US20040211868A1 - Webcam mount for flexible positioning - Google Patents

Webcam mount for flexible positioning Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040211868A1
US20040211868A1 US10/422,121 US42212103A US2004211868A1 US 20040211868 A1 US20040211868 A1 US 20040211868A1 US 42212103 A US42212103 A US 42212103A US 2004211868 A1 US2004211868 A1 US 2004211868A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
camera
arm
flexible
securing surface
support member
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.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10/422,121
Inventor
Joseph Holmes
Shawn Daley
Original Assignee
Holmes Joseph T.
Daley Shawn Michael
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 Holmes Joseph T., Daley Shawn Michael filed Critical Holmes Joseph T.
Priority to US10/422,121 priority Critical patent/US20040211868A1/en
Publication of US20040211868A1 publication Critical patent/US20040211868A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • 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
    • F16M11/40Undercarriages 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 by means of coilable or bendable legs or spiral shaped legs
    • 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
    • F16M11/041Allowing quick release of the apparatus
    • 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
    • F16M13/022Other 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 repositionable

Abstract

The webcam mount of the invention comprises a base clamp capable of being removably attached to almost any desired mounting or support such as a table, the back of a chair, or a bookshelf. Attached to the base clamp is a flexible arm. The arm terminates in a camera support member. The camera support member further comprises a camera securing surface that allows a webcam or other digital image capturing device to quickly and easily be removably secured to the camera support member. As the arm of the camera mount is flexible, a webcam mounted thereon may be placed in a wide variety of positions and angles relative to the mounting surface while remaining fixed to the camera support member by the camera securing surface.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a camera mount for flexible positioning of a camera, that is particularly useful for a webcam or other any other type of digital image capturing device. As used herein, the term “webcam” refers to any type of digital image capturing device suitable for use in conjunction with a computer for capturing and displaying digital images and streaming video which in turn may transmitted electronically over the internet also known as the “web” or “world wide web”. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Digital or electronic image capturing devices have become very popular among computer users in recent years. The advent of multiple, high speed digital data communication has made the use of digital imaging very desirable since it allows one to instantly and reliably transmit captured images and streaming video over the internet at low cost. Similarly, the advent of powerful yet affordable personal computers and their associated software has brought advanced techniques for storing and manipulating such captured images and streaming video, and integrating them electronically and instantaneously (e.g. with other images and related data such as text and numbers). [0002]
  • In many cases, personal computers are being sold with digital image capturing devices such as webcams. Such webcams tend to be small and very lightweight. The problem however, is that the webcam is so lightweight, that it does not remain securely in place on a surface. Many computer users tend to place the camera on the top of the computer monitor. Any slight jarring of the computer monitor, and the camera is toppled. Also, the electrical cable that attaches the camera to the computer tends to be heavier than the camera and unwieldy in relation to the camera and also tends to topple or displace the camera. [0003]
  • Some, but not all of the webcams include threaded openings or apertures on their base for mounting on a standard camera tripod designed to engage the aperture at the base of a standard camera. However, a standard camera tripod is very limited with regard to placement of the camera, and usually allows the camera to remain in only one position relative to the tripod and the surface upon which the tripod is placed. In addition, most standard tripods must sit on a flat surface, such as the floor or a table and are not useful where such a surface is not readily available or accessible relative to the computer. [0004]
  • Therefore, there is a need for an improved camera mount capable of easily securing a webcam or any other lightweight digital capturing device to almost any surface or support that is convenient to the user, and that allows the user to flexibly position the camera in a wide variety of positions and angles relative to the surface or support that the camera is mounted. [0005]
  • In U.S. Pat. No. 2,510,198, a flexible positioner is described. The described positioner has a mounting system that includes a forked clamping member with arms for securing the mount to a surface or other support as well as a flexible cable made up a plurality of socket-like segments parts that are mated in such a way as to allow the cable to bend in any desired configuration. Unlike the instant invention, there is no camera support member having a camera securing surface as described in the instant invention. [0006]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,750, describes a camera mount for adjustably fixing a camera in a predetermined position. Unlike the instant invention, this camera mount does not show, describe, or suggest the camera securing surface of the present invention. None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. [0007]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Briefly, the camera mount of the invention comprises a base clamp capable of being removably attached to almost any desired mounting or support such as a table, the back of a chair, or a bookshelf. Attached either directly or indirectly to the base clamp is a flexible arm. The arm terminates in a camera support member. The camera support member further comprises a camera securing surface that allows a camera to quickly and easily be removably secured to the camera support member. As the arm of the camera mount is flexible, a webcam mounted thereon may be placed in a wide variety of positions and angles relative to the mounting surface while remaining fixed to the camera support member by the camera securing surface. [0008]
  • Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved camera mount for flexible positioning of a webcam or other digital image capturing device, and that overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art in a simple, effective and inexpensive manner.[0009]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In the following drawings, like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views. [0010]
  • FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a first embodiment of the invention. [0011]
