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Publication numberUS20060199515 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/286,597
Publication dateSep 7, 2006
Filing dateNov 23, 2005
Priority dateDec 18, 2002
Publication number11286597, 286597, US 2006/0199515 A1, US 2006/199515 A1, US 20060199515 A1, US 20060199515A1, US 2006199515 A1, US 2006199515A1, US-A1-20060199515, US-A1-2006199515, US2006/0199515A1, US2006/199515A1, US20060199515 A1, US20060199515A1, US2006199515 A1, US2006199515A1
InventorsWilliam Lasko, Paul Orr, Rodney Wilson
Original AssigneeLasko Holdings, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Concealed portable fan
US 20060199515 A1
Abstract
A stable portable fan capable of generating an exhaust air stream elevated above a support surface allowing the exhaust air stream to be directed as desired by the user is provided. The device includes an air generator assembly located within a polygonal column generating an exhaust air stream that exiting the polygonal column. The polygonal column of the device is used to disguise/conceal the fan.
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Claims(44)
1. A portable fan comprising:
base for engaging a mounting surface;
a plurality of walls connected to said base and extending substantially vertically upward, wherein said plurality of walls form a polygonal column;
a top connected to a top end of said polygonal column;
an interior space defined by said plurality of walls and said top;
at least one air inlet in said polygonal column;
at least one air outlet located in an upper portion of said polygonal column;
an air generator disposed within said interior space and in fluid communication with said at least one air inlet and said at least one air outlet;
an intake air stream induced by said air generator, wherein said intake air stream enters said interior space via said at least one air inlet; and
an exhaust air stream generated by said air generator, wherein said exhaust air stream exits said interior space via said at least one air outlet;
wherein said plurality of walls forming said polygonal column are utilized to substantially cover and protect said air generator when viewed from a location exterior to said interior space, and wherein said vertical orientation of said polygonal column raises said exhaust air stream to an elevation above said support surface.
2. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein said plurality of walls forming said polygonal column further comprise at least a first pair of substantially flat walls that are oriented substantially parallel relative to one another.
3. The portable fan of claim 2, wherein said plurality of walls forming said polygonal column further comprise at least a second pair of substantially flat walls that are substantially parallel relative to one another and oriented substantially orthogonal to said first pair of parallel walls.
4. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein said plurality of walls forming said polygonal column further comprise:
a front wall having said at least one air outlet;
a rear wall located opposite said front wall; and
side walls disposed between said front wall and said rear wall, wherein said side walls are substantially orthogonal to said front wall and said rear wall.
5. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein said plurality of walls forming said polygonal column further comprise separate walls that are formed as individual, substantially flat pieces, wherein said separate walls are shipped disconnected from one another, and wherein said separate walls are connected together to form said polygonal column during operation of said portable fan.
6. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising corner connecting pieces for connecting adjacent walls together.
7. The portable fan of claim 6, wherein corner pieces further comprise slots, wherein side edges of said separate walls are inserted into said slots in said corner connecting pieces, and wherein said connection of said separate walls to said corner connecting pieces does not use separate fasteners.
8. The portable fan of claim 6, wherein said separate walls are connected to said corner connecting pieces by a snap-fit connection, and wherein said connection of said separate walls to said corner connecting pieces does not use separate fasteners.
9. The portable fan of claim 6, further comprising fasteners for connecting said walls to said corner connecting pieces, wherein each of said separate walls include one or more holes along vertical edges of said walls for receiving one of said fasteners, and wherein said corner connecting pieces comprise corresponding holes for receiving said fasteners to connect said walls and said corner connecting pieces.
10. The portable fan of claim 6, wherein said corner connecting pieces are formed along one edge of said walls and wherein said walls further comprise a mating edge, wherein said corner connecting piece and said mating edge of adjacent walls are coupled together to connect said walls.
11. The portable fan of claim 6, wherein said corner connecting pieces extend along a length of said side edge of said walls.
12. The portable fan of claim 6, wherein said corner connecting pieces further comprise L-shaped brackets, wherein an angle of said L-shaped bracket is determined by dividing about 360 degrees by the number of sides of said polygonal column.
13. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein one or more of said plurality of walls further comprises two distinct surfaces, wherein at least one of said walls is reversible to selectively expose one of said distinct surfaces as an exterior surface of said polygonal column.
14. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein at least two of said plurality of walls are identical and interchangeable with one another in an assembly of said portable fan.
15. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein said plurality of walls are at least partially constructed of one or more of: wood, plastic, metal, and/or fabric.
16. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprises an oscillation mechanism wherein said oscillation mechanism moves said exhaust air stream horizontally side to side as it exits said polygonal column via said at least one air outlet opening.
17. The portable fan of claim 16, further comprising a rotatable air transfer plenum disposed within said interior space of said polygonal column, wherein said rotational movement of said exhaust air stream is absent a movement of said polygonal column.
18. The portable fan of claim 17, wherein said rotational movement of said air transfer plenum is substantially concealed by said plurality of walls of said polygonal column.
19. The portable fan according to claim 17, further comprising electrical wires and electrical connections, wherein said electrical wires and/or said electrical connections are substantially stationary during said rotation of said air transfer plenum and said movement of said exhaust air stream.
20. The portable fan of claim 17, further comprising air alignment elements disposed between said air transfer plenum and said air outlet, wherein said air alignment elements extend in a direction substantially radial from an axis of rotation of said air transfer plenum.
21. The portable fan of claim 20, wherein said air alignment elements define an oscillation angle, wherein said air transfer plenum rotates side to side to provide a cooling effect on a user located within an area covered by oscillation of exhaust air stream through said oscillation angle.
22. The portable fan of claim 20, further comprising a grill located proximate said at least one air outlet, wherein said air alignment elements further comprise front edges that forms said grill.
23. The portable fan of claim 20, further comprising a grill located proximate said at least one air outlet, wherein said air alignment elements further comprise a rear edge of said grill, wherein said rear edge comprises a concave shape corresponds to an arc defined by an outlet of said air transfer plenum as said air transfer plenum rotates about said axis of rotation.
24. The portable fan of claim 20, wherein said air alignment elements disposed between said air transfer plenum and said air outlet are formed as part of said polygonal column.
25. The portable fan according to claims 1, further comprising a weather proof construction comprising one or more of: a rain sensor, water proof materials, a sealed housing, sealed motors, and/or sealed switches.
26. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising a light source.
27. The portable fan of claim 26, wherein said light source comprises a light emitting diode.
28. The portable fan of claim 27, wherein said light source further comprises a polymer plate used to distribute light emitted from said light emitting diode.
29. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising an electrical receptacle.
30. The portable fan according to claims 1, further comprising an air filtration element disposed proximate said at least one air inlet.
31. The portable fan of claim 30, wherein said air filtration element further comprises a photo catalyst substance and an ultraviolet ray generator used to excite said photo catalyst substance.
32. The portable fan of claim 30, wherein inlet air is drawn into said internal space through said air filtration element.
33. The portable fan according to claims 1, further comprising a non-operating configuration wherein said plurality of walls are disassembled from one another and disassembled from said base and said top and disposed within a shipping package.
34. The portable fan of claim 33, wherein in said shipping package said plurality of walls are one of: stacked beside one another and/or stacked on top of one other to further conserve space in said shipping package.
35. The portable fan of claim 1, wherein said plurality of walls are readily disassembled from one another, and wherein one or more of said plurality of walls are: (i) replaceable with one or more different walls; (ii) interchangeable with another of said plurality of walls; (iii) reverseable to have another surface of said plurality of walls showing to an exterior of said portable fan, wherein said plurality of walls are disassembled and reassembled in order to change an appearance of said portable fan.
36. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising a maximum velocity of said exhaust air stream measured about 8 feet from said air outlet wherein said maximum velocity of about 500 feet per minute or greater.
37. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising a maximum thrust in a direction substantially opposite to a direction of the flow of said exhaust air stream as said exhaust air stream exits said air outlet, wherein said maximum thrust of about 1.0 pound of force or less.
38. The portable fan of claim 1, further comprising a velocity to thrust ratio, wherein a maximum velocity of said exhaust air stream measured about 8 feet from said air outlet divided by a maximum thrust generated by said exhaust air stream in a direction substantially opposite to the direction of the flow of said exhaust air stream as it exits said air outlet is about 500:1 or greater.
39. A concealed portable fan comprising:
a base;
side walls extending vertically upward from said base, said sidewalls each comprising a bottom edge, a top edge, and side edges;
a top proximate said top edges of said side walls forming a vertically oriented polygonal column;
at least a first pair of said side walls being substantially flat and substantially parallel relative to one another;
at least one air inlet;
at least one air outlet opening located in an upper portion of said vertically oriented polygonal column;
a first interior space defined by said a vertically oriented polygonal column;
an air generator disposed within a lower portion said first interior space comprising;
a housing;
an impeller disposed within said housing, wherein said air impeller has a substantially horizontal axis of rotation;
a motor for rotating said impeller;
an intake port;
an exit port;
a transfer plenum disposed within said first interior space and fluidly connected to said exit port of said air generator, said transfer plenum comprising;
a plenum wall defining a second interior space;
at least one plenum outlet in said plenum wall;
a flow of intake air induced by said air generator, wherein said flow of intake air enters said first interior space via said air inlet; and
an exhaust air stream generated by said air generator, wherein said exhaust air stream exits said first interior space via said air outlet opening;
wherein said vertically oriented polygonal column is utilized to substantially conceal and/or disguise said air generator when viewed from a location exterior to said first interior space.
40. A concealed portable fan comprising:
a vertically oriented polygonal column comprising:
a base for engaging a mounting surface;
a top;
a vertically oriented cover comprising:
multiple walls extending vertically between said base and said top;
at least a first pair of said multiple walls being substantially flat and substantially parallel relative to one another;
at least one vertically elongate air inlet in an upper portion of said vertically oriented cover;
at least one vertically elongate air outlet opening in an upper portion of said vertically oriented cover;
a first interior space defined by said vertically oriented polygonal column;
an air generator disposed within said first interior space between and in fluid communication with said at least one vertically elongate air inlet and said at least one vertically elongate air outlet opening comprising;
a cross-flow air impeller having a substantially vertical axis of rotation;
a motor attached to said cross-flow air impeller, said motor rotating said impeller about said vertical axis of rotation;
a flow of intake air generated by said air generator entering said interior space via said at least one vertically elongate air inlet; and
an exhaust air stream generated by said air generator exiting said interior space via said at least one vertically elongate air outlet opening;
wherein said polygonal column is utilized to substantially conceal and/or disguise said air generator when viewed from a location exterior to said interior space.
41. A disguised fan comprising:
a base;
a plurality of panels extending substantially vertically upward from said base, said panels adapted to look similar to a piece of furniture or room decor;
a top at an end of said panels opposite said base;
an interior space defined by said base, said panels, and said top;
an air inlet in at least one of said panels to allow air to enter said interior space;
an air outlet in at least one of said panels to allow an exhaust air stream to exit said interior space; and
an air blower disposed within said interior space between said air inlet and said air outlet;
wherein said panels further comprises material provided in numerous patterns and/or colors to match a decor style;
wherein said plurality of panels disguised said fan as a piece of furniture.
42. The disguised fan of claim 41, wherein said materials of said panels further comprise at least one of wood, fabric, polymer and/or metals.
43. The disguised fan of claim 41, further comprising a polygonal column formed by at least four panels, wherein at least two of said panels form a first pair of substantially flat walls that are oriented substantially parallel relative to one another.
44. The disguised fan of claim 43, further comprising least a second pair of substantially flat walls formed by said panels that are substantially parallel relative to one another and oriented substantially orthogonal to said first pair of substantially parallel, flat walls.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional patent application 60/688,970 filed Apr. 28, 2005 and provisional patent application 60/702,802 filed Jul. 27, 2005. This application is also a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/944,290, filed Sep. 16, 2004, which is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/347,079, filed Jan. 17, 2003, which is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/322,169 filed Dec. 18, 2002 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,760,543. This application is also a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/720,374 filed Nov. 24, 2003, which is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/431,964, filed May 8, 2003 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,943,256, which is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/347,079, filed Jan. 17, 2003, which is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 10/322,169 filed Dec. 18, 2002 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,760,543.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to fans. More specifically, the present invention relates to portable fans that may be constructed to conceal the fan.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fans have been used for many years to supplement the indoor and outdoor comfort level of the user. This is accomplished by the fan generating a current of air that passes over the skin of an individual. The current of air serves to increase the convective heat loss of the body through the natural evaporative process of moisture (e.g. sweat) on the skin. When natural air movement is not sufficient to accomplish this evaporation a fan is an effective means to accelerate the evaporative process.

