FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority of the provisional application No. 60/583,675 filed on Jun. 30, 2004.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to acoustic control, more particularly to adjustable and removable acoustic surfaces for controlling acoustic environment of open office spaces.
It has become very popular to divide large office spaces into smaller units with dividing surfaces or panels to enable some privacy in the several smaller work stations of the large office space. Such dividing panels do indeed provide visual privacy, but as such they do not give much acoustic privacy. The noises of a large office may be extremely disturbing for a person working at such divided work station.
Some solutions to the acoustic problem of these divided work stations have been provided for example by providing panels that are made of acoustic materials. Alternatively, the panel may be covered with an acoustic pad as is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,256,941 for example.
By providing a panel consisting of acoustic material does not solve the problem of noises that are coming via the open space that is between the office ceiling and the top of the dividing panel. Attempts to solve this problem are inventions such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,219,101 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,750,586. The patent number U.S. Pat. No. 4,219,101 provides a floor standing acoustic space divider, which has an outward protuberance in its upper portion. U.S. Pat. No. 4,750,586 provides a panel system that is attachable to the upper parts of a dividing panel. The attachable panel according to this patent has an upper portion that is curved inwards. The inventions according to these two patents improve the acoustic conditions in the divided work station. However, the problem with both of these structures is that they not enable any adjustment of the degree of the upper portion in relation to the dividing panel. The degree of the panel affects on the efficiency of eliminating the noise. Therefore, the rigid degree does not leave any options for the user of the panel to adjust the panel so that it could better eliminate the noise. The present disclosure solves this problem and thereby provides a system that is gives maximal noise elimination in various environments. The present disclosure provides acoustic wings that have a freely adjustable angle to maximize elimination of noise from different kind of noise sources (traffic, telephone, radio, conversation etc.). The invention according to the present disclosure enables adjustment of the wings to maximize elimination of noise coming from differently located noise sources (e.g. position of telephone on a desk affects the direction of the sound waves).
An object of the present invention is to provide attachable and removable acoustic wings for improving the acoustic environment of a workstation separated with dividing panels.
Another object of the present invention is to provide acoustic wings with an adjustable angle to maximize the noise elimination individually at different conditions and environments.
Another object of the present invention is to provide acoustic wings that eliminate noise from both sides of the dividing panel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
A still another object of the present invention is to provide acoustic wings that allow independent and individual adjustment of the angle of the wings on both sides of the dividing panel.
FIG. 1. is a perspective view of acoustic wings attached on the top of a dividing panel element with a bracket.
FIG. 2. is a side view of the adjustable bracket.
FIG. 3. is a bottom view of the adjustable bracket.
FIG. 4. Is a side view of the adjustable bracket with adjustable hinges attached to it.
FIG. 5. is a view of the frame of the wings.
FIG. 6. is a view of the frames where acoustic foam has been attached.
The present invention provides an acoustic elimination system for working spaces divided with panels. The acoustic wings according to this invention are easily adjustable on top of any regular panel element. The wings are easily removable and again attachable. The wings are easy and cheap to manufacture and the acoustic material is easy to change if needed for example in order to minimize allergic reactions caused by accumulating dust. The acoustic wings according to the present invention provide the unique feature that the wings can be freely adjusted to any desired angle up to 90 degree angle to improve the noise elimination. The acoustic elimination system according to this invention can either serve elimination of noise from only one side of the panel or alternatively eliminate noise from both sides of the panel.
One preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. This embodiment comprises two acoustic wings (1) attached on the top of a dividing panel element (10). The angle between the wing and the panel element can be adjusted by tilting the wing up or down. According to this embodiment the acoustic system consists of two wings, one serving one work station and the other serving another station on the opposite side of the dividing panel element. The angle between the dividing panel element and each of the wings can be individually and independently adjusted so that the angles of the two wings need not to be the same. This feature is to enables maximizing of noise elimination separately on both work stations depending of the needs of the users.
Still referring to FIG. 1 the wings (1) are attached on the top of the dividing panel element (10) with a bracket (20). One embodiment of the bracket (20) is shown in FIG. 2 The bracket (20) has two vertical sides (21) and a horizontal portion (22). The horizontal portion (22) consists of two plates, a stable one (23) and a slidable one (24). The slidable portion is sliding in relation to the stable portion; thereby enabling slidable adjustment of the width of the bracket. Now, specifically referring to FIG. 3 the slidable portion (24) has openings (26) and the stable portion (23) has knobs, screws or similar means (25) fitting into the openings (26) to define the maximum and minimum width to which the bracket can be extended. The slidable portion may be stabilized by bolts or similar means attached to the knobs or screws (25); thereby stabilizing the width of the bracket. This feature enables fixation of the bracket on dividing panels of different thickness.
Now referring to FIG. 4 one embodiment of the present invention comprises adjustable hinges (30) on the top of the horizontal portion (22) of the bracket (20). The acoustic wings are to be attached to the hinges with any appropriate method, for example with bolts or screws. By tilting the hinge one can easily adjust the angle of the wing. According to this embodiment one bracket (20) carries two hinges (30) which both can be used to attach a wing; thereby one acoustic system can have two wings to serve both sides of the dividing panel. Alternatively, a bracket (20) can only have one hinge (30) and carry only one wing, or only one of the two hinges may be used when only one side of the dividing panel needs noise elimination. The tilting mechanism does not necessarily need to be a hinge but any other system enabling the tilting feature.
Now specifically referring to FIG. 5 the wings consist of a simple and light frame (40) on to which acoustic material is attached. The frame may be made of lightweight polyurethane plastic, but alternatively other lightweight materials can also be used. Preferably the thickness of the plastic is ¼ inch or less. The frame preferably has two horizontal elements (41) and two vertical elements (42). Depending on the length of the horizontal elements (41) the frame (40) may have one or more supporting vertical elements (43). In one preferred embodiment the length of the horizontal frame is four to six feet and the frame has one supporting vertical element. The angles between the horizontal and vertical elements may be 90 degrees, whereby the frame is a rectangular. Alternatively the angle between the lower horizontal element and one of the vertical elements may be less than 90 degrees, thereby forming a frame that is a trapezoid. A wing having the form of a trapezoid can easily be used in corners of a cubical workstation without any difficulties to tilt the wing as wished. The frame may be attached to the hinges with attaching means (44) which in this embodiment are bolts or screws. As shown in FIG. 6 a pad of acoustic material (45) is attached on the frame. The acoustic material may be polyurethane foam but it may as well be any acoustic material used for elimination of noise. The thickness of the polyurethane foam preferably is two inches. The wings according to this disclosure may be flat but they may as well be curved as to form concave or convex structures to improve noise elimination features in certain environments.
According to an alternative embodiment the frame is one solid piece, either rectangular or trapezoid in its shape and it is made of acoustic material. According to this alternative embodiment the frame, which as such is the wing is attached to the bracket-hinge system which enables its tilting.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described in details, this is for illustrative purposes only and one skilled in the art recognizes that variations and modifications of the disclosed invention can be made without departing from the scope of the invention.