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Publication numberUS20060082198 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/515,003
PCT numberPCT/US2003/016149
Publication dateApr 20, 2006
Filing dateMay 21, 2003
Priority dateMay 21, 2002
Also published asWO2003099075A1, WO2003099075A8
Publication number10515003, 515003, PCT/2003/16149, PCT/US/2003/016149, PCT/US/2003/16149, PCT/US/3/016149, PCT/US/3/16149, PCT/US2003/016149, PCT/US2003/16149, PCT/US2003016149, PCT/US200316149, PCT/US3/016149, PCT/US3/16149, PCT/US3016149, PCT/US316149, US 2006/0082198 A1, US 2006/082198 A1, US 20060082198 A1, US 20060082198A1, US 2006082198 A1, US 2006082198A1, US-A1-20060082198, US-A1-2006082198, US2006/0082198A1, US2006/082198A1, US20060082198 A1, US20060082198A1, US2006082198 A1, US2006082198A1
InventorsJonathan Mafrice, Michael Feldman
Original AssigneeJonathan Mafrice, Michael Feldman
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming furniture
US 20060082198 A1
Abstract
The inventive subject matter is directed toward gaming furniture having an electronic component that provides support to the item of furniture. A preferred item of furniture is a gaming mat (100) having a backrest (110) that is substantially supported by a speaker assembly (120).
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Claims(15)
1. An item of furniture for use by a human user having a distinct back and head, comprising:
a mat portion upon which the user can lie; and
a backrest portion that encloses a speaker assembly that positions a speaker at a portion of the back of the user.
2. The item of furniture of claim 1, wherein the backrest portion further comprises a plurality of ports for electronic devices.
3. The item of furniture of claim 2, wherein the backrest portion has a substantially triangular vertical cross-section.
4. The item of furniture of claim 3, further comprising a segmented seat portion that fits about the backrest portion in a folded configuration.
5. The item of furniture of claim 1, wherein the backrest portion is substantially adjacent the mat portion.
6. The item of furniture of claim 1, wherein the mat portion is substantially flat in an unfolded configuration.
7. The item of furniture of claim 1, further comprising a wireless transceiver housed in the backrest portion.
8. The item of furniture of claim 1, further comprising a foot portion housing an electronic component that cooperates with a video game controller.
9. The item of furniture of claim 8, wherein the electronic component is a flat screen display.
10. The item of furniture of claim 8, wherein the video game controller is an Xbox™.
11. An item of foldable furniture, comprising:
a backrest portion that encloses a speaker assembly oriented to direct sound toward and through the backrest portion; and
no headrest distinct from the backrest portion.
12. The item of furniture of claim 11, wherein the backrest portion has a user side and a non-user side and the sound is directed toward and through the user side.
13. The item of furniture of claim 12, wherein the backrest portion houses at least one electronic access port on the non-user side.
14. The item of furniture of claim 12, further comprising a mat portion that folds around the backrest portion.
15. The item of furniture of claim 12, wherein the backrest portion contains a substantially angular vertical cross-sectional shape.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/382,546 filed on May 21, 2002 incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is furniture containing electronic components.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Furniture, particularly chairs and couches, has been used for years to store household items such as a T.V. remote control, reading material, eye glasses, and so on. In some chairs and couches there are pockets to hold these items. Increasingly, electronic components are being stored in furniture and one such use is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,135,551 to Linder. The '551 patent teaches a chair having a backrest that includes a pair of oppositely disposed pockets that are adapted to receive a pair of speakers. A wiring system is also provided for connecting the speakers to an external sound source. The inclusion of pockets to house speakers may provide some additional functionality to the chair, but the pockets generally detract from the look of the furniture.

In order to solve some of the problems related to aesthetics, it became known to build storage areas into the item of furniture. The teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 6,369,312 to Komatsu describe speakers that were mounted in a headrest of a chair. While inside storage of electronic components was probably more aesthetically favorable than outside storage, it still led to disproportionately large pieces of furniture sometimes having overly large arms, bodies, and headrests.