There are however several disadvantages to conventional fans. Non-elevated models that are positioned relatively close to the ground do not have the ability to effectively cool the upper body. Likewise non-elevated models do not posses the ability to project the generated air current over objects such as furniture, thus impairing the ability to efficiently cool the user.

The use of pedestals and risers to elevate the generated air stream also has disadvantages. Conventional fans use axial fan blades to generate the current of air. Elevated fans with axial fan blades have large guards, (grills) and the mass of the electric motor is located at an elevated height. Both of these elements contribute to the instability of the fan and require a base of considerable size to stabilize the device during use. The size of such a base does not permit an optimized space saving design. The fan may also have an oscillation function, which further exacerbates the instability of the device. The oscillating function on conventional fans with axial fan blades also insures that the fan will be visually obtrusive within the environment.

Another problem with conventional fans using axial fan blades is the large volume of air produced by the blade. This problem manifests itself in three manners. One, the ability to project a large volume of air at a sufficient velocity, so as to impinge the skin of the user for the desired cooling effect requires a motor of substantial power and cost. Two, the thrust created by projecting a large volume of air at a sufficient velocity further exacerbates the stability problem of the device. Three, as the conical shape of the air stream travels away from the fan the area of coverage grows in diameter. The significant volume of air combined with the growth in the coverage area of the air stream may cause objects, (such as napkins, playing cards, etc) to be dislodged from their intended place.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In light of the shortcomings of the prior art, the present invention is directed to a portable fan using an inventive air generator design to create a stable elevated air stream and that is conceal and thus less visually disruptive. The device overcomes several if not all of the deficiencies of conventional indoor and/or outdoor fans.

The concealed portable fan also includes an innovative panel construction. The use of this panel construction allows further innovation in materials and styles not presently associated with conventional fans.

