US20100231102A1 - Stowable and releasably securable mobile structure - Google Patents

Stowable and releasably securable mobile structure Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100231102A1
US20100231102A1 US12405102 US40510209A US2010231102A1 US 20100231102 A1 US20100231102 A1 US 20100231102A1 US 12405102 US12405102 US 12405102 US 40510209 A US40510209 A US 40510209A US 2010231102 A1 US2010231102 A1 US 2010231102A1
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Prior art keywords
mobile structure
located
structure
movable
assembly
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Abandoned
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US12405102
Inventor
Peter Block
Ken Smott
Michele Devers
Mike Hamouz
Bill Cesaroni
Morad Ghassemian
Chris Kulujian
Mike Peters
Eric Lindahl
Robert Fuller
David Gottardo
Original Assignee
Peter Block
Ken Smott
Michele Devers
Mike Hamouz
Bill Cesaroni
Morad Ghassemian
Chris Kulujian
Mike Peters
Eric Lindahl
Robert Fuller
David Gottardo
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B21/00Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards
    • A47B21/03Tables or desks for office equipment, e.g. typewriters, keyboards with substantially horizontally extensible or adjustable parts other than drawers, e.g. leaves
    • A47B21/0314Platforms for supporting office equipment
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT OR ACCOMODATION FOR PATIENTS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G12/00Accommodation for nursing, e.g. in hospitals, not covered by groups A61G1/00 - A61G11/00, e.g. trolleys for transport of medicaments or food; Prescription lists
    • A61G12/001Trolleys for transport of medicaments, food, linen, nursing supplies

Abstract

The present invention is a mobile structure that is stowable and releasably securable to a wall or other rigid body to maximize floor space. The mobile structure preferably comprises a frame defining upper and lower ends, a work surface or pair of cabinets located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions, and a plurality of legs located at the lower end of the frame. Each leg preferably terminates at a wheel or caster to enable the rolling transport of the mobile structure across a floor or other surface. To facilitate the stowable, compact capabilities of the mobile structure, at least one leg of the plurality is movable between deployed and stowed positions. An interlock assembly is also preferably located on the frame and operable to releasably secure the structure to a rigid body in a predetermined location.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates generally to mobile structures, and more particularly to mobile structures that are stowable and releasably securable in a predetermined location to a wall or other rigid body to maximize floor space.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Mobile workstations are used in various industries and environments to provide working surfaces or cabinet storage space. For example, such workstations are used in a medical setting to provide a working surface for computers and peripherals that enter data into a hospital database, or to provide cabinet storage space for medications administered to patients. The lower end of workstation may include one or more legs laterally extending there-from and in contact with the floor, with the legs including wheels or casters to facilitate the rolling transport of the workstation across the floor.
  • Although mobile workstations are beneficial in a hospital setting, they must compete for valuable floor space within the confines of patients' rooms, hallways and/or nursing stations. A patient's room is often small and cluttered with various pieces of equipment or furniture, to include hospital beds and tables, intravenous fluid stands, electronic patient monitoring equipment and/or numerous other articles. Hospital hallways and nursing stations are often cluttered with numerous articles as well. Within these environments, workstations often get in the way of patients and/or medical staff and other personnel. For example, the legs of the workstation, extending laterally from the lower end thereof, may create a tripping hazard while the work surface or cabinets may occupy valuable free space within a given area. These same concerns may also be present with such workstations located in a non-hospital or other setting as well.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is a mobile structure that is stowable and releasably securable to a wall or other rigid body to maximize floor space. The mobile structure preferably comprises a frame defining upper and lower ends, a work surface or pair of cabinets located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions, and a plurality of legs located at the lower end of the frame. Each leg preferably terminates at a wheel or caster to enable the rolling transport of the mobile structure across a floor or other surface. To facilitate the stowable, compact capabilities of the mobile structure, at least one leg of the plurality is movable between deployed and stowed positions. An interlock assembly is also preferably located on the frame and operable to releasably secure the structure to a rigid body in a predetermined location.
  • The frame preferably comprises at least one column that is preferably hollow to define a chamber extending along its length that houses other components of the mobile structure, such as a gear assembly and interlock sub-assembly, to be further discussed. In one embodiment, the at least one column comprises two columns, namely, inner and outer columns that are in telescopic relation with one another to facilitate a height adjustment of the frame. However, it is understood that the at least one column of the frame may be comprised of a single column, or any number of columns as well.
  • The plurality of legs, located at the lower end of the frame, provides support to the frame and remaining components of the mobile structure. At least one leg of the plurality is movable between a forward, deployed position and a rearward, stowed position in relation to the frame, while the remaining legs are preferably non-movable in relation thereto. It is understood that the plurality of legs of the mobile structure could include any number of legs, with the at least one movable leg comprising one or any number of movable legs as well. Regardless of the number of legs of a given plurality, each leg preferably defines an inner end and an outer end, with the inner ends located proximal to the lower end of the frame and the outer ends having the casters or wheels attached thereto.
  • The at least one movable leg is preferably pivotably connected to the frame and/or inner ends of the non-movable legs via a pivot that enables to outer end(s) to pivot or swing between the forward, deployed position and rearward, stowed position. Thus, when in the forward, deployed position, the at least one movable leg provide vertical stability to the overall mobile structure. When in the rearward, stowed position, the at least one movable leg establishes a compact configuration of the structure to maintain the leg(s) in a location away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment.
  • In one embodiment, the handle is located on the frame and acts as a lever to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions. The handle, acting as a lever, is pivotably connected to the frame and movable between a lowered, deployed position and a raised, stowed position. When in the lowered, deployed position, the handle provides for ready access by users of the structure for the operation of the handle. When in the raised, stowed position, the handle establishes a compact configuration of the structure such that the handle is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment. A movement of the handle between its deployed and stowed positions will drive the at least one movable leg between deployed and stowed positions. Thus, when the handle is in its lowered, deployed position, the at least one movable leg is the forward, deployed position. When the handle is in its raised, stowed position, the at least one movable leg is in the rearward, stowed position.
  • One embodiment of the mobile structure also includes a work surface located on the frame. The work surface is preferably substantially planar, defines upper and lower surfaces, and is pivotably movable between a lowered, deployed position and a raised, stowed position. In the lowered, deployed position, the work surface establishes a resting place for a laptop computer or other article while in the raised, stowed position, the work surface establishes a compact configuration of the structure such that it is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment. In a further embodiment of the mobile structure having a movable work surface, the handle is operably associated with the work surface to prevent any movement of the work surface to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  • Further embodiments of the mobile work station having a work surface include a work surface having a set of locks for removably securing the laptop to the work surface's upper surface, and/or a computer docking station to facilitate the electrical and/or data connection of the computer to the mobile structure, and/or an electrical and/or data port that connects the structure to the predetermined location, such as to a wall of a hospital building. Such a port may comprise any number of products commercially available in the market place. In yet a further embodiment, the movable work surface is elongated such that it can span the width of a standard hospital bed.
  • In other embodiments, the mobile structure includes a pair of cabinets located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions. Each cabinet is pivotably movable between a forward, deployed position and a rearward, stowed position. In the forward, deployed position, the pair of cabinets combines to form a single, box-like cabinet while in the rearward, stowed position, the cabinets are splayed to form planar cabinets that establish a compact configuration of the structure such that it is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment. A handle is optionally located on each cabinet to facilitate movement of the cabinets between the deployed and stowed positions.
  • In one embodiment, the pair of cabinets are operably associated with the at least one movable leg. A movement of cabinets between their deployed and stowed positions will drive the at least one movable leg between deployed and stowed positions. When the cabinets are in their forward, deployed position, the at least one movable leg is in the forward, deployed position. When the cabinets are in their rearward, stowed position, the at least one movable leg is in the rearward, stowed position.
