US20030015632A1 - Multiple flat panel display system - Google Patents

Multiple flat panel display system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030015632A1
US20030015632A1 US10197377 US19737702A US2003015632A1 US 20030015632 A1 US20030015632 A1 US 20030015632A1 US 10197377 US10197377 US 10197377 US 19737702 A US19737702 A US 19737702A US 2003015632 A1 US2003015632 A1 US 2003015632A1
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hub
apparatus
display
arm
bores
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Abandoned
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US10197377
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Daniel Dunn
Nike Mikes
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Daniel Dunn
Nike Mikes
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M11/00Stands or trestles as supports for apparatus or articles placed thereon Stands for scientific apparatus such as gravitational force meters
    • F16M11/20Undercarriages with or without wheels
    • F16M11/2007Undercarriages with or without wheels comprising means allowing pivoting adjustment
    • F16M11/2014Undercarriages with or without wheels comprising means allowing pivoting adjustment around a vertical axis
    • 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
    • A47B81/00Cabinets or racks specially adapted for other particular purposes, e.g. for storing guns or skis
    • A47B81/06Furniture aspects of radio, television, gramophone, or record cabinets
    • A47B81/061Furniture aspects of radio, television, gramophone, or record cabinets the device supports being adjustable
    • A47B81/065Furniture aspects of radio, television, gramophone, or record cabinets the device supports being adjustable rotationally
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M11/00Stands or trestles as supports for apparatus or articles placed thereon Stands for scientific apparatus such as gravitational force meters
    • F16M11/02Heads
    • F16M11/04Means for attachment of apparatus; Means allowing adjustment of the apparatus relatively to the stand
    • F16M11/06Means for attachment of apparatus; Means allowing adjustment of the apparatus relatively to the stand allowing pivoting
    • F16M11/10Means for attachment of apparatus; Means allowing adjustment of the apparatus relatively to the stand allowing pivoting around a horizontal axis
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M11/00Stands or trestles as supports for apparatus or articles placed thereon Stands for scientific apparatus such as gravitational force meters
    • F16M11/20Undercarriages with or without wheels
    • F16M11/2085Undercarriages with or without wheels comprising means allowing sideward adjustment, i.e. left-right translation of the head relatively to the undercarriage
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M11/00Stands or trestles as supports for apparatus or articles placed thereon Stands for scientific apparatus such as gravitational force meters
    • F16M11/20Undercarriages with or without wheels
    • F16M11/2092Undercarriages with or without wheels comprising means allowing depth adjustment, i.e. forward-backward translation of the head relatively to the undercarriage
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M11/00Stands or trestles as supports for apparatus or articles placed thereon Stands for scientific apparatus such as gravitational force meters
    • F16M11/20Undercarriages with or without wheels
    • F16M11/24Undercarriages with or without wheels changeable in height or length of legs, also for transport only, e.g. by means of tubes screwed into each other
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M13/00Other supports for positioning apparatus or articles; Means for steadying hand-held apparatus or articles
    • F16M13/02Other supports for positioning apparatus or articles; Means for steadying hand-held apparatus or articles for supporting on, or attaching to, an object, e.g. tree, gate, window-frame, cycle
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M2200/00Details of stands or supports
    • F16M2200/02Locking means
    • F16M2200/021Locking means for rotational movement
    • F16M2200/022Locking means for rotational movement by friction
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16MFRAMES, CASINGS, OR BEDS OF ENGINES OR OTHER MACHINES OR APPARATUS NOT SPECIFIC TO AN ENGINE, MACHINE, OR APPARATUS PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE; STANDS OR SUPPORTS
    • F16M2200/00Details of stands or supports
    • F16M2200/06Arms
    • F16M2200/068Arms being part of the undercarriage

Abstract

A multiple display apparatus includes a hub capable of supporting a variable number of display support members and at least two support members coupled to the support hub. The apparatus is expandable to provide a plurality of displays and support members on the hub. Mounting brackets are respectively associated with the members to secure flat panel displays to the apparatus.

Description

    CLAIM OF PRIORITY
  • The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/306,510 filed on Jul. 18, 2001.[0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention [0002]
  • The present invention is directed to a scalable flat panel display system. In particular, the system integrates a plurality of display panels, efficiently and without limitation to quantity, as well as providing integration for additional devices within the system. [0003]
  • 2. Description of the Related Art [0004]
  • As computing applications have become more sophisticated, the ability to utilize multiple displays provides users with increased productivity and capabilities in manipulating such applications. Such multiple display systems are becoming more popular as the cost of such systems decreases, while the imaging and processing capability of today's image-based computers continue to rise. Faster computing power, multi-tasking between applications, multi-media applications and the integration of Internet-based communications and resources all drive the desire to utilize multi-display systems. Typically, the benefits of multiple monitor computing are seen in specialized financial and graphics computer applications. However, multiple display computing is also increasing among the general computing public. [0005]
  • To date, there have been basically three approaches to implementing multiple displays at the desktop level: 1) multiple stand-alone displays; 2) multiple flat panel displays attached to arms that attach to stands and wall brackets; and 3) multiple flat panel displays encased in a single housing. [0006]
  • None of these solutions provide for an efficiently scalable and customizable solution that addresses the wide variety of system variations and requirements which constantly arise as the adoption of multiple monitor computing increases. [0007]
  • One of the aforementioned approaches—that of providing multiple display stands based on fixed position arms, stands and brackets—has been developed extensively in the prior art. However, none of the prior art solutions provide an integrated and scalable multiple display system. Examples of fixed position arms, stands and bracket approaches are shown in FIGS. [0008] 8A-8D.