The panel construction includes removable/replaceable/interchangeable panels that provide a portable fan that can be moved from room to room (or from indoor use to outdoor use) while still being adaptable to a particular room or environment in which the portable fan is being used. The to removable/replaceable/interchangeable panels allow the portable fan to be modified by the user to match surrounding furniture and/or blend in with the room decor thus further concealing the fan.

According to one aspect of the invention, the portable fan includes: a base for engaging a mounting surface, multiple walls extending vertically upward to form a polygonal column and a top connected to a top end of said polygonal column.

According to another aspect of the invention, the polygonal column defines an interior space.

According to another aspect of the invention, at least one air inlet is located in the polygonal column and at least one air outlet is located in an upper portion of one of the polygonal column.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, an air generator is disposed within the interior space and is in fluid communication with the air inlet and the air outlet.

According to another aspect of the invention, an intake air stream generated by the air generator and enters the interior space via the air inlet and an exhaust air stream generated by the air generator and exits the interior space via the air outlet.

According to another aspect of the invention, the multiple walls forming the polygonal column are utilized to cover and protect the air generator when viewed from a location exterior to the polygonal column.

According to another aspect of the invention, the vertical orientation of the polygonal column elevates the exhaust air stream above the support surface.

According to another aspect of the invention, the multiple walls forming the polygonal column include at least a first pair of substantially flat walls that are oriented substantially parallel relative to one another.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, the multiple walls forming the polygonal column include at least a second pair of substantially flat walls that are substantially parallel relative to one another and oriented substantially orthogonal to the first pair of parallel walls.

According to another aspect of the invention, the fan is a disguised fan that uses the polygonal column to look similar to a piece of furniture or room decor.

According to another aspect of the invention, the polygonal column includes material provided in numerous patterns and/or colors to match furniture and/or a room decor style.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments that proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is best understood from the following detailed description when read in connection with the accompanying drawing. It is emphasized that, according to common practice, various features of the drawings are not to scale. On the contrary, the dimensions of various features are arbitrarily expanded or reduced for clarity. Included in the drawings are the following Figures:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the portable fan;

FIGS. 2A-2G are views showing the construction of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3A-3D illustrate the air flow pattern into, through, and exiting the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 shows an alternative embodiment of a transfer plenum for the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2A;

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate two graphs that compare the thrust and velocity characteristic of a conventional fan and an embodiment of the portable fan in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of the portable fan of the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows an exploded view of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 shows a cross sectional view through the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 shows packaging advantages associated with the invention;

FIG. 10 shows additional features added to the present invention;

FIGS. 11A-11E illustrate a comparison of the portable fan of the present invention to conventional fans; and

FIGS. 12-24 shows additional embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The following description is of an exemplary portable fan that generates an elevated air stream. The elevated air stream allows effectual cooling of the users upper body as well as the ability to project the air stream over furniture and other objects. The exemplary portable fan uses a high velocity low thrust air generator to mitigate the stability problems associated with axial fan blades. The non-conical shape of the air stream allows a more precise adjustment of direction when compare to conical shaped air streams.

The use of the disclosed air generators provide a compact design that does not require the use of large protective grills. Oscillation can be incorporated into the device while being less visually disruptive than axial fans. The ability to locate the mass of the motor at a low elevation with respect to a mounting surface combined with the absence of large grills further enhances the stability of the device.

The novel design of the parts and assembly of the portable fan also increases the opportunity to change the aesthetic appearance of the device. The sealed construction as described will enhance the ability to utilize the portable fan indoors or outdoors. The ability to easily assemble and disassemble the portable fan facilitates storage and reduces the shipping cost from the manufacturer to the customer.

The embodiments described herein provide various combinations of the above characteristics at a desirable retail cost for the consumer.

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary perspective view of portable fan 100 includes a housing having a polygonal column 110. Top 114 is located at vertical extent of polygonal column 110 and base 116 is located at the bottom of polygonal column 110. Polygonal column 110, top 114 and base 116 define interior space 113. As shown, inlet 112 is located in a lower portion of polygonal column 110 while outlet opening 111 are located in an upper portion of polygonal column 110. As shown, grill 120 is located proximate outlet opening 111.

Air generator 130 is disposed within interior space 113 and draws air into polygonal column 110 via inlet 112. Located proximate inlet 112 is porous material 118 through which the air drawn into polygonal column 110 passes. The air is subsequently expelled from polygonal column through outlet opening 111 and grill 120.

Portable fan 100 also includes at least one control assembly 170. Control assembly 170 controls one or more functions of portable fan 100. Also shown is power cord 105, utilized to connect portable fan 100 to an electrical power source (i.e. wall outlet). The electrical component connections of portable fan 100 are integrated within the device, such as for example between control assembly 170 and air generator 130. The integration of the electrical component connections within the device eliminates the need for the user to make such connections. In the exemplary embodiment shown, for example, only the connection of power cord 105 to an electrical power source is required for operation of the device. Further, the integration of the electrical component connections within the device enhances the portability of portable fan 100, as well as, outdoor use wherein the housing is sealed to be waterproof.

Preferably power cord 105 utilizes a safety plug. Details of the safety plug and it's advantages can be referenced in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,394,848; 6,604,965; 6,793,535; and 6,896,544, which are incorporated herein by reference. These US patents provide a plug that permits a greater degree of safety for portable fan 100 by using a non-replaceable circuit interrupter in power cord 105. The location of the non-replaceable circuit interrupter is preferably near the interface point of power cord 105 and the power supply, e.g. a power outlet, such as for example a conventional wall receptacle. The location of the circuit interrupter protects not only portable fan 100 but also protects the complete length of power cord 105.

Also shown in FIG. 1 is cross section plane 3-3. The horizontal cross section taken along cross section plane 3-3 is illustrated in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 2A is an exploded perspective view of the exemplary embodiment of portable fan 100 shown in FIG. 1. As shown, base 116 serves to stabilize portable fan 100 on a mounting surface, (not shown). In the embodiment, shown front panel 110 a, rear panel 110 b, side panel 110 c and side panel 110 d are connected together along corresponding side edges. Panels 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d are connected to base 116. As shown, are inlet openings 112 a and 112 b formed in side panels 110 c and 110 d respectively. Outlet opening 111 is located in an upper portion of front panel 110 a. Top 114 and porous material 118 are also shown. Although polygonal column 110 is shown constructed of four separate, substantially flat, panels the invention is not so limited. It is contemplated that one, two or more shaped panels could be used to construct polygonal column 110. Shapes such as L-shaped sections, pentagons, hexagons and octagons could easily be incorporated into the described structure. It is also contemplated that polygonal column 110 may be constructed from panels having slightly curved surface, the curved surface will add structural integrity to polygonal column 110. It is also contemplated that polygonal column may be constructed from a combination of flat and curved panels.

The use of polygonal column 110 constructed of panels such as 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d will allow a single panel structure to be used in multiple applications. For example, side panel 110 c and side panel 110 d may be identical and require only one manufacturing tool. The reduction in the number of needed manufacturing tools will reduce the capitol investment required to initiate manufacturing portable fan 100.

