WO2000002745A1 - Vehicle seat, vehicle seat table and vehicle communication system - Google Patents

Vehicle seat, vehicle seat table and vehicle communication system Download PDF

Info

Publication number
WO2000002745A1
WO2000002745A1 PCT/GB1999/002230 GB9902230W WO0002745A1 WO 2000002745 A1 WO2000002745 A1 WO 2000002745A1 GB 9902230 W GB9902230 W GB 9902230W WO 0002745 A1 WO0002745 A1 WO 0002745A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
vehicle seat
flat
flat panel
visual display
seat
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1999/002230
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Michael Peter Ingram
Jeremy Robert Goddin
Ernst Von Weyhausen
Original Assignee
Mile High Marketing Limited
Mhm Holdings Limited
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
Priority to GB9814982.6 priority Critical
Priority to GBGB9814982.6A priority patent/GB9814982D0/en
Priority to GB9904172.5 priority
Priority to GBGB9904172.5A priority patent/GB9904172D0/en
Application filed by Mile High Marketing Limited, Mhm Holdings Limited filed Critical Mile High Marketing Limited
Publication of WO2000002745A1 publication Critical patent/WO2000002745A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60NSEATS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES; VEHICLE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60N3/00Arrangements or adaptations of other passenger fittings, not otherwise provided for
    • B60N3/001Arrangements or adaptations of other passenger fittings, not otherwise provided for of tables or trays
    • B60N3/002Arrangements or adaptations of other passenger fittings, not otherwise provided for of tables or trays of trays
    • B60N3/004Arrangements or adaptations of other passenger fittings, not otherwise provided for of tables or trays of trays of foldable trays mounted on the back-rest
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R11/02Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for for radio sets, television sets, telephones, or the like; Arrangement of controls thereof
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R11/02Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for for radio sets, television sets, telephones, or the like; Arrangement of controls thereof
    • B60R11/0229Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for for radio sets, television sets, telephones, or the like; Arrangement of controls thereof for displays, e.g. cathodic tubes
    • B60R11/0235Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for for radio sets, television sets, telephones, or the like; Arrangement of controls thereof for displays, e.g. cathodic tubes of flat type, e.g. LCD
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64DEQUIPMENT FOR FITTING IN OR TO AIRCRAFT; FLYING SUITS; PARACHUTES; ARRANGEMENTS OR MOUNTING OF POWER PLANTS OR PROPULSION TRANSMISSIONS IN AIRCRAFT
    • B64D11/00Passenger or crew accommodation; Flight-deck installations not otherwise provided for
    • B64D11/0015Arrangements for entertainment or communications, e.g. radio, television
    • B64D11/00153Monitors mounted on or in the seat other than the seat back
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64DEQUIPMENT FOR FITTING IN OR TO AIRCRAFT; FLYING SUITS; PARACHUTES; ARRANGEMENTS OR MOUNTING OF POWER PLANTS OR PROPULSION TRANSMISSIONS IN AIRCRAFT
    • B64D11/00Passenger or crew accommodation; Flight-deck installations not otherwise provided for
    • B64D11/0015Arrangements for entertainment or communications, e.g. radio, television
    • B64D11/00155Individual entertainment or communication system remote controls therefor, located in or connected to seat components, e.g. to seat back or arm rest
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64DEQUIPMENT FOR FITTING IN OR TO AIRCRAFT; FLYING SUITS; PARACHUTES; ARRANGEMENTS OR MOUNTING OF POWER PLANTS OR PROPULSION TRANSMISSIONS IN AIRCRAFT
    • B64D11/00Passenger or crew accommodation; Flight-deck installations not otherwise provided for
    • B64D11/06Arrangements of seats, or adaptations or details specially adapted for aircraft seats
    • B64D11/0638Arrangements of seats, or adaptations or details specially adapted for aircraft seats with foldable tables, trays or cup holders
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R2011/0001Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for characterised by position
    • B60R2011/0003Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for characterised by position inside the vehicle
    • B60R2011/0012Seats or parts thereof
    • B60R2011/0015Back-rests
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R2011/0042Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for characterised by mounting means
    • B60R2011/008Adjustable or movable supports
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R2011/0042Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for characterised by mounting means
    • B60R2011/008Adjustable or movable supports
    • B60R2011/0082Adjustable or movable supports collapsible, e.g. for storing after use
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R11/00Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for
    • B60R2011/0094Arrangements for holding or mounting articles, not otherwise provided for characterised by means for covering after user, e.g. boxes, shutters or the like

Abstract

A vehicle seat (10) carries an articulatable table (12) supported by a mechanism (14) for articulation between stowed and extended positions. The table (12) carries a flat panel visual display device having a flat display screen (21) to be viewed by a passenger. A communication system may comprise a plurality of such seats arranged to receive display signals from a signal transmission unit (44) carried by the vehicle.