As electronic components became smaller, it became more desirable to store those components within an article of furniture. It also became feasible to store multiple electronic components. U.S. Pat. No. 5,857,986 to Moriyasu teaches a chair having vibration devices in the backrest and seat of the chair. The vibration devices add to a user's multimedia experience while operating a computer. Although the chair described in the '986 patent did not appear to be significantly deformed by the addition of the vibrating devices, the chair lacked many integral electronic components such as speakers, display, and joy stick.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,476 to May et al. teaches furniture that includes an integrated computer. The furniture is described as having large thick cushions and wide arm rests to accommodate the computer components including speakers. While the computer components appears to aid in the functionality of the chair as a whole, again the chair is relatively large and bulky looking. Additionally, the functionality of the chair as an article of furniture is not enhanced by the presence of the computer components. If anything, the presence of the computer components detracts from the function the item as a piece of furniture.

Thus, there is a need for furniture having electronic components that do not detract from, and may even add to, the look and functionality of the furniture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an article of furniture having a backrest portion that is substantially supported by an electronic component such as a speaker assembly. In preferred embodiments, the item of furniture is a mat having speakers that direct sound toward and through the backrest toward the user's back. A further aspect includes electronic ports that are housed in the backrest.

In another aspect, the inventive subject matter is directed toward an item of furniture that has an electronics housing providing a furniture function. For example, a speaker assembly can provide support for a backrest under the weight of a user. This is especially important because configurations which utilize basic furniture support structures are likely to muffle sound and vibration from the speaker assembly. By providing an item of furniture in which the speaker assembly is sized and dimensioned to function as a support structure, there is no muffling of sound and vibration by the furniture's support structure.

Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an article of furniture having a backrest supported by a speaker assembly.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a folded article of furniture.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an article of furniture having a backrest supported by a speaker assembly and a footrest supported by a display assembly.

FIG. 4 is a rear view of an article of furniture having ports in the backrest.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring first to FIG. 1, an item of furniture is a mat 100 generally comprises a backrest 110 having a speaker assembly 120, and a seat portion 130.

The speaker assembly 120 provides substantial support for the backrest 110. Substantial support means that the article of furniture does not collapse or substantially lose its shape under a weight of a human using it for its intended function. Substantial support in relation to the backrest shown in FIG. 1 is that which is sufficient to maintain the backrest in substantially the shape shown in FIG. 1—even while a user is leaning back against it.

A speaker assembly is made generally of speaker components (e.g. a magnet, diaphragm, cone, woofer, and so on) and a rigid outer housing. A speaker assembly may or may not have a housing per se since the speaker assembly itself may provide the substantial support referred to above. In any case, projection of sound from the speaker will not be obstructed by a housing because the speaker is advantageously mounted into the housing. It is further proffered that a speaker assembly be constructed in a shape that approximates the shape of the item it is supporting. For example, in FIG. 1, the shape of the speaker assembly approximates the shape of the backrest (i.e. it is triangular) and therefore it provides support for maintaining the backrest in its intended position. In less preferred embodiments, the shape of the backrest and speaker assembly can vary, however, only to a degree that still maintains support for the backrest.

The seat portion 130 as well as the outer portion of the backrest 120 are made essentially of a foam product. The seat and backrest can however comprise other relatively soft materials including down, StyrofoamŽ or other polystyrene, cotton, and so on. In preferred embodiments, the entire mat has a readily removable cover that can be cleaned and/or replaced. Such covers may be made of vinyl, cotton, and other suitable materials.

