarsfer technologies (e.g. Qi complaint systems).
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a rechargeable furniture item comprising one or more rechargeable furniture legs as described herein.
Preferably, the furniture item is selected from a table (including formal tables e.g. meeting tables and informal tables e.g. coffee tables), desk or workstation, a seating unit such as a stool, sofa, chair or chair with attached table surface or movable furniture such as a trolley or storage unit. In fact, any furniture item comprising one or more legs at which electrical power may be desired to be supplied, of any size, shape, and form.
Preferably, the furniture item is a table, stool, sofa or chair.
Preferably, the furniture item comprises a single rechargeable furniture leg.
Preferably, the furniture item comprises one or more rechargeable furniture legs and one or more matching but not rechargeable furniture legs.
Preferably, the furniture item is a table and the at least one power outlet is provided on the top surface of the table.
Preferably, the furniture item comprises a solar panel for providing charge to the rechargeable power source.
Preferably, furniture item comprises a solar panel for providing charge to the rechargeable power source, which may or may not be at a trickle charge level.
Preferably, the furniture item is a table and the solar panel is provided on the table top, for example on the top surface of the table.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a scaffold for use in a leg as described herein.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a housing for use in a leg as described herein.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a modular kit for creating a leg as described herein, wherein the kit comprises a scaffold as described herein and a housing as described herein.
Preferably, the kit comprises a plurality of housings as described herein.
Preferably, the kit comprises housings of different lengths and/or diameters and/or colours.
Preferably the scaffold comprises a rechargeable power source.
Preferably, the kit comprises a rechargeable power source for receiving power from a power inlet and for providing power to one or more devices via one or more power outlets.
Preferably, the kit comprises a plurality of scaffolds as described herein.
Preferably, the kit comprises scaffolds of different lengths and/or diameters.
Preferably, the kit comprises a plurality of cross supports of different widths.
It will be appreciated that the width of the scaffold can be altered by using cross supports of a desired width. This in turn, means that the width of the leg can be tailored to a particular use or appearance by the provision of housings of different widths and cross supports of a corresponding width such that the housing can be slid over the scaffold with the support channels engaging the supports of the scaffold.
Preferably, the kit comprises a plurality of supports.
Preferably, the kit comprises supports of different lengths.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a modular kit for creating a scaffold as described herein, wherein the kit comprises a plurality of supports as described herein and a plurality of cross supports as described herein.
Preferably, the kit comprises supports of different lengths.
Preferably, the kit comprises cross supports of different widths.
Within this specification embodiments have been described in a way which enables a clear and concise specification to be written, but it is intended and will be appreciated that embodiments may be variously combined or separated without parting from the invention. For example, it will be appreciated that all preferred features described herein are applicable to all aspects of the invention described herein.
Example embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying Figures, in which Figure 1 shows a table comprising a leg according to the present invention; Figure 2 shows a second example of a table comprising a leg according to the present invention; Figure 3 shows a third example of a table comprising a leg according to the present invention; Figure 4 shows the table provided in Figure 1 with a cutaway view of the housing of the leg; Figure 5 shows the internal scaffold of a leg according to the present invention; Figure 6 shows view from above a leg of the present invention showing the arrangement of supports, support channels and screw-receiving channels; Figure 7 shows how the housing of a leg of the present invention can be slid over the internal scaffold; and Figures 8A and 8B show cross-sectional views of the housing before (Figure 8A) and after (Figure 8B) being connected to the scaffold.
The present invention relates to a rechargeable furniture leg for providing power to one or more devices.
Within this specification, the term "about" means plus or minus 20%, more preferably plus or minus 10%, even more preferably plus or minus 5%, most preferably plus or minus 2%.
Within this specification, reference to "one or more" preferably includes "all".
With reference to Figures 1 to 3, different examples of a table 2 comprising a rechargeable leg 1 are provided. In each example, the leg 1 is attached to a table top 3 at one end and a base 4 at the other end. In Figures 1 and 2, power outlets 5 from a rechargeable power source 6 (see Figures 4 to 7) are provided on a dome 7 in the centre of the table top 3. In Figure 3, access to power outlets is via a removable top disc 11 provided in the centre of the table top 3 with the power outlets provided in a recess (not shown) in the top of the leg 1. For example, USB cables 27 and/or power cables 28 could be provided which could be pulled out of the recess, through apertures 29, when in use.