Description

VEHICLE SEAT, VEHICLE SEAT TABLE AND VEHICLE COMMUNICATION
SYSTEM Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to the provision of enhanced facilities to passen- gers using vehicle seats. In particular, the invention concerns the provision of passenger facilities on a vehicle seat having an articulated table, and also to a vehicle communication system to control the use of such passenger facilities. Background of the Invention
This invention is concerned with a vehicle seat of the type provided with an ar- ticulated table which defines a surface, and a table mechanism supporting the table for articulation between a stowed position and an extended position in which the table is orientated to extend generally horizontally from the seat. This type of seat is commonly used in passenger aircraft but can also be used in other vehicles such as, for example, coaches, buses, hovercraft, trains and ships. The primary objective of such vehi- cle seats is to provide a table surface which can either be stowed away to give the passenger optimum space whilst seated, or can be swiftly articulated to position the table surface immediately in front of the seated passenger. Such tables are typically used to support food trays and drinks and to serve generally as a desk. They are usually moved between their stowed and extended position several times during a journey. Examples of vehicle seats which support a table for articulation between a stowed position and an extended position in which a surface of the table projects generally horizontally from an integral part of the seat are taught, for example, by US Patent 3,985,374, US Patent 4,159,071 , US Patent 5,082,1 16 and by UK Patent 1 ,600,744.
Various mechanisms are wel known for attaching such tables to the associated vehicle seat. However many of such attachments fall into the following two categories.
In the first category the table is supported by the table mechanism from the back portion of the seat immediately in front of the passenger such that, when in the extended position, the table surface will extend rearwards over the passenger's legs, a first edge of the table being directed towards the rear of the seat back in front of the passenger, and a second edge of the table, parallely-spaced from the first edge, being directed away from the rear of the seat back towards the passenger. When the table is stowed into the rear of the seat back, the support mechanism tilts the table until its surface is flush with the rear of the seat back, the second edge being positioned generally above the first edge.
In the second category the table is supported by the table mechanism from an arm of the seat occupied by the passenger such that, when in the extended position, the table surface will extend laterally away from the seat arm and across the passenger's legs, a first edge of the table being positioned adjacent the seat arm and a second edge of the table, parallely spaced from the first edge, being directed away from the seat arm. When the table is stowed into the seat arm, the support mechanism tilts the table until the second edge is positioned generally adjacent the seat arm. Tables of this second category are formed either with a single leaf, or with two substantially equal leaves interconnected by a hinge having an axis parallely-spaced between the first and second edges, the two leaves being folded together prior to insertion into the cavity in the seat arm. This invention is also concerned with a vehicle seat table for mounting on a table mechanism either as original equipment, or to simplify the modification of existing seats. This invention is furthermore concerned with a vehicle communication system to present information to each passenger. Summary of the Invention According to one aspect of the invention a vehicle seat is provided with an ar- ticulatable table which defines a surface, a table mechanism supporting the table for articulating between a stowed position and an extended position in which the table is orientated to extend generally horizontally from the seat, and a flat panel visual display device forming at least part of the table and having a flat display screen forming at least part of the surface. In this manner the flat panel visual display device is integrated into the table with its flat display screen defining part, or all, of the table surface presented to the passenger. The flat display screen is desirably made of heat resistant material, or covered by a transparent lamina of low conductivity, to ensure that the visual display device will not be damaged by placing hot food or drink on the flat panel visual display device. The flat panel visual display device and its flat display screen are desirably sealed to prevent ingress of any spilt drink. When not in use, the table can be articulated to its stowed position, thereby neatly storing the flat panel visual display device in the seat back. If the flat display screen is positioned in the upper surface of the table, articulation of the table to the stowed position will move the flat display screen into a position in which it is concealed and protected by the seat back. On the other hand, if the flat dis- play screen is positioned in the lower surface of the table, articulation of the table to the stowed position will move the flat display screen into a position where it can be viewed. Preferably a signal transmission means is positioned to transmit display signals to the flat panel visual display device from a signal input connector carried by the seat. In the case where the display signals are electromagnetic, the signal transmission means may be an electrical or optical harness interconnecting the signal input connector and the flat display screen, this harness being carried by the table mechanism to ensure that it cannot become damaged either by a passenger or by articulation of the table. In this manner each visual display device is integrated into the associated seat which can be installed, or removed, from the vehicle in the usual manner apart from the appropriate connection, or disconnection, of its signal input connector to a signal bus carried by the vehicle.
Alternatively a signal receiver may be carried by the seat and be arranged to receive transmitted display signals and to feed the received display signals to the flat panel visual display device. With this arrangement each seat, or bank of adjacent seats, may be provided with a signal receiver connected to feed received display signals to drive the associated flat panel visual display device or devices. In this manner each flat panel visual display device is integrated into the associated seat which can be installed, or removed, from the vehicle in the usual manner, without the need to make or break any signal transmission line. The signal receiver could be arranged in the table adjacent the associ- ated flat panel visual display device, or could be positioned in the seat with the connection to the flat panel visual display device being a harness such as that already mentioned. The display signals may be transmitted from a signal transmission unit carried by the vehicle, for instance as a low range radio signal; where the vehicle is an aeroplane , such radio signal would of course need to be of a frequency and/or power level that would not interfere with the communication and navigational systems. The single transmission unit may be arranged to transmit signals from an aerial arranged as a bus passing close to every seat, and the signal receivers may be mounted on the seats to be a short distance away from the bus, thereby minimising the distance over which the signals need to be transmitted, and consequently also minimising the signal power. The display signals may also, where appropriate, be transmitted in other ways, for instance optically, or by electromagnetic induction, or by high frequency sound waves.
Alternatively a signal memory may be carried by the table to feed display signals directly to the flat panel visual display device thereby enabling display signals to be supplied without any modification to the aircraft. Indeed the vehicle seat and its table can be self-contained by providing a power source within the table for the flat panel visual display device.
A manual control may be provided for the flat panel visual display device and be carried by the table adjacent to the flat display screen. Preferably the manual control will have a substantially flat touch control keyboard forming part of the table surface. In this manner the display screen, the manual control and the table will define a single con- tinuous surface of the table. Alternatively the visual display device may incorporate a touch control screen operable by the passenger touching appropriate portions of the flat display screen.
The flat display screen is preferably heat resistant so that it cannot be damaged by the placement on, or near, it of hot items, such as food or beverages. Alternatively a heat resistant screen can be hinged from the table for movement into a position overlying the flat display screen.
The seat preferably also has an earphone socket so that a passenger can receive sound associated with the matter viewed on the flat panel visual display screen. Such earphone socket may advantageously be carried by the table immediately adjacent the passenger so that the cable run to the earphones is minimised and will not pass across the flat display screen.
The display screen may be mounted for movement, relative to the table, to an enhanced viewing position that is inclined to the horizontal. In this manner the flat display screen may be orientated to be normal to the line of sight of the passenger, thereby optimising the view of the image, reducing neck strain for the passenger, and enabling the passenger to watch the screen whilst sitting back in his seat. To achieve this the flat panel visual display device may be secured to the table, and the table be supported by the table mechanism to permit the table and the flat display screen to be articulated between the extended position and the enhanced viewing position. Alternatively the flat panel visual display device may be mounted for articulation relative to the table to enable the flat display screen to be articulated to the enhanced viewing position when the table is in the extended position. In this event the display screen may be mounted to the table about a horizontal axis.
The flat display screen can be of the type commonly used in lap-top computers or any other thin and flat screen. Preferably the flat display screen is an organic light emitting diode (OLED) which is preferably built on a flexible substrate (FOLED) and is adhered to the surface of the table. Preferably the OLED or FOLED incorporates a touch control keyboard.
According to another aspect of the invention a vehicle seat table defines a table surface, has attachment means enabling the table to be secured to a table mechanism carried by a vehicle seat, and includes a flat panel visual display device having a flat display screen. In this manner the table and the flat panel visual display device comprise an autonomous unit which can be fitted to an existing seat whilst the seat is still mounted in the aircraft, the existing table being simply disconnected from the table mechanism which is then secured to the attachment means. The latter is preferably of the same na- ture and dimensions as that used on the original table so that there is no need to modify the table mechanism.
The display screen may form at least part of the table surface, or may face in the opposite direction to the table surface and be mounted for articulation, relative to the attachment means, to a viewing position. Alternatively, the flat display screen or the en- tire flat pane visual display device may be mounted from the table about a horizontal axis for articulation to a viewing position. The flat display screen or the entire flat panel visual display device may be further mounted from the table to permit extension above the table surface to a viewing position. This further mounting may also permit the angle of the flat display screen to be adjusted about a second horizontal axis. The vehicle seat table may be used for the construction of new seats, the attachment means either being designed for attachment to an existing design of table mechanism or to a new design of table mechanism. In either event the design of vehicle table seat facilitates the speedy replacement between flights of any table with a faulty visual display device.