  • At least one interlock assembly is operably associated with the frame to thus releasably secure the mobile structure in the predetermined location to prevent it from possibly becoming vertically instable when the components of the structure are in the stowed position. The predetermined location may be against a wall, against another mobile structure, against a storage base, or against any other rigid body. In addition to releasably securing the mobile structure in a predetermined location, the interlock assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location, and further to prevent the interlock assembly from releasing the structure from the predetermined location when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position. In further respective embodiments, the handle and pair of cabinets of respective mobile structure embodiments are operably associated with the interlock assembly to prevent their respective movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  • The at least one interlock assembly is preferably comprised of an interlock sub-assembly and a bracket. The interlock sub-assembly is preferably located on the frame of the mobile structure, within the chamber, while the bracket is adapted for attachment to a rigid body such as a wall, another mobile structure, a storage base or any other rigid body. Thus, via the foregoing operable association, the at least one movable leg of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket. Similarly, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the at least one movable leg is located in the forward, deployed position. However, if the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position while the mobile structure is not engaged with the bracket, the at least one movable leg may be moved to the deployed position without the structure having to engage the bracket.
  • For embodiments of the mobile structure having a handle, the handle of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the raised, stowed position, (and the at least one movable leg thus cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position) unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket. Also, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the handle is located in the lowered, deployed position (and the at least one leg is located in the forward, deployed position). For embodiments of the mobile structure having a pair of cabinets, the cabinets of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position (and the at least one movable leg thus cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position) unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket. Also, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the pair of cabinets are located in the forward, deployed position (and the at least one leg is located in the forward, deployed position).
  • In further embodiments, the height of the handle, work surface and pair of cabinets is adjustable in relation to the legs. In yet further embodiments of the mobile structure, various accessories are attached thereto or adapted for interaction therewith. For example, storage boxes are attached to the frame to allow for the storage of portable power supply systems for the laptop computer, patient charts, or any other items therein. Other accessories include a storage base that allows for storage and transport of one or more mobile structures thereon.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the mobile structure;
  • FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the embodiment of the mobile structure illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the mobile structure;
  • FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the embodiment of the mobile structure illustrated in FIG. 3
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the frame, plurality of legs and bracket of the mobile structure illustrating the at least one movable leg in the deployed position;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the frame, plurality of legs and bracket of the mobile structure illustrating the at least one movable leg in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 7 perspective view of the frame, handle, plurality of legs and bracket of the mobile structure illustrating the handle and at least one movable leg in the deployed position;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the frame, handle, plurality of legs and bracket of the mobile structure illustrating the handle and at least one movable leg in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the gear assembly of the mobile structure of FIG. 1 in the deployed position;
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the gear assembly of the mobile structure of FIG. 1 in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the mobile structure of FIG. 1 in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the work surface and horizontal pivot of the mobile structure of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the locks for the work surface of the mobile structure of FIGS. 1 and 12;
  • FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the embodiment of the mobile structure of FIG. 3 in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 15 is a rear elevation of the gear assembly of the mobile structure of FIG. 3 in the deployed position;
  • FIG. 16 is a rear elevation of the gear assembly of the mobile structure of FIG. 3 in the stowed position;
  • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of interlock assembly bracket and sub-assembly, and rear of the frame of the mobile structures of FIGS. 1 and 3;
  • FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the bracket and top of the interlock sub-assembly of the mobile structures of FIGS. 1 and 3;
  • FIG. 19 is a plan view of the top of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18;
  • FIG. 20 is a plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18;
  • FIG. 21 is a sequential plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 prior to the projection and clasp contacting one another;
  • FIG. 22 is a sequential plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 as the projection and clasp contact one another;
  • FIG. 23 is a sequential plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 with the projection located within the catch of the clasp;
  • FIG. 24 is a sequential plan view of the top of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 as the projection and pinion contact one another;
  • FIG. 25 is a sequential plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 with the projection and pinion in contact with one another and the pinion removed from contact with the vertical drive shaft;
  • FIG. 26 is a sequential plan view of the bottom of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 with vertical drive shaft rotated in relation to the pinion;
  • FIG. 27 is a sequential plan view of the top of the interlock sub-assembly of FIG. 18 with vertical drive shaft rotated in relation to the clasp;
  • FIG. 28 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the height adjustment mechanism of the mobile structure of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the mobile structure of FIG. 1 including accessory containers located thereon;
  • FIG. 30 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the base of the mobile structure; and
  • FIG. 31 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the base of the mobile structure having a mobile structure ready to be loaded thereon.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention is a mobile structure that is stowable and releasably securable to a wall or other rigid body to maximize floor space. As illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the mobile structure 5 preferably comprises a frame 10 defining upper and lower ends 15 and 20, a work surface 25 (FIGS. 1-2) or pair of cabinets 30 (FIGS. 3-4) located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions, and a plurality of legs 35 located at the lower end of the frame. Each leg preferably terminates at a wheel or caster 40 to enable the rolling transport of the mobile structure across a floor or other surface. To facilitate the stowable, compact capabilities of the mobile structure, at least one leg 45 of the plurality is movable between deployed and stowed positions. At least one interlock assembly 50 is also preferably located on the frame and operable to releasably secure the structure to a rigid body 55 in a predetermined location.
  • Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the frame 10 is substantially upright and preferably comprises at least one column 60 to define the frame's upper and lower ends 15 and 20. The at least one column defines forward and rearward surfaces 65 and 70 and is preferably hollow to define a chamber 75, extending along its length, that houses other components of the mobile structure, such as a gear assembly and interlock sub-assembly, to be further discussed. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the at least one column comprises two columns, namely, upper and lower columns 80 and 85 that are in telescopic relation with one another to facilitate a height adjustment of the frame, to be discussed further. However, it is understood that the at least one column 60 of the frame may be comprised of a single column, or any number of columns as well. The frame components are comprised of any material capable of providing rigidity to support the remaining components of the mobile structure. Such materials may include aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other material understood in the art as providing rigid support.
  • The plurality of legs 35, located at the lower end 20 of the frame 10, provides support to the frame and remaining components of the mobile structure. The at least one leg 45 of the plurality is movable between a forward, deployed position 90 and a rearward, stowed position 95 in relation to the frame, while the remaining legs are preferably non-movable in relation thereto. The legs of the plurality 35 are comprised of any material capable of providing rigidity to support the frame and remaining components of the mobile structure. Such materials may include aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other material understood in the art as providing rigid support.
  • In the embodiments of the mobile structure illustrated herein (i.e., FIGS. 5 and 6), the plurality of legs 35 comprises four legs 100, 105, 110 and 115, with two of the four legs (legs 100 and 105) comprising the at least one movable leg 45 and the remainder (legs 110 and 115) comprising the non-movable legs. However, it is understood that the plurality of legs 35 of the mobile structure could include any number of legs, with the at least one movable leg 45 comprising one or any number of movable legs as well. For example, the plurality of legs 35 may comprise three legs, with the at least one movable leg 45 comprising only one leg movable between the deployed and stowed positions 90 and 95. It is further understood that the non-movable legs may comprise any number as well. Regardless of the number of legs of a given plurality, each leg preferably defines an outer end (i.e., 120, 125, 130 and 135) and an inner end (i.e., 140, 145, 150 and 155), with the inner ends located proximal to the lower end 20 of the frame 10 and the outer ends having the casters 45 or wheels attached thereto.