The example shown in Figure 1 includes a power inlet socket 8 for providing power to the rechargeable power source 6. The example shown in Figure 2 includes a plug 9 for connection to a mains power socket (not shown) for providing power to the rechargeable power source 6.
Also shown in Figures 1 to 3 is an on/off switch 10 and power indicator light 13 are provided on the table top 3. The power indicator light 13 and on/off switch 10 are connected to the leg 1 via cables (not shown). It will also be appreciated that the on/off switch 10 and power indicator light 13 could be provided on the leg 1. Also provided is a battery charging indicator 26 which lights up when the power source 6 is being recharged. In the example shown, an amber light is displayed during charging and a green light is displayed when the power source 6 has been fully charged.
The leg 1 is provided with a plurality of power outlets 5, an on/off power switch 10 and a power inlet 8, 9 for receiving mains power to charge the power source 6. The rechargeable power source 6 is in electrical communication with the power inlet 8, 9 and is in electrical communication with the power outlets 5 via the power switch.
The housing 21 comprises a cylindrical body of circular section on which the power inlet 8, 9 is located. The rechargeable power source 6 is provided in the internal space defined by the housing 21.
As will be appreciated, when the leg 1 is connected to a table top 3, the power outlets 5 can be presented to a user via a removable disc 11 in the table top 3 (Figure 3) or the leg 1 can extend through the table top 3 to provide a tower or via the side of the leg 1 below the table top 3 or dome with power outlets 5 provided thereon (Figures 1 and 2). Alternatively, the leg 1 can be affixed to the underside of a table top 3 with the power outlets 5 accessible from under the table top 3 with apertures (not shown) provided in the table top 3 through which cables (not shown) can be inserted.
Portions of the leg 1 which remain visible may be selected so as to match the appearance of the furniture item. For example, the appearance (colour, finish, material, patterning etc.) of the leg 1 and/or the disc 11 may be selected to match the appearance of the table top 3.
Power may be supplied to electronic or electrical devices (for example, portable electronic devices such as laptops, notebooks, Chromebooks, ultrabooks, tablets, mobile telephones, any USB chargeable device and the like) located on or in the vicinity of the leg 1 simply by electrically connecting those devices to a respective one of the power outlets 5, for example by plugging a lead connected with the device into one of the power outlets 5, which power outlet will then supply electrical power from the rechargeable power source 6 to the device.
Power will continue to be supplied to the one or more connected devices until the rechargeable power source 6 is switched off manually, remotely or automatically by the timed switch or until the rechargeable power source 6 is expended.
The rechargeable power source 6 may be recharged for re-use by supplying electrical power to the rechargeable power source 6 via the electrical power inlet 8, 9.
This may be achieved by connecting a power supply (e.g. a mains extension lead) directly to the electrical power inlet 8. In embodiments which employ lithium battery technology, charging can take as little as 1 or 2 hours. In addition, the use of lightweight high capacity lithium batteries means that the leg 1 can be easily moved to a recharging socket. This can be aided further by the provision of wheels (not shown) on the leg 1 or legs 1.
The rechargeable power source 6 may comprise one or more rechargeable batteries 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D constructed from one or more cells, which one or more batteries may be of any suitable variety (e.g. Lead Acid, NiMH, NiCD, Lithium etc.) and capacity for the intended application of the leg 1.
Similarly, the power outlets 5 may be of any suitable form. In the examples shown in Figures 1 and 2, each of the power outlets 5 comprises a mains power socket, but other power outlets (e.g. a Universal Serial Bus (USB) power socket) may be employed. The leg 1 may also be provided with one or more DC power outlets with voltages (and connectors as necessary) specific to laptop type devices where laptop device input voltages range from e.g. 9V to 20V (often 19V). In a further alternative, the leg 1 may be provided with a combination of differing power outlets e.g. two USB power sockets and one mains power socket. Further, the leg 1 may be provided with any desired number of power outlets; it is envisaged that a plurality of power outlets 5 would be most preferable to permit power to be simultaneously supplied to a plurality of devices, but a leg 1 having a single power outlet could also be provided.
Further, the leg 1 may be provided with any suitable circuitry to provide electrical power at its one or more power outlets 5 in any desired form. For example, the circuitry of the leg 1 may comprise a voltage converter to provide power via the one or more power outlets 5 at a desired voltage level; similarly, the leg 1 may comprise a voltage inverter to provide AC power at the one or more power outlets 5.