The vehicle seat table may be arranged to operate with the vehicle communica- tion system that is hereinafter disclosed. Alternatively it may include a signal memory to provide display signals to the flat panel visual display device. In this manner the visual display device of each vehicle seat table becomes independent as there is no need for the aircraft to be installed with a communications system to provide the display signals. The signal memory may be a chip, a disc, a tape, a modem or equivalent which has been pre-recorded and is either installed in the vehicle seat table, or is in the form of a signal memory unit which is plugged into an appropriate socket in the vehicle seat table. With this latter configuration a locking device is preferably provided to prevent unauthorised removal of the signal memory unit from the socket. In this manner each passenger may be given the option of whether use of the visual display device is required and, if so, a choice of programmes. This choice can be contingent on payment of a fee to the vehicle operator, the appropriate signal memory unit being inserted into its socket by a representative of the vehicle operator, and being retained in position by the locking device thereby preventing use by another passenger during that journey. The signal memory unit would subsequently be retrievable, by the representative of the vehicle operator releasing the locking device, for use by another passenger during the next journey. Alternatively the signal memory unit could contain advertising or other promotional information peculiar to a promoter who would provide free use to any passenger, the unit being rapidly replaceable by alternative signal memory units between journeys.
A manual control is preferably operable to control the transmission of the dis- play signals from the signal memory to the flat panel visual display device. In this manner each passenger will have independent control of the facing flat display screen and, more particularly, may determine whether it is activated and what choice of programme is displayed. Each vehicle seat table is preferably provided with an audio jack for earphones to be worn by the passenger and may be provided with a mouse or other man- ual control. Whilst the vehicle seat table could be powered from an aircraft system, it may include its own power source for driving its display screen, thereby making the vehicle seat table independent of any aircraft power system and simplifying installation, particularly when converting existing seats. This power source is preferably provided by a power source unit, such as a re-chargeable battery, either plugged into a power input socket carried by the table or forming part of the flat panel visual display device. A locking device may be arranged to retain the power source unit in the power input socket, thereby preventing unauthorised removal by a passenger. The use of this locking device by a representative of the vehicle operator is an alternative way of requiring a passenger to pay a fee for use of the visual display screen.
When the vehicle seat table is to be used with a communication system such as that hereinafter disclosed, it is preferably provided with a signal receiver arranged to receive display signals and to transmit them to the flat panel visual display device. In this event the vehicle seat table may include a manual control which is operable to control either the transmission of the display signals to the flat panel visual display device, or the receipt of the display signals by the signal receiver.
A vehicle seat table, as taught by the present invention, may be combined with a table mechanism which is configured to support the vehicle seat table from a vehicle seat whilst permitting the vehicle seat table to articulate between a stowed position and an extended position in which the table surface is orientated to extend generally horizontally from the seat. In this manner, the combined vehicle seat table and table mechanism can be assembled before attachment to the vehicle seat, either to modify an existing seat or as original equipment. The flat display screen may be arranged to be in the viewing position when the vehicle seat table is articulated either to the stowed position, or to the extended position. Alternatively the flat display screen may be supported for articulation to a viewing position whilst the vehicle seat table is in the extended position. If desired, the vehicle seat table may be secured to the vehicle seat by the table mechanism prior to mounting the seat in the vehicle.
According to another aspect of the invention, a vehicle communication system comprises a plurality of passenger seats, each provided with an articulatable table which defines a surface, a table mechanism which supports each table for articulation between a stowed position and an extended position in which the surface is orientated to extend generally horizontally from its associated seat, a flat panel visual display device forming at least part of each table and having a flat display screen forming at least part of the surface, and the flat display screens are arranged to receive display signals from a signal transmission unit carried by the vehicle.
The signal transmission unit may be arranged to transmit the same display signal to all of the flat panel visual display devices. In this manner general information about the vehicle, its present location, its estimated time or arrival, services available during the journey or on arrival, and many other topics can be given to all of the passenger simultaneously.
The signal transmission unit may alternatively, or additionally, be arranged to identify each of the flat panel visual display devices and be programmable to transmit different display signals to selected flat panel visual display devices. In this manner the display received by each passenger can be customised to meet individual requirements. For instance one passenger may wish to select a video, another details of accommodation on arrival, and yet another details of entertainment or car hire.
Where a manual control is provided for each flat panel visual display device, the signal transmission unit may be arranged to interconnect selected flat panel visual display devices to enable the associated passengers to modify a common display image by using their respective manual controls. In this manner passengers sitting in different locations in the vehicle can play games such as chess, or bridge, and can take part in interactive video games.
The single transmission unit may either be hard wired to the flat panel visual display devices, or may be arranged to drive the flat panel visual display devices indirectly as already indicated. In the latter configuration, the signal transmission unit is preferably arranged to produce a designation code identifying the flat panel visual display device that is to be driven, and each flat panel visual display device is arranged to respond only to transmission signals that include its individual designated code. Brief Description of the Drawings The invention is now described in greater detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:- Figure 1 is an isometric view of part of a vehicle seat showing a table in its extended position and carrying a flat display screen and a manual control;
Figures 2, 3 and 4 are similar to Figure 1 but show different table and screen configurations with the display screen being moved to an enhanced viewing position; Figure 5 is an isometric view of part of a vehicle seat illustrating the mounting of a vehicle seat table to an existing table mechanism;
Figures 6 and 7 show modifications of the vehicle table seat;
Figure 8 shows another form of vehicle table seat;
Figures 9 to 12 show further configuration of vehicle table seats; and Figure 13 is a diagram illustrating, in plan, the seat arrangement in the forward section of an aircraft fuselage, and a block diagram illustrating one form of vehicle communication system. Detailed Description of the Illustrated Embodiments
With reference to Figure 1 , a vehicle seat 10 includes a seat back 1 1 supported from the vehicle floor by unshown frames and an unshown seat squab. A table 12 is supported from the rear of the seat back 13 by a mechanism 14 which permits the table 12 to be moved, by a passenger seated behind the table 1 , from the extended position illustrated, to a stowed position in which the table 12 fits flushly within a recess 15 and is retained in position by a toggle 16. In the extended position illustrated, the table extends backwardly to cover the legs of the passenger using the table, a first edge 17 of the table 12 being directed towards the rear 1 3 of the seat back 1 1 in front of this passenger, and a second edge 1 8 of the table 12, parallel to the first edge 17, being directed away from the rear 1 3 of the seat back 12 towards the passenger. The table 12 has an upper surface 19 which, when the table 12 is in its extended position as shown, projects generally horizontally from the seat back 1 1. The latter constitutes an integral part of the seat 10. A recess 20 is formed in the upper right-hand corner of the table surface 19 to locate the base of a glass or other drinking vessel, thereby inhibiting it from sliding off the table 12.
The features of the seat 10 described to this point are well-known. The inven- tion provides a flat display screen 21 for use by the passenger using the table 19. The flat display screen 21 is part of a flat panel visual display device, which forms part of the table 1 and is arranged so that the flat display screen 21 is co-planar with the upper table surface 19. As shown, the flat display screen 21 is substantially square and is positioned to the left side of the drink recess 20. A manual control panel 22 is positioned between the drink recess and the passenger and also has a flat upper surface which, as shown, is also co-planar with the upper table surface 19. The flat display screen 21 and the manual control panel 22 are sealed, either individually or within the upper table surface 19, to prevent ingress of dirt or spilled drinks, and formed of heat resistant material.
The seat back 1 1 carries a signal input connector 23 which is connected by a signal transmission means, in the form of a wire harness 24, to transmit display signals to the flat display screen 21. The harness 24 is routed to the interior of the table 12 through the rear 13 of the seat back and through the mechanism 14 which is conveniently made of hollow or of channel section. In this manner the harness 24 is protected against accidental damage by either a passenger or by the articulation of the table 12 and its mechanism 14.
Control of the flat display screen 21 is effected by signals fed to the input connector 23 from an unshown signal bus that also transmits the display signals, and also by signals fed to the flat panel visual display device and/or the flat display screen 21 by use of the manual control panel 22. It will be noted that the flat panel visual display device, the flat display screen 21 , the manual control panel 22, the signal input connector 23 and the wire harness 24 are all integrated into the vehicle seat 10. in this manner, the fitting and removal of the seat 10 is simplified insofar as the only display connection required is that between the signal input connector 23 and the vehicle signal bus. Instead of being a socket as illustrated, the signal input connector could be a short lead with a plug to fit a socket in the vehicle signal bus. Signal transmission along the vehicle signal bus can be electrical or optical.