Disposed within panels 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d and preferably connected to base 116 is air generator 130. As shown in FIG. 2, air generator 130 is a centrifugal air generator and includes motor 132, housing 138 and foundation 133. Foundation 133 is used to attach air generator 130 to base 116. It is contemplated that foundation 133 may be unitary with housing 138 and/or base 116. Disposed within housing 138 is at least one impeller 134. Impeller 134 is rotated by motor 132 and draws inlet air into housing 138 via at least one inlet port 136. The inlet air is subsequently accelerated and pressurized by the rotation of impeller 134 and expelled from housing 138 as an exhaust air stream via exit port 131.

Attached to exit port 131 of air generator 130 is adaptor 140. In the exemplary embodiment shown, adaptor 140 is used to create a transition from exit port 131 to transfer plenum 144. Adaptor 140 is shown as a separate part, however it is contemplated that adaptor 140 may be unitary with housing 138 and/or transfer plenum 144.

Transfer plenum 144 in the present embodiment includes rear wall 144 a, front wall 144 b, rear cap 143 a and front cap 143 b. As shown rear cap 143 a and front cap 143 b are unitary with rear wall 144 a and front wall 144 b, respectively. It is contemplated that rear and front cap 143 a, 143 b could be separate from walls 144 a, 144 b. It is also contemplated that caps 143 a and 143 b could be a single unitary cap. Transfer plenum 144 is open on the lower end to facilitate fluid communication with air generator 130.

Plenum outlet 146 is located in an upper portion of front wall 144 b. Located proximate plenum outlet 146 are air alignment elements 148. Plenum outlet 146 and air alignment elements 148 condition the exhaust air stream to project out of transfer plenum 144 towards outlet opening 111. Grill 120 connects proximate outlet opening 111. Grill 120 includes grill elements 122. Grill elements 122 serve to further control and direct the exhaust air stream. (see FIG. 3C)

In the exemplary embodiment, bearing ring 142 is used in conjunction with rear flange 145 a and front flange 145 b to connect transfer plenum 144 in a rotatable fashion with respect to air generator 130. As shown rear flange 145 a and front flange 145 b are unitary with rear wall 144 a and front wall 144 b, respectively. It is contemplated that rear and front flange 145 a, 145 b could be separate from walls 144 a, 144 b and/or a unitary part unto themselves.

Also shown is oscillation mechanism 150 which includes oscillation motor 152, crank 154, link 156 and shoulder screws 158. Oscillation mechanism 150 oscillates transfer plenum 144 to disperse the exhaust air stream over a wide area. As shown, oscillation mechanism 150 is a crank and link type, however it has been contemplated that other types, such as for example, gears and reversible motors may be used. Although oscillation mechanism 150 is shown located at or near a bottom portion of transfer plenum 144 the invention is not so limited. It is contemplated that oscillation mechanism 150 may be located at an upper or mid portion of transfer plenum 144.

The rotation and/or oscillation of transfer plenum 144 within polygonal column 110 allows the exhaust air steam to be dispersed without moving polygonal column 110. The stationary aspect of polygonal column 110 during oscillation of the exhaust air stream permits portable fan 100 to be less visually distractive than conventional devices that move external components.

The rotation and/or oscillation of transfer plenum 144 independent of air generator 130 also allows electrical connections (not shown) and electrical wires (not shown) to remain stationary during the operation of portable fan 100. The wires and connections between air generator 130, controller 170 (see FIG. 1) and/or other features, such as light source 750 and/or electrical receptacle 752 (see FIG. 7), will remain stationary during the rotation and/or oscillation of transfer plenum 144. The stationary aspect of the wires and connections mitigates possible fatigue failure of the wires and loosening of the connections.

Another advantage of the rotation and/or oscillation of transfer plenum 144 independent of air generator 130 is the lower overall mass that must be moved during rotation and or oscillation. If oscillation mechanism 150 was required to move air generator 130 in conjunction with plenum 144 the accumulated mass would require oscillation motor 152 to have greater power, thus increasing the materials used to manufacture motor 152 and thereby increasing it's cost. In a similar fashion, more manufacturing materials may be need to increase the structural strength of other components, such as for example; crank 154, link 156, shoulder screws 158 and bearing ring 142. The use of more manufacturing materials will increase the overall cost of portable fan 100.

Portable fan 100 may be assembled using conventional fasteners, such as for example screws and or adhesives. It is also contemplated that snaps, hooks and other features may be incorporated into parts such as, for example polygonal column 110, air generator 130, and transfer plenum 144.

FIGS. 2B and 2G are partial cross sections through alternative embodiments of the connections along corresponding side edges of panels 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d. FIG. 2B shows corner structure 202 providing slots 204 and 206. As shown rear panel 110 b fits into slot 204 and side panel 110 d fits into slot 206. A similar structure would provided on all corresponding edges of panels 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d. In the present example corner structure 202 may be an extruded shape and may be formed of various materials, such as for example; aluminum or polymer. It is also contemplated that corner structure 202 may be formed of wood or cast iron. Corner structure 222 of FIG. 2C is similar to corner structure 202 of FIG. 2B except the overall shape has been modified to polygonal.

As can be seen from FIGS. 2B and 2C the use of corner structures 202 and 222 or similar provide several advantages. Corner structures 202 and 222 are not unitary with panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c and/or 110 d an thus expand the stealth or concealment possibilities of portable fan 100. This non-unitary aspect may also allow panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c and/or 110 d to be reversible with two distinct surfaces. The user would thereby have the option of changing the overall aesthetic appearance of portable fan 100 by reversing panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c and/or 110 d to match surrounding furniture and/or blend in with the room decor. For example, panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c, 110 d may have a wood grain finish on one side and a stainless steel finish on the opposite side. The user could thereby remove, for example rear panel 110 b from slot 204, reverse the panel to expose the opposite side toward the exterior and re-install rear panel 110 b into slot 204. This permits portable fan 100 to have multiple appearances from which the user can choose. The decorative possibilities of panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c and/or 110 d allow the user to obscure the existence or true state or character of the portable fan 100.

The removable/replaceable/interchangeable panels 110 a, 110 b, 110 c and/or 110 d also provide a portable fan 100 that can be moved from room to room (or from indoor use to outdoor use) while still being adaptable to a particular room or environment in which the portable fan 100 is being used.

Another advantage is the unlimited shapes and structures that could be used for corner structures 202 and 222. These shapes promote further aesthetic exploration and creates new application possibilities for the consumer and valuable market advantages for the manufacturer.

In a preferred embodiment where polygonal column 110 is constructed of substantially flat surfaces, such as panels 110 a, 110 b. 110 c and 110 d. the use of substantially flat panels enhances the ability to use novel materials, such as for example, wood, fabric, and metals that are normally not associated with conventional fans. These novel materials can be utilized without adding exorbitant costs to portable fan 100 because of the substantially flat surfaces associated with polygonal column 110.

FIG. 2D shows another embodiment that uses fasteners 210 to connect rear panel 110 b to side panel 110 d. Fastener 210 as shown is a flat head type screw, however it is contemplated that rivets, snaps or adhesives may be used. As shown rear panel 110 b is configured to overlap side panel 110 d to provide the area required to utilize fastener 210. Alternatively, it is contemplated that side panel 110 d could be configured to overlap rear panel 110 b.