  • FIG. 8A shows a commercial example of a system which is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,015,120 to Sweere et al. The device has a single base unit supporting a vertical arm, with multiple cross-arms mounting the displays to the vertical arm. These arms may be attached to several types of devices so that monitors may be arranged in a vertical and horizontal array as shown in the various views of FIG. 8A. This implementation is limited in the number of displays which may be attached to the stand as well as the number of positions that the devices achieve. Hence, it is dependent on a fixed amount of available configurations. An alternative commercial embodiment of this system is shown in FIG. 8B. This version of the system is not easily portable or easily implemented because it is dependent on location of other non-portable structures, including office walls, mounting racks and desktops, for support. [0009]
  • Another example of this type of solution is U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,006 to Moscovitch. A commercial embodiment of the display described with respect to this patent is shown in FIG. 8C. This is primarily described as a dual display system. It provides for a fixed amount of displays per stand supported by predetermined arm structures that include one, two, three or four display panels per system. In each scenario, a different set of arm supports must be implemented to result in an increase or decrease of the number of flat panel displays, size of flat panel displays and flat panel display position. One large disadvantage of this system is that the user is strictly limited in the number of displays that can be attached to the stand. This solution is not efficiently scalable and is not compatible with off-the-shelf flat panel displays from major manufacturers. It is only compatible with flat panel displays that have been encased in proprietary housing with proprietary connections, also described in the patent application. Hence both the number of flat panel displays as well as the flat panel display types and sizes are dramatically limited. [0010]
  • Furthermore, both the Sweere and the Moscovitch approach suffer from the other disadvantages, including wide gaps between images resulting from large and clumsy bezels used in most compatible flat panel displays. In addition, both systems focus on limited needs of a fixed and predetermined number of flat panel displays and niche applications. Neither system provides for a scalable and efficient desktop solution for specific needs as well as general needs and mass consumption. [0011]
  • Yet another prior art embodiment is shown in FIG. 8D, a product commercially available from Panoram Technologies, Sun Valley, Calif. This prior art embodiment attempts to solve the need for expanded visual real-estate by positioning the display panels closer together in a single housing. When multiple flat panels are enclosed in a single housing, it constitutes a cumbersome and fixed configuration that does not provide for integration of offthe-shelf flat panel displays and is inflexible and rigid. This solution is neither customizable nor scalable. (See FIG. 8D). [0012]
  • These examples of prior art fail to consider the full spectrum of multiple display requirements. Each example also fails to adequately address the needs of multiple display computing for a wide audience, as well as an affordable solution to small niche markets. In sum, the prior art fails to provide a robust, adaptable and scalable solution to multiple display computing. [0013]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention, roughly described, pertains to a multiple display support system. In one aspect, the system includes a hub capable of supporting a variable number of display support members. At least two support members are coupled to the support hub. At least two mounting brackets are respectively associated with said at least two support members. [0014]
  • In an alternative embodiment, the invention comprises an expandable display mounting apparatus which includes a hub including a plurality of bores formed therein. A plurality of arm assemblies having an end joint are provided in said one of said plurality of bores and include a second end capable of coupling to a display panel. [0015]
  • In a further embodiment, the display apparatus further includes at least two flat-panel displays respectively mounted on said support members by said at least two mounting brackets. [0016]
  • In another implementation, the hub includes a plurality of bores. Two, three, six, nine, ten, or any number of bores may be provided. The bores may be drilled or cast into the hub. [0017]
  • In a further embodiment, the bores may be integrated into other structures such as furniture, including a desk, walls, and the like. [0018]
  • In another embodiment, the hub may be comprised of modular pods, each pod having a plurality of bores therein and being capable of coupling to others of said pods. [0019]
  • In still another embodiment, the display apparatus includes an integrated component device. Any number of relevant devices can easily be incorporated in the apparatus to enhance its usefulness and the scope of applications it can efficiently fulfill. [0020]
  • Still further, each said support member may comprise an articulating arm having a first end supporting said mounting bracket and a second end coupled to said hub. The arm may include an upper arm, a lower arm, an elbow joint and an end joint. The arm may be hollow to allow cabling to pass therethrough, or solid to reduce manufacturing costs. [0021]
  • In another aspect, the invention may comprise a multiple display apparatus. The apparatus may include a hub having a plurality of bores provided therein, at least two articulating arms and at least two displays. One of said at least two displays may be coupled to one of said at least two articulating arms at said display mount. The arms may comprise a first member and a second member, the first member including a bore mount and the second member including a display mount. [0022]
  • The advantages of the present invention will appear more clearly from the following description in which the present invention has been set forth in conjunction with the drawings. [0023]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The invention will be described with respect to the particular embodiments thereof. Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will become apparent with reference to the specification and drawings in which: [0024]
  • FIG. 1A shows a front view of a three panel, six port or bore hub configuration of the system of the present invention. [0025]
  • FIG. 1B shows a rear view of the six bore—three flat panel display embodiment of the system of the present invention [0026]
  • FIG. 1C shows a top down view of the six bore—three flat panel display embodiment of the system of the present invention. [0027]
  • FIG. 1D shows a rear perspective view of the six bore—three flat panel display embodiment of the system of the present invention. [0028]
  • FIG. 1E shows an exploded view of the six bore—three flat panel display embodiment of the system of the present invention. [0029]
  • FIG. 2 shows a three-flat panel display embodiment depicting the flat panel displays of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. [0030] 1A-1E positioned in a parabolic wrap-around mode for ergonomically correct single-user applications.
  • FIG. 3A is a rear view of a two-panel alternative embodiment of the system of the present invention. [0031]
  • FIG. 3B shows a top view of the embodiment of the system of the present invention shown in FIG. 3A. [0032]
  • FIG. 4A and FIG. 4B show views of an alternative embodiment of the desktop hub shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. [0033]
  • FIG. 5A shows a first embodiment of the arm assembly of the present invention. [0034]
  • FIG. 5B shows an exploded view of the upper arm assembly that serves to connect the mounting head to the primary arm assembly shown in FIG. 5C. [0035]
  • FIG. 5C shows an exploded view of the lower arm assembly that serves to connect the secondary arm assembly to the hub body. [0036]
  • FIGS. [0037] 6 shows an exploded view of the flat panel display mounting head used in one embodiment of the system of the present invention.
  • FIG. 7A shows the front view of a six flat panel display embodiment of the present invention using a six bore hub. [0038]
  • FIG. 7B shows the rear view of the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 7A. [0039]
  • FIGS. [0040] 8A-8D show prior art versions of multi-display systems.
  • FIG. 9A shows a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the arm structure of the present invention. [0041]
  • FIG. 9B shows an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the arm structure shown in FIG. 9A. [0042]
  • FIG. 10A shows a front view of an alternative embodiment of the hub suitable for use with a fixed wall and/or floor in accordance with the system of the present invention. [0043]
  • FIG. 10B shows an exploded view of the alternative embodiment of the hub shown in FIG. 10A. [0044]
  • FIGS. 11A shows a front view of another alternative hub embodiment that integrates a subwoofer, speaker or other device within the hub in accordance with the present invention. [0045]
  • FIG. 11B shows a top down view of the alternative hub embodiment of FIG. 11A. FIG. 11C shows a perspective view of the alternative hub embodiment of FIG. 11A. [0046]
  • FIG. 12A shows a view of yet another alternative embodiment of the hub that scales in increments of two bore receptacles in accordance with the present invention. [0047]
  • FIG. 12B shows a view of an exploded hub module based hub shown in FIG. 12A. [0048]
  • FIG. 13A shows an exploded view of another alternative embodiment of the invention that provides for power and data connectors between the hub, arms and screens in accordance with the present invention. [0049]
  • FIG. 13B shows a top down view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13A. [0050]
  • FIG. 13C shows a perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 13A. [0051]
  • FIGS. 14A and 14B show views of a furniture-integrated embodiment of the present invention. [0052]
  • FIG. 15 shows a top view of an alternative embodiment of the desktop hub with a total of [0053] 10 bores/ports.
