WO2016135516A1 - Rocking actuator - Google Patents

Rocking actuator

Info

Publication number
WO2016135516A1
WO2016135516A1 PCT/GB2016/050523 GB2016050523W WO2016135516A1 WO 2016135516 A1 WO2016135516 A1 WO 2016135516A1 GB 2016050523 W GB2016050523 W GB 2016050523W WO 2016135516 A1 WO2016135516 A1 WO 2016135516A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
portion
rocking
arm
device
housing
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2016/050523
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Warren Newton
Original Assignee
Innovative Baby Products 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

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D9/00Small beds for newborns or infants, e.g. bassinets or cradles
    • A47D9/02Small beds for newborns or infants, e.g. bassinets or cradles with rocking mechanisms
    • A47D9/04Small beds for newborns or infants, e.g. bassinets or cradles with rocking mechanisms with disconnectable rockers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47DFURNITURE SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR CHILDREN
    • A47D13/00Other nursery furniture
    • A47D13/10Rocking-chairs ; Indoor swings ; Baby bouncers
    • A47D13/107Rocking-chairs ; Indoor swings ; Baby bouncers resiliently suspended or supported, e.g. baby bouncers

Abstract

A rocking device, having a drive mechanism (34) contained in a housing (10). A rocking arm (36) extends outwardly from the housing (10) towards an engagement formation for contacting an article to be rocked in use. The rocking arm (36) has a rigid arm portion for connection to the drive mechanism (34) and an adaptable portion for altering the spacing and/or orientation between the rigid arm portion and the engagement formation. The drive mechanism (34) and rigid rocking arm portion are operatively connected such that the drive mechanism (34) imparts a repeating motion to the rocking arm in use. The adaptable arm portion may be resiliently deformable or flexible, e.g. to allow angular orientation adjustment and length adjustment. A universal device of this kind may be used for rocking a number of different articles, including baby bouncers, rocking cribs, car seats and the like.

Description

Rocking Actuator

The present invention relates to a rocking device, for the rocking of articles or devices, such as baby seats and cribs.

Babies can often be soothed or encouraged to sleep by a rocking motion. Parents or carers may manually apply a rocking motion to a baby seat, stroller, or cot. However, when a baby requires rocking for a continuous extended period of time, this can become time consuming and burdensome, particularly if a parent needs to attend other duties whilst the baby is sleeping. A solution to this problem is a powered rocking device that may be attached to a seat, stroller or cot or the like, which provides a continuous rocking motion.

There are a number of conventional baby seats, or so-called 'baby bouncers', for which a bespoke motorised unit is incorporated into the body or housing of the baby seat. Such conventional devices may comprise a swing. However, many such conventional devices often comprise vibration mechanisms of relatively small amplitude and high frequency, rather than rocking or bouncing mechanisms. An example of a dedicated rocking device for baby seats is disclosed in GB

2503453 and relies on the retraction and release of a cord. One end of a cord is attached to a baby seat whilst the other end is connected to a driving mechanism in the base of the device. The driving mechanism has the effect of repeatedly pulling the cord into the base housing, and then releasing the cord, such that the baby seat is rocked back and forth.

Further examples of rocking devices comprise a moving platform on which a cot or baby carriage is placed, and a driving mechanism which causes the platform to move from side to side in the plane of the platform. This type of device is required to be sufficiently large for a baby carriage or cot to be placed upon the platform, and hence may not be easily portable. It is an object of the present invention to provide a rocking device which

overcomes or substantially mitigates some or all of the above mentioned disadvantages. In particular, it is an object of the present invention to provide a rocking device which can be used to rock a variety of different articles, such as seats, strollers, cots or the like.

References herein to a baby seat are to any object in which a baby or infant may be placed to be rocked, for example a crib, stroller, cot or the like. According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a rocking device, comprising a drive mechanism contained in a housing, and a rocking arm extending outwardly from the housing towards an engagement formation for contacting an article to be rocked in use, the rocking arm comprising a rigid arm portion for connection to the drive mechanism and an adaptable portion for altering the spacing and/or orientation between the rigid arm portion and the engagement formation, wherein the drive mechanism and rigid rocking arm portion are operatively connected such that in use, the drive mechanism imparts a repeating motion to the rocking arm. The device according to the invention is advantageous principally because the adaptable rocking arm portion enables different relative orientations between the device and the article to be rocked. This allows a universal device to be used for a number of different articles, including baby bouncers, rocking cribs, car seats and the like.