FIG. 2E shows corner structure 232. Rear panel 110 b and side panel 110 d are attached to corner structure 232 using fasteners 210. Fastener 210 as shown is a flat head type screw, however it is contemplated that rivets or snaps may be used. Bosses 234 on corner structure 232 are used to receive fastener 210. In the present example, corner structure 232 may be a molded or die cast part. As can be appreciated, the design of corner structure 232 may closely simulate architectural elements, such as for example, trim and molding profiles.

FIG. 2F shows an L-bracket 242. Rear panel 110 b and side panel 110 d are attached to L-bracket 242 using fasteners 210. Fastener 210 as shown is a flat head type screw, however it is contemplated that rivets or snaps could be used. As shown the corresponding edges of panels 110 b and 110 d would have multiple L-brackets 242 along the vertical length, see FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2G shows corner structure 252. Rear panel 110 b and side panel 110 d are attached to corner structure 232 using fasteners 210. Fastener 210 as shown is a flat head type screw, however it is contemplated that rivets or snaps may be used. In the present example corner structure 252 may be an extruded, molded or die cast part. As can be appreciated use of corner structure 252 adds yet another flat surface that can expand the aesthetic design of portable fan 100.

The use of polygonal column 110 as described protects internal components (air generator 130, oscillation mechanism 150 and electrical connections) of portable fan 100 from direct exposure to environmental conditions that may be harmful. These environmental conditions may include for example: direct sun light, rain, dew, dust, dirt, etc. It is further contemplated that portable fan 100 may be constructed of material such as polymers and/or other components, such as for example rain sensors, sealed motors, and sealed switches that would optimize a weather proof construction. The use of these materials and components further facilitates the outdoor use of portable fan 100 on, for example, decks, boats and other areas that might be exposed to varying weather conditions.

The use of oscillation mechanism 150 to rotate and/or oscillate the exhaust air stream without moving polygonal column 110 reduces the visual distraction normally associated with conventional fans.

FIGS. 3A through 3D illustrate the air flow pattern into, through, and exiting the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1. FIG. 3A is a cross sectional view taken along cross section plane 3-3 of FIG. 1. FIG. 3B is in turn a cross sectional view taken along cross section plane 3B shown in FIG. 3A. The rotation of motor 132 causes air impeller 134 to rotate inducing intake air 300 into interior space 113 defined by polygonal column 110 through air inlets 112. Intake air 300 enters air generator 130 through at least one intake port 136 and is accelerated by impeller 134 and exits air generator 130 through exit port 131 as exhaust air stream 302. Exhaust air stream 302 passes through interior space 141 of transfer plenum 144, which in this example is oriented substantially vertically, and exits transfer plenum 144 via plenum outlet 146 passing through air alignment elements 148. Exhaust air stream 302 subsequently exits interior space 113 of polygonal column 110 through outlet opening 111 and grill 120.

As shown in FIG. 3A, intake air 300 may enter exterior housing 110 through two inlets 112 located on opposite sides of air generator 130. Intake air 300 enters air generator 130 through two intake ports 136 on opposite sides of air generator 130. Although shown having a single air exit port 131, air generator 130 may also include more than one exit port 131 that discharge exhaust air stream 302 from air generator 130 into adaptor 140 and subsequently into transfer plenum 144.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, intake air 300 enters interior space 113 of polygonal column 110 along first flow path 312. Exhaust air stream 302 exits air generator 130 along second flow path 314. Exhaust air stream 302 exits transfer plenum 144 and polygonal column along third flow path 316. In the exemplary embodiment shown, first flow path 312 is substantially orthogonal to second flow path 314, and second flow path 314 is substantially orthogonal to third flow path 316. In one embodiment, third flow path 316 is orthogonal to first flow path 312. In another embodiment, third flow path 316 is substantially parallel to first flow path 312. Air directing component 310 assures that exhaust air stream 302 transitions smoothly from second flow path 314 to third flow path 316. The smooth transition from second flow path 314 to third flow path 316 maintain the desired air flow velocity of exhaust air stream 302. In one embodiment third flow path 316 is parallel to support surface 320 allowing exhaust air stream 302 to project away from portable fan 100. The projection of exhaust air stream 302 away from portable fan 100 reduces the recirculation of exhaust air stream 302 between air outlet opening 111 and air inlets 112.

The flow of air into, though, and out of portable fan 100 as described allow exhaust air stream 302 to exit portable fan 100 from upper portion 322 of polygonal column 110 above air generator 130 and thus be elevated above support surface 320. (Upper portion 322 is defined by the upper half of the overall length “OAL” of portable fan 100). In one embodiment air generator 130 may be located in upper portion 322 of polygonal column 110. As shown air generator assembly 130 is located in lower portion 324 of polygonal column 110 allowing the mass of air generator 130 to be located closer to support surface 320. The location of the mass of air generator 130 in lower portion 324 as shown relative to support surface 320 increases the stability of portable fan 100 and minimizes the size of base 116, thus maximizing space saving characteristics of portable fan 100 while allowing the elevation of plenum outlet 146 and grill 120 above support surface 320. The increased stability also is advantageous for portable fan 100 when located outdoors and subject to external forces, such as for example, wind gusts, accidental impact, etc.

In one embodiment, the center of gravity (not shown) of portable fan 100 is located within lower portion 324 of polygonal column 110.

As illustrated by FIGS. 3A and 3B, another advantage of the relationship between air flow paths 312, 314 and 316 is that the location of impeller 134 is not proximate grill 120. The location and distance of outlet opening 111 and grill 120 from impeller 134 increases the safety of portable fan 100. This distance decreases the possibility that a foreign object, (not shown) can contact impeller 134 when inserted into interior space 113 of polygonal column 110 through outlet opening 111. This distance combined with grill 120 enhances the protection of impeller 134 from damage and the user of portable fan 100 from possible injury.

FIG. 3C is a horizontal cross section through plenum outlet 146 and grill 120 of portable fan 100. As can be seen the oscillation of plenum 144 causes plenum outlet 146 to move along movement arc 342. Air alignment elements 122 of grill 120 are divergently angled relative to air projection centerline 340. As shown, angled air alignment elements 122 provide a smooth transition for third air flow path 316 between movement arc 342 and flat face 344 of grill 120. The smooth transition helps maintain the air velocity and volume of exhaust air stream 302 as it exits grill 120 and oscillates through oscillation angle 346. The ability to project exhaust air stream 302 efficiently through grill 120 throughout oscillation angle 346 maintains the cooling effect on the user located within the area covered by the oscillation of exhaust air stream 302 through oscillation angle 346.

As shown the divergently angled air alignment elements 122 are unitary with grill 120, the invention is not so limited. It is contemplated that air alignment elements 122 could be a separate part, (not shown) distinct from grill 120.

FIG. 3D is a partial cross section through the upper portion of plenum showing an alternative embodiment of air directing component 350. As shown air directing component 350 includes horizontal plates 352, 354, and 356. As exhaust air stream 302 travels along second flow path 314 horizontal plates 352, 354 and 356 redirect the flow of exhaust air stream 302 along third flow path 316. As shown, horizontal plates 352, 354 and 356 extend into second flow path 314 of exhaust air stream 302 at different elevations. Horizontal plates 352, 354 and 356 also have varied length as they extend into flow path 314 of exhaust air stream 302. The different elevations and the varied lengths of plates 352, 354 and 356 distribute the flow of exhaust air stream 302 more evenly across the vertical length of plenum outlet 146. The normal flow of air absent plates 352, 354 and 356 would force the majority of exhaust air stream 302 to exit at the upper vertical extent of plenum outlet 146.