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the invention [0012]
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention. [0013]
  • FIG. 4[0014] a-c is a detail topside view, a sectional side view and detailed underside view respectively, of the camera support member.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Three preferred embodiments are shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and [0015] 3. All three embodiments include a base clamp 10 that is of conventional design and is generally an omega shaped member having clamping arms 12 adapted to engage opposite sides of an object or surface, an adjusting screw 13 for adjusting the clamps 12, and an arm receiving aperture 28 as shown in the exploded views in FIGS. 1 and 3. Such clamps are generally well known in the art. All three embodiments shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 comprise a flexible arm 20 having a first arm end 16 and a second arm end 18. Flexible arms of various types are readily purchased and well known in the art as will be discussed later.
  • Many flexible arms that can be easily purchased are designed to be received into a standard clamp such as base clamp [0016] 10 in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. FIG. 2 shows an embodiment wherein the first arm end 16 of flexible arm 20 is docked directly into the base clamp 10. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, a coupling device shown generally by the number 30 having an aperture 50 for receiving first arm end 16, and a protruding base 52 for docking with arm receiving aperture 28 on base clamp 10 is another option for securing flexible arm 20 to base clamp 10. Yet another embodiment for securing flexible arm 20 to base clamp 10 is shown in FIG. 1. The coupling device shown in FIG. 1 comprises two parts, a first part 1 that is adapted to receive a first arm end 16 and is capable of being threaded into a second part 2 of the coupling device. The second part 2 of the coupling device is further adapted to be received by the arm receiving aperture 28 of the base clamp 10.
  • Turning now to the types of flexible arms useful with the invention, FIGS. 1, 2, and [0017] 3 show three different types of preferred flexible arms. The flexible arm 20 of FIG. 1 comprises a flexible material made of interlocking socket-like segments of metal, plastic, or other suitable material. An example of such interlocking socket-like material is sold under the trademark LOC-LINE® available from Lockwood Products, Inc. of Lake Oswego, Oreg. Alternatively, in a second embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the arm 20 may comprise a rigid material interrupted by integral flexible joints 22 at spaced intervals which allow the arm to have a “zig-zag” configuration through various angles. One or more of the integral flexible joints 22 shown in FIG. 2 may be replaced by integral ball joints or friction joints as is known in the art. In yet another embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the flexible material of the arm 20 may consist of a resiliently deformable material in the general shape of a tube, also known in the art as “goose neck”.
  • In each of the embodiments of the invention as exemplified in FIGS. 1, 2 and [0018] 3, the flexible arm 20 is preferably twenty-one inches or less in order to achieve maximum usefulness for its purpose. Optionally, the arm 20 may further comprise clips or other securing devices capable of securing an electrical wire, cable or lead that may, for example, connect the webcam or other digital image capturing device to the personal computer or other appropriate device, to the arm 20 such that the cable or wire is held neatly out of the way of the camera user and also provides further stabilization of the camera. Suitable clips are well known in the art and such clips may be permanently or removably attached at various intervals along the flexible arm 20.
  • In each of the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and [0019] 3, the flexible arm 20 terminates in a camera support member 24 at the opposite end to the clamp 10. FIG. 2 shows one embodiment wherein the flexible arm 20 and the camera support member 24 are connected as one integrated piece. FIG. 3 shows an alternative embodiment wherein the second arm end 18 is adapted with a threaded protrusion 80 that is capable of being threaded into a complementary aperture 62 on the underside 63 of the camera support member 24 as shown in FIGS. 4b and 4 c. Many of the flexible arms that can be easily purchased come standard with a threaded protrusion such as threaded protrusion 80 as shown in FIG. 3. FIG. 1 shows yet another embodiment for securing the flexible arm 20 to the camera support member 24. In FIG. 1, the flexible arm 20, comprising interlocking socket-like materials, is secured at the second arm end 18 to an adaptor socket link 60 which is in turn secured to threaded socket link 61 which in turn is screwed into the complementary aperture 62 on the underside 63 of the camera support member 24 as is shown in FIGS. 4b and 4 c.
  • FIGS. 1-4 show the camera support member [0020] 24. The camera support member 24 may be of any shape or size so long as it comprises a surface that is large enough to support a lightweight digital image capturing device such as a webcam. The topside 65 of the camera support member 24 further comprises a camera securing surface 26. The camera securing surface 26 can be any surface that is capable of removably securing the webca, to the camera mount of the invention regardless of the flexible positioning of the camera mount, with the proviso that the camera securing surface 26 does not consist of a threaded protrusion capable of being inserted into a corresponding receiving aperture of a digital image capturing device, a webcam or a standard camera. The camera securing surface 26 is preferably a hook and loop surface such as VELCRO® that is capable of receiving and mating with a corresponding hook and loop surface that is attached to the bottom of a camera. Preferably, the webcam or other digital image capturing device is lightweight enough to be capable of adhering to the camera support member of the camera mount via the mated hook an loop material regardless of the positioning of the flexible arm of the camera mount relative to the surface on which the camera mount is attached. It may be necessary for the individual using a lightweight webcam, to attach the hook and loop material that corresponds to the hook an loop material on the camera securing surface 26 to the base of the webcam prior to using the present invention. Alternatively, the camera securing surface 26 may comprise a tacky substance that allows the camera to remain removably secured to the camera mount regardless of the position or angle of the camera while secured to the camera mount. Examples of such tacky substances that provide for secure removable attachment and that maintain their tacky nature for long periods of time are known in the art and include but is not limited to, double sided tape.
  • It is understood that the present invention is not limited to just those embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims. [0021]