The leg 1 may comprise additional circuitry components. For example, the leg 1 may comprise low voltage disconnect circuitry and/or a power indicator light 13, lights, gauge or LCD to indicate the status of the rechargeable power source 6, such as the level of charge remaining, and/or to indicate when the rechargeable power source 6 is being recharged. As a further example, the leg 1, and/or the furniture item (e.g. table 2) of which the leg 1 forms a part of, may be provided with a solar panel to supply recharging power to the rechargeable power source 6. Furthermore, it will be envisaged that wireless charging technology could be included, for example in the form of a wireless inductive power charging mat.
In the examples shown, the power switch 10 is operable to interrupt the supply of power from the rechargeable power source 6 to all of the power outlets 5 of the leg 1. However, a plurality of power switches may instead be provided, each to interrupt the supply of power to a respective one of a corresponding plurality of power outlets 5. The power switch 10 may be connected to timing electronics and relays in order to only provide power to some or all of the power outlets 5 for a definable period of time.
With reference to Figures 4 and 5, the internal scaffold 12 is shown on which internal components such as sections of the rechargeable power source 6A, 6B, 6C and a communications device 14 are supported. The scaffold 12 is connected to a base 4.
With particular reference to Figure 5, the scaffold 12 comprises metal bars 16 and cross plates 17. The cross plates 17 comprise protrusions 18 for engagement with holes 19 in the metal bars 16. The cross plates 17 also comprise holes 20 through which screws (not shown) can be inserted and screwed into corresponding holes (not shown) on the internal components 6A, 6B, 6C, 14.
As shown in Figures 6, 8A and 8B, the leg 1 includes a housing 21 with double/combined channels 22 for holding the metal bars 16 and for receiving a plurality of screws. Each double/combined channel 22 includes first 22A and second 22B channels separated by a wall 22C. The first channel 22A is for housing a metal bar 16. The second channel 22B is a screw-receiving channel.
Additional screw-receiving channels 22B are provided within the housing 21 which are not adjacent a metal bar (support) channel 22A.
Each screw-receiving channel 22B comprises an elongate channel with an opening 23 for receiving a plurality of screws (not shown), said opening 23 extending along the channel 22B for receiving screws from within the housing. This allows screws to be screwed into the channel 23 from within the internal space defined by the housing 21.
The end of the screw-receiving channel 22B comprises an open end 24 for receiving a screw from outside the housing 21. Accordingly, not only can the screw-receiving channels 22B receive screws from within the housing 21, for example screws which are used to secure internal components to the inside face of the housing, but the screw-receiving channels 22B can also aid construction of a furniture item using the leg 1. For example, it will be envisaged that a table top 3 could be secured to the leg 1 by passing one or more screws through the table top 3 and into the end 24 of one or more screw-receiving channels 22B to secure the table top 3 to the leg 1. Corresponding ends 24 of the screw-receiving channels 22B are provided at the other end of the housing 21 for connection to, for example, a base 4.
With reference to Figure 7, the housing 21 can be slid over the scaffold 12 and into engagement with the base 4 and scaffold 12. This then hides the scaffold 12 and the internal components 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 14 supported thereon within the housing 21. The housing 21 is placed into slideable engagement with the scaffold 12 by aligning the metal bars 16 with the support channels 22A and then sliding the support channels 22A onto the metal bars 16.
It will be appreciated that housings 21 of differing height can be used with a single scaffold 12. In this respect, it is not necessary for the metal bars 16 of the scaffold to extend all the way to the top of the housing 21. Accordingly, this allows for the provision of a modular system with not only the ability to easily change the external appearance of the leg 1 via the use of different coloured housings 21, but also to easily change the height of the leg 1 and thus a furniture item 2 of which the leg 1 forms a part without replacing the entire leg 1. This is particularly advantageous since all the electrical components can be provided on the scaffold 12 which means that it is only necessary to change the housing 21 if a different appearance and/or height of leg is required whilst wishing to retain the original functionality. This also makes manufacture of legs 1 according to the invention much easier.
As described herein, the rechargeable leg of the present invention has a number of advantageous features.
Rechargeable batteries and electrics can be integrated into one or more table legs to provide power to electrical and electronic devices. This means that the tables can be used in locations with no mains power sockets.