  • WRITTEN DESCRIPTION
  • An efficiently scalable multiple display system [0054] 10 is disclosed herein. The system includes a hub or hubs (or compatible foundation element), with a plurality of ports or bores that support a plurality of flexible jointed arms onto which devices such as flat panel displays are integrated. It should be understood that the term “flat panel display” is not limited to only displays or any particular technology, but could incorporate any lightweight input/output device having a generally flat surface which may be supported by the support structure described herein, and specifically includes tablet personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), plasma displays, LCD's, Polysilicon panels, Digital panels, DVI, Plasma displays, ALiS, PALCD, Field Emission Displays, ThinCRTs, LEDs, OLEDs, Light-Emitting Polymers, Digital Light Processors, HAD technology and the like. The invention can use a variety of devices within the hub and arms, and easily supports a multitude of flat panel display sizes and types. It also provides for extremely flexible positioning of each and every flat panel display including: height adjustment, forward backward tilt, landscape to portrait rotation, flat across presentation-mode through parabolic, and wraparound single user mode.
  • The applications for this multiple display system include individual users who increase their productivity and enhance their computing capabilities as a result of the increased visual space that simultaneously accommodates multiple applications and tasks. Additional applications include collaborative workgroups working on single or multiple applications. The invention is capable of additionally incorporating and/or supporting other devices within, or in conjunction with, the hub or foundation, and arms are attached to the mounting structures. An additional embodiment incorporating a subwoofer and stereo system can be adapted for use as a multi-media development and presentation system and demonstrates one way in which additional devices can be incorporated within the invention. [0055]
  • In an alternative embodiment, the invention provides the means to implement a scalable integrated plurality of flat panels [0056] 14 that can be mounted to a wall to implement a multiple flat panel display video wall or to other structures. Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.
  • A first embodiment of the scalable multiple flat panel display system [0057] 10 is illustrated through various views in FIGS. 1A-1E. In this embodiment, the system is illustrated as comprising a three-screen single-row configuration that is expandable to a total of six flat panel displays. It should be readily recognized that in accordance with any embodiment shown in this description, the invention is applicable to a minimum number of two displays.
  • A display system [0058] 10 in accordance with the present invention may include a hub 20 with a plurality of port receptacles, or bores, 26 into which tubes 18, or arms 51, 402 are inserted and upon which a plurality of flat panel displays 14 are mounted. (In the description set forth herein, multiple embodiments of arm assemblies (51 and 402) are presented. When referring to an arm assembly as inserted into a hub, it will be understood that either of the various embodiments of the assemblies 51, 402, and/or the vertical extension tube 18, may be utilized without departing from the scope of the present invention.)
  • The efficient scalability and flexibility of this system is derived from the various embodiments of the hub and the fact that all ports do not need to be used immediately but rather can act as spare capacity for future upgrades and expansion. Additionally, the flexibility of the arm and mounting structures are unique and extremely efficient in that they support a variety of flat panel display types, sizes and configurations, including multiple rows, without the need to replace parts. The invention also provides the means of incorporating additional devices within the invention as well as attached to the invention. [0059]
  • In the embodiment of FIGS. [0060] 1A-1E, two supporting arms 51 of the type illustrated in, for example, FIG. 5A, slide into two (26 d and 26 f) of the six vertical bores 26 a-26 f within the hub body 20. In addition, a display elevation tube 18 supports display 14 b. Arms 51 and tube 18 form the infrastructure for the displays and, in this embodiment, house all power and data cables. The arms 51 support and position display mounting heads 15 that in turn support and position the flat panel displays 14 a-c. It should be recognized that the arms 51 illustrated in FIGS. 1A-1E could equally be of the type illustrated in FIGS. 9A and 9B or of a suitable alternative design. It should also be recognized that an arm assembly 51 could replace tube 18 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1A-1E. To increase the number of displays to six, one would insert three more mechanical articulating arms 51 into the open or unused bores 26 a-c as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B. Each receptacle 26 is designed to receive one mechanical arm 51 or tube 18. While the present invention is capable of integrating six flat panel displays, the size of the hub, its capacity and the number of bores may be increased beyond six (6). By attaching additional mechanical arm assemblies 51 or elevation tube 18 with taller hub end joints additional rows of flat panel displays can be achieved as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B.
  • FIG. 1A shows a front view of the invention in a three-screen configuration. This is an embodiment that represents a typical desktop application and includes a hub [0061] 20, arms 51, flat panel display mounting heads 15 and flat panel displays 14 in a flat-across position.
  • Two forward extending legs [0062] 22 support the hub body 20. Each leg 22 provides support as well as balance for the display. Each leg has a foot 24 on its underside that is made of rubber or other soft material designed to reduce sliding and prevent the system from scratching the surface it rests on. Forward extending legs 22 can either be contiguous to the hub body 20, as shown in an alternative embodiment of the hub in FIG. 4A, or attached as components, as shown in FIG. 1E. In addition, as described below, a modular form of the hub is provided, as shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B.
  • FIG. 1B is a rear view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A. Each flat panel display [0063] 14 is attached to a display mounting head 15 which in turn is supported and positioned by a multi-articulating mechanical arm 51. Each mechanical display mounting head 15 is designed to enable variable physical positioning of the display it supports, providing for adjustments in height, tilt and rotation. The purpose for providing vertical height positioning is to ensure that each flat panel display 14 can be positioned at the exact height as the one to its left and right. In addition, the vertical adjustment also provides the ability to position an entire row of flat panel displays at a desired height for optimum viewing. The mounting heads 15 of each of the two outer arms 51 a and 51 c mount to a sliding head receptacle 21. The sliding head receptacle 21 is designed to have the means to slide or travel across the length of the secondary arm tube 46. The ability of the sliding head receptacle 21 to slide laterally across the length of the secondary arm tube 46 enables displays of varying sizes and shapes to be mounted to the display mounting heads 15 and to provide the means to eliminate the gaps between flat panel displays 14 of varying size.
  • Elimination of the gaps between flat panel displays [0064] 14 is achieved in one of two ways. A flat panel display is either moved closer to the flat panel display 14 next to it by using the articulating point 60, 50 and 62 to manipulate the mechanical arm into the desired position, or by sliding the flat panel display mounting head 21 across the upper arm tube 46. In the case wherein a central screen 14 b is included, its mounting head 15 is attached directly to a flat panel display elevation tube 18.
  • FIG. 1C is a top down view of the three panel embodiment shown in FIG. 1A. For a clean look, and to reduce the chance of interference within the hub, spare capacity bores [0065] 26 may be covered with removable plugs, or hole covers (not shown), prior to their use. Each mechanical arm 51 is attached to the hub body 20 by means of being inserted into the vertically drilled holes 26 in the hub body 20. FIG. 1C shows legs 22 positioned at a forward angle of 45degrees relative to the face of the hub 20 to provide both forward and side-toside balance for the system. The 45-degree forward angle of the arms 51 also maximizes the ability of the invention to be positioned into the corner of the workspace in which the invention is used. From this perspective it is possible to see that the legs 22 are such a length as to provide both front-to-back as well as left-to-right balance support. Due to the 45-degree angle of the hub legs 22, the flat panel displays 14 can be moved laterally away from the hub body as well as forward toward the user while maintaining stability.