The adaptable arm portion may be resiliently deformable or flexible. The resilience may allow the orientation of the engagement formation relative to the base to be adjusted and/or range-taking. The adaptable portion may be self-supporting in an at-rest condition. The adaptable portion may return to said at-rest condition upon removal of an external force. The resilience of the adaptable arm portion is particularly advantageous in providing a universal device which avoids the need for a strap between the housing and engagement formation, which can present a potential choking hazard. The adaptable portion may be located in the force path, e.g. between, the engagement formation and the rigid arm portion. The adaptable portion may comprise the engagement formation.

At least a portion of the adaptable arm portion may be length adjustable. The length adjustable portion may be variably adjustable. The length adjustable portion may comprise a tensioner, such as for example a strap with a clasp. The tensioner may be contained within the adaptable arm portion.

Such adjustment features enable the device to be used to rock a variety of baby seats of different sizes. For example, different cribs may require a part of the engagement formation which contacts the crib to be at different distances from the housing. Additionally or alternatively, these features allow the device to be variably positioned relative to a common design of device, e.g. to accommodate different space constraints.

The device may be freestanding such that the housing comprises a base housing from which the rocking arm depends. This feature enables simple positioning and support of device on the floor for a variety of baby seats.

The adaptable arm portion may comprise a deformable neck portion and a deformable head portion. The deformable neck portion may extend from the rigid rocking arm. The deformable head portion may extend from the neck portion and may comprise the engagement formation. The engagement formation and/or head portion may extend from the neck portion at an angle, such as an acute angle. The head portion may or may not comprise attachment means for attaching to the article to be rocked in use.

In use, the engagement formation and/or head portion may hook onto the article to be rocked. The adaptable portion may comprise an outer layer and a deformable material contained therein. The outer layer may comprise a textile material and/or may be in the form of a sleeve. The deformable material may comprise a filling stuffing material. The deformable material may comprise a fibrous or cellular/foam stuffing material. A natural or artificial padding/stuffing material may be used, such as a soft toy stuffing. The deformable neck and head portions may comprise a soft toy stuffing. This kind of construction offers surprisingly good properties in being able to maintain its form when subject to actuation in use, whilst also being adaptable. Furthermore it offers vibration damping properties such that it is less prone to resonance or excessive lateral motion, when compared to more rigid, elastic materials.

The deformable neck portion of the engagement formation may provide

adjustability in angle of the engagement formation relative to the base housing. The neck portion may be angled at greater than 45° from the horizontal in use.

The neck portion may be angled at greater than 55° from the horizontal. The neck portion may be adjustable such that the angle between the engagement formation and the horizontal may be selectively adjusted between 55° and 80° or 90° from the horizontal, in use. This feature is particularly advantageous because it enables the device to be used in different positions relative to the baby seat.

The rocking device may comprise a guide structure surrounding at least part of the rigid rocking arm portion. The guide structure may be hollow in form, for example being tubular or cone shaped. The guide structure may be attached to the housing. The guide may extend in the direction of the rocking arm and may be elongate in form. A cover material or layer may surround the guide and/or housing. A unitary cover member may cover at least a portion of both the guide and housing, for example the interface between the housing and guide. The rocking arm may comprise a force transfer member, such as a piston member. The force transfer member may be located in/against the guide, for example akin to a piston in cylinder arrangement. The force transfer member and guide may be correspondingly shaped. The force transfer member and guide may serve to constrain motion of the adaptable portion to substantially one- dimensional/linear motion. The guide structure and piston member may constrain the direction of movement of the rocking arm, such that in use, the rocking arm may move in a direction parallel to a longitudinal axis of the guide structure.

The force transfer member may be attached to the rigid arm portion and/or adaptable arm portion. The force transfer member may be attached in the force path between the rigid rocking arm portion and the adaptable portion. The adaptable portion may be mounted, for example releasably or detachably mounted, to the force transfer member. The force transfer member and adaptable portion may comprise opposing connection portions. The adaptable portion and/or force transfer member may comprise one or more fastener, e.g. a releasable fastener, such as a hook/eye fastening structure. A detachable connection of this kind may advantageously allow removal or interchange of adaptable portion to a common housing.