A modular construction is provided which allows different battery capacities, types and numbers of batteries, different power conversion electronics (AC and DC conversion), different power socket types and quantities, and different table/furniture heights, designs and configurations to be provided.
The leg can be manufactured in a variety of lengths and widths and so used to construct tables and other furniture of different sizes and heights.
One or more power outlets can be provided, with options of mains, USB, DC for laptops and other power types.
The provision of lithium battery technology or similar with fast charge capability (e.g. 1 to 2 hours) means that an extension lead can be used for a short period of time to recharge the table/furniture item, although other battery technologies such as Lead Acid can also be utilised.
The use of lightweight high capacity lithium batteries means that a table/furniture item incorporating one or more of the legs is light enough to be wheeled or moved to a recharging socket.
The use of large battery capacities can provide over 1000 Wh of power.
The configurable internal design using a specially designed extruded tube with internal scaffold tower to mount and retain batteries, electrics and other components is particular advantageous.
Also provided is the option to connect, store and hideaway user device adapters and cables within the leg, for example via the provision of internal sockets.
Push to start, variable timed power-on electronics can be included so power automatically starts and/or shuts off after a pre-determined amount of time to prevent unnecessary battery discharge.
The ability to remotely manage and monitor the rechargeable leg using wireless communication and web and/or mobile device based applications provides particularly useful advantages. The functionality of this technology can include the ability to manually and/or automatically remotely power off of the leg, indicate charge level status, provide usage statistics and provide information regarding the identity of a furniture item and/or location of a furniture item incorporating one or more of the legs.
The leg provides the ability to power display screens, mobile and desktop computers, projectors and other IT equipment.
The leg can also be configured as a local back up power solution for critical use scenarios in the event of mains power loss, for example like a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for a server but integrated into the leg.
The inclusion of a pop-up centre, for example using a gas strut to reveal power sockets and provide adapter/cable storage is particularly advantageous. The pop-up centre can be pushed down to hide it away.
Other powered electrical devices can be provided within the leg, for example a local Wi-Fi booster, Wi-Fi hub, Wi-Fi router with integral Ethernet switch, and so on.
The leg can be provided with a battery charge gauge.
Power and/or data cables, including a charging power lead, can be retractable back into leg, for example using sliding weights, in a sprung loaded fashion or just manually.
Wireless inductive charging pads can be provided on the leg or on another part of a furniture item to which the leg is connected, for example integrated into the surface of a table top.
Solar panels for recharging the power source can be provided on the leg or on another part of a furniture item to which the leg is connected, for example integrated into the surface of a table top.
It will be appreciated that each of the above advantageous features relate to preferred features of the present invention.
It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications are covered by the appended claims.

Claims (39)

  1. CLAIMS1. A rechargeable furniture leg comprising a rechargeable power source and at least one power outlet for providing power from the rechargeable power source to a portable electronic device, said rechargeable furniture leg being adapted for connection to another component of a furniture item.
  2. 2. A leg according to claim 1, wherein the leg is adapted for connection to a table top and/or a seat.
  3. 3. A leg according to claim 1 or 2, comprising a housing and an internal scaffold for supporting one or more internal components of the leg.
  4. 4. A leg according to claim 3, wherein the scaffold forms one or more storage areas for storing one or more of the internal components.
  5. 5. A leg according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the scaffold comprises one or more supports positionable within one or more support channels provided on the inner surface of the housing, said one or more supports for supporting one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.
  6. 6. A leg according to claim 5, wherein the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more cross supports for positioning across the internal space of the leg.
  7. 7. A leg according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more plates for supporting the one or more internal components of the leg.
  8. 8. A leg according to claim 6 or 7, wherein the one or more cross supports comprise one or more cross plates for positioning across the internal space of the leg.
  9. 9. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 8, wherein the one or more supports comprise one or more bars, for example metal bars.
  10. 10. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 9, wherein the one or more supports comprise one or more connectors for connection to one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.
  11. 11. A leg according to any of claims 3 to 10, wherein the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels for connection of one or more internal components of the leg to the housing and/or for connection of one or more additional components of the scaffold to the housing.
  12. 12. A leg according to claim 11, wherein the one or more screw-receiving channels comprise an elongate channel with an opening for receiving a plurality of screws, said opening extending along the channel for receiving screws from within the housing.