  • Near the bottom of each hole [0066] 26 is a decrease in the hole diameter 27 to support the arm assembly 51 and to prevent it from falling through the hole 26.
  • Further, in FIG. 1C the flat panel displays [0067] 14 a-14 c are positioned in a side-by-side straight across or flat-wall formation. This is achieved by grasping each flat panel display and physically pushing the flat panel displays 14 forward and back causing joints 60, 50 and 62 to rotate. It is the rotation of these three joints that allows the flat panel displays to be moved forward and back, inward and outward, while maintaining a desired angle. To reconfigure the flat panel displays into a parabolic or wrap-around configuration the flat panel displays 14 would be moved forward or toward the user. This is made possible by rotation of joints, where hub end joint 60 inserts into the hub arm receptacle 26, where lower elbow joint 50 and upper elbow joint 62 meet, and where sliding mounting head 21 and flat panel display mounting head 15 meet.
  • FIG. 1D is a perspective view and FIG. 1E is an exploded rear view of the invention in the embodiment of FIG. 1A. [0068]
  • To assemble this system, the hub legs [0069] 22 are attached to the hub body 20. In one construction, bores 26 are drilled vertically into a solid metal hub body 20. Each arm receptacle bore 26 is designed to support one mounting arm assembly 51, tube 18 or assembly 402, as well as incorporating power and data cables in certain embodiments.
  • In this embodiment, the size of each arm receptacle bore [0070] 26 in FIG. 1E is designed to be slightly larger than the leg which is to be inserted therein. In an exemplary construction, for example, the bore is designed to be about 0.0600 inch larger than the hole. Hence, in an embodiment where the leg is about 2.000 inches in diameter, the bore may in particular be 2.060 inches in diameter. The size of the hole 26 at 2.060 inches is such that it will receive a hub end joint 60 of 2.000 inches diameter with enough space to allow the hub end joint 60 to rotate up to 360 degrees allowing the entire flat panel display arm assembly 51 to be moved forward and back to achieve optimum flat panel display positioning.
  • The dimensions set forth above, and in this written description as a whole, are exemplary and present only one size embodiment of the present invention. It should be understood that the dimensions may be expanded or reduced (so long as the clearances between the boar and arm are such as to maintain stability of the arm) without departing from the scope and content of the present invention. All such modification of dimensions are well within the knowledge of one of average skill in the art to implement. [0071]
  • To prevent damage to parts, and to ensure smooth rotation of arm assembly [0072] 51, a circular washer 165 is inserted into the arm receptacle hole 26. The circular washer 165 is slightly smaller than the dimension of the hole it fits into. There is a hole cut into the washer to allow cables to be routed through. In the above embodiment of a 2.000 inch leg, the hole has a diameter of about 1.600 inches. When the hub end joint of the arm is inserted into the arm receptacle hole 26 the bulk of its weight rests on the washer 165.
  • FIG. 2 is a top down view of the invention in the embodiment shown in FIGS. [0073] 1A-1E configured as a three-across flat panel display 14 system with arms in a parabolic formation for ergonomically correct single-user applications. This demonstrates the ability of the flat panel displays 14 to be manipulated forward and back so as to create either a flat straight line formation as in FIGS. 1A-1E or to be formed in a wrap-around formation as seen in FIG. 2. This is achieved by rotation where the hub end joint 60 inserts into the hub arm receptacle hole 26, at the arm assembly elbow joint where the lower arm elbow joint 50 inserts into the upper elbow joint 62, and where the flat panel display mounting head 15 inserts into the sliding flat panel display mount receptacle 21. The articulating arm assemblies 51 are designed in such a way that any flat panel display 14 can be positioned next to the inner flat panel display next to it at any desired angle.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B show a two-screen embodiment of the system of the present invention. FIG. 3A is a rear view of the invention in an embodiment with two flat panel displays [0074] 14 in a side-by-side arrangement. Again, a six port hub is utilized to support the two panel configuration depicting how the same arm structures can be utilized to efficiently accommodate various numbers of screens without the need to replace parts.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B demonstrate the ability of the arm assembly [0075] 51 to also fold inward and over itself to support side-by-side flat panel displays 14 in a two flat panel display configuration. This is achieved by rotating the upper arm assembly 51 until it is directly over the lower arm assembly 17. This diagram also demonstrates the ability to slide the flat panel displays 14 inward to the desired distance by pushing the sliding mount receptacles 21 inward along the secondary arm tube 46. An additional advantage is the ability to fold the arms 51 over themselves so that the arms 51 are able to extend outward sideways, as opposed to backward from the front, thus minimizing the total depth required by the system.
  • FIG. 3B is a top down view of the two flat panel embodiment showing the arms [0076] 51 folded inward and over themselves, reducing the required depth of space required by the system. To expand this system from two flat panel displays to four flat panel displays across or to two rows of two displays, the user would insert more arm assemblies 51 into the unoccupied arm receptacles or bores 26. To expand the system depicted in this diagram the user would insert one arm into each of the open outer corner bores 26 a-b and would extend the arm 51 to its full extension length.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B show an alternative embodiment of the hub foundation. In this embodiment, the hub is formed as a cast, single piece unit. Again, the hub consists of two forward extending legs [0077] 22. In this case, legs 22 can either be a part of the main body 20 or separate cast components. Each leg 22 has on its underside a foot 24 made of a non-abrasive substance to prevent the legs 22 and hub 20 from sliding on the desired surface and not damaging it. In the main body 20 there are six arm receptacle holes 26 of such a means that each can support one arm assembly 51. Other hubs and hub assemblies as shown in FIGS. 10A, 10B, 11A, 12A and 12B all demonstrate the ability to support much higher numbers of arms and or flat panel displays and the ability to incorporate additional devices into the system including but not limited to incorporation within the hub itself as shown in FIG. 11A.
  • FIGS. 5A, 5B and [0078] 5C show detailed views of one embodiment of an arm assembly 51 of the present invention.
  • FIG. 5A is a side view of the fully assembled arm [0079] 51. As noted above, in this embodiment of the arm assembly, power and data cables are routed through the interior of the arm. The integrated cabling provides for the positioning and adjustment of a variety of screen sizes, counts and configurations between the hub body and the flat panel mounting head.