  • As further illustrated in the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the non-movable movable legs 110 and 115 of the plurality preferably comprise a unitary member fixably attached to the lower end 20 of the frame 10 via weld or other commonly-understood means, to include flanges and nuts and bolts and/or screws. The non-movable legs 110 and 115 are oriented about perpendicular to the frame, with the legs located in opposition of one another by about 180 degrees. Such an orientation of the non-movable legs thus facilitates a compact configuration of the mobile structure in the predetermined location, such as adjacent to a wall or other rigid body.
  • Referring again to both FIGS. 5 and 6, the at least one movable 45 leg is preferably pivotably connected to the lower end 20 of the frame 10 and/or inner ends 150 and 155 or the non-movable legs via a pivot, to be discussed further, that enables to outer ends 120 and 125 of the movable legs 100 and 105 to pivot or swing between the forward, deployed position 90 and rearward, stowed position 95. Thus, when in the forward, deployed position 90, legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg 45 provide vertical stability to the overall mobile structure. When in the rearward, stowed position 95, the legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg 45 establish a compact configuration of the structure to maintain the leg(s) in a location away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment.
  • In one embodiment, the at least one movable leg 45 may be moved between the deployed and stowed positions 90 and 95 by applying a force on the outer end of the leg to pivot it forwardly or rearwardly. For example, a user may use his or her hand or foot push or pull the respective outer end 120 or 125 of the leg 100 or 105 to move them between the deployed and stowed positions 90 and 95. In other embodiments of the mobile structure, a handle is operable to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions, with the handle located in a deployed position when the at least one movable leg is located in the deployed position, and a stowed position when the at least one leg is located in the stowed position. The handle is also operably associated with the interlock assembly, to be further discussed, to prevent its movement of the at least one movable leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  • In one embodiment, the handle comprises a protrusion, grip or tactile surface located on the outer end of the at least one movable leg such that a user can contact the it with his or her hand or foot to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions as described above. In other embodiments, the handle is located on the frame and acts as a lever to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions. As illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the handle 160, acting as a lever, is pivotably connected to the frame 10 and is movable between a lowered, deployed position 165 and a raised, stowed position 170. A horizontal pivot 175 pivotably connects the handle 160 to the upper end 15 of the frame 10, with the frame defining a horizontal frame bore 180 there-through to accept the pivot. When in the lowered, deployed position 165, the handle 160 provides for ready access by users of the structure for the operation of the handle. When in the raised, stowed position 170, the handle 160 establishes a compact configuration of the structure such that the handle is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, a gear assembly 185 connects the handle 160 and the legs 100 and 105 of at least one movable leg 45 to enable the handle to act as a lever to move the legs between the deployed and stowed positions. A vertical bevel gear 190, located on a horizontal pivot 175 of the handle, is meshed with a horizontal bevel gear 195 located on an upper end 200 of a vertical drive shaft 205. In one embodiment, the at least one movable leg 45 is connected to a lower end 210 of the drive shaft 205. In the embodiments of FIGS. 9 and 10 showing the movable legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg, a first spur gear 215, located at the lower end 210 of the vertical drive shaft 205 and connected to movable leg 105, is meshed with a second spur gear 220 connected to movable leg 100. Thus, a movement of the handle 160 between its deployed and stowed positions will drive the bevel gears 190 and 195 to rotate the vertical drive shaft 205, which in turn, rotates the spur gears 215 and 220, to move the movable legs 105 and 100 between their deployed and stowed positions. When the handle 160 is in its lowered, deployed position 165, the legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg 45 are in their forward, deployed position 90. When the handle 160 is in its raised, stowed position 170, the legs 100 and 105 are in their rearward, stowed position 95.
  • In complying with certain occupational standards and/or regulations, it is desirable that the overall mobile structure, when in the stowed position, not exceed a given forward to rearward depth dimension. Such a depth dimension ensures that the components of the workstation, when in the stowed position, are out of the way of possible interference with personnel and/or other equipment. Thus, when the handle and legs of the mobile structure are located in their respective stowed positions in one embodiment, the mobile structure has a forward to rearward depth not exceeding about 12 inches, more preferably not exceeding a range of between about 8 inches and about 4 inches, and optimally not exceeding about 4 inches.
  • One embodiment of the mobile structure 5 includes the work surface 25 located on the frame 10. As illustrated respectively in FIGS. 1 and 11, the work surface 25 is preferably substantially planar, defines upper and lower surfaces 225 and 230, and is pivotably movable between a lowered, deployed position 245 and a raised, stowed position 250. In the lowered, deployed position 245 (FIG. 1), the work surface 25 establishes a resting place for a laptop computer or other article while in the raised, stowed position 250 (FIG. 11), the work surface establishes a compact configuration of the structure such that it is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment.
  • FIG. 12 illustrates the work surface 25 in greater detail. The horizontal pivot 175 of the handle preferably connects the work surface to the upper end of the frame, with the work surface defining a horizontal work surface bore 235 at a rear edge 240 thereof to accept the horizontal pivot there-through. The work surface thus rotates freely about the horizontal pivot 175 of the handle between the deployed and stowed positions. In a further embodiment of the mobile structure having a movable work surface, the handle is operably associated with the work surface to prevent any movement of the work surface to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  • To facilitate such an operable association, the handle 160, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 11, includes at least one stop 255 that is in operable association with the upper surface 225 of the planar work surface. Thus, although the handle 160 may be located in the raised, stowed position while the planar work 25 surface remains in the lowered, deployed position or while the work surface is in the raised, stowed position, the at least one stop of the handle ensures that the work surface is in the lowered, deployed position while the handle is in the lowered, deployed position.
  • Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, to facilitate the use of a laptop computer therewith, the work surface 25 preferably includes a set of locks 260 (FIG. 13) for removably securing the laptop to the work surface's upper surface 225. When the laptop is secured to the upper surface via the set of locks, the work surface may be moved to the raised, stowed position without risk of the laptop falling from the mobile structure. Each lock 265 engages a slot 270 defined in the work surface 25 such that the lock may be securedly moved about the work surface to accommodate laptops of various size and dimension. For engaging the slot 270 of the work surface 25, a flange 275 is defined at a lower end 280 of each lock such that the flange has a width exceeding that of the respective slot. A void 285, having a width exceeding that of the flange, is defined within the slot 270 to facilitate a removal of the lock 265 there-from and from the work surface. Each lock further defines an inwardly corner 290, adapted for contact with the outer edge of a laptop computer, for securing the laptop to the work surface.
  • In other embodiments of the mobile structure having a work surface, the work surface further includes a computer docking station to facilitate the electrical and/or data connection of the computer to the mobile structure. Such a docking station may comprise any number of products commercially available in the market place. To facilitate the electrical and/or data connection of the mobile structure and laptop computer to another destination, such as a hospital building, the mobile structure further includes an electrical and/or data port that connects the structure to the destination (i.e., to a wall of the hospital building). Like the docking station, such a port may comprise any number of products commercially available in the market place.
  • In further embodiments of the mobile structure having a work surface, the work surface is elongated such that it can span the width of a standard hospital bed. Similar to other embodiments of the work surface, the elongated work surface is movable between the lowered, deployed position and the raised, stowed position, and optionally limited in movement by the handle, as discussed in preceding paragraphs. To offset any moment created by the lengthened work surface when in the lowered, deployed position, the movable legs of the at least movable legs have a length proportional to that of the work surface, thus preserving the mobile structure's vertical stability when the legs are located in the forward, deployed position.