The rocking device may comprise a first cover, enclosing the guide structure. The rocking device may comprise a second cover, enclosing the adaptable portion. The first textile cover may extend from the end of the guide structure, such that when the rocking arm is attached to the housing/guide, the first and second covers overlap. The first and/or second cover may be flexible or deformable, such as a textile material. The first and/or second textile cover may comprise a concertina structure that it compresses and expands when the rocking device is in use. The textile covers may provide a protective cover for the rocking arm.

The base housing may comprise a platform. The platform may fold, slide or pivot out from the base housing. The base housing may comprise feet. The feet may be rubber feet. The base housing may provide weight sufficient to resist the force of the rocking motion or any torque load applied by the rocking arm that would otherwise serve to topple the housing. These features provide enhanced stability to the rocking device. The drive mechanism may or may not be a rotary motor, typically an electric motor. The repeating motion provided by the drive mechanism to the rocking arm may be cyclic. The device may further comprise an electrical power source. The electrical power source may comprise a battery power source. A battery power source is advantageous as it enhances portability of the rocking device and also provides weight to the base housing and enhances the stability of the device. The rocking device may comprise user controls, e.g. by way of a user interface, for example on the housing. A remote controller could otherwise be provided. An electrical/electronic controller may be provided in the housing.

The time period for which the drive mechanism imparts a repeated motion to the rocking arm may be selectively adjustable by user controls. The drive mechanism may be associated with a timing means. The timing means may be set by the user to a preferred time. After the preferred time period has expired, the timing means may switch off the drive mechanism. This feature is advantageous as it allows the user to set a preferred time for which rocking motion is required, for example the time it is expected to take for the baby to fall asleep, or the time for which the user will be performing other tasks, and the user is not required to switch off the device after that preferred time.

The speed of the repeated motion may be selectively adjustable by user controls. The rocking device may comprise a speed control means associated with the drive mechanism. The speed control means may be set by the user to a preferred speed of the repeating motion of the rocking arm. A minimum speed of the repeated motion may be 50 rpm. The speed may be increased incrementally using the speed control means.

The user controls may comprise a locking means. The locking means may be set by the user. When the locking means is set, the timing and/or the speed controls may not be adjusted by the user controls, for example until the locking means has been removed. This feature is advantageous because it prevents any accidental adjustment of the control of the device.

The user interface may comprise at least one light source, such as an LED, and/or a user display. The user interface may be a battery monitor, which, in use, may provide information relating to the battery power supply. The user interface may display the status of the battery level. Additionally or alternatively, the user interface may provide information regarding the speed of the repeated motion of the rocking device and/or the time for which the driving mechanism will impart the repeated motion to the rocking arm.

The rocking device may further comprise a rocking arm extension portion. The extension portion may be selectively used to extend the distance between the housing and the engagement portion. The extension member may be attachable and detachable to the rigid arm portion and/or adaptable arm portion. The extension member may be attachable between the force transfer member and the adaptable portion. The extension member may be formed of an adaptable material and may form an extension of the adaptable rocking arm portion when attached. The extension member feature is advantageous because certain baby seats or cribs may require the engagement portion of the device to be at a greater distance from the housing than other baby seats. The extension member may be formed of the same material(s) as the adaptable arm portion and may match the look and feel of the adaptable portion. The extension member may comprise a generally cylindrical or lozenge/sausage shaped body and may comprise a neck extension member.

The extension member may comprise one or more connection portion, e.g. at one or more end thereof, for releasable attachment to the rigid/adaptable arm

portion(s). A releasable fastener, such as a hook/eye fastening structure may be used.

The rocking device may comprise further sensing or output features, for example under the control of a controller in the housing. The rocking device may comprise any one of, or any combination of, a music player, a microphone, a thermometer, a camera, a nightlight. Means may be provided to transmit the video stream from the camera to a device such as a portable computer or mobile telephone. A single multifunction device of this kind can beneficially remove the need for a number of separate electronic devices in the nursery.

Certain embodiments of the invention will be described in further detail below by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which Figure 1 is a side view of a rocking device according to an example of the invention.

Figure 2 is a plan view of the base of the device of Figure 1 . Figure 3 is a three-dimensional view of the device of Figure 1 , showing an example of a user control interface.

Figure 4 is a section view through a device according to an example of the invention.

Figure 5 is a section view of the rocking device with an engagement portion attached for use.

Figure 6 is a side view of an example of the rocking device in use.