  • The hub end joint [0080] 60 is connected to the primary arm tube 70 by four screws inserted into the clearance holes 42 that pass through holes in the hub end joint and screw into tapped holes in the primary arm tube. At the opposite end of the primary arm tube 70 the lower elbow joint 50 connects to the primary arm tube using four screws inserted into the clearance holes 42 which come up through the bottom of the lower end joint 60. Sliding over the reduced diameter of the lower end joint 60 is the upper end joint 62. A washer 165 visible in FIG. 5C fits between the location where the upper elbow joint and the lower elbow joint meet to reduce noise and wear and tear on the two metal parts. Four screws inserted into the clearance holes 42 pass through the upper elbow and down into the upper arm tube 46 to secure the two parts together. The sliding flat panel display mount 21 slides over the upper arm tube 46.
  • FIG. 5B is an exploded view of the upper arm assembly [0081] 16. At each end of the arm assembly is an open hole 72. The end hole 72 is designed to allow cables to exit so that they can be plugged into the flat panel display 14. Cutouts 73 are of the design as to provide the means for allowing cables to be routed through the joint where secondary arm tube 46 and upper elbow joint 62 meet. Threaded holes 44 receive screws that pass through the clearance holes 42 to secure the upper elbow joint to the secondary arm tube 46.
  • FIG. 5C is an exploded view of the lower arm assembly [0082] 17. The hub end joint 60 is designed in such a way that is has the means to be inserted into a bore 26 within the hub body 20 and rotate a full 360 degrees. The hub end joint 60 is of the diameter that it can have a, for example, 1.600 inch through hole drilled through it and have enough outer material so as to have the strength to support the arm assembly and a flat panel display 14 while fully extended. The primary arm tube 70 inserts into the hole 38 drilled into the hub end joint 60 and is secured by four screws which are inserted through the clearance holes 42. On the bottom side of the primary arm tube 70 is a cutout designed to provide the means for routing power and video cables (not shown) through the joint. At the opposite end of the primary arm tube 70 is the lower elbow joint 50. As shown in FIG. 5A, the primary arm tube 70 inserts into the lower elbow joint 50 and the two parts are joined by four mounting screws as in the joints described in FIG. 5B.
  • As seen in FIGS. 5A and 1E, a feature to this invention is that each component in line from the flat panel display mounting receptacle [0083] 26 through the arm assembly 51 is hollow, and that the diameter of the hollow portion of each component of the arm assembly 51 is large enough so that video and power cables (not shown) can be routed through its entirety with the ends of the cables attached. As the hub end joint 60 is rotated in the arm receptacle hole 26, the remaining arm assembly 51 rotates with it.
  • To enable each arm [0084] 51 to achieve the amount of articulation necessary to handle a wide selection of flat panel display 14 sizes and position each flat panel display 14 at a plurality of angles, an additional articulation point occurs where the lower elbow joint 50 meets the upper elbow joint 62. To achieve 360 degrees of circular rotation at this additional articulation joint the upper elbow joint is designed to fit snugly over the lower elbow joint. In the design shown in FIG. 5A the hole bored into the upper elbow joint 62 may be about 1.660 inches, which is about 0.0600 inch larger in diameter than the portion of the lower elbow joint 50, which inserts into the 1.600 inch bore in the upper elbow joint. Rotation at the joint where the lower elbow joint 50 and the upper elbow joint 62 meet allows the upper arm assembly upper elbow joint 62, upper arm tube 46, and sliding arm receptacle 21 to be rotated back over the lower arm assembly consisting of hub end joint 60, and primary arm tube 70 as shown is FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C. This also allows the same arm assembly to efficiently support and integrate a variety of flat panel display sizes by moving the sliding arm receptacle 21 horizontally to the left or right to eliminate gaps between the flat panel displays 14. Mounting holes 177 located on each flat panel display 14 are utilized in connecting the mounting head 15 with appropriate screws.
  • Further in FIG. 5A, to increase the positioning flexibility of flat panel display [0085] 14 the sliding arm receptacle 21 has a square cutout approximately 0.0600 inches greater than the dimensions of the upper arm tube 46. The ability of the sliding flat panel display receptacle 21 to travel the length of the upper arm tube 46 provides the ability to position any size flat panel display 14 in any position and at any angle lateral angle. To further increase the possible angle at which the flat panel displays can be positioned laterally, the flat panel display mounting head 15 when inserted into the sliding flat panel display mount is able to rotate up to 360 degrees. The purpose of this is to position the flat panel display at the desired angle regardless of the angle of the remaining arm assembly, as seen in the case of a two-screen system depicted in FIGS. 3A and 3B. The ability of this joint to rotate enables the flat panel display 14 to be properly positioned at the desired viewing angle when forming a two across flat panel display formation as shown in FIG. 3A as well as providing support and positioning for the two outermost flat panel displays 14 when positioned in a parabolic configuration of three integrated screens as seen in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 6A shows one embodiment of the flat panel mounting head [0086] 15 of the present invention. Flat panel display mounting head 15 provides physical connection between the arms 51, tube 18 and the flat panel displays 14 in addition to providing additional adjustments of the displays including: height, tilt and rotation; further this mounting head is VESA standard compliant so as to be compatible with most flat panel displays from major manufacturers as well as our multiple-monitor-friendly flat panel displays.
  • The flat panel display mounting head [0087] 15 connects the flat panel display 14 to the mechanical arm assembly 51 and provides the means for rotating the flat panel display 14, a full 360 degrees, including from vertical ‘portrait’ orientation through horizontal ‘landscape’ viewing, in addition to adjusting the height and adjusting the upward and downward tilt of the flat panel display 14. A bolt 100 (which may be, for example, a {fraction (1/4)} inch bolt) passes through the star-shaped clearance hole 144, through washers 105 and through the clearance hole 115 of the nose-piece 110. Passing out the other side of the nose piece 110, the bolt 100 passes through the clearance hole of the washer 105 and into the threaded hole 116 of the adjustment knob 120.
  • To assemble the flat panel display mounting head, the four bolts [0088] 150 are inserted through the clearance holes 137 of the center plate 135 and into the tapped holes 191 of the left and right ears 130 and 125. The vertical adjustment plate is slid down onto the center plate 135 so that the outward grooves 147 of the vertical adjustment plate slide down into the inward grooves 146 of the center plate 135. The vertical adjustment plate 136 aligns with the center plate 135 so that the clearance hole 164 of the vertical mounting plate 136 aligns with the blind hole 138 of the center plate 135. The vertical adjustment nut 153 is inserted into the clearance hole 164 in the vertical adjustment plate 136 with the threaded hole 154 of the vertical adjustment nut in a vertical orientation. The upper most tightening knob 152 is attached to the threaded rod 151 by screwing the tightening knob onto the threaded rod 151. The threaded rod is inserted into the clearance hole 166 until it hits the vertical adjustment nut 153. The threaded rod is turned clockwise to make the threaded rod go into the tapped or threaded nut. This is continued until the threaded rod protrudes out the bottom of the vertical adjustment plate 136. The second tightening knob 152 is attached to the threaded rod 151 by screwing it on. The friction washer 165 is inserted into the recess 171. The flat panel display mounting plate 170 is pushed onto the vertical adjustment plate 136. The assembly is completed by inserting the bolt 190 through washer 180, and thrust bearing 185 and second washer 180, then through the counter bore recessed hole 172 flat panel display mounting plate 170 and into the threaded hole 163 in the center of the vertical adjustment plate 136. Flat panel displays 14 are attached to the flat panel display mounting plate 170 by inserting screws through holes 175 or 176.