It has been found that the even distribution of exhaust air stream 302 across the vertical length of plenum outlet 146 also mitigates air noise. The energy of exhaust air stream 302 is distributed over a greater area of plenum outlet 146. The turbulence associated with exhaust air stream 302 as it exits plenum outlet 146 is decreased and the noise generated by the turbulence is subsequently decreased.

FIG. 4 shows an alternative embodiment of transfer plenum 444 for the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2A. In the exemplary embodiment adaptor 140 is used to create a transition from exit port 131 of air generator 130 to transfer plenum 444. Transfer plenum 444, unlike transfer plenum 144 of FIG. 2A, is designed to create a gradual and smooth transition from the shape of the interface between adaptor 140 and transfer plenum 444 to the shape of plenum outlet 146. The gradual transitional shape of transfer plenum 444 conserves the velocity of exhaust air 302, (not shown) as it travels from air generator 130 to plenum outlet 146. Transitional plenum 444 defines internal space 441. Also shown are oscillator mechanism 150 and air alignment elements 148. In all other respects, transfer plenum 444 functions similar to transfer plenum 144 of FIG. 2A.

FIGS. 5A and 5B compare the thrust characteristics of a conventional axial blade fan and an exemplary portable fan 100. FIG. 5A shows air velocity in feet per minute versus the thrust developed in pounds for a conventional axial blade fan. The shaded area under the curve is the required power from the motor of a conventional axial blade fan in lbs-ft per minute. The shaded area below the curve is also indicative of the air volume generated by a conventional axial blade fan. FIG. 5B shows air velocity in feet per minute versus the thrust developed in pounds by portable fan 100 in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The shaded area under the curve is the required power from the motor of portable fan 100 in lbs-ft per minute. The shaded area below the curve is also indicative of the air volume generated by portable fan 100.

As shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, air generator 130 of portable fan 100 is designed to optimize the characteristics of achieving a desired air velocity exiting portable fan 100 while minimizing the thrust created by the velocity of the exhaust air stream. Maintaining the velocity at a high level maximizes the cooling effect for the user. Minimizing or limiting the thrust reduces it's destabilizing effects on portable fan 100. Thrust is the force that is generated in a direction opposite the flow of exhaust air stream 302 along air path 316 as it exits outlet opening 111, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. To remain stable and in an upright position, portable fan 100 must counteracted this force of thrust. One method of counteracting the force of thrust is to increase the size of base 116 of portable fan 100. Minimizing or limiting the thrust reduces it's destabilizing effects and in-turn reduces the need for a large base. Reducing the need of a large base facilitates possible space saving characteristics while allowing an elevated exhaust air stream 302. The ability of air generator 130 to generate a low volume of air with a high velocity achieves the desired low thrust characteristics for exhaust air stream 302. In one embodiment, air generator 130 is a centrifugal air generator. Centrifugal air generators are able to generate a preferred low volume high velocity air stream.

Another advantage to the minimization of thrust is that motor 132 of air generator 130 does not require the power that would be needed to move a greater volume of air. This allows the needed motor torque to be reduced and decreases the heat generated by the motor. Motor 132 can therefore utilize fewer materials and be less expensive while yet producing the required exhaust air stream velocity. This in turn yields cost savings for the manufacturer and the consumer.

In one exemplary embodiment, high velocity exhaust air stream 302 has a maximum velocity of about 500 feet per minute or greater when measured at a distance of about 8 feet from outlet opening 111 of portable fan 100. In a preferred embodiment the maximum velocity of exhaust air stream 302 is greater than 1000 feet per minute when measured 8 feet from air outlet opening 111. In another embodiment, the maximum velocity of exhaust air stream 302 is between 750 feet per minute and 2000 feet per minute. The maximum velocity of exhaust air stream 302 is measured by locating an anemometer 8 feet from outlet opening 111 of portable fan 100. The anemometer is moved vertically up and down and horizontally while maintaining the 8 feet of distance until the maximum velocity within exhaust air stream 302 is located. In another exemplary embodiment, the maximum thrust generated in a direction opposite the direction of the flow of air path 316 of exhaust air stream 302 is about 1.0 lbs or less. In one embodiment, the maximum thrust is less than 0.7 lbs. The maximum thrust is measured using a certified thrust table as specified by AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association). In another exemplary embodiment, the ratio of the maximum velocity of exhaust air stream 302 measured at a distance of about 8 feet from air outlet opening 111 divided by the maximum thrust generated in a direction opposite to the direction of the flow of air path 316 of exhaust air stream 302 is about 500:1 or greater.

FIG. 6 shows another exemplary perspective view of portable fan 600 which includes polygonal column 610. Polygonal column 610 defines interior space 613. Top 614 is located at vertical extent of polygonal column 610 and base 616 is located at the bottom of polygonal column 610. Outlet opening 611 and grill 620 are located in an upper portion of polygonal column 610 while inlet 612 is located on a face of polygonal column 610 opposite outlet opening 611.

Air generator 630 is disposed within polygonal column 610 and draws air into polygonal column 610 via inlet 612. The air is subsequently expelled from polygonal column 610 through outlet opening 611 and grill 620.

Portable fan 600 also includes at least one control assembly 670. Control assembly 670 controls one or more functions of portable fan 600. Also shown is power cord 605, utilized to connect portable fan 600 to an electrical power source (i.e. wall outlet). The electrical component connections of portable fan 600 are integrated within the device, such as for example between control assembly 670 and air generator 630. The integration of the electrical component connections within the device eliminates the need for the user to make such connections. In the exemplary embodiment shown, for example, only the connection of power cord 605 to an electrical power source is required for operation of the device. The integration of all the electrical component connections within the device also enhance the portability of portable fan 600.

Preferably power cord 605 will utilize a safety plug. Details of the safety plug and it's advantages can be referenced in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,394,848; 6,604,965; 6,793,535; and 6,896,544, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Also shown in FIG. 6 is cross section plane 8-8. The horizontal cross section taken along cross section plane 8-8 is illustrated in FIG. 8, which is described in more detail below.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the exemplary embodiment of portable fan 600 shown in FIG. 6. As shown base 616 serves to stabilize portable fan 600 on a mounting surface, (not shown). Base 616 in the present example may be constructed of more than one part such as for example, portion 616 a and 616 b. In the embodiment shown front panel 610 a, rear panel 610 b, side panel 610 c and side panel 610 d are connected together along corresponding edges to form polygonal column 610. Panels 610 a, 610 b, 610 c and 610 d are connected to base 616. Also located in rear panel 610 b is inlet openings 612. Outlet opening 611 is located in an upper portion of front panel 610 a. Top 614 and inlet grill 618 are also shown. Top 614 in the present example may be constructed of more than one part such as for example, portion 614 a and 614 b.