Referring firstly to Figure 1 , the rocking device comprises a base housing 10. The base housing 10 is a rigid exterior housing, containing components of the rocking mechanism within the housing, as will be discussed in more detail below. The base housing 10 is generally dome shaped, with a flat base such that is can stand on a generally planar support surface. The base housing is formed of a rigid plastic material, for example of a plurality of parts connected together, and shaped to define a hollow interior in which the relevant components are mounted. Extending from the base housing 10 is a generally tubular guide 12. The guide in this example is tapered slightly towards its free end and is thus described herein as a 'cone portion' of the housing, although it will be appreciated that any other suitably shaped guide could be provided to function as described herein. The cone portion 12 extends at an angle from the base housing, i.e. an oblique angle relative to vertical when the base housing 10 rests on a horizontal surface for use.

The cone portion 12 is hollow and is attached to the base housing by means of a suitable locking arrangement. The diameter of the cone portion 12 at the end at which it is affixed to the base housing is slightly larger than the diameter of the distal end of the cone portion 12. In this example the cone portion comprises one or more projection (not shown) about its peripheral edge which is received by a corresponding recess or projection in the base housing. The base housing also comprises a groove or channel (see item 15 in Fig. 4), into which the peripheral edge of the cone portion 12 is received. Accordingly, once located, the guide can be twisted in order to lock the guide in place on the base housing. Additionally the guide is further secured during manufacture using glue. This provides a

particularly strong bonded mechanical coupling that can withstand repeated oscillation in use.

The cone portion encloses the reciprocating arm, which is shown in Figure 4 and will be described below.

The base housing 10 has a generally flat base, which may be arcuate, e.g. circular in plan, as shown in more detail in Figure 2. The base is made up of two portions. The first portion 14 is rigidly affixed to, or integral with, the base housing. The second portion 16 is a slide-out platform.

The slide-out platform 16 can rotate, e.g. by 180° , about the pivot 18 to a position in which the platform 16 protrudes beyond the periphery of the base, e.g. so as to provide enhanced stability to the rocking device in use. The first portion 14 is crescent shaped in this example in order to permit the rotational movement of the portion 16, whilst also providing a close fit therewith (i.e. to provide a stable base also when in the retracted position).

The base housing 10 comprises feet 20, which are spaced around the perimeter of the circular base, on the first portion 14 and the second portion 16. The feet 20 comprise a material with good frictional properties, such as rubber. The feet 20 allow the base housing 10 to remain in a desired positioning, preventing sliding of the device on the surface on which it stands. The base housing comprises an on/off switch 21 , located on the first portion 14 of the base.

The base housing 10 comprises a user interface 22, shown in more detail in Figure 3. The user interface 22 comprises a panel located on the base housing 10. The user interface 22 comprises several buttons 24, used to operate controls of the rocking device. Two of the buttons 24 control the speed of repeated motion of the rocking arm, i.e. a speed increase and a speed decrease button. A further button is used to set the duration for which the driving mechanism imparts the repeated motion to the rocking arm before automatically switching off. The duration button is preferably depressed to increase the time by a predetermined increment, such as, for example, up to a maximum predetermined limit. If the duration button is depressed to move the duration beyond the maximum limit, the duration will be changed to the lowest duration setting, which may be a zero or non-zero setting, thereby allowing a user to simply cycle through the available time settings.

The user interface 22 also comprises a locking button. The lock function may be achieved by holding down a button 24 for a predetermined number of settings, such as in excess of 3, 4 or 5 seconds. This lock function is particularly beneficial in ensuring other infants do not tamper with the rocker in use. Once the lock function is activated, the user controls will be inoperative, i.e. will not change the rocker settings, until the lock function is deactivated. The user interface 22 may also comprise a plurality of LEDs (not shown). The LEDs may be used to indicate the duration setting, or remaining duration of rocking, for example with each LED indicating a predetermined time increment (such as a 15 minute increment in this example). The LEDs may additionally or alternatively be used to indicate the status/charge of the battery. For example, during startup the LEDs may indicate the battery status, whereas once the user starts to interact with the controls 24, the LEDs may indicate the rocking duration. Four LEDs may be provided for such purposes, for example in an array around one of the user buttons 24.

The status of the battery may be indicated by illuminating the LEDs. For example, at 100%, four LEDs may illuminate; at 75%, only three LEDs may illuminate; at 50%, only two LEDs may illuminate; at 25%, only one LED may illuminate. In further examples, the LEDs may be used for additional or alternative functions, i.e. to indicate the rocking speed and/or lock function. Different LED functions, such as flashing or colour changing LEDs may be used for any of the functions disclosed herein. In further developments of the product, a textual/graphical user interface could be provided to output further user information. An optional speaker 26 is located on an upper portion of the base housing 10, adjacent to the cone portion 12.