After use, the table 12 is articulated to lie inside the recess 15, thereby safely stowing the flat display screen 21 and the manual control panel 22 away from possible damage by movement of either passenger or luggage from overhead lockers. The re- cess 15 additionally protects the surface of the flat display screen 21 from scratching and inhibits unintentional operation of the manual control panel 22. The flat panel visual display device can be of any suitable design provided that its display screen 21 is substantially flat, and provided that it is not too thick to be incorporated into, or to comprise, the table. Currently various flat display screens of small thickness are used in lap-top computers, and various other LCD (liquid crystal display) screens are available. Organic light emitting diodes (OLED) are particularly suitable as they are essentially very thin and light and can incorporate their own power source and programmes. An OLED can be built on a flexible substrate to produce a FOLED which can be adhered directly to the appropriate table surface and can also include a manual touch control. In future, other suitable display screens will probably become available. The term "flat panel visual display device" is geneπcally used throughout the specification and claims to comprise any visual display device which comprises a thin flat body having a flat display screen. Due to its inherent low ratio of thickness to screen size, the term excludes cathode raytubes.
As the embodiments illustrated in Figures 2, 3 and 4 have many features in common with those already described with reference to Figure 1 , the same reference numerals have been used to indicate equivalent features, and only the points of difference will be described.
In Figure 2 the flat display screen 21 is smaller but is movable between a position in which it is co-planar with the upper surface 19 of the table 12, and an enhanced viewing position as shown. This is achieved by pivoting the horizontal edge of the flat display screen 21 that is closest to the passenger, about a horizontal axis parallel with the edges 17 and 1 8, to the table 12. The flat display screen 21 can therefore be rotated from a position in which it occupies a recess 25 in the table 12, to the position illustrated in which its surface is inclined to the upper surface 19 of the table. Ideally the angle of inclination is chosen to position the flat display screen 21 generally normal to the line of sight of a passenger using it. The flat display screen 21 may be mounted either by its horizontal hinge to the table 12, or by a separate unshown linkage, or by appropriate stops, either so that its inclined position is fixed at an angle suitable for a passenger of standard dimensions, or is adjustable to suit the individual requirements of each passenger. The smaller size of the flat display screen 21 leaves an area 26 of the table surface 19 free for use. If desired, the manual control panel 22 may be reposi- tioned within the area 26.
Figure 3 differs from Figure 2 insofar as the drink recess 20 and the manual control panel 22 have been omitted to optimise the width of the flat display screen 21. If any manual control is required for the flat panel visual display device, the flat display screen 21 can incorporate a touch control, or touch control areas can be incorporated in the upper table surface 19 between the edge 18 and the display screen 21. Although the harness 24 could receive display signals from a signal input connector 23, as described with reference to Figures 1 and 2, it is shown in Figure 3 connected to a signal receiver 27 carried by the seat. The display signals are transmitted from a signal transmission unit carried by the vehicle, for instance as a low range radio signal from an aerial bus, or antenna, passing close to the location of the signal receiver 27. The signal receiver could also be arranged to receive signals transmitted by light, ultra sound, or by electromagnetic induction. In Figure 4 the flat display screen 21 is secured to the table 12 which is connected to the mechanism for pivoting about an axis X-X to permit the table 12 and the flat panel visual display device with its flat display screen 21 to be articulated as a single unit between the extended position (shown in Figure 1 ) and the enhanced viewing position that is illustrated. With this arrangement the flat panel visual display device can be built in the form of the table 12 with the flat display screen 21 defining substantially the whole of the upper surface 1 . To support the flat display screen 21 in the enhanced viewing position, the mechanism 14 will need to be appropriately designed. For instance, as shown, each of the two mechanisms 14 (only one of which is visible) can be hinged about the axis Y-Y to enable the mechanism to straighten as the table 12 is moved to the stowed position. By using a stop to limit articulation about the axis Y-Y to that illustrated, the mechanism is able to support the table 12 in its horizontal extended position whilst positioning the axis X-X close to the passenger to optimise tilting of the table 12 to the enhanced viewing position. Telescopic struts 28, 29 may be fitted into the edge 17 of the table 12 to steady it whilst in the enhanced viewing position. Each of the struts 28 and 29 would be provided, at its outer end, with a lateral pin running in a slot 30 in the side of the recess 15. In this manner, as the table 12 is articulated about th e axis X-X from the enhanced viewing position towards the horizontal extended position, the unshown lateral pins will be moved downwards along their respective slots 30 whilst the struts 28, 29 telescope into the table 12. Further articulation of the table 12, towards the stowed position, causes the mechanisms 14 to straighten about the axis Y- Y whilst the unshown lateral pins continue to move downwards along the slots 30.
With reference to Figure 5, a vehicle seat 10 includes a seat back 1 1 supported from the vehicle floor by unshown frames and an unshown seat squab. An unshown table is normally supported from the rear of the seat back 1 3 by a mechanism 14 which articulates between the extended position illustrated, and a stowed position in which the mechanism 13 folds into slots 60 in the seat back 1 1. The mechanism 14 is shown dia- grammatically to simplify the drawing and can be replaced by any other table mechanism which will support a vehicle seat table and allow its movement between such extended and stowed positions. The term "table mechanism" is therefore used genencally throughout the specification and claims. The unshown table would normally be secured to the mechanism 14 by appropriate attachment means, such as bolts extending through bores 61 in arms 62 and 63, to engage unshown captive nuts within the table. Many different types of attachment means can be used including clips and slides. As the type of attachment means is immaterial to the present invention the term "attachment means" is used genencally throughout this specification and the claims.
The table mechanism 14 permits the table to be moved, by a passenger seated behind the seat back 1 1 , between an extended position in which the arms 62 and 63 are generally horizontal, as illustrated, with the table supported substantially horizontally between them, and a stowed position in which the table fits flushly within the re- cess 15 in the seat back 1 1 , and is retained by the toggle 16.
The attachment means normally securing the unshown standard table to the arms 62 and 63 has been released, and the standard table has been removed preparatory to replacement by a vehicle seat table 12 in accordance with the present invention. In Figure 1 , the dotted line 64 indicates the alignment of the replacement vehicle seat table 12 with the arm 63, the replacement vehicle seat table 12 being lowered between the arms 62 and 63 until the bores 61 align with similarly positioned threaded bores 65 m the corresponding opposite edges of the replacement table 12, and the original bolts being re-inserted through the bores 61 and tightened to engage the threaded bores 65, thereby firmly securing the replacement vehicle seat table 12 to the table mechanism 14. When the original table is secured to the table mechanism 14 by other types of attachment means, these may also be re-used for attaching the replacement vehicle seat table 1 , or another form of attachment means may be used if convenient.
The vehicle seat table 12 comprises a table body 66 which defines a table surface 67 which, in the illustrated extended position, extends horizontally backwards from the rear of the seat back 1 3 to cover the legs of the passenger using the table 12. The table body 66 may be moulded or fabricated from any convenient material that is suitable for use in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
A flat panel visual display device, having a flat display screen 21 is built into, and supported by, the table body 66 so that the upper surface of the flat display screen 21 is generally contiguous with the table surface 67. The junction between the table surface 67 and the peripheral edge of the flat panel visual display device is preferably sealed to prevent ingress of dirt and any spilt fluids. Such sealing may be achieved by the use of a gasket, or a pre-formed resilient seal, or mastic. The materials forming the table surface 67 and the flat display screen 21 are preferably chosen to be sufficiently heat resistant to avoid damage by hot food and hot drinks supported by the table surface. If neces- sary, the entire upper surface of the table 20 may be covered with, and protected by, a heat-resistant transparent sheet. Alternatively a sheet of transparent heat resistant material may be hinged to the table 20 to overlie the flat display screen 21.
The underside of the table body 66 is provided with an unshown power input socket which receives a power source 68 (such as a re-chargeable battery), and with an unshown memory input socket which receives a signal memory 69 (such as a memory chip, disc or tape). The table body 66 is also provided with a manual control panel 22 which can be a series of touch control keys or windows, protected against damage by spilt liquids. Alternatively the manual control panel 22 may in the form of a touch control portion of the display screen 21. In use the visual display device, its display screen 21 , and the signal memory 69 are powered by the power source 68 under the direct control of the passenger oper- ating the manual control panel 22. An audio jack 70 is also carried in a convenient position by the table body 66, thereby allowing the passenger to receive audio signals via earphones. Such audio signals could be transmitted electrically direct to the earphones, or could be produced by a speaker in the table body 66 and transmitted by a tube to the passenger earpiece.
In this manner the replacement vehicle seat table 12 is completely autonomus as it does not rely on receiving either power or display signals from the vehicle. As the power source 68 has a limited charge and the signal memory 69 has a limited capacity, their respective sockets permit replacement whenever appropriate. However, power sources are readily available which would provide for several hours operation, indeed more time sufficient time to complete a long journey. The signal memory 69 could be a programme sponsored by a commercial organisation or by advertisers, possibly promoting goods and/or services at the destination of the journey. Such programmes could be changed between journeys by a representative of the vehicle operator. In the case of an airline, the changing of programmes could form part of the standard pre-flight cabin preparation , together with a check on the charge in the power source 68 and the general serviceability of the flat panel visual display device. With non-sponsored programmes, each passenger could be offered a choice of programme for a fee and, on payment, the cabin attendant would insert the appropriate signal memory 69 in the ta- ble socket. With the latter system it would be desirable for there to be a locking device, such as that mentioned later with reference to Figure 8, to prevent any unauthorised removal of a signal memory 69. If desired, the power source 68 could be a power jack to a power line installed in the aircraft or other vehicle.