Claims (8)

1. A camera mount for flexible positioning of a webcam or other digital image capturing device, comprising:
a base clamp for attaching said camera mount to a support, said base clamp comprising at least one arm receiving aperture;
a flexible arm having a first arm end secured in said at least one arm receiving aperture of said base clamp, said arm further having a second arm end terminating in a camera support member, wherein said flexible arm comprises a continuous length of flexible material selected from the group consisting of a plurality of interlocking socket-like segments and a resiliently deformable tube;
a camera securing surface affixed to, or integral with, said camera support member, said camera securing surface adapted for removably securing a camera to said camera support member, with the proviso that said camera securing surface is not a threaded protrusion; and
a webcam or other digital image capturing device removably secured to the camera securing surface.
2-7 (canceled)
8. The camera mount of claim 1 wherein said camera securing surface consists of a hook and loop material.
9. The camera mount of claim 1 wherein said camera securing surface consists of a tacky material.
10. A camera mount for flexible positioning of a webcam or other digital image capturing device, comprising:
a base clamp for attaching said camera mount to a support, said base clamp comprising at least one arm receiving aperture;
a flexible arm having a first arm end secured in said at least one arm receiving aperture of said base clamp, said arm further having a second distal end terminating in a camera support member, wherein said flexible arm comprises a continuous length of flexible material selected from the group consisting of a plurality of interlocking socket-like segments and a resiliently deformable tube;
a camera securing surface affixed to said camera support member, wherein said camera securing surface is a hook and loop material; and
a webcam or other digital image capturing device removably secured to the camera securing surface.
11. A camera mount for flexible positioning of a webcam or other digital image capturing device, comprising:
a base clamp for attaching said camera mount to a support, said base clamp comprising at least one arm receiving aperture;
a flexible arm having a first arm end secured in said at least one arm receiving aperture of said base clamp, said arm further having a second arm end terminating in a camera support member, wherein said flexible arm comprises a rigid material interrupted at intervals by flexible joints, ball joints or a combination thereof, whereby said arm may be bent into various positions;
a camera securing surface affixed to, or integral with, said camera support member, said camera securing surface adapted for removably securing a camera to said camera support member, with the proviso that said camera securing surface is not a threaded protrusion; and
a webcam or other digital image capturing device removably secured to the camera securing surface.
12. The camera mount of claim 11 wherein said camera securing surface consists of a hook and loop material.
13. The camera mount of claim 11 wherein said camera securing surface consists of a tacky material.
US10/422,121 2003-04-24 2003-04-24 Webcam mount for flexible positioning Abandoned US20040211868A1 (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
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US10/422,121 US20040211868A1 (en) 2003-04-24 2003-04-24 Webcam mount for flexible positioning
PCT/US2004/012561 WO2004097515A2 (en) 2003-04-24 2004-04-23 Camera mount

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