A ridge 28 extends around the circumference of the base housing and has the function of securing a textile cover that may be placed over the rocking device. A further ridge 29 may extend around the interface between the cone portion 12 and base housing 10. The further ridge may provide an additional securing feature for the textile cover.

The base housing 10 contains a battery pack 30, as shown in the section view of the device in Figure 4. The battery pack is arranged to receive a plurality of batteries, in this example 4 x D batteries. The batteries provide useful additional weight to the base housing 10, to enhance stability of the device by resisting both toppling and also provide vibration damping properties to the base housing in use. In other examples, a rechargeable battery cell/pack may be used. The portability of the device is a desirable quality but it is envisaged in other embodiments that additional weight may be provided to the base housing in the event that the battery pack 30 is omitted in favour of a mains power supply.

The base housing 10 comprises control circuitry, the electric motor 32, the drive/transmission mechanism 34 and the rigid rocking arm 36. The electric motor 32 has an output shaft 33, to which is connected a drive wheel 35, which could be replaced with any other suitable rotor member in other embodiments. A post or axle 37 is upstanding from the wheel 35 at a radial spacing from the shaft 33 in order to provide a pivoting connection with the rocking arm 36. The post 37 comprises a cap or other head formation to hold the arm 36 on the post in use. The arm 36 extends in a direction perpendicular to the post 37 into the cone portion 12, i.e. away from the base housing 10.

Power is supplied to the electric motor 32 from the battery pack 30. The electric motor imparts torque to the drive wheel 34 via shaft 33, which rotates about the shaft and imparts a repeated rotary motion to the pivoted end of the rocking arm 36 about shaft 33. The rotational speed of the repeated motion is a minimum of 50 rpm, and may be increased incrementally as required in use.

The rocking arm 36 is positioned in the cone portion 12 in use such that the moving components of the drive mechanism are contained. The distal end of the rocking arm 36 does not extend beyond the length of the cone portion 12 even when at its outermost position of the rotary motion as shown in Fig. 4. The cyclic motion of the rocking arm 36 at its pivoted end is rotary and thus comprises both longitudinal and lateral components is in a direction parallel to a longitudinal axis of the cone portion 12. At the distal end of the rocking arm 36 is a piston head 38, which is

connected/coupled either directly or indirectly to the rocking arm 36 for transfer of the rocking motion/force in use. The rocking arm is sized to approximately fit within the cone 12 interior, e.g. as a close, but not tight, fit. The piston head may comprise a textile material cover or other generally low friction material on its exterior sides to ease free movement within the cone in use. The taper of the cone in use helps ensure that the piston head 38 is free to move laterally/angularly a small amount during a lower portion of the stroke, whilst constraining the piston head more closely to linear movement during the upper portion of the stroke. In this regard, it has been found that adequate constraint of the piston head during use can have a significant impact on, not only the control of the stroke (i.e. such that the rocking arm does not become dislodged from a seat/crib or other device in use), but also the avoidance of unwanted vibration in use. Such a guide can thus help ensure smooth rocking action.

The rocking arm 36 depends from a first side of the piston head 38. The piston head comprises attachment means 39, e.g. on the opposing side from the rocking arm, such that an adaptable rocking arm portion may be attached to the rigid arm 36, i.e. with the piston head 38 there-between. In this example, a hook-and-eye releasable attachment system is used, such as for example Velcro (RTM). Such an engagement has been found to resist a tensile force of approximately 25 N, so as to ensure safe attachment in use, whilst still allowing simple manual

detachment when required. Different adaptable arm portions may thus be interchangeably attachable to the rocking arm.

As shown in Figure 5, an adaptable rocking arm portion 40 is affixed to the base housing 10. The adaptable arm portion 40 comprises a neck portion 42 which attaches to the Velcro (RTM) attachment means 39 on the piston head 38 of the rocking arm 36. The arm portion 40 also comprises a textile cover 44 which covers the neck portion 42. The piston head 38 is recessed within the cone 12 such that the neck portion is insertable within the cone in use. This ensures that there is an overlap between the base textile cover 45 and the neck cover 44 at the end of the cone portion 12. The base textile cover 45 covers the cone portion 12 and the base housing 10 and is secured at the ridge 28 of the base housing 10.