Alternatively, the signal memory 69 could be replaced by a signal receiver ar- ranged to receive display signals from a signal system installed in the aircraft or other vehicle. In this event the power source 68 could be either a power jack or a rechargeable battery. Whenever a re-chargeable battery is used, it would also be desirable for there to be a locking device, such as that described later with refernce to Figure 8, to prevent unauthorised removal. The use of a removable battery also opens the possibility of charging the passenger a fee for its use when the display signals do not originate from a removable signal memory 69. Figures 6 to 12 each illustrate a different design of vehicle seat table 12. As many of their components and features are similar to those already described with reference to Figure 5, the same reference numerals are used to denote equivalent components and features, and only the points of difference will be described. In Figure 6, the flat display screen 21 and its associated flat panel visual display device are supported by a frame 71 which is hinged about the edge nearest the passenger so that it can be articulated, from a position in which it is contiguous with the table surface 67, to the inclined display position shown. An unshown ratchet arranged between the table body 66 and the frame 71 is used to permit the display screen 21 to be set in a range of adjusted positions to suit the passenger The depth of the table body 66 is slightly greater to increase the volume available for containing the flat panel visual display device and any associated components. However the position of the threaded bores 65 relative to the table surface 67 has been maintained so that the position of the table surface 67 relative to the arms 62 and 63 is unaltered. In this manner the table surface 67 will occupy the same position within the seat recess 1 5 when in the stowed position, thereby avoiding any need to modify the seat recess 15.
In Figure 7, a much larger flat display screen 210 is provided and incorporates touch controls for the associated flat panel visual display device so that there is no need for a separate manual control panel 22. If desired, the hinge connection between the flat display screen 210 and the table body 66 may incorporate a slide to allow the screen to be slid back towards the seat back 1 1 , thereby increasing the passenger's viewing distance.
In Figure 8, the position of the flat display screen 21 has been inverted so that it faces in the opposite direction to the table surface 67. In this manner the flat display screen 21 cannot be viewed whilst the table is in use, but can be operated and viewed when the table 12 has been moved to its stowed position. The position of the power source 68 and signal memory 69 have also been inverted so that they are accessed through the table surface 67 as shown, each being retained in its socket by a locking device 72 so that it can only be removed by the use of a key. In Figure 9 the flat panel visual display screen 21 is hinged about a horizontal axis along its lower edge as seen in the drawing. As a consequence, the frame 71 can swing downwards into a recess 73 in the top of the table body 66 so that the back of the flat panel visual display device is contiguous with the table surface 67. This enables the visual display screen 21 to be stowed within the table 12 when not in use, with its visual display screen 21 protected within the table 12. When it is desired to use the flat panel visual display device, the frame 71 is rotated to the full line position shown, control being by the manual control panel 22. If desired, the frame 71 can be adjusted to a range of positions, such as that shown in dotted lines, thereby adjusting the angle to suit the eye level of the passenger.
Figure 10 is very similar to the arrangement shown in Figure 9, but uses the substantially larger visual display screen 210 which can again fold down into the recess 73. It will be noted that the free edge 74 of the visual display screen 210 is curved to be contiguous with a radiused edge 75 of the table 12 when shut. As indicated by the arrows, the inclination of the visual display screen 210 can again be varied to suit the viewing position of the passenger. It will be noted that the manual control panel 22 is positioned in the bottom of the recess 73 and is therefore covered by the visual display screen 210 when the frame 21 is folded into the table 12.
Although the visual display screens 21 and 210 of Figures 9 and 10 can be fully integrated with their respective manual control panels 22 and their respective power sources 68 and signal memories 69, they may be connected to, or operated by a com- munication system in the aircraft using the interconnecting harness 76.
Figure 1 1 shows a modification of Figure 10, insofar as the frame 71 is extended laterally to be of substantially the same width as the table body 66. It also differs insofar as the visual display screen is now defined by the visible surface of a FOLED 300 which, as shown in the drawing, is a very thin flexible substrate adhered or otherwise lami- nated to the surface of the frame 71. FOLED 300 can be completely self-contained having its own internal power supply, memory, and incorporating a touch control panel on its surface; it therefore comprises a flat panel visual display device. Alternatively, another FOLED can be used to constitute the separate manual control panel 22 which is linked by unshown conductors to the flat panel visual display device provided by the FOLED 300. If the FOLED 300 does not have its own internal power supply and mem- ory, a power source 68 and signal memory 69 can be carried by the table body 66 as before.
If Figure 12 the frame 71 is supported from the table by a mechanism 77 which is hinged to the table for rotation about an axis A-A, thereby enabling the frame 71 to be raised out of the recess 73 to the position shown. The mechanism 77 is a sliding fit within the frame 71 , thereby enabling the flat panel visual display device 300 to be raised to the position shown, thereby adjusting its height relative to the passenger. The mechanism 77 can also be mounted to the frame 71 for limited rotation about the axis B-B thereby allowing the angle of the flat display screen 300 to be adjusted to suit the passenger. As with Figure 1 1 , the flat display screen 300 is provided by the surface of a FOLED which is adhered to the frame 71 . This can incorporate a touch control panel, memory and internal power supply so that it can be independent of any electrical connection to either the table 12, the vehicle seat or the air frame. However, if desired, the flat display screen 300 can be controlled through appropriate conductors by a rπan- ual control panel 22 which can be of conventional design, or another FOLED.
The mechanism 77 of Figure 2 can be applied to any of the previously described embodiments so that the height and angle of the flat panel visual display device and its flat display screen can be adjusted to suit individual passengers.
FOLEDs and OLEDs are manufactured by Universal Display Corporation and have a number of advantages over other flat panel displays which are usually fabricated on glass substrates. FOLEDs have significant performance and cost advantages in that they are formed as very thin non-rigid substrates which can be adhered, using an adhesive or other laminating process, to a rigid surface. This inherent thinness makes the use of a FOLED or other OLED most advantageous with the constructions of Figures 1 1 and 12 as the thickness of the substrate does not have any appreciable effect on the thickness of the table 12. This advantage is also gained by using a FOLED or an OLED as the flat panel visual display device of any of the embodiments.
In Figure 13 the line 40 indicates diagrammatically a horizontal section through the front fuselage of a large passenger aircraft having seats arranged either side of a central aisle. Three rows of seats are illustrated in plan, rows 1 and 2 each comprising four seats A, B, C, and D, but row 3 comprising six seats A, B, C, D, E and F due to the widening of the fuselage 40. Each of the seats is of the construction and configuration already described with reference to Figures 1 , 2, 3 or 4, but seats 1A, 1 B, 1 C, 1 D, 3A and 3F additionally carry a second table 1 12 which stows away in one of their arm rests as there is no seat back in front of their respective passengers. All of the seats are shown with their tables 12 in the horizontal extended positions so that flat display screens can be seen by the passengers in the next row. Thus the flat display screens in the tables 12 of the back of row 1 will be visible to the passengers in row 2.
Figure 5 also illustrates, as a block diagram, a vehicle communication system which in very general terms comprises channels 41 , 42 and 43 between a signal trans- mission unit 44 and the seats in the left hand sections of rows 1 , 2 and 3. Channels 51 , 52 and 53 similarly are arranged between the signal transmission unit 44 and the right hand sections of rows 1 , 2 and 3. In this manner the communication between the signal transmission unit 44 and each seat is arranged along the inside of the airframe 40 so that installation and servicing is simplified, the channels 41 , 42, 43, 51 , 52 and 53 being fitted behind the internal cabin trim just above the level of the cabin floor. The channels can terminate in plugs or sockets to fit the signal input connector 23 of each seat, or can be hard-wired. It should be noted that channels 41 and 51 each carry the signals for four seats, that is for the flat panel visual display devices to be used by the passengers of rows 1 and 2, that the channels 42 and 52 each carry the signals for two seats, that is for the flat panel visual display devices to be used by the passengers of seats 3B, 3C, 3D and 3E, and the channels 43 and 53 each carry the signals for eight seats, that is for seats 3 A and 3F and for the passengers sitting behind seats of row 3.
The signal transmission unit 44 comprises a switching system controlled by a controller 45 to connect each, or any combination of the flat panel visual display devices via their respective channels 41 , 42, 43, 51 , 52 or 53 to any of the service bases 46, 47, 48 or 49. Service base 46 may, for instance, comprise a sequence of advertisements, service base 47 a selection of videos, service base 48 a selection of games, and service base 49 details of hotels, hire cars and other facilities available at the destination. The controller 45 may be operated to determine which of the service bases 46, 47, 48 or 49 is available to the passengers, or any group of passengers and may be used to over-ride current connections to the flat panel visual display devices, thereby displaying flight safety information and details of the flight's progress and estimated time of arrival.
Subject to any over-riding control by the controller 45, each of the passengers can use their manual control to select the service base they wish to use and to select specific programmes within that base. The manual controls may also be used to permit communication between passengers via the signal transmission unit 44. In this manner a passenger wishing to play, say, chess, can locate another passenger with the same inclination and they can be jointly interconnected by the signal transmission unit 44 with a chess programme, each passenger moving his pieces by using his manual control. This vehicle transmission system enables the provision of a wide range of entertainment and information to be made available to passengers on an individual basis.
The transmission of data to each flat panel visual display device can take several forms including any of those already described. Instead of using individual wiring to each flat panel visual display device via the channels 41 , 42, 43, 51 , 52 and 53, a single transmission channel can be used to drive the screens either directly through hard wiring, or indirectly through radio, high frequency sound, optics, electromagnetic induction or any other system compatible with the operation of the vehicle. For instance, an aerial bus, or antenna, could be looped around the passenger cabin, or portions of the passenger cabin, the signal transmission unit 44 may be arranged to produce a designation code identifying the flat panel visual display device that is to receive the signal, and each flat display screen is arranged to respond only to transmission signals including its individual designation code.
In addition to the services already indicated, service bases could be provided for any other visual information that may be attractive to passengers, for instance, duty free lists and external video cameras.