  • Referring to again to FIGS. 3 and 4, and also to FIG. 14, in yet a further embodiment, the mobile structure includes the pair of cabinets 30 located on the frame 10. The cabinets 295 and 300 of the pair are each movable between a forward, deployed position 305 and a rearward, stowed position 310. Each cabinet of the pair preferably comprises a substantially rectangular sleeve defining first and second openings 315 and 320 and inner and outer sides 325 and 330. Each cabinet is pivotably movable about its inner side 330 between the forward, deployed position and the rearward, stowed position. In the forward, deployed position 305 (FIG. 3), the respective first openings 315 meet to establish a box-like cabinet accessible through the respective second openings 320 of the cabinets. In the rearward, stowed position 310 (FIG. 14), the cabinets are splayed to establish a planar cabinet accessible through the respective first openings 315, with the second openings 320 facing rearwardly. When in the rearward, stowed position, the cabinets also establish a compact configuration of the structure such that it is located away from possible physical interference with persons or other equipment.
  • In the embodiments illustrated herein, a plurality of drawers 335 or bins are located within the sleeves of each cabinet. A handle 340 is optionally located on the outer side 330 of each cabinet to facilitate movement of the cabinets between the deployed and stowed positions. Also, while the figures illustrate the cabinets as being accessible through either of the first or second openings, one or both of the openings may be closed via a wall, partition or door. For example a wall or door may be located across each cabinet's second opening 320 such that the drawers are inaccessible when the cabinets are in the forward, deployed position.
  • Again, in complying with certain occupational standards and/or regulations, it is desirable that the overall mobile structure, when in the stowed position, not exceed a given forward to rearward depth dimension. Such a depth dimension ensures that the components of the workstation, when in the stowed position, are out of the way of possible interference with personnel and/or other equipment. Thus, when the cabinets and legs of the mobile structure are located in their respective stowed positions in one embodiment, the mobile structure has a forward to rearward depth not exceeding about 12 inches, more preferably not exceeding a range of between about 8 inches and about 4 inches, and optimally not exceeding about 4 inches.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16, viewing the mobile structure 5 from the rear, the gear assembly 185 connects first and second cabinets 295 and 300 of the pair of cabinets 39 to the movable legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg 35. The gear assembly 185 comprises a first cabinet spur gear 345 located on a first vertical pivot 359 of the first cabinet 295 and a second cabinet spur gear 355 located on a second vertical pivot 360 of the second cabinet 300. A pair of intermediate spur gears, namely first and second intermediate gears 365 and 370, respectively mesh the first and second cabinet gears 345 and 355 with a pair of drive spur gears, first and second drive gears 375 and 380. Second drive gear 380 is located on an upper end 200 of the vertical drive shaft 185. In one embodiment, the at least one movable leg 45 is connected to a lower end 210 of the drive shaft 185.
  • In the embodiment of FIGS. 15 and 16 showing legs 100 and 105 of the at least one movable leg 35, a first spur gear 215, located at the lower end 210 of the vertical drive shaft 185 and connected to movable leg 105, is meshed with a second spur gear 220 connected to movable leg 100. A movement of cabinets 295 and 300 between their deployed and stowed positions will rotate the drive spur gears 375 and 380 to rotate the vertical drive shaft 185, which in turn, rotates the spur gears 210 and 220, to move the movable legs 105 and 100 between their deployed and stowed positions. When the cabinets are in their forward, deployed position, the movable legs of the at least one movable leg are in their forward, deployed position. When the cabinets are in their rearward, stowed position, the movable legs are in their rearward, stowed position.
  • Thus, the at least one movable leg is located in the rearward, stowed position when the handle is located in the raised, stowed position or when the pair of cabinets is in the rearward, stowed position. However, when the at least one movable leg is in the rearward stowed position, the structure's footprint is reduced, possibly leading to vertical instability. Thus, for the at least one leg to be in the rearward, stowed position, the mobile structure must be removably secured in a predetermined location against a rigid body, such as a wall, via the interlock assembly.
  • FIG. 17 illustrates a close-up view of the rear of the mobile structure's frame 10. As illustrated therein, the at least one interlock assembly 50 is operably associated with the frame to thus releasably secure the mobile structure in the predetermined location to prevent it from possibly becoming vertically unstable when the components of the structure are in their stowed position. The predetermined location may be against a wall, against another mobile structure, against a storage base, or against any other rigid body. Although only one interlock assembly is illustrated herein, it is understood that the at least one interlock assembly may comprise any number of interlock assemblies. It is further understood that other locking or securement means may be located on the structure as well.
  • In addition to releasably securing the mobile structure in a predetermined location, the at least one interlock assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location, and further to prevent the at least one interlock assembly from releasing the structure from the predetermined location when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position. In further respective embodiments, the handle and pair of cabinets of respective mobile structure embodiments are operably associated with the at least one interlock assembly to prevent their respective movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 18, the at least one interlock assembly 50 is preferably comprised of an interlock sub-assembly 385 and a bracket 390. The interlock sub-assembly 385 is preferably located on the frame 10 of the mobile structure, within the chamber 75 of the at least one column of the frame, while the bracket 390 is adapted for attachment to a rigid body such as a wall, another mobile structure, a storage base or any other rigid body. The bracket 390 is preferably comprised of a plate 395 having a projection 400 protruding there-from. The plate and projection are preferably comprised of aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys or other similar rigid materials. The plate 395 preferably defines forward and rearward planar surfaces 405 and 410, with the rearward surface adapted for fixable contact with the wall, other mobile structure, storage base or other rigid body defining a vertical planar surface. One or more longitudinal bores 415 are defined in the plate to facilitate attaching it to the rigid body with bolts, screws or other common fasteners. However, it is understood that other embodiments of the plate need not include such bores if the plate is to be attached to the rigid body without fasteners (i.e., via welding, adhesive or other bonding means known in the art).
  • The forward planar surface 405 of the plate preferably has the projection 400 protruding there-from, with the projection adapted for engagement with the interlock sub-assembly 385. The projection preferably defines a rectangular “u-shaped” member oriented with the plate such that the open-ended, top of the “u-shape” abuts the plate at two points and the bottom of the “u-shape” is displaced from the plate and vertically oriented therewith. The “u-shaped” member is attached to the plate via any means understood in the art, to include welds, threaded engagement with nuts, or any other means known in the art. Thus, when the plate 395 of the bracket 390 is attached to a rigid body such as a wall, the projection 400 of the bracket protrudes outwardly in a substantially vertical orientation for engagement with the interlock sub-assembly 385 of the frame 10.
  • FIGS. 19 and 20 illustrate respective top and bottom views of the interlock sub-assembly 385 of FIG. 18. Upper and lower covers 420 and 425 (FIG. 18) have been removed from a housing 430 of the sub-assembly to better illustrate the sub-assembly's internal components in greater detail. The interlock sub-assembly 385 thus comprises the housing 430 adapted to fit within the chamber 75 (FIG. 17) of the at least one column 60 of the frame 10, with the housing defining upper and lower surfaces 435 and 440 and forward and rearward sides 445 and 450. A void 455, defined in the rearward side 450 of the housing and terminating at a stop 460, is adapted to accept an insertion of the bracket's projection therein. The void is aligned with an opening 465 (FIG. 17), defined in the rearward surface 70 of the at least one column 60, such that the at least one column frame can accept an insertion of the projection 400 there-through for operable association with the void 455. A primary bore 470 is defined vertically through the housing, terminating in the housing's upper and lower surfaces 435 and 440 in respective upper and lower primary bore openings 475 and 480. The primary bore 470 is adapted to accept an insertion of the vertical drive shaft 205 (shown in section) of the gear assembly there-though. Thus, as is apparent from FIGS. 19 and 20, the interlock sub-assembly is operably associated with both the vertical drive shaft 205 of the mobile structure and with the bracket 390.