  • The mounting head [0089] 15 attaches to any VESA compatible flat panel display 14 through the means of four through holes 175 or 176 provided in the mounting head 15 that match either the 75 mm square pattern 176 or the 100 mm square pattern 175 established by VESA as standard flat panel mounting patterns. Once fully assembled, the reduced diameter 103 of nose piece 110 can be inserted into the sliding head receptacle 21 of the arm assembly 51, 402.
  • FIGS. 7A and 7B show another embodiment of the invention wherein six panels are mounted to a single display hub [0090] 20. This six port, six flat panel display demonstrates how the three flat panel embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A to 1E efficiently scales from three flat panel displays to six and how the spare capacity in any given hub can be utilized.
  • FIG. 7A shows a six flat panel display [0091] 14 system with the flat panel displays 14 a-f in two rows of three flat panel displays 14 per row. The flat panel displays 14 are supported by the mechanical arm assemblies 51 (shown in FIG. 7B). The hub body 20, legs 22 and feet 24 support each arm 51.
  • FIG. 7B is a rear perspective view of the alternative embodiment of the invention. The upper row of flat panel displays [0092] 14 a-c are supported by arm assemblies 51 that are suspended above the first row of three flat panel displays 14 by vertical extension tubes 18. The vertical extension tubes 18 are hollow so as to provide the means for routing the power and data cables through them and up to and through the arms 51. To allow for forward and backward movement necessary to maintain forward position when the center flat panel display 14 is tilted down the center arm 19 can be slid through the hole in the upper extension tube 18.
  • FIG. 9A is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a multi-articulating mechanical arm [0093] 402. This alternative arm 402 is constructed from solid parts and cabling is not routed through the arms. This embodiment has a significantly reduced cost of manufacture as compared with assembly 51. While this embodiment does not allow internal routing of the power and video cables, it offers the same flexibility and articulation as the arms 51. The hub end joint 405 is two inches in diameter so as to be interchangeable between all hubs FIG. 1A-1E described above, as well as additional embodiments of the hub described with respect to FIGS. 11A-C and FIG. 12A-B.
  • FIG. 9B is an exploded view multi-articulating mechanical arm [0094] 402 shown in FIG. 9A. Solid arm segment 420 inserts into hub end joint 405 at hole 416 and into lower elbow joint 425. The upper elbow joint 440 inserts into the hole 427 drilled into the lower arm joint 425. Upper solid arm segment 445 inserts into both the upper elbow joint 440 and into the upper flat panel display joint 450 at hole 451. A shoulder bolt 418, 426, and 456 secures each joint. To assemble, shoulder bolt 418 is inserted up through washer 417 into the hub joint 405 where it enters a clearance hole drilled into both the hub joint 405 and the solid arm segment 420 through clearance hole 421 and into a tapped hole at the upper portion of the hub end joint 405. This process is repeated for the lower arm elbow joint 425, the upper elbow joint 440 and the flat panel display joint 450. Washers 441 and 445 are inserted as the contact point between joints to reduce metal on metal friction.
  • FIG. 10A is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the hub portion of the invention. This embodiment allows displays [0095] 14 to be mounted to a ceiling, floor or other structure and enables the invention to be employed in configurations beyond the desktop. FIG. 10A shows how a system would be configured into a floor mount system-based hub that typically supports a greater plurality of flat panel displays and can efficiently be modified to fulfill unique demands.
  • FIG. 10B is an exploded, perspective view of the hub of FIG. 10A and demonstrates a floor mount system. Forward extending leg [0096] 200 lays parallel with the floor surface and supports the invention. Affixed by means of bolts, welding or other means of attachment to the floor leg 200 is a vertically orientated leg mount 213 designed to receive the vertically orientated hollow tube 204. The vertical tube 204 attaches to the leg mount 213 by means of screws inserted into and through clearance holes 202 and into the tapped holes 201. Horizontal mounting bar 270 is attached to the vertical bar 204 by means of being inserted into the sliding clamp 260 where it is attached by means of screws that are inserted into and through the clearance holes 215 and into the tapped holes 214 of the sliding clamp 260. This step is repeated at each end of the horizontal bar 270. The sliding clamp 260 is held into place by means of two screws that insert into and through clearance holes 252 of the clamp end-plate 250 and into the tapped holes 214 of the sliding clamp 260. Securing the screws into the sliding clamp causes the clamp end plate 250 and the sliding clamp 260 to compress and tighten down onto the vertical bar 204 and holds the assembly in place.
  • Flat panel display pods [0097] 220 with bores 216 having means to receive arm assemblies 51, 402 are attached to the horizontal bar 270 by means of screws that are inserted through the clearance holes 231 on the pod clamp plate 230 and into the tapped holes in the flat panel display pod 220. The pods 220 are moved laterally along the horizontal bar 270 until they are in the preferred position, allowing for placement of a variety of screen sizes within a desired proximity of each other. Once in the preferred position the pod 220 is secured into position by tightening the four screws, which fit into the tapped holes 222. Arm assemblies 51, 402 are then inserted into the bores 216 of the pods 220 and flat panel displays 14 attached to the flat panel display mounting plates 15 are attached as described in FIG. 6A.
  • Multiple rows of flat panel displays can be achieved by mounting multiple horizontal bars [0098] 270 and flat panel display pods 220 as described above and along the horizontal bar 204. When implementing multiple rows of flat panel displays 14, the flat panel displays of one row can be positioned so that the bottom of the top flat panel display can be positioned directly along the top edge of the flat panel display 14 below it by moving the horizontal bars. This ability to position the horizontal bars enables rows of varying sizes to be implemented with minimal gaps between the rows. Flat panel displays 14 can be positioned either in flat across formations or can be formed in semi-circular or parabolic formations by swinging the flat panel displays forward and back using the articulating arm joints of the arm assemblies 51, 402.
  • FIG. 11A is a front view of an alternative embodiment of the hub component of the invention. In this embodiment a component device such as a speaker or subwoofer is integrated into the hub speaker cavity [0099] 510 to provide a high quality sound system while also providing the ability to support a plurality of the previously described arm assemblies 51, 402 and flat panel displays 14. The hub body 500 is supported by two forward extending legs 520 that are attached to the main body 500 by means of screws, which insert into the clearance holes 550 and into the tapped holes in the body of the hub. Two rear feet 560 are attached near the back portion of the invention to provide rear support. The rear feet 560 as well as the front feet 531 are made of a non-abrasive material that rests on the surface where the hub is located, such as the desktop. The speaker is enclosed by the speaker housing 510 that inserts into the large diameter hole 540 drilled or cast into the lower and upper plates of the hub body 500. The speaker inserts into the hub body 500 from upside down and from the bottom up so that the sound is projected downward into the desktop surface.