Claims

1. A vehicle seat provided with an articulatable table which defines a surface, a table mechanism supporting the table for articulation between a stowed position and an extended position in which the table is orientated to extend generally hoπzon- tally from the seat, and a flat panel visual display device forming at least part of the table and having a flat display screen forming at least part of the surface.
2. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 , in which a signal transmission means is positioned to transmit display signals to the flat panel visual display device from a signal input connector carried by the seat.
3. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 or 2, in which the signal transmission means is carried by the table mechanism.
4. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 , in which a signal receiver is carried by the seat and is arranged to receive transmitted display signals and to feed the received display signals to the flat panel visual display device.
5. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 , in which a signal memory is carried by the table and is arranged to feed display signals to the flat panel visual display device.
6. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 or 5, in which a power source is carried by the table for driving the flat panel visual display device.
7. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 , in which the flat panel visual display device incorporates a signal memory.
8. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 or 7, in which the flat panel visual display device has a self-contained power source.
9. A vehicle seat, according to any preceding claim, including a manual control for the flat panel visual display device, the manual control being carried by the table adjacent to the flat display screen.
10. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 9, in which the manual control has a substantially flat touch control keyboard forming part of the table surface.
1 1. A vehicle seat, according to any of Claims 1 to 8, in which the flat panel visual display device incorporates a touch control system operable by touching appro- pnate portions of the flat display screen.
12. A vehicle seat, accordingly to any preceding claim, in which the flat display screen is heat resistant.
1 3. A vehicle seat, according to any of Claims 1 to 1 1 , including a heat resistant screen which is hinged from the table for movement to a position overlying the flat display screen.
14. A vehicle seat, according to any preceding claim, having an earphone socket serving as an audio channel for the flat panel visual display device.
15. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 14, in which the earphone socket is carried by the table.
16. A vehicle seat according to any preceding claim, in which the flat display screen is mounted for movement, relative to the table, to an enhanced viewing position that is inclined to the horizontal.
17. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 6, in which the flat pane visual display device is secured to the table, and the table is supported by the table mechanism to permit the table and the flat display screen to be articulated between the extended position and the enhanced viewing position.
18. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 1 6, in which the flat panel visual display device is mounted for articulation relative to the table to enable the flat display screen to be articulated to the enhanced viewing position when the table is in the ex- tended position
1 A vehicle seat, according to Claim 18, in which the flat panel visual display device screen is mounted to the table about a horizontal axis.
20. A vehicle seat, according to any preceding claim, in which the table is supported by the table mechanism from a back portion of the seat whereby, in the ex- tended position the surface will extend backwards from the rear of the seat back portion with a first edge of the surface directed towards the rear of the seat back portion and with a second edge of the surface, parallely-spaced from the first edge, directed away from the rear of the seat back portion, and in the stowed position the second edge will be positioned generally above the first edge.
21. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 20, in which the flat display screen is in a viewing position when the table is articulated to the extended position.
22. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 20, in which the flat display screen is in a viewing position when the table is articulated to the stowed position.
23. A vehicle seat, according to any of Claims 1 to 1 9, in which the table is supported by the table mechanism from an arm of the vehicle seat whereby, in the ex- tended position the surface will extend laterally away from the seat arm with a first edge positioned adjacent the seat arm and with a second edge, parallely-spaced from the first edge, directed away from the seat arm, and in the stowed position the second edge will be positioned generally adjacent the seat arm.
24. A vehicle seat, according to any preceding claim, in which the flat display screen is of a type used in lap-top computers.
25. A vehicle seat, according to any of Claims 1 to 23, in which the flat panel visual display device is an organic light emitting diode.
26. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 25, in which the organic light emitting diode is built on a flexible substrate adhered to the surface.
27. A vehicle seat, according to Claim 25 or 26, in which the organic light emitting diode incorporates a touch control keyboard.
28. A vehicle seat substantially as described herein with reference to any of Figures 1 to 12 of the accompanying drawings.
29. A vehicle seat table which defines a table surface, has attachment means enabling the table to be secured to a table mechanism carried by a vehicle seat, and includes a flat panel visual display device having a flat display screen.
30. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 29, in which the flat display screen forms at least part of the table surface.
31. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 29, in which the flat display screen faces in the opposite direction to the table surface and is mounted for articulation, relative to the attachment means, to a viewing position.
32. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 29, in which the flat display screen or the entire flat panel visual display device is mounted from the table about a horizontal axis for articulation to a viewing position.
33. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 32, in which the flat display screen or the entire flat panel visual display is further mounted from the table to permit extension above the table surface to a viewing position.
34. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 33, in which the further mounting also permits the angle of the flat display screen to be adjusted about a second horizontal axis.
35. A vehicle seat table, as in any of Claims 29 to 34, which includes a signal memory to provide display signals to the flat panel visual display device.
36. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 35, which includes a manual control op- erable to control the transmission of the display signals from the signal memory to the flat panel visual display device.
37. A vehicle seat table, as in either of Claims 35 or 36, including a power source for driving the flat panel visual display device.
38. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 37, in which the power source is pro- vided by a power source unit plugged into a power input socket carried by the table.
39. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 38, including a locking device arranged to retain the power source unit in the power input socket.
40. A vehicle seat table, as in any of Claims 35 to 39, in which the signal memory is provided by a signal memory unit plugged into a signal input socket carried by the table.
41. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 40, including a locking device arranged to retain the signal memory unit in the signal input socket.
42. A vehicle seat table, as in any of Claims 29 to 34, including a signal receiver arranged to receive display signals and to transmit them to the flat panel visual display device.
43. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 42, which includes a manual control operable to control the transmission of the display signals to the flat panel visual display device.
44. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 42, which includes a manual control op- erable to control the receipt of the display signals by the signal receiver.
45. A vehicle seat table, as in any Claims 29 to 44, including a removable key arranged to activate the flat panel visual display device.
46. A vehicle seat table, as in any of Claims 29 to 45, in which the flat panel display screen is of a type used in lap-top computers.
47. A vehicle seat table, as in any of Claims 29 to 45, in which the flat panel visual display device is an organic light emitting diode.
48. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 47, in which the organic light emitting diode is built on a flexible substrate adhered to the surface.
49. A vehicle seat table, as in Claim 47 or 48, in which the organic light emit- ting diode incorporates a touch control keyboard.
50. A vehicle seat table substantially as described herein with reference to any of Figures 1 to 12 of the accompanying drawings.
51. The combination of a vehicle seat table, in accordance with any of Claims 29 to 50, with a table mechanism which is configured to support the vehicle seat table from a vehicle seat whilst permitting the vehicle seat table to articulate between a stowed position and an extended position in which the table surface is orientated to extend generally horizontally from the seat.
52. The combination, as in Claim 51 , in which the flat display screen is in a viewing position when the vehicle seat table is articulated to the stowed position.
53. The combination, as in Claim 51 , in which the flat display screen is in a viewing position when the vehicle seat table is articulated to the extended position.
54. The combination, as in Claim 51 , in which the flat display screen is supported for articulation about a horizontal to a viewing position whilst the vehicle seat table is in the extended position.
55. A vehicle communication system comprising a plurality of passenger seats each provided with an articulatable table which defines a surface, a table mechanism which supports each table for articulation between a stowed position and an extended position in which the surface is orientated to extend generally horizontally from its associated seat, a flat panel visual display device forming at least part of each table and having a flat display screen forming at least part of the surface, and the flat display screens are arranged to receive display signals from a signal transmission unit carried by the vehicle.
56. A vehicle communication unit, according to Claim 55 in which the signal transmission unit is arranged to transmit the same display signal to all of the flat panel visual display devices.
57. A vehicle communication system, according to Claim 55, in which the signal transmission unit is arranged to identify each of the flat panel visual display devices and is programmable to transmit different display signals to selected flat panel visual display devices.
58. A vehicle communication system, according to Claim 55, in which a manual control is provided for each flat panel visual display device, and the signal transmission unit is arranged to interconnect selected flat panel visual display devices to enable the associated passengers to modify a common display image by using their respective manual controls.
59. A vehicle communication system, according to Claims 55 to 58, in which the signal transmission unit is hard wired to the flat panel visual display devices.
60. A vehicle communication system, according to any of Claims 55 to 58, in which the signal transmission unit is arranged to drive the flat panel visual display devices indirectly.
61. A vehicle communication system, according to Claim 60, in which the signal transmission unit is arranged to produce a designation code identifying the flat panel visual display device that is to be driven, and each flat panel visual display device is arranged to respond only to transmission signals including its individual designated code.
62. A vehicle communication system substantially as described herein with reference to Figure 13 of the accompanying drawings.
PCT/GB1999/002230 1998-07-11 1999-07-12 Vehicle seat, vehicle seat table and vehicle communication system WO2000002745A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9814982.6 1998-07-11
GBGB9814982.6A GB9814982D0 (en) 1998-07-11 1998-07-11 Vehicle seat and vehicle communication system
GB9904172.5 1999-02-23
GBGB9904172.5A GB9904172D0 (en) 1999-02-23 1999-02-23 Table for attachment to a vehicle seat