  • To facilitate such an operable association, the housing of the interlock sub-assembly further comprises a clasp 485 and a pinion 490. While FIGS. 19 and 20 illustrate the clasp 485 and pinion 490 located on the respective lower and upper surfaces 440 and 435 of the housing, it is understood that their respective locations may be readily reversed without affecting the operation of the interlock assembly. The clasp 485 and pinion 490 are connected to the housing 430 with respective clasp and pinion pivots 495 and 500. Also, both the clasp 485 and the pinion 490 are located adjacent to the void 455 of the housing, with the clasp also located adjacent to the lower opening 480 of the primary bore 470 and the pinion also located adjacent to the bore's upper opening 475. The location of the clasp and pinion, in relation to the void and bore openings, allows each to operably associate with both the projection 400 of the bracket and the vertical driveshaft 205 of the gear assembly.
  • Referring again to FIG. 20, the clasp 485 of the interlock sub-assembly 385 defines a boss 505, a cusp 510, a catch 515 and a stay 520. The clasp's boss, cusp and catch interact with the projection 400 of the bracket while the stay of the clasp interacts with the vertical shaft 205 of the gear assembly. The clasp is spring-biased to a closed position via clasp spring 525 such that the clasp's catch 515 is coterminous with the void's stop 460 and the clasp's stay 520 is not in an interference position with a recess 530 defined in an outer 535 surface of the vertical drive shaft 205. When the bracket's projection 400 is inserted inwardly into the void 455 of the housing, the projection presses inwardly against the boss 505 of the clasp, causing the clasp to pivot in an open-ward direction until the projection moves inwardly past the cusp 510 and is adjacent to the stop 460 of the void. When the projection 400 is adjacent to the stop 460 of the void 455, the clasp spring 525 moves the cusp 510 in a closed-ward direction about the projection such that the projection is located within the clasp's catch 515. A location of the projection within the clasp's catch removably secures the bracket and sub-assembly of the interlock assembly to one another and thus the mobile structure to the wall or other rigid body.
  • For the clasp 485 to pivot in an open-ward direction in response to an insertion of the bracket's projection 400 into the housing's void 455, the recess 530 of the vertical drive shaft 205 must be aligned with the stay 520 of the clasp such that the stay can pivot into the recess. The recess 530 is located on the vertical drive shaft 205 such that it is rotationally aligned with the stay 520 of the clasp only when the at least one movable leg, connected to the lower end of the shaft, is in the deployed position. When the at least one movable leg is moved to the stowed position, the recess 530 will be moved out of alignment with the stay 520 of the clasp such that the clasp can no longer pivot in an open-ward direction because the stay now interferingly abuts the outer surface 535 of the vertical shaft.
  • Referring again to FIG. 19, the pinion 490 of the interlock sub-assembly 385 defines a pawl 540 and a rest 545. The pinion's rest 545 interacts with the projection 400 of the bracket while the pawl 540 of the pinion interacts with the vertical shaft 205 of the gear assembly. The pinion 490 is spring-biased to a closed position via pinion spring 550 such that the pinion's pawl 540 is in contact with the outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft and the pinion's rest 545 is not coterminous with the void's stop 460. When the bracket's projection 400 is inserted inwardly into the void 455 of the housing, the projection presses inwardly against the pinion's rest 545, causing the pinion 490 to pivot in an open-ward direction until the pawl 540 rotates outwardly away from the outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft until the projection is adjacent to the stop 460 of the void. When the projection 400 of the bracket is adjacent to the stop 460 of the void, the pinion's rest 545 is also adjacent to the stop of the void such that the pinion 490 is located in the opened position and the pawl 540 displaced from the outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft.
  • The pawl 540 of the pinion interacts with a tooth 555 projecting from the outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft. With the pinion 490 located in the closed position such that the pawl 540 is in contact with the outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft, the pawl engages the tooth 555 of the drive shaft to prevent a rotation of the drive shaft, thus preventing a movement of the at least one movable leg, connected at the lower end of the shaft, to the stowed position. With the pinion 490 located in the opened position such that the pawl 540 is displaced from the tooth 555 and outer surface 535 of the vertical drive shaft, the drive shaft is free to rotate to allow movement of the at least one movable leg to the stowed position.
  • It is noted that the pawl 540 of FIG. 19 defines an outwardly-angled inner surface 560 while the tooth 555 defines a complimentary inwardly-angled, outer surface 565. The angle of the pawl's inner surface 560 compliments the angle of the tooth's outer surface 565 such that, when the pinion 490 is located in the closed position against the outer surface 535 of the drive shaft (i.e., the projection 400 of the bracket is not within the void 455 of the housing to depress the pinion's rest 545), the tooth 555 of the shaft may nonetheless rotate outwardly past the pawl 540 for re-engagement therewith. Such a movement allows the at least one movable leg to be moved from the stowed to the deployed position while the bracket is not engaged with the sub-assembly.
  • FIGS. 21-27 are schematic diagrams illustrating the sequential operation of the at least one interlock assembly 50. With the at least one movable leg located in the deployed position, the mobile structure approaches the bracket (FIG. 21) and is pushed against the bracket (attached to a wall, another mobile structure, a storage base or other rigid body) such that bracket's projection 400 enters the void 455 of the sub-assembly's housing 430. The projection 400 contacts the boss 505 of the clasp 485 (FIG. 22), causing the clasp of the interlock sub-assembly to pivot the stay 530 into the recess 530 of the vertical drive shaft 205. The bracket's projection 400 moves inwardly past the cusp 510 to the stop 460 of the void 455 (FIG. 23), with the clasp spring biasing the clasp 485 to the closed position such that the catch 515 of the clasp fully engages the projection to releasably secure the mobile structure in the predetermined location to the wall or other rigid body.
  • The movement of the projection 400 to the stop of the void 455 also causes the rest 545 pinion 490 to contact the projection (FIG. 24) and the pinion to pivot to the opened position to release the pawl 540 from engagement with the tooth 555 of the vertical drive shaft 205 (FIG. 25), thus allowing the shaft to rotate (FIG. 26), to thus allow movement of the at least one movable leg from the deployed to the stowed position. The movement of the leg to the stowed position, while the mobile structure is secured in the predetermined location to the bracket via the clasp, will result in a rotation of the shaft 205 and movement of the recess 530 out of alignment with the stay 520 of the clasp (FIG. 27). With the stay 520 of the clasp out of alignment with the recess 530 of the shaft, the clasp is prevented from pivoting away from the projection 400 of the bracket, located within the void 455 of the housing, thus preventing a rotation of the clasp away from the projection of the bracket and a release of the mobile structure from the bracket. To allow for a release of the structure from the bracket, the at least one movable leg must be moved to the deployed position, thus again aligning the recess of the shaft with the stay of the clasp (FIG. 23).
  • Thus, via the foregoing operable association of the sub-assembly with the vertical drive shaft and bracket, the at least one movable leg of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket. Similarly, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the at least one movable leg is located in the forward, deployed position. However, if the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position while the mobile structure is not engaged with the bracket, the leg may be moved to the deployed position without the structure having to engage the bracket.
  • For embodiments of the mobile structure utilizing a movable handle, because of the operable association of the sub-assembly with the vertical drive shaft and bracket, and because of the operable association of the handle with the at least one movable leg via the drive shaft, the handle of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the raised, stowed position, (and the at least one movable leg thus cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position) unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket. Similarly, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the handle is in located the lowered, deployed position (and the at least one leg is located in the forward, deployed position).
  • However, if the handle is located in the raised, stowed position (and the at least one movable leg is located in the rearward, stowed position) while the mobile structure is not engaged with the bracket, the handle may be moved to the lowered, deployed position (and the at least one movable leg moved to the forward, deployed position) without the structure having to engage the bracket. Also, while the handle may remain in the raised, stowed position (and the at least one movable leg in the rearward, stowed position) when the mobile structure is secured to the wall or other rigid body, the planar work surface may be moved to the lowered, deployed position.
