BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates in general to hands-free support for electronic devices that either produces sound that is intended to be heard by a person, receives sound generated by a person, or both. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hands-free device for the use of a person desiring to use a portable electronic device, such as a radio, cellular telephone, recording device, or the like without the necessity of holding the device in their hand while using the same or without costly and cumbersome attachments, such as microphones as speakers on cords running from the device held elsewhere on the body.
The use of devices to support and hold telephones and other electronic equipment are well known. Beginning with U.S. Pat. No. 1,951,332 to Barclay in 1934, and followed on by, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,360,027 to Werner; U.S. Pat. No. 2,481,387 to Bonecutter; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,048,453 to Seidel, to name a few, inventions have been taught for the hands-free support of a standard corded home or business telephone handset. Cordless and portable phones have also been subject of numerous solutions to free the user's hands, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,388,155 to Smith, U.S. Pat. No. 5,689,558 to Osgood and Osgood-Graver, U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,345 to Allen, U.S. Pat. No. 5,407,113 to Golliher, U.S. Pat. No. 5,828,749 to Brodskiy, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,130,953 to Wilton and Wagner.
In the busy modern world, the option of carrying personal electronic devices, such as telephones, radios, and musical play-back devices has allowed individuals more freedoms and the ability to communicate, work, and/or be entertained while on the move. The concept of hands-free use of such equipment followed on the heels of the prior are pertaining to hands-free use of cordless telephones. Devices such as those taught by U.S. Pat. No. 6,363,147 B1 to Maxwell, U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,090 to Morales, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,639,985 B1 have tried to solve the same problems of hands-free operation for cellular telephones.
To date, however, most solutions to portability have either required a cellular telephone user to have at least one hand tied up holding their cellular telephone or opt for additional equipment, such as plug-in microphone and speaker assemblies requiring cords that can become entangled or pulled loose from the cellular telephone and most often have poor quality in both the speaker sound production and the microphone sensitivity. Other solutions, such as U.S. Pat No. 6,363,147 B1 to Maxwell, require cumbersome and costly devices to support the phone or other electronic device. Other designs have attempted to solve the problem of carrying and operating electronic equipment such as radios and MP3 playback devices. The majority of those solutions, however, involve the electronic device being carried at the waist or elsewhere and long, cumbersome wires running to some form of headset or earpieces. While worn on the belt or elsewhere on the body, the playback device requires a long speaker cord running to the speakers worn by the user.
The present invention either eliminates the need for such cords completely and provides a better and more secure location for the primary electronic device so that any wires or cords need only run a short distance, can be easily contained, and are not in danger of becoming entangled either in the wearer's clothing, extremities, or in objects surrounding the wearer. It allows the user to listen to music or carry on a conversation on the phone while having his or her hands free to accomplish other tasks, be they household, office, workshop, or any other tasks wherein it is desirous for both hands to be free. It also allows for the safe use of a cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle. Many jurisdictions now require hands-free operation of a cellular telephone while driving; the present invention allows the user to safely have conversations while driving and comply with laws pertaining to the use of cellular phones in vehicles.
- SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
The present invention includes a generally inverted U-shaped headband that is made of a thin flexible material that can adjust to the wearer's head, grip the wearer's head firmly but comfortably, and retain the rigidity necessary to be put on and removed numerous times without losing its combination of rigidity and flexibility. At one end of the headband is a holder made of a lightweight, flexible and semi-rigid material that can stretch to accommodate and securely hold a wide range of electronic devices. The holder is open in the top so that the electronic device may be placed in it without fear of the device falling out, and allows it to be carried comfortably in the position that most people spend the majority of their day in; either sitting upright or standing.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a hands-free telephone holder which easily accepts a wide variety of phone styles.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a hands-free electronic device holder for portable electronic equipment which accepts a wide variety of electronic equipment styles and reduces the length and awkwardness of headphone cords.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a hands-free cellular telephone holder that positions the cellular telephone in such a manner that the earpiece speaker is located close to the user's ear, and the mouthpiece microphone is located close to the user's mouth in a position close to or the same as the position in which the cellular telephone is intended to be used.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a hands-free cellular telephone holder in which no additional parts are needed to be attached to the phone in order for the design to work.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a hands-free cellular telephone holder in which openings are provided in the design so as not to block the user from hearing clearly sounds emitted from the ear speaker of the cellular telephone or block the user from speaking clearly into the microphone of the cellular telephone. The holes may also be multiple holes in a mesh structure so as not to block the transmission or reception of sounds by the user without compromising the strength of the holder.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the electronic device or cellular telephone holder are constructed of a lightweight material, such as ballistic nylon. The headpiece itself is semi-rigid, allowing it to stay firmly in place on the user's head, while being flexible enough to accommodate all user's head sizes and still firmly but comfortably grip the user's head. The back portion of the invention that retains the cellular telephone proximal to the user's head is also semi-rigid to allow for the secure use and carrying of the cellular telephone or other electronic device.
FIG. 1 is a front view of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the back of the cellular telephone holder.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 3 is a front view of the present invention showing straps in place of an enclosed basket as the cellular telephone holder.
As shown in FIG. 1, the present invention 100 comprises a semi-rigid band 102, with a surface 101 that faces away from the user. The cellular telephone holder 103 forms a hollow in which the cellular telephone or other electronic device is placed through the opening in the top of the basket 104. The openings 105 which provide for the unobstructed reception of the speaker and microphone portions of a cellular telephone are located proximally to the user's head, and the holder 103 may comprise a lightweight and flexible material, such as nylon.
FIG. 2 shows a back view of one embodiment of the present invention wherein the cellular telephone holder 204 is attached to the surface of the present invention in such a manner that the inside surface 200, located proximally to the user's head when the invention is being worn, is unobstructed and the openings 205 for the cellular telephone speaker and microphone are unobstructed by the material out of which the cellular telephone holder 204 is made.
FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the present invention wherein the cellular telephone holder comprises two straps 301 and 302 rather than being a continuous closed basket of the type shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment thereof, and it should be clear to one skilled in the art that modifications and changes therein may be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the intention. The details of the present invention as described are illustrative only, and do not limit the scope of the present invention as claimed below.