  • It should be recognized that the component device may comprise any number of elements, including but not limited to: a subwoofer, speakers, computer input/output devices such as USB, firewire and headphone jack; a remote control sensor; speaker volume controls; video source controls such as DVI, analog, s-video, and RCA jacks; multi-media players such as cd-rom, mpeg3, mpeg4, and DVD players; gaming interfaces such as inputs for joysticks and integrated sound cards; audio amplifiers; lap-top video splitters or connections; a PDA docking station; a power supply; connections for other peripherals; and multifunction printer/scanner devices. [0100]
  • FIG. 11C is a top down view of the hub of FIG. 11A and shows that this particular embodiment is designed to support a total of nine arms [0101] 51, 402. A plurality of holes 540 are drilled into the hub body 500 of such a size that the arms 51, 402 can be inserted into the holes 540. Near the bottom of each hole 540 is a decrease in the hole diameter 541 to support the arm assembly 51, 402 and to prevent it from falling through the hole 540. To prevent the hub and attached arms 51, 402 and flat panel displays 14 from falling forward are two legs 520 with pods 530 attached to the legs having feet 531 of a non-abrasive material, to prevent the legs from scratching the support surface.
  • The ability to incorporate additional components within or upon the underlying structure here and in other embodiments is not limited to a speaker or subwoofer, but is shown to demonstrate the flexibility of the hub and the potential to integrate a plurality of components within the invention easily while maintaining the scalability and the compatibility with the arm assemblies [0102] 51, 402 and the flat panel mounting heads 15 as shown in FIG. 1E.
  • FIG. 12A is a top down, front view of another alterative embodiment of a hub to the invention. This embodiment provides for unlimited expandability of the system through the means of modular pods [0103] 300 which connect together and make up an alternative embodiment to the hub body 20 as depicted in the present invention easily visible in FIG. 1E. This modular embodiment can start with one dual bore pod 300 that supports a total of arm assemblies 51, 402 or elevation tubes 18. Additional dual bore pods 300 can be incorporated into the infrastructure to increase capacity as needed by the user. This embodiment demonstrates how three dual bore pods 300 connect. The outer most pods 300 connect with legs 320 to a foot 375 with a non-abrasive material at its base 330. Arm assemblies 51, 402 insert into the pods 300 at bore 301.
  • FIG. 12B is an exploded view of the alternative embodiment of the modular hub. The pods [0104] 300 are attached to each other by means of a connecting rod 350 which inserts into the horizontal hole 340 drilled into the side of the pod 300 once the connecting rod 350 is fully inserted into the pod 300 a shoulder bolt (not shown) is inserted down into the pod 300 clearance hole 310 where it passes through the hole 355 drilled into the connecting rod 350 and into the tapped hole (not shown) near the bottom of the pod 300. To attach the legs to the outer side of the outer pod or pods 300 the leg 320 is inserted in the forty-five degree hole 345 drilled into the pod 300. To secure the leg 320 to the pod 300 a shoulder bolt is inserted into the clearance hole 345, through the hole 376 in the leg 320 and into a tapped hole (not shown) in the pod 300. Vertical slot 315 provides clearance for power and data cables so that arm assemblies 51, 402 can be inserted and removed without the need to feed said cables through bottom clearance hole 310.
  • FIG. 13A shows an alternative embodiment of the invention in which the power and data connections are made by means of incorporated electrical connectors. The hub [0105] 625 receives both power and video signals via cables 630 for each video port and terminates the two cable types at a single electrical connector 600 inside of the bore 26. Each bore 26 in the hub will then have one set of power cables and one set of video signal wires terminate at one connector positioned at the bottom of each bore receptacle 26.
  • When, a mechanical arm is inserted into a bore [0106] 26 of the hub 625, the connector at the base of the arm 610 is mated with the connector 600 located within the bore. The power and video signals are then passed on through the arm 635 where they terminate at the connector 615 at the opposite end of the arm. Both power and video signal are now readily accessible at the top end of the arm 615.
  • The final component to the embodiment is a flat panel display [0107] 640 housed in a customized housing fitted with connector 620 designed to fit onto the mechanical arm 645. The display connector 620 is mated with the upper arm display connector 615 to establish power and data connections to the screen and hold the screen in place. In effect all electrical and video signal wiring necessary to operate the video screen has been automatically provided.
  • FIG. 13B is a top down view of the 9-bore hub [0108] 625 showing the rotating electrical connectors 600 located within each hub bore 26. This connector 600 mates with the connector at the bottom of the swing in order to pass on the power and signal connection. Each hub bore 26 also contains a positioning pin 655 that has the function of ensuring proper alignment during insertion and operation. The required number of power and data sources 650 lead into the hub body 625. Within the hub body 625 they are individually routed to each of the individual connectors 600.
  • FIG. 13C is a side view of the mechanical arm [0109] 645 that cleanly houses the power and data cabling 660. The connector 610 at the bottom portion of the arm is the connector that mates with the rotating connector 600 in the hub body 625 to make the first power and data connection. The upper connector 615 in the mechanical arm 645 mates with the flat panel display connector 620 to bring power and data to the display panel 640.
  • The manner of using the invention is similar to using a typical display interface while computing. Typically upon first use, the flat panel displays [0110] 14 are positioned into the preferred configuration and alignment via the flexible arms 51, 402 and the adjustable mounting heads 15. The multiple flat panel displays 14 act as one virtual desktop allowing users to move, size and spread information and images across all flat panel displays or allocate certain images to certain flat panel displays. This ability is a function of the video card incorporated into the computing system. The user can now effectively multi-task between applications and view more information simultaneously which results in increased productivity and capabilities. Additionally the user may rotate the flat panel displays 14 between landscape and portrait orientation to better visualize documents that are in vertical formats due to the flexibility of the flat panel display mounting head 15. In operation an individual may immerse themselves in the visual content by forming an ergonomically-correct parabolic flat panel display configuration (FIG. 2A) or the user may position flat panel displays flat across for collaborative workgroups (FIG. 1C) or to serve as an audio video enable presentation system when used implementing the multi-media hub (FIGS. 11A, 11B, 11C) to accommodate situations where more than one person needs to view and or access the system. In operation the invention easily supports and incorporates a variety of such additional devices within and onto the system in addition to supporting a plurality of flat panel displays. Further, in operation the number of flat panel displays is not limited by the scope of the invention as the system provides both potential spare capacity in addition to a scalable infrastructure that is not limited in the number of flat panel displays supported per hub as is evidenced but not limited to the cases of the structurally based hub (FIGS. 10A and 10B) and the modular hub (FIGS. 12A and 12B).