  • For embodiments of the mobile structure utilizing a pair of cabinets, because of the operable association of the sub-assembly with the vertical drive shaft and bracket, and also because of the operable association of the pair of cabinets with the at least one movable leg via the drive shaft, the cabinets of the mobile structure cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position (and the at least one movable leg thus cannot be moved to the rearward, stowed position) unless the mobile structure is engaged with the bracket.
  • Similarly, the mobile structure cannot be disengaged from the bracket unless the pair of cabinets are located in the forward, deployed position (and the at least one leg is located in the forward, deployed position). However, if the pair of cabinets is located in the rearward, stowed position (and the at least one movable leg is located in the stowed position) while the mobile structure is not engaged with the bracket, the pair may be moved to the forward, deployed position (and the at least one movable leg moved to the forward, deployed position) without the structure having to engage the bracket.
  • For releasably securing the mobile structure in a predetermined location via the interlock assembly, the bracket of the interlock assembly is adapted for attachment to a rigid body such as a wall, another mobile structure, a storage base, or other rigid body. With regard attachment of the bracket to another mobile structure (not illustrated), the bracket is preferably attached to a forward surface of the frame such that the projection of the bracket is directed forwardly. The forwardly direction of the projection thus allows for its operable association with the interlock sub-assembly of another mobile structure, accessible through the rear surface of the other structure's frame, to thus allow a plurality of mobile structures to be releasably secured to one another in a “nested” or “front-to-back” relation.
  • While the bracket of the interlock assembly is adapted for attachment to a rigid body such as a wall, another mobile structure, a storage base, or other rigid body, it is understood that the bracket need not be attached to any such rigid body to facilitate the interlock assembly's operation. For example, the bracket may comprise a portable key, not attached to a rigid body, whereby the key's projection may be inserted into the void of any interlock sub-assembly for the sake of allowing for the movement of the mobile structure's at least one leg, and/or handle or pair of cabinets, to the stowed position when not located in the predetermined location.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 2, 4, 5 and 17, in further embodiments, the height of the handle, work surface and pair of cabinets is adjustable in relation to the legs. To facilitate such a height adjustment, the frame is comprised of upper and lower columns 80 and 85 having a telescopic relation to one another. In the embodiments illustrated herein, the handle, work surface and pair of cabinets are located on the upper column 80 of the frame while the plurality of legs and interlock sub-assembly of the at least one interlock assembly are located on the lower column 85 (FIG. 17). In having a telescopic relation with one another, the upper column 80 is preferably located coaxial with and outwardly of the lower column 85 such that the upper column can move vertically in relation to the lower column. Bearing assemblies understood in the art are located between the upper and lower columns such that the upper column can move vertically and in rolling relation with the lower column. Thus, with the upper column moving vertically in relation to the lower column, it thus follows that the handle, work surface and cabinets move vertically in relation to the plurality of legs and interlock sub-assembly.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 17, to ensure a vertical movement of the upper column 80 in relation to the lower column 85 of the frame without interference with the operation of the interlock sub-assembly 385, located within the chamber 75 of the lower column, a vertical slot 570 is defined in the rear surface 70 of the upper column to accommodate an insertion of the bracket's projection 400 there-through. For embodiments of the mobile structure having an interlock assembly bracket attached to a forward surface of the lower column, a vertical slot is defined through the forward surface of the upper column to facilitate the forwardly direction of the bracket's projection there-though.
  • In embodiments having the handle and pair of cabinets operably associated with the at least one movable leg, the vertical drive shaft is located inwardly of both the upper and lower columns and thus must also accommodate for the movement of the column in relation to the lower column. As illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, the vertical shaft is thus comprised of upper and lower shaft sections 575 and 580, with the upper shaft section connected to the upper column the lower section rotatably connected to the lower column. Like the upper and lower columns of the frame, the upper and lower shaft sections of the vertical drive shaft also have a telescopic relation with one another such that the upper section can move vertically in relation to the lower section. To ensure that upper and lower shaft section, throughout various height adjustments, can rotatably drive one another during operation of the handle or cabinets in relation to the legs, each shaft section is splined. Although FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrates upper shaft section having a splined outer surface adapted for mating engagement with a splined inner surface of the lower shaft section, it is understood the relationship can be reversed without affecting the height adjustment operation of the mobile structure. Furthermore, it is understood that for embodiments of the mobile structure not having an adjustable height, the vertical drive shaft is comprised if a single section.
  • Referring to FIG. 28, to facilitate the height adjustment of the upper column in relation to the lower column, a height adjustment assembly 585 is located on the mobile work station. In one embodiment, the height adjustment assembly 585 comprises a trigger 590 operably associated with an adjustable gas spring 595 operably associating the upper and lower columns of the frame. The adjustable gas spring 595 defines upper and lower ends 600 and 605 that are biased in locked relation with one another. The upper end 600 of the gas spring 595 is connected to the upper column while the lower end 605 of the gas spring is connected to the lower column. When the gas spring is locked, its upper and lower ends 600 and 605, and thus the upper and lower columns, are in a fixed relation with one another. When the gas spring is unlocked, its upper and lower ends, and thus the upper and lower columns, are in adjustable relation with one another such the upper end and column can move vertically in relation to the lower end and column.
  • In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 28, the trigger 590 comprises at least one movable handle 610 connected to a rotating cam 615 via a first linkage 620, with a second linkage 625 connecting the cam to a switch 630 of the adjustable gas spring 595. The second linkage 625 preferably comprises a flexible cable 635 substantially enclosed in a flexible tube 640, with the opposite ends of the cable connecting the switch 630 of the gas spring 595 with the cam 615 of the trigger 590. When the handle 610 is activated by a user, the first linkage 620 rotates the cam 615, which in turn, activates the cable 635 of the second linkage 6,25 to unlock the switch 630 of the adjustable gas spring 595, thus allowing the upper end 600 of the gas spring and the upper column to move vertically in relation to the lower end 605 and lower column. A release of the handle 610 de-activates the first linkage 620, cam 615 and cable 635 of the second linkage 625 to thus again lock the switch 630 of the adjustable gas spring 595 to prevent any further movement of the gas spring upper end 600 and upper column. However, it is understood that the trigger 590 could comprise any other actuation mechanism in the art capable of locking and unlocking the gas spring 595 for embodiments of the mobile structure utilizing either the work surface or the pair of cabinets, i.e., buttons, levers, etc.
  • In further embodiments of the mobile structure 5, various accessories are attached thereto or adapted for interaction therewith. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 29, storage boxes 645 are attached to the frame 10 to allow for the storage of portable power supply systems for the laptop computer, patient charts, or any other items therein.
  • Other accessories include a storage base that allows for storage and transport of one or more mobile structures thereon. In one embodiment illustrated in FIG. 30, the storage base 650 comprises a chassis 655 defining upper and lower ends 660 and 670, a pair of elongated members 670 and 675 located at the upper end of the chassis, a support 680 located at the lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members, and a plurality of casters 40 connected to the support.
  • The chassis 655, substantially upright to define the upper and lower ends, is comprised of any material capable of providing rigidity to support the remaining components of the base. Such materials may include aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other material understood in the art as providing rigid support. The elongated members 670 and 675, adapted to support at least one movable structure 5 thereon, are attached to the chassis 655 via weld, nuts and bolts, screws, or other means known in the art. Like the chassis, the members are comprised of aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other materials understood in the art as providing rigid support.