Seat portion 130 is segmented in portions that are sized and dimensioned to fold about the backrest portion 110 into a form embodied by FIG. 2. FIG. 2 depicts a mat 200 in a folded configuration. The folded mat 200 has a handle 210 strategically located to allow easy transportability of the folded mat. Transportable, with respect to a folded mat being transportable, means that the mat is light enough (e.g. under 40 lbs., preferably under 10 lbs., and most preferably equal to or less than about 7 lbs.) and small enough (e.g. less than 24″×24″×24″, preferably less than 22″×20″×18″, and most preferably equal to or less than 20″×18″×16″ in overall dimensions) in its folded configuration to be moved by an adult. In such folded configuration, the segmented seat portion 220 surrounds the backrest portion providing at least some degree of protection for the speaker components 230 and game ports (not shown). It should be appreciated that various other configurations are also contemplated, and particularly include those in which the seat portion does not fold about the backrest portion. A seat portion, for example, may roll around a backrest portion or not even transform at all.

Focusing now on FIG. 3, a mat 300 is generally comprised of a seat portion 310, a backrest 320, and a footrest 330. Footrest 330 is similarly shaped and sized to backrest 320, although neither similar shape nor similar size is a requirement herein. A preferred footrest comprises an electronic component which may include speakers, web conferencing components, and gaming enhancing elements (e.g. vibrating means). In this example, the footrest 330 has a display screen 335 that is within view of a person using the mat. It should be appreciated that a user of the mat may put her feet upon the footrest, in which case, the display provides substantial support under the weight of the user. A display screen may be any device suitable for displaying an image and/or graphics including a flat panel T.V. a CRT, a plasma screen, and so on. It is contemplated that the display screen will be susceptible to receiving input from a game controller (e.g. XBOX™, playstation™), computer, or other device transmitting data or electromagnetic signals. In other embodiments, additional or alternative support components (even non-electronic components) can be housed in the footrest or backrest.

FIG. 4 shows a mat 400 with a backrest 410 housing ports 420 for electronic devices. A port is generally an interface that allows for connection to a device such as a peripheral device. Examples of a port include an RS-232, a parallel port, a serial port, a network port, a SCSI interface, audio and video inputs and outputs, a USB, a WI-FI (802.11) receiver and so on. Ports may be susceptible to receiving both wired and wireless transmissions and an item of furniture according to the present invention may have multiple uses. One especially contemplated use includes a home appliance center which allows for control of lights, ovens, heating systems, alarm systems, stereo systems, T.V.s, digital video discs, and other home appliances. Some embodiments will, therefore, have a resident microprocessor as well as means for storing data including video game scores.

As indicated by FIG. 4, game ports are preferred to be located on the non-user side 425 of the backrest (the user side of the backrest is the side that the user leans against). This is so because the ports are easily accessible when the mat is in an unfolded configuration yet the ports are protected when the mat is in a folded configuration. In a less preferred class of embodiments, game ports can be located anywhere on the item of furniture including the user side of the backrest.

Thus, specific embodiments and applications of gaming furniture have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7488041 *Mar 20, 2007Feb 10, 2009Pyramat LlcLegless chair
US7753163 *Sep 13, 2002Jul 13, 20109168-1478 Quebec Inc.Multi-frequency acoustic vibration transmission method and system
US20040251747 *Sep 13, 2002Dec 16, 2004Gilbert BouchardMulti-frequency acoustic vibration transmission method and system
US20100298051 *Oct 20, 2008Nov 25, 2010Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering game table audio system
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/217.4
International ClassificationA47C16/00, A47C9/10, A47C31/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47C1/146, A63F13/08, A47C21/003, A63F13/02
European ClassificationA47C1/14F, A47C21/00B, A63F13/02, A63F13/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 2, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: PYRAMAT LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MAFRICE, JONATHAN;FELDMAN, MICHAEL;REEL/FRAME:019100/0184
Effective date: 20070119
Nov 28, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: UNION BANK OF CALIFORNIA, N.A., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:PYRAMAT, LLC;REEL/FRAME:020203/0302
Effective date: 20071029
May 28, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: PYRAMAT, LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:UNION BANK, N.A., FORMERLY KNOWN AS UNION BANK OF CALIFORNIA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:022750/0458
Effective date: 20090522