The adaptable arm portion 40 projects from the cone portion 12 of the rocking device, with the internal stuffing/padding material of the neck portion 42 acting as a support. The stuffing in the arm portion 40 is sufficiently dense that the adaptable portion portion 40 stands generally erect, along the central longitudinal axis of the cone portion 12, beyond the length of the cone portion 12, when not acted on by external forces.

The adaptable portion 40 comprises a head portion 46 which extends at an acute angle from the neck portion 42 and is shaped to hook over an article to be rocked. The head portion 46 also comprises an internal stuffing/padding material and, in the case of the embodiment in Figure 5, is shaped as the head of a soft toy, such as a giraffe in this instance. The head portion 46 is filled with stuffing such that it will generally retain its shape whilst being sufficiently deformable that it can be attached and removed from the article to be rocked, typically by hooking the head 46 over an edge/side of a seat or crib. The textile cover 44 comprises a concertina structure 48. As the motor 32 imparts a rocking motion to the rocking arm 36, the adaptable portion 40 in turn moves in a linear repeated motion due to the neck portion 42 of the engagement portion 40 being affixed to the rocking arm 36. As the engagement portion moves, the concertina structure 48 of the textile cover 44 of the engagement portion contracts and expands.

The adaptable portion 40 comprises a strap 50, for example spanning the vicinity of the connection between the head portion 46 and the neck portion 42. The strap 50 is a textile material, and comprises an adjustment clasp 52. The length of the adaptable portion can be adjusted by adjusting the length of the strap 50 using the clasp 52. If the length of the strap is shortened, the stuffing material with the neck and/or head portions can be compressed.

Figure 6 shows an example of the rocking device in use. The head portion 46 engages the article to be rocked. In use, a repeated rocking motion is imparted in the direction shown by the arrows in Figure 6. The neck portion 42 is deformable to an extent that it is possible to adjust the positioning of the base housing 10 relative to the article to be rocked whilst the attachment means 46 can still be attached to the article to be rocked.

In some embodiments, it may be desirable to attach an extension portion to the adaptable portion 40, in order to extend the distance between the rocking arm 36 and the head portion 46, e.g. so as to accommodate a wider variety of rocking applications. An example of such an extension portion is shown as a neck insert member 54 in Fig. 7. The insert member generally mimics the construction of the neck portion 42. However the insert member 54 omits a head portion and instead comprises releasable attachment means 56 at one end thereof of the kind hereinbefore described.

The adaptable portion is detachable from the rocking arm 36, and a first end of the extension portion may attach to the Velcro (RTM) attachment means 39 of the piston head. The extension portion 54 comprises Velcro attachment means 56 at the second end of the extension portion, and the adaptable arm portion 40 is attachable to this second end of the extension portion. The first end of the extension portion 54 may comprise an eye portion for attachment to a hook portion of the attachment means 39 or vice-versa. Additionally or alternatively, it will be appreciated that the proximal end of the abatable arm portion 40 may have Velcro (RTM), or other similar, attachment means thereon.

The extension portion is tube-shaped and comprises a soft toy stuffing the same as that of the neck portion 42, which is sufficiently dense that the extension portion may project from the rocking arm 36 without collapsing under its own weight and that of the engagement formation. The extension portion comprises a textile cover, which may mimic the colour/texture/pattern of the remainder of the adaptable portion. When the extension portion is attached to the rocking arm, the textile cover of the extension portion overlaps the textile covers 44, 45 of the base housing and the engagement formation, such that the attachment means are not visible. The rocking device described herein may be used for rocking a variety of baby seats and cribs, as well as potentially other actuable support structures for babies, infants or even adults, such as chairs, hammocks, swings, or the like.