  13. 13. A leg according to claim 12, wherein at least one end of the screw-receiving channel comprises an open end for receiving a screw from outside the housing.
  14. 14. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 13, wherein each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.
  15. 15. A leg according to claim 14, wherein each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels with adjacent support channels and screw-receiving channels forming a combined channel comprising a first side comprising a support channel for holding a support and a second side comprising a screw-receiving channel, said first and second sides separated by a wall.
  16. 16. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 15, wherein the housing comprises first and second opposing pairs of support channels.
  17. 17. A leg according to claim 16, wherein the support channels of the first and second opposing pairs of support channels are each positioned adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.
  18. 18. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 17, wherein the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels which are not adjacent one or more support channels and/or distal from the one or more support channels.
  19. 19. A leg according to any of claims 5 to 18, wherein the housing comprises a plurality of screw-receiving channels positioned equidistant from each other around the circumference of the housing.
  20. 20. A leg according to any of claims 15 to 19, wherein screw-receiving channels are provided at about 0 degrees and about 180 degrees and combined channels are provided at about 60 degrees, about 120 degrees, about 240 degrees and about 300 degrees with reference to the circumference of the substantially circular cross-section of the housing.
  21. 21. A leg according to any of claims 3 to 20, wherein the housing is in slideable engagement with the scaffold.
  22. 22. A leg according to claim 21, wherein the one or more support channels are in slideable engagement with the one or more supports.
  23. 23. A leg according to any preceding claim, wherein the power source is configured for being controlled and/or monitored remotely.
  24. 24. A leg according to any preceding claim, comprising an electronic tag for indicating the location and identity of the leg, or a furniture item to which the leg is attached, to a remote device, such as a remote controller or a computer device, including a hand-held device such as a tablet or smartphone.
  25. 25. A leg according to any preceding claim, comprising one or more pop-out, retractable sections for revealing power sockets and/or for providing storage, for example for adapters and cables.
  26. 26. A rechargeable furniture item comprising one or more rechargeable furniture legs according to any of claims 1 to 25.
  27. 27. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 26, selected from a table, desk or workstation, a seating unit such as a stool, sofa, chair or chair with attached table surface or movable furniture such as a trolley or storage unit.
  28. 28. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 26 or 27, wherein the furniture item is a table and the at least one power outlet is provided on the top surface of the table.
  29. 29. A rechargeable furniture item according to any of claims 26 to 28, comprising one or more rechargeable legs according to any of claims 1 to 25 and one or more non-rechargeable legs.
  30. 30. A rechargeable furniture item according to any of claims 26 to 29, comprising a solar panel for providing charge to the rechargeable power source.
  31. 31. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 30, wherein the furniture item is a table and the solar panel is provided on the table top.
  32. 32. A scaffold for use in a leg according to any of claims 1 to 25.
  33. 33. A housing for use in a leg according to any of claims 1 to 25.
  34. 34. A modular kit for creating a leg according to any of claims 1 to 25, wherein the kit comprises a scaffold according to claim 32 and a housing according to claim 33.
  35. 35. A kit according to claim 34, wherein the kit comprises housings of different lengths and/or diameters and/or colours 36. A modular kit for creating a scaffold according to claim 32, wherein the kit comprises a plurality of supports and a plurality of cross supports.37. A kit according to claim 36, wherein the kit comprises supports of different lengths and/or cross supports of different widths.38. A leg substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.39. A furniture item substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.40. A scaffold substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.41. A housing substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.42. A modular kit substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.Amendments to the claims have been made as follows: CLAIMS 1. A rechargeable furniture leg comprising a rechargeable power source and at least one power outlet for providing power from the rechargeable power source to a portable electronic device, said rechargeable furniture leg being adapted for connection to another component of a furniture item, wherein the furniture leg comprises a housing and an internal scaffold for supporting one or more internal components of the leg.2. A leg according to claim 1, wherein the leg is adapted for connection to a table top and/or a seat.3. A leg according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the scaffold forms one or more storage areas for storing one or more of the internal components.4. A leg according to any preceding claim, wherein the scaffold comprises one or more supports positionable within one or more support channels providedCDon the inner surface of the housing, said one or more supports for supportingCOC\I one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.5. A leg according to claim 4, wherein the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more cross supports for positioning across the internal space of the leg.6. A leg according to claim 4 or 5, wherein the one or more additional components of the scaffold comprise one or more plates for supporting the one or more internal components of the leg.7. A leg according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the one or more cross supports comprise one or more cross plates for positioning across the internal space of the leg.8. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 7, wherein the one or more supports comprise one or more bars, for example metal bars.9. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 8, wherein the one or more supports comprise one or more connectors for connection to one or more internal components of the leg and/or one or more additional components of the scaffold.10. A leg according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels for connection of one or more internal components of the leg to the housing and/or for connection of one or more additional components of the scaffold to the housing.11. A leg according to claim 10, wherein the one or more screw-receiving channels comprise an elongate channel with an opening for receiving a plurality cr) of screws, said opening extending along the channel for receiving screws from within the housing.CD12. A leg according to claim 11, wherein at least one end of the screw-COC\I receiving channel comprises an open end for receiving a screw from outside the housing.13. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 12, wherein each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.14. A leg according to claim 13, wherein each of the one or more support channels are provided adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels with adjacent support channels and screw-receiving channels forming a combined channel comprising a first side comprising a support channel for holding a support and a second side comprising a screw-receiving channel, said first and second sides separated by a wall.15. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 14, wherein the housing comprises first and second opposing pairs of support channels.16. A leg according to claim 15, wherein the support channels of the first and second opposing pairs of support channels are each positioned adjacent one or more screw-receiving channels.17. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 16, wherein the housing comprises one or more screw-receiving channels which are not adjacent one or more support channels and/or distal from the one or more support channels.18. A leg according to any of claims 4 to 17, wherein the housing comprises a plurality of screw-receiving channels positioned equidistant from each other around the circumference of the housing.19. A leg according to any of claims 14 to 18, wherein screw-receiving channels are provided at about 0 degrees and about 180 degrees and combined channels are provided at about 60 degrees, about 120 degrees, about 240 O degrees and about 300 degrees with reference to the circumference of the CO substantially circular cross-section of the housing.20. A leg according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing is in slideable engagement with the scaffold.21. A leg according to claim 20, wherein the one or more support channels are in slideable engagement with the one or more supports.22. A leg according to any preceding claim, wherein the power source is configured for being controlled and/or monitored remotely.23. A leg according to any preceding claim, comprising an electronic tag for indicating the location and identity of the leg, or a furniture item to which the leg is attached, to a remote device, such as a remote controller or a computer device, including a hand-held device such as a tablet or smartphone.24. A leg according to any preceding claim, comprising one or more pop-out, retractable sections for revealing power sockets and/or for providing storage, for example for adapters and cables.25. A rechargeable furniture item comprising one or more rechargeable furniture legs according to any of claims 1 to 24.26. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 25, selected from a table, desk or workstation, a seating unit such as a stool, sofa, chair or chair with attached table surface or movable furniture such as a trolley or storage unit.27. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 25 or 26, wherein the furniture item is a table and the at least one power outlet is provided on the top surface of the table.28. A rechargeable furniture item according to any of claims 25 to 27, O comprising one or more rechargeable legs according to any of claims 1 to 24 and CO one or more non-rechargeable legs.29. A rechargeable furniture item according to any of claims 25 to 28, comprising a solar panel for providing charge to the rechargeable power source.30. A rechargeable furniture item according to claim 29, wherein the furniture item is a table and the solar panel is provided on the table top.31. A modular kit for creating a leg according to any of claims 1 to 24, wherein the kit comprises a scaffold for use in the leg and a housing for use in the leg.32. A kit according to claim 31, wherein the kit comprises housings of different lengths and/or diameters and/or colours 33. A modular kit for creating a scaffold for use in a leg according to any of claims 1 to 24, wherein the kit comprises a plurality of supports and a plurality of cross supports.34. A kit according to claim 33, wherein the kit comprises supports of different lengths and/or cross supports of different widths.35. A leg substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.
  36. 36. A furniture item substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.
  37. 37. A scaffold substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.CD
  38. 38. A housing substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the CO accompanying Figures.
  39. 39. A modular kit substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying Figures.
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GB1720066.8A GB2559255B (en) 2015-03-17 2015-03-17 Rechargeable furniture Leg
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GB201720066D0 (en) 2018-01-17
GB2559255B (en) 2019-10-02
GB2536450B (en) 2018-02-14
GB201504475D0 (en) 2015-04-29
GB2559255A (en) 2018-08-01

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