  • The elongated members 670 and 675 of the pair are in spaced relation with one another to define a gap 685 there-between, with the gap adapted to accept an insertion of the mobile structure's frame 10 there-in. Each member of the pair defines an upper surface 690 adapted for contact with the lower surface 230 and/or the rear edge 240 of the mobile structure's work surface 25. The members may each define a chamfer at a leading edge 695 thereof to facilitate a loading of the lower surface and/or rear edge of the mobile structure's work surface thereon. Thus, when supporting one or more mobile structures, the at least one mobile structure is located on the base such that the pair of elongated members 670 and 675 support the lower surface 230 and/or rear edge 240 of the structure's work surface, with the frame 10 of the structure located between the members. Multiple structures can thus be supported by the base in this fashion, with the structures located front-to-back relation with one another in their stowed configuration.
  • In further embodiments, the elongated members 670 and 675 of the pair are also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers 700. To facilitate such an operable relation, an array of inlets 705 is defined along the length of each member in the respective upper surface 690 thereof. Each inlet along the length of a given member is located in paired relation with a corresponding inlet of the other member to thus define an inlet pair adapted for operable relation with the retainer. The retainer defines an elongated, inverted “u-shape” having its downwardly directed ends 710 adapted for insertion into the paired inlets. When a plurality of retainers is inserted into the respective paired inlets, the retainers spans the gap defined between the pair of elongated members to secure, in spaced relation with one another, the respective frames of a plurality of mobile structures supported along the elongated members. Other embodiments include the bracket 390 attached to the chassis 655, in addition to the retainers or in substitution of the retainers, for releasably securing at least one mobile structure 5 thereto via the interlock sub-assembly. Such mobile structures may be further secured to one another in nested relation via the interlock assembly as described herein.
  • The support 680 of the base is located at a lower end of the chassis and is attached to the chassis via weld, nuts and bolts, screws, or other means known in the art. Like the chassis and elongated members, the base is comprised of aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other materials understood in the art as providing rigid support. In the embodiment of the base illustrated in FIG. 30, the support 680 is configured to have a width that fits between the casters of the mobile structures legs when the legs are in their stowed position.
  • In another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 31, the storage base 650 comprises a chassis 655 and a support 680 located at the lower end 665 of the chassis adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure 5. The support 680 has a plurality of casters 40 connected thereto and a leading edge defining a ramp 715. The chassis 655 is again substantially upright to define upper and lower ends 660 and 665. The support 680 of the base is located at the lower end 665 of the chassis and is attached to the chassis via weld, nuts and bolts, screws, or other means known in the art.
  • The support 680 of the base 650 of FIG. 31 is configured to have a width exceeding that defined by the location of the casters of the mobile structure having the legs are in their stowed position. Again, the chassis and support are comprised of any material capable of providing rigidity to support the remaining components of the base. Such materials may include aluminum, stainless or other steels or metal alloys, carbon fiber composite materials, plastic, wood or any other material understood in the art as providing rigid support.
  • While the foregoing embodiment of FIG. 31 has a support for supporting the legs of at least one mobile structure, further embodiments include a bracket attached to the chassis 655, for releasably securing at least one mobile structure 5 thereto via the interlock sub-assembly, and/or the pair of members 670 and 675 for supporting the bottom surface and/or rear edge of the work surface of at least one mobile structure. Other embodiments having the support for supporting the legs of at least one mobile structure further include both the bracket and the pair of elongated members.
  • In use, the mobile structure is maneuvered into proximity with a bracket attached to the rigid body. The rigid body that the bracket is attached to may comprise a wall, another mobile structure, a base or any other rigid body. After aligning the interlock sub-assembly of the frame with the bracket, the mobile structure is pushed against the bracket such that the interlock sub-assembly engages the bracket. The at least one movable leg is thereafter moved from a deployed position to a stowed position, with the location of the at least one leg in the stowed position preventing a removal of the interlock sub-assembly from the bracket.
  • When a disengagement of the mobile structure from the bracket is desired, the at least one movable leg is moved from the stowed position to the deployed position, with the location of the at least one movable leg in the deployed position allowing for a removal of the interlock sub-assembly from the bracket. The mobile structure is thereafter pulled away from the bracket such that the interlock sub-assembly disengages from the bracket. The mobile structure is thereafter maneuvered out of proximity with the bracket.
  • For embodiments of the mobile structure utilizing a handle, the handle is moved from lowered, deployed position to the raised, stowed position, after the interlock sub-assembly is engaged with the bracket, to move the at least one movable leg from the forward, deployed position to the rearward, stowed position. When a disengagement of the mobile structure from the bracket is desired, the handle is moved from the raised, stowed position to the lowered, deployed position to move the at least one movable leg from the rearward, stowed position to the forward, deployed position.
  • If the handle is operably related to the work surface, a movement of the work surface from the lowered, deployed position to the raised, stowed position will also raise the handle from its lowered, deployed position to its raised, stowed position. However, a lowering of the work surface from the raised, stowed position to the lowered, deployed position will not also cause the handle to move to its respective lowered, deployed position.
  • For embodiments of the mobile structure a pair of cabinets, the pair of cabinets is moved from the forward, deployed position to the rearward, stowed position, after the interlock sub-assembly is engaged with the bracket, to move the at least one movable leg from the forward, deployed position to the rearward, stowed position. When a disengagement of the mobile structure from the bracket is desired, the pair of cabinets is moved from the rearward, stowed position to the forward, deployed position to move the at least one movable leg from the rearward, stowed position to the forward, deployed position.
  • While this foregoing description and accompanying figures are illustrative of the present invention, other variations in structure and method are possible without departing from the invention's spirit and scope.

Claims (66)

  1. 1. A mobile structure comprising:
    a frame;
    a work surface located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions;
    a plurality of legs located at a lower end of the frame, each leg terminating in a caster, and at least one leg of the plurality movable between deployed and stowed positions; and
    at least one interlock assembly operably associated with the frame to releasably secure the structure in a predetermined location.
  2. 2. The mobile structure of claim 1 wherein the at least one interlock assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent a movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location, and further to prevent the interlock assembly from releasing the structure from the predetermined location when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position.
  3. 3. The mobile structure of claim 2 further comprising a handle operably associated with the at least one movable leg to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions, the handle operably associated with the interlock assembly to prevent its movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  4. 4. The mobile structure of claim 3 wherein the handle is also operably associated with the movable work surface to prevent a movement of the work surface to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  5. 5. The mobile structure of claim 4 wherein the handle is movable between deployed and stowed positions, the handle located in the deployed position when the at least one movable leg is in the deployed position, and further located in the stowed position when the at least one leg is located in the stowed position.
  6. 6. The movable structure of claim 1 wherein the at least one interlock assembly comprises a sub-assembly located on the frame and adapted for operable engagement with a bracket adapted for attachment to a rigid body located at the predetermined location, the mobile structure secured in the predetermined location when the sub-assembly is engaged with the bracket, and not secured in the predetermined location when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket.
  7. 7. The mobile structure of claim 6 wherein the sub-assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent movement of the leg to the stowed position when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket, and further to prevent the sub-assembly from disengaging from the bracket when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position.
  8. 8. The mobile structure of claim 7 further comprising a handle operably associated with the at least one movable leg to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions, the handle operably associated with the sub-assembly to prevent its movement of the leg to the stowed position when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket.
  9. 9. The mobile structure of claim 8 wherein the handle is also operably associated with the movable work surface to prevent movement of the work surface to the stowed position when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket.
  10. 10. The mobile structure of claim 8 wherein the handle is movable between deployed and stowed positions.
  11. 11. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein the operable relation between the handle, at least one movable leg and sub-assembly comprises a gear assembly.