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU49196/99A AU4919699A (en) 1998-07-11 1999-07-12 Vehicle seat, vehicle seat table and vehicle communication system

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2000002745A1 true WO2000002745A1 (en) 2000-01-20

Family

ID=26314006

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/GB1999/002230 WO2000002745A1 (en) 1998-07-11 1999-07-12 Vehicle seat, vehicle seat table and vehicle communication system

Country Status (2)

Country Link
AU (1) AU4919699A (en)
WO (1) WO2000002745A1 (en)

Cited By (21)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2003106261A1 (en) * 2002-06-14 2003-12-24 The Boeing Company Multi-function tray table
WO2010109406A1 (en) * 2009-03-23 2010-09-30 Air New Zealand Limited Improvements in or relating to vehicle passenger seating
WO2010138632A2 (en) * 2009-05-28 2010-12-02 Norman Korpi A portable, collapsible, workstation tray table apparatus
US7971929B2 (en) 2009-10-28 2011-07-05 Be Aerospace, Inc. Meal tray with advertising display
US8084595B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2011-12-27 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
CN102525112A (en) * 2012-02-13 2012-07-04 上海延锋江森座椅有限公司 Small table plate device
CN103358958A (en) * 2012-04-09 2013-10-23 巧新科技工业股份有限公司 Tabletop device capable of fixing tablet electronic device and seat thereof
WO2013166067A1 (en) * 2012-05-01 2013-11-07 Pajic Nick Tray table with electronic device support
FR2997908A1 (en) * 2012-11-14 2014-05-16 Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Sa Folding shelf for installation against back part of front seat of car for accommodating e.g. notepad computer, has support integrated on plate of shelf, deployable from storage position on plate and tilted relative to plate in use position
WO2014170659A1 (en) * 2013-04-17 2014-10-23 Bentley Motors Limited Display screen mounting
FR3009811A1 (en) * 2013-08-26 2015-02-27 Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Sa Vehicle seat backrest
US9132918B2 (en) 2009-01-30 2015-09-15 Air New Zealand Limited Seating arrangement, seat unit, tray table and seating system
US9474806B2 (en) 2008-07-21 2016-10-25 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Methods and compositions relating to synthetic beta-1,6 glucosamine oligosaccharides
WO2017048319A1 (en) * 2015-09-15 2017-03-23 Zodiac Seats Us Llc Portable electronic device holder for tray tables
US9623971B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2017-04-18 SmartTray International, LLC Tray table with electronic device support for vehicles
US9630717B2 (en) 2013-04-26 2017-04-25 Encore Interiors, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly with reduced spacing
US9701234B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2017-07-11 SmartTray International, LLC Electronic device support for vehicles
US9764844B2 (en) 2015-04-13 2017-09-19 Encore Seats, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly
US10144515B2 (en) 2016-04-01 2018-12-04 Encore Seats, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly and components
US10301028B2 (en) * 2017-04-04 2019-05-28 B/E Aerospace, Inc. Sliding tray table with storage compartment
US10427619B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2019-10-01 SmartTray International, LLC Electronic device support for vehicles

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4647980A (en) * 1986-01-21 1987-03-03 Aviation Entertainment Corporation Aircraft passenger television system
WO1988004566A1 (en) * 1986-12-22 1988-06-30 Greenwald Larry H Video apparatus integral with passenger seat tray
US4756528A (en) * 1986-07-24 1988-07-12 Ramon Umashankar Video system for passenger vehicles
EP0277014A2 (en) * 1987-01-30 1988-08-03 Sony Corporation Service and entertainment communication system
US4774514A (en) * 1984-07-20 1988-09-27 Messerschmitt-Boelkow Blohm Gesellschaft Mit Beschraenkter Haftung Method and apparatus for carrying out passenger-related and flight attendant-related functions in an airplane
JPS63242751A (en) * 1987-03-30 1988-10-07 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Television device for vehicle
DE19754224A1 (en) * 1997-12-06 1999-06-10 Volkswagen Ag Computer screen workstation for motor vehicle