Disposed within panels 610 a, 610 b, 610 c and 610 d is air generator 630. As shown air generator 630 is a cross-flow transverse air generator and includes motor 632, motor bracket 634, lower plate 636, upper plate 638, impeller 631, air guide 633, air cut off 635 and upper bracket 637. Motor bracket 634 and upper bracket 637 are used to attach air generator 630 to polygonal column 610. It is contemplated that motor bracket 634 and/or upper bracket 637 may be unitary with other parts of portable fan 600, such as for example, rear panel 610 b, lower plate 636, upper plate 638 and/or motor 632. Impeller 631 is rotated by motor 632 and draws inlet air into polygonal column 610 via at least one inlet openings 612. The inlet air is subsequently accelerated by the rotation of impeller 631 and expelled from polygonal column 610 as an exhaust air stream via outlet opening 611 and through grill 620. Grill 620 is located proximate outlet opening 611. Grill 620 includes grill elements 622. Grill elements 622 serve to further control and direct the exhaust air stream.

In the exemplary embodiment lower plate 636, upper plate 638, air guide and 633 air cut off 635 are connected together and rotatable with respect to polygonal column 610 and/or base 616. Also shown is oscillation mechanism 650 which includes oscillation motor 652, crank 654, link 656 and shoulder screws 658. Oscillation mechanism 650 oscillates; lower plate 636, upper plate 638, air guide and 633 air cut off 635 to disperse the exhaust air stream over a wide area. As shown Oscillation mechanism 650 is a crank and link type, however it has been contemplated that other types such as for example gears and reversible motors may be used.

The rotation and/or oscillation of lower plate 636, upper plate 638, air guide and 633 air cut off 635 within polygonal column 610 allows the exhaust air to be dispersed without moving polygonal column 610. The stationary aspect of polygonal column 610 during oscillation of the exhaust air stream permits portable fan 600 to be less visually distractive than conventional devices that move external components.

The rotation and/or oscillation of lower plate 636, upper plate 638, air guide and 633 air cut off 635 independent of motor 632 allows electrical connections (not shown) and electrical wires (not shown) to remain stationary during the operation of portable fan 600. The wires and connections between motor 632, controller 670 (see FIG. 6) and/or other features such as light source 1050 (see FIG. 10) will remain stationary during the rotation and/or oscillation movement. The stationary aspect of the wires and connections mitigates possible fatigue failure of the wires and loosening of the connections.

In all other respects polygonal column 610 is similar to polygonal column 110 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 8 shows the air flow pattern through an alternative embodiment of portable fan 600. Polygonal column 610 defines interior space 613. Top 614 is located at the upper vertical extent of polygonal column 610 and base 616 is located at the bottom of polygonal column 610. Inlet 612 is located in an upper portion of polygonal column 610 and outlet grill 620 is located in an upper portion of polygonal column 610, in this example opposite inlet 612.

Disposed within interior space 613 is cross-flow impeller 631, motor 632, motor bracket 634, motor bracket 636, upper bracket 637. Motor 632 rotates impeller 631 and draws air into polygonal column 610 via inlet 612. Located proximate inlet 612 is inlet grill 618 through which the air drawn into polygonal column 610 passes. The air is subsequently expelled from polygonal column through grill 620.

Although motor 632 is located below impeller 631 it is contemplated that motor 632 may be located at the upper end of polygonal column 610 below top 614. This location of motor 632 will helps to shield motor 632 from outdoor elements such as rain and allows gravity to pull rain away from motor 632 and towards base 616, thus decreasing the possibility that water will enter motor 632 and compromise function.

As shown inlet air 802 travels along flow path 803 and exhaust air stream 804 travels along flow path 805. Both flow paths 803 and 805 are substantially parallel to support surface 800.

The use of cross-flow impeller 631 may not perform as well outdoors as the previous embodiment of FIG. 2A due to the dynamics of air flow associated with the cross-flow impeller designs. The flow of inlet air 802 into cross-flow impeller 631 will be detrimentally influenced by air movement and air pressures changes external to polygonal column 610. These changes are more frequent outdoors than indoors. However it has been contemplated that the size of polygonal column 610 in conjunction with the design of inlet 612 could be manipulated to mitigate the detrimental effects of external air movements and pressures. The location and diameter of cross-flow impeller could be further manipulated to also mitigate the detrimental effects of external air movements and pressures. In short the use of polygonal column 610 increases the feasibility of the use of a cross-flow impeller to create exhaust air stream 604 with the desired velocity characteristics in an outdoor application.

Cross-flow impeller 631 provides several advantages. For example, the use of cross-flow impeller 631 will cost less to manufacture when compared to air generator 130, transfer plenum 144 and adaptor 140 of FIG. 2. As shown, air generator 630 requires fewer parts and materials. The elevated location and the relatively short length of cross flow impeller 631 within polygonal column 610 does not requiring a long impeller to extend the entire length of polygonal column 610 to achieve the desired elevation. The short length of cross flow impeller 631 lowers the power requirements of motor 632 which in turn lowers the cost of motor 632 while yet providing the desired elevation of exhaust air stream 604.

FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate the packaging and shipping advantages of portable fan 600 constructed with polygonal column 610 utilizing separate panels such as; front panel 610 a, rear panel 610 b, side panel 610 c and side panel 610 d. As shown in FIG. 9A, polygonal column 610, base 616 and top 614 are disassembled in a non-operating configuration and disposed within package 900. Air generator 630 is also disposed within package 900. FIG. 9A is an end view of package 2100.

FIG. 9B shows an end view of package 902 with an identical portable fan 600 of FIG. 9A absent the ability to further disassemble polygonal column 610 into separate panels (610 a, 610 b, 610 c, 610 d). As can be seen the overall size of package 902 of FIG. 9B is larger than package 900 of FIG. 9A. The space economization of package 900 of FIG. 9A reduces the cost to transport portable fan 600 and the overall cost of the product to the consumer.

FIG. 10 is an alternative embodiment of portable fan 1000 showing various additional features. As shown portable fan 1000 may include light source 1050, electrical receptacle 1052 and/or air filtration elements 1080. Preferably light source 1050 would be located between polygonal column 1010 and top 1014. It is contemplated that light source 1050 and/or an additional light source (not shown) could be located between polygonal column 1010 and base 1016.

It is contemplated that light source 1050 may uses light emitting diodes (L.E.D.) and clear polymer plates, such as a poly carbonate material for example. The use of L.E.D. as a light source has several advantages. First, the power usage is low compared to other types of light sources. Also, the life span of an L.E.D. is much greater than other light sources. In addition, the ability to “weatherproof” the L.E.D. is simple when compared to larger light sources that require several components such as for example, sockets. Further, the use of an L.E.D. light source and polymer plates create a compact light source that can easily be crafted into many shapes and sizes. Each of the above mentioned characteristics further enhances the design flexibility inherent in the construction of portable fan 1000.

Electrical receptacle 1052 is shown located in the same side of polygonal column 1010 as grill 1020. It is contemplated that electric receptacle 1052 may be located on any side of polygonal column 1010 and/or base 1016.

As shown in FIG. 10 the large flat surfaces of polygonal column 1010 allow the use of multiple inlet openings 1012 and multiple air filtration elements 1080 disposed proximate multiple air inlets 1012. The size of multiple inlets 1012 and multiple air filtration elements 1080 increase the filter area and the capacity of inlet air to pass through air filtration elements 1080 without starving air generator 630 disposed within polygonal column 1010. The absence of starving air generator 1030 permits an efficient generation of a filtered exhaust air flow.