  • FIG. 14A shows a top down view of an alternative embodiment of the invention wherein the supporting arms [0111] 610 are directly inserted into a table 656 or piece of furniture. A circular table mount 657 having similar functionality to the bores 26 located within the hub body 20 in FIG. 2 facilitates the insertion, support and rotation of arms 610. Further the arms 610 mate with the flat panel mounting heads 15 that attach to the flat panel screens 14 as previously disclosed in detail in the description and drawings for FIGS. 1A to 1E. FIG. 14B shows how this alternative embodiment looks from the front with three flat panel displays 14 in a single row configuration.
  • FIG. 15 shows a top down view of an alternative embodiment of the hub body [0112] 20 with a total of ten bores 26 and two legs 24 providing support for a total of ten arm assemblies to be integrated into the hub.
  • Accordingly, an efficiently scalable multiple monitor display and device integration system is provided. The system is an extremely flexible platform for the integration, expansion and upgrades of flat panel display technologies as well as additional devices. [0113]
  • For example in selecting and utilizing a 6-port hub system, a user can start with a two flat panel display configuration and add arms and flat panel displays as budgets allow and as usage dictates. In the case of the 6-port hub, a user can expand the system to integrate a total of 6 flat panels in a variety of configurations including multiple rows. An important advantage of the invention is that the system grows based on the unique needs of the user and does so without the need to sacrifice or replace existing parts in the process. [0114]
  • This expandable multiple flat panel display system enables efficient expansion from one flat panel display to a plurality of flat panel displays using interchangeable parts that allow for efficient expansion without the need to discard current components. In addition to the expansion potential this invention is designed in such a way so as to support a wide variety of sizes of flat panel displays from most manufacturers and integrate them in multiple configurations, again without compromising or replacing existing parts as the system scales. The extremely flexible infrastructure of the system also allows for a variety of adjustments that further enhance the customization of the system and the benefits to the user. The invention cleanly implements multiple monitors, devices and their inputs and outputs within its structure. Further objects and advantages are to provide a system that is an efficiently scalable multiple display solution over the long-term, allowing users to modify and expand as they need and as display technologies evolve. Finally, the multiple positioning of the flat panel displays and the alternative embodiments of the hubs fulfill a wide scope of applications, from the most basic computing tasks on to the most demanding multi-media development and presentation and including applications and process not having been invented yet. Finally the invention can also integrate additional devices within and upon the system. [0115]
  • The foregoing detailed description of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The described embodiments were chosen in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto. [0116]

Claims (45)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A multiple display apparatus, comprising:
    a hub capable of supporting a variable number display support members;
    at least two support members coupled to the support hub; and
    at least two mounting brackets respectively associated with said at least two support members.
  2. 2. The display apparatus of claim 1 further including at least two flat-panel displays respectively mounted on said support members by said at least two mounting brackets.
  3. 3. The multiple display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said hub comprises a hub including a plurality of bores.
  4. 4. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores equals two bores.
  5. 5. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores equals three bores.
  6. 6. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores equals six bores.
  7. 7. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores equals nine bores.
  8. 8. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores equals ten bores.
  9. 9. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores are drilled into a solid hub.
  10. 10. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores are cast.
  11. 11. The display apparatus of claim 3 wherein said plurality of bores is provided in a fixed structure.
  12. 12. The display apparatus of claim 4 wherein said structure is a desk.
  13. 13. The display apparatus of claim 4 wherein said structure is a wall.
  14. 14. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said hub includes modular pods, each pod having a plurality of bores therein and being capable of coupling to others of said pods.
  15. 15. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said hub is fixed to a wall.
  16. 16. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said hub includes an integrated component device.
  17. 17. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein each said support member comprises an articulating arm having a first end supporting said mounting bracket and a second end coupled to said hub.
  18. 18. The display apparatus of claim 17 wherein each arm includes an upper arm, a lower arm, an elbow joint and an end joint.
  19. 19. The display apparatus of claim 18 wherein the upper arm and lower arm are coupled by the elbow joint, and the upper arm and lower arm are rotatable with respect to each other by 360° with respect to said elbow joint.
  20. 20. The display apparatus of claim 18 wherein the articulating arm is rotatable about the end joint by 360°.
  21. 21. The display apparatus of claim 18 wherein the articulating arm is hollow to allow cabling to pass there through.
  22. 22. The display apparatus of claim 18 wherein the articulating arm is solid.
  23. 23. The display apparatus of claim 17 wherein said mounting bracket is slidably attached to said support member.
  24. 24. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mounting bracket has at least two axes of rotational motion relative to said support member.
  25. 25. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said support member includes integrated video cabling.
  26. 26. The display apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mounting bracket includes a plate compatible with VESA mounting standards.
  27. 27. An expandable display mounting apparatus, comprising:
    a hub including a plurality of bores formed therein;
    a plurality of arm assemblies having an end joint provided in said one of said plurality of bores and a second end capable of coupling to a display panel.
  28. 28. The apparatus of claim 27 further including a mounting bracket provided on said second end of said arm.
  29. 29. The apparatus of claim 28 wherein said arm assembly rotates about said end joint with 360° of motion about a first axis.
  30. 30. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein said mounting bracket rotates about three axes.
  31. 31. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein said mounting bracket slides along said arm assembly.
  32. 32. The apparatus of claim 27 wherein said hub includes a body and support legs.
  33. 33. The apparatus of claim 32 wherein said hub body is cast to include said bores.
  34. 34. The apparatus of claim 27 wherein said arm assemblies include a cabling region allowing display connection cabling to be positioned therein.
  35. 35. The apparatus of claim 27 wherein said arm assemblies included integrated display connections.
  36. 36. The apparatus of claim 27 wherein said hub includes an integrated speaker.
  37. 37. A multiple display apparatus, comprising:
    a hub having a plurality of bores provided therein;
    at least two articulating arms comprising a first member and a second member, the first member including a bore mount and the second member including a display mount; and
    at least two displays, one of said at least two displays coupled to one of said at least two articulating arms at said display mount.
  38. 38. The apparatus of claim 37 further including a vertical support tube supporting a third display.
  39. 39. The apparatus of claim 37 further including at least six articulating arms and six displays.
  40. 40. The apparatus of claim 37 further including at least nine articulating arms and nine displays.
  41. 41. An apparatus, comprising:
    support means for movably coupling a flat-panel display and positioning said display in three axes of motion; and
    a hub unit including means for supporting a variable number of support means.
  42. 42. The apparatus of claim 41 wherein the hub unit includes means for supporting at least two support means.
  43. 43. The apparatus of claim 41 wherein the hub unit includes means for supporting at least three support means.
  44. 44. The apparatus of claim 41 wherein the hub unit includes means for supporting at least six support means.
  45. 45. The apparatus of claim 41 wherein the hub unit includes means for supporting at least nine support means.
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