Claims

CLAIMS 1 . A rocking device comprising:
a drive mechanism contained in a housing, and
a rocking arm extending outwardly from the housing towards an
engagement formation for contacting an article to be rocked in use,
the rocking arm comprising a rigid portion for connection to the drive mechanism and an adaptable portion for altering the spacing and/or orientation between the rigid arm portion and the engagement formation,
wherein the drive mechanism and rigid rocking arm portion are operatively connected such that in use, the drive mechanism imparts a repeating motion to the rocking arm.
2. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 1 , wherein the adaptable portion is variably adjustable in length.
3. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 2, wherein the adaptable portion is variably adjustable in length by a tensioner.
4. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the device is freestanding and the housing comprises a base housing.
5. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the rocking device is selectively positionable adjacent to the article to be rocked.
6. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 4, wherein the base housing comprises a fold-out platform or slide-out platform.
7. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein at least a portion of the adaptable arm portion is angularly adjustable relative to the housing.
8. A rocking device as claimed in any previous claim, wherein the adaptable arm portion is resiliently deformable.
9. A rocking device as claimed in any previous claim, wherein the rocking device comprises a guide structure surrounding at least part of the rigid rocking arm portion.
10. A rocking device as claimed in any claim 9, wherein the rocking arm comprises a force transfer member located in or against the guide structure.
1 1 . A rocking device as claimed in any previous claim, rocking device comprises a textile cover for enclosing the adaptable portion.
12. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 1 1 , wherein the textile cover comprises a concertina structure, which is compressible and expandable upon movement of the rocking arm.
13. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the engagement formation comprises means for attaching to the article to be rocked.
14. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the adaptable portion is attachable and detachable from the rigid arm portion.
15. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the repeated motion imparted by the drive mechanism is cyclic.
16. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the drive mechanism is an electric motor.
17. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the rocking device comprises a battery power source.
18. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the time period for which the drive mechanism imparts a repeating motion on the rocking arm is selectively adjustable.
19. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the speed of the repeating motion imparted by the drive mechanism on the rocking arm is selectively adjustable.
20. A rocking device as claimed in Claims 18 and/or 19, wherein the rocking device comprises a control means, which, in use, controls the time period and/or speed of the repeating motion.
21 . A rocking device as claimed in Claim 20, wherein the control means comprises a locking means, and, in use, the locking means prevents a user from adjusting the time period and speed of the repeating motion.
22. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the housing comprises a user interface.
23. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 22, wherein the user interface provides information regarding a battery power supply.
24. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 22 or 23, wherein the user interface provides information regarding the time and/or speed of rocking.
25. A rocking device as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the rocking device comprises a rocking arm extension portion.
26. A rocking device as claimed in Claim 25, wherein the rocking arm extension portion is attachable and detachable to and from the rigid arm portion and/or the adaptable arm portion.
PCT/GB2016/050523 2015-02-27 2016-02-29 Rocking actuator WO2016135516A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB201503417A GB201503417D0 (en) 2015-02-27 2015-02-27 Rocking actuator
GB1503417.6 2015-02-27

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2016135516A1 true true WO2016135516A1 (en) 2016-09-01

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Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/GB2016/050523 WO2016135516A1 (en) 2015-02-27 2016-02-29 Rocking actuator

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GB (1) GB201503417D0 (en)
WO (1) WO2016135516A1 (en)

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3139630A (en) * 1961-06-15 1964-07-07 Max L Hunt Rhythm rocker
FR1501951A (en) * 1966-09-30 1967-11-18 An automatic rocking of baby carriages, cradles, and the like
GB2276539A (en) * 1993-02-11 1994-10-05 Gerald Albert Oliver Rocking device
US5572903A (en) * 1995-06-05 1996-11-12 Lee; Yun S. Shaker for cot, stroller and baby carriage
US20070200406A1 (en) * 2006-02-28 2007-08-30 Hathaway Robert D Apparatus for providing a continuous swinging motion
GB2503453A (en) 2012-06-25 2014-01-01 Innovative Baby Products Ltd Baby rocking and multifunctional device
US20150033883A1 (en) * 2013-08-02 2015-02-05 Steve M. Cornmesser Automatic Baby Carrier Rocking Device

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3139630A (en) * 1961-06-15 1964-07-07 Max L Hunt Rhythm rocker
FR1501951A (en) * 1966-09-30 1967-11-18 An automatic rocking of baby carriages, cradles, and the like
GB2276539A (en) * 1993-02-11 1994-10-05 Gerald Albert Oliver Rocking device
US5572903A (en) * 1995-06-05 1996-11-12 Lee; Yun S. Shaker for cot, stroller and baby carriage
US20070200406A1 (en) * 2006-02-28 2007-08-30 Hathaway Robert D Apparatus for providing a continuous swinging motion
GB2503453A (en) 2012-06-25 2014-01-01 Innovative Baby Products Ltd Baby rocking and multifunctional device
US20150033883A1 (en) * 2013-08-02 2015-02-05 Steve M. Cornmesser Automatic Baby Carrier Rocking Device

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