It is contemplated that air filtration elements 1080 may be standard commercially available filter elements. It is also contemplated that air filtration elements 1080 may include a photo catalyst substance such as for example Titanium Dioxide (TiO2). Filtration of the inlet air is enhance by the photo catalyst substance when used in conjunction with internal light source 1090. Internal light source 1090 produces photo energy with the proper frequency, for example between about 200 nm and about 600 nm. The photo energy produced by internal light source 1090 excites the a photo catalyst substance which in turn produces a chemical energy. The produced chemical energy subsequently oxidizes at least a portion of the organic compounds that may be part of the intake air. In all other respects portable fan 1000 functions similar to the previous embodiments.

FIGS. 11A through 11E show a comparison of the present invention, portable fan 1100, conventional tower fan 1120 and conventional pedestal fan 1130. Conventional pedestal fan 1130 of FIG. 11A, includes air generation head 1132, pole 1136 and base 1138. Air generation head 1132 oscillates along oscillation path 1134 relative to pole 1136 and base 1138. As can be seen air generation head 1132 includes blade 1135 and protective grill 1133. The rotation of blade 1135 and the oscillation of air generation head 1132 in conjunction with the limited stationary surface area of the pole 1136 and base 1138 contribute to the visually disruptive character of conventional pedestal fan 1130.

Conventional tower fan 1120 of FIG. 11B, includes air generation 1122, pole 1126 and base 1128. Air generation head includes protective grill 1125 and housing 1127. Air generation head 1122 oscillates along oscillation path 1124 relative to pole 1126 and base 1128. Similar to conventional pedestal fan 1130, the oscillation of air generation head 1122 in conjunction with the limited stationary surface area of the pole 1126 and base 1128 contribute to the visually disruptive character of conventional tower fan 1120.

Portable fan 1100 of FIG. 11C, includes polygonal column 1110, base 1118, top 1114 and protective grill 1115. As described previously, (see FIGS. 2 and 6) the air generator and oscillation movement are located within polygonal column 1110 thus reducing the visible movement of portable fan 1100. As can be appreciated the visually disruptive characteristics of portable fan 1100 have been greatly reduced when compared to conventional tower fan 1120 and conventional pedestal fan 1130.

Polygonal column 1110 also increases the surface area of portable fan 1100. As shown in FIG. 11D the substantially polygonal horizontal cross section 1140 of polygonal column 1110 utilizes the available space 1162 in the corners of a shipping package 1160 when compared to the substantially circular horizontal cross section 1150 of conventional tower fan 1120. This use of available space 1162 in the corners of a shipping package 1160 allows polygonal column 1110 to create more stationary surface area without drastically increasing the shipping package size and cost.

The use of novel materials and construction of polygonal column 1110, (see FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C) in combination with the increased surface area of polygonal column 1110 and the stationary characteristics of oscillation contribute to the ability to construct a fan that is differentiated from conventional fans. Furniture styles such as Colonial, Missions, Shaker and others can easily be imposed upon the described structure. Architectural elements such as for example Greek column styles: Ionic, Corinthian or Doric can also be integrated on the surfaces of polygonal column 1110, (see FIGS. 12 thru 24). The use of the styles and materials as described has the advantage of disguising portable fan 1100. Disguise signifies: to modify the manner and/or appearance of in order to prevent recognition. This ability can create a more palatable aesthetic presence for portable fan 1100 when compared to conventional tower fan 1120 and conventional pedestal fan 1130, thus creating new areas of use.

The design and materials of polygonal column 1110 are preferably chosen from a variety of materials, colors, and decorative patterns allowing the selection which match furniture and a general room decor. The design and materials of polygonal column 1110 provides a portable fan 1100 that blends in with or adds to a home's decor. In this manner, the portable fan 1100 provides design is unobtrusive and furtive in the environment in which it is used.

The design flexibility inherent in polygonal column 1110 allows portable fan 1100 to mimic other familiar objects. It is contemplated that polygonal column 1110 could be so configured so as to be utilitarian. Examples of such a configuration are: clocks, chairs, tables, lamps, coat racks, ornamental plants, vases, statuary, corner columns and ceiling mounted apparatus. The ability to incorporate utilitarian characteristics into polygonal column 1110 further expands applicable areas of use for portable fan 1100.

Briefly stated, the mechanical structure and/or visible movement of conventional tower fan 1120 and conventional pedestal fan 1130 impede the ability to explore new aesthetic elements that serve to differentiate the units in the marketplace. Portable fan 1100 promotes this aesthetic exploration and creates new application possibilities for the consumer and valuable market advantages for the manufacturer.

As described the preferred embodiment of portable fan of the invention uses an air generator, (having the proper volume and velocity characteristics) to generate an exhaust air stream. Low thrust permits the exhaust air stream to be elevated above a support surface without compromising the stability of the portable fan. Preferably the location of the air generator is in a lower portion of the polygonal column, thus allowing the mass of the air generator to remain closer to the support surface. The location of the air generator as described further enhances the stability of the portable fan. A transfer plenum in conjunction with air directing components conserve the velocity of the exhaust air stream exits the polygonal column above the support surface. As a result the preferred embodiment of the portable fan supplies an exhaust air stream elevated above a support surface, allowing the generated air stream to more readily affect the user's upper body. As described the velocities of the exhaust air stream are sufficient to impinge upon the user and further enhance the cooling sensation. The enhanced stability of the portable fan allows the size of the base to be minimized contributing to space saving characteristics.

In one preferred embodiment, the polygonal column is constructed of flat surfaces, such as panels. The use of flat surfaces enhance the ability to use novel materials normally not associated with conventional fans. The polygonal column is used to enhance the protection of the internal components of the portable fan from direct exposure to environmental conditions that may be harmful.

Although the embodiments illustrate the preferred oscillation and/or rotation of the exhaust air stream as being accomplished without moving the polygonal column, the invention is not so limited. The absence of oscillation movement of the outer panels reduces the visual distraction normally associated with conventional fans. However, as can be appreciated the structure of the polygonal column and the use of innovative material and forms that the structure enhances the construction of a portable fan differentiated from conventional fans. The ability to construct a portable fan having the appearance of furniture and/or architectural elements has obvious market advantages for the manufacturer. The fan incorporated into furniture and/or architectural elements allows the manufacturer to provide the consumer with a cost effective and innovative product.

Although the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it is not limited thereto. Rather, the appended claims should be construed to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
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US7931449Sep 15, 2009Apr 26, 2011Dyson Technology LimitedFan
US7972111Mar 1, 2010Jul 5, 2011Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US8052379Mar 3, 2010Nov 8, 2011Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US8092166Nov 20, 2009Jan 10, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan
US8197226Mar 3, 2010Jun 12, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US8273144Oct 12, 2009Sep 25, 2012Lowe's Companies, Inc.Air treatment device and housing for an air treatment device
US8308445Sep 3, 2008Nov 13, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan
US20120033952 *Jul 27, 2011Feb 9, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US20140057033 *Aug 20, 2013Feb 27, 2014Conair CorporationBrewed beverage appliance and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification454/237
International ClassificationF24F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationF24F2221/12, F24F7/065
European ClassificationF24F7/06D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 12, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: LASKO HOLDINGS, INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LASKO, WILLIAM E.;ORR, PAUL W.;WILSON, RODNEY;REEL/FRAME:017113/0772
Effective date: 20051121