  12. 12. The mobile structure of claim 11 wherein the gear assembly comprises a vertical bevel gear located on a horizontal pivot of the handle, a horizontal bevel gear located on an upper end of a vertical drive shaft and meshed with the vertical spur gear, the at least one movable leg located on a lower end of the vertical drive shaft.
  13. 13. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a wall for releasably securing the structure to the wall.
  14. 14. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a frame of another mobile structure for releasably securing the structure to another mobile structure.
  15. 15. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a storage base for releasably securing the structure to the storage base.
  16. 16 The mobile structure of claim 6 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a storage base for releasably securing the structure to the storage base.
  17. 17. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein at least the movable work surface is adjustable in height.
  18. 18. The mobile structure of claim 10 further comprising a computer docking station located on the movable work surface.
  19. 19. The mobile structure of claim 10 wherein the movable work surface comprises a bed table.
  20. 20. The mobile structure of claim 10 further comprising at least one storage container located on the frame between the movable works surface and the plurality of legs.
  21. 21. A mobile structure comprising:
    a frame;
    a pair of cabinets located on the frame and movable between deployed and stowed positions;
    a plurality of legs located at a lower end of the frame, each leg terminating in a caster, and at least one leg of the plurality movable between deployed and stowed positions; and
    at least one interlock assembly operably associated with the frame to releasably secure the structure in a predetermined location.
  22. 22. The mobile structure of claim 21 wherein the at least one interlock assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent a movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location, and further to prevent the interlock assembly from releasing the structure from the predetermined location when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position.
  23. 23. The mobile structure of claim 22 wherein the pair of cabinets are operably associated with the at least one movable leg to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions, the pair operably associated with the interlock assembly to prevent its movement of the leg to the stowed position when the mobile structure is not secured in the predetermined location.
  24. 24. The movable structure of claim 21 wherein the at least one interlock assembly comprises a sub-assembly located on the frame and adapted for operable engagement with a bracket adapted for attachment to a rigid body located at the predetermined location, the mobile structure secured in the predetermined location when the sub-assembly is engaged with the bracket, and not secured in the predetermined location when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket.
  25. 25. The mobile structure of claim 24 wherein the sub-assembly is operably associated with the at least one movable leg to prevent movement of the leg to the stowed position when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket, and further to prevent the sub-assembly from disengaging from the bracket when the at least one movable leg is in the stowed position.
  26. 26. The mobile structure of claim 25 wherein the pair of cabinets are operably associated with the at least one movable leg to move the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions, the pair operably associated with the sub-assembly to prevent its movement of the leg to the stowed position when the sub-assembly is not engaged with the bracket.
  27. 27. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein the operable relation pair of cabinets, at least one movable leg and sub-assembly comprises a gear assembly.
  28. 28. The mobile structure of claim 27 wherein the gear assembly comprises a first spur gear located on first vertical pivot of a first cabinet of the pair and meshed with a second spur gear located on an upper end of a second vertical pivot of the second cabinet of the pair, the at least one movable leg located on a lower end of the second vertical pivot.
  29. 29. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a wall for releasably securing the structure to the wall.
  30. 30. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to the frame of another mobile structure for releasably securing the structure to another mobile structure.
  31. 31. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a storage base for releasably securing the structure to the storage base.
  32. 32. The mobile structure of claim 24 wherein the bracket is adapted for attachment to a storage base for releasably securing the structure to the storage base.
  33. 33. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein at least the pair of cabinets is adjustable in height.
  34. 34. The mobile structure of claim 26 wherein each cabinet of the pair includes a plurality of through drawers.
  35. 35. The mobile structure of claim 1 further comprising a storage base, the storage base comprising:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  36. 36. The mobile structure of claim 35 further comprising a plurality of retainers operably associated with the pair of elongated members.
  37. 37. The mobile structure of claim 15 wherein the storage base comprises:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  38. 38. A mobile structure of claim 15 wherein the storage base comprises:
    a chassis;
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members, the support adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure and having a forward edge defining a ramp; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  39. 39. The mobile structure of claim 38 further comprising:
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the mobile structure.
  40. 40. The mobile structure of claim 16 wherein the storage base further comprises:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  41. 41. The mobile structure of claim 16 wherein the storage base further comprises:
    a chassis;
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members, the support adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure and having a forward edge defining a ramp; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  42. 42. The mobile structure of claim 41 further comprising:
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the mobile structure.
  43. 43. The mobile structure of claim 21 further comprising a storage base, the storage base comprising:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  44. 44. The mobile structure of claim 43 further comprising a plurality of retainers operably associated with the pair of elongated members.
  45. 45. The mobile structure of claim 31 wherein the storage base comprises:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  46. 46. A mobile structure of claim 31 wherein the storage base comprises:
    a chassis;
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure, the support having a forward edge defining a ramp; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  47. 47. The mobile structure of claim 46 further comprising:
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the mobile structure.
  48. 48. The mobile structure of claim 32 wherein the storage base further comprises:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support:
  49. 49. The mobile structure of claim 32 wherein the storage base further comprises:
    a chassis;
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure, the support having a forward edge defining a ramp; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  50. 50. The mobile structure of claim 49 further comprising:
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the mobile structure.
  51. 51. A storage base for a mobile structure comprising:
    a chassis;
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis and adapted to support at least one movable structure, the elongated members also adapted for operable relation with a plurality of retainers; and
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and substantially parallel with the elongated members; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  52. 52. A storage base comprising:
    a chassis;
    a support located at a lower end of the chassis and adapted to support the plurality of legs of at least one mobile structure, the support having a forward edge defining a ramp; and
    a plurality of casters connected to the support.
  53. 53. The storage base of claim 52 further comprising:
    a pair of elongated members located on an upper end of the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the mobile structure.
  54. 54. The storage base of claim 52 wherein further comprising:
    a bracket connected to the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the interlock sub-assembly of the mobile structure.
  55. 55. The storage base of claim 53 further comprising:
    a bracket connected to the chassis of the storage base and adapted for operable association with the interlock sub-assembly of the mobile structure.
  56. 56. The mobile structure of claim 1 wherein the mobile structure has a forward to rearward depth not exceeding a range of between about 8 inches and about 4 inches.
  57. 57. The mobile structure of claim 21 wherein the mobile structure has a forward to rearward depth not exceeding a range of between about 8 inches and about 4 inches.
  58. 58. A method of removably securing a mobile structure to a rigid body comprising:
    maneuvering the mobile structure into proximity with a bracket mounted to the rigid body;
    engaging an interlock sub-assembly of the with the bracket;
    moving at least one movable leg from a deployed position to a stowed position, the location of the at least one leg in the stowed position preventing a removal of the interlock sub-assembly from the bracket;
    moving the at least one movable leg from the stowed position to the deployed position, the location of the at least one movable leg in the deployed position allowing for a removal of the interlock sub-assembly from the bracket;
    disengaging the interlock sub-assembly from the bracket; and
    maneuvering the mobile structure out of proximity with the bracket.
  59. 59. The method of claim 58 wherein moving the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions is accomplished by moving a handle.
  60. 60. The method of claim 59 wherein the rigid body comprises a wall.
  61. 61. The method of claim 59 wherein the rigid body comprises another mobile structure.
  62. 62. The method of claim 59 wherein the rigid body comprises a base.
  63. 63. The method of claim 58 wherein moving the at least one movable leg between the deployed and stowed positions is accomplished by moving a pair of cabinets.
  64. 64. The method of claim 63 wherein the rigid body comprises a wall.
  65. 65. The method of claim 63 wherein the rigid body comprises another mobile structure.
  66. 66. The method of claim 63 wherein the rigid body comprises a base.
US12405102 2009-03-16 2009-03-16 Stowable and releasably securable mobile structure Abandoned US20100231102A1 (en)

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