Patent Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4774514A (en) * 1984-07-20 1988-09-27 Messerschmitt-Boelkow Blohm Gesellschaft Mit Beschraenkter Haftung Method and apparatus for carrying out passenger-related and flight attendant-related functions in an airplane
US4647980A (en) * 1986-01-21 1987-03-03 Aviation Entertainment Corporation Aircraft passenger television system
US4647980B1 (en) * 1986-01-21 1989-06-13
US4756528A (en) * 1986-07-24 1988-07-12 Ramon Umashankar Video system for passenger vehicles
WO1988004566A1 (en) * 1986-12-22 1988-06-30 Greenwald Larry H Video apparatus integral with passenger seat tray
EP0277014A2 (en) * 1987-01-30 1988-08-03 Sony Corporation Service and entertainment communication system
JPS63242751A (en) * 1987-03-30 1988-10-07 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Television device for vehicle
DE19754224A1 (en) * 1997-12-06 1999-06-10 Volkswagen Ag Computer screen workstation for motor vehicle

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 13, no. 33 (M - 789) 25 January 1989 (1989-01-25) *

Cited By (37)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US7500716B2 (en) 2002-06-14 2009-03-10 The Boeing Company Multi-function tray table
WO2003106261A1 (en) * 2002-06-14 2003-12-24 The Boeing Company Multi-function tray table
US8350017B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2013-01-08 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US8912314B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2014-12-16 The Brigham And Woman's Hospital, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US8461319B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2013-06-11 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc. Poly-n-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US8084595B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2011-12-27 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US8435515B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2013-05-07 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US8410249B2 (en) 2004-04-21 2013-04-02 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG/dPNAG)-binding peptides and methods of use thereof
US10034927B2 (en) 2008-07-21 2018-07-31 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Methods and compositions relating to synthetic beta-1,6 glucosamine oligosaccharides
US9474806B2 (en) 2008-07-21 2016-10-25 The Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc. Methods and compositions relating to synthetic beta-1,6 glucosamine oligosaccharides
US9132918B2 (en) 2009-01-30 2015-09-15 Air New Zealand Limited Seating arrangement, seat unit, tray table and seating system
CN102361795A (en) * 2009-03-23 2012-02-22 新西兰航空公司 Improvements in or relating to vehicle passenger seating
WO2010109406A1 (en) * 2009-03-23 2010-09-30 Air New Zealand Limited Improvements in or relating to vehicle passenger seating
US9126689B2 (en) 2009-03-23 2015-09-08 Air New Zealand Limited Vehicle passenger seating
WO2010138632A3 (en) * 2009-05-28 2011-03-10 Norman Korpi A portable, collapsible, workstation tray table apparatus
WO2010138632A2 (en) * 2009-05-28 2010-12-02 Norman Korpi A portable, collapsible, workstation tray table apparatus
US7971929B2 (en) 2009-10-28 2011-07-05 Be Aerospace, Inc. Meal tray with advertising display
US10427619B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2019-10-01 SmartTray International, LLC Electronic device support for vehicles
US10464459B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2019-11-05 SmartTray International, LLC Tray table with electronic device support for vehicles
US9701234B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2017-07-11 SmartTray International, LLC Electronic device support for vehicles
US9623971B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2017-04-18 SmartTray International, LLC Tray table with electronic device support for vehicles
US10150395B2 (en) 2011-10-13 2018-12-11 SmartTray International, LLC Electronic device support for vehicles
CN102525112A (en) * 2012-02-13 2012-07-04 上海延锋江森座椅有限公司 Small table plate device
CN103358958B (en) * 2012-04-09 2016-12-14 巧新科技工业股份有限公司 There is desktop assembly and the seat thereof of location panel electronic equipment
CN103358958A (en) * 2012-04-09 2013-10-23 巧新科技工业股份有限公司 Tabletop device capable of fixing tablet electronic device and seat thereof
WO2013166067A1 (en) * 2012-05-01 2013-11-07 Pajic Nick Tray table with electronic device support
FR2997908A1 (en) * 2012-11-14 2014-05-16 Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Sa Folding shelf for installation against back part of front seat of car for accommodating e.g. notepad computer, has support integrated on plate of shelf, deployable from storage position on plate and tilted relative to plate in use position
WO2014170659A1 (en) * 2013-04-17 2014-10-23 Bentley Motors Limited Display screen mounting
JP2016522770A (en) * 2013-04-17 2016-08-04 ベントレー モーターズ リミテッド Display screen mounting
US9630717B2 (en) 2013-04-26 2017-04-25 Encore Interiors, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly with reduced spacing
FR3009811A1 (en) * 2013-08-26 2015-02-27 Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Sa Vehicle seat backrest
US10392114B2 (en) 2015-04-13 2019-08-27 Encore Seats, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly
US9764844B2 (en) 2015-04-13 2017-09-19 Encore Seats, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly
WO2017048319A1 (en) * 2015-09-15 2017-03-23 Zodiac Seats Us Llc Portable electronic device holder for tray tables
US10744921B2 (en) 2015-09-15 2020-08-18 Safran Seats Usa Llc Portable electronic device holder for tray tables
US10144515B2 (en) 2016-04-01 2018-12-04 Encore Seats, Inc. Aircraft seating assembly and components
US10301028B2 (en) * 2017-04-04 2019-05-28 B/E Aerospace, Inc. Sliding tray table with storage compartment

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
AU4919699A (en) 2000-02-01

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US9323434B2 (en) Integrated user interface system and method
US10464459B2 (en) Tray table with electronic device support for vehicles
US10059265B2 (en) Vision system for a vehicle
CN103085729B (en) For the insert of instrument carrier panel
US6961239B2 (en) Portable video system
EP2720944B1 (en) Flexible-usage travel suite
EP1803645B1 (en) Module for an aircraft
US9126689B2 (en) Vehicle passenger seating
EP1299784B1 (en) Lcd tile display
US20150091342A1 (en) Passenger seating assemblies and aspects thereof
US7280825B2 (en) Aircraft in-flight entertainment system including low power transceivers and associated methods
US8674542B2 (en) Aircraft seat with shared control architecture
US6748597B1 (en) Upgradable aircraft in-flight entertainment system and associated upgrading methods
EP1963132B1 (en) Aircraft passenger seat
EP2726373B1 (en) Multipurpose tray
US5511842A (en) Security vehicle system
US7575265B2 (en) Vehicle entertainment system with rotation control mechanism
US6685016B2 (en) Entertainment system comprising suspension platform
US5222780A (en) TV/LCD pop-up stowage retraction means
US9628840B2 (en) Portable vehicle entertainment systems with wireless communication of entertainment content
US6249913B1 (en) Aircraft data management system
US9834308B2 (en) Aircraft passenger seat center console unit
US6585201B1 (en) Detachable universal display mount
CN204623328U (en) Display positioning system
JP4976374B2 (en) Deployable video arm

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AK Designated states

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): AL AM AT AU AZ BA BB BG BR BY CA CH CN CU CZ DE DK EE ES FI GB GD GE GH GM HR HU ID IL IN IS JP KE KG KP KR KZ LC LK LR LS LT LU LV MD MG MK MN MW MX NO NZ PL PT RO RU SD SE SG SI SK SL TJ TM TR TT UA UG US UZ VN YU ZW

AL Designated countries for regional patents

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): GH GM KE LS MW SD SL SZ UG ZW AM AZ BY KG KZ MD RU TJ TM AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LU MC NL PT SE BF BJ CF CG CI CM GA GN GW ML MR NE SN TD TG

121 Ep: the epo has been informed by wipo that ep was designated in this application
DFPE Request for preliminary examination filed prior to expiration of 19th month from priority date (pct application filed before 20040101)
REG Reference to national code

Ref country code: DE

Ref legal event code: 8642

122 Ep: pct application non-entry in european phase